Mel’s Minute-and-a-Half Microwave Cake Mess

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 4-5 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • sweetener of choice (I used the blue packet because it’s what we had…probably would use one or two stevias next time)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • peanut butter

Put 1 tbsp coconut oil in coffee mug and microwave until totally melted.  Add all other ingredients except PB.  Beat furiously (but carefully, lest you powder your counter) until thoroughly mixed.  Put a big dollop of PB on top.  Microwave for about ninety seconds.  EAT UP!!

This is great for when you’re really craving a sweet and don’t have anything in the house. I’ve used wheat flour in place of white flour, almond/soy milk in place of the milk (or even water in a pinch), a myriad of sweeteners, and other nut butters.  This is a highly adaptable recipe that I based from the wealth of “microwave cake” recipes available online.  It’s pretty tasty:)

I would have taken a picture, but both Joey and I inhaled ours too quickly.

It has been a rough day, but nothing bloggable right now.  I’m also missing Puss…she’s been gone for almost 2 1/2 years.  Between that and the day in general, I’m in need of a break from the world.

But at least there was good cake!!  🙂

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

I’m currently in the car riding home from Ohio…Joey’s GPS on his droid says that we’ve got about an hour and forty five minutes to go.  I’m definitely ready to be home; I miss my Shellikins and I am in desperate need of peace and quiet.  I wish I had taken tomorrow off too, because I think it’s going to take me a few days to get over the whirlwind this weekend has been, which is disappointing since last week was so relaxing with two days to hang with my mom and then early Friday to read and knit and relax and watch some long-awaited trash tv (you are NOT the father!!).  I took The Artist’s Way with me intending to be able to do some of the exercises, but I never got enough time alone to really be able to think about any of it.  I also took a brand new, shiny, never-been touched notebook for my morning pages which remained unopened since I didn’t get any time alone to do those either.

I’m looking forward to this twelve weeks to try to rejuvenate my creativity; I had it explained to me recently (by someone in the head-shrinking business) that some of my emotional issues these days come from the fact that I shut out the creative side of myself because that’s also the emotional side of myself and I have spent several years trying to avert any kind of emotional trauma by not feeling much of anything at all.  I’d never had it explained that way…I’ve just been wondering all this time why I can’t write poetry anymore and why I don’t have creative ideas like I used to (and also why I’m so cynical).  So, now that I have the anxiety/depression issues taken care of by some much-needed pharmaceudical help, I’m going back through The Artist’s Way (and I WILL finish this time) to try to reconnect with the part of myself that I’ve lost over these past eight or nine years that I’ve spent in emotional “survival mode” because of some pretty painful life events.

On other, less personally-emotionally-charged-psychobabble notes, there has been car knitting:

 

CABLES!!  I’m knitting cables!!  Funnily, I realized about a hour into the trip that I forgot to pack a cable needle.  I almost decided not to try cables, but I found a stitch holder (read:  giant, honking safety-pin looking thing), and I made do with it.  It’s actually worked pretty well.  I tried cabling without the CN once, but I almost lost a stitch, so we probably won’t be trying that again for a while.

Joey got his photography in:

 

We’ve got something in the works regarding this; I’ll go into more details later:)

And, my absolute FAVORITE blogger, Heather of Heather Eats Almond Butter just announced that she’s expecting!  Congrats, HEAB; if you’ll send me a mailing address, I’d love to send you an original handknit for your Heablet:)

On the food front, it’s been a terrible food weekend; on the way down, I had a Subway ham flatbread with veggies, too much Chex Mix, and lots of coffee.  Breakfast yesterday was at Bob Evans and dinner was at Cracker Barrel (where I actually saw a group of prom kids coming in for our prom dinner.  Ohio truly is a different world, for sure).  Dinner tonight was had at Wendy’s.  I’m over the fast food, and, after just now easing back from the Primal thing, I’m tired of fatty food…just tired of it.  Tomorrow, I’m thinking about doing a green monster for breakfast and a salad for lunch and then going from there.  My stomach is upset with me and I’m feeling fat, to say the least.

