Right out of a Hat

I’m not good with choices. Have we ever talked about this? A few choices are just fine, but as the field grows, so does my anxiety about choosing. It’s one of the great things about being a vegetarian in a restaurant, most of the time there’s very little choice. There might be one or two things without an animal in it, and usually the other thing has eggplant, and there you go. Choice made. (I have a fragile relationship with eggplant. Something about the difference between the firm, shiny skin and the mushy insides gives me the heebie-geebies.)

Vital, important decisions I can manage, because I am a grown-up and that’s part of the rules, but small decisions like what to have for dinner? What wine should we order with our meal? Which skirt should I wear today? May the goddess of wool preserve me, I hate it. I hate it enough that most of the time I’d rather opt out entirely. Many’s the time that I’ve let someone else order my dinner or drink for me, or asked my kids what I should wear and then put it on. “You pick” is what I say most often. The element of surprise is just fine with me, and I enjoy it more than trying to figure it out for myself. (This only works if you’re with someone who has decent taste and understands about eggplant, that Kahlua is pretty dodgy, and that I don’t like turtlenecks.)  Generally, my zeal for decisions and choices is directly related to how many of them I’ve made lately. If I’m burdened by larger life choices, small things like what sock yarn to cast on next seem impossible, and I’ll let you choose my cocktail. I’m used up, I can’t decide.

yarnready 2016-08-16

Such was the place I found myself in today. I’d finished a pair of socks over the weekend, and I’d grabbed another ball of yarn at random and cast on, just to have something in my bag, but today (after I sat at my desk all day writing which is nothing but making big choices) when the time came to pick my next proper project, I couldn’t do it. Completely stuck. Here’s a whole house full of yarn and patterns and after a few hours of research (that’s what you call hopelessly pulling skeins out of the stash, waiting for them to speak their destiny and then putting them back which they refuse to tell you) I gave up. I decided I’d go into my office and the open the yarn bin by my desk (judge not lest ye be judged) and the first yarn that I saw, that would be the yarn I used.

ghazalestart 2016-08-16

Theoretically, I like everything in my stash, so I couldn’t see any way for it to fail.  The first thing was the handspun that I finished right before The Rally.  Long, uneven stripes of colour, in silk and polworth. Fine, I thought that’s fine – it even helps a bit, actually.  Mittens are out, because they won’t match in a horrible way that will make me wild, socks can’t be undertaken for the same reason (also, it’s worsted weight-ish, and socks that don’t fit in shoes are awkward.)  A scarf would be too short (I only have about 200m) A hat wouldn’t work because it’s handspun and I’d want to use all of it up, so… that sort of left cowl, didn’t it? I put out a plea on Twitter, and then I took the first reasonable suggestion.

yarnknitting 2016-08-16

It was Ghazal.  Comes in a bunch of gauges, easy to change for however my yardage works out, has a little slip-stich thing that should look great with my yarn. I cast on (provisionally, which was fantastically ironic to me) and began. I feel good about it. I think it’s going to work – which is great, because I’m not sure I could face the trying to choose if I was going to rip it out.

Now. Will someone tell me what to make for dinner?

140 thoughts on “Right out of a Hat

  1. Grilled zucchini brushed with olive oil and garlic; roasted potatoes ( in a cast iron pan on the grill) and tossed avocado,tomato, and balsamic vinegar.

  2. Fried Rice. At least, that’s what I’m making for dinner, if I can bring myself to cook in this heat/humidity. I’m told you can make it with fresh rice, but I always use leftover, whatever veggies are starting to wilt in the fridge (chopped small), a scrambled egg or two, and any leftover meat (also chopped small) if one is so inclined. Frozen veg works too, especially peas.

    The cowl is lovely, and the yarn is lovely. That’s the sort of yarn I struggle with as well – it’s so pretty as yarn it runs the risk of becoming a desk ornament.

