Sprouts, Sausages and Sales

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. ~ Harriett van Horne

I’m a feeder. I grew up with a large extended family that liked to eat. My grandma cooked everything from scratch. No boxes or mixes in her kitchen. The British Hubby says I learned how to cook for an army. Then I had to relearn how to cook for two people. Okay, it’s debatable if I actually mastered that last one. I always cook more food than we actually need. It’s a good thing we love leftovers. This week I had a chance to try a few new recipes and a new butcher. IMG_20171121_1815148A few years ago, I tried a broccoli casserole that tasted great, but gave us such horrible gas that we didn’t finish the dish. Since then, I’ve been a bit skeptical to try a new cooked vegetable dish. Our no carbs and no sugar quest meant I needed to rethink our traditional holiday foods. (All though our Thanksgiving holiday is anything but traditional, it has been a bit carb heavy in the past.) I came across this brussels sprouts recipe. I made a few adaptations by using salad cream instead of mayo (The British Hubby isn’t a mayo fan) and using cheddar cheese instead of swiss. (That last change was an accident.) The recipe was easy to make and could be prepared ahead if you’re feeding a crowd. IMG_20171121_1856195This was my first attempt at cooking brussels sprouts as well as eating cooked ones. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. The salad cream gives them a nice tangy flavor. While, this didn’t replace my all time favorite cooked veggie, asparagus, this is a nutritious low carb and high fiber side dish that I would make again. 002.JPG

Next we had sausage taste test. We tried a new to us local butcher. The British Hubby was very excited to see they make Bangers in house. Naturally, our first trip had several of those in our cart. We also tried some chicken curry sausages. The Bangers didn’t live up to the British Hubby’s expectations. Personally, I thought they were quite delicious, but the British Hubby thinks the spices weren’t quite right. The chicken curry ones are fantastic! An exact replica of a proper take out curry in the form of a breakfast sausage. I can’t wait to try more flavors. 009My local Ben Franklin Store has already started holiday sales. I’m constantly impressed with the selection at this local store. I went in for some fabric to start a few holiday gifts and was pleasantly surprised to find all yarn 20% off. To my delight they had several new colors of Malabrigo in stock. I had a difficult time deciding, but I finally chose a Renaissance in Mechita. Check out the neat fabric I found. I’m especially excited about the cats in space. 002.JPGErnie maybe to tired to craft, but stay tuned for plenty of gift giving ideas. I’m a fan of giving small handmade items that can be used through out the year.

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Celebrating Life: Jaws Edition

Amity as you know, means friendship. ~ Jaws

Today is July 4, Independence Day in the States. The British Hubby and I were fortunate to have a really long holiday weekend together. Perfect for practicing on Ulysses and wearing our Jaws paraphernalia. It was supposed to be a warm weekend, but marine layer has kept it delightfully in the lower 70’s making the mornings and evenings slightly chilly. No problem when you have an Amity swimming club hoodie and neat mugs for tea.

 

Last year, I found some Jaws fabric. Naturally, I decided we needed themed pillowcases. When I ordered the fabric I had forgotten when the pattern goes vertical, I need to order an extra yard of fabric. So for now there’s just one pillowcase while we wait for more fabric to arrive. Next year, we’ll be ready.

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Next year, we’ll also have Jaws socks! Remember these? I’m not sure exactly why I stopped knitting on my Shark Bait Socks. Last week, I stumbled upon Shark Bite II. Of course, I immediately bought the yarn and the stitch markers and the pattern! The KAL starts on July 23. I know what you’re thinking, “This crazy lady is starting a KAL during the first stage of TDS?” I’m a sucker for a good KAL, and this pair is for the British Hubby. I know TDS starts in just 10 days 13 hours and about 04 minutes. Sometimes one just has to embrace the crazy.

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Burt and Ernie thought the lounge was too scary during the Jaws movie marathon. They were safely snuggling upstairs.

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Crafting Lights the Way

No matter how dark the day seems, make time for things that bring you light.

Many people say January and February are the gloomiest time of year. I always think it’s the few weeks before the Winter Solstice when the days are still getting shorter. In many places the sun hardly gets above the trees. I always want to make bright cheerful items during this time of year. Today, I made two 10 minute table runners. One for under our Christmas tree and one for on the main table. Some fun Christmas buttons would make these complete.

Given this is the rainy season in the PNW, it’s fitting my first liberated wip of December is the Portland Rainchaser. I love the design on this hat, but it was somewhat fiddly to knit. Normally, having two different colors going wouldn’t bother me. This knit had four strands going at once since I was holding lace doubled. I was excited when I reached the crown shaping. The British Hubby has claimed this hat. Apparently, yarn fumes at the yarn store made me forget I can’t wear alpaca. Oddly enough, I can knit with it but even the small amount on my ears made me itchy.

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This week, the British Hubby and I were craving carbs. I made not one, but two loaves of fresh bread. The first is a lovely crusty french bread. This one is great for lemon curd. The second loaf is a light Rye. It has a hint of orange. I love this one toasted with cheese.

Over the weekend, it’s gotten much colder here. I caught Ernie snuggling with Gracie.

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Crisp October Days

October is crisp days and cool nights, a time to curl up around the dancing flames and sink into a good book. ~John Sinor (1930–1996), in San Diego Union-Tribune

It’s the first weekend of October. Time to start decorating for Halloween. Last month, I started sewing a few new projects. Introducing, my Halloween pillow cases and kitchen tea towel. They bring a ghoulish air to our bedroom and kitchen.

