Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse 08.21.2017

My house was in the path of the total eclipse. This morning a severe rain storm rolled though with thick black clouds, high winds, and another lightening strike to my trees but by 11:30am start of the eclipse the clouds had parted. I had a normal work day, however, I was able to nip out to see it progress and then at the time of the eclipse everyone was given half an hour away from their desk so I saw the full eclipse and watched the sun reemerge.

I did it old school with a pinhole projector and just looking at it during the totality so I wasn't able to take photos of the sun as I didn't want to risk my iPhone. My eyes- sure, but not the iPhone. Instead I bring to the blog-

The Phases of Galen

 12:30pm it's noticeably darker
 12:45pm dusk, like just after the has sun has passed the horizon at sunset. This was as dark as I was expecting.
1:09pm at totality and it's dark enough the camera gives up the ghost. I would call this deep twilight, not quite night dark but much darker than I would have ever guessed.

My neighborhood had a nice half an hour of shooting off fireworks and having a celebration before wrapping it up as another workday.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Deja Vu

I'm back to dividing the body from the arms on my Zombie Apocalypse sweater and have reknit all the unravled yarn. When I went to add new yarn I couldn't find it. I'm not sure if it's in a safe place or out in the open camouflaged by other yarn but as I didn't have time to look for it I picked up my default knitting sock yarn blanket.

While knitting I watched Charlize Theron in Aeon Flux. What a deja vu moment. I've never seen the movie, didn't recognize the story or plot, and yet I have seen each and every action scene from that movie before, and I don't mean on Liquid Television.  I finally decided that the movie trailer way back when must have shown all the action scenes, or I watched a "Making Of...." piece someplace, or something.

The sock yarn blanket is to the point it needs two new colors every row as it increases in width. I had been looking at mini skien clubs when I noticed the clearance colors of Louet Gems at Webs and that a 50g skein was marked down to the same price as 10g mini. I took the amount of one month subscription of a box of minis and used it on the clearance yarn.

I'm set for 5 more rows I'm hopeful that 5 rows will also get the final width too. At that point I'll only need new colors as the current yarn runs out.

I'm going to hold out as long as I can but I feel the grays are dwindling rapidly and soon I will need to be buying replacement full size skeins of the base colors. Emotionally I'm worried. The rational part of my brain says it's going to be a non issue for the rest of the year. Almost out, yes, but a small amount on distance on the blanket is a whole lot of knitting .

Monday, July 03, 2017


Back to the Budget Byte App
149 calories for 1/2c

African Peanut Stew from the app. This is very good! I've been making a different recipe for years that uses a whole 2c container of peanut butter instead of Budget Bytes 1/2c. That recipe is thick and rich and dense. This recipe is light, fresh, and but rather thin right off the stove however the next day its thickened up into the dense soup I'm expecting. With 1/4 of the peanut butter I will be replacing my old standby with this one. I just need to remember to make it spicier next time. 

Horrible photo of the Kit Kat hat but the only current photo of me on my phone. Hat knit out of scraps of Plymouth Encore

Today is my year anniversary of my 30lb weight loss.  It's thrown about that 95% of the people that loose weight gain it all back plus more in the first year. While that study from the 1950s isn't likely to represent the general population I went into this determined I would beat the odds whatever the % might be. 

How have I done it? Quite simply by learning the calorie count of food and the amount I need. Like everything in life, simple isn't the same as easy, but, man, is it worth it. So worth it. Physically I feel better in my 40s than any other point in my life. A year later I'm still amazed at how much fun it is to be light on my feet. It. Is. Awesome.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Flax Seeds and Slivered Almonds

The nice thing about the cookbook is that there will be a run of recipes that use the same ingredients. The flax seeds and slivered almonds that I bought special for the Breakfast Parfait are then used in the next recipe, Cherry-Almond Granola. Maybe the app does that too but if it does it's not as evident. I appreciate the specialty ingredients are being used again in other dishes. 

Cherry-Almond Granola is pretty good.  I'm not keen on the amount of oil it uses and I left out the almond extract all together (I already mentioned how I feel about Marzipan) and I disagree with the choice to add the dried cranberries before cooking, but I'm thrilled to see a granola recipe in a current publication. It's so easy to make.

What I did like is the vanilla. I've never added vanilla to granola before and there is a substantial amount. The vanilla holds well and comes through the mild sweetness of the granola and accents the nutty flavor of the slivered almonds and roasted flax seeds. I also like that it isn't sweet at all. I will make this again. - maybe- At 305 calories for a small bowl filled half full I would rather more filling things for breakfast. Oatmeal is a calorie dense and I'll be glad to leave this section of the book.

With the oven on and the ingredients out I also made Autumn Delight Baked Oatmeal. Now this is what I'm talking about. It's so good!

