Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cupcakes in West Hartford, and other tasty treats.

Much has gone on in the world of food lately. I've been bad with pictures, so my cookies will have to wait, but I'll tell about some things that have no accompanying pictures anyway.

Cocoa, on Farmington Ave in West Hartford (where Puerto Vallerta, and before that, Edelweiss, used to be) opened on December 23rd.
We (my parents and I) went here for lunch the day after Christmas, after Mom and I had spent 4 hours at Westfarms in the midst of after-Christmas sales. We were looking for something calm and quiet, and on our way to CVS and Larry's (aka The Greeting Shoppe), we passed Cocoa, and I wanted to at least check out the menu.

The restaurant itself is very spacious and calm. The bar area was fairly posh, a place I'd want to go for drinks in the evening. They were decorated for Christmas, with simple lighted garlands high up on the walls. We sat near the back, near the french door. It was cold, and I was glad I'd worn a sweater. Mom and I split the ham and cheese (prosciutto and mozzerella on foccacia, and I asked for the basil vinaegrette on the side, with a side salad) and the beet and chevre (with red cabbage) salad. Dad had a turkey sandwich. Prices were decent. We split the mini cupcake plate (coconut, red velvet, chocolate with chocolate frosting, and lemon meringue). The presentation was lovely, but the cupcakes themselves were a bit dry... all in all, we liked the place, and while the dinner prices were steep (around $25 per entree), we'd go back for lunch. The dessert menu had about 8 things we wanted to try.

After some more shopping (where we picked up a feather-on-a-stick toy for Pansy, which is about 3-4feet long, and had to carry it around WH center), we stopped for gingersnap (gingersnap, not gingerbread... not sure if it's actually different) lattes, we went to the Front Street Bistro (I think that's the name) for cupcakes. We had coconut, which was very, very good: moist and dense, not very sweet cake with coconut in it, with a really good vanilla buttercream with coconut on it. We also had a vanilla cupcake. The cake was the same as the coconut (minus the coconut), but the frosting was not worth eating. It was the kind of frosting that made me hate bakery cakes back in the 1980s. But I'd definitely go for another coconut cupcake.

Clint's mom made caramel popcorn that she sent up to us, and I need the recipe. It's delish! We've dined mainly on Christmas cookies and Christmas dinner leftovers (roast beef, salmon, leek and gruyere bread pudding (which turned out much, much better this time.... and I never blogged about it last time, that'll come), jello, salad, mashed potatoes and green beans).

I also made a semifreddo for Christmas dinner, which had some issues (in making hte custard, I overcooked it and essentially scrambled the eggs. Custard #2 was much better) but turned out great in the end. It's supposed to make enough for one 9x5 loaf pan, but I split it into two shorter loaf pans, so half the recipe was the perfect amount for 11 diners on Christmas night. We'll eat the other later this week.

I need to go to the gym daily in January.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas meme

I've seen this on some other blogs, and I just received it from Melissa. I'm pretty Christmassy this weekend, so the timing is perfect. :) (yay Christmas I love it)

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
paper. Bags are so expensive!

2. Real tree or Artificial?
I'd prefer real, but I currently have a fake tree. Tree disposal in this area confuses me. (and it seems that many that prefer fake prefer it because it's easier to put up than real. But.... Clint's real tree was far, far easier than my fake tree, even considering that we had to drive back to Long Acre's because they forgot to drill the hole in the trunk for his spikey tree stand. Also, my fake tree sheds almost as much as a real one, so I'm not avoiding post-holiday vacuuming at all by having the fake tree)

3. When do you put up the tree?
when I was in college, my parents and I would decorate usually around the 22nd or 23rd, or whenever I got home after exams. Now I usually put it up the first weekend in December.

4. When do you take the tree down?
not until after the 12th day of Christmas, January 6th.

5. Do you like eggnog?
I keep trying to.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
My American Girl Doll, in 1988.

7. Hardest person to buy for?
Clint's dad

8. Easiest person to buy for?
mom and Michelle

9. Do you have a nativity scene?
I have my dad's mom's nativity that she used to have in her apartment, which is nice and small, but I really covet my parents' that my mom made for their first Christmas together.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
multiple sweatshirts in size XL petite, at least one with a collar. I don't wear sweatshirts, and I am neither an XL nor a petite. (and oh god, I'm not 75, I would never wear a collared sweatshirt). Also, a button-down shirt with changeable Christmas-theme collars, and plaid elastic waist pants, both in size 14. This is all from the same person, who doesn't get that I'm not a 14/XL petite. I've also gotten Halloween decorations as Christmas presents. I could go on, I've had some real gems...

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
You'll shoot your eye out (A Christmas Story), which is quite possibly my favorite movie ever.

13. When do you start shopping?
always. I have been known to buy Christmas presents before the previous Christmas. I usually finish my shopping around Thanksgiving.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
um, see above, the XL petite sweatshirts.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
cookies, fruit cake, yorkshire pudding, mulled cider and mulled wine, stollen.

16. lights on the tree?
the more, the merrier! Lately I'm into white lights, possibly because the rest of the room is lit with colored Christmas lights.

17. Favorite Christmas song?
the more religious ones, O Holy Night, etc, (which is half the reason I'm so good at going to church during Advent) and Wassail Song (not "here we come a-wassailing", but "wassail, wassail all over the town")

18.Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Travel to go home. Usually it's Christmas Eve at my grandma's and Christmas night at my parents', but this year there's talk of doing Christmas Eve at Granby and have that be it, due to all the on-going construction mess at my parents' house.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
growing up, it was an angel, but my mom bought me this awesome fluffy, glittery star at Ikea a few years ago.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
extended family on Christmas Eve night, immediate family on Christmas morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?
that Christmas starts before Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving's a great holiday, give it its chance!

23. Favorite ornament theme or color?
my parents have some lovely pastel ornaments, but I feel bad having a pink tree at Christmas. We set up a separate Disney tree and cat and dog trees. My NH tree has all the ornaments I stole from my parents, some home-made ones, some from trips, some were gifts, and a slew of glittery Martha Stewart Home balls. I'm bad at themes, because I want to put all the ornaments up... when I have a house, I'll probably have to have multiple themed trees.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner?
our Christmas dinner does not change. I tried to change it once, and people were angry. We have: shrimp dip and cheeses with crackers, and baked brie and gruyere puff pastry bites for cocktail hour, then roast beef with green beans (which are always canned, no matter how much I complain), mashed potatoes, salad, jello, yorkshire pudding (which I introduced a few years ago, and people were ok), and banana and maraschino cherry breads for the main meal, and Friendly's jubilee roll and assorted cookies for dessert. This year I'm considering axing the stupid jubilee roll (I've never liked it) and making a semifreddo with honeyed fruit.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year?
I really have no idea. A security deposit for an apartment, perhaps? Or anything off our new bridal registries would be much loved. Nothing that I have to worry about packing when I move in February.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Not knitting, but possibly domestic.

