Working Wednesday, November 20, 2019

I got three scarves and a hat done last week, so I’m very proud. Pictures when the sun comes up. AND all my Christmas shopping is done. Next in line: Addressing Christmas cards. Making freezer meals. Finishing novel. And definitely more scarves, because those suckers go fast.

What did you make this week?

63 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, November 20, 2019

  1. I made quite a delicious soup with four one-dollar bargains from the grocery store (plus some rather elderly leftover vegetable scraps from my refrigerator. But I didn’t freeze any. What do you make freezer meals out of and what do you freeze them in? I am curious about that.

    1. I have at least 5 diff entrees in my freezer at any given time, so lots of choices when I’m hungry. I make casseroles – mostly pasta and Mex – and spoon them into quart freezer bags. Freeze them flat, then stand them up in freezer so I can flip thru, read labels and pick one. Have done this for 15 yrs, so handy.

    2. I do the the same thing as Leslie. When you freeze them flat, they thaw faster. I also use bags that are safe to use in the microwave in case I am really in a hurry.

      There are some soups I like to make with stock made with a ham hock (black bean soup, chili, pozole) so I make up about 2 to 3 quarts of stock in the Instant Pot and divide it into 4 to 6 cup batches and freeze it flat also. I save scraps of vegetables like leeks and celery and old carrots and parsley cut up in a freezer bag so that when I am ready to start a batch of soup stock, I have the vegetables I do not necessarily keep on hand. I have to be careful how much I do of anything because I only have the small freezer that is with my refrigerator.

      Also I follow James Beard’s advice and make up batches of pesto base in the summer when basil is cheap. Then I freeze it in muffin tins in 1/2 cup size servings. When it is frozen, I pop the frozen pesto out of the tin and wrap each individual one in freezer wrap then store them in a freezer bag in the freezer. The cheese and pine nuts are added after you thaw the pesto base when you are ready to make it for dinner . You can also use the pesto base in things that call for basil since it is only garlic, olive oil and basil. This is a favorite quick meal: Cook the pasta; thaw the pesto base; add grated parmesan and chopped pine nuts to pesto base and some salt; toss the pesto with the cooked pasta and voila dinner. Well, except I add a salad too and open some wine.

    3. At one point in my long life, I bought a bunch of color coded Pyrex and I freeze a lot in that. Then I got sick and couldn’t eat as much and I bought a lot of smaller rectangular dishes with clip on lids and I use those, too. Then one day it occurred to me that plastic bags would be even easier. Sigh. Basically, I freeze in anything that’s clean and within reach.

  2. I made lip balm. I give to friends, family, and co-workers for Christmas. And I use it as well. 😊

  3. What did I make? A commitment to hem the curtains for five windows in my daughter’s house, now that their renos are done. (well, why not. My SIL put my winters tires on for me.)

  4. Trying to use my convalescence creatively. I had an afghan kit that I started two weeks ago and completed this past week. It wasn’t until I posted the picture on instagram that I saw the place where I didn’t follow the pattern. I think it gives it character (i.e., I’m not going to rip it back out and redo it.) All in all, pretty pleased with it.

    I’ve been working from home, and have discovered one of my PBS channels does “Great Performances” on Tuesday afternoon. Last week I listened to a stage production of The King and I, while yesterday was the Sound of Music. It’s helping me stay sane.

    Meanwhile, the cats are enjoying my tenure here at the house. They hang around my computer, knowing that I can give them attention at any minute.

          1. Imperfections like that give me hope for my very imperfect self. I also like it because it makes this afghan unique. Kudos for taking a kit and making it your own!

    1. My aunt is a quilter, and she said you were supposed to “make” a mistake in every one. Sort of for good luck or to not tempt fate or something like that. 🙂

      1. That’s an old adage, that you should make a mistake because only God is perfect or something like that. Since I made plenty of mistakes in every quilt I ever made, I was good with it.

    2. I wouldn’t change it, either, but. . .
      How did you do that?
      Oh, wait, I see, it’s at the end of a row, right? I kept thinking it was in the middle of a stretch of white.
      Anyway, I love it and I think it’s better this way. That one little square out there crying, “Wait, we don’t have to be sheep!”

