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15 posts from December 2012

31 December 2012

New favorite, and this is what I'm talking about!

I recently pinned a recipe for Pommes Anna to my Yummy - Paleo Pinterest board and couldn't wait to try them, especially since I had quite a few sweet potatoes on-hand.

I have probably thought more often, with fondness and longing, of regular old potatoes -- good old Russets, Idahos, and Reds -- than I have of bread or pasta since embarking on this journey, and I would definitely miss them more if it wasn't for sweet potatoes, parsnips, and riced or mashed cauliflower. Potatoes -- mashed, smashed, roasted, baked, boiled, sliced, scalloped, diced, fried -- oh, my, is there any way that they aren't just plain old delicious? -- have long been a favorite of mine.

Pommes Anna can be made with any type of potato, so I made it with sweet. Oh, and hello, I have a new favorite! Terrible photographs do no justice at all, but are nonetheless shared herewith.

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Into the oven they go. I used 3 medium-ish sweet potatoes and probably should have used 5.

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Just out of the oven, the potatoes are somewhat compressed, but a few more layers would have been better. I'll know better next time.

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Turned out on the cutting board, I'm pretty sure I squealed with delight. One of my favorite things is the crispy, charred, almost burned-y bits -- on just about anything that's baked, toasted, or grilled -- and this is perfect to my eye.

My taste buds agreed!

It couldn't be more simple: Potatoes, Butter, Salt, Pepper. It needs attention in the oven, but not much and the reward is worth it!

I'm thankful to Jan @ Jan's Sushi Bar and her tips about this dish. I have only just discovered her blog, but it looks to be a great resource and inspiration for Whole30, Paleo, low-carb recipes.

It'll be a low-key ringing in of the new year in these parts. My sisters and brother will all be stopping by for a while, as will my mom and her husband (I think), and my kids and nephews. It'll be raucous for a while, no doubt, but I know more than a few of my guests wouldn't mind being tucked in and snoring by 10:00.

Happy New Year!

27 December 2012

What's working, what's not

Well, it's "the holidays" and, considering that it's the holidays, I think I'm doing okay. My weight has fluctuated a bit but given the added imbibing and indulgences, I am very okay with that; last Saturday I finally hit 30 pounds lost.

Thirty pounds! That translates to something like over 100 pounds of pressure taken off of my knees (and, I suppose), ankles, and toes.

My back is finally feeling better. I was beginning to wonder if I had a kidney stone. Oh! You want to know what my sweet daughter said? She told me that my sore back could have been my body adjusting to the weight loss -- Whoa!! Isn't that the sweetest thing?

So, what's working? I've been trying to use my Yummy - Paleo Pinterest board more, especially for things I find online. The stellar Bacon-Wrapped Smoky Chicken Thighs and Pecan-Crusted Sweet Potatoes that I made at Thanksgiving are both there. They both made encore appearances at Christmas and were devoured! I've recently pinned, made, and loved Balsamic-Glazed Drumsticks and Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Vinaigrette (once with added carrots) -- balsamic vinegar obviously being my new best friend! The brussels sprouts also were requested at the Christmas table, also, and I was happy to oblige.

And I've finally made cauliflower "rice." I'm SO happy that I found this video... OMG, so fast & easy! It takes longer to get the equipment out than it does to chop and "rice." (I have an old Osterizer commercial blender, so that's what I used and it worked great!)

(And isn't that funny? I have a Big Red Kitchen, too!)

I usually rice a whole head at a time. Sometimes I cook it all up (in batches) and store the leftovers that way, but I've also stored the extra uncooked. It's super fast to prepare, either by sauteeing or just throwing it in a pot with some butter. Most important of all, it was very well-liked by all -- including Rusty, never a huge fan of cauliflower and an almost daily consumer of real (brown) rice!

I've roasted cauliflower (and broccoli - sometimes together), too, and it is SO yum. I have been winning people over with the roasting, especially when I do it with my new best friend (balsamic vinegar), and even the previously detested brussels sprout has been declared "delicious."

I'm still motivated and eager to try new things.

What's not working? OMG, the sugar!! It's hard to avoid right now, and I've indulged, but waking in the middle of the night with horrible heartburn tells me how much I've OVER-indulged -- as do some other "systems" conditions. This all serves to remind me how far I've come and just how much better I feel overall! I won't have time for a Whole30 before leaving for Brazil, but a Whole15 is looking pretty good!!

