Friday, November 30, 2012

Celebration Scarf

Some day I will have a few alpaca's of my own. In the meantime, I'm enjoying knitting this scarf with beautiful, soft, alpaca yarn!


SUPPLIES: 2 skeins of 2 different colors of Classic Alpaca superfine yarn (110 yards per skein); US #11 needles

NOTE: One strand of each color are held together throughout.

NARROW RIB:
CO 28 sts. Mark front side of piece. Work k2, p2 ribbing for 6" ending with the front side marker facing to begin the next row. Begin wide rib pattern.

WIDE RIB:
Row 1: K2, p2, k4, p4, k4, p4, k4, p2, k2
Row 2: P2, k2, p4, k4, p4, k4, p4, k2, p2.
Work in wide rib for approximately 45" ending with row 2.
Work the narrow rib pattern for 6". Bind off all sts.

FINISHING: Weave in loose tails. Lay flat and block with a warm iron and damp cloth to st the ribs.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cleaning your Dishwasher

To clean the inside of your dishwasher, fill the detergent cups with whichever one of these four products you have on hand:

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • few tablespoons powdered laundry bleach
  • Tang or lemon-flavored Kool-Aid (lemon is the only flavor that works)

Then run the empty machine through the complete cycle.

And here's a cleaning tip I learned from my niece, Elizabeth, when she lived with me. Put your dish drainer in the dish washer every once in a while to make sure it's germ free! Yes, Liz, is a germ-a-phobe - learned some of my best cleaning tips from her! And boy, was my house clean while she lived here!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tomato Soup with Dumplings


Ingredients:
  • 1 can tomato soup (10-3/4 ounces)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 6 tablespoons flour

Directions:

  1. Simmer soup and milk on stove. 
  2. Beat eggs. Add teaspoon milk. Slowly mix flour and pepper into milk until very thick. 
  3. Bring soup to a boil. 
  4. Dip spoon in soup so it is hot. Drop 1/2 teaspoonful dumpling mix into soup. Continue until dumpling mix is gone. 
  5. Cook 3-4 minutes.


From the kitchen of Larry Mey

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Top 10 tips for getting organized!

I thought I would share some tips on getting organized. I'm a pretty organized person and it comes naturally to me. But I know that isn't the case for everyone. So, if being organized is a total mystery to you, here's a little help!

  1. Start by making a list.
  2. Keep your list reasonable for what you can actually accomplish today. If you write down everything you ever wanted to get done around the house you will be so overwhelmed you won't even start! Keep your list to the top 10 things you really need to do now. 
  3. If you get a task done that isn't on your list, add it to the list, and cross it off. No really, do it! It makes a difference in how you feel about your whole day.
  4. Decide in advance what your reward will be if you complete everything on your list. Keep the reward in perspective and make sure it's a healthy reward. If you struggle with overeating, don't reward yourself with food. If you tend to overspend, don't reward yourself with a new toy. Instead, think about healthy things that you really enjoy. Treat yourself to a 10 minute nap, or go for a walk with a friend, or soak your feet in a soothing Epsom salt bath. In the beginning you might want to reward yourself with something small after you accomplish just 3-5 things on your list.
  5. Tackle one room or area at a time. If you want to clean your entire house start with just the living room or kitchen. Once you have accomplished that you will feel motivated to keep going.
  6. Don't leave all your work for the weekend. Try to tackle one small project each day after work. If you want to thoroughly clean the kitchen by the end of the week, start with cleaning the refrigerator one night, then your junk drawer the next night, and so on.
  7. Find a buddy to hold you accountable. If your buddy is willing - ask her to help you clean your kitchen one week and then offer to help her clean her's the next week. It's more fun if you're doing chores with someone else!
  8. If paperwork is your problem, touch papers only once. When you bring in the mail, open it immediately, throw out all the junk mail in the recycling bin, put the bills in the "to be paid" folder, and relax for a minute and read the "good" mail!
  9. If you're a pack-rat, set some rules for yourself about what you can and can't keep. For example, rather than saving every piece of artwork your child ever created, give yourself permission to keep 3-5 of the best or most meaningful pieces and take pictures of the rest to save them electronically or in a scrapbook.
  10. Every time your purchase something new and bring it home, make yourself get rid of one old item! Give it to a friend, to Goodwill, or to a neighbor in need.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Irish Christmas Traditions

My family is celebrating an Irish Christmas this year. Here's what I've been able to uncover about Irish Christmas traditions. What do you know about how the Irish celebrate Christmas?

