Saturday, May 31, 2008

Super Easy Baby Blanket

Whit has done it again. This will be perfect for my new nephew due in a couple of months. Project courtesy of Whit's Knits at The Purl Bee.





Supplies

7 skeins of Alchemy Yarns' Temple, 100% superfine superwash merino wool. These colors from the top are Lantern, Citrine, Silver, Moonstone, Platinum, Topaz, and Kai's Goldfish

A US #7 circular needle, 24 or 32 inches long.

A tapestry needle.


Gauge
21.5 stitches = 4 inches in garter stitch

Finished Size
26 inches x 28 inches

Pattern
With a US #7 needle and the first color, loosely cast on 140 stitches.

Knit every row until there are 20 garter stitch "ridges" (1 ridge = 2 rows).

Switch to the second color at the beginning of the next row, and knit every row until there are 20 ridges.

Repeat with each color, making sure to always switch colors on the same side.


After knitting 20 ridges with the seventh color, loosely bind off.

Weave in the ends.

This yarn is superwash which means you can safely put it in the washer and dryer. However, if you've used any bright saturated colors (especially reds), you may want to add white distilled vinegar to your first wash in order to "set" the dyes. I read somewhere to add 3 cups; that seems like a lot, but it can't hurt!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday Five

1. When feel the urge to use the bathroom, do you hold it or go right away? If I am out, I hold it in until I'm going to burst. I loathe public restrooms. Yuck! If I am home, I pretty much go when I have to even if I am on the telly. LOL!

2. When was the last time you held hands with someone? Yesterday, with Natty.

3. Do you hold in your emotions or let them out? This is a trick question for me. If they are negative, I hold them in until I am about to explode and then watch out. I should also point out that my face pretty much gives away what I am feeling so even tho I am holding them in you know how I feel.

4. If you play blackjack or poker, are you more likely to hold or fold on any given hand? I'm more of a hold 'em kinda girl.

5. In general, can you hold your tongue? When you have a secret? When someone says something you don't agree with? Nope, I say what I mean and mean what I say. I have no problem telling people I disagree with them. And, I cannot be trusted with government secrets. I have loose lips. LOL!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Currently Reading...

With my favorite group of girls. I am about half way through it and I love it. I think I will pick up her other novels as well. :)



Are you reading anything interesting? If so, let me know. :)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Hiking

Wow! 3 posts in one day. I know. I know. But, I have lots to catch up on so here goes. With this post I am officially caught up, I think. (wink, wink)

Most of you who know me and I mean really know me know that I am as city folk as they come. Give me pavement over dirt paths. Give me bus fumes over grassy fields. LOL! I guess that comes with growing up in NYC... part of my charm. LOL!

But, luckily I am also blessed with a family who likes the great outdoors. They make me go with them on nature walks and hold your breath...hikes! So, yesterday, it was a glorious day in the hood and we drove up to the mountains. First we ate lunch at one of our favorite brew pubs. I mean they had to throw me a bone, right? I imbibed on a lovely Pale Ale called Rail Trail pale ale. Delish. And then off we went to hike.

Here are some of my favorite photos I took from the day. Enjoy!

A shot of Lake Mohansic...



A preview of what is to come if you keep on going...




Your reward after hiking the mountain is this beautiful waterfall...



I got them to stop skipping rocks just long enough for me to get these shots. Fun!



So, at the end of that day, I was glad they *made* me go. Dare I say, I had fun. :O

Currently Knitting...

This hat but with a different color scheme. Mine will be a lovely coral, white and pink.


From this awesome book by Nicki Trench. I have made so many projects from this book. I love it and highly recommend it.

Move Over Miles Davis

Here comes Dylan!!!

I don't know if you remember, but back in the fall Dylan came home on a Tuesday and told me he signed up for band and needed a trumpet by Thursday. I had a heck of a time finding one but in the end it all worked out as a neighbor gave us her son's.

So, after months of twice a week lessons, it all came down to the 4th grade band concert on May 15th. I got there early and got front row seats. Stew left work early to made it on time.

It was priceless!!! They sounded like an actual band. They played Beethoven and a Jazz medley and some fun tunes as well. And, I got it all on videotape. Can't wait to show the rest of the fam when they come over for his birthday this weekend.