Also not working are some overly involved "weeknight" meals I've prepared. One of the things I like best about "paleo" is rediscovering how delicious and satisfying a simply prepared meal can be -- season, roast, steam, saute, or bake, sometimes serve with a simple sauce or glaze. I enjoy putting together an elaborate meal occasionally, but definitely not the norm.

Just for the record, it was a mid-afternoon Christmas Day meal this year at my house:

  • HoneyBaked Ham (Mom)
  • Rolls (Mom)
  • Pecan-Crusted Sweet Potatoes (minus dairy components)
  • Steamed Green Beans
  • Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Vinaigrette
  • Cauliflower Rice
  • Tortilla Wraps (Katie)
  • Gluten-free Bread w/Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar (Ali)
  • Apple Pie with Rice Flour Crust (Rusty)
  • Everyday Paleo Pumpkin Pie w/fresh whipped cream

And before I even knew it, Annie had the kitchen all cleaned up! That works!!

 

26 December 2012

Who draws the crowd and plays so loud?

Electronic
Baby, it's the guitar man/men!

Thanks to the "sharing" of my FB friend Liz, I ordered these AMAZING Electronic Rock Guitar Shirts from ThinkGeek when I found out the boys would be home for Christmas, after all. They have tiny little amplifiers that either clip onto a belt or fit into a pocket at the inside hem of the shirt; all the electronic parts are removable for washing, and the shirt is cute even without all the gadgetry.

Also (originally) available in adult sizes!

And also on drums!!

They were a big hit!!

ETA: Bonus link due to earlier faulty cut & paste technique Star Wars Paper Snowflake Templates

* * * * *

Us
Festivities have not yet concluded at Chez Knitorious! It's Rusty's birthday today!!

 

25 December 2012

Merry Christmas

Kiddos
My, how things do change when they're all grown up! It was after 11:00 a.m. and *I* was the one chomping at the bit to open presents, but we had to wait 'til coffee brewed and everyone had a full cup!!

There was a National Geographic "Scotland" calendar for everyone, putting us wholeheartedly in agreement: Next year, Christmas in Scotland!

Much has been happening here over the past month or so, and our rather untraditional holiday has turned more and more traditional by the minute. Whatever, we're going with the flow. What else can we do?

Wishing you a very happy holiday,

Vicki

21 December 2012

Unthinkable

I've thought of my first grade teacher, Mrs. Kelly, so often this week and in so many ways.

Wayne-Thomas-School
I haven't once thought of her with a gun in our classroom, though; can't even imagine it.

I can't imagine that for my daughter, either; in fact, I'm thinking that could be a deal-breaker for Madeleine in the education department.

* * * * *

I cast on only one new "snow day" project, but did so three times! I made pretty good progress that last time, too, but wasn't completely happy. Sooooo, I'm making a change and let's hope that the fourth time's the charm!

The storm is all but cleaned up, the sun is shining, and the ice is melting! Maddy's on her way home (a day late) for winter break, and I'm finalizing my To-Do List.

 

20 December 2012

Snow day!

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They've been warning of a big snowstorm for days... like, riiiight... I've fallen for that one before! But this time, it seems pretty legit. The governor declared a state of emergency before I even saw a flake, and almost every school in the area had already called off classes last night.

We were supposed to go pick up Madeleine from school this afternoon, but she's going to have to stay put for another day. I did venture to work this morning, but only stayed for a couple of hours. It's no fun driving. The snow is wet and SO heavy. I tried to shovel a bit and, well, that's just not going to happen. That heavy wet stuff isn't so great on power lines, either.

So, I'm going to pour a cup of tea, maybe watch a movie, and cast on a new project... or two.

It's a SNOW DAY!!

 

17 December 2012

A story

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Once upon a time there were four sisters; from l-to-r, twins Sharon & Karen, the baby Ann, and the best big sister in the whole wide world, Vicki. (Heh.) On occasion they'd all be in the same place at the same time and someone would suggest taking pictures!

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One of the sisters (Sharon) never liked picture-taking time very much, and this time began to grump and complain about Karen being too close and touching her.

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Vicki & Ann gave a demonstration on appropriate behavior and how to sit next to each other without touching.

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Ann continued by giving an example of inappropriate and in-your-face behavior.

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Sharon responded in typical Sharon fashion, grabbing Karen's boob! "I've got your touching right here!"

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Vicki exclaimed, "OMG! Really? You really DID that?"

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Then their mom came and sat down in the middle and everyone was on their best behavior for the rest of the day.

The end.

* * * * *

We all sure had some good times together.

* * * * *

Remembering my sister Sharon today -- June 15, 1960-December 17, 2010 -- and missing her always.