      1. It was a corner to corner afghan – and the decrease side was a little tricky. I know I caught myself almost every row, pulling out the last two blue squares and doing the white. I just missed one.

        1. Oh. I’ve never tried a corner to corner. It’s a great afghan even with that one little determined-to-be-deviant square. No, actually BECAUSE of that square.

          1. I like CtC – it starts small, so there isn’t a lot of counting, and you can make it as big as you want. The hard part is the middle, as each large row takes a while. But once you turn the corner and start decreasing, you pick up speed and can race to the finish. My go-to baby blanket is CtC. I increase until I’ve used just less than half the yarn I have available, then turn the corner and start decreasing.

  5. I reached the natural stopping point of a draft web site, and now need feedback from staff before I can finish it. Which, I’m getting the sense, means it will never get finished, because everyone involved is too busy with other things to review it.

  6. AI writes some first sentences to a hypothetical novel:

    Concert madness is over, rehearsals don’t start up again until after Thanksgiving. I’m mostly returning equipment to all of the people I borrowed from.
    But! I also finished procrastinating on the big analysis project I’ve been dragging my heels on all year! It’s just tweaking aesthetics on the various graphs now. Will post the first set of graphs today on my blog.

    In other news, roasted beets are very good. Roasting in the oven worked better than the slow cooker. Will be trying them with some ravioli, plus mixing pumpkin in with the tomato pesto.

    1. LOVED those AI entries. Some seem amazingly deep, most are just LOL funny. My favorite is “The sun rose slowly, like a mighty black cat, and then sank into a state of deep sleep.”

      I would dedicate that novel to those people who complain about the boring nature of everyday life. Or maybe to people who like to sleep a lot—like me.

      1. I would dedicate that novel to cat lovers, who would look at that sentence and say “YEP MINE DOES THAT.”

  7. Our neighborhood turkey (someone’s turkey who got loose, maybe?) showed up outside of preschool yesterday to everyone’s delight. It wanders around all of West Seattle but this is the first time we have seen it at school. I guess I didn’t make anything but took delight in everyone’s, parents included, joy and wonder.

  8. I made a simple soup last night and wondered why, especially this time of year, I don’t do that more often. I made pumpkin bars that were good and tried a new cookie recipe that didn’t work. And a committee I’m on at church made great progress in planning programs for 2020.
    I am doing no writing and no art, but I am reading about art, which I’ve decided counts.

  9. I’m ploughing through Mussolini, horribly slowly – it’s really under-edited (or, more likely, the author’s stubbornly ignored all the editor’s queries). I sorted out my clothes, packing the summer stuff and those too small for me at the moment in plastic bags, which I hope will protect them from any lurking moths.

    I’ve done some clearing in my two gardens and inched forward with my plans for them. I also wandered round a garden with my camera on Sunday: found a couple of pix that worked as squares and have just posted them to Instagram. I did like the drowning hydrangea flower:

  10. I made peanut chutney, think pesto but oh, so smooth.

    Delicious eaten with boiled yams, root vegetable chips, and even pasta as main sauce.

    I am happy that it’s mango season. It’s just the spring rains are bringing cloudy days with it and I miss the sun light. I wouldn’t mind if it was actually raining, but it’s just overcast and slightly drizzly. Climate change blows dead bears.

  11. I guess I sort of made chicken soup. It started out stir fry-ish in my electric skillet rather than the wok. Chicken chunks and garlic bits and a little olive oil, then added two containers of prepped veggies. One was onions, green and red bell peppers. The other had zucchini and yellow squash slices, onions, other stuff. Then I had this can of “chicken stock, low sodium” sitting around. You get the picture..

    I had seen ginourmouse heads of bok choi in the grocer’s aisle, but didn’t want so much. My fridge is only ten cubic feet (apartment-size). I was intrigued by the “Chinese celery cabbage” next to it. Later, maybe.

    On my way back from yesterday’s medical appointment, I stopped at Wakefield’s Great Value grocery store. Probably the third time since 1997. Anyway, I will be making La Choy Beef Chow Mein food-like substance tonight.

  12. I’m making a custom ski mask this week (commission), rebeading my vest for my show costume, and probably need to start working on my gift swap item for the knitting group holiday party soon.

