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Friday, December 30, 2016

Food Friday: Maple Sesame Dipping Sauce

This recipe gives me a little bit of concern to give out---but only because I am addicted to it, and hope not to give you a similar "problem"!

Maple sesame dipping sauce

* ¼ cup tamari or soy sauce or Bragg's Liquid Aminos
* 3 tablespoons maple syrup
* 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
* 1 teaspoon garlic chili sauce or Sambal Oelek

Heat in a saucepan for ten minutes to reduce a little if you like or just shake up and use it on anything you like.  I used it for dipping spinach balls.  It also tastes good spooned over baked sweet potatoes, almost anything, except not salad....

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Sweet Treats: Congo Bars

One of our Christmas-dinner-guests-to-be had requested chocolate chip cookies for dinner.  I thought I could do that pretty easily...

By the day before Christmas  I thought of doing something along that line but a little more special.  I found a recipe for Congo Bars and decided to make them.  (The Six Sisters Stuff website has a ton of great recipes!  You will be glad you went to check it out.)

When I made them, I doubled the recipe and baked them in a half sheet pan.  That worked out very well...though it took a few extra minutes.   If you do that, be sure to take the pan out of the oven before they look totally cooked, just lightly browned.

So, the night before Christmas the bars were all cooked, cooled, cut, and contained in the cookie jar.  On Christmas morning I awoke at 4 AM,  reminiscent of when I was a child and drove our parents crazy getting up so early to check our stockings.  (One family history note:  the best Christmas morning ever was when my brothers and I woke up very early, went out to the barn, did all the calf chores, fed the cows, and got started on the milking so when our father came out to the barn at 5 AM all the peripheral work had been done and "all" he had to do was the rest of the milking.  We felt so wonderful that Christmas Day.)  On Christmas Day after Church we had a nice dinner.    Daughter-in-law A had made key lime and raspberry dessert (I don't know if this is the actual recipe she used but it gives you the idea) which it a fabulous treat.

Having been going full tilt all day for one reason or another I totally forgot the Congo Bars.  Can you believe it?!  Now they are sitting there in the cookie jar tempting me, tempting me, tempting me.  I am not strong.  YES I AM!!!!  I will find some way to dispose of them, not in my own gullet.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Knitting: Quick and Simple Adjustable Slippers

The other day I watched a video on YouTube by Lindsay Weirich, The Frugal Crafter.  She was knitting some quick and easy slippers.  I thought that would be something I could do to knit down a few of the yarns I have in the workroom.

These slippers are knit with doubled worsted weight yarn. I used US size 10.5 needles.   Lindsay had used some bulky weight chenille yarn which looked like lovely soft slippers.  I was too frugal to purchase some of that yarn though I did look at it for a while.  I can hear you laughing at that one!  At least this time I did not bite on the "right yarn" for the project.  After all, I have a large quantity of worsted weight yarn which could be mixed and matched to make these slippers.

You cast on only 22 stitches to make a slipper that should fit a woman's size 8.5 foot.  My foot is larger and wider than that and these fit me just fine.  Lindsay gives suggestions on how to adjust the size of these slippers. I am thinking of making some larger sized ones, in case they are needed in the near future to keep feet warm on cold winter floors.

Basically you knit a rectangle then do a few decrease rows, run a thread through the stitches remaining on the needle, pull them tight and secure them, then sew up the toe, sew up the heel, and your are done.  Quick, easy.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Knitting: Tawashi Heart

Winter is a time when I like to knit when my hands allow.  Today I happened onto a pattern called "Tawashi Heart" which is a small kitchen scrubbie cloth.  I tried it out.  I started it, tore it out, started it, tore it out, went out to swim and look for reduced-price chocolate options, and finally came home after 95 minutes of walking around stores who only had junk reduced-price chocolate--which just about finished me off.

First thing I did was sit down in my rocking chair and picked up the Tawashi Heart pattern and Sugar'nCream variegated yarn and started knitting again.  This time something clicked and I was able to knit right through the pattern.

This is what it looks like hanging on a bottle of dish soap, all ready to begin scrubbing!

Really, it was not that hard.  I just was not getting it through my head how it was supposed to be knit.  This is one of the first times I did not read all the way through the pattern first.  (It is a good practice  to read all the way through a recipe before you start to prepare it.  The same can be said for a knitting pattern. In this case it would have helped if I had realized that it was a double-thickness scrubbie.)

If you look on Ravelry.com at the tawashi heart pattern you will find multiple pictures of what other people have made.  To my view, this pattern should be knit in a variegated yarn.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Munchie Monday: Taco Crumbles in Bean Burrito

In trying to eat more plant-based, I have been searching for products that are sort of reminiscent of the meat world I remember.  One of those products we have tried, and liked, so we ordered more, were the Taco Crumbles from Butler Foods.  These are really very very acceptable replacements for burger in tacos, enchiladas, burritos, etc.

We planned to have tacos for supper the other day.  While the Taco Crumbles re-hydrated for 8 minutes I sauteed a large chopped onion and a package of chopped mushrooms until soft.  When ready I added the Taco Crumbles then put them into whole wheat flour tortillas on top of non-fat refried beans.  Even Dear One liked them, though he only ate one.  He probably would not have eaten it if he knew there were (VERY FINELY) chopped mushrooms in it. I thought they gave a bit more meaty flavor.

This picture shows the conglomeration in the pan.  Tasty.  Slightly spicy.  The bag of Crumbles made enough so I could make three meals for the two of us.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Food Friday: Butternut Squash Soup

A wonderful brother and sister couple that we love (who are living their later years together as they are both widowed) grow a fabulous garden each year.  They are very generous with their produce.  They gave us two beautiful butternut squashes and a large blue hubbard squash.  I love squash and decided to make it into soup.

To start out I washed the squash, cut off both ends, then cut off the seed receptacle and cleaned out the seeds. (This time I did not roast the seeds. Wasteful, I know, but sometimes...)  I placed the squash pieces, cut side down, on a large rimmed baking sheet and roasted in the oven at 350 degrees F. for 50 minutes.
Squash ready to roast

After the squash cooled, I scooped it out of the skins.  There was almost 3 cups of cooked squash.  At this point I put the other ingredients together.

2 medium potatoes, chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
1 large onion chopped
2 cups chopped celery

(The carrots and celery were from some vegetable sticks I had cut a week ago and put into the refrigerator.  For some reason the refrigerator froze them so they were not so fun to eat BUT chopped and put in soup they were superb...!)

In a large saucepan I placed the chopped vegetables and a lot of water.  Brought them to a boil then turned down the heat to simmer them until they were nice and soft.  After the water came to a boil I stirred in:

1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon/large pinch dried thyme
1.5 teaspoons of Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Seasoning

When everything cooked and was soft, I tasted the broth.  It was not quite salty enough for me so I added some ham broth powder (which I had found on a clearance table at a grocery near us...ham broth flavoring something I had never heard of before) which added a nice flavor as well as the needed salt.