THE CANDLE IN THE WINDOW: The placing of a lighted candle in the window of a house on Christmas Eve is an Irish tradition that dates back to ancient laws of hospitality towards strangers. The candle was a symbol of welcome to Mary and Joseph as they traveled looking for shelter. To have a light in your window on Christmas Eve to welcome the stranger meant that you were welcoming the Holy Family too. To have no light meant that you shared the guilt of the Innkeeper at Bethlehem who said, “No Room!” Tradition says that the candle should be lit by the youngest member of the household and only be extinguished by a girl bearing the name 'Mary'. The candles are usually red in color, and decorated with sprigs of holly.

STOCKINGS: Stockings for the children are filled with apple, orange, tangerine and chocolate coins.

SANTA: It is tradition to leave mince pies and a bottle of Guinness out as a snack for Santa. Children in Ireland are accustomed to finding presents left by Santa in their bedrooms, often in a sack at the foot of the bed. An occasional big gift may be left under the Christmas tree, but it’s usually unwrapped.

HOLLY: The placing of a ring of Holly on doors originated in Ireland as Holly was one of the main plants that flourished at Christmas time and which gave the poor ample means with which to decorate their dwellings. No Irish home would be complete without holly. Holly grows wild in Ireland and is used to decorate the entire house. The Celtics believed holly represented life and rebirth. The evergreen leaves symbolized life during a time when all else was bare and the red berries represented the coming of spring. With the coming of Christianity to Ireland the berries took on a new meaning, new life in Christ. One charming folklore says holly is put out as a kind gesture to tiny fairies who might use it as a hiding place to come in out of the cold.

ST. STEPHEN’S DAY: St Stephen's Day, the day after Christmas, is almost as important as Christmas, with football matches and celebrations. St. Stephen is the patron saint of horses but I am almost positive that is not the reason horse races on St Stephen’s Day have become an Irish tradition. The races in Leopardstown, South Dublin attract almost 20,000 every year. Heading off to the races is a chance to get out of the house, stretch your legs, put some money on the horses and have a drink with friends.

THE SWIM: Christmas day swims take place all over Ireland on Christmas morning but probably most famously at the Forty Foot Rock, just south of Dublin. On Christmas Day hundreds of people can be seen jumping off the rock into the Irish Sea wearing only their bathing suits. The water in the Irish Sea on Christmas Day is usually around 50F. Unfortunately the temperature outside the water is usually about half of this making the experience bracing to say the least. This is certainly not for the faint hearted but is a proven hangover cure and participants often receive sponsorship for charities.

READING: “The Dead” is a short story from James Joyce’s collection “Dubliners”. The story tells the tale of a group of Dubliners who gather together for a Christmas celebration in James Joyce's transcendent tale of the banality and magic in life and death.

SKITS: Pantomimes are still performed by small groups of amateurs and professional actors alike in the days following Christmas. Irish “pantos” are humorous productions of Cinderella, Snow White and other familiar fairy tales. In them, men frequently play the part of women and vice-versa. Generally, there’s a great deal of singing and dancing, with jokes making fun of eminent politicians or celebrities thrown in.

AWFUL CHRISTMAS SWEATERS: This started off as aunties, grandmothers and relatives handing over the most ugly sweaters as present for Christmas but somehow Christmas sweaters have almost turned into a competition on the streets of Ireland. The woollier, hairier and more ridiculously decorated the better. In fact this year I spotted a gentleman with fake robins, bells and fairy lights all on one sweater.

BISCUITS: Every Irish family has a tin of biscuits in the house over Christmas. The rules about the tin are very strict. There are about 10 types of biscuits in each layer of the tin but you are not allowed to break through to the second layer without finishing the first layer. This tends to mean at least one fight a day among the family.

DINNER: The traditional Christmas dinner consists of spiced beef, potatoes, cranberry sauce, vegetables, sausages, Irish soda bread, plum pudding, Christmas cake, and mince pies.

