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Going for a “run”

25 Oct

I mentioned in my last post that I spent a few days last month traveling to Lincoln, Nebraska to celebrate the life of my great grandma Madge.  Those circumstances, obviously, do not make for a great trip, but somehow I feel like Madge would have appreciated the fact that my mom, grandma, two aunts and I made the best of this trip.  Although I did put my waterproof mascara to the ultimate test, went through an entire box of Kleenex, and spent the whole weekend with a head full of snot, I can say that there were memories made on that trip that I will not soon forget: getting lost in the middle of Kansas because our whole car was focused on Words With Friends, discussing the deliciousness of corn nuts and rum (?!) with a gas station attendant in Northern Oklahoma, and many long conversations about who did and did not go to lake Wabaunzee to name a few.  One memory that Mom and I just couldn’t shake was arriving in Lincoln at 9:30 – when the Runza Restaurant closes at 9.

Obviously this was an extreme disappointment and we couldn’t conceivably remove the thought from our heads.  Luckily, this weekend offered plenty of time for some prime Runza making (I mean, we practically HAD to spend a long weekend with my parents, Ross was interviewing in Dallas anyway!).

If you lack Nebraskan relatives, you may be wondering what a Runza is – the answer is this: it’s a roll baked with meat inside.  As in, instant sandwich.  Here’s the recipe we used. They were absolutely delicious – so much so that I ate them for lunch on Sunday and wasn’t hungry until lunch today!

Of course, Runza wasn’t the only thing that came out of the trip – I also had plenty of car time to knit up this scarf:

I had some beautiful hand-painted Misti sock yarn, which was so soft and had such pretty colors!  I did a drop-stitch pattern (it’s in Vogue Stitchionary  vol. 1).

Vogue Knitting Stitchionary Volume One: Knit & Purl: The Ultimate Stitch Dictionary from the Editors of Vogue Knitting Magazine (Vogue Knitting Stitchionary Series)

(By the way, I love this resource – if you’re a beginnerish knitter and want to learn everything you can do with knit and purl, you definitely need it.)

I’ve done it before – it’s one of my favorite scarf patterns as you can go as wide or thin as you want, it’s reversible, and it knits up fairly quick.  I can’t wait to bind off and wear it!

 

Also, can’t forget to mention that when I came home, my magnificent students left these little gems on my desk:

In case you were wondering?  I have the BEST students in the world this year.  Even if today they pretended that they’d never heard of this “Declaration of Independence” they were supposed to read while I was gone….

 

The Runza Recipe!

Dough:

2 pkg. Active dry Yeast
2 cups warm milk
1/2-cup sugar
1/2 t. salt
2 eggs – beaten
1/2 cup shortening, margarine or butter
7 to 8 cups all-purpose flour

Put yeast and milk in a bowl.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  Add sugar, salt, eggs and softened butter.
Mix. Gradually add flour while mixing.  Add flour until dough pulls together into a ball.  Knead for 4
or 5 minutes or until dough is smooth.  (This really works best with a free-standing mixer with a
dough hook)

Put in a greased bowl, cover with a towel and allow to rise until double.

Punch down and let it rise again.

Remove dough from bowl and divide into thirds.  On a floured surface, roll one portion of the
dough to 1/4” thickness.  Cut into 5″or 6” squares.  (Reserve dough you cut off to reroll.)

Give each square an extra roll with the rolling pin before filling.

Filling:

2 lbs ground beef
1 head of cabbage – finely shredded
Lots of salt and pepper

Brown ground beef.  Add shredded cabbage and cook over medium heat until cabbage is
softened.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  It takes a lot!

Start this about halfway through the second rise of the dough.  Set aside until dough is ready.

Making Runzas:

Put a large mound of filling on the center of each dough square.  Pull opposite corners of the
dough together and pinch to hold.  Pull the opposite two corners together and use your fingers
to pinch all edges together to seal in filling.  Turn Runza over and put on a cookie sheet lined with
parchment paper (helps to keep any leakage from staining your cookie sheet)

Space Runzas about 1 inch apart. When cookie sheet is full put a towel over it and let it rise for
about 15 minutes.

Bake Runzas in a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes – until they are a deep brown.

Remove from oven and rub butter on the top of each Runza.

 

 

 

Nobody does it like YOU!

21 Jul

Look, I hate to brag, but I really need to make it known that I am married to a wonderful man.  Sure, he’s supportive, kind, loving, brilliant, motivated, and a hard-worker, but what really sets my dear Ross apart from all the other men out there is his unique and unparalleled ability to clean floors.  That’s right, I’m more impressed by his vacuuming abilities than his ability to come up with a diagnosis before Dr. House (he does this with Mystery Diagnosis, too, rendering the last 22 minutes of the show essentially worthless).  When Ross requested a new cleaning apparatus for our wood and tile floors, I was quick to oblige his request.  We’d been using a Swiffer WetJet and it really wasn’t doing the job.  The smell is pretty nauseating, the floors don’t get clean enough, and we’d read some reports that it contains chemicals that could be toxic for dogs.

