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!