Thursday, September 30, 2010

Year In Pictures?

Last year Sara started a Year In Pictures project. She took photos every day and posted one photo from that day to her blog. This year she is repeating the project. Liz has joined in too.

I've been enjoying their photos and decided to join them in this project. Their YIP start coincides with their birthday, my YIP coincides with a random Saturday in fall when I decided to give it a shot.

I'll probably start posting a week at a time, but this time I didn't want to wait an entire week.

1:365 Daisies
On Friday John cooked dinner and brought me daisies. They are my favorite flower, and they have really been cheering up my dining room. John made spicy tomato soup, which was delicious. He's been cooking more often, which I appreciate. He's a pretty good guy.

2:365 Sunday Knitting
My favorite Sunday afternoons are spent at coffee shops chatting with my knitting friends. It is a relaxing way to start the week. My knitting friends are even better than knitting itself.

3:365 Pause
On Monday nights I have crochet class. This Monday I was able to get out of work in time to sit on the couch for a few minutes and knit. I haven't sat on my couch since then. I miss it.

4:365 Late Dinner
I'm taking a two week class on proper posture. I was running late on Tuesday and didn't get dinner until after class. That meant homemade chunky applesauce at 8:30. It was perfectly soothing.

5:365 Garden
I have a lot of basil in my garden. I devour it all summer. Last night I picked three cups for pesto. It tasted like summer. I'm savoring the fresh basil and hoping we don't dip down to freezing for a month or more.

6:365 Swift & Ball Winder
Last week I finally sucked it up and bought a swift and ball winder. I was getting sick of putting yarn over the backs of two chairs and winding it into a ball. After using it once I have no idea why I waited so long. It is wonderful. Let me know if you need me to wind you some yarn.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Maker Monday: week 39

I am taking a crochet class on Monday nights. Last week was my first class. I spent most of the week practicing crochet.

So far I am not a fan of crochet. I am frustrated because I find the stitches confusing. The worst part is it is taking away from knitting.

Next week we are learning granny squares, which might get me excited about crocheting.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sweedish Rye (Limpa): Bread of the Week 39

Sweedish Rye is a sourdough bread spiced with orange peel, aniseeds, fennel seeds, and cardamom. I suppose it's tasty if you're in to that sort of thing.

I'm not, so this wasn't one of my favorites. I'm glad to be done with rye breads. I have a new respect for them, but I'm not going to be making them for myself any time soon.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Maker Monday: week 38

This week I finished my Monkey socks. I love these socks. They were a lot of fun to knit.

I think they look pretty cool too.
When I was done with the socks I had enough yarn left over for a beer coozie. I gave it to Sarah; we are taking a crochet class together and I know the feeling of being driven to drink over yarn.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Stollen: Bread of the Week 38

I have a thing for Christmas bread. What's not to love?
Almonds? Check.
Brandy soaked dried fruits? Check.
Orange zest? Check.
Melted butter painted on the bread when it comes out of the oven? Check
Dusting of powdered sugar? Check.
I don't think there is anything else to say. I will be making this bread again. I'm going to try to share it again, but I'm not going to make any promises. In a perfect world I would have a slice with my coffee every morning.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Happy Hour with Mark

This is my friend and co-worker Mark. He is a great guy to work with. He's funny, answers my questions, and doesn't mind when I swear when telling him a story. He's also a UNI fan, so he's all around good people.
Mark is a Major in the National Guard. When the latest group of Guard members was sent orders to go to Afghanistan he didn't get the call. He got the call to provide support. He's on active duty for a few months. I'm glad he's not headed overseas, but I sure do miss him.
There are three people on my team in Des Moines. Rand and I are left with only each other to talk to face to face about projects. Rand is also the only person by me that I can talk to from my desk. I drink a lot of coffee. I talk a lot. I'm pretty sure Rand misses Mark as much as I do.