This is Moses’ idea of hiding after being caught peeing on the floor.

Fortunately, we’d received a great recommendation from my parents for the Hoover FloorMate – available at Costco!  We love Costco, so tonight we decided to pick up the FloorMate and have a romantic dinner in the Costco food court (dinner and dessert for two, $4.71?  Yes, please!).

The Hoover® FloorMate™ SpinScrub®

We got straight to work after we got home (meaning I sat on the couch and Ross actually assembled and began using the thing) and I am happy to say that this has solved our floor-cleaning needs.  The key feature involved here is that the clean solution remains separate from the dirty water – an issue that has always disturbed me about mopping as it seems like you’re just sloshing the dirty stuff around.  This is particularly true if you are the owner of small pets who haven’t totally grasped the concept of outdoor peeing.  In the FloorMate, the clean solution is sprayed on the floor, brushed with super scrubber things, and then sucked up into the dirty compartment.  After doing our dining room and bathroom floors, the dirty compartment was quite gross, which was pleasing to me (I totally love when you can see the evidence of your cleaning!).  I also like that the solution is sucked back up into the thing, making it a bit more pet-friendly.  The smell is also far less nauseating, just a clean smell.  The only aspect I was disappointed in is that my white grout was not as sparkling as I would have hoped, but a quick Amazon search found me a solution made specifically for grout! The FloorMate does not disappoint, but do note that it’s only $100 at Costco versus $150-180 everywhere else, so if you, like Ross, were wondering if the Costco membership pays for itself, the answer is yes, it does!  Plus you get to eat great Costco food which, of course, is awesome.

Even Moses likes it – once it is turned off, of course.

Because I’m embarrassed to have a post devoted solely to floor cleaning, I’ll share some quick knitting pictures.  I can’t yet have my own baby, so I’m practicing by doing lots of knitting for babies of friends.  Here are some hats:

I love making these little baby hats, but after making such cute girly ones with big flowers, the only thing I can think of to do with boy hats is stripes!   I may need to work on crocheting something boyish (a train?  a fish?).

And some baby headbands:

Admittedly, I’ve made these for myself, too, I just put the flower on a little clip :).

Amigu-what-i?

14 Jul

I still consider myself a novice knitter even though non-knitters are often impressed by my projects.  Ross thought I had mastered the craft until he saw Eunny Jang power through a row of 2×2 cable on Knitting Daily – then he agreed that I may have a few things to learn.  Unfortunately, when you live in Houston there really isn’t a need for a lot of the knitted goods that would help me learn new skills.  Sweaters are too hot, scarves are ridiculous, and I haven’t worn a hat in Texas ever (obviously woolen mittens and socks are also out of the question).  Though I did suck it up and learn how to make a few hats for skiing, socks for slippers, and scarves to hang in my coat closet (I actually have more than 10 knitted and unworn scarves), I had been feeling a little uninspired as temperatures rose to “sauna” and needed something other than winter and baby things to knit.  Enter:  Amigurumi.

I’ll admit that at first sight, knitting monster-like critters did not appeal to my style.  It was not until I found a pattern for this little critter that I knew I had found my summer project.   I whipped up my own elephant that night and the next day found myself at Barnes and Noble searching for pattern books.  I found two excellent resources:

Amigurumi World

This book contains basic crochet patterns to make a whole zoo of small critters.  Though my crochet experience begins and ends at the granny square, I found that the patterns were fairly easy to master and I was able to crank out an octopus, turtle, and duck!  Pictures of the octopus and turtle will be posted once Southwest Airlines realizes that my suitcase does NOT belong in Harlingen and manage to return it to me – pictures of the duck will be never because I already gave it to my eight year old cousin and, well, I’d rather have my toys be played with than photographed.  If you’re a new-ish crocheter who only learned crochet to embellish her knitting with flowers, then this adorable book is for you.

And:

Amigurumi Knits

This book is all knits, which I initially was much more comfortable with.  After attempting (and completing, thankfully!) a few of the projects, this book is much more advanced.  It’s nothing excessively hard that a few youtube clips can’t help me with, which is EXACTLY what I wanted!  Plus, it contains a whole section of knitted food and a section of mythical creatures, which is most excellent.

The most lovely part of knitting small toys is that for some reason they are far more impressive to my knitting clientèle (read: people who are related to me) than anything else I’ve made.  Who knew that a knitted elephant that I made in an hour would be more impressive than socks that took weeks?   The same cousin who now owns a wee duck was thrilled – he began looking through my books, claiming that they were like an awesome catalog where you just pick what you want, choose the color and in a few hours you have a new toy.  That is until he found the pattern for the 2-foot giant squid, which may take more than a few hours…