Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Molly and Myrtle Bulletin

I am about to start several hours of baking which is exactly what I need. This is even with other people in mind so I will have to mind my presentation and recipe following.

First I took Nim over to my parents so he could run in their yard and get a bath.

Then I decided to try and catch Molly and Myrtle and do their nails. Notice the clawed bathtub. Clawed. Imagine trying to catch cats around it.

For some reason none of the Myrtle photos made it. But she was pretty easy to catch and clip.

Molly on the other hand hissed and spit. I am not without marks. She would jump straight up several feet and attempt to transport sideways. She also expelled something unpleasant.

But once I caught her she was also easy to clip although highly emotional (a bit like Emile).

Then rather than run from me she just stood in the corner. It was very bizarre.

Myrtle didn't understand what her problem was either. And she just wanted to get out and hang with Nim.

Now for the hours of baking!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Mercer Slough

The weather wasn't giving any favors today but as I was heading out of Bellevue the sky seemed to clear up again so I quickly pulled off in the Blueberry Farm parking area for the Mercer Slough Nature Park.

We did get rained on a bit but the heavy hail, etc. held off. Most of the trails were actually draining pretty well too so the mud wasn't terrible.

It wasn't quite what I was craving but it was good for the pup. Really it was good for me too and if I am honest I am not entirely sure what I needed today because arguably I could have suited up and dealt with the weather in the mountains.

On my mind right now is my quarter starting up again on Monday. Normally I actually start reading some of the material before the quarter even starts but this time I am avoiding the book altogether. :) I am excited at the prospect of another big project which this class has so I bet come Monday I will be ready to dive in.

Celebrity Inspiration Friday

My Easter lilies are starting to bloom...and this is all under the driving rain!

I know that a lot of celebrities do a ton of good with their money, I just tend to be unaware of celebrity news so I was pleasantly surprised to have a couple of great stories catch my eye.

First was Kate Winslet and the "The Golden Hat" book (featuring other celebrities in hats). The related Golden Hat Foundation is very interesting. Its mission specifically focuses on "creating an environment that holds these individuals as intellectually capable" and helping in the support of innovation for communication and education.

The story of The Golden Hat book (and foundation) is built around a completely non-verbal young man with autism. He finally gets a letterboard for communication and writes a poem entitled the "The Golden Hat." This poem is about a boy that can't talk and how his magical hat helps him.

One of the blogs I read had a very interesting comment on the complexity of autism from an intellectual capabilities standpoint and I actually respected where she is coming from. Within the spectrum of autism there is also a huge spectrum of intellectual capability.

My second celebrity inspiration comes from Willie Nelson. Does that man ever not inspire? Anyway, LEARN Horse Rescue has a special adopted home for two profoundly abused horses on Willie Nelson's ranch. The photos and story of the abuse of these horses are deplorable.

LEARN Horse Rescue
is based in South Carolina and is a long running organization. They focus not only on the rescue side but the public education side as well (helps prevent the abuse and abandon in the first place). Even in my state, there is a crisis of abandoned/abused horses.

Have a great Friday!

Nim is waiting for me to finish work-work and great creative so we can get out today. The weather is certainly not in our favor for outdoors adventure.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Unwinding the Day

I honestly don't know that Leela ever feels stress. Emile can hold a grudge for a long time. He likes extensive suffering that involves making others miserable. Leela seems to always quickly recover and make her own contentment.

You can tell that even Nim looks a little better than this morning. After I finished the quilts we ran out to obedience and then headed to Bellevue to drop the quilts off. He was exceptionally focused and responsive in obedience today so I think he felt better to be on his schedule doing what is familiar.

He slept really hard afterwards while I struggled in some thick traffic (it is a hard cold rain day) and dropped off my quilts.

I knew right away what I was going to make today once I got home. This is a Copycat Recipe: Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs by Chocolate-Covered Katie.

The above photo is the center with powdered sugar, peanut butter and a bit of salt. How can it go wrong?

I am sure I have had Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs at some point but I have apparently forgotten them, so I just trusted her that they tend to be flat and oval. 7 cute little babies all ready for the freezer.

Close-up of one...with the bottom of my tea cup in the back Vogelstar: your mug is prettier...mine has less of a chance of burning me and travels in the car. :)

This is the first recipe that made me go out and buy coconut oil. I know it is good for me but it is very expensive. I seriously shouldn't have waited so long. I love the flavor of it plain and as a chocolate sauce base it was really good. It will absolutely change some of my baking.

Meanwhile for some reason while I was concentrating SUPER hard on my "eggs" (I was actually laughing, because lets face it, mine are ugly) Nim and Emile got hyper and started harassing each other under the chair. Leela naturally didn't leave her throne. I tried to get a photo but the second I turned they acted angelic (guilty).

