Monday, November 21, 2011

Ice Skating

This year is flying. I can't believe it's already the week of Thanksgiving. Late November means a few things to me: family, pie, loathing the end of Daylight Saving Time, and Ice Skating.
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This year I convinced my coworker Brian to meet me at 6 am for some skating and bagels before work on opening day. We had a blast. He's currently looking for skates so we can spend the winter enjoying the ice. I hope with snowshoeing and ice skating I'm able to be outside and stay active this winter. It's hard to get moving when the couch is so comfortable and the house is so warm (confession - I'm putting off going for a run by blogging).

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Winter Squash Taste Test

There aren't many choices when it comes to local produce in Iowa in the winter. The exception to that is winter squash. John and I are both fans of butternut squash. I am less of a fan of acorn squash, but with enough butter and brown sugar I find it unoffensive. Spaghetti squash is OK, but not something I would choose to make.

I knew there were more varieties of winter squash than you find in the grocery store aisles, but I knew nothing about them. I decided to take advantage of the second to last farmers' market and check out some squash. For just three dollars we were able to do an heirloom winter squash taste test.

First up - the delicata.
It has a lot of seeds, which I scraped out.

Next up -Perhaps a Red Kuri squash? I'm not sure of the name on this one. I don't remember what the nice people from Coyote Run said it was, but I don't think it was Red Kuri. I just googled winter squash and after about six pages Red Krui was the one that looked the most like this.
Regardless of the name, it was really easy to clean. I like that.

Last up - Turban Squash
This one looked the coolest, but was the most difficult to clean.

Once cleaned I put them all in a baking dish and put a bit of butter and brown sugar in each half. I decided to dress them the way my Mom does. You really can't go wrong with cooking like my Mom.

The house smelled amazing while these baked. I cooked them at 350 for about an hour. I started to check them for tenderness after 30 minutes.

In the end, I cleaned my plate and expanded my taste horizons. John didn't like any of them, so I would say if you hate acorn squash and don't love butternut squash you might want to pass on them.

The delicata was delicious. It tasted like a cross between a sweet potato and a butternut squash.....but better. I bought five at the last market and hope to find them at the winter market in a few weeks. I have one for dinner once a week.

The Red Kuri squash was also good. It tasted like a butternut squash. I would buy it again if delicata wasn't available. I like that it is a personal sized squash. I can have a squash, John can have a tuna melt, and we're both happy.

The Turban squash tasted like an acorn squash. I ate my half, but John gave up. I wouldn't buy this kind again as it would take far too much butter and brown sugar for it to be tasty enough for me to eat.

What is your favorite winter squash? How do you prepare it?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Pumpkin Ice Cream

IMAG0253 by sarah jane 77
IMAG0253, a photo by sarah jane 77 on Flickr.

It's not just hot enough to ride this October. It's hot enough to make ice cream. I made my first custard ice cream, a delicious pumpkin that tasted just like pie. I also made some smaller than usual molasses cookies so we could have fall themed ice cream sandwiches. It was pretty delicious.

High Tressel Trail

IMAG0260 by sarah jane 77
IMAG0260, a photo by sarah jane 77 on Flickr.

This weekend John and I finally got over to Madrid to ride the High Tressel Trail. John biked from Des Moines and I met him in Slater. I was able to get an easy 20 miles in and John got 50. I am happy it is nice enough in October to ride in shorts.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fancy Dinner Club: Farm Edition

IMAG0251 by sarah jane 77
IMAG0251, a photo by sarah jane 77 on Flickr.

Once a quarter Hot Toddy, Ivy, and I get together for a fancypants dinner. This quarter instead of heading out for an expensive dinner we opted for fancy cheeses, fruit, wine, and conversation on Ivy's farm. The view is beautiful, but not as beautiful as my friends.

Busy Summer

I haven't been blogging much this summer. It's been a busy one for me. I was planning a wedding.

Now that the wedding is done I'm going to get back to baking, knitting and (most importantly) napping. I'll try to keep you updated on my exciting life as a newlywed.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

State Fair Knitting

It's State Fair time! This year I entered some knitted items into the Fabric & Threads competition. It was my first time entering, but it won't be my last.

I was lucky enough to win two ribbons. I won second place in the felted item category with my slippers. Now when I wear them I will brag about how they are award winning. Consider yourself warned.

I also earned a 4th place ribbon for my Mom's lace ribbon scarf. She assures me she will point out that it is award winning when she wears it.

I encourage you to head to the fair and check out the Fabric and Threads exhibit. Congratulations to all of my friends who entered the fair. I can't wait to see what you make next year.


