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Friday, September 30, 2011

Best brownie mix in a jar

Layer in a jar:


1 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup cocoa
2 1/4 cup sugar
Attach cooking directions to tag.
In large bowl, beat 4 eggs and add 3/4 cup softened butter. Add contents of jar, mix until moistened. (don't over mix) and pour into a 9X13 greased pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. It will seem undone but take out and let cool. It will continue cooking as it cools. These are the best!


How to make fresh spring rolls with sauce recipe

To make these, you'll need some fresh spring roll wrappers. These are not the same as egg roll wrappers that you find in the refrigerator section of your supermarket. You'll likely find these at an oriental market. I love them because they are a healthy alternative to fried egg rolls. Not that the taste can be compared though. They are both really yummy!

My favorite brand to get is the kind that comes in a round plastic container. These wrappers are very thin and fragile and I find that if you get them in this kind of container they prevent chipping and easier to manage.

I made some fresh spring rolls the other day with some stuff I had on hand. They turned out delicious even if just made with a few ingredients. I have in the past, put in: avocado, red bell peppers, strips of grilled beef, mint, mung bean threads, rice noodles, fresh basil, and bean sprouts.

This time, I just wanted to use my two favorites, carrots and cucumbers and some cilantro. I hope the pictures are somewhat helpful!

First, I boil some water about 1 cup and pour it into my pan. I use an old toaster oven roasting tray. It's the biggest thing I have that fits the spring roll skins in.

I usually add a little cool water to the boiling water and set it aside. Not too hot that I can't put my hands in, but not too cold either. It won't hurt it but it will take longer to soak. If the water is too hot, it makes the skins sticky and hard to manage. I did find that when I lay it on the cutting board to wrap, if it sticks too much, I simply get my hands wet or dunk it again. Otherwise, it gets all tangled on itself and makes a mess.

I chop up my veggies and set them aside. I like to julienne my veggies. Here is a nice video showing how to do it. I tried shredding the vegetables once but they were too juicy and I like the texture that the julienned ones give. After my veggies are set aside, I wash my cilantro and pluck the leaves off. I don't like the taste of the stems. Then, I put them in a pile next to the other veggies. I just have them all laid out so I can grab them.

This sounds like a neat tool, but I think I'll just stick with my knife. I tend to stay away from tools that just have one purpose! lol Trying to have a minimalist kitchen is hard when I love kitchen gadgets so much!

Now, I soak the first spring roll wrapper in the water. I don't always remember but while I'm busy wrapping one, I try to put another in. That way I don't have to wait on it. Try to find the bumpy side of the wrapper and put it facing down. Otherwise, it will curl up and not lay flat.




How to know when it's ready and done soaking. I swirl it in the water and see if it will bunch..
Like this. It's not quite ready yet.



Trying again:




Now it's ready...

Now, I just grab it and let it drip off the water as much as possible. Squeezing some of the extra water out too.



Lay it down and spread out:



Next, add veggies




 and fold the top over and the sides and give it a tuck while I fold it over.






and the other side and start rolling it up.



That's it! Set aside and make more. Hopefully, you remembered to soak a new wrapper while you were wrapping them so there will always be one ready to go!

Ready to eat:


I posted a yummy dipping sauce on my blog the other day. Click here.

But this one is my favorite recipe!!! I sadly do not know the source of it.

6 Tablespoons of cornstarch
1/2 cup of sugar
2 cups of water
4 Tablespoons tamari or soy sauce or Bragg's Liquid Amino's
2 Tablespoons of toasted or roasted peanuts, finely chopped. or 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter
1 Tablespoon of garlic, finely crushed

Add everything to the pot and keep an eye on it. When it starts to change color, (it will just be a little at first) I start stirring and soon it will completely change colors. You might think at first that it won't do anything, at least that's what I thought and then before your eyes it will thicken up nicely. When it's as thick as you want it to be, remove from heat and serve with spring rolls.

It will separate if you keep the leftovers in the refrigerator. You can re-heat it but it doesn't look as good and the taste is not as good.

If I'm just making about 6 spring rolls, then I halve the recipe and there aren't any leftovers. :-)

I also like to serve the rolls with a little wasabi paste. I buy mine in a tube and put some on a plate with the peanut sauce next to it and just dip a little in both.

