Tags: cooking


Sunday baking...

In baking achievements: English muffins!

Dragon Prince's Librarian is past 32k and I'm feeling very inspired. It's going to take a careful read-through because I suspect I have explained a few things too many times and skipped over a couple of other important details, but I'll tackle that on the next pass when I can see it all at once. It is so much juicy fun digging deep into the magic structure and gritty interpersonal things. I've also gotten more feedback on Liam's story; some minor medical details, a pronoun typo, and a lot of 'I feel seen' and 'I just about/actually cried.' waves victory arms around

It's raining today, which is good for fires, and I made sausage gravy to pour over my muffins. My milk this week had 2 inches of cream, so I skimmed it and will have fresh whipped cream over...maybe fresh brownies?? Mmmm...

But now, more words. Originally posted at Dreamwidth: https://ellenmillion.dreamwidth.org/1708184.html (I'm more likely to reply to comments there!)

Fridaily with museum sketches and a spring break recap

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$res = brain_dump($sql);

ERROR! Language not found! Braincells forfeit!

I've been coding on Torn World like a mad, possessed thing, and it's finally starting to pay off. I thought the backend would be the easy part, then found bits of code I'd started more than a year ago, and finished them all up and made things better, and then found a field day of bugs to squash, and I kept thinking 'just a little more,' and then something major would rear it's ugly head, but now I really DO think it's pretty much done... except for the bit that was what I REALLY wanted to do when I first started this whole thing, and I have NO IDEA how long that will actually take.

I would LOVE folks to test drive the site - your Lilypad/Sketch Fest/Portrait Adoption login will work there: http://tornworld.net You can leave a comment on any of the art or fiction, and you'll earn karma immediately! (And your name will show up as your nickname, not your real name, which was part of my motivation for the Big Switch)

In related news, Muse Fusion is next week! We've got a Facebook event for it: https://www.facebook.com/events/1440896162596157/

In non-related news, it's been spring break this week, and I have been Momming like mad, too. TWO playdates (gasp!), a trip to the library, a trip to the museum, an appointment with the allergist (cats, horses, dogs, and alder pollen), plus she's been 'helping' me sort, clean, and weed the literacy bags for preschool. I haven't gotten to the gym this week, but I did go to bellydance, and in a fit of utter girliness, I did get my hair highlighted, so I am a genuine blonde again.

In celebration of St Patrick's day today (and because I had a stale loaf of bread), I have made bread pudding with whiskey sauce, and I've got a corned beef to make later, with roasted potatoes and carrots. I also made granola, since we were out, and called my mother.

In arty things, on Tuesday I met laylalawlor at the Morris Thompson Complex, where we sketched the exhibits while Guppy played in the accessible places. (And did a remarkably small share of hanging on me complaining that she was bored, considering her age...) Here is my favorite of the sketches I did:

That place is really amazing. Local friends, bring your out-of-state visitors there. The bits of the exhibit on what it's like to live here are remarkably accurate, and the winter cabin is really immersive.

I've got just a little bit of quiet time left, and I'm going to go finish my code...

$sql = "UPDATE website SET language = geek WHERE project = nearlydone!";
Number 1 Dog Ribbon

Wednesdaily with the best birthday!

I'm having an awesome birthday.

I baked a sea monster apple pie yesterday:

And today I made granola and interviewed a new neighborhood girl (and her Mom interviewed me :P) for watching Guppy. (I think both of the girls will work out great, and overlap nicely in terms of availability.) Guppy was shy and terrible by turns, so they know what they're getting into and are willing to come back.

I also released a coloring book today, through the 78 Tarot Nautical Kickstarter (where it has been gleefully received!), and Kayti made me a video (for backers!) that made me sniffle happily, AND my Sea Monster Mini-Coloring Book zoomed past it's commercial printing goal AND the next extra pages goal AND we're only $10.10 from an extra PDF of the sea monster scale chart for everyone and I'm going to have to come up with more amazing stretch goals. Plus, I got a few coloring book orders through Amazon.

There have been so many beautiful birthday wishes and kind messages. It's made my day.

Art to do during naptime (which is being resisted right now...), and for dinner, I have requested a bucket of fried chicken. My life, it is complete.

sea monster month

Mondaily - mini-coloring book a go!

Happy Star Wars Day! May the fourth be with you!

I had a great sketchy weekend - I did 7 sketches for the Muse Fusion, all of them possibilities for my Sea Monster mini-coloring book. We made the print goal last night! Horrah! I'm really hoping hard that we get to the professional printing goal, because that would mean I can keep this title available. (Otherwise, this crowdfunding project may be your only chance to get one...) See updates and the sketches I did here: http://ellenmillion.livejournal.com/1515101.html

I was feeling pretty low about things on Saturday - I threw $5 at a Facebook campaign and watched 2500 people see it, 3 people like it and a whooping 4 people click the link. (With no sales.) I wasn't about to let it keep me down, and I woke up Sunday to sponsorships that got us right up to the print goal. Another yesterday evening pushed us over, and a few more people are making interested noises. Who doesn't love sea monsters?! I'll be running a poll once I've polished up a few more sketches to see what gets included.

