Thursday, November 30, 2006

Oh the booty!

Thanks for all of your comments regarding our Thanksgiving dinner and such. I know many of you were interested in the apple cider brine. I was going to post it but I feel bad about doing that since it's copyrighted in a book. But...I can tell you which book it's from! It's from The Thanksgiving Table: Recipes and ideas to create your own holiday traditions by Diane Morgan. In that book, we used the apple cider brine recipe on page 53 (but also added the Juniper berries from the juniper brine on the same page). Then, we used the Herb-Roasted Turkey recipe on page 64 to actually cook the thing. Since we used a turkey breast, we waited until the internal temperature was around 155 and then had it sit for 30 min before carving...and that's it! I strongly recommend the book for your Thanksgivings - it has a lot of other really amazing recipes in there.

For those of you who wanted to see the setlist from the Coffee Music Mix from my coffee pal, Chris posted it on her blog in this post. So, you'll get all the various details there.

In other news, I received my knit kit from my other pal. Here's what I received:
So, you're looking at a kit for a lovely lace scarf pattern. The kit was sent with a pair of size 11 Brittany needles and 2 skeins of Lamb's Pride Bulky in pink and 1 skein of Louet Sales Mohair also in pink.

I must say that my knit kit pal definitely got down that I love pink and love natural fibers!! So, I'm very pleased.

In other knitting booty news, I went to the annual Smiley's yarn sale in NYC. If you haven't heard of Smiley's, it's a discount yarn store and although they're located in Queens, every year they have a big blowout sale in Manhattan. Anyway, check out what I bought myself!

So, on the left are 4 skeins of 100% cashmere - yes, pure cashmere yarn by Filatura Lanarota. Because it's a little hard to tell from the picture, the yarn is in a soft gray color. Each skein has that's pretty good yardage. Here's the best part, I got a bag of these 4 skeins for $60..which is about 50% off of the regular price.
On the right, is a box of 10 skeins of Filatura di Grignasco Nature yarn - 50% merino and 50% alpaca. It's really beautiful, really soft & natural. Again, I got a super deal on the box - only $40.

So, here's the big question...what to make with such beautiful yarn? I can't decide so I'd love to hear your suggestions.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Many Updates!

Well, it's been over a week since my last post. Sorry for the delay - it was unintended. Although I was off from school both Thursday and Friday, it was not exactly a vacation. Thanksgiving was great - very successful! However, both my husband and I were exhausted afterwards. We were cooking until about 2 in the morning on Wednesday evening and then cooked all day on Thursday.

It was the first time that I cooked Thanksgiving for my in-laws so I didn't really know how/if they would like it. But, everything came out great. Everyone seemed to enjoy everything and the turkey was especially good. You'd like to know what we served?? I was silly and didn't take pictures of anything (I was honestly too much of a cooking maniac to think photographs), but I can tell you what we prepared:

Thai Pumpkin Soup
Salads that my MIL brought with her
Potato Scallion Bread (baked by DH and our bread machine - of course, people ate this throughout the meal - but we introduced it at the start)

Main Courses
Roast Turkey breast with an apple cider brine
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Coconut Pecan Sweet Potatoes
Apple Onion Stuffing Muffins
Green Beans with Frizzled Shallots
Brussel Sprouts and Chestnuts
Cranberry Sauce (this we didn't make ourselves though)

Brief Interlude
Lemon & Strawberry Chardonnay Sorbet (this we didn't make either)

Apple Crisp
Chocolate Trifle with Cranberry & Cherry Coulis

As you can tell, it was quite the meal - and except for the few things that I pointed out, my husband and I made everything!! Let me tell you, we will have leftovers forever!!!

Speaking of my husband, I finished his gloves!
Here he is modelling them for me! They fit and he likes them. So, another FO in the can! Hooray!

In other news, I got a very exciting package in the mail on Friday...from my awesome Knit and Coffee Swap pal, Chris, aka Stumbling over Chaos. If you haven't seen her blog, you should! Get this, she also has two cats - and they're both black! Quite a coincidence.

Anyway, let me show you this amazing package that I received from her.

