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This weekend started out with a bang!  I found out that I was accepted into the business groups program at WashingtonCASH.  I’m so thrilled to have gotten into this program.  It kinda lit a fire under my bum.  I was able to get into the studio on Saturday and I got a lot printed up.  I was able to get all the ties printed and I even got 2 new tea towel designs burned to screens and printed.   Here’s the first new design (the pink color is not that bright).

And here’s the close up with the quote from Julia Child

And here’s one for the bacon lovers

And the close up:

And today I decided that I would cook.  I haven’t really spent time to cook a whole lot recently.  I am currently using the slow cooker to make some easy peasy italian turkey sausage chili.  I also made 2 different types of pesto – a cilantro pesto and an italian parsley pesto.  I froze the one and I used the cilantro on some chicken and pasta.  And I’m currently snacking on some fresh baked kales chips that I also made today.

And with that, I’m off to take a nice relaxing bath 🙂


Last night it snowed.  This statement might not seem like a big deal but around here, it is.  It rarely snows.  Rain, yes.  Snow, not really.  Snow shuts the city down for a couple of reasons.  The big reason is that we are second only to San Francisco as one of the hilly-est cities in the US.  If you’ve ever driven in SF when it sunny and dry out.  Now try and picture driving there when it’s rainy, freezing and snowing.  It’s not pretty.  When it snows it’s like we all get a snow day.  Unfortunately for those of us who were hoping for that, we found out that Seattle was prepared for the snow and the commute to work was easy going.  I was hoping to be able to make more cavatelli.  And speaking of cavatelli, I took some photos of Sunday’s cavatelli making.

First, here’s my cavatelli maker, set up and ready to go:

And here’s a quick shot of a dough before becoming cavatelli

This time I made semolina pasta dough.  I think I may try the ricotta dough and see if it goes thru the cavatelli maker or if it will stick.

And here’s the trays of finished cavatelli. They kinda look a little like worms…ewwwww.  Fortunately, they don’t taste like worms.  I ended up with about 2 pounds of cavatelli after all was said and done.

And since I’m talking about food at the moment here’s a shot of the Bella Donna olive mix I got at Big John’s PFI.  They’re amazing good.

And one more food shot and amazing tasting food.  Here’s the chicken shawarma sandwich and greek fries from Mawadda Cafe.

OK, that’s enough food talk.  Today when I got home there was a package for me from my “have a cuppa swap” partner.  This swap was all about yarn and coffee/tea/hot chocolate.  And my swap partner did not disappoint!

It was a great way to come home and unwind!

She sent me some coffee from a local coffee shop and a coffee cup that I have been lusting after for some time now.  The front of the cup says, “You must allow me to tell you,” and the back says…

It’s from Brookish and it’s Mr. Darcy’s botched proposal to Elizabeth Bennet!  I am so excited that she got it for me!  And to add to my excitement, there was candy, and lots of it!  There were 2 packages of licorice (my favorite) and some local artisan chocolates from Chocolate Madness.  I’ll admit that I broke into the chocolates well before I remembered to take a picture of everything.  It was worth it. The creme brulee was inspiring!

And finally, the yarn.  It’s bugga sock yarn by The Sanquine Gryphon.  It’s almost like a washed demin color.  I can’t wait to make some socks of out it!

And now that all that is taken care of, I’m off to do some knitting, drink some coffee and eat some candy!

For years and years (actually ever since I can remember) one of my favorite things in the whole wide world, was pizza from a small little bakery in Schenectady.  And eventually I moved out west and the small little bakery closed up shop.  But someone got the recipe before they closed!  I’ve had this recipe for years and today I thought, it was time.  Let’s make some pizza!  Grandma used to make pizza similar to this pizza.  Here’s the thing, I say pizza, but it’s not what most people think of when they think of pizza.  It looks a bit more like focaccia bread.  But to me it’s pizza.

The basics are:  You grease a 9×12 pan and spread the pizza dough out on it.  That’s a lot easier said than done.  It was a workout and a half.  Once I wrangled that dough into place I put the top secret special tomato sauce on it in a nice thin layer.  Then sprinkle a little grated romano cheese on it.

Here’s the before picture:

I’d show you the after photo, but it’s still in the oven and I’m pretty sure it won’t last long enough to take a picture of it.