At this point I carefully dumped in the cooked squash then (finally! successfully!) used the immersion blender we had given to my mother-in-law for Christmas many years ago which was still in the box when she died in 2007 and which we then brought home.  I have never been successful before.  Honestly, this is only about the third time I have used it...

Anyway, this made a nice sort of smooth soup that tastes really yummy.  It sure hits the spot on a cold and snowy day.  I did need to add more water several times while it was cooking since I really like broth-y soups.  Actually, a good soup broth is the best part of the coup..

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Knitting: Latticed Cable Hat--my own creation, sort of...

Recently we had some young women in our home.  One of them had a nice winter hat.  The other had ear muffs.  This was not enough protection for Vermont winters so I suggested knitting her a hat.  We had the Barbara Walker Learn to Knit Afghan blanket on our couch.  I asked if there was a pattern she liked.  She liked the yellow latticed cable block. I like that one, too.  She wanted it in blue.

When I was out the next day I did not find a good blue 100 percent wool yarn so I purchased some Lion Brand Wool-Ease yarn in a nice blue worsted weight.  I already had some US size 7 circular needles and I was certain I had double pointed needles, too.  (Well, I did, but one was gray plastic, and three were blue metal.  Since I am accustomed to knitting with five dpns I used the circular needle for the fifth needle. It worked, but was a little awkward...Pretty soon I am going to get some nice Brittany birch dpns in US size 7...before I knit another hat. I LOVE their needles!)

To turn a flat pattern into a knit-in-the-round was not something I had ever done so I had to do some hunting around the internet...at Ravelry for some sizing help and other places for the change-flat-to-round help.

Putting it all together I came up with this plan:

Cast on 88 stitches and knit 2, purl 2 for one inch. 3

Next round knit and increase 12 stitches to 100 stitches.

At that point work 2 pattern repeats (16 rounds plus 16 rounds) then begin the crown decreases.

Round 1: Knit round 1 of the Barbara Walker pattern again.
Round 2:  (P2together, K4, P2tog, P2), repeat around...80 stitches.
Round 3: Knit the knits and purl the purls
Round 4: P1, (FPC, BPS, P2tog), repeat around...70 stitches.  (this is an effort to continue the main hat pattern in the decreases...not as successful as I had hoped.)
Round 5: Knit the knits and purl the purls
Round 6: Knit the knits and purl the purls
Round 7. (K2tog, P2, K2tog, P1), repeat around
Round 8: Knit the knits and purl the purls
Round 9: Knit the knits and purl the purls
Round 10: (K1, P2tog, K1, P1), repeat around
Round 11: (K1, P1), around...40 stitches
Round 12: (K2tog, K1, P1), around...30 stitches
Round 13: (K2, P1), around
Round 14: (K2tog, P1), around...20 stitches
Round 15: K2tog around...10 stitches
Round 16: K2tog around...5 stitches

Fasten off and weave in ends.

FPC is a front purl cross
BPC is a back purl cross

If I make this again I will fiddle around with the decreases by working eight more rounds of the main hat to give a little more length to the hat....which will almost certainly change at lest the first few rounds of these decreases....

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Health Kick: Lemon Water

There has been a lot of talk about lemon water being so good for your body. I decided to try it.  Well, I had tried it before but fell off the wagon for some reason.  As I am writing this, I have fallen off the wagon again...or at least it has been three days since I last made some.

My version is made with hot water.

Into an 8-ounce glass I put 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice then fill with water as hot as I can drink...which is basically as hot as the faucet sends out.  Drink it down.

Many years ago an elderly gentleman was visiting in our home....like more than 90 years old elderly.  Being a foolish girl I asked him how he lived to be so old.  He said (in his somewhat heavy Dutch accent), "Every morning you need to drink a glass of water, hot what you can drink."  That is why I make lemon water with HOT water.

So the most recent time I made this lemon water I asked Dear One if he wanted some.  He thought a moment and said, "Yes.  Put in a little sugar."  Not what I had in mind for a healthy kick to start the day...but, of course, I did it.

Can you tell which one has the sugar in it? 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Knitting: #LIGHTtheWORLD Newborn Hat

This year our church has had a Christmas initiative where for 25 days we try to give service every day.  There is a website where some suggested acts of service are noted as well as a short (mostly under a minute) videos are shown.  It has been my privilege to send an email message out to our members as well as our family and other friends every day to give us a chance to light the world with our service.  As we give service,  we light up as well as those we serve.  At least, that is my experience.

One morning earlier this week, or maybe last week, I woke up somewhat after 2 AM.  Since I could not go back to sleep I sent out the daily email early then read it myself.  One of the suggestions for service was to knit a hat for a newborn in a local hospital.  Knitting being right  up my alley, I went upstairs to my yarn boxes and chose a nice light green and some needles then returned to my knitting chair beside the fire.

This hat was knit using worsted weight yarn (an orphan ball so I don't know the manufacturer) on US size 7 double-pointed needles. (My needles were not matching, but they worked!)

Cast on 56 stitches.

Knit one inch of K2, P2 ribbing.

Knit in stocking stitch until it measured  3.5 inches from cast on edge.

Crown decrease started with K2tog, K5 around. 

The alternating rounds were knit all around.

Next row:  K2tog, K4 around.

Etc  Ending with about 6 stitches on the needles.  Pull yarn through the stitches and secure.  Weave in ends. 

Give to the newborn nursery.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Munchie Monday: Homemade Bread Crumbs/Croutons

We were getting ready for a lovely social occasion this weekend which entailed bringing potluck treats.  Since I am death on sweets right now, at least in our home, I thought I would make the Spinach Balls that Dear One likes so much.  I, myself, prefer savory over sweet anyway.  I thought we had everything in the house to make the spinach balls.

Well, we did not have bread crumbs.

Since they are so easy to make, I decided to spend a few minutes throwing them together.

This is what I did:

Took a loaf of un-sliced bread and cut 1-inch thick slices.  This was a large Italian loaf so I only needed four slices. I then turned them on their sides and cut them into 1-inch 'fingers' then sliced those  fingers into 1-inch cubes.

Placed the cubes in a large bowl and drizzled  on 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil then tossed well to get some olive oil on each cube of bread.  Sprinkle on 1 Tablespoon of Italian seasoning (not the Good Seasons salad dressing seasoning) and toss again.  Try to have a little herb covering each cube.  If you are a real salt hound, add a little salt, but they do not need it.
Bread cubes ready for the oven

In a preheated 350 degree F. oven, bake the bread cubes on a large rimmed baking sheet for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and stir well then return to the oven to bake another 10 minutes.  They should be ready by then but if you want to make them into harder croutons, let them go another little while. I did not do this so I cannot give you a time.

Remove from oven and let cool, then put the cubes (and the crumbs that came off when you stirred them) into your food processor and pulse until they are the texture you are seeking.

Bread crumbs ready for Spinach Balls

At our house we make these a different way sometimes (when we are longing for chips of various natures and don't want that much fat and salt in our diets).  Only we up the quantity to 3 Tablespoons of olive oil, and add onion granules, garlic granules, and a teaspoon of coarse salt to the Italian seasoning to sprinkle over the bread cubes.  When they are "done" we throw them into a bowl and put them out to munch on.  The grandkids love them, too...