Some pre-concert shots in our driveway...







During his 4 bar solo...


Thanks for letting me share. :) Mo

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday Sweet Spot (and then some)



Cappuccino Crinkles

Prep: 15 minutes
Bake: 8 minutes

1/3 cup butter (no substitutes), softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 egg whites
1/3 cup vanilla yogurt
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Directions
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat butter in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the brown sugar, cocoa powder, coffee granules, baking soda, and cinnamon. Beat until combined, scraping sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in egg whites and yogurt until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in remaining flour with a wooden spoon.

2. Place granulated sugar in a small bowl. Drop dough by heaping teaspoons into sugar and roll into balls. Roll again in sugar. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm. Transfer cookies to wire racks and cool. Makes about 32.

Make-Ahead Tip: Place in layers separated by waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature up to 1 week or freeze up to 3 months.




Penne with Broccoli Rabe and Pancetta
4 to 6 servings
Start to Finish: 30 min.

Ingredients
12 ounces broccoli rabe or 1-1/2 cups broccoli florets
3 cups dried whole wheat or multigrain penne (8 ounces)
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
2 ounces pancetta or 3 slices bacon, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/3 cups chopped, seeded roma tomato (4 medium)
1/3 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
1/4 cup finely shredded Asiago cheese (1 ounce)

Directions
1. Wash broccoli rabe; drain well. Remove and discard large leaves; cut into 4-inch lengths. Set broccoli rabe aside.

2. In a 3-quart saucepan cook penne in a large amount of lightly salted boiling water for 9 minutes; add broccoli rabe. Cook about 3 minutes more until penne is tender; drain. Return pasta mixture to saucepan; cover and keep warm.

3. Meanwhile, in a 2- to a 2-1/2-quart saucepan, cook onion, pancetta, and garlic over medium heat until pancetta is crisp and onion is tender, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low; add tomato and wine. Cook and stir for 2 minutes.

4. Add tomato mixture to penne mixture in saucepan; toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and ground black pepper. Transfer to a warm serving dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Makes 4 to 6 main-dish servings.

Nutrition facts per serving:
Servings Per Recipe 4 to 6 servings
Calories 348
Total Fat (g) 8
Saturated Fat (g) 3
Monounsaturated Fat (g) 0
Polyunsaturated Fat (g) 0
Cholesterol (mg) 18
Sodium (mg) 462
Carbohydrate (g) 51
Total Sugar (g) 5
Fiber (g) 8
Protein (g) 16
Vitamin C (DV%) 68
Calcium (DV%) 25
Iron (DV%) 16
*Percent Daily Values are base on a 2,000 calorie diet

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Friday Five (a little early)

What's your favourite TV network? It's a tie between A&E and Bravo with TBS and Lifetime coming in close behind.

If you could create your own channel, what would it be? One that shows cop shows and baseball games and reruns of The Golden Girls and Everybody Loves Raymond 24 hours a day. Oh, and no commercials. :D

What TV show did you watch as a child, that you wish they would bring back? The Brady Bunch. Gawd, I loved that show. Marsha! Marsha! Marsha! Oh, my nose. Oh, my nose! LOL!!!

What show have you always hated, and wonder why they ever made such a dumb show? Still Standing. They show the reruns on Lifetime. i want to poke my eyes out when it is the only thing on. DUmb show. ;)

What TV show's seasons would you buy on DVD? Everybody Loves Raymond because I already own the Complete Golden Girls Collection. :D

Saturday, May 17, 2008

So, my son is turning 10

and I wanted to do something special for his invite. One year I wrote in chalk on the driveway, posed him near it and took a photo. I sent that to all as the invite. It was a big hit.

Now, what to do for 10? I mean that's a big birthday, right...double digits!! ;) I had the great idea to take his picture holding up 10 fingers but what else???

Then my friend Libby showed me an invite she made for a friend and I knew that was it. She is such a talented digital designer with her own line and everything. So all I did was send her a photo give the particulars and voila....she created this masterpiece....



We went with the American theme as his birthday is May 30th. I *LOVE* it!!

