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21st December 2008
Cookies - Day 2
Yesterday I turned out
- Grandma Hartley's Fruitcake Cookies (actually, Great-Grandma for me)
- Chocolate Hazelnut Crinkles
Doesn't look like much, but each of these recipes made eight dozen
cookies. So it took a fairly long time to process those through the oven. And we went out to a friend's party in the evening. That turned out really well. I got to see several people from my old job that I was happy to catch up with. It's funny though, everyone has kids, so folks were leaving as early as 8pm. And by 11pm the party was over - everyone had already gone home and we were the last ones out the door.
Today I have all the cookies I was avoiding yesterday - the fig swirls, orange pistachio crescents and trios. I'll definitely get the trios done, those will be easy. But the other two require rolling/shaping and I always find that tiresome. I can never seem to get both the size and thickness the recipe calls for. If I get 1/3" deep, my rectangle is 7x9" instead of 7x12". I usually take it as an opportunity to embrace the imperfections in life and remind myself that cookies are delicious.
The trios only involve forming millions of tiny little balls. Irksome, but I can cope. I'll also get the ganache for the grasshoppers made and some no-bake cookies turned out. Oh, and the hot chocolate mix. That will take about 5 minutes in the food processor, so I'll work it in while something is baking. If I can pull it off I'll do a double batch of no-bakes, since husbeast needs to take some to his coworkers on Wed. That's mostly a matter of dwindling counter space. And hopefully I'll get two batches of meringue stars done. Those have to be last, since they bake for awhile on 200 degrees, then sit in the oven overnight to dry out. The recipe calls for three egg whites to make three different flavors, vanilla, chocolate and coffee. But I'm thinking about making a double batch of coffee and then dipping the bases in any leftover chocolate that I have.
Oh, and tonight we're going to see White Christmas at the dinner theater. I've never been, so I'm looking forward to it.
18th December 2008
Cookie - the beginning
Accomplished today: :
- Half a vanilla bean scraped into 4 C. sugar for the hot chocolate mix. Needs to sit overnight.
- Molasses Crinkles - whole batch baked - 4 dz. cookies. Quality control cookie rating - delicious, if a bit crispy for my particular tastes.
- Brownie layer of Grasshopper squares - baked and in the fridge waiting for ganache layers. You know it's a serious brownie recipe when it starts with 10 oz of bittersweet chocolate (no more than 60% cacao if marked). ::snicker::
- Five-Spice Gingersnaps - dough made and sitting in the fridge for the next day or so "to develop and meld flavors".
- Fig Swirls - filling made. Smells like a Moroccan garden. Must not nom prior to rolling into cookie swirl of deliciousness.
- Orange-Pistachio crescents - filling made. This involved making candied orange peel from scratch. Omg, I could eat this stuff all day. Resisting the urge since I think it will be triply delicious when mixed with pistachios and baked inside a cookie. Which is then coated with powdered sugar. Go big. Cookie baking is no place for wimps.
- Rather delicious lentil stew done in the crockpot, so I didn't have to stress about dinner.
I should probably knock out a batch of no-bakes tonight as well. But my feet hurt and I want to play WoW. That list does not include all the cleaning that happened before, during and after the baking. The kitchen was basically spotless all the way through round three. Then I ran out of hot water. Amazing how the dishwasher, sink full of hot water and husbeast taking a shower just wiped out the water heater. Ah well, remaining sink full of dishes will soak overnight and be cleaned before tomorrow's adventures.
If I get motivated I'll take some pictures. ;) If nothing else I'll be sure to snap a shot of a finished basket for everyone to drool over.
I live a charmed life. :
Know how I know? I was putting on my bra just now, reaching around behind my back, and I lost my grip on the hooks. The elastic did what elastic does, but instead of painfully snapping my finger/sides/arms, the band snapped into place. Perfectly. Seriously, both hooks, completely caught. What would normally be an "ow @^!#$! " hopping around moment instead was instead everything as it should be, like nothing went wrong at all.
That is all.
16th December 2008
Rites of Passage
I didn't post much about my weekend at the Grove. Some of that was deliberate, some just being busy with other things. But there is one important realization that I had which I wanted to record and share. : ( Want to read more?Collapse )
13th December 2008
We are those who go on.
10th December 2008
Durga sleeps in!
