Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pork Loin

We keep a pork loin in the freezer all the time. I cut them in half and that feeds my family for the evening.

One Pork Tenderloin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Put tenderloin in a baking dish. Sprinkle extra virgin olive oil on the top (about a TBS). Sprinkle salt, garlic, and black pepper on top. Bake in 350 degree oven until thermometer reads 155 degrees. Take from oven and let sit for about 5-7 minutes, then carve.

You can also put teriaki sauce on the top instead of the above. You can put Italian salad dressing on it too. (not with the teriaki sauce!)

My Pirate!

Here is my pirate that I finished last night for Nicholas. I got the pattern for this one and pumpkin off the Lion Brand Website. I adapted the pumpkin face to fit my liking. I made the ghost on my own with no pattern.

I gave them to the kids this morning and they LOVED them!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

An Experiment

I was talking with some co-workers and we were talking about how to make "Apple Betty". The conversation moved to an easy way to make a fruit cake. The men explained that you take a can of fruit in juice, put it in a baking dish. Then take a box of cake mix and pour it on top. (Yes the dry cake mix). Then put it in the oven and bake. The other gentleman said that he does it all the time with his boy scout troop in a dutch oven while camping. He said it works. The third gentleman then chimed in and asked me if I was going to make one. I said, "I'm game. Will you eat it if I bring it in tomorrow?". He agreed as he loves anything that I bring in to share.

It is in the oven now. I will let you know how it turns out.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Ghost

I started the purple fuzzy monster (picture at the bottom of page), and I didn't like it so I decided to do a ghost. I got some white yarn and started on what I thought would look like a ghost. I finished the first side and it turned out to be a triangle. It didn't look like a ghost at all. I then got on line and started looking for bell patterns. I found one and started to work it up and it didn't look like a ghost at all. Then I started playing around and voila, I got my ghost. I added eyes and a smile and there he was. A few arms and we had our ghost.

Now I am off to work on the pirate and I will have all three done before Halloween.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

When all else fails...

use Italian Salad Dressing. Or if you like a good Ken's Caesar does well too. No, I am not talking about eating salad. I AM talking about marinades. Italian salad dressing is great on fish, chicken, tuna, pork and turkey. It is also great on shrimp! You can also marinade most kinds of vegetables if you are going to grill them. I am talking about zucchini, squash, onions, eggplant, and even fresh green beans. What a versitile item!!

Update on the Pumpkin

I decided that I don't like the pumpkin the way he was. I looked and looked at him. He had an eye that was lopsided and his mouth just didn't look right. So I fixed him. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Because we went apple picking two weeks ago, it seems that all I am cooking right now is applesauce. I have made a ton of applesauce in the past two weeks. It should keep my family happy until next summer.

Here is my recipe:

I take about 10 cups of apples peeled, chunked and cored, about 3-4 cups of water. Put all in a big pot and cook on medium high heat until the apples are soft. Stir often! Once the apples are soft mash them with a potato masher. If you like smoother applesauce then put in a food processor and mix until smoothness desired is achieved. Add about 1 to 1/2 cups of sugar and about a 1/2 TBS of cinnamon and stir. Taste. You may want to add a bit more water if it is too thick, you may want to go light on the cinnamon until you taste it and then add some more.

Fill canning jars and process in a water bath for about 10-15 minutes.

The chunky style is great served warm with pork chops or ham. The smoother, cold stuff is great, well, anytime!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

My Beach Project

On our way the the beach last weekend, I opened up my project bag to find that I had forgotten the pattern for the sweater I am knitting for Nicholas. So with nothing to do, I searched my bag and came up with some leftover LionBrand Cotton-Ease in off white and blue. I had been meaning to make myself a glasses case for my purse and this was as good a time as any to get that project done. So I used both the off-white and blue, crocheting together with a J hook. I made a big square of single crochets and then folded it and single crocheted both sides together. I left the top open, to slide the glasses in and out and attached a chain loop for a toggle button. I think it turned out quite nifty. On Tuesday I ran into a fabric shop and picked up a toggle button in wood and attached it that night.

