kitty companiona

kitty companiona

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Medicare Birthday

....whoopee :(   (not!)

Bran muffin, anyone???
Geez, how did I get to this?  I could maybe admit to 45 but, holey moley, this is AARP and beyond!
I guess being alive and mostly well is a reward in itself.  So I am thankful!

Not for the sinus headache I woke up with.  But for being able to wake up.

Zip's brother and his wife invited us to go along to a local flyfishing shop and the Brass Crow  Bass Pro shop today.  Since it's cold and very windy and my head and nose it stuffy, I'll be having a day at home to do my own thing.  That will include making stuffed cabbage rolls, doing some sewing for Brad and Kami, and working on Mom's sweater.  Yesterday I went to the library and stocked up on audio books to get me through the weekend.

This past week I made another of my favorite pasta dishes, mussels with spinach and garlic.
This is as quick and easy as a Rachael Ray 30-minute meal.

Mussels with Spinach and Garlic

approx. 1/2 lb. dry pasta  (I usually use regular spaghetti)
1 package frozen mussels
1 cup fresh spinach(coarsley chopped)
3 cloves garlic
olive oil
4 T. butter
Thai fish sauce or anchovy paste
dash of cayenne papper

Heat pasta water.
Take mussels from freezer and thaw in a pan of warm water.
Peel and finely chop garlic.  Put in small glass bowl and drizzle with about 2 T. olive oil.  Microwave for 30 seconds.  Set aside.
When pasta water comes to a boil, put in pasta and cook until al dente.  Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile open the mussels and pour into a dish to check for pieces of shell.  Remove any small pieces.  At this point you may either remove the mussels from the shells beforehand or check them carefully for cracked pieces and leave the shells intact.  You DO NOT want shell pieces in the pasta!!!

If you want a more elegant presentation, leave the mussels in the shells.

Put mussels in a large saute pan with the spinach and a little bit of water.  The mussels will also give off liquid as they cook.  When the shells have opened (if you left them on) or the liquid starts to simmer, add the garlic in olive oil, and the fish sauce or anchovy, and cayenne.

Add the drained pasta and stir to mix the flavors.  Cook for a few minutes, adding a little bit of water if necessary so that the mixture does not dry out.

Add the butter and cook until melted.

Very easy!  If you leave the shells on, the presentation is elegant enough for company.
Serves about four people.

My cleared countertops are really inspiring me to cook!  LOL!

I have been working on my fiber crafts, but don't have anything to show yet.  I finished my doll and her clothing, but the dress is looking too plain so will add some embellishments to the front.  Mom's sweater is coming along fine.  The cat hair is really showing up on the dark green yarn.  Not good for a picture.  I don't know how I'm going to get it all off before giving it to Mom!

I'd like to say I'm getting some hooking done, but not!

Time for another cup of tea.

Have a great weekend, whatever you plan to do!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Knitting Humor

A knitting friend sent me this and I just had to pass it on.
It's been around for a while, but this was the first time I've seen it.

Got lots of laughs from both Zip and I.  I think he may add it to his musical repertoire!

Fun courtesy of Mason Dixon Knitting

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Two Week Hodgepodge

I Double Dog Cat Dare You!

First we had either Penny or Reggie jumping up and sitting on the top of the doors.  Now we have both at the same time.  They tolerate each other for a few minutes and then begin fighting.

So far no one has fallen off.  But check Reggie's feet hanging over the edge!  LOL!  Penny is determined to be Queen of the Door.

It's good to have friends in high places.

In my last post I was telling the story about Deiter being distressed by biting a stink bug that landed on his back.  Angie from the Shozzy's Place blog asked me 'what is a stink bug'.

If those of you in the UK don't have these pesky creatures, count yourselves lucky!  They have been the Pest of the Year for about the past three years.  They don't really do anything harmful like biting people or
contaminating food or anything.  They just invade the house and if they are threatened, give off a noxious odor.  The younger cats love to play with them.  They roam around the house and try to sniff them out.  They they smack them with their paws to make them secrete the odor.

Hopefully they will soon have had their 15 minutes of fame and go back to being an occasional visitor.

On Valentine's Day we went out to lunch to one of my favorite restaurants, Los Palmeros in Chambersburg.  They are a Mexican and Salvadorian restaurant that serves Latin food but many of their specialties are not particularly spicy which is good for Zip.  He's not a big fan of spicy but he's becoming more accepting over the years.

We both got the beef tongue chimi with rice, refried beans and a trio of condiments.  Then shared a flan for dessert.

I did some cleaning in the kitchen lately.  Most of my counter tops are now cleared of clutter so I have been feeling more like cooking.  The other day I made this really yummy spinach and bacon alfredo pizza.  One of the best pizzas I've made in a long time.  I used hot roll mix to make the crust which cut down considerably on the prep time.

I got to thinking about the foods I loved when I was a kid.