Friday, December 16, 2016

Food Friday: Scratch Tortillas

This morning I was cleaning out the pantry.  There I found a bag of fresh flour tortillas.  Our son must have added them to the shelf.  These made me salivate for some nice bean burritos.  Especially since we had two lovely avocados, a tomato, and a jalapeƱo.

Time to make tortillas....

This time I did not get out the recipe but made them without checking.  This is what I did.

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 1/2 Tablespoons canola oil
3/4-1 cup hot water

In a medium sized bowl I mixed the flour, baking powder, and salt.  After pouring in the canola oil, I added 1/2 cup hot water and stirred well. Too dry, so I added more water until a soft pliable dough was formed.

Covered the bowl for ten minutes while the 12-inch cast iron frying pan heated up over medium heat.

Divided the dough into five pieces, but should have divided it into 8 pieces as the tortillas were too large.  If that is possible....

Rolled out each piece until it was nice and thin, evenly thin, then popped them into the skillet to cook.  It took a couple minutes to cook.  When there will little "bubbles" of dough showing on the top of the tortilla, I flipped them over and let them cook on the second side.

When they were cooked I put them on a clean kitchen cloth then covered with another cloth.

These were really yummy with homemade fat-free refried beans, guacamole, and shredded lettuce on them.  Too good. I ate two of them.  You know they were pretty good because Dear One ate two of them plain!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Knitting: Wash Cloths, Different Stitch Pattern

After my day at the emergency room I had to have a follow-up appointment with my physician.  In the lobby at the clinic was a hospital volunteer.  She was knitting.  Of course, I cannot walk by a knitter without inquiring as to the project, sometimes spending a great deal of time chatting!  It is so lovely to visit with knitters.  You can learn so much from them.

On this occasion I asked what she was making. She was making wash cloths.  I did not recognize the stitch. She said it was mindless knitting!  It was a double seed stitch, she told me.  Knit 2, Purl 2 then repeat on the next row.  A two row pattern repeat.

This seemed like such a great idea that I started knitting when I got home.  I am so grateful to that lady for her suggestion. I love the texture of these cloths.  Sadly, she was not there when I went back for another appointment.  I wanted to thank her for her help.

Double seed stitch cloths except for the top cloth which is a slip stitch design.

These are knit with worsted weight cotton yarn...mostly Peaches and Creme.  I am nearly out of full balls so pretty soon I will make slip-stitch patterns to use up the partial balls.  Once the yarn is all used up I CAN BUY MORE with a clear conscience.  That may be a while, though....

This is what I did:

Using the worsted weight yarn and US Size 8 knitting needles I cast on 36 stitches and started with Knit 2, Purl 2 to the end (you need to cast on a multiple of 4 stitches to make this stitch mindless and easy to do).  Turn and Knit 2, Purl 2 back.  On the third row, Purl 2, Knit 2 across.  Turn and repeat.  On the fifth row, go back to Knit 2, Purl 2 for two rows,

Repeat these rows until you have a square cloth.    Bind off in knit on the right side row.  Be sure not to cast off too tightly.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Papercrafting: A Cute Birthday Card for a Boy

It is so enjoyable to make cards for family and friends.  AND also sometimes terribly frustrating if they do not work the way I hope they will.  This time I was making a card for a seven-year-old boy.  Because I am not at all creative, I put it out there on YouTube and found this lovely video at Weekend Card.  It was for a cute car.  Since I had inquired recently what the grandson enjoys at this point in his life and he replied that it was cars, I thought this was the card for him.

Vickie, at Weekend Card, very generously made a PDF for free download to go along with her video.  Go to her Clips-n-Cuts webpage for a download.  In the right hand sidebar there is a "What are you looking for?" query box.  Put in "cute car" and it will pop right up for you.

This is the car I made:

The green base for the card (which, of course, opens up so you can insert a message, a check, a long letter to the child to test his reading skills, or whatever else you want to include) was green card stock, or maybe it was cover stock. It was pretty heavy.  The yellow tires were of the same type of paper, and funnily enough, will be the background for another child's car some day.  The striped paper was from a 12-inch stack of lots of interesting papers which I cut down then placed in our inkjet printer with the colored side up---in our printer that is how you have to get it so you can print on the white side of the paper (to make it easy to see the pattern for cutting).  Your printer may be different.  If you need to check which side prints first, open the paper tray, put a little "x" on the bottom (toward you) of the plain paper in the tray on the right hand corner.  Print something on the paper then see where the "x" shows up.  That will let you know how you need to place your figured paper.

You can see that I also made a matching envelope.  I used We R Memory Keepers punch board for the envelope.  This took an 8.5" by 8.5" square to make the right sized envelope.  Sometimes I think that the envelopes give me more of a sense of delight than the cards....  Sometimes.  This card really did it for me!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Munchie Monday: First Greenish Smoothie!

Communication is a great thing!  So often Dear One and I have incomplete communication which can cause a certain amount of aggravation on both sides.  I tried to smarten up this week.  We had a discussion about the food we eat.  I planned to make something using kale.  I mentioned it.  He said he likes "a few baby spinach leaves", not actually kale.  Well.  That is something!  So I asked if he would want to try some in a smoothie.  He waggled his hand.  I took that as a "yes'!

You will notice that I spilled the smoothie on the outside of the glass so I carried it with a paper towel, effectively removing the spill-over.  Some day I will learn to use Photoshop Elements and edit out the nasty parts of pictures...

This is what I did:

This is the basic fruit smoothie I have told you about before which includes:
1 cup orange juice
1 cup cranberry juice
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 frozen chopped banana
2 Tablespoons ground flax seeds

Then I threw in one handful of washed, shaken out, baby spinach. 

Starting the blender, I stood over it  and blended for about 3 minutes.

This made two large glasses of purple lusciousness.  I asked Dear One his opinion.  He said,  "It is good."  Good!!!!  That is such a great response!  I loved it.

So, today I made another of these greenish smoothies.  I put a much larger handful of baby spinach in it and ground it for about 4 minutes.  (The last one had a few little bits of spinach identifiable on my tongue. I was not so fond of that texture issue, so I blended longer this time.  It was still good the last time but this one was ideal texture.)

When mine glass was almost half gone, I remembered my sister sent me a message about adding turmeric to our diets to help with arthritis, and other, pain, so I thought, "Why not?"  Since Dr. Greger in "How Not To Die" says we need 1/4 teaspoon a day of turmeric,  I threw in a quarter teaspoon of it into my partial cup of greenish smoothie.  Since I just sort of stirred it in, it sort of clumped up. 

May I just say, this was not so pleasing. The clumps were dry on my tongue.  Not good.   I will try it again but will add the turmeric to the blender.  I will just add it to my serving the next time, and the time after that, after conversing on the subject with Dear One who could use a little pain relief, I will add it to the whole blender jar of smoothie if he gives me the green light.

I wonder how far we can go with this green smoothie thing before we cannot tolerate it....

