Saturday, July 31, 2010

Banana Whips

Makes 2 smoothies

2 bananas
1 cup milk
1-2 T. honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon (if desired)
1 cup ice cubes

In blender, place bananas, milk, honey, vanilla and cinnamon. Blend on high until smooth. Add ice cubes and blend until icy cold. Pour into two serving glasses.

Can use frozen bananas. Add 1 cup frozen banana slices in place of one regular banana.

Banana Toffee Chocolate Bites

3 large ripe bananas
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 T. canola oil
1/2 cup toffee bits

Peel bananas and cut into 1 inch slices (can also leave as larger pieces). Place on baking sheet and freeze 30 minutes.

Melt both types chocolate with oil in bowl over simmering water, stirring often. (double boiler pot).
 Stirring often. Remove from heat. And stir in toffee bits, allow to cool slightly.

Remove bananas from freezer. Dip each slice into chocolate mixture, allowing excess chocolate to drip off. Return coated bananas to wax paper lined baking sheet. Return to freezer for several hours until bananas are frozen. Transfer frozen treats to air tight containers and keep in freezer until serving.

Chicken Quesadillas with Chipotle-Cilantro Cream

1 tsp. olive oil
4 7 -8 inch whole wheat tortillas, folded in half
1 cup black or pinto beans, rinsed, drained and mashed
1/2 cup montery jack cheese
1/2 cup shredded queso cotija or queso fresco (or monterey jack)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken

Chipotle-Cilantro Cream
1 chipotle en adobo
(removed from one 7 ounce can)
3 sprigs fresh cilantro, stem ends removed
3/4 cup low fat sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

Preheat electric frying pan to 375 or a stovetop frying pan to medium high. Add olive oil to pan, when hot add folded tortillas, curved sides out. (you may need to do this in batches if they don't all fit)
Open tortillas and fill with beans, cheese and chicken. Cook until golden brown; then flip and cook other side. Repeat with remaining quesadilla ingredients if necessary.

In a blender puree chipotle, cilantro, and sour cream or yogurt until smooth. Season with salt. Drizzle over hot quesadillas.

Pantry Ready Black bean soup

From Delicious Living May 2010

Serves 4
Great with cornbread muffins

1 tsp. olive oil
1 medium red or green bell pepper, chopped
2 tsp. chopped garlic
1 14 ounce can chopped tomatoes with juice
1 4 ounce can chopped green chilies
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 T. dried thyme
1 T. ground cumin
2 c. vegetable or chicken broth
4 16 ounce cans black beans rinsed and drained

In large pot over medium heat, combine oil, bell pepper, and garlic. Saute for a few minutes until tender. (don't let garlic brown)

Add remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Puree 2 cups of the mixture in a blender and return to pot. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and more spices. Heat through and serve.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Working on foot

Yesterday I started knitting the gusset part of the sock. I was nervous to do it because I wasn't sure if I could remember how it was done. It turned out to be super easy. Today I've been knitting the foot part. I'm really hoping to get it completely done tonight so that tomorrow I can work on the other sock. It's just seems to be going really slow though. I still have 1 1/2 more inches to go. And I started knitting three hours ago! (8 inches total)

I'll post up pictures when I get it done. After that just the toe part and closing it up. Not much longer...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sock- second time around

So as you read earlier, I took out the first sock I was making and started over...

So far so good. I'm just now working on the heel flap. When I start working on the gusset I will take pictures of that process, since this sock looks so similar to the first one.

I've really been taking my sweet time with it. I don't want to mess up on it again. So, I've been knitting a round dish cloth. This is my 8th or 9th try to make a round one and so far so good. I only have a few rounds left.

I will definitely be posting up some pictures of it when I get it done. It's not a hard pattern but it takes all my concentration to do, so I doubt I will be making any more of them. I really like the simple knit and purl designs.

I got some cotton yarn on sale at Pamida's on Tuesday. And what a great deal it was! But it's not for my etsy shop. I'm not ready yet to reveal what it's for, so you'll just have to wait and see!

Until next time!

Caplinger Mills

On Tuesday, Nick took me to Pamida's. A store in Eldorado Springs, MO. Every once in awhile they will have my favorite yarn on sale and that happened to be the last day of the sale. I really like that store except that they tend to have a lot of weirdos that hang out there. It reminds me of a Big Lot's. Anyways, afterwards, Nick said we were going to take a drive. I love country drives!

We got turned around at one point and missed our turn so we just drove out in the country and it was so beautiful! Then, he told me of a place he wanted to take me. Caplinger Mills. They have canoeing and fishing there. I told him at first I didn't want to go just to take a look. I wanted to be able to go canoeing, but that wasn't possible.

