it’s pie time!

it’s pie time!

i was hoping that quarantine in the fall meant i’d see nothing but pies all over my feeds just like spring brought the bread, but no such luck. but what better way to celebrate fall than with some pie?

i had some cranberries that i wanted to use, so i did a search for fresh cranberry options, and let me tell you – there aren’t a ton. but i found a cranberry custard pie that looked like a good starting point. i sort of followed the recipe but added about a cup of pumpkin puree into the custard along with some pumpkin pie spice.  also it calls for two crusts on the bottom, which may have been my downfall. i went with just one.

since there was much success with it last time, i used the test kitchen recipe for crust that had vodka in the ingredients. i also tried out blind baking the crust with my pie weights, and that just does not turn out well for me. the crust shrinks up on the sides and just overall isn’t a good time. i’m going to have to do some research on that.

but it’s delicious!

the cranberries add an awesome bite to a more traditional pumpkin pie, and it tastes really fresh, even if there’s more sugar in this pie than you can shake a stick at.

it doesn’t exactly look very appetizing – you should have seen it before i dusted some powdered sugar on it. but it does taste pretty awesome. my crust, unfortunately, has a soggy bottom even WITH the blind baking and me putting it in a 500º oven (a tip from an expert pie baker). mary berry would’ve sent me out of the tent. the rest of the crust is spot on though.

then i made some cute little leaf cutouts. i really should look into finding cookie presses so i get the little details better.

and since i was making crusts anyway, why not go all out? i made my squash galette today, an autumnal staple for me. it’s just delish.

oh no i’ve already lost

oh no i’ve already lost

well, a blog post every day of november is off the table now. i was just so productive yesterday! thanks, election results, for kicking me in the butt to get stuff done!

  1. nate and i put up the outdoor christmas lights. it was warm out, which is a huge plus when putting up the lights. i’m always scared the stupid ladder’s going to slip on cold concrete while i’m up at the peak of the garage. plus nate was holding on to the ladder, so that adds an element of ease. so the lights are up! i still have two strings i could do something with – we’ll see what that could be!
  2. after the lights were up, i came in to find a text message from my coworker, an IT dude who should be retired, who is a reagan republican turned democrat (he voted for obama, GW once, etc. and now he’s full blown dem – we have a lot of fun at work) with the updated election results. i spent the next hour or so feeling a sense of relief that the next four years won’t be spend in fear of dying in nuclear war. and found a GREAT video that i will try to find a youtube of (it was on instagram).
  3. i was all keyed up! wanted to do something with the mask on. called jane to see if she was up for a socially distanced MOA visit that evening, and she was! but first….
  4. a run for two miles. two very sloggish miles, but two miles. outside! it may have been the last outdoor run of the season, and i wish it would’ve been better. but i can’t win them all.
  5. headed down to the moa and met jane’s BF, had a couple drinks, wandered around the mall, etc. overall, the mask usage in the mall was pretty good! there were only a couple times i saw some weirdos without masks, and i stayed far away from them.
  6. came home and played a game with the fam via zoom!

that was saturday! i’m backdating this so it counts for saturday and will post something else for sunday later on.

a lite interlude

a lite interlude

let’s talk about some things that are pulling all through this tumultuous time right now! well, me at least. you take these tips and run with them, if you’d like. or tell me to stuff it because these suck! your call.

  1. fluffy slippers. i was looking at a pair of fur-lined birkenstock slides to get me through the winter because i LOVE my other birks but they have a toe thing, and there isn’t much better than pulling off your work socks at the end of the day and then putting on a fluffy pair of thick socks for the cold evening. so i needed a sock friendly slipper! instead of doling out $100 for a pair of furry birks, i spent $25 on a knockoff, and oh boy are they nice! supportive cork base, furry insides, and a sandal top. perfect for socked OR bare feet.
  2. lighting a candle for yoga. i have a candle on the floor while i do yoga, and it really sets the mood! i have rather ambient light in my living room anyway, and to add a candle on top of that just makes it so nice and cozy. and then when my fireplace goes off? woo!
  3. weekly tv shows. the mandalorian and great british baking show release new episodes weekly, which is FANTASTIC and i missed the anticipation of waiting for a new episode of a tv show and the joy of seeing OH BOY look at that new episode up there!
  4. instagram is a nice social break that can be nonpolitical. i do follow people who CAN be political, but it is more than possible to follow people there who will just post pics of their food or plants or weird japanese creations or makeup or home improvement or tequila and lifting or whatever you could ever imagine. some people i am enjoying looking at IG right now are martha stewart, the splendid table, greg nohner, my tattoo artist, explore minnesota, seed savers, a bunch of cats, national geographic photographers, etc.
  5. new phones! i know my dad just got a rockin new flip phone, and this morning i preordered the iphone MINI! i’m excited because the camera will be good and the size will be small! it should be here nov. 13. i don’t know if a new phone is in your future, but it’s the small things. or the expensive small things, at least. (yikes.)

