Author Archives: catwirk

About catwirk

obsessive yarnmistress and incessant dreamer, disguised as a graphic designer. Recipes are my creations, unless noted. other creative channels involve weaving, painting, writing, blogging, beads and wire.

Blue Apron Salad


One of the nicest things I did for myself in 2017 was to sign up with Blue Apron. Meals are for two, which means I get great leftovers, too. Unless it’s a shrimp entree. There are no leftover shrimp in my house. Ever.

It’s been just too hot for frying or roasting this week. So I made soup with some of my latest shipment and put the rest in this charm tomato & fresh corn salad.

I’m having it for lunch today on a bed of balsamic-dressed romaine with dried cranberries and almonds (and one wandering cashew).

8 yellow charm tomatoes, quartered
2 ears of corn, blanched and cut off the cob
2 carrots, sliced
2 ribs of celery, sliced
1 Kirby cucumber, sliced
4 garlic chives, thinly sliced

Toss with this dressing:

1 T olive oil, 2 T rice wine vinegar, 1 T sugar

Serves 4-6, depending on how you roll.


A Tale of Two Lewises


This morning I was trolling C.S. Lewis memes, looking for reassurance in quotes from “Mere Christianity” and “The Problem of Pain.” But as Google is wont to do, it proffered the words of another Lewis, those of the representative of Georgia’s 5th District.

I myself led a quite sheltered life in my youth. While I quietly protested the war in Vietnam in my own way, I was unaware of much of what was going on in America, largely due to media censorship, but also because I was too busy embroidering my jeans and trying to get a boyfriend.

It’s not like in the past 40-50 years I’d forgotten how truly brutally political and human rights activists were treated.  But earlier this week I watched “Steal This Movie,” about the life of Abbie Hoffman.  I’d been unaware that Hoffman was severely beaten for simply wearing a red, white and blue shirt patterned after our flag.

Wearing our flag was something many of us proudly did in the weeks after 9/11 and I’ll bet not one of us thought we’d risk a beating for it.

By his own count, John Lewis was arrested more than 40 times during his days of civil rights activism.  I don’t like to think about how many of those times he was also battered or beaten.  Yet today he stands before crowds and preaches a message of diligence and courage.

I am afraid. I am worried. I am angry and frustrated that America is still a land of great brutality and violence and political corruption. We’ve forgotten that some of us fled England for relief from religious tyranny. We do not remember how precarious it was for the Founding Fathers to write such a thing as a Constitution.

And we still allow those in power to sacrifice lives overseas for economic and political reasons, spinning war as a necessary exercise in defense of freedom, while they, like so many leeches, suck human rights and civil rights from the lives of ordinary citizens.

C.S. Lewis once wrote, “We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand.”

He also wrote, “We read to know we are not alone.”

So I’m writing this morning as I struggle with understanding. And I will read this morning to find community and comfort, which means taking a break from Facebook and CNN.  And I’ll post this and hope it helps someone else. It surely has helped me.

Desperation Bars


Desperation Bars are good enough to make on purpose. But I invented them in a desperate attempt to treat a severe chocolate deficit, using whatever I had on hand.

These are surprisingly chewy and stick to your teeth so keep a hot cup of coffee handy. Or make them without the marshmallows. But they won’t be nearly as much fun.

First, clean out your pantry. Put everything back except for:
* half a bag of stale marshmallows
* a jar of marshmallow creme
* half a stick of butter
* handful of whole toasted almonds
* 1 cup of shredded coconut
* 1 cup oat-walnut meal* (if you’re not avoiding gluten you can sub graham cracker or cookie crumbs)
* 1 can of condensed milk
* 1 jar Nutella

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9″x 13″ baking pan with cooking spray, being sure to coat well the corners and edges.

If you have to stay tidy, just give it up now. Everything is going to be sticky by the time you’re done.

Melt the marshmallows, marshmallow creme and butter in a bowl in the microwave, stirring frequently. Scoop up the pieces that inflate themselves onto the turntable and eat them. Don’t burn your mouth. Give up trying to completely melt the marshmallows and leave big hunks in the bowl.

