Monday, October 31, 2011


A reader request for my crockpot applesauce recipe prompted me to make it again this weekend. I'm pretty sure that it can't be called a recipe, because here are the steps:

-Peel apples (I did maybe 8-10?). A mix of varieties is good.
-Core and slice apples using handy apple-coring-and-slicing gadget
-Put in crockpot and add 2 T sugar, or to taste
-Turn crockpot on low for 3-4 hours
-Mash and eat/freeze/can

Because I waited until late in the day to start mine, I didn't have the motivation to take care of it after it finished. So, I cheated and put it in nature's ice box, aka a Northeastern back porch. That was a great idea, until the sun came out and warmed the porch. Not wanting to flirt with food poisoning, I decided to bring the applesauce back to a boil for a few minutes, then properly refridge it. I followed through with my plan of action.
And then some. (Note how hazy the picture is. That's steam, still rising from my blackened pot 10 minutes later.)

I got distracted by the computer, and M. walked into the kitchen and announced that it smelled like something was burning.

I think I managed to save a majority of the applesauce. The few darkened bits that made it into the container taste like a dark caramel. At least that's what I'm telling myself.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Things I'm curious about but can't seem to answer with Google.

-If I'm washing the blanket that covers the dog's ridiculously oversized bed, does that count as "bedding" when it comes to selecting a washing machine setting?

(Seriously. The dog sleeps on a full-size futon mattress that's been folded in half. It's the most comfortable bed in the house.)

-Speaking of blankets, how can I learn to stop hogging them at night?

-If there's coyote scat on the road that I walk on when walking the dog, do I need to fear for my life? Like, irrationally fear? Or would that be a rational one?

-Why the heck would a coyote poop on the road, anyways? That seems a little exposed to me. Especially when there's woods and also a lovely meadow on both sides of the road.

I welcome any and all responses to the questions posed above.

Focal point decision

My grandmother's sewing room was in the attic of their house when I was growing up. It was sparsely furnished, but what she had was high quality and comfortable. She had a chaise lounge that was my favorite spot up there. When they moved into a small apartment, I got the chaise.

(Can I take a moment to point out that while I type this, I'm listening to a dude from the Remington website explain how to replace the piston seal and piston seal assembly on a Remington 1187 shotgun. Juxtaposition of opposition, folks, that's how we roll.)

The chaise has seen far better days. When the cats joined the family, they promptly climbed into the guts of it and pulled all the stuffing out. Today, the springs are fully exposed, temporarily "upholstered" with a remnant of an old mattress pad, and covered with a $9 sheet from Target. I know it can be better. But it's not going to be better because of some amazingly crafty DIY project. Nope, I've recognized my limits and am bringing in a pro - aka my neighbor, who is a legit upholsterer.

The chaise is going in the nursery once it's done. I'm hoping it'll be the main design element in the room. To that point, I spent time at Jo Ann's today looking at fabrics. I'm looking at a purple/mustard/neutral color scheme.

 This one is my favorite, but it's a multi-purpose fabric, not upholstery, which might be an issue? It's pretty heavy, though. Also, I worry it's too linear. But it might make awesome curtains.

This one did not photograph well at ALL. It's textural, and has 2 purple and 2 greens on a creamish background. 

This one is really neither purple nor mustard, but I love it nonetheless.

Now that I look at these, I worry - what if I'm not confident enough to go with a bold pattern? The chaise is six feet long and three feet high, so there's going to be a lot of fabric.

Should I go with a plain fabric?

Should I go big or go home?

What's a girl to do???

Monday, October 24, 2011

Circling sharks

Nearly every morning, provided I have enough milk, I pour Cheerios into a bowl and chow down. One morning I discovered that I'd shared my cereal, quite unintentionally, with both one of the cats and the dog. Sometimes I find Winnie IN the sink licking the bowl dry. Once I discovered she was puking post-milk, that stopped.

For some unknown reason I was walking around carrying my cereal bowl this morning. The next thing I knew, this is what was in front of me:

Gus was sitting and begging. Winnie was crying plaintively. Tucker was curious about what they were doing and joined the party.

Man, those animals are going to be so happy to have a small child that drops food.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Feeling Pinspired!

I pinned this recipe, if you can call it that, for roasted smashed potatoes a few weeks ago and have been waiting for the right meal to try it. Since today is rainy, chilly, and Wednesday, I gave 'em a shot.

Do they not look amazing?  America's Test Kitchen (the source of the recipe) says "Crispy smashed potatoes are the best of both worlds, delivering mashed potato creaminess with the crackling crisp crust of roasted potatoes."

As usual, I did not fully grasp the details of the cooking process. Fortunately, I wrote this post before actually cooking, so I forced myself to take the time and, you know, read the whole thing. I'm glad I did, as I was fully planning on boiling the tatties, then smashing them on the baking sheet and roasting. This was causing me a small frisson of irritation, as already I had a dirty stock pot, and pressure canner, and slow cooker taking up precious sink space; the thought of adding yet another pot to the pile was stressing me out.

Here's what mine looked like:
 Aside from the fact that I still haven't mastered the lighting setting on my phone, so everything has a yellow tint, they looked very similar to the Pinspiration photo. Well, ok, they would have looked similar if I'd actually let them roast for the full 30 minutes - but mama was hungry and it was late. Still... survey says: delicious! M. and I enjoyed the heck out of them.

If you want to make them, I strongly suggest using a flat-bottomed, heavy glass to smash the potatoes. I had issues with the baking sheet smashing and switched my technique, to great success.