Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pretty Witch Costume

Last year, I made Zach’s scarecrow costume. This year, it was Sammie’s pretty witch. I thought it turned out pretty cute and took less time than I thought it would, especially since I lost days working on it to take care of a barfing kid!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Look at My Clematis and Schtuff

Even though everything is dying now, I have to show you. I have two lantern poles, one in my front yard and one in the back. The one in the front yard I planted a bright purple clematis vine and this year it finally got bigger and leafier and produced multiple blooms. Up until this year, it never got very tall or had a lot of blooms going on. Is that purple gorgeous, or what?

In the back, I planted morning glory seeds and have only had mediocre luck. One time just when the vine was getting wound up to the top and starting to produce blooms, hubby whacked off the whole thing by the roots and that was the end of that. All that time and waiting…nuttin. This year, I waited, and waited. Finally, some activity started up the post and it got very green, no blooms even happened until almost September. But, wow, this sucker got really big and full. It was fun to watch. And, you can’t see the light under there anymore, it swallowed up that whole post.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Strawberry Shortcake

So yummy.

So easy.

So delicious.

The recipe is right here, I don’t even have to retype it! Woot!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Banana Crumb Muffins

I use All Recipes a lot. Anything that rates a 5 star rating on there with hundreds or even thousands of reviews is a darn solid recipe. So, I used one to hit out of the ballpark a couple weeks ago. Just try it, simple ingredients you already have around and the kids will scarf them down. But then again, they love bananas and they love carbs, it was the perfect muffin!


1 1/2 C. flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

3 bananas, mashed

3/4 C. white sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/3 C. butter, melted

1/3 C. packed brown sugar

2 T. flour

1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 T. butter

Preaheat oven to 375. Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 C. flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 T. flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 T. butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Spicy Shrimp Soup

Say that 5 times fast. Yet another soup in my quest for world domination through stocks and stews. I got this recipe from All Recipes (one of my favorites for good home cooked, tried and true food) and the only change I made really was I think I added more garlic and I removed the shrimp tails as I don’t like slowing down to remove them while I’m eating.


2quarts chicken broth

2 T. rosemary

5 cloves garlic, minced (I used more, I’m a whore for garlic)

1 tsp. ground black pepper

1 tsp. celery seed

1/2 tsp. fennel seed

1 C. clam juice

1/2 (6 oz.) can tomato paste

1 C. butter

1 C. white wine

2 pounds shrimp ( tails removed)

1 loaf French bread

Pour broth into a large pot, and mix in rosemary, garlic, pepper, celery seed, fennel seed, clam juice, tomato paste, and butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Stir wine into the soup, and continue to simmer and occasionally stir 2 hours. Just before serving, stir in shrimp. Continue cooking 3 minutes, or until shrimp are opaque. Serve with break for soaking up the broth.

Friday, August 10, 2007

1950s Felted Bag for Gina

My friend Gina needed a pick-me-up. So, I attempted to make a felted bag, a bit bigger in size than my usual “purse”, more of a carpet bag size. As I was working on it, my MIL remarked that the colors and the buttons I had chosen reminded her of the 50s. I didn’t choose them that way on purpose, I was just very fond of the way it was coming together. My add-in yarn didn’t felt the way I had hoped even after two washings ,but Gina said she didn’t mind.


CO 50, knit 20 using double yarn to make the bottom more solid and sturdy.

When I started working in the round, I only used one yarn. Six rows of brown, six rows of blue, twelve rows of brown, then I used the entire skein of the Austermann novelty yarn with the pink Cascade. I repeated the pattern for the top of the bag and made I-cord handles.

Yarn used: Novelty yarn - Austermann Colada, color 5; Cascade 220 colors 8686, 7815, 9477.

