Dinner salads for a hot evening

I never seem to get enough salad on these hot end of summer days. So today I made two salads for dinner. I use the website Cookie and Kate as a resource and inspiration. Kate has wonderful fresh veggie recipes, I want to jab at the screen with my fork because her photos are so enticing. I don’t always have the exact combinations of ingredients for the recipes, so I use them as a jumping off point. Here is what I made tonight.

Kale and veggie salad and Quinoa tabouli

I had to pull it all together pretty quickly because I told my trainer, Ben that I would show up for boot camp at six, only an hour to pick stuff from the garden, pull out the veggie drawer in the fridge and chop, chop, chop.  I don’t want Ben to think I’m lame and lazy; I already know that I am, I want to keep him fooled as long as possible so I have to go.

I raided the garden for tomatoes, basil, parsley and mint.

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Rinsed my quinoa and started it cooking.  You have to rinse quinoa before cooking it, otherwise it can taste bitter. How do I know this? I am lazy and one time I didn’t rinse it and it didn’t taste as yummy. 

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I also started blanching my frozen edamame. I  didn’t have shallots that were called for in the recipe, but I found a half a red onion in the fridge and some sugar snap peas.  This time I used the tuscan kale, cutting the leaves away from the tough ribs and chopping the kale into bite sized pieces.  Using my hands I scrunched the kale a bunch to tenderize it.  Added the rest of the bag of shredded carrots I found in the veggie drawer. 

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I added the sugar peas to the edamame at the last minute just to briefly blanch, and ran them under cold water. 

Here is the kale, carrots and onion getting friendly and blending flavors. Oh, and I tossed in the minced basil too,.

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I mixed put the dressing: minced ginger, and cilantro both from a tube I keep in the freezer, a bit of garlic, rice vinegar, soy sauce and olive oil.  I set this all aside with the two ripe avocados ready to cut and mix just before we eat. 

Now the quinoa for the tabouli is done and I set it out to cool and started chopping the veggies. cucumber and red onion go into the bowl.  

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I chopped the tomatoes into small dice, and minced the parsley and mint and tossed it all together.  I raided the lemon tree for a couple of fresh lemons and squeezed them all over the salad, added salt, pepper, a bit of minced garlic, olive oil and a dash of red wine vinegar. Then I quickly shoved the salads into the fridge and threw on my workout clothes and ran to the gym.

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Back from bootcamp and freshly showered I chopped the avocado and added it to the kale salad tossing with the dressing. Then stirred the quinoa salad and garnished it with a couple of sprigs of mint and voila…dinner

 

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Rose and Brian ate leftover pizza with the salads, but I savored the freshness of the salads with a nice glass of Prosecco. yum

 

 

sometimes you need something cute

Our high school is participating in the 1:1 computing program for students. This year  each student received a Google Chromebook with a case to protect it.  We are an Apple family and Rose was disappointed that they didn’t all get MacBooks, though it seems the Chromebook is easier to integrate and much less expensive and for many families, this is their student’s first computer. They are small and cute and have a touch screen. They have many social sites blocked so the kids won’t all be on Twitter and Instagram but then they still all have their phones. However, the case doesn’t fit that well, you have to jam the computer into it and squeeze to get it zipped closed, so Rose asked if I would knit a quick sleeve for hers, and “can you get it done by Tuesday when school starts?”

So we perused my stash and found a couple of balls of yarn that were part of a gift bag from a Mindful Knitting retreat I went to back in 2006. Pink and grey, really soft and just the right weight. I swatched a little to figure out how many stitches I would need to go around the computer. I only had to rip it out once before I got it right.

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I decided to use this project to learn a new technique that I have been meaning to figure out for a while. The Jogless Join. This is where you can change colors while knitting in the round without an obvious “jog” in the stripe. It’s pretty simple once you actually try it.  Here you can’t even tell where the old row ends and the new row begins.

Then we decided we would make the stripes in the Fibonacci series, since this was for school and she’ll be taking calculus and physics and all. I was impressed that she could tell me the code for the series. 1,2,3,5,8,13,21…..  you add the two previous numbers together to get the next value in the series.

The deadline turned out to be no big deal since Tuesday night was a rare slow night in the ER and I wasn’t assigned to the trauma zone.  Therefore I could knit while I watched my admitted patients sleep.

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You can see the Fibonacci stripes marching out nicely, then in reverse so as to use roughly even amounts of each color. The pattern will be available on my revelry page soon.

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If you look closely you can see where the new color joins on each stripe, the beginning of the round moves over to the left one stitch each time. but overall I think it looks better.

The finished product with a garter stitch open edge to prevent curling.  Rose is happy and as soon as she showed her friends they immediately wanted one too. A sure sign of success with teenagers.

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My Candace Shell

I’m trying to work my way through my stash before I spend more money on yarn. I can’t remember what I planned to make with this particular yarn, It is Sirdar Spree, a bulky weight mostly cotton yarn. I made the Candace shell with it, just using about 3 skeins of the wight that I have. You can see it on my Ravelry page here. It was a quick knit on size US 10 needles. The pattern uses 13’s but I must knit extremely loose, I kept going down a size and knitting a swatch and still getting too few stitches per inch.  It will be a great top to wear for the rest of the summer.  IMG_5269IMG_5545  IMG_5376 IMG_5375 IMG_5516 IMG_5543 IMG_5542

 

I might have liked a little shaping at the waist, even with the vertical ribbing, I find the bulky yarn just makes me look bulky too. The yarn is not that fun to knit with because it splits very easily, and catches on everything. The pattern itself fits me perfectly though, I knit it in the second size, The colors will look great with my linen pants. Now on to the next project, another sweater with some more stash yarn or a wrap with the rest of this yarn? 

