Friday, April 27, 2012

I've been May Day'd

It's fun, it's random, it has candy, and it arrived in the mail this morning. Thank you, Becky, for your May Day Fun Time package!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Things I Want

1. A new potato masher.
Take that, you evil potatoes, you!

Actually, I'm thinking about getting a ricer. Talk about your "upgrades".
This looks like it could do some damage, eh?

I just threw away my old masher; I had it since I first started living on my own and it was all peely and rusty and the idea of it touching edible food was somewhat nasty. But a ricer... well. All the bodies on Food Network rave about the smoothness of the resulting mashed potatoes. Although, a regular masher is way cheaper and easier to store. We shall see.

2. An essential oil mister.

Cause it would make it smell good up in here. Although, this one is way expensive and not very attractive-looking. This one, however, I could get behind:

And it's $7 as opposed to $70. Um.... yeah.

3. A large cast-iron skillet.

Not only is it great to cook on, it's an amazing home invasion deterrent.

Although I find the larger ones a little to heavy to lift for my wrists, I only have a small one now and it's just not big enough to do something like a stir-fry. I have to do each thing individually, take it out, let it get cold while I'm doing everything else, then try to figure out how to warm it up again. Not effective. I have my eye on one in a locally owned cookstore downtown. Reasonably priced. Just building up my biceps so I can lift it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

One Springy Dingy

Two springy dingy!

It was in the 80's again on Monday, so I took advantage of the weather and took a nice long walk before work. I also brought a camera with me, to prove to the world that every once in a while Vermont actually has a spring.
Look... green! and yellow! COLOR!!

First stingy thing of the season

Stop! Tilling time!

My new-found favorite trail

As you might be able to tell, all of this was flooded last year during Irene.


This is the same river that caused a lot of flood damage last year. It's only April and it's already as low as it normally is in August. I think as wet as it was last year, it's going to be as dry this year.

We will not be stopped!

Thursday, April 12, 2012



Now... I just need it to be warm enough for me to wear these without looking like an idiot.

Spring, this is your cue!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Pantry Cookin'

Because my work load has greatly decreased this month (and I'm hesitant to pick up any shifts due to the fact that I don't want to), I'm trying to curb my habit of going food shopping every other day. Which is hard because I love food shopping. So I'm trying to keep it down to one trip a week.

As I already went on Thursday and I've still got several days until this Thursday and the fridge is looking a little bare, I turned to the pantry to figure out some way to make pasta interesting for the next few days. What did I see? A can of black beans and Panko bread crumbs. What did I make? Black bean "meat" balls.

The recipe is adapted from a black bean burger recipe a friend gave me several years ago. I think she got it out of Eating Well magazine. The original recipe used cumin, tabasco and salsa, but as I planned on making meatballs, I used tomato sauce and Italian-spiced breadcrumbs instead. You'll see I didn't add any spices or even salt to this; between the sauce, parm and Italian-flavored breadcrumbs I figured I was covered. Of course, that doesn't mean you can add stuff to your heart's content.

Black Bean Neatballs

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 to 1/3 cup onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup Italian-flavored bread crumbs
1 to 2 Tbsp parmesan cheese (I didn't measure, but about that)
2 Tbsp pasta sauce of your choice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking sheet.
2. Using fork or food processor, mash beans.
3. Add rest of ingredients and stir until combined.
4. Form into balls. I managed to get nine rather large neatballs, but you can make more or less depending on your fancy.
5. I baked them for 20 minutes. Crusty on the outside, still a little mushy on the inside. Of course, I planned to use them over the week, so I purposefully undercooked them a little; they'll cook a little more when I add them to pasta sauce etc. If you're planning on serving them right away, I'd actually recommend putting them in a baking dish and covering them with a layer of pasta sauce, and then baking them for 30 minutes. The sauce will prevent them from drying out too much and they'll be a bit more cooked. Please keep in mind I haven't tried this and am making this up as I go along.

Edited: Holy cow these are freakin' GOOD!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Be Careful What You Wish For

Do you remember how I said I was saving up for possibly taking an entire month off sometime this summer? Well, I think I'm sorta doing it a little early. I am totally loving my new job. The one downside that I'm coming up to right now is that it relies heavily on the tourist trade for its income and right now there aren't a lot of tourists. It's the in-between time here in Vermont; there isn't any snow (like there ever was this winter) but it's not our gorgeous summer or fall yet.

I'm still working at the Old Place two days as week, so I have cash coming in there, and I am doing some massages at the new place, so it's not like I'm financially strapped. But if I want to not have to pick up shifts, I'm going to have to be pretty damned frugal. I can swing it without dipping into my savings, thanks mainly to the federal tax return that was just deposited this morning. But obviously I won't be able to continue long-term; if things don't pick up soon I'm going to have to add a shift or two at the Old Place, which I really don't want to do. I've noticed a demonstrable difference in my attitude since working only two days a week there. I am much more relaxed and calm on the days I am there, and generally speaking I'm a happier gal.

So, in the meantime, I'm going to have to reign in my tendency to spend money when I have nothing else do. Mainly, I'm going to have to find things to do that don't cost money! Luckily things seem be warming up again (oh, how those 70's and 80's taunted us) and it's easier to spend time outside. I live in a great area that's made for walking and hiking; it's time I took advantage of that. And possibly the public library so I'm not spending all my money at Barnes and Nobles.

Mmmmmm.... books.

I like books. (more than people).  :-)

So.... You Want to be an Artist.

For the last several weeks, I have been working through The Artist's Way . This book has been out since the 1990's and I've been...