Not Martha

A Happy New Year

I have very relaxed plans for 2008 – declutter the house a bit, plant that lavender along the fence out front, cook more often, order more things online, maybe actually get a better camera, be outdoors more often.

I hope your new year starts off exactly the way you hope it will, and that your resolutions are all good ones.

· comments [13] · 12-31-2007 · categories:mumbling ·

Merry Chex Mix

This is my recipe for making the most boring looking Chex Mix possible:

1. Instead of Wheat Chex buy a second box of Rice Chex since somebody always eats around the Wheat, leaving you with Chex dregs.

2. Forgo the peanuts, they always get lost in the bottom.

3. Fail to find anything approximating a bagel chip in the store.

4. Buy those neat waffle-or-chex shaped pretzels, but discover only after you’ve gotten home that they are flavored with something calling itself “buttery” but tastes just plain horrible.

5. Fail to have the energy to make another grocery store visit, make Chex Mix anyhow.

Happy Holidays!

· comments [28] · 12-23-2007 · categories:mumbling ·

Menu For Hope

Today is the last day to get in on Menu For Hope, there are some outstanding prizes being raffled off this year. If you don’t know what it is see the about page: “Each year, food bloggers from all over the world join forces to host the Menu for Hope online raffle, offering an array of delectable culinary prizes. For every US$10, the donor receive a virtual raffle ticket toward a prize of their choice. This year, the prizes include once in a lifetime experiences such as touring the elBulli laboratory with Ferran Adrià , dining on a historic British meal prepared by Heston Blumenthal, or joining Harold McGee on a lunch date to satisfy a lifetime’s worth of cooking curiosity.”

“This year for the 4th annual Menu for Hope, we are again supporting the UN World Food Programme. With a special permission from the WFP, the funds raised by Menu for Hope 4 will be earmarked for the school lunch program in Lesotho, Africa.”

Menu For Hope raises a lot of money for a really good cause. Excellent all around.

You can see all the prizes and enter the drawing here at Firstgiving.

· comments [1] · 12-21-2007 · categories:events · food ·

talk to Bluelines

So, we were all a little upset that Blueprint magazine was canceled and a little confused when we heard that it was being folded into Martha Stewart Weddings magazine. And guess what? Blueprint heard us! And they want to know what we do want. You can leave a message on this post over at Bluelines, the blog of Blueprint magazine. Reading over the comments left so far it looks like most people would like a few special issues a year.

· comments [3] · 12-21-2007 · categories:shopping ·

shop drunk in Ballard

Do you live in Seattle and still need to get some Christmas shopping done but dread having to resort to a mall and push your way through all those sober people? Then consider the Drunk Shopping Event in Ballard! tonight from 7 to 9 p.m. From Yelp:

Here is your exclusive invitation to shop the painless way – After hours with friends and a bit o’ booze. It’s not shopping, it’s Yelp Shopping!

Start out with some great savings at Dish D’Lish where you can receive 20% off merchandise and treat yourself to a hot buttered rum. This is the first stop so sign in and receive your name tag to take advantage of exclusive discounts and deals at the select Ballard Avenue Stores which will be staying open late just for Yelpers. Then, let the partying…uhhh gift giving begin!

How perfect! Drunk shopping and then you can finish the week with a meal at Hattie’s Hat or The People’s Pub.

· comments [5] · 12-21-2007 · categories:christmas · events · seattle ·

let Christmas begin

We were finally able to find time to put up a Christmas tree last night. Earlier in the day I bought bread from Lola’s South City Bakery:

We used the baguette to make Toasts with Chocolate, Olive Oil and Sea Salt which I originally read about in Cooking for Mr. Latte. Our verdict was that we need to try again with a better quality bittersweet chocolate, Ghirardelli wasn’t working out in this case. I think my local grocery might have some bittersweet Green & Black’s, investigation to continue this evening.

The sandwich loaf in that picture is currently the object of my fascination. It’s beautiful and weighty and I nearly couldn’t bring myself to slice it. It made very, very good toast and there are grilled cheese plans for lunch. The little box contained a single slice of a dense Italian dessert which I forget the name of, but which combined fruits, nuts and a bit of cocoa. Here is the box when opened:

For dinner we decided to make Pork tenderloin roasted in rosemary salt with fingerling potatoes from the LA Times, which recently ran a much-discussed article on salt roasting. The potatoes did emerge too salty, you could see a salt water residue on the sides. Earlier this week I roasted some potatoes in barely-moistened salt and we didn’t experience the same thing. Perhaps salt roasting is best left for things you’ll remove the skins from – fish, a whole chicken? Otherwise, the pork loin was delicious and tender and juicy.

Here is the Kosher salt with fresh rosemary being mixed, it sparkled like snow and briefly made me wish fresh snow was scented with rosemary. The before and after pictures of the food encased in a mound of salt can be found here.

