27 February 2009

WNDF: Cloverdale tangy summer sausage

Cloverdale Tangy Sumer Sausage

This is the second WNDF feature (Weird North Dakota Food) and it showcases a Mandan favorite: Cloverdale tangy summer sausage, made by Cloverdale Foods.

This little gem is great as a quick snack with crackers and cheese. It’ll be my sandwich tomorrow with some mustard and canned jalapeƱos. yes. it’s really good.

Now I realize that I touted Cloverdale in the last issue, about fleischkuekle. I promise that I’ll try and move on to a different company for the next feature.

Look! Cloverdale has a webpage! www.cloverdalefoods.com

WNDF: fleischkuekle

fleischkuekle 2

This is the first of many Weird North Dakota Food (W.N.D.F.) entries. Is North Dakota food weird? Sometimes. Like this for example: fleischkuekle. What in the world is that, you ask?

According to Wikipedia (yes, it’s in Wikipedia, so it must be real): Fleischkuekle is a type of meat pie made with flat bread, similar to a Cornish pasty, or Russian vareniki. The dish is traditional German Russian recipe, and through immigration became an addition to the Cuisine of North Dakota.

Here’s a close-up of the ready-to-eat felischkuekle:
fleischkuekle 1

My aunt Kristen (photo above with my uncle Bob) really likes it and was kind enough to help us make it last week. We eat it with ketchup. It’s definitely no diet meal, but it’s pretty tasty. If you live in the Bismarck-Mandan area, you can usually get pre-made, ready to fry fleischkuekle at the Cloverdale Foods Country Store.

Moved from the old (and broken) blog to the new blog - here.

26 February 2009

WNDF returns with peanut candy corn

WDNF is back!

On my old blog, I had a feature called WNDF - Weird North Dakota Food. 

What does that mean? Is North Dakota food weird? Yes. Sometimes. 
In the past, some of the featured food included: fleischkuekle, creamed pheasant, and scotcharoo bars. I'll move those posts over here this weekend, but to hold you over, here's a new one.

This may be more of a Weird University of Mary Food (of those there are many ... oy). My coworker, Jerry brought this in to work today. It's a really simple thing - it's just a 50/50 mix of salted peanuts and candy corn. 

I should mention that prior to today, I hated candy corn. I avoided them like the plague. But when they are combined with salted peanuts, something magical happens.

Don't they look irresistible?


Have no fear, I've been told candy corn are available all year!

25 February 2009

Knit 1, Purl 2

I still don't know how to "purl" ... I suppose I'll stumble across a YouTube video on it soon and then I'll know. For now, I'm perfectly content with my basic knitting stitch. Plus the "yarn over" stitch-adding trick.

Here are the photos I promised yesterday.

My latest project, a diagonal stitched, striped baby blanket. I'd make it larger than baby size but I only have three balls of this type of yarn (pink, grey and white). Pattern.

This is my ball of quilt fabric garbage. It will be a rug someday. I need to do more quilting to produce more scraps.

The most exciting thing I did today: I finally got to go to the Bismarck yarn store. It's called "ce designs and Yarn Shop," the address is 417 East Broadway, downtown Bismarck. I had a bit of a bad attitude about it before my visit today - but that's another story - one about parking and lack thereof. But after my visit today, I have to say - the store is wonderful. They have all sorts of yarn and every single one of them beats the quality of the "big box store" yarn by leaps and bounds. I expected the prices to be high ... which some were ... but she also carries yarn that is quite reasonable. Yeah, it costs more than the "bog box" yarn, but it's so worth it. It's 100 percent cotton. It's real wool - not an acrylic blend. It feels so soft (yes, you can feel the difference).

When it comes to yarn quality, my belief is exactly that of the quality of my quilt fabric: if I'm going to spend hours and hours (and hours and hours) making something, I want it to last and I want it to be nice. 

I once made a quilt with fabric from the infamous "Joann's quilt fabric wall" ... after a few washes the color bled and dramatically faded and to make matters worse, little holes formed in the fabric. Joann's offered to give me my money back ... but really, I was just bummed out. I didn't care about the cost, I cared that I spent so much time and put so much love into something that would soon fall apart. I should mention that I still buy fabric at Joann's but now I make sure that the fabric I buy is good quality. I thoroughly check the color and feel before buying it. So far, I've had good luck with this method, but it's tricky. There are some sneaky fabrics out there.

Ok, I'll step off my soap box now ...

Back to knitting.

24 February 2009

I have a new scarf.

My first knitting project - a pink scarf with a white stripe - is finished. I started with about 17 stitches and finished when it reached 70 inches. I've been wearing it the last few days and it keeps me toasty warm. We're supposed to get another storm this week and some very cold temps (highs of zero) so this will come in handy. 