 

 

What is normal?

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Because it is totally normal that mom and daughter are sitting beside each other knitting in matching dresses.

India bag is done and packed!


Just in the nick of time. I got all the facing stitched down this afternoon. I opted to just stitch the strap onto the bag rather than use some hardware to make it adjustable. I am so pleased, it is roomy with lots of pockets inside and a soft cushy strap.
So Bon voyage my knitty friends. I’ll blog when I get back. I wonder if there are yarn shops in India?

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India bag almost done


Ooh I’m on a roll. Thanks to my knitting buddy Char. She knit the connecting gusset piece, so I have spent the last couple morings assembling, desiging as I go. This photo shows the inside of the bag with 2 bottle pockets, a large front pocket and 2 smaller pockets along the back. After I attached all the pockets to the lining pieces I sewed the knitted sections onto the lining. I reinforced the gusset with a long strip of wide twill tape. It will be integrated into the strap but I haven’t figured out exactly how yet. Then I sewed all the sections together and bound all the raw edges with gosgrain ribbon. I faced the strap with another length of wide twill tape, sandwiching some polyfill in there for cushioning. Now I just have to figure out how I am going to attach the strap. Maybe some hardware.
Sorry only 1 photo in this post. Soon I will post photos of the whole process in case any of you want to make one of these bags. T minus 38 hours till we are in the plane!!!! 4 more hours left of my shift and I am officially on vacation!! Yay. I’m just a little excited, I love travelling to new places. India is going to be a wild experience.

India bag 2


I’m making progress. The front piece is done. The back piece with flap has just a few more inches. And my good buddy and faithful reader, Char is pitching by knitting the gusset. Wonder what I should use to line the bag? Khaki? Maybe some old jeans that already have pockets to fit with the whole recycle theme?

Am getting very excited about the trip. The passports with visa stamps arrived. We are taking our doses of Typhoid vaccine. And I ordered the adapter for my iPhone charger. I’m taking my sock club socks to knit, and a thick book for the plane.

Departure in 9 days. 😀

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India bag


Joe and I are making a trip to India in a couple of weeks and I’ve been trying to figure out what bag to take with me. I have a large backpack and many totebags but none of them seems quite right. I plan to take my big camera, my knitting, my iPhone and a moneybelt. I’m not taking the laptop (aaaahhh). I’m told there are many Internet cafes around. Anyway, I had these balls of yarn made from recycled saris that I bought at stitches LAST year. It would make a perfect messenger bag. So I started searching for a pattern. There are lots of patterns for felted bags but not much for what I have in mind. So I am making it up. I started with the strap 12 stitches on size 7 needles in garter stitch gave me a 3 inch wide strap. Then I used that guage to figure that 60 stiches ought to give me a 15 inch wide bag. So here is what I have so far. I like the density of the fabric. It seems sturdy. I plan to line the bag and put pockets on the inside. Now the question is, do I have enough time between now and our departure to get the bag done. Or will I be at REI on the last day franically looking for something that fits my idea.
Stay tuned

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Rose gets slippers

I have knit a couple pair of felted slippers for Brian. I knit three more pair before I got one to come out right for Joe.  (luckily one of those pair fit me, so I got some too) And now finally I finished some felt slippers for Rose.  She didn’t want the clogs that I have been making so I had to search for a more stylish pattern. I found one at French Press Knits that are just like the flats she wears to school every day. Rose picked out some hot pink yarn for her slippers.  They are knit in sections, two soles, four uppers and two flaps. The soles and uppers are sewn together before they are felted except for the flaps.  They are felted separately and sewn on later with the buttons. Here are the prefelted slippers. It never ceases to amaze me that these huge ugly pieces of knitting turn into something adorable after being felted!

I have had good luck felting in my front loading washing machine, set for a hot wash with no spin.  I throw in a pair of old sneakers for a little wool abuse, then squeeze out the excess water with a rolled up towel. Then I let them dry overnight on the stove (off, of course!). Our old gas stove has pilots that put out a fair amount of heat for drying dishes and felting projects.

 
That blue thing in the back is a small envelope purse I made for an evening bag. I want to decorate it with needle felting and beads as soon as I can get around to it. More photos of that when I get to it.
I went through my old button jar with Rose and we picked out some cute leather buttons. Voila! Here are her happy feet in nice warm slippers.
 
Next a pair for Pat. I may have to make them look like Birkenstocks to get him to wear them!

Pot scrubbie


For years we have used the pot scrubbers from Trader Joe’s that have a sponge inside a wirey plastic cloth. They have gone the way of so many of my favorite things, no longer available. Since I already make our kitchen dishrags I was mulling over how to knit a scrubber from old plastic bags. We don’t have many of those any more, we carry our own bags. But it suddenly occurred to me to try plastic lanyard.
Here is my test swatch I whipped out before dinner. I knit it with plastic lanyard held with a strand of sugar and cream cotton. I had to piece together a few lengths of the lanyard since our craft box only had scraps. The family will test it on the dishes for awhile and see how it works and holds up. I will keep you all posted.