Tuesday, January 30, 2007

What I'm working on today

I'm trying very hard to turn UFOs into FOs. I have turned the heel on one of the Koigu toe up short row heel socks and hope to have that one done before knit nite with the gang on Thursday. I really want to start this beautiful scarf, Brooke's Column of Leaves Scarf, but I can't decide which yarn in my stash to use. I have some red yarn that I can use to make this into my Valentine's Day scarf. I wanted to make this scarf but that would mean buying yarn and that is not on my diet right now. I also have some pea green yarn that would be appropriate as this is a column of "leaves" scarf. Might I mention that I don't look particularly good in pea green? I just love looking at that color. Gee, thanks Sidra! Sidra is a friend of mine who absolutely loves this shade of green and looks good in it. She calls it "Sidra Green". Now I really like it too.

I also finished a washcloth that I found in one of my many knitting bags. I just wanted some quick mindless knitting while watching TV. I was actually too lazy to get up and go to my purse where I keep the Koigu sock as my car/waiting on kids knitting. I'd better remember to put it in there since we have a doctor appointment tomorrow morning and I really hate to be without something to knit.

Sorry that I don't have any pictures to post. Bernie needed the batteries I use for my camera for the remote control for the Wii! He was in the midst of Zelda and couldn't stop. Sheesh! I will get them back!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Bread pudding recipes

I am working from memory here. I hope I didn't forget anything. I tried to do this last night while my brain was still halfway functioning but I couldn't stay awake. BTW, this stuff was great this morning for breakfast, except I left out the Jack.

Pina Colada Macadamia Nut Bread Pudding

1 package hamburger buns (8 to a package), torn into bite sized pieces
3 eggs
1 can coconut milk (not coconut juice or coconut water)
Milk to equal 3 cups when added to the coconut milk
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 large can crushed pineapple, drained
¼ cup chopped unsalted macadamia nuts
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Tear hamburger buns into the baking dish. Spread drained pineapple evenly over the bread. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs then add milk, coconut milk, sugar, and vanilla. Pour evenly over the bread and pineapple. Press down with a spatula to make sure all of the bread pieces are soaked thoroughly. Sprinkle macadamia nuts over all. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown and knife inserted near the center comes out clean. It will get denser as it cools.

Apple-Raisin Bread Pudding

1 pkg hamburger buns (8 to a package), torn into bite sized pieces
3 eggs
3 cups milk
¼ tsp cinnamon
¾ cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup raisins
1 peeled and chopped apple

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Tear hamburger buns into the baking dish. Sprinkle raisins and apple evenly over bread. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs then add milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Pour evenly over the bread and fruit. Press down with a spatula to make sure all of the bread pieces are soaked thoroughly. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown and knife inserted near the center comes out clean. It will get denser as it cools.

Jack Daniel’s Sauce

1 can sweetened condensed milk
½ stick butter
¼ cup Jack Daniel’s whiskey
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add condensed milk and whisk until thoroughly blended and smooth. Remove from heat to avoid flames, pour in Jack Daniel’s and vanilla. Keep whisking until incorporated. Serve warm over bread pudding. It can be warmed in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time before serving.

Cabbage Rolls

1 head green cabbage

1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground beef
1 cup cooked rice
1 egg
splash of 1/2 & 1/2 or milk
large splash of soy sauce
1 tsp Worchestershire sauce
1/2 large onion, diced
garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 tblsp parsley flakes

2 small cans tomato sauce, divided
1/3 of a 28 ounce jar spaghetti sauce

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread 1 small can tomato sauce with 1/4 cup water in the bottom of a baking pan 13 x 9 or slightly larger. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Fill a large stockpot with water to about 3 inches from rim. Salt the water and bring to a boil. Cut out the core of the cabbage and submerge in boiling water for one minute. Peel leaves off cabbage while boiling, be careful! Put leaves in a large bowl of iced water to stop the cooking process. Continue until all large and medium sized leaves have been peeled off. In another bowl, mix all filling ingredients together. If you want to check the seasoning of your filling, heat a pan and make a small patty of your filling and cook until brown on both sides. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Cut a "V" in the bottom of the cabbage leaves to remove the spine. Remove as little as necessary. Place about 1/4 cup of filling at the top of the leaf (more or less depending on size of leaf) and roll top then sides of leaf to cover filling. Place roll, seam side down on top of tomato sauce in the baking pan. Continue until pan is full or you've run out of leaves or filling. Mix remaining can of tomato sauce and spaghetti sauce and pour evenly over top of cabbage rolls. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Dinner with good friends

Tonight we had our friends, Pat & Jim over for dinner. Now, I know this menu sounds eclectic but it really worked well together. We tend to draw the meal out so we usually have a few minutes between courses, then it's coffee and Scrabble for a couple of hours. Here's what we had:
Tossed green salad & pasta e fagiole (recipe to follow)
Cabbage rolls in tomato sauce (recipe to follow) and rice
Apple raisin bread pudding with Jack Daniel's sauce (recipe to follow)
Pineapple, coconut & macadamia nut bread pudding (recipe to follow)

I want to post these recipes because I can never make the same recipe twice. I look at a written recipe as a suggestion and just make things up as I go. The exception is when I bake, because baking is about formulas, not recipes.

