The making of a new obsession…

Remember my new gifts? I’ve began phase one of using them for a new project. I’ve started drawing beer things. Many ideas are floating in my head about how this will play out.

A bottle of Fireman’s 4:

The Southern Star logo (not yet traced with darker lines):

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Tonight’s hummus was made with edamame instead of chickpeas

Tonight’s hummus was made with edamame instead of chickpeas. So it’s probably more like a sandwich spread / dip than hummus, but it’s still delicious! The ingredient list was frozen edamame (cooked in the microwave), a bit of olive oil, plain yogurt, two very large garlic cloves, kosher salt, thyme, and some crazy spice mixture I unearthed from the cupboard.

The end result is very green and very tasty.

Saving things in the hope that some day I’ll make them into something…

Since my obsession with crafting a wide variety of things, I’ve started to hoard “things” in the hope that some day I will make them into something cool.

“Things” currently include beer caps, wine corks, colored bottles (they are going to make an awesome thing, just wait), ribbon, scraps of fabric, pretty boxes… As I age, I’m certain this list will get longer.

Today, I came across the perfect thing to make my corks into! I’ve been thinking about making a cork board or some trivets but wasn’t really sure what I’d do with them.  Instead, I am totally going to make this wine cork bath mat (some day).  I wonder if I have 175 corks yet. I also wonder if I am patient enough to cut that many corks in half. Only time will tell.

Making cheese and chocolate fondue

Cheese and chocolate fondue for Valentine’s day. This is the second year for cheese fondue and the third for chocolate fondue. I declare it therefore to be our Valentine’s Day tradition. The tradition guarantees that we will use our fondue pot from Switzerland at least once a year which was an awesome wedding gift (despite the fact that the first time I picked it up, the handle broke off).

I never thought I liked cheese fondue. In fact, I don’t like cheese fondue made with wine. We learned last year that cheese fondue made with beer is far superior to fondue made with wine so now we make it with beer.

To make the cheese fondue, we combined cheddar, Gruyere, and Emmentaler cheese with a bit of flour, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and Sierra Nevada Glissade beer. Well, that was after an emergency trip to Bed Bath and Beyond for the sterno fuel needed to keep the pot warm.

Cheese!

Beer!

Melting cheese!

For some reason the fondue did not melt together quite as well this year as last year but it was still quite tasty.

We ate the fondue with cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and zucchini that I blanched in boiling water as well as baguette bread and mini dill pickles. Yum! We drank Boston Beer Company Infinium along with our fondue.

For our dessert, we made chocolate fondue. Ok, so it really was just melted milk chocolate.  Apparently real chocolate fondue has cream in it but that was not something I realized. The chocolate fondue pot is a little heart shaped dish that is kept warm by a tea light candle

In our chocolate we dipped strawberries, banana, grapes, mini marshmallows and mini ginger crisp cookies.

The best part? The left overs we will eat again on Monday which is the actual Valentine’s day!

Making Super Bowl Food!

As everyone remembers, yesterday was the Super Bowl. We hosted a party at our house. Unfortunately for me, my Steelers lost but it was a good game and it’s hard not to like the Green Bay Packers (well, except when they beat the Steelers, then it’s easier). Fortunately for me, our Super Bowl food was a hit! I prepared Kung Pao Tofu Sliders and my husband made pulled pork with pickled onion sliders. Both were quite delicious if I say so myself.

Making Kung Pao Sliders

The recipe from the latest issue of the Vegetarian Times magazine. The sliders are made of marinated and baked tofu squares and a carrot and zucchini slaw.

First, I spent way too much time julienning carrots and zucchini. I wonder if it would have been okay to shred the veggies with my food processor instead.

Then they were mixed with the crazy dressing that had soy sauce, sesame oil, peanut butter, mayo, natural cane sugar, garlic, cayenne powder and probably other things I can’t remember. The slaw chilled overnight.

On Sunday, I cut up two packages of extra firm tofu into small squares.

It was marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar.

It was then baked for 25 minutes on each side. After that, assembling it with the slaw and bun proved it was absolutely delicious! You can see the pulled pork slider in the picture as well.

Slider buns are tad tricky to find, so we used “brown-n-serve” rolls from HEB, our grocery store. They were cheap and perfectly sized!  And now we have them left over for dinner for most of the week, yum 🙂

Speaking of a cold day…

On Sunday and Monday it was in the mid 70s. Yesterday and today it did not get out of the 20s and there was some insane morning wind. Wow. I left Ohio to get out of this kind of weather. It looks like tomorrow will be just as cold, with a chance of little snowflakes Thursday night. To top it off Texas isn’t built for these temperatures and the energy grid can’t handle the load, giving us rolling black-outs and lots of school and business closings.

Yes, I whine, I know. Anyhow this coldness reminds me of a gift I knitted for myself around a year ago. Arm warmers! They are one of my favorite shades of green. The intent was to wear them at my desk at work because my fingers sometimes turn purple from being cold. Unfortunately they make typing a bit difficult so I don’t wear them as often as I should since typing is pretty instrumental to my work. That does not detract from their appeal though.

The pattern name is dashing and I found it on ravelry (of course). Pattern browsing on ravelry is addictive, you should sign up and try it. The pattern is available from knitty. The yarn I used is KnitPicks Wool of the Andes, a very nice and affordable yarn.  I really love the way the long cables turned out on these arm warmers. Overall I found this project to be pretty easy and would recommend it. It does require knitting in the round on double pointed needles, but once you learn how to do that this is a great pattern!

Making our house more grown-up

In the last three months or so we’ve made drastic changes to our house. We’ve turned it from the dwelling of two grad students into real adults!

The list:

  • Replaced all carpet with DIY stained concrete floors (that’s a post for another day. It will be LONG).
  • Painted living room, dining room, hallway, bedroom, and trim
  • Had a sliding glass door replaced
  • New (or new to us in some cases) furniture: coffee table, end table, TV stand, LED TV, two storage ottomans, a couch cover, and a soon to be delivered dresser and nightstand set
  • Pet supplies: 2 cat beds and 2 dog bed covers sewn to match the new color scheme, cat scratching post and shelves mounted to a wall
  • Most importantly, a roomba to drive around and vacuum up all the free-floating pet fur that accumulates without carpet to hold it down!