Before felting, it was 18″ wide and 15″ tall.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Pink Oleander

Hubby isn’t usually about doing the “gift thing” for me, he’s more about the “get yourself something you want” thing. However, for our anniversary even though we’d agreed to do a few projects around the house instead of gifts or even, going out to dinner, the florist showed up with a pink oleander bush (is it considered a bush or a small tree?) Anyway, one day it was looking quite lovely with drops of water weighing down the petals, so I started snapping away.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Cheese and Beer Soup with Garlic Croutons and Kielbasa Sausage

In my quest to master all kind of soups, I bring you another winner.

This recipe is courtesy of Emeril Lagasse and it turned out fantastically!

Cheese and Beer Soup with Garlic Croutons and Kielbasa Sausage

8 pieces kielbasa sausage (get from a butcher or locker if you can to get the nicest quality…actually, do that with all meat you cook with if possible instead of the mass produced grocery store stuff)

3 T. olive oil

1 1/2 C. chopped yellow onions

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

2 bay leaves

3 T. minced garlic

6 T. flour

6 C. chicken stock

2 C. lager beer (I used non-alcoholic and it tasted just fine)

4 sprigs thyme

2 C. cubed Gruyere cheese (save some grated Gruyere for garnish if you wish)

2 T. minced flat-leaf parsley for garnish

8 hot dog buns

Garlic Croutons (see recipe)

Saute the kielbasa until golden brown on all sides in a large, hot soup pot, about 4 minutes per side. The sausage will not be cooked through, it will finish cooking in the soup. Remove from the pan and set aside. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, salt, pepper and bay leaves, and cook, stirring, until the onions are slightly carmelized, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the stock and beer. Add the thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, stirring constantly, for 1 hour. During the last 15 minutes of cooking, add the kielbasa and cook until the sausages are cooked through. Remove the sausages from the soup. Add the cheese 1/3 cup at a time, stirring until nearly all melted and smooth after each addition. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste. Serve kielbasa with hot dog buns and serve soup hot, garnished with garlic croutons, parsley and finely grated cheese (optional).

Garlic Croutons

8 T. butter

2 T. minced garlic

2 C. diced day-old French bread (crusts removed), cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium ovenproof skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the bread cubes and salt and toss to combine. Transfer to the oven and bake, stirring occasionally, until the croutons are golden and crisp, about 10 minutes. (If you do not have an ovenproof skillet, I mixed everything than placed it on a foil-lined cookie sheet, the results were just fine).

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Spinach Salad

I almost weep when I think of all the years wasted eating iceberg lettuce exclusively for my salad needs. Stupid picky childhood eating habits!!

This isn’t a recipe for spinach salad as much as it is for the dressing. For the salad, get some spinach, slice up some strawberries and get some slivered almonds (toast them or not, doesn’t matter) then add this lovely dressing (don’t overdo, the entire amount will create a soggy mess, just a light drizzling is plenty)


1 C. sugar

1 C. oil

1/2 C. white vinegar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. celery salt

Whisk together and pour over salad just before serving. Can be made ahead and refrigerated until need it (shake well, ingredients will separate).

Monday, July 2, 2007

Grilled Crab and Cheese Sandwich

As more time goes by, the more I enjoy cooking. Maybe because I’m just getting really good and recipes don’t fail me and now I’ve evolved to the point where I can read a recipe and “taste” it in my head and know if it’s going to be good.

This evolution in going from a decent cook to a pretty darn good cook has been about four years in the making. And I’m addicted to Food Network and there are about half a dozen people on Food Network that I use their recipes.

One of them is Sandra Lee, because her stuff tastes good but since it’s “semi-homemade” it goes pretty fast when prepping.

This sandwich hubby declared his favorite sandwich of all time. I think he’s full of it, he’s been saying “favorite of all time” a lot lately, but it went over big, I ended up making them twice in one week.

