Floral Maze

Sticky
floral-maze-4

Photograph from Mijo Crochet.

 

I saw this beautiful Floral Maze crochet pattern from Mijo Crochet and can’t wait to get it started on my hook.  Now it’s time to go shopping in my stash for the yarn to use.  I have a number a beautiful variegated yarns, some hand dyed and some commercially made.  Look for a post on my yarn selection and work in progress.

Until then, happy hooking!

 

via Floral Maze

Advertisements

Savory Chicken and Rolled Dumplings

Standard

Chicken and DumplingsThis is probably not your grandma’s Chicken & Dumplings; it is rich and savory due to the addition of vegetables and herbs.  It may not be traditional, but my husband and I find it delicious.  Extra bonus, since vegetables are included, this is a one dish meal!

Ingredients:

For chicken and broth

  • 6 chicken thighs – with bones and skin
  • 4 ribs of celery
  • 4 carrots
  • 1/2 large onion or 1 small
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 T Herbs de Provance (a French seasoning mix)
  • 1/2 T Tarragon
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

For dumplings:

  • 2 cups of flour (I used 1 1/2 c of all-purpose and 1/2 c of whole wheat)
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/3 cup of butter at room temperature
  • 1 T dried parsley (or about 3 T fresh)
  • 1/2 cup cold milk
  • parchment or waxed paper & flour for rolling

Directions:

  1. Wash celery and cut one rib in thirds crosswise. Scrub carrots with a vegetable brush and cut one in thirds crosswise.  Peel onion and cut into quarters leaving root end intact.
  2. In a large deep pot (I use my stock pot) place over medium heat and add olive oil to just coat bottom of the pot.  When oil is hot (test with a drop of water which should dance and sizzle) add chicken thighs, skin side down.  Do not crowd pan; I did this in two batches.  After about 5 minutes remove chicken to paper towel in order to drain excess oil.  Repeat until all chicken is nicely browned on skin side only.  Do not turn chicken.  You are browning the chicken skin to build flavors in your broth.
  3. Drain any excess oil from the pot, then add a small amount of water and stir up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.  Do not discard.  Add the rough cut vegetables from step one and the browned chicken.  Add enough cold water to cover, plus about one inch.
  4. Add herbs and about 1/2 T salt and several grinds of pepper.  Cover and cook over low heat until chicken is falling of the bone; about three hours.

While chicken is cooking make the dumplings:

  1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. Rub butter into the flour mixture, using your finger tips, until well incorporated and it resembles course crumbs.  Hint: If butter is cold, slice into 1/4 inch pats and microwave 5 seconds at a time until soft, but not melted.
  3. Stir in the parsley.  Note:  You can used other herbs, such as tarragon, thyme, or Herbs de Provance, in the dumplings based on your taste preferences.
  4. Add cold milk, about an ounce at a time, mixing after each addition, until a workable dough is formed.  If necessary, add more milk.
  5. Turn out, onto lightly floured parchment or wax paper, and knead dough about three to four times until mostly smooth.  Do not overwork, as this will toughen your dumplings.
  6. Divide dough into halves, and roll out with a lightly floured rolling-pin until thin (about 1/16 of an inch).
  7. Cover rolled dough with a tea towel (or paper towel) and set aside.

Prepping the vegetables: 

  1. While dumplings are resting, cut remaining cleaned vegetables (three ribs of celery and three carrots) into chunky bite sized pieces.  Cut vegetables in half lengthwise and then into pieces about 1/3 inch thick.
  2. Place in bowl, cover and set aside for later.

Finishing the Chicken and Dumplings:

  1. When chicken is cooked, it should be falling off the bone, remove from broth and place onto a plate to cool.
  2. Strain stock and return cooked rough cut vegetables to pot.  Add a small amount of water and puree with a hand blender until smooth.  If you don’t have a hand blender, use a food processor or standing blender.  Note:  This step will slightly thicken your broth and flavor and nutrition from the vegetables, but it can be omitted if desired.
  3. Return strained stock to your pot; taste and adjust seasoning.  Add vegetables and cook until just tender, but not mushy.
  4. When cool enough to handle, remove skin, bones, and cartilage from chicken.  Cut meat into large chunky pieces.
  5. Cut dumpling dough into strips about 1 inch wide and 1-1/2 inches long.
  6. Bring broth and vegetable mixture to a low boil; add cut dumplings and submerge with a slotted spoon.  Cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until dumplings are fully cooked.  Check with a taste test after shortest cooking time, and cook longer if needed.
  7. When dumplings are done stir in cut chicken pieces.
  8. Dish-up and enjoy!

I hope you enjoy this recipe.  Please let me know if you tried it and your thoughts.

