Month: April 2013

The Chiles-Whitted Encounter


I don’t like aliens. I don’t like UFOs. I’m not a fan of other planets. I don’t really care about the Hubble Telescope. I’m not really a Trekkie (except for the Borg). I do however like weird history and I like cases of ‘we don’t know what’s going on but we know that you’re too credible to just be making stuff up’-especially when they come out eras that didn’t have the lure of social media involved.

The Chiles-Whitted Encounter is a situation where a UFO was spotted by two men who really would have known if they were looking at a meteor or a weather balloon. Named after the pilots involved, the encounter took place on July 24, 1948 over Mobile, Alabama. Clarence Chiles and John Whitted, both with military flying experience from World War II, were piloting the plane. They both witnessed a flying object that was described as torpedo shaped with two rows of windows and some unidentified light source for up to 15 seconds.

The same craft was witnessed by passengers of the flight. To make the situation stranger, the same craft was described by witnesses on the ground-prior to the pilot’s reports-and by individuals in other countries several days before the pilots had their encounter. The men asked if testing was taking place in the area. It wasn’t.

Eventually the Air Force would declare the craft to be a UFO, from the standpoint that it was in fact unidentified. They refused, however (and probably understandably) to label the craft as alien since there was no indication that it did in fact originate from somewhere other than Earth.

(Photo is from Morguefile)

Returning to Thrifting

Ancient Tupperware is ugly…but sturdy.

I have problems with time.

I have problems conceptualizing it, or sensing how long things have been going on for. I’m the type of person who can sit down to write one blog entry, which should take 10 minutes and look up four hours later with a blogging schedule for the next 6 months (or, which has been the case more often frequently, realize that I’m going to have to skip the Haunted Western New York column, again, for the fifth time this year, because I forgot to write it and I’m leaving for work in 10 minutes).

I’ve been putting off going thrifting because I keep thinking that ‘I’ve just gone’, when what I mean by ‘I’ve just gone’ is that I went once. A year ago. And haven’t been back since.

Lately I’ve been a little obsessed with both Pyrex and breadmaking. I want to switch my kitchen to as much glass as possible. I noticed when I was baking the triple chocolate muffins on Friday that I’ve completely worn the numbers off of the third set of measuring spoons since moving in here two years ago. Enough is enough; what may be an annoying baking fail may kill someone if your measurements are off when you’re canning.

So I bugged Mid into taking me thrifting on Saturday. Based on a tip from A Beautiful Mess I set out with a list in hand. Mid was grumbly until he hit the record motherload-he got something like 20 records for $2 at the Goodwill down the street. I managed to get most everything on my list at the Amvets on Elmwood. Even better, the whole lot (including my measuring cups and spoons with molded and not painted on labels) for less than half of what the bread pan would have cost me new at Target.

Mid’s been happily playing with his records and I’ve been back to the bread making grind. My favorite find though is this vintage record of ghost stories. I want to play it at Halloween. And I love the back art!

Speaking of time, there’s still time to link up to this week’s Inspired Weekends!

Linked to-

funky polka dot giraffe     today’s creative     crafty confessions

adorned from above     lady behind the curtain     ginger snap crafts

little house in the suburbs     frugally sustainable

Sunday Legends-The Beautiful Ones: Brownies


This will continue a minor trend of ‘things that sound like food but aren’t’ on the blog. For the record, all you people finding me by searching for Hemlock Grove-Roman isn’t a lumpia. A lumpia is a type of egg roll. Of which he is not.

This week will also continue forward with last week’s theme, at least in a way. This week we are looking at one of the more familiar faeries, the brownie.

The brownie is a house spirit, of a type that is found throughout cultures that work with what we may call fae energies today. Typically, these house spirits provide small favors or protections to the household so long as their own needs are met or a satisfactory level of respect is provided. Similar house spirits in areas of Russia may work to ensure that a household runs smoothly and a woman’s yarn stays tangle-free so long as she is industrious and keeps the hearth up to a respectable level, for example.

Brownies are by extension water elementals in that they appear to prefer areas with ponds or streams-though they will become attached to a certain farm or even a certain family. That makes a certain amount of sense, since farms would require at least a relatively local water source. This trait also connects them to several Slavic spirits, who favored their own fields. Depending on source or region, you should or should not attempt to pay your brownie for his services (and it is almost always a ‘he’, which is interesting in light for one of the most common popular associations with the legend). However it is expected that you feed him-which may be an extension of the idea that you have to show a certain level of respect. In some areas however it is expected that you pay him with food or other gifts, or it woud be an act of disrespect.

