Fail

This won’t be a long one, and don’t expect any pretty pictures, cause I need to go to sleep now. But I thought I’d let you know, Dear Internet, why I’ve been so absent lately.

1. I discovered Pinterest. As you know, I’m mildly (hah) OCD, and this is definitely filling up my available Internetting minutes right now. It’s not at all that I need to PIN ALL THE THINGS RIGHT NOW!!!! Nope . . . Hmmmmmmm maybe I should like my Pinterest to this here blog? Things to think on.

2. I’ve been testing out new recipes like a crazy person. In my looking at changing the diet a little, I’m discovering the joy of lentils, and expanding my knowledge of the awesomeness of quinoa. Pictures may follow at some point. . .

3. I totally gave myself another concussion this weekend. Yeah, I said “another” – this is my second doctor-diagnosed concussion. And they’ve both been due to my problems with standing up near hard edged objects. Damn you, Kitchen Counter!!! I kept on with my mad schedule of baking and cooking ALL THE THINGS this weekend. Cause I’m dumb. And them with less than three hours of sleep on Sunday night, I was pretty much down for the count yesterday (unsurprisingly). Wheee. I discovered the evil of fluorescent lights today. Not that I didn’t already know they were evil. . .

Fail.

4. I’ve been preparing for the Lenten music season – new music and all that.

Anyway. I promise to try to be more diligent about posting, Dear internet. Is that good enough for now? I do have things up my sleeve, just so you know.

Any good new obsessions for you lately??

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Acceptable Uses of Houndstooth

Yeah. Don’t like houndstooth. Especially if it’s printed and in stark black and white. Like this:

Fleece houndstooth? WTF??

From Fabric.com

(And don’t ask me why it was printed on fleece of all things. Houndstooth is a fairly conservative and dressy pattern. Fleece is the antithesis of dressy. WTF??) Other colour combinations are preferable. And proper woven houndstooth is the best option.

Anyway, I recently came across an acceptable use of houndstooth:

Current progress on the Teknika gloves

Nothing like non-standard colour choices to help me change my mind 🙂 Probably also the simplified design too. . .

You can find the pattern here, at Knitty.com. If you’re a knitter, and don’t know about Knitty, you’re welcome!! There are actually a few great patterns in that issue, so check the rest of the issue out too! Nothing like freely available patterns, amirit?!? I’m also currently mid-progress on the Vines cardigan, from the Fall 2010 issue, in an excruciatingly gorgeous teal coloured yarn.

Sorry about the overly dark image. . .

It looks pretty navy here, but believe me – gorgeous! I also am mixing the teal wool with a lovely variegated blues and purples wool I found on etsy:

Looks MUCH blue-er in real life

And here’s the colour card for the teal yarn I’m using from the Berroco website. It’s actually (from my monitor anyway) pretty accurate to the real colour:

A photo on the web can't even come CLOSE to how gorgeous this colour is.

And before your start wondering why this blog is called “My life in food and music“, I’d like to share the last two baking projects of mine. That’s right! It’s time to see the final products of my Wine & Cheese baking!

Here are the Bourke Street Brownies, with the genius (if I do say so myself) substitution of dried cherries:

Definitely Sinful. . .

They’re at least twice as tasty as they appear in this photo. And they vanish quickly too, which makes me happy 😀  They’re almost entirely chocolate, so they’re definitely melt-in-your-mouth.

And here’s the phyllo appetizer I made:

The tasty innards mixture!

Phyllo might be an ass to work with, but it's sure worth it!

These also miraculously vanished at the speed of light. It’s quite simple too – sautée a bunch of sliced shallots with as much garlic as you like (lots, if you’re like me. . .), add roughly chopped mushrooms of whatever varieties you like (about a pound), then add a cup or so of white wine (whatever you like to drink), and cook covered for a few minutes. Take some sundried tomatoes you’ve soaked in hot water (to plump them up), chop them, and add to the mushrooms. Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally until the liquid has almost completely evaporated, but before the mixture has started to stick resolutely to the pan. Mix together with chopped parsley and basil (however much you like) and add a bunch of panko breadcrumbs and grated parmesan cheese, and season to your taste. Let it cool and then make it up like spanakopita (use the Smitten Kitchen’s recipe – works well for me. Though I use olive oil, instead of melted butter, as a nod to healthfulness. . .).

