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Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Craft On: Finished Projects!!!

You cannot imagine how happy I am finally to have finished a couple projects. Alexander now has a pair of convertible mittens, I even covered the buttons with yarn so even plastic won't scratch on any aircraft, and these fingerless mitts make up my full set which will be perfect for the fall. Even though I have a lot of UFOs, I still had a strong desire to start something new and quick. We have had all sorts of trouble with dishcloths hanging down in the way of the main oven on our double oven, and falling down to the floor. So, I decided to make this tucked in dish towel, which at least has a chance of not falling off the rack.

Life has been so hectic lately, so I decided to pick up a happy, little murder again. I'm still trying to figure out if I like the book, Rogue Wave. Have you read it? What is your opinion? Desert Queen has been set aside for a little while, though I am pretty close to finished with it.

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, April 25, 2021

Menu Plan: Good Shepherd Sunday

I could not decide between this ancient icon and a more modern one, so I have included both. That this is Eastern and the other Western makes it even better. The other is at the bottom of the menu plan.

I was reflecting on the fact that while East and West are still separated, this week, our commemorations are similar. It is Palm Sunday and Holy Week for the East. It is the Sunday of the Good Shepherd in the West. In both, He is shown to us as laying down His life for us. That is my meditation this week.

My special lunches for the week didn't really work out because we had so much food leftover from each meal. We really were working to eat up the leftovers for lunches and so on, and didn't have the opportunity for special lunches as well. I even had to skip one dinner, one side dish, and one of the desserts simply because we had so many left over from other meals. We have been eating like it is a holiday almost every day now. Today, though, we begin a fast of sorts. We have made sure to keep part of the kitchen "clean" and absent the ingredients that Jerome cannot have (wheat, gluten, gliadin - including barley, rye, spelt, etc. - oats, sesame, lentils, peas, soy of any kind - including soy sauce/tamari sauce, tofu, fermented soy - coriander/cilantro, eggs - of any kind - dairy - of any kind, except ghee - cocoa bean/chocolate, oysters, bananas, pineapple, canola, lima beans, chestnuts and macadamia nuts), and are trying to plan dinners and most shared meals as things that are either entirely safe for him or have a component for which we can choose an alternative easily like we did last time. This time is just far more extensive and long term.

There was only one food that had to be re-introduced at a specific time, and only one that the doctor thought might be a permanent loss (along with the lima beans and canola, which we have avoided for years) and that is one he doesn't love, so for the rest I asked him which were his priorities to decide what order to return them. Some of that was expediency or convenience, he wanted to be able to eat chocolate at Christmas, and I wanted to make sure that foods we use a lot of during Lent would be more available to him. It will be October of next year before he has all of the foods back. Thank God for the Grocery Outlet! I was able to buy some good substitutes (not made of fake or overly processed foods) for a good price, and have them for him. Also, the weather is getting warmer and more fresh produce is becoming available to use locally, so that will make some of our meal planning simpler. A friend gave me a good recipe for gluten-free bread, and I will be trying my hand at it this week so Jerome can eat bread, at least - most of the ones I found online or in stores either included egg or pea protein or canola or sesame. Please pray for Jerome, for his healing, and for us as we walk this road with him. Christ is risen!

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, April 24, 2021

Recipe Round Up: Sahlab, H'alawa, and Rice Krispie Treats


This is essentially a drinkable pudding. If you make this with less milk, it is a pudding that sets up and can be eaten as dessert. If you use the larger amount of the rice flour, the drink will be thicker, but I prefer it a little thinner, as it thickens while it sits, or if you refrigerate it. It is similar to the Mexican horchata, and when I did a little research, I became convinced that it most likely came to the Mexicans from the Spanish via the Moors and Arabs. Throughout the Middle East and North Africa, there are similar drinks made from or with grains, and this is one version of it. It is sometimes called Hejazi coffee or Hejazi almond coffee, and since my family is from the Hejaz region of Saudi Arabia, I settled on this version. Traditionally, you start with whole almonds, and boil and peel them. However, my mother used to make me do that task for all of our almond desserts and I promised myself that I would never do that ever again in my life. My children do not know the pain of the raw skin on your fingers from popping out three pounds of almonds from their skins. Anyway, I buy the pre-skinned almonds. It is worth the expense to me. Also, rosewater is not traditional at all, as far as I can tell, but I like what it adds to it. You can try it both ways. Also, for the garnish, I tend to grind them up together in my food processor and make more than I need, then just keep the excess in a bag in the freezer. It comes in handy for many desserts and rice dishes.

1 cup skinned almonds
8 cups whole milk (divided)
1/3 - 1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground Ceylon cinnamon (plus more to garnish)
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon rosewater (optional)
finely chopped almonds and pistachios, to garnish

Grind up the almonds in a food processor, or by hand, until they are fine, but not a paste. Set aside.

