Tuesday, April 30, 2013

three quick ways to eat an avocado


Oh, glorious.  The first time I had an avocado, I must have done it wrong, because I remember the consistency being a turn-off.  Come to think of it, I didn't like guacamole the first time I tried that, either.  What was wrong with me?  Momentary lapse of sanity, I guess.

Don't be like me.  Adore the avocado.  Cherish the avocado.  Build a little shrine to the avoca--no, don't, that's weird.

Eat the avocado.  Three quick and easy ways, coming right up!

1. Straight out of the husk...peel...skin...hang on, wikipedia break! Skin, I think.  Also, they're called alligator pears?  That's amazing.


So yeah, get a knife and slice your avocado in half.  There is a pit...seed...stone...I give up! in there, so be careful.  Twist the halves in opposite directions and they'll come apart with the pit stuck to one.
Put that half down and hit the pit with the blade of your knife, so that it lodges in it.  Don't pull on your knife now, just twist it, and the pit will come right out.  Push it off the knife from the back to avoid, you know, cutting your hand off.



Salt is really important here.  Sprinkle that thing with sea salt to your heart's delight.  You can eat it with a normal spoon if it's really ripe, but I like mine a little firmer, so I use a grapefruit spoon.  You know, the pointy, serrated ones you can get at the dollar store?



2. Mash it up into a spread and put it on toast!  I love eating this for lunch on those days when the weather is nice, I'm feeling like a vegetarian, and/or I'm not all that hungry but I know I should eat.  Just scoop out your avocado with a spoon while you're making a piece of toast.  Add a good dollop of cream cheese and about half a teaspoon of salt. 


Mash it all up with a fork. 


Freak out when the toast pops up because you weren't prepared for it.  Collect yourself, butter your toast, and spread it with the avocado.  Wear a helmet because this is so good, it will blow your mind!


3. Cook an egg in it!  First, slice one half of the avocado longways, so you get a "ring" of avocado.  Save the other half and the extra slice.  You can eat them now, or sprinkle the cut surfaces with lemon juice, wrap them in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for later.


Lay the avocado piece with the hole in it flat in a non-stick pan and stick in a few pats of butter.  Then crack an egg over the avocado, dropping the yolk into the hole without breaking it.  It's okay that the white overflows.



Sprinkle with salt, turn on the stove, and cook it over medium heat for a few minutes.  Flip it, add more salt, and let it cook for a few more minutes.  You want the white to be cooked but the yolk to be soft, and the avocado will protect it from hardening pretty well. When it's done to your liking, serve and eat, scooping everything out of the ring of skin.


Do you like avocados?  What's your favorite way to eat them?

Monday, April 29, 2013

horseback


Seriously, y'all, basically all of my most desperate, obsessive, and frustrated childhood dreams (I was pretty passionate as a kid--well, who am I kidding, still am) came true yesterday.  These are the "real" photos--aka, not taken on my iPhone.  Pretty much in love with that place.









tornado bag

Well, Saturday night I was nearly eaten by a tornado!  Not really, the storm ended up going around us, and I'm not even sure a tornado ever touched down anywhere...but...  I live in a college dorm, and our RA came round and sent us downstairs when the sirens started going off.  Only one of my roommates was home with me, and we kind of stood around for a few minutes, like, "Are you ready?"  "Yeah, are you ready?"  "Should I put on real pants?"  (We did.)

So as a little thought-provoker, what would you pack up if you had to take shelter from a tornado?  This is not a what-are-your-most-precious-possessions post, because frankly, things like my camera and guitar would not serve me all that well if I found myself without all possessions suddenly....  Here's what I threw into a bag on my way to shelter!


As you can see, I took what came to hand in a rush.  I grabbed a large baggie of slivered almonds, since I didn't have anything like granola bars or other high-protein portable foods.  I didn't want us to get stuck, possibly barricaded in a bathroom, without some kind of sustenance!  I also brought my water bottle (more like water bucket!) and an extra giant Army hoodie.


I wore hiking boots and packed my wallet and room key, as well as an iPhone charger and my phone.

I didn't have time to think through a change of clothes, but I did pack deodorant and Blistex!  I just bought this Medex pot and I'm addicted to it.  The backpack itself was a gift from my mom, and she got it in Mexico on vacation.

