Saturday, April 28, 2012

I saw some company I follow on Facebook post something about cinnamon roll waffles, but I didn't read it at the time. Later than week when the idea fluttered thru my brain, I couldn't find it. So I punted. I bought some Pillsbury cinnamon rolls and a can of cream cheese frosting (I needed the small rolls for my waffle maker and don't like the sugar flavored icing they come with). So this morning I got out my waffle maker and got busy. I sprayed it with Pam (important, as they are sticky!) and cooked them for 2 minutes, cinnamon side up. I don't know that it matters, just don't switch midway...then both the top and bottom get sticky. Trust me :-/

They were nice and crisp on the outside, soft inside, and quite yummy. And yes, I saved some for M, who would be royally grumpy to find I made these while she was at her dads...

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I think spring has sprung!

Just over a week ago, I signed up for one of the last available plots at the Ferndale Friendship Community Gardens. Our plot is about 7'x15'. When I got it, it looked like this:

All that grass is used as a winter cover crop, to help reduce soil erosion, and fertilize the soil. The gardens are organic, so no chemical fertilizers allowed. So the first thing I had to do was chop all that grass up and turn it under. I will admit to pulling a lot of it out, as it had all been turned under once already about 3 weeks earlier and had grown back. Once that was done, we put a couple inches of compost on top. The Girl (aka M) was a big help, as she enjoyed using the big shovel and the wheelbarrow to fetch, which was a good thing, as my back was killing me from turning the while garden over the day before.

The next day (Saturday), we planted our first seeds...a couple kinds of lettuce, radishes, carrots, kale, and onions in the garden bed, and in cell pots in the green house we planted summer squash, bush beans, sugar snap peas, and Brussels sprouts. And yesterday, we had sprouts! Lettuce, kale and radishes in the plot, and bean, pea, and brussels sprouts in the green house!

Then today, we went to Van Wingerden nursery to get free starts. The nursery was giving away starts in the understanding that we would share our harvest with the Ferndale Food Bank. We got 12 free starts! We got 5 more lettuces, 3 cherry tomatoes, a green pepper, and 3 red cabbages. I also bought 2 everbearing strawberry plants (since that is the first thing M stated she wanted to plant if we got a garden). Isn't it pretty?

Hopefully, my brown thumb is solely due to lack of experience and skill, as opposed to truly being unable to garden. There are several people at the community garden I can ask for help, which I fully intend to do! Wish me luck in growing a bountiful harvest...which we will share with the food bank, neighbors, friends...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Braised pork with cinnamon and beer

Tonight I made a recipe I got from the pork board on twitter. They found it here ( It took several hours, as a good braise will with a big hunk of meat (my pork shoulder was 4 pounds), but man, was it yummy! And easy!

Brown the meat. Sauté some onions. Add cinnamon sticks. Deglaze with brown ale (I used Newcastle). Bake for 3 hours until meat is falling apart. Done. She (and I) served it with polenta, but I am sure mashed potatoes, rice, or anything would work.

I have some meat left over, and a lot of broth. I may make some soup with it...add noodles? I'll let you know :)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Cottage pie

We had cottage pie for dinner that was quite yummy. For those that don't know, cottage pie and shepherds pie are basically the same thing...except that shepherds pie is supposed to be made with ground lamb, and cottage pie is made with ground beef. We like both around here, but beef is usually cheaper and more likely to be on hand.

It was pretty simple, and doesn't really need a recipe, as a description will suffice. I cooked a pound of ground beef. When it was done, I transferred it to my baking dish (more on that later). In the same skillet, I cooked a chopped red onion and about 6 oz sliced (and broken) crimini mushrooms with salt, pepper and about a teaspoon dried thyme. I bought the package of sliced, and didn't quite use the whole thing. And I broke them into smaller pieces so they would mix in better. When the onions and mushrooms were about done, I added a can of green beans to warm thru. I then added all that to the baking dish and stirred it all together. I then made gravy in the same skillet by bringing a couple cups of beef broth/stock to a boil with several dashes worchestershire, then thickened it up with some Wondra flour (read the carton to learn how). I then poured this into the casserole.

For the potatoes, I do like instant mashed potatoes. They are seldom lumpy, and you can flavor them however you want. These I made regular, seasoned with just salt and pepper. I made them a little thinner than usual to aid in spreading. I would recommend using a knife, and scooping some up and scraping them off on the side of the baking dish, as you want a seal around the edges to keep the gravy in. If you put dollops in the middle of the casserole to spread around, it displaces the filling and everything oozes out the edges as you go. Trust me on this. So anyway, spread the potatoes evenly across the top of the pie. Dab some butter all over (or spray with butter flavored pan spray) and broil until golden.

Now a note about baking dishes. Any Pyrex pan I have ever seen says not to broil it. So I have never tried. If you have done it, and it didn't shatter, yay for you. I am too chicken to try. So I looked for baking dishes that could be broiled, and found Le Creuset oval stoneware baking dishes. They are a little more pricy, but I got them when Macy's was having a sale with free shipping (they didn't carry them in store) and got equivalent to an 8x8, and the other to a 9x13. And an added bonus, *nothing* sticks to them. Not cheese, broiled on potato, lasagna. I love my pans :)

Our dinner was quite yummy, and there were left overs for me to have next week. Can't beat that!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Work in progress...

