Monday, 3 August 2015

Winnie the Pooh baby blanket - Part Two

I finished the blanket and I am quite pleased with how it turned out.  I have one more to make.  I'll probably move the bee a bit on the second one as I think the bee is too close to the name.  But, otherwise, I think it looks so much better than the cross-stitching I showed in the first post.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Winnie the Pooh baby blanket - Part One

Quite awhile ago I purchased this pattern: (Click on the pictures to see a larger size)

The instructions for this pattern are to make a blank afghan and then cross-stitch the design onto it.

So, I made a few of the blanks and stored them for when I wanted to gift a blanket, all I would have to do would be the cross-stitching.

Well, the other day, I took one of the blanks out and started to cross-stitch the design but I wasn't pleased with the result.  Too much white showed through, the blanket became distorted (and was not stitching tightly), and the bulkiness of the stitched area was unpleasant.

I decided to start over and crochet the design as part of the blanket.  I will have to stitch the outline but that won't really distort or add bulk.  I'm almost halfway done (I'll post an update when finished).

Much better!

Friday, 17 July 2015

Craving Chocolate

What does one do when one craves chocolate but is too lazy to go to the store? Make brownies, of course!

Remember last fall when I canned some winter squash? Well, it works really well as a fat replacement in boxed brownie mixes. So, I took this:


Which ended up as a plate of these:


And, then I ate this (with vanilla Greek yogurt):


Acorn Squash Almond Brownies 

1 package brownie mix
1 egg
1/2 jar pureed acorn squash (pumpkin works, too)
A handful of nuts, I used blanched sliced almonds (1/2 cup, approximately)

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mix all ingredients. Pour into a greased (I use Pam) 8-inch square baking pan. Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool for 5-10 minutes.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Vegetable Stock (& Chicken Stock)

A couple of weeks ago I ran out of my homemade canned vegetable stock, so last week I made some more.  It's a pretty simple process, but it just takes time.

Essentially, toss a bunch of veggies and water together, a little bit of salt & pepper, simmer, strain, and you have stock.  If you also include some meat bones, you have meat stock.  Canning is the same whether you have meat or vegetable stock: 25 minutes at 15 lbs pressure (remember, I'm at elevation -- your time/pressure might be different).

However, what I do for my stock(s) is that I freeze my scraps in large freezer bags.  Rotiserrie chickens from those "Oh, crap!  I forgot about dinner!" days, generate tasty stock because of the seasoned skin that no one eats.

The vegetable scraps come from carrot peels, potato peels, onion skins, bell pepper bits, tomato ends, cucumber, lettuce, squash, pretty much any vegetable except from the cabbage family (and beets, if you don't want a pink stock).

I simmer my vegetable stock a couple of hours, and my meat stock about 3-4 hours.  I like to use my counter-top roaster as it holds a nice quantity for canning.

This was 3 bags of mixed vegetable scraps and half a bag of carrot peels.  I forgot to take pictures of the chicken stock mixture, but for that I used one full bag of vegetable scraps and the other half-bag of carrot peels, plus two bags of chicken bones.

I ended up with 8 1-litre jars of vegetable stock.  I also canned 4 1-litre jars of chicken stock.  The rest of the chicken stock was made into a nice big pot of chicken vegetable noodle soup.  The chicken stock is in the front of the picture and the vegetable stock is in the back.  You can sort of see that the vegetable stock is a bit more clear than the chicken stock. (The chicken stock and one jar of vegetable stock still have rings on because they just came out of the canner and had not sealed yet.)

My go-to use for vegetable stock is making rice.  I usually use 1 jar every time I make rice.  I also have some beet stock for when I want a pinkish tinge to my rice.  I'm going to be experimenting with fruit stock soon.  I think it will be nice to cook breakfast grains with, or rice that would go with pork or meat/fruit skewers.  I'll keep you posted.