flybystardancer: (Default)
So this still had issues due to Cook's Error. I didn't have enough liquid and wasn't checking it often enough, and had it on high to cook the dry beans, so some burned to the bottom of the slowcooker. :( I managed to rescue most of it by scooping what I could to a pot and adding water, then simmering that. The al dente beans then became soft (at least enough to eat) after about an hour simmering on the stove.

So I'm comparing it to Dennison's Hot chili, because that has been my favorite for years. This iteration doesn't have quite as much beefy flavor, and the heat is slightly more intense, but slower to hit. Considering I'm trying to up my heat tolerance, hotter is not a bad thing! It's just pushing my limits the way it is. Anyways, this is getting pretty close! And is good enough to eat this whole pot (over a few meals!), before I work on a better recipe.

Mock-Dennison's Chili, Round One! )
flybystardancer: (Default)
Okay, so I'm baking my own bread, right? Well you go through a lot of flour when you do that. So I decided I'd get one of the big 50lb bags at Costco, to cut down on overall cost. I already had one dedicated bread flour container, and I bought four more last night (all Target had out, and it was running late). So I get the flour home and start putting it in containers. I knew I would run out of the containers I had purposed for bread flour. There was still a ton of flour, and I didn't think I could get away with gallon freezer bags for the rest, so I scrounged around the house for more containers.

I ended up using one of those large plastic containers they sell Coffeemate in at Costco, and five of those tins they sell coffee grounds in 2lb increments. I have barely any flour left in the bag. Not enough to grab another container. So I'll make a loaf tonight to use that up. :)

I have two of the coffee tins of flour in the fridge I had at college (it's sitting unplugged in the kitchen/dining room, and is rather big for a college fridge). The rest are in my back room freezer. I had to toss out some outdated food to make room for it all. lol
flybystardancer: (Default)
So, I'm trying to cut down on the number of chemicals in my diet. (It will likely never get down to zero--I drink way too much soda and other sweetened drinks!) Part of that is trying to get in the habit of making my own bread loaves, and cut down on canned foods.

The chili Is one thing, because I tend to enjoy chili as an easy meal a LOT.

And the bread? I have ingredients in my bread machine for my fourth loaf in a row. :D And while I've gone by the same recipe every time, no two loaves have been the same.

1. Used milk instead of the water/dry milk combo called for, and instant yeast instead of active dry, because that's what I have on hand. I didn't adjust down the yeast from what the "quick" setting calls for, because my yeast was just out of the fridge and I figured it'd still be sleepy and would need the extra time. Uh, NOT. lol Actually touched the top of the machine from the "oven spring", and had fallen by the time the baking was done. Whoops. Still tasted good.

2. Used milk, and replaced the white sugar with honey. Again, used the instant yeast, but I scaled down the amount to the appropriate amount for using on the basic setting.

3. Used buttermilk, and replaced some of the salt with baking soda to balance out some of the acid from the buttermilk. Also used brown sugar instead of white.

4. Tonight's loaf! Went back to milk. Replaced some of the flour with 2 Tbsp of flax seed meal. Also ran out of bread flour, so about 1 cup's worth of the flour in it is AP flour. Also used honey again as the sweetener.

I'm also working on getting my butt up and cleaning more. Cleaned the toilet for the first time, and managed to actually keep up with dishes, including cleaning the stuff I used to measure out the ingredients for bread as soon as the pan was in the machine, and the machine turned on. Hopefully I'll be able to keep it up.
flybystardancer: (Default)
Thank you to all that talked to me after my post Saturday night. My head is definitely in a better spot, and hopefully I won't hit another spiral for a while. In a normal year, I only get like one or two breakdowns. This past year hasn't been normal. I think the only positive thing about them is that I used to have semi-suicidal thoughts during them, which hasn't happened in the last few ones. (Semi-suicidal, because I'd be aware that I'd never go through with it even as I thought it.)

Made chili for the first time for this past Sunday's game night. Was a bit selfish, since I did beef chili, and [ profile] niteflite and [ profile] nonblasphemer were hosting, and they're vegetarian. At least I brought canned vegetarian chili with me? And I had it cooking at work. I had put everything in my slowcooker's pot the night before (the pot is separate and sits on top of a base that heats it from below) and put the pot in the fridge overnight, and then set it up to cook when I got to work. And of course I made it without a recipe. And I used just shy of 1/4 cup of cayenne. I had never cooked with cayenne before, so I just knew academically that it was very hot, and not how that related to my own spicy tolerances.

