Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hmong Sauce

Last night I made some Hmong sauce. I started to follow a recipe but wasn't happy with how it turned out. Mine did not look as runny as the picture did, so I changed some things and did this:

24 fresh Thai peppers
3-4 tsp. sugar
7 garlic cloves

Pounded in mortar and pestle until chopped finely. (I LOVE the mortar and pestle my mom gave me when she came to visit. It's large but not too big. It's deep so stuff doesn't splatter. It works great! Thank you, mom!!!)

Then, I added one bunch of cilantro, minus the stems. Well, I picked out the majority of them, though there are still a few left. I chopped it up first, then rolled over it with my herb cutter then added it to the pepper mixture. Also added one bunch of green onions. Was going to just use the white part but wanted more, so I added the whole thing. Washed and rinsed first of course.

Also added the juice of one lime and several dashes of fish sauce. Kept pounding it further until it was nice and juicy and chopped up.

I was only wishing I had something to eat it with last night. It smelled so very good! I did try a spoonful of it alone and boy was it good!!! It was very spicy!!! It kind of smelled like papaya salad which makes me crave it all the more!

So, I think I'll pick up some cucumbers and make some cucumber salad instead since no one around here sells green papaya. :-(

I was surprised that it only made one jelly jar size, and I have plenty of peppers leftover. So, I'm going to pick up some more cilantro and green onions this week and make a couple more batches.

I promised some friends this sauce so I divided it into thirds and can't wait for them to try it.

Ready to eat: 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Refrigerator dough experiments part 3

Well, it didn't look like they were raising much but I went ahead and turned on the bake function. (which I LOVE about my bread machine by the way!)

And about thirty minutes later, I popped these out of the "oven"

I made a thin icing to drizzle on top but they were plenty sweet on their own. And not even 15 minutes later, they were all gone! It reminded me of a monkey bread version. It was delicious!! The recipe I used is found here. (on an earlier post)

Tomorrow, the experimenting continues. I made the whole batch of this dough and have the other half in the refrigerator. I plan to try making regular dinner rolls to go with lunch. Not sure if there will be any "raise" to it left, but I'll keep you posted!

Finished hat picture

Well, before I gave the hat to "M" I realized I did not have my camera with me, so I'll have to have her bring it back so I can take a picture of her wearing it. Until then, you'll have to see the picture taken with a friends camera phone:

I really like the colors of it. I never would have thought to put those colors together, but that is what she picked and I like it so much I may make another!

One big difference I have noticed with these style hats versus the other style of ear flapped hats I've made in the past is that the with the other ones, the hat covers more of the back of your head and neck. This one fits just like a cap on your head plus the ear flaps. I almost like the other style better because my neck stays warmer. Even though the ear flaps cover more of my chin.

The pattern came from here, I think.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

How to finish your nylon net pot scrubber

A couple of you have asked how I finish out the pot scrubber, so I thought I'd try to show it in pictures below. Descriptions will be above each photo.

As you can see the hole is closing up. Not much left to go.

Hole is closed up now.

I take my loop and make it larger. and then

Poke my crochet hook from the other side, doesn't matter which hole you poke it through.

Poke it through the loop (that you made larger) grab the netting piece that is left and pull it through 

 to the other side.

Then take the little bit of the end piece that is left and weave in the end. That's it!

In case you missed the beginning tutorial on how to make a pot scrubber, go here.

Happy Crafting!

Face scrubbie turned dish cloth

I had some leftover facial scrubbies that did not sell at the local bazaar's and I set them in the bathroom for myself to use. Nothing like a mini soft wash cloth to scrub your face clean. I love it!

But tonight, I was doing the dishes and using my nylon pot scrubber. I pretty much have quit using cotton dish rags since I've been using the net scrubbers, but every once in awhile, I'll want to wipe up a spill on the counter. So, I took one of the new facial scrubbers which is about the same diameter of the pot scrubbers and used it to wash my dishes and wipe up the counter.

I loved it! Small enough to fit in my hand, yet big enough to do the job. I'm thinking about making up a bunch more and selling them as a set. I've still got my eye on re-opening my etsy store, but not ready yet.

