Saturday, October 10, 2015

Some meaningful memes and quotes

I've seen these on Facebook recently, and they struck home. So I thought to gather them all here.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Ripple post 2

I didn't work on the blanket yesterday, as I ran some errands and had dinner out before picking up my daughter at a friends house. 

Today, while she and her BFF play Minecraft at the library, I sat and read and crocheted. Initially I had some difficulty, as I was just starting the second row, and couldn't get the ripples to match. So I reread the pattern, and discovered I hadn't put the last stitch in the first row that I should have. Once that was done, easy peasy. I am now about 2/3 thru the second row. 

The second row is the glittery moonstone. Then I will do two more rows of the silver heather. It is kind of the base color for the blanket. With the second row, the ripples are more noticeable. Cool 😊

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Crochet project - ripple blanket

I have decided to bite the bullet. I am starting a crochet project that will look unfinished until it is finished. In the past I have made small/baby size granny square blankets that were finished when I was done making squares. But now I am starting something that is big. I measured me and a similar sized blanket. I crocheted a sample. I measured and multiplied it until I knew what I was making. Start with 227 chains. Double crochet 114 rows. Starting with 5 balls of yarn (or the equivalent...more later), with more to be bought. 

I'm making a blanket that I can snuggle with while reading in the chair in my bedroom. It will be roughly 67 inches long and 56 inches wide. I am using colors that match my duvet cover of greys and taupe. 

The colors I chose are by Lion Brand. From back to front, they are:
Vanna's Choice Charcoal Grey
Vanna's Choice Silver Heather
Vanna's Choice Linen
Vanna's Glamour Moonstone (this is a sport #2 weight yarn, so I am doubling the strands to match the worsted #4 weight of the other yarns)

The pattern I am using is from Lucy has several lovely ripple designs, and I chose the interlocking ripple. 

So as I sit here at McD's waiting for a call from the mechanic telling me they are on the way to pick me up after doing routing maintenance on my car, I have finally started this epic project. See how far I have gotten?

I am using an app on my phone to help keep track of stitches and rows. We will see how it works, as I haven't used it before!

I will try to post every couple days with my progress. I am hoping this will help with my stick-to-it-iveness, as in the past I have dwindled down and not finished large projects. There are the remains somewhere of a baby blanket (not grannys) for a friend's baby who is now almost 24. I think it measured about 30 inches by....maybe 6 inches. Not even a good scarf. But it was a pretty pattern!

Wish me luck...

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I like to go a traditional route for St. Patrick's Day dinner. We usually have Guinness beef stew, soda bread, and I have a Guinness. I modify a couple recipes to make my stew. Here is a rough recipe, as the veggies can vary in quantity and variety. The prunes add a nice sweetness that compliments the bitterness of the Guinness. 

Guinness Beef Stew with Herbed Potatoes 

1 onion, chopped
1 large turnip, peeled and chopped
2 medium parsnips, chopped into similar size pieces (narrow end in circles, fat end halved)
6 medium carrots, chopped into circles
2 lb boneless chuck roast, cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks (don't use stew beef unless you like chewing erasers)
1 cup pitted prunes, halved
Salt and pepper
2 bay leaves
1 bottle of Guinness
2 cups water

2lb small new potatoes, halved if large
4 T unsalted butter
Salt and pepper
1t dried thyme

For stew: place all ingredients in 6 qt crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or until meat is tender. I like to thicken mine with a little instant potato flake. Add it by the tablespoon until desisted thickness. 

For potatoes: melt butter in a large heavy pot with lid (I use my enameled cast iron Dutch oven). Add potatoes (wet from rinsing) and salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low heat 30 minutes, until tender. Do not remove lid to stir, but shake the pot, so steam doesn't escape. Turn off heat and let sit 5 minutes. Add thyme and shake. 

Serve in bowls with stew on potatoes. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Happy Pi Day! 3.1415

Happy Pi Day! In honor, I decided we would have pie for dinner and dessert. I cheated for dessert, and bought an apple pie from my grocery bakery. But for dinner, I wanted something different. And since St. Patrick's Day in next week, I looked in my Irish cookbooks and found two similar pies, which I combined into my own. In The Frugal Gourmet on Our Immigrant Ancestors (one of my favorite cookbooks in college) I found scallop and mushroom pie. Basically a seafood shepherds pie. In In An Irish Country Kitchen by Clare Connery, I found fisherman's pie. Hers is made with white fish (with the option of smoked fish) and mushrooms.