Jim joined us for happy hour too. Jim used to be on my team, but moved over to Property soon after I joined. I don't think it had anything to do with me, but he sure does drink a lot of beer when I'm around.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Maker Monday: week 37

This week I worked on a pair of socks and I finished a baby gift for my neighbors. I made a baby hat and booties out of Cyclone yarn. It made me a little sick to knit with such ugly colors.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Lawnmower Party

Last weekend we headed home to Cedar Falls to celebrate Crusher's 8th birthday. My parent's have been having a birthday party for the lawnmower for over 30 years. This year over 100 people came to the party. That means that the lawnmower is technically more popular than me, and I'm OK with that.

John prepared for the party by reading a little of The Girl Who Played with Fire. Both he and my mom really liked The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I haven't read it yet, as I am waiting for Kathleen's verdict first.
Justin and Amy were at the party this year. It's always fun to see them. Justin does the best impersonation of his Dad.
At the end of the party everyone moves to the screened in porch. It was a little chilly this year, so we actually needed blankets after the sun went down.
Neither Kathleen nor I took many pictures. If John hadn't picked up my camera I would only have two shots from the entire weekend. Hopefully Mary-Claire remembered to take photos.

Cumming and Going

Yesterday John and I rode to Cumming with Jeff. It was a beautiful day. Once we got to the Tap we enjoyed some Fat Tire while watching football.
We didn't stay too long because we wanted to get back in time to see the Iowa game.
On the ride home John's bike hit 10,000 miles. Luckily I had my camera at the ready to capture the moment.

The weather was perfect for the ride. I don't remember the last time it was that nice out. Knowing how the Iowa vs. Iowa State game went I could have kept riding. It wasn't too much of a game.

Q: How do you keep a Cyclone out of your yard?
A: Put up a goalpost.

Pumpernickel and Sunflower Seed Rye: Bread of the Week 37

This week I'm telling you about two different rye breads. It was my intention to spread them out over two weeks but I'm worried I'll forget about them so I'm doubling down.

I made pumpernickel which uses barm in the rye starter and yeast in the final dough. I like adding yeast to the final dough because it decreases the rise time significantly. It made a decent loaf and I'll be making it again soon. I didn't know that Aunt Kathy loves pumpernickel so I didn't save her a loaf. She'll be getting a few loaves for her freezer the next time I see her.

I also made Sunflower Seed Rye. This is one of the few rye breads I like. I love the nuttiness of the sunflower seeds
If you look closely at the loaf you can almost see the indentations left by the dowel. It isn't supposed to look like a huge bagel, but I didn't press down hard enough so that is what it looked like. I resisted the urge to cut it in half and put cream cheese on it. I settled for slices of toast.

One of the great things about participating in the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge is that I'm baking and trying breads I normally would avoid. Because I'm trying new things I have discovered that I do like some rye breads. I'm happily exploring new flavors.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Poilane-Style Miche: Bread of the Week 36

This week I made a Poilane-Style Miche. It's a large whole wheat sourdough. I'm not exaggeration by saying large. The final dough used two pounds of flour. It was so big it needed to be mixed by hand. I got out my frustrations while kneading the bread. I let it rise for eight hours, so most of my day was spent waiting to bake the bread. I was excited because the bread even looked good before it was baked.
It looked even better when it came out of the oven. Once it cooled tried a slice. It was the best sourdough I've ever had. I'll be making it a lot because I want dip slices of this bread in my soup all winter.
In this picture you can see a wine cork used for scale. This truly was a dramatic loaf. It took up most of my baking stone while in the oven.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Taco Tuesday

On Tuesday John and I rode to Cumming to check out Taco Tuesday at the Tap. It was a beautiful evening for a ride. It wasn't too hot, and we missed most of the rain.
I haven't been biking during the week this year. It takes up a lot of the night when I ride, so I have been sticking with running mid-week. Only one thing could get me to ride 30 miles on a Tuesday - free tacos. I won two free tacos from a contest on Twitter, so I figured some tacos and beer would be worth finding batteries for my bike light.
These weren't just any tacos. These were the best tacos I have ever had. We're talking hand pressed corn tortillas with vegan chorizo (pork shoulder was also an option) and slaw. They have ruined other tacos for me. I hope to spend many Tuesdays at the tap enjoying these tacos. Do yourself a favor and go see Sam for some amazing tacos next Tuesday.