I’m not sure if we’ll hit the gym tomorrow; if we don’t, I at least want to do a couple of miles around the neighborhood.  My joints are screaming from sixteen hours in a car over two days.  And all of this driving through the mountains has made me want to go HIKING!! 🙂

“Ta” for now, folks!

FO: Knitted Poop

Pattern:  Sweatshop of Love’s Knitted Happy/Sad Poo Pattern

Yarn:  All kinds; whatever I had around

I made this for my friend James who’s currently serving in Iraq until this summer.  We are kindred spirits in poop humor, so I knew this would be a total hit.  He finally got the box this week, so now I can post pictures of my first (successful) stuffed “animal” (or…excrement).

Fitting It All In…

This has really been an excellent weekend, albeit there’s been a lot on my plate.  I mistakenly scheduled two of my big presentations for classes on the same week, and I had to spend most of the weekend working on the paper that was due Friday and then the presentation for today (and now I’m furiously reading a novel for the other class so that I can do my other roll for the week).

However, I also made sure to take time for myself and for fun; there’s been much knitting!  I finished my mom’s scarf, so I got to give that to her for Valentine’s Day.

I’m working on this pattern for my Olympics project…isn’t it cool??  I’m partway up the first sleeve, so I’m hoping to finish my novel early enough today that I’ll have plenty of knitting time (since I haven’t perfected turning pages with my toes yet;)).  We’re mailing James’s present tomorrow, so I’ll be able to post my most recent knitted project soon!

We got five inches of snow Friday night!!

It was SO beautiful!  The drive home from the in-laws’ house was pretty harrowing Friday night because none of the roads were treated, but it was the perfect kind of snow…soft, powdery, beautiful, and mostly melted by later Saturday afternoon.  The kids got to play and build snowmen, but the roads were totally fine by Sunday morning!  We piled up and stayed in and watched MST3K and the Olympics while I knitted and did school stuff!

Joey and I really aren’t that big on Valentine’s Day…I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with it, but it’s like Christmas with the commercialism.  We’ve done gifts in the past (one year, Joey bought me an organic cotton shirt from the Mutts Comic website with Mooch and Earl on it that said “Saving the world, one kitty at a time”), but usually we just wait until the weekend after V-Day and go to a new restaurant as a special night.  We’ll have to pick someplace this week:).

Last night, we had two of my girlfriends over, Shannon and Katie, and we did an Italian FEAST for them, with salad, buttered whole-grain bread, baked ziti, and tiramisu.  We just hung out and knitted and watched the Olympics; it was great!!

On the dockett for today:  Hobby Lobby for some yarn, grocery shopping, and then reading, reading, reading, and more reading!  Also, I’m looking for a new devotional book…anyone have any suggestions?

Here’s a send-off pic of my little baby Valentine:)

Apologetic Update Stuff

It’s been quite a dramatic week, and I haven’t felt like posting when I get home from work.  I’ve also been putting a lot of thought into what I want to do with my writing this year.  I quit writing for the Examiner website because I really don’t have time to do what they’ve asked for as their new requirements.  I’m making a TINY bit of money from views on my food blog, so I’m just trying to figure out where I want to go from here.

So, in totally random order:

Frugality:  We’ve spent about $25 in takeout already this month.  Poor planning this past week brought on by not being able to go out last weekend contributed greatly to that, as did work stress.  We were at $55 for groceries, because we had to buy coffee, so I anticipate that we’ll be under this week:).

Fitness:  Hit the gym once this week.  I’m a little bummed about that, but again with the stress thing…when we’ve had free time, we’ve wanted to spend it catching up on sleep.  Next week, we intend to hit the gym Monday, Thursday, and Friday at least.

Knitting:  Just finished an AWESOME gift for our friend in Iraq.  I’ll show a picture once he gets it…he reads the blog, so I don’t want to spoil it:).  I ripped the bell-sleeved shrug.  I just didn’t like the way it was turning out.  I have a hat pattern in queue that I’m going to start on next, I think.  And I made great headway on Mom’s skinny scarf this week while our friend Amy was over:).

Grad School:  Had to read two novels this past week (which was a major source of stress).  No novels this week, just some supplementary information that I don’t think will take very long.

Shelli:  adorable, wonderful, fabulous, and perfect in every way, as usual.