And, on the music side of things, I’ve been madly learning my part for a piece we’re going to sing in a couple of weeks:

(this is my first video post, so hopefully it works. . .)

I’ve been listening to this recording nearly nonstop for the last few days. Nope, not obsessed at all. Not me. Nuh uh. . .

We, obviously, won’t be having instrumentalists as it’s just us singers. But nevertheless it’s such a gorgeous piece and I’m beyond thrilled we’re going to attempt it!! We’re actually going to be rehearsing this coming Friday (also playing Catan!), looking at things for the Lenten season, and the ATB/TTBB stuff we’re going to sing on Ash Wednesday since our lovely soprano will be off in New York that week. We’ll also be looking at Ronan’s Tenebrae, which are liquid in their gorgeousness. Cannot wait!

I have a substandard Valentine’s Day planned – doctor’s appointments – and an interview on Wednesday to look forward to as well (I’m not at all nervous, why do you ask?), so the Love Day itself isn’t really on my radar. Plus, with the boyfriend’s insane schedule, it’s unlikely we’ll be able to spend time together tomorrow. . . Ah well, our anniversary is in a month, it’s not like Valentine’s has an enormous place in our hearts . . .

How about you, Dear Internet? Any chocolate-based plans for tomorrow?

Hey there, Epiphany! Didn’t see you coming. . .

I was sitting on the bus, on my way home from work. I had opened my massively large book:

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(Book 1 of Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle: Quicksilver)

Only to find, what seemed like only moments later, that I was suddenly at the subway stop already. I’d gotten so caught up in the story that time stopped for me, even as it whizzed by all around me. This made me think of one of the other books I’m currently reading (yup. I read several books concurrently. Deal with it), the most recent in George R R Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. Which I’m finding REALLY hard to get through right now. And I’ve been blaming the writing’s short-comings (which may yet be a factor), but now I wonder. Because I’m reading that series on my new e-Reader. . .

So my Epiphany was this: I don’t think I can get totally immersed in The Story if I’m not reading from a Real Book. Maybe it’s a sense-memory thing (Maybe it is the not-quite-but-almost dreadful writing. Or maybe it’s the Martin-style Waiting To See Which of My Favourite Characters Gets Killed Next), but I’m really having trouble with A Dance of Dragons. . . It might be different if I’d grown up with reading from a screen, who knows. But Real Books? They’re just better. For me, anyway.

Now. That’s enough introspection. Here’s some stuff I’ve been meaning to post!!

Knit bunny toy!!

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Pattern from Last Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson (and beautifully photographed by Anna Williams). It was SUPER-EASY to knit up, and lots of fun too! I can’t wait to make my elephant version!! I also got a commission to do one for another friend who just had her first child. I’m happy to report that a collective “Awwwwwwwww!!!!!” rose from the ranks of the baby shower where the little guy was unearthed And I apparently need to get More Last Minute Knitted Gifts now. . . When will it end???

And here’s the present all wrapped up, for those of your who have a wrapped present porn fetish:

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(I did in fact knit those carrots too. They’re from the Mochimochi Ninjabun pattern)

I also gave them a copy of the obligatory, and seminal, Pat the Bunny (I detect a theme!!), and my mom graciously donated one of her Tree of Life knit baby blankets (she kind of knits them compulsively, and we have at least three hanging out in our linen closet, waiting to find a new home. . .). No pictures of that, so you’ll just have to imagine it – it’s a creamy white, and ridiculously soft, as the new synthetics can only be. Synthetic yarn, you ask? Well, it’s hypo-allergenic AND easily washable! Perfect for baby blankets!! 😀

And here is a raft of pictures of food I’ve made!!!! Take a look!!

Portugese Custard Tarts!!

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Though, I have to tweak the recipe as the custard isn’t quite what I was hoping. The dough is super-cool to make. I’ll have to tell you about that sometime. . .

Here’s a tease:

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Ingredients!! For an appetizer I’m making for the Wednesday Candlelight post-Service Wine & Cheese. The Quintet is doing the food this week! This stuff, when combined with the Dreaded Phyllo Pastry, will become (hopefully) a nice tasty treat!! I’m only not quite sure about it cause I kind of totally made it up. Though, mixing up various mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, shallots, garlic (LOTS of garlic), Gewurtztraminer, panko, fresh basil and parsley, and freshly grated parmesan all wrapped up in a crisp and rich phyllo pastry crust is going to have to work damn hard to be inedible. . . Just sayin’. I’ll take pictures of the finished products when they’re assembled, promise!! And I’ll let you know how people liked them too 😉

More teasing:

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I forgot to take a picture of the finished product (yup, gonna have to wait on that one too, Dear Internet), but all those photos? Those disparate pictures show the makings of my sinfully delicious brownies!! They’re from the Bourke Street Bakery cookbook – the dark chocolate and prune brownies. And before your brain explodes in disgust, let me tell you that 1. You start the recipe by soaking the prunes IN BRANDY for three, count them 3 days; and 2. I use dried cherries instead of prunes . . . Yes. It is made of awesome. I do intend, at some point, to make them as the recipe instructs, but not quite yet. All the dark dark dark chocolate, the lovely cocoa (and yeah, TOTALLY using the Valrhona cocoa for these. . .) and the sweet tartness of the cherries, WITH BRANDY??? These are pretty special brownies. Though, not that kind of special, just FYI. Not that there’s anything wrong with those brownies, per se.

I found out last night that I’m definitely in teenage-starry-eyed-first-love with the baking scale I got for Christmas this year . . .

I also need to show you my progress on the knit solar system (no photos yet) – I only have Saturn left to finish. Plus all the FINISHING. . . And I have two skirts to make, and my Colette Sencha blouse (I’ll actually be making a wearable muslin of it too – Shock! Horror!!! Cause I have a BOATLOAD of this lovely turquoise Kona cotton, and why not?? I have plenty of buttons. . .).

And in Katie’s Actually Going To Be Moving Out This Year!! News: I just found out that my parents will actually get me a new sewing machine for my birthday XD I so excite!!

So, apropos of nothing really, here’s a bunch of books I want (I’ll have to show you some of my Amazon wishlist sometime too, so you get a better sense of the crazy. . .):

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(totally bought the above already. . . Nope, not at all compulsive. . . Nuh uh. . .)

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Enjoying the photo-bombing so far?? Here’s some more!!

This is a dress I saw in the Holt Renfrew window display that I NEED TO HAVE!!! Even if I’m not willing to um pay the (I’m assuming) roughly 700$ it would probably cost there. . . Here’s a photo:

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And here’s where I’ve become Internet Famous!! Ok, not exactly. But that’s where the lovely Adventurous Dressmaker answered my question about what patterns I could use to approximate said awesome dress!! Wheeee!! Pattern bought, so all I have to do now is figure out what fabric to use. . .

Some more goodies. . . A coat!!

