Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Knitted Dishcloths/Washcloths

These are some small projects that I have done while at the doctor's office and watching tv. Since I don't need as much yarn compared to working on a scarf, so it easily fits into my purse or small container to take along. Obviously, the dishcloths/washcloths aren't this big, but I wanted to show the varied and vibrant colors.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Dewey's Readathon Wrap Up and Review

I only read about 70 pages on Saturday of The Plain Choice. However, since then I have finished that book and started and finished Fruit of All Evil. I don't think I did too bad in challenge, as at least it got me motivated to finish two books in the next few days.

The Plain Choice wasn't really what I expected it to be, and I was disappointed in it. I felt that it focused too much on her early life before even becoming religious, and then not enough when she "joined" the Amish faith. Which brings me to the issue that it never says she actually joins the church, perhaps she does later on after they move for the last time, but it is never mentioned. Most of the later book focuses more on her daughter. It also in the prologue mentions her sister and what happens to her, but it never went really back to why her sister became that way or what happened afterwards (which I was expecting there to be some update on a little bit). I think it needed to be much longer as it was a pretty short book. I give it a 2.5 out of 5.

Fruit of All Evil was a little slow for me to get interesting. This is the second book in a series, but it is one of those that you don't really have had to read the first book in order to read this one. The main character Becca sells jams and preserves at a farmer's market run by her fraternal sister. Becca' friend from the farmer's market named Linda, who is going to be getting married, and suddenly her future mother-in-law is murdered. Becca want's to try to find out who the murder is as the wedding has been canceled. Linda's groom Drew wanted them to get married fast as he is in the military and going to be deployed soon on a secret mission. There is a long list of who wanted Drew's mother Madeline killed, as she wasn't the nicest of people.  One thing I think is a little weird is that Becca's sister isn't really involved in the sleuthing that much, which kind of surprises me. I think Becca is kinda mismatched with her boyfriend and think she will eventually be with someone else, or perhaps that is my wishful thinking. Overall, I didn't think this book was bad but not as good as the first one. I give it a 3.5 out of 5, as it did take my so long to get interested in this one, after that it picked up for me.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Deweys 24-HR Readathon Sign Up

I forgot to previously post what books I will be reading tomorrow for the readathon. It will be a short list and includes one that I have been currently reading;

  • The Plain Choice by Sherry Gore (I think about 30% percent completed, it is a pretty small book)
  • A Daughter's Dream by Shelley Shepard Gray
  • Fruit of All Evil by Paige Shelton
  • I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells
I am not going to list more as I don't think I will be even able to complete all of these.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Spin List Book and other news

The Classic Club Spin book I ended up getting was one I was actually dreading to read,  I had thought previously of changing the position of the book on the list but never did, of course that is the book that made the pick. I had tried to read it before and just couldn't get into The Heart of Darkness and other stories by Joseph Conrad. I have been sick since a few days before the start of October so haven't actually restarted to read it yet. The date I need to have it read by is December 1st, so assuming I can get into the book I don't think it will be a problem. I realized that there are at least one book that I have read for the classics club, but haven't reviewed it yet. I plan on participating this Saturday (depending on where you live) in the Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon, not sure which books I will read for that, but plan on posting about it on Friday. I have a feeling it will mostly consist of library books and other put down books I haven't gotten back too. Other than that I have gotten quite a bit more done on Mr. Crafts4others scarf for his belated birthday. I need to get back to working also on Christmas gifts, some of them will be relatively simple to do and others not as much. A cousin is getting married in December so I need to make a gift for that as well, I think I will either make her a table runner or placemats with reproduction 1930's fabric (she likes vintage items as well).

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Books I have chosen for the latest Spin...

Ah, it is time to have another Classics Spin!   The rules are that I need to pick 20 books from my Classics Club list that I still need to read. I have a few books on my list that I had previously started reading but than never finished as of yet, so I will list those first with an asterisk, then any others I want to read.

