Thursday, November 26, 2009


The Fifth Annual Very Team Grondul Thanksgiving was a great success, despite some hiccups. Thanks to Lisa, Ken, Nick, Amy, and Not-Yet-Named Fetus for making it so.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Lessons Newton Taught Us: Chase-Wrestle

Another valuable lesson we learned from our pup:
Fetch-tug is a pretty good game, but chase-wrestle is the best.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

This is an adaptation of a recipe that Shuaib recommended we cook at the first Team Grondul Thanksgiving. If you follow the link you'll see that the original called for butter and heavy cream...fine for a Thanksgiving treat, but not so great for everyday. I swapped the butter for olive oil and the cream for lite coconut milk to health it it's a healthy fall treat! Yay!


  • 4.5 Tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • About 2 lb. butternut squash peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock (you could certainly use vegetable stock instead to make it vegetarian)
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 cups lite coconut milk
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

In a large soup pot over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the squash and stock, bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. Add the apples and nutmeg and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender, about 15 minutes. Using a food processor or a blender, puree the soup in batches until smooth. Return the soup to the pot, stir in the coconut milk, and season with salt and pepper. Warm gently as needed.

Newton's Day vs. Michael's Day

Newton's Day

Today was the BEST day ever! I thought it was going to be just another everybody-leaves-day 'cause my girl-hooman woke up when the beeping happened and didn't stay in bed to cuddle AT ALL. That means it's a everybody-leaves-day. She put on her leaving fur and then drove off in her sick-box. Then my guy-hooman did the same thing...except he didn't drive off! He came back inside and changed into his staying at home fur and then he took me outside! I got to hang out in the front yard all day. I got to lay in the sunny grass and pee on the tree and some neighbors came over to play with me! Then my girl-hooman came home earlier than usual. It was the best day ever! I'm so tired now that I need a nap.

Michael's Day

I thought today was going to be just another workday, but boy was I wrong! I got dressed and went out to drive to work, but I couldn't shift gears. My clutch wasn't working. I went back inside and did a little research on the internet and realized that I had one of the necessary parts to fix the problem. Unfortunately, I didn't have the other part I needed, so Alison offered to go pick it up at lunchtime and work from home for the afternoon. So, I set to work in the driveway and took Newton out with me since he enjoys being outside. At least the weather was decent. I was hoping I could get the job done in time to go to work for a few hours, but I finished up at took me all day! I think I fixed the problem, but it still doesn't seem quite right so I might have to do some more adjusting. *sigh* What a crappy day. I'm so tired now that I need a nap.

Friday, November 13, 2009

No-Beef Stew

I recently had a craving for beef stew but Michael doesn't eat beef. Hmm...conunrum. Then I was shopping at Whole Foods and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but bison stew meat...on sale! So, I searched for a good beef stew recipe that sounded like what my mom used to make when I was little. I found this recipe for Irish Beef Stew. Based on Michael's no-beef preferences and some of the reviewers' comments left at the Epicurious site, I came up with this (awesome, if I do say so myself) recipe.

  • 2 Tblsp olive oil
  • 3 Tblsp flour plus salt and pepper to taste
  • 1.5 - 2 lbs. bison stew meat cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 large garlic cloves minced
  • 5 tsp vegetable Better than Bouillon
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 Tblsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tblsp sugar
  • 1 Tblsp dried thyme
  • 1 Tblsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves

  • 2 Tblsp olive oil
  • 1.5 lbs red potatoes cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped baby carrots
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tblsp cornstarch

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, dredge the bison meat in the flour/salt/pepper mixture. Sauté meat until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add Better than Bouillon, water, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, heat oil in another large pot over medium heat. Add potatoes, onion and carrots and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté vegetables until golden, about 20 minutes. Add vegetables to bison stew. Simmer uncovered until vegetables and bison are very tender, about 40 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Tilt pan and spoon off fat. Whisk cornstarch in cold water and then stir into stew to thicken.


The dog they call...Jayne!

Pretty cunnin' dontcha think?

No, it's not a pon-"cho"

Hey everyone! I have a bit of a knitting saga to share if you're interested...

So, last March or so I ordered this yarn (in the "ginger" color) with the intention of knitting this sweater. Awesome, right? I received my yarn and began kniting. However, then we bought a house and moved and began rebuilding said house. And, as you might imagine, knitting rather fell by the wayside. Now fast forward to mid-August when I decided that I might as well continue doing my hobbies while renovating the house since it was, apparently, going to take forever. I took up the sweater where I left off and merrily continued knitting. Around this time, I also started attending a Thursday night knitting group. It turns out you pick up so many things at a knitting group! Like, did you know that you can actually try on your sweater while you're still knitting it? I had no idea! You take it off the needles and put your active stitches on a long piece of yarn instead. Then it's not constrained by the needles and you can put it on like you will be able to when it's done. Well, I thought this was genious and tried on my sweater which, remember, is basically 4 inches from being complete. You've probably figured out by now that all was not well. The bottom of the sweater fit great! Like a glove! The top part fit like I was supposed to put football pads on under it. Seriously, had it not been attached to the bottom part, I could have passed the top part of the sweater all the way over my body from head to feet without touching myself with was like a knit hula hoop. There was really no way to fix it and I SWORE I had followed the pattern correctly so, angrily, I ripped it all out and re-balled up the yarn.

Thus began my quest for something else to do with my pretty cotton yarn. Of course, by now it is October so knitting with cotton is maybe not the best idea. October is wool time. Nevertheless, I was bound and determined to use this yarn for SOMETHING. So I found this pattern. Pretty! Also, the fact that it is a pon-chette (not a pon-cho, goodness no, how uncouth!) made me laugh every time I got to say it. So, I began knitting. I was putting the trauma of the football-player-shoulder sweater behind me. The healing had begun.

Until...a week after I began knitting the pon-chette I got an email from the company from which I bought the pattern.
We have become aware of some errors in our Empress Pullover pattern, item
50642. Since the errors were scattered throughout the pattern, we are sending
you a link to a brand new, corrected version of the pattern.

Ya think?! URGH. So, anyway, I finished my pon-chette and it turned out awesome!

So now I have to decide if I want to bother with the dumb sweater again. Maybe next spring....

Thursday, November 12, 2009

D'house End is Nigh

Just days after launching the official website of the Rossum Corporation as a attempt at viral marketing, Fox has announced that they will not be renewing Dollhouse. This move comes as no surprise.

The good news is that the network still plans to air the remaining episodes of Season 2 during December and January. Ep 13 of this season will serve as the series finale. My hope is that, since Episode 11 is being filmed now, Whedon and company will have time to write plenty of closure into the final ep. I also can't help wondering if the finale will take place during the time period of Epitaph One," in which case it really should be called "Epitaph Two."

There's one more nugget of good news for the Whedonites in the audience: Joss apparently already has his next project nearly lined up, since he expects to announce it before Dollhouse's run ends. And don't forget about Cabin in the Woods.

I agree with many that Dollhouse is not Whedon's most entertaining series, but I do think it may be the most challenging and thought-provoking fiction of TV.