In the meantime, roughly chop the almonds and toss in a bowl with the coconut and oat-walnut meal*. Stir in the condensed milk and spread evenly in the baking pan.

Spread the marshmallow goo over this. Then spread the Nutella over the goo.  You don’t have to use the entire jar but what the heck.

Pop in the oven for about 20 minutes. Take out and cool 10-15 min before cutting into bars. Sit on your hands or go outside if you have to. The chocolate aroma in the house is killing you by now.

Desperation Bars

the globs of unmelted marshmallow turn into bumps of gluey caramel

Store in a cool, dry place or refrigerate if you don’t eat the entire batch in one sitting.

Makes 16 *extremely* chewy bars.

*Oat-Walnut Meal:  put equal parts oats and walnuts in a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs.

Mexican Quicherrole


20161117_113009This one was easy. I had all the ingredients on hand that I’d bought for other recipes and didn’t use. The pico was on its last legs and was the inspiration for this. Makes a 9″ x 13″ casserole; serves 6-8, depending on size and appetite of diners.


Two refrigerated pie crusts, room temp
Six eggs
One can evaporated milk (or 1.75 c regular milk, half&half, etc.)
One 10-oz tub of pico de gallo (or a drained can of Rotel. Or your own chopped tomato, onion and jalapeno)
One cup finely grated Mexican blend cheese (or your own… well, you get it)
A big bunch of fresh spinach, torn into pieces (I used half a bag of bagged fresh).
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425ºF.

Line a 9″ x 13″ pan with the pie crusts.
If they overlap, that’s OK. If they hang outside the pan, just fold them over the top of the casserole.  Make them pretty if you want to.  Obviously I like the asymmetric look.

In a large bowl, gently whisk the six eggs.
Add milk and whisk again.
Stir in pico.
Add the spinach and cheese and stir again.
Salt and pepper to taste.
(You may wish to S&P at table if pico or cheese is salty.)

Pour into pastry-lined pan and cover pan with foil.
Bake for 30 minutes or until set (filling doesn’t jiggle when you shake the pan).

Allow to cool for 10 minutes or so before serving.
Refrigerate leftovers (if there are any).

origami envelope for cash


I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted online so I came up with this. You use the entire 9″ x 12″ sheet from a pad of tracing paper: no measuring or trimming except for the first fold.














what I did on my Facebook vacation


My part-time job as TV news editor has been sort of hateful lately.

So on Thursday, when all my assignments were preempted yet again by another assassination, this time in front of Parliament, I opened my Facebook page to a string of hateful posts related to other crises in America.

I’d had enough.  So I started my weekend a little early.  And I took time off from Facebook.

1. On Thursday afternoon, driving down Walnut Grove,  I laughed out loud at a Blue Screen of Death on a digital billboard.  I’ve never seen one that big.  Maybe another media conscript was feeling mutinous.

2. On Friday, I walked to the Art Center to buy origami paper.  I decided to step into Inz and Outz Gift & Cards, thinking I’d shop for Father’s Day.

Y’all should have told me what that place was before I went in there.

I didn’t buy any cards.  I did, however, consider some of the leather thongs.  Bet those zippers get awfully hot in this heat.

3. On Saturday, I perfected an origami envelope for a direct mail project and designed an outdoor sign, a non-digital one.  No BSODs here.

Sidebar:  I used to have a recurring dream, working at my old job as a graphic designer.  Today I’m literally living that dream.  Life is full of surprises.

4. On Sunday, I was grateful, grateful, grateful for so many things.  I’m grateful that I have air conditioning in my entire apartment now and my butter doesn’t melt if I leave it on the table.

I’m even grateful for my part-time job as TV news editor, even if it does make social media unbearably redundant some days.  There’s lots of love at that job.  My co-workers bring it every day.  Otherwise, I just couldn’t cope.

Actually, there’s lots of love at all my jobs, some of which necessitate my using Facebook.  I just have to remember that I have a choice:  I can unfollow people or pages that post stuff I don’t want to read.