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Update on other wips:

  • Portland Bias Scarf: Skein three has 16.20 grams left.
  • Frank in Pairs: Now there are two stripes of Pairs. Woot woot! See the photo below.
  • Dewberry Dancer: Thirty two of thirty six rows in section one are complete. With a little luck, I’ll start section two this week.

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The British Hubby and I have started watching The Great British Bake Off. We especially love the history lessons in season one. I decided to make a loaf of Pain de Campagne to go with our Turkey Bolognese.

Ernie loves snuggle time.

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Two days into October, I’m putting the finishing touches on a wip.

P.S. I heard rumors October might just have a new section coming on my blog. Stay tuned.

Archaeological Find

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. ~ George Santayana

It’s the first weekend in September. In the States, it’s a three day weekend. This provided me with some extra time in my craft room to reorganize a few items. I unearthed a nearly finished blanket. It was like stumbling upon an unopened time capsule from 10 or 15 years ago. This blanket is my oldest wip. The yarn is from the very first non big box yarn store I ever stepped foot inside. I started this blanket when I was only knitting geometric shapes like dish cloths, scarves (fun fur mostly) and blankets. I never imagined I would knit hats or socks or garments. Of course, at the time we were residing in Southern California. This project taught me several things. Always buy an extra skein of yarn and take a ball band or your project back to said yarn store when you try to buy more. Ernie doesn’t seem to mind there’s a band that doesn’t quite match the rest of the blanket. He promptly claimed it for himself.

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I also excavated my Halloween fabric. Soon I’ll have themed kitchen towels and a few other ghostly accessories. Look for some spooky finished items soon.

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I seem to be gravitating towards orange lately. Last week, I made a mango habanero sauce. The British Hubby used it for our grilled tofu. Yum! I still have two big containers left so we tried using it on some chicken thighs. Another culinary success, however, I still have six to eight cups of this sauce left.

The British Hubby made an interesting discovery at the grocery this week, moon drops. They look like purple slivers of the moon and sort taste like grapes.

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I’m off to use my extra crafting time on my wips. My goal this month is nine liberated orphans.

 

 

Break in the Heat Wave

Last week, I talked about the Dog Days of Summer. Typically, this ends around August 11. This past week, the Dog Days of Summer were in full force in the PNW with highs in the upper 80’s to mid 90’s. Any type of crafting becomes rather challenging. It’s hard to get excited about creating warm winter knits when I’m trying to not over heat. Today, we had a break in the heat with a high of 77 and a cold breezy.

Yesterday, the British Hubby was kind enough to lug the ironing board and fan down to the lowest level so I could keep working on my Holiday Patchwork tea towels. These are coming along nicely. I should have several finished this week.

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I also had an exciting package this week. The long awaited fourth skein of Malabrigo in Cielo y Tierra arrived! I might have been able to finish the scarf without it, but I didn’t want to chance it. I’m also alternating skeins since I have different dye lots on each skein.

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Finally, I have another finished project. August is more than half way finished. I really should have four or five liberated Orphans by now. I might need a Hail Mary Comeback this month. Presenting Mystery Mitts, Liberated Orphan number two for August. This project didn’t have a project page until today so I have no clue what yarn or needles I used. This was another project that was 98% finished. When I pulled it out of the bin, it was missing one thumb. Just one!

Update on other wips:

  • Earth & Sky: Skein four is wound and in the mix.
  • Charity Malt: Okay, last time I measured this I didn’t go by the cast on edge. I measured starting after the border. I’m well over the 30 inches now.
  • Portland Bias Scarf: Skein two has 17.82  grams left.
  • Frank in Pairs: No progress on this one this week.
  • Dewberry Dancer: I’m still on row 24 of 36 in section one.

Burt was in his “winding yarn” chair waiting in anticipation. He loves the winder.

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Two projects liberated and seven more to go!

The Dog Days of Summer

The Dog Days of Summer was named for the most sultry period of summer. In early times, this was observed in countries bordering the Mediterranean. This period ranged from 20 days before to 20 days after the alignment of Sirius (dog star) and the sun. Traditionally, this is July 3rd from August 11th. It seems like the Dog Days are just getting started here in the Pacific Northwest. This has made spending any quality time in my craft room rather difficult. I have managed to start a few Christmas gifts.

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These are the patchwork strips for my Patchwork Dish Towels. This pattern is great for using mini charm packs and flour sack dishcloths. I love having seasonal dishcloths in my kitchen. These also make great gifts. I’m attempting to stockpile gifts for all occasions.

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The first stripe appears! Can you feel the exciting?

Update on other wips:

  • Earth & Sky: Word on the street is the new skein is on it’s way. I’m not holding my breath.
  • Charity Malt: I’m on row 82 of the stockinette section. Somehow this was still short of 30 inches.
  • Portland Bias Scarf: Skein two has 21.57 grams left.
  • Frank in Pairs: One stripe done. Woot Woot!
  • Dewberry Dancer: I’m on row 24 of 36 in section one. Soon I’ll be ready for the third pearl row.
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It maybe the Dog Days of Summer, but it’s not too hot for the Ernie cave.

Here’s a bonus kitty photo. This past week, I was cat sitting for Halo.

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It’s toasty out, but I’m getting close to a few more projects finished.