I've been on a roll with new recipes lately. I've made two things that Alann "doesn't like" that he has asked me to keep the recipe for. Yay expanding our horizons! The first was a stuffed acorn squash. I think I mentioned it before. The second was a Sweet potato side dish that had bacon and onions and breadcrumbs. The sweet potatoes were boiled until mostly cooked, then breaded with flour and fried. The flour gave it a weird texture, next time I will just toss them in with the bacon etc and let them fry that way. But it was still very tasty, and right now, they are in season, so it is worth looking into. I couldn't resist the little pie pumpkins the other day. We will be having roasted pumpkin and shallot and some pumpkin chicken chowder in the coming weeks. I'm working on getting a menu list going, so that we can remember what we like, and choose a larger variety of meals. We get kind of stuck on the same things over and over. Plus by the time the new season rolls around, I have forgotten what it was we ate last year that I wanted to do again.
We had a very productive weekend. I returned the belt that I bought for my car two months ago that still hasn't been installed, and the guy at Checker told me that it wouldn't fit anyway because the other store sold me the wrong part. Whatever. I finally broke down and ordered the belt from the dealer, which cost more than twice as much, but at least it will fit. So guess what Mark will be doing for us as payment for room and board during the deer hunt? (JK, we don't charge. He does it out of the goodness of his heart.) I needed a new rear windshield wiper blade anyway, and couldn't find them in the auto stores, so got that as well. Yay for spending $100 on car parts. At least we have the money saved, so it doesn't kill us financially. (I get reimbursed for miles at work, and 99% of the time, it goes to my "car maintenance fund" for car maintenance and registration and the like. Aren't I a genius? Before I thought of that, I was just using the money for whatever, which wasn't helpful when I needed to register my car last year.) And now Alann has a credit at AutoZone for next time he needs to change his oil. I lost the receipt for one of the three belts I have purchased for this stupid car, but they gave me store credit for it, so it worked out.
We also got supplies for Christmas cards, at the world's busiest Joann store EVER! The line was ridiculously long, but they had 10 cashiers, so it wasn't too bad actually. They were having a pattern sale. I really wanted to get a skirt pattern, but I had Alann with me, and he is patient about going to the craft store, but not THAT patient. There is only so much to keep him occupied there. But I did get a fabric remnant for an upcoming baby-related project that I will not bore the few men-folk with. Suffice it to say, we will not need to buy disposable nursing pads. I love my sewing machine. I finally finished recreating a pair of pajama pants I received um, August 2007. Our neighbor made them for me, and they are really cute. Pink pajamas penguins on the bottom (yes, it's a camp thing. don't ask.) Anyway, the crotch was down to my knees, the waist was WAY too small (flattering, but small) and Alann could have worn them they were so long. So I decided to hem them up, then take out the elastic and make it a drawstring pant instead. Obviously in retrospect, I should have done this in the opposite order. I cut off the bottom 6 inches of pants, hemmed it, then ripped out the waist and cut off about 2 inches to make a drawstring and then realized that um, when you adjust the rise (waist to crotch) of pants, you also adjust their length. I'm not a seamstress. I have no formal training. I can sew, and sometimes do it well, but I make it up as I go along. I'm getting better, but I learn the hard way, a lot. Someday, I want to take a clothing construction class, but for now, I make it up. I got stuck when I tried to make a button hole for the drawstring to exit from. My machine says it does it, but I couldn't make it work and got frustrated. Thus, they languished for 10 months. So the other day, I got motivated and finished them. I said "screw the button hole. I'll just sew a zig-zag box" and that worked. Then I sewed a new waistband, sewed the cut-off portion of pant legs back on (always save your scraps!), and they were magically the right length. Now it just looks like I have a special design on the bottom from the cut and sew. I have one more minor adjustment I want to make. The drawstring is a little short, and as my belly gets bigger, will probably get shorter. Plus I hate having to untie them to take them off, so I tied them loose, which means I have to adjust them every time I get out of bed. So I want to pull out the drawstring, cut it in half, and sew in about 6 inches of the original waistband elastic, so that it will be longer, and elasticy, so I can tie them tight enough to stay on my hips, and still be able to get them off. Plus they are so warm! I looked at them, and they look so easy. I am now tempted to go get some cute flannel fabric and make myself some pjs. I think the Christmas flannels are on sale......Guess what ya'll are getting for Christmas!