I scrubbed floors today. In lab. Our floors are filthy.

Why, you ask? Well.

I was doing a pulse-chase experiment, which is basically a very, very radioactive experiment. It's kind of scary, the amount of radioactivity this experiment uses. This morning I was doing part of it, getting ready for a 2 hour incubation, and I was wrapping the sample tubes in parafilm (kind of like saran wrap) to make doubly sure there'd be no leaks, and whoops, one fell.... and popped open when it hit the floor, spilling half a mL of highly radioactive liquid on the floor.

This event required about 7 hours of decontamination. I scrubbed the floor with a harsh detergent, checked my progress with a Geiger counter and something a bit more sensitive (a scintillation counter), scrubbed more, scrubbed more, scrubbed more. Then I stepped in radioactivity, so we had to bag my shoes and a labmate was kind enough to run to my car to grab my gym bag, in which were sneakers. More scrubbing. Then I scrubbed with an abrasive, Comet-like soap, which finally (finally!) made a difference in how radioactive the floor was.

Then the guy from environmental health and safety swooped in to continue/finish the decontamination, thank god. He has mostly decontaminated my shoes, and will give them back when they're clean, which might be tomorrow.

But not only was this frusterating, scary, annoying and painful (my torn minuscus does not like kneeling to scrub floors), I had to cancel a lunch date and totally screw up my experiment schedule. I'm going to finish this experiment tomorrow, and I will not have shakey hands.

So now I'm exhausted, but I'm relieved that the floor is now safe again.

We call things that register on the Geiger counter (i.e. are radioactive) "hot". Things that are not radioactive are "cold". The floor was really hot. I kinda felt like that website "hot or not" as I assessed what part of the floor was hot, and what was not so hot. Also, luckily, I am not hot. EHS guy wanded me to make sure.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Both Cate and Bird tagged me for a couple random things list. Cate wanted 7, Bird wanted 6, so here are 7 random facts about me! (and sorry for procrastinating so on this!)

7 random facts

1. I'm allergic to green bell pepper (i.e., raw bell pepper tastes like burning, but jalapeno has a pleasant, mild zing), but I'm content to pick the green pepper bits out of cooked dishes like pizza, fajitas, etc.

2. I have a severe aversion to raised ranch houses. I hates them. I have no idea why.

3. I had a great love of socks, and subsequently, many, many pairs, until shoes started getting cute and varied, around the year 2000. Now I have both too many socks and too many shoes (approx 90 pairs of shoes, and 2 sock drawers)

4. Fall is my favorite season.

5. I like to use Christmas lights as part of my interior lighting, college dorm room style. I'm worried I'll have to grow out of this habit at some point.

6. I knit in public regularly, and love to work on cabled socks (5 dpns, one cable needle) to get reactions out of non-knitters that see me.

7. My favorite foods are cheese (most varieties) and grapefruit. (not together)

I'm not going to tag anyone, because I actually don't know that many bloggers. But if you're reading this, you can pretend I've tagged you. :)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Catching up... again

Since my last post, bunches and bunches have happened. Today I'll tell you about the edible parts of that, and sometime after Christmas, I'll tell you about the knitting parts.

Before food, let's enjoy my cat. She discovered a Pansy-sized couch on Thanksgiving evening.
Our two Thanksgiving delicacies are somewhat unusual- at least, I've never heard of them being the most important parts of any other family's Thanksgiving dinner.

Chicken pot pie, which dates back to the mid-20th century (probably earlier, but mom's Thanksgiving memories start in the early 1950s), when there would be upwards of 40 people at the Thanksgiving table (which stretched through 2 rooms). There was always one turkey, but one turkey does not easily feed 40. They'd kill the rest of the chickens (keeping none over the winter) on the farm and make a chicken pot pie. These days we have around 12 diners, and the turkey would be sufficient for our group, but we still have (and adore) the pot pie. It's simple, just large chunks of chicken, a thin gravy, and a biscuit top.

And peanut butter dates. We always have these on Thanksgiving, and only on Thanksgiving. They're just dates sliced open with a little dab of peanut butter inside, and rolled in sugar. It's not like they're seasonal or difficult, but they're only made for Thanksgiving (and usually they disappear in about 15 minutes). I made some this year, I wasn't sure if it'd be taken care of. This is usually Grandma's contribution.

As usual, I also made two pies.
Pumpkin (from the recipe on the Libby's can) and apple cranberry ginger (inspired by williams sonoma)

I splurged and bought a new pie dish from Simon Pearce, as a reward for my successful PhD defense. Unfortunately, they're discontinuing the cranberry bakeware, so I think I need to stock up soon!

I've also had some really nice food over the past few weeks. The defense dinner was quite nice, we ate at the Norwich Inn. I had salmon that I can barely remember (ah, exhaustion) other than it was delicious, and we had nice little pear bites wrapped in prosciutto. It was very Giada and nicely done. The crisp pear worked much better than the cucumbers I tend to do, and it was also served with a balsamic reduction.

I had much celebratory cake: carrot cake at my cake/champagne reception at school, chocolate cake after dinner, apple cake (that I made) at the defense itself, and cupcakes on Sunday:

cupcakes (one chocolate, one vanilla, both with vanilla buttercream, from Lou's Bakery in Hanover, as were the carrot and chocolate cakes) pair very nicely with the new Beaujolais.

On Sunday we ate at Simon Pearce before all my people left, and I had, for the first time, their signature sesame chicken. It's basically chicken fingers (reminded me of the chicken fingers at Charlie's Place that used to be in West Hartford) with a lovely apricot glaze. Rachael Ray featured this once on $40 a day. Clint orders it often, but I usually see things I'd rather have than chicken.

And this brings us to some tasty foods I have made recently. I'm about to kick off Christmas Cookie Time, so I'll have many more home-made goodies to share.

