Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

Posts Tagged ‘The domestication of Lissa’

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, Oh my!!

Posted by Lissa on May 18, 2011

I think this is the best pie I’ve made so far!!!

sing a song of sixpence …

I used frozen rhubarb since I couldn’t find fresh, used the birdie to vent steam, brushed the crust with an egg yolk and sprinkled with sugar. I think the real secret is that I mixed the fruit, sugar and flour and let it sit for a half hour, then scooped it into the pie shell with a slotted spoon. That absolutely kept it from being soupy.

Top it with homemade whipped cream, and I have LITERALLY been licking the plate after every slice. Yum!!!


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Posted by Lissa on May 17, 2011

Every muscle in my body is in massive, screaming pain. I could study for my A&P Muscles test by tracing each individual path of agony through my limbs. Even my FINGERS AND FINGERNAILS hurt, for cryin’ out loud!!

Why? What did I do?

Well, I killed three birds with one stone:

1) I worked on my tan
2) I got some serious, SERIOUS exercise
3) I ripped out about twenty-five feet (and eight years’ worth) of matted, overgrown ivy and weeds.


See, there’s a boxed-in raised bed behind the lanai. I never really went back there, but vaguely assumed that it had the same type of bushes found in the front and along the sides. I promised myself that at some point I would ditch the bushes and replace it with happier stuff, and this weekend was the time.

Imagine my shock when I examined the bed and found nothing but WEEDS. Grasses. Ivy. Most of which had decently shallow roots . . . but those shallow roots were UP TO FIFTEEN F***CKING FEET IN LENGTH!! WTF?!?!?

So I slipped on my gardening gloves, grabbed the hedge clippers, a shovel and a trowel, and started ripping away.

By the time I was 90% done my hands were shaking so much that I dropped the small rose bush (in its pot) rather than gently lowering it. Oh, and it slashed both my lip and my hand as it fell.

Oh well. It was worth it — I’ve got (more) basil, and German thyme, and sweet mint, and spicy globe basil plants all situated. I took my two strawberry plants and my (really tall and healthy! Yay!!) rosemary plant and bedded those as well. I’ve already mentioned the small rosebush (red, of course!). And just for fun I sowed seeds for lettuce, alyssum, poppy and lupine. And hanging by my front door i’ve got some pink zinnias and a small aloe plant.

So — aching painful muscles, a kind of serious sunburn on my lower back, and a garden planted with pretty things and tasty herbs. I’ll take it!!

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Wow, Easter’s an actual holiday? Who knew?

Posted by Lissa on April 25, 2011

We went over to Mike’s parents’ house yesterday for a lovely Easter dinner. Our contribution was a baked-from-scratch chocolate triple-layer cake held together with homemade whipped cream and coated in homemade frosting.

Now, there are two ways this could have come about:

A) Lissa decided that she was FAR too good a baker to bring a STORE-BOUGHT birthday cake, that she would never deign to stoop so low, and did it all herself. Or …

B) She pulled up to an absolutely empty Publix parking lot Sunday morning and went, “Oh sh*t. Easter. Holiday. Oh CRAP!!”


I turned my cupboard inside out, sent Mike to Walmart for half and half and whipping cream, and made this:


How was your Easter? 🙂

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Leaves and Roses

Posted by Lissa on March 24, 2011

I potted a mini rosebush two days before Christmas so that my front walk would have some decoration. Naturally, I bought the plant with the most blooms (3). Since December and January are — y’know– WINTER, I promptly lost all but one bloom and got stuck with just a bush.

That’s why I was so pleased when it started sprouting new blooms. Now I had four flowers! Now five! Holy yellow roses, Batman!

And then the leaves started splotching brown and black and falling off. So now I’ve got bushels of flowers and no leaves. Guess I can’t have both at once.

Damn you, Black Spot mold!


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Lissa bakes a cake!

Posted by Lissa on March 15, 2011

You WISH your life was as exciting as mine, right? 🙂

Seriously, this is the first cake I ever made from scratch rather than a mix. Ain’t it pretty?

There’s just one problem … After I dusted it with sugar and sliced into that sweet peach coffee cake, I found that it was undercooked. The very center was rather pudding-y.

So now it’s a Bundt cake!

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Quick post of randomness!

