Wednesday, December 28, 2011

an asparagus recipe

We have started to participate in Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op. In our basket there was a bunch of asparagus. I don't buy asparagus for several reasons: one, being cost vs. yields, two, remembering my mother's asparagus, three, the look on my husband's face when he remembers his mother's asparagus. So what to do? Don't want to feed it to the chickens; pretty expensive chicken feed! Don't want to boil it to mush and then try to cover up the taste (shudder) with butter.

Wonder what kind of recipes are out there? So I indulged my favorite past-time. Surfing the net! :>) I found all kinds of recipes for our mothers' put-it-in-a-pan-n-boil-it. Admittedly not to mush, but something about just tender with lemon, sometimes with tarragon and maybe some type of hollandaise sauce. None of it turned my crank, nor could I see Hubby eating it. Until I stumbled upon this recipe from MarthaStewart.com.

Asparagus and Cucumber Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch asparagus, tough ends removed, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

Directions

  1. Place a steamer basket in a saucepan filled with 1-inch water. Bring to a boil. Add asparagus, cover, and cook until crisp-tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. In a bowl, combine asparagus, cucumber, vinegar, and oil. Season with salt and pepper.

This recipe was just what I was looking for, simple and interesting, using ingredients I had on hand. We both enjoyed it and had seconds (finished the bowl). So the next time you have fresh asparagus give it a try and let me know how you liked it.

Have a good Day!

Judy

Saturday, December 24, 2011

merry christmas

I hope every one has a very Merry Christmas!

I am off to play for a few days!

Judy

Friday, December 23, 2011

and another one

Miss S's sister, Miss A, ask if I could make her an ear warmer like Miss S's only in red. I said sure.



I used Red heart Designer Sport in Warm Red with Michael's sport weight Loop and Thread in white on US #6 needles. Cast-on 27 and follow the directions in this post.



It turned out well and I hope she likes it.



Now back to other knitting and quilting!

Judy

Thursday, December 22, 2011

a christmas quilt

This is one of the quilts I wanted to make for Christmas. The quilt is for a little boy. I dug around my fabric stash pulling out all the prints I could find that I thought a little boy might like. Using the Crazy Shortcut Quilt Method I made three different types of blocks.

The quilt measures 48 inches by 72 inches. Meaning he should be able to use it until it is wore out as an adult. The other reason I made it that large is because I have held and rocked sick babies all night. Having their favorite blanket and it being big enough to cover both of us was essential.



I used the fabric that came with the border print for the backing. I discovered I should have used black thread in the bobbin after I got most of the blocks quilted when I switched to black thread to finish quilting the apple border prints.

I used a high loft batting cause that's what I had on hand. The quilting and setting together was a bit fiddly, but I like the definition of the quilting particularly the star blocks.



I wanted to make a block that showed off the large-scale prints, so I made 6 quarter square triangle blocks and then quilted in eighths.



This is the original block I started with. I thought a skewed star would look really nice. I made six of them and wasn't impressed. So I thought up some different types of blocks. However, after I quilted the star blocks I wish I had made more. Silly me!

To make the star blocks I used six pieces of 13 1/2 by 14-inch square material. Made five cuts, re-sewing after each cut. Then trimming to 12 inches square.



This block was a great use of a big piece of border fabric and scraps of fabric I had lying around. None of the scraps were big enough to make either one of the other blocks but were perfect for this block. I made 12 blocks. Six blocks the apples were on the top and six with the apples on the bottom because the apple border was directional.



I like how the quilt turned out. This is just half of the gift, the other half is two books that you can record your voice reading the books. As the pages are turned the child gets the next page read to them. What could be better than snuggling under a quilt listening to a book being read to you?

Have a good day!

Judy

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

tappan zee sweater finished

The sun is shining today so I got busy and took some finished project outside and did some photographing.



My Tappan Zee sweater works but is not the cats meow. So for a first sweater I am wearing around the house it works. Love the colors and light shine but still doesn't fit the best.



