Saturday, January 26, 2008

Caution! Slow Knitter

I have been working on this knitting project for quite some time. I checked out this book from the library over the summer called Weekend Knitting by Melanie Falick. It has cute patterns and I liked the quick knitting projects. I would consider myself an intermediate knitter, but I am relatively slow. So when I saw this book I thought how great to be able to make a project quickly. The pattern I chose was her Union Square Shawl/Poncho. It uses a simple baby cable ribbing in multiple of 4 stitches, plus 2. Very easy! I found some great yarn that I wanted to use at Jimmy Beans Wool. If you haven't visited her store or been to her website, I encourage you to do so. She used to have a cute shop in Truckee, California that I use to visit quite often, but unfortunately for me she closed it and now has her main shop in Reno, Nevada. I found a wonderful denim color worsted weight yarn from Tahki Yarns. I loved the rustic looks and feel of the yarn. So, I gathered my supplies by August and started knitting away. I had envisioned me wearing this shawl in the crisp fall air with a pair of great jeans and a white top. I made great strides initially, but as life got in the way, I was not able to knit as much. The months started to pass by and Fall came and went and the shawl was only half done. Now we are knee deep into winter and I am about two thirds done. So much for my weekend knitting. I guess I am an impatient knitter. I like to see results. Hopefully, I will have this done for spring.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Oh It's Chili Outside!

I happened across this month's Fine Cooking magazine. Anyone that knows me knows that I am a magazine junkie. Anyway, I hadn't bought this magazine in quite a while and as I was thumbing through the pages, I was impressed by the recipes in this issue. They have a great article on Indian cuisine with yummy looking recipes and they have a great article on how to make gnocchi. Gnocchi is another guilty pleasure of mine and I order it out whenever I see it on a menu. The instructions look easy, so I will probably try my hand at it this week and let you all know how it goes. The chili recipe I got from the Fine Cooking website. Their website requires that you be a member to get any of their recipes, which I find a little odd. The chili recipe was one of their freebies. I made it for lunch and it turned out great! I think it would be great at a Super Bowl party. I would serve it with a lot of garnishes, like grated cheese, chopped onions, slices of lime, diced jalapeno, crushed tortilla chips and chopped olives. A couple of changes I think I would make next time would be: try a chopped jalapeno instead of chipotle and substitute bison for ground beef.

Beef & Black Bean Chili with Chipotle( Fine Cooking Website)

3 15ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained

1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes (I prefer Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes)

1 medium chipotle plus 2 Tablespoons adobo sauce

2 Tablespoon EVOO

1 pound ground sirloin

Kosher Salt

1 large red onion, finely chopped

1 1/2 Tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 lime juiced

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Freshly ground black pepper

1 ripe avocado, cut into a medium dice

Put one third of the beans into the bowl of a food processor, along with the tomatoes and their juices, chipotle and adobo sauce. Process until smooth and set aside.

Heat the oil in a 5 to 6 quart Dutch oven or heavy duty pot over medium high heat until its shimmering hot, about 2 minutes. Add the beef, season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cook, using a wooden spoon to break up meat, until it loses its raw color, about 3 minutes. Transfer the beef to a large plate using a slotted spoon. Add half of the onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until it begins to brown and soften, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add the chili powder and cumin and cook for 20 seconds. Add the remaining black beans, the pureed bean mixture, and the beef to the pot and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add half the lime juice, half of the cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. If the chili is thicker than you like, it may be thinned with water.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the remaining lime juice and onion with the avocado. Season generously with salt and pepper. Serve the chili topped with the avocado mixture and remaining cilantro.

Serves 4

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Happy Birthday !

I can't believe you are the big eleven! Wow, has time gone by fast. It seems like yesterday we were playing with cars and blocks and watching teletubbies. Now its all sports, DS games and sports. Did I say sports twice? I love your fun loving nature. We have watched you grow stronger, cooler, funnier and smarter. Your curiosity, your sense of humor, your take on the world have enriched all of our lives. Happy Birthday Kiddo!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Valentine Preview

Here is a sneak peak of my journals that will be going up on my etsy shop. I hope to have them up by tomorrow. The top journal is a regular composition size book and the bottom pictures are small pocket journals. I love the paper on both these journals. There is a little shop here in Sacramento called Paper Garden. She has the most beautiful paper.

