September 28, 2010

Random on a Tuesday

Look! A Random Tuesday, out in the wild! Crickey!

1. We have a new cell tower about 3 blocks from our house now. It's right smack in the middle of our backyard view. We weren't too happy about it (not like there's much we can do about it though), but they started "treeing" it yesterday. I guess a giant fake looking tree is better to look at than a giant ugly looking cell tower.

2. We found a new and most deliciously awesome way to make tacos. Ben raves about the carne asada tacos he gets from a taco truck that comes by work and wanted me to try to recreate them. I don't have carne asada, so we stood over a pan of browned ground beef, me putting in spices while he told me what it needed. And now, all we do is add 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 2 tsp salt and about 2 Tbs lemon (or lime) juice to one pound of ground beef. Serve with chopped onions, and cilantro if you have it. They. Are. Amazing. So simple, easy, and tasty. He said they taste exactly like the the ones he gets from the truck. Ben's never really liked the "taco" flavoring from packets and mixes (even my homemade versions), but this is our new taco love.

3. Found a great way to make bread crumbs, while not letting anything go to waste. I think I read this in one of the Tightwad Gazzette books, but I'm not sure. Anyways. When you make a loaf of bread (or bring a whole one home from the store), slice the whole loaf all at one time. The bread crumbs left on the board can then be left to dry for a bit and then store away for later use. I've put mine in a jar in the pantry. They can just be seasoned as you use them. One less thing I need to buy!

4. I finished the first of the Endpaper Mitts last night. Sorry for the crap picture, hard to do with one hand. I started the second one and if I'm lucky I'll get it done by the end of the weekend. Christmas knitting will be coming up soon, so I probably won't have as many visible projects for awhile.

5. I've been designing my own recipe pages. I think I finally settled on this version that I really like. Took me awhile to get it right. I'm slowly getting all my recipes - my own and one's I've gotten from other places - into this format for my recipe binder. I like everything to look the same, so it's easier to find (and I'm OCD). I'd like to give you guys access to printable versions of the recipe's I've created. Does anyone know of a file hosting site that supports pdfs? I don't want to have to buy website space right now for just that reason. Until I can host them somewhere else, feel free to email me requests and I'll send you the pdf version. It'll look like the picture above. I can't send you other people's recipes, but I can send you my own.

Have a Happy Tuesday!

September 27, 2010

Feed Me Monday

This is sort of a random post, but it's pretty much all about food, thus the title. I thought about "Stuff My Face Monday", but that seemed a little much... Let's start off with a Menu Plan!

I haven't posted my menus in awhile. I was looking forward to all kinds of soups this week, but it's supposed to be in the upper 90's so I guess I'll have to wait. I'm giving you through next Tuesday, because the following Wednesday is my store day so I have to have meals until then.

Monday: Tacos! I found a new way to season them and Ben and I have a new love.
Tuesday: BLTs... I think. I'm pretty sure I have bacon...
Wednesday: BBQ for my bro's B-day - Tri tip, veggies, bread, etc.
Thursday: Cheeseburger Pasta, bread
Friday: Homemade Pizza
Saturday: Most likely leftovers
Sunday: Out
Monday: Bean Soup, bread
Tuesday: Bean Soup Day II, bread

The holiday seasons are coming up soon (Friday is October 1st!!) and that means sales. Sales on all kinds of stuff. Baking goods and ingredients, turkeys, hams, etc., etc. This year I plan on stocking up.

We've fully funded our Christmas fund with some extra money we got, so we took our monthly Christmas fund "payment" and applied it to our grocery budget. I'll be saving some of that money for stock ups when items go on sale. I'm especially looking forward to butter and baking supplies going cheap, because I can freeze them long term. I'm also planning on stockpiling a few extra turkeys and hams as well.

If you're able to, now might be a good time to set aside some extra money for those really good deals that will be coming up!

I made another loaf of beer bread last night with 2 tsp basil, a tsp garlic powder, and about 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Mmmm. It would have been delicious to dip into a pot of fresh marinara sauce, if I'd had any. But it was good all by itself as well.

