Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A cure for what ails you.

I definitely shared this citrus salad recipe on my long-hiatused (possibly abandoned) food blog last year, but think you would all benefit from making this now if you haven't already. Especially if you have scurvy. Or winter blues. It is very flexible, but you need, at a minimum:

1 grapefruit, peeled, seeded, and cut into bite-size pieces
2 oranges, ditto
1 apple, cored and chopped
Juice of one lime
Squeeze of your favorite sweetener (honey, agave, maple syrup)

Mix it up and eat it up.

I highly recommend the following additions:
1 stalk of celery, chopped fine
1 carrot, grated
1 inch of ginger, minced
1 cup cabbage, chopped fine
1 avocado, chopped or smashed (it'll fall apart in the salad anyway)
sunflower seeds

Substitute or add other citrus fruits. Blood oranges are particularly fetching in this salad. Eat it straight up or in a spinach salad with more avocado. Yum.

Making this salad is a good way to use the oranges that you previously zested for the following cookie recipe. Or making the cookies below is a great way to use up some orange peel.

Cranberry-Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies
3/4 c butter (1.5 sticks), softened
1/4 c sugar
3/4 c brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 T vanilla
Zest of one large orange
1 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c all purpose flour
1/2 t + 1 pinch of salt
3/4 t baking soda
1/4 t nutmeg (optional)
1/2 c oats
3/4 c dried cranberries
3/4 c bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Cream together the butter and sugar, then beat in egg, vanilla, and orange zest. In another bowl, sift together flours, salt, baking soda, and nutmeg (if using). Mix dry ingredients into wet, then fold in the oats, cranberries, and chocolate.

Bake on a non-stick sheet or parchment for 8-10 minutes. Remove and let cool on the pan for a few minutes, then slide onto a rack to finish cooling. Makes about 3 dozen.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bits and bobs and odds and sods.

Hello holiday chickens. I feel like I need to report on Dressember, since I haven't been taking any pictures. My first confession is that I spent at least 48 solid hours of this still-young week in pajamas. We have a mandatory furlough this week, which is sort of like vacation but more military-sounding and with less (no) pay. As a result, I ain't doing jack shit, which is awesome. I have watched about 20 episodes of Bones.

On Christmas Eve I was on pageant duty as usual (part of my church gig; the pageant is in my contract) and somehow found myself on the 23rd of December going "awwww shit, why do I still not have a white shirt?" I have had this church gig for 11 years and the dress code for the pageant (white top, black bottom) has not changed, and yet I have a total block about white shirts. I would never tell you that a crisp white button-down is a wardrobe essential unless you are that way inclined! Although it does seem that some sort of white top is a wardrobe essential for ME and I just refuse to grasp that fact. So there I was on December 23, shopping, the absolute last thing I wanted to be doing, and as I rifled through the consignment racks for everything remotely white I flashed back to last year, when I was doing the same thing at the same time. Bah, white! Bah, I say. But I found something that actually fits my aesthetic, more or less, and it was $10 and will fit next year whether I lose weight, gain weight, or give up this church gig. And unfortunately it looked stupid with my black skirts, so I caved and wore it with pants.

Apart from these wardrobe kerfuffles (or non-kerfuffles), there have been a few skirty outfits. Cute ones, even! And you may rest assured that I will repeat them later, photograph them then, and document. I have honestly had not the slightest inclination to wear pants this entire month (apart from the pajama pants that I wear even now). And my boot wardrobe has magnified, thanks in part to my husband's Chrimbo gift of North Face Adrianne IV boots, and to me boots mean skirts. For there is no scenario in which I will be able to tuck pants into boots, given that all my pants have the widest legs possible and all my boots have nary a whit of space to be given over to anything other than calf. So boots mean skirts, and I'm going to keep on wearing them even when all of this Dressember biznass is over.

Okay I do tuck pants into boots in one circumstance, and that is when I am wearing pajama pants and I put on wellies in order to go out into the snow to move my car. But even that I did not have to do this week, despite the snow emergency and the 48 hours of pajamas, because my husband moved my car. Since he takes up the entire garage, I think this is only fair.