1. Heart of Darkness and Selected Stories by Joseph Conrad*
2. Walden and Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau*
3. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain*
4. Little Dorritt by Charles Dickens*
5. Poor Folk and other stories by Fyodor Dostoyevsky*
6. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte*
7. The Death of Ivan Ilych and other stories by Leo Tolstoy*
8. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy*
9. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen*
10. Germinal by Emile Zola*
11.  Little Women by Louisa May Alcott*
12. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
13. The Oregon Trail by Francis Parkman, Jr.
14. The Letters of the Rozmberk Sisters
15. The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
16. The Pioneers by James Fenimore Cooper
17. Larkrise to Candleford by Flora Thompson
18. The Memoirs of Gluckel of Hameln
19. Rights of Man by Thomas Paine
20. The Kilvert's Diary

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Sweet Potatoe Harvest

Yesterday finally made 90 days since I had planted some potato slips I had purchased. I had never grown them before and put them in 3 containers. The harvest wasn't great but at least I did get some. I think perhaps I put too many plants in each container, as they had two or three per each.

I definitely don't have to worry about us being sick of sweet potatoes by time the winter is over, lol.

Friday, September 23, 2016

First Knitting Projects

I completed watching the SlowTV knitting series on Netflix and have since completed two knitting projects. I knitted along while watching the series.  The first project I completed was a washcloth.

The second item I made was a dishcloth, I like them a little bigger than probably normal, enough so it is slightly bigger than my hand.

My most recent project I have started on is a scarf for my husband's upcoming birthday. I have been knitting so far for about two weeks and think I am making good progress. This stitch, the garter stitch, is the most basic of all the different types of stitches. After I make the scarf I plan on learning the purl stitch, and gradually add more as I feel that I accomplished the previous one.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Fritatta Dinner's

Last week and this week I made two different versions of fritatta for dinner. This is a very easy dinner to use leftover items, healthy and cheap to make. The first time I used green bell pepper, eggs, salt and pepper, onion, and various cheeses such as parmesan, reggiano and mozzarella.

 The meal I made this week had eggs, red peppers, green peppers, salt and pepper, and smoked provolone.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Slow TV gave me the Knitting Bug!

I love scenic views and once I had heard about Slow TV coming to Netflix, I thought it would be right up my alley. Which it was in that I really enjoyed watching the scenery of the trains. I did notice that they had a knitting episode, although apparently there are supposed to be more episodes which Netflix doesn't show. The episode starts a knitting marathon that takes place in Norway. Some things I found interesting such as the history of knitting, some of the interviews when they visited homes or shops of knitters,the process of shearing the sheep, knitting lessons (although I didn't get to watch all of them), and seeing what people were making. A part I didn't really care for was when they knitted items to cover a motorcylce, which I guess would then be Knitting Art. Since was a live event, and no scripts there are quite a few times were the narrator was trying to come up with something else to say. A few issues I have with Netflix, is that all of the Slow TV programs are only available right now through streaming, secondly they condensed some of the episodes and didn't include interactions that happened such as the train ride, and third they were originally supposed to add all of the knitting episodes on one time and are just now slowly adding the second one. Sorry for my ramblings, but this made me interestedin trying to learn how to knit, I had never previously tried. At the time a knitting class came on sale at Craftsy which I signed up for. I have learned there are several different ways to knit and different terms as well. I forgot to mention that the show is in Norwegian so you will need to change your tv to subtitles, if you don't know the language. I am just starting to watch the second episode and they are showing spinning, which I have always thought looked interesting but hard to do.

This was my first attempt, as you can tell I had some holes in it, but later on realized my mistake and how to correct it. I just continued using this piece and practicing until I used all of the yarn, I will eventually undo all of this and make some nice dishclothes (this is cotton I am using). Less than a week later here is my new dishcloth project, no holes and the sides are even. I love how the multcolored yarn gives it a unique look. This is only the knitting stitch, and I think I have it down, and will then learn the next stitch which is purling (used mostly for sweaters and socks).  