I spent the morning at another one of my very favorite shops in East Sac called Fete. They are the absolutely cutest shop with all things french. O La La! Anyway, as I was browsing and drooling over all the new stuff they have received in their shop I saw a book that caught my eye. It's called Kitchen Playdates by Lauren Deen. It is really cute with some great looking recipes. What I liked about the book is at the bottom of the recipes, it tells you how kids can help out in the kitchen. Sometimes I have a hard time trying to figure out what jobs I can give the boys in the kitchen. This book breaks it down for you so you don't have to think. Who doesn't like that!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Chicken Part 2

The pictures are not great, but this dish is quite yummy. This is Chicken Enchiladas with Salsa Verde. It is a light recipe that my family loves. What I like about this dish besides being healthful, is that it is a breeze to put together. I also love dishes that I can cook once and then use the leftovers in different ways. The chicken in the enchiladas is from last nights chicken in a pot. I found the original recipe from Cooking Light and made a few modifications. Here is my version of the recipe.

Chicken enchiladas with Salsa Verde (Cooking Light with a few tweaks)

1 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 garlic cloves minced

1 (7 ounce) bottle of Herdez salsa verde

2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast

1/3 cup light cream cheese

8 corn tortillas

Cooking spray

1/4 cup crumbled queso fresco*

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

4 lime wedges

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a blender; process until smooth. Combine chicken and cream cheese in a large bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup of salsa mixture. Reserve remaining salsa mixture.

Dampen a kitchen towel or a few paper towels. Place 3 tortillas into dampened towel and microwave for 30 seconds or until pliable. Remove tortillas. Spoon about 1/4 cup of chicken mixture down center of tortilla; roll up. Place tortilla, seam side down in a baking dish coated with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining tortillas.

Pour remaining salsa mixture over enchiladas; sprinkle evenly with queso fresco and chili powder. Bake at 425 degrees for 18 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve with lime wedges. Yields 4 servings

* If you are unable to find queso fresco, feel free to substitute shredded jack or cheddar cheese.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Chicken Part 1

A couple of weeks back, I cooked a whole chicken in the crock pot and it came out so moist, it was terrific. I was telling my friend, Lisa how good this turned out. Well lucky Lisa received for Christmas, a Le Creuset dutch oven and decided to try her hand at the chicken in a pot idea. She added fresh vegetables to the bottom and placed the chicken on top and roasted until tender. Her next idea was brilliant. She took the roasted vegetables and pureed them with her handy dandy hand blender. She then brought the broth to a boil and added couscous. I love that idea. So here was my attempt with the chicken in the crock pot .

Chicken A La Lisa

1 whole roasting chicken, rinsed and dried

cube vegetables ( butternut squash, onion, carrot, celery or whatever you like)

salt & pepper

4 garlic cloves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

juice of 1 orange

1 box of couscous

Place cubed vegetables and garlic in bottom of crock pot and put chicken on top. Season with salt and pepper and chopped fresh rosemary. Juice one orange over top of chicken and place lid on cooker. Cook on high for about 6 hours or when chicken falls off the bone. When chicken is done, remove from cooker and place on a plate and cover to keep warm. Remove the chunks of veggies and strain the rest of the broth into a large bowl. Using a hand blender, blend until smooth. Measure out 2 cups of broth and place in a saucepan. Bring to boil. Stir in a box of couscous and cover and remove from heat and let set for 5 minutes. Fluff to serve.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Awful Weather!

This was the sky yesterday morning. What an awful storm we had. Big rigs overturned on the freeways, trees crashing into houses and flooding. I made the awful mistake of going out yesterday morning. I was taking one of my sons to a doctors appointment when a huge redwood branch hit our car. We were okay, but the car was not. A dented hood, a cracked windshield and the side view mirror shirred off. Not a good morning! Thankfully we were not hurt, just very shaken up. We are suppose to have another storm in today, but not as fierce.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year!

I hope all of you had a safe and Happy New Year! We spent a lovely New Year's day watching the Rose Bowl and celebrating my youngest sons birthday. My guys are all about football. We had good friends over and at half time we went to the park and played football. My little one even caught two passes!

I am looking forward to the fresh start of the new year. I used to find January a let down after all the build up of Christmas. Now I look forward to January's starkness and simplicity. I long to cuddle up with a cup of tea and a good book and listen to the rain, or work on a project. Of course my guys see it different. I need to find creative outlets for them or they will be bouncing off the walls this time of year. My boys love crafting and working on projects and middle son got a wood burning kit for Christmas from my in-laws. Now I just have to make sure I don't have his initials burned into all my wood furniture. We have given strict instructions each time he brings out his kit; no burning into furniture or walls or counter tops!
Related Posts with Thumbnails