Tag Archives: shutterbean

Three Lessons In Pushing The Reset Button

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Sometimes life just doesn’t go your way.  You make a mistake or a wrong choice and you feel upset and disappointed. Not necessarily with something big and earthshaking – sometimes it’s just the little things that can really annoy you. It is at those times, you need to take a deep breath, push your reset button and then keep on going.  Want a few examples?

Reset Button Lesson #1: I recently lost a game of yarn chicken, running out of yarn with just 2 rounds and the bind off left to knit on my Diamond Tempest Cowl.  It was aggravating and disappointing. I’ve put it behind me now and the best way to do that was this:

…which is the easiest, fastest and least painful (because it’s fast) way to frog (rip out) a project. Reset partially accomplished.  [I love my ball winder.  The company that makes mine went out of business but you can get one like this or like thisif your local yarn shop doesn’t have them!]  

The other way to help me reset my mindset after that pain in the neck nice lesson in the need for a gauge swatch, was to distance myself from that project for a bit and work on something else.  I finished the Almost Lost Washcloth, using Sun Kissed cotton yarn (a new yarn at The Spinning Room if you are local):

This was quick to knit up and I think I did a pretty good job with my seam (at right about 3 o’clock in the picture).  The picture of the washcloth doesn’t show very well the pretty tonal quality of the yarn – you can see it better in person and in the ball of yarn. There is also a mini version!  Reset fully accomplished.

And now, I’m ready to begin anew:

The correct needle size is now at the ready to make a swatch so I will know that my gauge is correct and not run out of yarn again.

Reset Button Lesson #2:  I was reading The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian and just wasn’t comfortable with the story line.  Very succinctly, it centered around a family man caught up in a Russian sex slave/prostitution case when he thought they were just having a fun bachelor party for his brother. I liked his writing and how be brought the story along, but I just didn’t like the subject, so I put it down. It was disappointing to me because I don’t do that often. I have this idea of not “giving up” on a book. In this case, though, I just couldn’t finish it.

To reset, I picked up Fool Me Once by one of my favorite authors, Harlan Coben, and immediately got drawn into the story and I’m loving it.  Which I knew I would because I love him.  Reset accomplished. [click on those links to purchase on Amazon]

Reset Button Lesson #3: All this talk of pushing the reset button reminded me of one of my favorite salads!  The Reset Button Salad, which I found on the Shutterbean blog, is a great way to reset your diet when you have overindulged over the holidays or a weekend or any random day when peeps and jellybeans are in season (*cough* speaking from experience *cough*).  It has all kinds of wonderful, yummy vegetables and qrains and nuts, and makes you feel very healthy. Reset accomplished. Try it, and take a look at the Shutterbean blog.  It’s great.  Tracy has great recipes, lots of ideas for meal planning, and wonderful photography.

Remember, when you have an annoying little snafoo in your life: Take a deep breath.  Push the reset button.  Keep going.

Two Shutterbean Recipes

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I love the Shutterbean Blog.  Lots of great recipes and, in addition, Tracy is a great photographer and her design sense is inspiring.  Recently I made a couple of her recipes….

Crispy Smashed Potatoes with arugula pesto were wonderfully crispy on the outside, tender on the inside and extra specially yummy dipped in arugula pesto.

First the pesto.  Lots of arugula and some garlic….

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I then realized the recipe called for fresh basil too, which I didn’t see when composing my shopping list (after all, it’s called Arugula Pesto, not Arugula-Basil Pesto), so I added a ton of freeze dried basil I had in my spice cupboard!

Add toasted pecans (the recipe calls for walnuts but I didn’t have any because I don’t like them)…

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Then olive oil and lemon juice….

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The recipe also calls for nutritional yeast.  Never heard of it before.  It’s apparently popular with vegans as it’s a complete protein and has some vitamins.  I wasn’t feeling in the need for a complete protein, since we were eating burgers with the potatoes, so I didn’t go out of my way to find it.