  13. I’m under the weather (and the weather is dreary, so I’m doubly low), and have been for the last few days, so I’d given myself permission to take today off to do nothing but wallow and sleep and surf, and was quite pleased to see that Anne Lamott (patron saint of bird-by-bird writers) has declared amnesty on all writing work today (for reasons other than my being sick, but still nice timing): (And I was amused to see that Lin-Manuel Miranda retweeted it with his endorsement.)

  14. I was helping my sister with house projects, and found a purse, including wallet, which had been missing for 2? years in a completely ridiculous how-did-it-get-there? place, so that was a happy. Made progress with her other projects, and came home to ignore my home organization project which needs to happen before I can put away the lightbulbs I ordered. Thanksgiving is still a week away, I don’t need that counter yet……… (apparently what I am making is excuses)

    1. Maybe this is the incentive I need to find a pendant/magnifying glass that I took out of its case in order to use the case for something else. I know it is around somewhere just have to organize my sleuthing skills for a deep search.

  15. The only thing I did today was bake some cranberry, white chocolate and walnut cookies. Practice for holiday baking. Oh, and fill out a survey from my doctor’s office about the quality of service. If I don’t do it I know I’ll get a follow up letter in the mail. Honestly if I didn’t like my doctor I would not go back.

    1. Surveys make me crazy. A company I worked for wanted at least 80% in customer satisfaction on their surveys. The scale was 1-10. Usually people will check 7 if they are reasonably happy with the call. What to do? More training, better systems? Or change the scale from 1-5, people choose 4 and you get 80%.

      1. I hate them too. Especially the bit where they ask, ‘Would you recommend us to your friends?’ I always answer that bit with, ‘No.’ And when the next question inevitably asks why, I write, ‘My friends and I do not sit around recommending banks/email servers/whatever to each other. We have far better things to talk about.’

        1. I bought a ticket online today and the stupid computer program almost wouldn’t let me complete the sale until I added a commission for the agent. I liked this woman just fine, but the only reason to use these sites is for low prices. If they keep badgering you about add on fees and services (like travel insurance that only pays if you are hospitalized), there is no reason to use them.

    2. Must be soup time. I made split pea.
      I’m listening to my narrators track for Irish Magic and editing Lord Byrons Daughter after beta reads.

  16. I met with a group of fellow seniors this morning and mapped out our Senior Trips for 2nd quarter 2020. I was a senior project manager in my working life (engineering), and I love planning, so I plan out all the trips and others volunteer to do the paperwork and reminder-calling. We mapped out 12 trips, one for each week in 2nd quarter. Glad to have that done! (If I did all the selection myself, we’d only go where I want to go, when I want to go; so it is better to have a lot of input!) (For example, hard science major here; nothing bores me more than looking at large expanses of flowers. Just not my thing. However, lots of seniors like flowers and plant life, so others encourage me to have at least one “flower” outing per quarter. And one of my fellow seniors volunteered to lead the outing, so I don’t have to go! Happy!)

  17. I didn’t make anything but am planning to try a cranberry cake recipe tomorros.
    I did get Jazzy to the vet for a cardiac work up. If that’s good next up will be dental and neutering. He ws happy to see me when I picked him up and happy to get back to the yard and house.

  18. It has been a crazy week (yes, I’m aware it is only Wednesday–don’t remind me) and I haven’t got much done. Going to the cardiologist tomorrow to get checked for persistent heart palpitations (probably a new twist on the intermittent ones that showed up with menopause…thank you for nothing, menopause…or possibly a side effect of my recently discovered very low B12, but still pretty wretched).

    Mostly this week was dedicated to making sure my newly adopted foster fail kitten doesn’t have any more kittens in the future. Thankfully, she is recovering well from her surgery and is already back to making me and the rest of the household crazy.

    1. Deb, I had unexplained arm movements and neurological tics that were caused by a medicine I was taking that leeched the B vitamins out of my system. Without the proper amount the electrical signals are not properly transmitted and certain movements are not properly controlled. Heart palpitations sound awfully similar. Perhaps there is an obscure side effect of something you take that could be the trigger.