 

14 December 2012

Today

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Even though they weren't planning to fly home on Christmas Eve, I am so very happy that they are... and I can't wait to hug them.

No words about today's tragedy in Connecticut, only heartbreak and tears.

This has helped to ground me today:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” --Mr. Rogers

12 December 2012

Year in Review: 2012

It's that time again. As I've done the last few years sometime in December, it's time for a review of the year in words (the first sentence of the first post of each month) and in pictures (a favorite posted photo from each month) -- one is not necessarily related to the other.

January:

018-of-366

I've done a little bit of a bunch of stuff today...

February:

057-of-366

Fresh, new dishcloths and towels in bright colors and I am over the moon... more than I should be about such things, but there you go.

March:

image from www.flickr.com

Month #2/February of Project 366 (2012) is over!

April:

image from www.flickr.com

CHICAGO!! *

May:

Lookin' out my back door (at the other back door)

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Items Pinned to Your Bulletin Board / I could ask which one... 

June:

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I've done very few Knit-Alongs (KALs) in my years of "online" knitting.

July:

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And this will be the last portrait of siblings for a while. **

August:

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As I searched through the stash for something the other day one of the things (not THE thing) briefly acknowledged as it quickly passed in and out of my hands was a bag holding chosen yarn and a pattern for mittens.

September:

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This morning, I thought of the greatest title for this post that I wasn't ready to sit down and write.

October:

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After breakfast and some in-town doings on Wednesday morning, we drove up the Gunflint Trail.

November:

My McGunnegle

This is Eisig-Warm. ***

December:

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Favor first: Would you mind clicking over to Small Business Big Wishes and casting a vote for Alison's wish for new windows at Kaukauna Coffee & Tea?

* * * * *

* I actually went to Chicago twice in 2012 (three times if O'Hare and back counts)... and to Minnesota's North Shore... and to the Bay Area of California. It was a pretty good year for getting out and about.

** The possibility of a sibling portrait redux could happen again this holiday season. Ann & her family are flying in on Christmas Eve and will be here a third of the way through January -- returning home**** not much before I fly down there! The most unusual of holidays that I was anticipating... is still going to be one of the most unusual holidays ever.

*** That is not Eisig-Warm, it's My McGunnegle!

**** Brazil!

Welcome to my weird world.

 

10 December 2012

It's beginning

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This makes me so happy. The boxes for Toys For Tots and another to benefit a local Emergency Shelter were delivered -- empty -- to the coffee shop about a week before Thanksgiving. I'd look at them every morning when I stopped on my way to work and, every morning, they were just as empty as the day before. On Black Friday, released a bit early from work, I decided to go shopping... to prime the pump, as it were, on these boxes. It appears to have worked! Ha. It was fun to do, especially since I didn't really have a lot of actual shopping to do for people on my list at the time.

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It snowed almost all day long yesterday. This is as far as I ventured out (the back porch), having thrown out my back as I played an online word game with my friends and relaxed with morning coffee. Ice, Ice, Baby... and Ibuprofen. It's maybe a little better today. It's not worse.

Ugh.

I sure am crabby when my back hurts.

 

07 December 2012

Party season begins!

06 December 2012

Redheads

I had a lunch-time date with some of the fam yesterday!

Redheads
I didn't even realize, until someone else pointed it out, that it was with all the redheads! Rusty joined us for a while, too! He's never really been what you'd call a redhead, but his mother saw something to give him a nickname like that -- and one that's stuck hard for 60+ years!

I wore my boots, which meant that I wore leggings/tights, which means that I wore a dress -- one that I wore a few times to the farmers' market last summer and usually with a tie or belt. Just for grins, I thought I'd try the belt yesterday and it was about 3"-4" too big! I think I could have it made smaller -- the design is such that I can't do it myself -- but it might cost more to fix than I even paid. We'll see. Anyway, YAY!

It seemed like a good time to order a new swimming suit. It's one from Tommy Bahama's that I tried on in Chicago a few weeks ago and loved. I ordered the smaller of the two sizes I tried on that day. And then I spent a very enjoyable :20 or so last night trying on some of the other clothes in my closet -- an activity that doesn't usually have anything to do with "joy." I'm thinking I should be able to find a pair or two of shorts that fit, and then I'll be set for my tropical vacation.

