Sunday, September 11, 2011


If you're a knitter and don't follow the yarn harlot, you're missing one of my favorite blogs. She is hilarious even if you're not a knitter.  And she's going through what I've been going through for a couple weeks--waiting for a special little baby to arrive and knitting until it comes!  Ours is here!  Our second little grandson arrived a couple days ago and we couldn't be happier around here!  (Jen is still waiting and the yarn harlot is still knitting.)  You really should go there and see the cute baby things she's making and making and making.  Adorable!  I'm working on a little hoodie but so far all I've completed is a pile of booties:

The first ones I made were from elastic yarn.  They are knit from top down and only have a seam on the center of the sole. I showed those on a previous post.  They are the light blue, tan and white ones above.
Then I made a pair from a pattern I really like in which the sole is knit first, then the sides, top and cuff. There is no seam at all in those.  These turned out a little bigger than I wanted because I was experimenting with sizes and yarns.
Since there was still no baby and I love making booties, I decided a plain blue pair might be nice.  But there was some gold yarn nearby and this is WV and a couple of his uncles are serious Mountaineer fans and . . . look what happened:

On this day of 9-ll, remembering what happened ten years ago and all the special memories that were shared of loved ones today on tv, makes me all the more thankful for our new little one and for all the special family that gathered around to welcome him into our life.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

My Favorite Zucchini Bread

I have made three versions of zucchini bread this summer.  So far this one gets my vote. I used "Mom's Zucchini Bread" at allrecipes.  I used the recipe exactly as it is.
I prepared my ingredients:

I got my soapy water ready. Forever burned into my brain is the voice of my high school home ec teacher,"keep your work area clean!" I wash my tools as I go--only takes a second and it's so nice at the end!
I don't sift ingredients that often anymore, but I did for this bread: 
Then I mixed the eggs, oil and vanilla:
I added dry ingredients to the wet mixture:
After mixing I used two 8-inch loaf pans:

In the oven they went at 325 degrees and out to knit and watch the clothes dry, I went:

After about an hour:

Like all the other recipes I've tried, this one was still sweeter than I need.  I'll try half as much sugar next time.  I liked the walnuts but missed the raisins.  Next time I'll soak a cup of raisins in boiling water about an hour, drain and use them in place of nuts.  The  3 tsp. of cinnamon was yummy and I loved the 3 tsp. vanilla. For now this will be my basic recipe that I play around with. It would be good with different fruits and I might try different flours, etc., but for flavor and texture this is really good!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Little radish and other sandwiches

I grew up eating slices of homemade bread and butter topped with all sorts of fresh veggies and salt.  Mostly we sliced radishes or green peppers to top the bread.  Occasionally we sliced our own homemade dill pickles as a topping.  Recently I've read that this is very "French."  I don't know the origin of these little sandwiches, but our home was Polish and German and all we knew was these were really good.  Radishes alone can be a little strong but the bread, butter and salt mellow them right out.  The green peppers are good with that fresh green pepper flavor that just needs just a little something to soften it a bit.

The bread must be homemade or some form of  robust white or sourdough bread.  I'm using sliced ciabatta  here.  I love ciabatta with all its holes and chewy texture.  The butter is cold from the fridge to make thin smooth bits on the bread.  I don't care for soft room-temperature butter. (My husband insists it has to be soft and "spreadable."  We fought about this until we decided to keep mine in the fridge and his on the counter.)
Don't use much butter.  It detracts from the veggies--we don't want this to be creamy. I tried fleur de sel on top but prefer smaller grind table salt.  The crunchy salt crystals were too much on these sandwiches for me.
I had some fresh red raspberries in the refrigerator that caught my attention. How about on lightly buttered bread with some confectioner's sugar on top?
YES that's lightly buttered bread, fresh raspberries and a dusting of powdered sugar!  Yummm. It's a creamy light dessert! I'm heading to the teapot to make another cup and have another one of these.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Swimming In The Rain

