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NOM. January 7, 2009

Posted by jeninmaine in food, Ravelry.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

Back in September 2007 I started a wee little group over at Ravelry called the Completely Pointless and Arbitrary Group group – at the time it was a lark as there were already a gazillion very specific groups such as “Knitters With Jesus-Shaped Birthmarks” and “Tea Cozies for Antarctic Penguin Enthusiasts”. You get the picture. At the time I said to Joy, “I should start a completely pointless and arbitrary group about nothing that you and I can hang out in!” So I created the group, we chortled at it, then promptly forgot about it for a week or so. When I returned to check it I discovered about 60 had joined it and were hanging out chatting! Color me surprised.

Over a year later the group has over 2700 members and is my favorite place to hang out online. People come and people go, but the biggest draw to the group is that it’s pretty much self-regulated. Members respect one another, help keep those in line who stomp on toes, and keep things as pointless as possible (well, most of the time). I love that we endured the 2007 US elections with members from both the hard left and the hard right and no one talked about politics there. It was strictly verboten. For the majority everyone just plays nice and don’t antagonize one another (in the CPaAGg, anyway – what they do in other groups on Ravelry is their own business). I love the sort of “get away from it all” vibe the place has taken on.

Anyway. I’ve mentioned the CPaAGg before but never really bragged about it. But I have to because I love those people. Once in a while someone thanks me for starting the group but really I have all of them to thank, because without them my lark would just be a lonely group with two members talking about farts and poo. Now we have thousands of people talking about farts and poo! Ha!

Even though the group had only been around for a few months when Margaret was born they organized a really awesome virtual baby shower for me, made and collected gifts, then had a Maine-based Raveler who I had already met in person deliver them to my house. It was incredibly touching and every time I use the blanket they made me (just about daily) or put Margaret into one of the outfits they sent I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. One of the best gifts by far, however, was this:

Hello Kitty Waffle Maker

Oh how I love this thing. I’ve made waffles in it a few times but never had the presence of mind to take pictures, but this morning it was a snow day and Michael was taking the day off to hang with the kids so we didn’t have to brave the roads taking them to the YMCA. He decided to make waffles and so Hello Kitty was pressed into service, having recently been unearthed from the eleventy billion things stuffed in our kitchen cabinets when he cleaned them out.

WAFFLES!

Hello Kitty Waffles!

These were teh nom. We ran out of the Bob’s Red Mill multi-grain mix we usually use so I pulled out the trusty Better Homes & Gardens Cook Book my Dad got me when I was in college. I discovered the secret to really awesome waffles – separate the eggs, put the yolks into the batter first, then beat the whites until stiff and fold in just before baking. That and a lot of vanilla extract (which incidentally wasn’t in the recipe – insanity!). I love vanilla. The recipe doesn’t even have any sugar in it, the vanilla extract is flavorful enough that they taste awesome without any butter or syrup or anything. Kidlet ate four of them before they even had a chance to hit his plate. Best of all it took about five minutes to whip up the batter so it’s very very quick. This is something I’ll make up in packets of just the dry ingredients to keep on hand for future snow days and weekend breffusts.

The Hello Kitty waffle maker was awesome in that it made four small waffles instead of one big huge one – these ended up being perfect for the kids, we were able to just hand one to Margaret and she could nom away on it as it was easy for her to hold in her chubby baby hands. We can also send these to daycare with her as they won’t take up a huge amount of space in her lunch box.

I hesitated to post the recipe until I looked online and saw the same one in about ten different places. I don’t think you can copyright waffles, can you? Anyway here you go:

Fluffy Vanilla-ey Don’t-Need-Nothin-On-Em NomNom Waffles!

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cups milk
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup oil (I might reduce this to 1/4 cup the next time I make them)
A healthy sploosh of vanilla extract (real vanilla extract, not that fake crap!)

1. Mix dry ingredients, if you’re anal retentive like that. I didn’t. Shh, don’t tell Martha!
2. Lightly beat egg yolks and milk together until combined. Again, I didn’t bother doing this either but you can if you want.
3. Add egg yolks and milk to dry ingredients, mix until combined. A few lumps are okay.
4. Oh right, don’t forget the vanilla! Sploosh! I never measure vanilla extract.
5. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. I queued this up in my KitchenAid mixer and got it whipping while I mixed my batter.
6. Carefully use a rubber spatula to fold the egg whites into your batter until just combined – you might still have a few lumps of egg white but that’s okay.
7. Cook in waffle maker. DO NOT FORGET to oil the waffle maker very well before making waffles! I made this mistake once. What a mess.
8. Wait. Remove from waffle maker. NOM!

