September 29, 2010

Fall Treats

Fall is officially here.

The weekend was spent indoors with one sick girlie and rain and gray skies. I did get to make some soup, and made quite a bit of progress on my shawl.

Yesterday after work I was inspired by her to make Macaroni and Cheese for dinner. I even had all the ingredients on hand. No last minute dashes to the grocery store. The mac n cheese was tasty and filling. Then my sweet tooth kicked in and I made these

I don't think anything says fall more than caramel apples! And if that weren't enough I needed to dip pretzels in chocolate, drizzle them in colored chocolate and cover them in sprinkles.

Perfect way to cheer up a cold and dreary day.

September 22, 2010

Happy Yarn

This yarn has been in my knitting basket since last summer. I had started a project with it, but the results were less than thrilling. One of the things I love about knitting is that if a pattern isn’t working out, you can frog what you’ve knitted, rewind the yarn, and start knitting something completely different.

You all have been reading about my recent knitting obsession and my love of all things shawl related. Bingo. That’s what this yarn wants to be. But what shawl? I logged into Ravelry and started searching the shawl patterns. I knew I wanted something that wasn’t a lace pattern so the yarn would really shine.

I decided on a pattern called Mara by Madeline Tosh. It is similar to the Citron shawl that I made earlier this month. This shawl is knit entirely in garter stitch, with a really cool ribbed ruffle on the edge. I am going to knit until I basically run out of the rainbow yarn, and do the ruffle in a solid color.

I know many knitters would be bored with rows of garter stitch, but I find it very relaxing.There is something very calming and peaceful with the back and forth and click of the needles. I love being able to have a conversation or watch TV while I am knitting. I like being able to stop mid-row, come back an hour later and just start knitting again. I have tried knitting intricate patterns, but found that even minor interruptions would make me irritable. Who wants to be cranky while doing something they enjoy? Not me.

September 20, 2010

I {Heart} Soup

Soup. Stew. Chowder. Chili. I love them all. I miss them so much during the summer months.

Soup is my favorite thing to cook. I love the idea of taking 15 minutes to prep my ingredients, put them in a pot, and let them simmer til done. No split second timing required. One pot for the entire meal. I especially adore soups that take the afternoon to cook. A cool and rainy Sunday afternoon. Soup simmering on the stove. Snuggled on my chair knitting while watching a chick flick. Going into the kitchen every so often to give the soup a stir. This is even more enjoyable if I bake bread at the same time. Heaven on earth.

Depending on my mood, I use two different recipes for corn chowder. My favorite is Ina Garten's Cheddar Corn Chowder. I love Ina. Ina's cookbooks make me look like I know what I'm doing in the kitchen (I see a whole other post coming about cooking with The Barefoot Contessa).

If I want my corn chowder in a hurry, I use this recipe.

EASY Corn Chowder

1 16 oz. bag frozen hash browns
1 15 oz. can whole corn, undrained
1 15 oz. can cream style corn
1 1/2 cups milk (your choice, half and half is over the top!)
1 medium onion, chopped
8 slices bacon
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. worcestershire sauce
1/4 t. black pepper

Cook bacon until crisp in a dutch oven or large saucepan, remove to a plate. Drain bacon fat, reserving 1 T. cook chopped onion in reserved bacon fat until translucent.
Add the potatoes, corn, milk, salt, pepper and worcestershire sauce to the dutch oven and simmer over medium-low heat for about 25-30 minutes. Do not bring to a rolling boil. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and reserved bacon, crumbled.

September 17, 2010

Happy Little Quilt

I really wanted to make another quilt after finishing my other one, but my budget was saying no. I went to Joann Fabrics with Becky the other day and started looking through the clearance bin and found bolts and bolts of the cutest fabrics for $2.00 a yard. I now have the fabric for my next quilt, also known as Happy Little Quilt :)

These colors are so much fun that I could hardly wait to get started. I am cutting 4" squares and am going to make a basic patchwork quilt. Please remind me to hand tie this quilt. My sewing machine can handle the patchwork, but not the quilting.

I am not sure when I'll actually start sewing this, what with the knitting mania happening at the moment. But knowing these fabric squares are waiting on my cutting table makes me happy.

September 15, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things

As I was putting away some of my books after painting the craft room, I noticed that this stack of books represents so many of my favorite things.

My favorite decorating color scheme is red and white. To me it is everything cheerful and cozy and comforting.

