Sometimes it takes a little WISDOM to know when to quit something – for example, I took the current (yellow & white) baby afghan with me to the car dealership yesterday while waiting for an oil change. I love the ‘look’ of this pattern but it’s particularly tricky and I’ve struggled through almost 3/4ths of it by now. I was happily sitting & knitting when I noticed, about 4 inches down, a big yarn LOOP – “What’s THAT?” Upon closer inspection I discovered it was a dropped stitch that was quickly coming unknit – UGH! I found a paperclip in the bottom of my purse and snagged said errant stitch. When I got home I gave it a closer inspection (thinking I could probably ‘fix it’ using a crochet hook) after checking I discovered that I really couldn’t tell just WHERE the Yarn Over stitches fell in the pattern – DOUBLE UGH! I ended up ripping out about 6 rows of knitting and ended up decided I’d had enough! I did a ‘Bind Off’ row and called it done! It’s shorter than I would have liked, but sometimes you just have to decide when to quit and when it’s OK to continue. The baby afghan was supposed to be about 3 1/2 feet wide but I goofed on casting on the original stitches, making it about 4 1/2 feet WIDE (too wide for a baby blanket, actually). Now the length is about 3 1/2 feet, so if you USE the blanket width-wise, you’ll be just fine (it’s just that the pattern will be sideways) – at this point WHO CARES?! Certainly not me! Started on nephew’s (school colors) hat – it’s almost done (should be able to finish it today) then it’s on to the matching scarf. Started knitting the scarf, have about a foot done – not exactly sure how long each color change will be – will decide that when I have ALL the yarn to work with. (quick explanation: when Loom knitting something you are required to use 2 skeins of yarn together for each stitch – for regular knitting you would only use one skein) – have to wait for the maroon yarn to be ‘freed up’ from the hat to continue with scarf. Last night was Knit/Movie Night and we had a fun/small group – only 6 but we had a yummy dinner: Quinoa salad (LOVE the stuff!), spaghetti salad, fruit salad, chili, pea soup, wheat rolls, lemon bars & chocolate cream cheese cake. Ended up watching: “Once” – it was an OK movie, kind of boring but I got quite a bit loom knit on the hat, so I was happy.
Felt it was probably necessary to post my friend Laura’s Quinoa Salad recipe – just so some of you might want to try it – it’s REALLY tasty!
Black Bean/Quinoa Salad
1 C. (dry) Quinoa
1 can black beans, rinsed/drained
1 can whole kernel corn
1 green pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
salt & pepper
Start out with a few Tablespoons
of each & increase to 1/4 C. of each,
depending on how dry you like it
Cook quinoa in 2 C. water accordg.
to pkg. directions. Drain (or make sure
water has cooked out). Place in bowl
with remaining ingredients; pour
dressing over top & mix well.
Note: quinoa is a grain – you can find it
in the section where they feature more
of the specialty foods (you might have
to ask where it’s located).
(recipe: My friend Laura)
Crockpot Chicken Alfredo
1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken
breasts (3), cubed
1 (about 15 oz) jar Alfredo sauce
1 tsp. dried onion
1/4 C. water
1/2 C. sun dried tomatoes, cut
into small slices
1 C. fresh baby spinach
1/2 lb. angel hair pasta, uncooked
Season chicken cubes with salt/pepper;
add to crockpot & sprinkle with dried
onion. Pour Alfredo sauce & water over
chicken. Cover & cook on High 4 hours
or Low 6 hours. Add sun dried tomatoes.
Tear up spinach & add to crockpot; stir &
let spinach wilt & tomatoes slightly soften.
Cook pasta accordg to pkg directions then
spoon on top of mixture in crockpot.
Lemony Lemon Brownies
3/4 C. flour
3/4 C. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C. (1 stick) unsalted butter,
2 large eggs
2 T. lemon zest
2 T. lemon juice
4 T. lemon juice
8 T. lemon zest
1 C. powdered sugar
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease an 8″ X 8″ pan with butter;
set aside. Zest & juice 2 lemons; set
aside. In bowl of elec. mixer, beat flour,
sugar, salt & softened butter until combined.
In separate bowl whisk eggs, lemon zest &
lemon juice until combined; pour into flour
mixture & beat 2 minutes on medium speed
until smooth & creamy. Pour mixture into
prepared pan; bake 23-35 minutes (should
be golden brown around edges). Allow to
cool completely before glazing. Do not
overbake or bars will be dry.
Mix powdered sugar, lemon zest & juice;
spread glaze over bars with rubber spatula.
Let glaze set then cut into bars.
White Bean & Sausage Casserole
2 (15.8 oz, ea) cans Great Northern beans,
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes with garlic &
1 lb. light smoked sausage, sliced
1 (10.5 oz) can French onion soup, undiluted
3 medium carrots, sliced
1 (1 oz) pkg. beef & herb gravy mix
2 tsp. dried sage
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 C. fine dry bread crumbs
freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Combine first 8 ingredients in crockpot;
cover & cook on Low 8 hours or until carrots
are tender. Stir in bread crumbs; sprinkle
Parm. cheese on each serving. Serves 6
Amish Chicken Stew
10 C. chicken broth
4 potatoes, peeled/cut into quarters
1 small onion, cut into 1 inch chunks
2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2″ chunks
1 carrot, peeled/sliced thin
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
12 oz. bowtie pasta
1 rotisserie chicken, skinned/boned &
shredded (about 3 C. meat)
In soup pot over medium-high heat, combine
broth, potatoes, onion, celery, carrot, salt/
pepper; bring to boil & cook 10 minutes. Stir
in pasta & cook 8 minutes. Add chicken &
cook 4-5 minutes, until chicken is heated
through. Serve immediately. Serves 6
NOTE: This stew will thicken up as it sits, so
you may want to add additional water when
you reheat any leftovers.
