Sunday, November 18, 2018

Sunday Soup - White Chicken Chili

Today's soup recipe is for White Chicken Chili from Southern Living.

Southern Living's recipe for white chicken chili.  Yum!
White Chicken Chili, photo courtesy of Southern Living

Naturally, I'll change up the recipe just a bit.  For reasons unknown, seasoning packets weird me out so I make my own.  Instead of the packet called for in Southern Living's recipe, I use:

1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

And, instead of using soaked beans and cooking it in the slow cooker, I'll use unsoaked, still dry beans and my Instant Pot.  The Instant Pot makes this recipe possible.  I can NEVER remember to soak beans over night plus, not being a morning person, I'm never conscious enough in the morning to start the slow cooker.

So, I will come home late this afternoon after spending the day attending multiple Christmas craft fairs (Yay!) quickly chop the onion, garlic & chicken and toss it into the Instant Pot with a bit of olive oil for a few minutes.  While that's sauteing, I'll dig the rest of the ingredients out of the pantry, dump them into the Instant Pot, set it on high pressure for 30 minutes then do a slow release.

And if I serve avocado with it, the avocado will be in the form of guacamole, not just diced avocado.  As much as I love garlicky, mashed up avocado (guacamole,) I can not tolerate the texture of sliced (or diced) avocado.  Ugh!

But no matter how you like your avocado, you can find the white chicken chili recipe here.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Photo Friday

Our weather took a dip recently and it's starting to feel like winter.  Just to the west of us even had a massive ice storm last night.  Thankfully it was only miserably cold and rainy here.  A perfect day/night to stay tucked safely indoors with my knitting.

Knitting a temperature log weather cowl. Each color indicates a temperature range and each stripe reflects one day in 2018
weather cowl

And speaking of weather and knitting...  I got to add in a new color stripe on my weather cowl.  Well, not new, but the first medium blue stripe of the season.  For some reason, I'm quite excited about it.

I can not believe I've kept up with this weather cowl.  When I started it, I had no real hope of actually knitting a stripe every day indicating the day's temperature.  Thinking that I'd never follow through on the project for more than a week or two, I didn't spend much time choosing the colors.  I simply grabbed skeins from the stash pile, assigned temperature grades to them and started knitting. 

I deeply regret that decision now.  There's not enough contrast between the light green (54 - 66 degrees) and the light blue (44 - 53 degrees.)  Even up close and in person you have to really look to see the difference.  And don't even get me started on how harsh the dark green (67 - 77 degrees,) yellow (78 - 88 degrees) and the orange (89-95) stripes are.

Oh well.  Live and learn, right?

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Three on Thursday

Today's Three on Thursday post is a list of reasons why I'm going to take a short blogging break.  

1.  I'm panicking over Christmas knitting.  I know, I know.  It seems WAY to early to be panicking but I only have two weeks of knitting time.  I'll soon be back at work for those fun filled 12+ hour shifts six or seven days a week.

2.  I have a week and a half to cram in a eleven months' worth of fun and house work.  I guess I'm getting old because this season's schedule kind of killed me.  I only got together with friends outside of work a few times, I was only able to attend my knitting group a handful of times and I don't even want to discuss the disaster my house has become.  

3.  I'm simply in a mood and just don't care about the blog.  And it shows!

So, yeah.  I'm going to take a short break from posting.  For just a week, maybe two.  And I'm going to spend my time cleaning like a mad woman, knitting like crazy and having fun.  Hopefully when I return, I'll have all kinds of fun and exciting things to tell you about.  Meanwhile, happy knitting!


Sunday, November 4, 2018

Sunday Soup - Corn Chowder

We'll be dishing up corn chowder this evening.  I'll be using a recipe from Natasha's Kitchen, with a few modifications. 

Made from scratch, corn chowder recipe.
Corn Chowder from Natashaskitchen.com

I'm all about simple recipes, plus I have to go to work this afternoon so I'll be skipping the 'make corn stock' part of the recipe.  I'll also be using canned corn because that's what's available.  You can find Natasha's recipe here.

Even with my modifications, I expect this soup to be the perfect meal for a dark and chilly November evening.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Photo Friday - The Yarniverse

As I mentioned yesterday, there's a new yarn shop in town.

My most recent yarn haul from The Center of the Yarniverse
yarn haul

The Center of the Yarniverse in downtown Ashland, Virginia.  

As you can tell, I stopped in the other day and I was quite pleased with the shop.  Maybe a little too pleased.

