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Saturday, February 29, 2020

Recipe Round Up: Louqaimat and Lenten Pancakes


These are a traditional Arabic doughnut with many names. Louqaimat means bites, louqmat al 'qadi, which means bite of the judge (no idea why!), there is another name zalabiya, which I think is a variation on the Indian name for a similar doughnut called jalaby, and awammat, which means floaters, which is completely appropriate, as these doughnuts certainly float as you fry them. They are crunchy and delicious, and not too hard to make.

If you don't like the syrup, you can roll them in sifted powdered sugar, but I really recommend the syrup. The soaking syrup can be made up to a week in advance and stored in the refrigerator. The trick with syrups is to make sure you either have hot dessert and cold syrup, or cold dessert and hot syrup. In this case, you will have hot pastry and cool syrup.

This recipe makes about 50 - 55 doughnut bites. I picked up a tip to use a small ice cream scoop with a lever release to form the doughnuts. If you are more careful, you can have almost perfectly spherical bites, but I was trying to fry them as quickly as I could.

3 cups pastry or all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons yeast
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole milk, plain yogurt
1 recipe of soaking syrup
2 tablespoons finely chopped pistachios, for serving
oil for frying plus a small amount in a bowl to dip scoop

Place a few pans with cooling racks over them to drain your doughnuts.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, corn starch, sugar, yeast, cardamom and salt. Add in the yogurt and beat well until a wet, sticky dough, the consistency of a thick cake batter is formed. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or a lid and let rest for at least an hour or until the dough has doubled in volume.

Fill a frying pan with about 2 inches of oil and heat over medium heat until very hot (I test by putting a piece of bread in and if it immediately sizzles, I begin frying).

Dip a tablespoon sized ice cream scoop in the additional bowl of oil and fill with a leveled amount of batter. Use the release mechanism to release the dough into the oil. Forget everything you have ever heard about not crowding the pan. You want to fill it, with just enough room to press the bites down or turn them. Dip the scoop into the cool oil every other ball or so to avoid sticking to the ice cream scoop.

Fry the dough, stirring and turning, applying pressure to their tops with a slotted spoon (I use a flat spoon with holes all over it), until they are evenly golden. Use the spoon to take them out of the oil and place onto the cooling racks to drain.

Drop the doughnuts into the prepared syrup and roll to coat. Place on a serving dish, and stack as they are ready. When all the louqaimat have been made and stacked, drizzle with a little more of the syrup and sprinkle with the chopped pistachios.

These are best served within a couple hours of making them.

Soaking Syrup:
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons rose water
1 teaspoon orange blossom water

In a medium saucepan, place sugar, water and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Try not to stir, and once it comes to a boil stop any stirring.

Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. If you overcook it, it will become candy, so stay with it, and set a timer. Add rose water and orange blossom water and stir to combine.

Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Lenten Pancakes

If you use the oat flour, these are gluten free, too. If you want to reduce the sweetener, replace it with an equal amount of the coconut milk. Recipe makes about 36 pancakes. You may want to double it.

2 1/2 cups pastry flour/spelt flour/oat flour (your choice)
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 3/4 + 2 tablespoons coconut milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
6 tablespoons safflower oil
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract (optional, but really delicious)
1 cup dried cherries (or other dried fruit)

You know how to make pancakes. Mix all dry ingredients in medium bowl. Whisk together all wet ingredients. Add dry to wet. Stir in dried fruit.

Cook on heated, greased griddle. Serve with a light amount of maple syrup (they are pretty sweet from the syrup in them).

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Friday, February 28, 2020

Flasback Friday: Rayan

If you have been reading my blog for any significant time, you probably remember that I had designed two patterns named after three of our children. In the interim, I have designed two more. This one was named for the baby we lost. I just couldn't get away from the idea that I did not want to leave that child out, and this type of doll kept coming to me as the most appropriate memorial. In many ways, this pattern is completely out of my norm and outside of my "brand," but it was really important to me to make it and share it with others. On the practical side, it is a great way to use leftovers from other projects, and makes a great baby gift or a memorial for someone you know who has lost a child. This will not be the last design named after our children, I have five more to go, plus one more for my husband and me. It is a long term project for me, so I am hoping to be finished with all of these by the end of next year.

Rayan is available for sale on Ravelry, PatternVine, and LoveCrafts. If you don't want to sign up for any of these, please do contact me and we can work out how you can purchase the pattern.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Craft On: Holding Back

One of my challenges is that I have many ideas and projects I want to make, but I don't have all the time in the world to do them. So, even though there is so much I want to accomplish this week and over the next month, I am trying to be more mindful and still, even with my knitting. Lent is a good time to focus on this kind of self-control. In the photo above, you can see my progress on Vespers, as well as the same book, Babel, that I have been reading. I don't want to stop reading it, but I am adding a couple other books for spiritual reading, Tending the Garden of Our Hearts, to read with the family, and I am returning to my Sirach Bible Study and Journal.

Keep Calm and Craft On.

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Monday, February 24, 2020

Menu Plan: February 23 - 29 (Quinquagesima - Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday)

The blog is a little delayed this week. I try to draft my planned posts for the week on Saturday, and we were so busy and without adequate time or internet coverage to get that done. Then, this morning, I gave myself a second degree burn while making breakfast.

We in the west are in the last days before Lent. Sadly, this means we are a week off from our brethren in the east. We've cleaned out most of the non-Lenten foods in the house and I have done most of our Lenten preparatory shopping. Tuesday, we will be having our traditional doughnut feast, too! Even though Ash Wednesday is a strict fast, there are still three kids in our house too young to try to fast the entire day. So, I have some basic meals planned for that day for those who are eating. All of the kids make an attempt of the fast, so those two meals on the list here may be the only things we need to make that day. Because we still have young children at home, we also still sometimes have fish and dairy/eggs, and often, even if we are not eating those foods as a family, we will give them some milk or egg (or yogurt cups for breakfast, for instance). The fast is about struggling within our strength so we will understand how much we need God. If you are not eating that way, obviously ignore those ideas. We still try to keep as close to the full fast as we can on all the days of the week except Sundays, so I hope you do find some suggestions to mix up your meal plans - it can be so hard finding different foods for the fast. Last year I learned that the fast is properly called a xerophagy, which means dry eating or dry food. Eating without meat and fish and dairy and egg results in "dry" eating. So if you need a Scrabble word, there you go!

What is on your menu this week? I hope these breakfast and dinner ideas help you make plans, too. If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up on Saturday.

Linking to Menu Plan Monday

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Saturday, February 22, 2020

Recipe Round Up: Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies, Pickled Asparagus, Peanut Sauce, Potato Dressing, and Battatas Harra

Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies

These cookies were sold at a chain of cookie stores that were in our malls when I was growing up. They were always a delicious treat, and my mother would get a box of them when we had family visiting or when we were going to visit family. The company closed and I thought that I would never be able to replicate them. I tried so many times to make something like it, and never quite got it right. Well, a couple years ago, the daughter of a woman who had worked there for years shared the recipe on our hometown Facebook group. I made it, and it wasn't exactly as I remembered, so I tweaked it just a little and this is what resulted. These are really delicious. They would be better with homemade marshmallows, but they are just fine (and the way they were made at the store) with commercially sold ones. This is really a cakey cookie. Also, I have included more marshmallows than you will really need, so you don't have to try to find more if you manage to make more cookies than I do. As I make it, this makes about three and a half dozen cookies.

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups pastry flour
1 cup cocoa powder(preferably dutch process cocoa)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
24 large marshmallows, cut in half

Preheat oven to 375 F and grease baking sheets and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after adding each egg. Mix in milk and vanilla. Beat thoroughly.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the sugar and butter mixture, mixing until incorporated well.

Drop by 2 tablespoonsful onto prepared pans. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven and press a marshmallow half in the center of the cookie and bake 2 - 3 more minutes. Cool and frost.


1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder (preferably dutch process cocoa)
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 - 8 tablespoons heavy cream

Beat butter with powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt until light and well blended. Slowly add milk and mix until it is a spreadable consistency. You may need to add more milk, but add 1 teaspoon at a time, so it doesn't become too runny.

Pickled Asparagus

With asparagus season approaching, I wanted to share this recipe. I do this by the jar, and so you may have to make more or less depending on how many pounds of asparagus you want to pickle. We did about 20 pounds last year. You will want quart jars for this, I prefer using wide mouth jars, but standard jars are fine. Each jar will hold about two to three pounds of asparagus, all lined up in the jar.