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Roasted Red Bell Pepper Chicken

I decided to make a recipe using roasted red bell peppers with chicken. I was originally going to just make it a sauce, but then decided to shred the chicken and mix the sauce together. Here is the ingredients I used;

Almost 2 lbs. of boneless, skinless Chicken Breast
1 Jar 15-17 oz. of Roasted Red Bell Peppers IN WATER
2 Red Bell Peppers, chopped
Dried Oregano
Dried Basil
Kosher Salt and Pepper

I cut up the chicken breast into smaller pieces and put it in the slow cooker. I added salt and pepper with a little water, cooked on high approximately 4-7 hours (check on it until it is done, depends on your slow cooker). I never stack the chicken on top of each other. I took out the roasted red bell peppers from the jar, and put it into a food processer. Then add the 2 red bell peppers, garlic, salt, pepper, basil and oregano. Process until a sauce is made to the consistancy of your liking, gradually add more garlic or seasoning per your taste. Shred the chicken and mix it with the sauce. I made this in advance of dinner and then put it in the fridge, later I warmed it on a skillet. This definately brought out a wonderful smell and might have even enhanced the flavor. Obviously, you don't have to cook the chicken in a slow cooker, but I used it since it was so hot out and I made it the night before we had this dinner. It was very good and I plan on making this again.

Do you have some good chicken recipes?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

My First Candle....

I had been wanting to make my own candle, but never tried it before. I finally took the plunge and made my own soy wax candle. I learned a few things that I will adjust in the future.These were the supplies I used.

I put the soy wax flakes in the big pyrex measuring cup and then made it into a double boiler. I think I used to big of a pot and to much water, it was hard to get the measuring cup out once the wax had melted. Next time I think I will try a smaller pot and less water. I went ahead and got some premade candle wicks, but either I had gotten the wax too hot or this brand isn't very good, as the first wick melted when I poured the wax. The second wick didn't do that, but I have had a few issues with it. I used the lilac scent and put in several drops, but I think next time I will add more, as it does take awhile for the lighted candle to have a scent. When the candle isn't lit it does have a nice smell to it.

This is just after I had poured the wax into the candle jar.

This is the result 24 hours later. Have you ever made your own candles before? I will have to make more later on, once I have perfected on how to make them, I plan on giving them as gifts and maybe even try and sell some. Later on in the future I might attempt beeswax candles.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Bookshelves Won.....

tbysreadathon  I wasn't feeling good the weekend of this readathon, although I did read about 60 pages of Classified as Murdery by Miranda James. I am not sure after I read this book if I will read another in this series. The author takes quite awhile to get into the story, and repeats quite a bit of information that is in other books, which I guess is good if you haven't previously read a book in the series. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Take Back Your Shelves Readathon Sign Up

I saw this readathon called Take Back Your Shelves that is going to take place for this weekend. For some reason I thought this started tomorrow but it is from Sep. 2-5th. I decided to join since I have quite a few books on my to read list. I don't plan on probably being able to read all of these, but I should be able to read all of the smaller ones.I am going to try and see if Mr. Crafts4others will join me in this readathon. I know of course that Mr. Meows will join me as he normally lays by the chair I read in.

Vegetarian Dinner

This past weekend we made a healthy vegetarian meal. Mediterranean Quinoa Salad (from the Daniel Plan Cookbook), and it was pretty good. I did leave out a few items that I either do not like myself or didn't have on hand. The salad has Quinoa, cucumber, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), basil, oregano, lemon juice, olive oil, and we used imported provolone and red bell pepper instead of yellow. My husband added olives and tomatoes to his per the recipe. The rest of our dinner consisted of corn, red onion, green beans, red bell pepper with a little bit of butter, salt and pepper. The last item was the pickled carrots that we had previously purchased. We liked all of it, except for next time I think I will add more cucumber and herbs to the Mediterranean Quinoa Salad.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Multi-Tasking While Making Sauce....

It doesn't take a whole lot to make the pasta sauce, as it needs stirred about every half hour or so, but I wanted to have something else to do in the meantime. I had some fabric that a fellow quilter had given me, so I decided to use the dinning room table to cut the fabric. This will be used in the Grandmother's Flower Garden that I am making. How do you multi-task?

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Second attempt at Homemade Pasta Sauce....

and it came out pretty good. I purchased some tomatoes from the Farmer's Market and used some cherry ones from our garden, added some garlic, salt, a little bit of sugar, oregano, and basil. I put some of the tomatoes in the food processor and others I just chopped up.

The sauce has started to reduce after a little while.

This was the amount that I got after the sauce was all done to our tastes.