Crockpot Salisbury Steak & Gravy
2 lb. lean ground beef
2/3 C. oats
1/2 C. finely chopped onion
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 medium onion, sliced &
separated into rings (optional)
1 (8 oz) can sliced mushrooms
3 packets brown gravy mix
3 C. water
In medium mixing bowl, combine
meat, oats, eggs, onion, salt &
pepper; mix until thoroughly
combined. Shape bee into patties
& brown in skillet, turning once.
Transfer patties to crockpot; top
with sliced onions & mushrooms.
In mixing bowl, whisk together gravy
packets & water until well blended;
pour in crockpot. Cover & cook on
High 4 hours or until patties are
Serve with mashed potatoes, cooked
egg noodles or rice.
Cream Cheese Crumb Bars
1/3 C. butter, softened
1/3 C. brown sugar + 2 T.,
1 C. flour
1 C. walnuts, chopped/divided
1 T. vegetable oil
1/4 C. granulated sugar
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 egg, beaten
2 T. milk or light cream
1 T. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line a 8 X 8 pan with foil, pressing
tightly up sides.* In bowl of standard
mixer with paddle attachment, cream
butter & 1/3 C. brown sugar until fluffy,
add flour until just combined. Remove
from mixer & blend 1/2 of chopped nuts
by hand; stir mixture until a small crumb
forms. Reserve 1 C. of this mixture. Take
remaining mixture & press into prepared
pan. Bake 12 minutes; place on rack to cool.
To reserved crumb mixture add remaining
2 T. brown sugar, remaining 1/2 C. nuts &
1 T. oil; mix thoroughly; set aside. Place
mixer bowl back on with paddle & cream
sugar & cream cheese until light & fluffy;
scrape bowl & mix again. Add egg, milk,
lemon juice & vanilla; beat until very light &
creamy. Pour this mixture into cooled pan
over cooked crust & top with reserved
topping pressing just slightly into mixture.
Bake 25 minutes; cool on rack, in pan. Once
cool, lift foil edges up & place on a cutting
board. Fold foil down flat & slip foil out.
With a sharp, serrated knife, cut the whole
pan into 3 rows X 3 rows for a total of
nine squares. (If you like, cut each square
in half corner to corner, forming 18 triangles).
*This will help remove the finished bars
Extreme Pepperoni Dip
4 C. (16 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese
3 1/2 C. spaghetti sauce
2 C. mayonnaise
1 (8 oz) pkg. sliced pepperoni,
1 (6 oz) can pitted ripe olives,
1 (5 3/4 oz) jar sliced green
olives with pimientos, drained/
Combine first 6 ingredients in 4 Qt.
crockpot sprayed with nonstick
spray. Cover & cook on Low 1 1/2
hours; stir. Cover & cook 1 1/2 hours
longer or until cheese is melted.
Serve with tortilla chips. Makes
2 1/4 quarts.
2 (11 oz, ea) tubes refrigerated
1/2 lb. sliced fresh mushrooms
2 medium green peppers, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning, divided
4 tsp. olive oil, divided
1 1/2 C. (6 oz) shredded Cheddar
5 oz. Canadian bacon, chopped
1 1/2 C. (6 oz) shredded mozzarella
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Unroll breadsticks into a greased
15″ X 10″ X 1″ baking pan. Press
onto bottom & up sides of pan. Pinch
seams to seal. Bake 6-8 minutes until
set. In large skillet saute mushrooms,
peppers, onion & 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
in 2 tsp. oil until crisp-tender; drain.
Brush crust with remaining oil; sprinkle
with 3/4 C. Cheddar cheese; top with
vegetable mixture & Canadian bacon.
Combine mozz. cheese & remaining
Cheddar; sprinkle over top. Sprinkle
top with remaining Italian seasoning.
Bake 20-25 minutes until cheese is
melted & crust is golden brown. Serve
with marinara sauce on side. Makes
Our weather has sort of reverted back to
Winter-like temps – today it’s almost 30,
grey & a light misty-rain. Yesterday we
were really ‘chillin’ going to the dealership-
it was a ‘balmy’ 18 degrees! Hope it warms
up some before Easter. I still have memories
of walking to a local Baptist church in my
neighborhood when I was about eight. My
best friend & I had on light cotton dresses,
light Spring sweaters, little cotton socks &
Mary Jane shoes – the walk was about 15
minutes from our houses. Got out of church
and discovered it had snowed: about 2 FEET
of snow (not counting the temperatures had
dropped considerably!). Let’s just say the
SPRINT home (trying to avoid getting the
snow in our shoes) was NOT FUN! Ah, yes
Michigan – the state where the common
slogan is: “Don’t like our weather? Stick
around 10 minutes and it will change!”
Have a great day!