First....the coffee:
coffeeswappackage All very interesting flavored coffees, of course!! So, at the top are three packages of peppermint chocolate coffee, a package of buttered rum coffee, and chocolate turtle coffee (then a mini mug ornament on the right). Underneath that is a huge package of Ghiradelli double chocolate coffee..and then packages of chocolate nirvana, icing on the cake, chocolate raspberry, and gingerbread coffee. I can't wait to try all of these!! We tried the chocolate nirvana coffee on Friday and it was amazing!!! I'm sure the others are just as good too!!

Then, there was even more!
coffeeswappackage2 Starting from the left, that's a really cool tape measure with a coffee theme! You can never have too many tape measures - and this one is just adorable. Then, yarn!! That's one skein of Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn in the color Java!!! I can't wait to make a pair of socks with these - it's really a gorgeous skein of yarn! Next, two bars of yummy dark chocolate...and last but certainly not least...a CD with a mix of songs all about coffee. My Coffeeswap pal has the coolest taste in music ever!! So, I've been really enjoying listening to the mix.

Well, that's it for now! I have another very busy week ahead - let's hope I can get in some knitting!

Friday, November 17, 2006

I'm in paper hell!

Yes, it's true. I've entered paper hell. Here's why: I made a decision that would help my students - but hurt me in the process. I teach 3 classes and in each of my courses there are two papers due. So, here's the really stupid part. I allow students to hand in their papers 2 weeks early to get feedback and a preliminary grade so that their writing can improve for when they really hand it in. That's good for them - afterall, they get a better grade usually and they get to improve their writing skills. However, that's very bad for me because it basically means that I'm grading papers twice...and with about 100 students combined for all of my classes, that's a lot of papers!

The amount of papers for this week is particularly bad and so I thought I would share the amount of grading I have to finish this weekend:

This is our dining room table - and as you can see, it's covered in papers!!! I've graded about 12 or so of them so far - but have about 35 more to go! Fun fun!!

Plus, it's just been a crazy week - one of my classes had an exam - I had many meetings...I was at school late every was just nuts.

So, unfortunately, I did not get much knitting done this week...I'm sure you'll understand. I thought I'd show you the progress on the gloves though. As I mentioned last week, one glove down and now the cuff and a pinky down on the other.

I'm really hoping that I can finish them this week...but we're hosting Thanksgiving - my in-laws are coming so there's going to be a lot to do this week!!!

I've also been preparing the packages for the swaps - and they're just about ready. So, I'm hoping (unless I get buried under these papers) that I'll make it to the post office tomorrow!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Coffee Swap Questionnaire

Scroll down for my post describing my crazy week!

As you know, I'm in the Knitter's Coffeeswap, and a questionnaire is now up on the site for my swap pal. So, here are my responses:


1. Whole bean or ground?
Ground coffee - we don't have a coffee grinder. I know, it's shameful..but we've never gotten around to it.

2. Fully-loaded or decaf?
I'm all about the fully-loaded coffee! Caffeine doesn't really seem to bother me - I actually have no problem falling asleep after drinking caffeinated coffee!

3. Regular or flavored?
I LOVE flavored coffee. It's definitely my favorite - especially flavors that are more creative than vanilla or hazelnut.

4. How do you drink your coffee?
With cream/milk and sugar/sweetener in a lovely mug

5. Favorite coffee ever?
I think my favorite flavor is pumpkin spice...especially this time of year. I also like white chocolate mochas.

6. Are you fussy about your coffee or will any old bean do?
I do like good coffee - but I'm not a coffee snob. Especially if I need coffee to stay up late, I'll drink whatever I can get my hands on.

7. Favorite treats to have with your coffee?
Baked goods - cupcakes, brownies, etc. But, anything chocolate is good too.

8. Anything else about your coffee preferences?
I can't seem to think of anything. I'm pretty easy-going

9. Yarn/fiber you love?
I love natural fibers especially wool, cashmere, mohair, angora, etc. I recently learned how to knit socks so I'm very much getting into sock yarn.

