We had ANOTHER trip out of town, this one to Michigan. I missed a week posting because these days, it takes us a week to gear up for a trip and another to recover! This was a trip well worth preparing for, though, as my brother-in-law got married! Lilah obviously wanted to see them get married, as she was quiet but alert throughout the ceremony, then fell asleep almost immediately afterwards. It was lovely, and so nice to see so much of Matt's family.
Regarding my last post: those of you on the edge of your seats will be happy to hear that Geronimo has been forgiven and that all laundry came clean. Rachel, you are SO right. I am very lucky that he missed the suitcase itself. He only hit machine-washable clothes. Tim, since I was laughing two minutes later, you are not a jerk at all :) It was pretty funny, actually. I loved everyone's cat pee stories. Nice to know I'm not the only one. As my little brother once told my mom, after being chastised for regaling us with several stories, "But Mom, pee stories are always crowd-pleasers!" Indeed.
Rachel also gets a "heh heh" for her comments on Jack :)
Knitting: Not much. Travel used to mean lots of knitting on planes and in cars, but these days, I'm rarely optimistic enough to bring it along. See more on this in my next post.
Writing: Not at all. A bit of frenzied note-taking on changes I want to make to the plot.
Reading: I finished Sweet Revenge by Diane Mott Davidson, and quite enjoyed it. Fun cozy mysteries. I also read The Tale of Holly How, #2 in Susan Wittig Albert's Beatrix Potter mysteries, and Death at Bishop's Keep, the first in the Robin Paige series (Robin Paige is really Susan Wittig Albert and her husband). Bother series are charming and engaging, and I will be reading more. I am currently reading The Boggart by Susan Cooper while I wait for more Robin Paige books to arrive from bn.com.
Cooking: Not a whole lot. I made Pasta With White Beans, Greens, and Lemon from September's Cooking Light. It was delicious. Matt loved it, too. The "greens" are really arugula or spinach, nothing off-putting as the title suggests. (Matt is never enthused when I make something with "greens" or "root vegetables" and such.) I have plans to make Pad See Ew and Pad Thai in the near future. Matt's less excited about the Pad See Ew since it has broccoli as a main ingredient. Actually, Chinese broccoli, which Dekalb County Farmers Market has, but it's way expensive, so I'm making do with regular broccoli. Dekalb County Farmers Market is a fantastic place, but it's really the opposite of a farmer's market. It's a big giant store with produce from all over the world (this is where you find the weird vegetables called for in your Indian cookbook, for example), dry goods, dairy, deli, everything really. Maybe it started out as a farmer's market and just changed over time. Anyway, it has great produce and all the Thai, Indian, etc. ingredients I can't find elsewhere (tamarind, anyone?). They also have the good vanilla extract, the one Williams-Sonoma sells for $19, for $10. I would have photos up, but one of the many rules posted at the door is NO PHOTOGRAPHY. They're a little weird with all the rules, like you can't bring your own little basket to shop with, and you have to check all bags. I hope I don't get blacklisted just by writing about it.
I also made my own interpretation of Pina Colada Muffins from Sweet Revenge. They were excellent. Really different, refreshing, and yummy. I adapted them to be non-dairy and also added some juice for extra flavor. In future, I will try either soaking the coconut in rum as well or adding 1/3 cup rum to replace part of the soy milk to make them a bit less dry (though they weren't horribly dry, just could have been more moist.) Here's my version:
Pina Colada Muffins
Adapted from Sweet Revenge by Diane Mott Davidson
About 13 ounces dried pineapple
1 1/2 cups dark rum
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups canola oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
juice of one orange, plus enough soy milk to make 2 cups liquid
2 tsp vanilla extract
zest of one orange
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut
Place pineapple in a small saucepan and cover with rum. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and cool about 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the yummy pineapple flavored rum for later. Pat pineapple dry. Reserve 24 nice-looking chunks, then roughly chop the rest. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350. Coat 24 muffin cups with cooking spray (and hit the tops of the pans, too). Line with paper liners if you like that sort of thing. Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together canola oil, sugar, eggs, juice, soy milk, vanilla, and zest until well combined. Slowly add flour mixture, coconut, and pineapple. Divide among 24 muffin cups (about 1/2 cup each). Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.