Have a great Monday!

September 26, 2010

Weekend Links

Here's a couple links I've found this week that I'd like to share. Enjoy, and have a wonderful Sunday!

The Risks of Eating Soy Foods :: Simple Organic - Sums up things I've known, and new things I learned, that I've wanted to talk about for awhile. Even more reason to carry on my quest for a mostly soy-free home. (Especially with 4 men in the house.) See, I knew real butter was good for you. ;)

Apple Picking Orchards & Farm Guides for California - I'll be using this if/when we go get a car load bunch of apples.

Heather's Arroz Con Pollo :: $5 Dinners - I made this the other night and it was delicious. I added a bit of paprika and cayenne in place of the Sazon. Highly recommend this dish. Thighs are cheaper than breasts, and I got a package on Manager's special which made it even cheaper. Hold out for a sale and you've got an easy cheap meal!

I thought I had more, but I can't remember them now. I'll add them later if I remember!

September 24, 2010

Fiber Friday - 9/24

Welcome to another addition of Fiber Friday! Have I told you how good it feels to be doing Fiber Fridays again? It's nice to round up my progress for the week. I usually just sit and knit on Fridays as my "day off" from cleaning and mommy things, but today I will be out bowling for my little brother's birthday. But of course, I'm totally bringing stuff along to knit in between turns. 

You're not going to believe this, but I only have two small projects going right now. I think I'm in my cool-down period after the big shawl. I need small things right now.

This is my progress on the Endpaper Mitts. They're coming along nicely, and it's such a quick knit. It took me a bit to get the hang of two color knitting, but I found this video on YouTube which has made it so much easier. I had originally tried holding one color in each hand, but as I'm not used to Continental knitting, it was a bit fidgety. If you are having trouble with two color knitting, I highly suggest trying the method in the video.

For as fast as the mitts are going I really should be much farther. Even to the second mitt, but... Well. I got distracted.

Enter the Honey Quartet. It's a fingerless glove pattern I found on Ravelry one night. It's a mystery pattern and I'm a sucker for mystery patterns. I threw aside the Endpapers like a red headed step-child, cast on for these Monday and got this far last night. Talk about fast. Two of three clues are out right now and I can't wait for the third. I think I might put this one on holders and start the second one while I wait for the next clue. The little mini cables are just enough to keep the ribbing interesting, and the 6 row lace repeat is really cute.

I like how she made it match on the thumb as well. Just charming. I think I might make another set of these in a different color.

And here's a picture of my goofball eating breakfast. When I was taking pics of the gloves he says "Mama, take picture Tyty!" He's such a ham.

Alrighty, now it's your turn!

Fiber Friday Link Up Rules:
  • It doesn't have to be knitting. Honestly, it doesn't have to be "fiber" related. Link up anything you've knit/crocheted, quilted, painted, glued together - Whatever! Just anything crafty you've worked on the last week.
  • It doesn't have to be finished. My stuff isn't always finished, why should yours? Just link up any progress so we can see where y'all are at with your crafties!
  • Please link directly to the post itself, not your entire blog. For example, I would not put in my link for "", but would put "" which points directly the Footies post.  You can find the URL/address you need by clicking on the title of your post and copying that address.
  • You've got until Sunday at Midnight to add your link!

September 21, 2010

What's Cookin': Chicken Noodle Soup

Holy sheep I had a busy kitchen day. I made Apple Cinnamon Muffins, a double batch of pancakes, two loaves of bread, then put on a big batch of this wonderful soup at 2:30 to make the house smell delicious. And while that was cooking I made a batch of Ridiculous Cinnamon Rolls (this time with cream cheese frosting) and a loaf of the above mentioned beer bread to go with the soup.

I had totally planned something different for dinner, but when I woke up this morning and it was cold enough to wear pants and a jacket for half the morning I decided it was time for soup. I am seriously considering having nothing but soups and stews all winter long... That might not go over so well though.

