Tuesday, February 28, 2012

February 2012 Update: What I've Been Up To Lately

If your know me well, you know that I love trying new recipes. I have my tried and true dishes, and then I like to experiment, too, to spice things up. Many new recipes I've tried recently have been tasty, but tonight's was a keeper! Budget Bytes' Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas were easy to fix, and I only made a few modifications. Ingredients: black beans, corn, red onion, garlic, cilantro, taco seasoning, shredded cheese, tortillas. The flavor combination of the beans and corn were what scored high points for me. I pared down the amounts of cilantro, red onion, and taco seasoning and just eyed it. After mixing everything together and measuring out 1/2 cup of filling per tortilla, I made sure to spray the skillet with cooking spray. Before turning the folded tortilla, I lightly sprayed the top/uncooked side. (My pans are old and require a bit of extra help.) The filling mixture makes 10 quesadillas just like the recipe says, so we had 6 remaining quesadillas to cool and then freeze for later. Next up this week: Italian crockpot meatloaf (with sundried tomatoes!), crockpot sweet potato chili, and the recipe mentioned next.

Another awesome recipe that I discovered recently comes from an e-cookbook. For obvious reasons, I can't re-post it here, but I will say that making French Dip Roast Beef sandwiches using a crockpot with a few simple ingredients makes for some great comfort food when served on toasted sourdough dinner rolls with provolone and banana peppers. Yum!
Correction: this recipe is from online, not an e-book. Here ya go:  http://bakingbites.com/2008/02/slow-cooker-french-dip-sandwich/. You're welcome!

Lately I've been spreading myself thin reading several different books and such. Due to the number of books I'm reading, it feels like I never make progress! Some of my more recent book are borrowed digitally from the library, all five of them knitting e-books. Mastering Color Knitting by Melissa Leapman, The Knitting Answer Book by Margaret Radcliffe, and three others. Besides those, I'm (still) reading Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes and The Terror (this one in paperback, a present from a brother) by Dan Simmons. In addition to books, I've been regularly downloading a knitting periodical I set up in Calibre to my Kindle that reads selected knitting blogs like an e-reader newspaper. This works great for blogs that don't open all the way in Google Reader (like Yarn Harlot or Knitting to Stay Sane). I also regularly follow an Italian language/culture blog meant for English-speaking people in the U.S. One of the latest posts on the difference in customs of how to make tea was truly a humorous read. Supposedly, Italians brew tea in the same large pots used to boil pasta!

In knitting news, I've been re-organizing my Ravelry queue and creating PDFs and/or Kindle books of sock patterns to pair with my sock yarn. I'd already done this before, but now I've made a few deletions and additions to my queue. At the top of my list are two patterns: Darjeeling by Cat Bordhi and Achilles Heal by Lucia Light. For the former I'll use Stroll Tonal in Foliage, and for the latter I'll use Stroll Handpainted in Hayride.

My current projects are two pairs of socks and weaving in the ends of a summer top. With the mild winter we've been having, I might need that top sooner than expected! Marie's Double Heelix socks are finally receiving attention again. I'm close to finishing one sock and beginning the next - woohoo!

In tv/Netflix news, I'm so sad to see the end of Season 2 of Downton Abbey - such a great show! I guess I'll be watching The Amazing Race now... On Netflix I happened upon a cute caper called Wild Target. It stars Bill Nighy (Love Actually), Emily Blunt, Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley from Harry Potter), Rupert Everett (My Best Friend's Wedding), and Martin Freeman (Sherlock, The Hobbit). I love silly, romantic, fun movies like this. I would categorize it stylistically along with French Kiss, a movie starring Kevin Kline and Meg Ryan. Not Oscar material, but enjoyable nonetheless.

In running news, I'm training for the Cap City Half Marathon (May 5), my 4th half!

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