The last thing I snatched up on my way out was this P.G. Wodehouse book, which a friend is lending to me. I knew if I ended up stuck in a bathroom for hours, this would be the best way to keep up my spirits!  Funniest British writer ever, hands down!

What would you take with you in a weather emergency?  Thankfully, we were let out a little while later with no harm done, but what would you prepare in case the worst happened?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

instaweekend

It started with wonderful ice coffee (recipe coming soon!) and a lot of homework...


Saturday night, the tornado sirens went off and our RA made us all hide in the downstairs tornado-proof bathroom!


Then they let us out and we tried to go to bed, or in my case, took pictures of the cloud-to-cloud lightning outside.


The next day, I picked up my photos developed from a disposable camera.  They turned out amazing!


We drove an hour...


The weather was gorgeous...


Getting closer...to the horses!


Shiloh charmed the pants off us in between driving us crazy...



We rode some gorgeous trails for hours, cleaned everything up, and drove home, where I experienced an allergy attack.  That's how you know it's a good day--you're covered in mud and horse hair, smell awful, and you can't stop sneezing.



Friday, April 26, 2013

here's to a quiet weekend!



I've got this on my crochet hook at the moment. 

My latest blogger crush is essie-button.  At first I was like, eh?  And then I was like, her accent!  And we have so much in common.  Scrolling through those archives in my spare time. 

I'm a fan of this little comic.  Just miles of cuteness.

Crashcourse is my go-to CLEP prep.  Did you say +John Green?  Sign me up!

This is basically the best thing ever.  Star Wars nerd + engineering student = love this.

Super excited for this movie!

Gearing up to get a lot done this weekend--I hope!  It's crunch time, y'all.  I'm so over school already....  Enjoy these links and I'll see you on Monday!

free pattern: cable knit headband


It's windy here in west Tennessee in the winter...and spring...and summer...and well, all year round I guess.  When it's cold out, and you haven't got the home-grown-scarf-and-earmuffs that long-haired girls have, you need a little extra help!  I knitted up a speedy headband just before the weather warmed up, because I just have great timing.  At least I'll be warm next winter!


Gauge: 3 st to 1 in.  I used size 6 DPNs and bulky-weight Lionbrand Homespun

CO 12 st onto one DPN.
Row 1: K across. 
Row 2 (and all even rows): K3, P6, K3.
Row 3: K across.
Row 5: K across; now you have 3 "ridges" on the edges and it's time to work the cable.
Row 7: K3, place next 3 st onto another DPN and let it hang in front of your work, K next 3, then K the 3 on the hanging DPN.  K3.
Repeat Rows 2-7 until the strip is long enough to stretch around your head snugly.  Bind off, leaving a long yarn tail, and use that to stitch the ends together, creating the headband!

Let me know if you try out this pattern.  If you have any difficulty, simply leave a comment and I'll help you out!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

the most effective tip for stuff-purging


You know that moment when you look around your house or dorm or apartment or room or whatever, and you think, "I have too much stuff!  I need to get rid of some stuff."  And then you start going through things and asking yourself, "Can I live without this?"  At first you think you're doing pretty well, but then you notice your "Keep" pile dwarfing your "Trash" pile...and pretty soon you start pulling things back out of the "Trash" pile because you can't live without it!

It's all in the mindset.  Stopping the packrat penchant can be as easy as changing how you think.

Don't ask, "What can I get rid of?"  This moves your focus to what you're going to lack.  It also makes you pick and choose out things, which means you're having to actively reject everything you get rid of.  That can be hard!

Do ask, "What is absolutely the most important to me?"  If your house was burning down, what would you grab?  If you lived in the pioneer days and you were about to move across country in a covered wagon, what could you fit in?  What would make the cut?  This switches your focus to the positive side, while making you pick and choose what you really love. 

Don't ask, "Can I get any more use out of this?"  The answer is almost always yes.  You could take that old T-shirt and turn it into a bandana...or a pillowcase...or cleaning rags.  And yes, recycling and upcycling and refashioning is great, but not when it's going to become a stack of projects that you never get around to.  If you're not going to address the item immediately, just go ahead and toss it.

Do ask, "How often have I used this in the past week/month?"  If something hangs in the back of your closet untouched for a year, it's time for it to go.  It's up to you how extreme you go with this, especially since some things are seasonal and are only in use normally for half the year.  Be wary of these things.  Try to buy versatile staple items that are flexible and adaptable. 