Friday, December 9, 2016

Food Friday: Pitiful (Nevertheless Cute) Reindeer Cookies

Somewhere online I saw some adorable reindeer cookies.  I decided to try them for early morning food.  This is how I proceeded:

Measured 2 cups chocolate chips and 1 Tablespoon coconut oil into a glass measuring cup.  Microwaved for 30 seconds, removed from microwave to stir, returned for 30 more seconds, stirred again.  They were nicely melted.  Your microwave might take longer.  Check EVERY 30 seconds or you will burn the chocolate.

Opened a package of sandwich cookies that I had found at the Dollar Tree. Dropped the cookies one at a time into the melted chocolate then turned over and lifted out with salad tonge and laid on a parchment-paper-lined pan.  After getting a dozen or so of them coated with chocolate I laid two small pretzel knots on top of the individual cookies, covered with a piece of parchment paper and a large storage container to weight down the paper.  It was my view that doing this would keep the "horns" happily in place on the cookies while the chocolate cooled.

Because it was below freezing outside, I put the pan on a table on the front porch for a few minutes. In the meantime I went through a container of M and M's, both plain and peanut, to find whites for the eyes and reds for the Rudolph noses.

By that time the cookies on the porch were solid!  Bringing them inside, I flipped them over so the "horns" were on the bottom.  I poured more melted chocolate on top of the top/face of the cookies then placed the eyes and nose.  It would have been good to use some sort of grabber or tongs for this job.  OH!  As I am thinking of this now, I should have found the sugar tongs my brother brought home from France where he served as a missionary decades ago.  They would have been perfect for this job.

Well, as you can see, precision is NOT my middle name.  However, I do think they look rather cute.  If you make them, they will be wonderful.

Even with the pitiful appearance, they are edible.  In fact, so edible that I removed leftovers to drop off with the local grandchildren so I would not inadvertently eat one.  Or two.  Or more.  (Have you ever noticed that if you have a treat in your house that is highly visible it is almost impossible to walk by without reaching out to it?  It is better to have a bowl of lovely kale salad sitting on the counter with a clear top on it.)

Perhaps the next reindeer food item will be more attractive.  There IS another one in the wings....

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Knitting: Socks Pink, Socks Purple

Often when I have knitted socks in the past I have made two socks at once.  I used to do it with the Magic Loop method but more recently I have used "Two Socks on Two Circs"...sock knitting introduced to me by Cat Bordhi  knitting one sock on two circular needles which I found you can actually do two at once.

With my desire to finish up all in-progress projects this year, I picked up this "pair" of socks and finished them recently.  I had cast on at the toe and then worked increases until I had 64 stitches on the needles.  There was an actual pattern that I started to knit but found it too time-consuming to carry on with it and also thought that it was going to make socks that were too loose for me feet so I changed to Knit 2 Purl 2 ribbing for the instep and leg.  That worked fine and the funky start to the socks is hidden by my shoes.

Another thing I did as I picked up the socks again recently was to try a new-to-me method for the heel...a toe-up Dutch heel sort of.  I don't have the data with me at the moment but will share it more fully in a potential future post when I finish the second socks.  I will say that I thought I knew what I was doing and knitted merrily away until the heel flap was almost done when I realize I was wrong.  Ripping out all those stitches was a little annoying.  In order to stop without going to far, I inserted a size 1(US) circular needle across both socks then with I arrived there having ripped back, I just started re-knitting the correct way with the "other" circular needle.

These socks have not yet been blocked but they blocked up really well.  I wore this pair of socks to Church this week.  Think of all the nice people who either:  1.  did not notice the socks, or 2.  were so nice they did not mention to me that I was wearing two totally disparate socks...probably thinking/knowing for sure that I have gone over the edge mentally...!

Well, I don't mind wearing different socks.  They are kind of cool.  The great thing is they did not match ANYTHING ELSE I was wearing.  I am trying to decide if that means: 1.  I have total self-confidence, or 2. I am totally unaware of what I am doing....

Oh, one last thing on this pair of socks...I decided to stop at short socks.  They were perfect!

Winter Garden December 2016

When I went to Stern's Produce Market one time this summer, the nice young man taking my money observed that I had three bunches of green onions/scallions.  He said, "You know, you can grow your own green onions from these plants after you use up the greens, don't you?"

No, I did not know that.  When I get home from Stern's I always put the green onions in a glass of water to keep them happy until I am ready to use them.  I have sometimes cut off a few of the greens and left the rest in the water.  Amazingly, more greens begin to grow, so that one purchase of scallions gives a lot of nice "greens".

Well...after talking with the nice boy at Stern's, I used all the greens on my scallions then took the cut-off white bottoms with the roots on them upstairs to where we have a nice big planter in a south window.  I planted them in the dirt and, in no time at all, lots of green came rushing up to the sky.  I have cut them numerous times.

Sadly,  in the last month-plus, I have not spent much time upstairs so the poor little creatures have not had any drinking water.  I took this picture to guilt myself into taking better care of the scallions.  I gave them a GREAT BIG drink and don't they look happy now!

This picture was taken after the watering.They are reaching for the sky again.
You will notice all the dried bits.  Bad me for not taking care of them and using the greens.  I think from now I will stop being lazy and just go up and harvest at least once a week.  Scallions are good in just about everything.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Munchie Monday: Cinnamon Toast Roll-ups

Today is a snowy day in central Vermont.  It has been snowing for about five hours.  Snow is mounting up, to some extent.  It is a day when you want to do something productive but not necessarily outdoors.  What I decided to do was experiment with food!  Sometimes we get a winner, though more often, not!

Today I decided to make cinnamon toast roll-ups as a possible early morning food offering.
Cinnamon Toast Roll-ups--some with crusts on, some with no crusts.

This is the process:

Collect ingredients and tools.
--store bought "Wonder"-type bread, it can be on the stale side--though if it is colorful (i.e. moldy), probably set that slice aside to innoculate the birds from pneumonia...
--very soft butter
--shaker bottle of cinnamon and sugar (to make your own: mix 1/4 cup sugar with 1 Tablespoon cinnamon and shake well.  You can vary the proportion of sugar to cinnamon to suit your taste.)
--rolling pin
--cookie sheet
--parchment paper, if you like
--knife, or other "spreader" for the butter

Start to pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F.

On a clean counter top, use the rolling pin to roll out one slice of bread to flatten it. Leave the crust on, or take it off if you want.  With the knife,  spread the soft butter to the edges of the mashed slice of bread.  Sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar then roll up gently into a tight-ish roll.  Place "seam side" down on the parchment-paper-covered cookie sheet.  Spread more butter on the top of the roll-up.

Continue to do this until you have made all the roll-ups you want.

Bake in the preheated 350 degree F. oven for 10 minutes, but check after 5 minutes and 8 minutes to make sure they are not too brown.  The pictured roll-ups could have used more time in the oven, at least they were not as brown as I wanted them to be but I was too gutless to leave them in longer.  Experiments are fun but I am rather averse to food disasters...which can happen when food is in the oven even a little bit too long.  I prefer a little under-cooked to burned to a crisp.  These had a nice little brown seam side though.


One thing to remember:  these things go down really quickly.  Just remember that you are eating a whole slice of bread, maybe very fast....