I've been making caramel sauce.Looks nice here, right? Then over ice cream, even better! But, um, leave it overnight, and it's a crumbly mess. I've made it 4 times, and despite the recipe simply being too vague ("cook until desired consistency" is a ridiculous direction for sugar, because it thickens as it cools!), I can't get it right. It may be that this recipe needs to be used while fresh, because no matter how short a time I boil the brown sugar, cream and butter mixture, it crystallizes by the next morning.

Last night I had better luck with something I'd never tried before:Cheesecake! Recipe from Coconut & Lime. I started out in an 8x8, like she recommended, then I decided it'd be much prettier in my tart pan, so I ended up with an extra mini cheesecake to devour instantly. But it affected my cooking time, so I'm not sure if I may have overbaked...? Is it supposed to be brown on the edges like that? Well, either way, I'm thrilled with my first cheesecake (even though the recipe is for cheesecake squares, so may be a little different than true cheesecake.... I'll pursue this further). I'm bringing this to book club tonight, so hopefully it'll be well-received! My book club ladies are good cooks, so when they give compliments, the food is really quite good.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Knitting meme

Bold = Have already tried this
Italicized = Plan to try this
Unemphasized = Have no desire to try this

- Afghan
- I-cord
- Garter stitch
- Knitting with metal wire
- Shawl
- Stockinette Stitch
- Socks: Top-down
- Socks: Toe-up
- Knitting with camel yarn- if the opportunity presents itself
- Mittens: Cuff-up
- Mittens: Tip down
- Hat
- Knitting with silk
- Moebius band knitting
- Participating in a KAL
- Sweater
- Drop stitch patterns
- Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn (unless yarn purchased at tag sales or found while cleaning out someone's house before they move to a nursing home counts, that I've done.)
- Slip stitch patterns
- Knitting with banana fiber yarn (interesting!)
- Domino knitting- meh
- Twisted stitch patterns
- Knitting with bamboo yarn
- Two end knitting (I don't really get it)
- Charity knitting
- Knitting with soy yarn
- Cardigan
- Toy/doll clothing
- Knitting with circular needles
- Baby items
- Knitting with your own handspun
- Slippers
- Graffiti knitting (lol)
- Continental knitting (just so I know how)
- Designing knitted garments (do socks count?)
- Cable stitch patterns (oh so many!)
- Lace patterns
- Publishing a knitting book
- Scarf
- Teaching a child to knit (if I have a child, it's going to knit)
- American/English knitting
- Knitting to make money
- Buttonholes
- Knitting with alpaca
- Fair Isle
- Norwegian knitting
- Dying with plant colors
- Knitting items for a wedding
- Household items (do coffee cup cozies count? I'm not really into washcloths)
- Knitting socks on two circulars
- Olympic knitting
- Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn (I'll take any yarn I can get!)
- Knitting with dpn’s (honestly, this is my favorite- it's probably why I knit socks so much)
- Holiday-related knitting
- Teaching a male how to knit
- Bobbles (I have an irrational hatred of bobbles)
- Knitting for a living
- Knitting with cotton
- Knitting smocking
- Dyeing yarn
- Steeks (I'm afraid)
- Knitting art
- Fulling/felting
- Knitting with wool
- Textured knitting
- Kitchener BO
- Purses/bags (I'm really surprised to realize I haven't actually done this yet)
- Knitting with beads (I should, what with all my beads)
- Swatching (aren't we always supposed to?)
- Long tail CO (I need to learn another way)
- Entrelac
- Knitting and purling backwards
- Machine Knitting
- Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegated yarn
- Stuffed toys (I should add this to the baby knitting list)
- Knitting with cashmere
- Darning
- Jewelry (I tried... and frogged)
- Knitting with synthetic yarn
- Writing a pattern (I've made a few patterns, I just haven't written them down)
- Gloves (so far, only fingerless- but I should go all the way)
- Intarsia
- Knitting with linen
- Knitting for preemies (well, I would if there were a preemie to knit for)
- Tubular CO
- Freeform knitting
- Short rows
- Cuffs/fingerless mitts/armwarmers
- Pillows (ok, this could be cute)
- Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
- Rug
- Knitting on a loom
- Thrummed knitting
- Knitting a gift
- Knitting for pets (I've knit all the pieces for Pansy's bed, but I haven't assembled it yet)
- Shrug/bolero/poncho
- Knitting with dog/cat hair
- Hair accessories
- Knitting in public (constantly)
- Double knitting (interesting, but I'm not sure I see the point)

Monday, November 24, 2008


Friday was my thesis defense. I successfully defended my doctoral thesis, and now just have some revisions before it's really official.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Today we celebrate one year of Pansy!

Pansy then (11/17/07, 6.5 months old)Pansy now (11/17/08, about 1.5 years old)
(note significant increase in fluff)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

FFE Swap Question of the Week #7

What foods do you like to bake this time of year? Are there any that are traditional to you?

I like to bake anything apple or pumpkin. I drink gallons of mulled cider (ok, not exactly baking). The most traditional thing I'll make is Thanksgiving pies, which I've been in charge of for the past 10 or so years. My mom will mail me cookies made from our old family gingerbread cookie recipe (at least, she'd better!). She always makes turkey shaped cookies, and uses a recipe that's pretty much the same as it was 350 years ago- yeah, we're very old-school. They unlike any other gingerbread cookie I've had, incredibly mellow and soft, almost cakey.

After Thanksgiving, we'll get into Christmas cookies! I'm still working on the to-bake list. In January, I'll get into Christmas bread- I have to get inspired by all my mom's fresh loaves while I'm home for the holidays to actually make my own. (hers is usually better, but mine's definitely good enough). The Christmas bread is definitely a tradition, though, it's a very old Danish recipe my ancestors kept with them when they came to the US.

Well, ok, speaking of tradition... but this has nothing to do with baking. In my family, even more important than the turkey on TG day are Grandma's peanut butter-stuffed dates. These are simply plain old dates, sliced open and stuffed with a dab of peanut butter, then rolled in sugar (or not, for the diabetics). It's the simplest thing ever, and there's really no reason to have them only at Thanksgiving, but we do only eat them at Thanksgiving.... and by eat, I mean devour. Grandma usually uses 3 tubs of dates, and 8-10 of us will finish them off in just a few minutes. And every year I wonder, why can't we have these at other holidays? It's not like dates are out of season at other times. But, that's the way it is. I'm looking forward to some peanut butter dates :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

National Vanilla Cupcake Day

This is how I celebrated this momentous, Christmas-like holiday:
Magnolia's vanilla cupcake and vanilla buttercream recipes, topped with fondant stars.