I had some extra pink and white yarn (and an extra ball of gray - an impulse purchase) so I'm tackling a small knitted blanket using this pattern. This pattern is actually what motivated me to learn to knit in the first place. I'm fascinated by the diagonalness of the stitches. To start knitting it, you start with a corner and sew your way across the quilt. I'm about three inches in from the corner and already it has "that look." I'm going make it striped with the white, gray and pink. So neat! I'll post a photo tomorrow.

I guess I'm getting pretty hooked on knitting. I went though my quilt room (all fabric) garbage can and recused the long skinny pieces (about 1/4 to 1 inch by 5 inches or more) and sewed them together and I'm going to make a knitted rug. I'm excited about this because these are all pieces that were literally in the garbage and now they'll be made into something useable. I still need to collect lots more but I already have a little ball made of the fabric strips. 

19 February 2009

Technical difficulties

My blog is experiencing technical difficulties right now. 

It's completely my fault. 

Hope to be back, up and running at full speed soon.

14 February 2009

Adventures in knitting

I taught myself to knit last night. So far, I love it. I'm thankful for the excellent tutorials from Amazing Trips on youtube. I think I'm making a scarf. So far anyway. We'll see how that works out. Depending on how adventurous I'm feeling, I may even try to make a striped scarf. Ooh. Yes. That will look nice.

Thanks to my Grandma Katy for her phone consulting to get me though it. It was nice to talk knitting with her.

Yes, I used pink in honor of Valentine's Day. Hope everyone is having a great lovey-dovey day! I used to hate this holiday. Not any more :)

10 February 2009

Calorie overload.

I stumbled upon a site called This is Why You're Fat ... I dislike the name but decided to overlook that because I'm fascinated at all the nasty food they have pictured. yuck. Corn dog pizza?! Seriously?! How about a seven-pound breakfast burrito or a sixty-pound rice krispy treat. This is crazy stuff. 

On the note of crazy and fun websites. Check out Lovely Listing. It never ceases to amaze me how moronic some folks are when trying to sell a house. This site features real estate ad photo bloopers. 

I'm out of creative titles.

It's still winter. 
Still snowing. 
Still cold. 
Still windy. 
Matthew and Maria (my bonus brother and sister) had ANOTHER snow day today.

Even my slippers are ready for spring.

I'm sick of writing about the weather. I should be thankful that our weather, although cold and blustery, is not as bad as it could be. I just saw that Okalhoma had a tornado! How's that for crazy? A tornado in February.

Locally, the Interstate is closed from Mandan, ND (immediately west of Bismarck), west 100 miles because of all the ice and snow on the road. I'm happy to report that Corey and I are both home, safe and sound for the evening.

As promised, here's a project photo:
An embroidered dish towel. The pattern is from the one and only, Sublime Stitching. This is my first project using Sublime Stitching's iron-on designs. I really like the designs and the style but I do have to say that the lines on the iron-on turned out a bit too wide for my liking. I embroider with three strands of thread, so maybe if I used all six they'd be covered better? 

Well that's all the time I have for today, I've got to get back to watching the weather.

09 February 2009

Random ramblin'

Weather. Aack. Gag.
It rained last night and most of today. It was only about 34°F so we still have snow, it's just much soggier now. The forecast says that water on the roads will freeze tonight and the rain will turn to snow tomorrow morning. So we'll have ice with snow on top. Not good for driving but what's a girl to do?

I finished an embroidered dish towel that's currently in the washing machine. I'll post a photo tomorrow. One of these days, I'll sew more squares for this quilt.

Bismarck, ND, Restaurant reviews a la Erica
I visited two new Bismarck restaurants lately and also one that is not new to Bismarck, but new to me.

First, there is a new bakery in downtown Bismarck (118 N 4th Street, Bismarck, ND 58501). I can't remember the name, so if you know it, let me know. It's located where Mr. Delicious used to be, across the street from Pirogue. I can only officially review their lunch special, which is very tasty. For only $5.50, they'll serve up a sandwich on either a bagel or croissant, a cup of soup (I have the lumberjack stew - yum) and a vinaigrette salad. I'll definitely be having that again. They box it up "to go" so it'd be a great quick lunch if you're short on time.

The next review is Bruno's Pizza, at 910 East Front Ave, Bismarck. After hearing the "buy one get one half-off" special, Corey and I tried two small pizzas - a combo on hand-tossed crust and a Philly cheesesteak on thin crust. We both favored the cheesesteak pizza on thin crust (by the way, I though I'd hate this one). Definitely get the thin crust, the hand tossed is way too think. We'll probably visit Bruno's again, although I wouldn't go out of my way to.

