Thursday, January 31, 2008

I've had my buns in the kitchen

I know I haven't blogged much this month. My excuse is that we're working on getting the internet back up at the house and work has been ridiculous/crazy busy, so I haven't had time to snatch a few moments from The Man to blog. Lots has happened though, so I'll break it down for you:

* I was in the grocery store one Saturday (like most Saturdays, unfortunately) with Dave (again, unfortunately) when he ran up to me from spending what seemed like eternity in the chip department. "Guess what I found?!" he asked breathlessly. I was rather impatient and huffed, "WHAT?!" He slowly presented the most beautiful item I could ever imagine: Curry flavored low-fat potato crisps! (It's OK to be envious, Matt. It's the same store that has carrot cake cookies.)

* Dave found out about a job opening in Seattle earlier this month. We had talked about possibly living in the Pacific Northwest sometime in the future. So when Dave heard about this job opening within his company he emailed me like he thought the world would end: "THERE'S A JOB IN SEATTLE!!!!! THESE NEVER COME OPEN!!!!!"

We seriously discussed the move (I've learned to take all of Dave's whims seriously because to him, they aren't whims). I cruised Craigslist for job openings with non-profits and media (of which there are few). I did find a couple I wouldn't mind applying for. Then we found out that if we were to move to Seattle and live as close to downtown as we do now to Dallas we would be looking at paying more than $1,500 a month for a two-bedroom. Nu-uh.

We re-evaluated it. I mean, we just bought a frickin' house for crissakes! We haven't lived there for a year yet! There's no way we'd be able to sell in that amount of time and make a decent profit. And we have four animals, which are all very particular about moving. And we'd have to sell one of our cars, much of our furniture and about half of Dave's clothes. It just wasn't going to happen.

If we were still renting, I might have gone for it. I mean, it's Seattle, which is at least 20 times better than Dallas, and you're so close to Canada, and the ocean, and legitimate culture. I could go on about how much better Seattle is than Dallas, but you get the point.

We've also talked about moving to St. Louis, but that's like trading in a 1987 Cadillac for a 2002 Buick: it's better, but not by enough to make me really excited about it.

Anyway, if a position opens up in Seattle (or St. Louis) maybe 4 or 5 years from now, we'll probably take it a lot more seriously.

* I finished the fingerless mittens I was going on and on about. They are awesome! I love the pattern: Fetching, by Cheryl Niamath in the Summer 2006 issue of Knitty. The pattern calls for Debbie Bliss Cashmerino aran, but the fine ladies at The Shabby Sheep said that Berroco Pure Merino aran would substitute just fine. And boy did it! I'll be making a second pair for my sister Kara, also in the Ensign Blue colorway:


* Fitzgerald has been quite neurotic lately. He used to love car rides, but now when Dave brings the dogs when he picks me up from the station some nights, Fitzy freaks out. He's so nervous that he pants like crazy and shakes all the way home. Poor little baby!


* We had Ikea madness earlier this month. We bought two wall-mounted Billy book cases; the medium brown one for the bedroom and the black/brown one for the living room. They each have two glass doors and blend perfectly with the existing furniture. We also bought a laundry organization system.

None of this seems really remarkable until I tell you that Dave put all of this together almost completely by himself. That's right. The completely un-handy Dave we all know and love. And yes, they work and have not fallen apart (yet). These caused him a lot of stress, and I'm really proud of the work he did. Now, I bet you're wondering how I got him to assemble all this stuff, and I'll tell you, it was easy. I was cooking. Dave doesn't interrupt my time in the kitchen because he loves to eat. So if something needs to get done while I'm cooking, he does it himself, though he does come through the galley to ask questions like, "Where's this confounded piece?!" and "What the hell kind of screws do you use to make this stick to the wall?" God love him!

* We hung out with a couple of our friends last Friday evening. They are really cool people, but they are going through a really complicated time in their marriage. They have two excellent kids, both of which I'd be ridiculously proud to have squeezed from between my legs. But, as much as I really love their parents, it's almost unbearably awkward to be around the two of them. It's just a really tense dynamic and it's like, there are two sides, and you don't want to take one, but it's like they both want to make sure that you're on their side. Ugh. I know this sounds like a common problem, but I've never been through it. I just hope all turns out well for them, because, like I said, I love them both and I don't like to see things so complicated.

* Last Sunday I nearly baked myself to death. I had been looking forward to getting some sewing done last week but it got pushed aside in favor of relaxation (!), cleaning (!) and cooking. I was going to originally bake one chocolate angel food cake, two different kinds of muffins and bread. I started to make the angel food cake, knowing that I only had enough sugar and eggs for one, but I was reading the wrong recipe and I started making plain angel food cake!!! So I had a choice to make: peel my jammies off and put on a bra to go fetch eggs and sugar, or just live with plain ol' angle food cake. I ran to the store, of course. Here are the products of my labors:


The chocolate one is almost gone now. We are still plugging away at the plain one. It's a tough task to dispose of cake, but I measure we're up to the challenge.


No mixes here! Lovely little lemon poppyseed muffins from scratch! I'm thinking about buying one of those muffin pans that makes them shaped like muffin tops! Perfect!


I know what you're thinking: "How can I get excited about stinking bran muffins?" Well, they are really quite good, expecially since they've got a little orange zest in them and some finely chopped walnuts! Very rich and tasty with big ol' mushroom tops!


And a beautiful little plain loaf of bread. I kneaded this by hand, which I swear to never do again. Next time I'm going to make it whole wheat. Awesome.