Then on to the potatoes.  Boil some little potatoes then let them drain and pat them dry…

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Take a sturdy measuring cup and smash each potato….

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Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, cook in the oven, flip them, cook them some more and then serve….

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Really, really yummy and crispy and wonderful!

The second thing I made of Tracy’s was the Reset Button Salad.  Or some semblance of it.  I got creative.  I was looking for something healthy to take for my lunches and this was perfect.

I grated carrots and cucumber (I forgot to get a red pepper, which I’ve used in this salad before too); chopped up some scallions and celery, sprinkled dried cranberries, crumbled some gorgonzola and cooked up some quinoa:

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Then I put arugula on top so it wouldn’t wilt and then realized I didn’t get a picture of the quinoa so I took the arugula out….

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Put the arugula back in and put it in the fridge for my lunches during the week.  When I was ready to eat (say, at a picnic in the living room while babysitting the doodlebugs), I sprinkled toasted pecans on top and drizzled with balsamic dressing…

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(see that blanket under the table?  I knit that for one of my doodlebugs!)

Totally yummy and delicious with lots of different flavors and textures.  Also got that owl bowl from seeing it on Shutterbean.  They are the perfect size for taking salad to lunch.  Got them at World Market here.  The doodlebugs spent the whole lunch saying, “Hello Owls!  What are YOU doing?”  The answer: “Sitting on a branch, helping Auntie Liz hold her salad.”

By the way, Tracy and I have something in common:  We love, Love, LOVE arugula.  It’s just awesome. She’s got several recipes using it. (Go check out her blog!)

The Best Cookie I’ve Had in a Long Time

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I saw this recipe for Cornflake Marshmallow Cookies on the Shutterbean blog and knew I just had to make them.  Besides Cornflakes and marshmallows, they have peanut butter chips and chocolate chips.  How can you go wrong?  I’ll tell you how – having crappy cookie sheets.  Luckily I did have some success and they are really, really, really yummy!

Most of my supplies:

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See how I did that semi-ying-yang thing with my chips?  Food styling at it’s best.

This recipe makes 12 humongous cookies.  After mixing up the dough, you scoop it onto a cookie sheet with an ice cream scoop, press down the domed tops and refrigerate them for at least an hour and up to a week.  Mine were in overnight.

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So, here is where I may have started going wrong:  I think I pressed the tops down too much, making them spread more.

I’ll give you a batch-by-batch play-by-play.

First batch:  Fancy schmancy Williams-Sonoma non stick, textured bottom cookie sheet…

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These actually looked pretty good, although maybe spread too much.

Second batch: Not as expensive but not cheap Wilton brand non-stick, dark cookie sheet….

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Too-done edges.  Maybe because it’s dark.

Third Batch: Cheapo, no-name cookie sheet….

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Way too-done edges.  Maybe because it’s cheap. (But look at that yummy marshmallow goodness in the middle!)

Fourth Batch:  Back to the Williams-Sonoma brand….

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Edges too done but middle less spread.  By this time, I think maybe my oven got a little hotter too.  Or I was afraid the middle wasn’t cooking because they weren’t spreading as much as the others so I cooked them too long.

Tracy’s (Shutterbean.com) looked so much better.  No weirdo edges. Nice, round, even thickness cookies.  By the way, I love Tracy’s blog.  She makes yummy food and takes wonderful photographs.  Check it out!

Take-aways from this recipe?

1) Use the fancy schmancy sheet.  It really did the best job.  I was trying to save time since you have to cool the cookies completely on the cookie sheet when they are done.

2) Push the tops down less?  Maybe?

3) VERY YUMMY cookies!  They were not perfectly round and the edges got burned but I broke off the too-done edges and the rest was delicious.  Crispy, buttery, chewey-marshmallowy, chocolately, peanut buttery.  So. Good.  The best cookie I’ve had in a long time.