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??

Feienabend

(sorry for the blog-silence, I’ve been busy. . . )

Just so you know, Dear Internet, I don’t actually know German. (And yes, the title of today’s post is in German! how exciting!). Well, I do know a few words and phrases in German, learned from my mom (and singing some songs in German as a kid) who grew up there. So I can pronounce German (well, one dialect anyway) but pretty much understand none of it.

It pretty much translates to “celebrate the evening” – it’s the moment where you can all of a sudden relax and enjoy some free time, put up your feet, and (in North American parlance) veg out. It’s really just a perfect word, and marvelously describes a feeling I have always had in my life, the joy of being able to suddenly have all the remaining time in the day all to myself. For me, this is especially important because it means that I can turn off, reset, and be myself. I’m rarely ever completely myself with other people, and it is supremely exhausting to go through a day consisting of public transit, work, conversations with colleagues, more conversations with colleagues, lunch – more conversations with colleagues, talking talking talking, meetings, then when work is done, more public transit. And if I’m going to the gym, there’s further human interaction and public transiting. And there is only so much talking with people that I can take.

So I really do take a moment, once I’ve gotten home and started to unwind, to realize that – HUGE sigh of relief – I don’t have to talk with ANYONE for the next several hours. I can work on my crafty projects, surf the Intertubes, blog, internet window shop, nap, ANYTHING!! And it is amazing.

Feienabend is pretty much up there with schadenfreude (for me) of awesome words/concepts. So I thought I would share it with you, Dear Internet!!

And, speaking of projects. . .

The boyfriend’s sister has two young girls and apparently could not find nice mittens with idiot strings (you know, the ones that keep your children’s mittens from constantly vanishing??). She guesses that it’s a liability issue – if a child can strangle itself on something, even if it’s you know useful, it cannot be sold anymore. . . So she asked me to make a couple pairs for her girls. So I went looking for a challenging and pretty pattern that would be fun for MY FIRST KNITTED MITTEN PROJECT EVAR!!! YAY!!!!!

So I went to Knitty.com to look for options. And I found this pattern:

Matrix mittens

And, well, I couldn’t say no! I’ve only recently started to plumb the depths of two-colour knitting, so this was a perfect project to further develop those skills. Very quickly as it turns out, since it took less than a week to knit four mittens, their respective idiot cords, finish them, and sew linings for them out of polar fleece. FAST PROJECT, guys!!! Check out the pattern here!!

Here are the mittens I made!!

First project 2012 - Completed!

You use a fairly chunky yarn, so they really knit up fast. And I went a little Mod with my colour choices 🙂  My mom was skeptical that the fuschia and mauve went together, apparently, but did own that they look really cool, once made up in the pattern. I love playing strong colours off each other. And the underlying blue to both colours helps them work quite well together, I think.

And now for our close up. . .

Another pair of mittens!!

So, there you have it, Dear Internet. The reason I’ve been too busy to blog for the last week.

I’m hoping to post about my hike along the Humber River last weekend sometime soon. And you’ll be hearing about my other ongoing projects as they get completed. . . One hint though, to keep you on tenterhooks: there will be more knitting. Surprise! Bet you didn’t guess that one!

Hopefully I’ll be baking soon too – a new recipe has caught my eye! Oooo!!! And there’s my 8-part choral experience coming that I will be telling you about so, rest easy, Dear Internet! I have lots up my sleeve for the next little while 😉

The posts that never come. . .

Okay. . . So much for resolutions like “I _will_ write at least one blog post a week!!” or “I need to finish talking about my bleep-ing Newfoundland trip!” or “I should sleep more!!!”

This “gainful employment” thing kinda sucks, aside from the money, the doing something awesome with my days instead of being eff-ing bored All. The. Time., the meeting new and awesome people, the money, and gaining useful experience for my CV. Did I mention the money? Cause two years of almost total unemployment paired with me still wanting some kind of life left me with one sad credit card statement. So money coming in is both very confusing and awesome. Confusing since it’s weird to see the bank statement increase bi-weekly. Though that does get sucked into the credit card pretty quickly.

And Christmas is coming.

