Weekly Roundup: Life Gets in the Way of the Blog

Sometimes I feel like I don’t really “get going” until the middle of the week. This was one of those weeks. I haven’t done or seen anything that is “blog worthly” and I don’t have the time to write up the blog ideas I have in my notebook. A good, informative blog post easily takes 4-5 hours from start to finish.  So instead of just being strangely silent or publishing something mediocre I decided to give you all a peek at what has been keeping me so busy.

My biggest project/pain-in-the-butt is this baby quilt. Like any good crafter I waited till the last minute to begin working on it. Also, this is the first quilt I have ever made. I always seem to give myself a challenge when I have a deadline. (I do NOT recommend this.) I finally have all the squares cut out but I am fully aware that sewing them together isn’t going to be a quick project either. Wish me luck.

Hundreds of squares. Not sure if I will ever do this again.

Hundreds of squares. Not sure if I will ever do this again.

Keeping in the world of ‘craft’ I have three yarn-based projects keeping me busy. The teal one is an easy project I made up to use up that yarn and I need some new items for my Etsy shop.  I am almost done with it. The red and grey cowl is a pattern I am working on. I have several patterns that are waiting in the wings to get published. The brown is a Valentines gift. It was supposed to be a Christmas gift but that didn’t happen. Some people may wonder why I have so many projects going on at once but if you are at all crafty you probably understand me completely.

 

Thank God these are portable projects.

Thank God these are portable projects.

I spent most of yesterday baking or cleaning up from baking. My husband has a tendency to skip breakfast unless there is something quick to grab as he is going out the door. Of course there are store-bought granola bars but we both wanted something homemade to cut down on the “unknown ingredients factor” and cost.

The first recipe I decided to try was Healthy Avocado Chocolate Cookies. Basically you are using the avocado as a substitute for butter. Even though it sounds weird I could see how, in theory, that makes sense. I followed the recipe exactly except I used honey instead of coconut sugar; I didn’t have any coconut sugar and honey was the recommended substitution. Also I used regular chocolate chips instead of dark chocolate chunks.

My first problem with these was my own fault; my avocado was too ripe so my batter was too thin. I knew this wouldn’t work for cookies so I threw in a hand full of all purpose flour so the batter would have the right amount of stiffness. Also, when I tasted the batter I could totally taste avocado. Kinda grossed me out.

They LOOK good.

They LOOK good.

Fortunately my husband really liked the finished product. To me they just aren’t sweet enough. But I kind of have an aversion to “healthy” baked goods. My feeling is if you want a cookie have a COOKIE. Just don’t have ten. I find healthier versions to be much less satisfying so then I want to eat more.

My second baking adventure turned out much better. Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies sounded like it might make us both happy.

Batter ready to go on the cookie sheets.

Batter ready to go on the cookie sheets.

This recipe was easy to follow and turned out great. I used a half cup of brown sugar instead of the 2/3 cup the recipe calls for but otherwise followed all the instructions. Once again my batter seemed a little thin but once I folded in the oats and chocolate chips it seemed to have the right consistency. I would make these again.

The finished product.

The finished product.

I think we are going to buck tradition this year and go out the night before Valentine’s day instead of Saturday night. Every place that is worth going to is either already booked up or will have hour long waits. I am not sure where we will go tomorrow night – my husband is supposed to have it all figured out. Saturday we are going to have a little celebration at home; grill some brats, get some good craft beer, and watch Netflix. Sometimes simple is best.

Have a great Valentine’s Day!

-Christy

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Back in the Swing

I am excited to get going on this blog again. I knew I needed to get back to it but I was feeling totally uninspired. I haven’t figured out how to “turn on” my writing yet…I am either in the mood or I am not! And when I am not my writing is miles away from publishable.

I have decided to let go of the once a week Wooly Wednesdays. It was too hard to come up with topics every week so instead I will publish whenever I have something good to share. I will keep doing the Foodie Friday weekly because I never seem to run out of stories about food!