Posted by Lissa on January 17, 2011

I had to take a break from cleaning the bathrooms to stick the pork half-loin in the oven to roast (do you guys have a habit of unscrewing the faucets to clean the flow screens with bleach? I didn’t used to and then the first time I did in this house it was absolutely disgusting so now I do it at least once a month) and my hands stink of bleach and I’m afraid it rubbed off on the pork but I scrubbed my hands across the stainless steel of the sink and it helped and oh the medications are helping Rajah in that he’s not licking as compulsively and litter-visiting with less frequency — thank goodness! — and thank you all for the good wishes and here, have the song that’s stuck in my head, while I go scrub a toilet and a shower!

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Like a jungle gym for grown-ups

Posted by Lissa on December 24, 2010

Houses in Florida generally don’t have basements, as they’re all below the water line.  They do have attics, but since the heat is fierce for 2/3 of the year they’re used only sparingly.  In fact, the only use for ours right now is that we can run lines and cables through it.  Which led to the following project.

See, Mike wanted to explore the possibility of running our surround sound speaker cables through the ceiling, rather than along the ground, and perhaps even work his way up to installing speakers in the ceiling.  We therefore set ourselves the task of running Ethernet cables from the living room to the office, just to see if we could. This adventure would require crawling under air ducts (moving them as needed), stepping beam-to-beam, *not* scraping our scalps among the shingle nails, and making our way deep into the attic.

Now, I know I haven’t met y’all in person — although I have met a good chunk of you, yay! — but anyone who has read this blog for any amount of time knows that A) I am somewhat petite; and B) Mike is rather larger than I am.  In fact, his shoulders are about half again as wide as mine.  So it only made SENSE that *I* would be the one worming my way through the labyrinth while Mike waited in a clearer space and fed the cable.

Suitably resigned to my wifely duties, I dressed for action:

– a long-sleeved shirt
– gardening gloves (with sleeves pulled over the wrists)
– sweatpants (with the shirt tucked in to avoid any creepy-crawlies going down my knickers)
– soccer socks pulled a good six inches over the pant ends (see creepy-crawly fears, above)
– sneakers
– an LED headlamp, and
– an air filter face mask.

I looked hawt, y’all.

(It looked even better when I was wearing safety glasses, but they fogged up and I had to ditch ’em.)

Things I learned while ducking under, heaving over, squirming sideways, and wriggling on my butt:

1) Garden gloves were smart as hell.  I’d’ve been digging out splinters all week without those.

2) Headlamps are really smart too!  Especially when you need both hands to hold onto a beam while you snake your body through an opening more suitable to Rajah than to you.

3) A fear of dark confined spaces will make playing in the attic REALLY fun.

4) Said fear fades after a while, but then you’ll start worrying about exactly how MUCH sawdust you can inhale before your lungs resign in protest.

5) Twice-said fear will come roaring back with a vengeance when you contemplate a drop-off of two feet, with a roof barely six inches over your head, and no visible way of making your way back up if you go back down.  (At this point I decided discretion was the better part of valor and called back to my husband that I could not, in fact, get to the desired corner.)

6) There are very very few creepy-crawlies in our attic.  Thank god!!!

7) If you put the air filter mask over your nose and your mouth, you will blow dust directly into your eyes with every exhalation. However, if you cover only your mouth, you will forget and breathe through your nose repeatedly, snorfling that sawdust like Paris Hilton on a bender.

8.) If your sweatpants don’t have pockets, your husband will thoughtfully strap you into his toolbelt so you can carry electrical tape and a few other essentials.

9) Upon discovering that A) you only needed the electrical tape; B) the tape fell out of the belt *somewhere* along your crawl and we don’t have a spare roll; C) ponytail elastics can do the job in a pinch; D) lost tape rolls will of course turn up AS SOON as you’ve disheveled your hair — then do immediately stick that sucker in your sock.  You already look stupid as hell, so who cares?

In conclusion:

Sometimes size matters. But agility ALWAYS does.

Also? Shingle needles are sharp as hell, and they like to eat scalp.  Just so you know.

Happy Christmas Eve, y’all!

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Workout Wednesday and Delicious Meat

Posted by Lissa on December 8, 2010

Helllooooo everybody!  Between stabbing myself in the palm with sewing shears and spearing myself on straight pins, it’s been a Christmassy workshop around here.  But we’re still finding time to work out 🙂  In fact, last week I jogged 4.0 miles without stopping — that’s the longest I’ve ever done.  I would like to thank the Academy; my husband Mike, for being my running partner; and beautiful Florida, for providing perfect 55° weather and flat sidewalks with no hills.  It’s really pretty awesome when setting out for a 2.6 mile run with no stops is a “short” run.