Yeah yeah yeah, stop laughing, I really did! :
It went something like this - around 11pm last night I was in danger of face planting into my keyboard. I decided that this was ridiculous, I was going to bed, whether it was too early or not. So I crawl into bed, get my nightly cuddles and doze off. Morning comes and I hit snooze on husbeast's alarm until it's 7am, then poke and prod him until he gets up (don't you just love routines?) Then my alarm goes off a few times. I snooze it, snuggle back into the nest of pillows and blankets that I've made. I decide maybe I'm just going to spend the day in bed. I have a week to write this last paper, I can take one day to just rest, right? One of the cats agrees with me, he snuggles into my chest, purring and occasionally swiping at my face to wake me up just enough to keep my hand moving. I listen to the alarm (far away) telling me traffic and weather, occasionally playing Christmas songs. Blissfully after an hour it turns itself off and I sleep.
I wake up later, no cat. I wonder what time it is, thinking to myself Wow! I slept the day away! Watch it be like 2pm or something crazy like that. Wouldn't that be awesome? 14 hours of sleep? Mmmm... I snuggle back into my nest and consider the possibilities. But the endlessly rational part of my brain just had to chime in "You really think so? Then how come your bladder isn't ready to burst? Why aren't you starving? Get over it, you can't sleep in." I was placating: "Ok, ok, you're right, but it can still be a lot later than I normally get up! Like, 11am maybe?" I just laughed at myself.
I had to prove the snarky part of myself wrong, so I rolled over and looked at the clock. 9:30am.
Ah well, I did sleep in a whole hour past when I normally get out of bed, so there! :p
27th November 2008
This really is the best rick roll ever: :
Yes, they really did rickroll the parade. This made me happy.
19th November 2008
I just came home to a boxful of Icelandic sweets! a huge bag of assorted gummies (fruit, dinasours and licorice fish), strips of old fashioned licorice, chocolate covered raisins and a box of fancy chocolates. Yum!! :
(yes, I do like licorice, get over it!)
15th November 2008
I'm bored. Anyone want to call/im/play a silly online game?
9th November 2008
Since I spent most of the day reading it...
I thought I'd : share
This felt like my school reading for the day, but it is an incredibly thoughtful article on love, sex, polyamory and monogamy as social structures. It's long, but if you take the time to read it you'll have a much better sense of the issues, language and thought processes involved in these sorts of discussions. Which I find incredibly handy. Let me know if you read it, and what you think.
4th November 2008
Curried Apple and Sweet Potato Soup
This is my adaptation of a recipe from Soup and Bread by Crescent Dragonwagon. I had some baked sweet potatoes and wanted a simple easy meal tonight. So here's what I came up with. The original looks delicious too, I just didn't have everything needed on hand, so I adapted. :
1/4 C dark raisins in a bowl with enough warm water to cover. Let these sit at least 30 minutes to soften.
4 T butter (half a stick)
1 onion, diced
2 tart apples, diced
1 t curry powder
1 T garam masala
sprinkle cinnamon and allspice
2 T flour
4 C vegetable broth
1-3 t Bragg's liquid aminos (soy sauce or tamari works too)
2 medium sweet potatoes (baked, cooled and peeled) If using raw potatoes, chop into small pieces and cook in the broth before starting the saute.
2 thick slices ginger root, peeled
salt and pepper to taste
In a soup pot bring the broth and Bragg's to a simmer. Add the sweet potatoes, and turn down the heat a bit. Melt the butter over medium heat in a skillet. Add the onions with a sprinkle of salt and cook to soften, just a few minutes. Add the apples and cook until they also begin to soften, a few more minutes. Sprinkle with the spices, turn down the heat a bit and cook slowly until aromatic and blended (about 5 minutes). Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and cook until very thick, maybe a minute. Pour the water off the raisins into the mixture a little at a time, stirring to combine and make a smooth sauce. Add the raisins. Cook over medium low heat until thick and bubbly (5 -7 minutes). Scrape mixture into the broth/potato mixture, stir well. Add some water to the pan to deglaze, add that to the soup pot as well. Once potatoes are soft use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Add the ginger slices and leave on low heat until ready to serve.
Like all soup, the longer this can sit the better it tastes. You can adjust the seasonings as needed, I started with the lesser amount of Bragg's but added more and some soy sauce to increase the saltiness. I served this with fresh hot french bread rolls.
Since it amuses me. DragCave had a special halloween drop: :
Go ahead. Click it. See what the flavor text says.