Which leads me to a raft of excuses for why I’ll probably be AWOL for most of the rest of the year. See, I’m going to try to actually _do_ stuff in the next couple of months, along with working 5 days a week, singing Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, knitting a stupid number of X-mas presents, going to the gym 4-5 times a week, and baking the usual ridiculous number of cookies. Plus several birthday treats for the several birthdays coming up, and finally making good on a couple of presents the boyfriend and I gave a couple of years ago. Heh, you heard right – a _couple_ of years ago. . .

We’re so awesome. . .

And, oh yes, I almost forgot Hallowe’en. Because 1. I’m actually trying to make a costume for the first time in years (I don’t know if you remember how old I am, but it’s pretty ridiculous, since I’m not 7 anymore. Not that there’s anything wrong with other people who dress up who aren’t 7, _I_ just feel ridiculous), 2. It’s my Mom’s birthday and I have a new recipe I want to make for her (it involves potatoes. My mom _loves_ potatoes in an unholy way), 3. I have to carve a ridiculous pumpkin (I might not _have_ to, technically. But this is me, and if I can be truly ridiculous, I can’t help but be even more ridiculous than that), and 4. There’s not enough time this weekend to come close to finishing everything I need to do. . . Unless I don’t sleep of course. . .

If only that were a feasible option.

In addition to making myself waaaaaayyyyyy too busy, I’m also in a kind of not awesome place, emotionally. Which is part of why I’m filling my days too full, so I don’t have time to think about things. I’ve talked about the problems I’ve been having with my choir before, so I won’t belabor that point. But it’s getting to the point where sometime in the near future I’m going to have to make a decision. And I don’t want to. I don’t want to have to leave a choir I’ve been a part of since I was 6. I don’t want to have to be the one to tell my church’s priest exactly what’s wrong and why I’m leaving the Sunday choir. I don’t want to be the one to tell my choir director why the choir isn’t as good as it could, no _should_ be (i.e. Her. . .). I’ve been talking about this off and on for the last few years, enough so that the boyfriend is probably a little fed up with me. But there’s a reason I’ve put off looking for another choir, that I’ve put off telling the people who need to know what they need to know, that I’ve remained (increasingly) frustrated about the situation I find myself in. One reason is the convenience of it – the church is literally 2 minutes away from my parents’ house. Which won’t always be the case, if I can keep up this fully employed thing and move out next year. But more problematic is the emotional attachment. I’ve sung at this place for more than two decades, my grandparents are buried in the cemetery on the church grounds, I know and care for a lot of people in the parish, it’s my Dad’s church, I’m friends with a significant number of members of the choir. And this is all tangled up together in a big jumble of emotion that pretty much paralyses me. I’m in a kind of straw-that-broke-the-camel’s-back kind of situation, and yet I can’t let myself do anything about it. Why should it be me that leaves? Why does it have to be me??

And after some gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair I came to a realization: for now, the good outweighs the bad. Just barely, but still. I’ve always been one to put friendship above my own needs, and why should I change that now? There are plenty of points at which I can reevaluate the situation, other times I can think about this.

In the meantime, I’m going to be looking at possible options. . .

Back to work! Any tough decisions on your plate, Dear Internet?

And now for something completely different!

That’s right! I’m going to talk about food! Heavens forfend!!!

Of course, it’s a really short post, and soon to follow will be several completely non-food-or-music related posts. On which topic I’m reminded that I should probably do another music related post, since it’s been rather heavily skewed toward food so far. I blame my nearly music-less summertime.

What I want to share with you today, is my super-tasty corn pancake recipe! That’s right, I’m going to send a recipe your way! How exciting is that, Dear Internet??

This is actually adapted from a recipe for Kentucky griddle cakes in Country Living’s Country Mornings Cookbook (1989).

Katie’s Corn Pancakes

Makes a boatload of pancakes – enough for at least four hungry people, maybe even five. But that depends on how well you share. Recipe halves easily.