Enjoy!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pink Stuff

Hubby's grandma makes it whenever we go to her house for Thanksgiving and it's delicious! Since Thanksgiving will be here before we know it, I thought I'd share the recipe now before I forget. Even though over the years it's been made with orange jello, it's still called "Pink stuff" at grandma's. lol

1 small box jello (any flavor)
1 small container Cool Whip
1 small container cottage cheese
1 small can mandarin oranges

Fold jello into cool whip. Drain the oranges and fold into cool whip mixture along with cottage cheese. Cover and store in the refrigerator until cold. Enjoy! My mouth is just watering at the thought of this yummy fruit salad dessert!

Tangy Vinegar and Oil salad dressing

I had this salad dressing at a friend's house. It was served on a salad similar to taco salad and it was so good that I made the dressing for Nick. I figured he'd love it and he did! It's now a favorite in our house.

1  1/2 cups sugar (I've always used 3/4 cup sugar and it's plenty sweet)
1 Tablespoon dry ground mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup hot water
1/4 cup vinegar
2 garlic cloves, halved
1/4 cup vegetable oil

In a quart jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the first 5 ingredients. Add water, vinegar and garlic. Shake until the sugar is dissolved.  Add oil. Shake well. Store in refrigerator. Just before serving, remove garlic or pour into empty ketchup bottle. Drizzle over salad greens. Yields: 2 cups

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Homemade Chili Recipe

I was wanting to make some chili this week and found this in one of my crock pot cookbooks. I'm always leery of trying new recipes because I'm never sure if I'll like it or not. This one was a hit at our house! Much better than just opening up a can of chili- the way we usually do!

The recipe came from my "Fix it and forget it" Cook book. I love this book! I got my copy at a Half Price book store for $5!

Slow cooker chili- Original recipe, my revised below:

2 pounds ground beef, browned and drained
2 cans (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes,
2 cans (16 ounces) kidney beans, drained
2-3 Tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves crushed
2 medium onions chopped

Put everything in crock pot and cook on low for 8-10 hours. For more heat, add cayenne.


I made it this morning around 5:30 and used half the amount of ground beef, 2 cans pinto beans, 2 cans diced tomatoes. The kind that comes pre-seasoned with garlic, onion and basil. I did not drain it. My crock pot seems to cook at a higher temperature and I was worried without all the extra juice that the bottom would burn. Oh, and I only used 2 Tablespoons of chili powder. I thought I'd add in more seasonings and pepper but when I tasted it, it was perfect! Not too spicy but with plenty of flavor.

Because the tomatoes already had onions and garlic in it, I omitted the fresh garlic and onions in the original recipe.

We ate at 11. It did not take the whole time to make but I imagine if it could have simmered even longer it would have tasted even better with all the spices mingled in there!

We really liked it and will eat the leftovers tomorrow. I think this recipe would be good served over hot dogs as "chili-dogs" too.

After lunch, I washed out my crock pot and put in a whole acorn squash to cook. I just washed and rinsed the squash and sprayed the pan to be sure it wouldn't stick and set it on high. The original recipe said low for 10-12 hours but I'm wanting to eat it tonight for supper with our meal, so I'm hoping it will be done! Another recipe I got from the book above. After it's cooked, it said to cut in half, scoop out seeds top with butter.

If you like crock pot recipes, be sure to check back here cause I'll be posting up more recipes!

Potato soup

I made this for the first time when we moved to Texas to live with and care for my grandma. Nick and I were not married very long and he was unsure of the recipe because he's not a fan of soup. However, he loved this recipe and it's now a favorite of ours when it's cold outside. I clipped the recipe out of a Taste of Home Magazine.

Ingredients:
6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 carrots, diced
3 celery stalks
2 quarts of water
1 onion chopped
6 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups milk
6 Tablespoons flour

In a large kettle, cook potatoes, carrots, and celery in 2 quarts of water until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain, reserving liquid and setting veggies aside. In same kettle, saute onion in butter until soft. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly until thickened. Gently stir in cooked vegetables. Add 1 cup or more of reserved liquid until soup is desired consistency.
Makes 8-10 servings.

