Coffee date

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Yes my hair and fingers are that long.
One of those shouldn’t be a surprise 😉

Good morning. How’s it going? Thanks for stopping by, what’s in your cup today?

Even though this weekend is supposed to be HOT (like 80s) it’s freezing in my office today (not uncommon, yet still annoying) and I want to just climb into my coffee cup.

It’s filled with caramel vanilla coffee and coconut creamer though. It sort of smells like caramel popcorn and I really like it.

What’s in yours?

How has your week been? Mine has been too long and my temper too short.  I’m a little overwhelmed with the house at the moment but I’m guessing that part’s more likely whoremones being jerks than me being actually overwhelmed.

What wasn’t though? Wednesday we got some heart skipping scary news a dear friend was in emergency brain surgery due to an aneurysm. She got through surgery and I’ve heard from her a bit. She’s a tough chick and hopefully her recovery goes well. She’s such a love and a kind soul I couldn’t imagine not having her in my life. (She’s starting to feel better, is overwhelmingly grateful to be alive and pissed that her head is shaved.)

I really appreciate everyone who offered prayers and good thoughts. I believe and I know she does too they all helped her though surgery and will continue to help in recovery.

On a happier note (hopefully) what do you have going on this weekend? Anything exciting? I’m off in a bit to meet my friends new baby and hug them both. Tomorrow, I have to teach but then I’m not sure if we’re taking the kids to a late lunch or to the wild life festival. Sunday, I have to work at a conference for my jobby-job but it shouldn’t be too terrible. (knock on wood) It might even be good for me.

I’m off. I need a refill (maybe half-calf) and to get on the road. There’s a baby who needs snuggles and a dear friend who I have to catch up with!

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Thursday Three – Things I’m specifically looking forward to this fall

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I suspect this scene will be happening often this fall.
The apples are really good.

Happy Fall Eve! I’m a pretty big fan of fall even if I don’t like pumpkin spice __{insert food or whatever of your choice}__. (I like baking with pumpkin though so bring on the pie, cookies, etc.)

While some see it as an end, I tend to see it as chance to start a new chapter. The leaves get a chance to be lovely in their new colors, school starts over, you get to pull out the warmer clothes, scarves and boots for another round.

Maybe a new pair of tall boots…wait that might just be me.

I’ve previously mentioned why I love fall. Fall has a particular smell around here, there’s a certain relaxing sound to the leaves rustling against each other, and a chill in the air which brings a flush to your cheeks. And runny noses too, but that’s besides the point.

You sit closer to the fire pit, cuddle up a little more on the cooler nights, and maybe add an extra layer before you head out the door. You get to wear the hats and scarves I’ve made for you. {wink}

Lemonade is traded for cider (maybe with a little extra kick) and iced coffees are traded for hot chocolate with whipped cream. (Also maybe with a little extra kick?) And we can’t forget how mother nature paints the landscape with some of my favorite colors.

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That red tree to the right of center is one of my favorite colors.

That’s a lot of years though. It’s a familiar, comfortable pattern to step back into year after year.

Maybe in the hubbub of life and a lot of pending change, some familiarity is  what I need, though.

The standard things aside, this year I’m particularly excited for a few upcoming things:

  1. Apple* cider making! The apples are coming in fast and are really good. I think we’re going to be making cider in the next few weeks! I fully plan on trying my hand at hard cider, too.  I don’t think I’ve made apple cider ever unless you count the field trip to a cider mill in 3rd grade.
  2. Pumpkin carving and painting! My friend has some great ideas she’d like to see happen with big white pumpkins, beautiful orange ones, and giant gourdes which her husband grows and sells.
  3. Craft shows! They’re looking promising for connections and sales. My hands and brain have been busy which means fun new things to share. I kind of love meeting new people and running into familiar faces of other crafters and vendors. I’ve met some pretty cool people through the craft show circuit (Like my Drunk Hookers club!)

What are you most excited for this fall? What do you like for an extra kick to your cider or hot chocolate?

*I suppose I should say I’m excited for everything apple related. I already made a couple of pies and I’m sure there will be more. I want to try my hand at making and jarring applesauce, and to see what’s up with the gluten free puff pastry for some apple turnovers.

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Lemon cookies with raspberry glaze

I was supposed to post the pumpkin apple muffins but it seems I never took a picture of them! I’ll make more and post it then.
2017-09-14_11-08-01I’m in the middle of some crunch time for crafting for upcoming shows, working on the house here and there when I can make myself find the energy/attention span, and creatively zapped in a lot of ways so as much as I wanted to make something handmade for someone’s birthday, I just couldn’t make it happen.

I settled for the next best thing, baked goods. I didn’t know what kind of cake she prefers but I recalled a conversation I had with her in the spring about how she loved lemon cookies with raspberry frosting. Lemon cookies with raspberry glaze? I can do that.