The cupcakes were made using a pan given to me by my colorswap partner, which is so appreciated!! I think mini cupcakes will work better for me than regular ones, just because of the reasons I make them (for example, half the time I bring them anywhere, there's so much other food that people can't handle a whole cupcake, so minis will be perfect- then they'd really replace a cookie).And in thesis news, I'm starting to get really nervous- butterflies nervous. My defense is 10 days away, so I guess I'd better throw myself head-first into preparing, to help reduce the butterflies.

Think good thoughts for me on Friday, Nov 21! 10am is my public presentation, 11am is the private defense.

Friday, November 7, 2008


, as Clint put it.

I handed in my thesis yesterday. Two weeks from today, I will give an hour-long public seminar on my thesis project and have a 2-3 hour private oral defense.

Rather than being nervous about that, however, I'm listless and have no idea what to do with myself. Thesis filled my time such that I didn't eat meals, but snacked while writing or revising. I have a good deal of work to prepare for the 21st, but I'm taking a mental vacation today.

And last night, I celebrated. I left lab super early (4:30!) to go shopping, and I bought gifts for swaps and for friends for Christmas (including one item I bought 3 of, but would have bought 6 or 7, if only they'd had more). I spent $80 on groceries, which included nice crusty bread, a pound of gruyere and a bottle of sauvignon blanc, and dined on cheese fondue (I've lost weight from the thesis, so I figured I could have fondue for one night, and not have to worry that I won't get to the gym). I knitted (finished 2 items, one for a swap and one for Christmas) and baked cowboy cookies. The cowboy cookies weren't that impressive, yet I'll share the recipe anyway. I found them rather bland, even with chocolate chips, coconut, oats and pecans. The dough was pretty good, though (and cookie dough goes nicely with pinot noir), but mostly because I love oatmeal cookie dough.

And during my absence from blogging, we had an absence of FFE swap questions of the week- nice coincidence for me.

Question of the Week #6

“What seasonal knitting projects are you looking forward to?”

I don't think I'm really doing seasonal knitting projects, I'm really just trying to pump out all my Christmas and baby gifts asap. After that, I may start my wedding shawl, because I'm getting close to choosing a pattern. Also, in February, I will be living in Massachusetts, so there's a move in there to interfere.

So, lame answer, but nothing specifically "seasonal".

Oh, except maybe a christmas tree hat (ravelry link) that my SnB is doing as a KAL- although they're meeting to decorate the knitted hat a week from yesterday, and I'll never have it done by then. So I'm not sure I'll knit it, but it's so cute.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Look! It's my thesis!

Now I can get back to my regularly scheduled life... for the weekend, at least.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

This is turning into a thesis blog.

Ok, update.
Chapter 2: check.
Chapter 3: Version 3 form (maybe final?)
Chapter 3 Appendix: same as above.
Chapter 1: version 2 is with Charlie
Chapter 4: version 2 is coming along and will get to Charlie sometime tomorrow.
Abstract: version 2.0, needing some more tweaking before it gets back to Charlie.

Chapter 2: check.
Chapter 3/Appendix: minor tweaking, adjusting brightness/contrast, fussing with labels, etc
Chapter 1
1.2: almost check.
1.3: borrows heavily from 1.2, so won't take too long
1.1: um, not started yet, hopefully won't take long- it's all mindless ppt cartooning, though.
Chapter 4: one figure, almost check.

Then I have to do the intro text: table of contents, list of figures, acknowledgements, dedication. Then assemble the entire thing.

Non-thesis update: um, the GSC Halloween party was rather dismal. Bad music, lots of drunk 23-year-olds (apparently everyone pregames, although everyone only get 2 free drinks now, and it's expensive to buy, so I don't really blame them.) Although I had cheez balls, and I love fake cheez flavor. I liked my costume. I wish I'd had friends there so there were pictures of me that were not solely for the purpose of photographing my costume.

I cast on my color swap knitted item. I stayed up too late last night and got quite a bit done- I should get to the 50% complete point tonight.

I baked more apple cupcakes yesterday. However, no time for frosting, so they're more like apple muffins. Still, yum.

I'm exhausted. I'm tension headache-y. My headache meds take the headache away but leave me nauseas- so which is worse, headache or nausea? Yesterday was nausea, today I'll go for headache.

Charlie said this is the hardest part of my graduate career and he was so right.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Brief update: knitting schedule

No cooking lately (despite plans for more pumpkin bars, apple crisp and apple cupcake/muffins this weekend- I went drinking with D instead. I deserve it, thesis is very stressful), but some knitting updates.

I had family and in-law family up this weekend (it was the Big Meeting of the Families), and mom took me to White River Yarns, the LYS (local yarn shop), and she treated me to nearly all the yarn I expect to need for the next 2-3 months!! (nearly because two projects were not included, but these are projects that will use inexpensive yarn from Joann's, so I'll buy them in small batches with the 40% off coupons, as needed).

This pleases me greatly, half because I can't actually afford my knitting addiction, and half because she was nice enough to do this :) Thanks, mom.

I'll try to post a picture of the new purchases tomorrow, but I got fancy yarn and fancy needles for Grandma for her birthday, 2 skeins for my Color Swap partner (one I'll knit and one I'll give with an appropriate pattern), one skein to finish a semi-secret project (i.e. Christmas gift for someone), 4 balls for cup cozies for all my family, one skein of classic self-striping sock yarn for myself, and a hat pattern that'll hopefully turn into a hat for my dad (using stash yarn- he lost the one I knit him last year (or possibly the year before) and that project left more than half a ball). I also bought (with my own money) some nice turquoise worsted merino at the farmer's market, which'll turn into chevalier mittens for mom.

I'm currently working on Muscari socks, and completed the heel last night. Once I finish that, I'll start the color swap project, assemble that package and mail it off, and then cast on a Christmas gift of the same swap project pattern (since I'll be on a roll with it by then), and then I have two other Christmas gifts that are just barely beyond casting on. Then hat, finish the semi-secret gift, another (larger) gift, and baby stuff. The baby stuff, however, will be started after Christmas, because none of it's really needed until January.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

National Chocolate Cupcake Day

Here's how we celebrated this important holiday:
With a chocolate cupcake and two iced teas from the Boardwalk Bakery at the Boardwalk Hotel at Disney World. (sadly, the cupcake wasn't all that good)

I'm back from Disney, I have a lot of blogging to catch up on, but it'll have to wait til Thesis 2.0 is handed in.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

National Cupcake Day

I'm woefully behind on posting! so sorry. I have several FO's to show off, food pictures to share, a package to post about, and a gift that I'm incredibly excited to use. However, thesis is priority, so blogging waits...

oh yeah, and I'm going to Disney World tomorrow. woohoo!!

