Demented Ramblings life is too short to refrain from eating jam out of the jar

13Oct/140

Salt crusted potatoes

Recently, on some cooking show or other, (I watch a lot of them) we saw salt crusted potatoes. On friday, we attempted them. Super easy and very yummy.

Start with some small potatoes. I think that the recipe I found called for fingerlings. I used some sort of small golden potato that Kroger had. Put them in a saucepan with enough water to cover and a handful of kosher salt. Boil until done, then pour off most of the water and return to heat. Continue cooking (but watch so they don't burn) until the water has all evaporated and the salt is sticking to the potatoes. Scrumptious!

The recipe I found called for brushing off most of the salt. We didn't do that. We also didn't make up any sort of weird sauce to go with. We just ate them with a little butter.

I will definitely have to remember this one, it was so easy.

31Jan/140

The wire core bracelet tutorial

A livejournal friend asked me how I go about spinning wire. I took photos of the whole process from wire to bracelet. There are a million pics under the cut.

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21Jan/140

the spun wire bracelet

A few weeks ago, I saw a very lovely bracelet in one of the fiber/spinning communities on facebook.  I loved it and thought that surely I could replicate it.  I watched a couple of videos on youtube about spinning fiber onto a wire core.  That was my project for the last Second Saturday Spin-In.  Spinning onto a wire core isn't really as tough as I thought.  The only snag is getting the fiber to catch as you start spinning.  But once it's started, it goes pretty easily.  I used a "demented batt" from my local yarn seller/dyer, Lunabud Knits.    It has lots of colors and sparkles in it so it makes for a crazy yarn.

Then, I went to my local bead shop, Dandelion Bead Connection, and asked the owner of the shop for some help on what to use as a core and how to attach my hardware.  He helped me out immensely.  I sat down on Sunday and attacked the project.  It was surprisingly simple!

For starters, I created my "core".  The guy at the bead shop had given me a giant black rubber o-ring, like 8 mm diameter and 4 feet long.  I cut off enough to go around my wrist.  Then, I used the dremel to drill some tiny holes though the rubber about 1/4 inch from each end.  I secured my wire into these holes and created small rings on each end.  it didn't matter that they were ugly, the fiber wire covers them up!  Once each end had a loop, I started wrapping the bracelet with the fiber covered wire.  This process is a bit tedious and gives me a cramp in my hand but isn't difficult.  I just had to be sure to wrap it tightly.  As you can probably see, my "yarn" was a bit thicker in some spots than others.  That just adds to the beauty, I think.  Once the bracelet was wrapped, I put a wee bit of glue on each end just to keep it from unraveling.  Then I used split rings to attach a clasp.  I like the toggle clasps best for bracelets.  I find them easier to connect one handed than the others.

My only regret(?) about this bracelet is that the o-ring is a bit more rigid than I would like.  It is kind of stiff feeling on my wrist.  I think that once I've used up all of my o-ring supply (I have enough to make a half dozen or so bracelets) then I will try flexible tubing.

I enjoyed this project so much that I may make a handful of these in the coming weeks.

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27Oct/130

40 garlic chicken

I've got a chicken in the crockpot, it's been going for a couple of hours, still needs a couple. For the first time I am trying it without adding a lot of liquid to it. My friend Mari is the one who told me that I could do a whole chicken in the crockpot. We just didn't use one when I was a kid. But a few years ago, just after she'd told me about cooking a whole chicken in one I was at Meijer and they had this crockpot on sale for $10 and whole chickens were on sale that week too! Kismet!

Anyhow, whenever I make chicken in the crockpot, I will throw in a few cloves of sliced garlic. We love garlic around here! Today, I was reminded of the first time I made "garlic chicken".

I was either 18 or 19. Mom and Dad hadn't been split up for too long, so I hadn't been the chief cook for very long. I was still feeling my way through things and learning. Heck, I'm STILL learning, I always will be. I like learning new stuff, especially about food.

It was Christmas day and it had snowed something like 12 inches overnight. The roads were a nightmare. So, instead of making the traditional trip to my Gran's house (90 minutes each way over very curvy mountain roads) I decided to stay home. This was an unheard of luxury for me. It might have been the very first time I'd ever missed Christmas with the whole famn-damily.

