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Monday, December 28, 2020

Menu Plan: 3rd - 9th Days of Christmas


Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

We have been enjoying a lovely and easy going Christmas holiday. Our goal is to enjoy it to the full and celebrate the completeness of it. This year, the kids really made a big effort to put up the lights outside and decorate more and Rich made us a beautiful wreath, and Alexander fixed my bell wreath so we could use it again. We are making cookies and treats each of the 12 days of Christmas, and watching Christmas movies and resting. Our Christmas breakfast included hollandaise sauce made with two and a half cups of butter. For probably the first time ever, we had leftovers, so I warmed it up over hot water and served it over our roasted Brussels sprouts with dinner. We were able to deliver some dinners and desserts to two families for Christmas, which was fun, especially as we had a light dusting of snow that night.

The one good thing about all this Covid nonsense is that we were able to participate in more than one Christmas Eve service, the first Christmas service of the day at midnight, and watch other services this weekend. Since the mail is so weird, some presents are here and some are not, and there is no rhyme or reason as to why as far as I can tell. I refused to mail any of ours unti the temporary postal rate increase was over, so I will be mailing presents this week.

Our anniversary is this week, and with all that is going on around us, we will be celebrating entirely at home. The hope is that we will get to travel somewhere to celebrate it in the near future. Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year to all of you!


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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Thursday, December 24, 2020

Craft On: Miles to Go Before I Sleep

Miles to Go Before I Sleep

We are heading toward Christmas and the New Year, and I am racing to finish my pair of shorts. I am not sure it will happen, but I keep plugging away. Now that I am nearly at the division for the legs, I have a little more hope. It is my only Indie Design Gift A Long project this year. It has been that kind of a year, as I am sure you are experiencing, too. As we come into the new year (and my 24th wedding anniversary), I am also preparing my design business for new things. I finally hired a graphic artist to rework my logo. As much as I love the drawing Rich made about 25 years ago, and still have tender feelings about it, it didn't really reflect my designs or knitting. Rich has been telling me to get it professionally done for a few years now.

Arabian Knits Cut Logo

I am really excited about it. This is the first time I have ever worked with a real graphic artist and done this professionally, and I am busy updating my pattern templates and social media and all of that. I hired Fabian Nuñez of Artisans Art and Design in November and couldn't be happier with my experience. He was wonderful in communication as well as in translating my ideas and vision into this finished work.

We are about halfway through Little Women with the kids and everyone is still enjoying it. I am tearing up a bit more than I think I normally would as I read, though, just because of all the goings on of this year and with our family.


Linking to 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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Monday, December 21, 2020

Menu Plan: Fourth Sunday of Advent - First & Second Days of Christmas

We have had another up and down week. My father was extubated last week, and was improving all week long so that by Saturday, it looked like he might be able to go back into a normal hospital ward the next day, but they had to reintubate him today and will be putting in a trach tube tomorrow. This time, it is related to his extended stay in the ICU, so it is a cruel twist that he has to stay in the ICU longer because of it. We are all sad, especially after the good news we had last week, and poor Rich and the kids are suffering with me, worried about my father, and also trying not to think about losing their last grandfather, our last father.

However, we wait with hope, with peace, with joy, and with love. This is a good week, and we believe in a God who raises the dead, so we know he can heal my father, one way or another. Even if it is in body and spirit to take him into His kingdom, where all are made whole. We are praying for that, too, though we really want to be able to see him again in this world. Rich has been praying for him during our church services, and we will keep him in our prayers during this week of miracles.

Our Christmas menu is set, we have already made and frozen some cookies and treats, and we await the Incarnation which gives us the only hope in this world and beyond 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, December 19, 2020

Recipe Round Up: Shakshouka and Kofta bil Bayd

Shakshouka

This dish is often mistakenly called Israeli. While it is true that it is made and eaten there, its origins are in North Africa, in Tunisia. It is an egg dish that uses a spicy tomato sauce, along with sautéed onions and peppers, as the poaching liquid for eggs, often topped with a brined cheese similar to feta (usually feta is substituted for the Arabic cheese here), and the Sicilians borrowed that dish to make a similar meal called eggs in Purgatory, with the eggs simmered in a spicy tomato sauce and covered with grated parmesan or Romano cheese. Jews who lived in Arab and Northern African countries also learned how to make this dish and Israelis make it now, too. It is eaten for breakfast in the Middle East with a flat bread or pocket bread to sop up the sauce, but with that same bread and a salad, makes a lovely dinner. (Mexican huevos rancheros are also similar, and may have come about because of the Spanish colonists who, aside from hailing just across the Mediterranean from this dish’s countries of origin, they were also occupied by the Moors for quite some time and probably learned it directly from them). This recipe serves six, and can be halved or third-ed. We usually double this.

