Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fabulous Fall Foods - Recipe 2

This weeks recipe comes from one of the Ravelry groups that I'm in ~ Folklore and Fairtales knitting group. This group is a lot of fun and all kinds of topics have come up in the Autumn knit-a-long thread. One of them is food and Jonna Rose made our mouths water with this recipe. I had to try it and was so not disappointed!

Squash and Sausage Pot Pie

Ingredients: (the ingredients aren't precise, which is just how I like to cook. Go ahead and just dump it in until you feel it's right. It'll be perfect!)
1 med Sugar Pumpkin (our store didn't have any, so I bought a orange globe of a squash that I can't remember the name of. Whatever it was, it was scrumptious!)
1 Shallot
Fresh Sage
Salt and Pepper to taste
Sausage - (I used one package of chicken and apple links and one package of mild Italian)
Olive Oil
Jalapeno Jelly
Pie Crust for a double-crusted pie

Preheat oven to 400. Open pumpkin or other squash, remove seeds and chop pumpkin into cubes. Chop the sage and shallots. Mix together and put into a roasting pan in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes, stir, return to the oven for 10 more minutes.

Meanwhile, cook sausage in a pan on top of stove. When veggie's are roasted, mix the cooked sausage with the vegetables and a few tablespoons of jalapeno jelly.
Use as a filling between the pie crusts.
Bake at 350 until golden brown.

Yummy! I served it with a roasted beet and greens salad with homemade spicy orange vinaigrette salad dressing and french vanilla ice cream topped with homemade blackberry sauce for dessert.

Happy eating!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I Love Fall! Swap

Paula of Coffee Time Stitches, (don't ya just love her name?! heehee), hosted an I Love Fall! swap and I joined right up. It was small and affordable, you just needed to send three fall and/or Halloween themed items to your partner, that was it. Nothing fancy or expensive. I was surprised to find, when my fun package arrived, the Paula was my secret swapper. The package she sent was wonderful, with a pretty leaf tin, a beautiful glass pumpkin and three fun Halloween print fabrics. Perfect! Thanks, Paula!

This is the Spooky Halloween garland that I made for my swap partner, Melinda. I love how it turned out and am going to make a couple more. Easy peasy!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Knocked Up

Becky at Twisted Fenceposthas been doing posts called Wheedle Wednesday. In these posts she says a word and you the reader are to comment with the first thought that comes to mind when you see the word. I'm a slacker and have missed all but the first Wheedle Wednesday, so tonight I tried to catch up. Two weeks ago, the word was 'Knock'. Now when I think of the word knock a funny story comes to mind.

Jeanne, a friend and co-worker of mine in my Wyoming days, was in England to visit family and see some of the land and sights of her ancestry. She had asked at the front desk of her hotel for a wake-up call on the morning of her departure back to the states. Imagine Jeanne's surprise the next morning when there is a sharp rap rap rap and the equivalent of a Towne Crier calls through the door, "I'm here to knock you up!"

Many years later Jeanne still can hardly get the story out through the tears and hoots of laughter that she can't contain. Funny how one simple word can have such a different meaning from place to place. Of course, our version of knocked up is very much slang, and raping on a door to knock someone up really makes a whole lot more sense.

Sharing Our Gifts

One day as I was poking around in Ravelry, I came upon a new group that had just been started ~ Sharing Our Gifts - 50 Projects for 50 States. Sinclair has started this group with the idea of making handmade items for needs in all of the 50 states. I love this project as it benefits people right here in our own country. Go to Sinclairs blog Sharing Our Gifts to read more about it. You can participate in all 50 projects or 1 of them, whatever your heart desires and time allows.
The first project is underway and it's not to late to join. Sinclair is from my home state of Oregon, so this first project is to make hats and/or slippers for men in a veterans home here in Oregon. You can knit, crochet, sew them, whatever you like. Because I'm an Oregonian and it is football season, I'm making 2 hats - one in Oregon Duck colors and one in Oregon Beaver colors.
The link above will take you to the first post about this project, but don't stop there. Visit Sinclair's other posts and see some of the projects that are coming in.
Hope you can join us!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Autumn Equinox

"The sun is rising later now, and nightfall comes more quickly ... The time of the autumn equinox is here, when day and night are approximately equal in length." Quoted from EarthSky website~

Even though it was 90 degrees here at the beach yesterday (an unheard of event in any season!) and we are expecting more of the same for the rest of the week, I say "Welcome Fall! So good to see you!"

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fabulous Fall Foods - Recipe 1

Sweet, crunchy apples, tangy cranberries, luscious pumpkin, savory soups, heartwarming stews, firey chili's ~ all tastes of fall that will soon be upon us with crisp days and crunchy leaves. I love fall for many reasons, but one of the biggest is the foods. So comforting and wonderful to come from a crisp walk into a steamy kitchen full of the smells of fall cooking. This year, I will be sharing recipe's with you, good or bad, once a week. Many of them will be new-to-me recipe's, since I love to experiment and am always trying something new.