One thing I’ve noticed, technique-wise: I have to start very, very slow.  Jogging-at-the-speed-of-powerwalking slow.  If I start super-slow then I can concentrate on form and focus on quick, light footsteps with a fast turnover.  Once I settle into rhythm then I can speed up and go from there.  If, instead, I start at a normal speed?  Disaster!  I gasp for breath, my feet start pounding, my shins ache, I can’t flow, and all I want to to do is stop and walk.  Seriously, the first 5 minutes of my run can make, or ruin, the next 35.

And why do we need to make sure we work out?  Well . . .

Chianti braised short ribs coming up!

. . . it just so happens that short ribs were on sale this week 🙂  I couldn’t find any recipe I really liked, so I kind of made it up as I went along.  (Sliced onions across the bottom, topped with sun dried tomato spread, sprinkled savory, marjoram, thyme and a bit of mustard, browned short ribs, sauteed minced garlic, halved baby portabellas, a few sliced carrots, fresh chopped rosemary, beef broth, and Chianti.  Low and slow, baby!)

Oh, and since The Runt Compound was showing off knives, I’d like to show you the best use for a watch that has a dead battery:

Hideaway beneath watch

(That’s my little Hideaway knife, set to be grabbed with my right hand.  Damn I love that thing.)

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Pig and whiskey. Is this, like, a meme now?

Posted by Lissa on December 1, 2010

Borepatch had dinner with ASM826 who used a recipe from Eyes Never Closed for “Whiskey-Fried Porkchops.” Since all the cool kids are doing it, and since I’ve chronically had trouble with pork chops, I decided to give it a whirl!

I spent a good ten minutes helplessly vacillating in the meat aisle.  Thin chops? Thick chops? Center cut? Boneless??? Though I was tempted to close my eyes and use whatever came to hand, I finally decided on center-cut bone-in pork chops.  They were pretty thick, and (to my appetite) fairly sizeable, so I used my largest saucepan.

Per the instructions, I seasoned up the chops with Applewood Rub and set the sauce to boiling.  I used probably half an inch of water and maybe seven shots of Beam — it was a big pan, the chops were thick, and hey, who ever complains about too MUCH sauce?  Once the pig was in the pan, I added more Rub, some pepper, garlic powder, and a small helping of red pepper flakes.

In retrospect, I’m wondering if

a) I should have used thinner chops
b) I should have used less water and Jim Beam
or c) I should have removed the chops from the pan and let the sauce reduce on its own

— because they were a bit dry.  (The instant thermometer was reading 150° when I took them off the heat; I was worried about them being UNDER done, not overcooked.)  I didn’t mind very much — it soaked up the mouthwateringly delicious sauce that much better — but Mike would have preferred his pig a little more moist, with a little less red pepper.

Meh.  Blame the cook, not the recipe.  Oh, and I totally swiped my finger around the pan and slurped up sauce drippings before I could bring myself to wash it 🙂

Happy Noms!

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Strapping on my dancing — er, BAKING shoes!

Posted by Lissa on November 18, 2010

Good morning all!  I slept REALLY hard last night — I skipped my usual “Oh god it’s 4 AM why the hell am I awake” and instead slept like I’d been wrestling alligators all day.  Naturally, the trade-off is that I had some seriously cracked-out dreams.

MIKE:  “How would you know what being cracked-out is like?”

LISSA:  “Dude, you see them all the time on COPS.”

After dreams of being 22 and moving to Canada (to share a studio apartment with three other people; even in my dream I was horrified); of being in Brazil for a dinner party, in which we had to turn off all the lights at dusk because the bats were vampiric and had nasty diseases; and a beach party in which some of the party-goers were half-human, half-alien . . . well, short version is, I was groggy as hell.

I’ve now chugged down a mug of coffee and, more importantly, figured out what desserts I’m going to make for the family dinner tonight, and now I’m so impatient to get the grocery store that I’m not sure I’ll be able to squeeze in breakfast first.  But it’s a bad idea to go grocery shopping when you’re hungry.  Isn’t it?

I hope that tomorrow’s post will have pictures of sweet, delicious and pretty treats!!

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