This soup turned out deliciously well for a "hey I've never made chicken soup so let's make something up". With a bit of input from Ben during the final pre-dinner taste test, we got it to what I consider Chicken Noodle Soup perfection. This soup had the perfect amount of chicken and pasta and was not too heavy in either the "goodies" or the broth. Perfect balance.

I made a loaf of Beyond Easy Beer Bread from Farmgirl Fare. I made the "Herb and Garlic" variation by using 1 tsp garlic powder and 1 Tbs Italian seasoning. Also, I used Miller Genuine Draft as my beer, since that's what we had (if y'all want to make the same bread). We both loved this bread and I will be adding it to my "things to serve with dinner" list. I'd like to experiment with a few different variations and beers. (Like cheddar and herb, next time I have cheese.)

Before we get into the recipe I want to give you a few notes - I used dark meat as I think it gives the dish more flavor, but if you're opposed for whatever reason, use breast meat. 1-2 breasts should do it, depending on size. If you're using meat with fat on it, leave the fat on until the end, as this will also add more flavor.

The "salt and pepper to taste" amounts could vary greatly depending on your desired outcome. I wound up putting in quite a bit of salt (probably 3 Tablespoons, maybe more), but I had not salted the original batch of stock I used, so it needed it. Just taste as you go and make it to your liking.

Chicken Noodle Soup
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
4-5 chicken thighs, whole
6 C chicken stock/broth (homemade if possible)
3 Quarts water
2 bay leaves
2 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbs minced onion (for added flavor)
1/4 tsp paprika
1 tsp poultry seasoning (or thyme, marjoram, sage, etc.)
1 tsp basil
Dash cayenne
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lb pasta (I used bow ties)

In a large stock pot saute onions in about 2 Tbs oil until softened. Add carrots and celery and let cook for about 2 minutes. Add chicken thighs, moving around to let them touch the bottom. Let cook a bit to get some color on them. Add stock, water and seasonings. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium and let simmer with a lid slightly tilted. Allow to cook as long as you'd like/need, but chicken should be ready after about an hour. Remove chicken and shred (remove fat as well, if needed). Return chicken to pot. Add pasta to simmering soup about 15 minutes before serving and cook until tender.

This post is linked to :: Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

Happy Eating!

What's Cookin': Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Tomorrow is the first day of fall. And that means I am one day closer to fresh, crisp, delicious, local apples. I've nearly gone mad thinking of apples and getting apples and making things with apples. Apples Apples Apples!

For now, I am stuck with the lame import apples that I got at the store last week. They're a really sad excuse for an apple. Small, kind of mealy, and bruised from the long shipping (they're from Chile!). This morning I decided to make muffins (as well as pancakes and bread. And I want to make cinnamon rolls this afternoon and maybe a loaf of beer bread to go with dinner... I think I'm on another baking spree. But I digress.) and when I turned to the muffin recipe page in my Betty Crocker cookbook, I saw the variation for Apple Cinnamon muffins and I knew what I had to do.

They turned out pretty good.... however. They weren't as sweet as I was thinking, so if you like a sweeter muffin then add a bit more sugar (about an extra 1/4 C should do it). But then again I don't like overly sweet in the morning and paired with a cup of tea they are very nice just the way they are.

Also, I really think they needed more cinnamon, but that's just my personal preference. Adjust to your own taste.

Apple Cinnamon Muffins - makes 12
3/4 C milk
1/4 C oil
1 egg
1 C apple, peeled and chopped fine
2 C flour
1/2 C sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg (I added this for extra spice)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl beat together milk, oil and egg. Fold in apples. In a separate, large bowl mix together dry ingredients. Pour wet mix onto dry and gently stir together until just mixed. Divide into greased muffin tins.

Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Happy Eating!

September 19, 2010

Public Service Annoucment

(Take two.)

