Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Menu Planning

Do you plan you meals ahead? I am not very good about this- every once in a while I see a recipe I want to try, and find a night of the week when I will actually have time to make it, but other than that I'm usually rushing around trying to figure out how to turn what I have in my fridge, pantry, and freezer into an edible meal in a reasonable amount of time. I think I want to try posting our menu for the week on the blog- it will force me to think ahead and keep me accountable :)

So this week looks like this:
Monday: Pork Tortilla Soup and bread done and delicious!
Tuesday: (Lefover) Pork stir fry
Wednesday: thinking about trying Fiesta Meatloaf, maybe with some green beans
Thursday: you're on your own!
Friday: Might have the in-laws over? Creamy Artichoke lasagna and... something. Maybe roasted root vegetables?

The nice part is I have almost everything for dinner for tonight (Tuesday) and Wednesday. Thursdays are often no plan nights as we both get home late and eat whatever we find quickest ;)

What are some of your favorite recipes? Any great make ahead ones? I have been toying with the idea of either dedicating a Saturday to making a few meals or making double batches and freezing one.

Pantry Dinner and Pumpkins

The weather has been quite icky out (thanks Hurricane Sandy) and since I knew there was a chance of flooding and/or losing power last night, I decided to make an early dinner. Problem was we didn't have a lot in the house for groceries and I had no idea what to make. After a few minutes browsing the web I came up with a healthy, warm, satisfying dinner that we had everything at home to make!

First I made some bread. I love making homemade bread, but I rarely have the time to do it the "right" way. I found this recipe that was super easy and GREAT with soup! The only change I would make is to try putting the herbs and seasonings right in the bread dough instead of only on top.

We very unceremoniously ripped pieces off of the loaf, so it doesn't look the greatest, but it had awesome flavor! This would be great to dunk in any of your favorite soups and it only took 30 minutes total.

The main part of our meal was thanks to, and it was the Chicken Tortilla Soup. I made ours with pork instead because we have so much of it in the freezer, and it was great! I am NOT a soup person, but I just let this simmer away a little longer than the recipe said and it thickened up nicely. I also added some hot sauce and a few spices (cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder I think) The hubs had 2 1/2 servings and probably would have eaten more it there had been any left ;)

As you can see I served ours with a sprinkle (handful!) of shredded cheese and a spoon of sour cream. YUM!

This weekend we finally got around to decorating some pumpkins. We bought them locally (and cheap!) and stopped off at the local hardware store for our supplies. I had decided to try paining pumpkins this year instead of carving them- much less messy!

I love the black on the pumpkins- I think it really makes them special! I was surprised at how easy it was too- I am not very artistic, but I managed to do the designs I had in my head and I think they came out pretty darn good! The only problem was that the hardware store didn't have tiny paint brushes, so I was trying to write the words nicely with a thicker one. Oh well :)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

8100 Yards

That's how many yards I have knit or crochet this year! I am totally blown away by that, but then I remember the crazy blanket I knit this summer that was about a quarter of that total. My knitting has definitely slowed over the past month as school has demanded more of my attention, but I have still been working on a few things.

You may remember that last year there seemed to be a baby boom in my life- I think I knew about 7 people who had babies, and all but 1 were boys! They were all due between April and July too. Talk about crazy! There are a few stragglers, one due in November and one in January. Well, not I know a few more people due in April/May of next year! Its really exciting, and I want to be better prepared to shower these babies with hand knits. I've found that little baby knits have been good for my lessened knitting time, so you will probably be seeing a lot of baby items in the next few months!

Anyway, some recent finished items that have contributed to my 8100 yard total:

I'm working away on a few more baby things, some Christmas gifts, and one or two things for me :) I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving break- I shouldn't have a lot of school work to do so that's a whole week off for knitting!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Steak & Stein

Saturday night the hubs and I ate out at Steak and Stein, which was right near our hotel and offered a 10% discount for people staying at our hotel. I'm really glad we decided to eat here out of all the options in the area!