It has been a beautiful week here in Iowa. I happily took the afternoon off last Wednesday to spend the afternoon at the ballpark with TC and Seymour. We couldn't have asked for a nicer day.

The I Cubs won.

The food was tasty.

And my friends, as usual, were entertaining.

It's hard to believe it's almost the end of the baseball season. In a couple of weeks we are going to our last day game of the year. I'm going to miss spending the afternoon in the stands.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Last month John and I went on vacation. We headed to South Dakota for a four days of hiking and exploring.

We started in the Badlands. I wish I was eloquent enough to describe how beautiful the Badlands are. Unfortunately, I'm not that eloquent, so I'll just say they are pretty.
We hiked about a mile in high temperatures (over one hundred degrees). It was very hot, but the view was worth it.

The next day we hiked Harney Peak. We earned a big dinner that day after hiking six and a half miles. It was a hot day. But the view was amazing and the hike was challenging.

After two days of difficult hikes we took it easy. We did three short hikes by the resort in the morning. The hikes were so easy it felt like I was cheating.

After hiking we headed to Mount Rushmore. We didn't hike up to the faces, but we did eat some ice cream and buy a Christmas ornament. It was by far our most touristy day.

It was a great vacation. Wedding planning is stressful, and I really enjoyed getting away for a few days and not thinking about the wedding or work. I'm already daydreaming of my next vacation.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Angie's Sandwich

Doesn't it look good? There is even pepper jack cheese on it.

Yes, this is how exciting my life is.

Monday, May 30, 2011


I've been very busy lately. Too busy to blog. I'm going to try to catch up over the next few weeks. For now I'll leave you with a photo of one of my favorite parts of summer: sitting on a patio hanging out with John.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sock Yarn Scarf

One of the side effects of knitting a lot of socks is having a lot of tiny balls of sock yarn. I decided to work my way through some of the yarn by making a scrap sock yarn scarf.
This was mindless knitting at its best. The final product is a fun scarf perfect for dressing up an outfit.
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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Whole Wheat Lavash

I haven't been baking as much this year. Or blogging, for that matter. My point and shoot camera won't work with my new laptop so I have months of blog fodder I'm getting further and further behind on. I decided I'll just start where I can and try to catch up eventually.

So what is so amazing I'll actually start blogging again even if I'm full of excuses? Whole wheat lavash (from Peter Reinhart, of course). The bread was good on its own, but especially delightful when topped with Maytag blue cheese and drizzled with honey.

This is my new contribution to any party where I am supposed to bring an appetizer. I hope you are having a party soon because I'm looking for an excuse to make this again.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Meatless Monday

This week it was black bean soup made in a crockpot. It wasn't good. It was pretty tasty once I added brown rice and salsa.

Possum Scarf

At Sticks and Strings last weekend I explored the vendor market not expecting to buy anything. I have enough yarn to stay busy for months, so I have no need to buy yarn at the moment. As I wandered the market I discovered some beautiful yarn in bold colors. The best part? The yarn is 30% possum. How could I stay no to that?

I knit up a simple 2 x 2 ribbed scarf. The yarn is 60% merino, 30% possum, and 10% silk. It is very smooshy.

At this point in the winter I start to wear bright outerwear. I'm sick brown scarves and black coats. I need to be reminded that spring is just around the corner. This scarf does the trick.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Socks and an Amazing Weekend

If you had told me five years ago that the most fun I would have in months would be at a knitting retreat I would assumed you were crazy. Times have certainly changed. I have a wonderful group of knitting friends, and spending a weekend knitting with them was just what I needed.

I stayed up knitting until 2 am. Next year I am getting a room and staying all night. Next year I am also taking a picture of everyone.

I worked on a hat at the retreat. Carla, Jess, and I are doing a knit along making very cool hats. I hope to have my hat finished next week so I can post it. Until then I have photos of two pairs of socks.

I made a brown pair for work. There is a leaf pattern on the side. I think the pattern look stupid with variegated yarn, but I didn't hate it enough to frog it. It was good practice with lace.

I also made a pair of socks for Valentine's Day. The are my favorite pair of socks.
Seriously. Could they be any cuter?

They even have hearts up the back. They are so cute I haven't worn them yet. I want to save them for a special occasion. I think Super Bowl Sunday might be the day. I'll make sure to fill you in next week.

Meatless Yumday

At this point every winter I start wanting soup for every meal. This week I went with Peanut and Squash Soup. It looks gross, but it's really good.

