Saturday Is For Scarves

Fall is here and my craft fairs approach, this means its scarf time!

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FO Friday: My First Sweater

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I finished my Stockinette Shrug. I used Berroco Vintage DK and the Lion Brand Glitter Shrug pattern.

This sweater took me over a month, but I was running three to four shows a week at the local community theater. So my knitting time was limited to say the least, ha! I loved loved loved the yarn! It is wonderfully soft for a wool blend and I didn’t have any problems with it splitting. While I was hoping to make this project with larger yarn and bigger needles to make it faster, I was glad I chose this yarn. I will definitely use it again!!

I did have one major hiccup, see that blog here. I survived that disaster and my skills (and sweater) are better for it! I even managed to make pretty seams for the first time ever 🙂 !

My only regret is that when I washed and blocked it….I blocked it a bigger than I intended. I made the sweater a bit wider across the shoulders than I intended. I wore it to work this week and ended up having to safety pin it to my tank to keep it from slipping off my shoulders. No worries my friends, I can remedy this the next time I wash it.

Finishing this project has really stirred the sweater itch in this knitters’ soul. But alas, I promised myself I would learn socks first. And on top of that, I have TWO craft fairs to prepare for this fall. A knitters work is never done!

For now just enjoy some FO photos! Happy Friday!!

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The Only Thing Better Than Bread Is…..

…..bacon!

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I turned my fresh applesauce bread into French toast for supper! And what is French toast without eggs and bacon? Nay I say…we must always have bacon! The bread texture was amazing and fried up really well. I sliced the bread fairly thin so that it would cook evenly and completely. I even added some cinnamon and vanilla to the egg/milk mixture for an extra zip! Who says toast has to be boring!?

I may have to do a few extra minutes at the gym this week but it will be worth every decadent extra calorie!

Now the wind is howling outside and I have a sweet puppy dog on my lap (no doubt because I smell like bacon). A little knitting and conversation with make this a wonderful evening!

Good night to all!!

Nothing Beats the Smell of Baking Bread

My mother is an AMAZING baker, for almost 15 years she churned out homemade buns, biscuits, rolls, crust, and everything in between. All done daily in the local elementary school kitchen for hundreds of hungry tummies. She can make anything from scratch and her cinnamon rolls and pretzels are particularly amazing. This being said I have inherited her taste for fine homemade goods……just not the patience to do it by hand.

Two Christmas’s ago I received a bread machine and last Christmas I got the most wonderful cookbook to go with it, The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook. This book is jam packed with 300+ recipes for both bread in and out of my machine. It’s literally to die for! So thanks to this wonderful book I bring you today, Applesauce Bread!

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It’s sooooo easy to cook in the bread machine. Step one: add all wet ingredients to bottom of the pan.

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Step two: mix all dry ingredients together (except yeast) and pour over wet ingredients.

Step three: add yeast on top of dry goods.

Step four: punch in the machine settings for you bread type, hit start, and walk away!

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The machine does all the mixing, kneading, proofing, and baking! Three hours later you get this….

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This bread turned out golden and perfect. It has a nice dense texture perfect for toast and a lovely hint of apple pie flavor. This recipe gets a star in my copy of the book to definitely use again!

I packed some for breakfast today along with some of my homemade jam and it was beyond delicious for breakfast on this cool autumn morning!

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The machine lets me be my mothers’ daughter, just in my own way! I love the way my house smells because of baking bread, and this way I still get to knit at the same time!

Stay tuned tomorrow for my FO Friday and one of my largest finished projects ever!!!!

Happy Knitting! (And baking 🙂 )

Next Up On The Reading List

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I am starting a new series by Kate Jacobs! There are three books so far:
The Friday Night Knitting Club
Knit Two
Knit The Season

I have started the first novel but will refrain from reviewing the individual books and review the series instead. I hope to have the first two novels read in time to start Knit The Season in November to get me in the holiday spirit!! I can’t believe it’s that time already…and I can’t believe I signed up for two holiday craft fairs…oh we’ll what’s done is done!

Stay tuned this week for homemade bread (via my bread machine and machine cookbook) and FO Friday where I will debut my first ever knit garment!

Happy Knitting!

Rainy Saturday Indulgences

It’s rainy day here in Kansas, a much needed rain I might add!

To me this means couch time with my knitting and puppies, listening to thunder, and delicious rainy day food. I picked up a new crock pot recipe on Pinterest the other day, Beef and Broccoli.

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I made a few changes to recipe:

– I doubled all the liquids and the broccoli but not the beef.
– I used stew beef because that is what I have in the freezer.
– I thickened my liquid but not to the point of sauce or glaze.
– I used low sodium soy sauce to cut down on the salt.

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So in my version it’s more of beef and broccoli soup but it’s still delish! Soup just felt right today. Husband thought it was a little sweet but he still loved it!

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We poured the beef and broccoli over steamed brown rice and paired it with a mixed green salad and cottage cheese for a heavenly warm, filling, and nutritious lunch. This is another Pinterest find that’s going to stay in our permanent kitchen files!

In knitting news, I finally cast off my Stockinette Shrug! I gave it a nice bath in Soak and blocked it out to dry on our guest bed. Should be able to seam it up tomorrow after its dry tomorrow! For now I’m going to cast on some matching boot cuffs for my sweater.

Happy Knitting and Eating!!

FO Friday: Boot Toppers/cuffs

Because its FO Friday I want to talk about my boot toppers I started awhile back.

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Those simple cuffs seem to be all the rage this year! I am starting to see them pop up in other blog posts and Ravelry queues. See my project link on Ravelry.

I knit these in bulky weight extremely soft and silly yarn. Because of this they worked up very quickly! However I failed to take into account my own body.

I am a lifelong and avid volleyball player. In volleyball you spend (or should spend) most of your time on the court up on your toes and the ball if your foot in what is mostly a perpetual calf raise. Long years of this have given me very muscular and round calves, thus making it hard to fit into tall boots. Last year I happened on an pair with elastic vents on the sides that fit me! Though even with the elastic they are a snug fit…

Therein lies the rub….my toppers are bulky. They fit into my boots with some coaxing but are not comfortable to wear for long. I love how the simple rib turned out and the color is amazing for fall.

I am not defeated however! I am in the final stages of finishing my Stockinette Shrug made with Berroco Vintage DK and I have yarn leftover! I want to adjust my topper/cuff pattern for DK weight and try making them again. I think a thinner knit “fabric” will suit my body needs better and they would match my sweater!! Who know I may throw in a hat to match, ha!

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I choose to look at this project not as a failure but as a learning moment. I am not going to frog my bulky originals. Who knows I may find a friend with skinny legs who wants super cool cuffs for their boots! I still need to finish the matching scarf but its at the bottom if my priority list.

I hope to finish, wash/block, and seam my sweater this weekend, stay tuned!!!

Happy Knitting and TGIF!

Review: Knit One Pearl One by Gil McNeil

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I finished the third installment of Gil McNeil’s Jo McKensie this past weekend. You can find my review of the first two books here.

I think in the future when reading a series I will review the first book as a stand alone item and then wait until I finish the series to review all the books a whole. I think this will help me give readers a better review and avoid giving reviews on the slower books in the series.

That being said, I found Knit One Pearl One a bit slower than the first two. In opinion the author was using this book to advance the story simply to set up a future novel.

This is not to say I didn’t enjoy reading this book! It was a lovely read and I am still invested in the characters. I just was missing the surprise twist the first two books had. The plot in this third book was predictable and I could see where it was going to end up.

All in all I would still recommend this series as a whole and I am looking forward to see if a fourth book appears. I very much appreciate the authors style of writing and I want to know what is “next” for these characters. This third book just left me wanting a little bit more.

Happy Knitting!!

WIP Wednesday: crock pot honey chicken

One of my favorite foods to eat is Chinese take out. My husband and I lived off of Chinese take out on the weekends in college. Honey chicken has always been a personal fav for me. And thanks to Pinterest I stumbled across a recipe for honey chicken in the crock pot! My favorite dish made in my favorite cooking device….yes please!!

I love love love my crock pot. It cooks our dinner while we are at work. It makes the house smell heavenly. And most of the time it’s pretty healthy eating.

Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken is absolutely delish!

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While this recipe is currently in my crock pot, I actually made this for the first time Sunday. I made a few small adjustments to the recipe for my household needs:
1) omitted the red pepper flakes and added paprika. The husband can’t tolerate cayenne or red pepper flake.
2) omitted the sesame seeds just because I didn’t have any on hand.
3) I stirred the pot several times just because I was worried about the honey burning to the sides.
4) the prescribed amount of cornstarch and water didn’t get it thick enough for me and I ran out of cornstarch…. So I made a quick roux (flour cooked into melted butter) It turned my sauce a little cloudy but at least it got to a sauce like consistency.

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Even with my changes this dish was heavenly over some steamed brown rice. It was very very sweet. I might hit the finished sauce with some sort of acidity like citrus this time to cut the sweetness a bit since I do not put the heat in it (omitting the pepper flake) as the recipe calls for. But this is definitely a recipe that will make a regular appearance in my kitchen!

Enjoy!!