If I'm really lucky it will hatch while you read this and you'll get to see the first stage hatchling. It looks like a dead weasel. Grey, all four limbs in the air. Maybe even X's instead of eyes and a tongue hanging out (resolution isn't great so it's hard to tell).
Amused me greatly. You can check out my scroll
if you'd like to see the rest of the brood. But be warned, this is gently addictive. :)
30th October 2008
"Copy this sentence into your LiveJournal or blog if you're in a heterosexual marriage, and you don't want it "protected" by people who think that GLBT marriage hurts it somehow." :
There's a lot I can say about this subject, actually. It's all speculation and conjecture though, with no real content. So if you l like, simply imagine that you've read several paragraphs of my normally florid prose, all full of impassioned pleading for a broader understanding of "family" and rescuing "tribe" from the dirty words pile. Probably something about how love =/= exclusion. Oh, and there would probably be a little touching aside about how the "one man, one woman" slogan sparked one of the first major fights between my husband and I.
There, now we're both better off. I didn't have to actually write it, and you didn't have to actually read it, but we both know how I feel. Rock on.
Ok, I liked this one too. :
"If you read this, please post a comment with a COMPLETELY MADE UP AND FICTIONAL memory of you and me. It can be anything you want – good or bad – BUT IT HAS TO BE FAKE. When you're finished, post this little paragraph on your blog and be surprised (or mortified) about what people DON'T ACTUALLY remember about you."
Bring it on.
15th October 2008
I scrawled the word love on the steamy bathroom mirror at some point. I had forgotten about it, but the faint outline is still there. It amused me today when I noticed it there.
6th October 2008
Ok, I like this meme: :
ah, the meme.
* Grab the nearest book.
* Open the book to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions if you want to.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one.
"His physician has regularly discussed with Mr. Cope the course of his disease and the treatment plan and has inquired about his difficulties in coping with his condition." From a case study in Clinical Ethics
by Jonsen, Siegler and Winslade.
Or you can have "In fact, at her last doctor's appointment, we learned that Mom is a full inch shorter than she was a few years ago." From A Good Yarn
by Debbie Macomber.
OR we can have the really fun one. "Row 5: P 4, left cross, p 11 *; repeat from * to *, ending p 7." From Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns
published by Sterling Publishing co. (there is no author or editor attribution)
Bonus points if you catch the error in the knitting one. I typed it exactly as it appears in the book.
I never noticed that the stitch dictionary had no author. That's really interesting to me. It's a translation of an Italian book, which also only has a publishing company's name. So who did the work? How typed out all those instructions, made the charts, scoured the world to write down all these stitches in the first place? That seems like a lot of work to have no credit given.
11th September 2008
I can't decide how I want to write this. Anarchofeminist rant on the insensitivity of those in positions of dominance? Maudlin-tender story of a conversation with my husband gone all wrong? Philosophical deconstruction of decision making in broadcast media and the limits of responsibility within the medium? :
All of these stories have one thing in common - they would all be written by an outside observer of behavior. The anarchofeminist is not in the position of dominance. I am not my husband. A philosopher works at a distance through abstraction.
In general I like my decision to be a quiet revolutionary. But there are days when the true depth of separation between me and my culture gets driven home hard, and those days hurt. Not that anyone intended to hurt me, far from it. That's part of what makes it so frustrating, actually. Those 'inside' often can't see any other interpretation than their own experience. This didn't bug me, how come it bugged you? That leaves me defending, which then feels like an attack on the insider. Negative feedback loop indeed. I try to be the one to stop it, since it serves no purpose (besides maybe making everyone a little introspective for awhile).
I know I'm being vague, and yes, there was a specific incident that touched on this. But I don't want to lose the form for the content. This is bigger than the particular thing that made me grumpy this morning. This applies every time there are insiders and outsiders. I'm trying to figure out if there's anything that can be done about this tension between inside and outside.
I know, I know, it's going to be situational. There will be times when the insiders are simply hoarding, and keeping everyone else out. But then there are cases where the outsiders do not want to be in. Nor do we particularly want the insiders coming out to us! At that point it does seem like tolerance is the best answer.
But tolerance is harder when the insiders are all smug about it.
9th September 2008
Of all the possible paths, one of us will walk each one.