This may take a lot of pots to make but the taste is definitely worth it!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Watergate Salad

This cool and refreshing salad is great in the summer time or any time of year.

1 small box instant pistachio pudding
1 small carton cool whip
1 can fruit cocktail
1 can diced pineapple tidbits

Mix pudding with coolwhip. Fold in drained fruit. Add fruit juice if necessary. Keep in refrigeraor until ready to serve.

You can substitute lemon pudding or vanilla pudding if you wish. Or whatever flavor you want.

Monday, September 26, 2011

How to make soft dinner rolls

I found this recipe 6-7 years ago when a friend asked me to help her make some "Golden Corral" rolls. She usually goes there to buy the rolls for their annual Easter dinner but wanted to make them instead. We made a huge batch of them and they were loved by all her family. They may not be exactly like "Golden Corral" rolls but they are nice and fluffy and soft! I got the recipe here:


Ingredients: Servings:15
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon dry milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 3 teaspoons yeast
  1. Place ingredients in order given.
  2. Set bread machine on dough setting.
  3. Once cycle is done-- roll out into 15 balls (mine generally are about golfball size).
  4. Place in greased 9x13 pan.
  5. Let rise until doubled in size in warm place.
  6. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
**I like to brush the rolls with butter when they come out of the oven.

When my bread machine broke, I still made these by hand. I just kneaded them accordingly to my machine's instructions (as if I was the bread machine) and they turned out great!

to do by hand:

Mix ingredients together. I like to use instant yeast so I don't have to worry about when to add it.  I buy it at an Amish/Mennonite bulk food store for $3. Can't beat that price. You can buy bulk yeast at Walmart for half the amount for double the price. This instant yeast lasts me a year too!

Knead for 15 minutes.
Let rest an hour.
Knead for 18 minutes. 
Let rest for 20 minutes.
Punch down. 
Proceed to step #3.

Here they are out of the oven!

Salsa mix in a jar

This salsa tastes pretty good when you can't have fresh from the garden salsa.
Salsa Mix in a Jar
1 1/2 cups dried cilantro
1 teaspoon garlic powder (more to taste)
1/2 cup dried chopped onion
1/4 cup dried red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
Measure all into ziploc bag, seal & shake to combine.

Attach Tag: "Spicy Salsa"

Combine the following, mix well: Chill 1 hour or longer to let spices mingle.
2 tablespoons salsa mix
10 oz can Mexican-style tomatoes.
Serve with tortilla chips.

I found this recipe here.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

How to make Pad Thai

This recipe was on the back of a bag of rice stick noodles which I bought to make another dish with. So, I thought I’d try it and see how it was. It was wonderful!  I added chicken to our dish when I added the garlic.

8 ounces rice sticks (dry)
3 T. vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3 eggs
4 Tablespoons fish sauce
1 green onion, cut into 1 inch lengths
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
1 cup bean sprouts
1/4 cup ground peanuts

In large bowl, soak rice sticks in warm water for 30-45 minutes until tender but firm. Heat oil in a large frying pan, then add garlic. Add egg and scramble until done; reduce temperature.

Drain rice sticks well and add to egg mixture. Increase temperature and stir fry noodles until they are translucent, adding up to 1/4 cup water if needed.

When the rice sticks begin to stick together add fish sauce, sugar, paprika, and green onion.

Continue to cook mixture until dry. Garnish with bean sprouts and peanuts. You can also add tofu, prawns, chicken or beef.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Thai Honey Peanut Sauce Recipe

Thai Honey Peanut Sauce

This sweet and spicy sauce is delicious with steamed asparagus, grilled eggplant, and crisp cooked green beans.

1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1/8 teaspoon crushed red peppers

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix until well blended. Serve over cooked vegetables.

This sounds like it would be tasty as a dip with fresh spring rolls! I think I'm going to try this for lunch today.

How to make pickled peppers

I made this last year and tried them for the first time tonight and they were awesome! The recipe came from here.

