Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Long Weekend

It was very nice to have a long weekend, though we didn't do much. Valentines Day we went to Costco (romantic!) and Chris attempted a lemon meringue pie since I cannot for the life of me make a good one any more. His failed, and I am secretly gratified and validated that its not me that is the problem. I don't know if its the recipe either, since I've tried a couple. I need to do some research and find a good contender. In the meantime, I've picked up a box of Jello Lemon Pie filling (no gelatin!) to try out. Or we can just admit defeat and resign ourselves to picking up our pies at Nob Hill Foods or Marie Callendar's.

Sunday was Christopher's 31st birthday (Happy Birthday!). He spent the day gaming with his friends while I made him the requested bechamel lasagna and garlic bread, and bought him a pie from the store since he said it would be a great present if I didn't attempt to make one. Monday Chris took me to lunch at Pleasanton House Thai Cuisine. It was spicy and good, and Chris really liked the hot Thai tea so I need to find a source to have some at home. We went to the pet store to get toys and treats for the dogs, because they are spoiled. We took the dogs to the park since they hadn't been outside in a quite a while due to all the rain. And then we relaxed at home. A Good Day.

Its been raining a lot lately, so to perk up our spirits a bit I made Mai Tais and White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies. Tropical!

I used a recipe over at Baking Bites, and omitted the lime (I'd add it in next time, just for a new taste). These are really, really good. I toasted the macadamia nuts a little long, so there's an unexplainable faint taste of popcorn, but they're still good. Definitely do not over bake these, so they stay chewy.

Its been a good, if busy, week so far:

- I finished A Lion Among Men, loved it and am looking forward to the next book (I can't imagine Maguire doesn't have another in the works). I'll be sending this on to you, Mom. Luckily, Liz sent me Philippa Gregory's The Other Queen so I have another book in the wings. I'm also looking in to the Ender series by Orson Scott Card. I think I might have bought the first one for Chris already, I'll have to check.

- I started (and re-started) a new knitting project, the Soap Bubble Wrap from the Spring 2009 issue of Interweave Knits. I knit on this last night while watching Evan Almighty, which I recommend, it was quite funny.

- I played with the USS Hornet Band at the Union City senior center today and we had a big crowd, probably 30 or 40 people. One of the regulars asked me about my parents attending the other week, and said they are beautiful people. :)

I leave you with a picture of Gretel, where she looks enormous. She's a big cat (and a little overweight, though she'll tell you she's starving). In this picture she's completely flattened herself so she looks even bigger. I have a kitty blanket.

Stay warm!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


This week's Barefoot Bloggers recipe comes from Rebecca of Ezra Pound Cake. She chose the Barefoot Contessa's Real Spaghetti and Meatballs. Since I don't eat meat I made bean balls, which sounds gross but they're pretty good. I used black beans I had cooked and stored in the freezer, oats, spices, and an egg. It all gets mixed up until a little chunky in the food processor. Then I formed the balls and browned them in oil as in this recipe.

Spaghetti and bean balls doesn't photograph very well, but this was a tasty dinner. The sauce from the recipe is hearty and fresh. I served the spaghetti with a salad and garlic toast. The only change I would make is tossing the pasta with the sauce next time, instead of sitting the sauce on top. I've got leftovers in the fridge for lunch tomorrow or Friday too!

In other "Stuff I've Made Recently" news, I'm enrolled in a career development class at work. Besides a ton of reading and some written exercises, one of our assignments was to illustrate the path of delegation of authority all the way down to our level. The caveat to this assignment - be creative. This is something that can easily be shown using a flow chart, but they wanted creativity, so I made pyramids.

I had in mind something like nesting dolls (think: encompassing) and used this pattern for making a pyramid box. I needed to represent 8 levels, so I picked up 8 different sheets of scrapbook paper at the craft store. For aesthetics, I tried to use the bigger prints on the bigger pyramids, and the smaller prints on the smaller pyramids.

