Wednesday, January 28, 2009

mac and cheese spruced up

Everyone and their mother has little tips and tricks to make boxed mac and cheese seem, well, not so terrible. Like I remember my mom use to shred a little bit of real cheese into it when I was a kid. And when I am being lazy and really don't want to put much effort forth for lunch, this is how I pimp out my mac and cheese.

You'll need:
Boxed macaroni and cheese (pictured is Annie's organic shells and cheddar)
1 T of butter
1 T milk
1/3 cup fat free plain yogurt
(optional) 1/2 t of hot sauce, more or less to taste
1 cup of peas, defrosted if frozen
parmesan cheese

Cook pasta as directed on box reserving the bag of powdered cheese.

While pasta is cooking, put butter and milk in a microwavable dish and cook for 30 seconds (less if your butter was soft to begin with). Take a small egg beater or fork and wisk the bag of powdered cheese into the heated milk/butter mixture (the slight heat will help the powder dissolve more easily). Then add the yogurt and hot sauce. The sauce should be pretty thick at this point - if not, you can add small amounts of more yogurt as needed.

Drain pasta after it is finished cooking and return to pot. Add cheese sauce and peas. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese to "garnish"

Viola! My kid loves it and I don't feel bad about feeding it to her (she loves hot sauce BTW, genetic from her dad *smile*). Plus I find it muy delish myself!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Getting things done EARLY this year

Oh yes. No "last-minute-OMG-what-am-I-going-to-do!!!!!!!!!!!" moments are going to be happening to me this year when the holidays roll back around. I am getting started early and I will be working on it all year long. My first 2009 christmas present is for my dear wonderful step mother, who is a christmas-oholic and loves decorating to the hilt. Since her and my dad moved to Florida last year, I decided she would need some tropical flavor to add to her decked halls. (and I really hope she doesn't decide to discover my blog in the near future!)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

acorn hat (aka why I sometimes love mistakes)

I don't know exactly what got into me, but I have really been crocheting up a storm since I got done with the show and general holiday goodness. It was like I caught some kinda hooker disease (get it? crochet hooks? hookers? ah, never mind). But ravelry makes it so easy to find all these cute, free patterns and I have a load of random stash that I have been trying to use up.

Case in point: my acorn hat. I was trying to follow the pattern from Lion Brand's website for the "Aaron's Trick Hat" using some LO thick 'n' quick I had from another project. I don't know why it turned out so pointy on top, I couldn't even begin to tell you really. It just reminded me so much of an acorn that I went with it, I mean some times mistakes are happy mistakes right? I mean think of penicillin, microwave ovens, and teflon - all happy mistakes! I just made up some felt applique accents and voila - my acorn hat.

(me hamming it up, pretending to be a little woodland creature)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

more cameras for my small collection

Last night was another successful trip to the thrift store. My trips are always to go to get baby clothes and I never expect to find another camera. But it always happens that I just end up over by the area where the electronics are and *lo and behold!* find something that I like. So of course last night was no different but I am super excited about my newest acquirement.

I got so giddy when I saw this one. It was actually not in the normal camera area but over by a mess of toys and old silverware. Not that I knew any history of it, but it just idealized a camera from the 1950s to me. It's solid and heavy and lets you have an incredible amount of control over aperture and shutter speed for such a (relatively) tiny camera. It's a Agfa Apotar Silette from Germany and was produced in the 50s through the 70s. Through some short research online, I am inclined to think this particular camera is one of the much earlier models. It was actually one of the cameras that made 35 mm film popular. It reminds me of my dad who took pictures while he was in the US Army. He was stationed in Germany during the 60s and I imagine he used a camera similar to this one. I'll have to ask.

The best part? As far as I can tell it is in perfect working condition! I don't have any professional background in cameras but with my limited knowledge the shutter speeds seem to work correctly and the body as well as the lens are in great shape. So you can bet your bum that I'm taking this baby out for a spin as soon as I can buy some film!

And this camera was just a novelty, it was so weird looking I couldn't help buy it. Plus it was a $1 something so who cares if it turns out to gather only dust on my shelf. It's a Kodak disc 3500 which was suppose to be *the answer* for people who felt loading 35mm film was just too much work. I can imagine a cheesy infomercial where they show people shoving film into their cameras, looks of desperation and helplessness. And the announcer does one of the over-the-top "Tired of the hassle of film?!? Is it just too complicated?! Try the Kodak disc!!" deals.

A small disc was inserted in the back which would hold 15 pictures. But they were of such crappy quality, people weren't buying it. They still produced the disks for the camera up until 1998 and I guess you can find used ones REALLY cheap online. I just think it's so goofy looking - I love it.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy new year!

Good bye 2008, hello 2009!

I don't do new year's resolutions really, I think they are a bit silly. But I have resolved to quit drinking coffee except on occasion. I was a four-cups-or-more-a-day type of girl (although, in my defense, it was only half-caf). But I am sick of the quick caffeine high followed by the crash. And I had to have milk and sugar in my coffee so it was just added calories. However, there is no way I can totally quit drinking caffeine so I am switching to black tea. I love tea but I just never was able to quit coffee. But tea is infinitely better for me so I guess that will be that.

Anyhoo - I wasn't able to post these since they were christmas gifts but now that the holidays are over I want to share two amazing crochet patterns I found.

The first is the vegan scarf by Julia Redman which is generously offered for free in her blog which can be found here.

I used lion brand organic cotton which is incredibly soft and chunky and is a new favorite. What I really like about the pattern is the neat knit-like cable look you get. It was made for my uber wonderful mother-in-law Ellen and I think she really liked it :)

And then this cutie was from another free pattern that can be found here at the Better Homes and Gardens website.

I did some modifications to the pattern since I used Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick and Quick instead of the Jiffy that it called for. It just so fat and cute! I'm making another for my friend Leah who is having (or maybe already had!) her baby today or yesterday. But this one was for my dear father-in-law who really likes sheep. Yay for homemade gifts!