Last night I resigned from the worldwide community of knitters.  I had two baby bootees on needles.  I was excited because both were departures from the expected and from the very old patterns I was using. As I was completing the foot and starting up the cuff of the mossy-green-meadow variegated bootee, I kept ignoring the obvious and clinging to my hope that this is going to be beautiful. Then I stopped and really LOOKED at it.  It looked like a thick rectangular stiff light yellow-green  box that a tiny baby foot was supposed to go into.  The yarn was too thick, the needles too small and there was no way of saving it. Ok. I had the other one to turn to.  I had chosen medium gray as the yarn for the panels and white for the outlines to make bootees that would have the look of little gray panels all over, bordered with white around each one.  This time the yarn and needles were the size the pattern called for.  I knitted along, thinking, again, that it was looking kind of big.  After I finished the cuff, working top down, I did what "they" try to tell you to always do, BEFOREHAND. I checked the gauge.  Instead of 9 stitches per inch, I was getting 6 stitches per inch.  I threw it all in a box;  I quit knitting. I decided I needed to get back to exercising and being active.  I had sat with my needles too long and was becoming sloppy.  In the morning I would start the day with a swim.

I got up this morning and it was raining.  Now that's not a complaint.  Our garden has become so dry there's no saving some of it. The morning glories had drooped for several weeks, just surviving on the little water I gave them over the drought. For the first time in forever, their leaves are full and strong this morning.

The black-eyed susans are really pretty and I brought some in for the table.
Remember my plan was to start the day with swimming.  I looked at the rain coming down heavily into our pool.  There was no lightning.  I went swimming.  Water drops were coming down all around me with millions of air bubbles forming on the blue surface.  The air temperature was cooler than the water temperature and it was amazing. This picture was after the rain stopped but I just wanted to see the blue here.

My breakfast this morning is a banana smoothie.  I freeze sliced bananas, add skimmed milk and put them through the magic bullet.  It's healthy but thick as a milkshake from the frozen bananas.  This time I added just a little cold coffee and sprinkled the top with grated semisweet chocolate.  Ready to go.
I'll be rejoining the knitting world this afternoon with soft, light-blue, fingering-yarn bootees.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Staying Cool While Knitting

August 1 is no time to be sitting on this deck knitting little bootees.  It's probably over a 100 deg. out with a warm breeze.  But a new little grandbaby is on the way and the bootees have to be knit.   I 'm in and out of the pool to cool off and back on the shady deck to knit. Don't feel like stopping to make lunch and my husband comes out with just the perfect snack. This is why we're still together after more than 40 years.  That and he makes me tea every morning.
Honestly, nothing beats fresh fruit just as it is on a hot day.  Summer cobblers and pies are delicious but since I'm eating healthier my tastes have changed some.  I love the clean taste of just the fruit.  And it's beautiful.

Finished the bootees--for a little boy.  And I'm already starting on two more pair.
Hubby is grilling hamburgers.  I'll get back to cooking tomorrow.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Zucchini and Red Onion on Naan Bread

A friend gave me this recipe for using zucchini that is now stacked to the ceiling of our kitchen.  I don't know its origin,  but it is one of the most delicious zucchini dishes I've tried.

Preheat oven to 400 F.

young zucchini, thinly sliced
medium red onion, thinly sliced
Naan flatbread
1 tub Garden Vegetable cream cheese, softened (the original recipe calls for Garlic Herb Boursin Cheese, but I didn't  have that on hand that day--both are delicious)
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian Parsley

Saute the red onion in a little canola or olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and remove from pan.  Add a little more oil and saute the zucchini in that pan until lightly browned.  Salt lightly and remove from pan.
Spread Naan with cream cheese.  Sprinkle with some of the Parmesan.

Place cooked onion in a row at one end of the flatbread. Place zucchini next to it in another row. Add another row of onion and another zucchini and end with another row of onion.  Add chopped parsley over the top and the remaining Parmesan cheese over the top.
Place in oven and bake about 20 minutes.
The amounts don't have to be exact.  I used white Naan bread but the recipe called for whole wheat (healthier), which I didn't find in our market. Pita or other flatbread would also work. 