On a more somber note…today is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the notorious concentration camp Auschwitz. The dwindling number of survivors have traveled hundreds of miles to commemorate this day in Poland. I hope everyone takes a moment to remember those who lost their lives at the hands of evil and those who survived and who were able to emerge from one of the darkest times in history and put their lives back together. I know history isn’t always pleasant to re-visit but it is so important not to forget. There are many news stories about the survivors and Netflix has some wonderful documentaries about the holocaust.

On a lighter note I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays and I hope those of you who are back east are enjoying the snow. We haven’t had more than an inch here and I kind of miss it!

-Christy

Favorite Five : My Love of British TV

Yesterday I stumbled upon an article from the Telegraph about why Americans love British TV. (you can check it out HERE). Reading the article got me thinking about why I am so drawn to British TV. I always prefer to watch a British mystery or min-series from my Netflix queue than watch an American TV show.

I am a huge anglophile. Have been for as long as I can remember, well before I was actually able to travel to Great Britain. My freshman year of college I finally got the opportunity to travel there and of course I jumped on it. The country was everything I hoped it would be and I have been back three times since and I hope to take my husband there very soon.

Watching shows set in Great Britain, whether its the picturesque countryside or gritty London allows me to mentally travel back to the places I’ve been. I am forever yelling “I’ve been there!!” to my husband when we are watching something together.

Also, and this is one of the things the article touches on, is there is a “realness” to British shows that you just don’t see in American shows. The actors and actresses look like real people and they are living relatable lives and I think that allows us to be able to mentally connect with their characters better. Turn on an American show. Everyone is buffed, polished, and perfect looking,  living in homes their characters couldn’t possibly afford.

And finally after a long day who doesn’t enjoy a bit of escapism? The British class system, their customs, and eccentricities are so different from ours that someone might think they would be a turn off. Instead, those very same differences are what help us liberate ourselves from reality and delve into another world.

Since the Emmys were just last night I decided it was the perfect time for my five favorite British TV shows. If you click on the name you will be sent to a description of the show.

Favorite Five: British TV (no particular order)

My favorite detective/sergeant duo.

1. Midsomer Murders. Yes, I said there was no order to this list but this is my favorite show. DCI Barnaby is charming and funny, a good husband and a great detective. I love all the pretty villages the show takes place in. One of the best. Available on Netflix.

2. BBC’s 1995 Pride and Prejudice. Where do I begin? The beautiful countryside? The clever and subtle humor? The ladies beautiful dresses? Mr. Darcy with is shirt off? Mr. Darcy with his shirt on? There are many reasons this adaptation is the BEST one I have ever seen. It is very faithful to the book and the leads, Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth, are excellent.

 

3. MI5 or Spooks. You can’t get much further from the tranquil countryside portrayed in Midsummer Murders than this show. The plotline follows several people who work for MI-5 which is sort of the British equivalent to our FBI. (google it- hard to explain) These guys are spies and some of them live double lives, some of them are corrupt, some of them even get killed. They deal with national security so sometimes they have to stop people from trying to blackmail politicians and the next day they trying are preventing terrorists from blowing up subway stations. A bit on the darker side but very gripping. Available on Netflix.

 

4. The Buccaneers. These wealthy young ladies couldn’t break into high society here in America so they turned to England. This series shows the reality of being married for your money and that money does not buy happiness. A visually stunning series, the dresses the girls wear before they are married are the stuff Victorian dreams are made of. Watch it just for that. Available on Netflix.

5. Downton Abbey. If you haven’t heard of this series you have been living under a rock. A little soap- opera like at times, it is truly escapism TV. Not very many of us live on estates or even know someone who does. And, as much as I love seeing a glimpse of the high life, the heart of the show, I think, is the downstairs bunch. In many ways that is a life even fewer can relate to. Its a great show and I have really enjoyed watching it evolve. Available on Netflix.

I have to honorably mention Sherlock. I love the chemistry between Holmes and Watson and can’t wait to see what happens next season.

I know there are a great many other shows I could have mentioned but these are the ones that have made a lasting imprint on my mind and the ones I love to watch again and again.

I would love to hear what your  some of your favorite British TV shows are! Let me know.

-Christy