Sunday, September 30, 2007

A really good pancake recipe

George and I are often on the hunt for a really good pancake recipe. Sometimes we make them with buttermilk, sometimes with whipped egg whites. We aren't looking for a lot of fancy add-ins. We just want a really nice tasting pancake.

Today we tried a new recipe and it is really good! This recipe can be halved for plenty of pancakes for two people:

2 cups flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 T. sugar
1 t. salt
1 cup plain yogurt
1 1/4 c. milk
2 eggs
1/4 c. melted margarine

Sift the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Beat the eggs with a fork and add them and the wet ingredients into the flour mixture. Then add the melted butter. Ladle onto the griddle until lightly browned, add syrup, butter and eat! Yum.

Have a great Sunday.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Mike and Michelle are home!

Mike and Michelle are home safe and happy from their Bermuda vacation. Mike says the sun is bright and the water is blue and the place is beautiful. George and I want to go. Mike also said that a long weekend is enough, and in these days of Earned Time concerns, I think a long weekend sounds just right!

I am blown away by Michael's pictures of fish. I like the other pictures too, but the fish pictures are incredible. I will have wallpaper for my computer for a long time to come.

This weekend George is going to a helicopter picnic on Saturday morning while I get my hair done. On Sunday he goes to a Red Sox game. Sounds like fun, but I have a lot of things to do here at home. And I plan to spend some time at Barnes and Noble browsing through beading books and drinking cappuccino.

This is going to be a creative weekend for me. I have three necklaces to repair for people, one set to make for someone and some necklaces to make and to deliver to the art/gallery store. And there is always yarn and spinning and kumihimo. I have so many projects going I don't know where to start.

I think I'll start by going to bed.

Have a great night!

Spinning Wool

Last night we watched an old movie with Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich and Charles Laughton: Witness for the Prosecution. The first thing we noticed about watching this old movie was that we were caught up in it right away. No computer graphics, no chase scenes, not even color, and it was fascinating! Charles Laughton is amazing. I kept saying that it is nice that dentistry has gone as far as it has, because one thing you immediately notice is that these actors all have their original teeth, and in some cases, that is not a good thing. The story line is twisty and interesting and the acting is wonderful. No gimmicks, just good actors and good writing.

I took my spinning wheel and moved it into the den and spun wool while we watched this old movie. How's that for a quiet evening?

Have a great day.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Sunday in New Hampshire

George and I drove to New Hampshire yesterday to go to the Wool Room which is owned by my friend Ann. She taught me how to spin wool several years ago and I had put it away for awhile and needed a refresher. I also needed some new roving. She helped me oil up my Ashford Traditional spinning wheel and get me threaded up and started again. It is like riding a bike, I never forgot how. The fibers handled easily in my hands and the wool spun like crazy.

It is lovely to spin your own wool. There is something mesmerizing about watching the bobbin fill with pretty yarn that you made yourself. Of course, what you spin off the roving is just the first step. Then you have to fill another bobbin and wind them together. That is easy and fun to do too.

So I'm spinning again and I feel great about it. It was a beautiful Sunday morning in New Hampshire. The trees are just turning and it was a glorious sunny day.

Have a great day.

Friday, September 21, 2007

One of Mike and Michelle's vacation pictures: a leafy glade

Friday night

Friday night is always a fun night. The whole weekend stretches in front of me, and I have so many projects to work on. I am never bored. My hobbies can take up all my time if I let them. There are socks to knit and beads to string and wool to spin and scraps to book. It is fun to have so many different projects.

Mike and Michelle are in the middle of their vacation and I am having fun just thinking about all the fun they are having.

George is going flying tomorrow and I am going to continue the saga of cleaning closets and organizing. George bought me a whole bunch of padded hangers tonight. He went into the grocery store to buy milk and eggs and came out with white silk padded hangers. Now, that's a man after my heart.

Have a good night. See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Time for squash

George and I bought delicata squash. It is a fall thing. If you haven't tried it, it is a most delicately flavored squash and is really delicious. We scrape out the seeds, lay it flat side down on a foil covered pan, add 1/4 cup of water and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. You can also bake squash in a microwave. I like the oven better. I like the edges crispy and brown.

Add butter. Of course. Squash is a good reason as any to eat more butter.

Have a great day.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

This is NOT my closet, but I'm getting there!

A closet obsession

I have decided that I want to have another obsession besides beading. I am going to have an obsession about a clean and organized closet.

A month or so ago, I decided to clean out all the clothes that I don't want to wear. It was a big job. Over the years, a pretty big potion of my salary has gone to clothes shopping. As clothes ownership goes, I would probably NOT win the contest of who has the most clothes, but I might be a distant runner-up. I counted the blouses that I had to wear to work: 60...and I counted the number of pair of slacks: 60. That seems like a lot! I decided to stop counting, and start putting everything away in an organized fashion. I gave away four large bags of handbags. None of these were worn, and I hope they find a happy home. I realize I had let my handbag collection get out of control. It felt good to downsize (and make room for more?)

I went through and gave away several large bags of perfectly good clothes that I no longer wear. Professional closet organizers will tell you that if you wouldn't buy it again, then get rid of it. I got rid of a lot of items that were either poor choices in the first place or no longer fit. One thing I decided is that by having so many clothes to choose from, I hardly ever wear anything out. And I LIKE what I like, and want to keep them.

