Assorted DIY

I can’t show you my knits in progress right now as one is a pile of pieces and will be much more interesting when it is put together and the other is a sample knit in a new yarn. I can show you some of the DIY things I have tried over the weekend.
We finally reached the bottom of the Marshmallow Fluff container. I had spotted a recipe in Make the Bread, Buy the Butter and it looked easy enough.
Fluff!
Tah-dah! It was straightforward, though I did make the mistake of not whisking fast enough. The only consequence of that mistake was that it took longer to get to the final product. Now I know for next time. I made a full pickle jar, plus that mason jar, plus a smaller pint jar full of fluff. It is different from the storebought, but just as delicious – the Lorax and I have each enjoyed fluffernutters with it. Now, if my brother‘s homemade peanut butter business would take off we would really be set! I am not yet ready to tackle making my own peanut butter, but I really should. Food prices are only going up.

Last night for dinner I tried making these Quick French Dip Sandwiches:

I used prepackaged roast beef (again with the food prices going up – roast beef at the deli counter was ~$10 a pound!!). These were delicious and quick, just as kitchen simplicity promised! We all liked them enough that they will be worked into the dinner meal plan rotation. It was salty, but I loved it.

Our master bathroom has one of those huge plain wall mirrors above the sink and I thought this was brilliant. I called my local Mr.FixIt and showed him the picture and let him take it from there. I didn’t want to have to fuss with changing the lights, so we kept those the same.
photo.JPG
Obviously, this is still in progress – I will be priming it all and then painting the trim and shelves white. I am thinking about maybe a pop of color inside the tower – maybe a different color, maybe mod podge and some scrapbook paper or wrapping paper? I’m not sure yet – certainly pinterest has more ideas? 🙂

I am sure it is quite clear how much I love Pinterest (Follow Me on Pinterest)
I just wish sometimes I didn’t see great ideas that are dead ends. I can not stop thinking about this shirt –

Source: polyvore.com via Rebecca on Pinterest

Can not find it for sale anywhere! I follow the links to polyvore and see it with all kinds of cute looks, and they just link back to pinterest. Please let me know if you ever see this shirt for sale!

And these sneakers? Adorable! Only available in size 11. I have big feet, but not that big. And I checked zappos too. Bugger.

Have a good week – we’ve got school vacation and good weather!

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Look at what I’ve done!

I’m still a bit obsessed and scattered over the same projects as the last post, but I’ve got some photos and updates, yay!
First, those pretzels? A bit of work, but in the end, totally worth it.
Pretzels
To improve on them they need more salt – I salted them, but didn’t press the salt down into the dough.

I can finally post a photo of my square contribution to the lap blanket our SnB made for a fellow member. Wife, Mom, Knitter has a great blog post that better describes the project.
Bluebs
I searched on Ravelry for “boobs dishcloth” and found the Nubbins for Ta Tas pattern, perfect!

I finished up a few baby gifts this week. Our friends who were married down in Virgin Gorda had a baby girl a few weeks ago. Seahorses were a theme at the parent’s wedding, so that seemed like a good idea to work with for the baby.
Calla's Seahorse
Seahorse pattern by Hansi Singh – so cute! I used cotton so baby Calla can gum on it when she’s ready. I also attached the tail to the back of the seahorse to make a little loop, but then I forgot about the back fin, so instead I put it on the head of the seahorse, like a crown.
Calla's Seahorse

I also whipped up a little Heart Hat using the same purple and pink yarn. I adore Susan B. Anderson’s work – I have all of her books – but no surprise, this hat was also a little fiddly in the end to attach the heart. I hope it fits!
Hat for Calla
Hat for Calla

I’ve got a few more crafty plans to attack today. It’s a grey, rainy day – good for new projects and knitting. I’ve got photos to frame, knitting, knitting, knitting, and I think I’ll be attempting to sew and a Betz White project. Good stuff.

