Friday, January 20, 2012

Queen of the Kitchen!

So snow day #5 has lead me to some awesome discoveries. Today's new thing is pinterest, last night was goodreads. And, thanks to pinterest, I found this recipe for lemon garlic gnocci, and oh my goodness, if it's not the most delicious thing I've ever made, I seriously don't know what it is. And it's pretty healthy too!

I ate a third of it and then added fresh ground pepper.
Add the fresh ground pepper, it's so good!!
I paired it with a super plain-Jane spinach salad, and in my pre-this-delicious-gnocci life, I could just eat spinach, hard boiled egg, and some cheese and be totally thrilled. But oh no, my taste buds were on overdrive, so some olive oil,  balsamic vinegar, and fresh ground pepper later, I was sitting pretty.
Also, is this recipe super filling or was I just not that hungry? I couldn't even finish that plate full.
Now, here's some (not so) pro tips if you're going to make this gnocci:
garlic cloves
1) I stole a bit from her lemon-garlic spaghetti, and added 2 tbsp of pine nuts.
2) one clove of garlic is the little piece of garlic, you buy a whole bulb at the store (I got confused.)
3) when peeling a hard-boiled egg, first put it in a bowl of cold water, and then run cold water over it as you peel
4) instead of the oil-and-vinegar route, you could probably use some of the gnocci sauce you made. Or just some lemon and black pepper? Let me know if you tried that, because I didn't. And if it's bad, someone should warn the readers.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Maybe I wasn't ready to knit a blanket

"Psh, I don't need place holders," I thought to myself as I started the blanket. I can just count. Because counting to 115 works out so well. But five rows into a pattern that has 13 stitches followed by a 12-stitch repeating pattern that repeats eight times (or nine, if you somehow mess up your counting by a perfect 12 stitches), I realized that I was being really stupid.

At least I had the brains to try and write down what I was doing. Especially to mark what row I was on, because if I lose track of that I'm screwed.
Well, five rows in I took some old yarn that I just had a foot or two of, and made myself some improvised place markers. SO. MUCH. EASIER.

I also printed out the Umaro chart (28 rows, each with a different knitting pattern) and colored it. So I can actually follow the lines, because by row four or five, it's really hard to tell which row is which.

So this is my advice to you: make your work easier and put some place markers in, just in case. If you're really too good for them and they just annoy you, you can always take them out.

Snowmen and cookies

Today, I decided that it was time to leave my house. Luckily, I live very close to Greenlake and one of my friends lives very close to me! We then went home and baked some peanut butter oatmeal cookies, which I have to say, were some of the best cookies I've made (yet).
Now, there is one thing I would have done differently. Kelly told me what I was doing was stupid, and I kind of realized it was stupid once I'd really started, but had seemed so brilliant at the time. I decided that since the "drizzle" was supposed to go in a plastic bag (with a hole cut in it, for master cookie-frosting), I should just make the frosting in the bag! I didn't take a picture, but it was pretty stupid. It did not mix well. Also, the drizzle probably could have used more milk. It would have made it creamier and more delicious-looking. Ah well, next time I guess I'll dirty the dishes instead of cutting corners.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Finally knitting a blanket!

I caved last night and actually purchased a knitting pattern, because what's better than knitting while it's snowing outside? Ok, maybe many things if you're cooler than me. Well, this blanket by Jared Flood is relatively easy, and due to the awesome amount of knitters on the internets who put up free videos about how to do things, I'm actually doing ok at this! I mean, it's pretty squished on my needles atm, so I have a feeling it's not going to be as pretty as his, but first attempts rarely are.
At least I figured out a way better way to cast on! My old cast on was, I'm pretty sure, what you teach a 5-year-old on their first knitting project. And it tended not to work too well. But the Lont-Tail Cast On is awesome, and I will forever use it. Perhaps next I should learn the adult way to switch colors while knitting.
I found the knitting abbreviations glossary to also be helpful when trying to figure out pretty much everything that wasn't "knit" and "purl." Yay project!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Anyone for a workout? Snow Day - Day 2