I have been on a diet of cookies for about 2 weeks. The less said about this, the better, though I will probably share a cookie recipe with you in the next few days. It uses whole wheat flour, so, you know. Marginally more virtuous.

The ceiling stopped leaking, at least for the time being. The recipe for continued success seems to be hyper-vigilance w/r/t raking snow off of the roof in problem areas, along with chucking some salt pucks up there to open channels for melt water to escape. Yeah, salt on the roof/in the gutters is not the optimum solution for anything, but it's what we've got until we can undertake the larger, shittier project of reinsulating/remodeling/reroofing or whatever else needs to be re-ed in the spring. The cats really enjoyed it when the couch was in the middle of the room due to the leak, though, so we probably left it there longer than was strictly necessary.

As for the cats, things seem to be going well. I'm pretty sure Momo has blocked anal glands and I'm absolutely sure I'm not going to be the one to express them, but apart from that everyone is continuing to adapt to life with two kitties. I've now seen Ace subject her to 4 savage groomings, where he vigorously licks her head and face and it's adorable and then he chomps her in the neck and a fight ensues and I break it up. (Upon reflection, maybe it's not so much a grooming as it is a tenderizing.) And they have both slept in bed with us at the same time, Ace by our feet and Momo stretched wayyyyy out between us with her feet in the Brit's face. It's very cute but not the most comfortable situation if you want to be able to roll over freely. When the cats are not antagonizing/making friends with each other, I often find Momo playing in the tub OR, awesomely, sleeping in the cat bed Ace turned his back on long ago.

Family Christmas festivities were lovely as always. Really, if you're in town some year you should come over. As an added bonus this year, I got to be in hysterics for about a half hour as my 28-year-old sister unwrapped her very own American Girl doll and a whole crapload of handmade (by Mom) doll clothes, squealing steadily the whole time. I had further hysterics when my mother revealed that she'd rigged the gift exchange drawing so as to get Em as her giftee and make all of this happen. It was truly a (devious, weird) Christmas miracle. I actually laughed hard enough that when I had to go back and sing 5 solos at the late service, I was a little concerned about the state my voice was in. Oopsie.

Today I actually left the house (in a skirt) and scored some thrift cardigans and enjoyed my new boots and the sun and warmth (maybe 30 degrees F? dudes, that's balmy and I took my coat off to go in and out of the shops). But now I have to get back to my schedule of Bones-viewing, and after that I'm hoping for 12 hours of sleep (it hasn't happened yet on this furlough, but I have high hopes).

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I loves me kitties.

Momo is a lithe, slinky, perky little cat, the exact opposite of Ace except in terms of extrovert engagement with humans: they both have that, and we're so glad. I like a cat that follows you around like a dog. She just seems like a well-adjusted animal, completely unfazed by an entirely new house and cat cohort. She has eaten the food, she has used the litterbox, she has slept happily in her quarantine room overnight (twice) and on our bed overnight (once). Plus, she smells like she's been rolling in dryer sheets.

Ace has moved from being unimpressed and skeptical to trying to lick her once or twice. They seems to want to investigate each other a lot but aren't yet cuddling up in a pile, which is my personal goal for this whole project. I busted out the cat tunnel (in which Ace has shown minimal interest historically) and it has been a great mediator. They sit at either end of it and stare at each other, or wage war from inside it. Mo generally rolls over at Ace, but growls simultaneously, which cracks me up: "I am fierce yet submissive!"

Since I know you all to be people who will look at internet videos of other people's cats, I will throw one up here as soon as I can edit one down to a reasonable length.

Not cat-related: we have ice dams on the roof, which is not new, but what IS new is that melt water has backflowed into the house and now the living room ceiling is leaking, BAH HUMBUG. Apparently everyone and her donkey is having the same problem today (it is "warm" at 30 degrees F--believe me, this is actually quite warm) and we won't be able to get a dude with a steamer on the roof until tomorrow. The person I finally got ahold of literally answered his phone from another roof. Which I guess is a kind of endorsement.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

CATS CATS CATS.

I'm picking Mo up on Sunday.

Adding a beastie.

Hopefully she and Ace will become happy life mates.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

This shit is B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

And to prove it, I made a short, crappy documentary about shoveling.

