Good-bye 2007!

December 31, 2007. Words. Leave a comment.

Gourmet Cooking: Lesson 4, Beer Bread

Easy Beer Bread

My younger brother gave me a variation of this recipe several years ago after using it during a long trip to the Minnesota Boundary Waters. This is a real recipe, unlike previous gourmet cooking lessons.

3 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
4 tsp. baking powder (1 tbsp & 1 tsp)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cream of tarter
12 oz. beer (standard can or bottle, any kind)
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)

1. Heat oven to 350. Grease standard loaf pan. (I use non-stick cooking spray.)

2. Mix dry ingredients in large bowl. Stir in beer until fully mixed and no longer foaming.

3. Spread in pan. Bake 45 minutes.

4. Melt butter. (I microwave it in a coffee mug.) Take pan out of oven. Pour butter evenly over bread. If desired, first poke small holes in the bread using a knife or chopstick, to create places for butter to pool.

5. Bake 15 more minutes. Best served warm. Cover leftovers with foil or plastic wrap to prevent it from getting hard (unless you want that for putting crisp bits in soup). Ok to store at room temperature.

We eat this bread with homemade split pea soup, chili, and tomato soup. It’s also good with jam or cheese. I recommend warming leftovers in the microwave before eating.

The original recipe called for just four ingredients: self-rising flour, sugar, beer, and butter. I don’t have self-rising flour so fiddled with different ratios of the Emergency Substitutions listed at the back of my Betty Crocker cookbook until I found my preferred combination. Increase sugar and decrease salt to make it taste almost like banana bread, or add more salt and skip the baking soda & cream of tarter to make it more biscuit-like. It does not actually taste like beer.

December 29, 2007. Recipes, Words. 1 comment.

Mark & Smriti: Married!

smiling

and we're married!

December 28, 2007. Pictures. 1 comment.

Gingerbread house

gingerbread house

My Secret Can’t-Call-It-Santa at work gave me a gingerbread house kit as a final gift. Rebecca, Brandon, and I had a delightful time, even though picture on the box was a load of crap. No way that’s possible using just the tools and pieces provided. We’ve looked better, but our creation sure is pretty.

horrified by the result more gingerbread house

December 27, 2007. Pictures, Projects, Words. 3 comments.

Christmas loot

  • A book about crochet and a FAQ book on knitting, which will increase my crafting repertoire
  • Lightweight hat, scarf, and gloves for these bitter cold Arizona nights.  (Freeze warning issued for 3:00-9:00 tomorrow morning!)
  • CD & mp3 player for my car, including iPod hook-up
  • Fancy serving utensils
  • Handmade paper & envelopes
  • Desserts by the Yard, a cookbook by Sherry Yard that includes beautiful photographs as well as anecdotes about her years as a pastry chef at Spago, Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant
  • Subscriptions to Real Simple and People magazines
  • Eternal salvation – thanks, baby Jesus!

December 25, 2007. Words. Leave a comment.

I feel so… mainstream

So I was catching up on the latest xkcd comics, a delightful web comic that I was at first convinced was written by a woman because it was like the writer was inside my head and I’m a woman and then it turned out that it was just another web comic by some dude and not a woman at all.  Anyway, I came across this one.  I’m singing the song as I type, I know it’s by Rick Astley, and I’ve seen the music video, but I don’t know the term trolling or what it means to get rickrolled.

I guess this is what it feels like to be mainstream.

December 23, 2007. Words. Leave a comment.

I’m a night owl!

This New York Times article discusses seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and talks about options such as light treatment and negative ionizers. I went to the suggested questionnaire website to find out if I am in fact a night person.  After I answered a few questions, it said that its diagnostic is not calibrated for somebody of my preferred sleeping hours and did I want to continue answering questions anyway? I think this means that my ideal sleep is longer than a normal person’s. For a decade now I’ve believed that my natural circadian rhythm is longer than our 24-hour day. It seems like it’s around 30 hours: asleep 12, awake 18.

I continued with the questions even though the results wouldn’t be especially accurate.

_________________________________________________

My score is 32.

16-30 31-41 42-58 59-69 70-86
definite evening moderate evening intermediate moderate morning definite morning

YOUR MORNINGNESS-EVENINGNESS TYPE IS CONSIDERED TO BE MODERATE EVENING.

WE ESTIMATE THAT YOUR MELATONIN ONSET OCCURS AT ABOUT 11:30 PM.

WE ESTIMATE THAT YOUR “NATURAL” BEDTIME IS AT ABOUT 1:00 AM.
This information can be put to important use if you are trying to organize your daily schedule to best match with your circadian rhythm type. It is especially useful if you want to use light therapy to shift your rhythms in a desired direction (morning light shifts rhythms earlier; evening light shifts them later).

December 20, 2007. Words. 2 comments.

Sometimes, when you have a dog…

You forget that there’s an opened pack of pink & white frosted circus animal cookies in a bag on the floor and the dog will eat all of them. Eight hours later she’ll vomit pink on the carpet, stains that won’t come out after four scrubbings with SpotShot, and will poo pink for two days. At least she won’t die of insulin shock.

December 17, 2007. Words. 2 comments.

Apron #2

(Non-fuzzy pictures to be reposted, maybe.)

front     side    back

December 16, 2007. Pictures, Projects. Leave a comment.

Baby quilt pictures

The complete quilt is bigger than traditional baby quilt size, which I realized when I went to buy batting and the “crib size” was a bit too short on all sides.  It should fit in a crib if it’s folded or tucked under something.  Plus, it will still be useful on a little bed in a few years, or spread on the floor to provide a soft surface for doing whatever it is a baby does before it can even hold up its own head, or to warm the family snuggling on the couch.

I know that white isn’t the best fabric to use for the back of a baby quilt, since it will show the stains of use and quickly lose its crisp color, but I really wanted soft flannel dinosaurs and this material was the only option for immediate purchase.  (It was a race between me and the baby — who would be done first?)
Note to self: close bathroom door before taking pictures of future projects. Better yet, go outside during the day for natural light.

close-up front dinosaurs on the back front & back

it's a cape the quilt

December 14, 2007. Pictures, Projects, Words. 1 comment.

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