Apparently Joey got a hold of the camera while we were sleeping…

Our Taxes are done (hooray!).  I’m getting a Vita-Mix with some of the refund money!!!! Watching MST3K.  Will be knitting soon…

Things I Think I’ve Forgotten to Mention This Week…

Frugality:  Grocery costs totalled $40 this week…ten bucks under budget.  This month’s takeout is a little over….about $65.  I went out with my friend Sarah for Mexican on Tuesday…unplanned, but very worthwhile expense.  I’m all for budgeting, but I don’t want to forsake hanging out with a friend who needs some time out of the house. 

Knitting:  I worked on my mom’s skinny scarf at choir last night.  I need to work on my bell-sleeved shrug, too.  From reading other knitters’ comments about this pattern, it appears that I’m not the only one who noticed that it was waaaaaaaaay too short.  Someone gave the measurements for how long they knitted the sleeves and back, so I’m back in the game.  And, on a slightly unrelated note, I got a solo on a pretty awesome song for our conference in March.  Yay!

Grad School:  Discussion posts done for World Lit.  Will commence discussion posts for Asian-American Lit soon.  Good reading, good movies.  Lots of work.

Eating:  Not great…I weighed myself this morning.  We’ll leave it at that.

Work:  This week, I’ve discovered yet another new way that I’m just like my father (which I definitely don’t mind, fyi).  Meetings are worthless.  Just leave me alone and let me do my job.  I’ll be much happier that way.  So will my clients.

Weather:  Today:  Sunny and 60.  Tomorrow: Cold and Rainy.  Tomorrow night/Saturday am:  1-4 inches of snow.  The grocery stores are packed.  People must have bread and milk.  I swear, in the South, I think that even VEGANS buy milk when they hear that snow is coming.  Perhaps it’s a conspiracy between the grocery industry and the dairy board…hmmm…

Shelli:  We haven’t had a pee incident in a month.  She is now allowed in the bedroom without supervision and we’re not shutting the bathroom door anymore.  The toy of the day has been the mouse on wheels that Gma-Gpa got her for Christmas.  She drug it out of her basket last night.  It rolls really fast if you pull it backward and then push it forward.

TV:  Fell asleep during our taped-watching of NCIS.  The State of the Union Address meant no Criminal Minds.  No McGee and No Dr. Reid….a sad week…

Fitness:  Killer workouts on Monday and today.  Will probably go back tomorrow.  Joey worked out with his friend (and drill-instructor) Wesley.  He keeps crying every time he coughs.

I wish Shelli didn’t always look pissed when I take a pic.  I also don’t get many “in motion” photos in the winter.  The house is on 60*.  She ain’t moving.

So many toys, so little time…

Grad School Miscellany…

So, a post that isn’t entirely centered around food, finally;).  I’m taking Asian American Lit this semester, and I just got done watching a movie called Picture Bride.  I have to be honest, I haven’t had a whole lot of luck with the films I’ve had to watch for my classes thus far (with the exception of Smoke Signals).  Boy, was I in for a pleasant surprise!  This film is a masterpiece…absolutely fantastic…a beautiful love story built around the concept of the “picture brides,” Japanese girls who were sent from Japan to marry laborers in the can fields in Hawai’i.  It was amazing.  If you ever get a chance to watch it, I definitely recommend it.  And if you’re local, I’ll be more than happy to loan it to you!

One of the best things about this one was that not all of it was in subtitles…there was some actual English, so I was able to get another repeat done on my bell-sleeved shrug.  However, I was looking at the pattern and I don’t think that the girl made the length right, so I’ll have to make some adjustments, I think.

On some slightly food-related news, yesterday, Joey bought me this:

Yep, a pastry board!  I have been bummed since we bought the house that I didn’t have a good place to make and knead dough.  I didn’t like to use the counters, and we have a rolling kitchen cart, but it’s got a built-in cutting board, so kneading on it makes a mess.  I’d been using my big plastic cutting board, but that’s not been working well because…well, plastic is sticky!  So, we saw this at the Wally World yesterday and Joey told me to have at it!  I used it last night for the Sweet Potato Gnocchi!