and now that the light’s basically gone forever, i’m pulling out some oldies but goodies: puzzles are coming out this weekend and i’ve alreayd made a crapton of bread that’s hanging out in the freezer.

so! let’s hear what YOU are doing to pass the time delightfully during the pandemic! or while you’re waiting for election results. or while you’re waiting for 2020 to die a slow death. whichever version of funk that you may have!

what’s the word?

what’s the word?

today’s word of the day: tenterhooks.

used in a sentence? “it’s safe to assume that all my readers are waiting on tenterhooks for the election results.”

so what’s the background on tenterhooks?

back in ye olde timey days, people would make their own woolen cloth. after it was woven, the cloth was still oily from the fleece (lanolin!) and dirty. it was cleaned and then it had to be dried in a certain way, or it would shrink – as those of us know who’ve accidentally thrown a wool sweater in the dryer.

but pre dryers, the cloth would be stretched out on a wooden frame called a tenter. and on the edges of the frame were hooks! hence, tenterhooks. i guess this could be a large-scale operation, with fields of wool-laden tenters oft seen by ye olde peasantry.

soon after the word became a word in the 14th century, on tenters became a phrase known for tension, unease, anxiety, or suspense. between the nervousness of keeping wool in shape and the tension of the stretched fabric, it’s an apt metaphor. also, sheep are skittish, so the whole operation was probably a lesson in patience.

bread break

bread break

say hello to the new addition!

bed bath and beyond had a sale on their cast iron, so i got the baby in the front for $40, which is a steal. it’s a 6 qt, which is bigger than my black lodge cast iron in the back. now i can bake two loaves at once! also, do not put your cast iron pots directly on your pizza stone. you get burnt bottoms. worse than a soggy bottom? not sure.

i took monday off, so i got out my sourdough starter on sunday and boy did it go gangbusters. i ended up making 5 loaves of sourdough on monday, and it actually turned out like it was supposed to – holey!

i also made myself another loaf of honey oat sourdough, which is pretty good.

for my white bread loaves, i ended up splitting a recipe that was probably meant for smaller pans. next time i make it, i’ll try to make one giant loaf in the big pot. next time!

so now i’ve got three loaves of white sourdough and one loaf of honey oat in the freezer. not too shabby. we’ll see if pie season takes off like bread season has.

a tipsy election nite

a tipsy election nite

i’m only posting right now because it’s kablamo, but i really would rather not. it’s  election nite and i’m anxious about the state of the country and how people can think trump is any good for any of us. and so i started drinking some wine at 6:30 and did a little stress-relieving yoga and now i’m doomscrolling through twitter and ready to go all-out revolution because you KNOW one of my forebears was a signer of the constitution (yeah charles carroll!). ugh. welp. we’ll see what tomorrow brings.

yoga mat review take III

yoga mat review take III

ah, we come upon the close of the yoga mat reviews! to recap:

i compared the natural rubber version of three mats: bmat, manduka, and hugger mugger. each of these mats cost $70-95, so i’d expect something magical from them.

the hugger mugger came in the mail on friday, and i immediately unfurled it and threw it on the floor to compare to the bmat, the clear winner in bmat vs. manduka.

first impressions? i like the color/design of the HM better – but that’s purely aesthetic.

the bmat is once again the winner on the width on this one, too. that extra 2″ – you just can’t beat that!

the HM is almost as sticky as the bmat, and much stickier than the manduka. it’s also a little bit cushier than the manduka, but not quite as cushy as the bmat. this is probably due to the fact that the bmat is 6mm and the other mats i got in its price range were 4 and 5mm.