      1. Fosters are supposed to nurture the kittens, and then send them on to new families. The foster fail are those who don’t go on to the new family but stay with the foster (because they are just too cute.)

  19. I dug under a hundred cushions and at last found my self-discipline, which went missing early this year. Such a relief! As a result I’ve had a good week of work, and was reminded (for the nth time) that a morning spent on facebook, emails and news does NOT make me happy, no matter how seductive it seems, whereas a morning of writing does.

    1. Good for you.

      Self discipline went for a loaf of bread and didn’t come back. Finally showed up on Monday! I went to the gym. Felt so much better.

  20. Not sure this counts as “making” as I think it’s more like … adopting? rescuing? At Sunday’s Rare Rose Auction, we won by absurdly low bid – lowest of the entirety of winning bids – “Angola,” single red bred in Portugal, so probably should grow here, which is good as it *may* be the only remaining of its kind in the world. *gulp* Comes from a garden in Italy nurtured by “the Pope’s doctor.” (Remember the ski accident, the assassination attempt?). His kids – doctor’s, not the Pope’s – disseminated the roses after surgeon guy’s death. Land more valuable than the roses, an old tale told once more. So we have a rose that no source so far that I’ve consulted can tell me how tall it gets, how wide, breed year. I have learned it reblooms throughout the year, yay. “Angola” has six blooms at the moment and is a cute little thing of which I’ve grown fond in the less than a week it’s been with us. And at the moment we have a hardy rain, an event as rare as our rose.

  21. The biggest thing I’ve made this week is a decision. Ever since my Mom’s funeral in March, my brother in France has been trying to convince me to come visit them . Although I had been looking for flights in a rather desultory fashion, I didn’t want to go until my depression began to lift. I couldn’t stand the thought of spending all that time and money only to sit alone in a hotel room. But today I decided to be brave. I bought a non-refundable ticket for April in the expectation that I will be well enough to fully enjoy the trip then.

    1. My cousin Russ is renting a big house in Ireland for a year because it’s across the street from his grandchildren, and he’s invited me to stay. Tempting. On the other hand, so is staying home.

      1. You’d take a ship? Go! Fresh perspective. And Russ Parsons, still my favorite food writer. Think of the meals …

        1. Oh, the meals would be fantastic, and being with Russ and Kathy even better. They’re just the best people. He says now that he’s retired, he’s stopped writing. I said, “You can retire from writing?” but he’s still cooking, so I think that was his main jam, not the writing. He did two books on his own plus all those LA Times food books and a short thing on music (he started out as a music journalist) not to mention the zillion columns he did for the Times, so I think he’s established his writer bona fides. Such a great guy.

          Me, I’m still not sure I’m a real writer. Imposter syndrome.

  22. I haven’t *made* made a damn thing. But I have done something I don’t normally do, which is call in sick to work. I’ve had 2 orthopedic surgeries in the past 3 months, and missed less than 3 weeks (and the first one was a hip replacement). Thank God I do surgery really, really well.
    But then began The Asthma Attack that Will Not Die (thanks, Ohio Valley!). Now on top of that, I’ve got this lovely bacterial bronchitis which has kicked my butt. Except for going to the pharmacy, I haven’t been out of bed since last Thursday. I’ve taken 2 days off this week, and it’s already flu/RSV season, and a bad one at that (pediatrician here).
    I hate knowing I’m making it harder on my partners, but I guess what I’ve made is a commitment to myself that I have to take care of me. No one else will, and no one else should have to. And I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get here.

  23. Jenny, I posted yesterday about making lip balm and it said my post would have to be verified. I don’t see it here yet.

    1. Found it in the pending file. No idea why it ended up there. Lip balm isn’t exactly a controlled substance.

    2. I made chocolate cake and chicken soup and froze them for thanksgiving weekend. And tonight I made ramen with fresh ramen and fresh vegetables. I am sure any expert on Japanese food would turn up their nose in disgust but I had fun.
      I also made my day by day cooking list for Thanksgiving. We are having two—one with neighbors on Thursday and a second on Sunday when DH gets back from India. In between we have 20 people over for brunch—DS gang of high school friends and their families—but I will not cook for that.

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