Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Two New Handtowels

I have room in my kitchen drawer beside the trivets, hotpads, and matches for two hanging handtowels.  I can have one on the oven handle, and two in waiting.  And two of them were getting really shabby from hard use!

So I made two new ones and enjoyed myself immensely.  I haven't made hanging hand towels since I let my etsy shop idle down, but I always enjoy a practical project.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Sunday Dinner: Lemon Baked Beefsteak

Remember the easiest roast beef ever?  This recipe is from a different friend (and probably a vintage source based on its name), but it's the same concept and ease.  And so delicious.

Lemon Baked Beefsteak

Season all sides of a 3 lb. beef chuck roast with:
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Lay in roasting pan just bigger than the roast.  Top with:
1 thinly sliced lemon
2 sliced onions

Combine and pour over:
1 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup water or red wine

Cover with lid.  Bake at 350F for 3 hours.  Shred meat with two forks and stir.  Return to oven uncovered for 30 minutes.  Alternatively, omit 1/4 cup water/wine and cook on High in slow cooker for 5 hours.  You can serve the beef with a slotted spoon, or serve it juicily over mashed potatoes, or thicken the juices to be more sauce-like and clinging to the beef.

It would be easy to tweak this recipe any number of ways - use prepared barbecue sauce instead of the ketchup and Worcestershire and eat the beef in buns.  Maybe experiment with swapping out some of the ketchup for red wine and adding an herb like rosemary or thyme. Do you have other ideas?

I put it in the slow cooker this Sunday, so I could bake potatoes in the oven.  Then I made a quick coleslaw when we got home from church.  Too bad the Christmas cookies weren't iced yet, or we would have had dessert as well.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

"People, Look East"

 "Make your house fair as you are able, trim the hearth and set the table.  People, look east and sing today: Love, the Guest, is on the way." - traditional French carol

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Stretching Ground Beef

I've learned to stretch ground beef a bit with no complaints from my family.  I sub in cooked brown lentils for part of the ground beef when it's in a flavorful sauce - such as sloppy joe, spaghetti, or here in the picture, Korean beef.  Here I had doubled the recipe and just eyeballed the amount of cooked lentils to equal another pound of ground beef (I'm guessing 2 cups).  I added the cooked lentils when the beef was mostly cooked.

Bonus tip:  use a potato masher to chop and stir ground beef as it fries because it's much easier than trying to break it up with the side of a spoon.  I also mashed at the lentils a bit, which made them even less discernible in the dish.

However, I'm not trying to hide the beef-stretcher from my family.  They all know that the local organic beef I buy is expensive (but not when you consider our health and the environment!).

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Goodbye, Mullet; Hello, Pixie

 I just up and cut it off this morning while the turkey was roasting. I set Phoebe in her high chair in front of a Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star video on Youtube, and vacuumed her off when I was done.

By the way, I think I have my 15-lb turkey method nailed down:  dry brine (2 Tbsp. kosher salt, 2 Tbsp. sugar, 1 tsp. pepper, 1 tsp. poultry herbs) for 24 hours, bake 425 covered for 1 hour, then 3 hours on 300 (or until nearly done) and uncover last 30 minutes.  My meat thermometer was dead in the drawer when I wanted to test the turkey, but it was delicious and easy, so I'm saving the details.  I'm not scared of cooking big pieces of meat anymore, but I don't do it often enough to remember.

Monday, November 21, 2016

On a November Sunday Afternoon

Genevieve was bored (which drives me crazy - the one day they don't have any chores at all, and are encouraged to relax and play!).  She asked if she could bake cookies, which was perfect because the cookie jar was just emptied recently from the last batch she made.  I love it when items on my to-do list are taken care of by other people!

She chose snickerdoodles, which oddly I have never made before.  But I think they'll go into regular rotation at our house, with a little less sugar.  I always use some all-purpose whole wheat flour in baked goods and reduce the sugar which allows me to consider them a reasonable snack.

Meanwhile, I stayed out of the kitchen and started a new quilt. I can't tell if I like it yet. It's a scrappy trip around the world, and I've loved looking at those finished quilts, but the two blocks I've worked on so far just look strange.  I'm going to persevere because often patchwork transforms into something magical, and I have so many scraps that I'm eager for a quilt to eat up.

The block's looks will improve when it's ironed.

Friday, November 18, 2016

A Little Knitted Vest

As I explained last year, I do not enjoy shoving baby arms (todder arms now!) into sleeves.  Especially two sets of long sleeves.  So I prefer to keep Phoebe warm with vests over long-sleeved shirts.
I found a sweet vest pattern that is knitted on straight needles (easy) but has no seams to sew up afterwards (also easy).  I managed to mis-count my rows, however, so that I ended up with a buttonhole on each side of the yoke.  The yarn is too chunky to just shove a small button through a gap somewhere, so I puzzled and puzzled over what to do.  I'm quite pleased with my solution of a kilt pin through the yoke.

I knit this vest on regular-length knitting needles and constantly had to push push push to get the volume of stitches to stay on the needles.  So I bought a new, extra-long pair of needles, because, yes, I love this red vest so much that I have started another.  This one is a cloudy blue-grey which should make Phoebe's blue eyes even bluer.

For both vests, I bought two 90-yard skeins of Loops & Threads Cozy Wool which is 50% acrylic, 50% wool and comes cheap from Michael's with coupons.

 Again with the blurry photos.  Because she has work to do!  Lots of work taking apart this place and getting into things and getting things out and strewing things around!


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