Mom used to make the Chef Boy-R-Dee pizza from a box kit with the dough mix, can of sauce and little container of parm cheese.  Since we were a family of five, she spread the crust as thin as a cracker so that everyone could have several pieces.  Oh, gosh!  We thought that was the greatest treat.

And fish sticks.  Did your family eat them?  A while back I bought a box just to see if I would still like them. Guess what!  There sure isn't much 'fish' in them any more.  Was there ever?

Back in the days before I even knew there was such a thing as a Chinese restaurant, we had Chung King chicken chow mein in a can.  Do you remember that?  With the container of crispy noodles.  And no real oriental flavor.

When Zip and I were kids another thing we both liked was Swanson turkey pies.  They don't live up to the memory either!  And enough sodium to send us old people into shock.

My Mom was a very conventional 1950's cook.  Every night it was some kind of meat, potatoes done in a variety of ways and a canned vegetable.  Waaaah!  I'm so glad for the proliferation of ethnic food available today.  Though maybe if there weren't so many yummy things available, I would not be overweight!  Something to think about.....

And to prove the point, here I am modeling my sweater vest.

Since the weather has been mild, I've been wearing it a lot.  I just love this pattern and want to make another in sage or heather gray.  It's really nice for driving instead of wearing a bulky coat.

We have had two little snows lately that didn't even stick on the road, but looked pretty on the grass and trees.  I thought this picture of the house across the street looked so inviting with the lamp in the window.

Enough blathering for one day!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Note:  It seems that the Word Verification has been changed to two words and one of them is hard to read. I've turned mine off for now, but if I get a lot of spam I will have to change it back.  Why do they keep messing with Blogger and making it less user friendly.  Pictures would only load one at a time today, too!  YUUUUUCK!!!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Did He or Didn't He?

Today is Groundhog Day and being a Pennsylvanian, we have THE official word on all things pertaining to the pesky rodent.  I haven't seen any news yet this a.m. but he couldn't have seen his shadow around here.  It's depressingly gray and dreary.  Maybe in Punxatawney the sun was shining where he has his burrow.  They can have their six more weeks of winter.  I don't want it here!

Oh, I forgot, we haven't even had six weeks of winter yet.  Yesterday it was in the 60's!  This has been a wonderful uncommonly warm winter and I love it!

Speaking of pests helpers, Deiter makes a bee-line for my desk the minute I sit down to type.  How am I supposed to see the screen with a 20-lb. groundhog sized cat in the way???

With the warmer weather the last few days the stinkbugs are beginning to emerge.  One happened to fly by and land on Deiter's back.  Feeling something on him that wasn't supposed to be there, he quickly bit at it.  Horrible surprise!!!  He gagged and went flying around the room like demons were after him!  I felt really sorry for him, but it was still rather humorous.

Last evening I finished the sweater vest I was test knitting for Julie at Knitting at Large.  This was a fun project to knit.  I wasn't sure how I'd feel about sewing in a zipper by hand, but it went well.  It's finished just in time for spring.

Julie has included an alternate fancier cable in the pattern.  I'm thinking about doing another vest in a light gray heather with the Celtic cable.
The Carnation vest pattern will soon be available for sale on Ravelry.

In the past year, thanks to Julie's encouragement, I've completed three sweaters and this vest.  I'm about at the end of my knitting marathon.  I'm still working on a sweater for Mom, but anything else for myself is on hold for a while.  Time to get back to rughooking and maybe some weaving, along with sewing of course.

Last year about this time (I think, maybe longer) I joined a challenge on Rug Hooking Daily.  I never completed the project.  A few days ago, while digging in my rug supply cupboard, I found the rug that I had begun and then decided I didn't like.  I guess absence does make the heart grow fonder because it doesn't seem to awful after all.  Ha-ha!  So I will be working on this again.

The theme of the Challenge was Grandmother's Trunk.  We were to create a rug that would remind us of our grandmothers by using items that might have been in her memory trunk.

Both of my grandmothers were needleworkers.
My father's mother was a maker of 'quilts'.  She and my great-grandmother called them quilts, but they were really knotted comfortors.  They loved the crazy patch kind with the satins and velvets and then did decorative stitching along the edges of the blocks.  I still have one that they did in wool for the wedding of my one aunt and uncle.

My mother's mother loved embroidering pillow cases, making doll clothing and crocheting rugs.  For most of my childhood she lived across the street from a graveyard.  Back then, when people put flowers and wreaths on the graves, the ribbons were actually satin, not the plastic we have today.  When the flowers had faded (they weren't plastic either!) the kind man who was the caretaker would remove the ribbons and give them to my grandmother.  She would carefully wash and iron the ribbons and use them to crochet rugs.  As you can imagine there were a lot of pink, red, and yellow rugs given away to all of us family members!  She also used cotton rags which made more conventional and attractive rugs.

I decided to include these grandmother passtimes in my rug along with the teacup since both of them were lovers of tea with lots of milk.

Speaking of which, I could use another cup!
Have a great weekend everyone.  Thanks for stopping by.