Hats Off to You!

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It’s starting to get colder outside and that means time for hats and gloves!  Maybe even a scarf or shawl for those extra cold days.  Here in Maryland we’ve already had our first snow, which is unusual.  Does that mean we are going to have an extra-cold winter?  I don’t know, but if all the rain we got this year continues and turns into snow, we might be in trouble! (Ha-Ha or maybe that should be Ho-Ho)

My fingers have been busy with a crochet hook and yarn making lots and lots of hats. Below is a sample of some adult sized hats that I just posted to my Etsy shop, Marvelous Meous Crafts, and I will be posting more items this week.  Please visit the shop for details on these items, including pattern information.  Any of these items would make wonderful gifts for family or friends.

Hope you take the time to stop by.

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Thanksgiving Prep

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I enjoy cooking and trying new recipes.  Recently I discovered a new website (well new to me, at least), Primavera Kitchen, which has lots of healthy recipes.  Since I’m trying to cut down on carbs, I decided to give the Roasted Butternut Squash Mash at try.  The recipe was easy to follow, and while the squash was cooking in the oven, I was able to prep and complete other dishes.

1121181411_HDR~2Here is the squash cleaned, seasoned with salt, pepper, and minced garlic, and ready to pop into the oven for about 40 minutes.

Now on to other dishes – homemade cranberry sauce is a must in my house.  I just follow the basic recipe on the bag – with a few tweaks.  I replace half the sugar with raw honey, and add a dash of ground cloves.   1121181428_HDR~2

Once the berries are fully cooked, just remove from the heat and add the zest and juice of one orange.  I love using my vintage glass juicer; for some reason it just makes me happy.  1121181436_HDR~2

Spoon the finished sauce into a serving dish, let cool, and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.1121181447_HDR~2 Of course, if you’re like me you probably can’t wait to enjoy this yummy side dish, and sneak a little advance taste. Definitely one of the perks of being the cook!

1121181451_HDR~2While the cranberries were cooking, I used the time to chop the veggies for the dressing.  Originally, I was going to to skip the dressing, but decided to won’t be Thanksgiving without this traditional dish.

 

1121181535a_HDR~2My husband loves celery, so I always add extra along with the onion and some carrots for extra crunch and color.  Plus they’re good for you!  I like moist dressing, so I use about twice the amount of liquid (using the recipe on the package as a guideline) and one beaten egg to hold it all together.  Once it’s all mixed together, just pop it into a covered casserole, refrigerate and you have one more dish ready for your Thanksgiving feast!

1121181452a_HDR~3While I was making the cranberry sauce and the dressing, the squash continued to cook.  Once it was fork tender, I simply removed it from the oven and let it cool while finishing the dressing.  It came out slightly browned and the roasted garlic smelled heavenly.

Once the cooked squash is cool enough to handle, scooped out from the shell into a bowl or pot for mashing.

1121181545a_HDR~3I mostly followed the recipe, but omitted the ghee as my husband doesn’t care for butter on his vegetables and after tasting, I didn’t think that this yummy dish really needed the butter.  You can use a regular or hand-held mixer to mash the squash.  Or, go old school and use a potato masher.  The one I have is over 60 years old and used to belong to my mother.  It has seen a lot of action through the years and still works great!  🙂

 

1121181553_HDR~4My mashed squash it in a serving dish, and tomorrow all I need to do is heat it up a bit in the microwave.

I’ve certainly gotten a good head start on the cooking for tomorrow.  All that’s left to do is to clean and prep the turkey for cooking and get my vegetables ready.  I’m going to put fresh herbs (rosemary, sage, & thyme) in the bird’s cavity and  I plan on using Primavera Kitchen’s recipe for roasted Brussel Sprouts, adding carrots and parsnips, too.

 

Hope you have a wonderful and delicious Thanksgiving!  I know that I am thankful to Olivia of Primavera Kitchen for sharing her recipes with us.

Enjoy, Mary

 

 

 

 

 

Floral Maze

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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

Savory Chicken and Rolled Dumplings

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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!

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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:

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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)

 

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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Have a refreshing beverage, you earned it!

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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 – –

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

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Oops, almost forgot the dill.

 

Let’s mix it all together – –

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

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

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About 1/3 cup of mayonnaise

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

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

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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!

 

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

 

June’s Yarn Adventures

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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

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Today we will turn this pile of crochet parts – –

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Into this finished hanging – –

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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Almost finished!

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

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

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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