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Jan. 6th, 2015

Too early for this annoyance

You know what bugs me? When food related websites put out an article detailing a 'secret spice' and it turns out, all it is, is a blend commonly known as Ras el Hanout. Nothing secret about that, it's been around for generations and is a staple in much of Middle Eastern cooking. The higher quality blends include over 100 different herbs and spices. You can now find a McCormick blend at the grocery store and have for well over a year now, for crying out loud. Pretty sure every Middle Eastern grocery store has a blend as well.

Calling it a 'secret spice' implies you somehow discovered this new spice that no one anywhere knew about. Not to mention, you can't simply walk into a local grocery store and find things like Sumac or [food grade] rose petals- which they also failed to mention that you can't just use any old rose petals you find. It's misleading, disingenuous and makes me not want to read your weekly newsletters because of that sort of tripe now. Ugh.


In other news, reworked my Checkerboard Scarf listing to include color swatches for all available colors. Photos of the three versions I've made so far have been added to the listing. All three have been sold already, but they give an idea of what the scarves look like in both 4 colors and 2 colors. After I finish the dice bag shells(see below), I'll be working up a black to white version that will be for sale.

Also running a 25% off sale on all Kumihimo cuffs and bracelets through next Monday.

In the mean time, I'm spending the rest of the month working on dice bag shells- weaving them, then hoping to actually sew at least 2 bags a week for the rest of the year, or until I run out of shells. I have nearly 50 right now, so that'll last me a few months before I need to make more. In between I'll be working on some more lightweight wraps and scarves, maybe trying out my idea for an extra wide one that if it works, will allow me to create throw blankets. Also need to make a tension peg for my Inkle loom, then I can get to work learning that.}:) (That's easy, I need a screw and a washer as I already have a dowel to use. Heh.)

So. Back to work I go.


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Jul. 7th, 2014

Hmm, I think I got in a groove...

So today I took a break from weaving, sewing, beading, whathaveyou, and spent the day in the kitchen instead.

This weekend had been spent doing yard stuff, and a little more was done this morning, in the form of moving 2 dozen rocks from the back to the front and arranging them around the new bird bath. Then I watered. Then the humidity kicked in and I was done with the outside for awhile.

Instead I did dishes from yesterday, prepped the homegrown tomatoes from the garden and turned them into 6-8 cups of fresh, homemade pasta sauce. Then I made a blueberry crostata for Mark to take to work tomorrow. Next was turning leftover fried chicken into chicken salad for lunches. And finally I prepped the ground beef with seasonings for grilling out hamburgers for dinner.


I would have made a blueberry clafouti, but we have no unsalted butter.}:/ So that'll happen later this week. And I need to figure out how to make blueberry cinnamon rolls, maybe with a brown sugar blueberry filling and a lemon glaze... mmm, now I'm hungry.



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Jun. 26th, 2014

Up before the dawn breaks...

I got up at 5am this morning. Dawn hadn't even started yet.



We left the house just after the sun started coming up, so it was a lovely ride to our first destination- meeting up with a friend and carpooling to the primary location. Why were we up and on the road so early?

For this-





Lovely Virginia grown blueberries at 3 Birds Berry Farm.



An hour later, we had 2 gallons of blueberries. Yes, 2 gallons. Mine's on the right. Heh. I pick faster than Mark.}:P

Can't wait until mid July when the blackberries and raspberries will be ripe!



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Apr. 27th, 2014

Daring Bakers Challenge- Easter Breads

The April Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den . She challenged us to Spring into our kitchens and make Easter breads reflecting cultures around the world.

Yes, that would be me. Fun, eh? }:P

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On to the Challenge! )

Feb. 17th, 2014

[Semi] Daily Photo

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Homemade pasta sauce in the works. What I'm working on today between beading things.



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Dec. 30th, 2013

Random from the last week.

Tuesday of last week (Christmas Eve) we headed up to New Jersey. Had chinese for dinner that night. Very good food at the Fortune Cookie in Medford Lakes.

Spent a nice Christmas with Mark's family, his uncle and aunt from California cooked a great dinner for us, Mark's parents and his Grandpop. We ate too much, as per usual.

Thursday, trekked over to Cherry Hill to visit a Wegman's grocery store (well, Marketplace they call it) for the first time ever. Discovered two things- we don't like Cherry Hill people- rude, snobby types, and we don't care for Wegman's either. We liked the deli side where the cafe and seafood was, but the rest we don't care for. Also went by Woolbearer's in Mt Holly, to see about a tabletop loom. They didn't have what I wanted on hand and I wasn't comfortable leaving my credit card number and not knowing the exact cost (they couldn't/wouldn't tell me shipping), so we left empty handed- I don't need more yarn after all. I know, it shocked Mark too.) and came home, whereupon, after a snack of meats and cheeses with the Parents In Law, I found one on sale online and ordered it, for cheaper than it would have been through Woolbearer's- even with shipping, it was still less than full price. Yeah. It should be here this Friday and I'll get to spend the weekend cursing it as I try to learn to set it up.}:P

Friday, Mark and I went to Philly and visited the Italian Market (again), where we went to DiBruno Bros (again), got cheeses - Mark got a wedge of Gorgonzola Piccante- all his, I hate blue cheese, I got a wedge of Capricho Cabra Plain- sooo good, and we'll share the half log of Homemade Sweet Soppressata. I also got a slab of Italian Noughet. We also went to the Spice Corner (again), and picked up at least half dozen more herbs and spice mixes. Then we found the Fante's store, where Mark got a 1lb of coffee (that I promptly forgot to put in the cooler yesterday morning and that his sister will be bringing back for us, along with my bookmark, since I finished my book and it fell to the floor when I got up to put my book in my bag. Yeah.) and I got a manual ravioli mold for overstuffed 2" ravioli. On the way back, we stopped in one of the butcher's there and picked up a whole rabbit, which I had quartered and Wednesday, I'll braise half of it for dinner. Wandered South Street for a little bit after that.