Pasta e Fagiole

1 lb hamburger
1/2 large onion
3 garlic cloves, minced

Brown hamburger, add onion and saute until translucent then add garlic. Add the rest of the ingredients:

1 c. shredded carrot
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cans beef broth
1 can diced tomatoes
1 jar onion & garlic spaghetti sauce (28 ounces)
1 can white beans or kidney beans

Simmer on low until 1/2 hour before serving then add 1 c. ditalini pasta or small shell pasta. Or cook pasta separately and add to soup before serving. If soup thickens too much after adding pasta, add more water or broth until it's the consistency you like.

Too tired right now. Got to get to bed. Will post other recipes tomorrow.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Doing a little stash busting

I'm really making an effort to reduce the size of my stash by getting a few dishcloths made. I even cast on for a clever little dishcloth that I found here. Well, it's still stash reduction, right?

I've started Cozy and am using some #3 mercerized cotton that I originally bought to make facecloths. I wanted something lightweight and lacy. This is probably going to be my first exception to the stashbusting plan, however. I only had 1+ balls of this yarn and plan on using at least 8 balls, but at under $3.00/ea this won't be a budget buster. I've found, as with other lace projects I've tried, that it helps to have a chart to work from. This particular pattern didn't have a chart so I fudged one. I have a knitting symbols font but it was just easier at the time to do it like this since I was working on my husband's computer. It is a very easy knit but I can only memorize one line at a time (while I'm doing it). I cast on 109 sts, which is more than the 85 called for in the pattern. I'm using US size 8 needles and have borrowed the paper towel holder from the bathroom to hold my yarn steady. I beaded this little row counter to help me keep track of where I am in the pattern.

I have since finished the pair of these fingerless mittens. They were made of Lamb's Pride worsted weight wool in the Fuschia color on size 4 needles. I cast on 40 sts and worked the thumb on 16 sts.

I started a pair of toe up socks last Saturday when Sidra came over to knit with me. I originally cast on 48 sts on size 2 needles but after trying them on again right before I was ready to turn the heel, I faced the fact that they were a bit small and ripped back to the toe and increased to 52 sts. I think I'll be happier now. This is all I have accomplished thus far. I last worked on them at knit nite on Thursday with members of my knitting group, Las Vegas Knitters.

It's really windy outside but you'd never know it by looking at my furry kids. I'm keeping warm from the inside out by enjoying a hot cafe mocha and listening to streaming Hawaiian music from HawaiianRainbow.com on my iTunes.

So, even though I haven't been active on my blog, it doesn't mean I haven't been busy knitting.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

Tea, bread and knitting

This morning I caught up on some episodes of The Knitting Cook podcast. In episode 3, Faith shared her mother's honey wheat bread. I wanted that bread so badly but didn't have the Vital Wheat Gluten that her recipe called for. Instead, I grabbed the bread machine out of the pantry and found a box of low carb wheat bread and started a loaf. The house smelled wonderful and I couldn't wait for it to be done. I cooled it, sliced it, popped a piece into my mouth, and then spit it out! It tasted like cardboard! Nasty! Into the trash it went. I waited 3 hours for this bread and I wasn't going to be denied. I relied on an old standby recipe and tried again.

Wheat Bread - 1 1/2 lb loaf

Add ingredients to your bread machine in the following order:

1 c. warm water

2 T butter

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 c King Arthur whole wheat flour

2 c white flour

2 T dry milk

1 T sugar

2 tsp active dry yeast

I set my machine on the standard setting since this isn't 100% whole wheat bread and I prefer the light crust setting.

While I was waiting for my bread, I finished my Noro cap, wove the ends in and soaked it in conditioner. It's now drying and waiting for me to wear it.
I've started another stethoscope cover for my sister and have a mesh crochet shrug almost done and waiting in the wings. Funny, but while I'm watching Knitty Gritty, I feel weird if I'm crocheting and while I'm watching Uncommon Threads and they have a crochet episode, I have to crochet.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Update on felted soap sack

Remember I crocheted a sack for a bar of soap out of Paton's Soy Wool? No? It was a couple of posts ago, here. Anyway, it worked! The sack is now felted around the soap and is shrinking every time I use it. I'd rather not post a picture because to me, that would be a little gross. Trust me, it is felted. It actually feels good. I can feel it exfoliating but it isn't rough like a loofa. I especially like it on my feet, although I could use a pedicure because they're so rough that they're snagging the wool. Was that TMI? Anyway, I think that these would be cool gifts and would really work well on rectangular bars of soap because you could just make a tube and close it at the end instead of having to work increases and decreases to fit an oval bar. However, as my current sack is being used, it's shape is conforming to the shape of the soap. I was just thinking of the initial presentation and how it would look better if it fit snugly to begin with.

I know, I ramble.

My first Koigu!

This is my first purchase of both Koigu KPPM and Malabrigo. I can't wait to try them both. I'm pretty sure the Koigu will become a pair of socks and the Malabrigo will be a beanie type hat. The Malabrigo is so soft to touch in the hank. I can just imagine how it will feel to knit with it.

Here is the beanie to match the fingerless mitts I just made last week. It is Noro Kureyon #188.

These fingerless mitts are much better than the Noro ones I made. They are just a Navy wool blend made on size 4 needles. The hat is made on size 8 needles although I think I should have stuck with the 4s.

Very tired. Got to get some sleep.