Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Yarn Along {Gingersnaps}


~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?

Yarning along with Ginny

I've still not blocked my Spring Kerchief because I keep forgetting that needs done. It's sitting in my basket, but with it being so warm out, I keep forgetting how much i'm going to appreciate having it blocked and ready to wear come fall.

I did cast on a quick, tiny project until I find something a little larger to work on- I'm making some itty-bitty leg warmers for our newest wee family member, expected to arrive sometime in October. 

I guess I just can't seem to get enough of those autumn babies.

I'm not really following a pattern for these, I'm kind of just winging it. They seem like they're big enough that tiny newborn legs will fit for about a month or so. I didn't want to make them so big that babe will  be swimming in them though, either. And I really don't mind making a few more pairs that are slightly larger as baby grows. I love that I can use up some leftover yarn for these-this is Sweet Georgia worsted in "ginger" that I had just enough left to make a small pair.

I'm not sure if I'm going to continue the heart pattern up the leg, or just leave a single heart at the bottom- I'll probably knit another inch or so before deciding.
                                                                                                     

                                                                                                        ********
As per Ginny's suggestion last week, I'm reading 
A Sane Woman’s Guide to Raising a Large Family. I know Four kids is hardly a large family, but I figured that with this woman having as many kids as she does, she probably knows a thing or two about practical organization. I find it refreshing and reassuring that I'm not the only one who expects their kids to take on some of their own household chores, (like laundry etc) and how it works for everyone, no matter how young, to have their own responsibilities. 


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Anne and Diana {Strawberry Rhubarb} "Muffins"

I don't think we realize often enough how blessed we are that strawberries and rhubarb come into season together, skipping right into our kitchens practically holding hands. That's a grace that takes thought and careful consideration.
Both are delightful enough as individuals, but together? They're a whole new category. They're Fred and Ginger, Anne and Diana, Napoleon and Josephine.... And luckily, we have a surplus of both around here.

Always looking for another way to showcase this gorgeous couple, I decided to play around in the kitchen and make "Muffins".

....I say "muffin" because we all know that muffins are really just cupcakes without icing. Or at least that's what Zeke tells me. He's a self proclaimed culinary expert who's helpful enough in the kitchen that I don't try to argue with him. Also, in saying "muffin" I feel like i'm disclosing the fact that I'm making no claims that these are actually healthy. 

I was more than thrilled with the way that these turned out and actually wrote down the recipe as I went this time, rather than throwing things in a mixer and in the end saying "Gee, these are good. Wish I could remember what I did..." A frequent bad habit of mine that i'm trying to break.

I blame it on the constant disappearance of my pens-they're never where I leave them. I think there's a squirrel who lives in my house that's made a nest for itself out of my pens and notepads. But I digress.....
The Recipe: (for 3 dozen, regular sized muffins.)

2 cups of sugar (reserve 1/2 cup of this and set aside.)
2 cups of diced strawberries
2 cups diced rhubarb
4 large eggs
1 cup butter
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup of sour cream
2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
4 cups of all purpose flour

Preheat your oven to 350

Start by dicing your Rhubarb and Strawberries. You'll want to dice them pretty small so that they'll distribute themselves evenly throughout the batter and each muffin will have some actual fruit. Mine were in 1/2 inch pieces.
Next, mix the strawberries and rhubarb in a bowl with the 1/2 cup of reserved sugar, and set aside for at least 20 minutes. (the sugar will start to pull the juice out of the strawberries and rhubarb and they'll soften up and smell heavenly.)

In your main bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and butter until fluffy. Then add the sour cream, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  and vanilla and beat a while longer.
Now add in your bowl of mingling rhubarb and strawberries. By now they'll be like bosom buddies, swapping childhood memories, naming their first born after each other and what not.
Fold that into your batter and begin adding the flour one cup at a time and beat until smooth.

Line your muffin tins with wrappers, or grease them, whichever you prefer.
I use a cookie scoop to drop my batter evenly in each wrapper. For my scoop, I do two drops per muffin cavity. Anyway you want to get your muffins into your tins is up to you.

Now you can either pop them right in the oven (30 minutes) or you can add some optional streusel topping.

Topping:

1/2 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Tbsp Butter
1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt

Mix well until crumbly, almost a damp sand texture. Sprinkle generously on the top of the muffins right before they go in the oven.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.
Cool (or don't, if you're feeling daring) and serve.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

::Yarn Along:: Spring Kerchief

Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? 