Heat 7 cups milk with sugar over medium heat. Sprinkle in the Ceylon cinnamon and cardamom, and the rosewater, if you are using it. Whisk to combine.

Whisk the rice flour into the remaining cup of milk. Stir into the pot of hot milk, sugar, and spices. Sprinkle the ground almonds into the mixture, whisking, until it is warm and thickened.

Pour into small glasses and garnish with a small sprinkle of Ceylon cinnamon, about 1/8 teaspoon per glass, and about 1/2 teaspoon of the chopped almonds and pistachios per glass. Drink warm.


This treat is so simple, that I really should not be buying it each year. I found a couple recipes online, but they included things like dry milk, which is not in the kind we eat, and seemed a little less sweet than we like, so this is how I modified it for us.

1 cup tahina
1 1/2 - 2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup pistachios roughly chopped
safflower oil for brushing

In a deep bowl combine tahina, sugar and vanilla extract until well mixed. The h'alawa mixture should be more like lightly wet sand, not too crumbly and not too doughy. If your h'alawa is too crumbly, add little bit more tahina. To check, take some of the mixture and squeeze it in the palm of one hand, if it crumbled and did not hold its shape for 2 seconds then it needs more tahina

Add 1/4 cup of pistachios and fold them in the mixture.

Brush a container lightly with vegetable oil and line with parchment paper, divide the remaining pistachios in half. Sprinkle half of the remaining pistachios on the bottom of the container and add the h'alawa mixture and press down until firmly packed into your container. Sprinkle the remaining chopped pistachios on top and press into the h'alawa.

Cover and refrigerate at least overnight up to 24 hours.

Rice Krispie Treats

I know this seems like an odd recipe to share. These are so easy to make, right? Except people leave out vanilla and use margarine. Please don't. These are so delicious, and you will love them. This is one of the few times I use salted butter, but it really makes a difference. Also, I hear these can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days, but we never have them around that long. I also understand you can wrap them tightly and freeze them, but again, we never have any left.

1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter
16 ounces mini-marshmallows
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
7 cups rice krispie cereal

Grease a 9" X 13" pan and set aside. Measure rice cereal in a bowl, and set aside.

In a large stock pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. When it has melted, add the marshallows and stir gently to melt. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.

Immediately, add in the rice cereal, gently folding with a greased spatula. When it is completely mixed, gently press into the prepared pan, either with wet hands or a buttered spatula. Allow to rest for about an hour or two, then cut into 24 pieces to serve.

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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Flashback Not So Friday: April

This set of designs began as only a preemie sized vest and hat with a little burp cloth. I have since graded it up to a size 12 month infant. April 22 was the date that I ended up in the hospital with a ruptured amniotic sac, a leak in the pool, and had to stay in the hospital through May 19, first keeping Nejat in as long as we could, and then delivering her and looking after her in the NICU. When I created these pieces, I had that time in mind. The vest is open and buttonless. This was deliberate, so a baby who needed monitors, picc lines, or other wires or tubes, would be able to wear it. It is a great thing for any baby, who doesn't want to hold still for buttons to be fastened, though. Our little girl was born in mid-May, but even through our over 100˚ weather in July and August, she had a hard time keeping her temperatures up, so she needed a vest and hat a lot of the time. We often look back on that year as a year without a summer. It just never felt like it was summer that year, as we were busy with her health needs, and she was always cold. We spent the whole year keeping us or her warm.

Each piece in this set is available individually, but I also sell all three as a set for a good discount. They are little and quick to knit. However, the stitch pattern is interesting, and pretty, and I think appropriate for either boy or girl. It has enough interest that a worried mama or papa can be distracted, but not so complicated that it will be too much to handle while waiting for a wee one. Since even the largest size is pretty small, it is a good way to use up leftover yarn and will take a small enough time that you can make the whole set with time to spare. On both PayHip and Ravelry have the set of all three available for nearly 30% off the price of each individually. If you are interested in only one or two of the patterns, however, I have a coupon code you can use for 25% off each. Use the code eightyears for the hat (PayHip and Ravelry), vest (PayHip and Ravelry), and burp cloth (PayHip and Ravelry), when you check out, through 11:59 pm PDT, April 30, 2021 to receive the discount.

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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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Menu Plan: Week of Reprieve

Jerome's new ad for LaCroix: Less disappointing than the orange flavor.