28th August 2008
I need to list 10 things I like that begin with the letter P :
Hmm... My mom reads this journal, so let's not get too graphic. Here in no particular order are my favorite Ps!
1. People - honestly, I love them. So endlessly fascinating, varied and complex. Interactions with people make my day better, usually. :)
2. Pizza - yeah yeah yeah. No redeeming value, but one of my favorite comfort foods.
3. Pussy - I'm a cat person! (Let it go pervs!)
4. Photography - I love taking photos, and looking at photos. The way light moves over surfaces fascinates me, and photography captures that in a way no other medium has yet to match.
5. Play - duh! :)
6. Plying - ok, this is something of a new one, but whenever I actually ply some of my handspun I feel this incredible sense of accomplishment, more than knitting lace even. Now if I actually get some success at making the yarn I was planning to make, I'll be getting somewhere!
7. Puzzles - of all shapes and sizes. :) Might be related to the People part.
8. Pervs - I was rereading my list and realized that I do like a lot of pervy people. They tend to be questioners of the ways, those who refuse to take cultural assumptions at face value. Freaks like me. <3
9. Pomegranates - I was trying to avoid foods, too easy, but man I love pomegranates. Childhood memories, ancient mythologies and antioxidants in one scarlet package, what's not to love?!
10. Paychecks - well if we're going to be honest.... I like cashflow!
26th August 2008
Dragons, Dragons, everywhere!
Have I mentioned this is addictive?
There's also babies and eggs, who would appreciate it if you took the time to click on them and load their incubator pages. :D
This really shouldn't be as fun as it is.
22nd August 2008
So is it possible to both think deeply and be simply happy? :
it seems to be sometimes that my most peaceful times are the ones where not much storms across my mind. Conversely, my least happy times are usually when I am wrestling with some concrete problem. There are happy times when i'm learning the dance steps of a new thought, that's why I love reading philosophy. But that is an active, noisy hapiness.
Can I be quiet, content, blissful and still develop insight and growth?
Zen monks would suggest there is a way.
14th August 2008
Writer's Block: Six-Word Story
Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in only six words. His response? “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” He is believed to have called it his greatest literary work ever. Can you write a story in six words?
This woman who walks beside me.
12th August 2008
What's in YOUR Revolution?
I just finished listening to the most recent Escape Pod epidose (" : Pervert
") and I have goosebumps.
It's worth the listen. Go check it out. Escape Pod continues to be one of my favorite podcasts, even the stories that are less than stellar are entertaining, and a good use of time.
This story in particular really got me, mostly because it goes along with everything else I've been thinking about - the Buddhism, selflessness, tribes. See, in this story the world is such that something we consider normal and natural, inescapably natural, in fact, is such a taboo that the narrator cannot even name it. There is no word in the language for what he wants, because it is a want which cannot be spoken aloud. But he wants it, and he will resist all attempts to mold him into someone who does not want this thing anymore.
It helped me shift a little bit in my thinking. There's always this tension between changing yourself to fit into your society and changing your society to fit you. And I think those namless wants become a crucial element in resolving or at least deciding that tension. How important is this to you? There's issues where I can compromise, and ones where I cannot, and discerning the difference is a matter of experience. But that resistance, quiet and unspoken even, has a phenomenal amount of power in it.
So this story gave me a new model for those who resist being changed by thier surroundings - a quiet revolutionary if you will. If your want can be fulfilled without hurting someone else (a big qualifier required by my personal morality) then why not try it? It makes me wonder how many quiet revolutionaries I know - those whose lives do not exactly fit the 'norm' construct that we supposedly all want, who refuse to be changed in certain key ways.
Given what I know of norms and human perturbations, I suspect the answer is everyone. I'm going to pay more attention for this, and try to find the quiet ways that people work to change the world around them through thier beliefs and desires. This is no big news to many, I'm sure. It's why we write newspaper articles about the teen who did spectacular thing X or the church group who pulled off accomplishment Y. Or why the Olympics takes worldwide conciousness by storm. We like to see the results of dedication and faith. But those are the big things. Can we see the small things? I have a hard time even naming a candidate. I suspect most often they will be invisible. How can I see it when someone says, to themselves, I will not fit in in this regard, this is too important?
What is something that you want so much that you don't care who dissaproves of that want?
10th August 2008
Holy crap I have three now. :
This is just... wrong.
But this guy will be a two headed bi-colored dragon! How cool is that?