I also spent a bit of Sunday at the Washington CASH orientation meeting.  It was really great.  I felt more motivated after the orientation meeting than I have in a long long time.  Not that I’m not motivated, but this just added fuel to the fire.  I’m hoping that I passed the interview and can get into the class asap!  If I don’t get in this time around, I’m gonna keep trying!

I’m trying to keep my excitement down, because this Saturday is the Yarn Train!  I’ve made my list of yarns that i want to buy and projects that I want do this year.  It’s been real hard, because I’m not real sure what it is that I really want to knit.  There’s one or two sweaters that I want to make for me.  And now it’s down to deciding which one I want to make.  The last sweater that i made for myself was a bust.  I didn’t like the way it fit on me and the pockets ended up being right under my armpits.  Not a real convenient place for them.  I’ll be sure to take lots of photos of the trip and many more pictures of the yarn 🙂

Last night was a rough night.  I got very little sleep.  It was the first night without the white noise of the tv.  I heard any and all animals moving outside.  Not to mention any tree branches and leaves that fell.  At the very least I got to finish the 6th book in the series of books that I’ve been reading.  They’re knitting related mystery books by Maggie Sefton.  I think there are two more left for me to read and I’m caught up… until a new book comes out.   They’re a quick read and I seem to read them in a couple of days.  I may get the last two for my plane ride back east.

It’s been hard to break myself of the habit of turning the tv on the moment I walk in the door.  I started listening to audiobooks while I’m working around the house.  next on the list of things to listen to is The Blackstone Key.  A book referred to me by my librarian hero Nancy Pearl.  So far, it’s pretty darn good.  Nancy Pearl is good… real good.  I suppose that’s why Archie McPhee’s made an action figure of her.

I’m about to start reading Put Your Life on a Diet: Lessons Learned from Living in 140 Square Feet by Gregory Johnson.  Again, the obsession with the tiny houses continues…

I’ve also been trying to do a lot of pre-planning of meals in the hopes that it will help me from spending extra money on not so healthy fast and easy meals.  I picked up Clean Eating Magazine on Friday because a few of the recipes really sounded amazing.  And when I got the magazine home and really looked thru all the recipes, they all sounded great.  The best part is that most of the recipes are high in fiber and protein.  Two of the things that I don’t get enough of in my diet. So far, all the recipes I’ve made have been great tasting and super filling.

Tonight I made poblano stuffed peppers and whole wheat elbow pasta with sauteed chicken breast, zucchini, onion and garlic with shredded fresh basil and parmesan cheese.  Side note, when cleaning out the insides of the peppers to stuff, I would suggest wearing gloves and not touching your nose or your eyes after.  Dear God!  I think I’ve cleaned out my sinuses as well as my tear ducts from all the “crying” I did.  Life lesson learned, thank you very much.  Aside from the 3rd degree burns to my sinus cavities, the stuffed peppers look great.  And 1 large stuffed pepper is one serving.  I gotta be honest, just looking at a half a stuffed pepper, I already feel full.

I had big plans for this weekend and some how this weekend got away from me.  I spent a fair amount of time winding yarn. All in all the one sweater got me roughly 1500 yards!  I’m not quite sure how I’m going to use it yet.  I don’t think a white sweater is really my thing, so I may end up dying the yarn.  But I don’t have to decide that tonight, so we’ll hold off on any decisions.

I also grabbed another sweater down at Goodwill for $5!  This time it had some color to it.  I put the sweater down to take a picture of it, turned around to grab the camera and this is what I saw:

and then this

followed by her America’s Next Top Kitty Model pose

It was as if the sweater was made with cat nip.  After saving the sweater from something unnatural and illegal happening to it, I was able to grab one picture without Kink in it

Hopefully it will be a good find as far as recycling yarn.

Not to be outdone by Kink’s impromptu photoshoot, Jimbo, the recluse, allowed himself to be photographed in a moment of deep contemplation.

I think he thought he was posing for Annie Leibovitz.

I also tried to plan out what it was that I wanted to get while in Portland for the Yarn train.  There’s a few yarn brands that I wanted but i just haven’t splurged or ordered.  And there are a few patterns that I’d like to pick up.  So I’ve got my list and I’m ready to go.  The wild card is gonna be Powell’s books.  That’s really what I should be planning for.  I’ll probably do that this week.

