365 Project – Week 13

I am 24% complete on my project, which means that I’m a few days too early to celebrate being a quarter of the way through. Let’s celebrate anyway. Hooray!

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Saturday night fun at our house? Banana smoothies and Venture Bros.? Yay!

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Sunday afternoon bike ride in West End Park! We decided to take in a bit of historical architecture along with our usual lakefront adventures.

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Bowie “helping” me to get rid of some fruit flies. He is not very helpful around the house, but is really good at figuring out how to get people to rub his tummy.

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Our bean plant produced one bean. It took about .5 seconds for Dan and I to share it. I’m hoping that one day our plants will start to produce enough vegetables to make a salad instead of just a mouthful.

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Anybody sick of the garden yet? Me neither. Big beautiful zucchini blossoms first thing in the morning are a great way to start the day.

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Dan and I had a little bit of fun in Sephora. Can I say how happy I am to have a man that’s totally still wearing his sparkles to work today? Very much so.

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Mid-afternoon snack of frozen vanilla yogurt and strawberry preserves. Had to get some happy energy in me before heading to work this evening!

Hope everyone else has a fabulous weekend!

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What the What Now? The Kreativ Blogger Award!

Apparently I am creative. Or kreativ. Or something. Or maybe I’m so verklempt that I can’t write sentences with words that sound good.

Kreativ Blogger Award.  What?

In addition to making me blush uncontrollably, this award has got some rules to it:

First, thank and link back to the blogger who nominated you.

The fabulous Rock Salt nominated me for this little beauty. Let me tell you, she rocked her nomination on her Mad Men cupcakes alone, I bet. I’m totally going to make the Old Fashioned ones next time I want to get a little bit hammered with my buttercream frosting.  Thank you, my dear!  You are awesome.

Second, list 7 things about yourself that your readers may find interesting.

Oh, dear. Here we go. Try not to point and laugh. Too much.

1. My name has always started with a J, contrary to what people often want to believe. My dad originally decided to name me after the custom color that he had his wonderful big boat LTD Continental painted. (They just don’t make cars like that anymore. They just don’t make good car chases starring them anymore, either. Sigh.) It was called “ginger brown.” Change that G up to a J to make all of our initials the same, and there you have it. (And, yes, I know about the Duggars, please don’t tell me about them. We are not those type of crazygonuts people.)

2. My favorite movie of all time? Little Shop of Horrors.

3. I listen to podcasts during almost my entire day, except for when I really have to read and comprehend something or when I’m forced to interact with real people. At the moment, I am all about Nerdist, Geekshow, WTF, Freakonomics, Judge John Hodgman, Stuff You Should Know, Radiolab, and This American Life. That is such a crazy long list, and it’s not even complete. I am such a dork.

4. I only truly learned how to ride a bike 5-ish years ago. All previous childhood attempts never really took. Dan helped me buy my own bike and learn to ride it, and although I am still a little tentative about it (Dan would correct this to say that I am actually a bit of a whiny baby about it), Dan and I try to ride in City Park or on the Lakefront every week.

5. I hate ginger. I think it is gross. Please don’t give me any. And yes, I know how amusing this is to everyone but me.

6. I taught myself to knit with a ball of Red Heart Worsted, a learn-to-knit website, and a pair of chopsticks. My friend TJ received that horribly itchy and wonky scarf and kept it wrapped around a cement donkey for years. I couldn’t make that up if I tried.

7. I have been told that the way I eat pizza is extremely bizarre, but I don’t care. This only applies to standard delivery pizza and does not include homemade, restaurant, or any type of thin-crust pizza for some reason. I like to scrape the toppings off with a fork, then to eat the crust, and then to eat the topping with the aforementioned fork. And no, I can’t tell you why. It’s just awesome. Don’t knock it until you try it.

Oh man. Okay, that’s done.

Third, nominate and link 7 other deserving bloggers, and be sure to let them know.

Now, here’s a list of totally deserving, totally awesome bloggers, in completely random order. They may not know who I am and wonder why I am nominating them out of nowhere because I am not much of a commenter, but I enjoy their work immensely and have for a long time. Also, if I’m bothering or insulting anyone by tagging them for this, I’m sorry. I just think you’re great, and I’d like to have a beer with you.

1. Blatherskite – Moni knits, writes, librarians (can I please make that a real verb?), and takes photographs — all with an unapologetic honesty and intensity to which I can only aspire.

2. Mixxedtape – Maxime was my first follower here on jingersnaps, and I adore her super fun and healthy breakfast recipes and unabashed positive outlook. She makes me want to try meditation. That was a weird sentence, but it is totally true.

3. Everybody Likes Sandwiches – Jeannette is just fantastic. Years ago, Everybody Likes Sandwiches was the blog that made me feel like maybe I could cook and bake and blog. She makes it all look so simple and intuitive and elegant, and I have a big ole blogging girl-crush on her. I pretended not to be all excited when she followed me on Pinterest. Unsuccessfully. I just hope that I am not bothering her.