Grilled Crab and Cheese Sandwich

2 T. mayo

1 T. lemon juice

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 C. shredded Gruyere

salt and pepper

1 can crabmeat (I used two packets of Chicken of the Sea Premium Lump Crab)

4 slices sourdough bread (I bought a loaf of sourdough organic that I sliced myself)

2 T. butter

In a small bowl, combine mayo, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, grated cheese, and salt and pepper, to taste. Add crabmeat to mayo mixture and stir to combine. Spread crabmeat mixture on bread. Cover with a second piece of bread. Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat (it also works to spread butter or margarine on the bread instead of putting it in the skillet). Add sandwich and brown for 2 minutes; flip and continue to brown for 2 to 3 more minutes. Repeat with second sandwich. Serve warm.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Florida Gator Felted Bag

My pal Heather needed this. She’s a Florida grad and though my allegiances lie elsewhere, I wanted to make her something fun she’d really be able to show off!


I used Cascade yarn in colors 7818 and 9441 and added in Gedifra Serano novelty yarn in color 4422.

Cast on 36 and knit 30 rows. I made the bottom of the bag orange then started making stripes 4 rows wide using the add-in yarn on the orange stripes. When finished, the bag was 13″ wide and 9″ tall. After felting, it was 10 1/2″ wide and 6 1/2″ tall.

I got Florida Gator novelty fabric to line the inside of the bag. To complete this obnoxiously bright felted bag masterpiece I added orange handles and big gator GREEN buttons!

I hope Heather likes it a lot, she sure is a great pal to have!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Floral Photography

Imagine what I could do if only I had a macro lens.


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Kid Sushi

I got this idea at some website online and can’t remember where I saw it, if anyone else saw it I will certainly link the originator to give them credit.

That being said, I think this is cute as all get out and the SUGAR RUSH!!!

Kiddie Sushi



Green fruit roll ups

Dried mango bits (to put on top to give it that authentic sushi “look”)


Do I really need to put directions? You can see from the picture kind of how it goes, slice it up, wrap the fruit roll up around and you’re done! I made these for the last day at Emersyn’s school and the kids sucked ‘em down!

For another creative snack to take to your child’s school, don’t forget my “hamburgers”!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Teacher Gifts

I try to make and give things to my kids’ teachers all year round. Nothing extravagent or pricey, but something that I go buy a few supplies, give a little of my time and badda boom, badda bing, I’ve got something heartfelt that the kids can take to say “thank you” to those special teachers for making a difference in their lives.

Here was one of the things I did this year, I got plain old clay flower pots and painted them in various designs in our school colors and painted their names on with paint pens. It took me a couple hours to do several, getting a couple coats of paint on, then I got some nice little flowers to put in them. All the teachers loved them! I may do this again for some other small gifts to give somebody special, it was fun to do.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Creamy Wild Rice Soup

I’ve recently decided I want to be the Soup Nazi.

I mean…I want to make multiple soups, and make them all the most amazing, orgasmic, unbelievable soups you’ve ever ladled into a bowl. So far, I have mastered two soups that will have you begging for mercy. The first one I posted awhile back, Chicken and Dumplings. If you haven’t yet, seriously, just make it already!!

Today’s recipe is for Creamy Wild Rice Soup, and the picture doesn’t do much but it is so good. I kid you not. The recipe is originally from Taste of Home with some of my own modifications.

Creamy Wild Rice Soup

8 cups water

1 tsp. salt

1 C. wild rice

1 bunch green onions

1/4 C. shredded carrot

1/2 C. finely chopped pecans

1 1/2 sticks butter, cubed

2/3 C. flour

2 boxes chicken broth (I use the 32 oz. Swanson broth)

1 lb. diced or cubed ham (this is a preference thing, you can get the 1 lb. packaged ham either way, I prefer diced, it’s smaller, hubby prefers cubed)

1/2 tsp. pepper

2 C. half and half cream

In a large saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil. Add rice. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 50-55 minutes or until tender. (Rice will not absorb all the water, don’t panic! It’s not supposed to!) Remove from the heat. Let stand for 10 minutes; drain and set aside. In a large Dutch oven or soup kettle, saute the onions, carrot and pecans in butter for 1-2 minutes. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually add broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat. Add the ham, pepper and wild rice. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until carrots are tender. Reduce heat. Add cream and heat through (do not boil).