According to some folklorists, the helpfulness that brownies express around the household seperates them from other faeries that may live in water sources but are disinterested in working for a farm. This willingness to help people is part of the basis for the cultural image that many girls are introduced to the brownie through; the second stage of the Girl Scout advancement process is ‘brownie’ following ‘daisies’, with the bridging rhyme emphasizing the idea of helpfulness and industry.

Other pop culture imagary that lines up with the myth is Dobbie, the house elf from Harry Potter. By description he seems to be more hobgoblin like but his behaviors suggest more of a brownie-type mythos.

Triple Chocolate Muffins


I have things in my ktichen that are used so often that they don’t have a storage place.

I was thinking about this while I was making these muffins. My Faberware spatula is looking a little worse for wear, and lately, I’ve been using it at least a dozen times a day. I have one yellow bowl that keeps cycling from sink to table and back again, and my one cup liquid measuring cup just sort of hangs out in my dish drain between uses.

Having these things out all the time helps when I decide to bake suddenly. I decided I wanted to make chocolate muffins, and after digging out the basic muffin recipe from a Moosewood cookbook I poked around Pinterest awhile to see what makes a chocolate muffin chocolate.

These muffins are easily my favorite thing that I’ve baked for a long time. A couple of tips-bake them slightly shorter than what you would think. It keeps them moist. Almost overfilling your cups will give you the ‘muffin top’ that people like. And finally, the batter may be a little stiff. Add milk a splash at a time just until the batter comes together.


In fact, I was so excited about them I didn’t notice that the photo was overexposed until 1 AM. Whoops.

Triple Chocolate Muffins

1 3/4 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup buttermilk

1 cup cocoa powder*

2 1/2 tea baking powder

3/4 tea salt

roughly 1 cup chocolate chips-I used 1/2 and 1/2 white and milk

Preheat oven to 400.

Line a cupcake pan with 12 liners.

In a large bowl, add flour, salt, baking powder, and cocoa. In another bowl add sugar, milk, egg, and oil and lightly beat together. Add all of the wet bowl into the dry along with chocolate chips and mix together until just combined. Fill liners and bake for 20 minutes.

*1 cup may be a lot of chocolate for you, these are pretty intense on the flavor. Scale back to 3/4 a cup if you want. I used a mix of dark and regular cocoas for this batch.

Linked to-

too much time     the gingerbread blog     be different act normal

nifty thrifty things     flamingo toes     i should be mopping the floor

create with joy     lines across     this gal cooks

flour me with love     homemaker on a dime     sumo’s sweet stuff

stonegable     mandy’s recipe box     tumbleweed contessa

Inspired Weekends #16


What have you been up to this week? Mid and I are in the middle of a vegetarian cooking experiment. More about that later! This week’s sock check-in post will be up tomorrow.

Inspired Weekends #16


This week’s featured entry is Lambert Lately’s Banana Pudding Cake!

This is a free for all style link up-there are no rules! The only guideline is that each entry should be your own content-but feel free to link up round ups, link parties, giveaways, diy, recipes, tutorials, favorite entries from your archives, anything that you would like to share!

Click on the button that looks like a blue frog at the bottom of the page to view the collection.

Please link to entries, and not your blog main page.

Click around the list and leave a few comments or pin a few projects! Please try to at least stop by the last entry on the list.

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Bean Burgers

I was looking at Foodgawker, and An Edible Mosaic had a recipe up for bean burgers as an easy inexpensive meal. This is my variation, modded for a slightly different flavor profile and to use up some of the veggies in my fridge.

Bean Burgers

1 can (or equivilent) black beans, well drained

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

1 egg

1/2 onion

1/2 bell pepper

1 jalapeno*

black pepper


Mince, or crush with a potato masher, the beans. dice the onion and the pepper, then add to beans. Dice the jalapeno, and add into the bean mixture along with pepper and adobe to taste. Add egg and panko-you may need more panko if the bean mixture is wet.

Shape into roughly fist sized patties. Fry on medium heat for 4-5 minutes on each side.

Serve with your favorite toppings. I won’t judge you if you put bacon on them.

*I used my fridge pickled peppers. Use to taste.

**Adobo is a seasoning blend. You can get it low salt or salt free from Penzey’s. Use to taste.