We went for a walk this morning. Most of the snow is gone - there are a few stubborn slopes near the house where there are still a few banks.

I'm thinking garden-y thoughts. I think the chives will come back, but the maze of vole-holes bodes ill for anything else.

We made 15 pounds of blank sausage this weekend. Basically, that's shorthand for ground-up pork, frozen in 1 lb packages. Thaw, add spices, and it's instant sausage. We cooked one of them up with an Italian/Sage recipe and it made the most delicious sausage gravy. Nom!

Not-sleepy-child-monster resisted her nap for so long I'm going to have to wake her up for dinner, but I'm going to steal this time for writing while I can... There's a deadline in 11 days for an anthology that I may still be able to meet. I just need a fabulous idea, and I know where to start looking for one...

Pot pie and pictures in the snow

I made turkey pot pie last night. It wasn't planned, particularly, but I had ground turkey that needed to be used, and it seemed appropriate. I remembered the salt in the filling this time, and it was amazing. My pie crusts have finally 'arrived.'

Guppy and I went to find armaments this morning. "Five!" she told me. "We're going to find five of them!" We also found a stick, and she used it to 'paint' in the snow. "I'm making PICtures!" she told me. (There's a video on Facebook.)

It was an effort to get her back home and inside. I find it baffling that people have to tell their children to go outside. I have to divert her from putting on her boots and bolting at least once an hour. Does this suddenly change when they reach a certain age? Is it individual to each child?

Got her down for her nap and got a shower and filled a handful of orders (coloring books and portrait adoption).

We had two moose visitors this morning, which we watched from the window, and a couple of mormons. Okay, I don't know that they were mormons; I didn't really let them get that far and handed their pamphlet back. I was super polite, and they were, too. (The moose were too, I suppose, though they didn't exactly come to the door.)

I have a new story up at River Twine: Tender Skin and Callouses

And new artwork (unrelated!): Foxtail

Pi day and Sketch Fest and Guppy photo

Yesterday was Pi Day (3.14.15...), but poor planning meant I didn't have ingredients for any of our usual types of pie on hand. You can't have Pi Day without pie, so we scoured the pantry for anything that could become pie, and found some frozen cranberries (meh), dried mangos (doubtful regarding successful reconstitution...), and a can of pineapple. A quick google turned up this pie, which is arguably the greatest pie I have ever made. I may add nuts next time, but the consistency, flavor, and flaky crust turned out just PERFECT. Yay, Pi Day.

This morning I woke up about the time the alarm usually goes off and decided I needed another piece. No one else is up, so I'm taking a leisurely morning to myself and doing a quick blog post while I enjoy another slice. I may do a little writing next, or another sketch or two for Sketch Fest, which is going on for another several hours! (I may also head down to the basement and get some orders together - I have coloring books to go out, and a giant print service order.)

Have a photo of Guppy from last week.

We went for a long walk in the very cold, yesterday, and saw many of the 'armaments.' It was 20 below, but we bundled up very well. I have a replacement phone coming in this week, so there will be more photos to post again, probably. I realized as I was hemming and hawing over a phone upgrade that I had been paying for some fancy 'out of warranty' insurance on my phone that covered a replacement. Horrah! There was a deductible to pay, but it was way less than a new phone, and instead of '21-35 business days to ship [which, WHAT?]', is shipped via FedEx express and should be here on Monday, having been ordered Friday morning. Yes, please!

Wednesdaily, cooking report, amusing spell-checks, Guppy photos, and a new story.

I have a miniature pumpkin in the oven, scraped of seeds and filled with butter, brown sugar, and spices. We got a big pumpkin, too, but it molded to the counter within a week of Halloween. Alaska 'fresh' at its best. I have never tried this, but I'm very curious to see how it tastes. My luck with various squashes is not the greatest, but it's very cute and the house smells nice.

Yesterday I made an oven roast, which I thin-sliced today. Some of it is in the freezer, and some of it is going to go into stroganof (spell-check suggests gastronomy, which I find hilarious) tonight. I made roasted potatoes, carrots, and turnips, too, and nommed (no, spell-check, not Nome...) the leftovers for lunch.

We went outside for a little while today:

And yesterday, we painted for the first time:

She loves it. :) (I'm trying not to freak over what she's doing to that poor brush.)

There's a new flashfiction story for subscribers up at Torn World: Smaller may be sponsored for $5.

"Can you make one that's smaller?" Kireg asked hesitantly.

"Smaller than this?" Jila knit her brows at the ranger. The little blank book she held, neatly stitched and wrapped in a leather cover dyed teal, was barely the size of her hand and her hand was as small as the rest of her was. For a moment, Kireg thought she was going to take offense at the idea, or think that he was insulting her height.


