24 June 2016

Buttery Rhubarb Muffins

Hello and Happy Friday!  I'm having a bit of a rough day, as I fell yesterday on my way home from work, and have some killer bruises to show for it.  On my elbows and knees, so of course where I actually need to bend ... but compared to The Big Fall, it's nothing.  But add to it that I have a dentist appt for later this morning for a filling, and ... well, I needed a way to make it a better day. :-)

So I thought maybe I would share some recipes with all of you now and then.  This first one is a true yum-fest!  Of course, if you are not a rhubarb fan, you won't think so - in that case, you should head over to someone else's blog!

Anyway, I love rhubarb.  And it isn't around for very long, so I thought I'd share this today.  Usually when we get rhubarb, I make stewed rhubarb, which both of us like, but I wanted to look for something different.  I have tried a rhubarb cake (recipe next time!) which was a winner, but just this past Sunday, I made these muffins, and they are D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S.  Unfortunately, I failed to note the source of this recipe; it's from a magazine, but I don't remember which  one, and for that I apologize.


Buttery Rhubarb Muffins

1/2 cup butter
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup sour cream (I used light sour cream (which is what we had), and it worked fine)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
2 cups diced rhubarb

Set oven to 400 degrees F.

Cook butter over medium-low heat until browned (~ 4 minutes); cool.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate, smaller bowl or large measuring cup, mix sour cream, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla, and cooled butter.

Stir liquid ingredients into flour mixture, and fold in rhubarb.  Fill 12 lined muffin cups with mixture and bake for 18-22 minutes.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes, and then remove and allow to cool completely.

Makes 12 large muffins.


It's really pretty straightforward, and the results are worth it.  I can also tell you that 12 muffins for two people is a lot, so I froze some.  I had one yesterday, and it was just as yummy, so they freeze well.

Let me know if you try them, and what you think. And have a great weekend!

21 June 2016

Birds, Bugs, and Boxes of Water

Those are just a few of the topics that Kathy is asking about this week.  I decided to post this today, since I'm not participating in Ten on Tuesday this week.  Carole wanted us to list 10 Things To Do While Listening to an Audiobook, and to be honest, I only listen when I am working on a basic knitting project (no charts, counting, etc.) or when I'm wide awake and can't get to sleep easily.  So that was not gonna happen, you know?

So - onward to see what I have to say about the following questions.

1. My neighbor's trumpet vine is in bloom.  What's your preference?  Hummingbirds or butterflies?

I like hummingbirds, but I see more butterflies, so I'm going with that.

2. What's your preference - boxed water or bottled water?

I am one of the few people I know who drink tap water.  Even if for some reason I have bottled water, I'll generally refill it from the tap.  I have a container that I fill up and put in the fridge.

Every time I think of boxed water, I think of an episode of the show "Difficult People," where boxed water played a part in the overall story. It's a stupid show, about a couple of annoying and annoyed New Yorkers, and they are terrible people.  I think it's hilarious.   As I said to a friend, maybe I identify with them sometimes?

3. For next to your skin softness, do you prefer angora, cashmere, alpaca, or acrylic?

I'm not overly picky.  I hate anything itchy or too hairy.  And to be perfectly honest, the absolute softest sweater I have is a really old acrylic sweater.  So go figure.

4. Do you prefer an alcoholic drink before, during, or after dinner?

Depends on the drink.  I enjoy wine anytime.  I enjoy mimosas or bloody Marys with brunch.  But most mixed drinks I prefer after dinner (or very much before).  So ... yes? ;-)

5. What cuts into your knitting time more, others in your home or your wanderings on the Internet?

Most of the time I'm on my own, so it's usually the Internet black hole.

6. Would you rather have a snowstorm as in a blizzard, or a heat wave with violent thunderstorms?

Snowstorm/blizzard.  I like thunderstorms, but despise heat waves.  Summer and I are seldom on good speaking terms, whereas winter and I are best friends.

7. You just won an all expenses paid trip to a Fiber Festival. Would you go alone or try to bring a knit pal along?

I would ask only certain people if they wanted to come along, and if they could not, I'd happily go on my own.  For instance, when I've gone to MD Sheep and Wool in the past, it's been nice to have someone to go around with for at least part of the day.  But I also like to walk around on my own.  A few years back, I was with someone who stuck to me like glue the whole day and I was miserable.

Hm.  I didn't mean for my answers to sound so contrary ... I'm actually pretty easygoing, but I guess when you ask me for specific answers, I have a lot to say!  :-)

19 June 2016

Like All Good Things ...

