"Noah was a brave man to sail in a wooden boat with two termites." - Anonymous

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Food - Raspberries

If you grew up in the Canadian prairies, chances are someone in your family grew raspberries. My Mum didn't, but both of my grandmothers did. When we were first married, we lived in the house my grandparents had lived in for their retirement. Grandma's raspberry patch was still in the same place it had always been, the northeast corner of the lot, at the back of the garden.

When we moved, we planted raspberries in the northwest corner of our lot, again at the back, against the fence. For anyone who is not aware, raspberries, if not kept in check, will spread. You will find shoots coming up metres away, in the rest of the garden, and in the lawn.

Needless to say, I was excited when I saw the raspberries in the backyard of our new house. And they are prolific. More so than mine ever were. I can get 2 cups in a day, and that's just the easy pickings. A good thing too, since E can ingest at least a cup a day. That boy loves his raspberries. I would normally buy, at a minimum, a pint of raspberries a week. Since we've been in this house (about a month now) I have not had to buy them.

I feel like I should share a recipe or something for raspberries, but they're just so good fresh out of the bowl, or sprinkled over some ice cream. You don't need recipes when in-season raspberries are bursting with flavour. But, here's an idea for fresh raspberries on a lazy weekend morning:

Lazy Raspberry Cream Sauce

Heavy cream
Sugar to taste

Mash the raspberries slightly with a fork. Not too much. Pour over some cream to make a thick sauce, and stir in some sugar. Drizzle over pancakes, waffles, or crepes.

What are some of your favourite ways to eat raspberries?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

WIP Wednesday - Broken Rib Cardigan

Pattern: Broken Rib Cardigan by Debbie Bliss, Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease thick & Quick in Wood
Would you believe this is the fourth project I ever started? Like my Mum, my thought process was 'go big or go home' (her first knitting project ever was a sweater).

It's a cardigan for Hubs. To warm him up in the winter. For cozying up at home or at the cabin. It's already close to two years old and I'm still working on it. For a few reasons:

  •  It's huge. At 6'2", Hubs is a big guy, and hence needs a substantial sweater.
  • It's repetitive. Two rows to know.
  • I'm on the sleeves and the shaping scares me.
  • I haven't found appropriate buttons yet, which means I can't get going on one of the front panels.

 So far, I've finished the back and one front panel. I'm 3/4 through one sleeve. So, I'm technically over 50% done, but considering I pick it up once a month to work on, there's still a long way to go!
(Apologies for the poor picture. This was one of my first cracks and photographing my knitting, and I also had to grab the picture back off Ravelry because I'm on a different computer.)
For more WIP Wednesday goodies from this week, head on over to Tami's!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sundays are for Quotes

"Friendship doubles our joys and halves our griefs." Dolley Madison

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Food - Beef Bacon

In the summer, as many Saturday mornings as we can, we drive out to our 'local' famer's market. It's not really local to me anymore, but my parents still live in the area. The season always seems far too short. There's a couple markets in the city that I'm sure are closer, but I find it far more satisfying to go to an outdoor farmers market; it seems more authentic, and I think Millarville is the largest outdoor market in Alberta.

Anyway, we discovered Alpine Ranch this year at the market. They raise hormone-free, antibiotic-free, steroid-free beef (they're free of more than just those too). It is some of the best tasting local beef I've had. And I've had some.

Our favourite product is the beef bacon, or as we like to call it, 'steakon'. Thinly sliced beef strips, taken from the cow in a similar place to where bacon would be taken from a pig. Think of nice, thin, crispy bacon, but with an unexpected flavour of a juicy steak.

We barbeque ours over low heat, resulting in a nice, chewy texture, with very little fat. So carniverously yummy.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Apparently Unpacking is NOT Going Well

I'm supposed to leave for a weekend in the mountains tomorrow afternoon. I'm driving, but once there, I will have a lot of time spent sitting and relaxing, which for me = knitting time! (I may get my brother to drive on the way home!)

But I can't find the socks that I started and wanted to work on, since my shawl is coming to an end. I used them as lightweight filling in one of the moving boxes and have not found them yet. Other projects are too heavy and hot to work on while sitting on the deck in the sun, I'm leaving them for fall.

I was sure I would have come across them by now, as they were in one of the last boxes to be packed. Along with them, is my 'support' bag. The little bag I keep with my needles for weaving in ends, my measuring tape, the pins I use for blocking projects. Without that little bag, I foresee an endless list of UFO's (unfinished objects) in my future.

So, when I get home on Sunday night, I am not allowing myself to open a book and read. Nor will I be allowed to pull out a DVD to watch (Netflix is grounded too). Once the car is unloaded, and the laundry started, unpacking resumes.

The past week I have used many excuses. I'm back at work. I only want to arrange the furniture and unpack once. But, it's time. The floor plans are done. I am fully capable of moving furniture myself. If I have to unload a box in one room and walk things across the house because I'm too weak to move the box, so be it. This needs to get done.

Because, dude, I'm excited about those socks. It's the first time I've used a yarn with a colour pattern that I'm unsure about. It took me a long time to work up the nerve to wind and start knitting with this yarn. And I can't wait to see them when they're done.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

WIP Wednesday - Dishcloths

For a Christmas gift for all the ladies in my family, I thought I would make a week's worth of dishcloths. I like working on them because they're fast, small, and I don't necessarily need to carry around a pattern. Just in the car ride to and from the mountains, I can knock off 2 or 3 of them, as long as Hubs does all the driving. So far I've made 17 of them, all in various colours. Most are a basic pattern, but I'm trying to make some picture cloths as well.

