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Pumpkins One, Two, and Three (and Me)

when I started the blog...

and now...

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Monday
Jun252012

Summer bag.

 

My knitting guru, Jenn, knit the cutest bag last summer.  Yup, last summer. She planned to line it but wasn't sure she could/would, so I happily offered. She handed it over at the end of the summer with some cute fabric.  She also tucked in a skein of Shelter as payment--which she shouldn't have.  No really.  She shouldn't have...read on!

Because then fall and winter came along and there was "no rush" as it's such a seasonal bag.  But I finally got it lined in spring.  But then!  Then a whole bunch of strange scheduling snafus prevented a handoff of her bag.  And suddenly (well, it felt like suddenly) it was summer and she was still without her bag.  I think she might have suspected some ownership via possession was afoot.

But we finally met up at an impromptu knit night and I am happy to report, the bag is with its creator.  Lined--with pockets and a key fob--and everything.  

Enjoy Jenn!

Sandra 

Friday
Jun222012

Salsa staple.

Since I discovered it, I have made this salsa nonstop.  Here is a weekly vignette on my countertop.

I like this salsa far better than any ready-made jar version I've tried, even though it starts with canned tomatoes--which, by the way, is another reason I love it.  Sure, if we're having company or headed out, I will make my signature salsa and plan for the chopping.  And more chopping.  But this one?  This one comes together in no time in the blender with ingredients I always have on hand.  And it can sit in a huge vat in the fridge for up to two weeks--though I'm guessing on that as it has never lasted past a week.  Yes, we like our salsa.  This one especially.  

Restaurant Style Salsa, via The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients

  • 1 can (28 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes With Juice 
  • 2 cans (10 Ounce) Rotel (diced Tomatoes And Green Chilies) (*I use one can mild, one can normal*)
  • 1/4 cup Chopped Onion
  • 1 clove Garlic, Minced
  • 1 whole Jalapeno, Quartered And Sliced Thin (*usually omit*)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 cup Cilantro (more To Taste!) (*usually 3/4 to a full cup*)
  • 1/2 whole lime (juiced)

Preparation Instructions

As the Pioneer Woman notes, this makes a huge batch*.  I put mine in my Blendtec blender but she recommends using a 12-cup food processor.

Blend ingredients until you get the consistency you'd like---we like this particular salsa pretty smooth.  Add additional seasonings to taste.

Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour.  Serve with tortilla chips or cheese nachos.

Enjoy!

Sandra

*it makes so much, we often send over a jar to some fellow foodie neighbors (pssst, Harriet, this is what we send over when we're feeling share-sy). 

Monday
Jun112012

Summer snacking prep work.

The other weekend I thought I'd get ahead of the game and bake several loaves of banana bread and put them up in the freezer.  As summer officially starts next week, I thought this would put me in good shape to have something on hand for snacking.

Problem is, I haven't baked banana bread in a while.  The boys went nuts, eating an entire loaf in an afternoon.  And then they inhaled the second loaf the next day.  I didn't tell them where I hid the third.

I was left with merely an end slice (which was delish with my morning cuppa).

I went with the Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze again.  I can't believe this but I need to head to the store to buy ripe bananas for baking this week--I've also alerted the non baking neighbors to drop off any black bananas (yes, I totally do that).  I figure I have a fighting chance to stock the freezer if I do the baking while they are out of the house.  I have new recipes to try--both banana based and not--and will report back.  And maybe, just maybe, I'll write down and capture the chocolate chip cookie recipe we've finally deemed our "keeper"...it's only taken me 2.5 years to decide.  I am so fickle.

Sandra

Sunday
Jun102012

Memorial Day, 2012.

Oh, the annual water fight.  As usual, I took a ton of shots while trying to stay dry.  I think I'll let the pictures speak for themselves for once (flashback to 2011 and 2010).

But first, I should back up a bit and toss out a reminder that our neighbor's son declared war on our boys three years ago at the Memorial Day cookout.  It's important to note that our neighbor's son is fully grown.  With a job.  And discretionary income he happily spends on fancy shmancy squirt guns each year.  In contrast, our poor boys are usually stuck with last year's broken bits because their momma has yet to make it to the store to replenish the armory.

But not this year!  This year Santa brought all new water guns.  And we started early in the day preparing water balloons.  

We also called in some additional troops.  I think everyone had fun. 