Their menu is simple, but has enough options for most people. We got bread and butter at our table while we ordered, which was tasty and fresh. No photo because, well, it was 8pm and we were starving and wolfed it down before I thought to take a photo :)

Next we ordered stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer, a favorite of ours.
Honestly, these were probably our least favorite part of the meal. The breading was very lemony and almost sweet tasting, and there was a lot of it. I ate two and just didn't eat a lot of the breading with the mushroom, but the hubs was not a big fan. I think it was just that we are used to them prepared differently. However the rice that is in the middle of the plate? Amazing!

Next we had salads.

They have a salad bar that comes with all entres, and we were so stoked! I love getting to build your own salad and they had a great selection. I had lettuce (yeah its buried!) tomatoes, feta cheese, onion, dried cranberries, croutons, a hard boiled egg, and creamy italian dressing. YUM!

Lastly was the entres. Holy mammoth portions, Batman!

The near plate is mine, with my huge filet mignon. I have never seen one this large before! Its a little hard to tell the size from this photo, but it was easily as big as my hand! The plate of fries also came with my steak. Beyond that is the hub's prime rib and sea scallops. The prime rib was also huge! He ordered mashed potatoes, which you can barely see on the edge of the photo.

We were way too stuffed to order dessert, but if it was anything like the rest of our meal I'm sure it would have been good. If you are in the New Windsor/Newburgh area, give the Steak and Stein a try! Our waitress was very attentive and we really enjoyed our meal.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Rhinebeck Recap!

The hubs and I had a great time road-tripping it to Rhinebeck. The weather was beautiul! Other than a little rain during our driving we couldn't have planned it any better. I got to meet up with some great people and even saw a few "knitting celebs" (aka Jess and Mary Heather of Ravelry, and Carin of Round the Twist and LynnZimm). I didn't go up to them or anything (because, really, its crowded and they would have no idea who I was anyway!) but it was fun to spot them.

Here are the photos I remembered to snap during the trip:


A shot of the crowd
Crossing the Hudson
Crossing the Hudson again (total of four times for the weekend!)

Nice shot of the changing leaves on our way home

The beautiful view from our second hotel

On our way home we were passing a small landing strip, and a plane was swooping in to land!

Pretty neat!

Lastly, a shot of the cool people I met up with on Sunday!

It was a great time and I'm really glad that the Mr. was able to go with me! I think maybe next year I'll travel with my fiber friends, but he was glad to get to go and see what all the hype was about ;)

Stay tuned for our awesome dining experience Saturday night!

Thursday, October 18, 2012


The hubs and I are making a road trip weekend out of Rhinebeck Fiber Festival, and I'm pretty excited! However I haven't packed, I need to do laundry, the house is a mess, and we need to clean out our vehicle before we leave tomorrow. I hope to actually take photos while we are gone, and if I don't blog while on the road (doubtful, as I'll only have the iPhone) I'll do a couple posts when I get back.

In other news, the teaser photo (that ended up really large?) from last post was a box... and in the box was this:

Our new toy! We came across an awesome deal on this bad boy and couldn't pass it up. November will be the month of the elliptical!

I've also been knitting and crocheting but only on a few things:

This one is a baby blanket (and my finger... oops!) that I work on every once in a while. It might be done, not sure yet ;)

I've also been working on some socks:

These are going pretty darn fast, and will be going with me to Rhinebeck this weekend. Stay tuned to see what else got knitted on!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


The past week has been a haze of family visits, sickness, schoolwork, and car trips. It was pretty much good (except for the sickness part!) but I don't have a lot of photos as proof of any of it. My brother-in-law was visiting from Florida, and my brother's girlfriend was visiting him, and I in turn visited with both of them (yes, lots of visiting). There wasn't much cooking or baking since I was sick and we ate a lot of meals at my in-laws (thanks guys!). However, we did get one very exciting thing in the mail:

Well, you will just have to trust me because Blogger isn't uploading my photos, but its is big, heavy, and black and gray all over. Any ideas?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Meatless Monday

We don't always do meatless Mondays in our house, but I find they go over much better if I don't announce that is what I am doing to the hubs. If I serve up a warm, yummy meal that makes him go back for seconds, and it just happens to be meat free? Score one for me :)

Last night I revisited a recipe I have made before after seeing it on another blog. Its Ina Garten's Portobello Mushroom lasagna, and it is fantastic. I made a few small changes like using no boil noodles (time and hassle saver!) and sprinkling some cheese in between layers and on the top of the lasagna for the last few minutes of cooking. The verdict?