In all, I'll need 35 for gifts, 42 if I want to keep some for myself.

Knit dishcloths are fantastic. They make fantastic scrubbers due to the stitches, but are gentle on dishes and cookware.

I haven't tried getting 2 cloths out of one ball of cotton yet, as they seem to use just over half. But, maybe mine will be made with colourful leftovers.

Head on over to Tami's Amis and Other Creations for other WIP Wednesday fun!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sundays are for Quotes

(Haha, I just about typed 'Gouts')

I'm attempting to start a weekly post on Sundays that will bring you quotes that (I hope) sum up the week previous.

This week, in reflection of moving and unpacking:

"It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing." Thomas Jefferson

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Food - Madeleines

I used to have an engineer on my team. She was a little slip of a thing, single, lived alone in a tiny apartment, and in her free time she would bake. She would bake all sorts of cookies and cakes, keeping our team and company well fed. Every now and then she would bake madeleines. I found myself walking past her office more often on those days. A couple years ago, my Mum brought me some madeleine pans from the Sur la Table store in San Diego.  I finally got around to using them the other afternoon, probably as I was procrastinating from packing. M, these are for you.

Lemon-Coconut Madeleines - makes approximately 24
1 ½ Tbsp melted butter (or more) – for greasing pans
3              large eggs
2/3 cup    sugar
1 tsp        lemon extract
¼ pound  unsalted butter, melt and cool
1 cup       all-purpose flour
¼ cup      cornstarch
½ tsp       baking powder
¼ tsp       kosher salt
1/3 cup    sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 375F. Thoroughly grease and flour the madeleine pans. I used a brush to help get the butter in all the grooves.

Madeleine pans pre-prep
Greased and floured
3 eggs
Beat the eggs, sugar, and lemon extract on medium speed for 3 minutes in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. The mixture should be light, yellow, and fluffy.

Add the butter and mix.

Melting butter - remember to let it cool before adding!
Sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt.

Sifted dry ingredients
Stir into the egg and sugar batter with a spatula. Stir in the coconut.

Batter anyone?
With a table spoon, drop the batter into the pans, filling each shell almost full. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until they spring back when pressed. Flip the madeleines out onto a cooling rack lined with parchment paper and allow to cool.

The first batch
These are best served right out of the oven, as they can dry out fairly quickly. I put mine in a Tupperware as soon as they were cool, and while they did dry out a bit, I think it helped them last a day or two longer.

Up close and personal
 The lemon flavour was just a hint. For stronger flavour, add some lemon zest along with the extract.

Play around with flavours. I had a thought that lime zest and coconut would make an even better pairing. Even simple vanilla would be just as mouth-watering.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

WIP Wednesday - New Year Shawl

 On January 5th, I wound 900 metres of lace weight yarn (Handmaiden Lace Silk) and cast on the 10 in 2010 shawl by Janine Le Cras:

By February 8th, I had gotten this far:

Then, it was put aside as I worked on birthday gift after birthday gift, finished some socks, and finally got started on the prayer shawl I had signed up to make. I think the fact that it took me close to an hour just to knit two rows was a bit daunting for me. Then, about a month ago, I picked it up again. After knitting 2 shawls for my sisters-in-law, 2 pairs of socks, and 4 scarves for the men in the family, I was getting faster. Now the shawl looks like this:

I've made it through the main body chart, and the transition chart, and am on the edging chart. I am 44 rows from finishing this.

If you're interested in seeing more WIP Wednesday posts, check out Tami's Amis and Other Creations for other WIP bloggers.

Monday, August 1, 2011

New To Us

Here she is...our 41 year old beauty. I just realized this house was built the same year my parents were married (it's their anniversary today).

We had most of the house repainted when we took possession. These pics are pre-painting. The walls are now almost exactly the same colour as the trim. In other words, goodbye mint green and mustard yellow!

Kitchen...redone in the early '90's. It's definitely in great condition, and while it's not our style in terms of decor, it's functional, well laid out, and in great working order.

I have gas!

Dining Room...yay! Finally! 'Nuff said.

 Family Room...a wood burning fireplace, sliding doors to the patio, large enough for the addition of a piano in the future.

Living Room...OK, living room looking in to front entry. The point is, aren't the glass doors the best? They sealed the deal for me. There's four of them in total.

Outdoors, this brick monstrosity with the chives growing out the top will hopefully be converted to a wood burning oven in the future. A lot of research will have to go into this.

 The raspberries in the foreground, with a nanking cherry peeking out behind. I've already gotten a bit of a crop out the raspberries, and need to start harvesting the cherries. Jelly, here we come!

This is our McIntosh apple tree. It will be interesting to see how big the apples get. Our oldest boy is an apple fiend, and can't wait until the apples are ready to eat.

 And, where the future hammock will go. We're already arguing over whether it should be a Mother's Day or Father's Day present next spring.

I hope to post more pictures as we get rooms set up and decorated. I say decorated, but I mean furniture placed and some things put out. Get ready for barely beige walls!