One Project Complete

I have completed the pumpkin. I finished it last night. It was quite easy, however I changed the teeth a bit. The pattern says to make four little squares for teeth and then to attach them on the pumpkin. I decided to attach all the teeth together by a chain. This gave me one complete piece to sew. This was fine but in the late hour it got twisted a bit and they don't look exactly like the the one on the pattern picture. But it is a cute little guy all together. I also put a little stem on the top. He seemed to need a bit of a "hat" of sorts.

This one will be Alexandra's.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Idle Hands

I have been a crafty person since I can remember. Some of my first memories of my grandmother is where I am watching her knit or crochet. My mother is crafty also, though not as much anymore. And I have been interested in handwork since a small child. It just amazed me that my grandmother could take a ball of yarn and make something useful out of it. We always enjoyed her Christmas gifts to the family. One year we all received Christmas stockings, another was sweaters, and then there was the "bootie" year. That year she made us all slipper like booties. We each had a different color. Then there was the doilies she made. As she grew older and I began to have children she made baby sweaters and hats and blankets. My daughters still love the white sweater she made and they wear it often. It still has no buttons but they don't seem to care.

With that said, I have found myself over my lifetime picking up a project for a while and then leaving it and picking it back up later. After my grandmother passed away, I got the urge to pick up knitting needles again. I had long since forgotten how to knit but I thought with a "how to" book and some motivation I would figure it out again. And so I did. However, I am left-handed and I actually taught myself how to knit "backwards". I made beautiful scarves and they served as Christmas gifts. Then I thought I would try my hand again at crocheting. Again with a book in hand and some yarn I figured it out again. One good thing about crocheting is that if you are left handed you can crochet left handed. I have made some great afgans and blankets that my children love. I have made hats for everyone, including donation hats for newborns. I returned to knitting and decided to attempt some more difficult patterns. At that point I realized that I needed to reteach myself to knit right handed. Where was my grandmother when I needed her most? Why didn't I think to pick up the needles while she was still alive? She would have loved to work with me on my projects and I remember she was a great teacher.

Well two years later and many projects complete, I have just finished my first knitted sweater. I will post a picture of it for you all to see. I am currently working on two projects. One is a sweater for my son. I am knitting it with Lion Brand Homespun yarn in Colonial Blue and Off white, which I believe is flax. The second project is crocheted stuffed critters for Halloween. I have three patterns that I got from the Lion Brand website and are featured in this past week's newsletter. One is a pumpkin, one is a fuzzy friend, and the other is a pirate thing. I am using Red Heart Soft yarn in orange, brown, black and two different greens, along with Lion Brand Fuzzy Fur in purple.

(Photos from the Lionbrand website.)

Welcome to my new blog. I hope you find it interesting and informative. Please feel free to comment and share your projects with me. You are welcome to email me your project pictures and I will post them along with mine. Please give me advice on how to improve my skills and handwork as I really have no one to turn to in my circle of friends and family. I am a lone soldier in this craft.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

How to cut a fresh pineapple

Many people are afraid to buy a fresh pineapple because they don't know how to properly cut it. It is quite simple if you follow these steps.

1. Cut the bottom off about 1/2 inch from the bottom, then cut the top off. Now you are left with the spiny outside and a very flat bottom so it doesn't roll around.

2. Next start cutting off the spiny outside from top to bottom about 1/4 inch in. This way you get most of the seeds out too. Just go around the outside cutting in small strips the outer skin and spines.

3. Then, look at it from the top and you will see the round core in the middle. For chunks begin by cutting large strips one the sides from top to bottom cutting away from the core. You will cut 1/4 of it first then turn it 1/4 turn and cut again straight down, then turn and cut and turn and cut the last bit. This will leave you with a square core if you did it right.

4. Take the large chunks that you just cut and slice them as small as you like. Trim off any outer spines that you didn't get when you "deskined" it.

5. If you want circles then cut the pineapple sideways and then use a small knife to core out the inner core. If you have a small round cookie cutter that will work too but they are very hard to find.