The staff was friendly and helpful without being the least bit pushy.  And the yarn...  Oh my goodness, the yarn!  They had yarn for every budget and lots of it.  The shop is small and filled to the brim but it in no way feels overwhelming or claustrophobic.  They've really done a great job with setting up their displays.

The Center of the Yarniverse in Ashland, VA sells yarn for every budget.
yarn fumes

Considering all the shop had to offer, I didn't buy much but I did purchase three Christmas gifts and a pair of socks for myself worth of yarn.

The shop is so new they haven't even had their grand opening yet.  The grand opening celebration is scheduled for November 10th and guess what - I don't have to work that day!  

This new yarn shop is going to be a very, very dangerous place.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Three on Thursday

It's Three on Thursday and so...

Three reasons I'm broke:

A new yarn shop in town, Center of the Yarniverse.
Center of the Yarniverse

1.  There's a new yarn store in town.  The closest 'town' to me is Ashland, other words known as The Center of the Universe.  This new yarn shop, Center of the Yarniverse, is going to be a very, very dangerous place for me.  In order to grocery, book, Target, Walmart or big box craft store shop, visit 90% of my friends and all of my family, take the dog to the vet or visit a doctor, I will have to pass within an eight of a mile of it.  And even worse, the shop shares a parking lot with the library.  Very, very dangerous!

Power Sheets from https://cultivatewhatmatters.com/
Power Sheets

2.  Power Sheets.  I broke down and bought 2019 Power Sheets.  Now the big question - will I use them?

I must stop eating all the Halloween candy.
Candy overload

3.  Halloween candy.  Happy belated Halloween, by the way.  But the candy situation...  I'm actually typing this in broad daylight on Halloween afternoon, long before the trick or treaters will begin making their appearance....  And I've already had to refill the giant candy bowl three times.    And yes, that photo is blurry.  Probably from the diabetic twitch I've developed from eating so much candy. Good grief!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Sunday Soup - Pumpkin Soup

I'm not too sure about today's recipe.  Well, not the recipe itself, but the soup in general.

It's cold outside and almost Halloween so Pumpkin Soup seems called for... except....  I'm not sure I'm going to like pumpkin soup.  I love the idea of pumpkin flavored everything, but the reality... not so much.  This soup is either going to be disgusting, or totally awesome.  We'll see.

Cooking from scratch with an easy recipe for pumpkin soup.
photo courtesy of thesaltymarshmallow.com

If you're brave enough to try it, I'm blatantly stealing both the recipe and photo from The Salty Marshmallow.  Just follow the link here.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Three on Thursday

Because my knitting hasn't visibly progressed much over the last few days so I have nothing to show...  and I'm in a massive, unexplained, self-pitying, miserable funk....

My top three third world problems:

1.  I'm under caffeinated.

2.  I didn't microwave the water long enough for my new, on-sale tea and now I'm trying to drink tepid, tasteless tea instead of the nice hot coffee that I really want.

3.  I'm too lazy to make a pot of coffee.  I'm also hungry... and there's a bowl full of Hershey Kisses across the room... but they seem soooo far away.

I think I need to knit.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Sunday Soup - Black Bean Chili

Does chili count as soup?  It's eaten out of a bowl so I'm saying yes.
Because today's 'soup' recipe is for chili.  Black bean chili actually.  

I love my recipe because it's fast, simple, and can easily be made more or less spicy.  It's also simple to double or triple the recipe and it freezes well.  Oh, and it still works when I'm out of one ingredient; I simple add more of another.  I've even made it with jarred spaghetti sauce before. In other words, measurements aren't all that important.


black bean chili, photo courtesy of radcutlery.com

Black Bean Chili

2 TBS - 1/4 cup olive oil
1 lb. ground beef
1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 14.5 oz. cans tomatoes
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
4 oz. can green chilies 
3/4 cup water
1 rounded TBS chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. cinnamon OR cocoa powder
2 16 oz. cans black beans, drained

Heat olive oil in soup/stock pot and add ground beef, onion, green pepper and garlic.  Cook until beef has browned.  Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 15 - 20 minutes.

Best served with cornbread.


