Tag Archives: Cooking

I should be sewing

I talked to Aunt Judy yesterday and she told me that the quilt tops I’m sending her way are next on her list, which means I need to get my butt in gear and, you know, actually send them.  Which further means (check out my amazing reasoning skills) that I need to finish the one, rather than just gaze lovingly at the stack of fabric on my sewing shelf. But that would be too easy, wouldn’t it?  So instead I’ll just sit here and piddlefart around and eat grapes until Simon wakes up (at which point I’ll kick it into gear and start sewing.  Promise ;-))


I just cut myself a thick slice of that bread from Tuesday’s dough pic, but then completely neglected to take a photo before slathering it in Nutella and cramming it in my gaping maw. So, sorry.  But also yum.  Seriously, go check that out if you want a hearty-yet-soft bread recipe.


Speaking of food (since apparently that’s all I’m capable of at the moment), have you seen the Italian Wonderpot recipe going around Facebook lately?  It really seems too good to be true.  So in the name of Science!, last night I made it for dinner.  Here’s an awful picture just a few minutes before it was ready to serve (you let it simmer down until most of  the liquid is evaporated/thickened):

That’s a horribly unappetizing picture, I know, but the actual dinner was pretty good.  I used whole wheat spaghetti instead of fettuccini, and stirred in some garlic chicken sausage that I’d browned in my cast iron, just before serving.  Our family’s consensus was that it was all right, but grossly under-seasoned (this even after I upped all the seasonings).  Next time I think I’ll used Trader Joe’s diced and fire-roasted tomatoes instead of plain diced tomatoes, will add more salt, and maybe 16 oz of spinach instead of just 8 oz (the benefit of 8 oz, though, is that I could convincingly tell Jeff the green flecks were just herbs ;-)).  I also think it would be good with Trader Joe’s basil linguine.  But all in all it was a good, easy weeknight dinner (with enough leftovers to keep us in lunches for a week!).  Add a side of roasted asparagus and a good salad and you’re set.


Yesterday during the day we made our pilgrimage up to Cleveland for Trader Joe’s, and my total was about 1/3 less than usual (even though I bought the ingredients for 10-12 meals, just like always).  Part of that is because they didn’t have a few things on my list, but mostly I think it’s because I’m a lot less inclined to dawdle and loiter and browse when I have a tiny tornado pushing the shopping cart than when he’s snugly wrapped on my back.  He was OMG SUPER NOT INTERESTED in making the trek home, though, and I didn’t feel like facing a 35-minute car ride of screaming, so we hit up Panera for soup and a bagel (and then a diaper and some boobies) before heading back down to Akron.  He slept in the car but only fitfully: overall, definitely not his most satisfying morning.  I think it may make more sense to do subsequent adventures in the late afternoon (bonus: then Jeff can haul in the groceries when he gets home from work.)


Today was the penultimate storytime of the late-winter session, and it was a little bit smaller group than usual.  Possibly not coincidentally, Simon warmed up a lot more quickly than he has in weeks past.  Today he was actually brave enough to dance with the librarian for a moment, and grab his own shaker out of the music basket.  Progress!  He even pitched a fit when it was time to leave, which was embarrassing but also sort of reassuring.  The librarian is going to be out on maternity leave starting in May, and with Garfunkel coming in July the spring session may be our last.  I’ll miss it!


After a quick stop at Chipotle for a mama-baby date, we went to a new kids’ consignment shop that just opened a few weeks ago (the owner is a young mom who’s been advertising it on the Facebook baby/kids resale group I follow).  She had a pretty large amount of stock, but nothing much that I felt we needed, and most everything was WalMart/Target brands anyway. I got him one little Gymboree shirt for this summer, but think I’ll have to head back down to Once Upon a Child (down in Canton) for a few other things he needs.


Well this one isn’t going to win any “fascinating blog post” awards, is it?  Have a sleepy Simon by way of apology:


And now, of course, he’s awake and I’ve got to get my butt off the couch.  Until next time!


Don’t try this at home

This is what happens when Jeff heads out to a party and Simon actually occupies himself on the floor for 10 minutes.  Happy Friday!


In my continuing quest to make quasi-food-blogging as lame and unappealing as possible, I present to you a BRILLIANT concoction.  One that will make you the life of the party.  The host(ess) with the most(est).  This recipe will inspire statues to be erected in your honor.  All the village’s children to revere your name.