I photocopied the template 7 times, changing the size by 10% each time to stagger the sizes of the pyramids, so they would nest properly. Then I cut out the templates.

I traced the templates onto the back sides of the scrapbook paper, and then cut them all out. Fold on the dotted lines to assemble. The little tab is fiddly and doesn't really hold the paper pyramids closed, though the heavier-weight card stock pyramids fare a little better.

Then I put the smallest pyramid into the next smallest, and that into the next smallest, and so on until they were all nested inside the largest pyramid. I should have included something to show the scale of these pyramids. The largest one is 2.5" high and wide, so they're small. The tiniest pyramid is bit over 1". They're cute.

This project took a couple of hours. I listened to podcasts of the audiobook version of Max Brooks' World War Z and sipped coffee while I worked, so it was an enjoyable time. I hope the instructors appreciate my creativity.

Meanwhile, Ayla says, "Its cold!"

She curled up into as small a ball as she could to warm up. And it was just under 70 degrees in the house when I snapped this picture. Now you understand why she likes to sleep completely covered with a blanket every night.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Old Friends

Yesterday I got together with Mary, an old friend from high school. I hadn't even known she lived so close by until Liz let me know and convinced me to start up a Facebook account - which is like an ongoing high school reunion and very addicting. We met in Walnut Creek for coffee and walked around the Broadway Plaza area, chatting and catching up. We haven't seen each other for about ten years, though we did talk on the phone once or twice in the meantime. It was great to see Mary, and its very nice to know more people in the area. We'll be getting together again soon.


I finished the most recent Sookie Stackhouse book, From Dead to Worse, in one evening. I picked it up at Borders Saturday afternoon, started it at about 5pm, and was done by 10pm. Its been a while since I was so into a story as I have been over the past few weeks with these books. I think its partially due to how easy they read, but they are incredibly engrossing. (Liz, let me know if you'd like them and I'll send them on your way) The next book comes out in May and I'm just trying to cool my heels until then.

In the meantime I'm reading the third book in Maguire's Wicked series, A Lion Among Men. I also downloaded Free Range Chickens on my iPhone (wohoo!), a collection of short stories from author and Saturday Night Live writer Simon Rich. I've heard good things about this book, so I'm excited to start it, and see how the reader on the iPhone works for me.


That's all for now. I'll leave you with a few pictures from the weekend. Have a good week ahead!

Being unbearably cute

Sunny Nose

Saturday, February 7, 2009

My name is Misty, and I'm a geek

I got an iPhone! Its so cool:

Our contract was up on Tuesday and Chris has been jonesing for a phone with better internet capabilities for a while (he had an HP SmartPhone before). So on Tuesday we picked up an iPhone 3G for him and he loved it. Its so intuitive and functional, we decided I need one too. So last night I picked mine up - though I have to go back today because the store didn't give me my old phone back, which had some pictures I still want and a micro-SD card worth a little money in it. I spent all last night playing with my iPhone, setting up my calendar, downloading various aps, and pretty much just goofing around. I love it!

This morning I woke up wanting apple-cinnamon pancakes. I really have no idea why, but there you go. So I whipped out my iPhone and Google-searched for recipes (can you tell I love that thing? can you?), and I came up with this one for Oatmeal / Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Pancakes from a Bed & Breakfast somewhere. And it really hit the spot.

I made a half-recipe since I'm usually the only one in the house that eats sweet breakfast foods. I subbed in vanilla soymilk for the buttermilk, since its what I have on hand. And I threw some cinnamon into the batter. These are hearty because of the whole wheat flour and oats, yet taste like apple sauce. Yum!

Lately I've been reading Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse novels, and loving them. I can't figure out why either, since they're pretty much fluff books. But they are very entertaining, and extremely quick - I've a few of them in just 4-6 hours each. I'm on the eighth book right now, and she plans to release the ninth this May. HBO also based a series on these books called True Blood which I'll watch after I finish the current book.

I'm off to find an ap that will let me blog from my iPhone. Later gators!