Guys, I cheated on this one. I usually do stuff mostly from scratch, but here’s a little secret. I sort of hate making sugar cookies. It’s my least favorite kind – there’s just too much waiting and I never plan it in time to do the chill right.

Thankfully, I have a box of gf sugar cookie mix on hand (hey, I want to enjoy treats too!)

What you’ll need:

  • Gluten free sugar cookie mix from my friend Betty (Betty Crocker that is.)
  • 1 sick of butter softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 TBSP lemon extract
  • 1 -2 TBSP water
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups confectioner sugar
  • handful of frozen raspberries
  • 1TBSP milk

What you’ll do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. In large bowl, cookie mix, softened (but not melted) butter, extract and egg until well mixed. Usually I use my stand mixer but both bowls were in the dishwasher.
  3. If your cookie dough looks too dry or you’re having trouble getting it mixed, add water a little bit at a time until it feels right.
  4. Roll into 1 inch balls and put on your cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. They don’t spread too much but they’ll spread some.
  5. Bake about 8-10 minutes.
  6. Cool in pans on cooling rack 2 min and move to cooling rack.
  7. While they’re cooling, in a small dish smash up your frozen raspberries and mix with milk. Add 1 cup powered sugar and stir stir stir. If it’s too runny add a TBSP of powered sugar at a time until it’s right.
  8. You can drizzle glaze over cooled to the touch cookies or you can just dip the tops in and put back on cooling rack until it sets. That takes a bit but once it starts to you can package them up.

This mix makes about 2 doz cookies. They were sweet, tart, and really delicious.

Questions? Comments? Let me know how it works out for you.

**No one paid me for mention in this post. They’re just the ones I happen to like. If they’d like to pay me, I’m open to it, but my ideas and opinions are always my own.**

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Once Upon a Netflix Binge

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I feel like this applies to Netflix too…

Recently I got back into watching Once Upon a Time on Netflix. I felt like I missed a lot so I went back to the season before Netflix indicated I stopped watching.

I’m thankful it keeps track for me. I may or may not have watched that season again in a weekend. (Please don’t judge. It’s not nice.)

Have you seen Once Upon a Time? Are you a fan? I’m a pretty decent fan. I love the characters and their development, I love how they’re all intertwined, and how they’ve gone from largely one dimensional versions from the fairy tales to more interesting, layered and multifaceted people you can watch now.

I think Hook and Regina are my favorites. Red is up there too. I know I’m supposed to love Emma as the Savior and all but I just don’t. It’s not that I don’t like her, I just don’t love her. I like Snow when she’s being a tough cookie and Henry when he’s going against his moms’ wishes. I feel pretty meh about Prince Charming, Belle and a few others. I’m still working on my feelings towards Rumpelstiltskin.

There have been some pretty interesting twits, plot overlaps, and characters from other tales introduced and I dig it. some of it’s a bit too much, but most of it makes for a pretty good story if you’re willing to suspend your disbelief a little bit. I think part of what I love is how they’ve brought so many stories to life, but not the saccharine Disney versions.

But here I am, I’m coming to the end of the episodes on Netflix and feeling some rather silly anxiety about it. It’s sort of like that really good book you’re reading and you get to the last chapter and put it down for awhile because you just don’t want to finish it.

There’s books that spent a solid 6 months in book purgatory before I really knew how they ended because I didn’t want them to end by reading the last page.

I know season 7 is just around the corner but I do hate commercials so much – even though they do provide bathroom breaks. I always forget I can hit pause. Maybe I’ll just wait til it’s released on Netflix and watching something else in the mean time.

What do you recommend on Netflix for me? I’ve watched Orange is the New Black. Do you ever stop watching (or reading for that matter) because you don’t want the story to end?

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Good things 2017: Week 37

2017-09-19_01-53-05It’s important to remember the things that are good in life. It reminds me how blessed I really am and also helps to ease the sting of the bad. I’m incredibly lucky, there’s more good than bad (Knockonwood!) and I want to document how thankful I am for it.

A mutual friend wants to know why if I make a life sized cut out of BatGirl’s face it’s considered cute and fun, but if he does it’s considered creepy.

I told him that there’s a lot of things in life I can get away with that he can’t even if it doesn’t seem fair.

Let’s talk about some other fun things from last week, shall we?

