When worlds almost collide

I made my dad that DNA Scarf because he’s a microbiologist and spends his time in a lab looking at DNA and other scientific things I don’t really understand. But before he majored in microbiology, he was planning to major in astronomy.  He said that it was after he took his first two calculus classes that he decided it should remain a hobby and not a career.

Growing up, he always knew when really exciting, noteworthy celestial things were going to happen.  We lived on a block of row homes in Northeast Philadelphia and on the those nights, his telescope would come out and he’d set it up by the postage stamp front lawn (which grew the best urban garden before it was even trendy) and we’d look at the sky. The neighbor kids and adults would come over and we’d take turns checking out the sky. Sometimes it was constellations or shooting stars or other rare happenings. And then we’d move it to the back of the house in the driveway to see if the view was better.

And this continued at their house now and if we’re lucky enough to visit when something good is happening, we check it out. Even when we aren’t visiting, he still reminds us to set a middle of the night alarm for amazing shooting star displays. I can’t say that I’ve actually set the alarm but one summer I was away with Jenn at our friend Jenna’s home at the shore and we stayed up to watch the Perseid meteor shower on the beach.

So when they were here this weekend, he told us we had to look for the Venus Jupiter conjunction right at sundown. This exciting show of the planets is visible without a telescope and they are bright. He researched it online and found pictures and we had our cameras ready to go. The hour or so leading up, it was cloudy, then kind of clear, then cloudier and then completely overcast. We missed it.

Even though they went home, Mike and I were ready tonight and the sky was completely clear so we got some decent shots.  We used the Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS and the Nikon D3000. And just like I would expect from my dad, he called just as I was uploading my photos to see how mine came out.

Here are just a few of mine. In my pictures Jupiter is at the top left above the moon and that’s Venus further below.


The Pioneer Woman’s Asian Noodle Salad

Last week my friend Molly made the Pioneer Woman’s Asian Noodle Salad.  Then another friend mentioned that she was going to make it. We haven’t had it in a while so I was inspired to make it.

It seemed like a great dish for my parents since they were visiting this weekend and it turned out great.

This recipe is huge.  We made the whole recipe omitting one pepper, the napa cabbage and some of the cucumber and we still have a ton. This is just the cut up vegetables and that’s the largest mixing bowl of that set.

We put half the vegetables, half the pasta, half the cashews and half the dressing in separate containers to save for leftovers for this week. And then we mixed the rest up for dinner on Saturday night.

It came together great and my parents loved it. The spinach got a little damaged in all the tossing because there was so much to mix together but it didn’t affect the flavor. It’s very refreshing and crunchy with a bit of sweetness and heat.

We served it on the side of a simple poached salmon and it was the perfect meal.


The finished DNA Scarf

Friday over lunch I finished the seed stitch border and got the DNA Scarf blocking as soon as I got home from work.

And now my dad can take his scarf home with him today. He tried it on last night after we got home from a day filled with many things like running at the indoor track, shopping at TJ Maxx and grocery shopping for a delicious dinner. The finished scarf is about six feet long and five and half inches wide.  I did twelve cable pattern repeats and omitted the ribbing at the neck so it was more like a traditional scarf.

Look! He struck a pose in his new scarf!

I have this bad knitting habit

I am making great progress on the DNA Scarf.

Tonight I should finish up the tenth pattern repeat and start on the eleventh (hopefully).  Tomorrow night I’ll have a lot of knitting time and finish the eleventh and will see if I have enough yarn for a twelfth repeat.

Even thought it’s taking me a while to knit, it’s totally worth it.  It’s such an interesting pattern and the DNA cables look great.

So I’ve fallen into bad habits.  Even though I have a few other projects I’d like to finish like my honey cowl and Fishtail Lace Scarf, I started looking through patterns on Ravelry with my stash in mind.

I keep thinking about how sparkly and pretty this yarn is and how I need a pretty shawl made out of it’s loveliness.

And I found what I think will be the perfect pattern. The Augustine Shawlette stuck out and I kept going back and forth and telling myself to be patient. I love the way it drapes and the way it can be worn loose like a shawl or tighter like a scarf.

My curiosity got the best of me and I had to read the pattern.  So I bought the pattern the other night just so I could read it.

