“The Project”


For those of you who know me (too) well – you know I’m a sucker for a good story/project. I received an email via my knit group website from a lady who said she does not knit or crochet but has a partially finished afghan – said afghan was knit/crocheted by a 93 yr old lady who has since passed away. While the lady was in the hospital her DOG chewed on it, a family member decided to attempt to PATCH IT UP and another family member decided to CUT IT UP SOME! Yep, you guessed it – WHAT A MESS! Above you see the “Before” photo I decided to take – just for posterity. I told her to bring it to Panera and I’d look it over – well, let’s just say I’m a sucker for a good cause. The ‘bringer’ has got to be mid 70’s at least, she cried when talking about this afghan (the friend was knitting it for her) AND she even brought a photo of her friend so I would see what a sweet little old lady she was! She’s offered to pay me whatever I ask just so that she can have a ‘remembrance afghan’ of her friend. Let’s just say: this is one HUGE project! There’s three different colors of yarn, many partial panels: some knit, some crocheted granny squares and lots of MESS. One of the panels she started with (I’m guessing) about a total of 2 1/2 feet in width – that panel (a good 3 1/2 feet length later) grew to about almost 4 feet wide – Yep, she couldn’t knit a straight line! UGH! Oh – the ‘family member who decided to PATCH it – those are the most HORRIBLE patch jobs I’ve ever seen! (if you look mid-photo you’ll see just one of them) I’ve REALLY got my work cut out for me (HA! Cut Out – yes, that was fun, too, attempting to get past the cut parts and salvage the rest of the stitches!) The amazing part? She was knitting all this on about 3 foot long knitting needles! Do you know how HEAVY a project is done on these? I don’t know HOW she was able to support all that weight on one needle, let alone knit! (Believe me, I’ll be transferring these to circulars VERY FAST!) After looking it all over, I think I actually have a plan in mind! Am going to attempt to cut/separate the really long (really goofy width) panel into probably about 6 or more 1 foot long strips, then using some of the granny squares, make a ‘knit strip, then granny square strip, then knit’ etc. That will make up one long panel – the next one will be more of the knit strips, interspersed with basket weave knit strips (there was one she had started and didn’t finish) so I’m going to have to knit these myself – not a problem. The lady said that the original creator said the panels would each be different stitches, so I’m still within her guidelines. Oh! Forgot to tell you – NO PATTERNS AT ALL with all this ‘stuff’! A few extra small balls of yarn – Yes, I’ll agree with you: I’m certifiably NUTS! I wrote to tell the lady that this will take some time and I might need to buy some more yarn, but I’ll keep her updated as best I can. Yep – sucker for a good cause. One of my knit group members, after this lady left, grabbed me by the shoulders and said: “I KNOW WHY you do these things: it’s your compassion for people BUT you need to practice this word: NO!  NO! NO!”  Oh well – you’ll hear about it as I get it done.

Gas prices are down a little! $.2.29/9 (down from the other day of $2.39/9) YAY!


Chocolate/Banana/Oatmeal Cookies

2 ripe bananas
1 C. quick oats
1/2 C. chocolate chips
heaping T. peanut butter

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix ingredients together, form into
balls; place on sheet & bake
15 minutes.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

3 C. uncooked egg noodles
1 (10.75 oz) can cream of
mushroom soup
1/2 C. milk
2 T. sour cream
1/2 tsp. ground mustard
1 (5 oz) can albacore white tuna
in water
1/4 C. chopped, roasted red peppers
or peas (or a combination)
2 T. butter
10-15 saltine crackers, crumbled (or
your topping of choice)

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Cook egg noodles per pkg. directions;
drain/set aside. Combine soup, milk,
sour cream & ground mustard in large
bowl; stir in tuna & red peppers/peas –
mix in noodles until combined. Lightly
grease (or spray) a 8″ X 8″ baking dish;
add noodle mixture & spread out evenly.
Sprinkle crumbled crackers on top; slice
butter into small pieces and place on
cracker topping. Bake 25-30 minutes
until bubbly & browned slightly on top.

