Friday, February 24, 2012

Update on My Baby Surprise Jackets

Here they are (still works in progress):

BSJ Boy Baby Surprise Jacket 2

The Front of my "Baby Boy" Surprise Jacket. I loved playing with the striping pattern and took notes about where I put my stripes on my Ravelry Project Page.

BSJ Boy Baby Surprise Jacket 1

BSJ Boy Baby Surprise Jacket 4

This is how the jacket looks before the shoulders are seamed - such a cool pattern!

BSJ Girl Baby Surprise Jacket 2

My "Baby Girl" Surprise Jacket makes use of some nice leftover purple wool. I used a different striping pattern for this one and you can see my notes on my Ravelry Project Page.

BSJ Girl Baby Surprise Jacket 1

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Slow Cooker Beefy Lentil Texas Chili

I have been fiddling with my chili recipe for years, and I think I have finally hit upon my perfect combination of ingredients.

Slow Cooker Beefy Lentil Texas Chili

Slow Cooker Beefy Lentil Texas Chili

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb lean ground beef
1 large yellow onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp dark red chili powder
1 cup dry green lentils
2 cups water
2 (14oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 (26oz) can Ranch Style Beans

Heat oil in skillet over med/high heat. Cook onions and beef, mixing in garlic about halfway. When beef is no longer pink, stir in chili powder.

In a 5 to 7 quart slow cooker, mix together remaining ingredients and beef mixture. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 - 8.

Enjoy with tortilla chips, shredded cheese, and sour cream!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Blueberry Sour Cream Muffins

I must be in a baking mood. I go through phases, have you noticed?

Today I made up a second batch (the first batch is long gone) of the best sour cream blueberry muffin recipe I have ever tried, ever.

It is Ina Garten's Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffin recipe.


As always, I have edited the recipe a bit. The original makes 16 muffins and as I have one standard 12-muffin tin... that is how many I wanted to make. I followed her recipe exactly with the following measurements to make just 12 muffins:

1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup sour cream
1/8 + 1/16 cups milk
1 2/3 cups flour
1 1/3 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp baking soda
1/3 tsp salt
1 cup fresh blueberries

The first batch was made with unbleached flour, and the second I made with the white whole wheat from King Arthur Flour. Both turned out lovely, though I do really like the nuttiness of the wheat!

These are real gems - enjoy!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Knitting a Vest for David... Finally.

David's vest is complete! It has been one of those projects that never ends and gets reinvented twenty times over! I purchased the yarn for this project back in 2006, started a sweater pattern, hated it, ripped it out, started another, decided it was too small, ripped it out. I used some of the yarn here and there for other small projects, and then when getting back to making something for my dear, patient husband... decided on a vest.

An easy vest.


The Peter Easy from Berroco to be exact.

I made a few minor modifications to make it even easier. I cast on the front and back together to knit in the round so that I wouldn't have huge seams to sew up in the end.

When I reached the arm shaping, I switched to working on the front and back separately. The decreases around the arms and necks I used were "k1 ssk" for left sides and "k2tog k1" for right sides. This leaves a really nice clean looking edge to pick up stitches for the arm and neck ribbing.


Around the neck, I followed the patterns instructions exactly, but around the arms I only picked up 112 stitches (fewer then recommended). This just seemed the natural number to pick up, and made for nice smooth arm ribbing.


I am very happy with how this turned out (and David is too!) though now I just need to convince him to model it for a photo!!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

February belongs to Elizabeth Zimmerman

Elizabeth Zimmerman is considered the mother of modern knitting. Her books, writings, and videos transformed the way we knit today. She was all about ease of construction and designing patterns with unlimited possibilities.


I am still quite new to EZ as her true fans like to call her, but the more I learn about her, her patterns, and her free-spirited knitting style the more I adore her.

February is her month because of the famous February Baby Sweater from her Knitter's Almanac. This sweater has spun off into an adult size February Lady Sweater, Pullover, and Baby Blanket as well as bonnets, hats, socks, tank tops, scarves and more! You just have to search "February" in the Ravelry patterns to see all the many patterns inspired by that one baby sweater.


This month I am celebrating Elizabeth with my online knitting friends by knitting Elizabeth's famous Baby Surprise Jacket. While the February Baby Sweater has 6,851 documented projects listed on Ravelry, the BSJ has 16,644!


I am halfway through the Schoolhouse Press line by line pattern (the original pattern is written in a conversational way and I was too scared to try to follow it!).


The "surprise" is that the sweater is knitted in all one piece and then folded up in the end to become the sweater! More BSJ posts to come as I plan to knit a girl version as well! Also, just in case you were wondering, David's vest is complete (just sewing in the last few ends), and as soon as I can get him to model it for photos you will get to see my first finished sweater of 2012!

Friday, February 3, 2012

mmmm... Peanut Butter

So, since I am trying to lose some baby weight I whipped up some delicious peanut butter cookie bars this week.


The great thing about these bars is that they are just peanut butter, honey, eggs, and baking soda (with a few chocolate chips thrown on top for good measure). I found the recipe when I was considering making these gluten-free brownies from Elana's Pantry (which I have made before and LOVE... thank you SIL) and noticed that her recipe had been inspired by this Peanut Butter Bar recipe from the Celiac Chicks. I am not gluten-free, but I love the idea of indulging in treats that do not contain white flour and sugar. Plus, I love peanut butter. I really do.

These definitely passed the family taste-test, even my peanut butter loving Grammy thought they were pretty yummy. And seriously, how can you go wrong with a peanut butter - honey combo?? I highly recommend putting the batter in the recommended 9x13 pan... even though it looks like you can squeeze it into a smaller one. These cookies expand big time! But, caution... these are not diet food :)

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