And tonight for dinner, I had this wild craving.  My dad used to poach eggs in tomato soup every once in awhile.  Something we used to call eggs in purgatory.  Apparently this was something that my grandma used to make but instead of tomato soup, you poached the eggs in tomato sauce.  And everyone I tell this to, does that, “That’s so gross” face.  What do they know?

So after a few clicks of the mouse and a quick look at the Smitten Kitchen website, I found a recipe.  I changed it a bit, but all in all it was tasty.  And a relatively low weight watchers points meal.

So dad, this next picture is for you.  It looks like the dish is smiling at you.

Aside from finding a free app for my droid that will let me post to my blog and seeing Sherlock Holmes, this weekend was a busy.

Before I left for Christmas I stopped by Goodwill to see if I could find a cheap book to read on the flight back east.  I always do a sweep thru the sweaters in case there’s something I can’t live without or sweater that I can rip apart and reuse the yarn.  Well I found several sweaters.  So this weekend I decided to try my hand at recycling yarn.

The first sweater was the test piece.  I realized as I was ripping out the sweater that whoever had knit it, kept knotting the yarn when it either broke or they came to a new skein.  I don’t think it occurred to them to felt the ends together instead of knotting them.  But I got it all wound into long loops and tied up.  Then I washed the yarn in a wool soak.

It looked a lot like ramen noodles.  After an hour or so, I rinsed the yarn and then hung it up to dry.

You can probably tell the 2 smaller skeins were my first couple of tries at winding the yarn.  By the last one, I had figured out what I needed to do.  I took out my yarn swift that my Dad made for me (thanks to the instructions on Instructables) and started to wind the yarn on there.  The other thing I learned is to make sure you wind the skeins tightly, otherwise, you’ll have a hard time getting rid of that ramen noodle look.  And those crazy little udder looking things at the bottom of the skeins – those are weights, fishing weights to be exact.

I bought a couple of packs of fishing weights (sinkers?  I think that’s what they are called – is that right,Dad?) and I had some thick brass wire that I just used to weigh down the yarn to hopefully pull out some of the kinks in the yarn.

I tried another sweater the next day.

Here’s a couple pictures of what the sweater looked like before I recycled it.  It was a great looking sweater but just way too big for me.  I’m assuming that it was a men’s size small because it was pretty large.


And here’s a couple of close ups

And here’s a close up of the sleeve:

(that’s Kink’s paw taking a swipe at the sweater.  She apparently felt left out of the photo shoot)

And here’s what the tag said:

That’s says 100% Kilcarra Yarn.  Score!  (a quick search found Kilcarra yarn being sold for around $9/10 for 90 yards)

One thing that kinda bugged me about this whole process was, that i didn’t really know how much yarn I actually had.  I did a little research and thanks to The AntiCraft website, I headed over to Lowes and with $3 I made myself a Niddy Noddy.  Now I was able to get a a rough idea as to how much yardage I would end up with.

(those are Bob the Christmas Trees needles. He went to Christmas tree heaven this weekend – aka they mulched him).  You should have seen the guys at Lowes when I tried to explain what it was that I was making and what it was going to be used for.  Apparently they had a couple of college guys come in and ask for help with making a beer bong.  From what the Lowes guys told me, it sounded like the college guys used what I can only imagine was duct work for their beer bong.  I would assume at that point it’s more of a keg bong.  Anyway, when I finally showed them what I needed done, they were happy to cut the pipe for me.  Note to self – next time have them cut a length of pipe for a 2 yard measurement as well as 1 yard measurement.  I ended up having to wind the yarn twice.  Once to count the yardage and once to make sure the hank was long enough.

Here’s the second sweater hanging up to dry:

I figured out that i got roughly 1400 yards of yarn out of this sweater.  So here’s the breakdown of cost for everything

Sweater – $6 each – seriously… I love Goodwill

weights – $9

Niddy Noddy – $3

I did also buy tension shower curtain rod to hang in the shower to dry the skeins – a budget busting – $10

So the total for 2 sweaters worth of yarn -$34

I couple of costs that i didn’t really factor in here was the brass wire and the wool wash as I already had them.  Going forward, I may have to invest in a bigger bottle of wool wash.