"This recipe makes one pint of pickled jalapeno chile peppers, but it can be doubled easily:
Ingredients:
1/2 pound fresh jalapeno chile peppers
1 3/4 cups white vinegar
1 large clove garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
Directions
  1. Wash peppers; cut off the stems.
  2. Slice peppers into 1/8-inch rings and place them in a pint jar (with a lid).
  3. Peel the garlic clove and place it in the jar with the pepper rings; set aside.
  4. Mix vinegar, salt and turmeric in a small saucepan and slowly heat to near boiling.
  5. Pour the warm brine over the peppers in the jar.
  6. Allow the mixture to cool slightly; seal with the lid and store in the refrigerator.
  7. Let chile peppers marinate for several days before using them.
With refrigeration, the peppers will keep for several months."
Enjoy! These are so flavorful and awesome!

Chili Seasoning mix

I'm not sure where this recipe came from but here it is:

Chili seasoning mix:
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon seasoned salt (homemade of course!)
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon oregano
Mix all ingredients; store in a small airtight jar in a cool dry place. Makes 1/4 cup.

You can double or triple this if you want.

Quick Chili with beans

1 pound ground beef
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 Tablespoon chili seasoning mix (recipe here)
2 cans kidney beans
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
Brown ground beef in a large saucepan, stirring occasionally, until meat loses its red color. Stir in flour, then add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve in bowls, sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Serves 4.

**I like to top my chili with my homemade zuchinni relish.

Friday, September 23, 2011

knitted phone case

I know this isn't the best picture. I intended to take a better one but then finished sewing it and gave it away before I realized I forgot to get a picture. 








Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ear flap hats

I was uploading some old photos here. - My new favorite site! and couldn't remember if I'd ever posted all my ear flap hat pictures here or not. Actually, I made two others but don't have the pictures from them to share.

I love this pattern!



Monday, September 19, 2011

How to make cinnamon bread in your bread machine

I have two recipes that I use depending on whether or not I have milk on hand.

Both recipes make a 1 1/2 pound loaf.  I prefer the basic cycle. On the "milk" recipe, I sometimes will use the sweet cycle.

Without milk-
1 cup water
2 Tablespoons butter
1 egg- I added this by accident the other day but loved how it turned out. Richer and better tasting. (you can skip it if you don't have eggs)
3 cups flour (sometimes I'll substitute some of this amount with whole wheat flour but not more than 1 cup, otherwise it's too heavy)
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast

With milk-
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1 egg (not optional)
3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar- I like to use brown sugar for extra flavor!
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons yeast


Load ingredients in bread pan according to your machine. Some machines say to add liquids first, and then dry. When I do this, I make an indentation for the yeast.


And each slice has to have some yummy spread on it: I just mix in a tablespoon or two of butter with a few tablespoons of milk and enough powdered sugar to spread easily. oh! and a teaspoon of homemade vanilla extract.


Enjoy!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Recipe for Pear Cake

When we had an overabundant supply of pears one year, I found this recipe. It was a great way to use up our fresh pears. I doubled and tripled this recipe!

I didn't bake it for as long as the recipe stated and I used loaf pans instead of a 9x13 pan. I also let it cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan.

Just keep an eye on it, so it doesn't burn. I also added the nuts with the flour, because I like the chunks.

Creamy Coleslaw dressing

This also tastes equally good as a base for macaroni or potato salad- which I add a little less sugar for.

1 cup mayo
1 Tablespoon celery seed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespoon vinegar

Mix together and pour over shredded cabbage.

Update- I made this the other day and was out of celery seed, so I omitted the salt and used celery salt instead. It tasted just as good!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Chicken broccoli pasta recipe

A dear friend of mine would make this when I came to visit. But living over 800 miles away from each other, I haven't gotten to enjoy her dish in a long time. So, I started making it myself and over the years I have made a few changes. My changes in parenthesis.

Serves 4

1 pound pasta spirals
4 cups fresh broccoli florets (2 cups or more frozen broccoli florets)
1/2 cup olive oil (a couple Tablespoons)
Juice from 1 clove garlic (1 garlic clove minced)
1/8 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper (1 teaspoon or more added to my own bowl)
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese (not as good but the Kraft kind in the pasta section)

Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot. Then add the broccoli and the pasta. Cook until both are done, then drain.