I cannot give you a report on Dear One's opinion.  I can only say that I just checked the bowl (he has gone out for a walk in the snow) and found:  empty!  I do not think he realized that each roll was one slice of bread.  Note the previous paragraph about fast consumption.

Handwork: Thrift Store Bonus!

Some time ago I was at a thrift store.  Not at all an unusual occurrence. It is not possible to drive by a thrift store, unless I am not alone in the car.  SOME PEOPLE are not as fond of thrift stores/charity shops as I am BUT that same SOME PEOPLE usually goes in, and often finds something not to be passed up, also!  Enough said.

Anyway, on this particular visit I did my usual checking:  books, kitchen equipment, yarn and craft goods.  There was a small bag with a good-sized skein of yarn in it and a strange looking hard plastic gadget with a point-y spindle on it.  I was not sure about it but it was $2.00.  I almost walked by but then, on closer inspection, I saw there was a cable which I knew meant a circular knitting needle.  I looked one more time and realized it was a RED cable!  Red!  That meant it was a ChiaoGoo Red Lace circular needle!  Well!  I snatched up that bag so fast the wind almost knocked the person at the check-out station off his feet! 

You see, I had just previously purchased a US size 7 16-inch circular needle from these people/this brand to spend a morning knitting with a friend at the White River Yarn shop (which, sadly, had to close due to family concerns) and had LOVED the needles and decided to purchase more as need and finances  allowed.

This $2.00 purchase included:  nearly a full skein of nice-enough yarn, the ChiaoGoo 24" circular lace needle (onto which had been cast on about 72 stitches but no actual knitting done), as well as the Yarn Valet, which it what the funky spindle device turned out to be.

The needles I put into use immediately.  Yay for good knitting needles!  I have a lot of knitting needles.  These are now my favorites.

Yarn Valet with the price tag still on it.  I hate the sticky spots after removing tags so...it is not hurting anything, just aesthetics.
The Yarn Valet just sat on the little table by my rocking chair for ages.  Last week I was knitting a washcloth using a ball of yarn (Peaches and Creme) that had had the end of yarn wrapped around the ball. I usually knit from a center-pull ball, and imagined this is what I was doing.  Wrong.  When I had used the yarn up back to where it came off the ball, it was the outside pull not the center pull.  When I looked up from knitting, my eyes landed on the Yarn Valet.  I gave it a try. It works marvelously!  Just drop the yarn onto the spindle and start knitting!

Now I think I will just knit from the outside of balls or cakes of yarn.  No more digging into the center to try to find the beginning of the yarn.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Food Friday: Kale Chips for Thanksgiving

Our local son and daughter-in-law invited us to eat  Thanksgiving dinner with them and their family.  They were going to prepare everything.  Did not need us to bring anything, so....my thought was, if we brought something, it would be a bonus.  We brought the leftover raw onion and flax crackers and some freshly "chipped" kale from our garden.  (We have three more plants that I am hoarding, but will have to use them up soon, I am afraid.  Next year I will plant a LOT more.)

To harvest the kale at this end of season, I actually pulled up the three smallest-producing plants, pulled off the leaves and buried the roots and stems in the garden's hay covering, hoping they would begin their composting over the winter.

Next I washed each leaf individually, and VERY well, picking off the pine needles that the recent high winds had blown onto these valiant soldiers in the garden.

After the leaves were clean, I tore the kale off the ribs, making them more or less chip-sized and put them in a large clean stainless steel bowl.

Over the pieces of kale I poured 1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil then with my very clean hands I gently massaged the oil and kale together.  When each leaf-let had a sheen of oil on it I put on coarse kosher salt (about 1 teaspoon) and freshly ground black pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon), tossed lightly, then put on a pan.

Previously I had set the oven to 225 degrees F to preheat.  Yes, 225.

The pan went into the oven for 20 minutes, after which time I checked on the chips. They were still a glorious green and much of the chips were ready to eat.  Since the rest were not, I put the pan back into the oven for 10 more minutes.  That was actually too long, if green kale chips was our goal.  They were all crispy then, not at all burned, just not as pretty green anymore.

After eating a few slightly not-crispy leaves, I let the rest cool then put them in a container to take to share with our Thanksgiving dinner.   Several of us really liked them.

When traveling with kale chips, you really do need to have a sturdy covered container, and a gentle hand.  It is very possible to "break" the chips.  If they are slightly less cooked, they hold up better.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Another Yummy Smoothie Drink: Chocolate Banana!

The second recipe try in a row was a winner!  At least I loved it.  Dear One gave me the wavy fingers, but he drank it all and made no negative comments. I consider that a success.  Not a BIG success but still, successful.

This is what I did:

Using our blender, I put in--

1 cup unsweetened Almond Breeze almond milk
1 frozen banana chopped into about 1-inch chunks (I chopped the chunks before freezing, placed them on a tray in freezer.  When frozen, I put them into a plastic bag.)
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon ground flax seeds (flax seed meal)

Let the blender roar until the smoothie is, well, smooth.  Probably about a minute in our blender jar.

Pour into a tall glass and enjoy.

You will need a spoon because it is nice and thick and frozen.  Just what I like in a smoothie.  You may, too.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Knitting: Slip Stitch Designs

While slipping around here and there on the internet the other day I found Purl Soho.  There were several dishcloths using slip-stitch patterns.  This technique appeals to me because you can make some rather stunning designs in multiple colors but only using one color per row.  What is not to love?

We were going to northern Vermont for a family get-together.  Since this trip is not something we make frequently, I looked around to see if there were any yarn shops handy by that just had to visit.  There were!  The one I chose for our visit (because it had the Euroflax yarn called for in this pattern...) was Northeast Fiber Arts Center.   It is a FABULOUS fiber arts center.  ANYTHING you want to do, you can find the tools and materials there. Also the proprietor was so very helpful and took the time I needed to explain something else to me which I will discuss at another time.   I was so tempted to lay down some of my dwindling play money supply, but at the last moment sanity prevailed.  I cannot buy one more thing until I have finished more of my already-started projects!  I cannot, cannot, cannot.  If I say it enough times maybe I will hear it.  And obey!

Anyway, I did not turn out to buy the Euroflax yarn.  It was very very costly and is knit at a pretty fine gauge.  It sounds like it would be wonderful but I have a LOT of nice cotton worsted weight yarn that I need to use up so...I just needed to re-engineer this pattern to work at a larger gauge.  

This is what I have done.  (Well, at least, this is how I have started...)

Cotton worsted weight yarn in two different colors:  name one Color A and the other Color B.  You might even want to write down in your knitting notebook for this project which is Color A and which is Color B.

US Size 7 knitting needles, or even US size  6 or 5.  It just depends on what you like.  I am going to use this for a washcloth so I am using size 7.  (Plus there were two size 7 straight needles in the bottom of the basket where I found the yarn--two part balls of blue and one part ball of red, so I felt that was expedient, picked up the needles, and began knitting.)

