Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Snowman in April

No it's not an April Fool's joke. I actually have a Snowman in April.

He started out looking like the Abominable Snowman and now he is just Snowman, as cute as can be.



I know I said "no mas," "no mas," after Snowball and Icecream, but something was missing from my life. After the sadness was gone, I realized I missed the pitter patter of little Bichon feet. Gradually I found myself back at what I'd decided years ago as Ice and Snow aged, that I would rescue replacements as soon as one of them was gone. Now they were both gone.

I started periodically checking the Internet for Bichon rescues. There were few who met my criteria: around five years old (negotiable), no more than 15 pounds (not negotiable). I applied to three rescue agencies within a four hour drive and sent an email to one. Nothing.

One Sunday night three and a half weeks ago I saw a face online:


Emmet

I was hooked. I'm not sure why this face grabbed me. The nose? The teeth? The tongue? All that hair? I don't know. There were a few more pictures of him:


 I got more and more excited.


 It was like doggie porn! Who was this "Emmet," this "Bichon mix, male, 2-4 years old, 11 pounds"?!!! 

It was late Sunday evening. I fired off an email requesting an appointment to meet Emmet ASAP for possible adoption. I didn't expect a response before the next day sometime after business hours began. I received a response later that Sunday night! The response advised me I must submit an application before an appointment could be granted. References must be checked, etc. Yes, animal rescue agencies are almost as strict as child adoption agencies (for good reason).

PAWS (Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society) is the agency that had Emmet and although had I sent applications as far as CT, of course it was not one of the agencies to which I had already applied. I immediately printed and filled out an application. I scanned it into my computer (tricky, tricky, it took hours!) and emailed it off just before midnight Sunday night.

On Tuesday I was contacted and invited to come in and meet Emmet and if we liked each other, I could take him home. I was over the moon! Yes, my references had been checked. Yes, he could be mine. When would I like to come in? I wanted to rush right there, but I was on my way out to an appointment that morning. "Tomorrow, Wednesday, at 11 a.m." Yes!

When he was brought into the room where I was sitting, waiting, my first thought was 'he looks like the Abominable Snowman.' Thus his new name, "Snowman." We took to each other immediately. He licked my fingers tentatively. He stretched up and put his front paws up to my knees. He let me lift him onto my lap where he settled in for petting and conversation. I put him back on the floor. He walked away and come back to me. He ended up on my lap again giving kisses and getting belly rubs. At one point, while he was on my lap and I was sure he was THE one, there was a noise outside the open doorway and he growled. I think he had decided I was THE one and he didn't want anybody coming in to separate us.

The paperwork was completed. The fee was paid. And shortly after noon on Wednesday Snowman and I were headed for the highway that would bring us home.

After a settling in time, a trip to my vet, the required one week follow-up with the vet at PAWS and a reasonable time for neutering stitches to heal, I was allowed to get him groomed.


Before
After




Fun With Favorite Toys

Pensive at Bedtime

We celebrate our three week anniversary today. We are both very happy with our circumstance. He is loving, lovable and loved.

Bona Fide Knitter

PS

To add knitting content, I have been knitting with him napping in my lap. Perhaps he has brought about the return of my knitting mojo.




Monday, February 24, 2014

Knitting!!!

Ha! Fooled you with that subject line. I'm not really knitting, but I did try. The Turkish bed socks from my Christmas Eve Box is the subject of my knitting interest. You might remember I discovered I had already started a pair so I went back to those to finish them. After all, I was past the heel turn on the first sock.

Well, now I know why I stopped 24 rows (according to my row counter) below the heel flap on the heel bottom. I don't know what the next instructions are trying to tell me. I have really lost it! I could follow written directions even when I didn't really know what the knit or crochet or needlepoint stitch was. Written directions are (were?) my strong suit. That's why directions shown in pictures irk me. I can't read pictures! I know picture directions are done because of the language barriers with so many of our products being manufactured in other countries, but that's a rant for another day.

Back to the Turkish bed socks:


After row 24, the instructions want me to seam each side with the mattress stitch, or save the seaming step for later. Since I need a refresher on the mattress stitch, I decided to save it for later. 

Now as you probably know, I am a Magic Loop method sock knitter. You start this sock using just two needles. Easy peasy. After the knitting mentioned in the previous paragraph, the dpns method begins and I need to start to work in the round. Oh yeah? Well, I know how to convert to that, don't I? But what does "knit . . . . . . OMG! I GET IT! It took my reading it to explain my dilemma without violating copywrite for me to GET IT!!! Du-uh!!! Okay, that's enough about that. To make up for my brain freeze, I am determined to get this first bed sock finished tout de suite.


Take two aspirins and call me in the morning.

In the meantime back to cooking and baking. Seems like that's all I know how to do these days . . . and gain weight.

I have a new kitchen gadget, a "miracle"meatloaf pan, that allows me to make a stuffed meatloaf with ease and deliciousness. I decided to give it a try yesterday. I made a ground turkey meatloaf stuffed with cornbread stuffing.