I'm pondering a few sessions in a tanning bed. I don't know... I haven't done that in about a million years and my experience wasn't that great. I'm sure technology has changed since then. Is it safe? Other than that super-tan whack job that was in the news last year, I've been out of the loop. Maybe I can just be careful? Diligent with the sunscreen? I do live near The Frozen Tundra, but it hasn't been that long since I've seen the sun. I do burn sometimes, but not like the redheads. What would you do?

 

05 December 2012

My work here...

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...is apparently done. My daughter is not only a new member of Ravelry (now with project pages and notes!) (though not yet photos), she is also posting about knitting on her Facebook wall, and sharing knitting humor on mine!

 

04 December 2012

Ten on Tuesday: Humming along

Ten on Tuesday10 Favorite Holiday Albums

I'm pressed and distracted this week, but I love this topic -- I'm looking to fluff up my holiday music selection and look forward to getting around to all the participating blogs.

I'm being particular this year, loving a well done classic but so very tired of so very many of them -- the same old song or the same old rendition by the same old artist. I think I just need something new! That said, there's old and new mixed in here, and quite a few that are on my wish/contemplation list!

1. Snowed In - Hanson. I love it more and more each year, I think.

2. PTXmas - Pentatonix. I linked to a video the other day and downloaded all the songs shortly thereafter!

3. Home for Christmas - Hall & Oates. I chose this CD as my "free gift" with a recent supply catalog order and I have to say that I was happily surprised!

4. Merry Christmas - Johnny Mathis. This voice has always been a part of my life -- possibly this album, too! I actually have this vinyl.

5. The Bells of Dublin - The Chieftains. I'm not even sure how this CD came to be at my house, but it's been a favorite -- and I think my kids will feel about The Chieftains and this CD the way I do about Johnny Mathis and Merry Christmas.

6. Christmas - Michael Buble. Soon to be mine.

7. Merry Christmas, Baby - Rod Stewart. Also soon to be mine.

8. A Charlie Brown Christmas - Vince Guaraldi Trio. Never, ever, ever tire of this.

9. My Christmas - Katherine Jenkins. On my wish list.

10. Under The Mistletoe - Justin Bieber. We shall end as we begin!

 

03 December 2012

Growth of a knitter, and a favor

Favor first: Would you mind clicking over to Small Business Big Wishes and casting a vote for Alison's wish for new windows at Kaukauna Coffee & Tea? That would be so awesome! Poor Frankie... it can get a little chilly in his favorite spot by the window, and sometimes the condensation makes it hard to see -- and, you know, seeing and being seen is what it's all about! I believe you can vote once a day. The rules state: Each person may vote one (1) time for any particular Submission during the Contest Period. Multiple votes received from any person or email address in excess of the stated number will be void. (etc.) Thank you!!

Decorating
Tree's up! Partially decorated -- Maddy would kill me if we didn't leave some for her.

Katie did indeed finish The Rime Frost Cowl, then frogged and re-knit it, adding a repeat, and I have to say that it's PERFECT that way! It's very cozy and soft -- and if she wasn't a yarn snob before, this has certainly pushed her in that directon.

She's already made one GAP-tastic Cowl and yarn-shopped for a second over the weekend. Plus she shopped my stash to make Hannah Fettig's Early Morning Beret, using black Lamb's Pride Worsted. Working on the beret yesterday, first borrowing a circular needle, then asking how to M1, and finally coming downstairs last night for DPNs and more stitch markers -- she must be close to finishing!

The revelation moments are my favorite... when they start talking to me about the pros & cons of different types of needles, discussing the properties of yarn, or musing on the fact that there are really only two "stitches" that you need to know -- the magic happens through combination and/or manipulation.

And? Did I not call it? Kate created a Ravelry account of her own! I think she has one thing in her favorites (the beret) and I'm her one and only friend (though I don't think she's even friended me back yet!) -- she may never use it for anything other than searching, but I'll definitely show her how to enter a project, and let her know how great it is to be able to refer to your own notes about a specific thing.

Yeah, and photos soon!!

Boots
Craptastic photo of my super awesome boots!

We went to an art opening on Saturday night and I debuted my boots! Ridiculously happy, I might be wearing dresses and skirts more this winter just so I can wear my boots! There's no way I'd be able to tuck jeans into them, but tights and leggings are no problem.

The gallery was just a few doors down from one of the best liquor stores in our area and I found some cachaca! Now we just need limes and we're set to make our designated beverage -- caipirinha -- of this holiday season! Saúde!

Oh! I almost forgot... I recorded a 2.4-lb. loss last week. That puts me a half-pound away from a total of 30 pounds lost since about early August. I am seeing numbers on the scale that didn't think I'd ever see again!!

 

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