It combines peanut butter, butternut squash, and crushed red pepper. It's three of my favorite flavors in one filling soup.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Meatless Monday

I love Asian food. Spicy noodles in a bowl with tofu and vegetables is one of my favorite meals. I usually head out to pick up some pad thai when I'm in the mood for noodles, but this week I decided to make my own.

I wend with Spicy Malaysian Style Stir-Fried Noodles from my new Cooking Light Vegetarian cookbook. My grocery store didn't have baby bok choy, so I went with regular bok choy. I also had to sub hoisin sauce for sweet bean sauce.

It was delicious. I even liked it cold the next day as lunch. I'll be making it again, and using sriracha to kick it up for leftovers.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Hike of the Month Club

This year one of my resolutions was to hike with Hot Toddy at least once a month.

On Saturday we headed to Brown's Woods for a 2 mile hike on snowshoes. It was about 15 degrees when we headed out. After a few minutes on the trail we were warmed up and able to enjoy the snowy scenery. We ran into a few other groups out enjoying the trail. Everyone was cheery and ready to chat. I think everyone was just happy to be out of the house.

I'm glad we were able to get outside and enjoy winter, but I'm looking forward to a hike in shorts.

Legwarmers and Toe Up Socks

I've been busy knitting this year. I hope to knit at least one pair of socks a month.

My first pair of socks this year was my first attempt at toe up socks.

I knit too much foot before I started the heel. That means that John has a nice pair of hand knit socks with a slightly girlie leg pattern. He refuses to wear them out of the house, but does enjoy wearing them around the house. The photos don't do the yarn justice, it's a beautiful deep blue and purple.
Other than the long foot mistake I loved making these socks. I can't believe how much faster toe up socks knit up. I'm excited to make another pair.

Last weekend I headed up to the McCarty Family Christmas with Kathleen, Ellie, and Rowan. During that trip I made a pair of legwarmers for Ellie. They are lime green, which is her favorite color. It was the perfect car project - two k1, p1 tubes. I was thankful she didn't want them too long.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Meatless Monday

It's snowy and cold here in Des Moines. It's perfect for soup. One of my soup standbys is Curried Lentil Stew. It's hearty, delicious, and healthy.

It's too dark for photos, so you get the recipe. I've been making it for so long I don't remember where the recipe is from.

Curried Lentil Stew
1/2 c chopped onion
2 t. curry powder
2 t vegetable oil
2 1/2 c water
2 c cubed rutabagas, turnips, or parsnips
1 c sliced carrots
1 c dry lentils, rinsed and drained
1/2 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1 9 oz package frozen peas
3 c V8

In a large saucepan cook onion and curry powder in hot oil for 3 min, stirring occasionally. Add water, rutabagas, carrots, lentils, salt, and pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 15-20 min.

Stir the peas into the soup. Return to boiling. Reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 6-8 min or until vegetables and lentils are tender. Stir in the V8 and heat through.

The original recipe called for frozen green beans, but I prefer peas so I switched it up. I usually leave out the salt because there is so much in v8 extra just seems excessive.

Friday, January 7, 2011

My Year in Bread: What I learned

Last year when I resolved to bake a loaf of bread a week I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I knew that I would become a better baker, I just had no idea how much I would love it. Or how much I would learn. Or how much of a bread snob I would become.

I hope you have enjoyed joining me on my journey. After baking at least one loaf a week I picked up a few things that have made my life easier. Here are my five favorites.

Instant yeast. This stuff is great. It cuts the rising time significantly and you don't need to wake it up. I keep a big jar of it in the freezer. I've only had to restock once.

A KitchenAid mixer. You can make bread without one, but using a dough hook speeds up the process significantly. As an added bonus you can clean off your counter and prep your rising bowl while the mixer kneads.

A dough scraper. This $2 item worked like a charm getting sticky dough out of the bowl. I cannot imagine making focaccia without it. If you ever use a bowl for any sort of mixing I highly recommend it.

A bench scraper. This tool is great for cutting dough into bits for rolls or bagels. It also works to scrape off the counter and remove all of the flour and dough residue. I can't imagine how annoying it would be to make rolls and clean my counter without this tool.

A kitchen scale. I use it for weighing the ingredients prior to mixing. When I make bagels I weigh out each piece to ensure uniformity. When I'm not baking I measure cereal, cheese, crackers, and just about any food item with a weight listed in the serving size. I splurged on this scale and it was worth every penny. The display lights up for low light measuring (it happens more than you would think). The display also pulls out so if you are measuring ingredients in a large bowl you can read the display with ease.

I am going to continue baking bread this year. However, I will be relaxing the pace of bread making. This year I'm going to explore vegetarian cooking. I tend to make the same 5 dinners over and over, so this year I am branching out.