because behaving is boring

Road trip!

Sorry I’ve been so quiet lately… I have been dealing with sinus issues these last few days and just thinking about thinking hurts…Today I woke up headache free, but it’s slowly sneaking up on me.

Phooey.

I’ve also been busy with a bunch of crochet projects, and I’m finally about to get started on O’s Halloween costume. Hopefully.

Thursday, my mom and I planned to go to a fabric store in Avon. I wasn’t 100% sure how to get there, but I had my navigator and I knew which direction I needed to go.

The beginning of the trip was fine…but we were probably halfway there when we encountered trouble in the form of a road closing sign. I needed to turn right in “approximately 5.2 miles”, and the sign said the road was closed in 5. I figured I would be able to make the turn, so we kept going.

Nope.

We got to the closure, and it turned out to be at a T, so you had to turn left or right. Guess which way was closed…

So I said a fair amount of curse words, O giggled hysterically, and we turned left. I didn’t see any detour signs, so I thought we’d just look for a right turn and try to go around the closure. We drove for a few miles before popping over a hill and almost running into another roadblock.

REALLY.

I cursed some more, O continued to giggle, and my mom snorted at me. Luckily, we were able to turn right and eventually we found ourselves in Danville. Knowing where we were, we were finally able to successfully navigate ourselves to the fabric store from there.

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It was worth it.

My mom found fabric that is perfect for the costume, and I picked up a couple of balls of yarn. Everything was on sale, plus I had a couple of coupons, so I got some really good deals.

And yarn.

I have not been brave enough to start working on the costume…but I have started a pretty scarf using the yarn I bought.

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I’m also working on something to add to my giveaway!*

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It’s purty.

Our trip home, if you wondered, was far less eventful. We took a different way, and even though we ventured a little close to the Covered Bridge silliness for my comfort, we made it back with far less cursing.

*Regarding my giveaway: I haven’t brought it up in a while because (as I mentioned previously) a woman in my community just passed away after fighting breast cancer. Out of respect for her loved ones, I decided to wait until after her funeral to continue. I’m still accepting donations, and every donation will still enter you to win!

Slow cooker pumpkin butter

A few days ago, I stopped by my friend’s house to make sure the curtain I was making for her fit the intended window. We had a nice visit, my kid inhaled two muffins, and we left with pumpkins from their pumpkin patch.

I was pretty stoked to have pumpkins. Last year, I cubed and roasted some with a little sea salt and Parmesan cheese and O loved it. As soon as I got home, I split one and roasted it with brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter.

Once it cooled, I dumped the pumpkin into a food processor with some vanilla yogurt, then I mixed it with some oatmeal and popped it into the fridge overnight. The next morning, O had pumpkin spice refrigerator oatmeal for breakfast.

I was trying to figure out what to do with the other little pie pumpkin when I saw a few recipes for pumpkin butter on Pinterest. It sounded good, so at 7:30 this morning I hacked the pumpkin in half and stuck it in the crockpot.

Don’t attempt to cut a pumpkin in half before you’ve had your coffee. I’m still not sure how all of my fingers are intact.

Anyway, this was all very experimental. All of the Pinterest recipes called for canned pumpkin puree, so I guessed that I could at least soften the pumpkin in the slow cooker before cutting it out of the shell.

Turns out, you can totally cook a pumpkin in the crock pot.

So after a lot of guessing and a little accident that involved some pumpkin hitting the floor…I ended up with some damn good pumpkin butter.

Here’s how you can have some, too:

Slow cooker pumpkin butter

1 small pie pumpkin
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup 100% apple juice
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1-2 teaspoons salt

Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Put the halves into the slow cooker with about 1/2 to 3/4 cup water in the bottom and let it cook on high until it softens, 2 or three hours.  ***

When the pumpkin is soft, carefully remove it from the cooker and let it cool a bit on a plate (this is how some of mine ended up on the floor). Dump the water out of your slow cooker.

Scoop the pumpkin flesh out of the rind and put it back into the slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients, turn it to low, and let it cook for about another hour.

Transfer the pumpkin to a food processor or blender. Give it some time to sit with the lid off so it can cool, then blend until you have the consistency you like. I actually ran my through a mesh strainer instead of blending it because O was napping. You’ll get the same result either way, but I’m guessing your arm won’t be as tired if you use a blender.

***Alternatively, you could cut the pumpkin away from the rind first, then just throw everything into the slow cooker on high for about three hours (or until the pumpkin is soft), then blend it all together.***

You could can this, or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days.

If it lasts that long.

I couldn’t wait until it cooled to try it, so I buttered a piece of bread, topped it with pumpkin butter, and cramed it into my face ate it in a ladylike manner.

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I couldn't even be bothered to get a real plate.

