Knitting season is upon us!

I love fall. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but it can’t be said enough. Fall is my favorite season (with winter being a close second). I mean, I don’t hate spring and summer. I just prefer being cozy and a bit chilly to feeling damp and/or unbearably hot at all times.  As an added bonus, fall is when I really get into my knitting groove.

This year I’m knitting most, if not all, of my Christmas presents. (Sorry for ruining the surprise, friends and family…) I know. I’ve been saying this for years. But this year is different. Yes, I know I’ve said that before too. But really. This year I’m organized. Maybe this is some misplaced nesting instinct, but last night I sat down planned out all my Christmas knitting projects AND organized and indexed my yarn.

Yeah. I feel accomplished. That’s what you were thinking when you read that, right? That I’m super accomplished at organizing and not that I probably having some weird manifestation of OCD relating to yarn?

What did I learn from this exercise? I have a ton of yarn. And that I need to start knitting Christmas projects immediately. And that when I finish those knitting projects, I’ll probably love them so much that I won’t want to actually give them to anyone. Oh well. We’ll tackle that problem when it comes up.

As for the start knitting right away issue, I did. After I finished all my planning, organizing, and cataloging, I picked up my needles, turned on Clueless (best.movie.ever), and started knitting. But it wasn’t a Christmas project.

It’s a baby hat!

This is my first baby project. And, yes, I made a baby knitting project list too… So, it will not be the last baby project. But I’m super excited about it. Making baby things is so fun because they knit up so quickly. So quickly, that I should be able to finish it today and post an updated photo tomorrow!

Enjoy your Saturday!

 

Homemade tomato sauce

If you’ve been following me on twitter today, you know that I’m officially on vacation!! Of course, this is roughly the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me.* But, like all things, there is a downside. This week my CSA share, which is normally shared with R., is all mine. And it’s full of tomatoes and corn and peppers and tons of other things that we can’t possibly eat all of before  our trip.

*Note to the future offspring: that was hyperbole.

So, to use up a large chunk of the tomatoes, which, incidentally have been fabulous this year, I made fresh tomato sauce. I used a recipe that was included with the CSA this week. It’s really simple: Tomatoes, Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, and Basil.  I added some balsamic vinegar and food processed it all until smooth.  After the sauce is complete, just add to some hot pasta and top with some Parmesan.

Lunch today. I also added a tofurkey Italian sausage.

This is basically a perfect summer meal, light, fast, and full of the taste of summer. Fabulous!

Lots O’Changes

Remember this?

That’s an example of the havoc of which the bear dogs are capable. This week (and probably for the next few) we’re FINALLY fixing some of their handiwork. That’s right. We’re getting new flooring!

My level of excitement about this is probably not normal. But, who cares? I’M SO EXCITED!

Right now there’s not much I can do to aid in the installation. S. is taking care of the carpet removal (Thanks to my friend J. for planting the idea that I could get tetanus from the old tacks), so basically all I’ve been doing is organizing things and deciding what goes into storage.  This is an example of how my house looks right now:

 

I’m super excited that we’re getting new floor, but the mess is kind of aggravating the hell out of me. I’m really hoping this project wraps up quickly, so I can show you guys some after pics!

Braised Celery

A couple of weeks ago, my husband had dinner with my sister-in-law and couldn’t stop talking about how awesome it was. Which was actually pretty hurtful, since I cook a lot and  he never raves about how awesome my food is.  Note: This is mainly due to the fact that the Hubby thinks any meal that doesn’t consist of meat and two sides isn’t a meal. Or tasty. 

With that background, I was surprised (and hurt) when I found out the meal he had been raving about was basically vegetarian. Sigh.

R. told me yesterday where to find the recipe and, surprise, surprise, I had all the ingredients except three. Hubby picked up those three on the way home and by 6:30 this evening, I was making Braised Celery with Parmesan Polenta. I had to make a couple of changes to make it vegetarian (substitute veggie broth for chicken, no cooking the bacon and celery in the same pot), but despite that it was  really really easy to make. It took about half an hour start to finish.