There was a certain amount of mental energy spent to translate the finer gauge yarn at 75 stitches cast on to a larger gauge to knit a cloth that is a good size for a face cloth.  I decided to try 39 stitches, and miracle of miracles, that number was right the first time.  (The cast on number had to accommodate the pattern design.  It did.  Such a relief.)

Cloth about half done.
 Many knitters will know that "slip 1 wyib" means to slip the next stitch purlwise with the working yarn in back of the work.  Thus "slip 1 wyif" means that you will slip the next stitch after bringing the working yarn to the front as if you were going to purl (unless you purl Norwegian style--in which case, bring the yarn to the front between the needles before slipping the stitch.) then slipping the stitch and returning the working yard between needles to the back of the work again and continue knitting.  The first time or two it might seem awkward, but it will become second nature really soon.


With Color A, cast on 39 stitches.

Row 1 (wrong side): Purl.

Row 2 (right side): With Color C, k3, *slip 1 with yarn in back (wyib), k3, repeat from * to end of row.

Row 3: With Color C, slip 1 wyib, k2, *slip 1 with yarn in front (wyif), k3, repeat from * to end of row.

Row 4: With Color A, k1, *slip 1 wyib, k3, repeat from * to last 2 stitches, slip 1 wyib, k1.

Row 5: With Color A, slip 1 wyib, *slip 1 wyif, k3, repeat from * to last 2 stitches, slip 1 wyif, k1.

Repeat Rows 2 – 5 until piece measures the length you want your cloth, ending with a Row 3. 

Since I am not there yet, this is what I will do:  when I get to almost the place where I think the cloth will be square, I will fold the knitting diagonally and see if it is square, or almost square, then work to Row 3. 

At that point I will knit one row of Color A, then turn work and cast off on the wrong side, purlwise.  No, it will not look exactly like the cast on row but--it will work and be reasonable.  If someone knows a better way to do this,  please let me know and I will share it with others on this page.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Munchie Monday: Easy Delicious Fruit Smoothie

We had some fruit and juices in the house.  I was feeling like not making anything big for supper.  Dear One agreed that a smoothie would fill the bill. 

This is what I did:

Got out the Bosch mixer with blender jar attachment.

Into the blender jar I poured:

1 cup orange juice
1 cup cranberry juice
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup frozen (sweetened, this time) strawberries
2 Tablespoons ground flax seed meal

Turned on the blender and blended until thoroughly mixed and ground up.

Served into two 12 ounce glasses.

Sucked it down as fast as the frozen beverage would allow!

Sorry there are no pictures.  We drank it before I thought of the camera.

A while afterwards Dear One heated some frozen french fries in the oven then ate them.

Not to be outdone so I took two slices of Red Hen 100% whole wheat bread, put on a little mayonnaise and two small slices of homemade baked seasoned tofu.  This makes a great sandwich.  You feel as good as if you were eating an actual Reuben sandwich. At least the tooth feel makes you imagine a nice meat-based sandwich but it is made of plants.  Next time I will get out the sauerkraut!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

May your heart be filled with gratitude this day, and every day, for the multitude of blessings from our Heavenly Father.  May you show and speak thanks to all those around you who bless your life and teach you new things.  It will make you happy to show gratitude.

My heart is filled with gratitude and love for the kind readers of this blog who make me happy every time I see that you have read a post.  I also love your comments both here and on Facebook.  Thank you ever so much.  My life is richer for your association.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Newsy Bits: Long Visit in the Emergency Room BUT ALL IS WELL

Don't spend even one second worrying. I am fine.  Just had to follow up on a troubling bit of pain in the wrong place.

After blood work twice, EKG, chest X-ray, and finally an exercise stress test, I was sent home in good shape.  Another heart scare.  Another time it turned out to be nothing.  Well, not nothing, just not something to worry about.  So I won't.  I probably won't go back again with the same pain in another year or two, if I remember this time....

Another instance of poor photographic techniques, and to show my emergency room bracelet to verify what I just told you....!

Did a little shopping for groceries on the way home, including getting a salad and some chicken...falling off the plant wagon. I had not eaten nor had anything to drink in 24 hours and was shaking and headaching so I went for quick and easy.  The orange juice was good, too!

Arrived home and remembered I had planned to turn the dehydrator on this morning to finish the apples I had put dehydrating yesterday but turned off at bed time. I checked them and turned them on again.  They need a few more hours. I am going to chance waking up in the night and shutting the dehydrator off then.

It probably was a good thing to have spent this day as I did.  I am sorry for those who knew about it and were worrying. The one good thing that came out of it was that I learned (in the stress test) that I can walk a lot harder than I normally do.  That is a good thing.  I hope I remember that tomorrow and go for it.

Well, happy trails to all! I am going to hit the hay now...

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

GENEalogy and Family HiSTORY: Note from grandchildren

Some time ago I was staying with the local grandchildren while their parents were out for a little much-needed time away.  There were many activities we engaged in while I was there:  watercolor painting, knitting, reading books, telling stories, watching a little "show", etc.

At one point I was getting started on making supper. I like to make plant-based things sometimes, and do that if I have come prepared.  On this occasion I believe I was making a plant meal.  The youngest two children disappeared upstairs for a while.  After quite a while they returned and handed me the note in the picture.

The four-year old had dictated it to the six-year old.  I found it sweeter than sweet.  And their faces as they handed me the note!  I wish I had had a camera at the ready.  Well, the picture is in my heart.

Today as I am cleaning out and organizing, I took pictures of a number of paper items, and then put the actual items through the shredder. I have not been able to shred this piece of paper...

Monday, November 21, 2016

Munchie Monday: Red Refrigerator Soup

When I was growing up our mother often would go to the refrigerator, pull out a few containers of leftovers, and make the most delicious refrigerator soup.  Absolutely scrumptious soups.  The only problem was, they were impossible to replicate.

In our house, I have made a few refrigerator soups.  They are rarely popular, except with me.  This time I made one which I am not even going to offer to Dear One. He does not need to feel like a bad guy.  I AM rather likely to share it, however, because there were two quarts of it!

To start any good soup you need to get out a large saucepan and a good-sized onion.  Add 2 cups water to the pan and start it heating over medium heat.  Add the chopped onion and put on the cover.

Now go to the refrigerator and see what is in those three or four containers that have been there a couple days or more.  Because we did not have a lot of containers this time, I cut up several small red potatoes, skins and all, and popped them in to cook with the onions.  I also smashed a couple cloves of garlic and dropped them on top.

Now for the good stuff:  some celery was just about ready to go, as in: rather wilted, so I chopped it and tossed it in. There was a tiny bit of kale.  Next two very small containers of thyme-roasted beets, then some very wilted lettuce which I chopped fine.  Half a green bell pepper was chopped well and added to the pot.  The next to the last delight was about a cup of sauerkraut and juice.  I know what you are thinking, BUT it really gave the soup some pizzazz!  Finally I checked the refrigerator one more time to see if there was something else hiding in there that the soup needed.  There was!  A pint of homemade tomato-vegetable sauce.  In it went and the soup was just about ready.

