Friday, October 31, 2008

Foliage as seen from the window

One of the better aspects of this apartment is that there are trees visible from every window. It makes living in the city more palatable, I think. Here is some lovely fall foliage as viewed from our den. This year I've noticed that a lot of the trees don't seem to really notice that it's Fall. For example, you can see a bright red tree in the background of this photo, but the Maple is still green. I always though Maples were one of the first trees to color in the Fall. Perhaps I was wrong-- anyone have any thoughts?

P.S- Happy Halloween, one and all!
P.P.S- to my Philadelphia friends and readers, big congrats on the Philles winning the World Series. You must all be so proud!

2 Kitty Lumps

I could, and perhaps should, have a photo blog devoted entirely to Winston and Louis. Here they are in one of their favorite napping spots. We got the throw on top of the sofa at the big closing sale of Linens N Things. It was very exciting, because I've wanted this particular throw for a while, but was unwilling to spend the $79 to buy it. But at 75% off, I simply could not resist! I have to say, there are some good aspects to the horrible economy-- the closing sale of Linens N Things, the fact that I saw gas yesterday at Belvedere Square for 2.29/gallon...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Stock (that's actually worth something)

I love to make stock-- it is such a good way to get rid of scraps. I don't compost here, but I do save my veggie scraps and stuff in the fridge or the freezer to make stock out of them later. Here I used the tops of some leeks, the tops of fennel, one parsnip, part of a bag of leftover shredded carrots, one full carrot with the greens still attached, a chicken carcass leftover from a rotisserie chicken I bought last weekend, and the rind of a bacon slab I bought from the Farmer's Market last weekend. Why did I add this unusual ingredient (the bacon slab rind)? Because I can and because everything tastes better with the essence of bacon added to it. Yup.

So the first picture here is the stock soon after I put it on the stove, and the second picture is the stock after having cooked for about three hours. Mmm, tasty. I shall freeze small cubes of stock for sauces, and make the rest into matzo ball soup, perhaps.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wild Mushroom Cobbler

Last night I made Wild Mushroom Cobbler. The recipe comes from The Vegetarian Epicure, which is a phenomenal cookbook. Basically, it is a mushroom ragout sort of base, which a buttermilk biscuit kind of topping. Mmm... My Mom used to make this for dinner for us when I was a kid, so I enjoy it quite a bit as it takes me back to the good ole days. It is kind of a pain in the ass to make (caramelizing onions for an hour, for example), but it is by no means a difficult recipe. I bought some assorted shrooms from the mushroom lady at the Farmer's Market this week, in anticipation of making this lovely meal. A salad accompanying it would have been lovely, but oh well, we had no lettuce in the house. Such is life.

Kitty Love

Winston loves Alex. He is not a lap cat in the slightest, but last night he climbed up on her lap and was content as could be. I think he likes her so much because she indulges him by allowing him to do weird things to her, like bite the zipper to her sweatshirt, gnaw on her hand, and so forth. Usually Steph and I swat him away when he does that kind of stuff, but she seems to find it amusing. I admit that I was kind of jealous that he sat on her lap for so long! Oh well, I know he loves me.

Me Wants!

I have to take pictures of books and things while I am out, otherwise I will completely forget about them. This is a book Alex has at her apartment. Apparently, it is a "bible of knitting patterns". Her words. If I want to get it though, I'll have to find it used on Amazon or something, as it is not currently in print.

Time for another fridge post!

It's that time again!!! I know how much you all love to sneak a peek into my fridge, so every few months I allow you the opportunity. Here we have some cold-press coffee, a lot of grass-fed dairy products from Natural By Nature, some green beans from the farmer's market in the bottom right corner, bananas that became banana bread, some pineapple, and Ace Hard Pear cider, among other things.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Grumble Grumble

So, Erin tagged me to do this, so I am going to be a good sport about it and pass it along. Why? Because I'm accommodating like that. You heard it here first. Here we go...

I’m not really sure how this works, but it is a virtual game of tag. Beth tagged me, and these are the instructions:

1-Link to your tagger and list the rules
**Erin never listed any rules, so I'm not doing it either.
2-List 5 random facts about yourself
3-Tag 5 people
4-If you’re tagged, play along and pass it on!

1. I require three pillows for sleeping...two for my head (one firm one, topped with a soft, squishy one), and the third one I hold while I sleep.

2. I deeply regret having never learned how to play a musical instrument.

3. My favorite dessert is coconut cake.

4. I don't generally like talking on the phone.

5. As a child, I had a pretty sweet sticker collection.

I am tagging:


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Crazy Nature

Two weeks ago I got these nifty flowers at the Waverly Farmer's Market. Up until yesterday, they appeared to just be prickly green orbs. BUT THEN, last night I walked by them and noticed they had transformed into these cottony wispy things! So cool looking and pretty! I had to throw them out though, because they were flying every which way. It reminded me of the time a few years ago when I bought pussy willow branches and after a while, they exploded all over the living room. Crazy...