Yesterday George made a new clothes rack for me that stretches all along one wall of the small bedroom that I call a closet. Our house has tiny closets built into the bedrooms, and they hold very little. I have those full too. One closet just holds half of my pants collection, and the other holds winter wraps and sweaters. My old rack was a Martha Stewart brand plastic wrapped closet organizer and it had developed a 45 degree list to the right...endangering my clothes and perhaps our lives. It had to go.

I got up at 5 a.m. the last two mornings to work in my closet-dressing room. I emptied the old rack and put some items in the giveaway bag and some in Summer storage. I have it all organized. In the process, I found my IPOD which I had misplaced this summer after we came back from our trip. I was worried that it had gotten into a bin of off-season clothes that I keep in the storage unit. (Oh, I forgot to tell you about those.) I found it in a drawer where I keep my fans. (Oh, I forgot to tell you about my fan collection.) I was very happy to see it! In the meantime, I bought a new IPOD Shuffle, (so now I have an IPOD collection too.)

Stuff. I know it is a problem. I know I should be more Zen and have five GOOD articles of clothing, all in black, all no wrinkle-knits and all mix and match. I know that. I know most people would think I have far too many clothes and handbags and shoes.

And I don't care. She who dies with the most stuff wins.

Have a great day.

Pumpkin-Orange Cake


1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
1/4 cup egg substitute
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated fat-free milk
Cooking spray
3 cups sifted powdered sugar, divided
3/4 cup (6 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
2 cups mandarin oranges in light syrup, drained
1 cup pomegranate seeds (about 2)
Preheat oven to 350°.

Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add pumpkin; beat well. Add egg substitute and vanilla; beat until well blended.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 6 ingredients (through nutmeg), stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture and milk alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Pour batter into 2 (9-inch) round cake pans coated with cooking spray; sharply tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack.

Place 1 cup powdered sugar and cream cheese in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add remaining powdered sugar and rind; beat until fluffy.

Place 1 cake layer on a plate. Spread 2/3 cup cream cheese frosting evenly over top of cake. Top with remaining cake layer; spread remaining cream cheese frosting over top, but not sides, of cake. Arrange orange slices in a ring around outer edge of top cake layer. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over center of top cake layer. Store cake loosely covered in refrigerator.

14 servings (serving size: 1 slice)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Who needs a birthday?

George and I saw an ad in the Target flyer this Sunday for this cute toy. As George said, "I jumped right on it." We went out and bought it for his granddaugher Lucy who is 8 months old. Tonight we took it over to her house. Her eyes lit up and she loved it immediately, showing us how much by stuffing the head of the giraffe into her mouth.

I love the way she sits up on the floor with her back straight. She is so cute as she looks around and surveys this interesting world.

We had a great time giving it to her, and she loved it. And we love her.

Have a great day.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Fall is here...I think

I can tell it is Fall in Boston by the traffic. The kids are back in school and it took George and I 20 minutes to get out of our little town on our way to work the other day. The cars were backed up behind several different crossing guards and then a train went through too. We were both amazed at how bottled up things get when the kids go back to school.

Boston is in need of a nice rain storm. The weather has been dry for a month, and the grass is turning yellow. The tomato vines look terrible, but they are producing lovely red tomatoes, so that is all that matters.

There has been no sign of Chuckie or his family of woodchucks who lived under our garage. We haven't seen them since July. I think it may have to do with the resident skunk. We only see him late at night if we drive into the driveway. That is highly unlikely, since we seldom are out late at night. Sometimes we can smell him. He seems to be digging around in our yard and sometimes knocks over things just for meanness. I'm not really fond of skunks. Is anyone?

Fall is here and I found myself thinking about the Wool Tour in New Hampshire. It will take place in late September and I am looking forward to going to see the sheep and the sheep dogs and the spinning wheels and all the beautiful roving. It is a great weekend, and we always stop at the same Chinese restaurant in Antrim for a lunch.

We had a great summer, with trips to the lake in New Hampshire and to New Orleans. But now I'm ready to knuckle down to a nice cool fall day of knitting!

Have a great day.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Sunday, September 02, 2007

New Silk Stockings

I was rather amazed at paying $22.00 for a single skein of yarn. These are the latest socks, finished this afternoon, made with hand-dyed silk & nylon yarn that was hand dyed by a woman in Vermont. As I gasp when I think that I paid that much for one skein of yarn, I realize that I enjoyed every minute that I was working with this beautiful and silky yarn. It was a delight. I visioned myself going back into the yarn shop to get more. Visioning works!

Labor Day Eve is as good a time as any to finish a pair of beautiful socks while watching a show by Ken Burns called "Mark Twain". And to top off the evening, there is a peach pie in the oven.

I hope you are having as good a time as I am.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Sweet and pretty....Thyme.

Hot and pretty...Habanero Chilis

"The habanero is the hottest chile pepper you'll find in your local grocery stores, and they are very, very hot. The oil in the habanero, as well as many other hot chiles, can be very painful if you get it in your eyes or on open wounds on your hands. Wearing gloves while handling is your best bet."

Long weekend

George and I are luxuriating in the long weekend. We treated ourselves to a new blue enameled cast iron casserole and I'm going to make a chicken dish. We are going to barbecue something, pick more peaches and read some books. The garden is at the interesting stage where you actually get to pick something and eat it. We have cherry tomatoes and these beautiful habanero peppers, which are so hot they are probably pretty useless to us, but they are so pretty!

The weather in Boston is 65 and sunny. Perfection. We are enjoying the lovely weather and the thought of three days with no big plans. That may sound boring to some people, but not to me!

Have a great weekend!