So, we went there and looked around the tiny town. I loved it! It was fun! We walked along a bridge and saw the dam there. We could peer over the bridge and see fish swimming below. The water was pretty clear. We stopped in at two RV resorts and asked about their prices. We stopped in at one place and found out the canoe rates. It's definitely a place I want to visit for the weekend or a couple of days during the week, (which would probably be less busy)

One place had cabins to rent that seemed nice. In fact, the canoe place told us of two different RV sites that were in competition with each other and always raising their prices. That seemed a bit backward. I would think they would be lowering their prices! lol One of the camping places even has a yurt to rent. I've always thought it would be neat to live in a yurt, so to camp overnight in one seems cool! But they were closed that day so we didn't get to look around much. The first place seemed nice and more secluded.

Even though it was very hot, I had a good day walking around and exploring. I definitely can't wait to go back. I think it would be awesome to have my sister's family come out and stay in a cabin with us. Go canoeing and swimming and fishing!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Roasted Banana Buckwheat Pancakes

2 ripe bananas, unpeeled
2 large organic eggs
2 Tbs. canola oil
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 1/4 cups organic 2% milk
3/4 cups buckwheat pancake mix (such as Hodgson Mill)
maple syrup for drizzling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place unpeeled bananas on baking sheet. Roast in oven until blackened and soft about 10 minutes. Cool until bananas can be handled. Slice peels open and squeeze cooked bananas into small bowl. Reduce heat to 175 degrees to keep pancakes warm.

Whisk together eggs, oil and almond extract in medium bowl. Whisk in milk, then pancake mix, then bananas. Let batter sit at least 5 minutes.

Spray large non-stick skillet with canola oil cooking spray, and place over medium heat. Makes pancakes in batches, using scant 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. Transfer cooked pancakes to platter in oven as you go.

Serve with warm maple syrup on side!

From: Better Nutrition April 2010 issue

Chipotle Chicken Wagon Wheels

I clipped this from a family circle magazine.

1 T. veg. oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 can (14.5 ounces) tomatoes, drained
3/4 cup fat free half and half
2 chipotle peppers in adobo, seeded and chopped
3/4 tsp. salt
2 T. chopped cilantro
1 pound wagon wheel pasta

heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and chicken. Cook 5 minutes, turning after 3 minutes. Add onion and garlic, cook for 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, half and half, chipotle and salt. Simmer uncovered, 4 minutes. Stirring occasionally. Add cilantro.

Cook pasta according to directions, about 12 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the liquid.

Toss pasta with sauce. Add reserved water as needed to thin out sauce.

Shells with White beans and beef

From a family circle magazine April 2010.

Makes 8 servings

1 Tablespoons olive oil
1 pound beef fillet cut into 1 inch cubes
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
2 ribs celery with leaves, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
2 cans (15 ounces each) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon each: dried oregano and basil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound medium-size shells
Grated cheese (optional)

Heat oil in large non-stick lidded skillet over medium high heat. Season beef with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Add to skillet and cook for 2 minutes. Turn and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove beef from skillet to a plate with a slotted spoon. Keep warm.

Add onion and celery to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, beans, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer covered for 12 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to directions on package, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the liquid. Place drained pasta in pot. Add bean mixture, cooked beef with accumulated juices and the reserved cooking water to the pasta.

Serve with grated cheese if desired.

Chicken Vindaloo

A classic spicy curry

1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon each: cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, cumin, paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onions
3 medium cloves garlic minced
1 Tablespoon grated gingerroot
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
2 large yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 14.5 ounce can chopped tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 Tablespoons wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf

Heat large saucepan over medium low. Add turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, cumin, paprika and cayenne, and gently dry roast 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add oil and stir to mix. Add onions, garlic, and ginger. Stir to coat. And cook 3 minutes.

Stir in chicken, potatoes, tomatoes, broth, vinegar, tomato paste, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer covered until potatoes are tender, 12-14 minutes.

Remove cover and cook 5 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper, add more cayenne, if desired.

Divide among four bowl and serve with Indian flat bread. (roti) if desired.

Butternut Squash soup with leeks and ginger

I clipped this from an unknown magazine and thought I'd post it here. In fact, I found a stash of recipes I've collected over the past few months and thought I'd type them all up today. Otherwise, who knows when it will get done!

Here is this yummy soup recipe:

Serves 8

2 medium butternut squash
2 Tablespoons organic canola oil
3 large leeks, white parts only, sliced and rinsed
1/4 cup peeled minced fresh ginger
7 cups organic low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 1/2 cups peeled cored and chopped ripe pears
1/4 cup light organic coconut milk

Preheat oven to 375. Line rimmed baking sheet with tin foil.