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It isn't in a Mason jar with a hand-lettered tag and a burlap ribbon. Pinterest is probably ashamed.

I’m currently working up the motivation to make some biscuits so we can eat this for breakfast in the morning. Something tells me a flaky, buttery, warm biscuit would be the perfect partner to this pumpkin butter. Or maybe we’ll just eat it straight from the container with spoons.

Don’t forget about my Breast Cancer Research Foundation giveaway! Check out the details in this post and enter. I’m about to add to the prize, so stay tuned!

Breast Cancer Research Giveaway

Yesterday morning, O was eating breakfast and I was wandering around aimlessly, picking things up while I waited for my coffee to brew. My hand landed on a half-skein of soft, thick, pink yarn and I found myself wondering if I had enough for a hat. I had actually just finished one, and it turned out so well that I wanted one for me, too.

O finished breakfast, I drank my coffee, and we spent the morning being a little lazy because, Sunday. O went down for his nap after lunch, so I turned the Colts game on and set my sights on that yarn.

Something occurred to me while I was crocheting. Instead of keeping the hat, I could make it part of a giveaway along with my Breast Cancer research fundraiser. It was, after all, bright pink.

Almost as if it was meant to be, I had exactly enough yarn to finish a hat that would fit an adult woman.

Well, it fit me…My adult status may be questionable at times.

I added a little detail that I actually think looks really cute. All in all, I think this might be my favorite hat.

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If you would like a chance to own this one of a kind hat (that might be the softest thing you’ll ever wear), all you have to do is donate. You will be entered into the drawing every single time you purchase a donation gig.*

Throughout this month, I may occasionally add to the prize, so keep your eye out for updates. Please continue to share this post and the Fiverr donation link. Thanks to everyone that has shared it already!

*I will randomly pick a winner on November 1st. Unfortunately, I can only open this drawing to residents of the continental United States. Members of my family are not eligible (sorry, guys). You may enter as many times as you like. The winner will be announced in a blog post, and I will give that person one week to contact me at willfullydisobedientblog (at) gmail (.) com with his or her shipping info.

Brussels sprouts with chestnuts and bacon

One morning last week, I was getting O’s breakfast ready when I noticed the freezer door was open. Thinking I must not have shut it, I pushed it closed and settled O in his highchair.

As I started making the coffee, (maybe opening the can gave my brain a jolt?) I realized that I hadn’t been in the freezer during the half hour that I’d been awake. I opened the door and poked at a bag of strawberries…Mushy. The ice had mostly melted into a puddle, and the ice cream was now soup.

This was all pretty upsetting since I had just gone grocery shopping the day before, but I was mostly annoyed over the loss of all those chestnuts.

I butchered my thumbs for nothing, it seemed.

Well, almost.

The day before, I used some of the chetnuts in a recipe. It was delicious…And there were leftovers packed safely away in the fridge. Luckily, O and I were able to enjoy some of the chestnuts we foraged for in those leftovers for the next couple of days.

This is the perfect kind of minimal-effort Thanksgiving side dish, by the way. Make it soon, and I think you will agree!

Brussels sprouts with chestnuts and bacon

1 pound brussels sprouts, cleaned and halved

3 strips of bacon

A good handfull of roasted chestnuts, quartered (if you don’t want big chunks, give ‘em a rough chop)

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons cold butter

Salt and pepper

Start by frying bacon over medium heat. Remove from pan and drain on a paper towel. Add brussels sprouts to pan and saute for five minutes, or until you get some color to them. Pour in water, then cover and steam for about 8 minutes. Uncover and add chestnuts. After the chestnuts have warmed through (about five minutes), remove from heat, add butter, and stir until it melts and creates a bit of a sauce. Crumble bacon over and add salt and pepper to taste.

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This is practically fall in a skillet. Even brussels sprouts haters may be lining up for seconds…In fact, you may want to double or triple the recipe to make sure you get some!

Or just refuse to share. I won’t judge.

On Breast Cancer Awareness and How You Can Help

I don’t know if you guys have heard, but October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Pink is everywhere, from canned soup labels to tee shirts to razors…even the NFL has jumped on the pink bandwagon. It seems pretty great, doesn’t it?

 

aTqeR6qrc Well…

I get that people want to show their support, and I do think that’s awesome…But I can’t help but think a sizable donation to the right charity would be even better. Unfortunately, since I still haven’t won the lottery (possibly because I don’t play? I don’t know.), I just don’t have the means to write the big, fat check that I’d like to.

This is where you guys come in.

 

I did some research, and I found the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. After checking out their website and doing a little digging through Charity Navigator, I planned to set aside part of the money I make through various crochet and writing projects this month for a donation.