This is really our only week of semi-ordinary meals for the next year. This week, we are not bothering with any of Jerome's dietary restrictions, and are only keeping a mild abstinence for Wednesday and Friday. The year of restrictions and testing begins next week. We are recreating some of our Paschal feast for Jerome tomorrow, just because he didn't get to have it in its entirety on the actual day. I'm also making a mini-Thanksgiving dinner Saturday, since he will have introduced only one food completely and will begin to introduce only one other by then and will have to have a modified and restricted Thanksgiving this year. Many of the meals this week include either ingredients he loves and won't be able to have after this for a long time, or dishes/items he especially missed when we had them and he couldn't during his 60 days of the last restriction.

I am mourning this with Jerome, both for his sake, but also for all the easier for me to plan and make meals that I won't be able to use for our dinners. Especially as I think of things the family would love to eat, but then realize that it will be six months to a year and a half before it can be a general meal. I am planning a few extra special lunches this week for that reason, too (including some gruyère stuffed rolls and za'atar rolls). Just to give you a sense of what is being excised, he cannot have any wheat, gluten, gliadin (including barley, rye, spelt, etc.), oats, sesame, lentils, peas, soy of any kind (including soy sauce/tamari sauce, tofu, fermented soy), coriander/cilantro, eggs (of any kind), dairy (of any kind, except ghee - which we have at least!), cocoa bean/chocolate, oysters (which we eat only rarely), bananas, pineapple, canola (which we usually avoid, anyway), lima beans (ditto - he had a reaction to these some years back, and we just don't eat them now), chestnuts and macadamia nuts. He does get rice and corn back, moderate sugars/sweeteners (which is how we eat in general), dried fruit, no limitations on root vegetables, and all vinegars. Because we are out of Lent and Advent, for now, this means he can have almost all seafood and meat (with the exception of the oysters) on all days except Wednesdays and Fridays, also. It's a good thing we attempted to observe Lent closer to the strictest rules, as that has prepared me for cooking without dairy and egg for him, and will make our Advent observance simpler to plan this year.

Please pray for him, for his healing, and for us as we walk this road with him. We are still in the Paschal season (through the Ascension or Pentecost, depending on how you count it), and we are keeping that in mind. Christ is risen!

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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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Craft On: Not Quite Matchy

We are back from the wedding and finished with the Paschal Octave, and I am just starting to get back into a normal pattern, or at least trying to, here at home. Normally, I take April as a sabbatical month. It is one of three times in the year I do that, and gives me a chance to step back from designing as work and to breathe a little. I didn't even really register that it was April, even though I knew it. Because I haven't been that productive this year, I almost didn't take it as my break, but I decided that it was still important to make that kind of delineation between my work time and non-work time.

In light of taking that month off, I did cast on mitts to make the last of my coordinated set with the hat and cowl I made a couple years ago. It coordinates, but isn't exactly matching. That is perfect for me. Of course, I won't be needing the whole set until September, but I will be ready! One work-y thing I am doing is participating in the Uplift Make Along as a designer. I should say that I will be participating in it. Between Holy Week, Bright Week and the wedding, I have not really been there at all. However, I hope to join in for real and find some fun projects to make, as well.

Still working on and enjoying Desert Queen. Rich and I read more in One Flesh as we drove to and from the wedding. It is such a great book. Once more, I am saddened by the division of east and west, though. This book and Theology of the Body in Simple Language are both needed together to give a complete picture, and correct the errors in the other. We pray for unity and the unification of the Church. Since we finished our weekly study, we were trying to figure out what to move on to next, and we have decided on Godspeed. You can watch the video here, and it is such a well done work. What are you reading?

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, April 11, 2021

Menu Plan: Paschal Season (Last Day of the Paschal Octave)

Christ is Risen! The Lord is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

We have another week of mostly feasting, but since Jerome is still on his diet through the end of this week, we are having to be a little careful. We had been hoping that this would be the end of it for him, but it looks like he has a long haul with a slightly modified diet from this one (some things have been returned to him, but some have been removed) and it is for six months. Poor kid! He is holding up pretty well, and we are going to take a one week break with absolutely no weird dietary restrictions on him next week, which will be our really big week of feasting. Then his six months begin.

Since I don't want to make multiple meals multiple times a day, nor do I want Jerome to feel like he has to eat "weird" food while we eat the normal stuff, this means that, at least for dinner, we will largely be on the diet with him. This is going to be a bit of a challenge for all of us. He will start to get the foods back, one at a time, at the end of October, and the whole process should finish up around the end of October next year. This is a long term situation. Please pray for all of us, but especially for him, for his healing. His doctor was so great, and told him that having parents who already knew how to cook and how to prepare food from good ingredients was part of God looking out and preparing the way for him.