Anyway, rumor has it that Saturday, Oct 18th is National Cupcake Day. There is, however, some discrepancy and discussion with the National Food Holidays site, which say it's December 15th.

Um, why not just celebrate twice? These are cupcakes, people, they can have 2 days!

I will make doubly sure to eat a Disney World cupcake (or perhaps just a Norwegian or French pastry instead) on Saturday.

Edit: I've been perusing the National Food Holiday website, and I am just so amused. Every day is the special day for some food! I wonder how possible it would be to eat the day's special food, every day for a whole year. Only... I think I'd have to skip National Scrapple Day. I am not Chef Duff.

Monday, October 13, 2008

FFE Swap Question of the Week #5

I'm far behind on other things I mean to post, but this question is easy for me.

Do you like football? Who is your favorite team?

I hate football. Passionately. I hate how obsessed people get with it, I hate that it takes forever to play the stupid game, and I find it incredibly dull. I also dated someone once whose life revolved around football, and he'd never do anything else if his team was playing, and had to talk about it constantly. It got old, fast.

I attend superbowl parties because the secondary goal of the party is to eat, and usually to eat chili (which I love and never make myself) and I enjoy the company of my friends. I also have learned to bring knitting to superbowl parties.

Back in high school I hated football because I thought it was very sexist- it probably still is, but I care less about that now, because I'd never want to play myself.

I hate the Patriots because they put Hartford in a small uproar for a while (they'd planned to move the founder's cemetary (i.e. where all the 1600s people are buried) to build the stadium). I also hate that Brady guy because everyone's so gaga over him.

I can't wait til football season is over :)

Sports I like: basketball, baseball, hockey. Sports that have action (I make an exception for baseball) and movement.

(I'm not this bitter normally, football is just one of those things)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

In which I am unoriginal

Man, I'm bummed about this recent post from Cupcakes Take the Cake.

Double Kisses Chocolate Cupcakes
where hershey's kisses are set inside cupcake batter, so have an ooey gooey center once baked.

I am bummed because I was going to do this, and now the whole world (well, the whole cupcake-obsessed world, I suppose not everyone reads Cupcakes Take the Cake) will know about it!

But, um, I actually got the idea from an episode of Dinner Impossible on the food channel, the one where they're cooking dinner for Hershey's employees, and it was something one of the Hershey's chefs mentioned. So, yeah, I have no reason to be bummed.

Especially since I have new very awesome recipes to share (pictures soon, I forgot to snap any of the cookies this morning.

Pumpkin Blondies (link to follow, is down). Oooh. Although I highly recommend severely cutting back on the chips- I couldn't really taste the pumpkin over the massive amounts of chocolate.

Candy Corn Sugar Cookies! Easy, cute and tasty.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Catching up

I've been up to quite a bit lately, too much to spare time to blog about it.

In order:
My FFE swap spoiler sent me a package!!! It's all sorts of awesome. She sent Everyday Food's Great Food Fast, a book I've been lusting after since it was released. I can't wait to try some of the recipes! Also pink super, super soft sock yarn that's already queued up to be flutter-by socks. A pattern for Wendy Bernard's Somewhat Cowl (yay!!), a red and black draw string bag that's so going to Florida with me in a couple weeks, and some treats for Pansy. Pansy was pleased.

Saturday we went apple picking. We came home with 20.5lbs of apples, which have been baked into apple crisp, eaten, and pondered. I'll make more apple cupcakes tomorrow, and maybe also apple pie (or apple pie this weekend), and LynneP (I think) from the Sha-recipe Swap on ravelry sent a recipe for apple pie bars that I may also try. I wonder how those would go on the plane? Hmm.

The rest of the weekend was spent working (and knitting in the breaks), because YESTERDAY I HANDED IN MY THESIS. and ok, this is just draft 1 of the thesis, and to my advisor so he can look it over before I revise and hand in to my committee, but still, this is a huge relief. I'm taking tomorrow off to 1. celebrate, 2. rest, 3. catch up on all the stuff I've been ignoring (like birthdays- hopefully my family will understand and not get annoyed with me for not calling the birthday people- also cleaning, putting away laundry, doing laundry, etc etc.). I'm also taking tomorrow off for some scheduled condo nonsense, which is less exciting.

I finished my chevalier mittens (photos soon) and cast on a pair of fetchings originally meant for my color swap partner, until I remembered she's allergic to wool, and that's why I'd planned to go to WRY to buy her alpaca, I knew there was a reason! However, I'm not happy with the previous two pairs of fetching that I've done, as I used horribly inappropriate yarn (knitting bulky yarn on size 5s just to make the gauge right is not so clever), so I'm keeping the current fetchings.

Finally, FFE Swap Question of the Week #4: What are you going to be for Halloween?
Last year I meant to be Persephone (white gauzy stuff, a pomegranate), but I took ill and my 103 fever prevented me from doing any celebrating (however, the Halloween party I was planning to attend was extremely lame- I wish various powers that be would stop shutting down the Grad Student Council's social events). Since I never had a Halloween last year, I believe I'll pull out the gauze and buy another pomegranate and try again.

Speaking of Halloween, Clint and I are very excited that next year, we might get trick or treaters! I don't know what's up with New Hampshire, but I've not once seen kids trick or treating here. I was mildly surprised when no one came trick or treating at my condo complex the first couple years I lived there (actually, my first year here, I was stuck in lab til 8pm and was so, so upset at the thought that kids were coming to my door and I was missing them), because one side of the street is all houses, most with kids, and my complex is 70 units where you don't have to enter any doors to get to the unit doors, so very safe, and no one comes. Even driving around on Halloween night at dusk, I see no kids. It's strange. I hope Massachusetts celebrates, because Halloween should not be a holiday just for 20-somethings and college students!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thoughts on baking

It's probably pretty obvious by now, but I love to bake. I love the act of baking, the results of baking, contemplating baking, reading about and looking at photos of other peoples' baking, etc, etc, etc. I think it's just about the funnest thing ever.