And the verdict is… Great! This dish was absolutely fantastic and I completely understand why the Hubby kept talking it up. I basically never want to eat anything other than Parmesan polenta ever again.

Thanks for tip, R.!

Good Morning Yoga

I’ve been trying recently to re-establish my daily yoga practice. This has been difficult because I don’t really have time to go to a studio and, even if I did, class times are not convenient for my schedule. If you’ve been ready the ol’  blog for any period of time, you know that I am not good at having a home practice. I’ve already tried once this year to get in the habit of home practice… and failed miserably. But you know what they say… try, try, and try again. So, I am.

The good news is that I’ve been doing pretty well at this for the last couple of weeks. The bad news is I don’t want to jinx my success by calling it a done deal. So, I will not say I have a home practice. What I will say is that I found a new (to me) subscription yoga website, called yogaglo, that I really like and I’ve been doing classes with the site 4-5 times a week.

This morning, because another of my goals is to practice in the mornings, I did a class called Inspiring Morning Practice. It was a great practice, but also SUPER hard. I’m by no means a beginner, so I thought I could handle a level 2 class. Apparently not. I’m currently feeling a very odd mix of exhaustion and invigoration.

I guess that’s a good thing… Maybe?

Oh. I also learned what the scariest thing on earth is as a result of this class. Opening your eyes from savasana to see that your 60 lb dog is trying to to find a way to jump off the bed without landing on its owner. And then realizing that said dog has decided to try to jump over you. I’m pretty sure I’ve never moved so fast from savasana.

Rudest awakening ever?

Probably.

Christmas Shopping

I’m a big Black Friday shopper. It’s always been a thing that the women in my family do together. When I was a kid, I anxiously awaited the day that I could go with my mom and my grandma and aunts and older cousins. In recent years, though, Black Friday has gotten crazy. Some people actually start shopping in the middle of the night. Ridiculous.

My MO is to scope out the sales the day before, decide what (and who) I’m looking for, and make a plan to get in and get out as fast as possible.  And bby as soon as possible, I mean start about 6:30-ish. Not start at 3 am and be exhausted all day. Generally, we can usually be finished (or mostly finished) by mid morning and go for brunch. It’s actually pretty awesome.

The last few years (since I started law school) I haven’t really partaken in the Black Friday ritual. Money has been tight, but more than that, time has been tight.  This year I have a Christmas shopping plan (so that I’m not freaking out on December 23rd) and, yes, it involves Black Friday shopping. But it also involves making a lot of gifts because, lets face it, money’s tight for everyone these days.

My plan this year is different than my gift giving strategy in past years. I used to just make a list of people I wanted to get gifts for and then buy something I thought that person might like. As I get older (and more environmentally friendly), I’ve started to put more thought into what I give people. I want to give something that my recipient is going to really cherish, not something they’ll politely thank me for, put in the top of their coat closet, and send to the yard sale next summer (or the trash). So this year,  to save money, time, and stress, I’ll be doing a lot of baking for some recipients, knitting for some, and mixing in some store bought things for others.

What’s your strategy for gift giving this year?

P.S. This post was the inspiration for this topic.

Spicy Black Bean Soup

I’ve been trying to use my crockpot more lately since I’ve been working late and haven’t had very much time to cook. But I have a fear of leaving the crockpot on when I’m not home (I know. That’s the entire point of the thing), so I’ve been crockpot-ing on the weekend.

This weekend I made Spicy Black Bean Soup. It was kinda a lot of trouble. First, I had to soak the black beans (for hours). Then I forgot to put gloves on while I was chopping jalapenos and got jalapeno oil in my eye (don’t worry, I’m not blind). But it was worth it. That soup was delish! And the recipe makes so much soup that I have leftovers for the week.

It’s a win-win… well, except for the jalapeno eye situation…