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Sunday, August 30, 2020

Menu Plan: August 31 - September 5


Last Monday, fall winds began, and we are full on in the autumn now. We even saw trees changing colors yesterday. It is a race against the winter now. This has been such a weird year with regards to everything, including the weather. So our normal hot spring and summer never really materialized. We had a few days above 100˚, but not the normal two weeks, and our spring and most of summer were pretty cool. Our first ripe tomato was yesterday. Normally, we are at the end of our tomatoes by now. Rich is trying to figure out how to set up hoops to extend our season so we can get more produce from our garden.

We are taking September to minimize our spending, and I have slashed our grocery budget for this month. Normally, we spend about $1500 or more each month on our food, pet food, paper products, cleaning products, toiletries, etc. This month, we are trying to spend only $300. Now, we have a well stocked pantry, fridge and freezers, including two stand alone freezers, and we still have our gleaning club and our CSA (which is already paid for), and we will be purchasing milk as we always do. However, we are trying to rotate our stock of stored foods and eating down what we have to put money toward debt. We are still paying for Rich's student loan, and we have some consumer debt (which we deliberately took on so we could have some once in a lifetime experiences) and we want to make a dent in them. Also, since we have always either paid our credit cards in full, or paid more than the minimum with no late payments, Rich called and asked them to lower our interest rate, which they did for six months, telling us we could call again at that point and see if it could be renewed. This means we can make these payments go a little farther. I will still be menu planning, and if we can extend our garden a little, that will be a blessing.

God takes care of big families especially, it seems. We have had so many people five us crates and crates of produce lately. The boys were still helping on a local farm last week, and he sent them home with two huge crates of bell peppers, a crate of jalapeños, five or six yellow watermelon, a crate of kohlrabi, a huge bucket of basil and purple basil, two crates of tomatoes, a few serranos, two spaghetti squash, plus we received about 20 eggplant, a box of lemon cucumbers and slicing cucumbers, a box of peaches, a dozen zucchini, and more from our gleaning club. They often set aside the damaged produce for us, too, because they know we have chickens, turkeys, and ducks which can eat it and make eggs and meat. It is a busy time of preserving because of this, but we were also able to bless others we know with the excess produce. We have felt an urgency to put more food up in jars and in our freezers to make sure that whatever craziness happens this fall and winter will not mean that we are at the mercy of what is in the stores. The peppers were a special blessing to us, because we spend probably between $125 and $200 each year on packaged frozen, sliced peppers, so we put ourselves to work seeding and slicing these peppers to put the equivalent of $40 worth of those peppers in our freezer, vacuum sealed, and still have about half a crate of peppers to finish today. The Lord is good to us.

What is on your menu this week? 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, August 29, 2020

Recipe Round Up: Salsa Verde


This is really such an easy thing to make. If you have ever grown tomatillos, you know how many you get. We have volunteers each year in our garden from plants we grew five, six, and seven years ago. The recipe here is more a general method, as I don't exactly measure, or make this precisely. This freezes really well, too.

Salsa Verde

20 - 30 tomatillos, husks removed and washed, hard stem removed
2 onions, peeled and cut in half
3 - 4 jalapeños, stems removed (I just pop them off by hand)
8 - 10 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 bunch of cilantro with stems, trimmed
juice of 2 or more limes
salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 450˚F.

Place the tomatillos, onions, cut side down, and jalapeños on a jelly roll pan or other large pan with a rim. Roast for about 20 - 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are blackened and blistered a bit. It is okay if the tomatillos burst a bit.

In a dry pan on the stove, place the unpeeled garlic cloves and dry roast over medium high heat until the papers loosen and black spots start to appear. Turn off the heat and allow to cool slightly. Peel papers off and discard them.

Place all the roasted vegetables and their juices in a blender or food processor. Add the cilantro, tearing it up a bit as you put it in. Purée or pulse until the mixture is pretty well ground up, then add the juice of one lemon and a little salt. Purée again. Taste for seasoning and add more lime juice and/or salt, as you see fit. Store in the fridge or freeze for later.

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Friday, August 28, 2020

Flashback Friday: Tilting Blocks Baby Blanket


Tilting Blocks was one of my first published patterns, and it was created to wrap our fifth child, fourth son, in my love. It is still one of my most popular patterns, actually. Don't tell him I told you, but he still uses this blanket in his bed. One of these days, I will knit one up again and take better photography, but it is still a treasured item for him, even though he turned 14 last week. Until now, I didn't realize that the two patterns I was highlighting this month were actually designed and made for our two children with birthdays this month. Anyway, if you are interested in buying this pattern, please take a look at PayHip, LoveCrafts, or Ravelry. On both PayHip and Ravelry, I am offering a coupon code, happybirthdayjerome, for 20% off this pattern through the end of the day next Friday, September 4, 2020. Unfortunately, I cannot create promotions on LoveCrafts, but if you e-mail me your invoice from between now and then, I will be happy to refund you the 20%, or if you would prefer that I send you an invoice for this pattern (or any other), I can do so and e-mail you the pattern directly.