I looked through the cookbook for something that I could do with a couple of chicken breasts for dinner since I had a bag full in the freezer. I found a recipe for something along the lines of "40 garlic chicken". In those days I had not yet discovered fresh garlic. The only garlic I'd ever used was the dried/powdered kind. You see where this is going, don't you?

I read on the bottle that blah blah teaspoons equals a clove of garlic. I used enough of the dried crap to be 40 cloves worth and covered the chicken with it and put in the oven. I have to say, that was pretty gross. We didn't eat very much of it, that's for sure. *laughs*

I've come pretty far since then. Now I'm almost never without a bulb or three of fresh garlic in the house and I only use powdered garlic when I'm making a seasoned flour for coating something. I don't even keep the pre-chopped stuff in the fridge anymore. (it has a slightly pickled flavor that I don't care for)

My chicken smells great, I am looking forward to it being done.

17Aug/130

constant craving

I find myself craving Mexican food very often. Sometimes though, I really just want margaritas, the food is secondary. Yesterday was one of those cases. I had talked to the boyfriend about going out for tacos and when he asked me why I wanted to go I had to admit that I really just wanted a margarita. So, we decided to cook at home.

I love pinterest, especially since I have it on my phone. I can pin two or three recipes and pull them up on my phone much more quickly than if I'd had to bookmark or remember all the sites. I decided that I wanted to make steak tacos with Mexican street corn and grilled pineapple.

I started with a flat iron steak. I knew I was going to make chimichurri sauce to go with, so I wanted something that would complement that. I marinated the steak in lime juice, garlic, onion, salt, olive oil, cilantro stems (they have as much flavor and save the leaves for the chimichurri) and a little vinegar. I sort of based my marinade on the carne asada recipe on this page. I let that marinate for an hour before the boyfriend threw it on the grill. I made a chimichurri sauce based on this recipe and set that to the side.

If someone had told me 5 years ago that I would ever eat mayonnaise on corn, I would have told them that they were crazy. I credit my best friend for introducing this wonderful thing to me. I found a recipe for street corn on the same page as the carne asada. I was also eyeballing the crema de chipotle recipe on that page but decided that I didn't need two sauces for my beef. Instead, I took that idea and mixed it with the street corn idea. I mixed chipotles in adobo with lime juice and mayo. It was very tasty and had a sneaky afterburn. This we not only smeared on the grilled corn, but also a little on the steak tacos.

Finally, I sliced some fresh pineapple and the boyfriend grilled that, too.

So, we had carne asada tacos with chimichurri, grilled pineapple and Mexican street corn. Also a large pitcher of margaritas. I made the margaritas from scratch, I juiced so many limes that I got a cramp in my elbow! I think I'll stick to the margarita mix in the future - we like it more.

Tonight, we're having an almost repeat of last night. This time will be chicken though. I had leftover tortillas, pineapple, chimichurri, chipotles in adobo, and corn. I'm looking forward to it after last night's raging success.

20Jun/130

A week of good eating!

I've cooked three times since Saturday and everything has turned out great! There's been a lot of happy belly rubbing in our house. On Saturday, I made chicken fajitas with Pioneer Woman's Pico de Gallo and guacamole. On Tuesday, I tried a pasta dish I found linked on Facebook and on Wednesday I made the Mexican Jambalaya my bff texted to me. I thought I'd share those recipes.

11Sep/110

A new direction…

I've been busting out the Trip Around the World quilts for years now. They're super quick and easy and make a pretty, colorful quilt. However, I'm tired of the design. Each quilt is as pretty as the last, but I'm just ready to move on to something new. On the other hand, I didn't want some super detailed pattern that would take hours to make one block. I found a cute, easy pattern the other day while browsing the craft blogs and thought it would be fun to try.

My color choices for this one were inspired by a quilt by Rachael Adele creations, otherwise known as my dear cousin Mindy.

Here's the finished top:

The pattern was easy to follow and not terribly time consuming. At least, I didn't notice the time passing. Here's the pattern I used.

