Archive | December, 2009

Regurgitation, Yarn, and Kitchen Gadgets: Life

30 Dec

 

Wow, It’s only been one day off and I feel like I’ve cheated on my blogging friends. I’ve been so busy with life the last two days that I haven’t had time to sit at a computer! {Shocker} I had the first test of the regurgitation of my new found knowledge, and did wonderfully. I have one more part before I’ve met my goal. It feels good to set goals and accomplish them! A long time has passed since I graduated college and I was hesitant about how this whole “expanding my brain” thing would work out .. I guess I’ve still got it in me afterall. And, its good to know you can learn something new every day!

 

In the mad dash of the last two days, I haven’t had much time to work on my blanket. Although, I was able to stop by the craft store and buy them completely out of the brand/color yarn I’m working with. {and it was on sale} Oh, and my lovely brother gave me the most fabulous idea … crocheted laptop sleeves! I’m envisioning making a ‘pillow case’ and then putting a fabric liner and zipper inside to give a little added protection to the sleeve. {I’m sure it will not be that easy, but a girl can dream} My brother already asked for the first sample… we’ll see! Just think of all the possibilities of color and style! Mmmmm. Fun!

 

Guess who came to my house today!?

My new batch of Netflix came in the mail today {love them} and I’m so excited to sit down and watch! I have the first three disks of the Julia Child and Jacquese Pepin PBS series: Cooking at Home. I’m such a nerd, but I really am looking forward to watching and learning some new recipes! {And, of course ‘oohing’ and ‘aweing’ at the fun kitchen gadgets that I will want to run out and purchase!} I’ll have to keep you all posted on that!

 

Well, I believe it’s time to settle down with a nice glass of wine, the dog, and the boyfriend, and just unwind. It’s been a crazy two days..  Night Ya’ll!

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This Ain’t Your Grandma’s Blanket!

28 Dec

 

I’ve been a little busy the last few days {expanding my knowledge} and haven’t dedicated enough time to finishing up my blanket. And then last night, I ran out of yarn. Of course, I ran out of yarn when the craft stores were all closed. {and I refuse to shop at WalMart} Needless to say, it will be a few days before I can get some more – but I thought I would update you on the status {plus I really like taking pictures of it because it is so darn cute}

 

 

I’m trying really hard to keep all my stitches tight and even….

 

I found out from my new friend, The Elder Lady, that the stitch I’ve been doing is a ‘double crochet’ … I looked it up on Google and I’m not too sure if that is it – it looks different to me. Anyone know the name of this stitch? I’m also thinking about adding a border around the perimeter of the blanket when I’m done. Perhaps in a solid color, or maybe with some fabric? I don’t know … maybe I’ll just like it the way it is. That’s all for now… back to the brain.

Second Christmas Menu

28 Dec

 

My “Second Christmas” dinner with my family is fast approaching & I can’t wait. Since I didn’t get to go home for Christmas, when I finally get there I will be cooking dinner for my family.  This will prove to be amusing to some, because they have not been seeing my Emerging Domesticity. I’ve been working on a menu, and this is what I have so far:

Now I’ve got to sit down and work out a shopping list & send out cute invitations … my siblings will laugh at me, but I’m gonna have a blast planning this ‘dinner party!’ Now, back to my blanket {Which by the way I will run out of yarn in the next hour or so … and I’m annoyed I didn’t think about that while the craft store was actually OPEN! Ugh!}

Pho: Beef Noodle Soup Recipe {Easy and Delicious}

27 Dec

 

On a cold winter day like today, I love a good bowl of soup. About a year ago, I accidentally found the most amazing {easy} recipe for Pho. It was one of those nights where we were sitting around contemplating dinner, one of us was starting to get a bit of a cold, and we just wanted some hot {mildly spicy} soup. So, I hopped on the internet and printed the first Pho recipe I found and headed to the grocery store at nearly 9pm. I am so glad I did because it has become a staple in our house! Pho is a type of Vietnamese/Thai beef noodle soup. If you have ever watched Anthony Bourdain’s show: No Reservations, you have probably seen a million different variations of this soup. {it’s one of his favorites} The ingredients and process are simple. It makes great left overs. And, the ginger and cilantro make your kitchen smell so fresh!