Thursday, October 18, 2018

Three on Thursday

Today's Three on Thursday is three knitting projects in the works.

free cowl or scarf pattern from Stephen West
Alstroemeria yarn from Shirsty Cat Designs

1.  I finished knitting my Stephen West Purl Ridge Scarf.  I'm counting it as 'still in the works' because I haven't woven the ends in yet.  Or blocked it.  It really doesn't need blocking but I might try to stretch it out a tiny bit.  It's not quite as long as I'd hoped it would be.

purl ridge scarf designed by Stephen West
Purl Ridge Scarf

And yes, as you can see from the photos, the home renovations continue.  And yes, I am quickly loosing my my mind, my patience and my cool due to the unorganized mess.

It's a knitted f bomb.
Nope, it's not a black pumpkin.

2.  Secret Santa knitting.  I still need to add a bit of detail.... and I need to knit eight more.  Possibly twelve more, depending on how generous I'm feeling closer to Christmas.

Hawthorne fingering weight yarn from Knit Picks.  Washable wool.
Laurelhurst Hawthorne Yarn

3.  Another Secret Santa project.  Since taking this photo, I've cast on a Hitchhiker and have a whopping 12 stitches on the needles.  Another Christmas gift, 'almost' done.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Sunday Soup

Soup's on!

Sausage, Potato and Kale Soup, photo courtesy of allrecipes.com

Today's soup is Sausage, Potato and Kale Soup. The recipe I'll be using is from Allrecipes.com and can be found here.  I've never met an Allrecipes recipe that I didn't like, although sometimes they're a little bland and need a little more seasoning than called for.

I'm looking forward to a big bowl of this nice, warm soup today.  As the Facebook meme says, "the temperature went from 90 to 55 like it saw a state trooper."

Friday, October 12, 2018

Photo Friday

I hope this post makes it out into the universe.  Hurricane Michael roared into town about 30 minutes ago may I say, my goodness!

Michael isn't even a hurricane anymore, but... good grief!  There were no bands of warning rain.  Michael simply arrived and it began to rain RAIN.  Rain and thunder and the trees are bending over from the wind.  And I'm seriously hoping that noise is the neighbors who work on their (race??) cars 22/7 and not a tornado's freight train roar.

But, knitting....

worsted weight merino wool.  lovely to knit with
Ferrum from Unplanned Peacock Studio

I was too impatient to photograph the yarn while it was in it's original skein form.  It's another fiber festival yarn purchase.  The yarn comes from Unplanned Peacock Studio and is an absolute delight to knit with.

Thanks to Karen's suggestion over at Pumpkin Sunrise, I'm knitting a Purl Ridge Scarf.  The pattern is a very simple, free one from Stephen West.

A simple and free cowl pattern from Stephen West
Purl Ridge Scarf

I'm so happy to be knitting such a simple pattern on such lovely yarn, specially tonight. (I'm typing this Thurs. night.)  At this rate, I don't expect the power to stay on for long.  Heck, I don't know how it's stayed on this long.  Anyway, this cowl pattern will be The perfect project for knitting in the dark while we wait out Michael's departure.

And while we're talking about Michael, my thoughts and prayers go out to those in Florida.  And the Carolina's for that matter.  They certainly did not need any more rain!  I can not imagine what this storm must have felt like in Florida if it's this strong in Virginia. And I imagine a lot of folks rode the storm out in Florida because there wasn't much advance notice of this one.  Anyway, my thoughts and prayers are with those down south.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Three on Thursday

For today's Three on Thursday, I thought I'd show you three of the many yarns I bought this past weekend at the fiber festival.  These three skeins have no intended purpose.  Yet.

I'm in search of single skein projects to knit with this yarn.

Left to right, they are:


1.  Winter's Candy Cane from Puff the Magic Rabbit.  I was thinking socks when I bought this, but now I'm considering a hat and mittens instead.  The yarn is a superwash but it's 100% merino so it may make a better hat than socks.

2.  Another Puff the Magic Rabbit yarn called Christmas Tree Lights.  I am head over heels in love with this yarn!  It really does look a Christmas tree lit up with multicolored lights.  It's gorgeous, it sparkles, and it's what drew me into Puff the Magic Rabbit's booth.  I'd already decided that I was too hot and cranky, and I'd spent too much money and I wasn't buying anything else.  But Sarah pointed out Winter's Candy Cane (she knew I wanted to knit another pair of Christmas socks) and Christmas Tree Lights was next to the Candy Cane.... I have no idea what I'll knit with this but what ever the yarn turns into, it will be for me and I will love it.

