About The Country Wife Blog

Friday, May 18, 2018

Food Friday: Roasted Tofu!

Most people turn up their noses at tofu. I did for many years. I still don't like tofu in its soft version.  This way of preparing it is nice and chewy.  I like that.

Roasted/Baked Tofu

Slice one block of tofu horizontally to make two "slabs" that are about an inch or less thick.  Place on double or triple layered paper towels and cover with more paper towels.  Put a flat pan on top with a can or two of soup or vegetables on top of it.  Let drain for about fifteen minutes.  Cut into cubes.

In a large bowl place  3-4 Tablespoons hoisin sauce and an equal amount of teriyaki sauce.  Stir well.  Toss the tofu in the sauce to cover completely.

In another large bowl, place dried bread crumbs...a cup or more.  Put the coated tofu in the bread crumbs and toss to cover.

Place on a parchment-paper-covered or Silpat-covered pan and roast for 20 minutes in a 400 degree F. oven.  Remove from oven and flip the cubes to the other side.  Roast for another 20 minutes.

Eat them like popcorn.  I enjoyed them.  They could have had more flavor, and would have if I had marinated them overnight in the refrigerator, but I thought about it after coming home from Church.  Too late for marinating.  Next time.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Drop Spindle Spinning

A man named Scott works for the company which has offices across the hall from our office.  A few months ago he brought some of his angora rabbits in to work.  I heard about it and went to see them.  So adorable.  We began talking about all things fiber relating to angora rabbits.  We spoke of spinning. He mentioned drop spindle spinning, which he does with roving from his angoras.

About two weeks ago we saw him in the elevator and spoke of spinning and drop spindles again.  Yesterday I "just happened to be in the neighborhood" of a yarn shop (after I had accomplished my real task of sending an overnight letter from a full-service post office!).  I looked for the proper yarn for the neckerchief shawl but they had nothing that filled the bill for the Fort.  As an afterthought, I asked the lady if they had roving or drop spindles. Oh yes they do!!!

They have a whole room devoted to spinning.  In fact they had small kits with a couple of colors of roving, a drop spindle, and instructions on how to do it.  Well, you know me...when I get an itch,  I cannot let it go until I scratch. 

Opening the bag after supper, I started reading the directions.  Sounded okay, just not really that easy after all.  SO what do you do then?  Go to YouTube.  I found a short video that was really helpful.
First spinning on the new oak drop spindle.

This video gave me the confidence to go for it.  A side note: at home in Vermont I believe I have both a top whorl and a bottom whorl drop spindle.  I had thought of asking the home folks to look through the attic stuff for them but then decided to be decent and leave them alone, especially since the cost was not that much to replace them.

This spindle works like a charm.  I was unaware of the "spin and park" idea.  When I tried drop spindling several times before it was more like "spin and drop and break the yarn"...not too satisfying.  I am thinking of spending fifteen minutes a day (by a timer!) spinning.  In fact, today I started out doing fifteen-minute stints of a variety of activities that I want to do each day.  In the past, well, yesterday, I started on one of those projects and just kept going.  No laundry done. No dishes done. No good meals cooked.  I am hoping the fifteen minutes by the clock will help me get to the end of the day and actually have accomplished somethings.  I am always so hopeful with these "resolutions"...

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Knitting with Cheryl Brunette!

Cheryl Brunette has been one of my knitting heroines for many years.  She taught me how to use our Bond Incredible Sweater Machine and then the Bond Ultimate Sweater Machine...the same thing only a little better.  She has many videos on using the Bond on YouTube.  She has many more videos on many knitting topics, every one of them superb.

Sister F., A kind Church Service Missionary came into the office one day a couple of months ago and told me about an event where Cheryl was going to give a presentation just "across the River" in Vancouver.  Yay!  That was something I thought we could do.  Permission received from President, and now I just had to wait for the magic day.

In the meantime, I finished up the baby sweater I had been working on following Cheryl's 15-episode series on YouTube--How To Knit A Sweater.  I resolved to take the sweater with me to show her the results of her teaching.  Sister F. brought hers along, too!
Cheryl Brunette holding the baby sweater I made.  You will notice the humpy-ness...that came from putting it in the washer and going to the office.  Probably I could have helped it by wetting it again and blocking it severely.  No time for that.