So, if you are looking to do something creative for your next invite go see Libby ...
http://www.libby-lou.blogspot.com/

Friday, May 16, 2008

Dinner Update

Just finished up the chicken recipe I posted earlier today and it was AWESOME and super easy.

I used jarred light alfredo sauce instead of the refrigerated kind they suggest.

I highly recommend it!

Enjoy!

Hand-Knit Washcloths

Saw these and just knew I had to make them for my brother who is getting married this summer. Project idea from Whit's Knits at www.the purlbee.com



Supplies
Blue Sky Alpaca's Skinny Cotton, 100% organically grown cotton. 1 skein makes 2 washcloths. The colors here are Organic Clay 31, Pink 305 and Birch 30 (The Clay and the Birch are naturally occurring colors, in other words, undyed).

US #5 knitting needles, straight or circular.

A small crochet hook, like a size "E".




Pattern
Your gauge in stockinette stitch may be different than your gauge in seed stitch, so I suggest doing a gauge swatch in stockinette stitch. When you know how many stitches per inch you're getting, take that number and multiply it by 8. Cast on the odd number closest to that number. For example, if your stockinette gauge is 5 3/4 stitches per inch, multiplied by 8 is 46, so cast on either 45 or 47 stitches.

Row 1: *k1, p1, repeat from * to end of row.

Repeat Row 1 six more times.

Row 8: [k1, p1] 2 times, knit to last 4 stitches, [p1, k1] 2 times.

Row 9: [k1, p1] 2 times, k1, purl to last 5 stitches, k1, [p1, k1] 2 times.

Repeat the last 2 rows until piece measures 7 inches.

Knit Row 1 seven times.

Bind off and finish, leaving a tail about a foot long.

Crocheted loop
To make a little loop for hanging the washcloth, insert the crochet hook into the corner of the washcloth. Pull a loop of the tail through.

Chain 11

Slip thru and bind off.

Blocking
Sometimes I don't block my finished projects, but, in this case, I think it's a pretty important step. Cotton is a bit unforgiving, so blocking will definitely help even out your stitches, and also, by blocking, you can shape really neat and even squares.

So, soak the washcloths in a sink or basin of room temperature water. You can add some mild soap to the water if you want (like Ivory dishwashing soap, baby shampoo, or I use a gentle wool wash called Soak which you don't have to rinse out).

Squeeze the excess moisture out of the washcloths (but don't wring or twist). Then roll them in a dry towel and squeeze the towel (I even kneel on the towel roll to really get the water out).

Pull the washcloths in all directions, horizontally, vertically, diagonally, shake the stitches around. Then lay each washcloth out on another dry towel and carefully shape each one into a neat square. My squares were 8 1/2 inches by 8 1/2 inches, but if your gauge is a little different that's okay, as long as they're all about the same as each other!

Friday Five

What makes you feel old? Everytime I hear a song from Nirvana, it reminds me of law school and the early 90's and then I think man that was a long time ago (even tho it feels like yesterday) and then I think boy I'm an old lady.

What makes you feel young? Shopping for clothes. I still can wear the latest styles without looking ridiculous. LOL!

What was better when you were allowed to do it the old way? Stew would say listening to records. In this age of digital music and ipods, he would still rather listen to an album. Me, I'm not so sure I have an answer. I really embrace all the new technology, etc.

What’s better now that you do it the new way? TV. I have satellite tv and can watch baseball games from all over the country. Fun stuff!

What’s something you are old school about? Writing letters and sending cards. I could easily just e mail but I'd rather send a handwritten note.

Dinner Tonight?


You betcha!

Chicken Alfredo and Rice Casserole

1 10-oz. container refrigerated light Alfredo pasta sauce
1/2 cup milk
2-1/2 cups cooked white rice or wild rice
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 cup frozen peas
1/3 cup chopped bottled roasted red sweet peppers
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted (optional)
1 Tbsp. snipped fresh basil or 1/2 tsp. dried basil, crushed
1 cup soft bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. butter, melted

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In large bowl combine pasta sauce and milk. Stir in rice, chicken, peas, sweet peppers, nuts, and basil. Transfer to 1-1/2-quart baking dish.