· comments [8] · 12-20-2007 · categories:food · mumbling · recipes ·

links: food

Peppermint Icebox Yule Log Cake at Craft

how to make your own bitters at Miss Ginsu

English Toffee at Food Chronicles

Top 10 Food and Drink Hacks at Lifehacker, via Baking Bites

Are pricey cupcake mixes worth it? at Baking Bites

How to Make a Lemon Twist at eHow

How to Make a Lemon Spiral at

lemon twist at YouTube

The Kitchen on Trader Joe’s One-Clove Garlic

!! – cupcakes baked in little jars!! at Angry Chicken

wrapping homemade candy at The Kitchen

salt roasting at the LA Times, recipe for Pork tenderloin roasted in rosemary salt with fingerling potatoes

How to chop lemongrass at Ask Metafilter

Pepparkakor, thin beautiful spice cookies, at Delicious Days

Baking Bites on the new book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, the co-authors were also interviewed on The Splendid Table on Dec. 15th, where they gave up their master recipe

Cakespy on how to (not) ship a cupcake

H.P. Lovecraft-themed foods? at Ask Metafilter

· comments [1] · 12-20-2007 · categories:food · recipes ·

links: miscellanea

What’s the funniest audio album you’ve heard lately that I can give as a gift? at Ask Metafilter

What is the best low maintenance, high gas mileage, low cost car I can buy (new or used) on a limited budget? at Ask Metafilter

PurseGuard Ultra, not only does it hang your purse from the edge of a table, it sounds an alarm if someone removes it, good in a crowded restaurant. at Chow

Slate’s guide to overlooked Christmas movies, I have a soft spot for Bernard and the Genie, but I suspect it isn’t neccessarily a crowd pleaser.

What the best formula for Calcium supplements? at Ask Metafilter

Angry Christmas Crackers at Cool Hunting

Bake and Shake on wishing to be “loving a magazine as much as I loved the few years of Sassy I was old enough to find relevant“. Amen.

How Much Protection Can You Get From a Skin Cream?
at The Beauty Brains

Privo Sofrito, shoes I just might want (also at Zappos).

Fluid Earth Bowl, a bowl made to resemble the topography of your chosen area, via GirlHacker.

I heart this upside down snowman, at Magpie and Cake

Re-Nest on the return of Brownberry bread, and the violent unrest the discontinuation of this bread caused. As crazy as it sounds, I understand, I love that bread.

Malenie Falick (did you know she keeps a blog?!) on the sheep and wool related art of Andy Goldsworthy, just take a look at the last photo in that entry.

· comments [11] · 12-19-2007 · categories:christmas · craft · knitting · links · shopping ·

I’m knitting another sweater: where I’m glad I bought too much yarn to start with

the sweater: Ribby Cardi
the yarn: Cotton Ease in Stone
the previous entries: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Just before the final steps I decided the whole sweater was too short and I ripped back. Before the moment where I took the scissors to the top of the collar, however, there was a 72 hour stretch where I alternately talked myself out of and into redoing so much work. [Read more →]

· comments [21] · 12-18-2007 · categories:knitting ·

giveaway: Knitspeak: An A to Z Guide to the Language of Knitting Patterns

I have two copies of Knitspeak to give away! I love this book, and wish I’d had it when I was learning to knit. Knitspeak gathers together all the terms and abbreviations new knitters encounter, and explains them concisely, giving illustrated instructions along the way. Best of all, they explain why some things are done, something I really appreciate.

The book is compact, and set up in dictionary format with letter tabs along the right-hand side of the pages. Illustrations are hand drawn, and very clear.

The back pages contain reference charts for anatomy of knitted items like sweaters and socks, how to read a yarn label, substituting yarn, abbreviations at a glance, yarn weights to lengths and care instructions. The back cover even includes ruler markings for inches and centimeters should you need to check gauge or quickly convert a measurement.

This book would be perfect for both new knitters who haven’t yet read Elizabeth Zimmerman, and intermediate knitters who are tackling more complicated patterns but might need some quick reminders as they go along. It will help establish a clear foundation of understanding that learning off scraps of information from, say, the internet cannot quite achieve. I point at myself here — it took me ages to put together that invisible, tubular, and grafting were all words used for the same basic technique.

Note: This is not a book for the person who wants to learn to knit, rather it’s a reference for the person who is just getting started knitting and knows the basics of casting on, knitting, purling and binding off. It does explain all these things, but it does not walk you through knitting your first square.

I have two copies of the book to give away! Please leave a message in the comments for this post if you’d like to win one. update: The winners were contacted and the books have been mailed off!

Fine print:
I’ll choose the winner on Thursday night, December 20th at 8:00 p.m. PST. I’ll ship the books as soon as I can, this might depend on working off-hours postal machines.
– You don’t need to leave your real name, but do leave a valid email address. I’ll be the only one who can see your email address (just don’t put it in the actual comment box as well).
– If you have never left a comment here before I’ll need to approve it before it publishes so don’t worry if your comment doesn’t show up right away.
– If I have not heard from an initial winner by January 3rd (I’m assuming some people will be away during the holiday break) I will choose another winner.
– Winners will be picked by a random number generator.

