Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Quatuor Modigliani

Everyone thinks they're too cool for classical music, but these guys are too cool for you.  Seriously, I'm so glad we investigated these free tickets.  And even though they sat us in the very back row (that's why I was able to be a sneaky sneak and snap this photo), it was so amazing.  I was seriously enchanted by one of their pieces, I sat forward in my chair, and I could have cried.  It was that moving.

If you ever get the chance to see Quatuor Modigliani live, I would highly recommend it.  Even if classical music isn't really "your thing".  They're very young and fresh, this is not like going to see a bunch of old guys with gray hair.

Ear candy and eye candy, right?


Monday, February 25, 2013

Avocado Pasta

I think I saw this first on A Cup of Jo, and I think it's pretty good.  This recipe comes from the Blissful B Blog, and at first, it seems like too much work.  (Really, you want me to blend a bunch of things together? Not going to happen.) As written, I think it would make a really good dish, but the shortcuts we took still made a pretty tasty dinner.  We sauteed some shrimp with pressed garlic to add some protein to the dish.  Instead of blending, just cook the spinach by itself and add it all together with the pasta and shrimp, and toss with mashed up avocado.  Not as green as the original dish, but really good and creamy!


Monday, February 18, 2013

Ground Beef Stuffed Bell Peppers

OK, I was totally drawn in by the pretty colors. And that's how I came to buy a bunch of bell peppers at 99 Ranch even though I had no concrete plans for them.  We made these a la Heat Oven to 350 but subbed ground beef for ground turkey because that was in the freezer.

The best part might have been the generous handful of melted Vermont Cheddar on top, yum!


Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Vite Cowl

My first finished KNIT object!

I've been looking for the perfect knitted scarf pattern, and even though I had to learn like 6(!) new stitches to make this cowl the first time, it comes together so easily and beautifully.  There's enough interesting texture to the pattern without using cables, which I don't have the ability or equipment to do.  This is the Vite Cowl by Kristi Johnson, and I was so enamored with the lovely teal cowl made in the example that I had to make one (or two).

This fuschia one is made out of one skein of Loops & Threads Charisma yarn.  The yarn is wonderfully soft and fluffy for being 100% acrylic.  I didn't bother to block it since I don't have blocking pins and mats and things, and I've been told that acrylic doesn't take to blocking well.  I made it on some huge circular needles so it was very loose which made it actually long and stretchy enough to use just one skein for the cowl.

Can you see the lovely leaf pattern?

I actually also made a second one of these in this beautiful mossy green 50% wool from the Lion Brand Cozy Wool line - I used about 1 and a half skeins.  I made it for my friend for her birthday way back in November (and actually got it to her on time!).  I was tempted to pick out some yellow shade of yarn, her favorite color, for this scarf, but I love a good green with gorgeous strawberry blonde hair.

Funny story, I'm like the world's worst gifter.  I usually promise to make things for some gift-giving occasion but then fail to produce the thing until 3-6 months later.  For this scarf, I was supposed to meet up with my friend for lunch, and I was seaming the ends together and weaving in tails when I was supposed to be leaving!  Of course, this means that I failed to get a single picture of that lovely cowl :(

Friday, February 15, 2013

Mission Trails in January

Don't let the pretty autumn colors fool you, but we hiked the Mission Trails in early January after several days of rain so that we could see if the cacti were blooming.  We just hiked around for 4 hours enjoying the scenery, but not really picking any particular trail.  We ended up way out by the northern perimeter and Shepherd's Pond.

This is a really excellent regional park with great hiking trails of all skill/effort levels.


This is a seasonal crossing, so we actually had to wade through the water a bit to get over to the trails. Normally, it isn't quite so wet here.




"It's like the English countryside, except for the cacti."

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Thrifted Sewing Patterns

By the way, it's Valentine's Day tomorrow, and if you need to make a little gift (that's not chocolate or flowers), check out my Cutie pattern!

It's possible I am as excited about new patterns as I am about the fact that they were 10 cents a piece!  I picked them up at an estate sale just down the street from my parents' house, and for that price, I probably should have picked out a few more.  I'm really excited about that one on the front though.  It's a vintage pattern that I guess you had to mail away for.  I waiting until I feel confident enough in my pattern cutting skills before I tackle that pretty vintage one.  I did sew my first dress lately (it's actually that middle McCall's pattern), but I'm still cringing at how horribly ugly it is.  But I will eventually post photos.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Trying out Brussels Sprouts

Shocker.. but I don't like them too much. They have kind of a weird taste.  The tartness in this Mustard Brussels Sprouts recipe from A Beautiful Mess kind of masks the taste, but I guess that I just don't like Brussels Sprouts all that much. 

We made these as a side dish to a yummy turmeric ground lamb recipe that we found in a one-pot cookbook.  We got them on a whim because we were so enamored when we saw a whole stalk of them at the grocery store.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Speckled Squid

I made another Voodoo Maggie pattern lately (I made the Yeti earlier), and it turned out pretty cute even though I may have cheated the pattern a little bit.  I tried to make this guy out of the small remainder of a weird skein of speckled off-white yarn that I used to make a hippo out of.  Unfortunately, I realized almost at the end of the head that I wasn't going to be able to finish the pattern with the yarn that I had left.  I ended up leaving out the last round of increases and SC across to try and leave at least a little yarn for the longer tentacles.  And I almost made it.  The second tentacle is half speckled-half white.  And since I'm a rebel and didn't do the cap in a contrast color (as the book advises you do), I had to add a little trim of white single crochets in order to tie it together with the little white tentacles.

All right, one for the not-a-total-disaster column!


Whoops! Please ignore the wrinkled fabric I used for my backdrop :) And the graininess - still learning!  I'm trying to figure out good ways to light things while shooting at night, since I can't ever seem to find a time to shoot pictures when the sun is actually out.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Squirtle Squad Graffiti

Normally, I am not a huge fan of graffiti, but sometimes, I have to make an exception for street art.  I snapped this picture with my camera phone (thank goodness for camera phones, right? Even if it is a terrible 2 MP camera)

No secret, I was totally a Pokemon fan.  I watched the animated show for many years, even after I stopped playing the newer games.  This graffiti makes me laugh (I object a little to the "skeet, skeet, skeet") Here's the relevant video if you don't know what this is all about, haha.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Tofu, Chickpea, & Green Pea Curry

Still on the hunt for some good tofu dishes, I came across this one from The Partial Ingredients on Foodgawker.  It was pretty perfect because I had a leftover nub of ginger I didn't know what to do with and a partial bag of frozen peas in the freezer.  I basically omitted most of the spices and just went with some curry powder for the seasoning since it mostly contains all those spices anyways. 

Something new I learned when trying to make this recipe: Chickpeas = Garbanzo beans!  (Anyone besides me reminded of Zoboomafoo from PBS?)

Anyways, another warning about the recipe, make it in a Dutch oven or other similarly large sauce pot.  The first time we made the recipe, we made it in the skillet as called for, but there ended up being so much liquid that it was impossible to stir.

We also nixed the jalapeno because it made the first batch unbelievably spicy.


P.S. I took this picture at work because I have a new miniature rice cooker!  Thanks to my old coworker Tricia, I can now eat fresh rice with my lunches :)