The buttons pull on the button band. I need to research out how to fix that issue in the future. Could be the weight of the yarn used and the gauge. Notice that the bottom part of the band is tighter/fuller that the top five ridges. I finally looked at the skein band for the new yarn I bought and I got worsted instead of sport. Oh well! It works.



Here is all the extra knitting I added to the neck with short row shaping along the back to make it more comfortable to wear.

Have a good day!

Judy

Monday, December 19, 2011

closer to finished

The last ear warmer finished. Yeah!



This pattern is called Ear Warmer by Kate Morgan. The pattern is well written. I didn't have to do any frogging or fiddling with the pattern to make it work. Cool! I did add two extra rows to make the ear warmer 4 inches wide. I used US #7 needles as called for in the pattern and a German Twisted Cast-on of 80 stitches. The yarn was Red Heart Heathers in Teal. The yarn is another of my one dollar Michael's clearance finds. I used Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off. I found a video of Cat Bordhi demonstrating the bind-off. I do believe it will become my go-to bind-off. I will be saving the basic bind-off for places I want a firmer/less stretchy bind-off like shoulders.



Now to finish up the rest of the Christmas presents! Two quilts and a knitted afghan are left. One quilt and the afghan are about 3/4 done. But I don't realistically believe I will finish all of it before Christmas as the house is knee deep and we are out of clean clothes.

Have a good day!

Judy

Sunday, December 18, 2011

one down

One more down and one more to go. After spending several hours of frustration trying to come up with a new and unique design for Miss V's ear warmer. I gave up and made one just like Miss T's only in purple.



I used the Red Heart Designer Sport in Grape. Cast-on 20 stitches in a crocheted provisional cast-on and knitted the ear warmer four inches wide and 18 inches long in garter stitch. You can't get any simpler than that for a stitch pattern. Used the Kitchener stitch to join the two ends in a very nice join if I do say so myself.



The flower is the same flower pattern from the Crochet Flower Headband from redheart.com using the unknown blue variegated yarn I used on the white Bamboo 2 ear warmer. All and all I like how it turned out even if it isn't totally unique.

Have a good day!

Judy

Saturday, December 17, 2011

knitted ear warmers

Miss T asked Sister Suzy if I could crochet her an ear warmer/headband. I said, sure, but get me some pictures. I got two links, this one from busyinbrooklyn and this one from Red Heart. After reviewing the patterns I tried to get Sister Suzy to learn to crochet them. They are that simple. She wasn't receptive. It seems that crocheting, knitting, and sewing are 'old lady' skills. So I decided if I was going to have to make them they would be knitted because knitting is so much easier on the hands for me.

First up was this one.



The body of the ear warmer was knit from Red Heart Designer Sport in Cocoa. I cast on 20 stitches and knitted 20 inches of garter stitch and tried to graft the two ends together. The graft is not pretty. Miss T has a head circumference of 23-1/2-inches.



To get the flower I used the direction for the flower off of the Crochet Flower Headband. I had to watch several You-tube videos to figure out what the directions were trying to tell me. I thought these were the best of the bunch here and here for explaining how to crochet flowers. I used Bernat Satin in Camel for the two lighter parts of the flower.

While searching Ravelry for patterns found several patterns that looked interesting so I started with this one.



It is called Braided Ear Warmer by Melanie Woodley. It ended up being three inches wide so if I make it again I will add 4 to 6 stitches to make it about 4 inches wide. It was made using Red Heart's Heathers in Warm Red on US #8 needles. It's another one of those yarns I got on clearance from Michael’s for a buck. Tried to graft the ends again with even lousier results.

I needed to learn how to provisionally cast-on to solve the problem. So I went back to the Internet to research the problem. I ended up using the You-tube video from Helen Griffin’s channel oftroy for crochet cast-on that made sense.