· comments [717] · 12-17-2007 · categories:books · knitting ·

links: the home

sliding wall at Apartment Therapy

gray pumpkins! at Happy Mundane

how to revamp a lampshade at Kirin Notebook, via Craft

Bright Blind, a fake window, at Product Dose

Suggestions for good interior design magazines? at Ask Metafilter

5 Ways to Insulate Your Windows for Winter at AT:Chicago

How do you make new bed sheets soft? at Ask Metafilter

How can I make homemade Christmas Tree preservative? at Ask Metafilter

Chilewich Woven Vinyl Rugs at Cool Tools. I’ve seen these a bunch of places, but the ones I’ve seen didn’t have a solid backing and didn’t make much sense in rainy Seattle. Looks like these would work.

What is the single most valuable piece of advice you received when you were in the process of buying your first home? at Ask Metafilter

very interesting stairs and storage at Apartment Therapy

LED rope lights to brighten a room at Craft

99 luftballons Blik wall decals, at Swiss Miss

· comments [3] · 12-14-2007 · categories:the home ·

links: shopping and beauty

a glue stick for instant DIY sticky notes, yay! at Swiss Miss

things i have learned recently at Skona Life

Busom button, at Outblush

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer at Outblush

Thanks to my own stupidity, I managed to get two saucepans stuck one inside the other… at Ask Metafilter

Replacement show for the Gilmore Girls? at Ask Metafilter

Open Clamshell Packaging With a Can Opener, yes! at Unplggd.

Who makes comfy track pants for short people? at Ask Metafilter. I’ve been tripping over cuffs of my soft pants lately, I need something shorter before I take a header down some stairs.

SideSwipe Mixer Blade, at The Kitchn

Aww! Oeuf Squeeze-Me Mittens at Swiss Miss

Picopad wallet notes, at Outblush

SundryBuzz 2007 Skincare Review Round-Up

Oven Mit Apron at Better Living Through Design

XFIT Denim, voted good at Blueprint.

Eee! Kate, who does Obsessive Consumption is selling drawings of her Daily Drawings. I’m drawn to the one of shoes like Black flats from payless, Kelly Green Reeboks and Gold Shoes.

· comments [4] · 12-13-2007 · categories:beauty · shopping ·

links: food

Bulgur, Celery and Pomegranate Salad Recipe at 101 Cookbooks

latke redux at Smitten Kitchen

lasagna for two at Hogwash

Tender, Delicious Roast Beast at SundryBuzz

Winter Wonderland Cupcakes with Fluffy Marshmallow Frosting at A Grrls Wrrld

Questions for Kimball: Ideas for Homemade Holiday Gifts? at The Kitchn

Muhammara at Chocolate & Zucchini

Sugarplums at Miss Ginsu

I’m looking for a recipe for Vegan Rice Krispy treats at Ask Metafilter.

Mail order nut source, at Ask Metafilter.

Popcorn Chickpeas at Serious Eats.

Roasted Ceci Nuts, “Note: Dried chick-peas that have been soaked and cooked seem better suited to roasting than canned chick-peas because they have absorbed less liquid and are firmer. They become drier and crisper during roasting.”

Homemade crunchy snacks at Ask Metafilter.

What do I absolutely HAVE to buy at Trader Joe’s? at Ask Metafilter.

cookies at, the icebox variety are good for swaps:

Making Holiday Cookies

Holiday Cookie Glossary

Holiday Cookie Gallery

Icebox Shortbread

Holiday Icebox Cookies

Icebox Butter Cookies

Earl Grey Tea Cookies

Lime Meltaways

Cornmeal Cherry Cookies (I use lemon zest instead)

Striped Icebox Cookies

at Chow:

Pot Roast with Porcini and Beer


Fried Chickpeas with Sage

Crisp Chocolate Chip Cookies

Easy Weeknight Dinner

The Coveted Coffee Press

· comments [9] · 12-12-2007 · categories:food · recipes ·

I’m knitting another sweater: notes on tubular bind-off for 2×2 rib

the sweater: Ribby Cardi
the yarn: Cotton Ease in Stone
the previous entries: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

I finished the top of my collar last night using 2×2 rib tubular bind-off, which I had to re-learn since it’s been three months since the last time I managed to learn it.

I discovered that the tubular bind-off for 2×2 rib is exactly the same as the tubular bind-off for 1×1 rib. At least, the one I chose to learn is. That this extremely obvious thing managed to elude me until now makes me both feel incredibly dim, and does not surprise me at all. [Read more →]

· comments [5] · 12-11-2007 · categories:knitting ·

links: craft

Nice neck warmer thingy at Yarn Ball Boogie

Yeti gift labels at Craft

Ironing plastic bags together…is this toxic? at Ask Metafilter

How to: Table top Christmas Tree at Bleu Arts

tiny buildings at Swiss Miss

Which iron presses best? at Slate

What is the best iron? at Google Answers

· comments [2] · 12-11-2007 · categories:craft ·