So, in addition to getting my obscene amount of things organized, my other big goal for 2012 is to get back in shape. This isn't just about getting a smaller waistline for me (although that would be nice!), I am trying really hard to focus on the healthy part. I am really good at lying to myself about how often I'm working out, rehearsing, cleaning, writing, name it, I am the queen of "oh but I just did that!" Now I started using in...November? Yeah, I think it was November. And they gave me this awesome suggestion, which I think most people who work out frequently probably use, but for me it was one of those, "I can't believe I haven't thought of that!" moments. What was this amazing nugget of awesomeness that they revealed to me? Write down your reps. Yeah, it's that simple. Get yourself a notepad, write the date across the top, and log what you did that day. It's a great way to track your progress as you get more fit, but if you're like me, the real beauty of it is that it doesn't lie to you about the last time you worked out. I'll think I had just one teensy bad week where I didn't workout much, but when I  go back to the notepad I see...quel horreur! "It's been 21 days since my last workout? I thought it was just last week!"

Now, is great because they make their workouts an intense 15 minutes, and that is it. 15 minutes a day and you should be as ripped as Zuzana here and, let's be honest, who doesn't want to look like that?

But my problem with bodyrock is they have a lot of workouts that require equipment, of which I have none. And part of me goes "c'mon Jana, just buy the workout stuff!" but the rest of me looks at this sad little chart that proves I'd only use it, at best, three times a month. And I'm just not one to blow $100 on something I'll probably never use (and there's like three $100 items I'd need).

I also like having something to follow, and while they show you their workout, it's not in the fitness-tape, workout-while-watching way that I do like, and so I get a little discouraged. I mean, I clearly don't look like her, so why should I push myself to do 5 sets? Maybe I'll just do three, that seems quite hard enough...

So then (and by then I mean at the tail end of December, three-to-six weeks later) I went back to my good 'ol Netflix workouts. (Hello 10-minute solutions!)

this is a real badge that I actually
earned because I'm a winner.
And my darling boyfriend showed me the best thing ever for tracking my workouts. It's called fleetly, and there is a website as well as an iPhone app, so you can even take it to the gym with you, if you're one of those people who actually goes to the gym. But for people like me, it has plenty of workouts with no equipment necessary! So you can do their workouts, or log your own. Which means I can bounce around from Netflixing to bodyrocking, running, walking, or just doing whatever I want. You then log what you did and get points! Who doesn't like getting points? I love getting points. And not only do you get points and level up as you workout, if you don't log anything for drop levels. So when I'm having my omg-I'm-going-to-get-in-such-good-shape! week, I'll go up to level 19, but when I slack off and don't do anything, I log on to find myself at level 9. So it keeps me honest.

And, just like that notepad, you can log that you did a workout, how many reps you did, what weights you used, ect. so the next time you do that exercise it's right in front of you how you did the last time you did it. And more importantly (for me) it shows you when the last time you did it actually was.

No Hoarders for Me!

I'm not exactly sure where on the internet I found this, but it's basically a how-to for those of us who have rooms that look something like this:

uh...gross, right? Yeah, that's my actual room. I am actually that messy. I have always been this way. Ask my college roommates, family, or basically anyone I've let into my house. The thing is, I feel like I'm getting uncomfortably close to being featured on an episode of Hoarders and I can not let the above turn into this:
(oh hey, now my room doesn't look quite so bad, now does it? Oh, no, wait....still bad.) Well, her post inspired me, giving me the step-by-step guide for how to get stuff done. Now my room looks like this!

One of the supplies she has listed is an egg timer, which I think is the most important supply for any task you have to do but really don't want to. I mean, I used my iPhone because I live in the future and have you seen my room? Does it look like I need any more things? And she said to do an hour and then take a 30 minute break but today was a snow day, so I did 15 minutes at a time with 10 minute breaks. I know me, and if I take a break longer than ten minutes, there's less and less of a chance that I'm ever going to get back to work. I get all comfy and lose all the resolve I had once had to be a productive human being. I don't really have an excuse for how short of a work time I gave myself except that I am really lazy and at least I cleaned at all. I guess I could try and make up an excuse was a short enough time that I didn't get too overwhelmed. Because that was an out-of-this world mess and I just had to know that it was going to end quickly and I could go back to playing The Sims soon.

So clearly, this method took awhile but now my room looks a little more like a human being, not a feral creature, lives in it. 

And I didn't spend all of my time on my room, by the way. I also had a party to clean up after. Which is mostly done. Just need to scrub out the punch cauldron. 
Next step: make my room look more like this: