It’s a gorgeous Summer day out today – 80 degrees F., sunny & clear skies. After the last 3-4 days of intermittent rain, it’s nice to see the sun again!
Been plugging away at the baby blocks and STRUGGLING with the intarsia. I decided I wanted a smiley face on one of the block sides; got it all drawn on the grid paper and knit maybe 1/3 of it – up to where you begin to knit in the mouth – disaster! I’m guessing I ripped it out a good 8 times, re-knit, rip, re-think/re-knit, etc. until I finally decided there was NO way I could KNIT the mouth & eyes without the mouth looking like some sort of scary Halloween pumpkin face! Ended up drawing on my old embroidery skills – cross stitch for the mouth & eyes, and Lazy Daisey for the outline of the face (took me awhile to remember the ‘trick’ to that last stitch – must have attempted it a good 8-10 times before finally it clicked). Here is what the baby block looks like on the BACK SIDE (before I sew it up & stuff it)
All the ‘mess’ of yarn ‘strings’ everywhere are called ‘floaters’ – you basically knit with one color (say white) for maybe 6 stitches, then drop that yarn, pick up the next color (say yellow) and knit 4 stitches, drop that/pick back up the white and keep going. All the yarn you are NOT using at the time just ‘floats’ at the back of the work until you need it. It’s a mess on the back but makes nice pictures on the front. Here’s that same block on the front side:
One block almost done, 2 more to go (or more, depending on my moods!) The multi-colored squares are the top/bottom of the block.
No-Bake Caramel Shortbread Pie
2 C. crushed shortbread cookies
(reserve 1 T. for topping)
1/2 C. (1 stick) butter, melted
1/3 C. sugar
2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese,
1/2 C. caramel dessert topping
1 T. vanilla
1/4 C. heavy cream
Cool Whip, thawed
Mix all ingredients in medium
bowl; press into bottom & barely
up sides of 8 inch pie plate.
Beat cream cheese, caramel topping
& vanilla in large bowl using elec.
mixer on medium speed until smooth.
Gradually beat in heavy cream just until
blended. Beat on medium-high speed
2 minutes until fluffy then spoon into
crust & smooth out. Top with Cool
Whip & refrigerate 3 hours until set.
When ready to serve, drizzle top with
additional caramel topping & sprinkle
with reserved shortbread crumbs.
Store leftovers in refrigerator.
Spicy Zucchini Soup
4 T. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeds/
stems/ribs removed (& discarded),
3 cloves garlic minced
2 lb. chopped zucchini (skin on),
about 5-6 C.
1 1/2 C. chopped day-old bread
3 C. chicken broth (or vegetable)
1 C. water
1/2 C. fresh mint leaves (spearmint),
1/2 C. fresh cilantro, loosely packed,
2 tsp. lemon juice
salt/pepper, to taste
Heat oil in large pot over medium-high
heat. Add onion & jalapeno, saute 4-5
minutes until onions are translucent but
not browned. Add garlic & zucchini;
saute 3-4 minutes longer, stirring often.
Sprinkle with salt. Add bread, broth &
water; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat &
simmer gently 20 minutes. Remove from
heat; add mint & cilantro (if using). Puree
in a blender or food processor until
smooth, working in batches if necessary (or
use an immersion blender). Return soup
to pot, add lemon juice, salt/pepper, to
taste. Serve hot or chilled. Serves 4
NOTE: keeps a week, refrigerated
Crockpot Chicken in Tomato Sauce
1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken
breasts (or tenders)
3 T. butter, divided
1 T. olive oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 (28 oz) can fire-roasted crushed
1 (14 oz) can fire-roasted diced
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 large zucchini
fresh, chopped basil
Can be served by itself OR
with cooked pasta
Heat skillet over medium-high heat.
Melt 1 T. butter & 1 T. olive oil.
Season chicken with garlic powder,
salt/pepper & cook on each side
until lightly browned (about 3-4
minutes) then place in crockpot.
Add both cans tomatoes, tomato
sauce, Ital. seasoning & remaining
2 T. butter. Cover & cook on High
3-4 hours or Low 6-8 hours until
chicken is cooked through*.
Taste sauce & add more seasonings,
if desired. Spiralize (or slice thin)
zucchini & add to crockpot. Cover &
cook in sauce until softened, 10-15
minutes longer. Garnish with fresh
chopped basil. Serves 4
*If using tenders: reduce time to
2-3 hours on High or 4-6 hours
NOTE: If sauce is too acidic for your taste,
you can stir in a few tablespoons of cream
Cucumber Sandwich Filling
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 C. mayonnaise (can add
more, if needed)
1 medium cucumber, peeled/
seeded & finely chopped
1/2 tsp. fresh dill or 1/4 tsp.
dried dill weed
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
Place cucumber in a colander
& press to remove excess water.
Place cream cheese & may in a
blender or food processor &
pulse until smooth. Combine
cream cheese mixture, cucumber,
dill & garlic salt & place in a bowl.
Chill until ready to serve to allow
flavors to blend.
Makes 1 C.- total or 6-8 servings
Creamy Broccoli/Bacon Bake
6 C. broccoli florets
2 carrots, sliced
1 (8 oz) tub cream cheese spread
2 T. milk
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 green onions, sliced
3/4 C. Kraft “shredded Triple
Cheddar Cheese with a touch of
4 slices fully cooked bacon, chopped
Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Add broccoli & carrots to saucepan of
boiling water; cook 2-3 minutes until
crisp-tender. Drain, reserving 1/4 C.
cooking water. Mix next 3 ingredients
until blended. Return cooked veggies
to saucepan; add cream cheese mixture
& onions; stir until veggies are evenly
coated with sauce, adding reserved
cooking water, if necessary, for desired
consistency. Spoon mixture into 2 Qt.
casserole dish that has been sprayed
with nonstick spray. Top mixture with
shredded cheese & bacon, cover with
foil. Bake 25 minutes until heated
through, uncovering last 5 minutes
of baking time. Serves 8 (1/2 C. each)
(recipe: Kraft recipes)
2 (5 oz, ea) cans chunk light tuna in
1 (6 oz) pkg. Stuffing mix for chicken
1 C. shredded mild Cheddar cheese
3/4 C. water
1 carrot, shredded
1/3 C. mayonnaise (or Miracle Whip)
2 T. sweet pickle relish
1 egg, beaten
Combine all ingredients & refrigerate
10 minutes then stir. Heat large nonstick
skillet sprayed with cooking spray to
medium heat. Using an ice cream scoop,
make patties & place in skillet. Flatten
into patties with back of a spatula. Cook
6 minutes or until golden brown on both
sides, carefully turning after 3 minutes.
(recipe: Kraft recipes)
California Club Pasta Salad
1/2 C. ranch salad dressing
1/4 C. Miracle Whip salad dressing
2 C. rotini pasta, cooked/rinsed
under cold water
1 C. coarsely chopped romaine
1 avocado, chopped
1/2 C. chopped plum tomatoes
4 slices bacon, cooked/crumbled
Mix ranch dressing with Miracle
Whip until blended. Combine all
remaining ingredients (except bacon)
in large bowl. Add dressing mixture &
mix lightly. Refrigerate 1 hour. Top
with bacon just before serving.
Serves 6, 1 C. each
(recipe: Kraft recipes)
Crockpot Sour Cream Chocolate
1/3 C. oil
1 C. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 C. sour cream
1 1/2 C. flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 C. shredded zucchini
1/4 C. cocoa powder
Spray one 8 X 4″ loaf pan
with nonstick spray. In bowl
beat eggs, oil, vanilla & sugar until
light & fluffy. Add sour cream; mix
well. Add flour, baking powder, baking
soda, salt & cocoa powder – mix well
then add zucchini – stir, by hand, until
just mixed – pour into prepared pan.
Place a small rack in bottom of crockpot*
Place loaf pan on top of rack. Place 2
paper towels on top of crockpot & secure
towels with lid. Cook on High 2-3 hours
depending on how hot crockpot cooks.
Test with a wooden toothpick. Cool in
pan on a baking rack before removing
from pan. Makes 1 loaf.
NOTE: *If you don’t have a rack, ball up
a few pieces of foil & place pan on top.
You can double this recipe & make muffins,
or half muffins/half 1 loaf bread.
Gas prices in the area have crept up a little
from $2.29/9 to $2.36/9 – as my husband
keeps reminding me: “At least they’re not
at $4.00 a gallon!”
Last night was my knit/crochet group and
we had 16 ladies all kind of crammed in;
some of them brought the baby items
they had knit/crocheted for the Detroit
Veterans Hospital’s Baby Shower – the
lady from the hospital is coming next
meeting (August 30th) to pick it all up.
Today found me sorting through the items
and writing out little tags for each that read:
“Made especially for you by: (first name, last
Waterford-Area Knitters & Crocheters”
Then I had to attach each tag to the item (the
hospital likes the ladies to know that there
was someone who personally made their gifts.
With just what I have here at the house now,
we have 18 afghans, 10 hats, 10 baby headbands.
I know that the next meeting will be pretty hectic,
with people coming in with bags. I feel bad that
on the collection day I’m not able to individually
photograph EACH item, but I am going to take
the ones that are here and photo them on my
picnic table some time soon so that the ladies
who can’t attend on ‘pick up’ day will at least
see ‘some’ of the donations. My ladies are
awesome when it comes to charity events.
One of my ladies crocheted 6 blankets and 8
hats! That’s a LOT (some ladies only do one hat
or one blanket – not that I’m complaining – I’ll
take whatever they want to make!)
A little later on I have a quick trip to the library
to pick up more books by my (now) favorite
author Lincoln Child, then a trip to the town-
ship offices to pay our Summer taxes (oh, joy).
Tonight’s special needs group is all set up: we’re
singing AND our one male helper/leader is going
to lead them in a new song he taught them a
few weeks ago, it’s called “the Fruits of the Spirit”
and I found a coloring page (free/on line) that
has that very thing on it! YAY! The night should
go pretty quickly and some of our kids are away
at camp, so it will be a smaller group – should be
Not much else new right now – lunch with my
friend yesterday was good – lots of chatting. The
food was ‘so-so’, I had a taco salad and I’ve never
before seen anyone put sliced radishes on one
(picked them off) – they put the chicken in big
chunks in the bottom of the tortilla ‘bowl’ then
shredded lettuce, chopped tomato, a little
shredded cheese & a huge dollop of sour cream;
kind of bland/blah – no beans, onion, etc. Will
not be going there again (only good thing? it
only cost $5.99).
Have a GREAT day!