Believe it or not, this is a sweater. Or rather, a sweater in the making. It is a granny hex shrug I found at this site ( after following a link from a comment on another blog...or something like that. I figured since I can make granny squares, granny hexes shouldn't be too difficult, which they aren't. For this sweater, I think I'll need to make the hex about twice as big as it is, then make another one like it. I then attach them to each other and to themselves, and voila, I'll have a sweater. 

The pattern calls for a chunky weight yarn, to make a chunkier sweater. I opted for a worsted weight cotton, and a size K hook (which is several sizes bigger then usual for this weight yarn). By using the big hook, the stitches are softer and looser, allowing the piece to drape better. This is my first time using cotton yarn, as I usually have gone with the more budget-friendly acrylic. But cotton yarn has a more defined stitch (it's less fuzzy), and I thought it would make a nice sweater. I like the feel of the yarn and the way the hex feels, but the yarn takes some getting used to, as it doesn't slide as well while hooking.

I will post more as it progresses...this is also my first garment created by hooking, so I am interested to see if it turns out!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Daffodil pin! I used my daffodil pattern with embroidery floss to make this little gem. I only did single crochets on the trumpet for this one, along with the picot edge, as I have noticed that orange centered daffodils tend to have a slightly smaller trumpet.

I plan to wear this little beauty to church tomorrow for Easter. Cute!

Friday, April 6, 2012


I decided that because I missed the poffertjes we get at the NWWA Fair, I was going to try making some myself. I got a little pan at the Kitchen Konnection in Lynden. It has 7 spots for cooking. It is cast iron, and with tax was about $15. I had to season it, which consisted of me heating it til hot, and brushing a small amount of canola oil all over the cooking surface until it started to smoke. This helps it to be a nonstick surface, and seemed to work, as the only thing that stuck was the shredded cheese I tried putting in the first batch (would you believe Safeway only had shredded Gouda, no whole chucks for me to dice up?). After looking for recipes online, I found several that used half regular flour and half buckwheat flour. Since I had buckwheat flour, I gave that a try. My next hurdle was sweet syrup. I wasn't 100% sure what that was, but figured it was like simple syrup. Problem was, I only needed 2 tablespoons, so did not want to make a whole batch. If I was making dessert poffertjes, I figured Karo corn syrup would work...however it has vanilla in it which I was afraid could be weird with ham and cheese. But then I found another recipe that used sugar instead. So problem solved!

So once the batter was made and had a chance to rest (it has yeast in it, so had to rise, but was a softer batter than regular bread, so didn't puff up like regular bread rising does), I scooped it into the pan using my small cookie scoop. For the filled ones, I used a half a scoop of batter, added a chunk of ham (and shredded Gouda to the first batch, which didn't work so well), then added another half a scoop to cover the ham. When they got bubbly on top, it was time to flip them.

They sell special poffertjes forks, which look strangly similar to fondue forks, so I saved some money and used a fondue fork! They were a little tricky to flip to start with, but then I got the hang of it...I had to loosen up the cooked edge before trying to flip.

Here are some of the finished poffertjes. I don't think the ones at the fair use buckwheat flour! They were tasty, but needed a little something more than just the ham. The last batch I didn't put ham in, and sprinkled them with regular sugar (I didn't want to hassle with powdered sugar which is more traditional!) when they were done.

I think the next ones I make will have all regular flour in them. I am also going to try aebleskivers, which are Danish mini puffs (poffertjes are Dutch). The aebleskivers also use buttermilk and baking powder and baking soda instead of yeast. I will let you know how they turn out :)

Monday, April 2, 2012


My girl calls this the chickadee egg. It is really the body to the chubby chirp I am still needs two wings (one is already made) and a beak knitted, and eyes stitched on...

I think I like this one a little better. The trumpet is a little more ruffly :)


Well, I did it! I taught myself to knit! My mom tried to teach me eons ago, but I just couldn't get the hang of it. When I was working on crocheting my friends baby blanket a while back at a coffee shop, a woman and I started chatting about knitting. She suggested I try learning Norwegian or continental knitting (which picks at the yarn held in you left hand with the needle) as opposed to English knitting (which most people do, which is when you "throw" the yarn over the needle with your right hand). I looked it up on YouTube, found a helpful video, and there you have it! So I knitted this cute bunny...which wasn't that difficult, once I realized I needed to pay attention to my knitting so I didn't forget to let an old stitch go after knitting into it :P The bunny is just a square of knitting (garter stitch from what I have learned). When done, it is gathered up across the middle, and from those ends to the top center (three gathering threads) and stuffed. I named this one Lettice :) I am in the process of knitting a chubby chirp, which involves double pointed needles and increasing and decreasing. I will post pics of that when I am done ;)

I am thnking of cranking out little cute things and selling them this summer at a local farmers market...better get busy!

Btw, I got the bunny pattern from a friend who posted a pic of it on Facebook...I am not sure where she got it, so don't know where to give credit :(


I am hoping that spring shows her face around here soon! She has peeked a few times recently, but it has been grey and rainy more that it has been sunny.

In the past for Easter, our church has had us bring fresh flowers to decorate a cross that we display outside by the street. This year, they are asking us to bring flowers in a vase that they will distribute to the various homebound members of our congregation. I am seriously considering crocheting my flowers...they last longer, and are pretty cute, if I say so myself! This daffodil is inspired by a pointy five-petalled flower on a blog at I added a petal to make it like a real daffodil then made my trumpet with a round of double crochets and a scallop edge. I then sewed it onto the middle of the flower. I am in the process of trying a slightly differend edge on my next trumpet, so we will see. Creating things is a trial and error process! I am trying to decide if I want to try other flowers as well...hmmm...