Too many places to be in too short a time span. This year, we didn't have to do as much of the cooking, which was actually kind of odd. I'm used to it, and I honestly would've preferred to have done it. But it's done and over and all enjoyed it, I think.
I know my nephew enjoyed his vegan casserole. I ended up with a melange of spaghetti squash, small zucchini squash (I mean little ones, not the fancy "baby" ones - I sliced them and sauteed them), baby portobello mushrooms, shallots, small tomatoes, and roasted garbanzo beans. I also wilted some kale and used that as the base. Drizzled with infused balsamic vinegar and olive oil, it went over well, but I should have put it all in a chafing dish.
And when I make it again, I'm adding cheese... Not that it wasn't perfectly fine without it. And the V & O drizzle was, if I may say, an inspiration. But I could do cheese and it might be a little more hearty.
Roasted garbanzo beans, by the way? Yowza, delicious! So easy: take a can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drain them and rinse them. Toss them with olive oil and lay them on a parchment-lined jellyroll pan (they roll...you need a pan with a small lip). Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and your favorite herb blend. I used Penzey's Spices Mural of Flavor salt-free blend, since I'd already salted the beans. Oven at 400* and bake for about 10-15 minutes. They'll shrink up a bit, and brown slightly.
So, two things you can do with them: eat them right then and there, or use them in a casserole. Well, three things: you can chill them, and use them as "croutons" for your salad, when it's salad weather.
I've been in a cooking mood, and with the holidays, I've had time to indulge. Cornbread was on the menu the other night; usually it's in a cast-iron pan, and I should've stuck with that! Anyway, this is my "salmon loaf" pan.
I also baked some banana/flax/oatmeal muffins. And I started some turkey broth for soup.
We had a couple of turkey carcasses in the freezer, and Hubby had initially pulled out two bags - with 2 carcasses each...That would've made a lot of broth, which we can freeze, but he decided to just do one bag, which was fine with me. Leeks, garlic, carrots and celery. A little salt & pepper.
I also added 4 cubes of Knorr vegetarian broth. That adds a little more depth of flavor. Simmering for a couple of hours, the house smells "homey." I mean, I love my essential oils, but there's something about just really nice home cooking to bring that smell and that feeling to a house. I have egg noodles that we'll use in the soup -- and I told Hubby (boy, I'm ambitious today!) that if we didn't have noodles, "I can just make them."
Which I can. Egg noodles are easy. I haven't done them in a long while. I even have a pasta maker, which hasn't seen the light of day in many a year. Honestly, to do the noodles, I'd have done them like my granny did: rolling them out and cutting with a knife.
The muffins are my new plan: I need to eat breakfast. Lately, the days get away from me, and I find myself starving. And then, of course, I eat ALL the wrong things.
This isn't a "punish myself" thing. It's an honest reflection on what my days have been like lately, and I know I need to do better. A muffin, particularly a home-made one, is better than just drinking tea. I used a muffin recipe and - of course - added stuff. So there's about 1/4 c. molasses in this one, diced candied ginger, clove, fresh ground nutmeg, and a handful of flax seed. That should make them fairly "beefy." I don't like sweets in the morning. I probably should've added some chopped dates, but there's enough in there. I added 1/4 c. of unsweetened applesauce to the mix instead of oil, so that took the fat down a notch. I froze half of them, and have the other half in the fridge so I can "grab and go."
So my mom wants a hat. She expressed in no uncertain terms that she'd even take one from the dog-hair yarn. She can't seem to keep a hat on her head, so she wanted a "hat-band" kind of device. And of course, I couldn't find a pattern. So I made one up.
I used Cascade 220 superwash wool, and I held it double. I was originally going to do the whole thing in one piece, with increases on the one end and decreases on the other. Instead, I decided to split it in half. So it's garter stitch (straight knitting) and apparently, to do a grafting on garter is something odd...
Who knew? But anyway, I managed to graft it together, and then used some leftover Cascade 220 superwash (from a baby sweater) and did 2 rows around the whole thing. Then, I crocheted two chains (3 strands - 1 of the multi-colored, and 2 of the brown), and attached them, using buttons as an accent, and I tried it on myself.