Pumpkin and apples, cinnamon and cloves, along with some of the dried cranberries left from the last recipe. It's rich and sweet and reminds me of coffee cake. At 260 calories for a reasonable sized slice this is a winner.

Well, except that I promptly ate two slices and wanted a third but that's my issue and not a problem with the recipe. I was able to get the rest safely away in the freezer for later.

Friday, June 30, 2017

The Future is Now

The second recipe from my 14 days of Budget Bytes is Thai Curry Vegetable Soup from the App. While the cookbook is new recipes, not to be found online, the app recipes are directly from the blog.

The cool thing about the app is that it's hands free voice activated and it talks through the steps. I prop it up in a safe corner of the kitchen and say "Next" when I'm ready for the next set of ingredients and instructions and it reads them out to me. This recipe is voiced by the author and some have a robot voice but they are all too cool. It has built in timers and little how to videos.  The app has a learn to cook feeling to it with the how to videos but I'm really enjoying it. It's amazing living in the future.

This recipe turned out pretty good. Just pretty good because at the end the instructions were to balance the salty/sweet/sour levels as I've never tasted a similar soup before I had a hard time choosing the balance.

As far as the budget it called for Fish Sauce at $3.59. That's a hefty price for a 1/2 Tablespoon if I don't end up using it again. 

193 cal per 1/2 cup. It's pretty amazing that there are places I can input the ingredients and it pops out a nutrition label including the calories. Truly living in the future.

I'm enjoying how Breathing Space starts by knitting the ribbing then the neck shaping is done by short rows. I've always felt that this would be an elegant way to start a sweater with no picking up the stitches for the ribbing at the end but I've never gotten around to trying it before now. I really like it.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

With a Spoon

The first recipe in Budget Bytes is "Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal". There are three flavors I detest; marzipan, spearmint, and banana- so banana anything just isn't happening. Moving along I spotted "Breakfast Parfaits" known other places as overnight oats.

After grocery shopping I was too tired to cook but I could assemble some fruit and oatmeal in a Mason jar..... crap.... I don't have a Mason jar. My Pinterest account will be revoked!

With some digging I found a mostly empty jar of pesto in my fridge and after eating it up with a spoon I was able to assemble a Breakfast Parfait.

The jar even says Mason. Take that, Pinterest.

It might look hefty in the super sized photo but that is a really small jar packed with 276 calories. That is a mighty calorie punch for what looks like a small snack and it's not at all meal sized. I'm dubious it will keep me full.

When I had it for lunch it was not good. Not good at all. The oat and flax seeds had soaked up the moisture from the yogurt leaving them gummy and the yogurt the consistency of cheese. I don't know how long it would have kept me full as I spent the rest of the day with friends noshing on vegetables, dip, and nachos.

The next jar (it had Mango Salsa that I polished off with a spoon) is better. It looks meal sized in volume and at 320 calories is a meal. I added pineapple juice with the pineapple so the texture is better but overall it was uninspiring. This batch was a bit like paste and it was difficult to mix in the jar. It did keep me full for hours so it was acceptable but it's doubtful I'll ever make overnight oats again. My goal in life is to eat tasty food not acceptable food.

Budget Bytes isn't the only gift I've received this year. I was given two tasty tasty skiens of malabrigo in my favorite color. Malabrigo is the dark chocolate of the yarn world and as far removed from overnight oats as possible. They are an excellent addition the to the 2017 Stash rebuild.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


Stash building 2017 has begun with two sweater quantities from Webs clearance. I'm a few years late to the party but I'll finally be able to knit fingering weight sweaters.
 The Araucania "Bubblegum" is a disappointing coral color and not bubblegum pink at all. I adore Araucania and once it's over dyed with more pink or turned into red it should be stunning.

The Viking Nordlys is better than I imagined. That's good because I bought it for a specific pattern.

I haven't bought yarn for a pattern since.... never? "Never" doesn't sound right but almost never is close. I prefer to find a yarn I love then search for a pattern that fits. However, I'm loving Veera Välimäki Breathing Space and have been on the lookout for a suitable yarn for a while. 
I couldn't wait and cast on right away. I do have a knitted swatch that is still drying to verify my gauge and I want to know if the single yarn skews the knitting.

I'm also loving my orchid. This plant was my housewarming orchid that I bought as I moved into this place. Here it is, two summer later, in bloom again!

I'm a terror to house plants and can't keep anything alive but Mother In Law Tongue and Grocery Store Orchids. Both are dead easy to grow but as orchids have a reputation of being difficult I allow myself to feel smug that they thrive under my neglectful care. "Grocery Store Orchids" or Phalaenopsis Orchids also know as “Moth Orchids”don't have any sort of reputation of being difficult and are actually know for their hardiness but I latch onto the term orchid and go with it.