Sunday, February 19, 2017

Think I've recovered

Mostly a quiet day today. It was church first, of course - the new minister was officially installed which is a good thing.

Then I came home and did a workout (the dvd, which is about 35 minutes of semi-vigorous aerobics). As part of my reducing plan, I'm trying to be stricter about five days a week of working out - the video twice a week and 40-45 minutes on the cross-country skiier three days a week. (or flipflopping those two).

I was remembering the "recommended" exercise amount as being 30 minutes EVERY day, or 210 minutes, and was wharrrgarrrblling about how hard that was, but I looked it up: they (Mayo clinic and American Heart Association, whom I am inclined to trust) say 150 minutes of moderate or 75 of vigorous per week. Well, what I do is probably somewhere between moderate (it's harder work than a leisurely walk) and vigorous (I don't think it's quite vigorous). But if I 40 minutes 3 x a week and 35 2 x a week, I'm at 190 minutes, so I should be good.

I do tend to worry about this excessively but I think some of the health challenges my dad faces are the result of a long sedentary period from when he became a low-level college admin until now. Also, I'm at risk for osteoporosis (mom's family) and I know weight bearing exercise can fight that.

And I just feel better - both physically and emotionally - when I am getting regular exercise, so.

I also practiced piano some. I want to try to get back to doing that more regularly now that apparently the freak-out mode of having several tight deadlines is over.

And I knitted on Raven. I am within 20 rounds of finishing the second sleeve - then it's just the finishing and knitting on a little collar. (I THINK I will have enough yarn. I hope.)

I'm beginning to think about "next projects" so I think I'm feeling less pressured again. My desire to knit or sew waxes and wanes with how stressed I am at work.  I do want to get back to working on the quilt in the frame again, and sewing on quilt tops again.

Another thing I want to do, sort of loosely related, is move my birdfeeders to the back yard, where I can see them when I'm sewing. I got a cardinal-shaped (!) mesh feeder (one you fill up with sunflower seeds) for Christmas and I hung it in the redbud back there for two reasons:

a. it could present an attractive target for a petty thief and it is far, far less likely someone's going to see it back there or violate my backyard.

b. I think the reason I got mice this past winter was having the feeders so close to the front of the house. I figure if I move the post with its feeders over back by the garage, I can still see it from my bedroom windows and sewing room windows, but mice will be far less likely to come in the house seeking the source of that sweet, sweet seed. (I don't care quite so much if they go in the garage, though I would still they rather not....maybe I put the feeders over by my garden instead.

I walked around back there a bit today looking at stuff. One of my big rosemary bushes is totally dead (either the cold weather earlier finally did it in, or these things just have a limited lifespan). I'm thinking when I dig it out (perhaps a project for Spring Break), I want to replace it with a butterfly bush because there's one out behind my ecology lab and it's amazing how many butterflies they attract....and I love seeing butterflies around.

Also, on Saturday, I had packages waiting for me (Yeah, I don't get it either: cards go missing but so far packages seem totally unmolested - knock on wood). One was the yarn I ordered, but the other was the swap package from my sender in the CPAAG swap. (My recipient got her package a couple days ago and happily she liked it, even if I could only really dig in my stash for the yarn to send her, given how busy I am.)

Here it is:

swap box

The bag says "Knitters need to believe in something. I believe I'll knit another row." The yarn - well, I have a better picture of the yarn:

yarn and pony

It's one of those gradient sets where the yarn is dyed in different coordinating shades. I plan to use it for a shawl - either another iteration of a bigger version of Mizzle or I will look for another pattern. (There are patterns out there specifically designed for these sets).

Oh, and the pony - she sent me a blindbag pony and AMAZINGLY - given how many I have of Cupcake Wave, it's one I didn't already own - Cinnamon Breeze (a wingless Twilight Sparkle repaint). So that was extra nice, to get a pony I didn't have.

(I wish we had one of the newer waves available locally, though I do think most of them are mostly just repeats or recolors. It seems Hasbro is now going more to carded versions of the ponies, where you know what you're getting. I'm fine with that but I also suspect it will be next to impossible to find the desirable ones. I know I paid way more than I should for the Maud Pie, but I really wanted her).

I also had a couple of more-involved dishes for dinner. One was the potato soup I made the other day. It's based on the Golden Potato Soup in that Mennonite cookbook I like, but I altered the recipe slightly: I used onion powder instead of frying up an onion, and I subbed chicken broth for the milk and thinned down canned milk for the water


I took the "gelee" (which is fantastic and tasty and you should never throw away when you roast a chicken) from the chicken I had roasted earlier in the week and melted it down, and then added chicken bone-stock to make 2 1/2 cups total. I also added a bit of pepper and maybe a quarter-to-half teaspoon of onion powder, even though the gelee already was flavored from the lemon and onion I stuffed in the chicken's cavity, and the poultry seasoning I used on it.

While this was heating, in another pan, I made up one packet of the plain (unsalted, unflavored) mashed potato mix. This would be better with real mashed potatoes - the recipe was designed to use up leftover mashed potatoes - but I was pressed for time.

Then I mixed the potatoes and the broth, stirred, heated it until it boiled. Then, to finish it, I thinned down a small can of evaporated milk (to make a full cup) and added that, and also melted about a half-cup of colby-jack cheese in it.

It was very good. It's one of my favorite soups and I've also made it with leftover baked potatoes just mashed up.

I also made coconut custard because I was *dying* for something sweet (I picked the wrong week to cut back on sugar) and I figured that was one of the most nutritious (in terms of ratio of protein to sugar) sweets I could make - an 11 ounce container of "culinary" coconut milk, two beaten eggs, a scant quarter-cup of sugar, some vanilla and coconut flavoring. Cooked for just shy of an hour at 350 in three of my mini-cocottes in a bain marie.

So yeah, I guess I'm as ready for Monday as I can be.

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