but the HM is thicker than the manduka, that’s for sure. but bmat wins thickness, and since i do yoga on a wooden floor, i’ll take the cushier mat. i know there are some yogis who would rather have a more solid experience, but i’ll take the extra help for the knees.

so one thing i noticed on this one is how the mats are constructed. i wish i had taken note of this when i had the manduka, as well, but alas. take a look at how thick the construction of the mat is.

i can see why the bmat is certainly a better experience on the feet!

so, there is my final yoga mat review. rankings of the high-end natural rubber yoga mats:

3. manduka eko
2. hugger mugger para
1. bmat strong

if you’re ready to drop some dollars on a decent, long-lasting yoga mat, i recommend the bmat strong.

welcome, kablamo!

welcome, kablamo!

it’s november, and that can mean only one thing! it’s time for KABLPOMO aka !!KABLAMO!!

the past couple years, i planned out the month’s posts, but this year i just didn’t because november kind of snuck up on me. thanks pandemic! i should have saved all my yoga mat reviews until november, but alas.

so, i guess i’ll do a bulletpoint sunday funday for you.

  1. nate and i went to rochester/st charles this past weekend to celebrate charlie’s 5th cheatin’ the reaper versary. i got us a hotel friday night, got sushi from ichi tokyo, then went to my parents on saturday for pizza and celebratory cake. on the way home, we swung by jenee’s mazeppa home and saw her halloween extravaganza, which  was actually pretty amazing.
  2. CURSE YOU AXIAL TILT regular time is upon us! it’s supposed to be great running weather this week, and i’ll be at work til the sun is set and the dark is just suddenly upon us. whomp. i may just go to the lake wobegon trail and take my headlamp to get my miles in outside.
  3. because the transition to treadmill this fall has been TREACHEROUS. something is totally off on my left-side gait, because my IT band is hating on me. i have to make sure to stretch out my hip after every run and roll the crap out of it because it makes my knee wonky, then my calf, then my upper ankle. thanks, body and time, for reminding me how annoying it is to maintain as the years roll by.
  4. but the good news is that i took tomorrow (monday) off and i’m going to try to get an outdoor run in during daylight hours. i may also put up my christmas lights while it’ll be warm out, because putting them up when it’s 40º is no fun.
  5. i have one more yoga mat to review, but that will probably be tomorrow. but, i have one yoga related item to address: i took off my rings for yoga last week and forgot to put them back on. the next morning, three of four were on the ground below the coffee table, but the fourth is lost to the ether of my living room corners and dustbunnies. of course it’s the diamond. so i was at kohl’s today to do an amazon return, and i stopped by the jewelry section. i found a temporary left-hand set until i either 1) find the ring or 2) decide to actually just replace it. it was a $50 sterling silver/cubic zirconia set that actually doesn’t look that bad. and it was on sale AND i had a coupon, so it cost $16. not too shabby.

i’m drinking an amaretto sour out of my custer state park buffalo glass. classy stuff, here!

yoga mat review take II

yoga mat review take II

because i know my father is waiting on pins and needles for this update, i thought i’d share as soon as i could.

i ordered manduka and hugger mugger yoga mats to compare to my bmat to make sure i made the right choice! today the manduka showed up on my doorstep.

i chose the eko version because that was the rubber equivalent in the manduka brand. i opened up both mats next to each other.

  1. i have to say, i like how the manduka looks compared to the bmat – the texture on the top just looks more appealing to me.
  2. but, when i stood on it, it did not feel cushy like the bmat does. it, quite frankly, didn’t feel much different than my $20 el cheapo mat that i’d been using for many years. now, the manduka was 1mm thinner than the bmat, but i don’t feel like the difference should have been as apparent as it was on my feet.
  3. the bmat is 2″ wider! that is nice. the two mats are the same length, so no real benefit either way on the length.
  4. then, i tried out a downward dog, and ho boy, that’s where the difference was. i was literally sliding out on the manduka – something i never had that bad with my el cheapo mat even. why was i paying $80 for this mat if i couldn’t even stay in a DD? no good. so then i hopped over to the bmat to make sure i wasn’t doing something weird, and i sure stuck the landing over there*.

so the manduka is going back for sure. i am glad that i tried it out though – that was the most recommended yoga mat online, and i would’ve always wondered if i hadn’t tried it. maybe it’s really good for hot yoga, or maybe there are people who like the extra challenge of staying in a down dog while sliding out. on a non-cushy surface.

but that person is not me.

now, my dad did say he was curious on the color, and while i’m ok with my choice of the green on the bmat, i think if i had to do it over, i’d get the earth rose.

but the green is fine! however, if i were to exchange this out for a longer version of the bmat, i would probably change out the color while i’m at it.

the hugger mugger mat comes on friday. review III to come this weekend.