Clint and I went to Umpleby's for lunch, each had a sandwich and a cup of tea, and um, when you go to a bakery, you kind of have to buy some sweet baked lovely. We had chocolate souffle. (this is somethign I need to try to bake sometime... perhaps when I have a proper house and no slammy-the-door neighbors)

Now, I'm down to two apple cupcakes from Monday's batch- it was such fast work because I gave Clint's office so many, and brought some to lab, and also ate them for breakfast (hey- I assure you, no one would have any complaints about this apple cupcake recipe done in a bundt pan, sans frosting, as a breakfast item). Because I'm nearly out of baked goods (by the time I go to bed tonight, I will be, except for those quinoa cookies... did I ever mention those? They're interesting but kind of weird- granola bar-like, but very, very soft and don't hold together very well), I've been pondering baking.

I think I want this:
A mini cupcake (or muffin, whatever) pan! Think about it- you want a cupcake, but you really just want a little bite. You can't leave half a cupcake in the container (for a variety of reasons), so mini cupcakes! Plus I bake often for events and things, and sometimes I think cupcakes are just too big.

And, of course, I'd need little mini cupcake wrappers of adorableness:

Um, while looking for the photo of the mini cupcake pan, I saw this pan, and oh my...

Have you ever seen something so cool?!? As one who definitely prefers the corners, this might be worth the $43 KAF is charging. Or... um, can I have a wedding registry at KAF? At least 30% of our wedding guests will be an easy drive from the store!

Up for the weekend: more baking. I'm not entirely sure what, but something tasty. I'm in a recipe swap on ravelry, and this month's theme is pumpkin. So far I've received a recipe for pumpkin roll with cream cheese frosting filling. Unfortunately, I don't exactly have a jelly roll pan, but I think I can fake it with my sided cookie sheet. I may make that- I have to bring food for choir break on Wednesday, I wonder if a jelly roll type of thing would work. I also recently came across some good recipes for pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin waffles, so maybe I'll make those... this is, of course, assuming I'm awake enough either morning this weekend to do more than pop something in the toaster. I'll keep you posted.

ps. I'm now knitting mittens.
Clapotis #2 is kinda almost done, but I've run out of yarn. I've started some chevalier mittens (pictures soon) and am enjoying it so much I hope to designate a single skein of yarn from a shop in Jamaica, VT for a second pair. I hate buying one skein, because I never can think of any good small projects. However, if mittens work, great- I need new mittens.

I finished the pinwheel blanket, photos soon. I've run out of yarn on it, but I'll buy more and make another blanket with similar colors. I have a total of 7 babies-t0-be to knit for. !! lol it's a weird clustering.

(btw: all the items I've shown today are linked, click on the photo! Buy me stuff! just kidding)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

oh my, lol

Someone on ravelry posted this, and I had to share.

Appley goodness!

I finally made those apple cupcakes I've been dreaming of! Yesterday was terribly unproductive in terms of thesis, so I decided to do what non-thesis things I would have done on Sunday if Sunday'd been less productive. And voila, cupcakes. These are good.

The recipe: I used apples that were unlabeled (my grocery store loves to get apples from the local orchards, but they never say what they are. I grabbed a bag from the Mac/Cortland table, and maybe they're macs, but I think they taste better- they're juicy, sweet apples, anyway), peeled them with my lovely apple peeler/corer, shredded them with a fun new grater I got at TJ Maxx over the weekend, and basically followed the recipe, no changes.

The batter's delish, it's much richer than I would expect. I didn't shred the apples finely, so there are nice chunks of apple throughout.

I frosted them with some cinnamon cream cheese frosting:
1 stick RT butter
1 8oz package RT cream cheese (I used the neufchatel kind, maybe the frosting's a little softer than if I used full fat, but whatever, it's still good)
some vanilla
a lot of cinnamon- maybe 1T
3-4 cups of confectioner's sugar, until it's stiff enough.

Beat and pipe. Then have a spoonful of frosting, it's quite good with coffee, and it'll kick start your morning. :)

On Saturday we went to the farmer's market, and our friend Emily was there with her dahlia stand.

She has nice flowers.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fall foods

Falling for Ewe Swap question of the week #3:
What foods mean "fall" to you?

Well, in general, anything with apples or pumpkin as a main ingredient. The food I've been most excited to have this fall has been mulled cider... and it was worth waiting for! I hope to find a recipe for a quick pumpkin bread this fall, and I have serious plans to make lots of apple foods... starting this weekend with some apple cupcakes. I also love when candy corn is everywhere, we opened a bag of the candy corn-like pumpkinse last and ate about half...

I have high hopes for the cupcakes- I even bought a new pastry trip for frosting them, and fun striped cupcake wrappers. However, they are my reward for finishing the first draft of my thesis, so I have to write write write before I'm allowed to make them! Fortunately, at this point, I have outlines for the last two sections, and I should be able to finish writing them before heading home tonight. YAY.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Pretty little things

I love these. I'm waiting to get enough money to buy them
Aren't they adorable? These stitch markers were made by a woman I went to grad school with, who has recently decided to put all her effort into her etsy shop, weeones. There was a really interesting interview recently, which was even more interesting because I know her. Plus, she makes beautiful things.

I also love these knitting needles, what a wonderful idea!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

An idea

I just had this idea, kind of inspired by a post on the Knit n' Bake group on Ravelry...

cheese fondue.... with donuts. Dip the donuts in the fondue, like instead of whatever lovely artisan bread you'd dip. mmm.

I made cookies last night. I will talk about those later, I'm in the library, "writing". Well, I will write, just as soon as I click "publish"....


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I should start a wist.

Of course, it'd be filled with food-related items, otherwise I wouldn't post it here. wamozart12 cooks, after all.

Look at this. Buy your own gum paste.
Gum paste (and fondant, the key difference is that gum paste is softer than fondant, and stays soft if it touches buttercream. however, gum paste is often used to make fondanty decorations (i.e. placed on top of rolled fondant, which is on top of buttercream) is not exactly easy to make. You need weird ingredients (incidentally, these are items I use regularly in lab, but I'm not about to bring bottles of reagents home to use to make a cake).

KAF also sells this cupcake pan I've featured before, and since I can actually get to KAF any time I want (whereas WS requires a 2.5hr drive), I might run over there... or perhaps request gift cards for Christmas. O.O

But really, the goal I had when I got side tracked by all these lovelies was unique cupcake wrappers. My grocery store has the regular ones (pastel pink, yellow or blue, with or without the silver wrapper) and the all natural, organic, vegan, no-animals-were-harmed-in-the-making-of-these-cupcake-wrappers kind (because I live in the UV). I want fun ones! Little orange pumpkins, or christmas trees, or hearts or flowers or stripes or polka dots. Anything. If the cupcakes themselves are lovely, why must they have such dull wrappers?
These are lovely, but $12.95/dozen, so not ideal.

