Saturday, November 30, 2013

Done, Done and Done

Did ALL my xmas shopping online, Thursday night! Took me 30 minutes and I was finished for the season. Thanksgiving dinner was spectacular, lots of food and good company. Outside lights are up, all that's left is to put up the tree. That takes maybe an hour? There is a surprise this xmas, but it won't be here for a week or so. So..all the time consuming traditions are done. All that's left is all the cheesy xmas movies on the Hallmark channel  to watch with hot tea and cocoa while knitting/crocheting.  This is the first year I have been done BEFORE December started!

I was a good girl and refrained from ordering anything for myself. I avoided Knitpicks because it's like kryptonite to me. I can't resist it. It's too much temptation. As for the other stores, nothing I wanted. All the gadgets I have are fine and in good working order. Clothes are serviceable, everything else is good.  Made it very easy to shop for me this year *laughs*

I do have to go grocery shopping, its pet food weekend. After many efforts of trial and error, I have managed to coincide the time when both the dog and cats need food. One trip for them all. Fact is, I just hate shopping. I used to not hate it, I actually was a champion shopper. I'm not sure when it because a hated chore, but it did. Now I would rather just order what I need online and have it delivered.  I'm not sure if it's just the fact the stores are full of people that could careless if they are blocking the aisles, or let their kids run rampant through a store oblivious to the havoc they are causing, or people that will run into you because you didn't jump out of their way. It's a bit of all the above. I've gotten tired of people running into me and me having to apologize.

I do want to go see the xmas lights at some point. Now that is peaceful since it's after most stuff has closed. The zoo lights are supposed to be really good this year, I'm tempted to do that as well. Take a thermos of hot cocoa and go see the lights.  Must check with family to see the schedule.

Bah, now it's off to the grocery, the most of all hated tasks. I'm really thinking of starting to use the Safeway delivery option again. It's rather nice.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Chocolate Hazelnut Snack Mix

Again, Apartment Therapy has done it again. I swear, they are becoming my go to place for cool recipes. I'd never heard of this stuff before. Anything, though, with Nutella in it - is automatically in my good graces.

Dark Chocolate & Nutella Puppy Chow

Makes about 5 cups
5 cups Chex cereal
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon powdered sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread (such as Nutella)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Place the cereal in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt and pour into a gallon-size zip-top bag.
Place the dark chocolate, Nutella and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30 second bursts until the chocolate and butter have melted. (If you don't have a microwave, melt the mixture in a double boiler instead.) Add the vanilla and stir until smooth. Immediately pour over the cereal and stir gently until evenly coated. Transfer the cereal to the zip-top bag and shake until well-coated with the cocoa powder mixture. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon powdered sugar and shake again.
Spread puppy chow onto a baking sheet and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Let cool completely. Puppy chow tastes best within 1 to 2 days of making it, but will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Mac n Cheese

I'm always searching for the perfect mac n cheese. This might be it!  It's all thanks to Apartment Therapy.

Creamy No-Roux Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese

Serves 4 to 6

What You Need

1 pound pasta, any shape
1 1/2 cups whole or 2% milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2-3 cups shredded cheese, like cheddar, Monterrey jack, or Colby (Colby Jack is PERFECT)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon powdered mustard
1. Boil the Pasta: Bring about 4 quarts of water to a boil over high heat in the pasta pot. Add the pasta and a tablespoon of salt. Cook until the pasta is al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Warm the Milk: When the pasta has finished cooking, prepare the cheese sauce. Begin warming 1 cup of the milk in the saucepan over medium heat. Whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup of milk and the flour until there are no lumps. When you just start to see tendrils of steam rising from the warming milk, whisk in the milk-and-flour mixture. Continue whisking gently until the milk thickens slightly to the consistency of heavy cream, 3-4 minutes.
3. Make the Cheese Sauce: Turn the heat to low and begin mixing handfuls of cheese into the milk. Stir in the salt and mustard. Stir until all the cheese has melted and the sauce is creamy. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired. Remove the sauce from heat.
4. Combine the Pasta and Cheese Sauce: In a large serving bowl, combine the pasta and 1/2 of the cheese sauce. Stir to coat the pasta evenly. Add the second half of the sauce and any extra add-ins.
5. Serving and Storing Leftovers: Serve the mac and cheese immediately while still warm. Leftovers will keep for up to a week and can be reheated in the microwave. If the sauce is a little dry after re-heating, mix in a splash of milk to make it creamy again.

Additional Notes:

• Baked Mac and Cheese: If you have a little extra time, you can bake the macaroni and cheese to give it a golden crust. Pour the prepared mac and cheese into a casserole dish, cover with a lid or foil, and bake at 350°F for 1/2 hour. Remove the covering, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and a few pats of butter, and bake uncovered for another 15-20 minutes until the top is golden and the interior is bubbly.

Sunshine, Sweaters and Coffee

It's a picture perfect day here. Warm enough just for a light sweater and sunglasses and sipping your coffee outside in the sunshine. Yeah, it's really weird, usually it's rainy, grey and at least cool enough for a good thick hoodie.

I'm still knitting on the log cabin quilt. It's a slow knit because I haven't been watching as much tv lately. I'm going to settle down with it and knit tonight. I also have two gifts to knit for xmas this year. Luckily, they are easily knit, just need the yarn. Both are in a bulky yarn, so they should make up rather quickly. Gotta love the bulky stuff for quickie knits.

Coffee love today was a tall salted caramel white mocha. I've switched to a tall, it's cheaper and way less calories. Once I looked at the calorie count on what I "was" drinking, I about had a heart attack. Damn! Speaking of that, Burger King and I are officially divorced. That relationship just isn't a healthy one. Well it was healthy on their end, they got my cash. Was NOT healthy on my end, I really don't want to discuss the calorie count on their stuff. "shudders"

I'm also embarking on a new quest. I'm going to learn GIMP. I've been flirting with it for a year or so, but now I'm really going to give it a concerned effort. Photoshop has just gotten ridiculous with it's pricing. I hate the monthly fee they have switched to. I want to own my software, not rent it. I still have my old Photoshop CS2 that I can fall back on if need be, but I'm determined to go it with GIMP this time around.  It's a HUGE ASS learning curve, but it needs to be done. Thank god for deviant art and the nine million tutorials they have.

I'm also considering switching my laptop to linux. I really don't use it that much and want to have linux product in the house again. I need to refresh my coding, I've gotten so damn lazy with it. shame on me.

Also loving the new 4.3 update for the S3. I doubt I will be using the google gear, but it's nice to have the option. I have to say, I really do love Android the best. Not that IOS is not good, the iphone is a remarkable product. I just love the fact I can tweak and android to my tastes.  After all IOS has Catacademy, the only way to learn spanish! *laughs*

Saturday, November 23, 2013

It's almost the Holiday season!

No matter what the retailers want me to think, I know that the holiday season does not officially start until the day AFTER Thanksgiving. So therefore, I simply refuse to feed into the hype. I will on Friday, I swear.

I discovered a new author, Dannika Dark . I started with the first novel in her new series, The Seven Series. I totally fell in love with her characters. It wasn't love at first sight, more like love from about halfway through. Naturally, I had to go get the rest of her books which is another series she has been writing. She truly spins a good story and her imagination is fantastic.

My living room is coming together, slowly but surely. I just need to change out the curtains to a winter red. Red is my winter theme, while blue seems to be summer. While neither is exclusive, each color is the major accessory color. I'm just going to live with the fact that my living room is eclectic and never going to be House Beautiful material. No matter how hard I try, it's never going to make that list. Oh well, comfy is not a bad thing.

I spent a good three hours today organizing my music. I had no idea I had so much of it, but I guess I've been collecting music for long enough that's it's a collection now. I did get smart and have it backed up in not one but two places. PC/external hard drive and a large SD card. Oh wait, four..I forgot the cloud server. If you have ever had a crash and burn happen, you become OCD about backing up stuff.

Also gave the cats a bath again today. You would think by the fourth time around, they would both realize they are a: not drowning, b: not dying, c: not giving up one of their nine lives or d: handing over a first born kitten. Sheesh, the amount of howling, hissing, growling and dirty looks is worthy of an oscar. Five minutes after though, they both want cuddles to help them get over the trauma of it all. Nothing like a damp cat on your lap to make your Saturday!

I saw Thor finally yesterday. OMG! The Marvel team just knocks these productions out of the park. The casting, the storylines, the costumes, the sets are all just spot on. I admit, I have yet to read one of the marvel comic books. I know, shame on me. I'm more of a movie production kind of marvel fan. *laughs*

One thing that I hate about the cinema, which I rarely go to, is the previews. Not that I mind the previews for what they are, it's just that they make me want to see a million other things.  One the list: Polar Bears and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Both were worthy of "cinema ticket" and not just "dvd". Yep, that's how I rate a movie. If I'm willing to pay 8 to 10.50 to sit in a cinema with usually rude people, you know I think it's going to be fantastic. Although yesterday, there were exactly six people in the cinema for Thor. It was midday on a Friday..I must remember that!  It was a really nice experience, to be honest. I skipped the mortgage required snack bar. Not in my wildest dreams would I pay 5.00 for a coke unless it came with whiskey, vodka or some other alcohol involved.  Nope, I just went for the movie and I totally enjoyed it.

I also managed three days of the week at the gym! Go me. I know, it's such a tiny accomplishment to most people, but to me, it rocked. I want to go again today. That bullshit of "once you start, you will like it" is true. Damn it. The first five minutes suck ass, but once you get your tunes going and a rhythm, it's actually pretty cool. My thing is I get so bored. I was counting suv's that drove by. I counted 172 in five minutes. Apparently Oregon is not quite on the "more miles per gallon is better" thing.   I'm hoping to go again today or tomorrow.

And now, it's off to tackle housework, I do the heavy cleaning on Saturdays. In my house that means, emptying the dishwasher, hoovering and laundry. It's soooo strenuous. Might bake today as well, depends.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Dear Applebee's

Giving a heads up that there are mushrooms in the risotto would have been nice. My dinner was a failure. Boo. Mushrooms are a fungus. Athletes foot is a fungus. Do we see a connection. ANNNND, the statement "mushrooms will not kill you",is a false statement.  They do!!!!!!  Ick, just ick. 

Happy Holidays to me!

The sofa finally happened!!! Yes, I finally caved and bought a sofa. Didn't hurt that the price dropped considerably and honestly, it was a price that could not be beat.  I will go pick it up tomorrow and then bring that bad boy home. Just in time for snuggle season, too!

Today T and I traipsed ALL over. Started with getting coffee at our favorite place, Dutch Brothers. Then it was off to get gas at Costco.,which was 3.04 a gallon!!!! I almost fainted, my car all but tapped danced her way to the pumps. Stopped at Target and OMG, the christmas spruce glade plugs in where in!  I stocked up for the year. I can't help it, I like my house smelling like pine during closed window season. Also didn't hurt to get a Target gift card in the deal, either. Then it was down to Woodburn,OR.  to get mom's curtains. Then we had to get Bug's kid meal at Jack in the Box, Mom's Tacos at Taco Bell, our sandwiches at Subway (which honestly, is the WORST subway I have ever been in). Please do not ask why our family can not eat at ONE place, that answer is non existent. After that, it was a lunch stop to eat, collect Bug and back out.  We hit up the store for the sofa, then to Bed, Bath and Beyond for a citrus juicer. Yeah, I'm going to start doing fresh juice, it's been recommended.  After that I dropped T and Bug off and scooted for home.  All that and my gas gauge never left full - love my car!

Back to subway. T actually called our order in while we were between Jack in the Box and Taco Bell. We ordered and sat in line at Taco Bell and then drove to the subway. Our sandwiches were no where near ready! What's the idea of having "call in " if you don't actually make them. We waited and waited and got told twice they were working on it. No, you're helping every person that walks in the door. I was about twenty seconds from walking out the door when they were finally ready. Never that subway. Nope, not happening. Don't care.

Kind of excited to have a sofa again! I love to curl up and knit and watch movies and knitting in the recliner is just a pain since a cat insist on sitting with me! At least on a sofa, I can spread out a bit more. Annnd, my daybed is returning home. T has finally found a bed she liked and it was delivered today. So, daybed in the den, sofa in living is totally good.

Off to make vegetable stock. I'm making white bean soup tomorrow.