Friday night, the SiL, BiL, and niece arrived with their dog, Ashe. That night the FiL grilled out some very tasty ribs. Caena and Ashe could not get enough of playing and chasing each other in the backyard.

Saturday, we had Grandpop's 100th birthday party. Yes, 100th. The man is an android. He'll likely outlive us all. Heh. Crown Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill- so posh and elegant. I have photos, I just need to upload them. 100+ people at this party, almost all related to each other in some way. We knew maybe 15. Yeah. Mark got to catch up with a couple cousins he hasn't seen since they were all teenagers and grew up together- roughly 30 years. They moved out to California and lost touch. It was nice putting faces to the names, finally. All in all, it was a very nice birthday party. Lots of awards and letters from various officials and organizations for Grandpop.

Sunday, we came home. In the pouring rain. Yup. Apparently, Aries decided to go on a semi- hunger strike and didn't want to eat for Alex while we were gone. He did eat though, as he hasn't lost weight and has no mouth issues. It appears, he did not approve of the dry food we left for them, in addition to the raw. So we got a bag of the regular dry food and he chowed it right down. He was also typical very clingy kitty last night. Morrigan was Morrigan. She hacked up a hairball on my desk while we were gone in retaliation for leaving them. Yup. Typical Morrigan.

Ok, that's the good stuff.

Tuesday, we got news straight from Mark's parents that his mom has been diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's. They've known for a few months but wanted to tell us all in person. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest, for severity, she's currently a 2. They have her on meds to hopefully slow it down some. But they realize, there is NO cure. There is NO miracle drug that can stop this. It will, eventually, kill her. Hopefully, it's in another 20 years or so.

Called my mom last night tolet her know we made it home safely and found out my dad had another A-Fib episode yesterday. He is currently in the hospital for observation, as they could not find a cause yesterday and wanted to run more tests, as well as check out his defibrillator for malfunctions. Mom will be calling later this evening, hopefully with updates.


And that was my week. How was yours?



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Nov. 19th, 2013

Remembering Lis, Queen of The Daring Kitchen

I found out last night, that Lis, a co-founder of The Daring Kitchen, the home of the Daring Bakers and Daring Cooks, passed away on Nov 12th.

Reading Lis' blog, La Mia Cucina, as well as Ivonne's Creampuffs in Venice blog, was the whole reason I joined the Daring Bakers, then the Daring Cooks. The sheer fun that came through the posts about the Challenges enthralled me. And so I joined.

Daring Bakers- Dobos Torte


A fellow Daring Kitchen member set up an event on Facebook, to celebrate the awesomeness that was Lis. It was suggested that we find a Challenge that we remember best, that gave us nightmares, that really Challenged us.

Honestly, there are quite a few, but the Dobos Torte Challenge was the one where, for the first time ever, buttercream actually worked for me. It was only my 5th Daring Bakers Challenge but I knew, after that, I could do any of them with a modicum of success and even if I failed, the group at the Daring Kitchen wouldn't care.

I've remade numerous Challenges since then, both Daring Bakers and Daring Cooks. Several are on permanent rotation, such as the Stacked Green Chile Enchiladas. In fact, last night, I made Cannelloni for the umpteenth time. And it was just as delicious as the first time.

Every single Challenge announcement was preceded by a humor filled paragraph or two, written by Lis. Every one of them showed her unique spirit and passion for this group of people who came together thanks to her and Ivonne.

Several months ago, Lis emailed me asking if I'd host a Daring Bakers Challenge in 2014 and gave me my choice of months when I said yes. I still have those emails. They are the epitome of her humor and warmth.

"Okay you are down for April. :D Just one thing.. NO CAKE. Hahahaha! I just realized we are doing 4 different types of cakes in 2014.. all of them very different, but still.. cake 4 times. ;)

We’ve got another Dutch pastry and bread – but not so much a special type of bread, but bread shapes so to speak.. it’s an awesome challenge. And then at the end of the year we’re doing a Spanish style King Cake – so that’s kinda bready and cakey, yes? We’ve got a big pie challenge still coming in 2013.. as well as a French pastry, another cake, verrines, flan and a savory pie challenge coming up in 2013. Not much savory in 2014 if that flips your switch. If it doesn’t that’s absolutely fine too.

Hope that helps in your choices? :)

Good luck!
Lis
xoxoxoxo"


Thanks, Lis, for the Daring Kitchen, for sharing your humor and passion for food with us all. We will endeavor to carry the Daring Kitchen onward in the spirit you would love and want. Come April 2014, I hope I do you proud.

And I'll try not to do cake.}:P

#tributetolis #daringbakers


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