3.  Twizzelfoot in the Harmony Moss colorway from Mountain Colors.  Its merino wool & silk fiber content make it incredibly soft and I just love the mossy green color. I'm looking forward to seeing how it knits up. Again, I have no idea what I'll use this yarn for but most likely it will be a shawl or scarf.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Makers' Monday

Join me for Makers' Monday,


Montpelier fall fiber festival

Otherwise known as the day my daughter has to drop out of college...



Because I spent next year's tuition on yarn at the Montpelier Fiber Festival.



Photos of the yarn I bought will be forthcoming... I just need to recover from the heat stroke first.  


good food at the Montpelier fiber festival

But despite the unbelievable heat and humidity, we had a good time.  We watched the sheep dog trials, we ate lamb barbecue and we shopped until we dropped. Almost literally.  It really was that hot!  

We didn't even go into the last two tents because we were so hot.  I was sweating in places I didn't even know could sweat!
But it's probably just as well.... seeing as though I'd already spent the rest of Sarah's college fund.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Sunday Soup

Soup's on in the Wiant household.  Or it will be soon after I get home from the fiber festival this afternoon.

Today's recipe is so quick and simple.  It's perfect for tonight when I'll be getting home late and most likely hungry.  I did all the chopping and prep work last night before I went to bed and as soon as I get home, I can dump everything into the Instant Pot and be ready to eat in about 30 minutes.

So, without further ado,

Chicken and Dumplings in the Instant Pot*

6 chicken breasts, cubed
32 oz. chicken broth
2 - 4 large carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 can corn
10 oz. package frozen peas
1 cup cream or evaporated milk
salt & pepper to taste
2 1/4 cups Bisquick
2/3 cup milk

Place chicken, chopped veggies and broth in the Instant Pot.  Cook on High Pressure for 10 minutes with a Quick Release.
Stir in corn, peas and cream.  Set to Saute.
Mix Bisquick and milk and drop dough by spoonfuls into the pot.  Cook until biscuit mix is cooked and no longer doughy.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

*This could easily be made in the slow cooker, just adjust the cooking time.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Photo Friday

I really should have titled this post something different.  "Photo Friday" implies there will be at least one decent photo.

And  yet...

Noro seed stitch and rib cowl

and

Malibrigo Rios in autumn colors on blocking mats

My Noro Cowl, knit with Malabrigo Rios is blocking.  Blocking in bad lighting in a Very disorganized house.

We are still doing some remodeling/renovations/'sprucing up' to our house.  At the moment, we are (1) painting and (2) tearing up the carpet and replacing it with wood flooring.  85% of our belongings are shoved up against one wall in one room and the other 15% of our belongings are, for reasons unknown, sitting on the dining room table.  And as these things go, my husband is doing the remodeling/renovations/sprucing up himself and every time he gets out a tool or opens a bucket of paint, he gets a call to go do a paying job... and off he goes.  We've been living this way for so long now, I'm starting to not even notice the chaos I call home.

But what does that have to do with bad photography?  Well, first, the natural light in my dining room is nonexistent, except for about twenty minutes in the afternoon when the sun shines a direct and blinding beam in through the french doors.  And then there's the fact that it took me almost a full day to dig out the blocking mats and then the blocking pins from the 85% pile.  By the time I had the Noro Cowl laid out on the pads, the light was gone.  And of course, several of the bulbs in our dining room chandelier have suddenly burned out making the light even dimmer.  There's no telling where the replacement bulbs are....  And there you have it.  Bad photos for Photo Friday.

But bad photos or not, I'm in love with my Noro Cowl.  Or I will be once it's dried and sewn into place.  I'm fascinated how the Malibrigo yarn pooled and how one end is mostly yellow while the other is more red.  And that line you can see in the first photo that looks like the end of one skein butting up against a new skein of a different dye lot... isn't.  The two skeins of yarn meet up in a completely different, and unnoticeable place.  That line is simply the magic of pooling.

Now, if it would just cool off enough to even consider wearing it.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Three on Thursday

As usual, three random things for today's Three on Thursday list:

1.  My Coffee Shop cowl will have a striped interior/back/lining rather than the planned solid color.  I have no idea what I was thinking (obviously, I wasn't!) when I thought one partial skein would knit the entire lining.  So, stripes it will be.  But they'll be much wider stripes than the exterior/front/outside of the cowl.

Striped cowl knit with Knit Picks Palette the Coffee Shop value pack
Coffee Shop Cowl

Okay, so what do you call the sides when an item is knit to be reversible although one side is meant to be seen and one side is meant to be worn against the skin?  Front/back?  Exterior/interior?  'Lining' seems wrong because it implies it isn't meant to be fully visible.  What do you call the sides??

