Monday, April 26, 2010

mmmmm, cake...

chocolate peanut butter cake

my weekends are filled with errands and catching up and trying to get 1000 things done at once. not that there aren't things mixed in there that i enjoy--there are--but sometimes, i feel like it's hard to get any real down time or time for myself. i've been trying to make myself take part of the critter's naptime on one of the two days of the weekend to do something i WANT to do instead of something i NEED to do. and yesterday, that something was to make this cake. and oh my god, it's good. my friends steve and tiffany gave me a lovely book a couple of years ago called heirloom baking with the brass sisters, and i have looked at it many times without actually making anything from it. this was the first, and it was both simple and delicious. the only downfall was that i over cooked the cake a tiny bit, which made it more crumbly than it should have been. however, the icing and peanuts made up for it. this is a chocolate peanut butter cake with a boiled chocolate and brown sugar icing and salted, roasted peanuts pressed into the sides. the combination of the rich dark chocolate in the icing with the saltiness of the the peanuts was SO GOOD! i am no food photographer, but man, these pictures make my mouth water all the same. good thing i have a piece of this right here to eat for lunch dessert, huh? :)

chocolate peanut butter cake 2

new (free!) yarn

oops--i wrote this post last week, but failed to actually publish it. let's hear it for follow-through! anyway, here it is--better late than never, right?

aslan trends santa fe

ella rae lace merino

one of my bosses is also a friend and fellow knitter, which sometimes works to great advantage. she has excellent taste and picks out lovely gifts as well. earlier this week, these things all coincided when she gave me a gift for administrative professional's day--enough yarn for 3 pairs of socks. now, granted, the likelihood of me making actual socks from this yarn is, as you guys well know, slim. and yet--the yarn--it is intriguing to me. the ella rae is so my color scheme, and it's enough for a swallowtail shawl (rav link). the others, who knows, but the possibilities are endless. are all these colors not lovely? here's what you are looking at, from top to bottom:

aslan trends santa fe: 2 skeins, 180 yards each. 85% merino, 15% polyamide. color SFE1327, dyelot 3810. made in argentina.

ella rae lace merino: 1 skein, 460 yd. 100% extra fine merino. color 120, dyelot 90021. made in italy.

opal: 1 skein, 425 m. 75% superwash wool, 25% polyamide. color 2650, dyelot 102. made in germany.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

what the hell have i been doing?

i swear i look up and months have passed. it's a tad disconcerting. today, out of nowhere, i actually feel caught up enough to write something, so let's catch up, shall we?

today, i am 28 weeks pregnant. and TIRED. but otherwise, it's good. normal complaints from any woman in the 3rd trimester, but so far, all is well. baby is healthy, mama is healthy, and the rest of the family is adjusting to the whole mess. we're keepin' on keepin' on, as it were.

in the past couple of months, a lot has happened. there have been some excursions: we went to the celebrity dairy open house again, like we did last year. it was awesome again, too, but sadly i can find the pictures from that excursion nowhere, so you will just have to imagine cute baby goats, chickens, the critter playing on a bobcat, and us buying goat cheese having forgotten that i can't eat it right now. oops!

beautiful girl
on march 7th, gabriella turned seven. it's impossible to believe how grown up she is. she's almost done with first grade, and she's so much fun to talk to and so beautiful. she is smart and funny and a blast, and although she's not mine, i still love her like she is. i am so glad for a little girl i can get my girl on with, especially now that i know i'm not having a girl of my own. she's still the best big sister the critter could ever have, and such a huge part of his village and life. we're lucky to know her.

aside: g's birthday party was a bug-themed affair at the NC museum of life and science, which is an awesome place. the critter had so much fun running around digging for fossils, sitting on dinosaurs, looking at butterflies, and petting farm animals, we ended up joining the place so we can go back there often. highly recommended!

my friend emily and i snuck away for a beach weekend in march, which we seem to be making a yearly tradition. unlike last year, this time we had lovely weather, and i took not a single photograph.we spent time shopping in beaufort, eating seafood, walking on the beach, knitting, talking, and making a ninja strike on the salty sheep on the way out of town. i learned that amber, one of the owners of that most loved of all yarn stores, is also expecting a baby this summer. so cool.