 

Pho: Beef Noodle Soup {simple, easy, and amazing}

 

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz packaged rice noodles or vermicelli
  • 2 tsp peanut oil
  • 4 medium green onion green and white divided and chopped
  • 1 medium jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 TBSP ginger root minced/grated
  • 6 oz thinly sliced beef (at least 6 oz, depending on how ‘meaty’ you want your soup) I found some beef at Publix that they call “sandwich beef” that looks like what you would want for a prime rib sandwich, and that worked well when I cut it into small pieces. You can also use fajita beef cut into small chunks too.
  • 7 cups beef broth (I use the cubes and have this ready ahead of time)
  • 2 TBSP soy sauce
  • 2 TBSP cilantro chopped
  • 1 tsp hot pepper sauce or to taste (I use Tabasco and I also add a few drops of Chili Oil – found on the ethnic aisle at the grocery store)

 

Here’s what you do:

Using a sharp knife cut noodles in half. Heat oil in a med saucepan over med heat. Add white green onion, jalapeno pepper and ginger saute 1 min. Add beef and saute until browned all over (approx 3 min) stirring constantly. Add broth and soy sauce, bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to med/low simmer for 10 min. Add noodles and simmer 3 min longer. Remove from heat and add green onions, cilantro, hot pepper sauce. Serve and ENJOY!

FYI: This is Ginger Root. It took me a while to find it in the grocery store because I didn’t know what I was looking for. I finally found it in the ‘organic’ section near the potatoes and onions. I also didn’t know that you have to peel this before you grate it. I used a cheese grater and it turned out to work great!

FYI: These are the noodles. They are also found on the ‘ethnic asile’ at your grocery store. They are continuous and really long, so you need to cut the lot of them down the middle. You need a really sharp knife and a cutting board you can slam into – they are tough! {makes for a good laugh}

 

I posted this recipe on my Facebook page several months ago and got a huge response from my friends. It truly is an easy dish to cook and really warms you up! And, remember – you can make it as spicy {or mild} as you want. The recipe is fairly mild – adding the Chili oil I suggest will really kick it up a notch. Hope you enjoy! And, as always, if you make it – I’d love to hear how it goes. Enjoy!

Le Creuset: The Louis Vuitton of Cooking

26 Dec

 

I wish I knew about these before Santa came to visit:

 

Le Creuset just launched these as s new product. They are mini-cocottes and come with the cookbook you see in the picture, which gives you recipes specifically for the small pots. Things like individual lasagna, chicken pot pie, molten chocolate cake, and french onion soup. I’m in heaven. They are so adorable and perfect for making ‘small’ dinners for two. {I always seem to make WAY more food than is necessary for two people, probably because I came from a family of 5 and don’t have a grasp on portion sizes}

 

I was reading more about Le Creuset and think I will aspire to own some of these one day {perhaps a kitchen full} … From what I’ve been reading, they are incredible. Like the Louis Vuitton of cooking. Beautiful and colorful enamelled cast iron pots. They have been produced in France since 1927, and are said to be the highest quality in cookware. {Sign me up!} I found out today that my grandmother had an orange set {the color I want} back before my family immigrated to the states from Ireland. SO JEALOUS. My mothers exact words “they were heavy and grannie burned a lot of stuff!” Funny, they are said to distribute heat really well .. I can’t imagine you burning something .. but then again, I’ve seen my grannies cooking!

 

I’ll take one of each, thank you!

 

Or a kitchen like this would do too!

 

If it is possible to dream about pots and pans and kitchens tonight, I’m pretty sure that is what I will be doing! Night Ya’ll!

The Best Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Julia Child and Jacques Pepin

26 Dec

 

I’d like to share my ‘secret’ to the most amazing Garlic Mashed Potatoes you have ever put in your mouth! This is adapted from a Julia Child and Jacques Pepin recipe from their book: Cooking at Home.  Which I just learned was based on a PBS television series they did from 1999-2000. {I definitely added that series to my Nettflix queue!} If you aren’t a garlic lover, beware.

