January 21st, 2013


Cooking, fail book, not fail book

Cooking success! I made apple cinnamon steel-cut oatmeal in the crock pot and it came out REALLY well. I used this recipe almost to the letter. When it was done, I added some raisins and a small drizzle of real maple syrup that had been gifted to me over Christmas and I was saving for something special. It tasted amazing. Easily the best oatmeal I ever had (which is damning with faint praise, I know). It tasted more like a dessert, like apple pie in a bowl. Not only did I finish my serving, I would have licked the bowl if I could have.

The one change I made to the recipe was not using cooking spray (I was using a crock pot liner so I thought it would be okay). Bad decision. Instead of getting seven servings, I got four. That's how much was stuck to the side of the liner. (And I think I was never happier to use a liner, I'd never have gotten the pot clean...)

So now I have three breakfasts waiting for me for later this week. It's amazing how cheap this was to make, too. Using the bulk bins at Sprout, I got about a cup and a half of oats for 50 cents. A lot of raisins (4-5 handfuls?) for 50 cents, too. I used almond milk which I had on hand (originally cost maybe $2 for the whole container, and I used about a quarter of it). Butter, salt, brown sugar, and cinnamon I had on hand. The ground flax seed I got for free (with a free eye-roll from the checkout person tossed in) -- buying only a tablespoon of it, the plastic bag weighed more than the flax, so they didn't charge me for it. So for four breakfasts, I paid about $1.50 total (or $3, if you count the entire container of milk -- I'll be using more of it to heat the oatmeal up later in the week).

Books: The 50bookchallenge has no real rules, everyone makes up their own. (Which in some cases annoys me. Some people read 300+ books a year... because they count comic books.) Last year I had to decide how to handle books I don't finish. Seemed fair to say if I read more than half, it would count. Less and it would not.

The Dragon Done It is one of the first ebooks I ever bought, and tied for the oldest in my To Read pile. I bought it because some author I liked had a short story in it. Plus I like fantasy, so hey. I hadn't known how much I disliked mystery books... or at least this sort of mystery. Nearly every story started with a man in his run-down office, gun in his drawer, as a "dame" walked in. He was always broke. The "dame" was always jaw droppingly beautiful. It was almost always raining. The detective always drank and had a great love of coffee. The "dame" was always trouble... (It annoys me just writing all that out!) So I only reached 20% in, and most of that skimming, so this book won't count towards the yearly total. I still wanted to make record of it here though.

Not fail book! I started one of my Library Challenge books ("read a memoir by someone you've never heard of"). Letters of a Woman Homesteader is a collection of letters by Elinore Pruitt Stewart. Published back in 1913 (which by chance also meets the challenge point "read a book published in 1913", though I'm not counting it for both), it's an incredible look into what the west was like back then. She was a young widow and a mother, who went west on her own (with her young daughter) because she didn't want to spend her life in the east washing other peoples' laundry.

If that sounds interesting, click the link! The book is free if you have a Kindle or Kindle app (or free in other formats elsewhere on the net). It's amazingly dated, but in this case that's not a bad thing (other than brief mentions of "niggers"). I had a really odd moment when she mentioned Jack London's books (they were published only ten years before she wrote her letters). It was a really strange feeling of connection with her.