I promise, it’s that good.


I’m just not going to show you any pictures. (That’s not even the lamest part, though.  Keep reading.)


Why no pictures?  Because I have none.  Because this started out as “baby food” and it would be stupid to take pictures of something that’s just going to be cut into 1″ squares and flung onto the floor and eventually get gobbled up by the dog.


…I’m not off to a very good start here, am I?


OK so here’s the thing:  when making homemade pizzas the other day, I turned one portion into a little white pizza-esque, breadstick-y finger food, originally intended for Simon.  But then it was so delicious that I literally, honestly, decided “Simon won’t appreciate this”, so I just ate it all myself (I didn’t even share with Jeff, either.  SHAME.).  And now I really regret making it the first time, because now I want to make it again.  And again.


Is it revolutionary?  No.  Is it healthy?  HELL NAW.  But is it good?  OMG.


[Imagine here a picture of the delicious snacks spread out on a pretty platter, sidecarred with a trendy little vessel or two of dip.]


So rather than post a real recipe with instructions and pictures and a bunch of “OMG GUYS YOU HAVE TO MAKE THIS” blathering (more than I already wrote above, that is), I’m just going to tell you what not to do.  I am, in fact, officially warning you:  DO NOT MAKE THIS.  I’m not even naming this recipe.  In fact, I shall only call it:




First of all, DO NOT UNDER ANY CONDITION make a batch of pizza dough using Kayotic Kitchen’s recipe.  (Do NOT substitute bread flour, do NOT let the dough age in the fridge for about 8 hours, giving it a slow rise for delicious yeasty nuttiness, do NOT quarter the dough and give it a second rise on the countertop, and do NOT preheat your oven to 500*.)


Then, DO NOT take one of those dough quarters and pull it out to moderate thickness (about 9″ around).


I ABSOLUTELY FORBID YOU to brush it with olive oil, then liberally spread on alfredo sauce (storebought is fine, as long as it’s not the super cheap yucky stuff.  TJ’s is divine.)


PLEASE DO NOT then sprinkle on asiago cheese, or mozzarella, or mild cheddar, or monterey jack, or any combination of the above.


Finally, I REALLY ADVISE YOU NOT TO bake this monstrosity for about 8 minutes (ideally on a pizza stone), then cut it into squares or strips, and sprinkle on parmesan, and serve them with fancy infused olive oil or warm homemade marinara.




[Imagine here a pretty picture of a couple strips arranged artistically on a plate, with a bite taken out of the end of one]


Promise me.


(But if you do, will you take pictures and let me add them to this post?)


I cannot let a month go by without a single post.  It makes me twitchy.


(I’m sure y’all also feel deprived of my sparkling witticisms and charming presence. I know it.  ADMIT IT.  YOU LIKE ME.)


The radio silence hasn’t been due to anything particularly awful or traumatic.  I’ve just…not been writing.  You know how it goes sometimes.


And now that I’m actually posting? I’m coming up with a big fat lotta *nothing* to talk about.


This may be the first time that’s ever happened.  Ever.


So instead of words, how about pictures?


Just after Christmas, Jeff and I went to the Star Trek exhibit at the Science Center:

The inside of the exhibit was camera-free (boo!), so you’ll have to use your imagination when I tell you of the childlike joy Jeff expressed as he dragged me around looking at “omg a real Tricorder!”  “Look! Picard’s quarters!”  and (Jeff’s favorite), a walk-in, scale model of the bridge from TNG.  (Jeff sat in the captain’s chair and made me sit in the first officer’s.  This is after he spent ten minutes wandering around in a daze, pushing buttons and commanding things under his breath).


He’s just so darned cute, I can’t stand it.




I seem to recall that I owe y’all a holiday gift summary thingy.  Believe it or not, I still have a couple gifts outstanding, so those must go undisclosed for now.  But aside from those…


That’s a blanket for Granddad, out of Vintage worsted.  I kind of just bought a bunch of yarn and started making stripes ’till I found a pattern I liked, then I reversed it for the other half.  This after much wailing and gnashing of teeth and a rather heated Knit Night discussion of  the merits of garter stitch v. stockinette for such a project.