If you would like to receive updates and early notice of new patterns, beta knitting opportunities, and great discounts on patterns like this one (plus pictures of new yarns, new tools, fun places, neat hints, book ideas, recipes and more) each month, please subscribe to 1,001 Knits. My best, and sometimes my only, discounts go to my subscribers.


Here we are, more than 14 years ago!

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Thursday, August 27, 2020

Craft On: Nearly a Sock


My first sock is nearly finished! It is my Stitch Along project, a pair of Summer Dew socks from Comfort Zone Knits on Ravelry. Her design is toe up and really constructed in a clever manner. I have really been enjoying how she executed the short row heel, as it was a way I have never done before, and the heel flap is made so that it imitates a top down flap, which I really like. All I have left on this one is the cuff and the bind off, which is one she recommends and I look forward to trying. It should be finished today, and I will start the next one for my knit night project.

Most of my reading has been in Songs of Praise, but I hope to get back to my other books soon. Just the practice of reading through the Psalms and taking notes to discuss with other women has given me a deeper understanding and love for this prayer book of the Church.


Linking to Keep Calm and Craft On and Unraveled Wednesday.

If you would like to receive updates and early notice of new patterns, beta knitting opportunities, and great discounts (plus pictures of new yarns, new tools, fun places, neat hints, book ideas, recipes and more) each month, please subscribe to 1,001 Knits. My best, and sometimes my only, discounts go to my subscribers.

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Sunday, August 23, 2020

Menu Plan: August 23 - 29


"Holy Spirit, inspire me. Love of God, consume me, on the true path, lead me. Mary, my Mother, look upon me, with Jesus, bless me. From all evil, from all illusion, from all danger, preserve me."

"Always remember to love your neighbor; always prefer the person who tries your patience, who tests your virtue, because with them you can always gain merit."

"It is sweet to think of Jesus; but it is sweeter to do His will."

~ Saint Mariam Baouardy (Mary of Jesus Crucified) ~

This week, it is Mariam's birthday! She gets to have a few friends over, and her favorite cake and dinner. We are trying to make the best of our circumstances.

Glory to God in His Saints! We have been blessed with so much produce that we are needing to freeze and can and dry quite a lot of it. This is the time of year we most appreciate where we live, though the impending winter that we already feel in the air is looming. Our boys all got to do a real, hard day's work in a farmer's field this past week, and he asked them back this week. He is a farmer who has been extremely generous with our gleaning club, and they were actually gathering quite a lot for the food banks when they were there, too. He cooked them an amazing spicy vegetable stir fry for their lunch there, and sent them home with boxes and boxes and boxes of eggplant, sweet peppers, cabbage, onions, honeydew melons, cantaloupe, and watermelon. We receive our CSA boxes on Thursdays, and our garden is finally starting to produce a little, plus what we have gotten from our gleaning group. We are inundated in sweet peppers, frying peppers, eggplant, summer squash, jalapeños, tomatillos, carrots, cucumbers, potatoes, peaches, apples, onions, and more. The girls helped me put up almost 12 quarts of peaches in light syrup (four with nutmeg), and we have been working on peach jelly and peach butter this weekend. We sliced and froze peppers, and our meals for the week have loads of fresh veggies in them. With all the eggplant, Rich didn't even have to ask for the baba ghanooj, I knew he would want it. Rich and the boys did some butchering this weekend, too, so our freezers have some more chicken and duck in them. We want to be ready for the fall and winter, and who knows how much groceries will be by then. I encourage you to freeze or dry or can what you are able to do, even if it just saves you a little bit of money this winter, or gives you a little memory of summer when you eat it.

What is on your menu this week? 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, August 22, 2020

Recipe Round Up: Fresh Blueberry Pie

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It took me a long time to love blueberries. When I was a child, they really weren't my favorite, anyway, and I much preferred blackberries, strawberries and raspberries (which I still do, to be fair), but working on a blueberry farm one summer to try to make spending money to have for a trip to summer camp in Switzerland (I was a scholarship, two years in a row to what we call nerd camp) cemented my hatred of them. The kids there were all country kids who had grown up knowing each other, which is hard enough when you are 14 and self-conscious and feeling awkward. It's worse when they are all cliquish and exclude you. Nobody would even eat lunch with me when we had our breaks. They sat amongst themselves and talked about older siblings, school friends, family they had all grown up with, and I was the townie kid who was also a brown, daughter of an immigrant, while they were not, and it felt like just one more thing that made them not want to know me. I remember vividly them talking about one of their older sisters and her wedding that was coming up, which of course they were all attending. Nobody even seemed to think that it was rude to talk about all of those things in front of me. Or maybe they did, and that was the point. In any case, picking blueberries was hot, tiring work, and I didn't even have anyone I could talk to or joke with there. I had the last laugh, though, because all they got to do that summer was go to that girl's sister's wedding, and I went to Europe. So, there is that.