    • It might taste better with fresh rice (possibly), but I’m pretty sure that fried rice originated as a “use up your leftovers” meal (though I have no evidence to back me up), which means that you’re doing it just right. 😉 And it sounds tasty. 🙂

      • In my experience, it isn’t better with fresh rice. If I really want fried rice and we don’t have any leftover rice (rare, because somehow I never manage, even after 30 years of making dinner almost every night, to NOT wind up with about six times the amount of rice we need), I cook it that morning when I’m making breakfast and stick it in the fridge all day. It comes out better if the rice is completely cool (or chilled) before you fry it.

  3. With the weather up there? The only choices, IMHO, are salad, or ice cream! I vote for ice cream. 😉

    LeAnn in Oregon, where it’s supposed to hit 100 f, on Saturday – yeesh!

    • I apologize for the weather in Portland, LeAnn. It’s been so doggone chilly at night for the last couple of weeks, we put the electric blanket back on the bed. And…. of course we hit these crazy high temps.
      Sorry about that.

  4. Pretty cowl!

    I have a heck of a time making decisions myself, especially when it comes to picking yarn colors, or what to cook for dinner. Tonight just might be a pasta and pesto night — already have socks on the needles.

    • I vote for pesto, too. We eat from our garden as much as possible and parsley pesto is my favourite fast meal good in any season with the added appeal Of very little cleaning up.

      Love the yarn and cowl choice. Since knitters have been able to communicate with each other via the Internet, our choices for yarn and pattern have exploded in a very good way. We knitters have the advantage of being to rip and re-use our raw materials in a way that isn’t possible in say, woodwork or metalwork. This makes my choices for yarn and pattern much more adventurous.

      • Pesto!!!! Yum! Some luscious garlic-cheese bread, too. With spumoni ice cream, double yum. And not that store bought junk, either. The handmade stuff from Mario’s in Albuquerque, NM. Road trip!!!

  5. When I was a child, that question was always answered, “wichiddy grubs and wallaby stew” (my dad was an Australian). Not sure what the vegetarian version is, but how about pau pau fruit and cous cous?

  6. Well, a ghazal is one of my favorite poetic forms (see “In Arabic” by Aga Shihad Ali) and this uses the slip/wrap notion I was kicking for, so imma call that a win.

  7. OH I am so right there with you decision wise. I could have written this particular post! I will tell you what I do decision/yarn wise. On the days I “can” when the big life stuff isn’t too big and my heart and brain both have room I go through Ravelry and match patterns I have liked to yarns I possess. Then I print the pattern and grab the yarn and put both in a gallon ziplock. I have a basket where said ziplocks are stored. This works great for me and when I need a project but have no deciding energy I just grab a ziplock and go 🙂 On my smart days I note on the bag what size needle is required.

    • Every winter, when I go through my stash to make sure no critters have moved in, I make a pile of about five of the single skeins of yarn that I’m prone to buying as souvenir yarn, find a free pattern on Ravelry to go with each one, print it off, and then zipper bag the yarn and pattern. The bags all live in the “onesie” basket in the living room and I use them as palate cleansers after big or challenging projects.

      BTW, all of my yarn, except the cotton, lives in zipper bags from the dollar store so there are never any critters but it’s fun to go through it all in the dark of a Midwestern winter and play with the pretties.

  8. Make dal and brown rice. so easy it’s almost like not cooking. My kid went vegan this summer, so there’s been a lot of lentils eaten here.

  9. I try to keep a large pan of egg casserole in the fridge – heat in the microwave for any meal. Add fresh fruit, et voila! (Egg casserole is garden veg, onions, peppers, potatoes, whatever. sauteed then put in 8X13 pan, beat a dozen eggs or so and pour over the top of the veg, then bake at 350 for 30-45 min.

    Personally, I was freaked by the Farmers’ Almanac announcement yesterday that this winter is going to be colder and wetter than average. Time to get that pullover project our and try to finish it for a November birthday!

  10. Get someone to go get you a BIG batch of baba ganoush and you’ll remember why eggplants exist! They should also fetch home some falafel and tzaziki sauce! Plenty!! Red wine, dry.