This makes a very large batch. Let cool and refrigerate leftovers to have lunch for a few days, add a bit of water or milk to thin when reheating.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Bright and Happy Felted Bag

Angela’s had a tough year. So, when I realized that I was going to make her a felted bag for her belated birthday gift, I picked the brightest and most obnoxiously yarns and add-ins I could combine so that, no matter how dark her mood, the bag’s colors would perk up the most cloudy day. I really hope she likes it!

I can’t remember how many I cast on, I think 38. Then I knit about 30 rows, give or take. With these bags, I just keep knitting until I feel the urge to change things up a bit!

Bottom stripe: Cascade sapphire heather (9456) with Cascade Alma Cajun Spice (330) add in yarn which I knit until the novelty yarn ran out and switched.

Middle stripe: Cascade goldenrod (7827) with Trendsetter Joyspring (1194) which I, again, knit until the add in yarn ran out.

Top stripe: Cascade violet (7809) with Trendsetter Shadow Metal purple passion (70 .

I did the violet yarn in an I-cord for the handle. The finished bag (before felting) was 17 inches wide and 15 inches tall.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Chicken and Dumplings

Made this last week and had my FIL over. We were scraping him off the ceiling he was loving it so much. The recipe is from Semi-Homemade and I kicked in a few of my own modifications but I’ll record the recipe here as it’s written.

Chicken and Dumplings

2 roasted chickens from the grocer’s deli

2 T. vegetable oil

1/2 onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 celery sticks, chopped

6 cans (14-oz. each) Swanson chicken broth (I used two big boxes of Swanson broth instead and added a cup or so of water)

2 tsp. poultry seasoning

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

Flour, for dusting

1 container Pillsbury Grands biscuits

1 jar (10 oz.) chicken gravy

Remove chicken meat from chicken and shred in large pieces. Set aside. In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add chopped onions, carrots and celery. Cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add broth, poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, and chicken. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. While stew simmers, prepare dumplings. On a flour-dusted surface, roll each biscuit 1/4 inch thick. With a pizza cutter, cut biscuits into 1-inch wide strips. Set aside. Skim off any scum that has risen to surface of soup. Stir in chicken gravy. Stir in dumplings, a few at a time. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer for 10 minutes more. Ladle into bowls and serve piping hot.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

School Spirit Scarf

Since we were having so many weeks of “yummy” temperatures hovering around zero, it seemed, more than ever, a great time to churn out more scarves!

And, when there’s a special occasion or major or even minor holiday…well, I’m just a “giver” people, so I thought, hey, nothing says Valentines more than, um, orange and black????

Our school colors are orange or black, so I made four scarves for some of the teachers (not all, just picked a few to get some “extra” loot aside from the small heart full of chocolates I sent) between the four kids, they have sixteen teachers, people they take lessons from, etc…not including the 2-3 Sunday School teachers apiece either. Phew!

Therefore, I made two scarves for the two teachers at preschool where Em just started attending since we missed Christmas. I also made one for Zach’s 2nd grade teacher and Sammie’s swim lesson teacher because I knew they’d love the scarves and they really go above and beyond with my kids and what they do.

School Spirit Scarf - turned out big, chunky, squishy and soft…loved it!

Size 19 needles

Yarn used: Plymouth Encore Chunky color 217 (black) and Gedifra Serano color 4422 (dark orange)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Em's Birthday

Remember way back when at the first of the year when I had resolutions about my hobbies? I have really been working on those. One of them was to make elaborate birthday cakes for the kids. And while I didn’t make an “elaborate” birthday cake for Emersyn’s birthday, I did try using some “professional” techniques and do some things I hadn’t tried before…by the last one’s birthday, perhaps I’ll be getting pretty good! But, she enjoyed it nonetheless, read over here from a post at my other blog about a tribute to my littlest tot. She’s such a good girl! Happy 3rd birthday Emersyn!