 Even the dads, in the end, could not resist getting into the action.  

The kids pulled off another victory.   

And I've rarely seen Max happier.

It's a great way to welcome summer.

Sandra

p.s.  We had a special guest that weekend.  My dearest, sweetest friend who got me running and is an organizational whiz.  Miss you Hallie!  You will be so proud to see how I'm continuing to tackle some spaces...

Thursday
May312012

Little runners.

I trust that I am not the only parent who taps into the earnest desire of her little ones to "help" when, perhaps, it would be especially helpful.

Say, when the front yard is a soggy bog and there is a surprise nip in the air and you would prefer to stay in the warm house and keep your slippers dry? Right?  Right.  

I'm pretty sure that they love it when they indeed help.  Because fyi, Will's attempt to help me stir some cookie dough that consequently ended up on three walls of the kitchen was not all that helpful.  I'm hoping I did not show it.

Sandra

p.s.  Yes, if you recall, we do this in winter too.  Because if you double recall, I get cold extremely easily.

p.p.s.  Have you noticed that most of my recent pictures of Will show him sporting his beanie from last year?  He truly loves his hat and always has it on if it's even slightly chilly.  He even sleeps in it.  At first we tried to discourage him because he gets all sweaty.  But he insists.  And we decided that this was not a battle to choose.  So we let him fall asleep in it and take it off later, laying it next to his bed.  He usually puts it on first thing in the morning.  I often use the phrase "love it to pieces" or "love it to bits"...and he may do exactly that with his hat.  You can imagine how much that warms my knitterly heart.

Wednesday
May302012

Maryland Sheep and Wool, 2012.

 

We went again this year and had a great time.  The fact that the festival is always held in early May, right before or around Mother's Day, works really well in my book.  Because it means I can pick up a few pretty skeins and save everyone an errand, right?  Okay, in truth it's a complete windfall as the boys and Charlie always pick up something sweet for me.  But we'll just go with it...

I actually still need to shoot my new-to-me skeins, but I got some new sock needles (my first Signatures!), a couple skeins of Miss Babs Yowza Monochrome in Pewter, and somehow, fell in love with--and absolutely had to have--some sparkly Tilli Tomas.  I'm still confused by this impulse buy because, really, when will I wear something sparkly?  I've warned the group to expect a blingy-y cowl at next year's Gingerbread Party

Most of the group also picked up a skein of Bijou Basin's Seraphim, a new Angora blend.  It might be the softest stuff I've ever touched.  I also scooped up some Davidson Domy Heather fingering weight yarn as it's very difficult to find (can't even find you a link!  Though here's an old blog post about it) because I have plans to knit a colorwork yoked pullover this winter.  Besides, I think it's a great and economical sub for Brooklyn Tweed Loft.  

I also got a lamb sandwich.  

And yes, it freaked me out again to buy a lamb sandwich next to the building where the lucky lambs were being revered for their beautiful fleece.   

The best part of the outing was that nearly our entire knit group made it.  I adore these gals--they are so fun, but better yet, they are great friends.  And they ooh and ahh over wool and have conflicted feelings over eating lamb sammies under such circumstances, too.  

Until next year!

Sandra 

Friday
May252012

Second half marathon, check.

So Charlie and I ran another half marathon.  I didn't get to train for this one very much.  Instead of doing four or five long runs to acclimate myself like a good running plan lays out, I got in one measly 9 mile run.  And it was a month before the race!  Not recommended.

Here's a race photo proof until my copy comes in the mail.  My finish time (2:10:56) was slower than my first go at this.  But I'll take it--all I have to do is remember that a couple of years ago I couldn't even run a mile without stopping (truly!).  So finishing any race makes me smile.  I am officially a runner.  Never thought I'd say that.

In fact--as further proof I'm still digging this running experiment--the day after the half, I signed up for another half marathon.  It's the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon.  And I'm so excited because I'm running it with my bestie.  She's a runner but it's her first half!  We met in 8th grade and have done so much together--from Robert Palmer and Bon Jovi concerts, permed hair, and questionable fashion choices to Maid of Honor duties, pregnancies, reunions, and play dates.  But it's our first race!  And it's right around our birthdays.  It's going to be awesome.  