Halve squash vertically, remove seeds. Place squash cut side down on prepared baking sheet. Pour 1/3 cup water around squash. Bake 45 minutes until soft. Cool slightly. Peel and mash.

Heat oil over medium heat in large heavy bottomed pot. Cook leeks 8 minutes until softened. Add ginger and stir 2 minutes. Add broth, orange juice and zest; bring to a boil.

Reduce heat. Simmer 10 minutes. Add squash, and simmer 10 minutes more.

Remove from heat add pears and coconut milk. Puree in batches in blender, return to pot. Add salt and white pepper to taste, if desired. Keep warm until serving.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

yarn stash thoughts

I decided to be practical with myself with all the free yarn I received from friends and keep only what I knew I could use.  I plan to knit several scarves, hats, and other small things with the yarn I'm keeping. And I passed on the rest to a fellow crocheter. It's a good feeling to share with others.


It's been awhile since I last posted, I know.

Thursday I rode along with Emily to a blackberry farm and picked blackberries. It rained lightly so other than getting soaked and having my glasses fogged, I came home with half a gallon of berries. The lady that let me ride with her was going to give me an entire gallon but I knew they'd just go to waste so I let her keep my other half.

I just wanted them for fresh eating and Nick isn't much of a blackberry person. I did crush some and added some sugar and used it for cheesecake topping which was really yummy!

Other than that, I've just been enjoying eating them fresh. I hope to go in two weeks to pick more for fresh eating. I can't decide if I want to make some freezer jam with them. Probably not.

The blackberry farm has a share program. Pick three gallons and keep one for free. I love it when people do share programs!

I was impressed by the Emily's kids who were there picking with us. The littlest one was riding along in a baby carrier  and though he was soaked from head to toe, didn't make a peep. He even fell asleep while in it. Every once in awhile I'd see Emily hand him back a blackberry. The other three girls picked berries and talked to us as we picked. The thing that stands out is that they were content. They didn't care much for getting rained on, but they didn't complain and made the best out of a bad situation. They carried buckets of berries back to the weigh in station and made the time go by quickly.

By the way, Emily is the one who makes her own soap

All in all, I had a great time and can't wait to go back!

Friday, July 9, 2010

One of these days...

I will learn to let things be. There was a loose loop on my sock. I had help on the way. (Monday to be exact) But nooooo.... I couldn't just let it sit over the weekend. I had to try and figure it out. And what happened?

I took the needles out and began pulling. I took out the heel parts and left myself with just the leg part and then I tried to put the needles back in but they loops were so tiny I couldn't get it back in. So I unraveled the whole thing!!

Starting over from scratch, I decided to do a different rib for the cuff. Rather than a single rib, I'm doing a triple rib. It looks more like stockinette so I'm told. There isn't as much of a draw in as there was before.

If all goes well, I'll have it back to where I started by Monday. And I'll post up pictures since it looks a bit different.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sock pics- Cuff to heel turn




Heel turn:

Hiya Hiya Puppy Snips

I bought these a couple of weeks ago. I wanted a small pair of scissors or some kind of cutter to snip my yarn ends with. Being a dog lover, I thought these were too cute!

It's small enough that it doesn't take up much room in my bag. I also like how the blades are protected so I don't have to worry about anything accidentally getting snipped in the bag or getting my fingers cut!

You just squeeze the ends together and the dog's head comes off which is the blade protector. The blades are sharp and get the job done!

Aren't they cute?

Tape Measure

Granted, I've only had this new tape measure for a day but I already know how much I'm going to love it! For one thing, it's small and fits in my accessories bag. It's white and pink. I like that it's soft. I had looked at several small tape measures at the hardware store but they were nothing that I wanted to wrap around my head for measuring for a hat. And best of all, it has a push button to retract the tape in when I'm done.

I bought it at the local yarn store for less than $6. Now what else can I buy to fill up my accessories bag with...

Accessories Bag

When we were in Joplin a couple of weeks ago, I bought the perfect little bag to keep all my knitting accessories in. I found it at the christian book store at the mall. It was even on sale!

Right now I'm using it to hold my sock that I'm working on. It fits perfectly inside.

And it has one of my favorite verses on the bag:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Never lacking in yarn

I'll never be lacking in yarn again since I've got such nice friends that give me their extra yarn. At the last knitting meeting, two ladies gave me a ton of yarn! One lady bought a whole suitcase worth at a garage sale for only $1!!! Another lady had a huge bag of cone yarn. Mostly sport weight, which I'm told is good for lace projects. Not quite sure what that means yet, but I've been looking on the Internet for patterns to use.  Any ideas?

I did find a pattern in my stash for a lacy looking scarf but not sure if this yarn is the right type. I'm experimenting on it this week. Check back later for pictures.