The Fort Vancouver Knitting Guild sponsored the meeting and invited everyone to come.  There were lots of people there, sitting at tables so they could have their knitting convenient.  The first thing this guild does at their meeting is to have a show and tell.  Everyone who brought knitting with them, came up and showed it, and remarkably, told about it, too!  Since only one person was up there, I decided to take the bull by the horns and go up, too.

It was fun to show the sweater and share that it was one of Cheryl's projects.  Two other people came up then Sister F. came up, and one more, I think.  When I said my name,  Cheryl perked up, and came over and gave me a hug.  I was so pleased.  I have sent her probably ten emails over the years.  She has responded to each of them.  Such a nice lady.

Her presentation on gauge was so useful.  I had heard much of it before in the various videos but it was so lovely to hear it in person.  She also told me how to fix a problem I have with knitting stockinette flat...rowing out, is what she called it.  I will try it the next time.

A note about Dear One here:  he was so kind to go along on this trip.  He drove.  Thank goodness.  We did not take the most direct route because of potential traffic issues.  We went out 185th to Old Germantown Road and over the mountain, dropping down on Bridge Street then zigzagged our way over The River and through North Vancouver.  We arrived in plenty of time to each our leftovers from the potluck (me) and egg sandwiches (Dear One).  The trip took over an hour in rush hour traffic.  The trip home, going the more direct route, took 34 minutes and we arrived home around 9 PM.

The Fort Vancouver Knitting Guild ladies were so nice.  They invitedus to join (can't) and also to knit neckerchief shawls for the re-enactors at Fort Vancouver.  I did take a pattern but did not realize the yarn there was free to take as well.  So far I have not been able to find any that will fill the bill.  Maybe eventually I will.  It must be very fine merino or it will too scratchy against the ladies' skin.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Paper Crafting: Scratch Paper Box with Envelope Punch Board

Lots of paper goes through our printers, here at the apartment and in the office.  Many times it is one-sided copying.  Eventually those copies are replaced with updated information. I hate to throw away that paper.  So, what to do...

Earlier I showed you, I think, how to make a tear-off pad of paper (cut paper to size, hold together with binder clips on the sides, spread white glue along the top, put other binder clips there to hold paper to get, wait until the glue dries completely...a day or two is how long I wait, and there you have a nice tear-off pad with one empty side and a back side with random printing) but today I thought I would like to have a little box to hold single sheets of paper from recycling.

This is what I did:

Looked on YouTube for videos on how to make open boxes using an Envelope Punch Board to make the box.  This is the first one I found.   The Box Buster on her website told me what size paper I needed to cut and where the first and second punches needed to go.  Since I was planning to have an open box, not a "thick envelope box" for storing greeting cards, I needed to look for further information.
Untidy pile of paper with newly made box

Looked on YouTube for further help.  This is the second video I watched.  This gave me the second part that I needed to know to make the box I wanted to make.

To make an open box (actually, the box bottom of a covered box--to make the top you increase measurements by 1/8 inch)  I cut the paper and followed the punching instructions from the first video.  The next step was to follow the cutting and glueing from the second video.
Box, close up, but hard to see because of the funky card stock

Basically, after the punching and scoring, on the long side, you snip in to the score line, fold that down, then glue it to make a nice box shape.  After then, fold down the flaps and glue to the bottom, first the short ends, then the long ends.  I used hot glue because the double-sided tape I had did not work.  Hot glue will pretty much hold everything down!
Tidy paper in box!

This box and paper is for at home. I might make a box for the office...my desk leaves something to be desired due to piles of different-sized papers.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Munchie Monday: Quick and Easy Southwestern Salad

We plan to have a potluck lunch in the office the Wednesday after Transfers.  This is a nice idea.  We put the phone on answering machine for half an hour (unless SOMEONE forgets to turn it back on when lunch is over...it could happen....) and just enjoy each other's company and yummy food.