Amazing :) I served it with roasted asparagus and cauliflower, both also delicious. I think this will be put into the "usual" rotation because it went over so well and was relatively cheap to make, especially for a lasagna. I'm SO looking forward to leftovers!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Seeeecret Knitting

I can't say much about this project yet, but hereis something I have going on the side. If you have been reading my blog for a while you might figure out what it is... or will be ;)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

October Reads

Even though life has been pretty busy, I have been able to get a decent amount of reading in. Part of this is due to strategic use of audio books and ebooks, and part of it is due to books being assigned as reading for work or class. Either way, I'm not complaining!

Since I last blogged about my current reads, I have finished:


The Lost Hero was a partial re-read for me, I started it some time ago and never finished it, and wanted to get back to it. Great quick read! Rick Riordan has yet to disappoint.

Eragon was good as well. There was a while there that I felt it was slow toward the beginning, but by the end of the book I was totally invested. This was my audio listening in the car for the first few weeks of school and and certainly made my drives more enjoyable!

Decked was a re-read for me. I started reading Carol Higgins Clark's series years ago, and only got through the first book. I think it would be some good filler reading for me right now (aka fit in around other books I am reading) so I wanted to start back at the beginning.

Shrewd was interesting, but I would have to say it was my least favorite out of the bunch. I liked the premise of the book, but I felt that the author could have explained more of what he meant. The last few part of the book, called levers, were pretty good though, with some great stories in there.

Lastly I was assigned Hard Times as part of my Victorian Literature class, and I am so glad I read it! I'mm 99% sure this was my first time reading Charles Dickens, and I really enjoyed this book. I see more Dickens (and more Victorian Literature in general) in my future, both inside of class and out!

I'm pretty proud of my reading progress over the past month or so. I'm 2 books ahead of the goal I set several months ago when I first started using Goodreads, and I wont be surprised if I blow that goal out of the water by the end of the year.

I'm currently still reading Real Marriage, which I linked back in September so I wont do it again. This is the book hubby and I have been reading together, and most nights we are too tired or forget, so it has been slow reading. The other book I'm currently reading is

which is good so far, but I was borrowing the ebook from my library and had to return it before I finished (or even got very far, actually). I have it on hold again, so I'll just wait patiently until its mine again!

As I type this I am loading Eldest onto my computer to be put on my iPod for my audio listening, and I think I will be starting Snagged (#2 in Higgins Clark's series) soon as well. Yay for cooler weather and good books!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Instagram-in' it

We were busy last weekend, and anytime we aren't home over the weekend the next week is usually crazy. Things like laundry, vacuuming, small house projects, and pretty much anything beyond dishes and bare basics do not get done. Monday through Thursday means we are pretty much gone between 8-12 hours, so there just isn't a ton of time leftover to get that kind of stuff done! This weekend we left open to get stuff done around here, and this is what we have been up to:

Other things like laundry and cleaning got done too, but they aren't nearly as photogenic :)

Its definitely fall here, and I'm really loving the nice cool weather and beautiful scenery. Its one of the perks of living in Western NY! Here's a shot of my backyard:

By next weekend everything should be reds, orange, yellows, and browns :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Wearing hand knits

Today I am wearing my lacy baktus shawl that I knit earlier this year. Its a great shawl to throw on with just about anything; today I am wearing it with a black long sleeved tee and jeans.

And I'm hoping to be able to wear these bad boys in a few days:

This is an old photo, I'm up to the cuff on the second sock! I can't wait to slide my feet into these. The nights are getting cold and we have stubbornly not turned our heat on yet, though I've been covering with blankets when we sit down to watch TV at night!

When I first started knitting shawls I never thought I would wear them, but now I am a big fan of the scarf type shawls I can wear like the lacy baktus above. Any suggestions for a new similar pattern to try???