You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2011.

Jan 28 – I got this fabulous yarn at the Farmers Market in LeRoy this past summer.  It’s a little thicker than worsted weight and I haven’t figured out what to do with it yet.  I keep trying to make fingerless gloves but my gauge keeps being off and the size is too large.  Now I’m thinking leg warmers.  I would make some slippers, but slippers die eventually with big holes in them.  I want to make something that will survive.

Jan 27 – This is one of my new favorite foods.  I got the recipe from Cooking Light’s 2005 recipe book.  It’s Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon pasta.  Think of it as a very sophisticated mac and cheese…I decided I would share the recipe because it is so very yummy.

This is a very adult mac and cheese.  I make a big pan and eat it for days.  It takes about an hour to get it all together.  I tend to do one step while something is going on, like having the pasta cooking while the bacon is and the squash is roasting.

 

Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon Pasta

From Cooking Light 2005

¾ tsp salt, divided

½ tsp dried rosemary

¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

3 c (1-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash

6 sweet hickory-smoked bacon slices

1 c thinly sliced shallots

8 oz uncooked mini penne (tube-shaped pasta)   (I used a whole box of regular penne – 13.25 oz)

¼ c all-purpose flour

2 c 2% milk

¾ cup (3 oz) shredded sharp provolone cheese

1/3 c (1 ½ oz) grated fresh parmesan cheese

 

Preheat oven to 425

Combine ¼ tsp salt, rosemary and pepper.  Place squash on foil-lined baking sheet coated w/ cooking spray; sprinkle w/ salt mixture.  Bake at 425 for 45 mins or until tender and lightly browned.  Remove squash from oven.  Increase temp to 450.

Cook bacon til crisp  Remove from pan, reserving 1 ½ tsp drippings.  Add shallots to pan; saute 8 mins til tender.  Crumble bacon back into pan, add squash.  Combine, then set aside.

Cook pasta according to package, omitting salt and fat.  Drain well.

Combine flour and ½ tsp salt in a heavy pan over medium-high heat.  Gradually add milk, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Cook 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Add provolone, stir til cheese melts.  Add pasta to cheese sauce, tossing well to combine.  Spoon pasta into 11×7 (I used 9×13) baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray.  Top with squash mixture.  Sprinkle evenly with parmesan cheese.  Bake at 450 for 10 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown.  Yield 5 servings.  (I get 8 in my 9 x 13 pan…but be careful of seconds.  This is very filling and seconds will just give you a belly ache…ask me how I know.  When reheating, I only heat a single serving.)

 

My own changes – I use soy milk made from powder, so used the hot pasta water to make the milk.  I also added a tablespoon or so of the bacon drippings to the sauce.

The first couple times I made it I used a combination of soy cream cheese and soy sour cream instead of the Provolone since David is allergic to cheese (and milk, hence the soy milk).   It added the creaminess I assumed cheese would, but needed more salt.

My bacon was normal bacon, not “sweet hickory smoked”.

The third time I made it, I used soy cream cheese and swiss cheese (didn’t have Provolone and David wasn’t going to be eating it).  The cheese makes it so very good.

I used more pasta and a bigger pan.

This was the first time I’d used shallots (figured out it’s because my regular grocery stores don’t carry them!  Found them at a new speciality market in town and bought them first time I tried them)  I like shallots.  Such a refined flavor.

I roast my squash with some basalmic vinegar as well.  Adds a nice flavor.

I had a long day at the dentist and was in need of comfort food.  I was comforted…

Jan 26 – I opened a new box of matches that said “green light” on them.  I didn’t realize the tips would be green!  They actually smell different than the red ones.  I don’t know that many would notice, but I do, since it’s a chemical burning.  Strange.  I had rather hoped they would have a green light when they burn, but they don’t.  The green is the fact that the wood for them is sourced from renewable resources.

Jan 25 – something else colorful and whimsical from Gen.  These are sticky notes that I can hardly bear to use!  I finally decided they would work well to mark recipes I like, so they will stay in the cookbooks probably forever – or at least as long as the sticky holds out.  I love Japanese paper products!

Jan 24 – There were large birds in my tree.  I had a thought of what they might be by the sound of their wings as they flew off, but I couldn’t tell for sure.  They returned later in the day and I grabbed binocs and my camera and was thus able to identify them as the Ruffed Grouse they are.

There were three.  This one stayed long enough for identification.  The day was very grey and it was late afternoon, so this picture came out a little fuzzy.

Ruffed Grouse are one of the most brainless birds I’ve ever met.  They will just stand there while a semi truck approaches on the road.  They don’t move…

Jan 23 – This little guy (he’s maybe 3 inches tall) was a gift from Gen.  He now accompanies me on my travels, attached to my small purse.  I needed a burst of whimsy and color and Gen delivered that just when I needed it.  Thank you!

Jan 22 – Annoying as he is, he has us well-trained when it comes to play time.  His fishing pole toy has a fleece string with feathers at the end.  He likes to jump attack it, as shown here.  He “kills” it then drops it and expects it to reanimate, which it does.  Sometimes he will carry it a ways before dropping it.  Then he does his chirpy meow to let us know to resume.

Jan 22 –

Jan 21 – The cat woke me up at 4:30 a.m. because he was hungry.  I actually had to thank him this time because I got to see this.  Moon setting over the snow.  The naked eye can pick up a bit more than the camera can.  I may have to try again sometime with the SLR to see if I can saturate it a bit more with the moonlight.  Even so, I’m pleased with this picture as it is.

Jan 20 – My poor swing didn’t get brought in for the winter so it is serving as a snow measure.  We got a lot of snow the last few days.

Come spring, I plan to recover this swing in a bright red fabric that has a huge yellow flower (just one) on it.  The fabric was given to me in Florida during the Boat Gypsy adventure, and I’ve wondered what to do with it ever since.  It is a very large print.  I figure it will make a great seat cover for my swing.

Jan 19 – Self-portrait from the Dennos Art Museum in Traverse City.  Went up for Art Girlz and only Pam could come.  Instead of hanging at the library, we went to lunch, then to the museum, where she is a member.  There was an amazing art quilt display as well as some digital art.  I felt my sense of wonder opening up and I had a silly grin on my face.  Pam took me to the kids’ discovery room and this room was called “Recollections.”  The patterning changes and it’s all very Peter Max looking.  Pam took the pictures while I danced around making colors.  This one was my favorite.  It was quite nice having the entire place to ourselves.