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I stumbled across it on Dear Golden Vintage’s etsy site. I thought “Awesome coat! It’ll never fit me!” then I looked at the measurements, and sure enough I was wrong – my size!! And even with conversion to CAD from USD, and with shipping, I got this lovely beauty for less than 100$!!!!! Some indications (sleeves that are a few inches too short, belt that hits me a good two inches above my natural waist. . .) that point to this coat being originally for someone several inches shorter than me. But I don’t care! It otherwise fits awesomely! And I lurve it 😀

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That, above, is a terrible photo of an AWESOME snack I made yesterday in the middle of my serious cooking/baking-palooza: red lentil spread!! It’s a Donna Hay recipe in her Off the Shelf cookbook. Super-easy and packs a nice flavour punch. Especially since I add smoked paprika and cayenne to it. And extra garlic. Of course. There’s some in my lunch today 🙂 Just so you know, Dear Internet, I made the brownies, the filling for the phyllo appetizers, Home-made Mac-n-Cheese (Mom makes the cheese sauce, and I do the everything else. And since we add tons of veggies and canned tuna, that’s more than people usually do with the dish. So you don’t think I’m just being a whiney baby. Not that I’m not a whiney baby. . .), AND the lentil spread. That’s a lot for one evening. I was standing for a good 5 hours straight. Oh the first world problems I have. . .

Spangly dress I saw in a crazy dress shop window during a Queen Street window-shopping trip with a good friend, and fellow Whovian (whom i have also infected with love for the new BBC Sherlock series. ) :

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Awesome silver shoes I bought during said “window-shopping” trip. . .

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But they are awesome and cost 50% off the original price, so I forgive myself. . . I’m going to wear them to the two opera productions I’m seeing in the next few months!! In the interest of full disclosure, that “window-shopping” trip netted me those shoes as well as five different belts. . . Oooops . . . This belt was so awesome, I just had to have it though:

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Seriously awesome. And also 50% off. But now I’ve been researching the company that made this belt (Brave, in Toronto), and there’s at least five other belts I now covet. . . Including this gorgeous obi belt. . . Only 90$. . . But . . . Sigh. . .

And now for something completely different: the new subway train!!!!

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I finally got to ride the new train!!!!! I got a second ride Monday night, so I’m felling like a proper Torontonian now!

I think that’s enough for one day, don’t you, Dear Internet?? I’ll leave you with today’s sunrise, as viewed from the window near my office. Sorry about the not-too-awesome quality. . .

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I have something I’d like to say

Okay. So. I’ve been a little busy. Preocupied, even. 12 job applications in the last 2 weeks, attempting (and sadly failing) to finish my knit solar system (Damn you, Pinched Nerves!!), planning some baking (brownies, and phyllo appetizers!! Photos to come! I promise!!!) and all the other things that fill my life full to bursting, leaving me to ignore you, my Dear Internet. An unforgivable crime, I know.

But. Today, on my way down to the subway level (and I’ll admit, I was preoccupied with my thoughts at the time and might not have paid attention as well as usual), I ended up cutting off some dumb biddy (not that I’m feeling annoyed or anything) to get down the stairs. I was going round a corner, fairly quickly as is my wont, and heard this muttered “Christ!!” behind me. Oh, I’m sorry, Slow Person! Did I go too fast for you to realize I’d get to that spot before you did?? Also, how is it my fault that I got there first? I wasn’t trying anything, You. Walked. Into. Me.

And it’s hard not to add “Dumbass.” there at the end. . .

I’ve been having various conversations on this theme lately, one at lunch today even – the Rudeness in Public Transit Conversation. Or possibly the Thoughtlessness in Public Transit Conversation. Well, they’re basically the same thing, aren’t they?

People push in front of you to go slowly, people stand at the top/bottom of staircases or in doorways obstructing the way, etc. ad nauseum. And apparently, people resent others who go faster than them.

But. Why should I have to be the one who makes way all the time? Why do I have to pay attention to EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME?? I’m the one who moves out of the way on the sidewalk when the person going the other way doesn’t move out of my path. I’m the one who let’s the other person go first, the one who let’s someone have the seat I wanted, even when I’m having a terrible headache and really need to sit down. Not that they ask, in general.

So what if, on occasion, I don’t bow to other people’s needs? How often have I missed my train/bus/etc. because of staying behind the Slow Person Who Takes Up The Whole Pathway??

/rant

How was your day, Dear Internet?

And, just so you know, there will shortly be a much less rant-y post to follow. . .