  11. Yeah, this. I have a relatively high pressure job (that I love) and along commute, and have had to repeatedly remind my spouse that the last thing in the world I want to do when I finish my bike ride home from the ferry and I’m tired, and a hungry gremlin, is to have the conversation about “what do you think about x for dinner” Please, for the love of wool, just give me a task to help cook it and let’s get it on the table (this is why I try to meal plan on weekends, but spouse is a spontaneous kind of cook).

    Something to help with eggplant: I don’t love it either, but none of these ideas has failed me yet (and the japanese miso one is to die for):http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/07/29/magazine/eggplant-recipes.html

  12. I’m doing spaghetti tonight, with a salad on the side. It’s really too hot to cook, but it is what it is.

    Beautiful yarn and pattern!

  13. You have a yarn bin by your desk? So do I! Two small(ish) ones (my whole stash), with a shoebox on top for needles etc, right where I can reach out and touch them. They should really be in the end room with all the packed stuff (we’re moving in two weeks) but I keep thinking: what if I run out of my current project and all my yarn is… at the other end of the house? OK, maybe the trauma would be survivable after all. Moving them!

    • We are moving soon, too, and I haven’t been able to pack my stash either. It’s some of the “easy” stuff to pack, and it’s out of the way right now, and and and… So I understand. 🙂

  14. Colours are beautiful and the cowl will be awesome. Hope the Farmers Almanac will be wrong. Still hot and humid and 20-3 mm tonight and tomorrow.

  15. When I need a brainless dinner, I make black bean soup: 2 tins black beans, rinsed and drained; 1 large tin diced or crushed tomatoes; 1 small tin diced green chiles; 1 tsp each dried oregano, dried thyme, and ground cumin. Simmer together approx 30 min. Salt/pepper to taste. Goes great with rice, quinoa or cornbread. Not bad over baked potatoes either.

    Good luck finding some spare neurons for tomorrow!

  16. We started using a meal delivery service (sadly only available in the US, but I suspect there are others up north) that sends me everything to make 4 meals/week for the 4 people in my family. You can specify vegetarian only options as well, though we get one veg, one seafood, one poultry, and one other (beef, pork, lamb, etc) each week. All the ingredients are farmer’s market fresh and portioned for just that meal, so nothing rots in my fridge for weeks and I don’t have to keep up with anything. If you are traveling, you just don’t get anything delivered for that time, as necessary. Not only are we eating 100 times better, the burden of meal planning has all but vanished for 70% of my week.

  17. Make pasta. Use Marcella Hazan’s Burro al Pomodoro recipe (butter, tomatoes, half an onion). I usually adjust it depending on how I’m feeling: caramelize the onions and add some garlic instead of just using half an onion for flavor. Add some basil. Or don’t. Add some oregano. Or don’t. Add both basil or oregano. Salt, pepper, or not. It’s a beautiful sauce.

  18. …and then I scrolled to the next post in my feedreader, and it was Smitten Kitchen 😉 Although I don’t know about you, but burrata anything is wayyy more ambitious than I’m up to for dinner tonight…

  19. That’s what I used to joke about why I became I vegetarian! Because it made it so much easier to order at restaurants when I couldn’t decide!

    For dinner, since it’s so hot right now, I recommend a good greek salad – it’s a great time of year for tomatoes. (my version is all chunky vegetables – cucumber, tomato, green and red pepper, red onion, kalamata olives, feta, and dressing made of equal parts red wine vinegar & olive oil. Plus lots of salt and oregano. Add some chickpeas for protein. Serve with a baguette. Or some pita.

  20. This is why I like volunteer vacations. I make a LOT of decisions in my life. Sometimes having someone tell me what to do for a week of camp is a weirdly excellent way to abdicate all decision making to someone else. Totally get it.

  21. Make a batch of sesame noodles and keep it in the fridge. I use the Pioneer Woman’s recipe but it’s different every time. Add veggies or meats as you wish. The soy dressing is even better cold the next day.