Yesterday, I decided to pull some apples out of the freezer that I had chopped and frozen, and I actually still had a bag of local cranberries frozen from last fall. Time to use them! The perfect recipe came in my latest Better Homes and Gardens magazine (October 2009), changed up a little to accommodate my frozen apples and cranberries.

Caramel Apple Upside-Down Cornmeal Cake
(just the name makes my taste buds water!)

6 Tbsp. butter
4 medium apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (here's where I used my frozen apples. I had more than what 4 would yield, but I used them all anyway)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup dried cranberries (again, I used whole frozen and, I love cranberries, so I used a full cup instead of a 1/3, plus I was using more apples than the recipe calls for so I figured it could stand more cranberries as well.)
3/4 cup all - purpose flour
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 cup hot water
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 10-inch oven-going skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add apples; cook and stir 5 minutes or until tender. (because I was using whole frozen cranberries, I added them at this point as well. If you are using dried, follow directions) Remove from skillet. In same skillet combine remaining butter and brown sugar. Cook and stir over medium heat until butter melts. Bring to boiling. Remove from heat. Stir in milk. Sprinkle with pecans and dried cranberries. Arrange apple slices on top.

2) In bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In medium bowl, combine cornmeal, water, and 1/4 cup butter. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture just until combined. Pour over apples.

3) Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Invert; serve warm.
Serves 8

Mine didn't turn out as pretty as the one in the magazine picture, but I attribute that to using more apples and using frozen. They just aren't as pretty. Using more apples and cranberries, the cake itself didn't peek through, but it was still delicious. Served warm with a scoop of vanilla caramel ice cream is even better!


I'd love to hear how yours turned out if you decide to make it. Don't forget to come back and let me know.

Happy baking!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monkey'n Around

Sock Monkeys on their way to Craft Hope for project 4. These guys are going to Southern Cal to hopefully bring smiles to the faces of tiny little burn victims of a camp being put on by Firefighters. I was so excited to find that this particular Craft Hope project was for little one's right here in our own country.
If you want to participate in the next project, don't know what it will be yet, keep an eye on the Craft Hope blog for the details. It's such a good feeling to think that maybe the handmade, with love, projects that we are sending just might make a little one's eyes light up and feel a bit of joy amongst the daily struggles of their little lives.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

September Walking

"September mornings still can make me feel that way...". Parts of this old Neil Diamond song always run through my head this time of year. As a teenager, I had a little 75 of this song with "I'm a Believer" on the flip side. Haven't had it in years, but that song is still right there with me every September. The beginning of fall. The beginning of crispness, and wispy fireplace smoke in the air; apple harvests and warm sweaters.
September in Astoria has not been that way this far. Our average temperature, in the summertime, is in the high 60's, but so far, this September, we are having incredible blue sky days with the temps in the mid 70's and the water sparkling under the sunny skies. Days where you have to get out, take advantage of the blessings Mother Nature is bestowing on us. After work the other day, I grabbed my camera and took myself down to the waterfront. We have a wooden riverwalk that runs the length of our town (I think it's about 4 miles) all along the Columbia River. When you're walking you hear the sounds of footsteps, bike tires and the Trolley's steel tires clanking against the old wooden boardwalk and railroad tracks. Water splashing and sloshing under the piers and against the ancient wooden pilings in the river. Seagulls sqwauking, people talking, laughing, calling for children to keep up, to get away from the edge of the river. Dogs stroll along with us, people sit on the benches, waiting for the Trolley with it's clanging bell to pick them up and carry them farther down the tracks. Ships blast their horns at other ships, greeting them or warning them that they're coming through. The Pilot Boat guns his engine as he makes his way out to help a larger ship through the dangerous channel. The Coast Guard helicopters fly over, keeping our waters and our fisherman safe for another day. As you walk along, different delicious smells from the eateries and brew pubs along the way tantalize your senses. The sound of clinking silverware and music from these establishments tickle your ears. The barking of Sea Lions as they growl back and forth at each other is a source of entertainment, and the never-ending ocean breeze whispers through your hair. A better walk in all the world you will not find. Come along with me today. Open your senses and enjoy our town.

I hope you enjoyed your visit. Thanks so much for walking with me, it's always nice to have a friend or two along to soak in the sites of our little town.

Happy Glorious September All!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

UPDATE: Several people have asked for this pattern. It can be found at Dancing Ewe Yarns as a free download. Simple and quick. Enjoy!

Sluuuuuurp-paaap. Did you hear that? That gigantic sucking noise with the pop at the end is me being sucked into the wonderful Ravelry site. I've been hearing about Ravelry for years, the entire time that I've been blogging and knitting, but for some silly reason I had never even popped over to check it out. That changed recently, and ohmysoul! The yarns, the patterns, the people. I can hardly sleep for wondering what sweet patterns are passing me by on Ravelry. I've already found quite a few, which feeds my yarn obsession 'cause you certainly can't have new patterns without more fabulous yarn. I sure needed more distractions, more patterns, more yarn. How can a girl go to work when there's knitting that needs to be done?? And who could possibly pass up that gorgeous pattern that my new super-dee-dooper-I'm-so-in-love-with-these-reading-mittens came from? Not me, for sure. Fall weather, hurry up. I've got knitting to do and fabulous fall-y Sherwood Foresty fingerless mitts to wear.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Turn the Page.....Thursday?!