SELECTION BOX: Children are given chocolate as a treat after the Christmas dinner that is more commonly known as a Selection Box, a selection of Chocolate bars. Families are strict that everyone must eat their Christmas dinner before receiving their selection box with each member of the family sitting in front of the television to watch Christmas Movies such as “It’s a Wonderful Life”.

IRISH BLESSING: The Irish share a warm and heartfelt blessing for Christmas such as: “The light of the Christmas star to you, The warmth of home and hearth to you, The cheer and good will of friends to you, The hope of a childlike heart to you, The joy of a thousand angels to you, The love of the Son and God’s peace to you.” Or “May peace and plenty be the first to lift the latch on your door, and happiness be guided to your home by the candle of Christmas.” It is also traditional to share an Irish toast such as: “Nollaig faoi shéan is faoi shonas duit.” It means “A prosperous and happy Christmas to you.”

Check out the recipes and decor on my Pinterest page.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 package onion soup mix
  • 1 can tomato soup (10-3/4 ounces)
  • 1 can kidney beans (15 ounces)
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes (28 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 cups macaroni shells, cooked


Directions:

  1. Brown ground beef with onion soup mix. Drain if necessary. 
  2. Add soup and 1 can water. 
  3. Add kidney beans, stewed tomatoes, 1 can water. Do not drain tomatoes or beans. 
  4. Add chili powder and sugar. 
  5. Boil. Simmer 1/2-1 hour. The longer the better. 
  6. Serve with macaroni shells.


From the kitchen of Donna Mey

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Buckeye Bark


Barrett and I made a cooking vlog together preparing this recipe. You can find it on his vlog here. We hung out as we traditionally do after Thanksgiving and on Black Friday. We finished our shopping and enjoyed time with the cousins. Today was the big UM vs. OSU football game so I thought it would be appropriate to make some buckeye bark for the big watch party. Too bad the game didn't have a happy ending. But enjoy this easy recipe!
Ingredients:
  • 2-1/2 lbs chocolate candy coating
  • 1 (16.3 oz) jar creamy peanut butter
  • 2 c Confectioners’ sugar
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:
  • Melt half of the chocolate candy coating according to the package directions, then spread over parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Spread to a large rectangle, but not too thin – approximately 1/8″ to 1/4″ thickness. Place in freezer to firm up.
  • In a large bowl, beat together the peanut butter, Confectioners’ sugar, melted butter and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy. Remove first chocolate layer from the freezer and spread the peanut butter mixture over the top. Return to the freezer and melt the remaining chocolate candy coating. Once that is melted, spread it over the top of the peanut butter layer and freeze until set.
  • Break up the bark into small pieces using a butcher knife. Store in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to serve.

Whiskey Slush

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tea bags
  • 12 ounces orange juice frozen concentrate
  • 12 ounces lemonade frozen concentrate
  • 2 cupes sugar
  • 750 milliliters whiskey
  • 7 cups water
  • 2 liters Seven-Up


Directions:

  1. Bring water to a boil. Steep tea bags in water for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags. 
  2. Mix all ingredients (except 7-up) in large bowl. Freeze. 
  3. To serve: mix 1/2 slush wtih 1/2 7-up. Serve at once. 
NOTE: Can substitute Brandy, Vodka or Rum for Whiskey.

Recipe from the kitchen of Donald Milanowski

Friday, November 23, 2012

Slow Cooker Lasagna

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 3 cans (15 ounces each) Italian-style tomato sauce (or 3 jars of spaghetti sauce)
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 ounces)
  • 1 container (15 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 15 lasagna noodles


Directions:

  1. Cook sausage and onion in 10-inch skillet over medium heat 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally  until sausage is no longer pink; drain. Stir in tomato sauce, basil and salt.
  2. Mix 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese and the ricotta and Parmesan cheeses. (refrigerate remaining mozzarella cheese while lasagna cooks).
  3. Spoon one-fourth of the sausage mixture into 6-quart slow cooker; top with 5 noodles, broken into pieces to fit. Spread with half of the cheese mixture and one-fourth of the sausage mixture. Top with 5 noddles, remaining cheese mixture and one-fourth of the sausage mixture. top with remaining 5 noodles and remaining sausage mixture. 
  4. Cover and cook on low heat setting 4 to 6 hours or until noodles are tender.
  5. Sprinkle top of lasagna with remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Cover and let stand about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Cut into pieces.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Coffee - three times around!