Hope you enjoyed this insanely long post. I promise to blog more often to spare you guys!


The Maiden Metallurgist said...

Great looking bread. You've inspired me to make some this weekend.

MattJ said...

pfffft! Please you silly American! We have had curry flavoured crisps for years! They even made curry flavoured Twiglets until they saw the error of their ways!

Both of these items (especially the Twiglets) are abominations in the eyes of the Lord. Twiglets should only be in original Marmite flavour so that only the righteous eat them - they repel those with Evil in their souls.

And besides, the 'curry' flavouring they use is like an artist's impression of what they think curry may taste like. I spurn your Curry flavoured crisps until such a time as I can evaluate their quality! - and I am still waiting on those damnable cookies you foul temptress! :D besides - why have curry flavoured crisps when I can just dip crisps in curry? :D

However, having said all of that you get super Kudos for the use of the word crisps. All right-thinking people know that chips are what you have with meals, hot deep fried/oven baked potatoey goodness!

As always I am immensely jealous of your baking skills, I am still terrified of even trying having no ability for precision and I see your stuff and just think there is no point in me even trying!

$1500 per month, seriously I am weeping in jealousy here - rent and house prices around here will make you vomit up your pelvis! A Seattle move would be OK too, the Seahawks are marginally less evil than the Cowboys despite having that fluorescent Garbage Pale Kidz green trim to their kit ;)

Incidentally you can tell Dave that I have decided to be a Pirates fan to complete my Pittsburgh team supporterness. Not least because they apparently suck major ass, so I won't have to work too hard to follow them.

Sorry for the long reply, but you know how we miss you when you are gone!

PS -Did I send you the chicken thigh curry recipe? I am going to look at some kind of veggie one soon - in the mean time I have a Sag Aloo and a Tandoori monkfish thingy I tried the other week that went down pretty well?

lunaliar said...

Thanks for your long-ish reply, Matt! Nothing compared to my epic post, though.

I just thought that since you barbarians in Wales didn't have carott cake cookies that you haven't had the joy of good golly curry crisps. I correct myself, thankyouverymuch!

This Sag Aloo thing sounds good, but is it vegetarian? We prefer to eat only vegetarian curry and stuff.

Pirates do suck, but the Rangers (our hometeam) sucks worse. Seahawks are awful, too.


Olivia said...

Woot! Jo posted! And made me giggle!


Like when you said you'd peel off your jammies and put on a bra to go to the store. What, only a bra??

Ah, wickedness, I must be feeling better.

Anyway, I'm glad you're not moving to Seattle yet because that would minimise my (and Matt's) chances of meeting up with you in Houston any time soon.
although I understand the allure. My dad once went on a business trip to Portland, took a hike in the wilderness, and got SO excited he called us from practically a mountaintop, and he had such bad reception we could barely hear him.

Oh, and re: the curry flavoured snacks. Did Matt ever mention that curry has overtaken fish n chips as the national dish of Britain? Yep.

Oh ! Nearly forgot. I LOVE BRAN MUFFINS. Mum used to bake them in The Woodlands for brekkie every week. Lacking that, I've always rather liked the ones from Kroger.

It beats me why I simply cannot find bran muffins in major food shops here. You get choc chip, even blueberry, cranberry, white choc, but no bloody bran muffins. Shame on them. And before you tell me to bake my own...I've got the mixes from the US but even they don't turn out the same here. :(

Anyway, before I surpass your blog length I shall bid you goodnight and just say it's good to see you back.

Olivia said...

P.S. I noticed Matt is in a very "you Americans" mood today, even I got it from him! So I countered with a bit of "you Brits". hehe!

MattJ said...

Lol! I think i am regressing, i've already staretd on the 'You English' comments (Rugby season, what ca I say?). Luckily I follow it up with wildly inaccurate and ludicrous statements, so I hope you are both taking it in the spirit that its meant!

Sag Aloo - totally Veggie - it's a potato and spinach side dish with various other flavourings. I suggest you look into Dhaals too - lentil based thingys. I'll let you know if i do a totally veggie curry!

lunaliar said...

Liv: Yes, I did put more than a bra on, but I hate boob harnesses on the weekends! It's so pointless!

I'll e-mail you my recipe for bran muffins. I find that bran muffins are so comforting during the winter. I made like, a dozen and Dave and I have had one for breakfast every morning this week! Just pop it in the microwave for 15 seconds and it's like it just came from the oven! So nice!

I don't know if "You English" will have all the ingredients for them, though. Do y'all have molasses over there?

I find that store-bought muffins are much too big. They really must be cut in half or shared. If you ate an entire store-bought muffin that's almost 600 calories!!! Crazy talk!

Matt: I've made Dal before, and we've got this Krishna temple called Kalachandji's in my old neighborhood that has the most spectacular vegetarian Indian buffet, complete with a spicy dal, curry and saffron rice, steamed veggies and some sort of caserole most days. For dessert you get your choice of spiced raisin bread, bread pudding or rice pudding. They also have the most fabulous tamarind cooler.

Do give me the recipe for this Sag Aloo stuff. Sounds right up my alley. I'm afraid to say the name of it out loud becuase someone might think I've sneezed!

Olivia said...

Jo - thanks, I'd love to see your recipe. But now I have my mother here, I wonder why I haven't asked her to make them for me before. She only makes her own type! Or maybe it's *gulp* time for me to do my own baking. I don't bake, though I do cook....uh-ohhhh...

Yes, I do believe it is possible to obtain the black gold that is molasses here nowadays ;)