  22. We just ate leftovers, so I am not much help there. However, I love that cowl pattern and have lots of single skeins of worsted weight yarn, handspun and otherwise, so I have already been to Ravelry! (I’d love to know how many of us buy that pattern on Ravelry tonight!)

  23. Thank you for this post. I feel so relieved to read about someone else with that thing with decisions. I’m the same way. It’s like I carry around a bag with a limited number of decision “tokens”. Big decisions take more tokens. Each decision takes at least one. When I’ve used them up, that’s it. I’m done. Lately I run out a lot. Sigh. The beginnings of the cowl look lovely. 🙂

  24. Kale tacos. Find two small or one medium zucchini, slice in to ~3mm thick half moons, sautee in some olive oil with some cumin. Destem a bunch of kale, add to the zucchini. Stir in a can of black beans. Serve in corn tortillas with cilantro and/or diced avocado and/or crumbled cotija cheese.

  25. You are not alone with struggling to choose.
    google “Barry Schwartz Paradox of Choice”
    A little choice is good, but having too many leads to paralysis and we tend to be less satisfied with the choices we do make. You might try flipping a coin…

    • Thanks so much for the suggestion! Fascinating. Being a minister, I’ve conducted many weddings, and I always advise the couple to lower their expectations to increase the likelihood of their happiness. Happy to see that an “expert” agrees with me!

  26. Eggplant. So beautiful, so purple and pretty, only to turn out seedy and gray inside with a texture like wet newspaper. Just can’t do it.

    • Slice eggplant into 1/2″ thick rounds, run a knife around the edge of each round to remove the skin, place rounds on a greased baking sheet, brush the top of each round with melted butter (or oil for vegans), sprinkle with salt and/or pepper. Place under broiler until slightly softened.
      Turn slices over, butter/oil and salt/pepper the other side and return to broiler. When done, top each slice with a lot of shredded mozzarella (or cheese substitute for vegans), and return to broiler until cheese begins to brown.

  27. Dude, it’s August. Corn on the cob, and tomato sandwiches. And an ice cold something. You’re on your own with that decision. This is why I have several garbage bags full of kid art and totes full of baby clothes in my house. How do you choose?!

  28. That’s a lovely cowl! Here’s a favorite salad–kale & quinoa with ricotta salata from Smitten Kitchen. It is wonderful and equally good the next day!

  29. We’re having tuna melts, so that’s straight out, grilled cheese? We considered pizza with garlic cream sauce, artichoke hearts, olives and spinach.

  30. Chana Masala was on the menu here tonight. With leftovers for lunches or snacking later in the week.

    I have also been known to leave a cake or two of yarn on my desk and tell it that it isn’t going back to it’s cozy spot in my stash until it fesses up as to what it wants to grow up to be. (That works much better with yarn than teenagers let me tell you!)

  31. What is up with it being hot in places where it’s not supposed to be (as it also is in the US state of CO at 8500 feet) Oha, yeah, climate change. Well, I have discovered that red wine mixed with a berry flavored seltzer (Lacroix cran raspberry or Canada dry raspberry (or?), on ice with fresh berries is a pretty nice alternative to plain w(h)ine and makes things last longer (as in the bottle of wine last longer). After that who needs dinner? Hope it cools off for you soon.

  32. I’m flabbergasted to learn you have trouble making decisions! So much so that I’ve almost decided you’re kidding. I never would have suspected since you’re the queen of the Christmas spreadsheet and keeping a thousand things going at once!! Oh, the pedestal I have you on is teetering, lol.

  33. A dear friend made me a pasta dish a few years ago that was simple AND amazing:

    While the water for penne is coming to a boil, throw some cut up multi-color tomatoes in a big bowl. In the food processor, combine more tomatoes with garlic, a whole bunch of parsley, basil, salt, pepper, and olive oil until sauce-like. When the penne is cooked properly, drain and dump into the big bowl with the cut tomatoes and the sauce. Toss to mix. Add chunks of fresh mozzarella cheese.

    Then order pizza for your family and keep the pasta for yourself.

