28 February 2013

Knitting Update - WIP's

Sockhead Hat - finished just in time for our first decent snow storm of the winter
Uki scarf

I think I've been spending too much time in the car lately... dishcloths


The Wurm - neat folded brim on this one with a purl knit pattern creating the bumps


Last, but not least, I joined a mystery KAL on Craftsy. 
This is my first project with lace yarn. Finding it a bit of a challenge. Which is the whole point, I guess...

You can find me on Ravelry HERE if you want to see details of these projects.

22 February 2013

Basmati Rice Salad



This salad is so fresh and delicious, you'll want to eat it every day. Almost.

Basmati Rice Salad

2 cups cooked basmati rice
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 red and 1 orange or yellow bell pepper, diced small
1 cup chopped celery
2 Tbsp. freshly ground flaxseeds (optional)
1/3 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 T toasted sesame oil
juice of 2 lemons
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. turmeric
arugula
sesame seeds for garnish

In a large bowl, combine the rice, garbanzos, pepper, celery, flaxseeds, scallions and parsley. In a small bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, lemon juice, cumin turmeric and salt. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well. Serve over a bed of arugula and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serves 4-6

20 February 2013

Little Fashionista Rocks the Corduroy Skirt

The Corduroy Skirt


Lands End has the cutest corduroy skirts.


Since my daughter wears a uniform at school, and already has a LOT of clothes, I can't really justify spending $34 on a skirt she won't be wearing a lot. I did have some cute corduroy in my stash though, so I decided to make a skirt similar to the one above. 


This is my go-to pattern for the tiered or ruffled skirt. Even if I tweak it or don't use the pattern, I use the dimensions for sizing.


My daughter does not like things tight on her waist, so the elastic waist is her preference anyway. She also likes the skirt a little longer so she can run and play and not have to wear shorts under. She is a girl who knows what she wants.

I shortened the upper part of the skirt a bit and then lengthened the ruffle so it looked balanced. She seems happy with the results.

Can you tell it's not January in this photo? I made this skirt last fall, and she's been wearing it all winter. See how she styled it today?



 I am thinking that skirt is a good inch shorter on her now than it was in September...

19 February 2013

What We Really Ate - Menu Plan Monday


I apologize for making you jealous. But I'm in Oregon visiting my parents. I'll be heading home to Colorado later today. Isn't that a gorgeous view? It's Clatsop Spit - where the Columbia River meets the ocean, and my mom and dad. 

Just for fun, I thought I'd do one of those "keeping it real" posts. So here's our menu from last week, along with a list of what we really ate (can you tell the husband was out of town?):

MONDAY
Nachos   
We ate nachos, I had a taco salad instead
 
TUESDAY
rice
Pre-packaged cheeseTortellini with oranges and pears for the youngest
Basmati rice salad over lettuce for me and the oldest kid went out for wings with his Eagle scout mentor 
 
WEDNESDAY
 
Pre-packaged cheeseTortellini with oranges and pears for the youngest (yes, again)
Chicken Shwarma take-out for me and the oldest kid 
 
THURSDAY
Orange Chicken
rice 
Cobb Salad - except the youngest who objects to salad  - can you say Tortellini again?
 
FRIDAY
Leftovers
 
SATURDAY
 
SUNDAY
Pasta E Fagioli Soup - Crock Pot

I really couldn't tell you what they ate the rest of the weekend. I left Friday. My husband is a competent cook, but if I had to guess I would say pasta, burritos, pasta, burritos...

18 February 2013

Abraham Lincoln: In His Own Words

Iconic black and white photograph of Lincoln showing his head and shoulders. 


The Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.


Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.


But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom— and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Quotes:

"Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, "Letter To Henry L. Pierce and Others" (April 6, 1859), p. 376. 

"I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day." Lincoln Observed: The Civil War Dispatches of Noah Brooks edited by Michael Burlingame (Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998), p. 210.

"Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser - in fees, expenses, and waste of time. As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume II, "Notes for a Law Lecture" (July 1, 1850?), p. 81. 