Alton BrownCredit needs to be given to Alton Brown and the Food Network.  My recipe for the rolled dumplings was based on his recipe from the show “Good Eats” and the episode “Don’t Be Chicken of Dumplings.”

 

 

A Home Cooked 4th!

Standard

I wasn’t planning on making potato salad, but when buying grass fed beef (trust me, it tastes sooo much better) for burgers, I saw a bag of potatoes and figured why not!  It’s not hard to make and if you know your way around the kitchen, you really don’t need to refer to a written recipe.

Knowing I wanted to get an early start, so everything could be nice and chilled for later today, I started at about 7:45 and was out of the kitchen with potatoes and eggs cooked, and dishes done by 8:30.  That’s with all of my usual distractions including making and drinking coffee, and taking photographs, too.  Here’s my morning prep:

0704180803a_Film2

Scrub and chop your potatoes. I leave the skins on because there are more nutrients there.  (Totally staged shot, because I’m left handed. HaHa)

 

0704180804_Film2

Put eggs in a pan of cold water with about 1t of salt & 1T of vinegar (makes for easier peeling). Bring to boil and then remove from heat. Let sit for 20 minutes off heat.

0704180804a_Film2

Add chopped potatoes to cold salted water and bring to boil.

0704180820d_Film2

Bring potatoes to a rolling boil; reduce heat and cook for about 5 more minutes. Taste for desired doneness.

0704180820b_Film2

Drain eggs; run under cold water and place in ice bath to halt cooking.

0704180828_Film2

Drain potatoes into a colander and rinse with cold water to stop further cooking.

0704180834b_Film2

Wash up your dishes. I like to clean as I cook so there is not a big mess in the kitchen.

0704180823_Film2

Have a refreshing beverage, you earned it!

0704180824a_Film2

I’m having cold brew iced tea.

 

Next steps for later in the day.

Potatoes and eggs are cooked and cooled! Now it’s time to gather our ingredients and make some potato salad – – –

Time to practice our knife skills – –

Peel and chop the eggs:

 

The ingredients are chopped,  so now we need some seasonings – –

0704181159_Film2

French seasoning mix, Italian dressing, mayonnaise, salt & pepper.

0704181203_Film2

Oops, almost forgot the dill.

 

Let’s mix it all together – –

0704181200_Film2

Add potatoes to large mixing bowl and season with the Italian dressing – about 2T

0704181201_Film2

Add and stir in the chopped ingredients. The eggs to the left are for Deviled Eggs.

0704181201a_Film2

About 1/3 cup of mayonnaise

0704181203a_Film2

Time for the herbs! Season with salt & pepper to taste.

0704181206_Film2

Mix well, place in lidded container, and refrigerate.  Correct seasoning prior to serving.

0704181210_Film2

Clean up the dishes and you’re done!

 

It took me about 35 minutes to chop, mix, season, and clean up. If I hadn’t been taking photographs during the process, it would have take less time. Added bonuses to your time spent in the kitchen – – tastes better than store bought, you can control the ingredients, the satisfaction and pleasure of making good food!

 

0704181140_Film2

Don’t forget to give your kitchen supervisor a treat.

 

June’s Yarn Adventures

Standard

Here are snaps of some of the crochet projects that I finished in June 2018.  I have other projects that were started and some that are in the works, but more on those later.

 

What did you have on your hook and needles last month?

Happy crafting!

Crochet Flag: Putting It All Together

Standard

Today we will turn this pile of crochet parts – –

all_the_stripes[1]

Into this finished hanging – –

flag_on_door[2]

Previously, in creating our Crochet Flag Hanging, we did this Flying the Flag and then we did this A Stick and Some Stripes. Now we get to combine all of of our bits and pieces into this final, finished project.  Your project won’t look exactly like mine, and that is a good thing because is is yours!!

Step One (Optional):  Have your project pieces approved by your fur baby.

shadow_on_flag[1]

Shadow testing my work and giving her approval.

Step Two:  Lay out the pieces for assembly (Note:  the arrangement is actually face down).  The short stripes start and end with red along the edge of the blue Union field.

making_stripes[1]

The ends are not yet woven in as they are needed in the next step.

Step Three:  Working from the backside, sew your stripes onto the blue Union.  I only wove in one end, and kept the other end for this purpose.

flag_see[1]

flag10[1]

I worked from the edges of the Union towards the center to ensure semi-even spacing.  No measuring tools were used in this easy project.

Step Four:  To attach the long stripes to the flag, you will need a support piece (sorry, forgot to mention this earlier).  You may use a length of ribbon, or as I did, crochet a strip of foundation half-double crochet (fhdc).

flag4[1]

I attached with a slip stitches (ss), putting a chain between the ss for flexibility.

