Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mushroom Gruyere tarts, flaky style

Btw, I'm blogging from my phone right now while a couple of tech purchases are pending, so limited pics& links...

Last night I made these Flaky mushroom gruyere tarts from Real Simple.
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
2 tbsp oil
10 oz mixed mushrooms, sliced
1 shallot (I subbed in onion)
1.5c shredded Gruyere cheese
1/4c white wine (I subbed in cider)

Preheat oven to 400
Unfold pastry and cut into four pieces. Place these on parchment lined baking sheet. Prick surfaces w fork.
Heat oil in large skillet. Saute mushrooms& shallot 4-5min. Add white wine, cook til largely evaporated, 1min or so.
Cover pastry w 1/2 of cheese, leaving some room@ edges. Layer on mushroom mix then remaining cheese.
Cook 20minutes, until pastry is golden.
Recipe included a side salad to serve alongside, good idea.

Book #1: Benny & Shrimp by Katarina Mazetti. *spoiler alert* I usually don't include spoilers, but it's impossible to write about this book without at least partially spelling out the end. So it all begins with 2 lonely, grieving Swedes run into each other in the cemetary. The couple that would never go together actually connects. The impulsiveness and strength of the pull between them makes you think they'll work out their differences and come around. Nah. There is never enough emotion for either to bend from their respective lifestyle/ habits and they part. In the end, their biological clocks are their only tie as they decide to have a kid, and "only that" together.
Is this a dose of reality slap in the face that that strong pull is just lust and not enough? I don't know. I walked away thinking they both needed to grow up and get lives.

Book#2: Absolute Sandman: Volume I by Neil Gaiman. Ahhhh, refreshing. The huge format is fun, but not great for reading in bed. Loved the creativity, storytelling, and mythos of this.
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Monday, January 03, 2011

Moving on

Yikes! Today was my last day at Kodak. I'm on to a new adventure - well a new job that I will make an adventure - and maybe more time to blog on the side, also...

I'm excited. Scared. Pumped. Worried. All over the board. Relieved - it was time.

Leaving the people I've come to be close friends with over my 8 years at Kodak was hardest. Of course I'm still in town and we are already planning ways to still get together, but...

That's when Loralee's post about saying goodbye caught my eye. This shouldn't be as emotional as her situation - a best friend moving states away - but the Muppet video rang home.

Here ya' go. For the saps out there (me included):-P

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Holiday crafts & books, Part II

To continue:

Small welcome mat for Jenny:
Crocheted from yarn made from plastic bags, including mulch & soil bags. I hear Stewie loves it.

Book #21:

We Are Their Heaven
by Allison Dubois. I like what she has to say - that the dead stick around their loved ones because that makes them happy. I find the examples of readings both from her point of view and her clients' interesting. But she needs a better editor. As someone who puts value in how a book is written, it made me wince. No flow. Chapters, paragraphs, and sentences that could not stay on a consistent subject. Still, I will pass it on to others who may value her message.

A "nelly", microwave heating bag for Mom:
I used a sleeve from an old hoodie for this. A fancier fabric would have been nice, but it has to be all cotton to go in the microwave. Filled with rice, oats, sage, lavender, and lemon balm.
Book #22:
Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter
by Seth Grahame-Smith. I have another book of his, but need to brush up on the original material a bit to appreciate it (Sense & Sensibility). This was quite fun. Based off of Lincoln's journals, Grahame-Smith tells the tale of an axe-throwing hero. The photos are a bit hokey, but the storyline is good and - as someone who is curious about history but not hardcore - I found out details about Lincoln, the political life in DC in that era, and the Civil War that I had not known prior.

Light-bulb vases w/ origami flowers for Tina, Shruti, Mom, Lorraine:
These were fun and easy (for someone OK w/ cracking some glass), I have more light bulb plans...

Book #23 (that's as far as I got for 2010):
Welcome to Marwencol
by Mark E. Hogancamp. Hogancamp was brutally beaten one night - "left brain-damaged & broke". After, as part of his recovery, he created a 1:6 scale (Barbie & GI Joe sized) WWII-era town in his backyard and photographed the dramas that unfurled there. This is the first installment in the saga of that town - artful though the violence makes me a little sad. There's also a documentary that has wowed the festival circuit. Hmmm need to see if I can find that.

And, finally - a beaded basket for Laura:
I rolled almost all of these beads (with the exception of a few spacers in the bottom rows) from strips of old magazine and catalogue pages. There's got to be between 250 & 300 of them. Note to self - if you want to do a big bead project next year - start making beads well ahead. Just a couple of days makes life quite crazy.

Holiday crafting and books, part 1

Phew! It's been a BUSY December! In addition to crazy work stuff I'll talk about later, I made handmade cards and crafty gifts - some of which were more than I had bargained for. (Some didn't turn out and will be put into the roster for next year - after I hopefully get a better idea of how to make them). I also wrapped up a bunch of books, though of course I did not get to 50.


Our cards were pop-ups this year. This is a simple dove pop-up that I modeled after a photo, with some adaptations to make it work inside a card.

Book #19:

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
by Mark Twain. A reread that I read aloud to J before bed. Twain does an awesome job with dialects, which I'm pretty sure I didn't notice when I read this in school.

I made small tins of these for almost everyone last year. This year I shared them more "party style" - gifting some and then bringing large jars to family gatherings and letting people take their fill. They pop in your mouth and they're sweet and tangy together...

Book #20:
Ender's Game
by Orson Scott Card. My first read on Kindle on my phone. I was skeptical at first. I associate Card with classic sci-fi. His intro started with a lot about his faith and life events related to a certain church and I'm always wary that will leak through into the narrative. But it wasn't and it didn't. A great, fast read about gifted kids and their relationships with their cohorts and elders. I thought the end was a little long and could have been cut off when he crests that final hill and sees....

Danny gave me a Zombie Cross-stitch kit for my birthday and I made 2 projects from it - Jack's messenger bag:

- and a coffee cup holder for Dan that I forgot to get a picture of. Here's a picture from the book:

That's it for now so I finally get this post out. Part 2 should follow closely.