Next up I decided to use a stitch pattern I found on knittingfool.com. I have used the stitch pattern in the past called Bamboo 2, with a modified crochet flower.



The white yarn was leftover from an afghan I had made in the past for Hubby. The white yarn is Wal-Mart’s mainstays 4-ply worsted and the variegated is some unknown worsted weight I received as a gift from a friend. I cast-on 18 stitches with the crocheted cast-on from Helen's site and knitted for about 19 inches. I wish I had steam-blocked it before I Kitchener stitched the ends together. The join was very nice looking. The flower was made with seven petals and I thought it only needed two layers.

When I found a skein of purple yarn in my stash I immediately thought of Miss S because she is going to Kansas State and the school color is purple. I needed to beef up the weight of the ear warmer because the yarn is a sport weight so a Fair Isle motif would add thickness. I thought some snowflakes would look great so out on the web I went to look for a Fair Isle pattern to use.



I found this pattern in Moth Heaven's web site. I eliminated the Fair Isle border after a false start with the white yarn I used in the ear warmer above. It pulled badly and curled horribly. I made a mad dash into town to buy a skein of sport weight white to work with. I redesigned my idea to include 2 ridges of garter stitch between each motif. I think it turned out really well. I did have to steam block it for it to lay flat.

The purple is Red Heart's Designer Sport in Grape and the white is Michael’s brand Loops & Threads.



Here is the chart I created in Excel to design and document what I did with the motif.



I cast-on 27 stitches using Helen's crochet cast-on, on US #6 needles. Then I knitted 2 rows of stockinette before I started my pattern. The 'Gar' stands for two ridges of garter stitch. The 'W' stands for the white yarn. Everything else was knitted in the main color purple. The 'P' and 'K' are the 2 rows of 2 x 2 ribbing that run up the sides of the ear warmer.

I have two more to make one in purple because that is Miss V's favorite color and one in blue for Sister Suzy.

You have a good day!

Judy

P.S. I lost everything to a power outage. I hope I have all my links back in. If I missed someone please let me know.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

it didn't happen

Well I was going to take and post photographs of my Tappan Zee sweater. It's clean and free of cooking residue at this very moment, but it's cloudy and drizzly.

I was going to take and post photos of the quilt I just finished for a Christmas gift, but it's cloudy and drizzly.

I was going to take and post pictures of the two completed pair of socks but you guessed it; it's cloudy and drizzly.

I did get some apples cooked down into chunky applesauce. Hubby will have to decide if he will like it chunky or whether he wants it a little smoother because he is the apple sauce connoisseur around here. Then I've got to decide if I am going to freeze it or can it in quart jars because we are out of pints.

I still have 2 quilts to finish for Christmas. I also need to get about a half-dozen crochet and knitting projects finished up to for Christmas, so back to it.

Have a good day!

Judy

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Couple of items today.

1. Made salsa last night for Sister Suzy to take to her end of semester party in one of her classes. Recipe here.

Here lately I've been dealing with jalapenos that were bell peppers masquerading as jalapenos. So last night I decided to leave the seeds in two peppers instead of one for a touch of heat. Big Mistake! I was chugging eggnog straight from the carton! These babies were at the upper end of the Scoville scale for jalapenos moving into the habanero range. I added a 15-oz. can of pureed tomatoes, didn't touch the heat level. More eggnog from the carton! So I pureed another can of tomatoes, only this time I put the tomatoes in a separate bowl and added one ladle of salsa to the tomatoes. Okay, I could live with that.

Dug out another 28-oz. can of tomatoes only this time the can said they were crushed (already pureed, cool). I added 2 1/2 scoops more of the liquid fire (salsa), some salt and liquid mesquite smoke and we were in business again.

So now I have a bunch of liquid fire I'm not sure what to do with. I wonder if I could freeze it in small batches, pull it out, thaw, and then add the tomatoes to it without ruining it?