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Various and sundry Sunday things. February 10, 2008

Posted by jeninmaine in bebeh-to-be, Etsy, kidlet, knitting, Ravelry, sewing.
Tags: , , , , ,
1 comment so far

The lovely, wonderful folks of the Completely Pointless and Arbitrary Group Group on ravelry threw me a virtual baby shower a week ago. They actually orchestrated sending gifts to Sarah, a local raveler who I’ve met to knit with at lunch a number of times, and she brought everything to my house! Unfortunately I was asleep when she arrived as I had had a rough day. Just like me to miss my own durned party. Anyway, after I woke up I had Michael take many pictures of me opening gifts in my pajamas. It was really super sweet of them. The pinnacle of the gifts was a lovely baby afghan containing squares made by group members and joined together. I was so touched!

Here are a few photos from that night, the rest can be found in the CPaAGG Virtual Baby Shower! set.

First, they got presents for my kid, which always endears people to me for thinking of him:

CPaAGG Virtual Baby Shower!

CPaAGG Virtual Baby Shower!

CPaAGG Virtual Baby Shower!

Here’s the final swag tally – lots and lots of handmade goodies and of course a Hello Kitty waffle iron.

CPaAGG Virtual Baby Shower!

Last night I was feeling strangely motivated. I’d like to tell myself it was nesting but I think in reality it was the Diet Coke I found leftover from the StupidBowl and had half a coffee mug full. I haven’t had caffeine in weeks and we don’t drink soda any more so it was a real novelty. It was 11:45pm and I said to Michael, “I realize it’s late but would you be willing to help me clean up my craft room?” He of course immediately said yes (as I’m sure he prays every day that I’ll do something in there) so we dug in. I told him some basic guidelines to what I wanted to save to reuse – packing material in one pile, tissue paper in another, envelopes and boxes in another, plastic bags, gift bags, ribbons, ephemera I would someday cut up, etc., etc.

I also got out a big cardboard box and started tossing yarn to destash into it. That was hard. I don’t like getting rid of yarn but there is a lot that I know I’ll never use and/or I bought back when I first started crocheting and knitting again that just isn’t my thing any more. Some things I had no problem with getting rid of but others gave me a little twinge. Still, better out than in. We hauled all the large bins out of the room so I could get to things that were hiding in random boxes and bags and piles all around them and find them a home. After putting the bins back there is a lot more room and while the shelves aren’t completely organized, it’s been started and I can clearly see how much can fit (and it’s a lot). It’s very exciting to me.

We also managed to clear off the 4′ folding table Michael got for me to use so now I can actually, you know, do things on it. It had been serving as a general junk catcher for the past couple of months. Things had been piling up in there and I would just work around them, but in recent weeks it finally got to the point that I couldn’t walk in and grab some roving or sew something because of the maze I had to navigate. Now I can at least get in there, find what I need, and do something if I so desire. It’s progress. I have one box left of “stuff I don’t want to get rid of but have no idea what to do with.” Those are the hardest. Considering the folding table consisted of pretty much all that kind of thing I’m relieved to have it condensed down to a single box. I’ll tackle that soon, just not today.

I don’t know what time it was when we finally went to bed as I didn’t check the clock (ignorance is bliss you know). After getting everything re-re-reorganized last night, today I wanted to take some photos of things I need to put into my Etsy shop (I’m nearly out of handspun yarn on there…I had only posted a few skeins, which is exciting but eep!) and some of my stash to post in ravelry but I didn’t clamp one of my lamps in a clampy enough manner and it fell, breaking the bulb. I’m not using standard bulbs, they’re 75w natural spectrum floodlamps so I can’t just get another from the bathroom cabinet. Damn. It. I asked Michael to pick up another one for me after the caucus so hopefully he has pity on me and brings one home today. Maybe he’ll bring a spare since I’m a clumsy bint.

But, seeing as I do have the table cleared off and I bought some rattail cord almost two weeks ago(!) I’ll get on making drawstring bags for all the beanbags I’ve had finished and sitting forever waiting for me to get on the ball. Oh, and I finished that Araucania sock that Michael said looked like a condom. Now that it’s a sock and not just a tube it looks much less condom-y. Thank you Joy for convincing me not to frog it. Again, photos when I have a bulb.