Pottery Barn.

My favorite hobbies. Knitting, sewing, photography.

Domesticity. It's such a lovely word (and such a lovely book!)

Blogging (even though I am a new blogger, I have been reading blogs for a few years. That's a hobby, right?).

Two of my favorite bloggers. Alicia Paulson and Jane Brocket.

Weekends. Quilts.

Funny how a such a tiny corner of my house sums up my life and interests so well.

September 13, 2010


I have been on a knitting marathon lately. This shawl is called Citron, and has been on my knitting needles since April. I picked up the needles a few weeks ago and haven't been able to stop.
I love all the feminine details in this pattern. The ruching and the ruffled edge. The ruffled edge is not for the faint hearted knitter. It leaves you with 550 stitches to bind off. Worth every stitch though. I knitted this in Classic Elite Alpaca in fingering weight. It is soft and floaty and very cozy.

This is the Multnomah shawl that I showed you the other day. I finished this the other day and then blocked it. I have never really blocked any of my knitting before, and after knitting and blocking both of these shawls, I am a blocking convert. I love how this turned out. The feather and fan is so pretty, and I love how this pattern shows off the colors of the yarn. I love this pattern so much that I have started another.

Now that I have the knitting mojo I want to keep on going before it wears off!

September 10, 2010

Autumn Leaves

This is my current knitting project. I finally realized what the colorway of my yarn reminded me of. A shawl that is the color of autumn leaves.

The name of the pattern is Multnomah and is a combination of garter stitch and feather and fan lace. This project is perfect for TV watching. The garter part is easy peasy, and just when you get bored with it, you start the feather and fan, which is just enough to keep you on your toes, but you can still watch Top Chef and not mess it up.

I hope to have this finished soon so I can wear it with jeans and a t-shirt on the first chilly frosty morning of autumn.

September 8, 2010

Baking 101

On my recent trip to Amish Country, I bought an angel cake food mix at one of the homemade cheese shops. Since it is wonderfully cool today, I decided I wanted to make the cake for dessert. So I pulled out the mix and started reading the directions. These directions warranted a call to my sister, who is the baker of the family.

Me: Hi, I have a stupid question for you.
My Sister: What?
Me: I am baking an angel food cake mix from Amish Country and the directions say to bake in an ungreased 10" tube pan that has been rinsed in cold water.
My Sister: Yeah, ungreased is right I think, but I have never heard of rinsing the pan in cold water. Did it say to dry the pan?
Me: No
My Sister: That's weird.
Me: It also says to cool the cake inverted overnight.
My Sister: (Laughing) Overnight?
Me: (Laughing) Like I could wait that long to eat it.
My Sister: Angel Food cake is always the best the day you bake it. It has that yummy crunchy top and chewy cakey part.
Me: I think the Amish cake mix makers are playing a joke on us.

I ended up baking the cake in an ungreased pan, and I did rinse it in cold water. I cooled it inverted, but only for a few hours. It came out almost perfect.

September 7, 2010

Sunflower Seeds

Scene from my backyard. Squirrel snacking on sunflower seeds. Help yourself little guy.

September 6, 2010

Labor Day Pasta Salad

This pasta salad is not just for Labor Day, but since I made this for today's cook-out at my parent's house, I thought I would share the easy recipe. And it's not so much a recipe as a list of ingredients that you could put in a pasta salad.


1 lb. rotini (or cute pasta shape of your choice)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, whole or cut in half
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
1 small can sliced black olives, drained
1 8 oz. package shredded cheese (your choice)
4 green onions, sliced
1 cup mini pepperoni
8 oz. Italian Dressing (or amount to taste)

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and cool. Add pasta to all other ingredients. Toss with italian dressing. (I use Kraft Tuscan Italian). Refrigerate before serving. You may need to add more dressing prior to serving.

You really could add any veggie you would like to this, or any leftover cheese or meats you have in your deli drawer.

This makes a big batch, but if you are having a huge crowd can be easily doubled. Leftovers are delicious!

Hope you are all enjoying your long weekend!

September 5, 2010

Amish Country

Sometimes a day in the country is just what you need. A Saturday on a holiday weekend. Temps in the 60's after four days of 90 degrees. Wearing a cute sweater, but still warm enough for flip flops. All four of us together having a wonderful day. Delicious food. Tourist traps. Gorgeous farms. Sunflowers. Laundry flapping in the breeze. Peanut Butter Pie.