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.
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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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Yarn Along – July 20

From Small Things

~ 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? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link below to share your photo with the rest of us! ~

Yarn along July 20
“Moby Duck” has been put aside while I brush up on (My) “Pregnancy Week-by-week” – sure, it may be a little late in the game, but whatever. I read this book faithfully when I was pregnant with the Lorax and enjoyed it, as much as one could – several other popular pregnancy books only made me worry needlessly. I am trying to brush up about labor and delivery, and figure out what to put in my hospital bag. I’ve made good progress on the cloche though it has lost some steam – I am at the decrease section and need to pay attention a bit more carefully. I have also reached the decrease section for the Rainbow Marley baby hat.

Like most of the states, it is plenty hot here. And humid. Today the Lorax and I did venture out to the beach – there was supposed to be an informal playgroup with other kids who will be in camp / “school” with her in the fall, but I am not sure if anyone else showed up. I didn’t see anyone I recognized, nor did I spot anyone who looked like they were looking for others. Oh well, we had a good time. Like her mama, the Lorax loves the beach – I haven’t been to the beach since 2001 or so when I brought my Japanese grad school roommate to see it. As a kid we spent days at the beach and it was a blast!
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Seriously, she had a good time. This was a forced break to have some water and a snack! We were there in the morning, from 10:30 to just before noon, so I think our timing was good too. I would like to take her again – but it’s likely not to happen until next summer.

I found a great recipe on Pinterest (if you haven’t joined it yet, do it for the recipes and food stuff – I have yet to be let down by anything I have found there!) – Blueberry Pie Ice Cream – I made a batch with some local blueberries and my word, I could eat the whole thing myself. So yummy, and easy – if you have an ice cream maker and are in need of new inspiration, give that one a try!! Speaking of which, I think it’s probably ice cream o’clock right about now!

The knitting is still hush hush.

Instead I will share a few tales from my kitchen. My dad’s birthday was yesterday and I invited my parents over for dinner. The birthday guy’s request? Spaghetti & Meatballs, Chocolate Cream Pie – I swear, my dad is the easiest guy to please sometimes. I broke out my Bittman bible and made a batch of meatballs. I am not Italian, but I feel like a stereotypical Italian grandma when I make that recipe! Also in Bittman was a recipe for Cream Pie, variation Chocolate. Perfect. The recipe did involve separating several eggs, not my favorite kitchen task, but I remembered that I had a special gift. Have you ever seen a Boogerboy Boris? My uncle sent one back with my parents for the Lorax and me when they visited him a while back.

First thought? My goodness this is GROSS! (I’ve been allergy attacked this past week, thank you pollen!) Second thought? Holy chickens it actually works! I ended up with a dessert that looked like Chocolate Cream Pie, tasted like Chocolate Cream Pie, and my dad was happy, so, success! I also made a batch of peanut butter cup bars – fair warning, make these if you are having company over to help you eat them! I am sure to eat more than my fair share of these – they are excellent! Even Dan, who likes a peanut butter cup now and then but isn’t wild about them like I am, commented on how good they are! And easy – a bit of stovetop work and then into the fridge! That’s a lot of exclamation points. I mean each and every one.

The weather seems to have taken a turn for the better (thank goodness!) and I currently have Popsicles on the brain – there are so many cute molds! I had two sets of the basic shape, but one cracked, so I am looking into getting something new. Maybe ice cream cones or stars. The Lorax has found a love of popsicles as well, so I am hoping to have more success in making our own instead of buying them, especially now that we are on the cusp of fruit season here.

Back to the knitting, the deadline is near!!

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.

Food stuff – Pork Chops

There’s a cookbook in my family that I think every female member owns. (There aren’t that many males, but I know my uncle has the cookbook as well.) It is known only as “the book”. It’s been around forever, it seems. Way back, my dad was a resident at Overlook Hospital in Summit, NJ. The hospital had a fundraiser cookbook, “Cooking is Our Bag”. (Google-foo shows you can buy it through alibris, and here is a 1983 article about it.)
The Book
Anyway, it’s a book I think that started out as an easy gift for everyone in the family. The book has no photos of the food, though there are some illustrations. But it’s a fairly reliable source of recipes. When I was 20 or 21 I specifically asked for a copy of “the book”, and I got it. I took my copy and sat down with my mom’s copy and copied all the notes she had written next to the recipes: VG, looks great – taste’s awful, not worth the effort, delish!, makes a ton…. And I have even added a few notes to the book myself as I have gambled on a few of the recipes. It is not very green or healthy as cookbooks go (one recipe has MSG as an ingredient!) but it’s my go-to, and substitutions can be made.
old school cookbook

Dinner tonight actually came from “the book”, and I thought I would share. I should share more recipes – I know I have borrowed many from the web!

Chinese Oven Fried Pork Chops
Ingredients:
1 egg
3 T. soy sauce
1 T. dry sherry (I’ve used port or OJ, depends what is on hand!)
1/8 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. garlic powder
4 T. bread crumbs
3 – 4 lean loin pork chops, 1/2″ thick, trimmed (whatever, I just buy a package of boneless pork chops

Combine egg, soy sauce, sherry, ginger and garlic powder.
Dip chops into egg mixture.
Coat with crumbs.
Place in single layer in greased baking dish.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Turn, bake additional 20 minutes until tender.

Doris Irving (Mrs. Stephen)

Hah! No photo of the finished product, as it’s not done cooking yet, maybe later 🙂