I plan on sharing most of this bountiful yarn with a couple of friends of mine who like to crochet and knit but who are like me- on a tight budget. I plan to use up what yarn I keep so I don't have a cupboard full of unused yarn.  Isn't that what I'm supposed to do anyways? lol

Knitting scarves is next on my list to do.  A lot of the yarn is fuzzy and I can already imagine it being knit with some encore yarn. Before winter comes, I'll have plenty to give away and keep us warm!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sock cuff

Here is the cuff of the sock:

The opening looks very small, so I'm thinking it won't fit Nick. Phooey! These were supposed to be for him! Rather than take it out though, I'll make these for myself and pick up more yarn for Nick.

I decided not to do the low cuff design and just follow the pattern exactly. When I get more practice then, I might start changing things up a bit. 

I should have done a different rib pattern. I did single rib and next time I'll do the double rib. Live and learn!

Until next time!

Happy Knitter's Group

If you live in or near Nevada, Missouri and love to knit or want to learn how, come to the Happy Knitter's group. We meet every two weeks at the Episcopal Church.

The next meeting is on July 19 from 12:30-2:30. If you can't come at those exact times, that's okay. Some people leave early or come later.

It's a great way to meet other knitters, swap stories, share projects and just hang out.

Hope to see some new faces!

Cowl instead

I was right, the hat is way too big. I'm not sure what I did wrong since I used the right sized needle and casted on the right number. The only thing I can think of is that I used the wrong type of yarn. I found a different pattern for using that exact yarn- Lion Brand Homespun and it said to cast on 56 with size 10 needles. The pattern I used said to cast on 78 on size 8. I guess I'll have to get a size 10 after all.

Janet, one of the knitting ladies from the Happy Knitter's group who also happens to own the local yarn store. suggested I make a cowl. What a splendid idea!!

So, that's what I plan to make instead. Perhaps a couple of them since I have plenty of yarn.

And Nick really wants his hat made out of Plymouth Encore yarn anyways. (to match his scarf)

Until next time!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Lionbrand Homespun Yarn- Prairie color

Here is the hat I started for Nick. I am not sure why it looks so massive. This is just my practice hat which is good since I've already messed up on it. I'm supposed to do a rib pattern until the hat measures 11 inches and somehow I've messed up the rib design. Not enough to make me take the whole thing out. Not yet...

I like the yarn as it's very soft but hard to work with. I find myself pulling on it too hard and I have to loosen it as I go otherwise, it all bunches up. Maybe I'm doing something wrong...

Variegated gray sock yarn

I started knitting a sock last week but messed it up so I had to take it all out. Then for some reason I couldn't figure out how to do it again.

I watched youtube videos one after another and couldn't find one that made any sense. Some talked too low to hear anything. Some shook the camera so it was fuzzy. Some talked too fast. One lady just plain creeped me out!

I read article after article and tried to figure out which pattern to follow from my book. Then I tried to cast on and knit some rows and I just couldn't get it to work. I started to get pretty frustrated, and was about ready to give up when I took a break from it and then tried it again.

Worked fine! I don't know what my problem was. Just needed to clear my head I guess.

I started to make a gauge, but hesitated because when I start out knitting something new and different it is awkward and knit tightly. Then, when I get used to it, it is almost too loose. I knew if I did a gauge it wouldn't be as accurate, but to say that I did one. I did. It came out to 7 stitches per inch, so that is the pattern I am following.

I want to make this pair a low cuff sock but not quite sure how. I guess I'll just have to ask the knitting ladies tomorrow. I just don't know how long to make the cuff before I start in on the heel flap.

I do know that I'm excited to give sock knitting another try. I'm tired of knitting dishcloths for now. I'll still sell them on my etsy shop but ready to branch out to other things. I like that socks are easy to knit. (for the most part) They are portable and don't take up as much space as let's say a blanket. I found a cute pattern for baby socks too, which I plan to try once I use up this sock yarn.

I am very glad I bought brittany needles for my socks. I had wanted to buy Lantern Moon needles. (don't laugh) mainly because of the cute bag they came in! I know, I'm pathetic! But they were also on sale 50% off! The reason I'm glad I bought the brittany's is because they come with a 5 year replacement guarantee.

While I was knitting tonight, I thought I heard a cracking sound but didn't notice anything unusual. Then, later I was knitting and watched as the yarn started to snag. I looked down closely to see that the needle was split all down the middle!! Good thing they came with a spare needle otherwise I'd have to wait until the next one shipped out.

And I suppose I can sew up a cute bag for the needles to go in...

Here is the sock I've started: 

Keep checking back for more pics...

Until next time!

Cell phone zippered pouches

Last week a friend asked me to sew her a cell phone holder that she wanted to give to a friend. So I took out my supplies and started to d...