I am a little embarrassed about this photo because I don't remember them looking quite so...unrefined?...when I was looking at them with my own eye.

Oh well, they are ugly and they are all mine! Currently they are sitting in the freezer and I am keeping myself busy so I don't try one before it sets a little more.

I keep thinking maybe I belong in a baking creative type of job, but I am seriously going to have to work on my presentation and laziness for that to happen. Can you imagine if I got paid for all the recipes I love trying out? :) That is a nice thought.

Perhaps next time I make these I can focus on presentation and decorate them with little pink frosting flowers.


This was Nim last night. The longer we stayed in the office the more annoying he became.

I finished all the quilting around 12:30am. To be honest, I really went to bed discouraged because I just wasn't sure if I could finish this morning.

But thankfully it is done. I am submitting two quilts. One is the mystery quilt and one is a baby quilt I had completed a month or so ago.

The smartest thing I did was save the binding for this morning. I was able to make a much better decision and found a fabric for binding I liked better than what I was thinking in the middle of the night.

It is very nice to have this done. I was surprised last night how down I felt at the prospect I just might not finish so this is a great feeling right now (even if I am crazy tired).

PS. Most of the work last night was powered by vegan cheesecake. The peanut butter chocolate option came out good as well although I probably needed more peanut butter in it. Overall I think I preferred a stronger lemon flavor but it still turned out great!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Pretty much since the moment I woke up I have been restless today. I should be sewing but when I couldn't focus on that, I decided to bake and clean the house a bit. I will basically have to pull a late night of sewing or give up on the goal of submitting to the Pacific Fabrics quilt show.

Leela was interested until she realized it was nothing worthwhile to her.

I wanted to play with that cheesecake recipe I did a few days ago. My initial plan was peanut butter chocolate chip.

I went down to 1/2 tablespoon lemon and added 1/4 cup peanut butter. Then it came time to add the chocolate. I couldn't decide. (I think really I just wanted to stand there and eat some chocolate chips and think. :))

Do chocolate chips even belong in cheesecake?! I suppose the same could be asked about peanut butter. So you can see I did the half and half. The batter did taste good...more later on the actual cake.

Emile knows my vegan baking is not worth his time. :)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Morning Cheesecake

What a good way to start the morning!

The consistency actually came out really nice (too bad my photos tend not to). I am so excited about this. It is my type of recipe: quick, easy, and successful. I will definitely make it again!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saturday Cooking and Baking

Today I just wasn't in a sewing mood but I did really want to bake and cook. I accomplished 3 out of the 4 things I planned to make today.

First I wanted to test a recipe from the Chocolate-Covered Katie site. It was posted in the comments section of the Banana-Split Cheesecake Bites post.

I stayed true to the test recipe. In my case I am a sugar user so I did not use stevia and I did opted for a full tablespoon of lemon.

The batter tasted great! Now we will have to wait until tomorrow for consistency. The last time I tried a vegan cheesecake the consistency failed but the taste was fine and yes, as I remember, I ate a fair amount of it.

The next recipe is not so much cooking but it has become a huge staple for me. This is based on the Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Larabar recipe. I have never eaten a Larabar so I have no idea how this compares, I just know that it is a great combo for me.

My modifications include 2 tablespoons of coconut instead of peanuts and I used prunes instead of raisins. You can see the mix is a crumble.

I then smash into a container which goes into the refrigerator to eat in sections when I need it. Truly a favorite for me.

This photos is boring, but I REALLY have wanted to make the sour cream recipe from the "Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons" since I got the book. This did not disappoint. I left out the salt because of the recipe it was going into and doubled the lemon juice. I will absolutely make this again over buying the store options.

The sour cream went into my favorite stroganoff recipe, which I promise tastes much better than it looks. It is basically onion, garlic, frozen spinach, and Nate's meatless meatballs. I used to only put it over noodles, now I am just as likely to put it over sweet potatoes.

Current stroganoff recipe (a recipe was given to me but I don't know from where and I do some things differently):

  • 1 onion
  • 4+ cloves of garlic (I am garlic person)
  • 16oz bag frozen spinach (I have done combos of fresh too depending what is laying around)
  • 1 bag frozen meatless meatballs (using Nate's lately - depends on what I can find).
  • 1 cup sour cream (I was using the Tofutti brand, but will now make my own with above recipe).

Saute the cropped garlic and onion about 10 minutes (basically I don't let it brown). Add the spinach and the meatless meatballs and some water (maybe a 1/3 cup of water - sometimes I need more).

I have found I need to cook it at about medium heat for a good 10 minutes or so - until the meatballs are hot all the way through.