Searching for wrappers... these white filigreed ones are lovely, but $12.95/dozen- not ideal.

However, here are Lilly Pulitzer meets J Crew meets cupcake wrappers.... perfect! $4 for a package of 80, from They have a nice variety, including the above filigreed ones (which I originally found on

Oh, hello yumminess!

I saw this on Cupcakes Take the Cake today. Can we say yum? I totally want to bake some cupcakes tonight. Or chocolate chip cookies... oh, or both.(photo swiped from the CTtC post, property of them and the people they swiped it from)

They're classic vanilla cupcakes with a dollop of chocolate chunk cookie dough instead of frosting. They say:
Despite the slight risk of Salmonella and other food-bourne illnesses, cookie dough has probably been eaten by every American since the raw dough craze took off in the early 1990’s — in ice creams, refrigerated tubes, and straight from the mixing bowl. Here it’s transplanted on a vanilla cupcake as a frosting substitute. When I brought these to a cupcake social hosted by Rachel and Nichelle of Cupcakes Take the Cake last week (just something I scraped together on a whim, which I’ll describe further below), I had no idea the reception they would receive. Rachel’s eyes nearly popped out of their sockets when I told her what was on them — no, it’s not chocolate chip cookie dough-flavored frosting, it’s really the raw dough. This is more or less the same reaction that occurred with everyone else at the party once they found out.

However.... cookie dough ice cream doesn't actually have eggs in the cookie dough. Honestly, I have a few reservations on the safety of this recipe (see above link), but doesn't it look good? I'll let you know if I find an egg-less cookie dough recipe. The egg-less stuff is not as good a dough as regular, but it might be safer to make in advance than eggy dough.

Edit: ha, I knew I'd find an egg-less cookie dough if I used teh interwebs! This recipe is from Lynette's kitchen (oops, with a broken link) by way of Tori at, who posted her recipe as a comment on CTtC. (side note: Tori has a nice blog, I'd check it out)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Chocolate with a kick

This past weekend was my 10 year high school reunion (more on that later). On the way down, we stopped at the Vermont Country Deli, just off Exit 2 on I-91. I've been to this place a few times, not often, but now I know I need to go there far more often. This place has such a variety of tasty foods, and I thought it'd be the perfect place to go to assemble a care package for someone far away.

Many things (aside from the fresh food and made-to-order sandwiches of deliciousness- we had the I-91 Italian and Route 9 Roast beef) are local (northern NE, not specifically southern VT), but many are not, but are simply amazingly good and worth shipping about.

Chocolove XOXO contains a love poem on the inside of the wrapper, and for an unconventional flavor, might I recommend Chilies and Cherries in Dark Chocolate?It's good quality dark chocolate with bits of dried cherries and chili powder- so it's spicy! This would be pretty awesome with a full red wine (not with the pink merlot I was drinking last night, that was fine with my Big E maple sugar).

I should do an entry on wine and candy pairings. I eat/drink enough of both to have some advice...

I also picked up some licorice, because I love licorice and I especially love it in the car (it can settle one's stomach if one needs that). I try just about every new type of licorice I come across, and so far I love the bridge mix the local grocery coop sells, which I believe is by Jelly Belly, and also Panda Licorice (especially the raspberry sticks), but on Friday I found Darrell Lea Soft Licorice, and yum! They also had it in green apple, which I was tempted to try, but Clint was buying and I didn't want to be greedy. Just now, looking around for a photo, I've found they have about 4 other flavors, including raspberry, strawberry and ginger. Hmm.As you can probably tell from this image, sells it, so ooooh, you non-Vermonters can get it, too! It'd actually be cheaper, 8 packages from is $36, and I paid $6 for one bag (not counting shipping, of course). It's super soft, but not in a gummi bear way, more of a soft gumdrop way, almost like fondant- but softer. The point is, it doesnt' stick to your teeth. Also, very nice flavor.

Edit: last night I went to the grocery store, headed over to the candy section to buy Clint more of the Chili Cherry Chocolate, because I'd polished it off while studying in the library, and felt guilty, and discovered.... Darrell Lea Licorice! For $2.39- and here I was, saying was cheap. I bought original (as pictured above), mango and green apple. I also got Dagoba chocolate (previously seen on the food channel) in lemon ginger dark chocolate, and a whole bunch of fruit leathers... I had kind of a sugar-high night.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Kaputt: Ein blog auf Deutsch.

Ich habe mein kaffee-mahler gebrochen. Oder, mein kaffee-mahler habe sich gemahlen.

Ich brauche ein zweiter. Wieviel kosten den?

(Intended translation, because my German is extremely rusty: I broke my coffee grinder. I tend to switch to German when thinking/talking about coffee.)

In other news, I'm sorely undercaffeinated because I can never make coffee strong enough using pre-ground grounds. yech. I tried to buy one as I was hurriedly running errands today, and stopped in Kohl's for some Hose without Toes (no, they do not carry that), and they don't seem to carry coffee grinders. I'll have to stop at Board & Basket sometime.

Knitting update

I'm usually good about not having too many WPIs around. UFOs are another story- those have been set aside indefinitely. but WPIs, that's different.

I have a bunch now, I think too many. However, one is nearly done, one is half done, one I'm enjoying thoroughly (probably because it's fairly mindless compared to everything else) and one... I'll probably enjoy more once I get more into the pattern.

I have a handful of Christmas gifts-to-be to be worked on, and I think I've chosen patterns and at least have an idea of the yarn to use for all of them. For the most part, they are small-ish accessory items, so I hope I could finish 3 a month. This is, of course, assuming I get all my current WPIs out of the way first.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Too cute!

House-Mouse Designs has a new cast of characters, the Happy Hoppers! I haven't been much into House-Mouse lately, but I just love this design:
Follow-up top my last post: I overnighted the dress to my mom, and she'll take it to our seamstress, who will hopefully have time to sew in a new zipper by Friday! Overnighting it wasn't horribly expensive, but then again, the dress probably weighs about 1 lb... I hope I never have to overnight anything heavy.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Well, I got my shoes, and they're awesome.

Then I went to try them on with the dresses (look great! yay!) and MY RED DRESS BROKE. Dammit. I am so upset right now! 1. the red dress is brand new, and 2. now what am I going to wear to reunion?