Well, that’s all I’ve got for tonight, folks.  It’s been a good night…good trip to the gym that left me feeling pretty exhausted, good dinner, good movie…I’m ready to go to bed:)

The Haze of Burning Sweet Potatoes

They smell freaking terrible:(.  I decided tonight that the Mexican Pizzas didn’t sound all that good and Joey observed that we were a little low on cheese anyway, so I decided that I just wanted some oven-roasted sweet potato chunks.  Joey agreed to make them while I was finishing up a reading assignment and I told him to roast them on about 475*.  I didn’t realize that he was going to dice them so small, so when I finished my book, I asked him if he thought they were ready, and they were tiny, black, charred nuggets:(.  There were a few salvageable ones, but I put them in the fridge and the narsty burnt-sweet potato smell turned me off on that dinner choice.  So…eh….I sent Joey to Taco Bell for a salad for me (Fiesta salad, no meat, guac added).  It came out to $7.  This brings us to $30 in takeout total in January.  I was disappointed in myself for wanting takeout, but when I looked at the total, we’re really right on schedule!

Monday night’s Corn Chowder was INCREDIBLE!!

Here’s the recipe.  I didn’t adjust too much; I did use cornstarch instead of flour as the thickening agent.  Unless you’re making a roux, I don’t know that just chucking flour into a pot of soup is a good idea, and I didn’t want to use butter and whatnot.  The cornstarch worked just fine!

Tuesday night was spicy baked potatoes (again) which Joey made, and last night, we hit the leftovers.  We also made it to the gym on Monday and Tuesday (we planned to go tonight, but it was monsooning outside and we just decided to stay in).

School is kicking my tail a little.  I read a novel on Tuesday and another one Wednesday.  We also had a half-day of corporate training today, about excellent customer service.  Good info, but a long time away from my desk, which left me in a panic the rest of the day trying to get caught up.

Knitting news:  I’m working on a bell-sleeved shrug.  I haven’t had time to knit on it since last weekend.  I want to be able to knit some more on it soon.  I’d like to be able to wear something that I make.

New Year’s Resolutions: 2009 Update and 2010 List

So, let’s see how I did with my goals for last year:

1. To get close to my goal weight by July/August (which should be attainable)  I didn’t make it to my goal weight and ended up gaining ten pounds.
2. To run a 5K in April/May (which I’ve already started training for)  I realized that I hate running.
3. To buy only thrift-store clothing this year (which I’ve been doing since April of last year!!)  I was almost totally successful here.  I bought maybe three articles of clothing and they were on clearance from Kohls!
4. To finish knitting my sweater by March  *sigh*.  Nope.  I did get the front and back knitted up.  Just need to seam the neck and do the sleeves.
5. To learn to knit cables (I’ve already got the pattern and recipient in mind!!)  I did learn to knit cables!  But I didn’t do much with it.
6. To give 100% homemade Christmas gifts this year (and not buy anything, even the packaging!).  I was almost 100% successful on this, and the two gifts that I didn’t do homemade were donations to charities in memory of someone special, so I didn’t feel that it was a failure.
7. To sell a craft this year, whether it be on Etsy, or at a local craft festival, or whatever…  No dice.  School took up most of my knitting time this year.
8. To shop at a farmer’s market this year (local produce, here I come!!)  I did this a few times, and I want to make it a regular habit in the new year!
9. To keep the house more organized and get rid of things when we don’t need them anymore (Started this one on New Year’s day!!)  Big no here.  The house still looks like a totally awful wreck.
10. To go camping!  Twice!  Once in a tent in sleet!

 #1 was my most disappointing failure this year…since I tend to focus too much on the negative, it’s hard for me to look at the list and be pleased that I managed to do most of the things on there.  But, you know, I think it’s the first year that I did get so many things accomplished, so I’m trying to give myself a little slack.  There’s a whole new year to accomplish everything that I can!

So, without further adieu, here’s my 2010 list; the topics are in keeping with my major blog topics:

1.   Food/Fitness:  This year, I want to examine my dysfunctional relationship with food and heal it.  I want to get a better idea of the things that work best for me, not food blog “fads” or plans from magazines…I want to figure out what foods are bad for me personally and what ones make me feel best and focus on coming up with a way of eating that highlights the latter while minimizing the former.  I also want to become one of those people I envy when it comes to exercise; I want to become someone who likes exercise and who looks for ways to fit it into everyday life and makes it a priority.  I want to love it.

