More Bread Love

Made some ketchup… it’s the most lovely snack when paired with whole grain sourdough bread. So easy to make; for the first time I cooked it in my slow-cooker which was a revelation. Mix everything in the pot, prop the lid open with a spoon, go to sleep, come down in the morning and give it a good stir. Et voila! Ketchup! I canned mine up so it will last indefinitely, as I could not imagine what to do with that much of it before it spoiled in the fridge.

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Also, I’m totally stuck on making stock.

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We’ve been roasting one whole chicken every week, which feeds the kids for at least three or four meals, and the grown-ups at least one. Last week we had a whole chicken with roasted brussel sprouts and pecans, on top of a cauliflower puree, and it fed four adults with leftovers. After we’re done eating the bird, the bones get thrown in the pot with some aromatics and simmered every so slowly while we sleep. In the morning, I strain it, then chill it in the fridge to remove the congealed fat later. Low sodium and low fat… extra low price!

Last week I made a lovely risotto with a can of my stock and the stems from the kale I used in another meal. MMMMmmmm. Delicious! Wish I had a picture.

Sandwiches

I’ve had a slight obsession with sandwiches lately. Could be because of all the bread I’ve been baking since late last Spring… we need some way of eating it without feeling guilty… but I think it all started a few years ago when the husband and I stayed at the MGM Grande in Vegas. We shacked up for a few days with the eldest baby–we only had one at that time–in a suite in the condo towers behind the casino. The towers and casino were connected by an enclosed walk-way and a few steps away from the doors of said walk-way on the casino side there lived a ‘wichcraft of Tom Colicchio fame. We grabbed a sandwich-to-go every day of our stay, and I am now convinced that this trip got the wheels a’turnin’.

I do believe this is the very sandwich that pushed the thoughts into action.

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A goat cheese, avocado, walnut pesto with arugula on foccacia. Yum.

And here is my latest offering for sandwich night, now a weekly dinner event around our table.

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Braised escarole and sweet italian sausage with white bean bacon puree on whole grain sourdough…

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and a little bit of parmesan.

Yum!

The Manon

At least one Christmas present is finally complete!

Manon by Norah Gaughan, knit up in Malabrigo for my fabulous, super-stupendous step-mother extrodinaire.
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This was an incredible knit… and I am so looking forward to making up one for myself!

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The lovely buttons she chose worked beautifully. I knit up a two stitch i-cord for the button loops, and reinforced the waistband with a whip stitch so the closures wouldn’t distort the ribbing.

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The construction of the sweater was amazing. Knitting up the first triangle was the confidence builder for the jump-of-faith you take on building the next panel… follow the instructions as written and without over-thinking it and you’ll be just fine. Especially if, unlike me, you count correctly and don’t drop a stitch or two as you go along. I ended up posting to a few ravelry groups and writing a quick message to Ms. Gaughan herself because something wasn’t going quite right. In then end, I had to frog the second side of the peplum once I figured out that the reason for the confusion and trouble was due to the incorrect stitch count. It is a good thing to know that Norah was willing to help out with the pattern and offer some suggestions as to where to find more help.

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Oh that peplum!!

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The yarn was yummy to work with, and is so very warm. Being a single ply I know that it will pill, and the stitch definition would be sharper with a plied yarn, but I suspect that it will be worn with great care, and I really needed the fiber to extra, super, soft. Funnily enough, the same day I finished the sweater, my step mom and I had an interesting conversation about wool. She proclaimed that she could tell when a sweater contained 1% wool, and that all wool would scratch. I swore to her that not all wool was itchy, but she wasn’t convinced. Too bad, I thought to myself, you’re getting the sweater anyway and if you don’t like it, I’ll take it back and wear it myself.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t so lucky.

As far as fit, I think it worked very well for her shape, which is rather petite. But when I go to knit one for myself, I’ll need to add about two inches to the length of the bodice, below the arm hole shaping, so the waistband will hit below my chest. Although it looks like the design is meant to hit higher than that, I prefer a more “empire” waisted fit.

And in one final note… I am desperately missing my SLR, film-based though it is. Our little PowerShot is a fantastic point and shoot that I never thought I would use at all and is incredibly handy for snapshots of the kids, but the lack of focal length in driving me quite batty. Hopefully it won’t be too much longer before I can find myself a digital SLR…

Gifted

If you wondered what this sweater looked like on the newest addition, here she is debuting Cosy‘s amazing work, the b14-27 Jacket, trousers, soft toy and blanket in Alpaca by DROPS design.

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Momma loves green!! The colors are truer on the first photo, but doesn’t she look cute in the second?

And here she is with another gorgeous cardigan, the Squares And Rectangles Baby Set by Susan B. Anderson, knit up by Laura.

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So soft and and snuggly! Although, once again, I’m having trouble with closures. Laura and I purchased a beautiful hand painted silk ribbon to tie this sweater closed, and for the life of me I can’t find it now. I know I should just go and get another ribbon, but I can’t bring myself to do it knowing that an hour after I bring the new ribbon home I’ll find the original one.

So many beautiful handmades to wear, and so few weeks they’ll fit!

Slippers! Felting!! Fun!!!

First born has been running around with ten blue toes for the majority of the winter. What’s a knittin’ mother to do but find a cute pattern on the internets and try to warm those toes right up? Thanks Ravelry!!

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Little Snuglets by Maggie Pace of Pick-Up Sticks. It was a nice knit, although there were many pieces with a good deal of seaming since every piece was worked twice for each individual slipper. I used a chunky wool, Reynolds Lopi, for the exterior, knitting one size smaller to get gauge, and Alpaca With a Twist Highlander for the interior.

Photos are all pre-felted… they’re huge before sticking them into the washer. The felting and the never-ending drying have already taken place, but I haven’t taken photos yet since I have one more finishing touch to add… a cord of some variety for the closure. Once that’s done, then on the tiny twinkle toes they go!

More Button Trouble

I seem to have an infinite amount of trouble finding buttons that are just right. This can lead me to distraction and keep me up late at night, well, that combined with a nursing infant. Of course, this is leading to a horrible habit of finishing the sweater save for the placement of buttons. This, uh, issue of mine has now caused four sweaters to lie around incomplete… one of them long enough that some critter found it tasty enough to chew through. I still have yet to completely re-knit it. Ah well.

This Christmas I tackled the Manon of Norah Gaughan fame.

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I loved, loved, loved knitting this one up and will write a bit more about that experience once I get my final photos taken. Although I managed to get it knit, soaked, blocked, and pieced together in time for Christmas, I couldn’t manage to choose between the buttons/closures I thought would work. In the end, I decided to let the recipient, my step mother, pick and choose. She’d have to wear it, after all, so why shouldn’t the burden of choice be placed on her?

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She didn’t hesitate, bless-ed woman. Copper buttons coming right up!

I won’t even begin to tell you how many icord variations I knit up in attempt to gussy up the waistband. Let me assure anyone who thought some extra fancy decorative might be extra special; this sweater needs no embellishment. Anything I tried to add just distracted from the beauty of the construction and cabling.