I've been in the mood lately to knit some dish cloths even though I haven't even got the yarn yet. I've just got some color/theme ideas brewing in my head. I also want to try knitting with hemp yarn. I found a great shop on etsy and I've used her yarn before. Loved it!

I learned so much about hemp that I didn't know before. A nice place to read about it is here. Their hemp sounds nice too but when I get ready to order some, I'm going to order from Thoughtful gems. I've ordered from her before and I love her stuff!

Someday I'd love to knit up a couple sets of hemp wash cloths and dish cloths. But first, I've got to tie up a few loose ends and finish my other projects first!

until next time!

Orange and blue hat picture

Well, remember the orange and blue ear flap hat I made the other day? I wasn't going to put ties on it mainly because I couldn't figure out how to attach them, but "J" wanted ties, so I got to thinking and figured it out.

I just snapped a picture of it in the car because I was in a hurry.

I asked "J" if I could take a picture of him wearing it and he agreed. I promised him his face wouldn't show though.

Okay, I'll admit it looks a bit crazy without a face showing but it's the hat I wanted to show you! lol

I never noticed before how much this kid likes wearing orange and blue! 

Remember the yarn I mentioned earlier, well,  I told "M" I'd make her a hat too. (his sister) and I gave her the color choices and she picked two from that bag of yarn I got. So, I started on it tonight. It's Vanna's Choice yarn and Red Heart simply soft and I'm not sure what to think of it so far.  The purple yarn is a category #4 but so far the hat is looking way too big! I won't know until I do more rows. There isn't a gauge to go by with this pattern since size doesn't matter that much, but oh well. Hopefully, it doesn't turn out too big. I'm also a bit concerned because it calls for a size 9 needle on the label and I'm using a size 8.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New thoughts on nylon net pot scrubbers

After someone commented on the post "How to make a pot scrubber" I got to thinking about what they asked and I realized I made a mistake. I had said that if you used 2 yards of material then your pot scrubber would be bigger than if you used just 1 yard. How could this be the way I was cutting it?

So, I emailed my friend who originally shared with me the pattern and asked her which way she was cutting it up. I assumed it was vertically. To my surprise she said horizontally. Which makes complete sense now. If I am using 2 yards of material, then the strips would be longer and thus the finished scrubbie would be larger.

So, I had an order for 2 black/red pot scrubbers and took the black netting and folded it to cut horizontally instead of my usual way. I was prepared to completely change my original pattern posted UNTIL I tried it!

And I decided it isn't worth it. I've made over 5 dozen pot scrubbers doing it the way I show in the post, and not in the way my friend does it. I like the way they turn out. So, I'm not going to change my ways.  I also think that the material feels different cut horizontally and that it feels more smooth less grippy, less scrubby. And, when I go to attach the strips together, they don't hold onto one another as well this "right" way.

So, I leave it up to you. If you want to try it this way, go ahead, but not for me! Not to mention that the strips were a lot shorter and my finished scrubbie was the size of a half dollar! So, if you want to cut it this way, try using 2 yards or more instead of one. Unless you want a doll size scrubbie!

Last thought, you could probably just snip off about a half inch to the sides instead of trying to get the scissors to go into the tube part. But that would waste a lot of the material...

It was in a big heap on the floor as I sorted through each piece finding which ones did not get cut in half. Never again! LOL!!!

Experiments with curry

Knowing I was going to be fixing my own lunch today, I really wanted the yellow chicken curry dish, but did not have any coconut milk and bamboo shoots. I couldn't imagine the dish without the rich taste of the coconut milk!

But I really wanted some curry today. So, I got out my frying pan and added some onions and some oil and browned them. Then, I added some diced chicken and a half of a potato leftover from breakfast. I added in a teaspoon of curry, and a pinch of red curry paste and a little water. Started cooking it and boy it smelled so good!