Heat the oil and seasonings together in a large skillet. When pasta and broccoli are done, add them to the skillet. Toss well and serve sprinkled with grated cheese.

(I use about 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil (or whatever is on hand) and add 1 cup or more of diced cubed chicken and cook until chicken is done. Then I add frozen broccoli and stir fry until tender. In a separate pot, I cook the pasta until it's done. Then, I add the cooked pasta adding more oil if necessary and stir together until heated through.) Sprinkling with Parmesan cheese and pepper in each bowl to one's taste.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Elizabeth's tea

I call this Elizabeth's tea because my friend Elizabeth was so kind to share with me how she made her herbal tea which I sampled at a food co-op meeting.

6 cups water
6 Tablespoons dried nettle
6 Tablespoons dried oatstraw
3 Tablespoons mint

Bring water to boil. Remove from heat and add herbs. Let steep all day. This brew is concentrated.

Put in 1/2 of liquid in a cup, and fill to the top with cold water. Sweeten if desired.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Yummy dip best enjoyed with Wheat Thins

I tried this yummy dip in Texas at a friend's office party. It is my favorite thing to make and eat.  I usually make half the batch, since it's just me enjoying it!

Before I had this dip, I had never heard of Mexicorn.

Green Giant Mexicorn 11 oz (Pack of 12)2 cans Mexicorn, drained. (11 ounce)
1 cup mayo
16 ounce sour cream
2 cups finely shredded cheese
4 green onions
handful of cilantro
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Mix together. Store in refrigerator. Best served with wheat thins. I like things spicy, so I will generally add more cayenne pepper to taste. Or sprinkle more on with each bite!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Best Ever Pumpkin Pie

Even folks who say they can't stand pumpkin pie, tell me that they love this pie and often request the recipe. Those who don't want the recipe just request that I make them some pies! LOL

So, here it is for all to enjoy. My husband found me this recipe when we were faced with a bounty of fresh pumpkins from our garden one year. Sadly, I don't know where he got the recipe from. I often substitute store bought canned pumpkin when I don't have fresh.

1 1/2 cups cooked pumpkin
1 cup packed brown sugar (I always buy light)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
2 Tablespoons molasses
3 eggs slightly beaten
12 ounce can of milk (I prefer carnation and not the fat free kind)

Nestle Carnation Evaporated Milk, 5 fl oz

In bowl, mix pumpkin with spices and molasses. Add eggs and milk. Pour into two unbaked pie shells. Bake at 425 degrees for 40-45 minutes until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

The original recipe said 1 pie crust, but I always have enough leftover for another pie. I think that's because I use 8-9 inch pie pans and perhaps the original called for a larger pie crust pan.

When I take the knife to test for doneness, I usually will think that there is no way it will come out clean because it looks uncooked, but when it's done, it really does come out clean. A toothpick won't give you the same result either. So make sure to use a knife!

I have been known to forget to add the pumpkin! As it was going into the oven, I remembered! agh! Don't be like me! ha! ha!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Finished Socks, finally!

I took a much needed break from sock knitting last week, when my hands started to ache from knitting too much.

I finally finished Nick's pair last night. I made the mistake of letting him see them because now he wants to wear them now instead of waiting until Christmas. Oh well! I'll just have to try knitting another pair for him in secret. :-)

The only thing he said was that the cuff was a little tight. I knit the top 2 inches with a double rib instead of a knit 3, purl 1 ribbing. Next time, I'll just do it that way. Hopefully, it loosens more. And I probably won't make them 8 3/4 inches long. I'm thinking 5-6 inches instead.

I knit my purple socks 4 inches and it didn't take long at all to make!

Think I'll play catch up today and try to get my other four projects done. No, make that five. And then make another pair of socks in November.

It's not the best picture, but it'll do for now.


Can you spot my one BIG mistake? I'm not telling! LOL

How to make pickled beets

This is another recipe that my Aunt shared with me. I don't know if it's her own recipe or if she got it somewhere, but when she was teaching me to can, she gave me a ton of recipes to try. I've loved them all!

I prefer baby beets! When I can't find them, I'll slice up some medium sized ones. The larger ones don't taste very good. They are tough and woody. Either way, start with some fresh beets. If they are limp and mushy, compost them!