There was not much broth, which I think is the best part of any soup so I added some more water and a teaspoon of Better Than Bouillon Vegetable seasoning
This soup was pretty good.  Of course,  the picture is not a food photographer's dream, but you get the idea.  I am looking forward to another bowlful pretty soon.  Well, the next time I need to eat, which won't be for a while.

Friday, November 18, 2016

TannyRaw made these crackers on YouTube. I thought I had posted about them but do not seem to find them.  This is a recipe/process you are going to think is not worth the effort and is not worth trying, but the  results really are worth the effort. I was sorry I was not able to take them to Relief Society tonight to share with the sisters.

This is what I did:

Ground 3/4 cup flax seeds in the blender.

Chopped 4 sweet onions then ground them in the food processor until they were really mostly mush.

In a large bowl I mixed together the onions, flax seed meal, 1 1/2 Tablespoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, and a pinch of salt.  (TannyRaw did not put in salt.  I am still a salt person but this was very little salt.  Truly a tiny pinch and it made a difference.)

When they were completely homogenized, I put them into the fruit leather tray in our dehydrator.  This made three trays full.

After 9 hours at 135 degrees F. I did not think they were done/crispy and dry enough so I shut them off overnight. (I did not want them to burn during that time. I knew they were just about ready.)

The next morning I gave them another 3 hours then pulled them off the fruit leather trays.

These are so delicious.  Store them tightly covered after eating your fill.  After three days of having the cover off, they are beginning to soften up a little.  They are much like fruit leather now.   I think I will put them back in the dehydrator for a little while. Or the oven.

Did I say these were acceptable to Dear One?  They were!

UPDATE:  I put them back in the dehydrator for a couple hours and they crisped right up.  Perfectly edible again.

Food Friday: Raw Onion Crackers!!! They are really good!

TannyRaw made these crackers on YouTube. I thought I had posted about them but do not seem to find them.  This is a recipe/process you are going to think is not worth the effort and is not worth trying, but the  results really are worth the effort. I was sorry I was not able to take them to Relief Society tonight to share with the sisters.

This is what I did:

Ground 3/4 cup flax seeds in the blender.

Chopped 4 sweet onions then ground them in the food processor until they were really mostly mush.

In a large bowl I mixed together the onions, flax seed meal, 1 1/2 Tablespoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, and a pinch of salt.  (TannyRaw did not put in salt.  I am still a salt person but this was very little salt.  Truly a tiny pinch and it made a difference.)

When they were completely homogenized, I put them into the fruit leather tray in our dehydrator.  This made three trays full.

After 9 hours at 135 degrees F. I did not think they were done/crispy and dry enough so I shut them off overnight. (I did not want them to burn during that time. I knew they were just about ready.)

The next morning I gave them another 3 hours then pulled them off the fruit leather trays.

These are so delicious.  Store them tightly covered after eating your fill.  After three days of having the cover off, they are beginning to soften up a little.  They are much like fruit leather now.   I think I will put them back in the dehydrator for a little while. Or the oven.

Did I say these were acceptable to Dear One?  They were!

UPDATE:  I put them back in the dehydrator for a couple hours and they crisped right up.  Perfectly edible again.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Garden Harvest: Roasted Beets

Beets are not my favorite vegetables.  They are edible however, and are supposed to be very good for you.  SO...when I was given a bunch of beets, I decided to roast some of them.  In the back of my mind I remember making some wonderful roasted beets many years ago when dear friends asked us to use their CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) shares when they were going to be gone for half the summer.  That particular CSA hostess often included recipes, especially for vegetables that were lesser well-known.  She gave us a recipe for roasted beets, roasted in the (well-scrubbed) skins.  They were so very good.  Just not good enough for me to plant beets in our garden yet.  If I find the recipe and it still is as good as I remember, perhaps beets will be in the garden next year.

This is what I did with the beets:

Scrubbed 5 large beets.  Cut off the tops and the root ends.  Cut the beets in half then sliced into 1/2 inch slices then sliced the other direction as well.

Put the beet chunks in a 3-quart bowl.

Beets in 3-quart bowl
Added to the bowl:
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Mixed all this together well (I used my hands, but you could use a rubber spatula or long-handled wooden spoon.  I enjoyed licking the salt-pepper-and-thyme-y goodness off my fingers.)

Preheated the oven to 400 degrees F.

Beets on pan and ready to roast

Put the prepared beets on a large rimmed baking pan, in this case a half-sheet pan.  Spread the beets around so they were in one layer.  Cooked for 30 minutes.  Removed from oven and stirred well then returned to oven for another 30 minutes of cooking.  Removed from oven again and let sit a few minutes to cool.

Roasted beets cooling

They were more than edible!  Not fantastic as in feeling like I had died-and-gone-to-Heaven good, but very much eat-able.  Based on how these taste, I may try to turn some of them into borscht soup.  My last effort in the borscht department was such a disaster taste-wise that I thought I would never make it again.  Just today I saw a recipe that looks really good.  It uses sauercraut!  What can go wrong with sauercraut?!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Early Morning Food Success: Nutella "Crescents"

After a string of not-so-well-loved early morning food episodes, I finally struck a chord with the kids:  Nutella Crescents.

This is what I did:

Opened a can of Crescent Roll Sheets and laid out two sheets, pinching them together slightly where they had been perforated.

Cut each sheet into 6 (more or less) square pieces of dough.

Placed 1 Tablespoon (or a little less)  Nutella in the middle of the dough.

Ran a dampened-with-water finger around the outside edges.

Folded the dough over on itself to make a rectangle then pressed down firmly all the edges.

Placed on a parchment-lined half sheet pan and baked for 12-14 minutes in a 350 degree F. oven.

When done I sprinkled a little confectioner's sugar over the top.

These went like wildfire!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Harrisville, NH Weaving Workshop

Quite a few years ago Aunt Freda very kindly gave me her Harrisville Designs 36-inch, 4-harness floor loom.  It came up soon afterwards that the Harrisville Designs people in Harrisville, NH had a 5-day Learn To Weave Workshop.  By a miracle I was able to attend that program.

Tom Jipson was the teacher.  We met in an upstairs studio and worked on 22-inch looms with the beautiful Harrisville weaving yarns.  There were two different weights. I used the heavier weight for my projects.  I have forgotten the reasoning but that is what I used.

We had the assignment to make four (or was it five) different stitch samplers.  These were actually a nice size for a scarf when they were done.  By the end of the week I had completed all but one of the samplers, which made me very happy.  I don't think anyone completed all of them.  There were some intermediate weavers who did just plain stunning work. I wish I had pictures of their work to share.  One of their assignments was to use most of the Harrisville yarn colors.  They wove a throw on larger looms.  The squares of colors marched across the throw  in diagonals.  So fabulous.

Here are some shots of one of the samplers I made:

One end of one of the samplers is below. The fringe was  fun to make but took a little effort.  Well, every new thing takes effort.  In this case, I believe it was worth the effort.

This section shows several errors.  I still like it.  You can see that the warp was composed of two colors, pink for the lower half and blue for the upper half.  The weft was different for each section.