  34. We had the chimichurri orzo salad from the Budget Bytes blog. I added some shelled edamame for protein because we are also vegetarians. Perfect for hot weather. You are spot on about decision overload. There is a ton of research being done on willpower and decisions and such. Once you use up your days allotment, you will find it hard to make good decisions or exercise willpower. So decide what to knit next first thing in the morning so you make a good decision but go yarn shopping as late in the day as possible (unless you actually want to have willpower when you are yarn shopping!).

    • I like your card idea – just got to make sure the cards don’t get into the wrong boxes 😀
      We do similar – we have a two-week roster of dishes: curry, soup, eggs, Italian… Saves a lot of time and thinking. You just have to remember to get the frozen stuff out in time to defrost.
      As for clothes, I have a fairly small wardrobe, so the weather forecast and the laundry basket between them pretty much make my decisions for me.

    • That card idea is great. I have a friend who’d love it, if it were automated. Funny how two different conversations in two days can be about the same thing. 🙂 I should definitely try this for recipes/dinner planning. Thanks!

    • Fabulous TED talk! This makes me feel really good about always getting the one thing that I like at the restaurant and not bothering with the other choices. I sometimes feel like a stick in the mud, but maybe am just making myself happy.

      I love the card idea for dinner. It would probably work great for shopping too. I hate trying to decide what I will want for dinner so that I can go shopping for the ingredients.

  35. I had lunch out today so no dinner tonight (ok, I’m making a peach and raspberry cobbler)…the salad I had was amazing. Kale and quinoa with blackberries, raspberries, cherries and grapes, and some little pieces of sweet potato – with a citrus/pesto kind of dressing. Yum!!

  36. For years I believed that when I could no longer make decisions at the end of a taxing day, my brain had run out of decision-making ability. I mentioned this to my doctor, and she said she understood from a neurologist that this is true. The arms can do a finite number of pull ups in one day, and the brain can make a finite number of decisions in one day.

    I’m having a banana and a bowl of cold cereal with almond milk for dinner. 😀 Hope your dinner was delicious.

  37. I know this is a little late, but for me: ham and cheese sandwich. You: Probably whatever Joe got delivered. Millie: Unsweetened whipped cream. Or tuna. Or both.

  38. Fresh tomato from the garden – a really big one. Hopefully it’s still warm from the sun. A nice fat slice of cheddar. Two slices of good bread and a goodly slather of mayonnaise. Tomato cheese sandwiches are the BEST in the summer. 🙂

    That ghazal cowl is wonderful. I made it up in a heavy laceweight and it’s so pretty. And one skein made two. Now I’ll have to try it in a semiworsted. I’m sure it’ll be gorgeous. Love your handspun. I just knitted up a Honey Cowl in a pool blue to deep purple gradation. I just went until I was almost out of yarn and bound off. It was a little bit of yarn chicken. I won with exactly 1″ to spare. Go me!

  39. A rum n’ coke & some french fries with ketchup. 😉

    Your idea of working with the first skein you see is a great idea. I’m in a “travel knitting” rut myself & need help too, lol.

    • Oh I do wish I’d read all this before supper…a rum and coke would have been dandy!! I mucked in my garden all day and thought about future knitting projects…I got back to the house filthy, brain dead and in an absolute panic because *omg what will I bring to knit this winter?? To Jamaica?? In January??* Omg

      Yes. Rum and coke. Mmmm

  40. Kitchen sink salad, which I had tonight. Everything I can find in the salad drawer, 3 kinds of cheese, extra firm tofu. Cheese and crackers for dessert. No pans to wash up!

  41. We had a clean-out-the-veggie-drawer curry with coconut milk. It was pretty darn good. Hope whatever you had was equally yummy!

  42. We could be twins! If I have to choose from more than three options it just doesn’t happen for the most part. That’s why it took me the better part of three years to replace my broken down old bed. Hope you enjoyed your supper whatever it turned out to be.

  43. Grilled vegetables – toss ’em on some bread with a bit of melty cheese, top with vinaigrette if you have a little handy. Tasty, easy, not too much work on a hot day.