September snuck right up on me and Turn the Page Tuesday hosted by Adrienne came right along with it. I believe that August is playing hide 'n seek with me and I may still find it yet. What do you think my chances are? Not real good, I'm guessin'.

Without further procrastination, here is my Turn the Page...well, whatever day it is.

Instead of focusing on just one book this time, I thought I'd take you along to all of the places that my reading took me this past month. Above you'll see a gorgeous English country garden, similar to the garden the I visited thanks to author Sophie Kinsella in The Undomestic Goddess
. We got to meet Samantha Sweet, a high-powered London attorney, and along with her, we had made a high-powered mistake that cost our clients MILLIONS, so a melt-down happened, as those things do, and we boarded a train to nowhere, which turned out to be a sweet country village outside of London. Because of a couple of misunderstandings, Samantha took a job as a housekeeper, not even knowing how to make a piece of toast. It was a funny, delightful read that I enjoyed much more than I thought I was going to. I'd even read it again, which is very rare.

Then, up to the Himalayan mountains, to a remote village called Viscos we go. there we watch a stranger arrive in town with a backpack full of gold bars. Miss Prym is a bartender, the youngest adult in town, as everyone leaves as soon as they are able. The stranger tries to tempt Miss Prym to lead the village in an act of evil in order to prove that no place and no person is all good and that bad will always win out. A very interesting book about the struggle between good and evil. Who will win out in the end? Join author Paulo Coelho to find out in The Devil and Miss Prym.

My daughter, Shilo, had brought me over the Twilight series a month or so ago. I had said that I wasn't going to read them ~ to much hype surrounding that series ~ but she insisted and I finally cracked up
Twilight. Oh My Goodness! I loved it, reading it in just about 2 days. Bella is a junior in high school when she moves from Phoenix to Forks, Washington to live with her Dad. There she meets the beautiful and intriguing Edward Cullen and his equally beautiful foster family. Turns out Edward's a vampire. His family live in this area (and when I say this, I mean this. It's set right here in the Pacific Northwest that we call home. The movie was filmed in and around Portland) Danger and romance ensue, making for a great, fun read. On to New Moon....

Then last, but not least, (come to think of it, none of them were least this month!), comes
Four Souls by Louise Erdrich. In this novel, we meet Fleur Pillager, walking with her from her native Ojibwe reservation to Minneapolis where she is determined to take revenge on the lumber baron who has stolen her families tribal lands, destroyed them and left them. Fleur doesn't count on finding this man a cripple in his own body or the compassion that she feels for him. This story goes back and forth, told through the eyes of the man's sister-in-law and also through the eyes of Fleur's family back on the reservation. Written very well, it has it's moments of heartbreak and stark reality, as well as humour and fun. One of my favorite lines from this story is below, about the love of a woman for a child who was not hers, but can also be said for many, maybe any, other type of love.
"I'd never had the experience of this awed foolishness, this trance. I seemed quite brainless. I heard myself give out coos, hoots, burbles - noises I had never before uttered, animallike and almost desperate. Sometimes I gazed so long into the baby's face that I forgot my own face. Or I touched the shining hands and forgot my own borders, melted skin through skin. As I made my way home each night, I had to remind myself that he was birthed of Madame and Mauser, that I was nothing and no relation. Yet I had given away my own heart, and once that is done there is no easy way to take it back."

Yes, there is no easy way to take it back. So true.

Whew, feel like I just ran a marathon. Four books down in 2.2 seconds. And the crowd goes wild. (Maybe I'm a bit delirious and just need some sleep?)
Where has your reading taken you this month?

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Wild Thing

Meet Toby, wild thing extraordinaire. I apologize for not introducing the newest member of our family sooner. Shilo and Darin brought Tobias, (Toby for short), home several months ago now. He's the sweetest little Boston Terrier pup ever. And wild. To have Toby around is just like having a little one in the house. He cries for his mommy when she leaves, he scatters his toys over the entire house, he demands almost full-time attention and wants to eat every 15 minutes. But cute. Boy is he ever cute.

He was just a tiny thing when they brought him home, so I got to babysit my Granddog quiet often when Shilo had long days at work at Darin, who is a commercial fisherman, was out on a trip. Toby was much to little to be left at home alone, so he'd pack his little suitcase and to Grandma's house he'd go.

Here's a tiny crocheted Toby replica that I made for Shilo. This version is a little quieter and not as rambunctious as the original.

Where'd that cat go?

I didn't get a non-blurry pic, but Toby loves to play with Thomas. He'll bounce and jump at him, chase him around the room. Thomas enjoys it as well, and swats at Toby with his claws in, runs, then comes back for more. It's extremely funny to watch.

He's grown so much in the last couple of months, but he's still a silly little thing. Much fun to have around.