Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Crafting away, and the joys of spring break...

It's spring break here on campus, and for me, that means a nice reprieve from the busyness of the library. I'm actually having time to work on some book reviews for the Catholic library periodical that I write for, and generally experience some quiet time in my office to get small things done. This isn't that much different from spring breaks back in my own college years. I wasn't exactly what you would call a "party animal" at any point in my life. Spring break meant that I had more time for my leisure reading. *snorts* It's little wonder that I didn't have the guys beating down my door...

Yesterday, I left work after my morning reference shift so that I could spend additional time with my in-laws prior to the end of their visit. I made a meatless dinner that earned praise, so I thought I'd reproduce it here. The joy of all my dinner recipes is that they are EASY. I'm no cook extraordinare. Anyhow...

Spinach Ravioli Bake

1 pkg. (10 oz. or so) frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 pkg. frozen ravioli (approx. 24 oz. to feed 2; I used 3/4 of a 48 oz. bag to feed 4 adults and 1 child)
1 medium pkg. part skim mozzarella cheese, grated
Parmesean cheese
Tomato sauce

All you need to do is layer the above in a casserole dish as follows: sauce, ravioli (yes, go ahead and pop them in there still frozen), spinach, mozzarella cheese, and then sprinkle parmesean cheese. Do this 2 or 3 times. Bake uncovered at 350 for 45 minutes, and voila! Instant meat-free goodness.

I'm always very self-conscious (surprise, surprise...) when I cook for others. I spend the whole dinner with my little mind all awhirl; "do they like it?" "how fast are they eating it?" "are they going up for seconds?" "is it warm enough?" "should I...?!*" This is all complicated by the fact that my mother-in-law is enviably slender and eats like a bird. I'm always frantic that she doesn't like what I make and secretly thinks that it's all too fattening, although she always tells me that she does like it. So, again with the crazy thing.

Another thing that I do when my in-laws visit is crochet and knit my little heart out. I'm incapable of simply sitting and relaxing when I have houseguests. I'm either tornadoing around the house, or I else I have to have something in my hands. So, the stitches were flyin' this weekend. I finished my inaugural baby hat:

It has a bit of what I call "Loose Pom Pom Syndrome" which is really bugging me, but I can't fix it now. I think I'll just hold this one in reserve for a potential future male Baby CatholicLibrarian. Did you all know that there are such inventions as Pom Pom *makers*? I sure didn't. But I found out, and even had a fight with one this very weekend. The yarn simply didn't want to wind around the maker the way it was supposed to. I fixed it's wagon by cutting a slit in the Pom Pom maker and then it complied.

As well, I finally finished the spring placemats and centerpiece:

They need to be blocked, which I hope to get to this weekend. That should be interesting, as I've never done it before. These are made of cotton, so let's hope they don't end up miniature sized when I'm finished with them. I'm now working on baby hat #2, improved edition, and I'm about to start a scarf and shawl bonanza with leftover yarn that I have in my stash. I want to make some for my sisters for Easter, and a few for myself. A girl can never have too many scarves and shawls.

Oh and...*IMPORTANT ALERT* JoAnn's is having a *huge* sale this week. We're talking coupon commotion here, people. I have my eye on some of the new Stitch Nation yarn, created by Debbie Stoller, author of the Stitch 'n Bitch books, as well as some pattern books. The amount of excitement that I feel at the prospect of a trip to my local craft store is really quite comical.

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