My mom brought the Lorax a new raincoat and pair of puddle boots – this morning she was very excited to try them out and it was hard to get her back in the house! There’s rain forecast for the next few days, so I’m sure we’ll be out there frequently.
New Raincoat

My new favorite photo:
New Raincoat

Pantry Eating Idea

I’ve got this challenge on my mind. There’s a lot of careful consideration going in to my grocery-shopping-list for this week – there are some good meat sales that will allow me to stock up, a bunch of coupon inserts and online, and I’ve got my new cookbooks. But wouldn’t you know it – a recipe that I tried out last night, that was delicious, and was made with ingredients I typically always have in the house was one I found by watching a random episode of Good Eats – it was about tuna, and to my surprise, Alton used tuna in a pouch!

I adore Alton Brown – we have 2 of his books (including the “Early Years” awesome!), DVDs and I love his style. However, most of his recipes tend to intimidate me – I don’t have the confidence yet for some meats or fish or I don’t have the ingredients on hand. And there have been things I’ve tried that just haven’t worked out. But. Tuna in a pouch? I can do that. Go figure though, we were out of tuna so we picked some up at our Walmart run, along with eggs (another pantry staple that was wiped out with New Year’s Day breakfast – we had company over – 4 adults, 3 kids, egg sandwiches for all means running through a dozen real quick.) Anyway, I would totally have this again and it was quite easy.

Tuna Croquettes
Ingredients

* 1 (7-ounce) pouch albacore tuna, drained well and shredded by hand
* 2 green onions, chopped fine
* 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
* 2 large eggs, beaten
* 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs, divided
* Olive oil, for sauteing

Directions

Place the tuna, onions, mustard, eggs, lemon juice, salt, pepper and 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs into a medium mixing bowl and stir to combine.** Divide the mixture into 8 rounds and set aside on a parchment lined half sheet pan. Allow to rest for 15 minutes. Place the remaining bread crumbs into a pie plate. One at a time, coat each round in the panko on all sides.

Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a 12-inch saute pan over medium heat until shimmering.*** Add the croquettes and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack set over a half sheet pan lined with paper towels. Allow to cool for 2 to 3 minutes before serving.

**I added more panko crumbs to the mix because it looked runny to me. I added them until it looked like it would hold together, totally eyeballed it.
***I’m not sure what shimmering olive oil looks like – I put in quite a bit of oil and let it heat up. Take it from me – olive oil can start a fire – I poured water into the pan when all the cooking was down and the croquettes were out of the pan and some splashed on the the stovetop – WHOOSH! Flames! They died off quickly, but learn from me – don’t splash that oil, it’s hot! And firey!

Cooking
Lorelai was also cooking from the panty for Jackson, so to speak. She used what she had on hand to whip up some eggs and mac and cheese. More incentive for me to work on my crochet to make her some food / accessories. Smart girl.

Crossing off that List (still checking it twice)

Yesterday was my mom’s birthday, so we had my parents over for dinner. Works out well for us – the Lorax is in her own space, I’ve got some go-to / reliable recipes, and my mom gets treated 🙂 I had made a pair of Holiday Mice, a Fuzzy Mitten pattern.
Mice! Mice!

They were relatively quick, great for stashbusting (I used an assortment of wool/acrylic scraps) and the end result “Ooooooh. (Smile smile.) Bec you made these?” was entirely worth it. They stand up with some propping, though I noticed a Mousie project on Rav where the knitter used nuts for the bottom to help weigh him down, great idea!