Want to get the most for your money? And be a good steward of this earth? Don't just drink your coffee and  call it good. Here's how you can use that coffee three times!

  1. Make your pot of coffee and drink a few good cups in the morning.
  2. Place your used coffee grounds in a bowl and set them in your refrigerator to eliminate odors. They work the same way baking soda does.
  3. They will continue to freshen up your frige for a month. But once you're done with them, throw them in your compost bin. They'll be great for the garden in the spring!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal Parfait

Ingredients:

Pumpkin Parfait
Oatmeal

  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond breeze
  • 1/3 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • 2 no-calorie sweetener packets
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Dash salt


Parfait

  • One 60-calorie sugar-free pudding snack
  • 1 sheet (4 crackers) low-fat honey graham crackers, roughly crushed
  • Optional topping: fat free Reddi-wip


Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients for oatmeal in a small nonstick pot on the stove. Add 3/4 cup water and mix well. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer.
  2. Cook for about 9 minutes, stirring often, until somewhat thick and creamy. (It will thicken more upon chilling.) Allow to cool slightly. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1-1/2 hours.
  3. Stir oatmeal thoroughly until uniform in texture. Spoon half of the oatmeal into a tall glass, and top with half of the pudding snack and half of the crushed graham crackers. Repeat with remaining oatmeal, pudding, and crushed graham crackers.
  4. Top with Reddi-wip, if you like, and dig in.


Makes 1 serving. 292 calories, 7 grams fiber.
From Hungry Girl 300 under 300 by Lisa Lillien

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Easy Enchilada Roll-Ups


Ingredients:
  • 1 can (15 ounces) red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) vegetarian refried beans
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup rice
  • 1 can (4.5 ounces) mild green chiles, drained and diced
  • 1/2 cup soy sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 6-8 flour or corn tortillas (6 inches in diameter), at room temperature
  • 1 cup shredded soy cheddar
  • 1 can (10 ounces) enchilada sauce

Easy Enchilada Casserole
Directions:

  1. Combine the kidney beans, refried beans, water, rice, chiles, soy sour cream, and chili powder in a slow cooker and stir well. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. 
  2. When ready to serve, place 1/2 cup of the bean mixture in the center of a tortilla. Sprinkle with some of the soy cheese and roll the tortilla around the filling. Pass the enchilada sauce at the table.


VARIATION: For easy enchilada casserole, layer the tortillas and hot bean mixture in a round casserole dish. Top with the enchilada sauce, sprinkle with the soy cheese, and serve.

From The Simple Little Vegan Slow Cooker Cookbook by Michelle Rivera

Monday, November 19, 2012

Reusable Hot Coffee-cup Sleeve

This was one of the first things I learned to knit. And I have to say it is my favorite project to date. I made several last Christmas for Christmas presents. They knit up very quickly. And you feel really cool because you are knitting with 5 needles! Many a long flight has been much more enjoyable because I have spent the time knitting. Once an airline stewardess was very intrigued by what I was knitting and kept stopping back and asking me questions. So at the end of the flight on my way off the plane I gave her one of these little babies. She loved it!

Yarn: 100% wool; 138 yards/100 grams; 1 hank will make at least 4 sleeves.
Needles: One set of five double-pointed needles size US 6
Notions: Stitch marker
Gauge: 18 sts and 26 rnds = 4" in stockinette stitch

Sleeve
CO 36 sts. Join for working in the rnd, being careful not to twist sts; place marker for beginning of rnd.
Knit 1 rnd, purl 1 rnd.
Change to St st (knit every rnd); work even until piece measures 1-1/4" from the beginning.

Shape Sleeve
Increase Rnd 1: K1, M1 (k9,M1) 3 times, k8-40 sts. Work even until piece measures 2-1/4" from the beginning.
Increase Rnd 2: K1, M1, (k10, M1) 3 times, k9-44 sts. Work even until pieces measures 3" from the beginning. Purl 1 rnd. BO all sts loosely knitwise.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Chinese Chicken and Nuts

While living in Ann Arbor, Michigan my parents went to cooking classes and learned some wonderful Chinese dishes. This is one of our favorites! 