Add sour cream after everything else is cooked and heat (but don't bring to boil). Salt/pepper as desired.

This recipe has frozen well for me.

I wanted to make another batch of berry scones and even put crystallized ginger in them this time but the night is getting late so instead I will eat Next Organics chocolate covered ginger (pretty much my favorite along side their chocolate covered cherries) and watch more Dark Shadows.

Good night. :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Needle Felting Friday

I hope everyone is having a pleasant Friday.

Before I explain the three felted dog project above, this Friday I am really excited to share Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC) in Nepal. This is another non-profit that was inspiring not only in its service, but in the story of its founder.

ECDC serves the children of women in prison in Nepal. In Nepal if a female goes to prison and there is no family to care for her children they go to prison with her. ECDC was started by a young woman who learned about this situation while visiting a prison for her social services degree. She has since opened a house for children age 5+ to live in while their mother is in prison and for children 5 and under there is a daycare option.

I am greatly simplifying the work of this organization and the story behind the founder. Please take some time on the site to read this story. I loved reading about the founder living with these children. She is dedicated not only to the welfare of the child but she shows a lot of compassion for the mother and respecting the mother-child relationship.

Today my mom, a sister, and I took a Dog Needle Felting class at Serial Knitters Yarn Shop in Kirkland. I was terrible at it, but we had a lot of fun! :)

My mom was the only one with experience doing this. You can see my blue mummy dog slowly taking shape. The frame work is done with pipe cleaners and slowly you are adding small amounts of roving that you then felt with barbed needles.

It was a good day for mummy dog when I added a face. It helped save him.

And some happy ears. :)

Meanwhile, my sister who had never even heard of it churned out the above masterpiece!

And my mom also made a much more dog like project. :) I really loved the ears and face on hers. Such a gentle and calm expression!


In totally unrelated (and somewhat embarrassing) news I have started the Dark Shadows series in preparation for a movie release. The following may be quite boring to you but Leela and Nim were of no conversational help last night:

Apparently if you enjoyed TV and were old enough from roughly 1966 - 1971 you probably remember this show. I have heard responses from: "I couldn't wait to get home and watch it!" To: "I remember hiding behind the couch because it was scary."

If like me you never watched it: it is VERY dialogue driven, complete with massively botched lines which I actually have truly enjoyed (but I am only in season one so maybe editing improved later). The young boy (David) has to deliver some long stretches of dialogue (he is actually outstanding and WAY better than his sister) but he is hilarious when he flubs lines.

The token blond, beautiful 20-something has just appeared (Carolyn - older sister to David) and that was possibly the most painful 20 minutes of my life while she had a "relationship" talk with some guy that maybe was using her? I seriously almost fast-forward that entire episode. I think her primary role is to be dumb, beautiful, and always slightly confused.

HOWEVER, so far this is a lot of fun to watch. I am enjoying the family mystery part. I am hoping Carolyn gives up on men or they ship her out, but since it is basically a soap opera (which if I stick with this will be the first one I have ever followed in my entire life) I am not too hopeful.

And I can't believe I have written a blog post about a TV show...moreover a soap opera. This is right up there with a post about sports.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

After Swimming

This is Nim after a swimming session at Aquadog Spa. It completely wears him out physically and mentally.

Nim doesn't go as frequently as Rusty needed to. While Nim doesn't have a physical ailment (thankfully) that swimming would be therapeutic for, he is young, extremely active, and doesn't tend to go less than full-out for anything physical. Swimming in the long run will help his body last longer and I also am building a foundation if he needs it for an injury later in life.

Someone once said to me that people like me put demands on our dogs like athletes but we don't always care for their bodies that way until they are injured. Higher drive dogs are even worse than people in continuing to exert through an injury and concealing it. I started swimming Odin around age 4 and I started with Nim when he was just a baby.

Ironically I own breeds that don't generally like swimming at all, but Cindy has done a really wonderful job getting great work out of Nim. The pool is the only environment he really will fetch a toy in.

Swimming Nim can be violent and chaotic. :) I am always sorry if I am not wearing quick drying clothing to swim him. But he gets out of that pool with his body moving loose and easy afterwards. I know that I am helping him safely build and maintain his muscle and sometimes he will even stop a bit for a massage. :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


This quilt is large so I am pretty excited about the progress I have made so far. Much more than I planned on today.

I already knew that this quilt would not be quilted with specific patterns, but I promised myself I would change my normal quilting style a bit and I am surprised how much I am enjoying it. I have a lot more control than I used to in free motion quilting so that is very encouraging.

I think I owe Nim a peanut butter kong tonight for a long boring day. He doesn't realize we were legitimately rained in.