Thursday, November 19, 2009

Evening Musings

Hubby's band is here, rehearsing for a St. Andrew's service and the December contra dance. It's fun to have them all here. I like reading or writing while I listen. Makes a calm, relaxing evening.

This month's Fine Cooking magazine has an article on cooking with parsnips AND one on making good fudge. How could I resist!? There's even a parsnip custard pie recipe. Might try it *after* the holidays.

It's the time of year when I do more cooking and baking. I roasted all the pumpkins I grew and put half in the freezer. Used the other half to try two new pumpkin bread recipes. The best one was in November's Martha Stewart Living. It called for sage in addition to the usual spices, which didn't appeal to me at all. So I left out the sage, doubled the amount of pumpkin and spices, and put in toasted chopped walnuts. Made the bread heavier but it's got a lot of good pumpkin taste. This recipe calls for browned butter, which adds a wonderful rich flavor. I'll definitely be using it again!

Hubby is working on the no-knead bread-making method. Tonight was his second try. It smells wonderful! Turned out with a good crust, nice taste, and a bit lighter in texture than the first loaf, which was very heavy and dense. This one rose for 24 hours. He's thinking next time he'll let it go for at least 36 hours.

The days are getting shorter. Harder and harder to get up in the mornings, it's so dark at 6:30. But I'm still getting to the gym two or three days a week. I don't always get to Aikido, unfortunately. Evenings are difficult since I need to work overtime more often than not. Anyway, I've worked up to jogging for more than three-fifths of a mile now. I walk one lap, jog three, walk about a quarter-lap, run another half, and walk the rest. I haven't quite got to the point where I can run three and a half all at once. It's more a stamina thing than tired legs. A good thing to work on. Doesn't seem like a long distance, but it's more than I could do a few months ago.

I've done about half of my holiday shopping. I haven't even thought about Christmas cards yet. Better get busy I suppose! We have some stored away that we've bought on sale, so I don't need to get any more. We'll be seeing my parents in December so I need to think of something for them, even though I've already given Mom her present. Maybe I'll make them pumpkin bread.

I'm looking forward to getting away, much as I like our snow. We're going on a whale-watching trip in the Channel off Ventura. It's a good time of year for it so we should see lots of wildlife. We also want to go to the new Getty again, as well as the Huntington Library, and go see the Rose Parade floats the day after New Year's. They're much more impressive in real life, far more detailed than you can see on TV. I wanted to go to the Museum of the Southwest, but it's partly closed for renovation, so maybe next time. There's plenty of other things to do. We're especially looking forward to walking on the beach and eating fresh seafood.

Busy weekend coming up, with our St. Andrews dance, dinner and ceilidh on Saturday. Hopefully we'll have a good-sized group and it'll be lots of fun. I was going to recite a poem, but I never got around to finding the one I wanted, so I may not do anything for my party piece.

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