Thursday, February 28, 2013

February Photo Challenge: Unbirthday

Happy Unbirthday to me!  This is the cake I made myself this year.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fried Blueberry Cake

This recipe is my modification of a Blueberry Cobbler recipe.  Super easy, but more cakey than pie-ey the way cobblers usually are.

Fried Blueberry Cake
4 Tbl. (1/2 stick) butter
1 c flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
pinch of cardamom
3/4 c sugar
1 c milk
2 c blueberries

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Melt butter in 8 or 9 inch square brownie pan.
  3. Mix dry ingredients together then add in milk and vanilla.
  4. Stir batter until ingredients are combined.
  5. Pour batter into pan.
  6. Don't stir the butter and batter, but spread out the butter if it has pooled in one area.
  7. Sprinkle blueberries over batter.  I used an entire pint last night--it was a lot of blueberries and they kind of crowded out the cake.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes or until cake part starts to brown.

Monday, February 25, 2013

February Photo Challenge: Red

I knit a red heart for Bailey.  Stuffed it with some stuffing and catnip.  It no longer looks like a heart.

February Photo Challenge: Clothes

Despite getting rid of a lot of clothes before the move and trying not to buy a bunch more I still have a LOT of clothes.  That hair piece in the middle of the photo is creepy.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Megillah Mayhem

So last night we walked to the synagogue for Purim services and festivities.  Uh, things were CRAY-ZEE.   Rabbi Blumofe was dressed as the Thing--mask and all, and Rabbi Kobrin was dressed as Bat-Mitzvah girl.    We couldn't hear a thing that was going on....children were running all over and the adults were all talking.  I was annoyed.  Yeah, it's a festive holiday, but we are in the middle of religious services!  There was an open bar at the back of the sanctuary and people were partaking freely.  I don't think that helped the noise level.  Don't get me wrong, you are supposed to make noise during Purim, during the reading of the Megillah, but not continuously.

Other highlights of the costumes: Captain Jewmerica, and a man dressed as Glinda the Good Witch (our favorite, even though it raises questions about the appropriateness of cross-dressing in the synagogue.)

Oh, and then there was the interactive portion of the services.  They had questions projected on a screen and you could answer by texting with your cell phone. Uh, what?  Ross and I didn't bring anything, much less our cell phones.  The questions were silly.  They were about the story we were reading, but they were also (in code) begging for inappropriate answers: Esther touches the King's scepter, inappropriate?  This led to all sorts of inappropriate stuff being texted--and then showing up on the screen. The word penis kept popping up.  I was a little mortified. I don't know whose idea the texting thing was, but it was a BAD idea, especially with the open bar.

After the reading of the Megillah and the spiel (play), we filed out into the social hall for more drinks, and some food.  There was not enough food.  Here are all these people drinking, and they quickly ran out of hamantaschen.  They had some crackers and lots of sugary stuff.  The Rabbi's son was the DJ.  The bar had moved into the social hall and people were still drinking.  And then I saw them....jello shots! Jello shots! Well, I did have a jello shot and some jelly beans.  After that we walked home, making sure to stay out of the street--who knows if the rest of the crowd had designated drivers....

I can't say I really had fun.  I sort of feel like an old fuddy-duddy.  I sort of feel like a prude.  I just feel like it would have been more fun if everyone had shut up during the reading of the Megillah and made deafening noise when they were supposed to...instead of talking up a steady roar so we could barely hear when we were supposed to make noise.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

February Photo Challenge: Water

Spring water at Barton Creek Greenbelt.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Strawberry Lime Cupcakes

I've been wanting to make something for dessert, and needing something to get me out of a bit of a funk I've been in---and cake seemed to be a solution to both things.  I had some limes left over from garlic-lime marinade so I did a search for lime cupcakes. I found a recipe for strawberry lime cupcakes, which sounded perfect because I had strawberries in the fridge too.  I never met a recipe I didn't fix.  So here is my version:

Lime Cupcakes with Strawberry-Lime Frosting

Cupcakes (makes 12)
4 Tbl. butter, room temperature (1/2 stick)
1/2c + 6 Tbl. sugar
grated zest of 2 limes
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c + 2 Tbl. all purpose flour
1/2 c cake flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c sour cream
1/4 c milk
1 egg

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line muffin tin with paper cups.
  3. Beat butter and sugar together until fluffy.
  4. Add lime zest, lime juice, and vanilla to butter and beat to blend.
  5. Whisk dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.
  6. In another small bowl whisk together sour cream, milk, and egg.
  7. Alternately add dry ingredients and sour cream mixture to butter, beating in between additions.
  8. Pour batter into paper cups in muffin tin, dividing over 12 cupcakes.
  9. Bake for 17 minutes or until tester comes out dry.
Strawberry-Lime Frosting
1 c butter, room temperature (2 sticks)
2 c powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
juice of 1 lime
5 Tbl. pureed strawberries (I think I used 5 large strawberries)
  1. Beat butter until fluffy.
  2. Add powdered sugar and beat until well blended and fluffy.
  3. Beat in vanilla, lime and strawberries.
  4. Frost cooled cupcakes.
  5. Nom. Nom. Nom.
I really liked the texture of the cake and the frosting was yummy too. I will definitely make these again.