Cut into quarters and eat like pizza.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fresh Red Currants

I've been away from my blog and your blogs for four months.  Sometimes I get so busy with teaching and life that some of the things I enjoy most get set aside temporarily.  Or some little thing happens and I just get on another plane for a while.  Four months ago, I turned 65.  Always ready for the next challenge, I went to my doctor and asked for a really good checkup.  I was told that I need to get my cholesterol down or consider medication.  That's not good news for someone who loves food, making bread, belonging to a cheese-making group, making ice cream (not just ice cream, but "gelato!"),  etc., etc.  I sulked for a while, protested, not ready to join the "high-cholesterol" crowd, not ready to give up my soulmate bond with Paula Deen and butter.  I set out to see what I could do for myself to get my numbers down--probably nothing since it runs in my family--but I got on it.  In the last four months I've lost 30 pounds, all my numbers are down some and I actually do feel 10 years younger--at least!  I have not stopped eating good food.  I'm eating good HEALTHY food in small amounts and often.  I'm exercising and staying active.  My blog emphasis will shift a little toward healthy recipes that I've tried and loved and seasonal foods.  I have given up butter and cheese (not forever, of course), but I haven't actually missed those since there are so many other good foods out there to eat.  I'm returning to blogging with a recipe that I tried today to use some of our beautiful jewel currants. And you'll notice that in this recipe are butter, eggs and cream-which of course I don't eat anymore.  This recipe can be found at delicious days.  I used it just as it's written. I mixed flour butter, confectioner's sugar, egg yolk and salt for the crust. After chilling the dough, I cut it into 5 equal pieces and rolled each one out before fitting it into a buttered 2-piece tart pan.
After baking and cooling the shells, I filled them with fresh currants
Then I mixed the eggs, brown sugar and cream and poured over the berries and back in the oven to bake again.

After the tarts were cooled, I sprinkled confectioner's sugar over the top and enjoyed my first Fresh Red Currant Tart!

The crust is really good.  If you like the fresh tangy flavor of red currants, this is a good recipe.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Happy Nutella Day!

Mmmmmmm, my favorite way to eat Nutella is with a jar and a spoon!  Everything else is just a distraction.
But in honor of World Nutella Day , I melted some Nutella with a little heavy whipping cream and dipped fresh fruit in it.

Strawberries would have been my first choice but I didn't have any strawberries when I realized it was World Nutella Day.  It turned out oranges are luscious.  Grapes are ok, cookies too sweet, but the unexpected burst of juicy, tangy orange following the first soft, smooth, melty Nutella sensation. . . I cried.

World Nutella Day was started in 2007 by Ms Adventures in Italy and Bleeding Espresso.  Thank you!  My adventures in using Nutella beyond my teaspoon are about to begin.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

"Promises To Keep"

Every winter I quote Robert Frost as I gaze out my window into the snowy woods.  And I think of the promises I need to keep.  January is a wonderful month for that.  My fall was so busy with the start of a new school year and 2 classes I had to take to keep my certification.  Then the holidays full of all the fun and family took us into the new year.  I have spent this month reorganizing again.  Now things are somewhat under control in our home.  I can find things I need again and I'm excited about the year ahead.  I spent this evening reading some of my favorite blogs that I hadn't even looked at for a couple months.  I'm joining  Cream Puffs in Venice with a list of 11 things I want to do, except I'm giving myself 3 months rather than a year.  It seems easier to handle 3 months at a time!

1.  Maintain the organization I've established.
2.  Follow the cleaning plan I've put together so my weekends are free.
3.  Redecorate one room.
4.  Make every Friday evening a SPA night.
5.  Keep up the exercise plan I've established.
6.  Use lip gloss and lotion constantly.
7.  Use my new CAMERA often!
8.  Complete a knitting project.
9.  Make pierogis once a month.
10.  Visit one new place each month.
11.  Buy lots of earrings.

Goals are dreams with deadlines - Diana Scharf Hunt