Tigger’s Blanket

In December I started knitting a blanket for the guest room – I want to replace the one we have and decided that I could knit one. This turned out to be larger project than I anticipated, but that’s not a bad thing. But I discovered two things – Tigger REALLY likes that yarn and it was too bulky to bring with me to knit in the car on the way to Suzanne’s for the holiday. So … Tigger gets his own blanket.

I picked up one skein of yarn – super bulky blanket yarn (Bob picked out the color) and started to knit on the drive up. 50 stitches across, one skein of yarn and a few days later Tigger has a blanket. It’s not fancy – a regular stockinette stitch so one side is nubbly and one side is smooth – but he likes it. I think because Tigger is getting older, he wants the soft and warm surfaces more. So … Tigger has a blanket.


Chickpea Curry

I have a love/hate relationship with curry. I love the taste, love the texture and love the warm, comforting feeling I get from a good curry, but trying to make curry is really frustrating. It is probably the most frequent “yeah, I can’t eat this” dish I experiment with and I hate that feeling. You know, the one where you feel like you wasted time, food and money and it really, really didn’t work. I don’t attempt curries often because I hate this feeling but I’m pretty sure the few times we have not been able to eat something I’ve made, it was a curry.

Given this, I was skeptical of the recipe I found on Hurry The Food Up. I mean, it’s another curry recipe and they generally look kind of do-able, but this looked really possible. As in easy possible not just give it a go possible. So I tried it. Since I wasn’t thinking it would work, I didn’t bother with pictures and that was a mistake. Oh my gosh, this was good. A month or so later, I made it again because … well … it seemed like I found a curry recipe that I could do and I wanted to see if it was a fluke or not. Nope – really good and still easy. But I forgot pictures. So, I tried again and the results speak for themselves …

I actually follow this recipe except I only use one onion. Other than that – make it as is. It will taste a little meh until you add in the maple syrup and lime juice, but once you do … oh my gosh, it is so good. Bob even likes it (a lot) and chickpeas are not high on his list of go-to food items. Seriously, try it. It is awesome!


La Grive Bleue

  • Producer: Evesham Wood
  • Location:Eola-Amity Hills Oregon
  • Year: 2016
  • Type: Red, Pinot Noir
  • Price estimate: $30
  • Tasting notes: Dark red in color, almost like black cherries. Blackberry and bramble on the nose. Wild berry tart tasting with some bramble and cranberry. Bob said cassis, but given that I don’t know what that tastes like I’m going to have to take his word on it. Tart finish, but easy to drink.
  • Conclusions: I really liked this wine. It wasn’t my favorite and I won’t seek it out like I’ve done some we’ve picked up, but it was good and very easy to drink. Good body and a nice finish really help this wine, especially since there is an almost sour note at the very beginning, although that went away after a few hours after opening. 13% alcohol by volume.



Spicy Peanut Noodles

My work computer decided to take over an hour to update the other day, which meant that I could not get any work that could not be done on my phone, done. It was frustrating, especially since I did everything I could and answered every email I could in ab out 30 minutes. Everything else, I needed my computer. So … I began searching for some recipes for dinner for this week and came up with a few good options.

I found an interesting recipe at Give Me Some Oven and thought it would make a nice lunch/dinner with plenty of leftovers for lunches for a few days. It actually worked out rather well.

I changed up the recipe a bit – chili garlic sauce for the garlic powder and red pepper flakes, less lime juice and a bit more soy, but overall the sauce was pretty much the same. I didn’t have cabbage, so I went with yellow pepper, carrots, scallion, and cucumber. I really liked this dish, but both Bob and I agreed that it would have been just a bit better hot. With this in mind the next time I make it, I’m replacing the cucumber with zucchini, making the whole dish hot, and adding a fried egg like I would in Pad Thai or fried rice. I’ll try to remember to post that once I make it, but for now, this is a really good, filling dish with lots of leftovers (no microwave required).


Rivata Prosecco

  • Producer: Rivata
  • Location: Veneto,Italy
  • Year: No Vintage
  • Type: Bubbly – white
  • Price estimate: $11 (Total Wine)
  • Tasting notes:  Very pale straw in color with fine bubbles. Notes of apple on the nose.  Taste is apple, pear and white peach. Some white grape and almond with a nice effervescence. Clean, crisp and dry.
  • Conclusions: I love Prosecco and this one is no exception. Easy to drink with a moderate alcohol content, it’s pretty perfect with our cheese box this month and a little dessert. Would probably work well just for a drink too because you should always drink bubbly just because.
  • Notes: After New Year’s I wanted some bubbly just to have on hand. Every now and then I want sparkling wine just because I like it and it is fun to drink. So, we stopped by Total Wine and picked up a bottle to have on hand, and it worked out rather well. I may need to get some more since at $11 it is about the cheapest wine I drink.


Et Fille Pinot Noir

  • Producer: Et Fille Winery
  • Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • Year: 2014
  • Type: Pinot Noir
  • Price estimate: $28
  • Tasting notes: Ruby red in appearance with some pink at the edges. Very light on the nose with a hint of berry. Flavors of strawberry, raspberry and sour cherry dominate. Tart medium finish.
  • Conclusions: I liked this wine a lot – as did Bob – but it wasn’t something I would make a point of looking for. If I saw it on a store shelf around here, or on a wine list at a restaurant, I would probably get it. It is a great example of a Willamette Valley Pinot and very easy to drink.
  • Notes: We opened this bottle with our monthly cheese box dinner and it paired really well with both the soft brie and the firmer cheeses on the plate. It didn’t overpower anything, but it didn’t disappear either. 13.0% ABV



Suzanne’s Scarf

Back when I was knitting Bob’s scarf for the DC trip, I sent a picture to Suzanne and she really liked it. So, for Christmas, I knit her a scarf. Not very creative, I know, but it is fun to try new stitches and if I can knit something that someone will like I want to give it a try. Like most things I make, they aren’t perfect, but I think they are perfect enough to be enjoyed.