Charlie is not running this one and I have visions of him bringing the boys to cheer me on.  With cute signage.  And custom shirts?  Even pennants, maybe? These are just ideas off the top of my head, mind you...  I'm usually not at all about making a fuss over me.  But every time I see a kid cheering on their mom from the race sidelines, I melt.  That's officially what I would like for my birthday.  

Sandra

Thursday
May242012

Tops, tanks, and tees KAL.

I'm a little late to the blogging party announcing my participation in Luvinthemommyhood's latest Knitalong.  Actually, I'm a lot late.  Because you know what?  It's over.  Yup.  Missed all the fun blogging about it too, sheesh.  Nevertheless, I wanted to mention it because if you haven't checked it out, you should.  Lots of inspiration over there from the KAL knitters.  My queue basically exploded.

luvinthemommyhood

As for me, I knit the popular Spring Garden Tee.  I really love the finished tee but I had a devil of a time getting gauge.  The pattern calls for DK weight, but I could not for the life of me get gauge on a reasonably sized needle using DK.  So then I swatched some sport weight--nope!  In the end, I used fingering weight.  Fingering!  AND (sorry to internet yell, but this is notable) I still had to go down one needle size and had to knit a size smaller than my usual size.  Crazy, I say.  Crazy.

Luckily, I love it to pieces so it was worth the effort.  Don't mind the rain hair in this shot...

Sandra

p.s.  Do you like the color?  It's another handyed colorway of my own.  The yarn is a delicious blend of Bluefaced Leicester wool, silk, and cashmere.  Love, love, love the base.  Soft but holds up wonderfully. I likewise adore this color.    

And yes, I know I created another blueish color.  I really can (and will) dye a non blue next.  In fact, I have my first custom "order" of a gray (Caryn, are we talking gunmetal or silver?).  

Tuesday
Apr242012

Easy peasy grilled romaine salad.

A few weeks ago we headed over to my brother's and sister-in-law's for dinner.  Nothing fancy--just a few items on the grill and a few sides.  Lucky for us, they live close enough to do this often and as both families like to cook, we enjoy experimenting with recipes.

To go along with the steaks, I brought a couple heads of romaine.  The idea was to make a salad.  But instead of a traditional take, we grilled the romaine.  It was delish!  My SIL Amy tells me she's made it a few times since, as have I.  It's not a full-blown addiction, but as summer approaches, I know this salad will be in heavy rotation around here.

If you like the flavor profile of a Ceasar salad, give this a go.  It's perfect alongside a steak or grilled chicken.  Also, it works just as well indoors on a cast iron pan should a few rainy days separate you from your outdoor grill (like it has in our neck of the woods lately). 

pssst, there is no parmesan in this picture...don't forget the parmesan!

Grilled Romaine

adapted from I'm Just Here for the Food - Alton Brown

  • 4 heads romaine lettuce
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • grated parmesan cheese (for topping)

Clean then quarter or halve the romaine heads lengthwise (depending on the size of your head).  Keep the root intact to keep each piece together.  Brush lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Mix together the capers, mustard, and vinegar.  Grill the romaine on the grill, directly over the heat (indoor grill worked well for me, too).  Turn when it begins to char and wilt--total grill time is about 1 minute.  Remove to serving plates and spoon the vinegar mixture over each and sprinkle with parmesan.  Best served warm.

My notes:  FYI, the original recipe called for the above dressing amount, but for only one romaine head.  I found this dressing to greens ratio far too heavy but admittedly, like my dressing on the light side.

Enjoy!

Sandra

Friday
Apr202012

Ramblings (i.e. I have not slept in five days because Will's been sick, so insert a title here)...

It has been, what?, two weeks since Spring Break and I have yet to recap?  Then again, it occurred to me I have yet to recap Chicago, a beach weekend, and heck, even Disney.  I think it prudent, then, to warn that there may be an onslaught of photo heavy family posts.  There have been requests, you see.

But today I decided to post about something else--something related to home improvement.  Because it's spring and what do we do in the spring?  Why, we build shelving of course!  Yup.  Charlie's been at it again.  This time, he's building shelves and a bin system so that we might reclaim the laundry room.  (Why is it that laundry takes up so much of my life?  It is the number one thing I had no idea about--that laundry for a family is a full time job.  Or maybe it's just me).

There has also been some knitting I need to share.

(Max took this shot.  I was trying to teach him about lens flare and how sometimes it works.  I think he's getting it...)

Happy Friday.  I will try to write something substantive and possibly even coherent soon.

Sandra