Yesterday I cast on for Eunny Jang's Endpaper Mitts. After a few rows of the first mitt I tried it on. Kinda small, but I figured I'd give it a bit. Finished the pre-thumb repeats. Tried on again. Still a bit tight, but thinking it will stretch out, right? Half way through the gusset I try it on yet again... Bloody. It's just too tight and it's not going to get better. So, a day and a half later I rip out the whole stupid thing and start over on larger needles. So, in order to give reason to my stubbornness and stupidity, I give you this PSA:

1. You must do a gauge swatch to determine that your knitting will match the pattern size.

2. Gauge swatches lie. You can not trust them. (This is determined by the fact that I did indeed do a gauge swatch, got gauge, and still had sizing issues.)

3. If you think there is going to be a problem STOP. Just stop. Do yourself a favor and rip out now, instead of wasting a whole freaking day because you think "oh, it will stretch out" or "It'll block. It's ok." Just do over now, while it will be less painful.
4. Two color knitting is awesomesauce.

September 18, 2010

FK: Mandala II - Let's Go Snorkeling

It's done, it's done! Which you knew. But I'm still so excited about it. It's weird though, I always feel this odd sense of sadness when I finish something so big. Especially when it takes me so long (3 months!!) and I'm used to working on it just about every day. But it's done now, and I love it. And now I can move on to other things.

I'm glad I added an extra repeat. I think it would have been too small otherwise. I like the length of it. It's long enough for me to snuggle up in, which is awesome.

I prefer to block the snot out of my lace, to really open it up. But the added repeat meant it wasn't completely flat. I was having a really frustrating time blocking it, when I realized that the end wanted to ruffle and there was nothing I could do about it. So I let it ruffle and just lightly blocked it by laying it on the bed while it was damp and stretching it out as much as I could. I think the ruffle actually makes it more feminine.

Pattern: Mandala II (GKAM Shawl 10) by Renee Leverington

Yarn: Knit Picks Shadow in "Snorkel" - 3.75 balls

Needles: US 3/3.25 mm Addi Turbo circular

YTD Mileage:  Weighing in at 189 grams, this shawl was about 1663 yards, giving me a new total of 4.26!! Holy cow, that added almost a whole mile!

For anyone wondering, I used clues 1D, 2B, 3D, 4C and an extra repeat of 3B. All chosen by, because I couldn't take the pressure of choosing them myself. ;)

September 17, 2010

Fiber Friday - 9/16 Link up!

It's Fiber Friday and today is link up #2! If you'd like to participate, please see the end of the post and add your link! I can't wait to see what y'all have done!

So, what I've been doing this week. I really feel like aaaaallll I've been doing is that shawl. The edging took For.Ev.Er. and I just about pulled out my hair. But I finally finished it yesterday afternoon. I will have a finish post later, but here's a sneak peek.

This is the shawl pre-blocking, so it will look better once it's stretched out. I also put a few rows on the Peacock socks, but it's all ribbing and I'm sure if I took a picture it would look just like last week's.

I also got in a bit of sewing in, which is unusual for me. I prefer the needles.

I'm not a great seamstress, but it turned out better than I expected. You can read more about that endeavor here.

And last but not least, a tiny bit of non-fiber related crafty.

Super glue is awesome. I've had the backs of various magnets floating around on the fridge for ever and they've been really difficult to get a hold of. So I decided to fix the problem with some buttons. Now every time I look at the fridge I smile. It's so whimsical. I'm thinking about getting some magnet backs just to make more!

Now it's your turn! Whatcha been makin' this week?

Fiber Friday Link Up Rules:
  • It doesn't have to be knitting. Honestly, it doesn't have to be "fiber" related. Link up anything you've knit/crocheted, quilted, painted, glued together - Whatever! Just anything crafty you've worked on the last week.
  • It doesn't have to be finished. My stuff isn't always finished, why should yours? Just link up any progress so we can see where y'all are at with your crafties!
  • Please link directly to the post itself, not your entire blog. For example, I would not put in my link for "", but would put "" which points directly the Footies post.  You can find the URL/address you need by clicking on the title of your post and copying that address.
  • You've got until Sunday at Midnight to add your link!

September 16, 2010

You Know What This Means....

