Monday, March 31, 2008

you know it's love when

You knit someone a sock that is 114 stitches on size 0 needles. That's nearly 11 stitches per inch. Forget romance, forget poetry.

THIS is love.

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

No Bake Cookies

Or, melly's comfort cookies as I like to call them. I always make them the week before . . . you know, and they comfort me. Until I eat nearly the whole batch and I get a stomach ache. Comforting? Not so much.

I remember eating these as a kid in elementary school. Somehow going back to one's youth can also be comforting. I knew them as soon as I tasted them once I found the recipe. Those lunch ladies sure know how to do a cookie up right.

I was glad when the pictures didn't turn out looking like a poo poo platter. Good lighting this evening. Make these. You won't regret it. Unless you eat the whole batch. That you will regret. Take it from a girl who knows.

2 cups sugar

½ cup butter

½ cup milk

3 cups oatmeal

½ cup peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 tablespoons cocoa

Bring sugar, butter and milk to a boil over medium heat. Boil for exactly one minute, no longer. Remove from heat and add oatmeal, peanut butter, vanilla and cocoa. Mix together and drop by teaspoon onto wax paper to cool. If you can stand to wait that long!

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

food and yarn porn

tasty soup for lunch, a copy cat recipe for Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana from

I've been making this soup for years. It's an absolute favorite. Some of the things I've adjusted over the years are in parenthesis below. Do make this soup you won't be sorry.

1 lb ground Italian sausage

1½ tsp crushed red peppers (I use a scant teaspoon, while Ken likes it really spicy, I find a little less pepper to be more tolerable)

1 large diced white onion

4 Tbsp bacon pieces (I use about three quarters of a pound, cut into one inch bits before frying crisply. Can you ever have too much bacon?)

2 tsp garlic puree (I use one fresh, minced garlic clove)

10 cups water (I usually buy one of the large cans of chicken broth and add half a can of water. This seems to be a good mix for the broth/water required)

5 cubes of chicken bouillon

1 cup heavy cream

1 lb sliced Russet potatoes with skins, or about 3 large potatoes (I quarter the potatoes before slicing. It's much nicer to not have potato skin strings hanging from your chin as you eat)

¼ of a bunch of kale

Saute Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in pot. Drain excess fat, refrigerate while you prepare other ingredients. In the same pan, saute bacon, onions and garlic for approximately 15 minutes or until the onions are soft. (I usually fry up the bacon in the same pan, adding the onions and garlic after the bacon is nicely crisped) Mix together the chicken bouillon and water, then add it to the onions, bacon and garlic. Cook until boiling. Add potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour. Add heavy cream and cook until thoroughly heated. Don't boil the soup after cream is added. Stir in the sausage. Add kale just before serving.

So good.

and for dessert:

new fiber to rub on me naughty bits

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birdhouse bonanza

There is some serious birdhouse business going on in the house of melly.
These are not my doings.How fun that my always serious spouse is doing something so whimsical?
It totally makes me smile. I might love him. Shhhhh. Don't tell.
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Monday, March 24, 2008

the food meme

Favorite food to crunch:
popcorn, chips, hard candies

Favorite comfort food:
potatoes anything

Favorite picnic lunch:
cheese, fruit and wine

Favorite food scene in movie:
in Chocolat where the Comte woke in the display window of the chocolaterie after gorging all night during Lent

Favorite food lyrics:
not necessarily my favorite but one that came to mind, from Lisa Loeb: "I'll stop cryin' on the mountain that we made from the molehill where we spilt the milk."

Best food smell memory: my mom looked like a nurse but smelled like a hamburger. (she was a cook in a restaurant growing up). I liked the way she smelled.

Favorite summer snack:

Food that reminds me of the ocean:

Favorite winter snack:
movie popcorn

Most likely to eat for lunch:
some sort of sandwich

Least likely to eat for lunch:
something healthy

Makes me gag:
any meat that looks like what it was. I don't ever look at a pack of ground beef and think of a cow but a tongue? eeeewwww.

Food tradition I love:
banana cream pies during the holidays

Food tradition I loathe:
bobbing for apples

Favorite wild foods:
we used to eat huckleberries and blackberries as kids

Favorite medicinal food:
"brownies" helps with the glaucoma. ;)

Food that reflects my heritage:
Heinz 57?