  

15 February 2013

Sticky Toffee Pudding



Sticky Toffee Pudding is a dessert that is British in origin (unless it's Scottish). This dessert has a colorful history - nobody knows who first invented it - but plenty are willing to stake a claim. If you think you might enjoy a few tidbits of food history/controversy, take a peek at these two articles:


All I know is that it is delicious. It's more of a cake than a pudding, very moist and rich.

STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING 

1 cup chopped, pitted dates
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup water, heated to boiling
2 Tbsp. butter, at room temperature
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour, sifted
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
Toffee Sauce
Crème fraîche or sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Lightly butter and flour six ramekins.
In a small bowl, pour the cup of boiling water over the dates and baking soda and stir. Set aside.
I another bowl, with a mixer set on med-high, beat butter, brown sugar and eggs until blended, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Gently sift in the flour, baking powder and salt. Blend in the date mixture, stirring until just combined.
Pour mixture evenly into ramekins and set on a baking sheet. 
Bake until tops spring back when lightly pressed - about 30-40 minutes. Remove puddings from oven and let cool for 20 minutes.
Run a sharp knife around the inside of each ramekin. Place a dessert plate over the ramekin and invert to unmold the pudding. Turn the pudding over and drizzle with toffee sauce. Top with a dollop of sour cream or Crème fraîche and serve with remaining sauce.

TOFFEE SAUCE

In a 2 quart sauce pan over med-high heat, bring 3/4 cup whipping cream, 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar, 2 Tbsp. butter and 1/2 tsp. vanilla to a boil. Cook, stirring often, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Makes 1 cup.

 
 

14 February 2013

Car Seat Cover and a Tiny Quilt


I used  this beautifully written tutorial over at Make It Do. If you haven't ever stopped by, you should. There's always lots of fun going on over there.

I had a little fabric left over, so I decided to whip up a tiny quilt. I was thinking her daughter could use it for her doll and match her new little sister, but she thought maybe a lap quilt for the baby because it turned out just right for tucking over a tiny little one in the car seat.

Just in case you've never whipped up a little quilt, here's how I did it:

  front - made from 6-inch squares
  


After stitching, iron the seams to one side. 
As always, with sewing, you can never really pin or iron too much. :)

back  - 6-inch strips to match the squares on the front and a tiny little ruffle for the edge
 


pin - matching seams


After I ironed the seams flat, I used a decorative zig-zag stitch around the edge to close the opening for turning and to give it a nice finished look. But I forgot to take a picture of that. Happy sewing!

13 February 2013

Valentines


True Valentine's Day confession: I think this is a made-up holiday. The retail folks need something to fill in the gap between Christmas and Easter. Aside from the cinnamon hearts, the candy is just so-so. What I'd really like for Valentine's Day is for someone to do those dishes in the sink, not leave their socks on the floor (of the car, the kitchen, the family room, the bathroom)... you know what I mean.

That said, I LOVE making Valentines with my kids. It is so much fun looking for ideas with them and seeing their faces when it all works out. I also like decorating with my daughter, because she loves it sooooo much.

Here's what we did this year:

 How cute is this kid?

 Obviously, a lollipop goes in her fist before we hand this one out.

Now all I have to do is find a shoe box for each of them to decorate for the big parties on Thursday. Funny how I am pretty sure that I just recycled about 6 shoe boxes. Some people would have remembered that Valentine's Day was coming and kept those boxes, but not me.

What clever Valentines have you made this year?

12 February 2013

Menu Plan Monday

best snow we've had all winter... but still not enough for a snowman

This week, we are staying in chilly Denver while my husband flies off to Phoenix for a conference. I want easy meals that are still good to eat, and that everyone likes. It's looking like a chicken week... ever have weeks like that?
 

MONDAY

Nachos

TUESDAY

rice

WEDNESDAY


THURSDAY

Orange Chicken
rice

FRIDAY

Leftovers

SATURDAY


SUNDAY

Pasta E Fagioli Soup - Crock Pot

What are you eating this week?