My vacation must end.  Sigh.  Tomorrow it's back to my depressing and frustrating job (I've already started back with my anxiety dreams!), and the schedule that is determined by someone else.  Such is life, and as I always tell myself, the good things are better because they don't happen all of the time.

And it was a great week.  Lots of day trips, lots of time with Dug and the kitties, lots of knitting and reading, lots of catching up on shows/movies we had recorded.

When I last checked in, we were having a day at home to wait for a furniture delivery and I had  haircut appt.  We are thrilled with our new chairs!  They look nice in the room - actually make the room look larger - and are really comfy.  I have been enjoying rocking in mine.  The cats are shocked because of course SOMETHING HAS CHANGED and that is always suspicious as far as they are concerned. ;-) And you know how it is, just one new thing makes the whole place seem new.

Thursday, we headed to the Barnes Foundation for the very first time ever.  We had seem some selections years ago at an exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, but had never visited the mother ship.  This was largely because it used to be in the 'burbs, and access was extremely restricted and reservations had to be made months in advance.  Once it moved to the city, it was within walking distance, but pretty expensive admission prices kept us from going.  At the beginning of last week, The Tim received a notification of a Funsaver that allowed you to purchase tickets for half price - meaning both of us could go for what it would usually cost for one person.  So we took advantage of it, and went first thing on Thursday morning.

Absolutely wonderful.  Lovely, amazing, whatever you want to call it.  Of course, I am fan of the Impressionists, and there were lots of those paintings.  We did learn that Mr. Barnes had the largest collection of paintings by Renoir in the world!  They are arranged the way he had them arranged in his house, which is somewhat random, and which makes some hard to see up close, but it was still so much fun to see the art!  I learned that I like Henri Matisse much more than I realized before.  Which is fine with me, but I was kinda surprised.  The visit took up the better part of the day, and then we took Dug to his rehab appt.  For some reason, I had pad thai on the brain, so we went to a nearby Thai restaurant for dinner.  A good end to a perfect day.

Friday, we used the day to work on things around the house.  We'd each made a list of five things we wanted to do over the week, and both of us had house and garden/deck things on our lists!  So Friday was our most productive day, but since we had wanted that, it didn't seem like a day of chores.  Does that make sense?  Then Friday night we went to Rita's and got gelati, and took Dug with us.  Both of us had also put "Do something special with Dug" on our list, and he LOVES Rita's!  He was one happy pup, let me tell you (we were pretty happy too).

Yesterday was "gardening" day.  The Tim worked on his vegetable plants on the deck (he'd refinished it on Friday), and I worked on what I am calling Project Garden Reclamation.  We have a lovely enclosed garden on one side of our house, and for various reasons, over the past few summers, we have not done anything with it.  As a result, weeds, overgrown bushes, etc. had taken over and needed to be dealt with. I spent the morning pulling weeks, and getting things so that you could see the exposed brick again. Another thing on both of our lists was "get a new dishwasher."  The dishwasher that was in our house when we moved in ~ 20 years ago was old even then.  It stopped working long ago. and since we want to replace the kitchen countertops (a whole 'nother story), we figured it was time for a new dishwasher.  So off to Home Depot, where - just because we lucked out - the one we wanted was on sale (by quite a lot!).  So our new dishwasher will be delivered on June 29!  YAY!

Today, The Tim had to return to work.  So I spent the morning sweeping up the stuff in the garden from yesterday, and putting it in trash bags to be picked up with tomorrow's trash.  I hereby declare Project Garden Reclamation Part 1 completed.

So the rest of the day has been laundry, bills - the usual weekend stuff.  But I did get out some of my wind chimes and put them out, and that makes me happy.  (There are others, but I have to get rid of stuff in front of them on the storage shelf before I can get to them.  I may have a wind chime problem.)

I really can't complain (though of course I do).  It was a week that was one of the best ever.  Once I get organized, I'll share some of the pictures.  The weekend after next is a long weekend for the Fourth of July, so I have my next thing to anticipate. (I do much better when I have a "next thing" to look forward to.)

Do I wish I had a different job, or that I could afford to work part-time?  You bet.  But I had a week of great vacation, and some people don't even come close to that.  So I'll live, you know?

Let's hope this week is a good one for all of us.  :-)

15 June 2016

One Done

This one is done - time to start its mate!

