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Triumph of the Mundane

Slow blogging at its finest

Month

September 2016

Keeping It Fresh

lemon-juice

For several months I started each day downing a glass of tepid water with lemon and honey. Somewhere on the interwebs, no doubt several somewheres, this is touted as the fountain of youth, the elixer of good health, etc. Why not try? Well, the hubs lasted about two weeks. I stuck with it until I could no longer stand the delay it caused between feet hitting the floor and coffee.

The end came sometime after the purchase of more lemon juice. For many years, I’ve had it in my head that the hubs doesn’t like lemon very much. He’s asked several times not to use lemon in dishes so I add it to my serving only. Clearly no reason to keep fresh lemons in this house. So here I am trying to figure out how to use up a substantial amount of lemon juice. Hesitantly, I suggested lemon bars. Not a big personal favorite, but not something avoided. He was enthused. I was confused.

After putting a little thought to it, I realized he doesn’t like lemon in savory dishes but he does like lemony desserts. Whereas, I like lemon in savory dishes and respond meh to lemony desserts. He cooks meal regularly but I can’t recall him making a dessert aside from instant pudding; with detailed instructions, he can bake chocolate chip cookies using dough I’ve made.

So lemon bars it will be, no doubt repeatedly. Who knew?

 

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Available in Four Sizes. Maybe Three.

ramekins

No-bake goat cheese cheesecake. Doesn’t that sound good? Use 6-4 oz ramekins or jars. Hmmmm. Don’t have that, but I do have this assortment. Since it’s no-bake, no problem with variety of sizes.

goat-cheesecake

The blue ramekin is the only 4 oz one of the bunch. Unless the little glass bowl is too; I’d have to measure.

Make a graham cracker crust. How about a Biscoff crust, thank you very much. And the expiration date on the sweetened condensed milk is sell-by date, right? That stuff has a long shelf life.

Improvise and conquer, that’s my desert-making motto.

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Testing 1, 2, 3

cake-testers

On the last out-of-state excursion, I bought a cake tester for no discernibly good reason. Even in the moment I said to myself, This isn’t necessary. But it’s cute and cheap and if that purchase has risen to the level of extravagance, I am being true to my frugal roots to the point of being cheap. But does it work?

Twice tested with the same results. And I’ll wrench my shoulder if I pat myself on the back anymore. The round-top one has been in use for years; it’s just a stout wire with a bit of a handle coated with something to make it a marketable item. The new one has a cake-shaped top stamped ‘cake tester’ in case you were to mistake it for something else. And there’s old reliable, the toothpick.

Most receipes state that the cake is done when the tester comes out clean. And sometimes a toothpick is noted as the preferred tester. Also of note is the caveat that ‘clean’ really means a few crumbs sticking to the tester. Since I’ve a tendency to overbake ‘just to be sure.’ that is advice to be heeded.

The results: The wire pulls out more crumb that either the new tester or the toothpick. So my crispy-edge cakes may be avoidable using the new tester. Who knew? The sad news is that this cake was baked in the wrong pan, but that’s a post for another day.

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Seen and Unseen Nature

Sadly, I have joined the ranks of (insert plural pejorative noun of your choice) who carry a phone with them everywhere. To add to the insanity, the hubs put an SD card in the thing so I can take pictures at will with no concern about storage. Snap happy, that’s me. Back in the day, a roll of film did focus the mind. The usefulness/wisdom/point of taking all these pictures is debatable. And the hubs is no help. Take a picture, he says, You can put it on your blog. Sho ’nuff.

What is sure, my future as a nature photographer is nill.

Cases in point: Three pictures that barely capture the intended subject but continue to take up digitial space.

black squirrel

Exhibit A: Black squirrel at rest stop. Center, below the tree and above the side view mirror. Zooming in doesn’t help (any of these) as these are zoomed as far in as possible here; any more and the image falls apart.

deer 1

Exhibit B: Deer in the clearing. Again, center of the image. At least I know how to center the subject in the frame.

suspended leaf suspended leaf 2

Exhibit C: A twofer and probably the most worthwhile of the lot. A leaf suspended on a spider web so it looks to be hanging freely in the air.

Well, I’m glad I got that off my chest. Now, if I could only bring myself to get these off the SD card.

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Ill Decor

Router

Sigh. I guess, maybe, perhaps this is better or at least the least offensive option.

For some reason, that I missed because I wasn’t paying attention when it was uttered, the hubs said the best place for the router is my studio/office.