Then, I poured a little fish sauce in and some sugar. I did not measure anything! I tried it and it was wonderful! By this time I was wishing I had some rice, but did not feel like dragging out the rice cooker for the tiny amount it made. So I just dumped some rice in the pan. Only there was not enough liquid to cook the rice, so I added some water. Which diluted my yummy creation. So I added in more curry powder, fish sauce and sugar. I checked on the rice halfway through and the water was gone and the rice was still hard, so after adding more water, and more curry and seasonings, three  separate times! It finally tastes as good as it did when I started. Now I'm sitting here enjoying a tasty bowl!! I can't believe how good it tastes without the regular ingredients!

And along with this meal I boiled some sweet potatoes, topped it with a nice tablespoon or two of butter and a sprinkle of brown sugar. Mashed it in my bowl and ate the whole thing!  This is my comfort food today.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fried what?

Fried this up for dinner the other night. Can you tell what it is?

Beat egg, dip meat in egg. Roll in flour mixed with seasoned salt and pepper. Fry until golden brown and meat is done.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Crocheted and knitted baby hats with booties

Pink baby set:

The knitted pink baby cap pattern is found here.
The mary jane style booties is found here.

Blue set:

The blue baby hat pattern is found here.
These quick, fast and easy baby booties pattern is found here. The original pattern calls for ties which I may still add. It is found on the Bernat's website, which you'll have to sign up for. It's free and allows access to FREE patterns. Worth it!

Yellow set:

The yellow beanie cap pattern is found here. Takes only 20 minutes!
The baby bootie pattern is found here.

White set:

I haven't decided yet which hat/bonnet goes with the set, but I'll just include them both and/or probably crochet up another pair of booties (like the blue ones) to go with one or the other. 
The crocheted beanie is the same pattern as the yellow one.

The knitted baby bonnet pattern is found here. Scroll down to view Little Shell Lace Baby bonnet. 
The baby bootie pattern can be found here.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Feeling much better

Okay, after I made that last post, I looked up a couple more sites and started a new pattern for some baby booties. I started around 4 so it took me about 45 minutes but not bad since I had to learn a few new stitches. This is the pattern I tried on the Bernat site. If you're not a member it may not let you look at it but it's worth joining for FREE! I'm off to make the other half. I really like how they turned out. I just have to learn a better way to make the ties. This type yarn kind of unravels and is not being nice! lol

If I can get the pink booties done tonight along with the other half yellow one, I'll be super thrilled!

Until next time!

Starting to freak out a little

I got an extra week to finish these baby hats and booties and now I'm wondering if I'll even get them done or not! I spent all morning and mid afternoon working on half of a baby bootie only to find out that I did something wrong and don't know what. The eyelet row is not working to thread the tie through. I don't want the ties to be something that baby's foot can get caught in and that is the only way it threads through evenly. So, scrapping that pattern and trying to find another! I found plenty of great sounding patterns that call for yarn I don't have! It's quite frustrating!!

I did finally finish the blue ribbed hat and just need a pair of booties to go with it. I also still need to make a pink set of booties as well as a yellow one. I guess I can get it all done by Tuesday if only I can find another suitable pattern. I'm not interested  right now in trying another hard pattern that I may or may not be able to figure out!

I will try to remember this time to take pictures of everything before they get sent out.

I did find a crochet pattern using the exact yarn on the Bernat website, but even though it's rated easy, I'm not sure I can figure it out. I still consider myself a newbie crocheter.

What is the most frustrating is that my hands and fingers keep snagging on the yarn!

On a happy note, I finished the white lacy baby bonnet that I found here. I remember when I first found the pattern and fell in love with it. It looked so difficult that I put it aside for later. But then I wanted to try it and though I spent more time taking out my first one, I have since made several and it's really not that hard of a pattern as long as you take it line by line. The only thing is that I realized I used the wrong sized needles for all the previous ones. The white one I finished last night was made correctly and turned out great! It looks so tiny but it is for a newborn and fits a small grapefruit. -was told that would correctly fit a newborn.

You know, I forgot about this pattern, and it turned out pretty cute and was fast. Only I had to sew up the toe part not the back part. I think I did something wrong. I also made a white set with this pattern. I had wanted to make four different types of baby booties but I'm getting desperate, so I think I'll just pick one of these and start knitting!!!

There are some really other cute things I want to make too but I won't even think about them until I finish the baby items!