This here’s an awful photo, but I promise you the actual thing is quite nice:  last spring my boss asked me if I ever knit hats, and if so, if I could ever knit a hat with a Bears logo on it.  I’d said yes, then there was no more discussion (but I did hang onto that thought in the back of my tiny little brain).  So when Christmas rolled around, I retrieved the thought, dusted it off, bought the yarn, and turned it into a hat of Rowan Pure Wool:

I know that’s the worst photo EVER, and that pictures don’t usually lie, but you must believe me that this hat is actually quite symmetrical, a very nice color, and looks absolutely lovely.  I improvised most of it (as much as one *can* improvise the concept of “turned-rib bottom plain stockinette cap”) and then had to try twice to successfully chart and then duplicate-stitch the “C”.  The first go was rather comically squat and aggressively forward-leaning, and the whole “stitch-unpick-rechart-stitch” ordeal turned this from a 4-hour project into a 12-hour one.  Whee!  But my boss liked it, so I’m happy.


A long time ago, I found a beautiful shawl pattern (Holden Shawlette) on Rav but knew it was one I’d not really want for myself.  So I queued it with the vague idea of “Carol might like this”, and let it percolate there for a good long while.  This Christmas I decided to combine that pattern with some gorgeous magenta Jitterbug, and made this:


The scallop-y lace and bobble-y bindoff still isn’t really my thing, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t fun to knit.  Everything about it was super quick except for that bindoff which – I’m not gonna lie – I was pretty sure I’d be working on until I keeled over of old age.  It was totally worth it, though – I love this thing!



Jeff’s sister had better start telling me when she gets sick of socks, because otherwise I’ll keep knitting her a pair every year until the sun implodes.

(2009’s are on Rav, and here are 2010‘s).


Those were actually my first bit of Christmas knitting for 2011! I started them way back in August at a get-together for my family.  I picked up the Madtosh “Tart” at a yarn shop in DC last summer because I thought Laura would love the intense, dark shade of red.  Then I just cast on and started moving around YO’s and dec’s until I came up with something pretty.  (I love designing on the fly.  It’s about as spontaneous as you can get, isn’t it?)


2011 was a very sock-y year for gifts, too.  I found this Fleece Artist at TLE and cast on to make socks for Jeff’s cousin Katie in September.  These were my purse socks for a long time – I started them while at Allstar getting my tragus pierced in September (ok well not actually DURING the piercing. I can knit while getting tattooed, sure, but not during piercing.  That’s crazytalk.), then worked on them through our Wednesday lunchtime movie times off-and-on all fall.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE this colorway, and thought it worked well with the busy-but-simple lace pattern.

I’ve owed Katie a proper pair of socks for a long time.


I’ve got a work friend who seemed needing of fingerless gloves.  And, coincidentally, I am capable of making fingerless gloves.  So I got some 220 Sport in a bright orange I knew she’d love, and I cast on for dearest Abbie’s Autumn Leaves mitt pattern:

The yardage was a bit shorter than I’d have liked, and the yarn a bit thicker, so the proportions came out slightly different than if I’d been making these for myself.  But I think they’re lovely anyway, and Rachael loves them, so it’s a win!  These weren’t actually a Christmas present, but were rather a “congratulations on being ABD!” present.  Which is better than Christmas, if you’re a PhD student.


And also? One of these days I’m going to get 50g of a rusty autumnal orange fingering-weight and make myself a pair of these.  That was seriously a lovely and fun little pattern.  Those leaves on the thumb gussets make me so happy!


I’d never made socks for my MIL, so I was able to quickly knit up some simple ones out of Fiberphile for her:

Though I wondered about the usefulness of wool socks for someone who lives in Florida, Jeff insisted that she’d like them.  Maybe to wear on that one day a year when it’s actually vaguely chilly there?  😛


There were a couple more Christmas gifts, but the photos are so terribly bad that I can’t even bring myself to post them here – but they’re on Rav if you’re dying to know. I made Jeff’s cousin Lynn a snuggly cowl of cardinal-red Baby Alpaca Grande, and some Sleekit Mitts (one of my favorite patterns, in case you haven’t noticed :-D) for my grandma, from Heritage silk.  Oh, and I made Jeff some charcoal grey ribbed socks, but I won’t abuse you by making you look at those.  They’re so boring they’d put you straight to sleep.  Seriously: no Ambien needed. But Jeff likes boring socks, so he’s happy 🙂




I think the weather is part of what’s throwing my mood all out of whack.  We’ve had ONE halfway-decent snow this season, and even that was just 2″ that lasted for like a day. I didn’t even bother to bust out my LLBean snow boots, ’cause that would’ve just been sad.