Step Five: After attaching the Union, continue with the stripes, beginning with white and alternating with red.

flag3[1]

Almost finished!

Step Six:  This is optional, but I decided to sew the first long white stripe to the Union for additional stability.

flag[1]

First long white stripe attached part of the way down the Union

flag1[1]

Reversed, but looking good!

 

Step Seven:  Attach your completed flag to its hanger.

mod-podge.jpg What you do will vary.  You can sew your flag onto a stick or rod, use nails or clips, or as I did, some strong glue.  I chose to use Outdoor Mod Podge because there was some on-hand (no need to go and purchase any supplies – YES!!).  Make sure you are applying any adhesive to the FRONT side of your flag along the top vertical ribbon and don’t be stingy with the glue.  Your hanging stick will be on top of the flag.  Please make sure that the blue Union is to the LEFT.

Glued to Stick

twine

 

Step Eight:  If using a liquid adhesive, be sure to check dry times.  I allowed about 24 hours to be on the save side.  Turn flag to right side, Union will be on the left and attach string or other hanging device as needed.  I used twine, from a dollar store, that was left over from a prior project.

 

Step Nine:   Your flag is now ready for display.

Adding String

Ready for display!

 

Step Ten:  Take some pics and share your talents and patriotism with others!  Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

flag on door vivid

A Stick and Some Stripes

Standard

Continuing a Patriotic Wall Hanging

Once you’ve decided on a stitch pattern for the Union (blue part of flag) you will also need to make the stripes and obtain a stick for hanging.  This is your project, so be creative and make it your own!

For my hanging stick, I took a walk outside and found a nice sized tree branch (no living trees were harmed in the making of this project).  Since the branch had been on the ground for a while, I washed and scrubbed it well then put in the lowest setting of my oven to dry and clean by heating the wood through.  My stick isn’t perfect, it has some bends and cracks and knotty parts, which makes me like it all the more.

stick

Carry a big stick and a bigger cup of coffee!

If you don’t care for the “rustic natural” look of a branch you could also use a dowel rod, broom handle, clothes hanger – the type with clips (or not).  Anything that will suspend the hanging will work!  I have a piece of copper tubing from another project, and I could use that (I just now remembered that I have the unused length stashed in my craft room).

Now that we have part of the display covered, it’s onto the STRIPES!!  If you weren’t good in history, the American flag has 13 stripes that represent the original 13 colonies. I decided to follow the standard U.S. flag.  Which means I will need the following:

  • Four short red stripes
  • Three short white stripes
  • Three long red stripes
  • Three long white stripes

For my hanging, I decided to use three different stitch patterns to make one of each of the standard stripes as noted above.

stripes1

A fourth pattern will be needed for the additional short red stripe, or repeat another pattern.  My long stripes are roughly twice as long as the short, but I did not measure the stripes or count rows.  If they come out a little uneven, that will just add to the charm of the project.

This project is representational art so go with what works for you.  If you really need everything to be exact, then measure and count away.  Want more or less stripes, not a problem – – this is your project (which is why I’m not writing a pattern just giving a general project outline).

I’m still working on my stripes, but this is what I have finished so far – –

making stripes_resized

Up next: Assembly and Display

Happy Crafting!

Flying the Flag

Standard

Making a Wall Hanging for the 4th of July!

This is not my original idea, but I was inspired by a photo I saw on Hillary’s Hook Crochet Along Group, a sister page to Hillary’s Hook on Facebook.

Hillary's Hook Flag
Flag Hanging from Hillary’s Hook

However, Hillary was also inspired by another image from Meg Made With Love.  Click photo for Meg’s project information.

Bohemian American Flag

Flag Hanging from Meg Made With Love

Instead of just copying what someone else created, I decided to use their idea as an  inspiration for my own hanging.  My project is currently in the works, and began with a little bit of research on the American Flag and reviewing stitch patterns to utilize.

planning[1]The Union, that’s the blue field with 50 stars, is part one of my version and is stitched with the Arcade Shell Stitch.  This stitch can be found on page 58 of Crochet Stitches Visual Encyclopedia by Robyn Chachula.

crochet_stitches[1]

I wanted to have 50 “stars” in my version, so following pattern instructions I chained 38.  While creating the fabric, I realized that I goofed because the first complete row of “stars” was one less than I anticipated.  To get 50 “stars” in this pattern, I should have chained 44.  My prototype flag hanging will have a “star” missing.  Opps!

 

 

Union[1]

So, that’s the first part.  Now to begin the stripes . . .

Until later,

Happy Crafting