Monday, January 18, 2010

A Day for Staying In

The rain is alternating between pattering and sheeting down my window. I'm declaring it a "hunkering down" sort of day, filled with warm and soft things, like knitting, and rice porridge with apple bits and dried cranberries.

I have to admit, I'm not a fan of winter. At all. So I constantly have to remind myself the things I actually enjoy about this dreary season. Like Satsuma mandarin oranges. Lots of soup. Having the spouse home for weeks while he's on winter break from the colleges. Knitting:

Winter dishcloths

My first attempt at making dishcloths with cotton yarn. The pattern is from Kris Knits, which has a wide selection of lovely themed patterns. These are from the "Winter Wonder" Set. The little one on the right is supposed to be a snow flake. It was made on size 3 needles, and I have to say, my fingers were killing me after I was done. So, I made the next one on size 8 (which were the only ones I had with me at the time), and it came out a little too loose. It's hard to see the Capitol Building with the star on top (or "winter hat," as the pattern calls it). I'm making another dishcloth from a different pattern, and using size 7. I think that may be the ticket for me.

Another thing I like about winter: cooking and baking cheesy, stick-to-your-ribs dishes with impunity, like this Cauliflower and Carrot Gratin:

Cauliflower and Carrot Gratin

I've been experimenting more in the kitchen, partially due to my new, more relaxed schedule...which means a smaller budget to work with as well as more time. It's also due in part to the new "Grub Box" I've signed up for through The People's Grocery, who delivers a box of fresh, local produce to my office building twice a week. The veggies in this grautin came straight from the box, and I have to say, tasty as it was, it was almost a shame to cover the delicious veggies with sauce. Next time I may just steam 'em. But that's what experimenting is about, no?

Today, amidst my crafting and cooking, I will also take a few minutes to remember why today is special. Happy Birthday, Dr. King. Your dream helped tranform America, and has inspired generations to continue your work towards a more just and peaceful world for all.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Today's Top Story: Cookies

Happy 2010! I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe holiday season.

I just returned from a nice, long trip down to Southern California, to visit family and friends. It was definitely an eventful trip, with the "Holiday Goblin" -- that little bastard that ensures maximum holiday chaos -- working overtime. Despite his best efforts, though, the husband and I managed to have a lovely time, with much good company, gaming of all sorts, and oodles of tasty treats.

Speaking of...

In 2008, I participated in a holiday cookie swap on Craftser. Like many other swappers, I made my package, I send it off, posted pictures on Flickr, and moved on to the next swap. Imagine my surprise, then, when a year later I have an editor from CNN asking me to share my photo -- and the story behind it -- on their new social networking site, iReport. Shortly after, I'm contacted for an interview, and now...

My holiday swap cookies are part of a bona-fide CNN report.

Not a bad way to end 2009! Definitely better than how I ended 2008, and I'm optimistic things will keep getting better from here.