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 large yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 large green bell or Anaheim pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 jalapeño (or other hot pepper), seeded and finely diced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika (I like to use smoked sweet paprika)
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 (14.5-ounce) can roasted, diced tomatoes with their juices
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus more as needed
6 large eggs
5 ounces feta, crumbled (about 1 1/4 cups - this replaces the traditional Nabulsi type cheese more commonly found in the Arab world - and in Arabic markets - there are two in Spokane)
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped, to serve
hot sauce, to serve (like Harissa, Duqqus, or Sah'awiq)
Arabic bread, to serve, (such as Khoubz Araby or Tamis)

Heat an oven safe skillet (not cast iron, unless it is enamel coated) over medium-high heat, then add the olive oil, and immediately follow with the onions, cooking until they start to soften. Add the peppers and cook until the onions brown and the peppers are soft. Add the garlic, cumin and paprika and stir for about a 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato paste and mix well to dissolve into the base of vegetables and aromatics, cooking another minute or so.

Add the canned tomatoes with their juices, stir and bring to a simmer. Add salt and pepper and mix into the sauce. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook for about 5 minutes to concentrate and blend the flavors.

Make six wells in the tomato pepper base with a large spoon and gently pour the eggs, one at a time, into each well. Gently spoon some of the sauce over the eggs to contain them and maintain their shape. Sprinkle each egg with salt and pepper, as you like.

Simmer in the sauce for about 8 minutes, until the whites are set and opaque and the yolks are still a bit runny, but raised. The residual heat in the sauce and pan will cook it longer, so be careful not to over cook.

Sprinkle with the feta cheese and place in the oven under the broiler for about 2 minutes. Remove from oven carefully and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with the hot sauce passed at the table and bread to scoop up the egg and sauce.

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Kofta bil Bayd

This is something my mother occasionally made when I was growing up, and I realized I hadn't made it for most of our children. The recipe was my attempt to recreate what I ate growing up, and I think it turned out well. Middle Eastern food is supposed to be made small and dainty, and the first batch I made of these were rather large. You can make them either way, but I think making them half the size I made in the photos is probably the largest I would make them. Also, you can make the kofta ahead of time and then dip them in the batter and fry later. I wouldn't make the kofta more than a day in advance, but they come together quickly enough that you can do it all at once, too. The recipe is as I served my family; if you make half, it should serve a smaller family with a few left over.

Kofta:
4 pounds ground beef or lamb (do not get extra lean meat for this)
1 bunch parsley
1 bunch cilantro
2 large onions, peeled and quartered
1 large head garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 cup rice flour (you may substitute corn starch if you don't have rice flour, or just grind up rice in a spice or coffee mill)

Batter:
8 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup pastry flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder, added at the end

Oil for frying.

Place meat in a large bowl. In a food processor or grinder, grind/purée the parsley, cilantro, onions, garlic, salt and pepper. Add to the meat and mix thoroughly. Mix in the rice flour.

Form into small patties, about 30 - 40, and set on a platter. Set aside or refrigerate.

Whisk or blend the eggs, milk, flour and salt. Just before dipping the meat, blend in the baking powder.

Pan fry the meat in batches in a large skillet over medium-high heat, filled about half the height of the meat with water, until the water evaporates. Turn meat to brown on both sides. Remove to a plate. The meat does not need to be completely cooked through.

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Heat oil in a skillet with high sides over medium-high heat until bread sizzles when dipped into it. Prepare a jelly roll pan or something similar with a cooling rack set over it to drain the kofta.

Carefully dip each patty in the batter and slip into the oil to fry. Many people say not to crowd oil when frying, but I find that having higher sides than you think necessary and filling it as much as you can with the food to be fried keeps the food from browning too quickly and being raw inside. Just make sure you do not over fill with oil, so it does not spill and burn you. When the batter is golden on one side, turn, to brown on the other side, and remove to prepared rack over pan. Repeat for all the meat.

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Serve with basmati rice (or Arabic Style Rice Pilaf) and/or bread (such as Khoubz Araby or Tamis), salad, other veggies, and Taratoor and/or hot sauce (like Harissa, Duqqus, or Sah'awiq).

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Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Craft On: Dove of Peace

Dove of Peace

This ended up looking more like a seagull than a dove, but it was well received by my friend. I am not really that good at all the fiddly stuffing and sewing and embroidering that is necessary for toys, so at this point, I am just glad that this resembles a bird. My Rayan doll doesn't do anything but sit by my bed, but having a keepsake of our lost one is a comfort to me. It was the same for her, I think. She seemed to appreciate that someone else wanted to mark the reality of her little one.