2. My sister brought over a new two-piece parka they got at her job for me to do something with the sleeves. We have long arms and broad shoulders, men's shirts and coats fit better than women's because of the way they are cut. However, the only person I know who would have been comfortable in this coat would have been our brother with a 36-inch sleeve length.

There are two ways to fix the problem. The first is to add some elastic to the cuff to tighten up the cuff so the sleeve can't slip down. While it worked it was uncomfortable. So I got to rip the cuffs off both coats and cut off three inches of sleeve then reattach the cuffs. I went through the sleeve linings of both coats to make the alteration.

While I was working on the coats I notice that the tab on the outer coat for hooking the two coats together was placed 90 degrees from the placement of the loop of the inner coat. This was probably causing some of the discomfort in wearing the parka, so I fixed that too. I also rebuilt the cuff for the outer coat eliminating the Velcro for adjusting in the cuffs. She was happy with the fit. Yeah!

Back to it!

You have a good day!

Judy


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

having fun

Been busier than a cat playing in a litter box. So, I'll start with, I'm still dehydrating like a possessed person trying to make up for my failed garden. If something is on sale it comes home in larger quantities to be sliced up, blanched and dehydrated. This week it is bell peppers, last week it was celery. I'm always amazed how much bell pepper and celery shrink up. 10 bell peppers reduces to one pint and 8 pounds of celery reduces to a quart.

I was out on the web playing around (Nothing new there :>) ) and came across an entry about regrowing produce from the grocery store. I have done this with ginger-root and have a plant I need to re pot and harvest. I read an entry about celery and though why not! So I set a celery bottom in a shallow pan of water and sure enough, it sprouted new leaves. Then the next time celery was on sale I did nine more celery bottoms and all of them sprouted. I now have a shallow tote with potting soil in it with 10 celery bottoms merrily growing in a south-facing window. Now to remember to water! LOL

I'll have to tell you about my Christmas quilting and knitting adventures later.

Have a good Day!

Judy

Monday, November 7, 2011

I'm being lazy

I finished my Tappan Zee Sweater. I'm being lazy; I haven't photographed the results. Fits nice, the buttons came out of Mother's button tin. I picked up the stitches around the neck and did some short rows to bring the neck up higher and to tighten the neckline up. The neckline was very stretchy, fits and hangs much nicer. Unpicked the bind-off on the bottom and added the rest of the skein so the sweater is an inch-n-a-half longer. After I washed the sweater it relaxed a little and is longer by about inch in the sleeves and maybe two inches in the body.

I finished the two socks that I was knitting at once. I'm being lazy; I haven't photographed the results of this either.

I've had my thinking cap on and have been doing some research on a quilt idea I had, so more on that later.

Have a good day!

Judy

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

dinner with a friend

A good friend decided to come out for a visit yesterday and she asked if she could bring Chinese. I said no, I would fix us Chinese if that was what she wanted. Come to find out she didn't know you could cook Chinese at home without a bunch of special equipment. My bunch was excited because I was going to fix each of them their favorite dish.

On the menu was:

Green Tea
Pork Egg Roll
Crab Rangoon
Wonton Soup
Pineapple Chicken
Steamed Rice

Wonton soup was a compromise because my Egg Drop Soup isn't pretty and I haven't found a Hot-n-Sour Soup recipe I like. The Wonton Soup Recipe came from here. I doubled the meat and seasonings and got 22 wontons. Next time I will cut the soy sauce in half as I thought the wontons were a little salty.

The pork egg rolls were some of the best I have made. The recipe was called Easy Egg Roll and was from here. I added fresh ginger because I have a plant and I got 11 egg rolls. I also ran three boneless pork sirloin chops through the food processor that were half frozen because the grocery store didn't have any ground pork. The meat came out like a coarse ground sausage which I liked a lot so unless I need a fine grind on my meat I may start grinding my own. (used a cup of the meat in the wontons for the soup.)