Um, so back to the weekend. We also traded out our DTV box for one with an analog pass-through, since the DTV stations suck most of the time. We visited with Alann's Aunt Julie and Uncle Laird. They are the ones I lived with, and they live nearby, and Julie had surgery, so we went to see them. That was fun. We need to visit more often, but it seems like there is always something else, huh?
Alann bought me a rice cooker and a waffle maker for my birthday. I scored on kitchen things this year. My sis bought me one of those crock pots with the three different inserts. It's awesome. Yes, I already had two crock pots, but I wanted a smaller one. The small ones are hard to find, but this works because it has a 2 qt, a 4 qt, and a 6 qt. Anyway, Saturday morning we had waffles for breakfast! I love Alton Brown (from Food Network, Good Eats). His waffle recipe is already half whole wheat flour! How awesome is that? (I usually try to find whole wheat or half whole wheat recipes, because it is better for us, and I don't like to buy a lot of AP flour. I grind my own whole wheat.) Alann doesn't like leftover pancakes, so I assumed the leftover waffles would be safe as well. I was wrong. I didn't get a single wedge. =( Oh well. I'll just have to start doubling the recipe.
I think that is about the excitement of our weekend. We went to Macaroni Grill on Friday night, and there was a hair in my chicken Parmesan, so we got my meal and dessert for free. That was not really exciting, but since I wasn't really digging the food anyway, it made it better. It seemed to be an off-night for them. I usually like their food, but it wasn't that great. Alann really liked his. Maybe I just picked the wrong dish. I don't like ordering something at a restaurant that I could make at home. It makes me feel like I should have stayed home and made it. So something like spaghetti and meatballs, I don't usually order in an Italian restaurant, since I can and do on occasion make it at home. And they have taken the sausage peppers rustica dish off the menu, which is one of my faves. Oh well. It was still a decent night.
The cat has been driving us crazy lately. She has been climbing under the bed and scratching at the boxspring in the middle of the night, so we have been locking her out of the bedroom. Unfortunately, then we have to decide what to do with the dogs. They usually roam back and forth. So last night, they went to bed with us (Tanner refused to get off the bed at first, bum.) and then at about 2 we all went potty. The dogs were thirsty, so I didn't wait and left them in the rest of the house with the cat. I haven't slept that well in ages! I woke up when the alarm went off and not at some dog-determined time. I wasn't sleepy or tired. It was great. Can you guess where the mutts will be sleeping from now on, at least after the midnight potty break? The other morning, they had been shut out for a while, and when we got up all three animals were sleeping together on the couch. It was a kodak moment. Tanner was on one end, Nicki on the other, and the cat in the middle, snuggled in a blanket. I am toying with getting her a warming kitty bed to see if that is her problem, but she moves around so much. She never really sleeps in the same place for very long. Maybe she just doesn't have "her" place. I don't know.
It snowed this weekend for the first time this season. We got maybe an inch or less, mostly on the grass. It all burned off before noon. Actually it was gone before Alann got out of bed. Anyway, I bought a bag of spring clamps at Lowes for $10 to help keep the plastic covering on the tomatoes. Best $10 I ever spent on the garden. The clamps don't rip the plastic, and there was an assortment, so I could use the big ones and little ones. The plastic has never been so impermeable to the wind and cold. I'll post a pic tomorrow I think. It looks like a little tent in our garden. It's funny. Since then it has been frosting every morning, so I am hoping that the beets make it. They like cold. I think they will be fine, they just need to get a move on with the growth. It is going to warm up again, so I am hoping my little "greenhouse" on the tomatoes will allow them to ripen.
I guess I'll end now. I know it's long.