HOWEVER, even I’m not completely mad.  I cannot deny that today’s 65* partly-cloudy stuff is nice.  My walk to work this morning was simply lovely.  I just wish this was happening in April instead of, y’know, FREAKING JANUARY.




Speaking of “walk to work”, that’s one of two informal new year’s resolutions (the other being a vague but thus-far-successful aim to “drink less Diet Coke and more water.”).  For the past couple years, I’ve been riding my bike to work almost every day.  Which is nice, because biking is fast and efficient and fun.  Love biking.  But I also feel like walking doesn’t really get the love it deserves.  I’ve always enjoyed going on really long walks – in the summer when Jeff’s been gone, that’s just about all Roxie and I would do: we’d harness up and go wander to campus, through the Loop, around the beautiful neighborhoods here in U City, just everywhere.  But during the week, I don’t always have time for a nice long evening walk (and it’s like 85% less fun to walk in the dark, anyway.)  So I’ve been making a specific effort to get ready earlier in the morning, and then walk to work when I can instead of biking.  It’s about a mile and a half or two miles each way, so with a morning walk to work and an evening walk home, I feel like I really get the chance for some nice, meditative low-impact exercise.  The only thing that’s missing is the dog:  alas, the university has a strict “faculty and staff cannot bring dogs to work” policy, even though Roxie is so exceedingly cute and polite.




(Afternoon addendum):  Just a moment ago I was given a copy of The Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker.  I flipped through this mofo and HOLY COW.  Dudes, I’m going to make everything in this RIGHT NOW.  The Indian section especially is amazing.  I just ate lunch and I’m hungry again just looking at this stuff.  If y’all like using the slow cooker and hate that half the shit out there calls for either a pot roast, Ro-Tel, or disgusting “cream of ___” soup (or, ::gag::, all three), then go buy this freaking book.  You won’t regret it.




OK I think that’s enough miscellany for one day.  I promise I won’t disappear for a whole month again.  🙂

Christmas, etc.

As I write this I’m currently trying in vain to keep my lap cat-free.  It’s not working.  Just thought you should know.


The days leading up to Christmas were super busy for me (and, I’m sure, for other holiday knitters and crafters ’round the world 🙂).  Then I was off work all last week, and Dr. Who is on Netflix streaming, and I have all this lovely stash yarn to knit up, and…you know how it goes.  Not a lot has gotten done 😀

This was our first year hosting the big family Christmas Eve dinner (and, since we’re moving to California next year and then DC after that, it may have been our only shot at the gig).  My parents came into town on 12/23, so Roxie got to have some quality time with her Granddad…

(I think they were both happy with that arrangement)


and I enlisted Mom into indentured servitude, making a table runner from a length of fabric I’d picked up at Hancock:

See how happy she looks about driving 250 miles and then immediately being forced to slave over a temperamental sewing machine?



The next day (Christmas Eve), Dad taught me how to prep a turkey:


That’s also when I learned that for some reason, turkeys come with severed necks in their chest cavities:


Fucking disgusting.


This is the most awesome picture ever and I think I’m going to ask it to be lasered onto my headstone.  With the caption, “Julia Child she ain’t.”

(Err…what’s the past tense of “ain’t”?)


The finished table, complete with Mom’s runner:

Isn’t it pretty? I’m so proud 🙂  The white tablecloths were borrowed from Mom, and Jeff’s cousins brought a bunch of folding chairs when they arrived later that day.  The holiday china was a gift five or six years ago, and I got the sage green napkins at World Market (they were half the price of the IDENTICAL Christmas napkins; the only difference being that these didn’t come in a pack with a cartoon reindeer on the label.)


I made those namecards – the snowflake stickers from Target are all matchy-matchy with the pattern on the runner.  And the thingies on the plate were Mom’s idea (via Pinterest, I think):  “reindeer noses” of Whoppers, in muffin papers wrapped in baggies.


(Yes, that is where I get “it” from)


And of course, my little Type-A self had to plan – and label – each serving dish before cooking!