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE the Oregon Coast Heather skein of Palette?
Knit Picks Palette Oregon Coast Heather fingering weight wool yarn
Knit Picks Palette, Oregon Coast Heather

I just love the flecks of gray mixed with the sandy tans. I'm going to have to knit myself a whole sweater with this colorway.

2.  I'm so excited!  The Montpelier Fiber Festival is this weekend and I'm going on Sunday.  Saturday and Sunday are the only days I've requested off this season and everyone at work has been teasing me about using my vacation time to go look at sheep.  Obviously, they are not knitters.  But I am, and I can not wait!

Montpelier Fiber Festival
sheep dog trials

3.  Almost as exciting as the Montpelier Fiber Festival, I've received a visit from the Candy Corn Fairy.  I arrived home from work in the early hours of Sunday morning to find multiple bags of candy corn on my desk.  So far, no one has claimed to have put them there.  Have I mentioned how much I love candy corn? I love candy corn almost as much as I love fiber festivals!

Monday, October 1, 2018

Makers' Monday

I'm excited and kicking myself at the same time.  

knit cowl with Knit Picks Stroll Tweed http://shrsl.com/16y9v
Christmas gift #1

I cast on the first Christmas gift project of the season.... and it will probably be 2020 when I cast it off.  It's a 280 stitches cowl on fingering weight yarn and it's taking Forever!  And I'm a little worried that the pattern isn't going to show up well on the tiny little stitches.  The original design used worsted weight yarn.

We will see.  

Of course, it may take a week of knitting to see, but we'll see if it works on fingering weight yarn.  I hope so because that inch of knitting has taken me three days.  Good grief!

I hope your knitting is going faster than mine and that you'll join me for Makers' Monday.


Sunday, September 30, 2018

Sunday Soup

Today's recipe, Autumn Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup.

fall soup recipe, #cookingfromscratch, fall recipes
Autumn Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup

I stumbled across the recipe on the blog, Once Upon a Chef.  Just be careful if you follow that link.  I think I gained ten pounds reading the home page.  And while I gained those ten pounds, I became very, very hungry!  I found so many recipes I want to try.

I've never had carrot or sweet potato soup.  There's something about bright orange soup that just seems.... wrong.  But for some reason, this recipe jumped out at me, sounds yummy and seems perfect for  a cool, fall meal.  And best of all, it sounds super simple.  And, we have the ingredients!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Photo Friday

My next project....

http://shrsl.com/16t6f  value pack of Stroll Tweed from Knit Picks Dill, Oyster and Prussian heather
Cascadia

I'm not sure what it will be - I haven't decided on a pattern yet.  But what ever pattern I choose, it will be knit from this Cascadia value pack of Stroll Tweed from Knit Picks.  And it will be a Christmas gift.  Yes, I said it - I'm starting my Christmas knitting.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Makers' Monday

I'm happy to report that Hat #24 is in the bag.  Or more correctly, it's in the mail.  Actually, it's in a bag in the mail.  I only need to knit 28 more hats in 2018.  Yikes!

Knit 52 Hats in a Year challenge.  Hats will be sold at https://www.etsy.com/shop/jeanniegrayknits
Hat #24 out of 52

Although it doesn't photograph well, my Noro Cowl is coming along nicely.


Knitting a seed stitch and ribbed cowl with Malabrigo yarn and a Noro pattern.
Noro Cowl

This photo does not begin to do justice to the yarn or cowl.  Besides the fact that it's at a weird length (too long to lay out and photograph, yet too short to drape over the mannequin) my camera simply refuses to produce an accurate image of the colors.  I think the autumn yellows, reds and greens are confusing my Nikon.  No matter how many adjustments/enhancements I try, the photo comes out either way to yellow or way too blue.  You're just going to have to trust me.  This yarn is a to-die-for autumny blend of colors.


Coffee Shop Cowl knit with The Coffee Shop value pack of Knit Pick's Palette yarn
Coffee Shop Cowl

My Coffee Shop cowl is coming along as well.  I've reached the end of the stripes, knit a purled turning row, and now I'm knitting the solid color lining.  

I'd planned to either list this cowl for sale in the shop or put it in the Christmas gift pile but....  I spent a lot of time reading while knitting those stripes and there are a few wonky stitches that I didn't notice until a row or two later and.....  But no worries.  I'll be happy to have a wonky stitched, coffee colored, striped cowl of my own.