The final review is of a restaurant I'm kind of embarrassed to say I had never eaten at. Jack's Steakhouse ... look, they even have a website. I'm a bit ashamed to say that I ordered chicken strips at a steak restaurant, but I'm happy to report that they were delicious. I hear the steak was great as well. The best part was the secret dipping sauce - looks and tastes like some sort of mix of Catalina dressing, mayo and thousand island maybe. Anyway, it's great and it reminds me of the sauce Speedway Restaurant had (they closed a few years ago and I've been missing their sauce ever since). Anyhoo, Corey and I will definitely be back to Jack's.

My funny mom
My parents are visiting Honolulu, HI, and are staying in the same hotel as many of the Pro Bowl NFL players. Well, Saturday morning, my mom got on the elevator and, according to my mom, a very "football player-looking guy" got on. So my mom asked him, "are you someone I should be asking for an autograph from?" Only my mom could get away with a question like that. To make a long story short, it was Randall McDaniel, formerly of the Minnesota Vikings (North Dakota's adopted NFL team). He signed an autograph for my mom and she said he was very nice. The next day (Sunday) he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Neat.

05 February 2009

My vicarious trip to Hawaii

My dad is required to travel to Hawaii for work. A lot. Like monthly. He's got a bazillion frequent filer miles to prove it. Anyway ... my mom likes to tag along. Who wouldn't, right?! So they happen to be in Hawaii this week and my mom took some amazing photos.

It's still winter here in North Dakota, with another snow storm forecasted for this weekend. So what do ya' say ... want to join me on a vicarious trip to Molokai, Hawaii?

Come, lets go.

Ahhh. Feel the sand between your toes.

Beautiful. Simply beautiful. I may even have this one framed.

What?! Where did the beaches go? um. mom? what's this all about? 
Apparently these are little tee-pee houses with a rooster tied up to each one. There are lots of roosters and chickens in Hawaii. I know, I don't understand it either. 

Moving on ...

Apparently there is a leper colony below the cliffs. A small town called Kalaupapa. Originally it was a refuge for suffers of Hansen's Disease (leprosy). There are no active cases of it today, but the current residents are descendent families of those affected by Hansns's Disease. Interesting. Another framer possibly?

My mom said that with a sunset like this, she was on the lookout for pirates. Good call, mom. Let me know when you find 'em.

Look at the beautiful turquoise colors. Quilt idea maybe?

According to my mom, this is the biggest town around. Kinda reminds me of Linton, ND, except with huge mountains, a tropical climate, and a beach, of course.

Yet another breathtaking sunset.

My mom calls this one "little town in the fog." I like the literalness. My mom's cool like that. We get along very well.

My parent's and this road didn't get along very well. They almost bottomed-out the rental car and almost got stuck a few times. But, according to my mom, the road took them to a cool beach. Bonus!

Hope you enjoyed the trip. 

Don't forget, to see a photo larger, just click on it, and it will open in Flickr. Then click on "all sizes."

04 February 2009

Sometimes the most simple of things seem the most difficult

I've been humming and hawing over making an electric heating pad cover for the past few months. The one that came with the heating pad is a butt-ugly blue color and it's scratchy. So, I decided to make one. 

That's where things got tricky. I googled and googled but couldn't find a good pattern or instructions. I almost gave up and resigned to the fact that I'd have to use the wretched blue one. Forever.

Tonight, after one last unsuccessful google search, I got a wild hair. I "winged it." I made my own, without any help, pattern, or sample. I totally overestimated the difficulty. It was a piece of cake. Actually, it's quite possibly the easiest thing I've ever made. I used some extra quilt fabric and a piece of red rick rack. No lining, just 100% cotton fabric. It came together in about 10 minutes. I can't wait to wear it out so I can make another one. Ha.

Here's a shout-out (is that what the cool kids say these days? All of a sudden I'm feeling old) to my bonus sister, Maria! Happy 16th birthday!!!

03 February 2009

Back in business

paperwhite flowers
It's a good day. The paper white bulb flower is blooming. My computer is updated (and working!). And the weather will be above freezing tomorrow and I'm really looking forward to it. 

paperwhite flowers 2
In case you don't have experience with them, paper white flowers stink. I mean really stink. So, although I'm happy to see flowers in the dead of winter – the smell is a bit yucky. But, the view outweighs the smell, so here they will stay.

As for the new computer software ... I'm a lifetime Apple computer user. Yep. I'm a nerd.

dad, erica, apple
This is my dad and I ... way back in 1983 'ish. I was about one year old. Not much has changed! I still get very excited when I get new software for my computer. This time it was Mac OS X Leopard and the new iLife and iWork '09. Awesome stuff. Thanks dad :)

Since this was a big update and I ran into a small e-mail snag, my computer was out of commission for a few days ... I was so preoccupied with my new "toys," I didn't have a chance to update my blog. Good news – I'm back in business and with new tools!

In my never-ending quest to use up my frozen raspberries, I made raspberry muffins Sunday. They are very good. Since they are pink, they are perfect for Valentine's day! Get the recipe here