23 February 2007

so what are you trying to say?

conversation about the climbers on Mt. Hood rescued this week

SmallBean: I hope something like that never happens to me.

me: Me too.

SmallBean: I think your odds are lower.

20 February 2007

je t'empris

A good friend of mine recently moved across the country. Not only is she nice, she has a slightly wicked sense of humor...also, she likes shoes...and France. (I miss her very much.)

She recently emailed me to ask for a recipe, and as I was getting ready to email it, I realized that I get requests for this particular recipe all the time (because who doesn't want to eat chocolate for breakfast?!). Birds, meet stone:

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups oatmeal (may use 1/2 cup more, but bars become crumbly)
1 (6 oz) package semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream butter and sugar in mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well. Add vanilla. In a seperate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Alternate adding flour mixture and milk to egg mixture. Stir in oatmeal and chocolate chips.

Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs attached.

Cool and cut into squares.

*I use 1/2 regular flour and 1/2 whole wheat. No one will even notice.
*I like Bob's Red Mill Extra-Thick Rolled Oats. You can pretty much buy them anywhere now (certainly at Harris Teeter) and they're not expensive ($2-$3 a bag). Store them in the freezer and they'll last forever!
*Go ahead and add 1/2 cup chopped nuts (we like pecans or walnuts) before baking. Protein and crunch!
*Feel free to double the recipe and bake in larger pan. (Do check your baking time! If they're spread thinly, they might need only five more mintues.)
*These puppies freeze very well (cut them first).
*Of course substitutions for the chocolate are fine. Dark chocolate chips are yummy in this. Superdark chocolate, however, might best be saved for something with fewer competing flavors and textures.

Full Credit: This recipe first appeared in a 1978 issue of Women's Day. I know this because my mother is in the admirable habit of recording such things and she did so not only on the card in her recipe box, but also on this page in my recipe book. I'm sure she modified it somewhat (probably less sugar? more oatmeal?) and I have done the same (pinch of salt, slightly less oatmeal). In any case, I think we should begin planning now for the Breakfast Bars' Thirtieth Birthday Party. There will be so many attendees!

chocolate & spinach*

Many moons ago, I was reading Coquette's blog and learning of her upcoming move. She mentioned that she would soon be living closer to her fellow-blogger-friend. It just so happened that at that time, Stefanie was pondering the origins of all things 'a la Florentine.'

As you see, Stefanie was not only cooking up something very delicious-looking, she was also hosting a little contest. And I cannot resist a contest...after all, I grew up in a house where you would hear:

our mother: "You won!"
one of us: "What did I win?!?!"
our mother: "THE PRIZE!"
one of us: "Yeah!!!"

(Of course friends and visiting relatives always want to know what "the prize" is. The prize is WINNING, silly.)

So, I wrote to Stefanie and told her what I'd heard as the word on the street. And I won! And there was a REAL prize this time: chocolate. French chocolate. Fancy French chocolate. Here is the picture I managed to take with my cameraphone:

Of course Stefanie's gift was actually far more generous -- a whole bar, in fact -- but it was too pretty/too yummy/too tempting -- to photograph whole.

And so a belated merci to Stefanie...with whom I evidently have even more in common than a love for chocolate & spinach..I just read something else on her blog about a knitting pattern that we both are using! More on that soon.

*with a nod to Mlle Dusoulier's yummy blog and forthcoming book.

14 February 2007

crafty people, those knitters

I've been knitting a lot lately. It's one of my favorite hobbies and such a great use of time, especially time spent cuddled up on the couch. I'm hoping to do a few posts on my projects soon, but given our cameralessness, this requires a little more time than usual. In the meantime, given my recent yarn fervour, I've come across several things that I thought I'd share:

The obvious thing to do.

The not so obvious . Interesting that the sweater is the least-offensive part of the outfit.

The ethical dilemma .

The practical .

The mmm...whimsical . Seriously. If you need to knit so badly that you will just keep going after all the scarves and sweaters and hats and mittens and socks and headbands and legwarmers, (and prosthetics!) and knit a WOMB? That's devotion to your craft.

08 February 2007

what can we learn from this?

Did you read about the Thai woman who got on the wrong bus and returned home TWENTY FIVE YEARS LATER?

Here's the article on Yahoo.

This woman's experience is so sad and so miserable to me that I find myself searching for the silver lining...maybe I can at least learn something, right?

- It's okay to ask questions.

- It can be dangerous to fall asleep or not pay attention while traveling. (This means you, iPod listeners on the Metro!)

- Traveling in countries where you do not speak the language is a hard-earned skill, which, even once acquired, requires great persistance (not to mention guts) to maintain.

- Also, I haven't talked about it on the blog yet, but it's one of my most cherished beliefs that public transportation makes for much better stories. If this woman had been driving her car/cart, we wouldn't be shocked...or feel as much sympathy, I bet. We'd just wonder why on earth she didn't turn around. But there's something so very humanzing about getting on the wrong bus, or the right bus in the wrong direction.

- Take more money then you think you'll need.

07 February 2007

the pigs are just floating now and then, not flying. you have to wait for the flying.

Me, to boss: Can I borrow your base-12 calculator?

Boss: WHAT?!

Me: Your base-12 calculator.

Boss: OH! I thought you said my baseball calculator!

01 February 2007

some things you just shouldn't do

My mother has a rule, "Never say anything you don't want someone to visualize." This is an exceptionally good policy which, if you can manage to stick to it, can prevent all sorts of embarrassing situations.

I would like to name a new rule today: "Some things you just shouldn't do, even if you look going doing it." I'm beginning to think that we should make a little handbook of just these two rules and mail them, free of charge, to all current celebrities.

The first person on our mailing list wil be Sienna Miller. Who decided recently that tights + granny panties = sassy outerwear.

No, my dear Ms. Miller, they do not. And please see the new rule above -- I do not mean to imply that this...ermmm...choice of...ermmmm....clothing...was unflattering on you. In fact you have quite the slim figure and, as such, the...ermmm...outfit...was not revolting in the sense that YOU made it unattractive. But may I humbly suggest that Aphrodite herself would look a bit ridiculous sporting this combination.

I know that Madonna has worn such things, but in concert, and therefore, as far as I'm concerned, as a costume. (Besides, it's just totally a different outfit. AND SHE'S MADONNA.) I'm sure someone in Paris would contradict me, saying that this idea is the New Wonderful. Well, they were wrong about the Eiffel Tower at first, too.

Interestingly, I was drawn to this photo by the headline: Style Queen Sienna Sparks Big Pants Frenzy in UK! Not realizing I was clicking on a link to a British publication, I was thinking of some heavy wide-leg pants I saw in runway photos months ago. Alas, in this case, such a garment would have been referred to as "trousers." Imagine my surprise.