Saturday, June 25, 2011

Fiber goodness

I haven't been spinning much.  (Yarn.  I spin yarn.  Not an exercise class.)

In fact, the last time I spun was late January.  Life (and work - lots of work) got in the way.  Now that we are into the summer routine (and on a bit of a work travel break) I busted out Victoria.  Luckily, she wasn't mad at me and we had a wonderful experience spending time together in the evening this past week.

Kaleidoscope (BFL and Tussah silk; 4 oz) from Spinning Awesome Good.

One of the singles before plying.

Approximately 500 yds (fingering weight), two ply.

Now, the great decision of what to make.  We all know I am rather partial to socks, so that is always an option.  Of course, this could become a lace shawl/stole.  Scarves are always an option also.  Feel free to voice your opinion.

The garden is zooming along.  We had a fabulous "mess" of snow peas this week.  In short order, we are going to have various tomatoes out our ears.  (We are looking forward to it.)  Several batches of fresh pesto have also been consumed.

The potted perennial herbs are also very happy.  Cooking this time of year is a thrill.

Bonus shot:

Photo shoot supervisor.  She takes her job VERY seriously.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

How do you know it has been a great weekend?

Happy Father's Day to all the men who make a positive impact on children young and old!  I have been blessed with a father who taught me to be self-confident, a problem solver, head strong and stubborn.  The greatest impact my father had was providing me a shining example of how fulfilled a person with a strong faith can be, no matter their circumstances.  I have acquired a fabulous father-in-law.  Of course, my spouse is a GREAT father to our offspring.  I can't imagine our lives without the offspring and the joy (and trials) of watching him grow into a young man.  Love you honey!

So, back to the question at hand.  How do you know it has been a great weekend?  At our house, a solid sign is running a full dishwasher three times in two days!  It has been a wonderful weekend of family time and food.  (These two generally go hand-in-hand at our house.)

I baked a loaf of Italian Hearth Bread in my covered baker.  We grilled some of the bread with our dinner last night (grilled chicken tenderloins, grilled corn, grilled squash, grilled bread).  Leftover bread was used for grilled provolone sandwiches for lunch (with fresh peaches and raspberries).

Today's dinner included roasted pork loin (seasoned with Northwoods Fire), roasted tri-colored potatoes, capress, and banana cupcakes.  The potatoes were thrown together and wonderful!  I cut the potatoes in half (or quarters for the slightly larger ones) and placed them in a gallon ziplock bag with a generous slug of extra virgin olive oil.  I combined (approximate proportions) 1 T white wheat flour, 1 T cajun seasoning, 2 t dried mustard, 2 t kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper.  I tossed the seasoning mix in with the potatoes then dumped them in a shallow baking pan.  I roasted them at 350F in a convection oven for approximately 50 minutes.

The banana cupcakes were very good.  I thought the buttercream frosting was a bit much, but the day's honoree wanted a lot of frosting.  His thoughts: "They taste like fluffy banana bread."  I think a sprinkle of chopped walnuts would be a nice touch on the frosting next time.

News from the needles:

I finished a pair of Hedera in Jojoland Melody (colorway MS29).  I quite like them.  There is another pair of socks on the needles for a "walking around project" in my purse.

In the meantime, I am in the mist of some spinning.  I'll update more when it is finished.  It is nice to finally have the time to pull out my Louet Victoria.  I have missed spending time with her.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Kitchen workhorse - example A

Well over 15 years ago, my in-laws gave me a Cuisinart 11 cup food processor.  I was in grad school at the time and we definitely did not have the cash laying around to make such a purchase.  I was asked to dream big for my Christmas list.  I did.  I felt a rush of emotions when I opened my present.  Simultaneously, I was excited to have such a great piece of kitchen equipment and guilty about them spending money on me.  (I'm one of those folks who loves to buy/make other people presents, but would be happier if they didn't give me a present in return.)

After all these years, the Cuisinart 11 cup is still hanging in there!  I use it at least once a week.  (I also have a Cuisinart mini-prep that is 17 years old and still ticking.  I did replace the blade assembly about 10 years ago due to a crack forming in the collar of the assembly.)  I L.O.V.E. this machine.  I have made a lot of yeast bread dough over the years.  "Kneading" is a snap in a good food processor.  Four, 10 second burst and you are done!  The food processor works best for single loaf baking.  When I plan to make 2-3 loaves at once, I switch to the standing mixer.  Yeasted sweet doughs (such as cinnamon rolls) are a tad heavy for even a strong food processor.  (Back to the stand mixer.)

I have yet to meet someone who hasn't loved their Cuisinart food processor.  I'm not sure that the 7 cup model would be adequate for a family.  While I often covet the 14 cup model, the 11 cup model has performed superbly for our family.  (I have really given it a workout too.)

As the summer progresses, quarts of pesto, pounds of yeast bread/pizza/bread stick/focaccia dough, plenty of cheesecakes (I'll share this later), homemade panko, etc will run through "the little engine that could".

If you are ranking your kitchen "wish list", a Cuisinart food processor is a very good investment.  If mine dies, I will immediately replace it.

Update from the needles:

I have been very busy knitting.  A pair of Skew Socks in Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Select (colorway: Silver Streak) have gone out the door to a good home.  (At least it better be a good home.  They know I will take the socks back.)

I have also knocked out two scarves in Flounce.  True confession:  I don't like the stuff.  I'm not a "give me a ruffly scarf and I'll be happy" kind of chick.  One is for a friend (she loves it) and the other has gone into the scarf present stash.

I bought the Flounce when I stopped at Knitted Together.  As always, they were an absolutely wonderful local yarn store I stumbled upon during work travel.  They also helped me out of a work-related shipping pinch to boot.  When everything seemed to be unraveling as I was heading to the airport (unraveling in the shipping department, that is), I just knew the local yarn store would be able to help me out!  Thanks folks!  It is wonderful to be a part of the eclectic, kind, helpful, accepting fiber arts community!

Side note: a certain UPS store in that area will soon be on the receiving end of one VERY nasty letter.