(recipe: 12tomatoes.com)

Sweet & Sour Pork

2 lb. boneless pork center loin,
1 tsp. sesame oil
3 minced garlic cloves
1 red pepper cut into pieces
1 small white cooking onion,
cut into slices
1/2 C. sliced green onions
1 1/2 C. pineapple juice
4 tsp. cornstarch
2 T. rice vinegar
4 T. soy sauce
3 1/2 T. brown sugar

Cooked rice
chopped green onion (garnish)

In a wok, heat sesame oil over high heat.
Stir-fry garlic 3-5 minutes; add red peppers
& sliced onion – cook until vegetables are
crisp-tender. Add pork & stir-fry 5 minutes.
Add pineapple juice, heat thoroughly. In
small bowl stir cornstarch, vinegar, soy
sauce & brown sugar; stir into wok & cook,
stirring, until mixture comes to a boil. Serve
over cooked rice.

(recipe: allfood.recipes)

Beef & Bean Taco Casserole

1 lb. ground beef
1 (16 oz) can refried beans
1 (16 oz) jar thick ‘n chunky salsa
1 (1 oz) pkg. taco seasoning mix
2 1/2 c. coarsely broken tortilla chips
1/2 medium green bell pepper, chopped
(3/4 C.)
4 medium green onions, sliced (1/4 C.)
2 medium tomatoes, chopped (1 1/2 C.)
1 C. shredded Cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese
1/4 C. sliced ripe olives
1 C. shredded lettuce

Serve, on the side: sour cream & salsa

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In 12-in. skillet over medium-high heat, cook
beef 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally until
thoroughly cooked; drain grease. Stir in
refried beans, & taco seasoning mix; reduce
heat to medium & heat to boiling, stirring
occasionally. In greased 2 Qt. casserole dish
place 2 C. broken tortilla chips; top evenly
with beef mixture. Sprinkle with bell pepper,
onions, 1 C. tomatoes, cheese & olives. Bake,
uncovered, 20-30 minutes or until hot & bubbly
& cheese is melted. Top baked casserole with
lettuce, remaining 1/2 C. tomatoes & remaining
1/2 C. tortilla chips.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Flat Apple Pie w/Perfect Pie Crust

5 Granny Smith apples, peeled & sliced
1/2 C. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 C. granulated sugar
2 T. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
juice of 1/2 lemon

Perfect Pie crust:

3 C. flour plus more for dusting
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 sticks cold butter
3/4 C. vegetable shortening (Crisco)
1 egg
5 T. cold water
1 t. distilled white vinegar

Combine flour & salt in large bowl. Add
butter & shortening; using a pastry cutter
or 2 knives, gradually cut butter & shortening
into flour until mixture resembles tiny pebbles.
(takes 3-4 minutes). Lightly beat egg with fork,
then add to mixture. Add in cold water & vinegar,
stir mixture together until just combined, then
remove half dough from bowl. (makes dough for
2 crusts) Roll out crusts into large circles. Roll
from center outward, being gentle. If bottom is
sticking to surface, use a sharp spatula to loosen
the dough & sprinkle some extra flour on top. Flip
dough over to finish rolling. (No back & forth rolling).
Using a spatula, loosen & lift dough; carefully place
on large baking sheets.
In large bowl, stir together apples, brown sugar,
gran. sugar, flour, salt & lemon juice. Divide filling
between both crusts. Fold over the edges of each
crust so that it covers 2-3 inches of mixture (sort of
like making a pizza dough). Dot tops of pies with
chunks of butter. Bake until filling is golden & bubbly,
30-40 minutes. If crust appears to be browning too
quickly, cover edges with aluminum foil for remaining
of baking time. Allow to cool slightly, then slice into
wedges with a pizza cutter.

