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

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.

15May/130

Fresh Garden Pasta

Most every work day I browse Pinterest. On the days that I skip lunch, I spend all afternoon obsessively looking at recipes. Yesterday was just such a day. I got it in my head that I was going to go home and make old school spaghetti with red meat sauce (Ragu and hamburger) but then this recipe jumped out at me.

I could very easily eat vegetarian meals half of each week. I'd still need bacon and the occasional bit of meat, but I'm fine not having meat with every meal. However, whenever I make some meatless pasta dish, Sparks is all "this would be great with some chicken in it!"

Yesterday being tuesday, I expected him to be shooting pool. However, they had the night off. So, he got stuck eating my meatless dinner. He didn't complain though, not about the meat. His only complaint was that there weren't enough veggies. This is because I looked at the amount of veggies on the pan and decided that I should cook the whole pound of pasta. Bad idea. It still tasted good, but it would have been a lot better had the ratio of veggies to pasta been a bit higher. So, don't do as I did, follow the recipe. At least sort of.

Ingredients
1 cup olive oil, divided
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
5 large plum tomatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large zucchini, cut into ½-inch chunks
2 summer squash, cut into ½-inch chunks
1 small onion, cut into ½-inch chunks
8 ounces whole grain angel hair pasta
¼ cup slivered fresh basil
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine 3/4 cup olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper; mix well. Stir in tomatoes, zucchini, squash, and onion until evenly coated. Place in a single layer on rimmed baking sheets.

Bake 30 minutes, or until tender.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain and place in a large serving bowl. Add roasted vegetables and juices from pan; add basil and toss gently until evenly blended. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

Notes: I changed up the veggies a little. I used a zucchini, a package of button mushrooms quartered, a vidalia onion, and yellow cherry tomatoes halved. It was a very tasty combo!

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10May/130

Fried cabbage

Sometimes when we discuss food that we grew up eating, Sparks laughs and asks how I managed to make it through childhood. There's all sorts of stuff that I didn't have growing up. I didn't eat hamburger helper until I was in my 20s. I didn't have manwich until I started dating Sparks. We just didn't eat that stuff, but I swear I can't remember what we did eat. I remember a lot of soup and burgers but I don't remember much else.

My mom hates to cook, maybe she always did. Now she seems to eat a goodly amount of canned soup. Other than the battles of the peas and lima beans, I can't tell you what I ate as a child. However, I was a fat kid as well as a fat adult, so obviously I was eating something.

Another thing I don't recall eating before (maybe I just blacked out all of the things I didn't like) was fried cabbage. I remember having cabbage rolls a few times, and I just ate the filling and left the cabbage. We also ate sauerkraut with hot dogs, so I guess it's kind of close.

A friend posted this recipe on facebook this week. It sounded good so I gave it a try. I liked it so much that I ate until I was stuffed to the gills.

FRIED CABBAGE WITH polish sausage

This is a quick and easy dish and makes a meal served with cornbread.
3 tablespoons bacon grease
1 small head of cabbage, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 of red pepper if you wanna
1 pound polish sausage, sliced into round pieces (I use smoked sausage)
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
few drops of hot sauce (optional)

Put bacon grease in large skillet. Add cabbage, onion, and red pepper if you use the red pepper and cook on medium high for about 5 minutes stirring to keep from sticking to pan. Add remaining ingredients, cover and simmer for 20 – 25 minutes.
Makes about 8 servings.

The cabbage picked up a lovely bacony flavor, how can you go wrong with that? It was also super easy, the only change I would make is to use the mandolin on the cabbage next time, it was it pretty big chunks. I also left out the red pepper - both because Sparks hates it and Wal-Mart didn't have any other than in 3 packs when I stopped to pick up the cabbage and sausage. This is definitely budget friendly, I got the cabbage and sausage for less than $5 and I already had everything else.

9Apr/130

not dead, I swear

I'm even still crafting! Oh! The crafts! Sock monsters and ceramics and knitted things and tunisian crochet and felted items and hand spun yarn and Big Bob is finally in progress! I rarely take time to post anything more than a quick photo to fb before moving on to the next thing.

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29May/120

Super lemony lemon bars

I got this recipe from my pop, he'd clipped it from the local paper. I made this for a barbecue I attended this weekend and it went over very well. So well that I must now share the recipe.

