Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Epicurian Guinea Pigs

My roommates have become my epicurian guinea pigs.  (click if you aren't familiar with that e-word).

I really love making impromptu dinner plans, and the magic of a slow cooker meal is an opportunity never wasted.  So when i was looking through my e-reader at LifeHacker, I could not resist the chance to surprise my new household with a Thai-style chicken food adventure.

And it turned out fantastic c:

The short list of recipes I grabbed this from is meant to make easy slow cooker freezer meals, but who cares? This sounded delicious.

Even though the recipe called for chicken thighs, we have a huge bag of gigantic chicken breasts in the freezer, so I quickly defrosted the outer portion of the chicken to make it easier to slice, and then threw all the ingredients into my lovely inherited Crock pot.  It stewed in its deliciousness for about six hours, by which point the big chicken slices disintegrated into wonderful, bit-sized shreds of long-marinated goodness.  I also used my favourite Archer Farms pineapple peach salsa that's been in the fridge, which added a pleasant sweetness to the peanut butter compliment.  And even my picky, meat and potatoes roommate liked it.  

To counteract the sweetness of the pineapple salsa I used, dab on a little Sriracha heart and you will be in spicy, tangy Thai heaven. 

If you are unfamiliar with the god I worship, Sriracha, please head over to the Oatmeal.  If you are also unfamiliar with the Oatmeal, you aren't anymore.   

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Spiced Chai Concentrate

After tasting chai for the first time, my room mate James said, "It's like liquid pumpkin pie."

And that it is.

I admired a recipe for spiced chai concentrate on Pinterest that was floating around some six months ago, and just now got around to making it.  If you've been procrastinating on making it too, use this post as a stepping-off point --  it's worth it!

The biggest problem for me was betting up the gumption to haul myself over to a Whole Foods or spice market to buy the ingredients for this tasty drink.  I was living about 20+ mins away from anywhere that sold vanilla beans and whole anise stars, and even the chain food stores i knew that would carry them would most likely not have a fresh supply.  Since I've moved to Lancaster, I've been taking full advantage of my flat's proximity to the central market and the Spice Guy.  I do not know his real name, but there is a gentleman that runs a fantastic spice and tea stall in the market.  I have the feeling we will soon be on a first-name basis, his service was so good and his tea so lovely.  

So, onto the tea!  I used this recipe as a guide, and collected my needed spices.  I recommend buying much more than you will need just to satisfy the recipe, since many of these spices are popular in fall baking and you will probably want to make more than the 1.5 cups of chai i got out of it.  

So this is everything- ginger, "orange" (I used lemon since I didn't have a lemon on hand), tea, honey, cinnamon, vanilla bean and assorted spices.  

For the tea portion of the recipe i used a mixture of the Spice Guy's Lemon Spice black tea and a delicious herbal blend of Blood Orange and rose petals i got from Steap in Philadelphia.  The Blood Orange was expensive, but I got it very long ago and it added the extra orange-y, bright flavor that i think this particularly spicy mix needed. Here is all of the tea mixed up-
The blood orange is very bright and the rose petals are white and pink. Looks delicious, eh?

One more thing i must say is that you should invest in a small grater before you begin, like a long zester.  You will need to grate nutmeg with a finer grit than your typical cheese grater, and while it might cost you an extra $10, it is totally worth it.  Nothing is worse than watching precious, expensive nutmeg go to waste as it cracks and you slice off a part of your finger grating it over what you would use for Parmesan.  
I speak from experience, if you can't tell.
this is my zester.   One day he will grow up to be a biiiig box cheese grater, but for now i use him for ginger mostly.  

So now that you have amassed the ingredients and tools, chop everything up!

I did make some modifications to the ingredients, and i'm glad i did.  Instead of using all three inches of ginger, i roughly sliced about an inch and a half.  I think all three inches would have overpowered, but if you want to add more, go right ahead.  I urge you to remember that you don't want to shock yourself into a ginger coma. 
Unless you are a redhead.  
See how much ginger that is?