Anyway, it wasn't until I was an adult that I really appreciated blueberries, and their floral flavor, and the fact that they are dead easy to freeze for the winter. Rich requested a blueberry pie this week, when I asked if there was anything specific he would like me to do with the last box of blueberries we picked up, and so I made him two. This is how I did it. I used some bags of leftover pie crusts from our freezer, and only had three, so I stretched them to fit two double crust pies, which you can see didn't really work, but it tasted fine and nobody minded. Also, it is a pro tip to make extra pie crusts, or to take your trimmings, and working as little as possible, make them into flat rounds you can freeze to use on leftover chicken and vegetables or to make a quick fruit pie.

Blueberry Pie

1 recipe Flaky Butter Crust
6 cups fresh blueberries
3/4 - 1 cup sugar (depending on the sweetness of your blueberries)
1/3 cup tapioca starch
2 teaspoons lemon zest
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in small pieces

In a large bowl mix the blueberries, sugar, tapioca starch, lemon zest and nutmeg well.

Preheat the oven to 400˚F.

Roll out your pie crust and line a pie pan with one crust. Fill the crust with the blueberry filling, and dot with the 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cover with top crust and crimp edges.

Bake for about 55-65 minutes, until the filling is bubbly and the crust is browned, but not burned. Allow to cool to at least room temperature before cutting. We never actually do that, and just burn our tongues on runny pie filling, but it is delicious.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Craft On: Samples and Sabbaticals


So, I think I have mentioned that I try to take a few months off each year as a sort of "sabbatical." Well, August is one of those months, but I did have a lot that needed to be finished, so I didn't take quite all of August off this year. However, I am finished with the knitting that absolutely has to be done for my designs, and I am working on a Stitch Along project, a pair of Summer Dew socks from Comfort Zone Knits on Ravelry, as well as the stranded, beaded stocking for Mariam. Ember Days is blocked! I need to get final photography done, and send the pattern to my technical editor. You can see the socks and shawl with my books above.

I'm still reading Kristin Lavransdatter and Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ages, but not making a lot of progress. It has been more about cooking, baking, and preserving here lately. We actually have leftovers from knaffeh, lemon blueberry poundcake, and blueberry pie. Having that much dessert leftover in our house is almost unheard of, which tells you how much cooking and baking is happening right now.


Linking to Keep Calm and Craft On and Unraveled Wednesday.

If you would like to receive updates and early notice of new patterns, beta knitting opportunities, and great discounts (plus pictures of new yarns, new tools, fun places, neat hints, book ideas, recipes and more) each month, please subscribe to 1,001 Knits. My best, and sometimes my only, discounts go to my subscribers.

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Sunday, August 16, 2020

Menu Plan: August 16 - 22


Jerome's birthday is this week! We were able to have a small birthday party with his friends at a park, which he really needed. We normally do a fair food night to compensate for not buying millions of dollars in fair food when we are there, but this year, we are doing it because there is no fair.

We are at the time of the year that we are preserving as much as we can with freezing, canning, and drying, and eating what is fresh and plentiful. Between our gleaning club, garden, and our CSA, we have a LOT of produce!

What is on your menu this week? 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, August 15, 2020

Recipe Round Up: Knaffeh

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This is really like a cheese filled, easy version of baq'lawa. It takes much less effort, and is quite tasty. However, you do need to find some ingredients that may not be common in your grocery store. Please check out a Middle Eastern, Arabic, or Indian market, as they are likely to have what you need, as well as some other treasures. Often at a really good price, too! The process for making this is made much simpler if you have a food processor, but if you don't, you can still tear up the dough by hand. It will just take longer.

The syrup can be made ahead of time. In fact, it is better to do so, because then you will be adding cold syrup to the hot pastry and it will stay crisp and lovely. You can store it in a jar in your refrigerator for at least a week.

This is best served hot when the cheese is still melty. In fact, it is best to reheat it if you have some left over. However, nobody has ever complained about eating it cold the next day.

Knaffeh

Syrup (Sheera):
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
4 whole cardamom pods
2 tablespoons rosewater
1 tablespoon lemon juice (save the rest for rosewater lemonade or to add to your hummus or salad dressing or any number of delicious things)

2 sticks unsalted butter, melted, plus more to grease the pan
1 16 ounce box shredded phyllo dough (often sold as gataifi or kataifi dough), chopped finely in a food processor or torn into small shreds by hand or with a knife
16 ounces sweet knaffeh cheese, sliced thinly (if you are lucky enough to have an Arabic market - otherwise, substitute fresh mozzarella and soak it in fresh water after slicing it to remove some of the salt and then drain it well)

Bring the sugar, water, and cardamom pods to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. When the syrup comes to a boil, leave the heat on for one minute, then turn off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Stir in the rosewater and lemon juice, and cool in the refrigerator.