:( >goes off and cries<

Falling For Ewe Swap Question of the week #2

What ‘cold weather’ project are you looking forward to making the most the autumn?

I'll be making some of the new socks, for me and as Christmas gifts. I'll also probably make clapotis for myself with my new red mohair (assuming 500yds is enough). I had hopes to make myself a cardigan, but I probably won't start it til the winter, and there is one cold-weather item I have high hopes to start, but it's top-secret.

If I'm able to make that top-secret one, I bet it'll be my favorite, but I am looking forward to using my new blue sock yarn from Saturday for socks for me.

Other WIPs include baby items for the big baby boom of Jan-April 2009. So far I'm nearly done with a recently-found baby sweater UFO, and I'm working on a pinwheel blanket.

I also need to finalize my Christmas gift list, and figure out what I'm really making for everyone, I have 5 projects to start and 1 to finish, but I only know what two of those projects will be, and have no yarn for any of it.

Fun at the Fair, part 2: The Tunbridge Fair


I'll add more photos later, but here's one I took this morning, after gathering together all my winnings (i.e. all my entries)
We went out to the fair, and it was kind of promising in the morning... rainy, but cloudy, and it got progressively muggier and grosser as the day went on, so by the time we got there at 3:15 or so, it was disgusting and sunny. The yellow jackets were having a blast, ugh. We parked right across from the far entrance, which is right where Floral Hall, home of the exhibits, is, so went there immediately. We all won! Such success among the three of us (me, Clint and D). We browsed around the rest of the fair, but were all very glad we got there late-ish in the afternoon, because by 5 or so, we were bored. We ate, saw animals, saw vendors selling crap, saw weird-looking people (D and I felt very stylish, in our jeans, plain shoes appropriate for mud, and normal tshirts- our clothes actually fit properly and we don't have flesh spilling out all over. That's fashion!), saw more animals, had free cheese samples, saw vegetables, saw midway rides, had maple sugar candy (yummm), not quite in that order, and at the end, returned early to Floral Hall, where we were told we'd have to get in line to pick up our stuff. D got in the stuff line, I got in the money line, Clint and G went to the car for our bags, and we went at it. I'm very impressed by their organization- two money lines, alphabetical by last name, and in the pick-up-your-stuff line, you said your name and got your sheet from a woman, then moved over and had one volunteer take your sheet and walk with you through the exhibits to grab each of your items. D, G and Clint did that. I waited in the food line, where they gathered all the ribbons and tags from each food item and stuck them to your sheet. Then you say your name, and they give you your sheet, which is covered in ribbons. (I found mine a very impressive sight).

Then we went home in a very round-about way, up a mountain on a dirt road (ah, Vermont), saw deer, horses, a llama (which is the red thing I had a nightmare about a few years ago, I'm sure), cows, oxen and Cujo, and got back on the main road.... and then drove by the fair again. So much for shortcuts!

I think we all had a really good time, despite the disgusting weather.

Photos to be added later, but for now, here's a link to my Tunbridge Fair set in flickr

ps. we all won money. I won quite a bit of money- just a few dollars short of paying for yesterday's yarn purchases :) extremely pleased.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fun at the Fair, part 1: The Big E

Yesterday was day 1 of the Fair Weekend: The Big E in Agawam, MA. Clint and I joined my parents there in the morning. We had to stop first for 2nd breakfast (first breakfast was scones in the car)
2nd breakfast was had in the Rhode Island building (you can't see in this photo, but the building says "Rhode Island" right above the main entrance. We dined on clam fritters- my favorite fair food.

Clint and I washed our fritters down with some Del's frozen lemonade.

We went through all the state buildings (RI, MA, ME, NH, CT, VT- I think I got that order right...?), stopping in MA to say hi to Smokey the Bear, snack on chocolate milk, raspberries and maple goodies.

The CT building had a nice United Technologies exhibit (where my dad works), and also a stand with some really nice-looking tomato-mozzarella salad that many others seemed to enjoy.

The NH building had some really pretty stained glass windows, as well as a granite map of NH in front. Clint and I tried to stand on our towns... and we do really live in Northern NH.

We paused in VT for beer, cider donuts (which were saved for this morning's breakfast) and yarn oggling- check out these adorable felted alpaca baby booties!!

We then met up with some of my parents' friends from the beach, and had lunch at the Storrowton Tavern. We dined on classic New England fair (baked scrod for Mom, meatloaf with mashed potatoes and butternut squash for Dad, a turkey club wrap for Clint, and chicken pot pie for me) and got to sit at proper tables- a nice change from normal fair meals.

After lunch, we saw animals:
Chicks! And a giant English Angora bunny! Also llamas, alpacas, ducks, and horses. We went to the cow/sheep building, where some 4-H kids played a 4-H joke and folded a $1 bill in half, sticking cow poo in the middle, and dropped it on the floor. It didn't quite fool us.

I went to the wool knook, and.....

BOUGHT YARN. I was wrong, mom was right, they do have nice yarn there- a very small selection, but the prices weren't bad. The red mohair was only $3/skein!

We did some other stuff (looking at vendors' stuff, going to the Grange building- Mom and I are going to enter stuff in their craft competition next year), and then it was time for the parade, so we gathered near the state buildings to watch.

Randomly, John Kerry was there. He led the parade.

Some floats in the parade threw Mardi Gras beads, and among the 4 of us, we did pretty well!

After that, more vendors, and we stopped for a drink. Clint made this Souveneir Cup Day and got a cherry soda.

For dinner, Mom and I had lobster rolls from the ME building, Clint had salmon on a stick from ME, we shared a blueberry crisp from ME, and dad had a chili dog from...somewhere, and a beer from VT. We also got Kettle Korn from NH, but that was mostly for the drive home and to enjoy this week.

We also carried on our tradition of maple sugar candy taste-testing, and bought maple pumpkins and little bite of maple candy from MA, maple ladies from VT, and maple NH and man-in-the-mountains (and a leaf for Clint) from NH. We haven't tried those yet, but I look forward to it.

More vendors (um... and Clint and I caved bought a couple Super Chammies... I'll let you know how they work), and finally, we left around 9:30, passing a calliope on the way out (they are calliopes, right? I think I have the name right).

All in all, we ate good food, didn't buy anything really crazy (I also got free toothpaste at a Sensodyne booth!), and we ended up exhausted and with hurting feet. Very fun!