*speaking of a sticky mat, last night i was doing my nightly yoga, and that mat is SO STICKY, that i caught the top of one of my toes on the mat and it was like stubbing it on the corner of the coffee table! ouch. i’ll have to weigh my best interests.

yoga mat review

yoga mat review

i’ve been doing yoga pretty regularly for about 7 years. for the past couple years, i do yoga almost every day, with the average time i’m on the mat about 20 minutes (that’s the sweet spot for me). sometimes i do yoga for 10 mins, sometimes an hour. but most of the time it’s 20 minutes.

and you know what? that’s a lot of time with a piece of pvc separating me from the floor. like most people, i purchase yoga mats at a price point of less than $20. unfortunately, that’s the price point of a crappy pvc yoga mat.

over the years, i’ve had probably 5 mats. up until a week ago, i had four mats resting in the corner. one is sort of a memory foam; another is a longer mat than average (average is 68″, one inch shorter than i am tall); one is a stiff, hard mat with an odd texture that i bought based solely on color; and the last is a plain, average length, not very thick mat.

because of my hardwood floors, i have been doing yoga on two mats, with the long mat on top.

but the problem with pvc mats is that they start to fall apart.

which, on top of looking bad and creating less of a mat as time goes on, is no good for the environment!

so i started doing research on the best mat for everyday yoga use and for the environment. i wasn’t surprised that i would need to spend more than $20 on this mat.

i looked at manduka mats, which are regarded as one of the best high-end mats. their pro mat runs at $120 and 6mm thick, but is still pvc. they have a rubber mat in their eko line, but they’re not quite as thick and color selection was not that great.

i was also looking at hugger mugger but i couldn’t find anything that was what i was looking for.

then i ran across b-mat. it’s 6mm thick, 70″ long, and 26″ wide (standard is 24″). natural rubber, and a ton of color selections. i’d been pining after a green yoga mat for quite some time, so i chose the green (i was also eye an orangey-red one, but decided to go for calm over invigorating). it was $96 but i had a 15% off coupon, so do the math.

the green is more of a forest green than i was hoping for, but i do like color rather than a grey or black mat. (although my go-to mat up to now was purple.)

i’m still trying to figure out if i want to keep this one or try a manduka.

first impressions?

  1. it’s SUPER sticky. every pvc mat i’ve had is relatively ok when my hand and feet are apart. i’m always about 90% confident that i’m going to slip when i’m in wide-legged forward fold (Prasarita Padottanasana). on this mat, i am SOLID. i am not moving. and i realized tonight that that means i’ll have less stress on my wrists because i feel more confidents in moving weight to other parts of my hands because i’m not going to slip.
  2. is it TOO sticky? tonight i was doing a little bit faster flow, and moving my foot from up front to back to plank, it got a bit stuck. but if the edge of my foot getting held up a bit means less stress on my wrists and less worry about slipping, maybe that’s ok.
  3. it gets dirty. fast. and it’s hard to get clean. cat fur gets stuck to it and i can’t wipe it off. i think i need to get one of those small bristle brooms to clean off my mat. the instructions for the mat say that it should get less dirty as time goes by. fair.
  4. i can’t feel the floor. on my pvc mats, i stand and my feet can feel the floor through the mat. i feel nothing but rubber on this one.
  5. but i’m not sure how i feel about knee support yet. i sometimes put a block under my knees and i’ve used extra mats under the knees too. but i need another go at some low lunges to see how that goes.

i can see why people spend money on mats. it’s like spending money on shoes and mattresses – things that separate you from the floor. i’m going to use this one for another week or so and see if it is what i’m looking for! i actually could go for a mat that’s extra long at this point. i like the width on this one, but even the extra 3″ is good, but may not be quite enough.

if i get another mat, i’ll be leaving another review! so far, i do know that my next mat definitely will not be pvc.

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