~yarning along with Ginny


Good heavens, it's been a while since I've posted. My posting seems to roll in and out like seasons, but it feels like it was just yesterday that I wrote about those terrible, baggy socks. (Which I tucked into my bedside table and will use as night time socks in the winter-as suggested by a sweet comment left on that post. So much less work than frogging.)

We've been away a lot since my last post for various events and travelling, and I haven't been knitting very many projects. This spring has been full of both good and sad. Lots of gardening, housework, getting the house ready to sell for our planned move to the country. But also the loss of a very dear and close friend who passed rather suddenly. Finding normalcy in daily life and  and what used to be every day activities has been difficult. 

 I've basically had one project on the needles since April- my Spring Kerchief, which I knit rather slowly, trying to find some joy in finishing it. I started it before she passed, and picking it up and finishing it without her for some reason felt painful.
Janice wasn't a knitter, but always took interest in my knitting projects and helped me pick colours, and these colours reminded me of her.


I originally picked the yarn (and pattern) out at our local knitters frolic and cast on a few days later while we were cruising in the Bahamas. I didn't get much done on that trip but it's been my only knitting companion since. 

On a weekend last month I got a good number of rows put in at a wee knitter's retreat up at a friend's cottage in the beautiful Muskokas.


And i've finally finished, right before having to put down most of my knitting to tend to garden work. Of course, it's not blocked yet. I've been waiting for a good sunny day that isn't too hot (like today) to finally get it pinned down and flattened out. I'll be sure to post  some pictures once it is. Unblocked it looks like a curled up mess!
***



I've just finished reading "Yellow Crocus" by Laila Ibrahim, the story of a slave who was a wet nurse for white children-children who became like her own but she had no say in their lives or how they were raised. Also the heartbreak of having to leave her own babies with  family members so that she fulfill her obligations as a wet nurse. The story was very sad, but not without some major triumphs, and promises of hope. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Floppy Friday



I suppose i'll categorize this as a "woe is me" post. I've finally finished a pair of socks for myself, for the first time, and used really nice yarn. 

They're too big. 

They look good on, but the second I start walking, the heel manages to squirm his way to  the top of my foot which just irks me on so many different levels. 
Just seeing someone else walking around with floppy socks makes me want to hold them down and either fix their socks for them, or make them change into new socks. Maybe I have a problem, but I digress.

I have wide, short feet, so I used a slightly larger needle thinking that they'd be too small otherwise. Phooey.
Not sure what to do about this. I've tried blocking them, shrinking them etc. But it's superwash so that's just silly, no shrinking is really going to happen.
I don't know if the yarn will be annoying to work with if I rip them out at this point, having worn them half a day. Overpriced Sock puppets maybe?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Yarning {and walking} Along

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? -yarning along with Ginny.


I'm still plugging away at my noro log cabin squares-I had to put most knitting aside for a little while because I fell on my wrist a few weeks ago. After the fall, knitting was somewhat tolerable but purling hurt. (I knit continental.) I think I'm back to being able to do both without pain.
I was doing the Follow Your Arrow  knit along when I fell, and had to put the shawl aside. Since, I've sort of fallen out of love with it though and i'm not sure I should continue it. I'm wishing I had done the circular shaped clue in one colour rather than two. I'm not sure if i'm going to continue it or not. 

In effort to be more active during these frigid winter months when walking outside seems to hurt my face (seriously-this has been an insanely cold winter) I bought a used treadmill on the weekend. The best part? I can actually walk at a pretty fast pace while knitting! This changes everything. I need to make a wrist project bag though so I don't get tangled in my yarn and wipe out. I can definitely see that happening if I'm not careful.
Apparently though, I'm not the only one attempting to walk and knit. which makes me feel a little less crazy.

I started "the Virgin Cure" a while ago but put it down over Christmas, so I've restarted reading that. I really enjoy some of the characters; they remind me of people I've known.

binding off, 

Corra

Monday, February 24, 2014

{A Wee Bit of a Breaking Point}


Sometime mid January, I found myself face down on our living room's hard wood floor-all in the name of attempting a couple of ten second 'planks' that the boys thought were funny. 


Apparently there's a bit of a social media fad, people will plank in different spots and take their picture and say "look, I planked at the Eiffel Tower!" etc. I guess it makes sense. If we take pictures of our coffee and breakfast every morning and post it on social media, why not planking? haha.