1 gallon white vinegar
1 gallon water
3/4 cup fine canning/pickling salt

Per Jar:
2 - 3 pounds raw, washed and trimmed asparagus
2 large cloves of garlic, peeled
1 large dill head or 1 tablespoon dill seed
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 - 2 small dried red peppers (optional - but we like ours hot)

Wash and sterilize quart canning jars, lids and rings. Keep warm.

Bring all brine ingredients to a boil and boil about 10 minutes.

In the bottom of each jar, place the garlic, dill, peppercorns and dried red peppers, if using. Pack asparagus spears, with their heads up, into hot jars, packing more tightly than you think you need to do (depending on size, you may be able to pack in up to 3 pounds).

Pour boiling brine over asparagus in jars, making sure to completely cover the asparagus. Seal with a two part lid and ring. This brine is strong enough that the lids will seal and the contents will not require a boiling water bath. However, if you are not comfortable with that, you may process for 5 - 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Your pickles will not be crisp, however.

Allow to cure for 3 weeks before eating.

Vegetable Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce

This recipe is really about the peanut sauce. The salad is basically a guideline, and you can mix it up with whatever you like. This makes a lot of peanut sauce, but you will want it all.

Cook up a pound of your favorite pasta/noodle (we have used everything from linguine to medium rice noodles) and toss it with a little sesame oil, then mix in about eight cups of finely shredded vegetables, a mix of red cabbage, broccoli, radishes, sweet red peppers, carrots and scallions. Pour the peanut sauce over and mix it all well. Just before serving, toss in some finely minced cilantro, a finely chopped jalapeño and top it all with chopped peanuts. You could add crisp fried tofu, or roasted/steamed/poached/sautéed shrimp, or cooked chicken, or leftover slices of steak, or whatever you like. Since we were eating meatless, and my family isn’t a huge fan of tofu, we ate it as is, with oranges on the side. You can substitute any nut butter you like, too, and serve with that nut on top.

12 thin slices of peeled, fresh ginger - about the width and size of a quarter
6 fat cloves garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter (we use unsweetened peanut butter)
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (roughly two oranges)
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (roughly eight limes)
2/3 cup toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
4 teaspoons Sri Racha sauce

Place garlic, ginger, salt and sugar in a blender and grind until the garlic and ginger are finely minced. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Taste to adjust seasoning.

Potato Dressing

This is a recipe a friend mentioned and it intrigued me. She gave a basic outline, and we interpreted as we thought it should be made. It was delicious! So, here is the way we made it.

5 pounds potatoes, peeled and boiled in heavily salted water and drained
2 large onions, peeled and grated
8 cups fresh, coarse breadcrumbs (from about 8 - 10 slices of bread, or substitute cubed bread for stuffing)
1 bunch parsley, trimmed and minced
1/2 cup sage leaves, minced
1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 pounds good quality fresh sausage meat, browned
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
cayenne pepper, to taste
1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Grease a large baking pan with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter and preheat the oven to 375 F.

Mash the potatoes well, and mix in the onion, breadcrumbs, parsley, sage and thyme. Carefully mix in the sausage meat into the potato and breadcrumb mixture. Mix in the salt and peppers.

Spread into greased pan, drizzle remaining melted butter over the top and bake for about 30 - 40 minutes. Serve with gravy. It can be sliced and fried the next day, if you have any leftovers. This amount does not leave us any leftover.

Battatas Harra

This literally means hot potatoes. These are delicious potatoes, and really even though this seems like a lot, you won't mind that. They will go quickly, and if there are leftovers, they are tasty cold or reheated. This dish really does need the fresh herbs, though you can get away with substituting half a cup of dried dill weed for the fresh dill, if absolutely necessary. Dried cilantro and parsley are universally bland in my experience. We have a gigantic skillet that we make these in, but if you don't, you can divide the quantity between two pans (we've done that at other people's homes).

15 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced in no larger than 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup olive oil
10 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
2 tablespoons ground turmeric
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes
juice of 3 large lemons, strained
3 bunches fresh cilantro, trimmed and minced
3 bunches fresh parsley, trimmed and minced
4 bunches fresh dill, trimmed and minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, until your hand feels hot when held about an inch above the bottom of the pan. Add the oil to the pan, and then the potato cubes. Cook until the potatoes are brown and soft inside. I like to season a little with salt at this stage, so the potatoes absorb some of the salt, and it isn't only on the outside of them. Add the minced garlic and stir into the potatoes for about a minute. Add turnmeric, coriander, and Aleppo pepper, and cook another minutes or so, stirring to coat the potatoes.

