Monday, August 21, 2006

Spring Cleaning Part II

Yes, it's nearly autumn, and I have just resumed my spring cleaning. Or maybe it's nesting. I last posted about spring cleaning in May, before morning sickness derailed the whole project. At any rate, since we never throw anything away and our apartment has very small bedrooms/little closet space, there's no room for a baby in the apartment at the moment, so I'm trying to attack one area at a time to get rid of junk we don't need. Yesterday, I collected my entire yarn stash from various corners and organized it into the two Rubbermaid tubs that had had yarn piled haphazardly in them. I made room for one of the tubs in the closet (the other is an under-bed) and put away the piles of books I have everywhere. I definitely accomplished something, but there's a lot more to do. I kind of wish we could have those Queer Eye guys come and throw away our junk and tell us how to make the most out of the space we have.

When I was organizing the yarn, I also tackled abandoned WIPs to reclaim the yarn. This was super-fun in the case of the Sirdar Snowflake baby blanket (that stuff is a nightmare to frog...and to knit with). I also had started a sweater made with Cascade 220 held double. When I wound (thankfully only one ball) the yarn, I decided to "save time" by winding the two hanks together IN ONE BALL. Do you have any idea how insane that is? Or how long (almost two hours) it takes to unwind and recreate two balls??? Ugh. But you can't beat the feeling of accomplishment.

Blogger says no photos today, which is too bad. I have really funny cat pictures to share.

Knitting: Working on the Candle Flame Shawl. I'm more than halfway to 70"! I will probably not be able to resist casting on for another baby project soon, though.

Reading: Persuasion.

Wriitng: My deadline for finishing Chapter 6 revisions is Wednesday.

Cooking: I made this Stracciatella Gelato yesterday, and it was fantastic. I made a couple of changes necessitated by ingredients I didn't have. I used 2 tsp vanilla extract instead of the vanilla bean, and I used 2% milk instead of whole. The recipe didn't specify an amount of chocolate to use, so I used 1 cup of Ghirardelli chocolate chips (the double chocolate ones), which I melted in a glass measuring cup in the microwave (this was perfect for then pouring into the gelato). I'm sure it would be even creamier with whole milk, and I'd like to try that sometime. The "chocolate chips" turned out beautifully. That's the part of gelato in Italy that was great--the non-uniform chocolate threads throughout the gelato, and this method of pouring a thin stream of melted chocolate into almost-solid gelato was perfect. We were trying to remember if it was like the Italian gelato, and we think it might not be quite creamy enough, hence trying whole milk next time. It firmed up better than I've ever had ice cream firm up in my little countertop unit, and the texture was excellent. It's really not that hard to make, either.

I also made stuffed zucchini. I got a large zucchini at the Farmer's Market and stuffed it with breadcrumbs, tomatoes, spinach, and parmesan. It was very nice paired with fettucine tossed with pesto.

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