I’ve set up a Fiverr gig for anyone that would like to add to my donation. The beauty of Fiverr is that you only have to part with five bucks. That’s right, five measly dollars. Sure, you can donate more (as much as you like!) by ordering multiple gigs, but it’s totally ok to stick with one. To check it out, and maybe throw your five bucks in the hat, click here!

 

At the end of October, I will cash out the money from this gig and send it to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Every single penny of it. I’ll keep you updated on the gig’s progress throughout the month, and I’ll even post a screenshot of the donation just so you know where your money went.

No, you won’t get a pink ribbon key chain if you donate… You actually won’t receive anything in return. Unless the satisfaction of doing a good thing counts, and I think it does.

There are other ways to help, too.

Do you know someone that is fighting cancer? Call her up and find out what she needs… Be someone she can vent to, go with her to chemo, make her dinner if she feels like eating, offer to babysit her kids when she’s feeling worn down…whatever will make her life a little easier, do that.

Donate a neat wig or a hat to your local cancer center.

Knit or crochet prayer shawls and send them to your hospital’s cancer floor.

Participate in a cancer walk near you.

This October, wear all of the pink you like…but perhaps also consider taking an extra step or two. Every little bit helps.

Here are some links I found helpful when trying to decide where my money should go:

Top Ten Best Practices of Savvy Donors

Should You Buy That Charity Affiliated Product? (Read this before you buy anything pink, please!)

Charity Navigator

**********

Yesterday, as I was doing a final edit for this post I learned that someone in my community just lost a battle we all thought she had won. I was not close to her, but the news of her passing hit me pretty hard. It’s just not right to hear that kind of news about someone my age, and my heart broke for her family and all of her friends that no doubt loved her very deeply.  I plan to donate in her honor, and in the honor of all of the women I know who have fought cancer. Some of their stories have happier endings, but the fight was still brutal. Donate in the honor of someone you know and love, or just donate because you want to make a difference. No matter the reason, your contribution will be appreciated. Please share this post and the donation link if you are so inclined. Once again, here’s the link to my Fiverr donation gig.

Roasted chestnuts

It may be 81° outside, but my calendar says it’s fall. Time for football, sweaters, comfort foods, and chestnuts!

Lucky for me, my aunt’s front yard contains a very large and fruitful chestnut tree. I know it’s a giant pain in the ass for her (the tree stinks, and it drops spiny little pods all over her yard), but it’s great for me!

Yesterday, O and I went over to her house and gathered a grocery bag full of the tasty little nuggets.

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Once we got home, I dumped them into a basket. These little guys are way perishable and will mold quickly, so it’s best to use them immediately. I planned to roast them today, so they hung out in this basket over night. As long as air can get to them, they should be ok for a couple of days.

This morning, I parked O in his high chair for breakfast, brewed a pot of coffee, and got to work. Chestnuts can be a bit of a pain to deal with, so I thought it best to get started early.

It’s a good thing, because I didn’t finish until 1:00 and I kind of never want to look at a chestnut again.

Just kidding.

If you’re lucky enough to find chestnuts and you want to try your hand at roasting them, here’s how I do it:

Roasted chestnuts

Chestnuts, in the shell. As many as you want, just remember that you’ll have to peel them. By hand.

Preheat oven to 400°

Rinse any dirt off of your chestnuts and look them over thoroughly. Discard any that are cracked or have holes.

With a paring knife, CAREFULLY (please don’t cut yohr finger off) cut an X into each nut. Make sure you get all the way through the shell… this will allow steam to escape so they don’t explode in your oven.

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The bigger the X, the easier it will be to peel.

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Place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet, cut side facing up. Roast for 25 minutes. If you hear a loud pop toward the end of the baking time, don’t worry. They generally don’t make a huge mess when they explode.

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When they’re done, let them sit until cool enough to handle…they do tend to peel easier when warm, so try to keep an eye on them. Then comes the fun part! Peel the hard shell and papery layer off of each one. Yes, by hand.

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This will wreck your thumbs.

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This is what they look like after you’ve peeled them. If you try one now, you might just find yourself eating them as yoh peel them. Fair warning.

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It isn’t a super quick process, so you might want to sit at a table. Invite a friend over to help…Just make it sound like it’s super fun. Also, convince your friend that chestnuts are gross so you don’t have to share.

Once they’re all peeled and your fingers are permanently disfigured, you can store them in an airtight container, either in the fridge (only for a couple of days!) or in the freezer (for up to a year). I stuck mine in the freezer so I can use them in a recipe sometime this week.

If they last that long…

Something to consider…

If you are thinking that you might like to take the plunge into parenthood, I want you to sit down an really think about something.

How do you feel about poop? More specifically, someone else’s poop. In your hand.

Because that’s the kind of thing you get to deal with when you become a parent.
If you just said, “Oh Hell no.” in response…

Maybe just get a house plant for now.


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