I don’t know where the Zoloft post-its came from, but I giggle a bit every time I use one.


I’d been looking for a small, non-tacky garland for the dining room hutch, but I never could find one.  So I kept it simple:


While Mom was making the runner on Friday night, I baked a red velvet cake.  And then on Saturday morning, I frosted it.  Like so:

The brown flecks are toffee crunch bits from the cake decorating section at Michael’s.  Alicia gave me the idea for the red velvet cake – originally I was going to do another turtle cheesecake, but I was sort of tired of those, having made three in as many weeks.  Then I was going to make a plain chocolate bundt cake, but decided I wanted to do something just a bit more special.  Then I was going to make a pumpkin cake, but was out of canned pumpkin.  So…red velvet it is!  I’d made red velvet layer cakes before, but not a bundt cake.  So I used this recipe, though I was initially dubious about the lack of sugar and chocolate. I also threw out their cream cheese frosting recipe and went with my own. I was really happy with how it turned out! 🙂


While I was cooking, Dad and Jeff chilled out with Roxanne:


and Mom found Macbeth, then actually persuaded him to let her pick him up!

Six years we’ve had that cat, and that’s the first time he’s let Mom hold him (and only the third time she’s even seen him!).


Shy cat is shy.


I was pretty busy cooking all day.  Our final menu ended up being:


  • Nasty 1970’s-esque pinwheel things that everyone descends upon like locusts on the wheat crop
  • Cranberry-covered goat cheese with sweet-salty crackers
  • Bean dip + chips from Jeff’s cousin


  • Turkey (yay! It worked!  Nom.)
  • Mashed potatoes (family recipe) and gravy (Dad’s recipe)
  • Sweet potato casserole (adapted from here. And I will never reveal the secret changes.  But it was good.)
  • Green bean casserole (adapted from here – no onion crunch topping; I use pearl onions instead and just sprinkle breadcrumbs on top.)
  • Olives (TJ’s finest, yo)
  • Hot rolls (Grandma’s recipe – it’s like the cinnamon rolls, but not rolled out and just cut into 15, then baked the same)
  • Brussels sprouts (loosely based off this; a vast improvement over my usual method of “just steam the fuckers”)
  • Salad from Jeff’s cousin


  • Red velvet cake
  • Snowball cookies (I make mine with Ghiradelli mini chocolate chips, and pecans.)


None of these people starved to death on Christmas eve:



After dinner was over and gifts were exchanged and Roxie made an impassioned plea to run away with her new best friend (sorry, Dad.  Roxie’s got a new love, and it’s Jeff’s cousin Paul)…


Then everybody left but Mom and Dad, and Jeff and I washed the dishes and settled in for this:

(Christmas Vacation, of course),


and this…

(Two Buck Chuck, of course)


Well, in no time flat, I was out.


Mom and Dad got here at about 9:30 on Christmas morning, and we did our presents then.  Highlights included a dinosaur-bone-sized-rawhide:





We only let Wozzie nom half of that, because (TMI, but she’s a dog so it doesn’t count) OMG those things give Roxie what we affectionately call The Ass of Doom.  We may be ready to give her the other half sometime in June.  Or maybe next time she’s at Grammy and Granddad’s, so she can stay out in the yard. 😛


But she’s happy, so that’s all that matters.


In the realm of “gifts which don’t make the recipient fart”, here’s Dad with the rug I latch-hooked for him (to add to his vast collection of elephant stuff):

Funny story, this.


I got the kit to make that when I was a young teenager – ’round 2000 or so.  EVERY SINGLE YEAR since then, I’ve undergone the same process:

1)Take out partly-finished elephant latch-hook rug

2)Vow that “This year’s the year!” to finish elephant latch-hook rug

3)Work fervently on elephant latch-hook rug for period of time lasting between two hours and two days

4)Lose all interest in elephant latch-hook rug shortly after realizing latch-hooking is incredibly dull

5)Sort out another Christmas gift for Dad, and stash elephant latch-hook rug away for next year


This rug – in its unfinished state – has accompanied me on no fewer than FOUR discrete moves and to THREE separate cities.


Funny thing is, though, that when you work on something in fits and starts over the course of eleven (!!!) years, it *will* eventually become finished.  Somehow.  And that’s what happened this year:  with just 1,500 threads left to place, it only took two evenings’ effort to finish.


