Friday, November 30, 2018

November Wrap-Up and Plans For December


I finished The Fifth Season in early November, which is the final title that I'm reading for my TBR Pile Challenge, and then plowed through the rest of the Broken Earth series. There's one more book on my challenge list but I'm not feeling inclined to read it so I'm done for the year.

This month I also finished Alisha Rai's excellent Forbidden Hearts series with Hurts To Love You. Rounding out the month, I read The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, which I loved, and started reading Crazy Rich Asians. The jury is still out on that one because sometimes reading about extremely wealthy, entitled people is just annoying but it's too early to really say yet.

In general it was a pretty good reading month!


Socks that I mention below.
While reading the Broken Earth series, I needed something less dark so I listened to The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, then started on Working Stiff by Judy Melinek which I impulsively bought on sale through Audible and had never heard of before. Melinek is a forensic pathologist, and this book is a glimpse inside a profession I know very little about.

I finished Last Seen, the podcast about the Gardener Heist. It was so fascinating, and now I want to learn more about art theft in general.

I also started listening to a podcast called Unlikeable Female Characters, which is SO up my alley. They talk about unlikeable female characters from books, movies, and TV so it sure to have wide appeal.


An early season of The Great British Baking Show appeared on Netflix and we watched that over the course of a week. It's listed on Netflix as The Great British Baking Show: The Beginning, though it's not actually the first season and I'm mystified as to why we're getting it in such a strange order. This was a good season except that they kept doing odd informational segments on things like the history of gingerbread houses and eel pie and it was not even always relevant (I really thought that technical challenge was going to be eel pie, but it wasn't. Why did we need to learn about the history of eel pie?) I really wish all the other seasons were available because watching this show greatly improves my quality of life. Please let me know if there's another happy-making food show out there because I need it.


After making the Smitten Kitchen Blondies again for a get-together and the Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownies for no reason, I decided I needed to stop the baking because it really does not fit in with my plans to eat a more healthy diet.

One-pot Mujadara
I made a couple of new things from Melissa Clark's Dinner, including Winter Vegetable Hash with Jalapenos and Fried Eggs, which didn't come out the way it was supposed to but was still tasty, and the One Pot Mujadara, a fairly easy meal of lentils, rice, spinach, and delicious crispy-fried leeks. I'll be making this one again, I'm sure.

For October's Cookbook Club at work we cooked from Smitten Kitchen Every Day, which I then purchased. Earlier this week I made the Wild Mushroom Shepherd's Pie and had serious issues with the recipe. You cook some mushrooms and then add a significant amount of liquid, then simmer it until the liquid reduces to a thick gravy, "about 10 minutes." Well, Deb Perelman apparently has no sense of time because I simmered for 35 minutes before giving up and throwing the Shepherd's Pie together and into the oven because I was starving. This monstrosity took me 3 hours to make and came out more like soup. The flavor was great though, and the leftovers thickened up a little. But seriously, can you please test all of your recipes? Thank you.

A couple of old favorites that I cooked include the Hot and Sour Braised Tempeh, a delicious noodle dish from How To Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman, and the Gingered Winter Vegetables from Vegan With a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I've never been vegan, but that cookbook is great and has been one of my go-to cookbooks for years!


Eric and I went with another friend to a fun event called Tavern Night, held at the Boston Tea Party Museum. We sat at a table with an actor portraying Sam Adams, and ate delicious foods, drank hot buttered rum, sang songs, and even learned a old-timey dance.

I celebrated an early Thanksgiving in Maine with family. They all work in health care and often work on holidays so we celebrate whenever they are available to get together. Have I mentioned that my sister has a llama? That's a photo of her on the right (the llama, not my sister.) The lighthouse in the photo below is at the end of the road I lived on growing up.

I spent real Thanksgiving watching episodes of The Great British Baking Show in my pajamas before going out to a restaurant in the evening. Which honestly was pretty great.

I finished TWO knitting projects! I posted about my sweater already, but I also finished a pair of socks. I've started more socks now, but in a much prettier colorway. (I mean, I love black, but sometimes you need to mix it up a bit.) Black is very hard to photograph, but nevertheless I've include a pic to the right.

Work has felt really busy, and I'm on the Social Committee this year which means planning the staff holiday party which is a total nightmare and I want to stab everyone. The end.

Plans for December

December is that very special time of year in which I try to remember what my goals were for the year, and then determine whether or not I fulfilled them. (Usually not.)

I need to set up my new bullet journal planner thingy, which I started planning ages ago, set it aside, and now I don't recall what I had in mind. I'll go back and look at my notes and drawings which I'm sure will be some combination of helpful and mystifying.

Traditionally, I don't do much for Christmas except decorate the house a little and watch lots of Christmas movies, then go out to eat on Christmas Day. There's only two of us and we used to cook, but it was a whole lot of effort and then we were just exhausted and cranky by the time we ate alone in our kitchen. Anyhow, I really want to plan some other festive activities as well, but I don't know what. Going to a show? Making fancy cookies? I have no idea.

We'll be having a New Year's Eve party though and that is basically planned at this point. It's just a matter of cleaning the house and buying some booze. I've got a few days off leading up to New Year's Eve so it shouldn't be a problem to have everything ready.

How was your November?


Teresa said...

For more Great British Bakeoff content: I just learned there's a holiday version on Netflix, so I'm pretty excited about that! And Nadia from one of the earlier seasons hosted something called the Big Family Cooking Showdown, which I also enjoyed, but not nearly as much as the baking show.

3goodrats said...

Thank you! That's fantastic to know. I really loved Nadia so I might check that one out.