inspecting the contents
easter happened. we didn't do that much, but we did set up a little egg hunt for the critter in our front yard, and then we went over and crashed a larger hunt in jennifer's cul de sac on the other side of the neighborhood. this year, the critter really GOT the egg-hunting thing, which was really fun. we put a couple of m&ms in each of his eggs, and then hid one larger one with a reese's peanut butter egg (the hippie's favorite!) inside. the kid was thrilled to discover this and to get to eat candy for breakfast. he was so cute looking for his eggs, i couldn't stop taking pictures of him. it's hard to believe that we are only a week away from his second birthday. the kid blows my mind.

in more recent news...

on gardening

beginning of charleston garden

charleston garden impatiens and sweet potato vines

charleston garden hastas and periwinkle

charleston garden pots and hastas

charleston garden pots
hippie and i have long discussed the possibility of adding a charleston-style garden down the side of our house. it's damp and shady, and it seems like a perfect place to make a walk with shade plants, ground covers, and big pots of things that will bloom. we've been slowly collecting pots and ideas and making plans, and last weekend, we jumped into it with both feet. it's a work in progress, but the photos you see here are the work of two critter naps plus a couple more hours. so far, i love how it's coming out. there's much to do yet, but we've done enough now that i can SEE it coming together in my mind. i can visualize what it will be like in 5 years, when the periwinkle and hastas have taken hold and the mosses we planted are all around the flagstones will will soon add to the path we're making. this, more than anything else we've done, really makes me feel like we truly live in this house--like we will be here for a long time. we are making it our own. so awesome.

in addition to the side garden, we've also been refining things along the front walk: getting the grass to take hold at last, replenishing the herb garden, adding annuals here and there, mulching around the perennials that have come back from last year and the year before. we have veggies (radishes, lettuce, onions, black cherokee, red pear, and flame tomatoes, orange bell peppers) in the garden box in the back, although this, too, is a work in progress. and the trees we've planted are thriving, and will one day give us a shady corner in the back where we will be able to add blueberry bushes. my head is full of plans, which is my absolute favorite place to be. loving the yard this year!

on cooking and eating

the farmers market is open again! this means i am inspired to cook. i've also been watching jamie oliver's food revolution, which only strengthens my resolve to feed my family well, to try new things, and to keep on cooking fresh, healthy things for all of us. i have come, over the past few years, to look at this as a serious investment in my health and future, as well as those of my family and friends. i am a food evangelist--i can't help it. and yes, i still love me some cupcakes, which i think is just fine. i don't make them every day, and i really only want the ones made by me or someone i know didn't add a bunch of random junk to them. anyway--i'm not about to start a massive food rant here (again)--i just want to say--hurray for spring and the farmers market and local fresh things that make me want to cook them.

rosemary garlic roasted pork loin
this is a roasted pork loin from fickle creek farm (recipe here)with some fresh grilled asparagus (from whole foods still--asparagus isn't in here yet) that i made on sunday. on monday, in accordance with my and the hippie's new plan to eat less meat and more veggies, i made a lovely roasted potato and wilted kale salad (recipe here). it was SO GOOD! i can't tell y'all how much i am loving the world of food blogs and epicurious right now. the food porn available is truly inspirational to me in the kitchen, plus trying to make more vegetarian dishes has sent me searching for new recipes at least 3 times a week. it also helps that my friend meredith has been having some of the same kinds of food epiphanies that we have over these past years, and that she and i have long loved to cook together. we madly share recipes and ideas, and it's been just great. loving my kitchen as much as the garden right now!

so. in conclusion--life is very full. overall, it's happy and good. as always, i want more time, more sleep, more time, more money, and more time. ain't that always the way, though? knitting and critter and pregnancy updates to come, but i have no more blog in me right now, plus i am totally out of writing time. y'all have a good afternoon and night, and tomorrow i'll show you my new yarn.