4. The Food Librarian – I once won a giveaway contest on Mary’s blog, and she sent me all this amazing Trader Joe’s stuff and the cutest little card. She’s such a sweetie, and her exploits in the world of butter and sugar are commendable. She’s the brains behind I Like Big Bundts, by the way. Baking, plus 90s hip-hop? I’m so game.

5. Turtlegirl’s Bloggy Thing – Cristy was one of the first people that I noticed and friended on Ravelry, and she’s continued to be a source of envy and inspiration ever since. She effortlessly segues between beautiful complex knitting projects and lolspeak like a pro, and I love her for it.

6. Door Sixteen – I want to be Anna when I grow up. I want to get an awesome haircut, paint my entire house black and white, listen to the Smiths, and design book covers. Seriously. She is a creative force to be reckoned with. (I already listen to the Smiths, so I’m partway there, right?)

7. Pepperknit – I am a bit of a newcomer to Erin’s blog, but I feel like we are kindred spirits in knitting, cooking, and photography. Although, in saying that, I feel like I’m equating my work to hers, and that’s just not it. Her knits and photo sessions are always terribly, painfully lovely, and she makes me want to be a better blogger.

There we go! A peek into some of my weirdnesses, and a call to action to go and visit the amazing blogs of all of those wonderful people.

Thank you again to Rock Salt, and to everyone else who reads me here. You guys are fabulous, too. I’m going to go and hyperventilate now from too much happy.

365 Project – Week 12

Lots of reds happening this week. Tomatoes, beets, radishes, bright red couches, and burnt orange sock yarn.

365 2012-03-17

A radish! And a beet! There’s actually two other less photogenic radishes involved here, but these were just so perfect that I had to document them. It’s simultaneously weird and awesome to eat something that came out of the dirt in my backyard. I can’t wait to keep doing it.

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Frozen yogurt from Tutti Frutti as part of our Sunday afternoon bike ride. Yum!

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Row of radishes waiting to get plumper and bigger and to jump onto our salad plates.

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Self-explanatory, yes? I hang my head in shame at that disappointed bunny.

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What to do on a rainy day? Eat BLTs and watch Shaun of the Dead. Of course.

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Sock #2 of the Southwest Anklets adventure! I want to slow down and make this project last longer, but I just can’t!

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That beet pictured earlier is now chopped up with some of its friends, added to some onions, and pickled here in some Mason jars. And it is delicious. And my hands are still slightly pinkish. The instruction to peel beets in any recipe must be a practical joke.

Up on deck today?  Perhaps weeding the garden and some more knitting?  Anyone want to go out for bubble tea later?  Anybody?

Knotty, But Nice

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It’s a little bittersweet for me to post these pictures of Dan modeling his beautiful new hat in our green and not-at-all flooded with rainwater yard and garden. Unlike the current situation. We’ve been having nonstop thunderstorms for days. My radishes, carrots, and cucumbers were underwater for several hours, and probably still would be if not for Dan’s quick trench-digging and willingness to stand out in the rain with me to bail water out of the yard. We stopped once we had a whole trashcan full. It’s still a bit depressing.

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All of that aside, look at that hat!

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It’s my Knotty, But Nice specially made for my love (check out the Knitty pattern here) with some deliciously crunchy-granola-style organic wool (the Natick Community Organic Farm Worsted Wool) that was given to me by my dear friend Maddie years ago and hadn’t told me what it wanted to be yet. I think that this spin on traditional Celtic-style cables and love knots was just the ticket.

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It even works nicely as a unisex option, of course, meaning that there will probably be several moments (once the weather requires it, obviously, which it won’t for several months…knitting a wool hat in the middle of muggy New Orleans spring is just not a good idea in general…oops) where the ownership of said hat is up for debate.

Have no fear, though. There’s another cable-y hat up on deck soon for yours truly out of the same wonderful traditional stuff (Claudia, for you other knitterly types). I’m looking forward to it.

I Am Mildly Obsessed with Rosemary Cornmeal Crackers and Sassy Blogger Ladies.

Sometimes you see the perfect recipe right at the perfect time in your life.

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Let’s say you’ve just started your own vegetable garden, complete with rosemary bush that was originally purchased for Christmas cheeriness and now is living a happy life next to some radishes, beets, and cabbage.

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Let’s say that this recipe is featured on a blog that also seems like it came around at just the perfect time in your life. Right after starting your own WordPress blog, you discover a sassy baker lady whose own blog is full of life, love, butter, and sugar — much like you wish your own to be. Movita Beaucoup. You experience that special type of jealousy-love-girl-crush that only exists in the food/craft blogging world. You want to make her a birthday cake. (Dude, Movita, I’m totally entering that contest.  And hopefully not embarrassing myself.)