Crab Rangoon recipe came from here. Wasn't bad, but next time I think I will eliminate the Worcestershire and soy sauces. I think the addition of those sauces was a bit much and I might cut the garlic powder in half for kicks and grins too. I got three-dozen crab rangoons in wonton wrappers.

The Pineapple Chicken recipe is a copulation of several recipes to come up with my own.

Pineapple Chicken

1 LB chicken breast, sliced thin
1 tsp. Lawry's seasoning salt
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Italian blend herbs

Mix, then sauté in 1 Tbsp. of olive oil until the pink is gone

Add to skillet of cooked chicken

1 package dry onion soup mix
1 (15-ounce) can pineapple, tidbits, drained, save juice
saved pineapple juice add enough water to make 1 ½ cups
½ tsp. molasses
½ tsp. ginger powder
1 ½ Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
zest of one lemon
(Sister Suzy doesn't like zest in her food so I have eliminated it.)

Simmer.

Stir-fry in separate skillet 3 sliced carrots until tender (I added 4 sliced mushrooms and 1/2 cup of sliced red and green bell pepper last night. Nice additions!)

Add carrots to chicken/pineapple skillet

Add 1 ½ Tbsp. cornstarch with 1-cup chicken broth mixed in

Cook until thick.

Taste may need more sweetener use honey or sugar or stevia

Serve over rice.


There were enough leftovers for us to have lunch today. So that was good!

We had a lovely time visiting while looking at quilts and finished knitting projects. Next time we get together I may get to teach her how to knit. That will be fun!

Have a good day!

Judy

Sunday, October 23, 2011

tomato soup

Found a new recipe, Tomato Bisque Soup. I may never buy tomato soup again. It was simple and very tasty. Hubby wanted tomato soup and grill cheese sandwiches for supper last night. I didn't have any cans in the pantry, so the Internet came to the rescue, again. I found this recipe on cooks.com.

TOMATO BISQUE SOUP
2 (1 lb.) cans tomatoes
1/2 c. onions, chopped
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. cloves or allspice
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. flour
1 qt. milk
In medium pan, simmer tomatoes, onions, salt, pepper, cloves, or allspice, and sugar for 10 minutes until paste. Melt butter in large pan and whisk in flour; add milk. Simmer until hot and thick. Add hot tomato mixture to hot milk mixture. Serve hot.

This is what I did with it.

1 28 oz can of tomato sauce
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 tsp. Lawry's seasoned salt
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 quart milk

Saute onion and celery in butter until onions are translucent. Add flour, salt, and garlic; cook the roux until the flour is golden brown. Stir constantly to keep the flour from burning. (If you scorch your flour just start over cause it tastes really, really bad!) Stir in 2 cups of milk with a whisk; keep stirring and cook until thickened. Then add the last 2 cups of milk and whisk until thick and bubbling again. Take off the stove and whisk in the tomato sauce and serve.

We added the fresh ground pepper at the table after we had our bowls filled. As each of us likes different amounts of pepper. I wasn't sure about the cloves or allspice. I don't like a lot of cloves in my food. I think cloves are over used in most recipes. I did get out the allspice and sprinkled a little bit on a small spot of my bowl of soup and it was 'Okay' but I didn't think it did that much for flavor of the soup. Hubby was just as happy with the soup without the allspice, also.

As we were having dinner we talked about different things to do to the soup. Like adding curry powder or garam masala, or Italian herbs to change up the flavor a little. So next time I am going to replace the butter with olive oil and add 1/2 teaspoon of Italian herb blend and see what that will taste like. Hubby wondered about V-8 juice but I would think you would have to cook it down to a sauce consistency before adding it to the white sauce.

One other thing I notice as I was typing. The original recipe calls for some sugar and I didn't add any so next time I may add a little stevia and see what that does to the flavor. But I also wonder if the added sugar is the reason they had to add two teaspoons of salt to the soup to take it from a sweet soup back to a savory one.

Have a good day!

Judy

Saturday, October 8, 2011