Stir in the lemon juice and continue to cook over medium-high heat. Stir in the cilantro, parsley, and dill, and cook until they wilt. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve with any dish you like.

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Friday, February 21, 2020

Flashback Friday: Spume

Here is a great hat that is fun to knit and good for keeping warm. It was part of a series of hat patterns I designed around the theme of the sand, the sea and the sky. We had a lot of fun taking the photography for this hat. I had ended up stuck on the other side of the mountains because the passes were closed, and when they finally opened, we made our way across and when we stopped for lunch, Rich had me do my modeling in the parking lot of the restaurant. I'll share the sand and sky hats over the next couple weeks. Spume is available for sale on Ravelry, PatternVine, and LoveCrafts. If you don't want to sign up for any of these, please do contact me and we can work out how you can purchase the pattern.

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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Craft On: Designing for Later this Year

This week I am working on some patterns for Knotions Magazine. I have been really fortunate to work with them in the past, and am always proud to be included in their publication. These won't be out until the end of this year and the beginning of next year, but they are really great about letting us share what we are working on with others. I also have something going on in the background that I won't be able to share about until around October, and that's really hard for me. I will try to fill your view with beautiful yarns and knitting and goodies instead. So, here is the beginning of a doubled cowl that should be published this December. This is literally the sixth start to this design I have done in the past three days. I was four rounds into it when I ripped back the last time.

My sweet richest of riches brought me this wonderful coffee with leftover frosting from the cookies we made this week in it plus the stroopwafel. It will surely help me work today. I'm still reading Babel, though I wish I were not so tired at night when I really get the best chance to read. It takes me so much longer to read books now. At this point, I am hoping to be finished reading by the end of the month. In reality, I used to read a book like this in a day or two before, or at the most a week. It seems like we are so busy and exhausted, but at the same time, even when I get down time, I am so mentally exhausted that it is hard to read anything that demands anything of me. Am I alone in this?

Keep Calm and Craft On.

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Sunday, February 16, 2020

Menu Plan: February 16 - 22 (Sexagesima)

Our Valentine's dinner was lovely, and it was good to get to share the restaurant with Rich. I had been there before, for a friend's birthday party, but we have been trying for almost two years to go there together, and we finally made it happen. This is our last week of Ordinary Time, and we are cleaning up the kitchen for Lent. I'm going to make a few fun treats for us before they go off the menu for over six weeks. We had to skip our Mardi Gras doughnut party a couple times, and we are definitely making sure we do it this year.

Our kids have been wanting to eat all the canned produce since the days we were making them last summer. Now that we are really in the depths of winter, I'm finally letting them do it. Once I gave the go ahead, though, they descended like locusts! I found out that we only have one jar of pickled asparagus left. We've been eating the pear sauce and jams, and they got into the peaches last week. I'm planning some meals including them so Rich and I get some, too! We also still have a basement full of potatoes from our gleaning club and so we are eating quite a lot of them right now.

What is on your menu this week? I hope these breakfast and dinner ideas help you make plans, too. If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up on Saturday.

Linking to Menu Plan Monday

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Friday, February 14, 2020

Flashback Friday: Rabi Plus a New Pattern

Happy Valentine's Day! I have both a new pattern and a flashback for you today.

Nun is a forever free pattern. Those of you who have been reading my blog for a long time may remember what happened when I offered an earlier version of this as a stand alone chart about five and a half years ago. Rather than deal with that strife again, I have chosen to offer it only on Love Crafts. It was also sent as a download to my newsletter subscribers. Again, you can always contact me if you would like to have a copy of this for yourself.

The flashback this week is for a lovely little lace piece. It is a good introduction to using laceweight yarn. I wear it all the time, either as a cowl or up over my head as a wimple. For fine lace, it really keeps you warm on a chilly day, too. Rabi is available for sale on both Ravelry and LoveCrafts. If you don't want to sign up for either Ravelry or LoveCrafts, please do contact me and we can work out how you can purchase the pattern.

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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Craft On: Finished! But Not Completely.