This time we had hot Costco pizza,  chicken pasta salad,  cut fruit, bagels with three kinds of cream cheese (have you ever had cinnamon and brown sugar?  Deathly...), a gorgeous red velvet cake with ganache and lovely flower decorations on top and dribbling down the sides, and Southwestern Salad.

This salad was basically a can of red beans, drained and rinsed, a can of whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed,  half a sweet onion very finely diced, and one red bell pepper, finely diced.

All these were put into a large bowl and covered with Southwestern Dressing.  To make this the quickest and easiest, you can buy that sort of salad dressing. 

Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and let it marinate overnight.  When ready to serve, bring it to the table with a big bowl of chopped greens for people to put on their plates then put a scoop of the vegetable mixture on top, then more dressing, if desired.  It was pretty good salad.  Don't ask Dear One, though, because he though it was too iffy to try.  No problem.  More for the rest of us.

The dressing I made:

All these ingredients I added to our blender:
1 cup loosely packed cilantro, including stems
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic
2 Tablespoons lime juice
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
A little coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Fortunately I tasted it.  Not great, but I was committed to it since I was tired and did not want to go out to the store late at night--well, it was about 8 PM.  That is too late to go out to the store.  For me. 

Because I was unsure if there would be enough dressing, I added another half cup yogurt.  Because this was also so acidic I also added, horror of horrors, one Tablespoon of sugar.  Made all the difference.

It was good enough to take to the potluck.  People said nice things, but then, people always say nice things. Mostly.  I was not embarrassed by it, and because there were only six of us, there was leftover food to take home. I have enjoyed it!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Happy Mother's Day!

My angel sister and her equally angelic husband sent me a gorgeous bouquet (on HER birthday!) to celebrate MY birthday and Mother's Day.  Because I cannot begin to send greetings to all the beloved women in my life,  I am sending you this picture to enjoy.

Imagine beautiful roses and Stargazer lilies, at least I think they are Stargazer sitting there in front of you.  They are magnificently fragrant and have kept the office glorious for days.  Now they are home for the weekend.  I watered them and hope they will live forever.

With love to you all and wishing all you dear family and friends from so many times in my life the best woman's/mother's day ever.


Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Bi-Fold Door Debacle

One of the nice things about this apartment where we live is that there is a washer and dryer in the apartment.  No laundromat needed.  So good. I got tired of that the first year we were first married.  Once we had our first baby we found a used washer so at least that part of the laundry process could be done easier.  There were a LOT of cloth diapers to wash and hang out to dry.  I loved how funny and stiff those diapers looked on the clothes line in winter.  After a while when I went back out to check the diapers, the water had sublimed away and they were soft and ready to come in.  So glad not to be doing that anymore.  So glad on multiple fronts!!

Anyway, the washer and dryer here are behind some nice bi-fold doors.  We store the toilet paper on a shelf above the appliances.  For some reason the last three in the bag fell off the shelf and into the very small space between the wall and the dryer.  Dear One could not retrieve them so he took off the right bi-fold door, pulled out the toilet paper and a Costco insulated shopping bag that I had put there to store.  And then he put the bi-fold doors back on.

Well, he tried. And tried.  And tried.  This was at bedtime and I was lying in bed reading The Book of Mormon before going to sleep as I always do, at least I always do this when I am participating in The Book of Mormon Translation Challenge.  Being mostly oblivious to what is going on around me when I am lost in a book, I did not become aware of what was going on with the doors.  Finally I did and went out to "help".

Door maybe properly installed

We spent a LONG time working on getting the doors back in.  We got the little rod into the top hole but could not get it into the bottom groove.  And we definitely could not get the white rolling ball into the track.  Oh, that is wrong: we COULD get them all into the proper places, just not all at the same time.  Eventually we gave it up and started again in the morning. I had watched a YouTube video on installing bi-fold doors. It is a snap.  Just watch that video and you will see how easy it is.

Not so easy in real life.  After quite a while we managed to get both of the doors into their tracks and were able to close the doors.  Still not right but they work so we will go back to them some day when we feel better about a possible successful outcome.

Not quite right, but workable