I don't own a scale and never have measured the amount of beets I use. I just take whatever I've got. I just make sure I have plenty of jars ready. I cook them, add the spices and start spooning into jars. If it looks like I need more brine, I simply make more. What ever is leftover, (I run out of canning jars) I simply take a regular Tupperware container or empty used pickle jar and store the leftovers in the refrigerator. They don't last but a few days, sometimes hours, in my house!

The brine is about enough for 8 pints, with the beets added to give you somewhat of an idea. I am just providing the recipe for the yummy brine and the rest is up to you! I love this recipe! I never grew up liking pickled beets but agreed to can them for a friend one year (he let me keep half of what I made) and the rest is history. Now I make this recipe whenever I can get a hold of beets!

About canning salt- It's worth it to use. One year I didn't and the things I canned had a funny taste and color to them. Harmless but grossed me out! lol I found that you can buy canning salt in the canning section but it's more expensive. In the baking aisle, specifically salt section, of your grocery store, you can usually find an even larger box of canning salt for half the cost. This is what I use:

Morton - Canning and Pickling Salt - 4-lb. Boxes (Pack of 2) At Walmart it costs me about a dollar, last time I checked. The other brand is about $3-4 for half the amount.

What you've been waiting for!

4 cups vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. canning salt (don't use regular. why not?
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
12 cloves

Feel free to halve the recipe or triple it depending on your amount.

Wash beets. Cut stems to about 2 inches and leave the tap root on. This will help keep the color of your beets when you cook them.

Cook until tender. (about 25-30 minutes) I poke with a knife to see if it's tender.

Cool. Either with a bowl of ice water or rinsing them under the faucet in a colander. Trim ends. Slip off skins. They will do so easily when they cool down. Cut into 1/4 inch thick slices. Or if they are baby ones, leave whole. Put spices in cheesecloth.

Note-(I never seem to have cheesecloth on hand, so I just leave my spices in the pot. They don't bother me floating around the jar.)

Add to vinegar mixture. Bring to boil. Add beets. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove spices.

Fill jars to 1/2 inch headspace. Add more brine if necessary.

Water bath for 30 minutes, whether or not you used pints or quarts.

Enjoy!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Slipper Socks

I found out about Ravelry when I first got into knitting. I just love their site. You have to register but it doesn't cost anything.

The thing I love most about the site is the pattern search. You can click on whether or not you want the pattern you're searching for to have: a photo, crochet or knittted, free or pay, level of difficulty, type of yarn used, size of needle etc...

I have found so many cool patterns searching this way.

You can post up projects your working on, your yarn and needle stash. Make friends within the community. Write in the forums, you name it, they've got it! I just love that site!

My mom asked me to make her some socks awhile back. (like last year to be exact!) and I've been trying to get her a pair knit up before Christmas. I thought to ask her if she was wanting socks to wear as socks or socks to wear as slippers, because the yarn I was originally intending to use would not be appropriate as slipper socks. Too thin. I am really glad I asked her before I got too far into the project, because she said she was wanting slipper socks with a thicker sole. (which at this point, I have no idea how to do)

But I did find this cool pattern at the Ravelry site. Slipper socks using Lion Brand bulky yarn. These should be plenty warm!

I'm not sure if you're not a ravelry member if you'll be able to view the pattern or not. But I'll be sure to post a photo of them here so you can see what they look like.

Until next time!

Dish cloths turning sour?

I used to have a big problem with my dishcloths getting a sour smell to them. A few tips and tricks I learned:

1. When I knit dish cloths, I use a larger needle size. The tighter weaved ones tend to sour more quickly. These dish cloths are just as soft and absorbent as the others but without the stench!

2. I try to remember to shine my sink when I get done with a load of dishes. I use vinegar and baking soda for this and both seem to help the take out any odors that were lingering from the dish washing.

3. Then, I make sure to rinse the cloth after I get done. Even if I used plenty of soap, there is still some food particles stuck on the cloth.


When washing them, I use Purex. The kind that contains alternative bleach. I haven't had any problem with mine since.