Okay, maybe not you. But I sure did.

And then I made some crackers. Rosemary Cornmeal Crackers. Normally I would not think of baking something savory, but the idea of using my new access to fresh rosemary to make something Movita-worthy…well, it just had to be done.

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The warmth of the rosemary, the nutty crunch of the cornmeal, the crisp thinly-rolled dough…it was unlike anything else I’ve ever made.

And they certainly didn’t last very long.

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In addition to having them with topped with some salmon, spinach, and balsamic vinegar for dinner, Dan and I snacked on them constantly until they were completely gone a mere 40-something hours later. For something not containing chocolate, that might be a record in our house.

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I can’t wait to really get the garden going with more herbs so that I can try lots of different cracker combinations. Basil crackers? Oregano crackers? Thyme crackers? Sage crackers? I am unnecessarily excited.

Thank you, Movita. It’s all your fault.

365 Project – Week 11

It seems like spring has arrived here in New Orleans, if my pictures this week are any indication. Lots of greenery (can we pretend I did it on purpose for St. Patrick’s Day?) and other signs of springtime! Plus, it’s suddenly extremely humid and foggy, and, much to my chagrin, we’ve had to turn the air conditioner on. That’s a pretty good barometer.

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Ah, spring. When a young woman’s thoughts turn to those of cookies. Girl Scout cookies. Hopefully we can stick to just two boxes this year.

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Beautiful bright rose from my rose bush in my garden! These guys make me so happy, even though they are gone in just a few days.

Such bright colors seem like they shouldn’t be able to exist in nature. Seems like they could only be relegated to fluorescent office supplies. But they are here, seemingly just to please me.

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This little guy came to join me while I was weeding, hanging out on my beet leaves. He’s so green! Almost like a little robot insect.

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Our first carrots! They didn’t get very long for some reason (I think it might have something to do with the fact that my dad kept them in a starter planter for weeks and weeks before he traded them with us), but they were tasty nonetheless.

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Anklets! I decided to make some for myself since the last ones that I made ended up going over to my mom. These ones are made of leftover Austermann Step, which might be my favorite sock yarn in the world. Super cool random-y stripe sequences, incredibly soft and strong, and silky smooth with the addition of the aloe in there. Knitting with it is pure pleasure. (Ravelry link? Southwest Anklets.)

365 2012-03-15

This plant has been through an awful lot. Three different Boulder apartments, and then a trip across the country in the back of my overstuffed Kia Rio. It wasn’t looking good after we got here, but through repottings and multiple relocations throughout the house to try to find the ideal sun situation, this plant is finally thriving and growing again. It’ll be awesome when I finally feel like I’m no longer responsible for losing so many plant lives.

That is, unless we do it on purpose to eat them. That’s an exception.

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Dewy spiderwebs on my rose bush early in the morning. Just lovely.

More springtime to come, plus some finished projects to show off later this week! Have a lovely St. Patrick’s Day! Drink some Bailey’s for me.

The BFBWBB. (And some confessions.)

I’m not good at keeping present secrets. When I get things for people that I know they’re going to enjoy, all I want to do is tell them instead of letting them open and receive the present like a normal person.

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I want to ruin all surprises. I want to hint at things and make people guess and just generally be really annoying about it.  I can’t tell you why, so don’t ask.

I think that having a blog helps to curb the urge of calling people up and letting them know that I’m sending them something that I think is awesome.

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With a blog, I can just passively post little teaser pictures about things under the guise of posting the little tidbits about my day that make me happy, and still get rid of that urge to spoil all surprises.

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That way, if a surprise gets ruined, it’s totally not my fault. That person who clicked where they shouldn’t have…well, it’s all their fault. Of course.

I am a big jerk, apparently.

Anyway.

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I made an awesome baby blanket! For some amazing future parents! For two of my favorite people in the entire world. Two of the smartest, funniest, most creative, most grounded individuals in the whole place. The Flynns! Mike and Maddie. I love you guys.

This blanket was stitched over many evenings in great anticipation of being dragged around by new baby Flynn. I believe that all knitted objects should be loved to death. To be worn out past the point of darning or restitching. That’s real knitting love.

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Here’s the Ravelry link for the BFBWBB, because I think that long acronyms are really funny. The Baby Flynn BasketWeave Baby Blanket is a cotton-based exercise in sending love across the country to some people who really deserve it.

I wish that I could be there to see baby Flynn in person when the time comes, but I’m sure that Skype will help us out on that front. The world needs another witty, barefoot, ass-kicking D&D champion, and I’ll be so happy to meet them when they get here.

Happy Happy Pi Day!

Being both a baking nerd and a more traditional nerd as well (see here for the proof if you need it), celebrating Pi Day is a complete no-brainer.

