November 22, 2010

Pumpkin Madness

I am not a pumpkin snob. I will turn any old pumpkin into pie. I know some people only like to use the sugar pie pumpkins because they are cuter, smaller, and slightly sweeter, but I like to use big, regular pumpkins because they are bigger, and bigger equals more pumpkin! I find that bigger usually equals better, except in rare cases like cucumbers and other phallic objects.

After I brought the pumpkins inside, I was about ready to begin rinsing and chopping when I noticed this little dude cruising along. The pumpkins were sitting outside in the rain, so he must have enjoyed the brief reprise inside before I took him outside and set him among the leaves.
After lots of chopping and scraping, I began boiling my pumpkins. I know a lot of people prefer to bake the pumpkins, but the few times I've done that my pumpkins have become dried out and hard to puree. I boil them and let the excess water drain out afterwards. 
I had lots of pumpkin to boil! I think I did about 4 rounds of boiling before I got bored and scrapped the few remaining uncooked pieces.
In the process of cutting the pumpkins, the serrated steak knife I was using broke and cut my hand! Thats the 3rd steak knife I've broken cutting things with it that I shouldn't. Oopsie!
I had lots and lots of pumpkin puree when I was done!
I let it drain for about two hours, occasionally stirring it to allow the water to drain out the bottom. The bowl was halfway filled when it was done! Finally I got to get down to the fun part - pie!!
I am affectionately calling this "Franken-Pie", even though the cookbook called it "Carmel-Pecan Pumpkin Pie". It is a hybrid of pumpkin/pecan pie - it is a pumpkin pie that you bake halfway, then cover with a pecan streusel topping and bake for another 20 minutes or so. I was making it to make sure it was yummy, because I want to make another one and bring it to Thanksgiving. It passed with flying colors!

November 17, 2010

Fan Appreciation Photos

Hmm... do you think its a little too egotistical to call it that? I don't think so! So here is my first of (hopefully) many photos of my creations with their intended recipients!
The lovely Amaya modeling the hat she requested. I hope it gets lots of use during those cold NYC winters!

November 16, 2010

Frustration

So I spent an episode of Law and Order: CI (I have become addicted and measure my time in Law and Order episodes now) working on my blanket last night. I was cruising along, keeping track of my rows and thinking happy wonderful blanket finishing thoughts when I looked down and realized that I had skipped a cable. Oh no! There is no way to fix this except undoing everything and starting back where I messed up. So I wiped my tears away and undid 24 rows. Yes, I knit 24 rows before I realized that I made a mistake. I was too engrossed in the L&O episode... or at least, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

November 9, 2010

Another Completed Christmas Present!

I feel so accomplished right now. Seriously. It is only the beginning of November, and I have finished three whole Christmas presents! I know that doesn't seem like too much, but this is much better than every other year where I make elaborate plans and only end up making like one or two things.

The pattern comes compliments of Coco Knits, and is called the Fear of Commitment Cowl. It was a simple pattern that allowed me to stash bust (for you non-knitting geeks, stash busting means using up yarn you already have instead of buying more). It is a nice feeling to use stash yarn, especially because I tend to hoard one or two skeins of lots of different yarns, and have difficulty finding use for them. However, for this particular yarn I happen to have 5 of 6 skeins because I was planning on knitting a sweater once upon a time. Obviously this never happened, so ... don't judge me.


The cool thing about this cowl (it's not considered a scarf because it's short - a little less than three feet long) is that the button isn't sewn on. It's attached by another button, so you can move it to wherever you want on the scarf to be able to wear it however you want. It's perfect for my fashionista friend who is always making creative outfits out of simple items. It can be worn as a shawl, wrapped around like a scarf, or hang loose like a wrap. 

Now my mission is to finish my simple little knit hat I am making, and tackle my afghan. I am determined to finish it before the holidays! (Please note, by "the holidays" I mean Christmas. I can guarantee you that it will not be finished by Thanksgiving). 

November 3, 2010

Num Nums

I have discovered a new favorite food. Grilled cheese sandwiches on pugliese bread. I know what you're thinking - "Mari! What are you doing? You are allergic to cheese! Save yourself!"... but don't worry, I've been making this delicious treat with goat's milk cheddar cheese. It is so delicious that I've eaten it three times in the past week, and would have eaten more but I ran out of bread. I'm going to the store after work today to get more.
Yummy crispy hot melty goodness. It's especially delicious paired with tomato soup and rain.