So I mashed the two up in my head and came up with this:

Fisherman's Pie

3/4 lb cod cut into bite size pieces
1/4 lb each sea scallops and baby/salad shrimp
Nutmeg to taste
Bay leaf
1.5 c milk
3 T butter, divided
4 oz mushrooms, sliced
Salt and pepper
2 T flour
2 T chives
4-5 c prepared mashed potatoes
Melted butter or oil, to brush on top

In a small pot, bring milk, pepper, parsley, nutmeg, and bay leaf barely to a simmer. Add scallops and poach until just done. Remove to a large bowl. Add cod and poach until just done (I did that in two batches as my pot was quite small). Remove to bowl with scallops. Set milk aside. 

In a medium pot, melt 1 T butter. Add mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Cook mushrooms until tender and golden. Remove to bowl with seafood. 

Melt remaining butter in pot. Whisk in flour to make a roux. Cook a couple minutes, then whisk in hot milk. Bring to a bubble and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in shrimp, and cooked seafood. Set aside. 

Preheat broiler (mine uses temperature, so was set at 425*. Choose your temp accordingly)

In 2qt broiler safe dish, spoon seafood mixture. Make sure seafood is evenly distributed. Carefully spoon mashed potatoes around the top in small spoonfuls. Carefully spread into an even layer, completely covering the seafood. Smooth the top, then make ridges with a fork. Brush melted butter or oil on the top to help browning. 

Place in broiler and cook until brown and bubbly. Watch carefully to prevent burning!

Cool for 10 minutes and serve. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Rice

So my pantry is getting thin, and money tight. Looking at what I had, this is what was whipped up tonight:

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Rice

2 c water
1 1/2 c instant brown rice
8oz frozen broccoli flowerettes
1 10oz can chicken (I used light and dark meat, you choose)
1 can condensed cheddar cheese soup
Salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme to taste
1/2 - 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
French fried onions

Bring water to a boil. Add rice, broccoli, chicken, soup, and seasonings. Resume a boil and turn down to a heavy simmer. Cover and cook, 5-10 minutes, until rice is tender. 

Stir in shredded cheese. Let stand, covered, another 10 minutes. Serve, topped with fried onions. 

Serves 2-3.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Happy Mardi Gras! After trolling Pinterest for recipes, I landed on a chicken and sausage étouffée on Food Network. I had made something similar in the past, but lost the recipe. This one wasn't it, I don't think, but it was good! However, the andouille sausage can be hard to find, and pricy. So while eating dinner, it occurred to me that I could replace the regular paprika with smoked paprika and get the smoky taste the sausage provides without actually using it. So here is my rethought version...I haven't tried it yet, but the only real difference is the one mentioned above. And I cut the size of the recipe down, since I was only feeding two of us.

Smoky Chicken Étouffée

2 T olive oil
4 chicken thighs
Salt and pepper to taste
6 T flour
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 bottle of brown ale (drink the other half!)
2 c chicken broth/stock
1 bay leaf
1 T smoked paprika
1 1/2 c instant brown rice

Preheat oven to 350*.

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and add skin side down to pot. Brown both sides of chicken, and remove to a plate. 

Add flour to drippings in pot and mix well. If necessary, add a little more oil to make all the flour wet, but still crumbly. Cook over low heat until the color of peanut butter. Add chopped onion, and cook until softened. Add beer and stir up brown bits from bottom of pot. Add broth, bay leaf, and paprika and mix well. Return chicken to pot and bring to a simmer. Cover and place in the oven and cook until chicken is tender, about an hour.

Remove pot from oven. Place chicken on cutting board. Bring sauce to a simmer and add rice and 3/4 cup boiling water. Cover and simmer 5-7 minutes, then turn off heat and let sit another 5 minutes. Check to see if rice is done. If not, add more boiling water if necessary and simmer another couple minutes, until rice is done to your liking. 

In the meantime, remove chicken from bones and chop into bite size pieces (watch for cartilage from the bones!). When rice is almost done, stir chicken in. Serve in bowls.