Next time the only cost to me will be the cost of the sweater and of course the time it takes to unravel, wash and dry the yarn.  If I find a cotton sweater in good condition I may try it try recycling cotton as well.

The other thing I did this weekend was make a Clementine cake and the Zuni Cafe roast chicken recipe from the Smitten Kitchen website.  This website has become my new favorite website.  Everything I have attempted to make from this site has been fabulous.  The clementine cake was a big hit.  I was rather easy and it made the whole house smell soooooo good.

The Zuni Cafe chicken was also good. The only problem was that my  smoke detectors are so touchy that they go off at the drop of a hat.  So everytime the chicken would spit or pop, it would hit the heating coils in the oven and smoke.  So I ended up taking all the batteries out of all the smoke detectors in the house and opening the door and a window.  So needless to say, it was a bit chilly in the house for a bit and I probably should have cooked the chicken a bit longer, but I thought the threat of losing the tips of my toes and fingers to frostbite far outweighed a tasty chicken.

Oh and John, here’s the run down of Sherlock Holmes actors who have been in some form of a Masterpiece Theater Classics (or a Jane Austen movie).

Mark Strong who played Lord Blackwood – played Mr. Knightly in the 1996 Masterpiece Theater version of Emma (among several other PBS/BBC productions of classic literature) with a bad hairpiece.

Eddie Marsan – Inspector Lestrade – was Pancks in Little Dorritt – He was also in Happy Go Lucky with Sally Hawkins (who was Anne Elliot in the recent PBS version of Jane Austen’s Persuasion) and Elliot Cowan, who played Mr Darcy in Lost in Austen (also sporting a really bad hair piece).  On a side note, I’m pretty sure this image is why your friend watches Lost in Austen so much.  I thank God everyday for tivo because of this image.  Really, a body like that should only be brought out on certain occasions.  You can’t just parade that around whenever you want.  You could start riots with that body.  Right John?  I mean you and Elliot have a very similar build.

Kelly Reilly – Mary Morstan – She played Caroline Bingley in the Keira Knightly version of Pride and Prejudice.

William Houston – Constable Clark – played John Boucher in North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell- and not the Patrick Swayze US version (RIP Patrick Swayze).

Hans Matheson – Lord Coward – was Alec D’Urberville in Tess of the D’Urbervilles

And finally the big dude – who was also 300 – Robert Maillet, was in fact a WWF/E (whatever the heck they go by these days) wrestler by the name of Kurrgan.

And I didn’t even talk about who appeared on Mystery or Poirot or any Agatha Christie shows.

And just one last thing, Rachel McAdams, if you’re reading this, could you lay off things like the Notebook and the Time Traveler’s Wife?  Dear God, what piles those movies were. Talk about overly romantic and sappy.  And that’s coming from someone who loves Jane Austen.

It’s been hot here.  That humid, please let it rain so I can feel like I’m cooling off, kind of hot.  It’s made work tough.  It’s hard to keep lifting and hauling and doing what we do in a warehouse when the heat is sucking all of your energy.  Oddly, I’m sure it’s much hotter and more humid back east, but since I haven’t really experienced summer in upstate NY in a long time, I’m not used to it.

On the plus side, I have lost a total of 7.4 pounds!  I started at a whopping 150 lbs.  I was, um… plump.  Now I’m down to 142.5!  And I’m doing my best to make good food choices.  Every morning I have a bowl of mini frosted shredded wheat (which has been a life saver.  I also have it for a snack without milk.) and a cup of coffee.  After that I try to bring my lunch.  If I can’t then I’ll go to Subway and get a 6 inch turkey breast sub with all the veggies, and a little bit of oil and vinegar – No mayo and no mustard.  And honestly I don’t really miss it.  Then when I come home it’s something real simple.

Today after our weight watchers meeting, where they were talking about making kale chips (yeah I know it sounds gross, but they are darn tasty), I headed immediately over to the farmers market and got a couple of bundles of kale, paneer cheese, and some zucchini.  All for $10.  After that I came up with an idea.  Every week, I’ll hit the U-district Farmers Market every other week, with $40.  $20 to spend on veggies, $20 to spend on cheese, bread and/or meat – if it’s needed or looks good. Then if I need veggies, during the week, I can go to the other farmers markets during the week and spend no more than $10.

