2. My crockpot has been in almost constant use lately; in fact, one day I contemplated asking my mom if I could borrow hers so I could run two of them at once! Last week I made the most amazing bean soup: I started with a bag of sixteen bean soup mix, the kind with just beans and no seasonings or anything, soaked it overnight, and then threw it in the crockpot the next morning with water, about eight slices of Whole30 compliant bacon (meaning no added sugar, nitrates, etc) and cooked it on low all day. I added salt, pepper, and some hot sauce to taste and it was amazing - I ate it every day for the next couple of days until it was gone. I'm going to make another batch soon so I can freeze some for easy dinners after teaching.
I did manage to freeze several meals worth of the chili I cooked in the crockpot last weekend; I used the same recipe I always do, but it ended up being very dense and thick and not as "wet" as I like it. I'm not sure what I did differently... I've had several bowls full this week and look forward to eating it Cincinnati-style.
I also made a big batch of apple butter - so big, in fact, what half of it went to the triplets for their morning toast. :) It was pretty amazing stuff, and, again, is one of my favorite things to make in the crockpot - I just peel and slice the apples, and chuck them in with a good sprinkle each of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. I cook mine for 24 hours on low, and by the time I'm done, it's dark and thick and sweet and almost spicy, and the sugars in the apples have broken down and carmelized and oh my gosh I want some just talking about it.
The last thing I made in my crockpot was a batch of clotted cream. I had two days this week with no triplets and no evening teaching, so I decided to knock off a few of the "creative" projects I've been wanting to try, and this was one of them. I used the method from this blog post but instead of putting it in the oven all day (I shudder to think of using so much propane!) I instead poured the cream into a shallow dish, placed the dish in my crockpot on low, and added water around the dish. It worked perfectly and I was sold on clotted cream at first taste. :) I whipped up a batch of the cream scones mentioned in the post, and they were also to die for - totally different than an American scone which I've never liked. I ate them with clotted cream and the apple butter and can't wait to eat the rest for breakfasts this week!
3. I'm sort of frightening myself with how absent-minded I am these days. I jokingly say it's because my brain has limited RAM and has to dump all the unimportant stuff in order to keep holding on to the important stuff, but really... it's getting ridiculous. I think part of it is self-fulfilling, in that when I forget or misplace something, I panic, wondering what the next thing I forget is going to be, and then in my panic I forget something else. Not cool. Today Maggie, Ruth, and I went to Red Robin for dinner, and when the waitress returned the check for me to sign, I completely forgot to grab my debit card out of the holder. I didn't realize it until I was in the checkout line at Wal-Mart. And I refilled my propane tank today and realized that I haven't given it a thought in weeks; it's only because it's warm out and I haven't been cooking on my stovetop that I didn't run out and have no replacement. This cannot continue into colder weather. I need more brainpower.
4. In two weeks I get to take my first ever business trip! I'm so excited. :) I'm heading up to New Jersey for more training for my new position as Facilities Manager at swim, which entails a (albeit short) road trip, a hotel stay (yay for hot tubs!) and tons of awesome training, which honestly, I cannot wait to get into. I got my official notice today of my acceptance into the American Swimming Coaches Association! :) I'm trying to convince my dad to go with me to NJ as I hate to travel alone and all my usual companions are booked that weekend.
5. The ninth season of Bones premiered last week, and I spent the rainy days since then curled up on my couch, watching. Since I don't have TV or high speed Internet, I only watch a few shows and generally buy them when they come out on DVD in the fall. I've tried following shows week by week using Panera Bread's wifi, the DVR at work, etc, but inevitably in the middle of the year something happens and I miss an episode or whatnot and quit. In the past, the three shows I've faithfully followed have been NCIS, Bones, and Castle, but this year Castle and Big Bang Theory came out at the same time... and I realized I don't really care about Castle anymore. :( So BBT came home with me instead.
6. The lone exception to my "wait til it comes out on DVD" rule? Gracepoint. I was riveted by the original UK show, Broadchurch, and, uh, hello, David Tennant?!? I have already