  44. It’s home made fish pie for us tonight, made white fish, plus fresh salmon. Added chopped hard boiled eggs, a cheesy sauce and topped with mashed potatoe – yummy. Hubby is not too keen, but that’s too bad, it’s on the menu!

    As for making decisions, I’m the queen of procrastination. Small ones are worse, and you should see me out for lunch at a cafe. The choices! My biggest worry is that if I chose option A, what if option B or C looks and tastes better?

    Jenny from New Zealand where it is winter, but sunny today.

  45. My last yarn choice was based on what was already balled up and was in a husband suitable colour. Dinner was based on the meat closest to the front of the freezer (we’re not vegetarian, obviously) and clothes were what I wore yesterday (it’s winter here so top layers can cope with several wearings).
    Tomorrow I have to make some actual proper choices, including which chore on the list I will tackle, I’m putting that off.

  46. We had leftovers (again) and PB&J sandwiches. I think my husband is also having decision fatigue, and I long ago delegated cooking to him, so I don’t think about it early enough to go shopping.

    That said, thank you for asking the question. I will definitely be coming back here tomorrow to look up and write down many of these great suggestions. 🙂

    Also, Gretchen Rubin wrote a book about habits recently, and in it she stated that a habit is a decision already made, so you can get the thing done but still save your decision-making well for other stuff. I thought it was a very interesting book. Oh yeah, it’s called “Better Than Before”.

  47. All those tiny choices can just throw us over the edge, can’t they? I love your method of just grabbing the first thing you see and fighting something out,
    P.S. I’m the same way about eggplant.

  48. Oh, I so understand all of this! Taking decisions will never be my thing, apparently. My knitting and yarn-buying suffers from it. As do dressing, home decorating, vacation planning, gift buying, crafting with my kids. So many possibilities… As for meals, we became vegans about 1.5 year ago. I thought this would make cooking so much easier. Until my multiple vegan-themed Pinterest boards happened. So many possibilities…

  49. Our go-to meal is black beans and rice on a tortilla. Throw some cheese on top and pop it in the microwave. If we’re out of black beans and rice, it’s clean out the fridge, put whatever we find on a tortilla with cheese and microwave.
    Loving the cowl. And I know what you mean about decisions. The less I have to decide the better.

  50. Leftover California Pizza Kitchen pizza at our house tonight, I think.

    I could totally eat out with you. You wouldn’t try to mooch my eggplant (which I’ll eat in almost any form, including the Indian dish where it is all mashed up (eggplant barthe I think), or eggplant parmesan, or baba ghanouj or anything else) or my Kahlua and cream!

  51. I love these colors! I’m in a similar predicament. Just finished socks, thinking about ditching the other project I’ve got going and no idea what’s for dinner except I’ve got to use up the zucchini and tomatoes.

  52. Go to store.
    Get precooked chicken
    get salad either in a bag, or items for a salad.
    get a dressing that you don’t already have, or a vineagritt. You want something light in this heat
    Rip the meat off the chicken. Oh vegan, get some tofu, shrimp, salmon, or even egg whites from a hard boiled egg. Chopped in little pieces.

    Throw everything together in a bowl. toss, eat.

  53. Roast a few sweet potatoes whole. While that’s happening, warm up black beans and corn, sautee collard greens (or similar), and grate some cheddar. When the potatoes are done, split them open and top with everything else. Some sour cream is good, too.

    Too much work? Sweet potato tacos. Sweet potato hash made with taco seasoning in a shell with cheese and sour cream. Fab.

  54. My go-to meal for hot weather is reservations. 🙂 I’m also a fan of cold watermelon, cheese, and a baguette. Cold gazpacho is also awesome, and requires no cooking.

    Your cowl pattern may just be the pattern I use for the yarn I got in Geek club. Thanks for the share.

  55. 1. “Decision fatigue” is an actual thing!
    2. Avocado toast and a big bowl of whatever veggies are good and fresh chopped up with vinaigrette dressing.