February Photo Challenge: Lunch

Ross came home for lunch today and made me this sweet and salty sandwich: English muffin, maple bacon, cheddar cheese, and key lime marmalade.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

February Photo Challenge: Book

Today I finished reading Ex Machina Book Five.  I have finished the series.  I'll do another post about that.

Monday, February 18, 2013

February Photo Challenge: Pantry

Pantry highlights: case of organic milk singles, chocolate chips, lots of sugar, lots of Dundee jars.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

February Photo Challenge: The Freezer

Not much in there.  Highlights: Eggnog so that we don't have to wait 11 months to have it again, bread--I eat it so rarely that I keep it in the freezer, alcohol (which hasn't been touched in months), and various types of flour in the door.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Photo Challenge: Dinner

I forgot to take a photo of are the leftovers: chicken, potatoes, peas.

February Photo Challenge: Close Up

This is a close up of the bark on the strange and fascinating tree outside our apartment door.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

February Photo Challenge: Love


Ross and I don't disagree on much, but we disagree on the right way to make zab.  I got a recipe for zab off the internets when the internets was just beginning.  Ross likes it with the egg whites, I like it without. Wanna know what love is?  Whenever Ross makes it he sets aside some for me before he adds the egg whites.

4 Tbl. sugar
1 tsp. unflavored gelatin
1/2 c. Marsala wine (sweet)
6 egg yolks, beaten until thick
1 c. whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla
4 egg whites
2 Tbl. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
Fresh berries
  1. Combine 4 Tbl. sugar, gelatin, Marsala, and egg yolks.
  2. Cook over low heat until mixture thickens--stirring constantly.
  3. Chill mixture until fully cooled.
  4. In a chilled medium bowl whip vanilla and cream until still.
  5. Add egg yolk mixture to cream and beat until smooth.
  6. In a separate bowl beat egg whites until foamy.
  7. Add sugar and salt to egg whites and beat until stiff peaks form
  8. Fold egg whites into cream mixture.
  9. Chill at least 2 hours.
  10. Serve with berries

This is zab Ross's way.  I don't like the texture.  I served the zab with strawberries Navan.  I soaked sliced fresh strawberries in Navan for 24 hours.  Tasty.  Unfortunately I don't think Navan is available anymore.
This is zab my way.  It tastes better and looks prettier too.

New Hat For Ross

I knitted my little heart out and knit up this hat in 3 and a half days.  Ross needed a hat for riding his bike and he wanted something blue-grey.  I think this fits the bill.
 The hat looks so tiny when unstretched.  The yarn is a wool-silk blend and has some slight color variations.

Here is a side view so you can see the cables.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lunch and Bowl: The Goodnight

The Goodnight is a restaurant/bar/bowling alley/game place near where we live.  We decided to go and try it out for lunch yesterday. We arrived early, which was perfect--no other folks were bowling. We ordered food and bowled while we waited for it.  So fun!  I tried to relax and not throw the ball and I bowled a good game (for me.) The restaurant has lunch specials--an entree and a side for 10 dollars. And bowling is basically 5 dollars per person for half an hour including shoes.  I ordered a burger and salad, and Ross ordered a chicken fried antelope sandwich with mashed potatoes. The food was great. We were so busy eating and bowling that I forgot to take a photo of our food. Look at the balls--they are colored like pool balls. We actually had to hand score the game, but that's okay.  Ross knows how.  He won, but I wasn't too far behind.  It was nice that I was easily able to find a ball that fit my fingers and wasn't too heavy.

We will definitely do this again--but only lunch.  Food and bowling are way more expensive at night there.

February Photo Challenge: Protein

Breakfast: 21g protein.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

February Photo Challenge: Dessert

Tonight's dessert: yellow cake cookies that we made last night.

Monday, February 11, 2013

February Photo Challenge: Last Purchase

I bought this wool-silk blend yarn yesterday and I've already started a hat for Ross.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

February Photo Challenge: Drink

Can't have graham crackers without milk.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

February Photo Challenge: Mail

This was the only thing in the mail box today.


Every time I hear the word vendetta lately I hear this in my head:

Friday, February 8, 2013

February Photo Challenge: 5:00pm

At 5pm I was reading book four of Ex Machina.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

February Photo Challenge: Underwear

I'm wearing these today.

February Photo Challenge: Spoon

I have an inexplicable affinity for this spoon.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

Today I had my first appointment with an Acupuncturist/Chinese Medicine Doctor here in Austin.  My left shoulder has been hurting for the last month, so I'm glad I finally got around to making an appointment.  The first treatment she did was scraping my skin with a piece of water buffalo horn that looked like a giant toe nail.  My uber-sensitive skin turned red right away, then started to look like a hickey.  After the scraping she did some cupping---can you tell where that was?  After those two treatments she gave me an acupuncture treatment.  I have a mark from that too.  One of the spots now has a black bruise.  At first it was raised and knotty, but it has settled down.