  • The end in sight of the house prep.
  • Another short work week
  • Getting cleared from the doc on blood pressure visits.
  • Back yard drive in with some super fun people
  • Getting to see one of my favorite swim moms
  • Friends being happy
  • These Caramel Apple Cider cookies being very well received
  • Really tasty hard cider
  • Being told I wouldn’t have to give up one of my favorite swimmers, that her parents goals for her still aligned with my abilities.
  • A bunch of firsts even though one wasn’t super good (Seeing the Goonies, seeing a guy playing Top 40 hits on the acordian in the Target parking lot, and being told by my swim boss that one of the parents wanted a different instructor for her child. )
  • An unexpectedly free evening
  • Getting back to yoga class even if I don’t love the instructor. Maybe she’ll grow on me?
  • Finishing up a bunch of crochet projects to take to the next show

Good reads:

It was sort of a light week reading. I marked a lot as read because the headlines didn’t interest me.

Favorite Photo:

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It’s from last summer, but it’s still a fave…

Favorite Song:

It’s a good one. I think a lot of us can relate to this on some level.

How have you been? What made you smile? Tell me about one of your successes? Read anything good this week?

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Survey Says! What’s your cowboy name?

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Josephine Jack, huh? Not too bad.

Honestly, it’s prob for the best that I don’t carry though.

You can get yours here.

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Friday Five

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I was practicing yoga on top of a cliff.
It might look like a nap but I assure you it was savasana.

I’ve seen a whole bunch new IP addresses stopping in for a read lately (Not to scare you off, but yes, I can see that – [waves] HI!) so I thought I’d do a quick Friday Five with some random facts about myself with some questions for you.

Long time, loyal readers please feel free to answer them too!

Let’s see here…what to share? Some of this might not be new for you to find out, but let’s give it a go.

Ready?

  1. I’m an Aries through and through, for better or worse. But I’m a “grown-up” Aries so sometimes all that fire is on the inside just waiting to come out. I try to let it out in productive ways. What’s your sign? Does it apply to you?
  2. After almost 20 years in the “City” (Capital Region of NY is not so much a city as a very large town.) I’m excited to move closer to  home, see more stars, be part of a smaller town and community (the good and the bad), and slow down a little. I’m a country girl at heart. Are you a city person or a country person?
  3. If non-dairy, non-wheat based protein was easier to consume in enough quantities, I think I could relatively easily be a vegetarian. This doesn’t mean I will do it, but I could. I would also likely eat more cereal and pancakes. I’d like to eat more pancakes anyway. How easy would it be for you to not eat meat? Vegetarians, what do you miss?
  4. I like to ask the question, “Tell me something random about yourself” when meeting new people. How they react and what they share is often very telling. Possibly more than the fact itself. What would you tell me if I asked you that? First thing that comes to mind.
  5. I can “speak” American Sign Language. It’s rusty, but I can get by. In high school and college I was decently fluent, but I’ve lost a lot. When I need it, I can get by. I got good enough again to coach a swim team with a deaf girl on it who didn’t like wearing her “ears” in the water. Do you speak any other languages? When did you learn them?

There you have it, for now at least. Your turn!

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Thursday Three: More links I’ve saved on facebook

from https://www.facebook.com/SweatpantsAndCoffee/

from facebook.com/SweatpantsAndCoffee/
I’m pretty stubborn and usually brave.

You know what feature I love on facebook now? The “Save Post” for articles or links I can’t read right away. Sure I rarely go back to them unless facebook reminds me I saved them, but I found where you can see all of them and I can read them now.

There’s currently 670 of them if you were wondering. Not to worry, I won’t share all of them with you. I’m not sure why I saved some, but others? I’m glad it’s not a public feature. [wink]

Here’s a quick sampling of some of what I’ve saved to read later. And because of this post, I’ve now read them! (I looked at others but decided they were too lame to share or were broken links.)

    1. Yikes! Nope, not going there. Medieval Infertility Treatments Were Totally Insane
    2. Holy coolness! Who comes up with this stuff? Awesome. Spinach Leaf Transformed Into Beating Human Heart Tissue
    3. Some of these really sound good and I might be busy in the kitchen soon. We Need To Bring Back These 8 Forgotten Pie Recipes!

 

ALSO Calling all guest posts!

I’ll be out of town for an upcoming work event next month but as I’ve been inspired to write more lately, I wanted to keep the momentum going.

Previously I’ve live blogged, had guest posters, been radio silent, written a bunch for scheduled posts etc. I don’t have to post but I thought it would be nice to open it up for others if they wanted to do so.

I’ll be heading to Lake Placid in Oct and would love guest posts from you! Saturday I can do a fun Survey Says! so that’s all set.

  1. Wednesday – I want to get back to recipes on Wednesdays so if you have one you think the readers would like please let me know.
  2. Thursday – Thursday Three or Thirteen or whatever else you want because Thursday is also guest post days!
  3. Friday – Create a Friday Fill-in, host a Coffee Date or share a Friday Five!