2. Bake, covered, 30 minutes. Uncover and stir. Combine bread crumbs and melted butter; sprinkle atop. Bake, uncovered, 20 to 25 minutes more or until heated through and crumbs are golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serves 4.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

I hate snow...


but the thought of not having any snow layouts was a bit upsetting. So, during our only real snowfall this winter I made sure to take lots of pix. This is Natty. Mostly American Crafts. :) TFL! Mo

Too Cute Not To Post


Cheesecake Pops
Makes 30 – 40 Pops

5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ cup heavy cream
Boiling water as needed
Thirty to forty 8-inch lollipop sticks
1 pound chocolate, finely chopped – you can use all one kind or half and half of dark, milk, or white (Alternately, you can use 1 pound of flavored coatings, also known as summer coating, confectionary coating or wafer chocolate – candy supply stores carry colors, as well as the three kinds of chocolate.)
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
(Note: White chocolate is harder to use this way, but not impossible)

Assorted decorations such as chopped nuts, colored jimmies, crushed peppermints, mini chocolate chips, sanding sugars, dragees) - Optional

Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer set at low speed, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at lwo speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cream.

Lightly grease a 10-inch cake pan (not a springform pan). Pour the cheesecake batter into the cake pan and place in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly goldenon top, 35 to 45 minutes.

Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

When cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchemtn paper-lined baking sheet. Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours.

When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate. In the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, heat half the chocolate and half the shortening, stirring often, until chocolate is melted and chocolate and shortening are combined. Stir until completely smooth. Save the rest of the chocolate and shortening for later dipping, or use another type of chocolate for variety.

Alternately, you can microwave the same amount of chocolate coating pieces on high at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.

Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate. If you like, you can now roll the pops quickly in optional decorations. You can also drizzle them with a contrasting color of melted chocolate (dark chocolate drizzled over milk chocolate or white chocolate over dark chocolate, etc.) Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining pops, melting more chocolate and shortening (or confectionary chocolate pieces) as needed.

Sunday Sweet Spot


Lemon-Lime Bars Prep: 20 minutes
Chill: 2 hours
Bake: 40 minutes
Cool: 2 hour
Stand: 2 hour

Ingredients
2/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
4 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel, divided
6 eggs
2-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. finely shredded lime peel
2 Tbsp. sifted powdered sugar

Directions
1. Prepare Candied Citrus Slices or Strips, (see recipe), if desired. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with heavy foil; set aside.

2. For crust, in large mixing bowl beat butter on medium to high 30 seconds. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Beat in 2 cups of the flour until crumbly. Stir in 2 teaspoons of the lemon peel. Evenly press on bottom of prepared pan. Bake 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, for filling, in medium bowl combine eggs, granulated sugar, remaining 1/2 cup flour, lemon juice, baking powder, and nutmeg. Beat on medium 2 minutes. Stir in remaining lemon peel and the lime peel. Pour over hot crust. Bake 20 minutes more or until edges are browned and center appears set. Remove to rack; cool 1 hour. Refrigerate, covered, 2 hours.

4. To serve, sprinkle evenly with powdered sugar. Lift from pan using foil; cut into bars. Add Candied Citrus Slices or Strips, if desired. Store, covered, in refrigerator up to 3 days. Makes 16 to 20 bars.

5. Candied Citrus Slices: In large skillet combine 1/4 cup water and 3/4 cup sugar; bring to boiling. Add 2 lemons or 10 key limes, thinly sliced. Simmer gently, uncovered, for 1 to 2 minutes or until just softened. Transfer to rack; cool.

6. Candied Citrus Strips: Cut strips of peel from 2 lemons or 2 limes. With spoon scrape away white pith. Cut into thin strips and cook in sugar mixture as above.

Nutrition facts per serving:
Calories 307
Total Fat (g) 10
Saturated Fat (g) 5
Monounsaturated Fat (g) 3
Polyunsaturated Fat (g) 1
Cholesterol (mg) 100
Sodium (mg) 96
Carbohydrate (g) 52
Total Sugar (g) 36
Fiber (g) 0
Protein (g) 4
Vitamin C (DV%) 7
Calcium (DV%) 3
Iron (DV%) 8

A New Recipe


Roast Beef Tamale Casserole

Prep: 30 min.
Bake: 25 min.