Anyway, I lasted for one, and maybe 4 seconds, tops, into my second plank before my arms gave out in a shaky mess. At the time, it was mildly funny, but mostly 
I was stunned by how terribly out of shape I had become. 

I lost a lot of weight last year, about 60 lbs, actually. But somewhere between different life events it started creeping back on. Not all of it, but enough of it that it really motivated me to stop being stupid and start paying more attention again to what I'm eating. 
It's so easy for me to throw healthy habits on the back burner when life gets chaotic, and I really need to learn to keep going regardless of what's going on around me, or within my life, be it a physical obstacle or an emotional one.


I've decided to begin posting on my blog to keep me motivated and accountable to looking after my health. I know this is sort of an offspring from what my blog tends to usually be about-I usually only touch on recipes, knitting, crafting, homeschooling, the fun stuff. But this is a huge part of my life currently and not sharing it is starting to feel a bit... weird.


And in case anyone is wondering why I haven't posted much about knitting lately, it's because I fell on my wrist a few weeks ago while shoveling our stupidly long driveway and couldn't knit for a little while until it healed.-Just putting that out there! I still love knitting, and plan on doing a lot more of it in the near future. 

Don't worry, I don't want to turn this into a "diet blog". I'm still  me. I still love knitting far more than planking, and I don't think that will ever change. But i'll probably post about this area of my life a lot more than I have in the past.


And, I figure I can plank, (or whatever else I feel like doing for exercise) and then knit even more happily knowing that I've put time in on exercise first.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Kale Chips {so easy!}


I've always been a salty over sweets sort of person. Not that chocolate doesn't have it's place in my life, because it definitely does.
But when it comes to those cravings, it's always been the salty things that have entrapped me. Popcorn, chips, salsa...- And even if i'm having something sweet, I still feel like there should be something salty to go with it.
When I first heard about Kale chips I thought people were crazy. I loved Kale, so there was no problem there, but I really couldn't believe that as Chips it would be all that it was cracked up to be.

But then I had them and fell hook line and sinker. I was saved from potato chips forever!
Until I learned how much they actually cost.
My favourite Kale chips to buy are 6.99 for a pretty small bag. (About the same size as a snack size bag of potato chips, and much lighter in weight.) And when I'm lucky, they go on sale for 3.99. And if i'm REALLY lucky (which is rare) they're 2.99 and I buy several.
I can buy organic kale for 2.99 that makes 4 times the chips than what comes in a bag. And if I look on the reduced produced rack, .50-99 cents a bunch. And yes, slightly wilty Kale works wonderfully for Kale Chips.
When I first started looking into making these, the process seemed so complicated. There were pureed vegetables as "sauces", nutritional yeast flakes in place of cheese (for vegans) blenders and food dehydrators.
I attempted these recipes a few times and they turned out okay, but were a lot more work than they were worth. I wanted something that I could throw in the oven in with 5 minutes or less of prep time.

Through some trial and error, I realized that less is more with these. Forget the sauces, period.

All you need is a baking sheet, an oven, some olive oil spray and some of your favourite seasonings.

First, preheat your oven to 300.
Spray your pan with olive oil. (I have an olive oil sprayer that I can refill myself and It saves me daily.)

Tear your prewashed kale from the main vein. Bigger pieces are best because they shrink. (I usually wash them in advance and let it dry on my counter. If you don't have time though, you can always dab dry with towel.)
Arrange the Kale in a single layer across the tray. It's no biggie if you have pieces slightly over-lapping.

Spray all over with olive oil, and then sprinkle on your seasonings of choice. I like Parmesan Cheese, garlic, salt and pepper. Or sometimes some curry. You can play with it until you like it. (And you CAN use nutritional yeast flakes if you want-they're actually pretty tasty!)

I usually end up putting mine in the oven before it's even totally pre-heated, and they only take about a half hour. (this might vary from oven to oven.) You'll want to test one to see how crisp it is before you pull them out.  It's good to check them frequently for the first few times that you make them because burnt Kale isn't very yummy.
Even though I've lowered myself to eating it, all in the name of not letting my precious greens go to waste!
And they're perfect to take with you on the go, just keep in mind that they're far more fragile than regular chips so it's best to keep them in a hard sided reusable container than a resealable bag. I made this mistake once and ended up what looked like a bag of oregano in my purse....and attempted to eat it anyway. SO very sad. Say it with me folks,  Friends shouldn't let friends eat powdered Kale. 

Happy Snacking!