Lemon Bars

butter for greasing pan
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, divided
3/4 cups powdered sugar, plus more for garnish
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
6 large eggs
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons grated lemon zest

Heat over to 350F. Grease a 9 inch square pan. Combine 2 cups flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add butter and blend with pastry blender or your fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Press into greased pan, pushing dough all the way up the sides.

Bake until edges are golden brown, about 20 minutes, then remove and reduce oven temperature to 315F.

Meanwhile, in another large bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until smooth. Gently stir in lemon juice and zest. (To minimize aesthetically displeasing little bubbles on the top of the bars, avoid whisking further.) Fold in remaining 1/2 cup flour.

Pour egg mixture over hot crust and bake until curd is set and no longer jiggles when you move the pan, 35 to 45 minutes.

Cool thoroughly before cutting into bars. Dust with powdered sugar and serve. Makes 9 servings.

**Now, I did not follow this recipe exactly. I used a 9 x 13 pan, so my bars were a lot thinner and I actually liked them better than the original which were very thick. I kept an eye on the pan both trips through the oven, but didn't note exactly how long I left them in the oven. I also added more zest than it called for, I just zested all of the lemons that I used to get the proscribed amount of lemon juice.

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5Feb/120

Needle case

I've gotten this really bad habit of buying new knitting needles every time I do a new project. This means that I have several of certain sizes. Surprisingly though, I have fewer needles than expected. Today, I made myself a caddy for my knitting needles/crochet hooks. I'm quite pleased. I'm also quite pleased with my sewing machine and the fact that I can sew through 8 layers of fabric without it complaining.

Here's the open caddy:

And here it is all rolled up, with a Moe beside it.

It was a quick project, using fabric from my stash. Yay for not having to purchase fabric!

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25Jan/122

My tinsel scarf

As I have stated elsewhere, I popped into my local yarn shop the other night and saw this really neato demo scarf and declared that I must make it. My yarnmonger gave me a quick tutorial and set me free. I found the yarn rather awkward with my limited knitting skills, but I enjoyed it and am looking forward to making another one.

First, a picture of the finished scarf, wrapped around my neck several times as it is somewhere around 10 feet long.

Next, a picture of a single strand of the scarf. I swear it looks just like this tinsel we had on the Christmas tree when I was growing up.

Now, I have promised Miss Cara a tutorial of sorts and I will do the best I can with the whole 4 inches of yarn I have leftover.

First off, here's the label:

Here's what the yarn looks like:

You are to knit with that little ladder section along the top and keep the rest flat.

I was instructed to use a size five needle. I fear that this may have added to the awkwardness as I am not used to using anything this small. I mostly use an 8 minimum. Also, these are spiffy casein needles and are much slicker than the wooden/bamboo needles I usually prefer.

First up, fold the end over a couple of times and insert your needle, this hides any ugly end on the yarn.

From here on out, I'm going to undo that fold. Ya know, four inches for demo and all....

Pick up the first 5 sections of the ladder:

Next, start knitting into the next section, each ladder section is one stitch:

It's a simple garter stitch from there on out. I've tried to separate a couple of rows to show you what the inner bit looks like, but it's tough to do.

One thing I noticed, my scarf is much more compact than the original demo. Mine is more tinsel, it was more boa. Turns out that when I flipped the label over, there was a pattern. It's quite a bit different than what I did, but I really do like my tinsel scarf. For the next one, I'll most likely try this other pattern.

So, there ya go, my first ka-nitting tutorial. I hope it makes sense. If not, go visit Miss Stephanie at A Tangled Yarn and she will be most happy to show you how to do this. She was kind enough to help me out.

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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.

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23Jan/110

The last January birthday present

My mommy didn't want anything for her birthday, so I'll probably just buy her dinner. Besides, I kind of blew out on her for Christmas.

My friend Dream shares a birthday with my mommy. She's recently become addicted to Angry Birds and I'd thought of making her an Angry Bird plush like I'd seen over at Obsessively Stitching. I'm especially in love with her piggies. However, when it came time to start work on the gift, I just wasn't feeling the birds.

So, I called up her hubby, who clued me in to the fact that she'd been silently coveting the sock monsters. Thanks again, Homes.

It seems that each monster gets more detailed than the last. This one has teeth, a gothy collar, earrings, silly hair and a tattoo. I introduce to you - Fang von Lichtenstein, the Baron Fang von Lichtenstein to you lowly peons.

Why yes, that IS a Horde tattoo. Freehanded even! And here he is with his new person.

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