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Happy 2009 everyone! May 2008 soon be but a long lost memory (at least in some worldly/USAian government and economic senses and such). 2008 wasn’t such a bad year really for me and Suzi’s Knits. I managed to solidify my new active lifestyle, and completed my marathon (raising nearly $3000 for AIDS treatment) and 2 half marathons, I was published twice in Knitty (and got some really AWESOME yarn samples from Crystal Palace, they do make the best sock yarn… hey Mini Mochi isn’t out anywhere near me yet… beg beg beg) and I acquired 3 new furballs. The theme for this years blog (aside from knitting of course!) will likely be split between me doing my best to stick with the running and fitness (may drag Peter out for the Silicon Valley Marathon…), and of course ongoing commentary on the buns and cat, since they are terminally cute.
Today’s update from fuzzball land is that I made some felt cat toys, they are hideously easy to make. Lucia’s favorite toys are those hard foam cat balls (she dislikes catnip and bells) but of course she’s EXCELLENT at losing them so I was hunting a cheaper alternative. She still likes the store bought ones better than mine, but she WAS witnessed to play with mine, and even CAUGHT one in her mouth, ran upstairs, and dropped it at my feet like a dead mouse gift. Very cute. Anyhow, directions for the balls are best found elsewhere online. I didn’t bother to needle felt them into rounder shape (or rather I tried and failed) but I did make 2 variations. On some I wound some yarn around before I felted them in the wash for funky designs, and on others I needle felted yarn designs on them after (WAYYYY too much like work for all the cat does not care) My only caveat on the directions I linked to is, they come out the shape they come out. Make sure you wedge them in the nylons tight, and make sure they go in as round as possible. They make quick, cheap cat-approved toys. And if you don’t have spare stuff out there for felting… (I wonder how you found my blog? 😉 ) there’s tons of cheap wool on ebay. Nice colored stuff on etsy too. And you can also just toss a ball of wool yarn with tucked in ends into the washer…
2 weeks ago at a dinner party I made the following, compiled from about 4 or 5 different seafood recipes. Due to popular demand I’ve written down more or less what I did (I took notes for once!) and am sharing the recipe here. This is very tasty, rich feeling yet light, and actually pretty darned easy to make. The only annoying part is the white sauce, because white sauce is always annoying. It really means it when recipes say stir constantly (or rather, you darned well better be stirring in the last 30 seconds!) and it just takes forever to thicken.
Crab stuffed sole with shrimp sauce
By Suzi Anvin
Stuffed Sole –
2-2.5 pounds of sole fillets (2-3 individual fillets per person)
1 lb can of actual crab meat
1 minced shallot
1/4 cup dried parsley flakes (or equivalent fresh chopped parsley)
4 tbs melted butter
3 slices whole wheat bread, chopped to crumbs/tiny cubes
2 large eggs
aprx 1/3 pound chipped mushrooms
1/2 cup white wine
Salt and pepper to taste (I didn’t use any)
4 tbs butter
4 tbs flour
1/4 ts salt
2 cups milk
1/2 shallot, chopped (green only)
1/4 -1/2 cup grated cheese (I used mozzarella but swiss would be better)
1/3 cup white wine
1/2 pound tiny cocktail shrimp
(Additional milk to thin sauce if desired)
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Melt sauce butter in a saucepan, and add flour. Stir in milk, wine and salt and lower heat to medium/low. Stir as close to constantly as possible until mixture thickens and begins to simmer. While sauce is heating, begin stuffing instructions below, remembering to stir the sauce as frequently as possible (particularly at the end!).
Melt stuffing butter in a frypan, and add mushrooms, cook until soft. Combine mushrooms and all other stuffing ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Butter a large oven-safe casserole dish or 2 and place 8-10 of the larger fillets in the pan. Spoon the stuffing mixture in piles over each fillet, then cover each stuffing pile with 2 smaller fillets. Spoon approximately half the sauce over the fish so that each piece is coated with a layer of sauce, and place casserole(s) in oven. Bake at 400 F for 15 minutes. Return remaining sauce to stove, and stir in shrimp, cheese, shallots and if desired, additional milk to thin sauce. Use sauce to top each individual serving of fish after it is served.
I appear to have taken a week off blogging… ooops, I frankly never was good at journals and this was quite the week.
Marathon training continues to progress. We tapped out the entire length of the Los Gatos Creek trail last Saturday for our 20 mile run. They had us going nice and slow (14 mins a mile, run 3 mins walk 2) in keeping with Jeff Galloway’s program – you do the whole distance, but slower, so your legs are used to very long distances and very long exercise times by the marathon day arrives, yet you go so slow that the chance of injury is pretty nonexistent. Melissa and I had a good run- it was quite cool (stayed cloudy most of the morning in fact) and the time seemed to fly as we chattered away. No energy left for a sprint at the end this time like with 16 though. Overall, we finished in less time than I’d taken to do 18 miles two weeks before. That’s what nice cool weather does for ya!