(recipe: Ree Drummond-Food Network)

Crockpot Tuscan White Bean Soup

2 T. olive oil
2 T. minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
1 C. diced onion (1 medium)
1 1/2 C. sliced carrots (about 1/2 lb)
4 stalks celery, sliced
1 lb. dry navy beans, rinsed/picked over
to remove any stones/debris
1 bay leaf, whole
1 tsp. dried crushed rosemary
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
fresh ground black pepper
6 C. water
1/2 C. pesto
1 tsp. salt (or more, to taste)

In 5 qt. crockpot, add olive oil. Add all
other ingredients (except salt & pesto);
stir to combine. Cover & cook on Low
8 hours. After 8 hours, remove lid; stir
soup. Place half of soup in blender &
process until smooth (leave other half
in crockpot). Pour pureed soup back into
crockpot; stir to combine. Stir in pesto
plus 1 tsp. salt/ stir again. Add additional
salt/pepper, to taste, if desired.
Serves 6-8

(recipe: afamilyfeast.com)

Original Tater Tot Casserole

1 lb. ground beef
1 (1 lb) pkg. tater tots
2 (10 oz, ea) cans cream of
mushroom soup (or 3 cans if you
want it extra creamy)
1-2 (14 oz) cans vegetables (whole
kernel corn, green beans, peas, etc.)
onion & garlic powder (optional)

shredded cheese – your favorite-
optional topping

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Brown ground beef; season as you
like; drain grease. Spread beef in
bottom of 2 to 2 1/2 qt baking dish.
Drain liquids from cans of vegetables
& spread them over meat in dish. Using
a rubber spatula, spread soup over top
of vegetables (do not dilute soup). Arrange
a layer of tater tots over top. Bake, uncovered,
50 minutes. Top with your favorite shredded
cheese & wait until cheese melts, then serve.
Serves 6

(recipe: allfood.recipes)

Cabbage Roll Casserole
(stuffed cabbages without
all the fuss!)

2 lb. ground beef
1 C. chopped onion
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (29 oz) can tomato sauce
1 can tomato soup
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
3 lb. chopped cabbage
1 C. uncooked white rice
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground sage
1 tsp. pepper
3 C. water (may need more)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large skillet brown beef over
medium-high heat until done;
drain. In large bowl combine onion,
tomato sauce, soup, tomato paste,
cabbage, rice & spices; add meat &
mix all together. Add 3 C. water &
pour mixture into a 9 X 13 baking
dish. Bake 1 hour 15 minutes.

(recipe: That’s MY Home- Facebook)

Cheesy Spinach Lasagna

13 oz ricotta cheese
1/2 c. milk
no-boil lasagna noodles
(about 1/3 of 16 oz box)
1 (25 oz) jar spaghetti sauce
2 C. shredded mozzarella
pkg. fresh baby spinach

Combine ricotta & milk in
medium bowl. Spray
inside of crockpot with non-
stick spray. Pour enough
spaghetti sauce to make a thin
layer on bottom. Top with a
layer of noodles (you will
need to break them to fit).
Spread a layer of ricotta
mixture over noodles; add a
layer of spinach, followed by
layers of mozzarella, then sauce.
Top with another layer of
broken noodles & repeat:
mozz/sauce/noodles. Last
layer: Noodles/sauce &
remaining mozz. Cover &
cook on Low 3-4 hours
until noodles are tender.
Serves 4-6


Our weather has been goofy, as usual for
my state (Michigan) – yesterday we had rain/
sleet/fine snow followed by temperatures
in the 35 degree range, which caused that
which had fallen/accumulated to turn to
mush on the roads! Today it’s all BRIGHT &
SUNNY – you’d think it was May or something
if you didn’t check the thermometer and find
it in the 30’s! As long as it doesn’t accumulate
on the roads, I’m good!

Enjoy your day!




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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I agree with the ‘no, no’ lady. But I know with your tenacity you won’t give up until you have tried everything. I’m anxious to see the results.

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