Pumpkin was good, but not great. I'd do it again if I had one leftover, but I'm not sure I would buy pumpkin for this express purpose.

Baby has been down for a nap about 30 minutes and is babbling, with occasional exclamations of 'Oh, WOW!' and 'I FOUND YOU!' Plus, something about Robin Hood.

She might need a little reminder that it's quiet time...
baby kitty


I am attempting to make homemade dried cranberries. So far, I am deeply skeptical and my kitchen looks like a murder scene. Guppy keeps asking if I've hurt myself, because my hands have red stains. I'll let you know how they turn out in 8 hours or so. My lemon cookie experiment yesterday was quite successful.

Guppy's latest cute is to fall over dramatically for no reason and say, "Woah! You okay? I'm okay. Guppy's* okay." And then get up (or sit up) and go on with her play.

Windy and slightly smoky today. I'm hoping for a little more rain - I fear my grass seed is all dead and I will need more, and I would like some rain to keep our early forest fires from getting too crazy. But it looks like the sky is clearing, instead, and we might have another sunny day. Hard to complain!

Trying to cross things off my list of to-dos, so I feel less loomy about things. Making a marinade for dinner. Just woke the Guppy, so I'm out of time.

*She says her name, not Guppy, but I keep that out of daily posts for whatever anonymity I can grant her.

Tuesdaily with a short story and a cooking disaster...

So, on Thursday, we decided to make pitepalt. This is a traditional Swedish dish that we fell in love with when we lived there: a dumpling-like ball with a core of salt pork that you cut in half and smother in butter and lingonberry sauce. We have low-bush cranberries all over our land, which is closer to lingonberry than it is to the cranberries you find in the store. I started a simmer, which promptly boiled over on the stove and smoked. *sigh*

It would not thicken. The 10 minutes of boiling turned to 40, before we finally declared it close enough. It was, I will admit, delicious, and worth the wait, and we've got a half a quart of it in the fridge now, so the meal wasn't a complete waste.

The pitepalt itself is a mixture of mashed potato and rye flour. We were very excited about this, as we got a flour mill recently, and have enjoyed milling fresh flour. We had some rye berries, and made up some fresh whole flour. We didn't have salt pork for the center, but we've had it with other sausages in the middle before, and pulled out a random sausage from the freezer. They went together well, and patted into beautiful, symmetrical balls. Mmm...

It was about this time we read further in the pitepalt recipe and discovered that it took 45 minutes to cook. We were already hungry, so we had a snack and started the boil.

15 minutes we peeked under the lid... to find 8 sad sausage bits floating in the weakest, nastiest potato soup you ever saw: our balls had completely disintegrated! What little remained on one or two of the sausages was undercooked, goopy and looked a bit like paper mache.

I was very disappointed, and I completely blame the finger monsters:

And, I'll leave you with a fictional story, posted today at Torn World...

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Business as Usual

I got everything invoiced last night, and wrapped soap. Elder Clean is sold out! I'm also out of flat rate envelopes and will need to pick up more tonight at the post office.

Art and Authoring

Got a few lines written on 'City of Lights' last night, and some scribbles on the Moon Lover piece:

Home and health

These are cookie dough truffles.

I got the recipe - of all places - at the health club. I was on the elliptical, listening to my MP3 player and idly watching food TV with the captions on. She was making these, and I committed the recipe to memory on the spot.

1/3 + 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 stick soft butter
1 t vanilla
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups flour
mini chocolate chips
crushed/finely chopped nuts
not-mini chocolate chips (coating)

I used an upright mixer, she was using hand-mixers. Blend the first two together until creamy and add the rest of the ingredients somewhat slowly, mix until smooth. With floured hands, roll into balls and chill on a cookie sheet in the fridge. I thought I'd be making a dozen, maybe two dozen, but I ended up with more than 50 1 - 1 1/2 inch tasty truffles. You might want to make a half batch. Or not.

She melted her coating on the stove using a double-boiler - this is probably the better way melt chocolate, but I used the Internet to find the secret to microwave melting. Some tips - make sure you use perfectly dry containers and spoons: water and chocolate do not play well together. Stop the microwave and stir frequently - chocolate chips hold their shape after melting and you won't know they are actually melted until you stir them! Use a container that won't heat up too much in the microwave - I used a pyrex 4-cup measure with a handle and it worked great. Don't overheat. Don't melt a whole bar - cut into small pieces or use chips.

The coating step was MESSY. I got chocolate all over the microwave door from my fingers. Just grab a chilled ball, dip it all over in chocolate, and put it back on the cookie sheet. If it starts to thicken (which probably wouldn't happen with the double-boiler), nuke the chips again for a short period. I ended up using about 3/4 of a big bag of chips to coat all of my truffles - some of them have chocolate on the bottom, some don't - I wasn't sure what the REAL method of coating was.

Chill and enjoy!


Hoping to get off work early today, go to the bank and post office, fill orders and work on the endless anthology and paperdolls book.