Wednesday, January 30, 2008

W.I.P.s Anonymous

Hello, my name is Knitty McPurlypants and I'm an W.I.P.-a-hol-ic.
W.I.P. = Work in Progress for my non-knitting readers.

On the needles:
A second mitten. This is almost done and the project I'm currently working on full time.

Eric's Glovelets-more than likely will be frogged. I'm just not digging the pattern and it's been 8 months since I've worked on them.

Since my "Fish A Day" last May, they've pretty much been in hibernation. Who knew fish hibernated??!! I do have plans to begin working on them again in the near future, I think I only have 20some left to knit (out of 160).

Awwwwwe, the Huggable Hedgehog, I loved making this until I got to the short rows and knitting with the eyelash yarn. This will get finished in the next month or two...Really!!

Last, the Everlasting Bagstopper. I think once the cooler weather hit, I really got in to knitting "wintry" type things (fingerless mitts and mittens) so projects like this just got put aside.

What makes it worse is that if I had any time at all, I would be casting on for Clapotis, socks, Noro Scarf, or even the Celtic Tote-and that's just off the top of my head! My W.I.P.s could easily be doubled! UGH! Maybe I need to quit work so I can finish all these projects! I don't even want to get started on all the books I'm currently reading-I swear I have a book started in every room in my house and at school! I think it's safe to say I have "completion" issues. Anyone else?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Savory Winter Soup

Souper Saturday #4

Today's soup is Savory Winter Soup. (The link is the original recipe-I ended up cutting it in half and modifying some of the ingredients).

Savory Winter Soup (My version)
Source: Taste of Home magazine
Serves: 6-8
1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1+ can beef broth (I also added some additional beef broth I had in the fridge)
1 can vegetable broth
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes (undrained)
1/2 c. celery
1/2 c. carrots
1/2 c. fresh or frozen green beans
1/2 c. cubed peeled potatoes (these took the longest to cook, I may have not chopped them up small enough)
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. In a skillet, cook beef, onions, and garlic over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink.
2. Transfer to a slow cooker (I used a 3 quart one, although if you're making the original recipe-which serves 14-it says to use a 5 quart slow cooker). Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover well and cook on high for 8 hours or until heated through (mine was ready in about 5 hours-although it could have hung out on "low/warm" for another hour or two). You just basically need to wait for the potatoes to cook.
I served it with some cornbread hot from the oven.
My notes: I'd adjust the veggie amounts to suit your tastes. I would have added more of everything (except the onions and green beans) and maybe have cut down on the ground beef. This is a pretty basic soup, not one I'd make for company, but is tasty on a cold rainy day or when you want something a bit "lighter." It was nice to be able to just dump it in the slow cooker in the morning and not have to fuss with it after that. It made the house smell amazing!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Other O.G. Soup

Souper Saturday #3
Today's recipe is for the other O.G. (not Ol' Gansta, but rather Olive G@rden) Soup-Zuppa Toscana. Most people tend to go for the Pasta Fagioli, but I actually prefer the Zuppa Toscana.

The weather has actually been quite winter-like so this was a perfect choice for our chilly weekend!

The recipe can be found several places and my recipe is a combination of several recipes although they all have the same basic ingredients.

O.G. Zuppa Toscana

Source: Combination of several online recipes

Serves: 6-8 servings (it made A LOT)


1 lb ground Italian sausage ( I used 1/2 mild and 1/2 hot)
1½ tsp crushed red peppers
1 large diced white onion
4 Tbsp bacon pieces (I used several slices of peppered bacon)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
10 cups low sodium chicken broth ( I swear I should start buying stock in this stuff!)
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 lb sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes
¼ of a bunch of kale

1. Saute Italian sausage (taken out of casing) and crushed red pepper in pot. Drain excess fat, refrigerate while you prepare other ingredients.

(Sophie was hoping something would drop as D.H. helped by peeling the potatoes)

2. In the same pan, saute bacon pieces, onions and garlic for approximately 15 mins. or until the onions are soft. (If you like crisp crunchy bacon I'd fry it up separate and then add the onions/garlic)

3. Add 10 c. chicken broth to the onions, bacon and garlic. Cook until boiling.

4. Add potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.

5. Add heavy cream and cook until thoroughly heated.

6. Stir in the sausage.

7. Add kale just before serving.

I served the soup with some bread sticks. This soup was so hearty and delicious! DH went back for thirds!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Knitting Content!

I figured I should post some knitting content since this is, after all, a knitting blog. Soooo..Here's what's on the needles these days:
I'm still working on the mittens for a friend of mine. The first one is finished and my knitting esteem grew by leaps and bounds when last night at SnB a customer at the coffee shop came up to our knitting group and sang such praise of the mitten. I was such a proud mitten knittin' mama! There's nothing better than people truly admiring your work-flaws and all. She was a knitter/crocheter herself so she appreciated the time/effort it takes. We invited her to our next get together-hopefully she comes!

I was able to add to my knitting book collection over the past few weeks with the help of some online bookstores and H@lf Priced books. Missing from the picture is, 101 Designer One Skein Wonders.

I also visited Etsy where I ordered some Yarn/Needle earrings and Snowflake stitch markers. I love them both!

I also bought lots of yarn, but its upstairs in my "craft/crap" room. Stay tuned for future projects!

School funny: You know things are stressful(it's the end of the 1st semester-grades, exams) when teachers want to throw a parade for you because you filled the empty salt shaker in the teacher's lounge-hee! I saw yesterday it was empty so I brought my canister of salt and filled it up and heard yelps of joy during lunch-it's the little things! Now all we need is a v @ l i u m saltlick and we'll really be happy campers.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Souper Saturday #2

It's Saturday, which means it's time for an entry about soup! But before I get started with this week's soup, I'd like to showcase some "Soup Sightings" I stumbled upon this week:
1. Bezzie made this awesome looking German Style Potato Soup.

2. Mel made some Easy Pressure Cooker Garbanzo Stew along with some Maple Walnut Spelt Bread. The stew and bread looked amazing! I came across Mel's site after reading about Phoebe (and then donating) when I was at Scout's site (ordering some knitting stuff). Phoebe updates are here and here.

Soup of the week:
Butternut Squash Soup
  • This is one of my favorite cookbooks! A "must-have" for your favorite cook!
Time: About an hour total (I'm the world's slowest chopper so it took me a little bit longer).

Serves : 4 (I halved the original recipe in the book, the measurements below serve 4)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 onion, chopped fine
1 1/2 pounds butternut squash ( 1 med. sized one), peeled (using a vegetable peeler), seeded, and cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 sprigs thyme (I used a few pinches of dried thyme)
Pinch nutmeg
1/4 c. heavy cream
salt and pepper

1. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened (about 5 minutes). Stir in the squash, broth, thyme, and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the squash is tender, 20-25 minutes.
2. Remove the thyme sprigs (ignore if used dried thyme) and puree soup in batches in a blender (or food processor) until smooth.
3. Return pureed soup to the pot. Stir in the cream. Bring to a brief simmer, then remove from the heat. If the soup seems too thick, thin it out with additional broth or water. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving. Sprinkle individual servings with more nutmeg if desired.
  • This was awesome!! Much better than I expected! I was stuffed after a cup of this-very filling!
  • I topped my serving with some homemade croutons.
  • This soup can be prepared through Step 2, cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 2 months. Reheat over low heat, adding additional water or broth to adjust the consistency, before proceeding to step three.
  • I think the cream could be substituted with a dollop of s. cream to a bowl of the pureed soup.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Day I was Born

Every year I get a version about the day I was born.  Last year I asked Mom and Dad to write it out so I'd always have it.  So here were the events 41 years ago in a "He said, She said" mode:

The Day I Was Born

From Dad:


We had a big snowstorm, heavy snow and very windy. This was at our house on Irving street in Cottage Grove.

The street was totally impassable, only a snowplow could get through. Eventually the plow came and made only one pass before moving on to the other streets.

Within an hour after the plow came by your mother said we have to go to the hospital, now!

So I jumped into the blue 1964 volkswagen warmed it up and shoveled enough snow in the driveway to get to the center of the street. Then through the shovel in the back seat in case we got stuck.

Snow was still blowing around and the snow in the once-plowed street was starting to build up again.
I also wondered if the snowplow plowed our street all the way out (about 1/2 mile) to the highway (hwy 61).

Mom got in the warmed-up car and off we went. I was driving with my head forward, windshield wipers going and trying to stay on the path made by the snow plow. I think we were the first to attempt driving out to the highway. The snow banks were as high as the car windows.

Approaching hwy 61 I had to climb a slight incline .... and in order not to get stuck, I gunned it and drove right into the highway without coming to a complete stop.

The highway was a piece of cake.


I'll let mom add dates and the time of day to my version.



From Mom:

Happy Birthday, Sweetie!

Dad has his version of the day you were born, and here is mine:

It was cold. We had a horrific snow storm either the day before or 2 days before. Roads were blocked all over. Dad & a neighbor were trying to figure out how to get enough people with shovels & snow blowers to get a single trail to the high way. As it turned out, our street had been plowed out--a single car width.

My pains started & Dad thought we had better get to the hospital. He took Toni to the neighbor's 2 doors away & off we went. In our 1964 turquoise Volkswagen. You had one, so you know how much room there is in there to stretch out. Dad insisted we take a brand new blanket (bright yellow) with us just in case we didn't get to the hospital in time due to train tracks we had to cross. Often times trains would go by & tie traffic up for 10 minutes. I told him there was no way I was going to deliver a baby in that car!

Got to the hospital & less than 4 hours after my first pain, you were born. They only had time to give me a hypo to relax me. I remember hearing them comment on how I was already sleeping & in hard labor.

The next day I could hear the babies down the hall. One in particular cried pretty much most of the time. Every time they brought you in to me, you were so good. Ate, went to sleep & off you whisked to the nursery.

Finally it was time to go home. The nurse brought you in, laid you on my bed & you started to cry---the cry I had listened to for 3 days! I looked at the nurse, she smiled & said they didn't want to tell me.

You were pretty much a vocal baby until you were able to get yourself around. I learned to cook & clean with you on my hip. The longest you spent in the mesh playpen (Toni's haven) was 15 minutes. And 10 spent were crying. By 6 months you were climbing up the stairs, but just heading head 1st down the steps. That was a bit hard on your fore head. I showed you how to back down & the rest is history. You were on your way. Any/every where was a destination.

Love you,


Saturday, January 05, 2008

Souper Saturday

ETA:  I revised this post to not be so long.  Will post what I deleted in a future entry.

One goal for myself this year:
  • Post a soup recipe once a week (Souper Saturday). Both DH and I want to eat healthier and we thought eating soup for meals more often would help. Here are some guidelines for my version of "Souper Satuday"
    • Post recipe to blog once a week (preferably on Saturday)
    • Definition of "soup" will vary depending on my needs-like today!
    • Choose recipes from as many different sources as possible
Pretty basic, feel free to suggest some soups to try or join me by posting your own recipes for Souper Saturday!

For my first entry, I've decided that for today, oatmeal will count as "soup." After all, it is kind of like a breakfast soup/stew-right?

Background: When DH was ill last month, I ended up watching lots of TV, and one of my favorite shows is Good Eats on the Food Network. Alton Brown made this in one of his episodes and knew I wanted to try it myself.

Recipe: Steel Cut Oatmeal
Time: 10 minutes prep, 35+ cooking= about 45 minutes total

1 tablespoon butter
1 cup steel cut oats
3 cups boiling water
1/2 teaspoon salt (not mentioned in online recipe but was on the show)
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon low-fat buttermilk
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

In a large saucepot, melt the butter and add the oats. Stir for 2 minutes to toast.
Add the boiling water and reduce heat to a simmer. Keep at a low simmer for 25 minutes, without stirring.-It was hard not to stir!
Combine the milk and half of the buttermilk with the oatmeal-add 1/2 tsp. of salt at this point. Stir gently to combine and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Spoon into a serving bowl and top with remaining buttermilk, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
Mmmmmm. It was really good! It definitely has a nutty texture to it and the buttermilk is a must! Of course one could make it much healthier by using lowfat ingredients but I wanted to make the recipe "as is" for the first time. You can add to it just about anything that suits your fancy (nuts, vanilla extract, fruit, maple syrup, etc). It was warm, VERY filling, and can be reheated the next day-if you want to make it the night before.

Funny story: When I bought the buttermilk, the clerk asked it I wanted it in a bag or if I was going to drink the buttermilk right away! Ewwwww, I don't think I could drink buttermilk straight!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Granny's Recipe Box

In response to The Grandma Mabel Memorial Recipe Box Show & Tell Contest I decided to enter and dedicate a posting to the recipes I inherited from my grandmother.

When Granny died a few years back, Mom asked if there was anything special of hers I wanted to have, so I asked about her recipes. Luckily no one else had asked for them so they were mine. I don't think the boxes themselves have too much of a story other than the fact they are old. I did find out that the wooden box was decoupaged (with owls) by my grandfather at a time when my aunt said if you stood too long, you got decoupaged.

Inside the boxes are, I swear, 3000 recipes in two main foods groups: desserts and casseroles. Granny sure did have a sweet tooth for a diabetic!

One of the recipes that stood out to me was this one for "Best Ever Sugar Cookies" with 4 "stars."

I cracked up when I stumbled upon this "recipe" for clean windows:

Tips for Clean Windows
  • Cloudy day to wash
  • Up & Down motion
  • Newspapers to wipe with
To a bucket of water add 1/2 c. ammonia, 1/2 c. vinegar, and 2 T. cornstarch

In addition to the recipe boxes I was given a few of her cookbooks. One of the frustrating things was that several of the old "church" or community cookbooks didn't have any dates. One of my favorite finds was an old composition book that she had dated 1947 filled some handwritten recipes. I love it!

Being the "foodie" I am, I feel so lucky to have these links to the past.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

Hope you find a way to incorporate some black eye peas into your day! Per request from DH, I'm going to attempt to make some Hoppin' John with these:

But I think I'll prefer to get my fill of them by eating some Texas Caviar:

Janna was in town so a few of us got together with her and knit the other day. It was so good to see her! She was working on her 50 ft.(not really) Honeybee stole.

Here's Chris-blogless showing off the "you-know-whata" warmer she knit:

Enid was working on a sweater for her son:

And finally we have Jody-blogless and Mary each working on their Clapotis.

I was able to make some progress on my mitten:

It was so nice to see everyone and get inspired by their projects! I'm hoping to make it to another SnB tonight!