I didn't think to take pictures until half the meat was in the pan and I had made the well for the stuffing. I'll admit I cheated on the stuffing. It's Stove Top. The pan's lid is the secret. You place a layer of half the meat in the pan, then press down the multi-level side of the lid. It creates a well for the stuffing.



Below you can see the multi-level side of the lid, the side that creates the well, as I press down and shape the top portion of meat with the flat side of the lid and get the pan ready for the oven.
THE LID DOES NOT GO IN THE OVEN!



 Out of the oven


Plated and sliced
Can you see the cornbread stuffing?


Ready to eat. Notice the portion control.


Oh wait! I left the wine on the counter. Gotta have a wine spritzer with this.


Add the spritz. That's better.


Okay, dinner is served.


And after a small second slice of the meatloaf, dessert and coffee.


Red velvet cake curtesy of Entenmann's.

Note to self: When stuffing this turkey meatloaf with Stove Top Stuffing use 3/4 c chicken broth (half the liquid suggested) and stuff the meatloaf with all the stuffing.  (I had reserved a cup of stuffing to use as an extra side.)

So there you have it, knitting and cooking all in one blog entry.  I rock!!! . . . every now and then.

Bona Fide Knitter

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day


I hope this day has brought you happy things, fun things, delicious things and hugs, kisses and other expressions of love . . . or that the love is scheduled for later this evening.

I have been snowed in every few days since sometime in January. I am so over snow I don't even bother to take pictures and post them. I was over the picture taking when my almost branchless evergreen tree dropped ice laden branches against my minivan and dislodged some moulding under a rear window. This whole winter weather thing has been unreal and costly. I pay a teenager for snow removal: my sidewalk, walkway, driveway and minivan get cleared off and before I get a chance to go out and about for more than a couple of days, it snows again! When it's nuder four inches, I do the labor and make a path in the sidewalk, walkway, two tire paths in the driveway, clean off the minivan and hope the sun gets what I leave behind. And then it snows again, enough to need the teen with his snowblower. $$

So I've turned to baking and online shopping. One would think I'd pick up the knitting needles. Maybe this evening.

Today I made dough for a Broa. It's a Portuguese cornbread. Unlike the southern cornbread I'm used to, this promises to be different.


I use a  Lodge Dutch oven for baking bread. It is an enameled cast iron six quart pot with a metal knob. Other enameled brands have plastic knobs which might not withstand the 450 degree temperature needed for baking the bread. 


The dough has doubled in size and is ready to go in the fridge until baking tomorrow.

I started this snowbound Valentine's Day off with a festive latte.


Then I made a heart shaped quiche for one.


I had it for breakfast with a mug of French roast coffee, sections of honey bell, and homemade bread buttered and stenciled with cinnamon sugar in keeping with the theme of the day. 


And then I went out and shoveled, starting with the snow that had blown up onto the porch overnight, then a shovel wide path down the walk, the sidewalk and the drivers side of the driveway. The snow was so wet and heavy! I shoveled just enough to work off the calories of the bread and pie I might  eat today. The sun took care of the snow on the minivan.

Next came a photo op. My little doll Amelia Thimble thought today would be a perfect day to model her designer original, a one-of-a-kind ensemble made by my very generous and talented friend Melissa P. The crocheted outfit consists of a hast, dress (skirt and top), shrug and panties. Melissa also made the shoes! She is so talented! This is a very small doll, about 4-1/2 inches tall. It's not easy making clothes that small and with that much detail. Thank you MissyMiss.




I ended the day as I began, in the kitchen baking. I baked two mini apple pies, heart shaped of course.


One for me, one for the spouse. He can have the full crust. I want the lattice. Less crust, less calories. 



And then, off to knit.

BonaFide Knitter










Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bread Baking


I've been snowbound, icebound and housebound. I am not complaining. It has not been bad. No, I have not been knitting. I'm not sure what I have been doing. Oh, I remember now. I've been shopping online, baking and reading. Yeah, that's it. That's what I've been doing.

I have a bunch of pictures on all my "i" devices (iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini) and my camera. Each time I took a set of pictures it was for a blog entry, mostly snow related.  Weather talk and forecasts, snow and ice, freezing temperatures? I became sooooo inured that I settled down with some good books. I became immersed in reading and buying cookbooks and kitchen gadgets. Amazon and UPS love me, USPS too.

I learned a lot. I can bake artisan bread in five minutes a day! "The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoe Francois is a wonderful cookbook! It's about dough. It's about bread and beyond. It's about baking bread from scratch using four simple ingredients: water, yeast, salt and flour--without proofing, punching or playing around. If you like bread, you'll love this method and the book.

As usual I'm late to the game. This wonderful no knead bread making method from long ago had a resurgence and became very popular in 2007 after a NY Times article spotlighting Jim Lahey of the Sullivan Street Bakery who was baking bread this way. It was not a new concept, but Lahey and then Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois and others brought it to the forefront.