And now I don’t have to move it to California.


My parents really outdid themselves this year on our gifts, too: I got an ice cream maker for my KitchenAid, a Tibetan singing bowl:

(which I’ve lusted after since forever ago)

and a bunch of cute clothes from LLBean (have I ever mentioned I like LLBean?) and Life is Good.  Life is good 🙂


I gave Mom a donation to their favorite animal shelter, and collars for Maxie and Eliza (it’s tradition).


Jeff gifted me with a framed print of one of my favorite PRB paintings:


and some bling (yo!):


and I gave him a personalized bookplate, some handknitted socks (photos forthcoming), books, and assorted video game paraphernalia.


Before Mom and Dad headed back to KC, we had cinnamon rolls (Grandma’s recipe), eggs and turkey sausage for brunch, and then Jeff and I spent the rest of the day knitting (me), playing video games (him), and annoying the dog with the singing bowl.  Turnabout is fair play, after all.


Of course, there were handknits too (oh so many handknits), but I’ll save that for another post:  this is getting ridiculously long as it is, and I need to get off my duff and go put away Christmas decorations 🙂


Happy new year!

Again with the miscellany

Tomorrow is the big family Xmas dinner.  My parents are coming into town this afternoon, and they’re staying through Sunday morning.  I still have quite a bit of baking and cooking to do (though, not nearly as much as a few years ago!), so this may be my last post for a few days.  I’ll try and remember to take pictures along the way, though 🙂

If I don’t see ya, happy holidays!

And now, random things…


This year, Target is selling delightful little hat and scarf sets for the kitteh in your life.  And you know I bought one.  And wrestled it onto Macbeth, and then made him pose for pictures with Daddy.

Awwww…look at his little hateface!

There’s something about cute things being full of loathing that I just find absolutely irresistible.  (I’m still talking about the cat, by the way)

He kind of wants me dead now.  You can tell:

And because torturing one hapless beast isn’t enough, of course we had to break out the antlers for Miss Rox.

(Not only is she unhappy about the antlers; she’s also sick to death of watching Chopped and Cupcake Wars.)

Wozzie wasn’t feeling particularly cooperative, though, and eventually she just gave in to her fate…

“Oh, the shame!  Shame, shame, shame…”

Enough of that silliness.  Next!


Y’all know I’ve got awesome and crafty and housewifely.  So when Morgan approached me with a tricky stain, I was happy to do my best to help.  She had spilled some red wine on a friend’s shirt, and couldn’t get it to come out fully. So I promised to give it a shot: I knew I could make that stain invisible one way or another!

Observe, stained spot:

It’s light, but it’s there (puddle around the black “X”).

I couldn’t get the stain out completely, so decided to do the next best thing:  mask it, in a tasteful way.

So I went to the craft store and found a small, tasteful, subtle patch…

And then I oh-so-carefully applied it to the afflicted area:

Just call me Heloise, bitches.

Can’t even see that stain.  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.*


Last but certainly not least, I got a WONDERFUL package in the mail yesterday, from Kathy!  It arrived at the end of a rather tiring and frustrating day – the nicest surprise I could’ve asked for!

Look at all those wonderful goodies!  Some hand towels, cards, super-cute knitting sign (which is now hanging in my craft room :-)), tea mugs, and beautiful lady!  And the nicest card I’ve ever read.

I haven’t named the lady yet, but here’s where she’s living:

On my dresser, right next to the beautiful mother-of-pearl box that Jen sent me from Korea!  This little space makes me happy 🙂

Thank you so, so much Kathy!  Now I must plot my revenge… 😀


Oops, I forgot – one more thing!  Check out this little bit of Type-A satisfaction:

What’s that?  Oh, just THE MOST PERFECT WRAPPING PAPER SEAM EVER, of course. One in a million shot right there.  The pattern couldn’t have matched up better if I’d tried!

Now that’s beauty. 😀


*OK, the real story is that when the stain wouldn’t come out, Morgan bought her friend an identical, replacement shirt.  But it was determined that some fun should still be had, anyway.  So I did the above, and Morgan presented it to him with the story of, “I couldn’t fix it, so I hid the stain for you!” before giving him the real replacement.