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, April 10, 2021

Recipe Round Up: Green Lamb and Red Eggs

cooked a couple years ago

raw with the marinade rubbed all over the meat from a few years ago

Green Lamb

This is really more a technique, and I tend to do it by sight and smell and taste. If I don't have chives, I substitute scallions. Other than that, I keep the rest the same. It's called green lamb because a friend of mine saw me prepping it once, many years ago, and asked if lamb should be green. I assured her that it should. After you try this, you will agree. We used to host our entire church and roast two legs and grill two. Now, with our family and maybe two or three other families, we still roast about two or three legs each year.

4 pounds boneless leg of lamb, or 5 pounds bone in leg of lamb
1 head garlic, peeled and separated into cloves
1/4 cup loosely packed oregano leaves
1/4 cup Italian parsley
1/4 cup mint leaves
1 large bunch of chives
8 large sprigs fresh rosemary, strip leaves off and discard stems
6 large sprigs fresh thyme
  1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Place lamb into heavy, stove safe, roasting pan.

Put garlic into a blender or food processor with the rest of the herbs, the salt and pepper.  Process to chop up into fine bits.  Add the oil, and process until a smooth purée forms.

Scrape down sides with a rubber spatula and spread over lamb, getting inside the rolled roast, if it is boneless, making sure all surfaces are well coated. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least four hours, or up to four days.  Bring meat to room temperature before cooking.

Place oven rack on second level from the bottom.  Preheat oven to 500˚F.

For boneless whole leg, roast 1 hour, then reduce heat to 425˚F and roast 30 minutes more. For whole leg of lamb with bone, roast at 500˚F for 1 hour 10 minutes. Check the meat to ensure it is rare to medium rare with a dark crust. Do not cook this past medium rare. It might be fine that day, but if you have leftovers to reheat, they will be grey and overcooked and sad.

You can also grill a boneless leg of lamb, laid flat.  In this manner, it will only take about 30 - 40 minutes over hot coals.

Remove meat to a serving platter, and tent with foil if you plan to make a pan sauce.

If you wish, you can deglaze the pan with 3 - 4 cups of red wine, scraping all the tasty bits off the bottom of the pan. Allow to cook for a good 10 minutes or more, until the sauce is reduced to about 2/3 the original volume. Taste for salt and pepper, and adjust as necessary. I never find I need more salt. Put in a gravy boat and pass at the table.

eggs after being polished with oil

This is also more of a method, but it works for us and isn't toxic like a lot of the red dyes that are out there.

Red Eggs

Collect enough yellow onion skins to fill a stock pot. I start collecting them at the beginning of Lent, but I've also asked the produce department if I can just fill bags with their onion skins from the bins when I didn't start soon enough. I tend to use about 12 cups.

Pour 8 cups of water and 1/4 cup of white vinegar over the onion skins. Weigh them down with a plate and bring to a low boil. Cover partially and reduce the heat. Simmer for 30 minutes or more. Allow to cool completely. Strain the skins out of the dye.

You can store the dye in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Boil your eggs in the dye, for a couple minutes fewer than you normally would. Cool them in the dye, then carefully remove and polish with olive oil.

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Sunday, April 04, 2021

Menu Plan: Bright Week

Christ is Risen! The Lord is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

Traditionally, the eight days of the Paschal Octave have absolutely no fasting in them. Because of Jerome's medical diet, that is only partially true for us this week. However, we have worked out ways for him to enjoy most of the foods we have during this time, and are planning some of those foods that we would normally eat for later parts of the Paschal season. I even found sugar free, naturally cured bacon for him so he can break the fast after the vigil with us with our bacon and eggs in the wee hours of the morning.

Blessed Feast!

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, April 03, 2021

Recipe Round Up: Sheherazade

This cocktail is inspired by a few others I found online, and I thought it would be perfect for our Paschal feast and celebration. The recipe is per drink. If you want to make a pitcher, I have included instructions for that below. I will add a photo after we have recovered from our feasting. Blessed Holy Saturday to you all!

1/2 ounce pomegranate juice
1/2 ounce apricot liqueur
2 teaspoons orange flower water
2 ounces Prosecco, or other dry, sparkling white wine
1 dried Turkish apricot

Combine pomegranate juice, apricot liqueur, and orange flower water in a cocktail shaker.

Add ice and shake well. Strain into a champagne flute and top with the Prosecco. Garnish with a dried apricot.

To make a pitcher of these, to serve 16, use the following measurements and method:

8 ounces pomegranate juice
8 ounces apricot liqueur
10 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons orange flower water
32 ounces Prosecco, or other dry, sparkling white wine
16 dried Turkish apricots

Combine pomegranate juice, apricot liqueur, and orange flower water in a pitcher. Mix vigorously and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours.

Pour into 16 champagne flutes, evenly, and top with the Prosecco. Garnish each with a dried apricot.

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