Don't pretend to care about something or let yourself be pressured into keeping it.  I throw away basically all of the birthday cards I get and the vast majority of my childhood projects.  I'm not sentimental.  My mom is sometimes a little worried that I'll regret it later, but I've yet to experience that.  I usually let my subconscious choose whether something stays or goes. 

Do make a list, and then revise it.  Actually writing out a list of everything you keep or own can draw attention to where you have excess.  Day to day, a lot of stuff can be shoved under the bed or into the closet, where it doesn't confront us.  After you make your list, go through it again and try to cross off things, and then follow through by getting rid of them. 

How do you think about decluttering and downsizing?  Do you stuff-purge all at once, a few times a year, or continuously? 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

diy: circular weaving

Happy Wednesday!  Need a middle-of-the-week crafty pick-me-up?  Me too.  I use these round weavings as coasters and catch-alls (like, if you want to throw your keys down but don't want to scratch something).  Bonus: they kinda look like flowers!




All you'll need is some leftover bits of yarn and a large cardboard circle.  Obviously, I cut mine out of the back of a notebook.  It's about eight inches in diameter, and it has 17 slits cut about half an inch into the edge.  You can do more, but there must be an odd number for everything to work out right.


Start by wedging the end of your yarn into a slit with the tail toward the backside.  Flip over the circle and stretch the yarn across, sliding it into the opposite notch.  Flip the circle again, and this time take the yarn through the slit right next to it.  Flip the circle and stretch across again, forming an X with the first string.  Continue this pattern until you have what looks like bicycle spokes on the front, and little "stitches" around the edge of the backside.  You'll end up with your yarn trailing down the front from the last slit.



Take this yarn and cut it, leaving a longish tail.  Now, thread it underneath the other criss-crossed strands and tie it back around itself.   This will create a tight center and give you an odd number of spokes.


Just start weaving in the yarn end, going around the circle with an over-under pattern.


To change colors, simply cut your yarn and begin weaving with the new color, overlapping it with the end of the old yarn so as to avoid any holes.  Wrap your yarn around your hand to create a hank that you can easily pass over and under the weft.



Continue weaving until you reach your desired size.


Flip over the circle and cut through the middle of the "stitches" on the back.  Take the tails that result and tie them together in a double knot, not too tight and not too loose.



To finish, just trim or weave in or otherwise secure all your ends. I like to use superglue to hold everything down on the back of the coaster.  And you're done!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

chicory latte


This post brought to you free of caffeine, coffee, dairy, and sugar.  You're welcome.

Cichorium intybus or "Common Chicory" is that cheery blue-purple flower that grows alongside all the highways in the Midwest.  Turns out most parts of it are edible (chicory leaf salad, anyone?), including the roots, which are dried, roasted, and ground to make a coffee mix-in or substitute.  Chicory-coffee mixtures gained popularity down in Louisiana and in generally less affluent areas, when straight coffee beans were too expensive.  You can find mixtures like this in grocery stores and in New Orleans, since chicory doesn't have the same bitterness that coffee does.  

When I went off of coffee and caffeine because I wanted to avoid blood sugar spikes, I started looking into substitutes.  Now, chicory doesn't smell like coffee, and it's not bitter when brewed, but it looks like coffee, and it allowed me to continue my ritualistic latte-making, which was exactly three-quarters of the fun of coffee....  But a quick warning: it could be an herbal abortifacient.  

Here's how I make a chicory latte using my espresso machine...




  • chicory granules (I use these and one bag will last you forever)
  • unsweetened non-dairy milk of some sort (I usually use almond or soy, since rice-milk foams like water, which is to say, not at all)
  • stevia powder
  • a dusting of cinnamon

Use about 1 tsp chicory granules for a large latte or two smaller lattes.  Turn on your machine and while it's heating up to steam, prep your milk.  I use this cup, about 1/2 cup milk, and I add my stevia straight into the milk before steaming.  Froth your milk and set it aside, switching the espresso machine to the brewing setting.  Draw your chicory coffee. (It should look like this...)



Combine the two into a mug, sprinkle on some cinnamon, and you've got it!  

Do you drink chicory?  Let me know if you try out this recipe!