This is technically the second time I finished this. Last week, I did all the decreases, closed up the top of the hat, and wove in the ends, and then tried it on and realized I didn't like where I placed the decreases. So, I undid that all and re-calculated it, and did it again. I like it much better this time around. It still needs the ends woven in and blocking, though. My goal is to get this pattern to my tech editor by Monday evening, and to have it ready for beta knitting by the beginning of Lent. If you are interested, please let me know, because I would love to let you try the pattern first, for free. There are two sizes, a child and an adult, so if you don't want to make the larger size, there is a smaller option.

I'm still enjoying Babel. The only thing I don't like about the book is that the author gets the metaphor about Babel completely backwards. He sees the multitude of languages as an example of our "Babel" rather than the traditional, biblical, story of the unified language that becomes confused. It's as if he doesn't know that the story of Babel doesn't celebrate the different languages, but sees it as a punishment for their hubris. Other than that, the insights and information about each of the languages is superb and I'm learning a lot. I'm into Korean now, and can't wait to get to Arabic. As a fun bonus, after years of trying to get the kids interested in foreign languages, now both Alexander and Dominic are trying to learn Arabic and Amira and Jerome are learning German. Frustratingly, none of them are learning French, which is the language I am best at (technically - I understand Arabic better, because it was a mother tongue, but have a hard time with translation and grammar, because I never learned it as a foreign language, just as the way we spoke). However, it is great that they want to learn the languages of their parents' heritage.

Keep Calm and Craft On.

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Monday, February 10, 2020

Randomania: Sweetness

Nejat today: Before I was in your family, I was in God’s heart.

Rich: Yes, sweetheart.

Nejat: God’s heart is very big.

Rich: Yes it is, sweetheart.

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Sunday, February 09, 2020

Menu Plan: February 9 - 15 (Septuagesima)

We are in the countdown to Lent! It kind of snuck up on me this year. At least Valentine's Day is outside of Lent this year. Rich and I plan on having our dinner on Saturday to avoid the crowds on the actual day, and it means we get to try a restaurant together that only I have been to before now.

What is on your menu this week? I hope these breakfast and dinner ideas help you make plans, too. If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up on Saturday.

Linking to Menu Plan Monday

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Saturday, February 08, 2020

Recipe Round Up: Arabic Style Rice Pilaf, Shorbat 'Addas, and Tamis

Arabic Style Rice Pilaf

So, when I was a kid, Rice-a-Roni had all these television ads, and my mother wouldn't buy junk like that for me. It is a little weird to have a starch boosted with, well, more starch. However, I grew up eating pilafs like this all the time, which makes me think that Rice-a-Roni had an Arab in their research and development department.

I am not a low-carb person. I love carbs. I come from a people who, when potatoes were introduced to them from the New World, added them to the rice and ate it all with bread. Pasta and rice? Sounds perfect to me!

The best way to make this is to soak your rice in cold water, and rub it between your fingers, removing the excess starch, and to rinse it until the water runs clear (or almost clear). However, I will admit that if you are lazy out of time, you can do a quick rinse of the rice and cook it and it will turn out fine. Not perfectly, but fine. I grew up with rice at nearly every main course meal, so it astonished me how much making rice seemed to mystify my non-immigrant American friends. You will see that I don't measure the amount of liquid in my rice. I eyeball it based on my mother teaching me to stick my finger in the pot and see if the water went to the next knuckle on my finger from the surface of the rice. This is still how I make rice and how I have taught my kids to do it.

This recipe can be made with broth, if you like, but I prefer to make it with water, because it means we can eat it as leftovers regardless of whether or not we are eating meat that day. If you follow a stricter fasting rule, use the olive oil, and if you are following the strictest rules, you can use a fasting friendly oil. We tend to still eat dairy products except during Lent and Advent, and will still use olive oil except for Wednesdays and Fridays during Lent and Advent.

1/2 cup olive oil or butter (or clarified butter, for the best flavor)
2 cups broken vermicelli pasta (if you have a Grocery Outlet or Mexican market, you can often find this packaged, already broken into one inch or smaller lengths - see below)
4 cups basmati rice
4 - 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced (you know you want 6 cloves)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
hot water to cover by about a knuckle's length (6 - 8 cups)
1 cup toasted pine nuts
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely minced

In a large, deep pan heat the oil or butter over medium heat. Add the vermicelli and brown, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. You really want this to brown more than you think you do, but be very careful not to burn it, or you will need to start over.