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Bring On the Noodles, Barefoot Style

I love me some Food Network. Comprehensively, it is my favorite channel. I’ve got my favs, Paula Deen being numero uno, but right up there too is Barefoot Contessa. Her stuff always turns out and, like Paula, she makes real food that tastes good. The flavors are VERY intense, if you want a lighter, lesser flavor cut down on the soy sauce (you could add more to taste after you put the salad together), sesame oil, and peanut butter. Hubby went crazy for it exactly how it was, but if I just made it for myself I would tone down the intensity.

Barefoot Contessa Crunchy Noodle Salad

Kosher salt

1/2 pound thin spaghetti (I just grabbed a box of Barilla)

1 pound sugar snap peas

1 C. vegetable oil

1/4 C. rice vinegar

1/3 C. soy sauce

1 T. dark sesame oil

1 T. honey

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp grated ginger

2 T. toasted sesame seeds

1/2 C. smooth peanut butter

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground pepper

2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and thinly sliced (I used one big one and diced it when I made it)

4 scallions sliced diagonally

3 T. fresh chopped parsley leaves

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, bring another large pot of salted water to a boil, add the sugar snap peas, return to a boil and cook for 3 minutes until crisp tender. Lift the sugar snap peas from the water with a slotted spoon and immerse them in a bowl of ice water. Drain. For the dressing, whisk together the vegetable oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, peanut butter, salt to taste, and the pepper, in a medium bowl. Combine the spaghetti, sugar snap peas, scallions and peppers in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the spaghetti mixture. Add the parsley and mix again.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Scarf for Joe

I’ve written about my brother Joseph on my other blog here and here. He’s autistic. He’ll be 20 years old March 1st. And when he was here for a visit at Christmas, I told him (and my ex-stepdad and my other brother Sam) that I’d make everybody a very “manly” looking scarf if they gave me some idea of a color they’d like. I did actually finish those up a couple weeks ago and sent them off, but didn’t get around to posting it until now. I think Joe will really like his, quite wide, warm and snuggly with a very “masculine” yarn. And the color is lovely.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Mrs. Wilkes Lemon Squares

I went on my dream foodie trip last summer to Savannah, Georgia and among our many stops was Mrs. Wilkes Boarding house for lunch, where you just might stand in line forever to have a ton of traditional Southern fare, for cheap! This place is featured in the book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, and with good reason. And, being a total cookbook whore, I picked up Mrs. Wilkes Boardinghouse Cookbook as I paid my bill. Enjoy this recipe, a very intense flavor, cut the pieces small! Enjoy!

Lemon Squares

1 C. butter, softened

1/4 C. powdered sugar, plus extra for dusting

2 C. plus 2 T. flour

3 eggs, beaten

1/4 tsp. salt

1 C. sugar

4 T. lemon juice

1 T. grated lemon rind

1/2 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 350°. To make the crust, cream the butter and powdered sugar; add 2 C. of the flour to make a dough. Pat out in a 9 x 9 inch pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Mix the eggs, salt, sugar, lemon juice and rind, remaining 2 T. of flour, and baking powder. Pour over the crust and bake for 20-25 minutes. When cool, dust with powdered sugar. Cut into small squares.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Wavy Ribbon Scarf

Finally did a scarf that was a little beyond a regular knit stitch. And I’ve been working on it for myself (at last, a project for myself!) forever because I was making so many things for other people. But this is one you need to knit and actually pay attention because there is a distinct pattern that makes the wavy rows. I lost my place and had to figure out where I was more than once! Absentmindedly throwing stitches on your needles is not the way to do this project!

