I normally don't take shortcuts, but I picked up a used breadmachine for $5, and thought it would be fun to play with.  I'm not the biggest fan of the weirdly square shape of the loaf, but I haven't managed to pull the loaf out of the machine before the bake cycle to put it in a different pan and bake it in the oven. Because isn't the whole point of the bread machine the convenience?? ;)  

I turned 41 on Sunday.  Which isn't a big deal, I'm not afraid of aging or any of that, nor am I a huge birthday celebrator.  But I think the occassion warrants a little spoiling, usually in the form of a gluttonous meal.  And since I normally eat pretty gluttonous-y anyhow, that means usually heading toward the high carb end of the food spectrum. Or, in this case, pasta. ;)  So, I broke out the pasta machine.  I really wanted to make cheese tortellini, but that has a higher pasta to filling ratio, and I didn't want to go super overboard.  (Famous last words!)  So I opted instead to make raviolis. 

Crab legs were on sale at the store, and so I picked a package up, but then couldn't decide what to do with them.  I made crab cakes recently, so those were out.  Crab stuffed shrimp is fun, but not quite what I was in the mood for. I wanted to make something different with them, and also wanted an excuse to heat up the fryer.  Finally, I stumpled across a recipe for crab tater tots, which immediately made my mouth water.  The original recipe was made with pate a choux dough, however, and wasn't quite what I was looking for.

I love working with clay, it's such a fun and forgiving medium, and the possibilities are endless. If  you have creativity. Which I don't always. :)  I ordered a handful of how-to books from Maureen Carlson, who is a polymer clay goddess. It is AMAZING how much detail and personality she puts into her figurines. I had always thought the polymer clays were for people who weren't serious about creating art, and Maureen has, through her work, set me straight.

I love when friends post interesting food ideas to my facebook wall. It's almost always something I haven't come across before, or is something I just needed a bit of a push to finally try. In this case,  a recipe for zucchini ricotta fritters was posted.  I had seen other zucchini fritter recipes, some without flour, some in the same manner as a latke, but none with ricotta cheese.  I immediately wanted to try them. Luckily, I was on my way to the market that afternoon, and picked up the things I needed.

I love chicken wings.  They are so versatile, and have the perfect meat - fat - skin ratio.  Plus they are smaller than, say, chicken legs, so you feel like you get to eat a lot more. ; )   I have always been a huge fan of frying them, because I love how crispy they get.  But then I discovered roasting them with their sauce on, which caramalizes and adds a new dimension of flavor.  Then, I got the grill, and have become a grill junkie. EVERYTHING goes on the grill now, even brussels sprouts. And pizza. And Indian flat bread. Mmmmmmm.....  ; )  Wings. Right.

Getting hit on the freeway is one of my huge fears. The speed, the noise, the metal hitting metal at such velocity.  I am trying to blog about my experience, but it's proving to be a little harder emotionally than I thought it would. So I'm just going to put up the pictures and the details of what happened, and leave the processing of it for another day. 

I've never had General Tso's chicken, I can never resist Kung Pao chicken when I am ordering at a Chinese restaurant.  But this recipe is pretty close, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I didn't deep fry the chicken; I sauteed it instead in some oil, then drained the excess oil before finishing the dish.  I did add water chestnuts to it when I made it, since I wasn't serving it over rice. I'm not crazy about it, I like my go-to Kung Pao recipe better. But it was fun trying a new dish. : ) 

It's warm out, and that means it's time to break out the cool and refreshing summer rolls! Made with red leaf lettuce, fresh rice noodles, cucumber, carrot, mango, cilantro, and mint, wrapped in rice paper. The dipping sauce is a spicy peanut sauce with soy, garlic, ginger, sriracha, lime juice, and cilantro. SUPER happy, and hello summer! ♥

I feel like this warrants some explanation, like many of my more, uh, creative projects, but I'm not sure really how one explains a lion costume for a bald dog. The idea started with whimsical hats for humans, like hats that look like sock monkeys, hats that look like dead fish (so on my to-make-someday-list!) and hats that look like lions. I kept looking at the lion hat for humans, but I didn't care for the techniques used in it, or the colors of yarn available for it, and so I kept hesitating on ordering the yarn. While searching for human lion hat alternatives, I came across the pattern for a "King of the Beasts" knitted dog sweater with an attached mane and tail.  It was love at first sight. I ordered the yarn that day, and downloaded the pattern.


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