Above is Sock #1 of the pair I'm making to send to my niece Amanda for Halloween.  She is obsessed with Halloween, and when I saw the name of this colorway - Slutty Pumpkin - I knew I had to make her a pair of socks from this yarn!  Once I finish the other one, I'll block them both and get them into a nice package to send her.

We are on vacation this week.  Our original plan had been to do a driving trip through New England.  But since Dug is not up to par (though he is improving), we decided to stay put and just do day trips and other things so we could be with him.  It's been great so far.  Monday we spent some time walking on the boardwalk in Ocean City, NJ, and enjoying our people-watching.  We found quite a few characters to give names, backstories, and attitudes to, and saw a guy who looked like Larry David.  That of course led to many impersonations of what he would say about some of the others there.  :-)   Then we went to Somers Point, NJ on the way home to a place that had been recommended as having the best fried clams in the area.  We were not disappointed, even if we were stuffed!  And since we mentioned to our waitress that it was our first time there, she brought us dessert to share (a slice of chocolate-peanut butter ice cream pie)!

Then yesterday, we spent the day in Annapolis, MD.  When we used to live in DC, we went to Annapolis quite a bit, it's always been a favorite of ours.  But since we moved to Philadelphia, we haven't been there and that's ridiculous.  We had a fabulous day, with perfect weather and though there were other people there, it was in no way crowded.  The only down side was that a bookstore we wanted to visit was closed on Tuesdays.  I was a little happier when I noticed a yarn store right next door ... but it was also closed on Tuesdays!  OK, so in the end, it probably made the trip less expensive. ;-)

Today was a day at home, since two chairs we had ordered for our TV room were being delivered.  I'm sitting in mine right now, which is both a recliner and a rocking chair.  Neither chair is beautiful, but both are just fine, and comfortable.  And for as much time as we spend watching TV, movies, or things we've recorded, comfort makes all the difference.  Yes, we are old!

Best of all - we still have many days to go!  I'm hoping to get more knitting and reading done, as well as enjoying any additional adventures.  Vacations are the best.

That's it for now.  I hope your week is going well.

12 June 2016

Package Deal

This post is very belated, but I wanted to wait until I could really tell you about it and not just do a quick LOOK post.

 About a month ago, Araignee wrote a post saying that with warm weather coming, she would likely not be making as much soap as usual.  She also mentioned having some of the stuff she had made leftover, and decided to do a giveaway.  All you had to do was send her a message on Ravelry, saying what kind of scents you liked, and give her your address.  It was a lazy person's dream giveaway and I contacted her immediately.  

A few weeks later, a package arrived in the mail (which in and of itself is just the best!), and when I opened it, all of this was inside!

Amazingly, even with my poor photography skills, you can see everything.  First of all, the handmade card.  I love the puppy and the kitten who is chasing a ball of yarn, but "You are pawesome" is the best - it made me laugh when I received it, and makes me smile still when I see it.

But as you can see, besides the card, so many goodies!  A set of dainty stitch markers, and to the left of that, Glycerin Facial Soap.  The label says it contains Coconut Milk with Olive Oil, Aloe, Honey, Colloidal Oatmeal, Kaolin Clay, Activated Charcoal, and 24 Carat Mica.  All of which sounds very glamorous to me.

Below the card, is Nantucket Briar, containing Coconut Milk, Aloe Butter, Sesame Seed Oil, and Kaolin Clay.*  It looks so pretty, like it has waves from the ocean washing over it.

The little pink round package is a tin of Mango Papaya Lotion Bar, with Beeswax ,Coconut Oil, and Cocoa & Shea Butter.

And finally above that is Night Sky, with Coconut Milk, Aloe Butter, Sesame Seed Oil, and Kaolin Clay.

Not not only are these things pretty in and of themselves, and packaged in such a lovely way, but OH DO THEY SMELL DIVINE!!!  I haven't started using any of them yet, because I am currently hoarding them to enjoy looking at, and sniffing them all for a while.

I am amazed that someone made all of these themselves!  I always enjoy reading about her soapmaking adventures on her blog, and love the pictures she posts, but seeing them in person is completely different.

Thank you so much, Araignee!  My package was so much more than anything I was expecting, and I know I'll be enjoying all of it for a long time.

What a nice thing to do, right?

*everytime I see the words, "Kaolin Clay," I think of Kato Kaelin from the O.J. Simpson murder trial.  He was such a weirdo, and I am amused all over again.  (Clearly it doesn't take much.)