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon Wine Sherry
  • 1 Pound Chicken Breast, w/o skin, bone
  • 4 Pieces Celery
  • 1 Medium Pepper, Green
  • 4 Tablespoons Corn Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 4 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • ½ Cup Water Chestnuts, sliced
  • ¼ Cup Almonds, Slivered

Directions:
  1. Use 3 tablespoons soy sauce to marinate sliced chicken with sherry and cornstarch. 
  2. Heat oil and stir fry nuts, remove to bowl. 
  3. Stir fry chicken until color turns, remove to bowl. 
  4. Sauté celery, pepper, chestnuts, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, ½ cup water, 1 teaspoon cornstarch blended with 1 tablespoon water. Stir and mix for 1 minute. Mix chicken with vegetables and garnish with nuts.
Variation: Instead of celery, chestnuts and green pepper use ½ pound sliced mushrooms, 1 sliced zucchini, 1 diced red pepper, 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

Variation: Dark sweet cherries and slivered almonds. Drain cherries and reserve juice (2/3 cup).  Basic recipe – celery. Substitute cherry juice for water and add cherries at the end.

Variation: Sauté chicken as usual and remove from pan. Add 2 sweet red or green pepper strips and 1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms. Cook 2 minutes. Add 1-1/2 cups pineapple tidbits and chicken. Cook 2 minutes. Blend 1-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch with 2/3 cup chicken broth or pineapple juice. Cook 1 minute.

From the kitchen of Lawrence Mey.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Surprise, It's Pumpkin! Enchiladas

Recipe from Hungry Girl - great for the fall. Go Blue!
Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 2/3 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons taco sauce
  • 1 teaspoon taco seasoning mix
  • 2 large corn tortillas
  • 3/4 cup red enchilada sauce, divided
  • 1 slice fat-free cheddar cheese, halved
  • 1/4 cup shredded fat-free cheddar cheese
  • optional: salt, pepper, fat-free sour cream, chopped scallions

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Bring a skillet sprayed with non-stick spay to a medium heat on the stove. Add onion and, stirring occasionally, cook until it begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
  3. Add pumpkin, taco sauce, and taco seasoning to the bowl. Mix well. If you like, season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. Spay a baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
  5. Place tortillas on a microwave-safe plate. Warm slightly in the microwave, about 15 seconds.
  6. Lay tortillas flat, side by side. Spread 2 tablespoons enchilada sauce onto each one. Place a half-slice of cheese in the center of each tortilla. Evenly distribute the pumpkin mixture between the centers of the tortillas.
  7. Wrap tortillas up tightly and place them in the baking pan with the seam sides down. Cover with remaining 1/2 cup enchilada sauce.
  8. Bake in the oven for about 8 minutes, until enchiladas are hot. Carefully remove pan from the oven, and sprinkle enchiladas with shredded cheese.
  9. Return to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Plate those babies and, if you like, top with sour cream and/or scallions. enjoy!
Makes 2 servings. Per serving: 188 calories, 5 grams fiber

Friday, November 16, 2012

"Easy" Socks



It's time for me to publicly fess up to my biggest failure knitting project. The wonderful thing about a  "big fail" is that it's behind you! The best thing about a failed knitting project is that you will never make that mistake again. Life is always a chance to learn, isn't it? I put my project down for a month and when I picked it up again I totally forgot how to "ssk."  So I didn't decrease like I should have on the toe.  The result? An elfen sock! 

If you dare to try it - here's the pattern.  You can't do any worse than I did! This pattern is for a women’s average sized sock (unlike the picture you see!). You will determine the length of the sock by trying it on as you’re knitting.  


Yarn: worsted weight, about 200 yards total 
Gauge: 6 sts/inch

Tools you’ll need:
Needles: size 5 double points
Tapestry needle
5 stitch markers, one in a contrasting color

Abbreviations:
k: knit 
ssk: slip, slip, knit
p: purl 
sm: slip marker
p2tog: purl 2 together 
st(s): stitch(es)
pm: place marker 
wyib: with yarn in back
sl: slip 
wyif: with yarn in front


The Cuff
CO 40 sts.

