Monday, January 31, 2011

Winter Darkness

It's the end of January and the darkness of winter is really starting to mess with me. I have been forcing myself to stay active so I don't turn into a complete hermit. However, this means waking up in the dark and running with a reflective vest and if I can't stir in the morning, then it means skiing with a headlamp in the evening.

Last night, I felt the darkness slowly seeping into my pores while I was skiing up Whiteface Toll Road. My skis were following the footsteps of a child. I'd like to blame the night sky for making me think such creepy thoughts about why a kid would be running down the mountain by themselves in the dark.

I don't think my mind would have gone there if it was a sunny sky. I probably would have noticed the footprints of an entire family and maybe some sled marks, but alas it was dark.

The dark days are slowly becoming lighter and lighter and I will not let the winter darkness beat me this year. What do you do in the winter to scare away the darkness?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Green Goddess Oatmeal Experiment

My mother gave me a slow cooker last summer and just recently in this cold month of January have I started using it. I'm not a big fan of chunks of meat in stews and such so I have been searching for recipes that take little prep work. This past week, I checked out from the library the cookbook, Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker, Recipes for Two and fell in love with the overnight oatmeal recipes. The author convinced me that once I had made the magical oatmeal, I would never want to go back to instant.

Green Goddess, the natural food store in Lake Placid was first on my list to start gathering the ingredients for the Cinnamon-Apple Oatmeal I wanted to make.

The recipe called for steel-cut oats and dried apple rings. This is the perfect place to get those items because they have a great selection of bulk foods and I find it to be way cheaper than getting them pre-packaged from any other grocery store.

After purchasing the oatmeal ingredients along with my beloved Tamari Almonds (not needed for the recipe), I was good to go.

That night, I turned the slow cooker on low and combined the oats, apple pie spice, salt, water and dried apples and went to bed. I was so excited about eating the delicious oatmeal, I could barely sleep. For real. I was like a kid on Christmas eve, tossing and turning all night long. I convinced myself that the house smelled like apple pie and that I was in for a big treat. I mean, can you imagine waking up and having a fabulous bowl of oatmeal waiting for you on a cold morning?

Finally the sun came up and I raced down the stairs, lifted the lid and saw a perfectly cooked, creamy porridge. I spooned it into my bowl, took one taste and BLECH! No taste. None what so ever. It was just a bland tasting rib-sticking bowl of oatmeal. The apple pie spices didn't come through at all and the apple rings lost all their flavor.

I don't think the oatmeal was overcooked, the consistency was fine, just no taste. I added way more brown sugar than the recipe called for at the end and it still didn't help it. Being disappointed is an understatement, not with Green Goddess, but with the morning glop.

Everyone keeps praising their slow cookers, but I have yet to be convinced of their powers. So, if anyone out there knows about any good recipes cooking on low for 8-9 hours for dinner or breakfast, please fill me in on your slow cooker successes.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Adirondack Yarns

If you were to walk into my home, you'd see signs that I might be a tad into knitting lately. The coffee and side tables have been stacked with books checked out from the library, scraps of paper with patterns and instructions are piling up, and balls of yarn have been poking out of bags and baskets. Drew noticed this recent wave of craziness and gifted me with some yarn and a book from Adirondack Yarns at Christmas.

With two skeins of beautiful yarn and a book on felting, I found a pattern that I wanted to try, but I still needed to figure out if I had the right needles. I used the handy little business card that Adirondack Yarns has with a chart on the back to organize my needles.

I checked off quite a few of the boxes, but of course I didn't have the right size for my next project. This I find to be the most frustrating thing as a novice because it seems like every time I want to make something new, I need to spend more money and buy more needles. So, I turned to Adirondack Yarns in search of the latest needed sticks.

Adirondack Yarns has a great selection of both needles and yarn. The store is also filled with the creations of the employees and inspires me every time I go in.

The owner is so helpful and more than happy to help customers with any knitting dilemmas they might have. Although my knitting group meets at the Alpaca Shoppe in Jay, it is nice to know that I can get some help in the big city of Lake Placid too.

I walked out with the right size needles and got to check off another little box on the card. Now the yarn sitting in the corner is ready to get knitted and come to life!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Adirondack Birch Worx

Have you stopped into the place with all the bay windows in Jay yet? Do you even know what I'm talking about? Yes, yes it is the one on Rt. 86 on the left before you drive the final hill down into Jay. Since opening in September, I had been meaning to go in and check it out.

As it turns out, "Adirondack Birch Worx" does not sell bay windows. They sell a variety of Adirondack style furniture and accessories. Carl, an ex-welder turned furniture designer can take any old log and create a unique piece of furniture. His slogan is "We make it look like it grew there!"

Carl is passionate about what he does and is trying to get other artisans in to sell their work here. One older artisan, Don Whalley, only 84 years of age has for sale a variety of items showcasing his burl work.

His work at this stage in his life, seems very refined and delicate, something that I could imagine would take years to achieve. Nothing like the bulky lamp I discovered in the corner that had a whole lot going on with it.

I asked for the full effect and had them turn the lamp on for me. It was then, with the extra light, that I could see it wasn't just the fawn at the base and the pine marten on the elbow. There were two squirrels poking out of the lamp too! Apparently, they were all found within two miles from one another as road kill. Can you not see it? I'll provide you with a larger image.

I asked who made it and Carl said it was one of Don's earlier, less refined pieces. He had sold it two dozen years ago to a couple and when the wife's husband died, she called him up and told him to take it back! I can't say I blame her.