Sunday in honor of having bought bathing suits that don’t fall off my new body, I decided that the day off exercise was a great excuse to finish a Terry Pratchet book in the sun. Rule #1. never suntan without sunscreen. Rule #2 never actually read a good book… I got myself rather severely sunburned from head to toe on both sides. Well, front and back. 😛 I have pale marks on the sides. *sigh* when the burn heels I will have to try this again WITH sunscreen, laying on my side while reading a less good book… 😛 its peeling nicely in huge sheets as I type this.
meanwhile, while I was running, napping, and cooking in the sun, our insane and loving bunny was not doing so well. I come in to use the bathroom before checking e-mail and whining about my cookedness to find the bunster sitting in the bathroom, not even noticing I walk in (usually she runs like she’s in trouble) right next to a puddle. Now keep in mind, Scamper has ONCE IN HER LIFE peed outside of a litter box – on a brand new comforter in a very clear act of defiance/play for dominance. So this is weird. but even weirder is that she doesn’t run away. Or really move much when I go to see what is wrong. She acts limp all evening, and won’t eat. I can tell from the PILES of fresh hay in the litter boxes that she hasn’t eaten at all today, and probably not much yesterday either. If you know buns you know this is a medical emergency. 24 hours without food and their gut starts to literally shut down. (how do they live in the wild you ask? mostly they don’t.) i try to feed her some mint by sticking it in her mouth and she makes the most horrible chewing noises and won’t finish the stalk. She DOES lick up some apple juice and canned pumpkin and we head off to the vet the next morning. Vet can’t find anything wrong. She’s so still she is almost self-sedated and we get a good look at her perfect teeth. Xray shows little amiss other than loads of gas in her belly. And 10 days ago she had a perfectly healthy blood panel drawn. Vet shrugs, gives us the force feeding stuff, and sends us home. Scamper is very lethargic and barely fights the feeding, but tries not to swallow… We go on with life, stubborn buns are pretty normal. Then in the evening we hear these SCREAMS like a cat in heat or a child being murdered and run upstairs to find her laying on her side gasping for breath. I pet and hold her (she doesn’t fight being held!) as peter frantically calls an emergency vet hospital. I yell at him to get off the damned phone and come be with the bunny. She gives one last shake and then goes still 😦 We had house guests over and we can’t decide if she’s gone. Denial runs deep. We hold her til its painfully obvious she’s not moving. 😦 Peter sobs, I wish I could sob but somehow can’t. We buried her under a rosebush in the yard the next day. Rosebush breed is “Feisty” We thought it fitting…
Life tries to go on. I drag my butt to work and have been far less efficient (particularly with paperwork) than usual. We took spare veggies to the sitter’s and pet her buns on Friday and she tries to sell us on some cute buns… (We aren’t ready yet and besides… want to put off adopting anything til after summer travel). Saturday I make it to the group 10 mile recovery run (only 10 miles… 😛 ) I also make it to a yarn store and buy some angora mix yarn to make a stuffed bunny in Scamper colors, and work a little on editing my pattern that will soon go up in Knitty (I’m not allowed to break the suspense but just in case you can’t guess I’ll tell ya one thing – its SOCKS! I know you would never have guessed I would write a sock pattern…) And today I finally get my self back to blogging.
Oh yeah and my feral cat are back. They always seem to show up when I need something to distract me. About a year ago, Momcat and 2 kittens showed up in my yard, and came daily cuz I fed them 😛 then I took mom off to be spayed (kittens wouldn’t go near the trap, smarter than mom) and the local Tom decided that he owned the food and chased them off. every few months I see momcat and give her a bit of food. She came by when Peter and I were sitting by scamper’s bush, and then Ghost, one of the adult kittens, showed up the next morning. Momcat also showed up again last night, just SITTING on our patio furniture like she was a resident, and let me feed her on the patio:
Hopefully they will become regular visitors again, stray cats make great low commitment pets…
PETER CLEANED HIS DESK!
And here I am icing and whining on a day off… After commenting to Ivette (new running buddy from spark people) that I’m injury free… well my quads refused to run Thurs and I’m icing and whining today. Will wait and see on 8 miles tomorrow. I’ve checked in and coach says its better to skip it if I’m still feeling stiff and sore than to forge ahead and make it worse. I hate feeling like I’m slacking but… well this has been bugging me for over 2 weeks and it’s getting worse not better so, more rest 😦
On the up side… Barbara, a friend from Sweden is coming! (hence the cleaning) YAY!