As for the back, I'm still thinking about what I want to do there. I've found myself really drawn to quilts without a plain backing. I've been really drawn to the ones with a row of small rectangles across the back. That may be what I do, but for now, I'm going to let it sit while I consider my options.

5Sep/110

a long hiatus from creativity

I've let the depression rule my life for the last several months. However, in August I started feeling better and cleaning the house. Now that I had a nice clean craft table, I decided that it was time to put it to use.

Several months ago, my cousin mentioned to me that her youngest child would love one of my baby quilts, even though she is hardly a baby anymore. She told me that the kiddo loves pink and yellow. I found the perfect fabric in my stash and as I dug through I found that I had already put a top together with just that fabric. Joy!

Tonight, I finished it up. This is also the first quilt I've done on the Viking Rose that I bought from my auntie. I have to say, it's a danged nice machine. There's some puckering in the back, but that's more due to me using a basting spray instead of pinning everything really well. I don't think I've had a quilt not pucker in the back ever. It's the nature of the beast.

I was quite pleased though with NOT having to fight with a machine for the first time ever. I may not have figured out all of the bells and whistles, but this thing sews a straight line like a dream!

Here's the finished quilt:

I hope the recipient likes it as much as I do.

Next up - I think I'll work on a sock monster! But first, I must sleep.

Filed under: Crafts, Quilts No Comments
21Jan/110

I think I have a little problem

So, I have been thinking for the last few days about starting a new quilt. Digging for fabric in the closet led me to digging out all of the fabric in the closet. But this is not all of the fabric that I have. There is some in the cedar chest of doom, but I knew it wouldn't go with the fabric I'd already chosen as my inspiration.

First surprise, I found an already assembled top in the Trip Around the World pattern, using the exact yellow fabric which was my inspiration. Obviously, something had drawn me to it.

I kept digging to see what else I could find. Oh kiddies, your Ysha is quite ashamed of herself. I sorted the fabric into non-quilting, cotton and flannel. And like I said before, this isn't all of it. I know there's half a bolt of the green dragon flannel left from MY quilt in the cedar chest and the fabrics that I used when starting Boo's quilt are in a bin.

I spread the flannels out so that I could see what was there. I couldn't fit it into one photo on wide angle (ok, I was sitting in the floor right next to it, I might could have if I'd backed up). It took three frames and I still may have missed a few. In my defense, I bought most of this several years ago at JoAnn on Black Friday for $1 a yard. But this is still a silly amount of fabric.

I didn't even spread the cottons out, I just left them in their nice little pile, there's not nearly as many of those.

This doesn't even count fat quarters and other such things.

SomeONE (me) needs to get cracking on some baby quilts this year. Even if I never branch out from the Trip Around the World, I need to work some of these up and find homes for them.

15Jan/110

Whatever happened with all that pink fabric?

Obviously, I couldn't just post a picture of it last week, I wanted to keep it under wraps until the birthday girl had seen it.  And usually it's my rule that the recipient must see the gift before the intarwebs at large.  Tho' sometimes, if you see me in real life, I'll show you a sneak preview pic on my phone.  I had trouble keeping quiet about this one, I was so proud of the results.

I will have to give a thank you shout out to my friend Homes, who not only pushed me away from a skull necklace and toward pearls (much more Mimi) he also recommended a tutu.

Without further hubbub, I give you - Miss Penelope Jean, the pink hippo or pippo.

Here she is, on the guest bed, chilling with Lenore, giving you a good view of her sparkly pink eyes and the huge fluff that is her tutu.  I love how one ear lies down and one stands up, she demanded to be that way no matter how much I argued that her ears should both do the same thing.  It gives her pizazz.

Showing off her pearls.

And with her new person, I believe they will be a good match.  Mimi seems quite happy.

Usually, I don't name my creations, I allow the recipient to do that.  But Penelope whispered her name to me while I was sewing her together.  But maybe she'll whisper a different name to Mimi and her name will change.

Except for the buttons that I used for her eyes and nostrils, and a little bit of fleece for the tail, everything that went into this project came from my craft stash.  Some of this fabric I'd been hoarding for years waiting for just the right project to come along.  It did.