If you have a creative blog of any sort, please join me in celebrating Makers' Monday by using the link below to share one of your recent posts.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Sunday Soup

So, what's on the menu this week?

A hearty, low carb soup recipe, perfect for fall.


Low carb Tuscan Cauliflower Soup.  The recipe comes from Taste of Home and it sounds delicious.  

If you give the recipe a try, let me know what you think.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Photo Friday


There's nothing like an Etsy shop custom hat order to motivate me into knitting hat #24.   Only 28.75 more hats to knit before December 31st.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Three on Thursday

Three random things for Three on Thursday:

1.  Florence.  By the time she moseyed her way across Virginia on Monday she wasn't even a tropical depression anymore, but she still packed a wallop.

Hurricane Florence brought flooding rains and tornadoes to Richmond, VA on September 17, 2018
photo courtesy of klfy.com

She brought flooding rains and multiple tornadoes.

One person died in a tornado in Chesterfield VA
photo courtesy of twitter.com

Sarah and I happened to be at Target when a tornado touched down less than a mile away.  I was pretty impressed with the way Target handled the situation.  They "closed" the store, as in shut down all the registers and pharmacy and had everyone, including the customers, move to the back of the store.  The whole event took about three hours because we'd get the all clear signal and everyone would start making their way up front to the registers and the warning sirens would go off again and everyone would turn around and return to the back of the store.  Over and over and over again.  


I have to say, I really was impressed with both the Target employees and their customers.  No one was complaining, even the moms with small children in tow.  A couple of the employees got a few simple toys off the shelves and played with some of the children to keep them occupied.  Even when our ears began popping from the change in air pressure, everyone stayed nice and calm.  I was amazed.

2.  Speaking of Florence.... The Florence news coverage introduced me to the NC shark cam.  I mentioned how obsessed I am with this underwater view the other day.  But I'm embarrassed to admit that after spending two whole days wondering why there were so many sharks in that area, I finally realized I was watching a highlight reel, not live video because the cameras were damaged in the storm.  I feel pretty silly for not realizing it, but dang! I'm happy to learn that there aren't that many sharks swimming off the coast of NC.  .... Or are they?  Guess I'll have to wait for the cameras to be repaired to find out.

3.  It's funny the tricks our minds play on us.  When creating my Labor Day post, I didn't even notice the grammatical error in the meme until the next day when I was looking at it before my morning coffee had kicked in.  My awake brain glossed over the error and saw what it should have said while my still-asleep brain read the actual words.  I find that interesting.  And a little scary.  Does that mean I should begin doing all my proof reading in the morning before coffee??  Yikes!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Makers' Monday

Once again I'm typing in advance of Monday on the off chance that Florence kills our power.  I'm fairly certain that Florence has finally chosen her path and we won't have any hurricane related issues but it's always best to be prepared.  And I think I've proven that it's even better to be over prepared.

And over prepared I am.  

Enough bottled water to fill Lake Michigan?  Check.

Candles, matches and flashlights?  Check.

Extra gas for the stove, grill, generator and cars?  Check.

Emergency chocolate stash?  Check.

Liquor/wine cabinet filled to capacity?  Check.

Junk food supply too large to fit in pantry?  Check.

yarn shopping at Knitting B's in Richmond, VA in preparation for Hurricane Florence
hurricane yarn haul

Yarn Stash upgraded?  Check.

Hurricane reading materials available?  Check.

seed and rib stitch cowl knit with Malabrigo Rios yarn
Noro Cowl knit with Malabrigo Rios
Special hurricane knitting project?  Check.

NC shark cam is a fascinating view of sea life 35 miles off the coast
NC shark cam

Hurricane knitting, reading and even junk food abandoned? Check!

I've discovered North Carolina's shark cam and can not look away.  I'm fascinated and somewhat lulled into an almost comatose state listening to the water and watching the fish maneuver through the currents.  

How did I not know this shark cam existed?  I am SO excited to have found it.  I've been wanting a large aquarium for years but couldn't face the expense or hassle of maintaining one.  This shark cam is the perfect solution.

(And no one is harmed when I forget to feed the fish!)

For the past week I've been worrying about having enough food, booze and entertainment to get us through a power outage.  It takes a LOT of food and booze to distract me from a lack of Netflix.  But  I've replaced my need for Netflix with the fish.  It's going to take a very special knitting project to distract me from the fish!