First it sat on the cabinet, cords tucked behind it and its ugly-but-necessary e-cousins. When reception went wonky, heat was the suspected culprit. Then it sat perched on a stump of PVC pipe. Other e-issues, now determined to be unrelated to the router, hiked it to the wall, cords flowing in all their un-glory. The hubs thinks this works better. Tried to sell it to me as opening up space. What you see is all the space it ‘opened’ but protesting is futile. I’m trying to look at the end result as an art installation that speaks to our electronic age. After all, not like I’m going to give up the interwebs any time soon.

And while we’re talking about untastefulness, the Henri Bendel bag held candles purchased as gifts. I can’t bear that you might think otherwise.

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Knit One, Purl a Bazillion

On Facebook a friend recently posted something about a knitting site. Some contest or giveaway or whatever so I clicked through and signed up.

Then, as the interwebs overlords intended, I started clicking around the site. Tee-shirt yarn! They have tee-shirt yarn and I want to try tee-shirt yarn! And when you buy bunches, you get a darn good discount. Then I checked my email. From the sign-up, a discount coupon! The two can be combined for a stupendous (or at least really good) discount!

We Are Knitters 1

Then this happened. The tagline is deceiving. The box did not contain a kit. It contained a lot of tee-shirt yarn wrapped in a vague plan. And yes, that is happiness.

We Are Knitters 2

The plan is rugs. Striped rugs – use a simple stitch and let the color do the design work. A couple of years ago, I spent an entire Sunday afternoon ripping old sheets into two-inch strips to make ‘yarn’ for a bathroom rug. That did happen so the possibility of this happening is greater than zero.

Maybe there’s a sale going on; maybe just a few more skeins/rolls. . . a little more happiness. . .

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Fruits and Labors or I Paid WHAT for Apples or Soggy Bottom

Apple pie

Pie making is a skill I neither possess or wish to develop into a strength. Passable is my goal. It is, however, my neighbor’s unfailing strength. So we work to stay in good standing with her and hope fruit-and-crust goodness continues to regularly cross the property line.

As for consuming pie, it is a dessert category I enjoy occasionally. Whereas the hubs could eat apple pie every day, and that’s only a minor exaggeration. So when I say a small something about possibly, maybe, I might consider making an apple pie, the look in his eyes first of surprise, then of hope and longing means it’s best to follow through.

Apple whole

Also of note: I don’t like to reward Facebook’s generally crappy algorithms. So when I saw a suggested post about a unique variety of cooking apples being carried for a short time at a local small grocer, I was torn – to click or not to click. When I got there, as expected there was no mention of price. . . Obviously, I caved completely. Sucker.

But here in the Land of the Frugal, part of the point of scrimping is to allow the occasional indulgence. Hmmm. Let me indulge myself in spending more than $10 (yes! more than ten bucks!) on apples to spend an afternoon making pie. Oh joy, oh rapture! Oh sign me up for that! Ahem.

Apple cut

Pink Pearl delivered first on color. As promised, the color is lovely. And after I spent all. that. time. cutting and peeling, peeling and cutting, (tiny violin time)

Apple sliced

the bowl of fruit was pretty and inviting. As with cooking apples, the flavor and texture is OK in the fresh state.

But the proof is in the pie. And it is delicious, with one minor flaw. Since I don’t bake pie often, I underestimate the amount of liquid that cooks out of the fruit. Failing to address the issue ahead of baking leads to inadequate liquid retention in the filling resulting in, all together now, a soggy bottom. This shortcoming has not deterred continued consumption of the final product.

For the future, a memory test: Next year at this time will I recall the price of these apples before heading to the store? And will I recall and prepare for the cooking liquid issue? Because chances are slim that I will make another pie before then.

 

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Whom to Thank?

Biscoff again

Here are those darn cookies again! Couldn’t find them the last two trips to Costo, so stopped by Customer Service to find out what gives.

Horrors! I think the only person more disappointed than me to find out Costco no longer stocks Biscoff was the woman behind the counter. Apparently she’s a bigger fan. She just kept saying this doesn’t mean Costco won’t stock them again. Hope. . .

Once the shock wore off, I recalled hearing that Target carries them. Sure enough. Better price than anywhere on the interwebs, so last Sunday with an all-purpose discount coupon I stocked up.

But who told me that Target stocked them? I need to recall so I know whom to thank!

Smidge, dash, and in between

egg and cream

I am drawn to things a little off, a little quirky. Like this measurement in the scones recipe I got from my food editor friend:

Put an egg in a measuring cup. Add cream to just between 3/4 and 1 cup.

Makes me smile every time.

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