Now, you will begin working in the round.
*k1, p1. Repeat from * until you’ve completed the round (40)

Work in a k1, p1 rib until your sock cuff is 2” long.

Heel Flap
For the heel flap, you will only work the 20 sts that are on the first needle.
(RS): knit all 20 sts.
(WS): purl all 20 sts.
Repeat these last two rows until you have worked a total of 20 rows.


Turning the Heel
Row 1 (RS): k12, ssk, k1

Row 2 (WS): sl 1 (wyif), p5, p2tog, p1
Row 3: sl 1 (wyib), k6, ssk, k1
Row 4: sl 1 (wyif), p7, p2tog, p1
Row 5: sl 1 (wyib), k8, ssk, k1
Row 6: sl 1 (wyif), p9, p2tog, p1
Row 7: sl 1 (wyib), k10, ssk
Row 8: sl 1 (wyif), p10, p2tog

Row 9: knit across (12 sts remain)

The Gusset
PU 20 sts. This is basically every stitch that you’ll see on the side of the heel flap. Place a stitch marker after the 19th stitch.

Now you’re at the next needle. Knit all of these stitches.
Knit all of the stitches on the next needle, as well. You will pick up stitches ON THIS
NEEDLE. Along the side of the heel flap, pick up 20 stitches, placing a stitch marker after the 1st stitch.
When you’re done, you’ll have 72 sts, and you’ll be right before the heel stitches. Until you get to your toe, this point will be the end of the round. You can place a locking stitch marker on your sock heel if you need a reminder (although, to be honest, you don’t really need to keep track of rounds… just as long as you count how many stitches are left)

Now it’s time to start your decreases:
Decrease round: k to 2 sts before marker, k2tog. sm, k to next marker, sm, ssk. Knit to end of round.
Repeat the decrease round until there are 40 sts remaining.
Don’t remove your stitch markers, you’ll come back to them later.

The Foot
Continue working in stockinette stitch (knit all the way around) until the sock (when tried on) comes to the bottom of your big toe.


The Toe
Knit around the sock, over to the first stitch marker after you’ve knit across the bottom of the foot. Slip this marker and knit the next stitch. Here, place your end of round marker.
Setup round: k1, pm, k18. pm, k2, sm, k18, sm. k1. Now you’re at the end of the round, with all of your stitch markers in place. You’ll start working your decreases now.
Round 1: k1, * sm, k2tog. k to 2 sts before next marker, ssk. knit to next marker. Repeat from *. knit to end of round.
Round 2: knit every stitch.
Continue working rounds 1 & 2 until 12 stitches remain.
Remove your markers, and cast off with Kitchener’s Stitch, and weave in your ends!

You did it! You made a sock! Congrats! Now, all you need to do is make that second one…

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Corn Souffle

Ingredients:
  • 1 Can Creamed corn
  • 1 Can Corm
  • 1 Stick Butter
  • 1 Egg
  • 8 oz. Sour Cream
  • 1 Box Jiffy Muffin Mix

Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Mix all ingredients together.  
  3. Bake in the oven for 1 hour, until the top is lightly brown.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Bucket List

Do you have a Bucket List? A list of things you want to do before you die? I told my Dad once, that's on my bucket list! And he said, you're too young to have a bucket list. Well, I beg to differ. If I don't have my bucket list formulated now, I'll never accomplish all the things I want to in this life. So below are the top 25 things on my bucket list. Would love to hear what's on yours.