IMG_20181113_194236I started out knitting the pattern I found on Studio Knit in my test yarn. I have a bulky weight yarn with a lot of stretch to try different stitches – it was on clearance (read cheap) and it works great for practicing stitches. I did some reading on cabling and gave it a go. The test came out great and it was actually pretty easy to do.

Since this worked well I decided I could knit the scarf in a reasonable amount of time and it would be great. Bob took me to a yarn store in St. Pete where I picked up some pretty, but thinner, yarn for the scarf. Knitting is knitting and the yarn shouldn’t make that much of a difference, right? I was so wrong.

Thinner yarn (worsted weight instead of bulky) and smaller needles mean smaller stitches, which actually makes the cabling harder – at least for me it did. I must have started, messed up greatly, pulled it apart and started over about six times in the course of one weekend. I was frustrated and ready to give up when I discovered lifelines (tip number 9). This made all the difference – if I messed up (and I did) I only needed to remove the stitches to the lifeline and could keep the majority of my work. The yellow thread running though the scarf – lifeline!

I kept at it over a few weeks and … I successfully cable knitted a scarf! I won’t mention how may times I cursed the pattern with that yarn or how many glasses of wine were consumed to ease the frustration (not as many as you would think, but definitely a few). But I discovered that I could do it, and the results are pretty nice. Persistence pays off sometimes and knitting seems to be one of them. I’m not sure I’m ready to cable again any time soon, but I know I will someday.

I have a few more projects in the works – a blanket for the guest room, an infinity scarf or two that look really sweet, a sweater for Val, and maybe a few cat blankets (I did knit one for Tigger over Christmas, so that post will be up soon) to donate to the local rescue. Yarn is super on sale right now so I’ve stocked up and hope to work on one large (blanket /sweater) project and maybe one small project (scarf/cat blanket/toy) at a time.

Caramel Pecan Pie

When I asked Bob what kind of dessert he wanted me to make for the holidays, he said pie. When I asked what kind of pie, I got the answer I expected – pecan pie. Bob was raised in the south so pecan pie is taken fairly seriously. I’ve made some good ones before, but decided to up the game a little and make a caramel pecan pie.

I thought about not using a recipe and coming up with my own, but this was going to go with us to his sister’s for the holiday, so I decided against just winging it. Unfortunately I forgot the pie – I left it in the microwave to cool so Arthas would not get to it (that is a thing in our house) and totally forgot it. The internet has a ton of recipes for pecan pie, and quite a few of them are caramel pecan pie. I settled on this one from Spicy Southern Kitchen that looked both easy and good. For the most part I followed this recipe – I did use pecan pieces instead of half pecan and I upped the amount of nuts to almost three cups, and I added a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the caramel just as it finished – and the results were amazing. High praise all around so I’m definitely keeping this recipe.

Seriously – just make it. It’s that good and totally worth every calorie.


Wine Highlights

There are times when we open a bottle of wine and I either forget to take notes, forget to take pictures or both. Some of these wines are really good and I make a mental note, and others are just okay or not to my taste (one or two have been downright bad) so I don’t think to go back the next day (generally when we have the wine again) and get the right information to post about the wine.

IMG_20181123_175241For example, just after Thanksgiving we had some friends over and we did a mini blind tasting of Sauvignon Blancs. To be fair, it was three Sauvignon Blancs and one Garnatxa Blanca. I uncorked and bagged the bottles and Bob poured so none of us knew what we were tasting. We decided to keep it simple – what did we taste, what did we like and could we identify the non Sauvignon Blanc. The results … none of us correctly identified the Garnatxa. None of us liked one of the Sauvignon Blancs (a Chilean wine that really just tasted like pine resin to Bob and was just plain bitter for me), Bob was gaga over the Bedrock and John and I loved the Longboard. It was nice to know that at the end of the day, two wines we really love are the ones we went to when we didn’t know what they were.

This was the year of rose for us. We found several that we loved (Ode to Lulu Rose, I’m looking at you) and maybe one or two that we made a note to skip next time we saw it. On the whole, it was a really great year for rose wine for us and something that we are drinking through the winter and into spring this year.

I’m still a fan of red wine. Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Zweigelt, Pinotage, and almost any Italian red and I’m in. This year we saw more restrained wines – Zinfandels that normally have 14%+ alcohol were in the 13% range, which doesn’t seem like a big difference, but it can be. I actually started looking for wines with lower alcohol content so I could really enjoy the wine, especially that second glass, without feeling like I’ve had a ton to drink. I’m hoping the trend of good, moderate alcohol, red wine continues.

Bob and I are finally getting to Sonoma this year – something we are really looking forward to. I have a spreadsheet (of course I do) of wineries we want to try to get to and a few non-wine sites to check out. I’m always open to ideas, so if anyone has any great places to go let me know. Until the next post – happy wine exploring.