2.  Frugality:  We definitely need to renew our focus on frugality this year.  I think that, partway through last year, we became a little ambivalent toward being the people who forego things to save money and we slacked off.  This year, I want to have a renewed focus on saving money, on cutting out takeout food and making more things from home and on looking for ways to cut expenses and make a little more dough here and there.  I also want to grow some of our own produce this year, whether it’s just a few things in pots or something larger-scale.

3.  Knitting:  This year, I want to learn to do colorwork and incorporate it into my projects this year.  I also want to incorporate cables into my work this year.  I really enjoyed the handmade Christmas project, so I want to do that again this year, but have individual gifts for everyone in my family and to incorporate color in those.  I also want to finish this freaking sweater this year:).  All I need to do is seam the top together for the neck and pick up stitches and knit down the sleeves.  I should be able to finish that by the end of January.  I want to start my Christmas knitting earlier so I’m not scrambling too badly in December.

4.  Simple Living:  I want to move toward a much more minimalist lifestyle.  I know that I’ll never be one of those “100 possessions” kind of people, but I also know that there’s a lot in this house that isn’t necessary and that we can remove.  I want to get rid of stuff, examine what stuff really matters, and not feel so obligated to keep so much stuff for sentimental reasons.  I’ve been so happy since I quit the band in August, so I’m not going to take on any new responsibilities right now since Joey and I have so much going on.  I want to refocus on making things from scratch…I find that, when I try, making things from scratch really isn’t that much harder than getting the “convenient” version.

Those are my big things for the year…with #1 being my greatest focus.  I can’t afford to let that one go anymore.  I don’t feel healthy and I don’t like it.

Here’s to 2010, and I hope that it brings all the best!

Major, Major Knitting Content (Finally!!)

I figured it was time to put up some more substantial knitting content than just a pile of yarn with about an inch of completed knitting;).  Now, I can finally show off my Christmas knits!

Here’s a listing of what you see above:

  • 4 winter hats in two different verigated camouflage yarns.
  • two cowls, one in a very basic lace pattern and the other in simple 2×2 ribbing
  • two coffee clutches, knit in 2×2 ribbing
  • three bags of homemade cinnamon raisin scones with handknit Christmas Wreaths on the bags.

Here are some closer views:

The hats would probably be a little better with larger needles and made for an adult, because the decreases kind of stick out, but I like the way they turned out.  I used Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Yarn brand, and it striped up nicely and was a very soft knit.  My little cousin, JT, loved his…he wouldn’t take it off!

The lace cowl was pretty tough at first; it was my first try at lacework, and once I got three or four inches into it and I could see the way it looked, I really liked it.  The ribbed one was really easy, of course.  I didn’t want to make the exact same thing for both grandmas, though, so I decided to switch it up!

The clutches were sooo simple…I just made up my own pattern; they are done in 2×2 ribbing with size 8 dpns.  I just cast on 24 and worked until I thought they were wide enough.  My mom has already vouched that they work well, so I feel like they were pretty successful, even though they weren’t as pretty as I thought my parents deserved.

The scones were fabulous…I made a teeeeny tiny one along with the full two dozen, just to make sure that the flavor/consistency were okay and they were really good.   I hope my family likes them.  The wreaths?  Just 5 stitch I-cord, knit until it would make the size of wreath that I wanted and then sewn together.  I decided to use the red yarn to make holly berries and to do the ribbon.  They were really easy and turned out super-cute (if I do say so myself:)).

My knitting goal for this year, for sure, is to learn how to do colorwork.  I’m so tired of either having to make everything one color ro rely on verigated yarn to stripe into something cool.  I do love the self-striping stuff, but I want to learn how to do fair isle stuff…the incredible patterns.  So, we’ll see how quickly I get that one, but my goal is definitely to make sure that the items that I gift next Christmas have colorwork in them!

Shelli is piled up next to the fire…

She’s so incredibly spoiled:).