10. Yarn/fiber you hate?
Any novelty yarn

12. What's on your needles?
Right now - gloves for my husband also still working on the sleeves for the Matilda Jane sweater and am about to start another pair of socks

13. Favorite colors?
Pinks, purples, blues

14. Allergies?
Nothing that would really affect the swap - just hayfever and pennicilin

15. Anything you really love, really don't like, or just need to get off your chest?
Um...I think that's it for now!

Total exhaustion

What a week!! I can't believe it's finally over - but it was a crazy one with things at school. For example, yesterday I had a lab meeting with my research assistants and then treated everyone for dinner. So, I didn't get home until around 10pm. What also made this week different was that DH was on nightfloat - which means that his hours were from around 6:30pm - 10am all week. So, I haven't had much of a husband this week.

I have been doing a bit of knitting though - I started a pair of gloves for DH. He's been wearing the same gloves forever - I think they're from his teenage years! So, it's time for new gloves. I'm making them with Classic Elite Inca Alpaca yarn in a charcoal gray color. It's lovely to knit with and very soft. I finished one of the gloves - so I'm half way there. Once I finish the second glove, I'll be sure to post a picture.

I also forgot to mention that I had signed up for a Knit Kit swap. Basically, in the swap, you put together a kit for your partner - including pattern, yarn, needles, and notions. I'm also very excited about that one. Again, it's just one package so it's not a long commitment so it should be fun!

Sorry for the photo-less post. Next time, there will hopefully be glove pics!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Droplet hat finished!

Thanks so much to those of you who had positive comments about the socks and the baby blanket!

Well, after only about days or so, I finished the Droplet hat, and I love it!! Here are some pictures of the hat:
Here's another picture from another angle:
I couldn't decide which picture I liked best - so I thought I'd put them both in. What do you think? The hat is very comfortable and just looks really great. In fact, I was commenting that it was really the perfect knit - it didn't take very long to finish, it had just the right amount going on to keep you interested but not too much that it was overly complicated...and I just love the colors. So, another finished object in the can!

In other news, DH and I went to go see the new Borat movie. So funny!! If you have the opportunity to go see it, definitely go. It was the funniest movie we've seen in a very long time.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Knitting galore!

I had a few free moments so I thought I'd take the opportunity to post. Anyway, the good news is that I have lots of FOs to report...okay, not lots - but a couple and one very much on the way so it just feels like lots.

Anyway, I finished the hubby socks in time for the birthday - and he loves them! Hooray! Here he is modelling them for me:
Don't they look great??!! And they fit. All good news. So, I'm happy to report that I actually finished my Socktoberfest socks in October as planned!

I also finished the baby blanket. Here it is in all of its glory:
I definitely don't like the blanket as much as my other projects - it's all the yarn's fault - but that's okay - I'm sure that the blanket will be appreciated nonetheless. I must say though that I will never use Homespun ever again - there's plenty of other suitable baby yarns out there!! So, now I just need to wash it before giving it to the parents - and that's all!

I also started the Droplet Hat from Knitting Nature. I've had my eye on this pattern for quite a while..and I was just waiting for the right opportunity. So far, this has been a great knit. Here's the progress so far:
I don't know if you can actually see the drops and the bobbles - the lighting wasn't the best - but they're there. I picked up this yarn when I was in London and just love working with it - it's very soft. I think that the colors might be a little distracting for the pattern - but I don't care - I like it anyhow. So, the pattern itself is pretty great - it has just the right amount of intricacy. This is actually my first hat and I'm very much enjoying how fast it's going - I'm about 2/3rds done, and I've only been working on it for a couple of days!!

In non-knitting news, last night I went out to dinner with DH and 12 students!! There's this promotional thing through the school that allows a faculty member to go out and spend time with students in a more relaxed atmosphere. So, we all had a very lovely Italian meal..lots of fun - but I ended getting back pretty late.

Oh, and the birthday was a success!! We had a lot of fun, and it's just always a treat to spend extra time together. I was planning on us going apple-picking...unfortunately, the weather ruined our we went to a museum exhibit in the city and also went to one of those pottery painting places where we painted a "tea for one" - it's a teapot with a teacup - once we get it back from the place, I'll take a picture of it so that you can check it out.

Well, that's it for now! Have a great night!