Ingredients

2 cups yellow cornmeal

1 cup flour

2 tsp sugar (or less, whatever you’re comfortable with)

1 tsp salt (also optional, I almost never use it in my cooking)

1 tsp each baking powder and baking soda

2 cups buttermilk (you shouldn’t skimp on this, buttermilk adds a boatload of amazing flavour, without a lot of calories)

2 large eggs

4 tbsp vegetable oil (also optional – i forgot to use it the last time, with no detriment to the pancakes, just make sure to oil the pan between each batch)

2 cobs of corn, cooked and shucked (see below for a tasty barbequed corn recipe that works beautifully in this!)

4-6 green onions, diced (you can also use a large handful of chives, or half of a sauteed onion if you prefer)

Method

1. In large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda and powder).

2. In a smaller bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, and oil until combined; mix into dry ingredients until all the dry has become wet.

3. Add corn and onions, and stir until just combined. Add a bit more buttermilk if the consistency is a bit too thick. If too runny, feel free to add a bit more flour (though this has never happened to me).

4. Heat a frying pan, coated with a bit of vegetable oil (whatever your preference, canola works well), to medium high heat.

5. Spoon about 1/3 cup of batter onto hot pan, making 3 or four pancakes (however much room is there in your pan), and let fry for a few minutes. When the top starts to bubble, and the bottom is nicely browned to your preferences, flip (this requires some dexterity, but if this enormous klutz could master it, I’m sure you’ll have no problem, Dear Internet) and let the top brown evenly. The second side takes less time. When evenly brown and firm (but springy) to the touch, transfer to a platter and keep warm in the oven (about 200-250F works well here).

6.Continue until the batter is used up, and bellies are full o tasty pancakes.

Tasty Barbequed Corn

Makes however many cobs of corn you feel like making. And works equally well eaten straight from the barbeque, or as leftovers in anything – especially tasty tasty corn pancakes!

Ingredients

Several Cobs of Corn (fresh!!)

Butter or margarine (room temp, or a bit melty)

A huge pile of fresh herbs, chopped fairly fine (parsley, basil, mint, oregano, and thyme all work in whatever combination you like. Yes mint! it’s not a just a dessert garnish!!)

Several chopped green onions (or a shallot)

Smoked paprika, or chili powder

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Method

1. Eyeball your corn – figure how much butter you’ll need to coat it fairly evenly. Mix in enough herbs and onions to have a nicely green buttery goodness in your bowl. Sorry I can’t describe it better. I would estimate that for 5 cobs, you’ll need about 1/2-3/4 cup of butter or margarine and a couple large handfuls of herbs.

2. Add in several teaspoons of paprika or chili powder and pepper to taste. Rub onto the cobs.

Note: you can use one of two methods here, whichever you like best. You can 1) either pull back the leaves gently (leaving them attached at the base), pull out the silk, then slather the cobs in the herb butter and fold back the leaves and tie them in place and barbecue them like that. Or 2) you can shuck and wash the cobs, slather them in the butter, then wrap them first in damp parchment or waxed paper (to keep them nice and moist) and finally in tinfoil.

3. Barbecue the corn until done. You can pull back the leaves, or tinfoil (whichever method you used), and check the kernels – they should glow with an inner golden light and pop juicily if poked.

Just so you know, don’t ask me about barbeque methodology. I know how to turn them on, and clean them, but I leave the charring of meat to the boyfriend and my father. It’s a manly bonding ritual I don’t want to intrude upon.

I hope you enjoy some tasty corn pancakes, Dear Internet! While we still have fresh corn. . .

And now for something completely different!

Ok, I just want to take a miniature break from the immense amount of baked goods (what, this is a food blog of some kind? No. . . ), to share some pretty pictures.

I love this time of year for not only the amazing, fresh, and local produce you can get, but also for the immense amount of burgeoning floral activity in the garden. What with work and exercising a whole lot, I haven’t had a lot of time to actually do any gardening, or to really appreciate what has been going on in the garden.

So here are some pictures of the pretty flowers growing like mad in the garden!

I hope you enjoy the pretty flower pictures, Dear Internet. But rest assured, there is much baked goods ogling yet to come!

Also, I went to a vineyard with a friend on my lovely day off this long weekend, so I’ll have to share some photos of that with you. Maybe someday I’ll actually start talking about music too. . .