Yeah. Bad idea. I got through the one bowl of the chili, but just barely. The only other meat eater that was there has MUCH higher tolerances than me, and he had zero problems with it. So he got to take the leftovers home. lol Next time I'll use less cayenne. Though I want to get more of different kinds of dried chile powders to put in. Ultimately I'm trying to do a mimic of Dennison's Hot Chili Con Carne. >_> And maybe work on bringing up my heat tolerances.
flybystardancer: (Default)
So, finished cleaning the small bedroom, including vacuuming. Also vacuumed the master bedroom, the bathroom, and the hallway. I'm folding the clothes and towels I washed Saturday too late to fold then. Just need to wash all the dishes that were used yesterday and house will be clean enough for when my brother arrives later this week.

I've also been working on hand-piecing squares for a quilt. First time working on a quilt, and I'm doing this by hand so I have something to do during game nights. I'm doing blocks that are a foot square, made up of squares 3"x3" (so a total of 16 squares per block). I have three blocks completed, and I'm a little over halfway done with the fourth. These are going much faster than I thought they would, and my stitching evened up pretty quickly too. I'm amazed.
flybystardancer: (Default)
House still isn't completely clean, but it was clean enough for game night. It went well. :)

And my kitties surprise me. Jack has always been friendly. We've had people over before and he would be out demanding attention. Instead, yesterday and today he's hid like a scaredy cat, and has not let me carry him out. Finally tonight he walked out when we were nearly done and peered into the room warily, only to bolt when someone made a move he didn't like.

After a couple hours Cleo came out and stayed out. She was in the room playing with us and getting treats and pets.

Proof! )

Perhaps one or both will be out more next time I host game.
flybystardancer: (Soundwave popping out)
So. House needs to be cleaned up before Brother gets here next week to stay for Mom's services. House is a total disaster zone (though I'm sure living here several years lowers his standards for how clean I need to get the house). A couple of friends should be arrive any minute now to help me clean up the house. As a reward, I offered to host this week's game with the newly-cleaned house.

...I'm already exhausted and all I've done so far was to drive over to sort pictures with Dad, drive back, wash dishes, re-wash the towels I put in the washer last night, fluff and fold the clothes that were in dryer...

I hate housework. So much time & energy...

ETA: So. Lots of loads have gone through the washer & dryer. Dining table mostly cleared off (amazingly so, considering how it was piled up earlier), lots of dishes done and put away. Living room vacuumed thoroughly and somewhat cleared. New sheets put on the two beds, washing blankets to put on them. And floor of smaller bedroom much cleared. (Still has some more to go so I can vacuum in there, and all the linolium floors need sweeping/vacuuming and mopping.)

And I am quite surprised. I expected Cleo to hide from the Strange People. I expected Jack to be out and demanding attention. Instead he was hiding. Silly boy.
flybystardancer: (Default)
So, my oven does not work. This means the world of baking is limited to what I can put in my mini muffin maker. (Which is the original model of such devices, I believe. Definitely an old model.)

I decided I wanted to make muffins with my homemade jam in the center. So I took this recipe, omitted the topping, and put a tiny dollop of plum jam in the center.


This recipe is thicker, so the muffins need to make a minute more than the standard time for boxed mixes. However, that's not much of a problem. :)

Now if only I can keep myself from eating all of them tonight...
flybystardancer: (Default)
WHY did my brother's Transformer toys gave to go MIA??? I just found a picture from his 5th birthday where he's triumphantly holding up a Kup toy! *sobs* And there's other pictures elsewhere with him with other TF toys.

...At least I have the blanket. And he's not getting it back! >:D
flybystardancer: (Default)
Just while I'm thinking about it.

For those of you who use box rice mixes and the like... An easy way to add veggies without screwing things up so the rice doesn't cook is to add frozen veggies at the very last second before you put the lid on to simmer it. This way the veggies steam, but don't affect the cooking of anything else. (I've tried adding corn to stuff before, and had the rice not fully cook.)

And I'm making zatarain's dirty rice for dinner.

Update on Mom. Strays into possible TMI area. )
flybystardancer: (fanfic)
Mom's high school friend C came by today and brought her yearbook, and some stories that they had co-written in 6th grade. What would, by today's standards, be fanfics.

So I come by fanfics naturally. :D

Update on Mom, for those who want to know. )
flybystardancer: (Default)
Been in a sewing mood lately. However, my sewing supplies (fabric, patterns, machine, tools) are all at my parents' house in SC and I live at the house in SJ. So I can't always sew when I'm in the mood. So instead I've been working on a pattern/paper mock-up for a Wheeljack plush.