I liked the sauce consistancy this time, as you can tell from the sauce for the breadsticks. It worked good for that as well as with the spaghetti. I used the Barilla veggie pasta with carrots and tomatoes, it was a healthier version instead of regular pasta.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Quite a Haul....

about two weeks ago at the Farmer's Market. We got a few items that were a little pricey, such as pickled carrots $8 and a habernaro sauce for $5, but we wanted to try something a little different. The pickled carrots are great and could even be eaten as a tangy/sweet snack. The potatoes I got were 0.33 cents a pound. The potatoes, tomatoes (I got about 8 good sized ones), green beans, zuchinni, and peppers together were all $9. The apples were a little more pricer, I think around $4-$6 for all of them.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Healthier Eating...

I love carbs, tons of creamer in my coffee and some junk food a few times a week. While this might not sound so bad, do to several different reasons I am not in the best shape. So, I am going to try to change a few things of how I eat. I will still eat pasta but (not as often) try whole wheat or some other healthier version such as quinoa, have less coffee, and trying to eat fruits or veggies instead of snacking on chips, etc. I will stillneat some items but in a lot smaller portions, and others perhaps only once a month. I still plan on participating on the King Arthur's Bakealong though. I haven't decided yet if I am going to be on a specific diet or lifetsyle plan. I have one that I am looking into, and I think it might be pretty good, but want to some more research. I have already scratched the idea of starting one diet mostly because of allergies or foods that interact with medications that are part of the main eating on the diet. So this was my breakfast last Friday, which is better than what I normally eat which is nothing.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Some new recipes...

I like to find some new recipes every now and then. Last week I found this pork chop recipe and then a potato and green bean salad (or what I might call a german salad). We had a few issues with the pork chop recipe, some of this might have been because I used a food processer and not a blender. The marinade ended up being more of just chopped ingredients, although I have made fresh pesto before and never had a problem. The recipe needed more garlic we thought. We both loved the german salad, however it needed a lot less of the olive oil and LOTS more of the mustard. Anymore, I realize that in recipes for marinades or dressing they use way too much oil, so I now always use less and then taste, gradually adding more if needed.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Pizza taste test...

Normally, I make my own pizza dough, just because it is usually cheaper and tastes better. However, the last few times the crust hasn't been light, so I saw a brand new fridge pizza dough at the grocery store and decided to try it out. The company Wewalka had two different versions, a family style and then a bistro one. I got the family style which at my grocer's was $3. I made a pepporini and added some fresh basil from the garden. We thought the crust was pretty good, however I did cook it a little bit longer than the directions. I think I added too much sauce and cheese, so just be careful depending on your oven or when it gets close to the time per the instructions.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Mini Carrot..

I know this carrot is more of a baby carrot, or what I have been calling so far is the mini carrot. This happened to be the biggest carrot from my garden. I have learned a few things, that I will definitely in a few weeks grow more carrots. I will plan on making them the baby size and full grown size as well. I have never grown carrots before, and not sure if the super sweet taste of them (which does not compare by any means from the store bought versions) was do to them being baby size or homegrown. Does anyone else know? Do you have a garden? Hope it is going well!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Joy of Bake Alongs...

I am sadly missing the Great British Baking Show (otherwise known as the Great British Bake Off) and wish we could get all of the previous seasons. Since I am across the pond it doesn't start at the same time, they just showed season three here (which is technically season 6). Anyways, I highly recommend this show if you love baking and enjoy watching competitions were the people are nice to each other. To my relief last weekend I found out about the monthly Bakealong that King Arthur's Flour company started this month. I saw the picture and thought of two things, it looked good and I had never heard of the bread which is called Pane Bianco.

Here is the picture of me allowing the dough to rise longer. This recipe had sun dried tomatoes, garlic, cheese, and basil for the filling. 
The end result of my bread. The bread was good, it had a little bit of a soft chewy crust. We ate this with some olive oil as a dipping sauce. If I make it again, it will need more basil, cheese and garlic. I wasn't a fan the sun dried tomatoes, which I figured I wouldn't be anyways, so I might leave those out in the future. 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Trial and Error on Homemade Pasta Sauce...