I wasn't sure of the dimensions, and I frankly guessed! But it should be ok, and I told my mom that if it was too big, she could just pin it under her chin - OR - tie it OVER her hat.
She wants to have something to cover her ears, so I hope this works. She's coming to pick it up today. We shall see.
If it works for her, I may make myself one.
This is going to be a knit-heavy post! Finally, I got around to blocking my student's shawl. Honestly? If you're going to give someone a knitted object, unless it's socks (which I don't think really need to be blocked), block it!!
This shawlette wasn't blocked and it was far too small. So I blocked it for her. I don't like blocking someone else's knitting. I think I did it right, but it wasn't the dimensions according to the picture she showed me. But it's better than it was.
I hope she likes it. On tap this weekend, I'm going to block my "Close to You" shawl. Can't wait to see that finished and can't wait to wear it.
|Yarn held double|
|Yarn held single|
I started them with yarn held double, but I had two problems: (a) only 2 partial balls left; and (b) they were too big. So I frogged them, and re-started, holding the yarn single. I think they'll be more comfortable, and I'm likely to be using the yarn more efficiently. I do have enough of the baby yarn to use in a pinch, but I'd rather keep these a solid color if I can. The flat construction is good for me - first off, I've never been able to crochet any other way than flat. And second, I can adjust the thumbs better. Since my left thumb is fused, and a bit shorter than my right, it "sits" differently on my hand.
By creating the mitts in this manner, I can make the left thumb fit the physical limitations I have. I actually crochet faster than I knit, so we'll see how much progress I made. But that being said, holding the crochet can tend to cramp up my left hand, so I have to take breaks.
For Christmas Kid #2 gave me this book - which I initially read about in Jean Miles' blog. I didn't really give it a second thought, but then it turned up as a gift from him!
It's gorgeous, but it's all charts! I don't know how to read charts, but I guess I'd better learn.
If nothing else, it's eye-candy. The cover knitting is amazing because it's very reminiscent of the churches we saw in France and Switzerland. I love architectural knitting - at least in the sense of the fabric having an architectural aspect.
I do not like "architectural" knitting where a pattern isn't symmetrical. I know it's supposed to be a "design element," but I get the distinct feeling that if I showed up for work in a sweater that I'd knitted with a "staggered" hem, I'd get a bit of side-eye and there would be questions as to whether I actually knew what I was doing!
I get it - I see the patterns in Vogue and in some of the "runway" pictures in the paper. I just don't like it. I'm cool with a ruffle, or certain details - which, ultimately, can hide some knitting flubs. But when I see a sweater where the right front, left front, and back are three different lengths? Nope. Can't do it.
Mother Nature's Circle of Life...
Hubby filled the bird feeders and put extra suet feeders out, since we have trouble with the woodpeckers - they seem to want to poke holes in our house! Today, I also tossed out some bread for the birds - right or wrong, I had some stale bread that was going to be pitched anyway. The birds might as well enjoy it.
I was on the phone with my mother, and all of a sudden - WOOSH -- a hawk flew by. Scattered the birds. He landed on the evergreen next door.
I've seen them snatch a sparrow off a feeder, and this time, he was just scouting. I haven't seen him since, and the birds are back, chowing down.
One of my Christmas gifts was Opus! I've wanted one for a while, and this is apparently the newest version. He's pretty huge, actually.
When I opened it, Raisa was sitting next to me, and the look on her face was amazing: "Wow, is this MY toy???"
No. It's not. I pet him every once in a while. He's sitting and holding court on the dining room table, next to the tree.
We've taken down the lights on the gutters; figured we'd get them down before the true deep-freeze hits for the next several days. I hate the look of the post-Christmas season. I get so used to the beautiful lights - and now everything is naked.
We still have the deck decorated and then left the garland on the porch rail. At this point, everything's frozen anyway. We've had a few days of really, really cold weather (double-digits below zero), and the garland would snap. More importantly, the lights on the deck are wound kind of tightly, and when Hubby was taking the gutter lights down, he commented on how frozen the cords were.
So I'll have my pretty lights up for a few days longer, and I'll enjoy them. Now, it's back to see about skimming the broth, and working on those mitts.