 

The Best Garlic Mashed Potatoes

 

You will need:

Peeled and Cubed Yukon Gold Potatoes (Approx 2 pounds)

Salt

Pepper

Milk (Approx 2/3 cup)

4 TBSP of Salted Butter

2/3 to 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream (I use Stonyfield Organic)

10-15 cloves of garlic

 

Here’s what to do: (In total, this takes about an hour to complete)

The key to this recipe is the garlic and whipping cream. You will want to start this process about 20 -30 minutes before the potatoes begin to boil. Peel the garlic and place in a small sauce pan. Next, pour in the heavy whipping cream until the garlic is covered. Heat over low-medium heat, watching periodically. You want the garlic to become so soft it ‘mushes’ when you touch it with a spatula. This takes at least 20-30 minutes, and only gets better the longer you can wait. I usually cook mine for approximately 45 minutes. You will be able to tell it is ready when you have a creamy consistency and the garlic is ‘mushy.’ About 20 minutes into this process, you can start the potatoes. Remember when boiling your potatoes to add some salt to the water. Let them boil until they too are ‘mushy.’

 

Once your potatoes and garlic/whipping cream are ready, it’s time to put it all together. Drain potatoes AND PUT THEM BACK IN THE POT so you can burn off a bit of the moisture that remains. Add the 4 TBSP’s of butter and mash the potatoes very well. While you are doing this, heat up approx 2/3 cup of milk in the microwave. Next, you want to take your garlic/whipping cream and put it into the pot through a mesh strainer. Make sure you get all the cream out of the pan, and press most of the garlic through the mesh strainer with a spatula or spoon. Next, take the hot milk and add it a little bit at a time while whipping the potatoes (a whisk works well for me) until you get a creamy consistency. Finally, add salt and pepper to taste (I tend to use a good deal of salt and also prefer to use Sea Salt).

 

If you didn’t already catch on, you are basically making regular mashed potatoes with a few extra steps: the garlic whipping cream creation, and for some people hot milk is different. I really think these two steps make them extra creamy and obviously garlic filled! I’ve heard of people whipping them with an electric  mixer, but I don’t have one .. so the combination of a masher and whisk work great for me!

 

Hope you enjoy the potatoes. I know that my house could NOT survive without some form of potatoes. If you make these, I would love to hear how they turn out! Oh, and here is a picture of the cookbook I was talking about. It’s a GREAT one to have in your home!

 

Ahhh, but can you do the ‘shell stitch’?

26 Dec

 

I had another person giggle today when they were told that I can crochet. “You can crochet?” {pure and utter amazement on their face} Geeze, what kinda vibes am I really giving off? And, what kind of person crochets?

 

I met a neighbor today. A sweet, older Catholic lady. {I only mention that she is Catholic, because she made sure to ‘define herself’ to me as a woman who was very religious and involved with her church. Normally, I would not ‘define soemone’ with their religion} We talked for several minutes and then it was mentioned that I was crocheting a blanket … she was so very excited to learn that we had something in common. {And, no she wasn’t the one that was shocked} She quickly ran back to her house and grabbed a piece of her “crafting” to show me. She came back with the most lovely purple scarf. It was crocheted with what she called a “shell stitch.” You could tell she had been “crafting” for a long time. I showed her my unfinished blanket, to which she quickly pointed out that I had missed a stitch about 40 rows back, and that I should really go back {rip it out forty rows} and correct my mistake if I wanted it to be perfectly symmetrical. {Phs! Does she KNOW how long 40 rows takes me!} I laughed and told her I would add a stitch to the other end of the blanket when there are only a few rows left to go, and that would be just fine with me! {Go back 40 rows, what is this woman thinking?} Needless to say, she was most excited to talk to me AND we even planned a crochet date where she would like to teach me some more stitches. Seeing as how I only know one… that just may be fun! … Leave it to me to befriend a 60-something, crafter! Interesting stories should come from this!

 

I’ll catch you up on my blanket tomorrow. It’s coming along quite nicely – missed stitch and all!

 

{The Shell Stitch I will be learning soon}