Preheat your oven to 375˚F and grease the bottom and sides of a 10 X 15 inch or lasagna pan generously.

In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and shredded dough until each piece is coated in butter. Sprinkle half of the dough into the bottom of the pan, patting it in to cover the bottom, leaving no holes. Layer the sliced cheese over the top, in a single layer, to cover the entire surface. Sprinkle the remaining dough mixture over the top, patting it down in an even layer over the top of the cheese. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and crisp.

Either fish out the cardamom pods from the syrup, or pour the syrup through a sieve, and evenly pour the syrup over the entire pan, so the pastry sizzles and the syrup starts to be absorbed. Allow to sit for 5 - 10 minutes to fully absorb the syrup. This really works best when the syrup is cold and the pastry is hot. Or when the pastry is cold and the syrup is hot, but that is harder for me to arrange. Cut into squares and serve.

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Friday, August 14, 2020

Flashback Friday: Adam and Eve


This is not the best photo of this hat, but it allows me to share this adorable picture of my almost 10 year old when she was a baby. This pattern set came about because Rich and I were on a work trip of his with Mariam when she was just two months old and, of course, I visited various yarn shops there. Well, in one chi-chi boutique shop downtown (not a yarn shop), there was this adorable, obviously hand knit, cotton baby hat of an apple. It was $15. I wasn't going to spend $15 on a hat that I could make myself, quite simply. So, I drove back to one of the yarn shops and bought $30 worth of yarn. In my defense, I also made the mitts that went with the hat, another hat for a friend, a set of mitts for our niece's baby, and a neck warmer with the yarn. The picture below shows the very clever mitts. The pattern is written so you can button the leaf into a coat sleeve, too. This pattern, though not one of my sale patterns, is eligible to knit for prizes in our Around the World Stitch Along on Ravelry or Instagram. The pattern for the set is available on PayHip, Ravelry, and LoveCrafts.


If you would like to receive updates and early notice of new patterns, beta knitting opportunities, and great discounts on patterns like this one (plus pictures of new yarns, new tools, fun places, neat hints, book ideas, recipes and more) each month, please subscribe to 1,001 Knits. My best, and sometimes my only, discounts go to my subscribers.


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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Craft On: Who Doesn't Love a Sale?


Since the slippers were giving me trouble and we have sunflowers in bloom, Rich suggested I get this shawlette finished so I can get photography done with our sunflowers. I am hoping to have this pattern, the slipper pattern, and a hooded cowl/balaclava pattern with my technical editor by the end of this month (some pretty soon, actually). There will be many opportunities for beta knitting, too. This shawl worked on my swatch, but after doing the larger, real, object, there was a part of me which still held its breath while I bound off, hoping that the short rows did what I though they did. They did! It was such a relief, and I love this bright, cheery color. Also, I won at yarn chicken. There are only about five yards left, but they are there. I was going to weave in ends and block today, but I had a lot of blueberries and peaches that needed to be attended to, so instead I made 20 jars of blueberry preserves and blueberry peach preserves. Tomorrow will be my block party day.

I'm still reading Kristin Lavransdatter. A friend loaned me this book, Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ages, too, and it is really interesting.


I mentioned our Around the World Stitch Along before, well each of the participating designers has five patterns for sale in a sale bundle. You can see mine on PayHip by clicking on the Around the World Stitch Along collection button, or on Ravelry. Please follow us on Instagram, as well!


Linking to Keep Calm and Craft On and Unraveled Wednesday.

If you would like to receive updates and early notice of new patterns, beta knitting opportunities, and great discounts (plus pictures of new yarns, new tools, fun places, neat hints, book ideas, recipes and more) each month, please subscribe to 1,001 Knits. My best, and sometimes my only, discounts go to my subscribers.

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Sunday, August 09, 2020

Menu Plan: August 9 - 15


Our produce is finally coming through in abundance and we are eating loads of lovely fresh fruits and vegetables. We are also getting ready for Jerome's birthday next week. The feast of the Dormition (or Assumption) is Saturday, and that means a family celebration. We noticed that we had a kind of gruesome tradition going on accidentally. We fried food on the memorial of the Maccabees, and we are grilling chicken on the feast of Saint Laurence. Maybe our dinner can levitate and fly into the air on Saturday?

What is on your menu this week? 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, August 08, 2020

Recipe Round Up: Arabic Grilled Chicken, Coconut Cake with Lemon and Raspberry Fillings

Arabic Grilled Chicken (Dejaj Meshwi)

This grilled chicken is what I remember about summers growing up as a child. The family would bring the marinated chicken in bags to a park along with trays of rice, salad that had a bright, lemony dressing, and watermelon. The men would grill the chicken, the children would play and women would talk and serve everyone more and more, insisting that they hadn't eaten enough. It was a great way to eat all summer.

5 pounds bone in, skin on chicken (we like to use chicken thighs and legs)
25 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 cups plain, full fat yogurt
juice of 3 lemons, strained
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes (you may substitute freshly ground black pepper)
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads

Purée garlic, yogurt, lemon juice, salt, Aleppo pepper and saffron and pour into a bowl large enough to hold the chicken. Coat the chicken in the marinade and seal the bowl, putting in the refrigerator for at least four hours or overnight.

Grill chicken over medium heat until it is cooked through. Serve with rice and salad or bread, and enjoy.


Coconut Cake with Lemon and Raspberry Fillings

I love this cake. It is delicious and not hard to make. The compote and frosting are also great to use in other desserts or cakes.

Cake:

3 cups pastry or all purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sugar
2 cups full fat coconut milk
2 teaspoons vanilla paste or vanilla extract
6 egg whites (you can use the yolks to make custard for ice cream , or just have extra rich scrambled eggs the next day)
1/8 teaspoon salt

lemon curd (jarred or homemade)
raspberry compote
coconut frosting

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease three 9-inch cake pans well, and line bottoms with parchment paper.

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar well, then add coconut milk and vanilla paste.

Add flour mixture to creamed mixture, in thirds, beating well to incorporate ingredients, and scraping down sides of bowl each time.

Beat egg whites with 1/8 teaspoon salt until they are stiff peaks. Fold into batter mixture.

Divide batter evenly between cake pans. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out cleanly from middle of cake . Cool in pans for 5 minutes, then turn out of pans onto cooling rack to cool completely.

Raspberry Compote:

3 cups raspberries, frozen or fresh
3/4 cup sugar
juice of one lemon

Combine all ingredients in large saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir constantly, until all sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat to medium and stir, until thickened, about 5 - 8 minutes. Set aside to cool. Can be made ahead and refrigerated for a few days.

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 cups confectioner’s sugar
3 tablespoons full fat coconut milk
1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut

Whip together butter and cream cheese, until smooth. Mix in confectioner’s sugar, little by little, and beat well. Add coconut milk and beat until smooth and spreadable. Stir in shredded coconut.

Assembly:

Split each cake into two layers. Place one layer on cake plate and spread with lemon curd. Place next layer on top and spread with coconut frosting. Place another layer on top and spread with raspberry compote. Top with final layer and frost entire cake . Use last two layers to make a smaller cake with lemon curd and raspberry compote in between the layers, as an extra cake . Frost with coconut frosting.

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Friday, August 07, 2020

Craft On: Beta Knitting Qibli


I was really hoping that Qibli would be headed to my technical editor and ready to come back soon for people to try it out before it goes on sale. Unfortunately, I am spending today recalculating a rate of pick up for the border, because I forgot the border had a different gauge than the foot of these slippers. Gauge matters, and swatching is more important than we like to think. If you would like a chance to knit these slippers before anyone else, and for free, please contact me. As soon as I have a decent picture and the pattern back from my TE, I would love to give you a chance to try them. These are knit toe up (with one of the easiest toe up methods in the world!), in a linen stitch with a mosaic border. The whole piece uses slipped stitches in interesting ways. It is a pretty interesting construction, too, if I do say so myself. It will be an eligible pattern to knit during the Around the World Stitch Along that will be beginning next week, too!


I am part of a group of almost a dozen knit and crochet designers who are putting on a stitch along beginning at the end of next week. We hope you will join us, either on Ravelry or on Instagram. We will be hosting an IG challenge with prizes, as well as the discussion, games and prizes in the Ravelry group. This is our first year putting this together, and we are hoping it will grow and become an annual event with more crochet designers especially and more parts of the world represented in our designers and participants.

I'm still reading Kristin Lavransdatter. We've been too exhausted lately for me to be reading much more than a page at a time, which makes it harder going. I found myself reading a story that wasn't on the page the other night, and that was when I decided to put the book away and turn off the light. Our study of Songs of Praise and the Psalms is going really well. It has been such a pleasure to delve into the prayer book of the Church and share that with other women.

Also, in case you missed it, Vespers is now available in Knotions Magazine's August issue!


Linking to Yarn Along, Keep Calm and Craft On, and Unraveled Wednesday.

If you would like to receive updates and early notice of new patterns, beta knitting opportunities, and great discounts (plus pictures of new yarns, new tools, fun places, neat hints, book ideas, recipes and more) each month, please subscribe to 1,001 Knits. My best, and sometimes my only, discounts go to my subscribers.