When I got home, I made 2 small bags of kale chips – one seasoned with sea salt, the other with, what else, bacon salt.  Very very tasty.  I also made a quick veggie dinner – italian style stewed tomatoes, paneer cheese, zucchini, and kale.  And then while the was on the stove, I did a dry rub of garam masala, curry powder and a little chili powder on some chicken breasts so that I can have them for lunch and possibly dinner tomorrow night.   And because there was so much left of the veggie dinner, I’ll have another meal of that this week.

And I have to admit that I am in love with Zrock.  This show kills me.  The drummer even mention a maloik!  This show is the reason you should have cable and the IFC channel.  That and the IT Crowd.

Check out this video of one my favorite IT Crowd moments.

On my drive to work, I always go by the YMCA.  And this week I noticed something strange.


I’m not sure this is a banquet I want to go to.  What is black ach?  I believe my cat might have the black ach.  I mean, he gets some mean hairballs…

Things like that make my days a little bit happier.  You know what else makes my days a little bit happier… pie!  I made two pies the other day.  One was a peanut butter pie


and a maple walnut pie.


Both were really good and rather easy to make.

I also finished The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson.  It’s about the building of the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893.  More specifically it’s about Daniel H Burnham the architect who is responsible for the construction and the vision of the World’s Fair and a charming doctor by the name of H.H. Holmes who is considered the first American serial killer.  I know it sounds like a bizarre idea for a book.  But it’s quite fascinating.  I think that the fact that these two things (the building of the White City- the World’s Fair and the killings of H.H. Holmes) are happening at the same time in the same city really made the book that much more interesting to me. I’ve been listening to it at work and  I think if I had been reading this before I went to bed at night, I would either have some really awful dreams or I wouldn’t be able to sleep.  It’s a really well written book and the author definitely takes you to a completely differernt time and place.  But I have to admit, the next book is going to be a bit lighter in topic.

This weekend seems to be flying by.  I’ve been slowly, and I mean slowly, going thru things and packing them up, throwing them out or donating things.  This is when I wish mom would come out and just do it for me.  She’s good at trimming down and weeding out.  Not to mention cleaning.   That’s where her and I are different.  I am a big fat slob.  I’m trying to get better about not being a slob, but it’s hard when you’ve got too many things going at once.  Maybe I should investigate my family history to see if there are other family members and ancestors who were notorious slobs.

My mom also mentioned that her and my dad had come cavatelli (cav-a-deal is how we always pronounced it).  Cavatelli is like gnocchi but in most cases it’s made with ricotta cheese, flour and eggs.  Gnocchi is typically made with potato.  So that got me wanting some cavatelli.  Apparently Seattle is a cavatelli free zone.  I will admit I suppose I could have tried going to Pike Place Market and checked to see if DeLaurenti’s had them.  Or I could have tried, Remo Borracchini’s (which to me, is not an italian bakery.  When I asked if they had pignole cookies, they looked at me like my hair was on fire.  And their canoli’s are severely lacking.  But I hear they make one heck of a cake.), but I just didn’t want to pay a ton of money for something that costs a total of $3 for the ingredients.  So I decided to see if I could find a cavatelli recipe and make them.

I found an awesome recipe online.  The dough took a minute to make.


The cutting and rolling is what took the most time.  But in the end it was worth it.


Today at work I was doing a little internet surfing and I came across Miss Retro Modern’s Flickr page.  First, I want to thank Miss Retro Modern for making my day.  She has some of the best and quite possibly funniest collection of vintage ads, cookbooks and other assorted goodness that she scanned in for our amusement.  Miss Retro Modern, I hope you don’t mind, I’m going to borrow a few of my  favorites.  But you get all the credit.  Seriously, I think I we might have been separated at birth.  You are my new internet best friend.

First I’m going to start with food.