In January 2014 I stumbled upon it via a food blog I follow that had a recipe for pumpkin bread bowls for serving soup and the rest is history--or in this case "my story."

Here is my first no knead bread. They are my pumpkin bread bowls resting before baking.


 One baked pumpkin bowl full of pumpkin soup.



My fascination led me to many books and You Tube videos. Ultimately I bought the Hertzberg/Francois book.

Yesterday I made half the basic recipe,  let it rise for two hours and refrigerated it overnight.

 

When I was ready to bake bread for lunch I took a grapefruit-sized hunk off,



"cloaked" it, shaped it, let it rest, while the oven heated. Then I floured it, scored it and baked it.



Once it had cooled enough I sliced it, buttered it and had two slices with lunch. So good!



Although I even take my book to bed with me, you don't have to buy the book. Visit breadinfive.com and find out everything you need to know to make your first loaves of no knead bread.



Bona Fide Knitter


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Welcome on in 2014. I'm glad to see you.

Last year was so full of trials and tribulations, sickness and sadness for my little family that I was glad to see it end. Out with the old. In with the new.

Let's start with knitting. Surprise, surprise, I'm on topic! When I was searching for my Kotcha-Kotcha (row counter) to get started on the knitting project in my Christmas Eve Box, I remembered it was in one of my sock knitting totes. Lo and behold the other thing in that tote was not one of my basic socks in progress as I expected, but my first attempt at the Turkish Bed Socks! Yes, I had already started a pair. I think it was right after I came to my senses and frogged the two toe-up on one circular some time around Labor Day. No wonder I couldn't find the one orphan skein of Koigu in my Koigu Stash. I was already knitting with it.

Confession time: I stooped and bought an orphan skein from eBay to make up the kit for my Christmas Eve Box. shame.shame.shame Please don't remember how much Koigu I have from the old days at Maryland Sheep and Wool Festivals. I have it all divided and weighed out for making pairs of socks. I didn't want to bust any bundles. shame.shame.shame

Anyway, here is how much I had accomplished:



And here is how much I have accomplished to date:



If it looks the same it is because it is. I have not taken the first additional stitch yet although I take it everywhere I go including upstairs to bed and back downstairs in the morning. But can you see I had already turned the heel? Whoop-de-doooo!

Okay, My New Year's Eve: I did a repeat of Christmas dinner, using leftovers, right down to dessert and champagne. Spouse and I clinked glasses and gave toasts to a better year to come. I was in sequins, my Ugg-like black boots with glitz. There were no noise-makers or ball dropping at the count down because it was New Year's Eve afternoon. Yes, afternoon celebrations are our time of day. At midnight we woke up long enough to again wish each other a "Happy New Year!" with enthusiasm . . . and then went back to sleep.  y.a.w.n. It has become a tradition.

Bona Fide Knitter
getting ready to knit





Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

I hope your day was wonderful, full of the spirit, family, friends and whatever you love. My day was nice and perfectly suited to me. I cooked a full turkey dinner with all the usual accrutremonts, served   two plates with dessert and champagne on the side and it was lovely.

The high point of my Christmas gifts was my Christmas Eve Box. Remember, I mentioned it before? I also made a box for the spouse. Here they are:

For the spouse I included things he likes at the moment which was not an easy task. I had to think small . . .


First is a sleep shirt in lieu of pajamas. He likes PJ tops. The long pants bottoms not so much. Thus, the sleep shirt. Longer than a PJ top and maintains some modesty. 
Then a one year subscription to Esquire magazine.


Next: Okay, if you must, chewing gum in three throwback iconic flavors. And diet soda for the non-coffee/tea/hot chocolate drinker.
And then the fun stuff: two decks of cards--one Pinochle, one standard.



And underneath, the Cheez-Its he's currently addicted to.
On the bottom is an electronic game called FlashPad.
Fun on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.


My Box


The dark red pajama top has coordinating dotted pants.
Tucked in the neck is my current favorite CD and the DVD. It's Andrea Bocelli's concert in Portofino, Italy. Love it!




  There are hot chocolate K-cups for the Keurig coffee maker: Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate and just in case, one for Chai Tea. And microwave popcorn to eat while watching a movie. There's my Roku streaming device remote control in the box. I watched Love Actually. And the new knitting project making the final cut is . . . . . . Turkish Bed Socks! The yarn is Koigu, a favorite of mine for knitting socks. I kept you in suspense, but I'm sure some guessed it would be the socks instead of a hat. After all, my other blog is The Sock Lady


One small confession: The things for my Christmas Eve Box continued to increase after the lid was closed. I also got the electronic game FlashPad. 


And a new cookbook.


Christmas Day is over. I am H O M E bathed in the ambience of candlelight and having a final reflection on the day. And remembering a Christmas Day past . . .



Bona Fide Knitter