Also, try not to be overzealous with your grating.  My nutmeg was so soft and fresh it almost disappeared as I grated it, so try not to add to much.  Nutmeg and cinnamon will be the ones responsible for the tickling in the back of your throat- that means you added too much.  

Some other recipe modifications i made were to adjust the sweetness.  This recipe asks to add 1/2 cup sugar, but that was too much for me. I compensated with two tablespoons of honey and 1/4 cup of white sugar, and i think it was a perfect adjustment.  

Now, throw everything into the pot and let it steep for about ten minutes.  Listen to Louis CK, knit a few rows, and your kitchen will fill up with a delicious aroma.  If there were any chai left, I'm almost sure it would have kept smelling that way for days, but we drank it all.  

Now strain, and you're done!

One thing i was shocked about was how much my cinnamon stick expanded while it soaked.  If you've used mulling spices before I'm sure you're used to this, but everything in the pot blew up like an aromatic Halloween balloon.  I admit I get pretty interested in the simple things, but if i knew how to save these spices and tea and use it for potpourri, i totally would!

The finished product is fantastic. Unbelievable.  Heavenly.  Every complimentary word in your vocabulary, apply it here. 

My roommates and i loved it so much, we drank all two cups of the concentrate (1:1 ratio with 2% milk) immediately.  I was pretty disappointed that this made so little, so next time i'll double it at least.  

Go on and make some!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Thirty Days of Knitting Days 4 through 9

Day 4: How did you learn how to knit?
My art teacher turned me on  to it when we organized a knit/crochet class, she taught knitting and I taught crochet. 
Day 5: How long did it take from the time your learned how to knit, to finish your first project?
A couple of hours.  Super bulky, heck yes
Day 6: What is your favorite piece that you’ve knit?
I love my new  Featherweight Cardigan.  FO Post soon!
Day 7: Your least favorite?
I made a neck pillow out of acrylic, and it is itchy but I don't have the heart to throw it out.  
Day 8: What’s your most challenging project?
I am currently writing my own pattern for a Men's saddle shoulder zip-up cardigan for my grandfather.  Not easy, folks!
Day 9: What fiber or yarn do you love working with?
I adore working with silk and just plain old merino wool.  Wool/silk blends are my favourite. 

Hey guys, sorry for the late post! I will have a camera and some new posts queued soon.  Thanks c;

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Thirty Days of Knitting Days 1 through 3

I decided that I would go ahead and do a "30 days" series that I found on Tumblr on here, because it gives me an excuse to post.

Day 1: What was your first finished project?
my first completely finished, cast off, ends tucked in knitting project was a bikini top made of this terrible acrylic yarn.  I still have it, but it didn't fit me in the first place, and when i made it i was one full cup size smaller. OUCH.
But since i have no pictures of that one, these are the first socks i made:

they don't fit very well, but they are warm and alpaca and I love them. 

Day 2: What is currently on your needles?
 Currently i am knitting vigorously on the Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig (she is so cute and i love her minimalist designs).  Here is a terrible webcam photograph of my WIP:

Day 3: Do you have any other WIPs (works in progress)?
I am also working on a pair of socks with a handpainted yarn and I'm desperately trying to finish a lace scarf for my oma but I'm pretty sure I don't have enough yarn.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Why I Abhor the United States Postal Service

My yarn came at some mysterious time between this Monday and today.  
One might ask, "Why is this time a mystery? Didn't you know when a box was delivered to your house?"
Well, you see, usually one knows when a package has been delivered.  I, however, did not. 

You see, my local post office is full of lazy bums.  Normally, i am quite enamored with those individuals who work with post, because they bring me nice fluffy smooshy yarns to roll around in, and therefore they are my best friends.  However, I currently live in a small apartment with my mom and brother while I finish up school, and we have a big lock box for our mail, and the only postmen i get to see are the guys from UPS.  