Ingredients
1 17-oz. pkg. refrigerated cooked beef roast au jus
1 medium poblano or Anaheim pepper, seeded and sliced*
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 15-oz. can pinto beans, rinsed, and drained
1-1/2 cups 1-inch pieces zucchini and/or yellow summer squash
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved, if desired
3/4 of a 16-oz. tube refrigerated cooked polenta, cut into 1/2-inch slices
4 oz. Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeƱo peppers, shredded (1 cup)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp. snipped fresh cilantro
Lime wedges

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat beef according to package directions. Pour juice into 2-cup glass measure; add water to equal 1 cup. Coarsely shred beef with two forks.

2. In large skillet cook pepper and onion in hot butter over medium heat until tender. Stir in flour. Add juice mixture; cook until thickened and bubbly. Stir in beef, beans, zucchini, and tomatoes. Transfer to lightly greased 2-quart (8x8x2-inch) baking dish. Arrange polenta slices around edges.

3. Bake, uncovered, 20 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake 5 to 10 minutes more, until cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes.

4. In small bowl combine sour cream and cilantro. Serve with casserole, pass lime wedges. Serves 4 to 6.

5. *Note: Hot peppers contain oils that can burn skin and eyes. Wear kitchen gloves while handling pepper. Wash hands well after.

Nutrition facts per serving:
Calories 578
Total Fat (g) 31
Saturated Fat (g) 18
Monounsaturated Fat (g) 4
Polyunsaturated Fat (g) 1
Cholesterol (mg) 125
Sodium (mg) 1155
Carbohydrate (g) 40
Total Sugar (g) 8
Fiber (g) 8
Protein (g) 41
Vitamin C (DV%) 153
Calcium (DV%) 33
Iron (DV%) 26

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mother's Day BBQ

This year we celebrated Mother's Day one day early. Sunday is such a hard day to do anything. Everyone has to leave early because of work and school the next day. And restaurants are always so crowded and the food is never as good as it usually is. So we BBQed and enjoyed a nice casual day.

I got the new Robin Miller cookbook...Robin to the Rescue. I got a new Yankee Candle...Beach Walk. A Making Memories decorative tray kit and a Rachael Ray moppini. Natty wrote me apoem and made me a magnet and a plate too. I scored!

Me with one of my very special gifts...aplate Natty made for me.



Me, my Mom and my very pregnant Sister...



My Mom and all her grandchildren...

Friday, May 09, 2008

Friday Five

Among your acquaintances, who’s the best screamer? Me, hands down.
When was the last time you had to shout in order to be heard? Last week when the kiddos were fighting over the television.
When was the last time you cheered for anything? Last Braves game. :D
Whom did you last yell at? Stew, last night when he woke me up to put eye drops in for him.
When did you last lose your voice, or at least find yourself hoarse? Last year during allergy season.

THANKS FOR PLAYING! AND HAVE A QUIET WEEKEND!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Martha's Favorite Tuna


1. Ingredients
12 ounces good-quality tuna, packed in oil, drained
2 stalks celery, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 apple, such as McIntosh or Gala, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3 tablespoons light mayonnaise, preferably Ojai Cook's Lemonaise Light
2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
8 slices best-quality sourdough

2. Cooking Directions
In a medium bowl, combine tuna, celery, apple, mayonnaise, basil, and lemon juice; mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
On a work surface, divide tuna salad among 4 slices bread; top with remaining 4 slices bread. Serve.

Yield: 4 servingsCalories: 386 kcal
Carbohydrates: 37 g
Dietary Fiber: 5 g
Fat: 12 g
Protein: 30 g
Sugars: 6 g

Friday, May 02, 2008

Friday Five

1. Love at First Sight: Fact or Fiction? Fact
2. Fortune Telling: Fact or Fiction? Fiction
3. Other Life: Fact or Fiction? Fiction
4. Afterlife: Fact or Fiction? Still pondering this one
5. Bigfoot: Fact or Fiction? Fiction

As you can see, I'm not much of a believer. :O