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Sunday, August 02, 2020

Menu Plan: August 2 - 8


It is now August, and we are still stuck mostly at home. There is no fair for the kids, which is a huge disappointment. Ballet is supposed to begin this week, but we just don't know how the girls are supposed to dance and sweat and work out with masks on their faces. It is not reasonable, but we don't want the studio to go out of business and we don't want our girls to miss out. We're feeling a little discouraged.

However, Rich's brutal schedule has ended, so at least we get to sleep more at night, and we are coming out of the over 100˚ temperatures. Fall will arrive in about three weeks. We are hoping our garden will produce more in that time. We were a bit late, and the weather was a bit late, and we had late freezes and strong winds working against us, but the garden still looks really good. It's just a matter of whether or not the produce will ripen before it starts to freeze at night.

Jerome's birthday is on the day the fair normally would have opened, so we are still planning our fair food night, and we will add a chocolate cloud cake for him. This week, we are planning a little celebration for the Transfiguration, mostly by eating cake. I have some coloring pages of icons for the little kids and we will do the readings and prayers that day. That mosaic above is one of my favorite icons of the Transfiguration. It is from the Monastery of Saint Catherine of Alexandria on Mount Sinai, which is the longest continuously operating monastery there is.

What is on your menu this week? 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, August 01, 2020

Belated Recipe Round Up: Cornbread, Christmas Scones, Koubbeh, and Cherry Nut Bread

Cornbread

This cornbread was the first recipe I ever came up with on my own when I was about 11 or 12. I started with the recipe on either the baking powder tin or the cornmeal box and changed it and changed it and changed it until I liked it. It is not cake, the way people think of Northern cornbread, but it is not dry and unsweetened the way people think of Southern cornbread. It is slightly sweet, and that sweetness can be reduced pretty easily. You can cut the honey in half and add another egg, or cut it in half and add about 2 - 3 tablespoons of milk. If you mix the dry ingredients first, you can make this with one whisk and two bowls, one of which you can just rinse and dry and put away.

We grind our own cornmeal most of the time, and the whole grain meal is actually quite good in this. This recipe is so good that we once had a babysitter, one of our priest's kids, babysit entirely for a pan of this for himself. When he got married, we gave him the recipe for the cornbread with their wedding gift.

2 cups cornmeal
2 cups pastry flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup honey
2 eggs
2 cups whole milk

Preheat your oven to 375° F and grease a 9" X 13" baking pan. Set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the cornmeal, pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Melt butter in a large bowl and add honey. Whisk together well to combine. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well with each addition. Add milk and whisk well.

Add dry ingredients to liquid mixture, a little at a time, and stir until evenly moistened. Pour into greased pan.

Bake for 30 - 35 minutes, or until lightly golden at the edges, and center springs back when pressed with your hand. Cool 10 - 15 minutes, and serve.


Christmas Scones


So, I found this recipe online, and I loved the idea, but thought it needed different proportions. The original was too much like a Christmas tree, even though I really like the flavor the rosemary adds. So, I increased the cranberry by quite a bit and the nutmeg by a little, and cut the rosemary to a quarter of the original. I also reduced the sugar a touch (because it is glazed) and changed the glaze a little. You may use whole milk in place of half and half. This is another recipe that using the vanilla paste is really, really worth it. Also, for our family, I double this recipe.

The food processor is the easiest and fastest way to make these. All of this can be done by hand, but I am usually trying to get these made in a hurry. A single recipe of this can be made easily in my food processor, but I have to do two batches separately when I double it.

2 1/2 cups pastry flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated whole nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1/3 cup unsweetened dried cranberries, minced
6 tablespoons unsalted butter chilled and diced
1 cup half and half plus 2 tablespoons more for brushing on top
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated whole nutmeg
1/3 cup half and half

a few tiny sprigs of rosemary to garnish, optional (I have never done this, though it does make a pretty picture)

Preheat the oven to 450˚ F and grease one or two (depending on size) baking sheets.

Place the pastry flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and rosemary in the food processor and pulse about 10 times to mix well. Add the minced cranberries and pulse about 5 more times. Add the diced butter and pulse 15 - 20 times, until the butter is in small pieces. Pour in 1 cup of half and half and 1 teaspoon vanilla paste into the machine and pulse a little longer, until the dough comes together in a ball.

Roll out into a 6 - 8" square, and cut into 3 rectangular strips. Cut each of those strips into 4 triangles. Arrange on your prepared pan(s) with room to expand. Brush the tops with the remaining 2 tablespoons of half and half. Bake for about 15 - 17 minutes.

While the scones are baking, whisk together the glaze in a small bowl until the consistency is able to make a thin drizzle. Allow the scones to cool about 5 - 10 minutes, then drizzle the glaze over each of them and garnish with a tiny sprig of rosemary, if you wish.


Koubbeh


There are two ways to cook this (koubbeh nayeh is a whole different story), you can make them into little ovals (footballs) with the shell on the outside and filling on the inside and deep fry them, or you can bake it. My mother used to call it Arabic meatloaf to try to explain it to people. I still don't know why westerners call burghul bulghur, because the first is how it is pronounced, there is no l sound in the middle at all, but it will most likely be spelled that way at your store.

For the meat shell:

2 1/2 cups fine ground bulghur wheat (parched cracked wheat, not the regular cracked wheat)
2 medium onions, quartered
3 pounds lean lamb or beef
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon allspice

For the filling:

2 pounds ground lamb or beef
2 medium onions, chopped
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds

For baking:

1/3 cup olive oil plus more for pan
whole pine nuts or blanched whole almonds to decorate, optional

For frying:

oil to deep fry

For the shell, soak the bulghur in lots of cold water for about 15 minutes. Rinse in a sieve, press to drain thoroughly.

Process onion in a food processor. Add the meat, blend to a paste, take out and mix with bulghur and flavorings. Process, in 2 or 3 batches, to a soft, well blended, dough-like paste.

For the filling, fry the onion in the oil until soft. Add the ground meat, salt, pepper, cinnamon and allspice and fry, turning and crushing the meat with a fork, until it has changed color. Add the pine nuts (or almonds) and mix well.

To bake:

Grease a large shallow baking dish with olive oil. Dampen your hands with cold water. Press 1/3 the shell paste evenly on the bottom, about 1/2 an inch thick. Spread the filling on top and cover with the rest of the paste. You'll need to flatten the paste in sections between your palms, wet with cold water, then apply to the top. Patch any holes and press firmly to seal over the filling.

Use a pointed knife to score the meat in straight or diagonal lines (to make squares or diamonds). Dot each square with an additional pine nut (or almond), if you like. Drizzle with the 4 tablespoons of olive oil.

Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 25 - 30 minutes, until browned and cooked through.

To fry:

Use about a tablespoon of the shell and shape into little ovals, hollow the center and spoon a small amount of the filling into it. Spread the rest of the shell over the filling to cover it, and place into a dish or pan while you make the rest. Repeat with all the remaining ingredients.

Fill a skillet with at least an inch of oil and heat over medium high heat until a piece of bread dipped into it sizzles. Carefully place as many of the ovals into the oil as will fit, allowing you room to turn them. Fry until golden, turning as necessary, and removing with a slotted spoon to a rack over a pan to drain.


Cherry Nut Bread


This recipe is one from my early days cooking. It was actually a strawberry bread that someone brought to church, but I remembered it as a cherry bread. When I asked for the recipe, I was surprised to find strawberries in there instead of cherries. So, I just changed it up so it would involve cherries instead. It is a great quick bread, and lovely for breakfast with soft cream cheese.

You can make these in smaller pans for gifts, too, but I would start checking them for doneness at around 35 - 40 minutes.

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons cinnamon (I use Ceylon cinnamon)
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup oil (we use safflower or sunflower oil)
1 cup chopped walnuts
16 oz frozen cherries and juice, thawed

Preheat oven to 350˚ F. Grease 2 standard loaf pans or 1 standard bundt pan and set aside.

Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour wet ingredients in and stir until a stiff batter forms.

Mix in walnuts and cherries. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans or bundt pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out of the center with only crumbs. Allow to cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

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Recipe Round Up: Dutch Style Meatballs with Gravy and Hutspot, Potato and Garbanzo Bean Curry, Plus a Bonus Bacon and Garlic Crusted Pork Loin


Dutch Style Meatballs


These meatballs, along with the hutspot recipe that follows, are based on various Dutch recipes I found online. They are probably not exactly the way the Dutch would make them, but we found them delicious and will definitely keep them in the rotation. Because we are big fans of gravy, I made one and a half times the gravy recipe for these. Also, that is a great way to stretch meat in a meal to make it more frugal.

I prepare the vegetables for the mash so they are boiling while I refrigerate the meatball mixture. This allows me to use the liquid from the boiled vegetables rather than plain water, which helps both season and thicken the gravy. Also, if you cannot have wheat or gluten, you can make a slurry of cornstarch and cold water, about 2 tablespoons each, leaving out the flour, and stir it into the boiling beef broth just before serving to thicken the gravy.

4 slices white bread crust removed
3/4 cup cream
2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, minced
2 eggs
1/4 cup prepared brown/grainy mustard
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper (plus more for the gravy)
3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup reserved liquid from boiling the potatoes and carrots (or water)
4 1/2 cups beef stock

In a large bowl, place the bread slices and cover with cream. When they are soaked, use your hands to break the bread up into smaller bits. Add the beef, onion, eggs, mustard, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Use your hands to mix the ingredients until just combined. I like to refrigerate the mixture for at least an hour before forming the meatballs, but this is optional.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat while you roll the meat mixture into one inch balls. Put half the butter in the pan and add the meatballs in batches and brown on all sides. You will probably have to do this in two or three batches, removing them to a plate or platter as you brown them, adding more butter as necessary. When you finish browning the last batch of meatballs, sprinkle with the flour and stir into the butter. Add the remaining meatballs from the platter back to the pan, along with any juices that collected.

