Sunday, January 18, 2015

Dear Pioneer Woman,

I've thought long and hard about this, and your French toast casserole just isn't going to work out.

I mean, it turned out nice and moist and fluffy:

 And the inside was just as lovely. much as I loved the crunch on top, this casserole really needed the maple syrup. It was bland without it, and if it's a good French toast casserole, the maple syrup should be gilding the lily, you know? Particularly when it's not a listed ingredient in the recipe, it should almost be too much.

Tomorrow's recipe (I forgot to buy bread for today) has maple syrup as the sweetener. It's the Taste of Home's Maple French Toast Bake. I'm a bit hesitant to make a French toast that has cream cheese in it, but I'll try anything about once. Maybe twice, if it's decent. But I've loaded up on bread, milk and eggs, and there's sausage for sides (to be fair, they all have to have the same sausage side; that's science.) We'll see.

I have a feeling I'm going to end up using bits and bobs of several recipes to make up my own Workhorse Recipe. If the custard mix (the egg and maple syrup blend) of the new recipe works, then I may use that with the cinnamon/sugar/flour streusel of Pioneer Woman's recipe.

But that will be a decision for after the five weeks are fully up. Due diligence and all that.

In other news, I have a friend who asked me, politely, to knit her an infinity scarf. And she offered to pay for the yarn. And basely flattered me -- she's an organist. She plays an instrument that requires her to use eight fingers, two thumbs and both feet at once, and she said I had a great talent. Knitting vs. playing an organ -- to my mind, not really a comparison in terms of talent or ability. But I'm weak and easy, and easily led, so I said fine.

There was much yarn wank and pattern wank, and then I changed up the yarn I wanted to use. I went with Crystal Palace Yarns' Panda Pearl. But I had no idea which color she would like! There was a beautiful green shot through with purple called Green Glades, which I favored.
Then there was a beautiful blue and black blend that my mom preferred, called Lake Blues.
Then I got a third yarn, as a compromise, called Blue Lagoon.
Unfortunately, she chose Blue Lagoon. This left me with a quandry: Would I be emotionally strong enough to take the other two back?

No. No I'm not. They're going in the stash.


Rex laughs at me and my weak will.
Haha! Look at my little pink butt! It's pink.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

French Toast Casseroles, or My Search for the Ultimate Truth

Honestly. French toast casserole. You'd think it would be a simple thing to find a good recipe for French toast casserole, wouldn't you? But, no. No, it isn't. I've been testing various ones for the past forever it seems, but none are really satisfactory. This one has too much custard, that one is too bland. This one is too spicy, that one tastes like nuclear waste, and oh, my blob, is it still in my mouth? Spit it out, spit it out!!!

What is it going to take for a girl to find a good French toast casserole recipe!?!?

Poverty, apparently. I'm super poor at the moment, what with various family dramas going on and my decision to pay off my credit cards, so I've decided to make a different French toast casserole every Sunday until I find the best damn French toast casserole on the planet, by gum. Or at least an adequate one. Because eating in is a lot cheaper than eating out, and that was the family tradition for most Sundays. Well, poverty. So they can become rats in my little pain perdu maze. Bwahahahahaaa!

Up tomorrow: The Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Baked French Toast. I chose it for first because...well. No reason, really. But I know some people for whom the Pioneer Woman is, like, a minor goddess, so her recipe can't be all that bad, can it?

Anyway, for the purposes of this experiment, I decided I will have to use the exact same ingredients for each recipe (at least, where they overlap), otherwise it's not a good test of the recipe, is it? I have chosen for my bread a nice, heavy French loaf from my local Earth Fare. To be completely honest, that's the only item I buy there (except if I need Emmentaler cheese -- don't ask me why, but apparently the people in these parts have a thing against good Swiss cheeses), but that's not the fault of their products. It's my location. Upon a time, it was a huge Office Max, and before that a regular grocery store. Earth Fare moves in, I get all excited...and then they cut the inside down by nearly 2/3, and have a produce section approximately the size of my bedroom closet. Whaa...?

Whatever. We have a Fresh Thyme market, too, so screw you, Earth Fare, and your teensy weensy vegetable section at our location. Are we not good enough for your precious fingerling potatoes?

Ahem. Back to the French loaf. It's good eatin' bread, so if anything will make a French toast casserole good, it's this. Same brand of milk, same brand of cream, etc. All the variables must be the same if we are to figure out if there's magic in the mix. Somehow I feel like I should have a lab coat for this....

Next week, I think I may go with Maple French Toast, from Taste of Home magazine. The week after, Brown Sugar and Walnuts, from Mr. It has the walnuts, you see. Healthy. Then maybe the completely nutritionally unredeemed Skier's Baked French Toast from Miss Party. Corn syrup, people, it's got corn syrup!!! And rounding out the top five (and hopefully there's a winner in this batch) is the Blueberry Surprise French Toast, by Shop 'N Save, a chain of supermarkets here in the States. I will have to make up a score card and everything, too.

Is it weird that the thought of doing a statistical analysis of French toast casserole recipes sort of excites me?

Saturday, January 3, 2015

I am so losing my destashing game again this year....

I stopped to pick up my layaway silk yarn and this wanted to come home with me:

You can't tell from this picture, but that's some silk, merino, nylon and a silver strand all spun up together. Sparkles, my kryptonite.

I think it's going to be wanting beads, too. I'm so pathetically easy, you know?

At least Rex is keeping my chair warm:

That's some pretty yarn there. May I chew on it? No? Ok, then. Whatevs.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

To start the new year....

Have I posted at how random I find the Western New Year's Eve? Because I do. It's just past the solstice, which to my thinking would make a way more logical place to start a new year, but not quite to any change of weather or astrological season. It's...bizarre.

And pointless. Any day can be the start of a new year for you. You just have to make it so.

However our culture decreed (at some point in the dim and misty past) that this would be the start of a new year. We would measure our trip around the sun by this day.


Oh, well. I do have this to console me:

Well, I have the pink one. The green is languishing in layaway until tomorrow, when I get paid and can ransom it. But then they will be together again.

The bottom one is a bamboo-merino wool blend (superwash) and the green is a silk-merino (ALSO superwash!) I'm thinking I may need to design my Pi Shawl and work it in two colors. Or something like that -- I've got some serious yardage working between the two. The pink is 520 yards, the green over 600.

Either way, if that's what celebrating the new year gets me, pass the champagne!