Another thing I've been eating a lot of lately is this Persian dish my dad used to make a lot when I was younger. I don't know of a fancy Persian name for it, because in my family it's always been called "spinach and eggs". Once again, I know what you're thinking - "Eeww... spinach and eggs? Mixed together?".  Yes. Try it. It's delicious. 
The closest thing I found online that was comparable are this and this (with fancy persian names!), but my father traditionally scrambled the eggs into the spinach instead of serving it on top, and has served it with rice instead of potatoes. 

Here's my take on the recipe:
1/2 Onion - diced
1 bag frozen leaf spinach (fresh is obviously preferred by most people, but I find fresh spinach to be a tad too strong tasting for me)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Garlic Salt
Pepper
4-5 Eggs
White or Brown Rice (cooked and ready to serve)


Saute the onion in a large pan until tender. Add the spinach, salt and pepper and cook until the spinach is hot, delicious, and is taking on the flavor of the salt and pepper. Add the eggs, and stir until the eggs have been throughly mixed in. Stir continuously for a few minutes until the egg is completely cooked, and serve piping hot on top of a bowl of rice.

 Obviously I'm not good at writing recipes...but you get the basic idea. It's a super inexpensive, filling, healthy (especially if made with brown rice) meal that I like to eat fairly often.

Food makes me happy.

November 1, 2010

Coming to Terms with My Messiness

I am a firm believer that there are two types of people in this world – neat people and messy people. Obviously there are variations of both categories, such as neat people who like a little messiness thrown into the mix (only so they can reorganize it and make it neat again), or messy people who have occasional bouts of neatness. As much as I have tried to fight it, I happen to be a messy person. I am struck with an urge to clean about once ever week or so, and I frantically sweep and dust and clean my kitchen (but never my bathroom), only to sit back and watch everything get messy again. I’ve noticed this spilling over to my crafting life. I have a lovely image of someday having an organized craft room filled with shelves, baskets, plastic tubs and other neat people things. In this non-existent room, I have a section for sewing supplies, a yarn corner with one of those really cool three-tiered baskets overflowing with gorgeous yarn, and not a spec of dust or cat hair anywhere. I fantasize about this room as I sit on my ugly brown couch and stare at my messy piles of crafting stuff strewn around my small living room.

I finally came to realize how messy I am recently. My neighbor was joking to one of my friends that I was “the dirtiest girl [he] knows”. As much as I wish he was equating dirty with naughtiness, I knew he meant that I was kind of a slob. At first I was hurt. I’m not messy, am I? After that conversation (and by conversation I mean bloody mary fueled breakfast) I walked into my house and looked at it with a new pair of eyes… and to my chagrin, it was pretty darn messy. There are small tumbleweeds of cat hair blowing across my hardwood floor, coming to rest on my dirty and stained throw rug. There is a fine layer of dust on everything that has come to be part of my natural landscape – but in my defense this is to be expected when you live by the freeway and a large field of grass and dirt that masquerades as a pumpkin patch/Christmas tree farm for several months out of the year.  My dirty clothes are strewn on my bedroom floor, where they typically live for about a week before I throw them into the laundry basket and the cycle begins again. I often leave dishes in the sink for days at a time. But does all of this mean that I am dirty?

Yesterday, after my friend’s boyfriend hit his head on a box of half-finished knitting projects that was balanced precariously on my wall furnace, I realized how much my messiness has spread into my crafting life. I start projects, abandon them haphazardly in random places in my house, and pick them up again after starting and abandoning other projects.  Case in point – the offending box currently contains three unfinished projects, as well as the two completed balls of yarn I so proudly showed off here and here. My coffee table is strewn with two new projects that I began over the weekend. That is a total of five incomplete projects in my tiny living room…and this isn’t including the ones I have hidden from view. Here is photographic evidence:

As I mentioned before, I have daydreams about someday having a perfectly organized room filled with happy (even if incomplete) projects peeking out of cute wicker baskets. For some reason I feel like I don’t deserve to have these cute baskets full of happy projects just yet. Why? I’m not quite sure. Part of it is that there isn’t any room for said baskets in my living room unless I do some serious rearranging (which would in turn call for some serious cleaning…and to be honest, I don’t want to do that). Part of it is that I’m waiting until I have my magical craft room before I reward myself with baskets. Maybe the lesson to be learned here is that I should start and finish one project at a time to avoid issues like this. Or maybe I should just go to Cost Plus this weekend and buy some baskets. Hell, I deserve it, right? … right?