Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The Cookie

Right before my oven D I E D and I do mean died a week and a half ago, my family made a realization. The cookie dough in the freezer was no longer ear marked for my extracurricular activities. No soccer or softball teams. No Bake sales...

And the request for a couple warm cookies began.

And then the oven died and the requests stopped. 

(I'm still recovering from my no oven experience. You try planning for an Oscar Party when your oven dies. Yeah, you get creative but you get annoyed too, ha!)

This is the NY Times Cookie and is my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. The first time I tried it it came out busy, sweet. That is because I used an adaptation. The recipe I've linked is the way to go.

And you ask, but WHY, Ellen? What makes it so fabulous? Besides the fact it tastes good? The texture and quality chocolate. How, Ellen, how?! Fine you, with your wants of whiny details:

1. The combination of flours. Bread and Cake - it's really what gives it the best texture.
2. It's a lot of butter, no lie.
3. Quality chocolate that is not so sweet as well as the size. This batch my discs from Tcho chocolate were too big so I just cut them a bit with a chef's knife not a lot of effort, but manageable and tasty.
4. The fridge / freezer cure again adds to the texture.

Go on try it and tell me if you like it. 

True confession: I've been out of fleur de sel for months and have been cheating using Kosher and I'm totally okay with it.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Oh Sh*t she still Knits.

Sorry for the crass title, but I live for a bad rhyme and a knit joke.

Anyways, lookee here some finished knits!

A few years ago I knit a Gramps sweater for a coworker of my husband's who has always been so supportive of him. And well she was having baby 2 and knowing that her kid actually wore it he asked if I'd consider knitting the family something else. He was originally thinking a replacement sweater for the eldest since he had grown out of the original and the new little would get it, but I thought, why not something new for both.

Seemed like a great idea at the time. I chose patterns I had knit before (practical) and gave myself a reasonable size and timeline for both.

Shamefacedly 5 months later I am finally finishing them. My knitting mojo was hit or miss 2018 and honestly, I've just been so tired mentally and physically at the end of the day. I basically wait for everyone to go to sleep (not that anyone asks much of me) and then shut down. And in all fairness, I have been enjoying other hobbies as well.

Okay I just have to say the Navy is heathered and it still caused me all kinds of eyesight problems. I dropped stitches that I didn't find until AFTER I bound off the body. I dropped stitches yet again during short row collar shaping and could not figure out how to fix it so I had to tink back hundreds and hundreds of stitches over a week. Then literally 3 rows from binding off brand new knitters pride needles I purchased for this project "snapped" (the line from the needle) and I dropped a buttload of stitches and had to keep from screaming in the middle of the night. It was a journey. One I do not plan on taking for a while. So people do me a favor and slow your roll with the babies.

I've already cast on my next project another sweater for a grown person. A new to me pattern, so I have to really think but who cares, the yarn is a blue gray so I can SEE my stitches (insert cackling laughter here).

I also still have a pair of man socks I need to finish. I'm trying a higher cast on this time. How many rows do you guys usually make for your man sock legs? I think I did 70 but it seems short? Oh well, it is what it is now.

All the best,


Friday, February 1, 2019

Winter Reading Review

One of my dance instructors, Kyle Limon regularly brings a book to class to share. He is either reading it or has finished it. He gives us a quick explanation of what it's about or why he's reading it. Towards the end of the year he talked about how good reading is for you and for dancers how it can help you improve your retention (for choreography).

I was just beginning to enjoy books a little more frequently either in audio or traditional format, but it was a little inspiration to get back to it.

Here is what I've read so far this winter.

Beneath a Scarlet Sky: Honestly I love the story and the adventure. I was really intrigued how this story came to be. Here's a reference. There is a bunch of other stuff out there about this title too. I don't mean to be a snob and yuck someone else's yum, but as much as I thoroughly enjoyed the story, the writing was a bit flat for me. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't exactly prose. Does this make sense?

Britt-Marie Was Here: I was so charmed by a Man Called Ove (thank you reading knitters!) that I wanted to read something else by the author. I loved his ability to turn out a quirky character that could be both annoying and self sabotaging but good enough in their own way that you were cheering for them. This one incorporated a mature woman going through a pivotal transition in her life and soccer. Well ... seemed like the one for me. It was entertaining and enjoyable. However it felt familiar even with the new characters and setting and I love a Man Called Ove and I can't help but compare. If you were to choose go with a Man Called Ove, but this is good too, just um, not as good.

The Alienist: A historical fiction of the development of early forensics and it featured a strong woman in a time where it's hard to imagine such independence. I had been meaning to read this for a while but I actually watched the TNT series before I read the book. I liked the series enough to seek the source material and see if it matched up. I have to say I knew the series took liberties and I was a little sad that they felt the need to modify some of the characters but I understand that they like to add side plots and complexity and consolidate other things for the sake of visual story telling. Cary Fukunaga wrote 2 of the episodes and was an Executive Producer on the series and I like his work so I may be a bit biased.

This is a dark story and not for the squeamish. The most vulnerable are hurt in this story and you really need to be able to get past that in order to appreciate that it is a look into how life experiences shape human behavior and character and how they can manifest in horrible violence.

This was my favorite of that photographed stack.

Meanwhile I finished this last weekend:

I know what you're thinking ... Ellen, really, MORE serial killer stories? Look it's actually somewhat humorous and it's really good story telling. It's more about the relationship between sisters and how family experiences drive the dynamics of a family no matter what age you and your siblings are. You know how people will talk about their youngest sibling or their youngest child and call them the baby and how the baby has always needed help or has always been the most affectionate etc? Generally it's because the family has always treated them as if they are the baby and often helped or offered to help without the baby even asking. Not to say these people aren't their own capable independent people, but in the FAMILY they are the baby because they've always been babied not because they are the youngest. (True confession, I'm the eldest.)

Hmm, I'm reading that back and I'm still not making a decent point. But I'm leaving it because there's a point in there somewhere that you might be able to suss out and win a prize for.

Anyways I really enjoyed it. I think I read about it in the Times. There is a reason it gets a lot of buzz. Really enjoyed it and am recommending it constantly.

Have a good weekend folks. Use it to enjoy yourself the best way you know how. Be good -- even to your big and little siblings that may or may not deserve it. Remember when all else fails blame bad parenting. These books are giving me a complex.