Pour in 1 1/2 cups liquid from boiling the vegetables, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Transfer the meatballs to a plate and add beef stock to the pan. Simmer until heated through, loosening up any pieces stuck to the bottom of the pan. Season with black pepper. I find that using the boiling liquid means I do not need to add any more salt. If you use plain water, you will want to taste for salt.

Serves 10 hungry people easily, with one or two servings for a lunch at work or school left.


Hutspot

This mash is delicious! I forget how many different root vegetables are suited to mashing and eating like potatoes, adding a little more color and nutrition to the meal. Because I am cooking for a friend who is allergic to nightshades, I have also included a way to make this without the potatoes, thus making the entire meal safe for her. If you use rutabagas, turnips, and/or parsnips in your mash, you may wish to cook them a little longer, and you may wish to use a stick blender to purée them if you prefer the mash to be more smooth.

I like to reserve all the water from boiling vegetables to use in soups/gravies/bread doughs. So, any excess liquid from this pot goes into a covered dish in my fridge to turn into something delicious.

Originally the recipes for this used about a third of the carrots, but I liked an equal amount better. Also, the recipes I saw had you boil chopped onions with the vegetables, but the idea of the texture of mashed, boiled onions didn't appeal to me, so I used onion granules instead. You could also sauté your chopped onions and mash them in that way.


5 pounds potatoes (or a mixture of rutabagas and turnips), peeled and cut into large chunks
5 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks

1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 1/2 tablespoons onion granules
2 cups cream or milk
1 cup reserved boiling liquid
Salt and pepper to taste

Freshly chopped parsley for garnish

Place the vegetables into a large pot of salted water, enough to cover. Boil for 15 - 20 minutes, until they are fork tender. Turn off the heat underneath the pot.

Drain, reserving at least 3 cups of the liquid for the gravy and the mash. Return the vegetables to the hot pot and mash with the butter and onion granules until it reaches your desired consistency. Pour in the cream and mash to a smooth texture. Taste to season for salt and pepper, and add up to one cup of the reserved boiling liquid if the mash is not as smooth as you would like.

Serve by putting a generous helping of the hutspot on a plate, making a well in it and arranging a few meatballs per person, then covering with the gravy. Sprinkle with the parsley. I like to serve a vinegar based coleslaw on the side, because I think the crisp coolness of it contrasts well with the rich, unctuous and filling meatballs, gravy and hutspot.

Serves 10 hungry people easily.



Potato and Garbanzo Bean Curry



This a great, quick, and inexpensive vegan meal. I make a lot and serve it with rice. You could serve it with naan or roti, if you like. Also, it is a great dish to showcase a chutney or some sort of quick chutney like a cilantro mint sauce.

oil to fry
2 medium to large onions, peeled and finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Maharajah curry powder, Masala, Vindaloo, hot curry powder, or whatever type of curry blend you like
2 pounds of potatoes, peeled and chunked
3 cups cooked garbanzos (canned or cooked at home), drained
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
14 ounce can coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
water to cover

chopped cilantro to serve

Heat your pan until it is almost smoking. Add the oil, enough to coat the pan, and immediately put the onions in to soften. Add the garlic and stir for about a minute, then the curry, to coat the onions and garlic and become fragrant. Add potatoes, chickpeas, and stir, allowing the potatoes to brown a little on the sides. Then add tomatoes, coconut milk, salt, and water enough to cover at least a third of the way up the potatoes, bring to a boil, and cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until potatoes are soft.

Serve with rice and chopped cilantro. If you like, you can pass a hot sauce or relish at the table as well.



Bacon and Garlic Crusted Pork Loin



This is such an easy recipe, and delicious. It does take some time to roast, but you can either prepare other parts of the meal during that time, or if you are smarter than I am, you can have the other parts cooking at the same time so you can sit with a book or a game with your family or something else you enjoy.

5 pounds boned, rolled pork loin
15 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary needles
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
about 12 - 16 strips of bacon

Preheat the oven to 500˚ F. Place your pork loin in a baking or roasting pan with sides. Grind up the garlic, rosemary, kosher salt, and blank pepper in your food processor, or in a mortar and pestle. Rub the paste all over the pork in the pan. Cover the top of the loin with the bacon strips, slightly overlapping, and tuck the ends underneath the roast. Bake for 50 minutes. Allow to rest for about 10 - 15 minutes, slice and serve.

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