But once again, I'm prepared.  While hurricane yarn shopping, I picked up a couple of skeins of Malabrigo Rios and a seed and rib stitch cowl pattern from a Noro magazine.  I'm set!  Between this lovely yarn and the shark cam, I may not even need junk food or booze to get me through the storm.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Sunday Soup

Once again, I'm typing this in advance in anticipation of power outages due to Hurricane Florence.  I chose Chicken Stew for this week because it's easy, can be cooked several different ways, including on the grill, and the recipe is never harmed by a lack of or inclusion of extra ingredients.

photo couresty of tasteofhome.com

The recipe I follow is so basic and flexible, it's not really a recipe.  I generally include whatever I have on hand and in whatever quantity I have on hand until the stew pot (or Instant Pot) is full.  

The ingredients I always use are:

Chicken, white or dark, cut off the bone and cut into large bite sized chunks
Potatoes cubed or shredded*
Carrots cut into 1 inch pieces or shredded or whole baby carrots*
Chicken broth or stock (water and a couple of bouillon cubes will work in a pinch)
Salt
Pepper

Ingredients I usually add:

Celery, including leaves if available
Canned or frozen green beans
Canned or frozen corn
Diced onion
Diced garlic
Red bell pepper flakes
Hot sauce

Ingredients I occasionally use:

Rice** instead of potatoes
Frozen green peas or butter beans instead of green beans
Canned tomatoes and/or tomato sauce
Diced ham or salami
Cream or milk

*If I'm making this soup at the last minute and I'm low on ingredients, I'll shred the carrots and potatoes instead of chopping/cubing them.  Shredding them makes for a less liquidy stew and it cooks quicker.

**When cooking on the stove top or in the oven, I wait to add the rice until the last 20 - 30 minutes of cooking time.

To prepare, I cook the chicken, onion, garlic and celery in a little bit of olive oil until the chicken turns white.  Then I add all the other ingredients and add enough water to cover.  Put a lid on the pot and either simmer on the stove top for 45-60 minutes; put the pot in a 325 degree oven for several hours, or use the Instant Pot for 25 - 30 minutes.  Or in the likely case this week, when we probably don't have power (I'm typing this in advance of the hurricane, remember?) we can set the pot on the grill and cook it outdoors.

Again, I'm praying for those in Florence's path.  With or without power, I hope you are able to enjoy a hot meal today.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Photo Friday

Phew!  'The Season' is over and done with work-wise and I had a full week, Monday through Friday off.  I spent it knitting.

http://shrsl.com/15wd7 the coffee shop, Palette value set from Knit Picks.
The Coffee Shop

Well, knitting and preparing for Hurricane Florence.  Luckily, thankfully, I was able to get lots of knitting done while I waited for giant containers of water to freeze into ice blocks.

I received The Coffee Shop value pack in the mail last week and was excited to start knitting with it rather than try to figure out how and where to store more yarn.  In my excitement, I just grabbed a needle (US2) and cast on enough stitches that I could comfortably begin knitting in the round.  Then I cast on a few more just to be sure...  And I started knitting random width stripes.  It's going to be a cowl.  And I love the warm, understated, earthy browns.  It's been a great, easy project to help calm my pre-hurricane jitters.

Speaking of hurricanes...  I'm writing this in advance in anticipation of power outages.  Obviously I don't know what kind of damage Florence has done as of this morning, but I continue to keep all the east coasters in my thoughts and prayers throughout this storm.  Stay safe!





Thursday, September 13, 2018

Three on Thursday and a little bit of guilt

Hurricane Florence is coming, it's Three on Thursday, and I'm feeling just a little bit guilty.  I'll explain why in a moment, but first, let me explain this post.

Although she can't quite make up her mind exactly where she wants to go, it's a given at this point that Florence will be visiting the east coast over the next few days.  I have to admit, I Love hurricanes!  There's something about the anticipation and the wild weather and survival... that just excites me and turns me slightly manic.  But, after surviving Isabel which left us without power for 13 days....  and Gaston which filled our house with ten feet of water...  I'm a little weird about storms.  I'm excited, manic, and freaked out all at the same time.  It's that feeling I imagine you get just before jumping out of an airplane.  That "This is so exciting, it's gonna be Awesome!, oh my gosh, I'm gonna die!" feeling.