  56. No-Cook Tomato Sauce over Noodles of Choice:
    Dice up 2-3 fresh tomatoes, top with minced garlic clove (or more…personal taste), several tablespoons of minced basil, a pinch of salt, and pepper to taste. Add 1/4 c. oil, stir and let sit approximately 30 minutes (a little more time than it takes to cook noodles of choice).

    Drain noodles, top with tomatoes and grated Parmesan cheese; eat.

    Loving all the recipe ideas!

  57. Our favorite vegetarian entree/side dish/substitute when someone doesn’t like what’s for dinner/ thrown together in a hurry/didn’t want to heat the house is: White Bean Salad. Gently drain 2 16 oz cans Cannelini beans (Great northern are okay too). Add 1/4 cup olive oil (herb and garlic infused if you’ve got it, not if you don’t) and 2 tbsp champagne vinegar (rice vinegar or another favorite light vinegar will also do). Snip 1/4 fresh basil leaves into strips and add (call it basil chiffonade if you are being fancy). You could use tarragon or lemon thyme as alternatives. You can also add a bit of sage or rosemary. Slice 2 cloves garlic (we leave the chunks fairly large so they flavor but you can pick them out if you like). Stir very gently so the beans don’t end up as mush. Refrigerate to let flavors meld if you have time. Eat it now if you don’t. A green salad, some crusty bread, a nice bit of cheese for the ovo/lacto in the group……dinner!!

  58. It’s tomato time here in Minnesota so I’d say a dinner of bruschetta with a cold glass of Pinot Grigo followed by some gelatto and iced coffee to beat the heat.

    The cowl is gorgeous by the way. Good choice 😉

    • I had to read this three times before i realized it said “tomato time” and not “tornado time”. I couldn’t figure out why bruschetta and wine were any easier to take to the basement than anything else.

      I’m in South Dakota, where apparently the incessant beeping of storm warnings over the nightly Olympics broadcast has hardwired my brain to constantly consider bad weather as the topic of choice. Appropriately, i had to touch the umbrella to post.

  59. Oh man, as a fellow decision adverse vegetarian, I have lived your opening paragraph (except the part about eggplant. Me and eggplant are cool). This is one of the reasons why I will never go back to eating meat.

  60. So many veggies in season right now I’ve been making a quick sauce of fresh tomatoes, garlic, chopped zucchini, pea pods, green beans & yellow beans then I toss all this yumminess over fresh pasta. Yum! Nice if you have bread to sop up the sauce.

  61. Always, the answer to any such question, is pizza. Infinitely mutable in size and toppings, from rustic to fancy, fits any occasion, and always satisfies.

  62. Love the cowl, might have to make one myself. As for dinner, since delicious tomatoes are now abundant, how about Gazpacho? Always one of my hot weather faves, especially since you don’t have to turn on the stove & heat up the house.

  63. You said “usually the other thing has eggplant” and I sympathize, even though I personally like eggplant.

    But around here, the most common vegetarian alternative is portobello mushroom. A huge portobello cap makes a wonderful burger.

  64. A sandwich sounds like the coolest and most logical suggestion for such a hot day–95 here in North Carolina! Personally–I think a tomato sandwich with mayo, salt and pepper would be absolutely perfect! Last by not least–awesome cowl:)

  65. I have some new Gharam Masala Punjabi-style spice from Penzey’s you could play with. They have a store near us with jars for customers to unstop and sniff and dream of all the possibilities.

    Oh wait that doesn’t really help much does it. But it could!

  66. Love your swatch! and the pattern and it turns out I have it in my Rav library. Dinner? Fiber is good for you. Just knit.

  67. Exactly where I am at the last few days. I struggle with letting go of some of my favorite yarn as if there isn’t three more skeins waiting for me to fall in love with down the pike.

    Wish someone would just put needles and yarn in my hand and I would be just fine (as long as they worked up a gauge for me).

    Feel your pain.