Favorite raw food smell:
anything fresh - fruits, greens

Food most like me:
coffee - bitter and murky.
heh heh


Friday, March 21, 2008

Short Haired Woman

click for the big picture
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good day sunshine

Is there anything better than sunbathing?
Ok, so chocolate, knitting, gin - this list could get quite long.
When you're a little dog, is there anything better?
I think not.
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Thursday, March 20, 2008

the never ending sock - update

I'm ready to start the heel flap! But I'm a little stuck. I'll have to wait for some time with muh knittahs.
It looks like a sweater sleeve! The man has some big feets. He loves it though.

Cami pointed out with 112 stitches, I wasn't going to have enough yarn with just one skein. Great. It's a limited edition. I made some calls and found a shop in Oklahoma that's shipping me another one. Thank gawd for the internet.

I guess maybe I can start my monkeys while I wait for assistance on my magic looped heel flap. I'm excited about those.

I was going to post some pictures of the cute cards I made with Rhonda yesterday but if I keep posting pictures here, you all won't be surprised when you open your mailbox! Thanks for the fun day, friend.
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Monday, March 17, 2008

Guests are Welcome!

Since girl-child moved out I officially have a guest room. I hurried and set up the ironing board and put my sewing machine on the left-behind desk. The space was claimed as mine! However - said room is quite sparse and is in need of some sprucing. And since my talents do not lay in interior design, I'm asking for help.

The walls are cream colored with this blue ticking-like wainscoting wallpaper and blue curtains. None of that is likely to change. I was thinking about this bedding from Pottery Barn:

but it's got that crisp white backing so I'm not too sure. And what sort of headboard? Iron perhaps? I'd like the room to have a country (though not tacky - no hearts or dried flowers), comfy feel to it. Any Marthas out there feel like decorating my guestroom? The payment is free lodging and a waffle breakfast.


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Friday, March 14, 2008

my mom rocks

You all everybody (that's for YOU Red -g-) remember this sock? Or maybe you remember this? If not, there you have the whole story.

My mom is so great I get to finish those socks after all. You know, the ones I can't remember how many stitches I cast on or the decreases I made for the heel turn, gusset nor toes? Yeah, those socks. Gee, thanks, mom. ;) There may be another pair of hand-knit socks in your future. heh heh

She searched high and low for another skein of this yarn. In fact, she had to go all the way to Washington State from California just to find the yarn I needed to finish this project. That's how much my mom rocks.

Mom? You need another hobby. ;)

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The. Best. Dog. Ever.

This is Ruger, looking all melancholy. But aren't the bows a nice touch? :oD
If you look closely at his back leg you can see the wound I'm protecting. It's healing nicely but his esteem may never recover.
Sorry old man.
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Sunday, March 9, 2008

Saturday, March 8, 2008

meet-up dinner party

I never did write and share about my dinner group on Sunday. It was really nice. I found an aspiring gourmet dinner group through meet-up. It's a great way to meet folks in your area with similar interests.

We had drinks and appetizers to start with while the conversations started. Just having adult conversation was wonderful. The talk started all about the food but as the night moved on so did the topics. I sat next to a darling Chinese couple whose children are the first American born generation in their family. We talked a lot about the culture of China and language, history - it was so enjoyable. And the FOOD! It really was a fine dining experience. I'm happy to say my tart got good reviews. I think I'd like to tweak the recipe a bit for better results but the flavors worked so well together I'll definitely make it again.

This reminds me - I need to go RSVP for the next one!

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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

what's in a name?

While I didn't exactly get tagged, I saw this over on Camilla's blog and you know how I love completely random, useless information. And while I do love these little quiz things, sometimes they hit a little too close to home and this one is freaky, man. :)

Check the link at the bottom for the meaning of your own name.

What Melly Means

You are confident, self assured, and capable. You are not easily intimidated.
You master any and all skills easily. You don't have to work hard for what you want.
You make your life out to be exactly how you want it. And you'll knock down anyone who gets in your way!

You are friendly, charming, and warm. You get along with almost everyone.
You work hard not to rock the boat. Your easy going attitude brings people together.
At times, you can be a little flaky and irresponsible. But for the important things, you pull it together.

You are relaxed, chill, and very likely to go with the flow.
You are light hearted and accepting. You don't get worked up easily.
Well adjusted and incredibly happy, many people wonder what your secret to life is.