Add rinsed rice to the pan and stir into the vermicelli and fat. Toast the rice for 2 - 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic, salt and pepper and stir about a minute more.

Add hot water to the pan, stirring so the rice and pasta won't stick to the pan or itself. Increase heat to high, bring to a boil, stir once more, then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 15 minutes without ever removing the lid.

Remove pan from heat. When ready to serve, top with pine nuts and parsley, fluff a little to stir in to the rice.

Pre-cut vermicelli

browning the vermicelli - look for this color

Shorbat 'Addas

This is a simple, Arabic lentil soup. If you are making this for Lent, substitute a fasting friendly oil for the olive oil. You can bulk this up by adding potatoes and/or spinach, as well.

1/4 cup olive oil
4 onions, peeled and finely diced
6 carrots, peeled and diced
10 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 1/2 cups lentils (brown or green)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (optional)
12 - 15 cups water
juice of one lemon, to serve

Heat olive oil in heavy soup pot over medium high heat. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add carrots and stir about 1 - 2 minutes. Add lentils, garlic, cumin, salt and Aleppo pepper (if using). Stir 1 minute.

Pour in 12 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cover partially. Cook until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Add up to 3 cups more water while cooking if you like your soup more brothy, or if the lentils seem to need more liquid to cook.

Taste for seasoning and add salt if necessary. When ready to serve, add juice of a lemon to pot and stir.


This is an approximation of a traditional flat bread made on a clay oven. I use the dough cycle on our bread machine to make this, but it can easily be mixed by hand or in a stand mixer.

4 cups bread flour
1 3/4 cups water
1/3 cup olive oil + more for pan
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
4 teaspoons yeast

Place all ingredients in a bread machine (or bowl of a stand mixer or large bowl) and set on dough cycle. This will be a soft dough.

Preheat oven to 400 F and grease a jelly roll or half sheet pan with two tablespoons of olive oil. Oil your hands and press dough into pan, patting out to edges. Using scrupulously clean hands, dimple the dough all over with your fingertips.

Bake for 25 - 30 minutes. Cool for 5 - 10 minutes in the pan, cut or tear to serve.


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Friday, February 07, 2020

Flashback Friday: Levantera

If you haven't been following me on Ravelry, LoveCrafts, or Instagram, and aren't a subscriber to 1,001 Knits, you probably missed this one. Levantera is the second in my Trade Winds Collection focusing on texture. It comes in two widths, for those who like a loose or a snug fitting cowl. I gave the sample to Jerome, and I have not been able to get it back, except to wash it, since. The boys and men in my life seem to like cowls just as much as women and girls do, as long as the color and texture isn't too busy.

This design is available for sale on both Ravelry and LoveCrafts. It is my goal to have a Shopify store set up by this summer so I can give you a direct link to purchase from Facebook or here on the blog. If you don't want to sign up for either Ravelry or LoveCrafts, please do contact me and we can work out how you can purchase the pattern.

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Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Craft On: Sharav

I keep going back and forth on whether or not I even like this project. Today, I kind of like it. What do you think?

The goal is to publish it next month as the sixth pattern in my Trade Winds Color Collection. I'm glad I didn't abandon it and start over, though. It has promise. The book I was reading last week, though, did not. So, I am back to Babel, which I am enjoying much more. The first language is Vietnamese, and it is a fascinating language. Its intersection with French is also interesting. I recommend the book to anyone who loves words and language.

Keep Calm and Craft On.

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Sunday, February 02, 2020

Menu Plan: February 2 - 8

It is the end of the Christmas season now. We are taking our tree down either Sunday or Monday. Everyone is back home all week this week, but we are all running in a million directions. Alexander is one full day set of tests away from being able to apply for his first aviation mechanic's job, so he is doing a lot of studying, Dominic is getting ready to transfer from the community college to a university, and everyone else is working on schoolwork, ballet, and life. Jerome has been spending a lot of time helping me cook, as he says that he wants to be good at cooking as an adult. Right now, Yasmina is making fancy pancakes with Rich while I get the menu planning and other organizational tasks finished for our week. I try to make Friday my prep day, but I'm often exhausted from our day and put it off until Saturdays.

As Sunday is the feast of the Presentation, we will be lighting up our candles and eating sweets and singing a last round of Christmas carols. Will you be having your candles blessed?

What is on your menu this week? I hope these breakfast and dinner ideas help you make plans, too. If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up on Saturday.

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