  68. I thought at one time you had sock yarn and patterns paired into little project bags that you could just grab-and-go. Today didn’t sound like the day to re-visit that idea, but maybe it could be a fun thing to do on a lower stress day. At the time you posted it, I was inspired to do some pairings of yarns and patterns in my queue, and I should probably put the physical pieces together so that when I’m flying out the door the grab-and-go idea would work for me.

  69. It’s a little late for dinner deas but I thought I would add my easy dinner idea to the pile. When I don’t want to cook, my families favorite no cook meal is a bagette, fresh mozzerella and jarred pesto. Sometimes I’ll roast up some grape tomatoes: toss them with a generous amount of olive oil, add minced garlic and kosher salt. Roast at 425F for 20 minutes or so or untill they are cooked the way you like them-yum!

  70. Hello there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it’s really informative.

    I’m going to wath out for brussels. I will appreciate if you
    continue this in future. A lot of people will be benefited from yokur writing.


  71. For a couple months every time I made dinner I’d write down what the dinner was then now when I go grocery shopping I pick meals off that list. I still have to make decisions but picking from set options means there’s less thinking out what’s for dinner which had made a huge difference. The cowl (and yarn) is scrumptious.

  72. If it wasn’t 5,000 degrees, I’d suggest tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. In lieu of that, close your eyes, grab a cookbook and, with your still closed, open and point. That’s what’s for dinner.

  73. “Generally, my zeal for decisions and choices is directly related to how many of them I’ve made lately. … . I’m used up, I can’t decide.”
    This is what happens to me when I’m cleaning up clutter in the garage/attic/guest room/my desk top. I get to the point where I can’t make one. more. decision. and have to quit before they find me babbling in a corner.
    As for dinner, when Joe gets home hand him a few take-out menus and let him take care of it.

  74. I am totally with you on the eggplant. I’ve never been a big fan, but my husband and kids brought one home from the farmers market last summer. At my sister-in-law’s suggestion, I made eggplant “pasta”–cutting the flesh into strips, using salt to draw out the extra water and such–and it was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever made for my family. It was an Alton Brown recipe, too, not some random thing from the Internet.Yuck!

  75. I’ve been reading your posts for two or three years now. Found it by accident one day and became a fan. I don’t knit, but I crochet. and the love of yarn and crafting is the same. Also, tomato sandwiches! Yay!

  76. Beautiful yarn and the pattern is showing it off nicely. Love it.
    For dinner I choose a big salad with crunchy lettuce and a baked pasta dish with lima beans and lots of ooey-gooey melted cheese on top. Now that I thought of that I’m off to make it for myself for lunch.
    Julie in san Diego

  77. I say, make what I am having tonight. Greek spinach and feta cheese pie. Spanakopita (I think that is how you spell it)

    Filo dough, green onions, a little dill weed, a good feta cheese and cooked spinach. In the filo it goes with a little butter in the baking dish. In the oven it goes 350 degrees till the top of the dough pie is golden brown.
    Yum….just like that hand spin.


  78. …forgot to add. Fresh baked bread, fresh tomatoes from the garden, a good mayonnaise variety. Instant sandwich! Easy!

  79. Personally, I would go with veggie paella. Rice, saffron, veggie broth, chick peas, peppers, artichoke hearts…it sounds like more trouble than it is but it’s great if you’re cooking for a crowd.

  80. Every bit of this post could have been written by me (except for the vegetarian part). I hate having too many choices. I make my husband pick birthday cards for his family because I will stand there, undecided, until I am almost in tears. Supper? GAH! I’m okay if I’m choosing just for me, but when I get another couple of people’s preferences to take into consideration I’m stumped. I’d rather guests TELL me what they want for supper. I like cooking, I HATE meal planning. It’s the biggest reason I fail at diets too.

  81. Oh, Steph. totally different subject, but did you get back or were you able to attend the final concert of the Hip?
    I finally made it back to Canada last week and watched the entire three hour concert. Cried through the last hour, at least. Felt so very lucky to have accidentally been in T.O. at that moment. Will you post about it? Big hugs.

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