Paper is amazing for mocking up the body, with all the blocky shapes. For all the complex curves of his head on the other hand... Totally sucks. lol And the head is the last part for me to mock-up... I'm in the middle of it. I'll post pictures once I have the the mock-up cut out and taped up.
flybystardancer: (Default)
But my knitting kit is MIA. It has everything I need to finish knitting projects (and I have one that I need the kit to finish). It also has all of my crochet hooks in the main sizes I use.

Also, all of my sewing equipment/supplies are at one house. I'm at the other. :/ I printed out a free pattern while I was at work and I'm cutting out the pieces to tape together to cut out the pattern pieces.

...I still want to be sewing. (sigh)
flybystardancer: (Default)
KreonPlush!Ratchet has been welcomed to his new home. :D

Pictures under here. )
flybystardancer: (Default)
Life has a way with screwing with plans. Will get the second BotCon post up soon as I have time.

Meantime, I stopped by JoAnn's on my home. Had some really good finds in the red tag section (which were 50% off, on top of the red tag discount!).

More info, including a picture, under here. )
flybystardancer: (TFA Prowl Silhouette)
BUT! I finally got off my butt and did garden work today. :D I got the jungle of weeds hoed from around my three boxes. Pulled the very small number of weeds from two of them, and then got my early-planting box turned, re-leveled, and all set up with the first of the seeds planted. (It's peas and lettuce in that box atm. I would have sowed some radishes as well, but I couldn't find my seeds. :( Will just have to get more at the store.)

I also purchased two packets of more seeds online. One of a new variety of paste tomatoes (Little Mama. I had wanted Big Mama, but they're only selling them as plants this year, and I'm in one of the states they can't ship live plants to. Bah.) I'll be hauling out my grow lights and heating pad and getting everything else set up for seed-starting in the mean time. I'm just starting tomato seeds this year. The peppers I tried to start last year did horribly, so I'm just going to suck it up and buy those as plants.

I'm also considering seeing if there are any broccoli seedlings at the store. I don't like broccoli at all, but I know my mom loves it. And it would be good to stretch my abilities...
flybystardancer: (Air Raid Kitty)
So this year, Mom and I want to give gardening another try. Last Saturday we cleared out our planter boxes of dead leaves (from a neighbor's tree, stupid thing is growing half over our side of the fence and has contributed to destroying the fence) and bad dirt.

So today on our way home we stopped and bought some plants (two strawberries, two tomatoes, bell, poblano, and jalepeno peppers) and soil. We only had time to put old potting soil in the boxes before it got too dark to work. Tomorrow we'll add the new soil and plant. :D Mom's also planning on getting some sawdust from work to cover the soil.

Now, Mom needs to remember to water while I'm at school. Hopefully they'll last long enough for me to get home. And we're hoping to get some usable fruit... We have birds here that like to peck on what we grow and no way of scaring them off. My aunt has her dog to keep the birds away from her plants. We don't have any pets this summer, and Red never was much good about protecting them when he was alive.
flybystardancer: (Ani!Prowl Hah!)
That's two loaves of bread baked this week! One I baked Tuesday (that I just finished eating a few minutes ago >_>) and one that's nearly cooled down from its stay in the oven!

I used pretty much this recipe, cut in half for both loaves.

I can only bake one loaf at a time, unfortunately. At least, when using a loaf pan. I only have one loaf pan that I trust, our glass one. We also have an overly-large silicone one and a metal one, but both have problems that make me stick 'em back in the storage cabinet every time I look at them.

Though my successes this week have boosted my bread-confidence and are making me consider playing around with starters when I get home this late spring/summer.

This Amish Friendship Bread starter looks really easy to make/maintain, so I'll probably follow that for the starter. However, after looking through a bunch of Google returns, I couldn't find a recipe using a starter that I was really happy with to try for a first loaf. So instead I took inspiration from several of them and tried to adapt the recipe I used this week to work with a starter. The recipe I came up with is under cut for critique from my fellow bakers. )

This recipe is mostly for my use, so if there's any confusing parts let me know. XD I know what I mean/procedures I use but that doesn't help if anyone else wants to give pointers and don't know all the assumptions laced through it.

ETA: I was messing around with foodstuffs (baking, cooking, making cookie dough) for six hours straight. Granted, at the beginning some of the time was waiting around while food did its thing without my interference, but still. Something was going from before noon until Mom and I finished dinner a bit after six. @_@ But I have bread, dinner (tamales with refried beans and rice), and cookie dough to show for it. Yummy food is yummy.
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