I’m going to preface this by saying, I remember some of these crazy recipes from my mom’s old cookbooks.  I was facinated with all the stuff that people suspended in jello.  I always wanted to make these recipes.  I knew I never wanted to eat them.  I just knew I wanted to make them.  With that, it’s on to the first item:

I think I found how the obesity epidemic started.  It’s was with this ad.

corn syrup

I usually like to follow my corn syrup toast with a shot of wheat grass and msg followed by a bacon grease chaser.  If I can’t start my day that way, then there’s no sense in getting out of bed.

Our next item is the lovely green pea salad.

green pea salad

As far as I’m concerned a salad should not “wiggle” and you sure as hell should not have to cut a slice of salad out.   I’m assuming that’s vodka or gin in those glasses because you’d have to be half in the bag in order to eat that.  And don’t even get me started on the stuff in the background.  Georgia O’Keefe is blushing at the innuendo.

This next one I can only call “the hair nipple.”  I don’t think I need to say anything else.

hairy nipple mold

I’m now a huge fan of Mad Men.  And I wish I were a fly on the wall back when they came up with this little ad campaign.

red magic

It’s ketchup. There’s nothing magical about watered down tomatoes and a whole lot of sugar.  Red Magic sounds like some new illegal drug or an STD.  “Did you hear about Ginny?  She’s got the red magic.   She got it from using a public toilet.  Now no one is gonna want to go steady with her.”  Somehow I think the creole people need to be given more credit.  I don’t think that frying up some sausage and covering it in “red magic” is something they want to take credit for.

Hey McDonalds!  If you want to keep me as a loyal fan of the chicken nugget, maybe you should dress ’em up a bit.  Maybe it’ll class the joint up a bit.

chicken nuggets

This next one makes me feel a little dirty.


I just have this horrible image of June Cleaver in the kitchen swearing like a sailor on shore leave trying to tie this babies in a knot.  And what in god’s name is coming out of the ends of those wieners?  I’ve gotta move on, or I’m gonna have to take a crying game shower.

This one is one that probably has “surprise” in the name.

tuna cake

“OK kids!  Gather round.  We’re gonna have cake!  Oh wait… it’s tuna and rice.  Sorry.  Mommy needs another cocktail.”  I have to ask, what the hell is that white “frosting?”  Please tell me that’s mayo.

Apparently we weren’t getting enough protein in our diets.  I present the veal cutlet with bacon and an egg.  I’m assuming that red sauce on the top could only be one thing – red magic.


This next one is from a Good Housekeeping magazine.  And the article was about Hamburgers around the world.  This one was from Denmark.  Why hasn’t someone taken over their country?  This proves they have no right to be left to their own devices.


Let’s be honest, that’s just one large meatball covered in cabbage.  No one wants that.

And speaking of meatballs…


No self respecting restaurant is going to put “meatball yummies” on their menu.  “Bob and I went to that new 5 star Zagats rated restaurant.  Well, we started with a bottle of merlot and an order of meatball yummies.  I swear, you take one bite and you’d think you’d died and gone to heaven!”  Again, who’s the marketing whiz kid who thought up the name “meatball Yummies.”  Again, it sounds like an STD.  “Did you hear about Ronny?  He went to Cabo for spring break and came back with a case of meatball yummies.”

I’ve saved my favorite for last.

beaner wiener casserole

It’s called the Broiler Bean-er Wiener.  I call it an ad for Beano.  Or for Poof!  There is something seriously wrong with this dish.  From what I can tell it’s french bread (or if you want to get fancy, say company’s coming over… perhaps the husband’s boss) garlic bread, baked beans, cocktail wienies – cut in half length wise (that’s an important step.  You can’t go any other way.  It ruins the look), squirt in a little yellow mustard (again, if the husband’s boss is coming over I guess you could class it up with some brown mustard, but I feel it would take away from the taste of the pickles. But that’s just me), and some pickles – again, cut in half length wise.   Now that I’ve typed this all out, it sounds delicious.  And it could be an eco-friendly way to heat the house.  All that gas after eating this thing should be able to heat a house of the size of the Spelling Mansion.  You could probably kill someone if your tried to dutch oven them after eating that.

Again, I just want to thank Miss Retro Modern for these images.  I can’t thank you enough.  You made my Tuesday.  Also, if you click on the photos, it takes you to their original Miss retro Modern post.  It’s worth going back and clicking on them just to read the comments that other people had.


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