Shoveling out of the Snowpocalypse.

Hilariously incongruous salsa music in the background was unintentional, but maybe I should have put some in the rest of the vid. That wind you hear at the end? That wasn't messing around.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Five.

Things I am digging, that is:

1. Pomplamoose covers.



I love how low-key the singer is, and how hyped the dude is, a dynamic that is evident all over their videos. I have a few of their covers on my ipod, but a friend posted some of these videos on FB this morning and I am totally charmed. Everything they do is adorable yet not twee. Mostly because of Nataly Dawn.

Look at their youtube channel for more goodness, including Mr. Sandman, La vie en rose, Beat It...they're on some commercial too, but I can't think what.

Aw heck, here's one more video, with a bonus funky grandma:



2. Dressember. Yes, I more or less said this already, but I'll say it again even though I failed at getting dressed this morning (thought too hard, ended up in mostly black): I am digging the Dressember project. You can sing "Dressember" to the tune of the previous song if you like.

3. Ork Posters finally made a Minneapolis version.



So nice! Keewaydin/Wenonah holla!

4. Choir practice. You may not know this, but I am generally not crazy about singing in choirs. I totally understand why people get big thrills and soul-nutrition out of doing it, but it's pretty much always been a job for me, and my basic perspective during practice has often been on the order of "okay *I* am doing everything right but no one else is and so we have to keep repeating ad vomitum, wahhhhhhh." I still don't enjoy that aspect of choral singing, but at some point this season I just got a better attitude about actually being there. I can still zone out mid-rehearsal or get a big hate-on for a piece that sucks, but generally choir been a source of fellow-feeling, which is the entire point of communal singing.

5. Hunkering down. Apparently there is a big, massive, giant storm coming this weekend.



The weather blogger who posted this picture actually said "colors I haven't seen before," which I think is hilarious (clicking the pic will take you to the post). I'm not like a huge snow lover, but I don't mind laying in some supplies and having an Arrested Development (or whatever) marathon, and maybe busting out the snowshoes and the sweet Cloudveil softshell pants I found NWT at a consignment store for $20. I will not be doing that if the windchill is -30, however.

Anyway, a snowstorm is a good excuse to get cozy, and who doesn't like cozy?

If you can think of 5 things you dig today, let me know.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Dressember Eighth.

December 8, 2010.

This look was too equestrian for the Brit (he has a point), but I think it's my favorite so far. Realistically, the blazer is a bit too wee and was originally intended for the shop, but I thought I'd audition it anyway. I snagged it and the turtleneck at Goodwill by the pound. The skirt came from Value Village. It would look good with a tool belt, don't you think? It reminds me of a Utilikilt. The boots are from Endless, which I prefer to most other shoe retailers. The interface has always been very stylish and easy to use.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Le weekend.

Makeshift cooking is not dead
There is this very simple fava bean salad that I love on the salad bar at my co-op. I have eaten it for breakfast with marinated cucumbers and feta and little broccoli florets and dolmades and baked tofu many times, which makes me wonder why I bother with carb-bombs like (delicious homemade) granola. Anyway, I think the salad is just the beans and lemon and olive oil, so I recently thought "this is dumb, I need to make it at home" and bought some dried favas from the bulk bins. And then because my timing was all off with the soaking/cooking process this weekend I ended up making them in the crockpot, which is great if you don't want to be bothered but less great if you want any beans intact when they are done.

Should you find yourself with about two cups of dried fava beans that you have somehow inadvertently cooked down into near-mush, whizz them in the blender. Then, in a soup pot, saute a small diced onion and 4 cloves of minced garlic in a big glug of olive oil. Add your bean whizz to the soup pot with a half teaspoon of paprika, a teaspoon of cumin, and a little cayenne. Add a grated carrot and some frozen spinach and a cup or two of veggie stock. Simmer for awhile, then stir in the juice of one lemon and salt to taste. Serve with chopped cilantro. Voila: fava bean soup.