I also made “Rolo Turtles” after seeing the recipe online at the Eat At Home blog. They are quick, easy and delicious! I will certainly make them again – and I will probably need to, because I know they will not last long! Rolos is not a candy I pick up often or notice out in the store, but I did find a bag of them at Stop and Shop!
Rolo "Turtles"

I finished another knit gift yesterday too. Yesterday was really busy. So, I present (hah!) Koolhaas hat, another BrooklynTweed design, and total win. This is for one of my cousins (I don’t think this particular cousin reads the blog), yarn is Ella Rae Amity – a wool / acrylic blend – sproingy and warm. I actually want to knit this again – and plan to – at least one for Dan, me and the lorax as well! I made the large size and it is big – I had to fold up the brim on me, and it is as big as my hand.
Koolhaas
Koolhaas
Koolhaas
Something clicked for me while knitting this pattern – maybe it was the use of the LC / LPC / RPC abbreviations with the cables in the chart, but this chart made complete sense to me (even as a lefty) and it obviously worked, so I’m looking forward to more cable work, as soon as possible!

Today is a lay low day – we need to do a quick grocery errand, but otherwise I’ve got a full day ahead for a bit more knitting!

Foodie

I think we’re at a new stage with Lorelai. Twice in the last week she has expressed a little interest in helping me to cook in the kitchen. Maybe it is the novelty of standing on a stool and being able to see what goes on above her head. Maybe she is curious. Maybe it is just what toddlers do at this age. Whatever it is, I think it’s a good thing. She was able to hold the measuring spoon over the bowl for the spices (and even could pick out the biggest one) and then drop it in the sink when she was done. She helped push on the dough and sprinkle shredded cheese and pepperoni on our pizza bread. And then last night at dinner she reached over to my plate and took one of my carrots. That’s not too big of a deal – she has shown that when she’s in the mood she enjoys crunching on fresh veggies (she can tell that the bagged ones from the frozen foods aisle are not the same as the fresh from the garden steamed ones too). But the kicker was she took my carrot and dipped it into the salad dressing on my plate. So, apparently, we like (one) dip now! Very exciting.

Blogging about food, I found some great links.
*I am so going to try and Make My Own Microwave Popcorn! – and then follow Beth’s suggestion to have the bowl of butter on the side for individual kernel dipping. I need to get corn for Thanksgiving decorations anyway.
*I made this Tortellini Soup – I used half the meat, half the tomatoes, and half the broth – should have used more broth. This soup was LOADED. In a good way, really filling. A nice assortment of “stuff” in there. Makes a TON! We had it for dinner (twice), several lunches, and gave some away. Holy cow. But good.
*I’m thinking about making these Edible Acorns – I wonder if Lorelai would even notice they were acorns? She really enjoys munchkin style donuts and can devour a bunch of them. Maybe for Thanksgiving? (I really need to settle on my to-do list for thanksgiving, there are so many good ideas! Like just now I also found Cranberry Nut Snack Mix that would be a good appetizer / snack to have around…)
*Have you seen EpiCute.com? It’s like Cute Overload + Epicurious = delish. Love.
*Craftwise, there is a ton of crochet food to be made! Some selections from my queue: Oreo Cookies, Baking Set, Peel-able!! Orange

Lorelai takes her food very seriously.
IMG_8751
Thanksgiving is coming…

Food. HFCS. Corn. Sigh. (no knitting)

I’ve been thinking a lot about food lately. I usually think about food in a “OMG, I love food” sort of way, but as I’ve read some things and watched others I get to thinking a bit more. Some random and probably rambling thoughts on food.

I recently watched King Corn – it was good, a bit slow in parts (they could have cut out a bit of the inbetween parts – them playing wiffle ball in a cornfield for example). Interesting – did you know that 90% of the corn grown in Iowa is inedible without processing?! Inedible. No just grabbing a husk of corn off the stalk and munching away.