Wavy Ribbon Scarf

Yarn used: Segue by Trendsetter, Monet color 1554 (gorgeous, not cheap)

Needles: US 15


Row 1: K2, then K wrap 2 (4 times), K4, K wrap 2 (4 times), K2

Row 2: Knit dropping all extra stitches

Row 3: K wrap 2 (2 times), K4, K wrap 2 (4 times), K4, K wrap 2 (2 times)

Row 4: Knit dropping all extra stitches

Repeat!! I wore mine for the first time today and already got a compliment on it!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Paula's Crab Cakes

This is part of my resolution to make something new each week or more often if I can. And I am an absolute freak for all things Paula Deen (why else would I go visit her, which you can read about here and here) but I get her magazine and plucked this recipe out of the latest issue. I’ll put the recipe as written, but I doubled it to make sure I had plenty to go around.

Crab Cakes

1 (8 ounce) container jumbo lump crabmeat (I used the lump crab in the envelopes you can find in with the tunafish at the grocery store)

2/3 C. panko (Japanese breadcrumbs, which I didn’t have so I used regular breadcrumbs), divided

2 T. minced red bell pepper

1 T. minced green onion

1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning

2 large eggs, divided

1 T. mayo

1 T. fresh lemon juice

2 T. butter

2 T. olive oil

In medium bowl, combine crabmeat, 1/3 C. breadcrumbs, bell pepper, green onion, and Old Bay seasoning; set aside. In a small bowl, lightly beat 1 egg. Whisk in mayo and lemon juice. Add egg mixture to crab mixture, tossing to combine. Shape mixture into patties. In a small bowl, lightly beat remaining egg. Lightly brush each side of crab cake with egg, and dip in remaining 1/3 C. of breadcrumbs. In a large skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add crab cakes and cook 3 to 4 minutes, per side, or until golden. Serve with creole sauce.

Creole Sauce

1/4 C. sour cream

3 T. mayo

1 T. minced green onion

1 T. fresh lemon juice

2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning

1 tsp. prepared horseradish

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients; cover, and chill.

It was awesome, and not hard to make!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Tuscan-Style Pork Roast

First, if only you could smell this. It made our house smell awesome, hubby came home from work, walked in the door and it about knocked him over! I was like, “You want me to see if they can make a Yankee candle out of that for your office?”

Anyway, a few notes about making this and making it as easy as possible. Have the butcher clean off the fat and cartilage from the bones. This really is, when you get the roast done and slice it into chops, pork chop on a “stick” your kids will be able to eat and it’s more fun! My boys loved it! But then again, they also really like pork.

This is from the Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook. And doesn’t taste like “diet” food, it’s just a nutritious, lean dish. And completely tasty!

Tuscan-Style Port Roast

1 (2 1/4-pound) bone-in pork loin roast

3 garlic cloves, slivered lengthwise

4 tsp. olive oil

1 T. minced fresh rosemary

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground pepper

1/2 C. white wine

Preheat oven to 350°. With a small sharp knife, make several small incisions in the roast; insert a sliver of garlic in each incision. Rub the roast with oil, rosemary, salt and pepper.

Place the roast, bone-side down, in a shallow roasting pan; pour the wine into the pan. Roast, basting occasionally with the pan juices, until cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the pork (not touching bone) registers 160°, about 1 1/2 hours. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Banana Bread - Family Edition

It was on my post about the creative things I want to make sure I work in this year, but completely unplanned was the sudden pile over overripe bananas I had on my counter.

And you know, when life gives you bananas, you make banana bread!

This recipe has been in my family a very long time. My great-grandfather who I talked about on my other blog was quite a guy. And this banana bread was one of his favorites. I have been making it before I had children and since, all four of them have taken turns sitting on the counter helping make a batch or two. Incidentally, I make four mini-loaves out of one batch of batter. Then you have some for sharing and a slice is nice and small for the kids to handle.