Oh yes.

This edging just got added to the list of Things That Took Way Longer Than I Thought They Would.

Finish post coming soon!

September 14, 2010

Creative Recycling

I've been going through my closet lately, trying to get rid of stuff that I don't/won't wear. I'm trying to simplify my life and get rid of the crap that I just don't need. Awhile ago, I found this:

A past-the-knee halter that I bought at Target a few years ago. I've never worn it. It looked really cute on the rack, but I didn't like the way it looked on me. (Reason 1 for trying things on before you buy them...). I prefer "twirly" dresses, one's that flair out and this one wasn't cutting it.

However, I felt horrible about spending the money (I can't remember, but probably close to $30, knowing Target) and just giving it away. Plus I liked the fabric. So I decided to do a little reworking.

Remove the bottom ruffles.
Cut the back off.
Permanently attach the neck ties together.
Use the ruffle material to make ties.
Use back material to make pockets.
Do a little sewing and attaching.

All that gets me...

An apron! I realized that I've been really into aprons. I've seen some really adorable ones and I just love how handy they are.

I can't cook without one, unless I want to be wearing what I'm making. I like the camo one in the top picture well enough, but the pockets are right on the hip. So once I tie it back I can't really get into them. I prefer front pockets.

So I made front pockets! I also don't like my aprons too terribly long, so I make it quite short. I think this apron will work out nicely.

September 13, 2010

Stylin' Fridge

What happens when I have bits of broken magnets, a bucket of assorted buttons, and a bottle of super glue.

September 12, 2010


This is what I've been doing for two days. Well, ok not exclusively - I don't want any one thinking I'm a horrible lush. See that jar? That's my mom-in-love's homegrown sunflower honey. I believe it's goodness alone will cure me of my ailments.

The Sick is in my house now. I've had a cold and I'm praying my big and little men don't get it. We're going into our 4th week of Ben working overtime, which means up at 4 for both of us. I think it's made us an easy target for illness.

I have just a wee bit more to do on the shawl. I'm so close. But it's been slow going... A bajillion stitches to attach the edging to, putting it down to sleep when I can, and this evening Stan the Cat decided he was going to attack it while I was out of the room and broke my yarn... again.

So stay tuned! Hopefully in the next few days you will see a finished Snorkel. :)

September 11, 2010

What's Cookin': Chicken Stock

I have found the goodness that is homemade chicken stock. I made my first batch awhile ago and placed 2 cup portions in the freezer for later use. And I will never turn back to store bought again (if I can avoid it). It is so much richer, and I love that I can control what's in it.

I wasn't out of my previous batch yet, but I did have celery that needed to be used up and a carcass in the freezer. When we have a whole bird, I strip the meat off and freeze the bones in a large bag, accumulating them until I have enough for stock. Here is how I make mine, and I highly encourage you make your own as well. You will be greatly rewarded.

Homemade Chicken Stock - Makes about 10 cups (2.5 quarts)
1 large (turkey) or 3-4 small (chicken) carcasses
2 carrots, washed, ends removed and broken in half
3 stalks celery, washed and broken in half
1 half onion
2 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon peppercorns (or a good amount of pre-ground)
1/2 tsp thyme
7 quarts water
Salt to taste

In a large stock pot, throw everything in and cover with the water. Heat to boiling, then reduce to medium-low and let simmer for 7-8 hours. Once done, add salt to taste, if desired. Strain the liquid into another pot or two (depending on how much liquid you have left, and the size of your containers). Let cool, then place in the fridge overnight. The next day skim off any fat, then separate into desired portions.

Depending on how much your bones cooked down, it will be slightly jello-ish in texture once cool. This is normal and is from the natural gelatin in the bones being extracted. It will go back to it's normal liquid state once heated.

This time around I used little one cup freezer containers. When I get around to it, I will pop out the stock "cubes" into a freezer bag, so that I can pull out however many cups I need at a time.

I use my homemade stock in anything from soups to casseroles. The flavor really can't be beat.

