Thursday, January 22, 2015

Knit Scarf #3

So, I started this scarf back in October...
I know I've mentioned before about how long I can take to finish a project. This time, though, I wanted to try something other than a straight knit scarf (see the others I've made
here and here); and I wanted to make a real infinity scarf.

I found two beautiful skeins of yarn at my local Thrift Store for only 50¢ each! Since I'd already started thinking about knitting an infinity scarf, I couldn't resist the rich colors.

It's kind of funny how people relate knitting to Grandmas, but the more I talk about knitting, the more I find out my own friends knit! In fact, I got this idea in my head from a friend.
She was wearing a gorgeous, red scarf that I loved; after expressing my thoughts, she stated she knit it herself. I exclaimed how beautiful the ribbing was and she shrugged saying, "It's just knit 2, purl 2."

I had to watch a lot of YouTube videos to teach myself a bit more about knitting! I discovered that I had been doing a purl stitch very incorrectly - no wonder I had avoided it for so long - it really wasn't nearly as difficult as I had thought.

The yarn I had bought is a very fluffy, curly yarn and I couldn't see the results quickly to tell if I was knitting the rows correctly. I decided to just practice the ribbing on some regular yarn first, til I was confident.

Then I was distracted by other knitting tutorials on YouTube... and I practiced knitting a cable - 

This was all in the first night of starting my infinity scarf and I was determined to see the ribbing on the scarf before I went to bed. It took several rows and monotonous counting ("knit 2, purl 2, knit 2, purl 2...") until I saw that it was definitely ribbing. I was so excited that I shared this photo on Facebook -                               

Over the next couple days, I added in the second color, watched videos on how to carry up the color (so that I wasn't knotting it and cutting every time I switched back), and thought it was looking great!

For a couple weeks, I knit several rows a day, while watching movies or TV shows; but once I started decorating for the holidays, the needles and yarn moved into my craft room for hibernation.

Finally, I pulled the project back out and sat down to finish it! I bought another skein of the purple with a Christmas gift card I'd received; so I'm still saying this is my dollar scarf!

It's so soft and warm and comfy! I've worn it several times already - and needed it with the below zero temperatures we've had with wind chill!

I discovered a co-worker knitting something the other day during lunch break. When I asked, she said she was just starting a sweater!
We talked about knitting for a while and she left me with this, "Eventually, you'll get sick of doing just scarves and want to try something more challenging."
I can't say I'm quite there, but I did see a beautiful knit blanket on Pinterest that I see myself starting in the near future.

And you'll see a few new patterns I've pinned, if you check out my Pinterest board "Knit It!"
Follow Ruth's board Knit It! on Pinterest.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Cold Weather Dinners

Today is a very cold day where I live, single digits with a windchill on top. Brr!
Even though I don't love the cold, it's the prefect time for some great "warm-me-up" meals. So, I thought I'd share a few that I've made since the weather turned chilly.

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham - a favorite Wegmans' recipe found here.
     I should probably let you know right off the bat that these aren't "healthy" dinners, per say... this scalloped potatoes recipe uses a full quart of heavy cream! I'm sure there are lots of healthier recipes out there, but this one is so creamy and delicious that I can't turn it down.
     Even though the recipe doesn't call for it, I always add the ham.
     I like to pair it with green beans; and always a piece of peanut buttered bread - it's something my Mom always did.

Zuppa Toscana Soup - an Olive Garden copycat recipe found here.
     Ok, if you're on a diet then you might not like this post very much, because this recipe uses heavy whipping cream; but only a cup for a whole pot of soup...
     Rather than dicing the potatoes like Siggy Spice, I followed my sister's recommendation to slice them (she used to work at Olive Garden). She also said she usually omits the bacon - I know, "bacon makes everything better" right? But in this case, my Facebook friends and I agreed that it would be better without bacon.
     Finally, I decided to use a mild Italian sausage (since I don't usually like it hot) and it was perfect!
     I paired it with some warm, homemade bread.

Meatloaf and Mac&Cheese - these are homemade recipes that I haven't figured out exact measurements for, I usually just mix as I go... But I'll do my best to write it down for you below the photo.

For the 'base' of my meatloaf I follow the recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook; also found here - 2 eggs, 3/4 cup milk, 2/3 cup bread crumbs, and 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef.
After that, I add whatever I have that sounds good - seasonings, onions, carrots, bacon, etc.
Bake in a bread pan at 350° F until internal temperature reaches 160° F. When it's almost done (maybe 10 minutes left), I add ketchup and/or barbecue sauce to the top.

Homemade Mac&Cheese (the way my Dad likes to make it):
     Step 1 - Choose your favorite pasta noodle and cook about 8 oz. to your preferred done-ness.
                Drain and rinse with cold water, or mix a little butter in; set aside.
     Step 2 - Pour about a cup of milk into a  medium sauce pan; add about 4 tablespoons (half a stick) of butter; salt and pepper to taste; and, if you like, a bit of garlic powder and dried parsley.
                Heat on low-med until just boiling; reduce to low heat.
                Stir in 6-8 oz. of Sharp Cheddar Cheese one handful at a time; continue stirring until melted. (The mix as you go applies here. You may want your cheese mix creamier or thicker, so add milk and butter to thin or add cheese to thicken. Just remember to only add small amounts and stir continuously.)
     Step 3 - Combine pasta and cheese sauce, then pour into baking dish.
                Bake at 350° F for approximately 30 minutes.

And for the new recipe in the picture Sweet Potatoes & Pears! I found this recipe in a Redbook magazine that I get monthly (not sure how, because I never ordered it and no one has admitted buying it for me; but it's got my name and address on the label and I'm not complaining). Since I can't find it on their site, you can see it on my Pinterest board here. I also might have added a couple tablespoons of brown sugar to mine - yummy!

 Chicken Pot Pie - an "impossibly easy" Betty Crocker recipe found here.
     I mean, really, this recipe is a no-brainer. Grab a can of cream of whatever soup (or I used sausage gravy!), pick your veggies (whether fresh or frozen), add some cooked chicken, and pour the baking mix on top. I love how easy and tasty it is!

Thanks for checking things out - I hope these recipes help keep you a little warmer this winter!