Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ohio for the Holidays

Ohio was quite lovely. I had never visited this state and aside from finding out that where we were staying was referred to locally as 'Cancer Valley' found both the surrounding and the contents quite agreeable. The part of Ohio where we stayed is in the southern-ish eastern corner of the state where the hills roll and so do the buggies of the Amish.

Aside from a day trip here and there and visiting with Nic's family, there was much ado about eating and drinking and being merry. We picked up the latest issue of Saveur at one of the several airports that we visited on our way to our destination and we were inspired by the section describing the Sweedish holiday treats.

And so Nic made Lussekatter (Saffron buns).

We also made Pepparkakor (gingerbread cookies) as well as some Polkagriskola (peppermint caramels). All of these items were nibbled upon throughout the week, except for the Lussekatter which dissapeared within a couple of days.

I fancied a cardamom-pistachio cookie as well- taken from The Wednesday Chef, which falls into the realm of the 'icebox cookie'. They were good looking and tasty. 'Nough said.

To the host of Christmas dinner, I offered my pie-baking services and succeeded in a lovely and delicious apple pie. I am almost to the point where I do not need a recipe for pie... which I think is a pretty great accomplishment. I was also fortunate to be baking at a lower elevation than Bozeman, which might have increased my baking comfort level.

The vacation was also highlighted by a new (to me) hot beverage by the name of Tom & Jerry. I was so enamored with the drink that I supplied the residents of the house with a constant supply of batter.

Tom & Jerry's

2 eggs, separated
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
2/3 c sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp cloves

In a large bowl, wisk egg whites and cream of tartar to stiff peaks. In another bowl, mix yolks, 2 tsp rum, sugar, cinnamon, allspice and cloves. Fold egg whites into yolk mixture. Cover bowl and chill.
To serve, heat milk over medium-low heat. Put 1 heaping tbs batter into a mug and stir in 1-2 tbs each of brandy and rum. Fill mug with 6 tbs milk. Stir until frothy and garnish with nutmeg.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tired fingers

Here are some knits that I've been working on. Below you will find Nic's sweater. It's more of a cardigan, really, and (when complete) will have elbow and shoulder patches, embossed lion buttons and a collar. It will be quite fancy, really. As you can see, I've finished with the back panel and am now working on the left side.
The sweater calls for 9 skeins of yarn- and at 220 yards in each skein, that's... oh... 1980 yards. or 19 football field lengths or 1.12 miles. I haven't calculated the rate at which I knit, but when I do I'll let you know. Let's just say it will take me a bit- though with a couple of long travel days (to Ohio and back) I just might get a lot done.

I think I am becoming a real knitter due to the fact that I finally was able to start (and finish) something else. Just like there are process knitters and project knitters, so too are there knitters who have 18 1/2 finished projects and those who knit just one project at a time. Well, the time has come that I have forayed into the former category. While knitting a sweater is quite relaxing and challenging at the same time, it is a lot of the same- same color, same stitch, same yarn and so there comes a point when you'd like to see faster results and, you know, shake things up a bit.

This is actually a little gift, and as such I have not revealed the true nature of the object. I will say that it took a weekend and was a lot of fun (cables!!!). It also included my first buttonhole!

Save travels to everyone who is venturing out during this second half of December.

Monday, December 14, 2009

'Tis the Season.

Just because there isn't any sign of holiday decor in my apartment, that doesn't mean that I'm not fully taken over by the joys of Christmas. The reality is that I'm about as chock-full of joy and merriment that I'm about to burst.

During this month I've seen Bozeman's performance of The Nutcracker, meandered through downtown's Christmas Stroll drinking a hot, boozy beverage, and decorated a gingerbread house. Yessiree, The Christmas spirit is all around (and we've still got 10 days to go). I'm hurriedly trying to finish typing Christmas cards as well as some homemade goods before we rush off to Ohio for the holiday. If it weren't for this little December detour to the Midwest, I would be a bit more adamant about having my first Christmas tree in 7 years (I guess there's always next year).

I'm trying to cram as much cheer and joy (and productivity) into this week as I can. I've been knitting, baking, cooking and sewing. Due to budgetary restraints, I'm trying my best to make this a handmade holiday, and have succeeded (for the most part). I'll put up some photos once the gifts have been received.

Monday, December 7, 2009

How cold?

Happened a few weeks ago, but it is a visual representation of how cold it is outside right now. Today, when I left work, it was -8 degrees Fahrenheit. I need to re-type that in case you thought there was a typo: Negative. Eight. Degrees. Fahrenheit. It is supposed to get into the -20 somethings before tomorrow.

This is easily the coldest temperatures I have ever personally felt. Aside from my nose hairs freezing and experiencing a whole new sensation regarding breathing with frozen nose hairs and also coughing about 4 times whenever I step foot outside and being very cautious when walking outside (which may be remedied by a recent purchase of some yaktrax!), it's not all bad. I stay inside, and make sure that if the car is going anywhere to warm it up for at least 8 minutes beforehand.

Aside from the snow and wind, it's been dry and sunny and you certainly won't hear me complaining about the rain.