September 10, 2010

Fiber Friday - And a Link Up!

It's Fiber Friday! Today I want to try something new for all of you, which I'll put at the end of this post.

I haven't had a Fiber Friday at home in quite awhile. My oldest boys got shots yesterday - 2 in each leg! -  and the poor babies have been hobbling around the house saying "Ouchieeee... people ouchie... bandaid...." (The "people" gave them ouchies.) So today is a lazy day. They are parked in front of Alice in Wonderland and I will take this opportunity to knit my heart out.

Here is where I'm at on the toe up Peacock socks. I have so named them from the colorway of the yarn. I still have a LOT of yarn left in the ball, so they will be very long socks. I'm not sure yet if I will be keeping them or giving them away, as they are just a tad bit long for my foot.

And the snorkel shawl. I am finally to the point of working the edging. I finished the repeats on... Sunday, I think. And have been working on the edging since. Yes. That's 4 days. No, I'm not close to being done, I'm not even half way through. Yes. That is ridiculous. But I haven't been working on it for 4 days solid, just intermittently as I have a chance to sit down for a few minutes. It's coming along and I'm hoping to have it on the blocking board by Sunday .

And now for the fun part!

I'd like to start a weekly link up that involves audience participation. It will happen on my Fiber Fridays. This is a chance for everyone to show off anything they've been crafting over the last week. Haven't crafted anything in awhile? Do something now! I think everyone needs that creative time, it's good for your soul.

So, here are a few rules/guidelines just to get us started.

  • It doesn't have to be knitting. Honestly, it doesn't have to be "fiber" related. Link up anything you've knit/crocheted, quilted, painted, glued together - Whatever! Just anything crafty you've worked on the last week.
  • It doesn't have to be finished. My stuff isn't finished, why should yours? Just link up any progress so we can see where y'all are at with your crafties!
  • Please link directly to the post itself, not your entire blog. For example, I would not put in my link for "", but would put "" which points directly the Footies post.  You can find the URL/address you need by clicking on the title of your post and copying that address.
  • You've got until Sunday at Midnight to add your link!
This is the first time I've attempted something like this, so I hope it works.

Won't you play along? :)

September 9, 2010

Knitting: A Story

I learned how to knit when I was 8 years old. Little did I know it would be such a huge part of my life later on down the road.

My mum taught me just the basics of a cast on or two, the knit stitch, and how to bind off. I would pick it up every now and then, needing to be reminded how to just cast on, since I always forgot. I've always been obsessed with yarn (I have no idea why. Maybe I was just destined to be a serious knitter from the beginning) and because of that knitting was a good excuse to play with said yarn. I would cast on a ridiculous amount of stitches, and then knit and knit and knit, until I ran out of yarn. This usually resulted in a knitted object large enough to make a car cozy. A lot of times I would rip out and do it again, just because I didn't have any more yarn. This happened every now and then over the years, but I was never terribly serious about it.

When we got pregnant with our boys I went to the grocery store one night, needing food supplies, and saw a little book on the rack next to the check register. It was a book of baby knit patterns. I decided then that I needed to knit for my impending child (we didn't know it was twins yet) and bought the book. A few days later I went to Michael's and purchased some soft, baby-green yarn. I had it in my mind that I was going to make the checker board looking blanket.

Unfortunately, I didn't know how to do a purl stitch, and this pattern required purling. Now, I'm not sure if it was the pregnancy brain, or I really am just stupid, but for days and days I could not figure out how to purl. I would look at how-tos and watch videos and researched everything, only to end up in tears night after night because I could not figure it out. (Hint: You bring the yarn to the front first.) I know my poor husband thought I was nuts because I kept subjecting myself to frustration and crying. But I finally figured it out and was on my way to making this blanket.

Then our world turned upside down and knitting became my sanity.

Our boys were born at 27 weeks - way, way, way too early to be in the world. We numbly wandered through their birth, and following weeks as we roughly adjusted to life as NICU parents. After a bit I returned to the blanket, and working. I would take it to work with me in a canvas bag and I would zone out and just knit, not getting any work done. Thankfully, I worked for my father and he was very understanding.