I have done basically no significant reading lately, except for continuing with Little Women with the kids. I forgot how much I love the Marches and find the story to be touching. It has been good to share that with our children.


Linking to 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, December 13, 2020

Menu Plan: Gaudete Sunday

It is Joy Sunday, and I am choosing joy today. It is doubly hard this year, but it will come.

We have had many good things come to us this week, so it is easy to have gratitude, which becomes joy.


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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Friday, December 11, 2020

Flashback Friday: Ziyad

Ziyad was the first in a series of patterns named after our children. There are four out now, and six more scheduled for the next couple years. I named one for Rayan, as well, and will have one representing our marriage to tie them together. This pattern, though, is knit with Aran weight yarn and works up really quickly. It is a fun variation on a ribbed hat and is quite warm. This was named for one of our boys' middle names, to keep the Arabic theme going. Also, Ziyad means increase or growth, which is kind of what the stitch pattern looks like it is doing on the hat. It is sized from infant to large adult and makes a great gift.

Ziyad is available for sale on PayHip, Ravelry, and LoveCrafts. Through the end of the day, PST, December 18, 2020, you can receive 20% off on both PayHip and Ravelry with the coupon code giftknitting.

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, December 09, 2020

Craft On: Finished Stocking!

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Though I have one more design to release this year, I don't have a lot to report on that score, though I should be able to get you a beta knit opportunity for it next week, I hope. Instead, I am showing you the finished stocking I made for Mariam! It is completed and she was delighted with it. I blocked it Friday and sewed the facing down and the twisted cord on it Saturday. I even cast on for Nejat's, which I should be able to finish either by the end of the year or the end of January. In any case, she will have it for Saint Nicholas next year, and everyone will have a handmade stocking in our home.

Right now, I am trying to decide between reading Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ages and Desert Queen next. Have you read either of them? The kids and I started reading Little Women, which they are really enjoying, even or especially those who have read it before.


Linking to 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, December 06, 2020

Menu Plan: Second Week of Advent

Rich's boss gave us a jar of sourdough starter a while back, and I have been trying to work with Denise. That is her name. What I have been making the most lately is English muffins and crackers. They are infinitely better than storebought, and pretty inexpensive. However, Denise is harder to feed and care for than all our children have been, and seems needier. This is the first time I have kept a sourdough starter longer than a couple weeks, though, so I think it's getting easier to work with for me. Anyway, we are eating lots of English muffins now.

We had a quick break for Saint Nicholas this morning, and enjoyed our treats. Most of us were smart about it, but two of our girls ended up feeling a bit queasy. We hope they learned their lesson. One thing about being stuck at home with no Christmas parties that we need to attend is that it is simpler to keep the fast. So that is a blessing in the midst of this. I am looking for things to be thankful for, because right now I am fed up with all of this.


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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Friday, December 04, 2020

Flashback: Advent and Saint Nicholas

Advent and Saint Nicholas

This week you have a twofer. There probably isn't enough time for you to finish either of these in time to hang tomorrow night for Saint Nicholas (though if you are really fast and start right after reading this, you might). However, if you hang your stockings on Christmas Eve, you have plenty of time to make these. Both are knit with worsted or Aran weight yarn and are fun to make. One was designed for Jerome, Advent, and Saint Nicholas was designed for Yasmina, and they suit their personalities well. I hope you have someone who would love one of these.

Advent can be found on PayHip, Ravelry, and LoveCrafts. Saint Nicholas is also available on PayHip, Ravelry, and LoveCrafts. If you use the coupon code hangyourstockings you will receive 20% off either or both of these patterns on PayHip or Ravelry through the end of the day PDT on December 4, 2020. Unfortunately, I cannot offer coupon codes on LoveCrafts, so if you prefer to purchase there, please send me a copy of your receipt, and I will refund you the difference. I am always willing to send an invoice and send you the pattern or patterns 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.

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Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Craft On: Almost There!!!

Homeschooling and Knittng

Do you think I will finish in time to hang this up Saturday? I am working quite a lot on it to finish. Poor Mariam has been waiting since last year for this, so I am determined to finish it. Once I finish the foot, there are only the toe decreases to go. They are stranded and have two more beaded rounds, but they should go quickly.

I finished West From Home and started On the Way Home and finished that, too. It was a little backward, but both books were great reads. I have two books I have borrowed from friends that I should finish, and another that I started months ago. I need to decide which to read next. We finished Hello Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle with the littles.


Linking to Yarn Along 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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