Monday, September 21, 2009

Quick Mammoth Trip

We ran up to Mammoth for the weekend to take care of some family business. Driving through Yosemite over Tioga Pass is definitely worth the price - its only 4.5 hours from our home to Mammoth, and the drive itself is gorgeous - so we went ahead and bought a Yosemite pass. Perhaps the next time we'll find a place to stop with the dogs and enjoy the park a little.

Saturday Chris and I took all three dogs up to the lakes to tire them out, took care of family stuff, and then grilled in the evening on Greg's awesome balcony. Sunday Greg took us out to shoot clay pigeons, which was a blast. Greg is a great shot, no surprise since he's also a great hunter. Chris has always been a good shot, and completely obliterated some of the pigeons to dust. I only took a few shots, but I hit a clay pigeon that was really far away, so I'm quite proud of myself. I really enjoyed chucking the pigeons for both Greg and Chris to aim at and trying to figure out who's shot took it out too. Then we took the dogs up to Horseshoe again and had a great time.

If only Mac wasn't such a little punk - he started a fight with Willy, and got his butt handed to him (ha!). Its always a great time up at Greg's, but its also very nice to be home again.

I finished the Watermelon Dress last week for my co-worker's baby shower. I'm very happy with how it turned out - I left off the collar edging, and did the flower pockets using duplicate stitch rather than intarsia, and finished it all of with some supposedly vintage wooden-look plastic buttons. I hope the new mom gets as much joy out of it as I did making it.

Lastly, here are a few pictures I snapped while playing fetch with Mac and Ayla last week. I've been taking them out together and its actually going quite well so long as I have two toys and a bag of treats.Time to start another week!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Change of Weather

I was woken up early yesterday morning by rumbling thunder and a few flashes of lightning. As summer draws to a close I become anxious to turn up the oven and bake.

Last week I got a craving for zucchini bread. I cannot remember the last time I actually had zucchini bread, but I picked up a few squash at the market.

The recipe I based my bread on is from Smitten Kitchen, and I used my handy mandoline with the julienne insert to grate up two zucchini.

A fragrant hour later and I had these two beauties. I love the cracks in the top of breads, it always makes me think of minimiam (really, check that site out!).

Zucchini Bread

2 eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1/2 cup olive oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 zucchini, grated
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 8×4 inch loaf pans.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a hand mixer. Add applesauce and mix again. Add yogurt, oil, and sugar, then zucchini and vanilla. Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Stir into the egg mixture. Divide the batter into the pans.

Bake loaves for 50 minutes, plus or minus, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

I do not taste much zucchini in this bread, but I feel healthier eating a baked good when it contains vegetables. You could also add nuts, dried fruits, or even chocolate chips. I enjoyed mine plain, with butter melting atop a warm slice, and a cup of chamomile tea.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day

Working to make our place the best we can is a never-ending pursuit. On Saturday we did some running around for a few things to help out. At Bed, Bath, & Beyond we found this bedding set, which I love with the new bed and our wall color.

It came with a crazy amount all in one bag: comforter, two standard pillow shams and two euro shams, two complete sheet sets, bed skirt, three decorative pillows, four window valances, and a throw! All on sale for $199, minus 20% from one of the ubiquitous coupons that are always coming in the mail. What a deal!

We also picked up this giant wall clock to replace the little office-style one we had. I love that it shows the temperature and humidity as well.

And we bought this secretary desk at Ikea to set up a small office area in the back room, where we only had Gretel's cat tree for a while now. It closes up to hide all of the office stuff. I also think its funny that on top of the desk is a Halo Master Chief helmet (Chris') and a tote of yarn and knitting paraphernalia (mine). While Chris was assembling it, I went to the pool to hang out with some of my neighbors and drink mojitos. :)

I'm looking for a chair to go with the desk. I'm thinking an upholstered straight-back chair, not an office chair, maybe in a pattern similar to the bedding. We'll see what I find.

Speaking of knitting, I've made some progress on Anouk, which I'm now renaming Watermelon because of the colors. I'm making the 6-months size according to the pattern, but I think it might turn out quite a bit bigger.

In honor of the End of Summer, I grilled some burgers (veggie for me, of course) on the BBQ and whipped up some coleslaw. These, with a few cocktails, and Band of Brothers on TV, pretty much sums up the day for us.

Happy Labor Day!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Day Off

Hey Ayla, Mac... you guys want to go swimming?

I've also been knitting. The Seascape Stole is coming along, into the second section now. I am loving the Frog Tree alpaca yarn, so incredibly soft. I think this will be great to wrap around myself when the weather cools, though I might gift this away if it turns out really nice.

However, I'm putting this aside for a little while. A coworker that I really like is having a baby, and we're having shower for her in a few weeks. I love baby knits, they're so quick and so cute, so I'm taking the opportunity to make Knitty's Anouk. I stopped by my local Michael's and picked up Bernat Softee Baby in soft red and fresh green, and Naturally Caron Country in claret and deep purple. I plan to knit this as a dress, not a pinafore, as I've seen a lot of other knitters do. I think its a great design and really fits the cool, slightly quirky personality of the almost-new mom.

And here's a better picture of the tray that the yarn is on above. It was only $1.50, and I really like the retro design. Now I can carry drinks and food onto the patio in one trip! Happy Labor Day weekend!