Also linking up to Menu Plan Monday!


08 February 2013

Super Healthy, Sugar Free Granola


As I write this post, I am eating this delicious granola for breakfast. I love breakfast. I don't love super sweet breakfasts. If I'm going to have waffles or something sweet, I want it later in the day. This granola is the perfect way to start the day. You can have it with plain yogurt, almond milk or regular milk, it's delicious either way. Add some fresh fruit to change things up. I'm having apples today, but blueberries are great too.

Super Healthy, Sugar Free Granola

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup oat bran
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup freshly ground flaxseeds
3/4 cup pomegranate juice
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a large baking pan with parchment paper (I used a large jelly roll pan). In a big bowl, mix the oats, oat bran, walnuts, flax seeds and spices. In a small bowl, combine the pomegranate juice, olive oil and vanilla. Mix the liquid into the oat mixture. Spread the mixture over the pan evenly and bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until nice and brown. Stir occasionally. Remove from the oven and toss in the raisins. Let cool, then store in a glass container, in the refrigerator. Makes about 5 cups. Serve with a cup of fresh blueberries or an apple cored and chopped. Serving size: 1 cup granola with  1 cup yogurt, milk or unsweetened almond milk.

A couple of cool food facts:

1. Blueberries - powerful anti-oxidant, rich in phytonutrients, appetite suppressant, may prevent senility
2. Flaxseeds - Richest plant source of omega-3, fiber and phytonutrients, especially Lignans which are believed to help prevent the development of breast cancer
3. Walnuts - along with other types of nuts are a great appetite suppressant


07 February 2013

Under Construction



As I mentioned last week, I have hired my son to help me with social media. He immediately undertook to revamp all my social media. Of course, since he's also a full time student and on a competitive swim team (2 hours practice a day), his hours to devote to my project are limited. Even so, he is getting a lot done. The thing he's the best at? Giving me assignments. For example: "Mom, I made you some pages for your blog. The pages will make everything more simple. Please transfer all your blog lists to the new page for that."

So, that's what I have been doing. It takes quite a bit of time, amazingly enough. 

Also in the works is a new page for my social media links, a new page for an index of all my recipes, and I don't know what all. 

A couple of sites that we have found particularly helpful:

The SITS Girls
Modest Money

What's the goal? To simplify, streamline and connect. I hope you'll stick around through the process. I think what we'll end up with will be pretty amazing. 

05 February 2013

Menu Plan Monday

I am off to a slow start this morning. It's kind of nice, being the tortoise sometimes, but I still have to clean bathrooms and do dishes and it's 9:30 already! Time flies.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-9KZnCGQjbOU/UHM3hAEaNSI/AAAAAAAALM8/jZwq09C168g/s1600/tortoise_hare11.jpg

MONDAY

Orange chicken
Rice
Asian Veggies

TUESDAY

Pizza
Salad

WEDNESDAY

Salad

THURSDAY

Lemon Chicken
Roasted potatoes
Veggies

FRIDAY

Sandwiches
Salad/Fruit

SATURDAY

Leftovers

SUNDAY

Sweet Pork - crock pot
Rice
Tortillas

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday!

01 February 2013

Citrus Chicken Kebabs



Citrus Chicken Kebabs
adapted from The Fat Resistance Diet

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
2 Tbsp. olive oil
juice of 2 lemons
1/4 tsp. salt
black pepper to taste
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
12 white button mushrooms, cut in bite size pieces if needed
16 cherry or grape tomatoes
1 medium onion, cut in wedges
2 lemons, cut in wedges

Cut the chicken into 1 inch cubes. In a bowl, mix the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper. Stir in the chicken. Marinate, covered for at least 10 minutes. 
Remove the chicken from the marinade and thread onto skewers, alternating with the mushrooms, tomatoes, onion and lemon wedges. Discard the leftover marinade.
Heat the grill or broiler. Place the skewers on the grill and cook for 5-6 minutes, turning occasionally, until the chicken is cooked. Serve over rice or chopped lettuce.
 
Serves 4