Thursday, June 26, 2008

house-sitting

So I am a week into a 2-week house-sitting stint. Last weekend I was happily working on my Drops jacket until I came to the band at the bust line where I have to switch back down to US 4 needles, which I hadn't brought along with me. So off I trek back home to pick up my Options set. I got back to the project and opened the set and lo! The number 4s were missing from it. Of course I hadn't checked first. I couldn't imagine what I had used them for, until I remembered that I took them to Ireland to use for the Lace Ribbon Scarf (project = fail, btw. Wasn't a fan of the yarn).

Instead of returning to my apartment, I decided to switch over to the other project I brought along -- my lapsed Monkey Sock. I've now FINALLY finished the first one. I'm heading to Philadelphia this weekend by train, so that should give ample time to start on the second one. I'm not sure if I just am not that into knitting socks or what, but they always take me forever to complete a pair.

On another note, I just traded in a very generous gift certificate from my friend Chris for Schoolhouse Press. Lucky girl me, I ordered the Barbara Walker's, and they just came yesterday!

They're really fantastic, and I'm sure they're going to be indispensable for as long as I knit. My only minor wish is for an updated palette of colors for the covers, so they looked more handsome as a collection on my shelves -- picky of me, no?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Foodie Friday: Hydration edition

Saving Lives: Coconut Water
Last weekend my friend Melanie and I headed to Madison Square Park for NYC's annual Big Apple BBQ Festival. We made the mistake of hitting up the Salt Lick's line in prime time (we wanted brisket! And Mel is a Salt Lick fan), which was by far the longest line at the festival. I think it took us near an hour to get through. The insane heat, lack of much shade, and my stupid non-breathable dress left me dizzy and miserable and on the brink of heat stroke.

Mel rescued me. She introduced me to coconut water as a way to hydrate and refresh quickly.I was ready to call it quits, but after having a bottle and sitting in some AC for a few minutes, I was ready to re-tackle the festival before it wound down. Now I've stocked my fridge with a couple of the tetra paks (above - you can find them in many stores' refrigerators) to grab easily the next time I need a quick refreshment.

After researching, I found some interesting facts about coconut water, from the Living and Raw Foods website:

• Coconut Water is More Nutritious than whole milk - Less fat and NO cholesterol!
• Coconut Water is More Healthy than Orange Juice - Much lower calories.
• Coconut Water is Better than processed baby milk- It contains lauric acid, which is present in human mother's milk.
• Coconut water is naturally sterile - Water permeates though the filtering husk!
• Coconut water is a universal donor - Its identical to human blood plasma.
• Coconut Water is a Natural Isotonic Beverage - The same level we have in our blood.
• Coconut water has saved lives in 3rd world countries thru Coconut IV.

Oh, and if you want a real review of the BBQ fest, check out Mintyfresh's take. She totally knows how to rock a barbecue fest for reals.

Doing Math:
It only takes a few ounces of coconut water to hydrate, but if you're like me and have some trouble calculating for larger amounts of volume, try this handy tool, found at The Kitchn.

By looking at this visual representation, you can see that there are 2 Cups in a Pint, 2 Pints in a Quart, and 4 Quarts in a Gallon. Now I know that there are 16 cups in a gallon--Brilliant! Not to mention that the diagram combines my to faves: Cooking and Typography.

Recipe Link Library:
Sushi Bowl - 101 Cookbooks
Coconut Sticky Rice w. Mango - Baking Bites
Whole Wheat Skillet Flatbread - Bitchincamero
Saag Paneer - Coconut & Lime
Capellini w. Fresh Ricotta, Roasted Garlic, Corn & Herbs - Epicurious Healthy Dinner
Tomato Jam - Gothamist
Cold Peanut Sesame Noodles - The Kitchn
Easy Peasy Curried Chicken Salad - Not Martha

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ireland, 2008

I can't believe I've already been back a whole week. It's taken me this long to organize my photos so I could do this post. Ireland was wonderful, and a really great vacation. I loved staying in a small town with people who work and live there, who can tell me where to go and suggest great walks to take. I managed to hit some amazing weather, where it was sunny and warm (but not too hot)--I even came back with a sunburn!

Here's a sampling of my photos, but click here for the full set. Lots of green, of course!
Baltimore is a seafaring town right on the water, separated from the Atlantic by a few islands (many of which you can ferry to or hire a boat). There are a few pubs along the harbor, in which I became a massive fan of Bulmers hard cider. It's far less sweet than anything I've gotten stateside (FYI in the states, Bulmers is called Magners, but it is the same thing). A lot of the residences there are vacation homes for the well-to-do, so a lot of the businesses have only a few months in the summer's tourist season to make their living.

I had the good fortune of staying with my friends' Liz and Tessa's family at The Glebe Gardens, which is a lovely set of gardens overlooking the sea, and where they grow everything from flowers to herbs, and vegetables that are served fresh in their cafe.
I did A TON of walking, Such is rewarded with views like this:
On my second day there, we took a car ride over to Bantry, where Liz and I had lunch and wandered about and explored. We happened across a woolshop! I was hoping to find a place to get some Irish yarn, but I wasn't so set on it that I was going to go out of my way to find it. Liz helped me put out vibes for one to appear to us, and needless to say I was thrilled to find Knitwell Wools (I can't find a website to them, but the link is a review and the address). We walked in and with just a couple words from my mouth, the woman immediately knew I was in search of "typically Irish yarn." Must be the accent (mine, not hers!) She pulled out a couple Aran yarns, and I just loved this color of Kilcarra Aran Tweed from Donegal (I can only find the Ravelry link, but browsing through stashes proves that this yarn comes in an wide array of beautiful colors). Truth be told, that "Natural Feeling" listed on the label, means it's actually pretty scratchy. I love how they turned that into a selling point.
Unfortunately, not much progress was made on actual knitting -- although for some reason I really have a terrible track record with vacation knitting. I did a start on the Lace Ribbon Scarf from the spring 2008 Knitty, but I didn't end up liking it in the Knit Picks Essential. It was just too fiddly and splitty to do those lacy stitches.