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During what other day do I get to recite math formulas to my boyfriend while baking something with delicious graham cracker crust?

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And happy, bright green, lime-y custard?

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And homemade sweetened whipped cream?

We might have to see some of that again.

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Oh yeah. That’s what it’s all about.

Pi Day is for making an otherwise boring calendar day into something filled with the scent of warm, buttery graham crackers and tropical fruit. It’s the perfect day for your favorite pie, mine being Key Lime, if you haven’t already guessed. No matter how much chocolate you can pack into a dessert, Key Lime Pie will always win out for me any day of the week. This one comes from my trusty Betty Crocker cookbook.

It was the perfect addition to our day. It’s been wet and muggy and hot and partly cloudy for days here in New Orleans, and this little pie really helped make the sun come out.

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It tastes like…childhood memories of spring and summer. Like hot, humid days and ice pops. (Otter Pops were always our brand of choice. I wonder if they still make those.)

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Like citronella candles and coconut sunblock. Like kickball games and jumping rope. Like swimming pools and fresh cut grass.

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It’s simultaneously creamy, sweet, tart, crunchy, and buttery…and it’s gone way too soon.

I hope that everyone had a fabulous Pi Day! Make one for yourself and have a bite of spring, even if it hasn’t come to you yet. It’s totally worth it.

I made Oreos! And they didn’t entirely suck!

I made cookies. Knowing me, this is nothing out of the ordinary.

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I made a mess in my kitchen. Also, nothing new. (Although, this time I took a page out of the Joy the Baker stylebook and documented it. Next time I should get up on a chair.)

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However, this crumbly, chocolatey dough was meant for something slightly different than my usual fare.

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Check that action out! Homemade Oreo cookies courtesy of Baking Bites‘s recipe. Dan and I have been known to cause some destruction on some Oreos (And has anyone noticed that the serving size for Oreos is only two cookies? Two? 2? You can’t know that and then still think that the world is a fair and just place. You just can’t…), and this week was Oreo’s 100th Birthday, as I found out from Cakespy’s extremely informative post. It seemed only fitting to give it a try.

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Let’s look past the fact that these cookies are not quite round. They are more oblong-ish, like swedish butter cookies that you find in tins during the holidays, which has no effect on their taste, because I am incapable of forming a round log of dough.

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The taste…I had mixed feelings about. The filling was spot on. Eerily so. It even leaves that not-terribly-unpleasant-but-still-strange-when-you-consider-it-came-out-of-my-KitchenAid-mixer oily feeling on your tongue after you enjoy it.

The chocolate cookie part…I think that my cocoa is somehow not cocoa-y enough. The texture was great, especially when dissolving in a glass of cold milk, but it seemed like things just needed to be a lot darker and richer. These taste like Oreos in the same way that Hydrox tastes like Oreos. As in, sort of. (We totally had Hydrox in our house on occasion when I was a kid, but really, it’s just no comparision now. Oreo owns our hearts.)

They did start to verge on Oreo-y goodness when you shoved the entire thing in your mouth and just went to town on it without milk or without thinking about it too hard.

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Not to say we didn’t enjoy them, of course. They’re just as good the day after, by the by. And there’s plenty more dough in the freezer to make more when the spirit hits.

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So what’s the advice from the fellow bakers out there? How do we get a more chocolatey Oreo flavor here? Do I find a better cocoa instead of taking the easier and cheaper way out? Do we employ some type of chocolate shavings, pieces, or syrup? Inquiring minds need to know!

365 Project – Week 10

Week 10? 69 photos? 18% complete? Why can’t I stop typing questions?

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We tried to get to the theatre before midnight, but it just didn’t happen. So…this was March 3rd…ish. And it was The Artist. And it was beautiful.

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This is from the wee hours of the morning on March 4th on the same movie date. We spent some quality time looking at ourselves looking like Nighthawks in the mirror at Morning Call while having some delicious coffee and beignets.

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I’ve had some tweedy wool sitting around waiting for some time to become something classic and cabled and traditional. Cue the hat projects for me and my love!

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Bowie had an outdoor adventure, despite the fact that he hates his harness and leash. He put on a brave face and attempted to enjoy the grass and nature sounds and smells, but spent most of the time hiding on the porch swing or in our laps.

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Dan gave me a book light for Christmas. It keeps me happy and reading in bed and him able to fall asleep. Right now, I’m reading a very silly catty-girl young adult novel from work and feeling extremely old.

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Homemade Oreo cookies went down in this kitchen. Right down into some milk. And then in our mouths. And our stomachs. More to come.

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Getting right into those crisp cables for Dan’s hat! (Knotty, but Nice from Knitty.com for those of you who want to know.) I’m loving this slightly itchy but totally classic cabled number. (Ravelry link? Right here.)

Stay tuned for more baking and knitting coverage from this past week. I know it’s extremely exciting, but try to control yourselves.