These squares show some pretty simple work and is mostly correct.  What a surprise!  Weaving is really enjoyable.  The most work is selecting yarn, winding and cutting it to the correct length after doing some nifty math problems...length of fringe, length of project, length of sample at the beginning, take up, etc, etc, etc.  (And that is just the warp!  You still have to figure the weft, and then wind the bobbins. ) Once the math is done, the yarn is wrapped and cut, then you have to dress the loom (with the warp). I was so grateful to have a great instructor there who always answered all questions.

This first project was completed late the first night. 

The  studio was open 24 hours I seem to remember so you could go in and work whenever you wanted.  Most mornings I was there by 6 AM and worked until 9 or 10 PM or later.  Nearing the end of the week I had to let up on the long hours and went back to the rooming house to visit with the other weavers who were staying there.  We had such a great time together.  We kept up with one another for a while but then we sort of drew apart.  Sad.  They were wonderful women.  So talented in so many different ways. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Munchie Monday: Food Failure

Just to add to the list of food failures...I thought I would make a smooth that someone on Facebook posted and said it was great.  News Flash:  It was not.  I can eat almost anything, but this was definitely not pleasing.  A little too gritty.  Having said that, Dear One ate his whole serving!

This is what was in it:

1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup frozen cherries
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon ground flax seeds
1 teaspoon chia seeds
3 ounces firm tofu, chopped
1 cup almond or other plant milk

Put everything except the almond milk in your sturdy blender (if the frozen strawberries were very large, chop them somewhat).
Healthy smoothie, if you can take it...

Pour the milk on top and blend well.  It makes a nice thick smoothie.

WELL....it was not the best. It was certainly good for you, BUT the taste was not the best.  For one thing, I did not have blueberries which were actually called for in the recipe. 

For the main problem:  we are accustomed to orange juice-based smoothies.  Having an almond milk-based smoothie did not work for our tastes.  You may love it. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Food Friday: Breakfast Salad

Yesterday I woke feeling like salad.  So I made one.  For breakfast.  It was a large salad (Dr. Michael Greger's  Daily Dozen App calls for a large salad every day.) No,  actually it was a gigantic salad.

This is what was in it:

2 handfuls of chopped romaine lettuce
1 very large handful baby arugula
1 medium head of raw broccoli chopped, including stem
1/4 small red onion finely sliced
1/3 cup chopped cooked red beets (don't I feel virtuous about eating those!!!)
1/2 cup cooked garbanzo beans
Some Vidalia Viniagrette salad dressing

I forgot the ground flaxseed meal I planned to put on top.

I tossed all this together and managed to eat it all.  I woke up this morning 3 pounds lighter!!  That may have had something to do with the fact that I ate one medium/large baked-in-the-microwave russett potato and one Tofurky kielbasa link (seasoned with a little General Tso's sauce) for my other meal for the day.  Plus a good bit of water.

This was Day One of my 10-day goal of eating totally plant-based foods.  We will see if I can get beyond the first day.  Not as easy as one might expect.

The idea for the 10-Day plant-based eating came this time from Dr. McDougall's webpage.   If you go to this page and look at the column on the right you will see 10-Day Meal Plan.  It is the same thing he uses in his very expensive residential program.  Click on that plan and download a PDF of his recipes.  They mostly seem reasonable to me, though because they are different from our "usual" I will probably have trouble selling them to the local family.  Oh well. I can become healthier....

Breakfast Salad!  Yummy.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Garden 2016: Put To Bed

Today I finally went out to finish up putting the garden to bed for 2016.  It is now done.  Well, except for putting away the last of the garden hoses. I somehow imagined that Dear One was going to wash the car one more time this fall (not that I wanted him to do that, he just seems to do that sort of thing pretty often), but he says no.  Yay.  One more thing can be taken care of before the snow falls.

Front garden put to bed
Side garden put to bed
These gardens do not look appreciably different from the last picture I posted, but underneath they are much happier. I took our four-tined garden fork and fluffed the hay.  I am just certain the soil underneath is happier.  The last of the kale is also happy to have warm feet.  I will probably harvest that in the next couple of days.  I think I will plant more kale next year. I love that stuff.  Now that I know how to raise and, more importantly, harvest it, I am a very happy lady.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

GENEalogy and Family HiSTORY: The Beginning Story

From my teenage years I have been interested in learning about my family, both ancestors and what came to be my posterity.  It all started when my mother began preparing a four-generation pedigree chart with associated family group records in the late 1960's to submit to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah at the request of Church leaders.

For my undergraduate work I went to Brigham Young University.  One Sunday afternoon I went to the library which was open for genealogy research.  I had had no success that day, but a lot of fun, searching for our immigrant ancestor, Matthias Corwin.  We believed he had come to Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1633 but had not found how he got there, or the town from which he emigrated.

The library chimed that it was time to leave. I picked up my papers and began sauntering out.  Walking through two stacks I saw (and can still see it today!) a thin red leather volume that called out to me.  I pulled it out and thumbed through it.  It was a book of passenger lists.  There on the page was Matthias Corwin, his brother George, and his sister  Martha (I think)!  They had come from Sibbertoft, Northamptonshire, England.  That was the information I had been seeking, and there it was.

That hooked me!

Sadly, I did not record the name, etc of the book so I do not have an actual source record, just my memory.  Memory being what it is, well, I am trying to locate that book now after all those years.  Maybe with online options, I will find it.

For all the years since that day, I have been learning and teaching genealogy and family history principles.  In fact tomorrow I will be presenting to the local Rotary Club.  I have a very short slide presentation. Because I imagine these men and women will be meeting on their lunch hour, I need to be fast. I will speak briefly about myself and background as I was asked, talk about what a genealogist does, show a little video, then show a minute part of FamilySearch.org.

We shall see how it goes.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Derwent Inktense Watercolor Pencils

The Frugal Crafter has mentioned, and demonstrated, the Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils multiple times.  Recently the Holiday catalog came from Dick Blick's Art Supplies.  There were deep discounts on these pencils.  I looked at them for quite some time.  Ordered the small set to try them out, BUT had the order declined because of a problem with my payment.  It turns out that I had not updated my online buying method the last time my info was stolen by someone in Texas...

After I fixed the purchasing info I started looking around to see if I could get these Inktense pencils at the same price elsewhere.  I could!  At a site which had no shipping charges!  SO  I went ahead and made the plunge, going for this much bigger box.

So far I have not done any real work with the pencils, but winter is coming on. I am hoping to give up many of  the other activities on my plate and hunker down with these pencils, a pot of water, and some wonderful Arches watercolor paper which was a gift from a friend.  Well, and maybe a basket of previously started knitting projects...knitting is always good winter work in a rocking chair beside the woodstove.

When Lindsay Weirich suggests any color supply set, she usually says to purchase the largest set you can afford rather than buying a small set then a larger one, since that way you always have duplicate implements.  I did not want to go the $100 set, which was the largest offered and which price was half price at Blick. Yikes!  One hundred dollars was half price!!!  I could not afford that set.  (Actually, I want to spend the next $100 I have to play with on DNA testing, for whatever that will be worth.)

When I have anything completed, I will show and tell my experience with these Inktense pencils.