I also use a fresh dish cloth for each day of the week. If I do end up using a dish cloth for more than one day after I've rinsed it, I hang it to dry on my oven rack. So, it doesn't sit wet in my sink, never balled up at the bottom of my sink with a pile of dirty dishes on top! lol

Update- I switched to Tide recently and started noticing my cloths turning sour again. Not sure if it's the detergent or what, but yesterday I washed a load and put some bleach in the wash. Then, when I did the rinse cycle I poured in some vinegar. It had a faint vinegar smell when it came out of the wash. I hung it on the clothesline all day and let the sun shine on it for several hours. They came off the line softer than usual and smelled clean and fresh!


Saturday, September 3, 2011

How to knit a soap saver

Awhile back, I had fun with some double pointed needles and knitted up a soap saver.  These were knit in the round which made them go pretty quickly. The nicest thing is that I didn't have any seams to sew up. Not even for the bottom piece as I did the three needle bind off method for them. No worries about it splitting open!


To make the ones pictured above, I used size 4 dpn's and cast on 30 sts. 10 on each needle. I just knit a rib stitch for a couple of inches (however I felt like it at the time) and then switched to stockinette stitch until it was as long as I wanted it to be. I think those measured 4 inches. They stretch some when they get wet, so I didn't want them that much bigger than a bar of soap. Then, I just did the 3 needle bind off to finish. You could use any size needle you wanted, but at the time, that is the only size I had that would work with the cotton yarn I was using. They knit up fairly quickly, though not as fast as the crocheted ones which take me less than 10 minutes!

But for those not interested in using dpn's, I've made these patterns below, which just means you have to sew up the sides when done.  Before, I just whip stitched the sides but now I would use the mattress stitch and make it look nicer. In fact, on the second one, I just kept on going after the last row and went back up the pattern backwards to keep from having to sew the bottom piece together.

Want to try another pattern but don't know where to look. I'm done the research and here are a few extra patterns below. Enjoy!

BaxterKnits
Dropped Stitch Soap Saver

This is the first one I ever found but at the time was too much of a beginner to even look at the pattern twice! The owl is so adorable! 

http://lilknitofthisandthat.blogspot.com/2007/06/melanies-soap-sackfree-pattern.html

Several patterns in nice one place!

Chinese wave pattern

This one is knit in the round.

Made for a marine.

Happy Knitting!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Socks and bones

I decided after Ginger was taken, that I was going to get some knitting done. I wanted to learn how to knit one thing and knit it very well. And socks is what I picked. It's relaxing and much fun!

I finished my purple socks and started on one for my mom but ran into trouble so I ditched it and started on a pair for Nick instead. I figure by the time I get done with his, I'll be more ready to tackle one for someone else, cause if they don't fit Nick they'll be mine! lol

So far so good, though since I'm using a lighter color on his, it seems that every few inches, I notice a mistake, but not enough to take out. The problem I have with sock knitting is that I can't just take out one row. Not when I just turned the heel or started on the gusset. I have no idea how to do it, so I just end up ripping it all out from each stage that I'm on. Looking closer at other socks I've made, I see these same "holes" and realize they are no big deal.

I'll see about posting up a picture of these socks. Right now I am working on the gusset and after that the foot and then the toe and I'm done! I told Nick he'd have to wait until Christmas for his socks. Just kidding! He can have them when I'm done. I'll even see about making him another pair closer to his birthday. Shhh!!! (course he reads my blog so I guess he's read this by now. ha! ha!)


 The more I knit socks the easier it gets. It's just a matter of following the right steps. 



In between working on the socks, I got a huge bag of "red heart" type yarn. Which I generally dislike for afghans and other wearable things, but I bought this pattern awhile back and really wanted to try making it with yarn instead of jersey material. Four strands made it and it turned out good. I ended up giving it to a friend, who said she'd trade some homemade cinnamon rolls with me. (my idea! lol)


That made me think of other things I could barter for. Candy, cookies, (can you see I have a sweet tooth?) I love bartering!

I think I'll make another bone rug this weekend and use a different color combination. I'll post up pictures of it later.

I like the idea of using yarn instead of the t-shirt material. It lays better and I think turns out nicer.

And the sock picture almost done: