Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Starry Starry Night

I do love structure...routine..lists...order..
My carefree days of summer vacation were balanced well with knitting projects comprised of highlighted charts or involved patterns.
Throw in the newly routined, highly-structured days at the beginning of the school year, and even my brain needed a break.
Enter Art Yarn.
I have to say in the past I would often "not get" art yarn and its randomness made my head hurt. Since the start of the school year, I had absolutely no desire to sit and fiddle with a pattern and knew I was ready for knitting to be "fun" again, rather than a mental challenge.
I stumbled on some art yarn through Ravelry/Etsy inspired by Van Gogh's Starry Starry Night and I was hooked! I had to have some!

There's not a whole lot of it (120 yds) but enough to make a decent scarf. I'm just trying to find the right stitch that will require minimal thought and show off the beauty/funkiness of the yarn. I tried St st and even with knitting the first 2 and last 2 sts in each row, still curled. Any other suggestions?

Crockpot Sunday Update:

NFL Week 2 had me making some beef stroganoff in the crockpot.
Source: Fix it and Forget It Lightly
Beef Stroganoff
(mine wasn't the "light" version since I just used the full fat versions of soup/sour cream)
  • 1 1/2 lbs. lean beef stewing meat, trimmed of fat
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 lb. fresh mushrooms
  • 10 3/4-oz can 98% Fat Free cream of mushroom soup (I used regular)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup Fat Free sour cream (I used regular)
1. I floured and then seared the pieces of beef, then deglazed the pan with some white wine and combined with the rest of ingredients(except sour cream) in a 4 quart crockpot. You could skip the sear of the meat and just combine all ingredients (except sour cream) and add to crock pot.
2. Cook on low 6-8 hours.
3. Stir in sour cream.
4. Cook on high for a few minutes to heat sour cream.
5. Serve over egg noodles along with some crusty bread to mop up the sauce.

Serves 4-6

My notes:
  • I know my version was not so "light" (I just used what I had on-hand) but was very good!
  • I added more garlic than it called for and next time would use about half as much mushrooms and a little more beef. But add/reduce to your personal tastes!
  • It was delicious and reheated 2 days later quite well!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Crockpot Sunday

I love themes....So when I first read about this idea on Ravelry I knew I wanted to participate too. For the non-Rav folks, basically someone came up with an NFL Slow Cooker Schedule, the author is due in December and thought it would help her be organized to plan to cook in her crockpot every weekend during the NFL schedule. I'm doing the same, but am calling it Crock Pot Sunday.

I loved having the soups to eat from during the week when I did the Souper Saturday last year. I just hated all the prep work and let's face it, it's hard to get excited about soups in July. Crockpot Sunday will last throughout the duration of the NFL season and probably into the playoffs as well; perfect weather for that type of food/cooking.

My first offering came from a teacher at school:

Crockpot Roast

1 chuck roast (biggest one you can find)
1 pkg au jus (McCormick)
2 pkg dry Italian salad dressing
2 cups water

Note: I did dredge the roast in flour and seared on all sides before adding to the crockpot. Just mix this all up in the crockpot and add roast. Cook all day in crock pot on LOW. (8 hrs is great, then you could keep it on "warm" if you have that setting). I know it's tempting to add veggies and/or wine but just try this plain jane version, I promise you won't be disappointed!

I served this with mashed potatoes, but would be great with rice or baked potatoes. It was amazing!! The house smelled heavenly and the left overs were wonderful! I'd love to hear what your favorite slow cooker/crock pot recipes are!

I've been so busy with school not a whole lot of knitting has been happening, but I did make a trip to the Tinsmith's Wife last weekend and picked up some Three Irish Girls sock yarn (Clare) and some Malabrigo sock yarn (Impressionist Sky). I don't PLAN on buying anymore yarn until Kid 'n Ewe but I can't make any promises!!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

A Sighing Pot

This morning while getting Sophie's food together I swear I heard my coffee pot sigh longingly...I then realized it had been weeks-WEEKS since I had last taken the time to make a pot. I've had my caffeine fix thanks to Mickey D's, Starbucks, Red Bull and diet soda along the way. Realizing there was no reason not to make some, I went ahead and brewed my first pot of coffee in ages and the smell was heavenly! Since I now have a mug-o-java to sip, figured I'd update here as well.

Life has been hectic these past few weeks with the start of school and all that goes in to it. I have to say that other that a student (not mine) up in a tree outside my window (that class period was shot) and another student urinating outside the portable next door, this year has gotten off to a fantastic start! Life is never dull in middle school!

New-to-Me things:
I found a new lunch option. Actually DH saw it in the newspaper and pointed it out to me.
An apple sandwich!
  • Cut 2 half-inch slices of apple (core out the middle)-I chop up the rest of the apple to eat along with it. You can squeeze some lemon juice on the slices to keep from turning brown.
  • Spread some peanut butter or almond butter on the bottom slice.
  • Then sprinkle with some granola and chocolate chips. Top with the other slice, pressing down gently to make the sandwich.
  • This is my new favorite lunch along with a yogurt!

Another new-to-me thing is the use of different colored highlighters to keep track of the different cable stitches. I stumbled across the idea here -my favorite podcast BTW-and could hardly wait to get a pack a highlighters and try it out. It's great!

I haven't done much knitting other than at SNB, but know things start to settle in a normal rhythm after Labor Day so I'll have more energy/time to knit throughout the week. I have been focused on finishing my reading of The Time Traveler's Wife and am anxious to see the movie! If I don't finish this weekend, definitely will by next weekend.