I am one lucky girl.  I live in America.  I get to read about it all, the bad and the good.  Life is full of surprises.  It’s also full of choices.

1. Today I choose to be grateful.

2. Today I choose to show up for the love.

warm front


just two hours away
the storm grows heavy

the trees bash the sky
with great bales of wind

and the unlikely spout
of an ice cream van

burbles “jingle all the way”
down a childless avenue

in the first week of April
in the middle of the day

the dove falls silent
with her rooftop forecast

my body sings with tiredness
as my thoughts take cover

even napping now and then
in a lullabye of weather

one street over


One street over
grapevine reindeer
celebrate their faded glitter bows

One street over
phlox and jonquils
push through thatch and leavings

One street over
clothes, stilettos
piled onto a windshield

End? Hiatus? Who can know
this crazy Memphis winter.



In most circles of geekery today, I would not be considered a gamer.  That doesn’t stop me from referring to myself as one.

Why?  Because when I get tense, I find an online game to distract me from work and make me feel superior to myself.

Since I am tense during most of my waking hours and some of my sleeping ones, I pretty much play online games way more than a silverish lady should.  And “gamer” is a much nicer label than “fanatic” or “nutjob.”

Now it happens there’s been an all-out war against the much-despised Flash platform that locks up your browser, hogs your memory and requires updating every 3.2 days.  Firefox even blocked it for two days in mid-July 2015.  And while Adobe “fixed” Flash, the latest FF/Flash update left my favorite games unplayable.

I refuse to play games on Facebook because “the popular social media site” (as they say on CNN) wants too much of my attention.  It wants to rat me out every time I play Candy Crush.  And it keeps asking me for stuff, like all my pictures, my email address and sensitive information, like whether or not I shave my legs every day.

So this week when I got tired of watching the wheel of infinity/browser timeout on, I wandered over to Google and found my way to the Famobi game site.

Aside from the grammar-twisting hyperlink labeled “What is HTML5 games?” and a few misspelled words, it’s a nice, quiet little place to go and waste some time or reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s, depending on your perspective.  There are typical match 3, bubble shooter and mahjong selections, all sorted into tabs at the left side of your browser.

Girls?  There’s a Girls section?

I resisted looking at it for days and then curiosity got the better of me.

There are a lot of makeup games in that section (as in putting it on your favorite actress’ face), one called Fluffy Egg (I cannot figure out why this game is gender specific; it has nothing to do with reproduction), a few about baking (see previous comment) and one called — I kid you not — What Does Your Boyfriend Look Like?

In order to avoid barfing on my keyboard, I quickly went back to the home page and located a few games that you might enjoy.

I think if you click on the pictures it will take you there.

If not, the Web address is

Don’t tell the authority figure(s) in your house I told you about this.

FastFoodTakeawayTeaser JuicyDashTeaser SpeedPoolKingTeaser UltimateSudokuTeaser

Caramel Cinnamon Apple Tart




This is an all-calorie creation.
Do not look for carb substitutes here.
This is for when your sweet tooth is really aching.

I like to make this in a deep baking dish — less likely to bubble over in the oven.

Also, my pie crust box said to put in an ungreased dish but it stuck after baking so next time I’m prepping with cooking spray.


1 9″ pie crust (make your own or use refrigerated premade)
2 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin (I used Fujis)
1/4 c flour
1/2 c sugar
dash salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/2 jar caramel ice cream topping, heated until pourable
Aluminum foil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Center your pie crust in a glass baking dish or a deep dish pie plate.
If the crust is too big just let the edges hang over the sides.

Put sliced apples in a large mixing bowl.

In a small bowl, stir together flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon.
Pour over apples and stir until each slice is well coated.
Spread apples evenly over pie crust.
Drizzle first with melted butter, then with caramel topping.

At this point, if you have pie crust hanging over the sides of your dish, just fold the edges over the top of the filling.

Cover with foil.
Bake for 20-30 min or until crust is brown.

Serves at least 4 if you’re polite.