Grandpa Ernie’s Banana Bread

2 1/2 C. flour

1 2/3 C. sugar

1 1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 1/4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2/3 C. shortening (I use butter flavor Crisco)

2/3 C. buttermilk

1 1/4 C. mashed, ripe bananas (this is usually about 2 1/2 bananas)

2 large eggs

2/3 C. chopped nuts (optional)

In large bowl, sift flour, sugar, soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Add shortening, buttermilk, bananas, eggs and nuts. Grease well two 9×5-inch bread loaf pans or 4 5×3-inch loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the center, if it comes out clean, loaf is done. (To ensure even baking, place all loaf pans on a cookie sheet instead of directly on oven rack)

Remove from oven, place on cooling rack for 5 minutes then remove from pans and let cool completely on racks before wrapping for storage. Freezes well, if you have any around long enough to freeze!

Saturday, January 6, 2007

And So It Begins...

You know you’ve “arrived” when someone wants to pay you for doing your hobbies.

About a year ago, I made $250 making a “fill in the photos” scrapbook of baby firsts for a grandma to give her son and daughter-in-law for their new baby. Woot! Gotta love that.

Then, since I’ve been the felted bag factory as of late, a friend of mine was like, “Do you make those for people?” I made a deal with her, if she bought all the stuff for her felted bag, I’d knit it for her. So, last Saturday she and I went down to the yarn place and I helped her pick out the supplies. She had a headache when we left from all the choices one has to make. Did she want me to make her I-cord handles or did she want to buy handles? Did she need a snap? Did she want me to line it? The stuff she picked was gorgeous and very expensive, good thing she was financing this project!

I got the body of the bag finished last night and washed it, it’s now stretched over a shoebox and I’ll line it later today and attach the handles and snap tomorrow.

Will post the finished product when I’m done and maybe even a photo of the felted bag with its new owner, I hope she likes it!

Monday, January 1, 2007

A Crafter's Resolutions

I know a lot of people make goals for the new year, I’m the same. But having an attack plan about one’s hobbies isn’t a bad idea either and I’ve decided to do that for 2007 as well. What about you?

Read and learn more about how to use my camera and Photoshop - I got my Rebel in March, and I’ve taken almost 5,000 pictures. I can do a lot more to learn all the nuances and cool stuff that the camera does and I haven’t yet.

Scrapbook more - I didn’t get much scrapbooking done last year. I made one album and worked on some stuff for hubby’s firefighter scrapbooks, but I didn’t do very much overall.

Bake more - I love baking and trying out new techniques in the kitchen. I hardly did any of that last year.

Try new recipes - I need to go thru the zillions of cookbooks and tons of recipe cards I have and make something new more often instead of the “same old same old” I let myself get in a rut.

Knitting – I have a few projects on the immediate status. 4 scarves and two felted bags. I want to make sure the rest of the year I work on the kids’ Christmas stockings so they’ll all have them for next Christmas

Crosstitch – This may be my most ambitious goal, is that since it’s been so long since I’ve bothered to crosstitch at all, I want to complete two unfinished projects. I need to make this a priority above the other crafty things on the list.

Make elaborate birthday cakes - I want to make each of the kids really cool birthday cakes this year. I even want to figure out how to use fondant possibly. There’s a lot of research yet to do but it would be fun to really do up the birthday cakes big and each one can be unique.

Sew girls a summer outfit - I had a lot of fun sewing Zach’s Halloween costume because my sewing machine hadn’t been doing anything more exciting than putting on Boy Scout patches. I’d like to maybe just at least sew the girls each an outfit for summer. Nothing elaborate, but something simple enough to keep me remembering how to use my sewing machine!

Read at least 8 books in addition to my book club selections - I already guarantee myself reading for my book club. And then I look at my stack of books still in the pile of wanting to conquer right away and I never manage to read many more even though I want to. I got a good start on accomplishing this in 2006 by starting the Outlander series. I’ve started the 4th book so finishing that one as well as 5 and 6 will help me in this goal.

Finish planting flowerbed by driveway, do backdoor flowerbed - I have two flowerbeds in highly visible areas of my yard that need my attention. We’ll put in some landscaping brick, give the soil an overhaul and I’ll plant some fun and interesting things in these two beds. I got a headstart in the fall in one of the beds by putting in 50 tulip bulbs. We’ll see how those look come spring!