You are a free spirit, and you resent anyone who tries to fence you in.
You are unpredictable, adventurous, and always a little surprising.
You may miss out by not settling down, but you're too busy having fun to care.

now what am I gonna knit?

Sydney's melly sweater DONE!
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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

trapped inside with my bra on

I got up this morning (yes, it was before noon, Robin!), showered, got dressed in actual clothing (not pajamas or yoga pants) I was ready for the day. I had errands to run but wanted to wait for temperatures to rise a little before heading out. It was icy this morning. I was ready to go.

Girl-child stopped by to say hello (she moved out this weekend) and said, "Where are you going?" seeing the real clothes and all. She informed me the roads were icy and if I didn't need to, I shouldn't go out. Need is a strong word in this case. I have chocolate. I have yarn. What more does a girl need? Certainly not jeans and a bra. Not today.


Before I go, I wanted to share one of my favorite things with you. Do you all know Photojojo? It's an amazing e-newsletter sent out periodically. You can subscribe yourself and get rockin' photo ideas like this:

Click on the pencils for detailed instructions. And go subscribe!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

how many vices can one girl have?

I wanted to blog yesterday. I was going to post after we watched disk four, season one of Lost last night, and I should have just so you could have seen the timestamp. It would have read 3:00 am. That's A.M. as in middle of the night, melly shouldn't be doing anything but sleeping. A.M. After Melly's bedtime, that's what AM stands for. But we're hooked. I wasn't too sure after the first disk.
I called the person responsible and said, "I don't think I like Lost." Funny. I don't usually spend ELEVEN HOURS doing something I don't like. Before you go off your rocker, I was also knitting. So much knitting I cannot type with my middle finger. We knitters call that a good day. :)
Sweater update:

It looks fine, doesn't it? Nice yoke decreases, even stitches, perfection. Not so fast. I know just enough about knitting to get myself in trouble. Just enough rope to hang myself, Clementine says. I know this comes as no great surprise to her but I should listen when she talks. It's not just random squawking. She's actually knit a raglan decrease sweater a time or two.

Shortly after this picture was taken, this sweater took a trip to the frog pond. For you muggles, that means I had to rip it all the way back to where the sleeves met the sweater. I didn't read the pattern carefully (15 times isn't enough evidently) and I did my first three rounds of decreases too fast. At least I had good television to keep me company. Lost really is everything everyone is saying about it - great cast, believable acting, clever writing and, of course, a couple of good-looking leading men. Great television. Thanks Rhonda.

On to culinary things:

This is the beginnings of an orange, date, cardamom tart currently cooling in my kitchen. It's the recipe I selected for my gourmet cooking group tonight. I know I did everything exactly as written but I'm not very pleased with the end result. First of all, the crust sides sort of melted down into the pan as it baked. The custard took a long time to set and it looks more like scrambled eggs than a creamy custard. I'm sure it will taste fine but it doesn't look as pretty as I'd like.

Most of the time when I cook for people the melly love is already established and the cooking is more like icing on the cake. Tonight, I'm taking this disaster to a group of people I've never met. I'm a little nervous about that. At least I know it will taste good. The layering of flavors in this recipe is phenomenal.

At least I'll look pretty. Which brings us to Vice #3 - the MAC counter in Nordstrom's and a good demi bra. Actually, the real vice here are blogs in general. I read on Melanie's blog the other day how she was looking for some new makeup and was asking for opinions. I shared my love of MAC which gave me the itch to head downtown myself. I totally enabled her (though I cannot be held accountable for her purchase) which somehow put a dent in my pocketbook. Funny how that works.

And the bra! First of all, the color is mojito. What's not to love about a bra that gives you great cleavage and it's named after a cool, refreshing beverage? I had such a good time Friday with the girls at the downtown Lane Bryant. The checkout girl was wearing this cute little, barely-covering-her-breasts cami. I laughed and put my hand up to shield my eyes from them and said, "I can't even LOOK at you! Your breasts are FABULOUS!" She said, "No, but my bra is!" I left with two. -lol-

So tonight, me and my new make-up will be going to this gourmet dinner group with fabulous breasts. Or at least a fabulous bra. Funny how I was completely confident about my dish in the beginning but questioning what I was going to wear. Now I'm worried about my tart but confident at least I'll be fabulous.

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