Speaking of other things, when Nick walked in the house today he said it smelled like a country farmhouse! He was referring to my meatloaf that I had cooking in the crock pot. It has been cooking all day since 8 this morning and now it's starting to smell really good! It's one of my favorite recipes and will post it up tomorrow or later tonight. I just love my new crock pot!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Red Beans and Rice

This morning I loaded up the crock pot with some red beans to have "Red beans and rice" for supper. I made this dish awhile back and am trying it out in the new crock pot.

The recipe:
1 pound package dried red beans
salt pork, ham hocks or sausage cut small
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
3-4 cups water
6 ounces tomato paste
8 ounces tomato sauce
4 garlic cloves minced

Soak beans overnight in water. Drain. Discard soaking water.

I'm always amazed at how the teeny tiny red beans transform into a lighter pink bean in the morning!

Mix together all ingredients in slow cooker.

Cover. Cook on Low 10-12 hours on low or until beans are soft. Serve over rice.

These beans freeze well.
You can substitute canned red kidney beans. Cook 1 hour on High and then 3 hours on low.

recipe from: Margaret Moffitt  (Fix it and Forget it Cookbook)

I borrowed my neighbor's copy so much that I finally went to Half Price book store and bought my own copy for $5!

When I first made this dish, I wasn't sure what to think of it. The pre-packaged beans and rice meals we sometimes eat are seasoned with Cajun style seasonings. This is not, obviously, and took getting used to. But now we both like it a lot! I like to buy this sausage to add to the beans.

Thai Yellow Chicken Curry recipe

Last Saturday I made a nice big pot of yellow chicken curry to have for lunch and to share with a friend. It turned out delicious as always. I just wish I had made more! It was gone too soon.

I got the recipe from my favorite Thai book. I was privileged to meet her and have her autograph my copy when we lived in Kansas. So far every recipe I've made from from her book, we've loved!

This is how I make mine:

You'll need 2 cans coconut milk:

Doesn't matter which brand, this is just what happened to be in my cupboard. I was kind of disappointed when I saw that the "organic" one contained water as its first ingredient and then coconut milk. The one on the left, did have a preservative in it, but coconut milk was listed first and had a much richer taste.

Next, I use red curry paste. About 2 Tablespoons. More if you want it hotter, but remember as it cooks the heat does intensify a little. I always in the past, keep adding more and then by the time the dish is done, it's way too hot to eat. -when I use the good brand of curry that is...

Yes, I know it seems weird to use red curry paste and not yellow but the cookbook said that yellow curry paste equaled to red curry paste and curry powder. I know they sell yellow curry paste, but I've not tried it. I just know how wonderful it tastes the way I do it and don't plan to change it now.  :-)

My favorite red curry paste is this brand.  I like it for its heat and flavor. However, I had this in my cupboard:

It was okay but did not have the heat like I was used to. I even tried it straight from the can and it was hardly anything spicy. Another thing I like about the first brand is that it comes in a plastic container and inside a bag which I can just seal off and keep in the refrigerator. With the canned curry, I have to put it in something and then freeze it. Doesn't seem like it keeps as long in the refrigerator. But anyways...

I made the mistake of making this in a medium sized saucepan and had to run to my neighbor's to see about borrowing a large stock pot from her. That is definitely on my "to buy" list. (a larger cooking pot!)

This is by far my favorite yellow curry brand:

To make dish:

Place 2 cans of coconut milk in medium to large stock pot. Bring to boil over medium heat. Add 2 Tablespoons curry paste and 1 Tablespoons yellow curry powder and mix well.

Slice 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts into thin strips and put in same pot along with 2 potatoes, cut into quarters and 1 cup of water. Cook for 5 minutes.

Reduce heat and add 1 large onion, cut into quarters, 1/3 cup fish sauce, and 1/4 cup sugar. (I prefer the Squid brand of fish sauce over others.)

Simmer covered for 30 minutes until potatoes are tender and chicken is done.

Makes enough for 2-4 people.

I like this dish served over hot rice. (Jasmine preferred)

Mmmmm! This is making me crave the dish just talking about it!

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...