After watching that documentary I’ve got High Fructose Corn Syrup on the brain. I am all for product development, engineering, advancing science to benefit the greater good, but this is one that has gotten a bit out of control. Recently I went to buy applesauce at the grocery store – Lorelai is getting into it and the last jar I have from when I made it last fall is rather watery. I picked up Motts. A brand I have known since I was a kid and of which I (used to) think positively. Know what’s in applesauce? High fructose corn syrup. HUH? I was livid. I started looking at the other brands, the grocery store’s “organic” line as well and then had an internal debate over paying more for less product that didn’t have the HFCS… and luckily I found the Mott’s Natural line. No HFCS. Apples, water and one other thing (ascorbic acid maybe?) Crazy. I also heard from another blogger somewhere that Jell-O individual cups have HFCS in them but the box stuff you make yourself doesn’t. You really have to pay attention if you want to try and avoid it. Full disclosure: As I still here and type and ramble, I’m nibbling on keebler E L Fudge cookies – their ingredient list says it has less than 2% HFCS. Hrm. Well that’s probably better than HFCS being the first ingredient. These were a complete impulse buy.

There were two great blog series over at ReadyMade.com (as if they didn’t already provide so much inspiration for all sorts of projects!) – Amy went a week without processed foods…great links in there! And Katherine did a week without plastics. So interesting – imagine your daily routine and what would change if you went without plastics or processed food. I would love to try it for a day, maybe. Toddlers make things like that even more of a challenge.

Have you heard about the latest BPA issue – I’m quite annoyed – I bought 2 SIGG bottles thinking I was doing a good thing and because they were promoted as being BPA free. They have the old liners in them. I’m working on an email to them; what they did is very much not cool.

On the positive side of things I am able to grow my own food – some produce at least. No plastic, no processing (actually coooking, with minimal ingredients), no chemicals added. I think in the end, all my garden veggies are a variety of the $64 tomato!

No Blight Here Potato Harvest
No blight here!!

I’ve harvested my potatoes – I will certainly do these again – we’ve had them smashed and roasted and probably will have one more meal with them – I’ve even given 2 bags to my parents and in-laws. I’ve got cherry tomatoes all over the place – likewise – I’ve given them to my parents / in-laws and just been popping them as a snack. I am thinking about trying Wife, Mom, Knitter‘s roasted tomato sauce… Even with all that other environmental hoo-hah, it is satisfying to know that I can provide a little something for my family to eat. And it tastes better too. I even got my husband the tomato hater to eat more than one cherry tomato!! That’s something!

Knits next time.

Well, there’s that.

Yesterday we were dumped on with snow. No big deal for me – I can work from home. And this is what happens here – we always get snow in March. One year (1997 I think) we had a blizzard on April 1! I did have to take the Lorax to a check-up and lucky for us, the plow guy came at 8am, so we were able to get out of the driveway without any issue. The Lorax is quite healthy, even if she is still a bit of a pixie (30″ tall, 21 pounds).

In the afternoon I finally made “Chewy Granola Bars” from Martha Stewart’s Good Things For Kids (Summer 2006 magazine). It was a little tricky to mix up everything (really, get a HUGE bowl!) and the end result is quite chewy, but crumbles easily. I modified the recipe to leave out the pecans (Dan doesn’t like them), substituted Craisins for golden raisins. Something else was needed i think to keep them more together, if that makes sense. I ended up with a bunch of granola bars and a side of granola pieces that broke off when I cut them. Everyone liked them though, so yay. Next time I might add more honey / apricots and more chocolate chips (or do a drizzle on top.) Or, I might just try Alton’s Recipe – same basic premise.
Granola

Just before dinner I was playing on the floor with Lorelai. I was shocked to discover a hole in my handknit socks! That wasn’t there when I put them on in the morning! And then, my suprised doubled when I found a second hole – same location on the other foot!! The “Snakes on a Sock” socks have died.
I killed my socks!
They were worn / washed / loved for 2.5 years, so I guess it was just their time.

Good thing I’m knitting more socks! I finished my first anklet two days ago. Still using the “Bekka” yarn from Ruby Sapphire, I believe the official pattern name is “Pom Pom Peds” and it’s a purl bee freebie. The second one is cast on and I did the heel flap last night.
Anklet#1 FO
The “form” inside the sock is a plastic foot mold that came with a recent shoe purchase – it’s slightly longer than my foot, but makes for a nifty picture.