So, we get our mail and small packages from our post office through these lock boxes.  Normally, when i have a package, there is a small key in my mailbox underneath the rest of my paper mail, which then lets me open a box underneath the standard mail slots.  I unlock the box, get my package, squee like a fangirl, and so on.  HOWEVER. 
Yesterday when i checked my mail, there was no shiny little key underneath my mail.  That was a tad odd, because the FedEx notifier on the Knit Picks website is normally very reliable, and it said that my package had been delivered.  Today, i checked my mail again, and there was no little key.  

On a whim i decided to check the big boxes beneath the mail slots, which all had keys in them.  I figured i wouldn't find anything, but hey, might as well check, right? (one who wishes for yarn will be granted three yarny wishes from the fiber faeries, amirite?)

I was shocked to find my Knit Picks box, beaten, dented, and completely unprotected in an unlocked post box, with the key in the lock.   

Some might say that I'm overreacting.  But i have ordered hundreds of dollars of yarn before, and not just large quantities of it.  HUNDREDS of dollars worth of what I consider to be as valuable as gold, and just as shiny.  If this had happened when I ordered a bunch of madelinetosh, or kidsilk haze, I would be even more furious than I am right now.  With that said, I am furious. 
I placed several angry phone calls to USPS and FedEx, and both told me to call tomorrow "during office hours."  I know that all I'm going to get is a "Sorry ma'am, it will never happen again," but I want some asses kicked.  No wonder so many have been laid off.  

I would send them an angry letter, but I doubt it would get to the postmaster on time, considering the laziness and ignorance of his employees. 


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Portal 2 and Pottermore Excitement

Today the new Harry Potter project, Pottermore, was released to the glory of the Internet.  While it is only letting people register their emails, i'm still SO EXCITED I CAN'T STAND IT. Sadly, the stupid "submit email" button isn't really working, so i just keep refreshing the page.  I got it to work once, but then it timed out because it was taking too long to load, so i think i'm going to have to wait a little longer until the site has its kinks worked out.   31 July, here i come. 

So, i just wanted to share with you the first intarsia in-the-round project that i ever designed and knitted myself: my Portal hat.  Here it is modeled on my brother Trevor, although it currently belongs to Nick, a friend of mine, since it didn't quite fit onto Boyfriend's large cranium. 

I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes for the black body, and then just used scrap yarns for the intarsia parts.  The orange "portal" is actually a slippery cotton yarn (i do not recommend using it next to wool.), Knit Picks Comfy.  The blue is Malabrigo Worsted in Bobby Blue, and the white is some mystery wool from my stash.  
 I wanted the portals to be really tilted and freeform, just like the ones in the game that "glow".  I also added a few random stitches knit in the portal colors to mirror the gels that are featured in Portal 2. 
I absolutely loved graphing out the portals, but i think that it would be better suited with a thinner yarn. The inside of this hat is truly a hot mess.  
I did do some lettering on the back, first time doing that too:
No matter how messy it is, i loved this project, about as much as i loved the game (maybe a little less).

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


i used to be ledisenchanted on wordpress but i decided to be a grown-up girl and get a grown-up URL and a blog that i can be proud of and actually post things to.  you see, it's very often that i end up saying to myself, "wow, you should really write a blog post about that"  and then i never do, because my email and blog(s) have a name from when i was twelve.  so.

On my other blog i would post  things that inspire me sometimes and mostly posted crappy pictures of stuff on my cat.  While i do not entirely possess a camera 100% of the time (since i dropped my Olympus on its lens and cried for a week) i will try to post progress updates as often as i can, and queue posts when i am able to.

As i'm sure not too many people will read this blog, i am leaving this list of things for myself and am planning to edit this post as things become finished.

THINGS THAT I WILL GET DONE BEFORE THE END OF SUMMER (while this is not very likely i shall post it here. ha.)

  • Lubov Scarf
  • Pomatomus Socks
  • Chroma blanket
  • Absinthe socks
  • lace doily
  • go dutch! gloves (reknit)
  • dashing mitts (reknit)
Future projects:
  • TWO featherweight cardigans 
  • sweater for Popop
  • shawl for Oma
  • totoro amigurumi for Sankey
  • TARDIS crochet for Mike
that is all.