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Today was the Baltimore Running Festival. Two of my friends, Alex and Rachel, ran the half-marathon. This was Alex's first ever half-marathon. Rachel has some marathon experience under her belt. I wanted to support them and cheer them on, and it was super easy because the running route went right down my street. So I parked myself on the curb and waited for them to come by. I only saw Alex (pictured above-- doesn't she look happy and healthy and awesome?!?!); not sure if I missed Rachel or if I came out to watch too late or went inside too early. Anyway, I was there in spirit, Rachel.

I am so proud of you both! You are two inspirational ladies, mmm'hmm, I tell ya what.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Oh Meat, how I miss you

I cooked up this here turkey sausage lasagna for Alex. She has some friends staying with her for a few days and I thought she would like something to feed all these guests of hers. I can't tell you how tempted I was to cut into this baby and keep a slice for myself. I miss eating meat at home. It felt weird to cook meat here. The only other time I've cooked meat in this apartment was one night about a month ago. I had an uncontrollable hankering for steak, so I went to Whole Foods and bought one. I do miss eating meat (I will eat it out, but that means no meat for a month for me...), but I do save a lot of money and it is nice to get the bulk of my groceries from local vendors at the weekly Farmer's Market.

I couldn't resist adding some veggies in here though, so I sauteed some carrots and spinach and folded them in to the ricotta mixture. I think this is a pretty well balanced meal. I made this recipe up as I went along, so hopefully it tastes as good as it looks.

Stephanie S. WINS!

The first day I moved into this apartment, I went to change the bulb in the dining room light fixture and then entire socket fell out. The landlord here is not so great about doing things, so Steph or I do them ourselves. We are handy like that. Steph has mad electrician skills. Here are some photos of the repair in progress. It took her about 4 hours to finish the task, but the results were well worth the effort.

Food from home 1 Month Challenge!

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I am attempting to eat meals only at home for the next month.

I'm engaging in this experiment for several reasons:
1) I want to make an effort to eat primarily local produce
2) I love to cook and bake, but for the past few years have moved away from doing it on a consistent basis.
3) I am interested to see how much money I can save by not eating out.
4) I'm fairly certain my diet will be substantially healthier if all my meals come from my kitchen.

So far it's going well and it's actually been a lot of fun. We've had people over for dinner, had good times at the farmer's market, and Alex even brought us some food (she decided to take the plunge with us as well). Earlier this week, we spent pretty much an entire day cooking and baking. It was great fun. We cooked up every veggie we had, save for a few sweet potatoes.

Here is a picture of butternut squash and apple soup I made (with the squash pictured on a previous post). Yum. I served it for dinner later that evening.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Louis returns to the scene of the crime

Actually, Louis was not the perp in this case-- it was Winston. Winston does NOT like being strictly an indoor cat. Louis, who prefers to spend his time sleeping or looking frightened, has adjusted well to being indoors. Winston, on the other hand, misses the wild. His yearning to go outside has become particularly annoying these past few weeks; the windows are open and he can see, smell, and hear everything going on outside and yet, he is trapped in the apartment. He scratches at the windows to get out. He moos all day and all night long (it's quite pathetic). He runs and paces back and forth, obviously frustrated. But his all time favorite activity is to knock over the books on the bookshelf. It never gets old to him. This scene is what I wake up to every morning, more of less. And I swear, he gets SUCH enjoyment out of watching me put the books back on the shelf. It's like he's mad at me for keeping him inside and he knows that knocking over books is one way to really stick it to me. BAD KITTY!!! I am considering getting him a leash and attempting to take him for a walk, but I've heard that doesn't work so well for cats. I'm getting pretty desperate though, so I'm going to try it and see how it goes.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Journey to the Waverly Farmer's Market

There is a farmer's market a block away from my apartment that is on Saturday year round. I haven't gone there in years though-- for some reason it's easier to wake up early on a Sunday than on a Saturday morning. BUT, this morning we rose bright and early to check it out with Alex.

It's smaller than the Sunday market, but there was still a great selection and a lot of the same vendors were present. The flowers though were out of this world...much better than any I've ever seen on Sundays. Here is a sampling of some of the flowers I bought. One woman also had Eucalyptus, which I LOVE, but I was felt like I couldn't possibly carry one more thing home with me. Maybe next week.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Finished Scarf!

I finished my first knitting project, a scarf. I got this lovely yarn at Loop, in Philadelphia. I have 2.5 skeins lefts (out of the 5 I bought), so I think I am going to make a hat to go with the scarf. Steph took this lovely photo for me of the finished product; isn't it sweet how she wrapped it around a butternut squash?

Speaking of Steph, she has joined the world of blogging-- you should all go and read her blog on a regular basis. Read, comment, and be sure to answer her bizarre polls!!!

In case you missed that link, go here:

In other news, I am conducting an experiment. Starting tomorrow, we are not going to go out to eat for one month. I want to see if we eat better, how much money we save, and also I just want to prove to myself that I can eat at home for a month and not feel deprived of anything. I usually enjoy the food I make at home more than the food I eat out, so that's not the issue. The issue is that I get lazy and don't feel like cooking and/or cleaning up after a meal. Plus there is the social aspect, but I'm sure our friends can survive eating at our house for a meal or cooking for us for one month.