I had some cherry tomatoes that weren't sweet, (I guess there are different kinds apparently, most are sweet but some aren't) but didn't want to waste them. I looked up different ways on how to make your own homemade pasta sauce. I saw that several people but a wide variety of ingredients in theirs, here is what I put in mine:

Tomatoes - (I used about 8 regular size and 20 cherry)
Garlic (I minced about 6 cloves I think)
Onion (I just used a small one leftover from our farmer's market trip)

These were per taste:
Dried oregano
Dried and fresh basil

It didn't take that long for the sauce to break down, some of this might have been since I did purée some of it, while cutting the other tomatoes in somewhat small size. Most recipes I had seen said it would take about 3 hours, however they were going be a recipe and I think making more sauce. Mine was about two hours, but since I wasn't going by a recipe, and never made this before it took awhile to get it per our taste.

If you get anything from this post, and are inclined to make your own sauce, DO NOT MAKE THESE TWO MISTAKES I DID;

You can kind of tell when it is almost done as the sauce has reduced so much, therefore DO NOT DUE ANYTHING ELSE!!! I decided to use a store bought sourdough bread and then make it into garlic bread, I only spent about five minutes doing that, and wasn't paying attention to the sauce. Thinking five minutes wouldn't matter since as previously it would take a half hour or more for the sauce to reduce a little more than half the size. That five minutes reduced the size of the sauce to half again, so there wasn't enough for all I wanted for the pasta (I had thought perhaps I might have extra to freeze too).

Never make the pasta without the sauce being done first. I made the whole angel hair pasta package thinking I would have lots of sauce, per the above that didn't really pan out. I then just decided to put it all in one pot, thinking it would be easier to distribute but then it looked like there wasn't any sauce at all.

Here are some of the pictures while the sauce was cooking. It still had quite a ways to go, as I like the sauce to be in between not think and chunky but not thin either.

 As you can tell the sauce has already reduced for a little while, but still had a ways to go.

I tried to multi-task in making the bread and finishing the sauce. I don't recommend. 

The sauce was good but this was the end result of trying to multi-task and using too much pasta.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Lapghan Quilt Update...

here is the progress so far of my Grandmother's Flower Garden lapghan quilt that I have been making off and on for a year. There has been several months were I have not been working on it at all, so I think it is coming along pretty good. I am about halfway done I think, I need to take into account that I am quite a bit shorter than my Grandmother who will be getting this.

The humble beginning of this project.

This is the current progress, I think I have the width ok, and will need to add another 4-6 rows perhaps for the length.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Dinner Rolls Turned to Biscuits?

I have only made homemade dinner rolls one other time, and I made a mistake of not allowing a second rise, they tasted pretty good. I couldn't find that same recipe, since it has been more than a year ago, so I found a new recipe. This time I watched the video and would pause as I went along. When I made these last week, when it was really hot here, so of course we have the air conditioner on. I wanted to ensure that the dough would rise so after I covered it I put it in the oven with the light on. After the alloted time from the recipe it had doubled, once I had shaped the rolls I put them in a container and back in the oven with the light on. After waiting more than two hours, the rolls had rised but not doubled. I figured from all of my previous times of making breads it would rise when being baked, this however ended up not being the case. They were not light and fluffy but rather tasted more of biscuits that needed more salt. I had thought at the time the recipe needed perhaps more salt and maybe a little bit more yeast. Normally, for any type of new recipe be it bread or otherwise I always go by it to a T. Then, after about one or two times I adjust the ingredients per our tastes. I guess I should have done this when I had the thought this recipe needed additional measurements. Has anyone had a problem like this before?

 The dough waiting to rise the first time.

The rolls/biscuits after being cooked.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Farmer's Market Finds...

The last two weekends we have went to our local Farmer's Market. We hadn't been there in a few years, and it had vastly changed for the better. There were more vendors, better variety and better prices. The first weekend we got; about 7 peppers, half a dozen corn, 3 carrots, 3 onions and 8 potatoes. The carrots were some of the biggest I had ever seen, but this past weekend I saw even bigger. It's like these carrots are on steroids or something. All of the pictures of these veggies we got for a total of $11.

This is a meal that I made using just some of the produce. I only steamed the carrots and it didn't need anything else for flavor. I had previously never had homegrown carrots before and they had a lot of flavor.