You know the drill, anything really goes. I’ve been talking to a few people who want to dip their toes into blogging so I might have some upcoming regularly scheduled anonymous posts in the coming months.

Who’s in?

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Really fricken good zucchini muffins

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That’s a normal sized muffin.
That’s not a normal sized zucchini

I was recently gifted with a zucchini bigger than my upper arm. And by “gifted” what really happened is they thought it was too “old to be good to eat” after a few days off the vine and were going to get rid of it.

Um, no. I’ll take it. Baker’s gotta get her bake on once in awhile after all. Plus, I gave them a bunch of muffins as a thank you.

I knew it would be enough for a batch of zucchini bread/muffins but what I didn’t realize was that it would be enough for 2 full batches.

(Half is currently living in my freezer for next time because I didn’t have enough gf flour for 2 batches.)

I loosely based this batch on this recipe from my friend Betty. You might know her? Betty Crocker. She rarely steers me wrong to at least start from.  You should know though that I changed some of her ingredients because I felt like it.

What you’ll need:

  • 3 cups shredded zucchini (2 to 3 medium) (Or half of one bigger than my upper arm)
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 TBSP vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups GF flour (If yours doesn’t have xantham gum in it, you’ll need that too. Currently I’m using King Arthur and it’s pretty good.)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 TBSP Pumpkin Pie Spice (if you want yours less “spicy” use 1 1/2 tsp to start.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (I don’t remember putting this in and may have accidentally omitted it.  If I did, it was fine.)

What you’ll do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F with racks sort of low. Muffins do well so the tops are in the middle of the oven. (I don’t always do this and they’re usually fine.) Put cupcake liners in your pan. I used exactly 24. You can make this as bread loaves too, but I prefer muffins because they’re easier to hand out to friends that way.
  2. In large bowl, stir zucchini, sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs until well mixed. (This looks gross, but go with it.) Stir in remaining ingredients. If we’re being honest here, I put it in my mixer with the paddle on low, scraped the sides once and mixed again
  3. Bake 10 minutes and rotate your pans. Bake another 8-10 min, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on cooling rack 10 minutes.
  4. Don’t burn yourself trying to get at the goodness. Remove from pans and place top side up on cooling rack. Cool until they’re cool enough to handle. Store in an air tight container.
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Snack time.
I like snacks.

 

Questions? Comments? Let me know how it works out for you.

**No one paid me for mention in this post. They’re just the ones I happen to like. If they’d like to pay me, I’m open to it, but my ideas and opinions are always my own.**

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Reading More: Beautiful Bodies

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A bunch of time back, I mentioned that I read Coming Clean. by Kimberly Rae Miller. She’s a dear friend of a dear friend, a truly lovely person, and someone I can reach out to if/when I know there’s something I need to ask her about. This is all besides the point for this post but I thought I’d mention it.

I enjoyed her first book very much and when it was announced that she was releasing a second one, I watched carefully for the pre-order announcement to be available on Amazon so I had my copy right away.

Then  it sat on my desk for awhile at work because these things happen.

Anyway. Her new book? Fantastic. Partially historical info, part memoir. It had a flavor of Mary Roach but more familiar and a little less formal.

From Amazon:

Like most people, Kimberly Rae Miller does not have the perfect body, but that hasn’t stopped her from trying. And trying. And trying some more. She’s been at it since she was four years old, when Sesame Street inspired her to go on her first diet. Postcollege, after a brief stint as a diet-pill model, she became a health-and-fitness writer and editor working on celebrities’ bestselling bios—sugarcoating the trials and tribulations celebs endure to stay thin. Needless to say, Kim has spent her life in pursuit of the ideal body.

But what is the ideal body? Knowing she’s far from alone in this struggle, Kim sets out to find the objective definition of this seemingly unattainable level of perfection. While on a fascinating and hilarious journey through time that takes her from obese Paleolithic cavewomen, to the bland menus that Drs. Graham and Kellogg prescribed to promote good morals in addition to good health, to the binge-drinking-prone regimen that caused William the Conqueror’s body to explode at his own funeral, Kim ends up discovering a lot about her relationship with her own body.

Warm, funny, and brutally honest, Beautiful Bodies is a blend of memoir and social history that will speak to anyone who’s ever been caught in a power struggle with his or her own body…in other words, just about everyone.

As someone who has an on and off weird relationship with food, how I look and how I feel about my body this was an interesting read. I appreciated the candid way she spoke about her experience, struggles, and successes. And I have to say, this girl is funny.

I also found myself looking for texts she’s cited because the research was interesting. While I’m not sure I’ll go back and read them, it was nice to have them on hand for further reading. Also, if you’re one who skips footnotes, don’t. You’ll thank me for saying so.

I look forward to her next book, which I hear is already in the works.

Is this something you’d read? Why or why not?

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