It was a constant. It was secure. It was the one thing I knew I could do, without breaking down. The ease and repetition of creating each stitch calmed my nerves. The only things that held me together during that time were my God, my husband, and my knitting.

I don't know when I finished that blanket exactly, but it was after we finally brought our babies home three months later. 

I was hooked. It was like a drug. I couldn't put it down. I bought yarn. Lots of yarn. I made scarves and hats, and baby jackets. I even made a dress. I learned how to knit in the round and do lace by knitting two stitches together and making yarn overs. I poured myself into knitting books, I found Ravelry, I had finally found my source of peace.


Knitting preserved my soul again when we got slammed with the news that my mum had a massive brain tumor. We didn't know if it was cancerous or not, whether she would survive or not, and it was so urgent that the doctors rushed her into surgery a few weeks after finding out. I don't think anyone really knows what to do when faced with news like that. So I knit. I knit hats for my mum, to keep her head warm and cover the scar. Hat after hat. It was all I could do. Once again, knitting to the rescue.

I suffer from what most people would call social anxiety disorder. I get horribly nervous and sick to my stomach in situations that involve a lot of people, places I don't know, or things that are grossly out of the norm for me. I have fought it since I was 9 years old. It has been a very rough and painful battle.

When I finally got comfortable enough to knit in public, I realized that it was calming me. My anxiety was lessened since I had something to do with my hands. Now I can't leave the house without something to work on. I heard a saying once that I thought nailed it on the head.

"She uses her hands as a means to calm a turbulent mind." This was said in regards to knitting. I can't tell you how true this is. I can focus on the task at hand (literally), even if it is just the simple knit stitch.

There are 5 babies in this generation between my husband's sister and I, and I just found out that she's got her third on the way. I have knit for every one of them, and I will knit for this one as well. It's a way for me to wrap the people I care for in love. And I have knit for people I don't know and will never meet, because I heard that they were going through a difficult time and my heart aches for them. Heck, I knit for my neighbor's baby and I'm pretty sure she thinks I'm nuts for it.

I know a lot of people think I'm just the crazy lady with the yarn. Well, they're probably right. But knitting has been my second source of sanity through so many trials and hard times. It has gotten me through pain and anger, through sadness and depression, through fear, and has been a source of delight when I am happy and just at ease. It calms my soul and quiets my turbulent mind. And now, as I go through bumps in the road, I know...

I can always knit. It's still my drug.

September 8, 2010

What's Cookin': Chicken "Hot" Pie

Because that's what my kiddos called it. I thought it was adorable.

I got this recipe originally from ... Uh... Robin Miller, I think. I've had it for a long time. But I've omitted a lot of the things she called for. (Seriously, who puts tomatoes and corn in pot pie?? I would get shot.) So, here is my simplified version.

I love using Robert Mondavi Chardonnay as my cooking wine. I enjoy the flavor greatly once it is cooked down and intensified. It's also not terribly expensive. I think the last time we bought it, it was $9 for a bottle. Pretty good deal considering I only use 1/4-1/2 C per recipe. If you wish to omit the wine for whatever reason, just add an extra 1/4 C of chicken stock to make up the liquid.

Why yes, I was feeling goofy. Why do you ask?

Chicken Pot Pie - makes about 6 servings
2 Tbs oil
1/2 large onion, diced
2 C cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 Tbs flour
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1 C chicken stock/broth (homemade if possible)
1/4 C dry white wine
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 pie crusts (homemade if possible)

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large pan, saute onions in oil until soft. Add chicken and mix together. Combine flour and spices, then sprinkle over chicken. Allow to heat until flour is cooked, about 2 minutes. Add carrots, celery, broth, wine and mustard. Stir to combine. Heat to boil and let simmer until veggies are soft. 

Pour into prepared pie pan and top with second crust. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Allow to sit 5-10 minutes before serving.

Ben Rating: 4! It's good stuff.

Happy eating,
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