I clearly cannot start this project but I couldn’t help myself.  It’s such a bad habit because there is so much joy in actually wearing the finished objects and I can’t keep tempting myself with new projects.

I guess there are worse habits.

Not Authentic But Very Tasty Chicken Enchiladas

I’ve been wanting to use the crockpot again so today I decided to make chicken enchiladas.  I’ve been improvising on chicken enchiladas for a while, but this seems to be such an easy and tasty way to make them.

Today I put boneless chicken breasts, Trader Joe’s Enchilada Sauce and two cans of Rotel into the crockpot on high for about four and a half hours. When they were finished, I shredded the chicken and rolled them in high fiber flour tortillas with some sliced green pepper. I ended up with eleven enchiladas.  I put some of the sauce on the bottom of the baking dishes and the top of the rolled tortillas and baked them for about half an hour at 350 degrees.

Then I topped them with cheese, about one and half cups total of reduced fat Mexican blend.

After a few more minutes, they were ready to eat and they were really good.

I put the ingredients into My Fitness Pal and they come out to about 250 calories each which is pretty good for such a filling and fun dinner.  I made corn cake as a side which compliments this really well. It might not be anything fancy but it’s easy and the sweet goes well with the slightly spicy enchiladas.

This made enough for two dinners for us and one lunch for Mike.

This soup is from a hospital newsletter

Last week I stayed with my parents one night while traveling for work. They made me taste a bit of this soup that they made from a newsletter that my mom got at work. The soup didn’t have a name but I really liked it so we made it tonight.

This was super easy to throw together and worked out great because just as it was starting to simmer for fifteen minutes, Butler got his head stuck in the handle of a plastic bag. We could just ignore the soup on the stove and move the bed that he decided to hide under wrapped in a bag. He was fine by the way and got the bag off himself before we got to him. Chica followed him under the bed and stayed by his side through the whole ordeal.

Anyway here’s the recipe:

1 med onion chopped
2 tbsp veg. oil
1 can 15 oz black beans, drained
1/2 can refried beans
1 can 11 oz corn, drained
1 can 14.5 oz chicken broth
1 cup bottled chunky salsa
1 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper

Saute onions in oil until tender.  Add the other ingredients, simmer for 15 minutes and serve.

The soup is hearty, thick and creamy and very filling. I used medium salsa so that it would have a bit of heat.  I didn’t put in the salt or pepper and I felt it didn’t need either although Mike said it needed some pepper.  Maybe my sense of taste is a bit off because I have a cold.

We had cheese quesadillas on the side.  I found these high fiber flour tortillas at Giant that were only 80 calories.  They were softer than usual but toasted up perfectly in the pan and tasted just as good as regular tortillas.

For such a quick, easy dinner, it really was very cozy and homey.  Perfect for a weeknight.

Progress and a goal

I’ve made quite a bit of progress on my two most recent projects.

My Honey Cowl is coming along very nicely.

As I knit the first few rows before the pattern and was a little worried that I selected the wrong yarn but the color changes make the pattern even more interesting.

I’ve also completed over three repeats of the pattern in the DNA Scarf.

I predict that I will have twelve pattern repeats (maybe fourteen?) by the time I near the end of my yarn.  I’ll probably weigh my yarn when I finish this section to be sure.  My goal is to have this completed and blocked in two weeks.  My parents will be visiting and I want to give this to my dad. I’m hoping by writing this out, I take this goal very seriously.  We shall see!

If they were a celebrity couple, they’d be ButChic

Okay, people have heard me say that a million times, but it’s true!  And it’s still just as funny to me as it was after Mike told me that a week after we got them.

Here just a few recent shots of Butler and Chica. It’s so hard not to be a Crazy Cat Lady when you have little guys like these guys.

Oh, and don’t worry – laundry no longer sits up there since this happened.  Too dangerous!

Keeping people’s ears warm

My friend Marla has always been an admirer of my knitting and first requested a hat well over a year maybe even much longer.

A couple weeks ago when I was in Lancaster, I picked up two skeins of Noro Bonbori.

I was specifically planning to knit an earflap hat for Marla.  This is the fourth hat I’ve made in this pattern and it’s so simple and has a great result.

I’m loving the unseasonable weather we’ve been having but I hope that she gets some use out of this hat this winter.  I’ll send it out this week!