Vodka in an apron and heels: a saga of pseudo-housewifely desperation

A week or two ago I came across this tutorial from Bethany Actually via Pinterest.  And as y’all know, I can never resist the opportunity to take a simple task and make it infinitely more complicated.  So I almost immediately ran to the Container Store and Whole Foods for a tiny little glass carafe and some vanilla beans ($11.99 for two! Ridiculous! Next time I’m ordering from here or something), and set to work.


Yes, as Aliya so astutely predicted on Monday’s post, I have decided to make my own vanilla.  (Because apparently the stuff in the little bottle from Trader Joe’s just isn’t good enough for me anymore).


But on Sunday morning when I set out to undertake this, I realized: I had a tiny little glass carafe, and I had vanilla beans, but I had no vodka.*


So I made a last-minute run to the Schnucks just around the corner.  In my Fluevogs and – as I realized only when I was standing in the grocery store – vintage-styled apron over my dress.  I was the very picture of housewifelyness (if only I had curlers in my hair…).


So I was standing at the liqour/cigarettes/money orders counter there in the ghetto Schnucks before noon on a Sunday, wearing my apron and heels, and politely asked the clerk, “I’d like to buy a small bottle of vodka, please.”


She looked at me as though I were an alien fresh onto Earth, making an earnest but ill-suited attempt at blending in.**


“Um…what kind?”


“Something…expensive?  And I don’t need much – only half a cup for a recipe.”


(Pardon me, Kate. Your dorkiness is showing.)


I got the alien look again, and then the clerk gingerly held up a 200ml bottle of Absolut:  “This is $7.55. Is that expensive enough?”


This was getting more awful by the second. I was just about at my awkwardness limit for the day, and it was only 10am.  I paid for the little bottle of vodka and ran out as quick as I could, pausing only to take off my apron and stash it in the passenger seat of my car before I finished my other errands.


And then, to spare myself any further humiliation, I…  told you all about it.  (When will I learn?)


But yes.  Vanilla.  Here is how to make vanilla, in three easy steps:


1)Pretend to chug your $7.55 little bottle of Absolut:


2)Cut up a couple vanilla beans (in half and then sliced lengthwise), then rub your hands together so they smell like wonderful vanilla goodness for the rest of the day, and so you look like a total perv sitting there smelling your fingers all evening:


2a)Put your vanilla beans into your tiny little glass carafe from The Container Store.  Arrange them like miniature teepee poles:

(Here it is acceptable to pause momentarily and wonder what it would be like to live in a vanilla-scented teepee.)


3)Pour in vodka, obtained on Sunday morning from the ghetto grocery store while wearing an apron and heels:


And TADAAAA!  Vanilla-in-progress!

Now I just need to let it steep for a month.  It’s been three days so far and it’s already quite dark, so maybe the full month isn’t strictly necessary, but the more vanilla-y the better, right?


More telling, though, is that Jeff didn’t question this at all. I guess he’s used to my antics by now:  “What’s that? You’re going to make an ingredient out of ingredients, at a much higher expense and trouble? OK, whatev.”  I guess at least this way he knows I’m not off roaming the streets stirrin’ up trouble.



*We don’t really keep hard liquor in the house. We’re not Puritans or anything – we usually have a couple varieties of snooty microwbrew in the fridge and a bottle or two of wine on the rack – but having hard liqour around just isn’t really our thing.

**Coincidentally, that’s frequently how I feel as well.

Friday Favorites – 10/15/10

I would like to be this awesome.


::headdesk::  I weep for what the present is doing to the future.


Great Sunday Sweets from CW.


Prettiest baby-measurer I’ve ever seen!  I love this idea!


For me, every week is wool week.


Based off this, I should eat a ton of meat and fat, moderate amounts of highly processed carbs, only a little bit of  vegetarian protein, and almost no fruits or veggies.


Great idea, but who would want to scrub soap scum off these things?


Beautiful – I may have to get this!


Cute little tattoo.




Amazing guide to green cleaning products – most of these “recipes” are pretty similar to my own.


Guilty as charged.


Swiss chard, onion and cheese frittata.  Yum!


Well said, former free-range kid.  Well said.


Heh heh heh yeah….


Pretty fall photos 🙂


Amazing Pashley ads.  Which also makes me think that their target demographic is girls named Kate, too.