February Photo Challenge: Sky

View of the sky through live oaks.  I love live oaks.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Lavender Shortbread

I bought some lavender sugar in Napa and didn't really know what to do with it, then I decided I'd make some kind of cookies and put the lavender sugar on top.  I ended up making lavender shortbread as the cookie.

Lavender Shortbread

1/2 c unsalted butter-cut into small pieces
1c all purpose flour
1/3 c brown rice flour
1/4 c sugar
1 Tbl. lavender--ground
1 Tbl. water
lavender sugar for top
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Line bottom of cake pan with parchment paper.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients together.
  4. Work butter into flour mixture with your hands until you have a fine crumbly mess.
  5. Add 1 Tbl. water to mixture and work it in to form a ball of dough.  Add more water a little at a time if dough won't hold together.
  6. Press ball of dough out into cake pan.
  7. Sprinkle lavender sugar on top of dough.
  8. Put pan in refrigerator or freezer so dough can cool.
  9. Once dough is cold prick it all over with a fork and score dough into wedges with sharp knife.
  10. Sprinkle more sugar on if you want to.
  11. Bake for 40-45 minutes.
  12. Let shortbread cool.  The big cookie should come out of the pan easily and break along the scored marks.
I never met a recipe I didn't change.  This one didn't call for water, but there was no way I could make the dough stick together.  Note: I measured out 1 Tbl. of lavender before I ground it in the spice grinder.  I wish I had scored the cookie a little deeper--essentially pre-cutting the cookie--it didn't break along the lines, but I was able to cut along the lines with a dinner knife.

I think this counts as trying a new recipe.  I had never made shortbread before.  I'm going to have to make it again--I took it to Richard's house for the game last night and there really wasn't any left over.  I think it will be good with tea.

February Photo Challenge: Hands

That's my left manota trying to hold first position.  I just tuned the cello--with the temperature fluctuations the strings pop and creak and wake me up in the middle of the night.  I managed a C scale today--pizzicato only.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

February Photo Challenge: Shoes

These Miz Mooz Shoes came in the mail yesterday. Please pardon my naked toes.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

February Photo Challenge: Breakfast

Strawberry vanilla pancake with butter and powdered sugar.  Today's two attempts at latte art were both failures.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Moulin Rouge Sing Along

So last night I had so much fun--at the Moulin Rouge Sing Along at Alamo Drafthouse Theater.  Just in case you don't know Alamo is a place where you can watch a movie and have dinner and drinks at the same time.  They also have special screenings and when I saw that they were having a Moulin Rouge Sing Along I was totally game.  Unfortunately I bought tickets too late to get seats on the balcony.

We ordered salad, a pizza, and a Guinness shake (which is made from a mix, which disturbs me, but it tastes so good I overlook that tidbit.)  The Grand Master (that's what I'm calling him) came out in a top hat and told us the rules before we started.  We were given props--a glow stick, a flashing diamond ring, and a maraca.  He let us know when we were supposed to use the props and asked us not to use them throughout the movie.  Another rule--sing and quote all you want...just do it along with the movie. I think there was another rule, but I can't remember it.  Then he held a can can contest--3 people competed while wearing can can skirts.  One girl was really into it--doing a running man version of the can can and falling into the splits.  Of course she won.

Eating during a sing along is hard.  I wanted to sing the whole time!  So the Guinness milk shake lasted a lot longer than it normally does. I sang my little heart out. I tried to make a recording of the whole theater singing together, but the audio recording on my camera really sucks.  I hadn't seen the movie in years, so there was a lot I had forgotten.  I actually practiced some of the songs at home this week--I wanted to be prepared.  The audience was generally well behaved.  A couple of girls in our row were pretty loud and rambunctious.  And there was a lady down front who started laughing constantly and inappropriately, which caused a little bit of a stir and she stopped.

Ross and I both had a really good time at this sing along.  I'm looking forward to another special event at Alamo.

February Goals

So February has come fast upon us.  Time for a new set of goals.  But first let's review last month's.

  1. Wearing my retainers.  I did surprisingly well with this one...after the first two weeks I really only wore them at night, and I only missed two or three nights.
  2. Finish my mom's hooded scarf---DONE!
  3. Exercise 3 times a week--bah.  Well, actually I went to yoga 5 times this month.  I didn't really exercise this week, didn't quite complete this one.  I've been using my shoulder pain as an excuse. 
  4. Read a book--yeah, did that!

Three out of four isn't bad, and it's kinda like 3.5 out of 4 because I did exercise 3 times a week most of January.

For February my goals are:

  1. Practice my Cello.
  2. Finish my upholstery projects.  This is a big one.  I have a foot stool that I dragged out of the dumpster back in Maryland that needs to be redone and a chair that came from Ross's mother that needs a new seat.  I have taken everything apart, now I need to get new fabric and put it all back together.
  3. Try a new recipe each week.
  4. Try a new restaurant.
  5. Complete the February photo project.

February Photo Challenge: Blue

Blue glass watering bulb that Ainsmar gave me as a going away present.  Thanks Ainsmar.