I also made "fast" no-knead whole wheat bread this weekend. It is NOT good-looking, but it tastes good and isn't dry and crumbly the way some (amateurish) whole wheat breads can be. If you make it, don't eliminate the rye flour--apparently the bread won't rise at all without it. As it was, this bread came out looking like a sad little brick, but it's totally grown on me since then. I'll probably try it again with a tablespoon of vital wheat gluten before I move on to this recipe. The Brit goes through a LOT of bread. It seems dumb not to be baking it.

Dressember
I have gotten through a week of all skirts/dresses, all the time, and I like it. Yeah, it's effing cold, but it's really nice to have a reason to pay more attention to my clothes. I should probably keep doing little low-key wardrobe projects like this because then I won't default to Urban Ninja Hippie, AKA Some Yoga Clothes Without the Yoga. Someone come up with another challenge for me to do after this month is over, otherwise I'll have to start lurking around on style blogs to find out what's up, and I'm already at max capacity for blog reading.

Shredd
I am also 30-Day Shredding this month, have I mentioned that? I thought it would be a good way to bridge the days between Thanksgiving and New Year's. So far, my favorite part of Level One is when she says "and you are well on your way to BEING shredded." Hilarious. But I like it. Nothing wrong with a 20 minute workout!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Internerd DJ.

I heard this song by Warpaint on the Current last night and I like it. I have to confess that I haven't thoroughly watched the video yet because I mostly wanted to hear the song again in the background while at work--but I like the vibe of the video, anyway (hey! it was directed by Shannyn Sossamon, she of the anachronistic hair in A Knight's Tale! Shut up, you've watched it more than once too). If you like Tegan and Sara but wish they would get dreamier and add more voices, you'll like this.

Apologies if there's a big old ad before the video streams.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Things I lurve.

Hoop earrings, yo.

I'm in a kind of smaller-sized earring phase right now--like, I actually love the way studs look, when in years past I was all about the massive shoulder duster. I think it's because with short hair, sometimes big earrings scream OMG EARRINGZ ARE WEARING MY HEAD! in a way that they never used to. Or maybe it's just a phase, like I said. Whatever the case, I still love these.

(Pics are links to the listings; shop names open a new window)

Train hoops with customizable graffiti by dmdmetal


Big nouveau hoop earrings by SkylarkStudio


Lotus hoops by ShihoYamashita (who is having a 10% off sale; see shop for details)


Planulae mini hoops by lilarubyking


Spaces hoops by Meetalls


Skull and bamboo hoops (YES!) by infraredstudio (who is on vacation until 12/6)

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Dressember.

It is the month of Dressember, so in honor of the stupidly cold weather AND my half-assed projects (see NaBloPoMo), I will be wearing mostly dresses (but sometimes skirts) all month long. I thought I wouldn't have enough goodies to do this without wearing a lot of the same stuff over and over, but in reviewing my wardrobe remix shots and my photos of unsold inventory, I realized that I actually have quite a few options. I am in fact wearing a skirt pillaged from shop inventory today, because it fits perfectly and I am not currently running my shop. The shop was getting to be a thing that hung over my head instead of a fun little side project, so I decided a break was in order.

I also realized (again, after reviewing photographic evidence) that I have gotten rid of so many things that I now wish I still had. This includes items that I sold but wish I had kept for myself, like for example several 70s wrap skirts that I would now put to good use. Ah well, this is the price I pay for being productively ruthless in my closet. On the other hand, I have a closetful of stuff that I never got around to listing in my shop, and that is ripe for the picking, so it's not like I'm living a pared-down life either.

Anyway, I'll be posting the dresses/not dresses on flickr, but many of my outfit photos are friends/family only (I was having to block several fetishists of various kinds per week). If you're on flickr and we're not contacts yet, hook me up.

I can already tell this will be challenging. Besides the weather issue, I find that I struggle a lot with function and style in my clothing, even though I don't think the two need to be at odds. Today I like the way this pencil skirt looks and feels, but I'm super-annoyed at how hard it is to walk while wearing it, even with my shorter barefoot-style gait. Maybe that's why I was originally going to sell this skirt instead of keep it. I don't think I have a lot of other dresses/skirts that aren't practical for getting around in. As far as I'm concerned, there's no reason dailywear should impede my motions in any way.

Anyway, join me if you're up for it. I might have have to do some tights-shopping.