And because of that excited freak out, I tend to over prepare.  And the more I over prepare, the less likely it is that the storm will actually hit.  It's happened that way with every storm since.  The more I prepare, the less it rains.  And with kind Mr. Weatherman predicting Florence dumping as much as 30+ inches of rain. (and that's not even considering the wind or the fact that it's already been raining a solid week before her arrival...)  You can bet your sweet behind that I am preparing.  

And that's why I'm feeling a little guilty. 

photo courtesy of alamy.com

1.  As a family, we drink a lot of water.  And we don't drink tap water, we drink bottled.  And it just so happens that on Sunday, everyone in the family individually, without telling anyone else, bought a week's worth of water.  Except I bought two weeks' worth.  While I was putting the normal five gallons into the cart, the nice Walmart lady (it was in the wee hours of the morning when all the Walmart employees are actually nice) commented that I better stock up because they expected to run out by noon the next day and may not be getting more in before the storm.  So I bought extra.  Our house now looks like a water storage warehouse.

Mr. Weatherman announced that Florence had shifted just slightly to the south.  Virginia was still going to get hammered, but we might not die in the storm.

2.  With the news that we might actually survive, I started thinking about drinking warm water for days on end after the storm leaves us with no power for possibly weeks....  So I plugged an old, unused freezer in and proceeded to make ice in every single container I could find.  Plastic travel cups, Tupperware cereal keepers, even mixing bowls became over sized ice trays. Once frozen, I put those chunks of ice in bags and repeated the process.  We now have an upright freezer full of nothing but large ice blocks.  We're ready to keep things cool for a while.

Mr. Weatherman announced that Florence had shifted even more to the south.

3.  So I made multiple pots of coffee and put them in the freezer, just in case.

And Mr. Weatherman announced that Florence was taking not only a more southerly route, but that she was also going to take a sharp left turn once she hit land.  

All I can say is,  I am SO sorry!  I feel like because of my over-preparing actions, I have single handedly wiped North Carolina and possibly South Carolina off the map.

Where ever she lands, I pray that you all stay safe and relatively dry.  Godspeed.


Monday, September 10, 2018

Makers' Monday

So, we're talking about the weather today.



And I have "Oh the weather outside is frightful" stuck in my head and playing on repeat.  Thankfully, or not, it's just that one line from the song.  "Oh the weather outside is frightful..."

I know that while in the midst of it, every summer feels like the hottest, most humid summer on record.  But this summer....  This summer Had to be some kind of a record.

Knitting a striped scarf to indicate the daily temperatures in 2018.
2018 Weather Cowl

My weather cowl tube (I still don't know what it's going to be.  A cowl?  A scarf? A pile of knitting that sits in the corner mocking me?) only has one, solitary red stripe indicating a temperature above 95.  But that single, solitary stripe is so misleading.  We may have only had one day that the actual temperature was 96 or above, but the Feels Like temperature was over 100 for most of August.  Even our 80+ degree days had Feels Like temps of over 100.

"Oh the weather outside is frightful....."

And September has turned the humidity into actual rain.  It's been raining for several days, and it's going to keep on raining throughout the coming week and into the next.

And Hurricane Florence is heading our way.

"Oh the weather outside is frightful....."

I have to admit although I'm complaining, I love a good storm.  I've been slightly manic ever since Mr. Weatherman announced that Florence would most likely not stay out to sea.  So, I guess I'll just enjoy this period of energized productivity and keep singing "Oh the weather outside is frightful....."  and just be glad it's rain, not snow.

"Oh the weather outside is frightful..... let it rain, let it rain, let it rain..."

And if my whining about the weather hasn't scared you away and you're still reading, please join me for Makers' Monday.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Sunday Soup

soups for fall or autumn, hearty fall soup recipe, cooking from scratch
Lentil soup, recipe courtesy of allrecipes.com
I may have some trouble talking the family into this week's soup plan.  It's September and my heart craves wool socks and warm, filling soups....  But Mother Nature is still slapping us with unGodly warm and humid temperatures.  

But it's September, I have fall fever, and I want to sit around open fires while wearing wool socks and sweaters...  So lentil soup is on the menu this week.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Photo Friday

I'm finally back to hat knitting.

Hat #23

This one's just a plain, simple stockinette hat knit with Patons Classic Wool.  The color is Pumpkin.  It's the perfect project for my current fall fevered, I Gotta Catch Up on Hat Knitting panic mode.  

This is hat number 23, being knit in week 36.  It's no wonder I'm in panic mode.  I need to knit 13 more hats this week in order to be on schedule for the 52 Hats in a Year challenge.