Around the House Update

I don’t have any finished knitting or new works-in-progress to report on, so you are getting an around the house update. What is an around the house update, you ask? Just me, telling you what Paul and I have been up to. History proves that these posts can be fun or informational or enabling or inspiring. But you be the judge.

Half an Oreo Cookie?

(File this section under “fun” and “enabling”.) Recently our niece and nephew (aka The Doodlebugs) and their parents were here for a socially distant visit to check on the fish in our pond. They surprised us by bringing donuts and cider from Gade Farm (If you are local to Altamont, go there! Yummy donuts and other food and beautiful plants and the BEST Christmas trees, and more!). I said to the doodlebugs, “Whew! I’m glad you brought something because I didn’t have time to get a snack together for you. But I do have one Oreo. Uncle Paul really wants half of it, but I can send you home with the other half to split later.”

They looked at me like I was bananas. Was I really going to send half an Oreo home with them to split?? Why yes, yes I was. Because…

…it was a REALLY BIG Oreo! In hindsight, I should have put a ruler in this picture, but this cookie/cake is on a dinner plate! Isn’t it awesome???? It looks JUST like an Oreo, right???

I recently purchased this Sandwich Cookie Cake Pan Set from Williams-Sonoma. (recipe comes inside the box with the pans) It was (and still is) on sale. (See? This is me enabling you.) Plus I had a 20% off code that I got when I went to the website!

My pre-baking pan prep could have been better – I had a hard time getting the cakes out without leaving some in the pan. Paul’s engineering physics knowledge came to the rescue with his put-the-pan-in-the-freezer-for-a-while-to-get-the-cake-to-contract-then-get-the-bottom-of-the-pan-warm-to-get-the-pan-to-expand advice. It (mostly) worked!

You should have seen the kids’ eyes when I brought this out to them: big as an Oreo cookie cake. They were very excited to try it and took half home to try later. I got a text saying it got a thumbs-up from everyone in the family. (It got a thumbs-up from me and Paul too!)

Trying Out Smoothies

(File this section under “inspirational” and “enabling”. ) I also recently purchased a Magic Bullet Mini Blender. (I can’t find where I got mine but there are some on Amazon if you follow that link. More enabling.) I’m trying to be healthy so I thought I’d give smoothies a try for a different breakfast option.

These little blenders are awesome! I’ve only had one kind of smoothie so far: 1/2 cup unsweetened cranberry juice, 1/2 cup greek yogurt, 5 frozen cherries, 1 cup frozen blue berries and 1 tsp honey. This little blender whizzes it up really well and boy is that smoothie yummy.

I have also made a balsamic vinaigrette in it: 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 tsp mustard powder, 1 tsp sugar, 1 T dried cilantro or basil, 3/4 c olive oil; mix everything but the oil, the add 1/3 of the oil, mix for a while, then add 1/3 more, mix for a while, then add the last third and mix. Adding it in portions will allow it to emulsify. So good on salads but I eat it mostly on grilled veggies.

Are you inspired to try these recipes, let me know!

(Did you ever try to spell “vinaigrette”? I tried 4 times and got it wrong every time before I finally checked the spell checker.)

Backyard Shenanigans

(File this section under “fun” and “enabling” — I’m good at the enabling apparently.) My knitting peeps came over for a socially distant knit night! It was great to see them. Before they arrived, I spent a lot of time coming up with the best deck setup where we would be far enough apart but also be warm. It was a little chilly!

Paul set up our new Solo Stove Bonfire Fire Pit and got it going before everyone arrived. (The fire pit is known for being smokeless, but that is mostly after you’ve gotten it going. AND! It’s great because we can use it on the wood deck! AND! It is portable; it comes with a carrying bag. There is a bigger size and a smaller size as well. Click on that link up there for more information.)

Everyone got here and we had a nice knit-and-catch-up evening.

(Diane, Sue, Deirdre, Robin and Christine. Lisa is not in this pic – sorry Lisa! And by-the-by, Diane and Sue are part of the Gade family that own the above-mentioned Gade Farm. Go there! More enabling.)

The stove, along with our woolies, definitely helped us stay out there a little longer. Paul and I have roasted huge marshmallows over this stove too!

Good thing we had our knit night when we did, because the next day? A huge storm rolled through. Our canopy didn’t make it:

To be honest, it already had a couple tears from being in the sun for three summers, and we were planning to replace it next spring anyway. But, boy did this storm just seal that deal!

Book/Author Recommendation

(File this section under “inspirational” and “enabling”.) I have loved all of Fredrik Backman’s books that I have read, especially A Man Called Ove: A Novel and My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry. Such engaging stories, and he has such a wonderful way of weaving the stories within the story together..

I just finished reading Anxious People: A Novel, which is his newest book. It was excellent. The snippet from Amazon says: “From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove comes a charming, poignant novel about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined.

And I just purchased the Kindle edition of And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer: A Novella. Can’t wait to read it.

(Click any of those links up there to get these books on Amazon. Enabling!)

So that’s the around the house update. Have you baked anything fun and yummy lately? Do you have a little blender? Have you read any good books lately? Let me know in the comments by scrolling down below. While I enjoy enabling others to enjoy the things I enjoy (and by that I mean “enthusiastically sharing all the things I love”), I’m also very susceptible to others enabling me to enjoy the things they enjoy! So, please feel free to share.

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2 thoughts on “Around the House Update

  1. No baking or smoothie making for me but I do have a few book recommendations. First is ‘A Gentleman in Moscow’ by Amor Towles. I had this on my to read list for awhile but kept thinking it would be more of a school assignment-type read. I ended up listening to the audiobook and loved it. Second is a book I first read in high school and have read it many times over the years – ‘The King Must Die’ by Mary Renault. I was a fan of Greek methodology and this book is a retelling of the story of Theseus as a mortal man. I just picked it up again yesterday- I never get tired of it.

    1. Thanks for the suggestions Jana! I’ve had A Gentleman in Moscow on my list for some time, but I just haven’t chosen it to read. Maybe I’ll move it up the list!

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