I dedicate this bucket list to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ from whom all good things come. He has already blessed me with so many wonderful things: loving family, excellent friends, beautiful home, and so much more. It is because of Him that I dare to dream. It is for Him that I dare to live. May my life be a constant tribute to His redeeming power and amazing love.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." --James 1:17


  1. Take a ride in a hot air balloon.
  2. Cook with a master chef.
  3. Drive a race car.
  4. Fly first class. (DONE - June 2004)
  5. Read through the Bible, cover-to-cover. (DONE - March 2004)
  6. Get my book published.
  7. Own my home. (DONE - June 1992)
  8. Be a marketing director. (DONE - October 2002)
  9. Sing with a rock band.
  10. Finish my master's degree. (DONE - May 2003)
  11. Ride on a motorcycle.
  12. Appear in a Hollywood movie.
  13. Spend a day with a zookeeper.
  14. Swim with the dolphins.
  15. Knit a pair of slippers. (DONE - July 2011)
  16. See a live taping of a sitcom.
  17. Win a prize for a photo.
  18. Go on an African safari.
  19. Travel to all the continents.
  20. See U2 in concert. (DONE - July 2011)
  21. Take my dogs sheep herding.
  22. Own an alpaca.
  23. See P!nk in concert.
  24. Meet Cesar Milan.
  25. Fall in love and get married.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pulled Pork

Ingredients:
  • Pork Loin
  • 28 ounce applesauce
  • 1 jar BBQ sauce

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients in the crock pot. 
  2. Cook for 8-10 hours.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Marshmallow Treats - Scotch Treats

Yeah, I know - everyone has this recipe. But it passes the "down-to-earth" test - not many ingredients, easy to make. So here's the original along with a tasty variation. And the variation is vegan! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • ¼ Cup Butter
  • 5 Cups Rice Krispies
  • 10 Ounces Marshmallows

Directions:

  1. Place cereal in large bowl. 
  2. Microwave margarine in medium, microwave-safe bowl on high power for 30 seconds. Add marshmallows and microwave an additional 30 seconds - 1 minute; just until completely melted. Stir.
  3. Pour over cereal; stir until well coated. 
  4. Press mixture into buttered 13"x9"x2" pan. Cut into squares when cool.



VARIATION: For Scotch Treats substitute 1/2 cup peanut butter for the butter. Substitute 12 ounces butterscotch chips for the marshmallows. Follow the directions for the original. When complete, chill a few minutes until firm.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Knitting Know-How with Barrett Kyle

Barrett teaching his cousin how to knit.
I invited my nephew, Barrett, to guest post on my blog. He is an incredibly smart college freshman. He'll probably be a world-famous scientist some day. You can say you first heard about him here!

Alicia: When did you start knitting?
Barrett: I started knitting when I was about 10 years old. That lasted for a year or so. Then a few years ago I picked it up again and haven't stopped.

[Note from Alicia: Barrett taught me how to knit last year. I think it's so cool that my nephew taught me how!]

Alicia: Why do you like to knit?
Barrett: I love to knit because if I ever feel stressed or have a lot of things on my mind I just pick up my knitting and forget about everything else. I also enjoy the many different things that you can do with knitting. If you get bored with a project find something else.

[Note from Alicia: I totally agree. Knitting is a wonderful stress-reliever. Not only is it therapeutic, it also keeps your brain healthy. If you don't knit, start now!]

Alicia: Do you have some helpful knitting resources you could share?
Barrett: I use a website called Ravelry to get a lot of the patterns for projects. Some of the patterns need to be purchased but there are still a lot of patterns for free download.

The Knit Witch has camera shots like this!
[Note from Alicia: I also find The Knit Witch quite helpful on YouTube. I'm a visual learner so I find videos the best way to learn a new stitch. The Knit Witch has great camera angles so you see the project from your perspective.]

Alicia: What is your favorite thing to knit? 
Barrett: I really enjoy knitting small things. I get bored really easily with pattern so I like projects that take a good amount of concentration and/or are quick to knit.

Alicia: What is the hardest thing you ever tried knitting? How did it turn out? 
Barrett: The hardest thing I have ever tried to knit would be a fair-isle hat. That means a hat that uses two strands of yarn to create a color pattern. The hat fits and works great but there was a few little glitches.

Alicia: What are you currently working on?
Barrett: I am currently working on a few things. I am trying to knit that fair-isle hat again to see if it comes out better. Also I am working on a pair of socks.

If you would like to hear more random thoughts from Barrett check out his vlog - Barrett Kyle Whovian [and yes - he knit an AMAZING Tardis. If you know what that is, you're a Whovian too]!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Val's Steel Cut Oats

Ingredients:
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cups steel cut oats
  • 2/3 cup cranberries, chopped
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in to a 5-6 quart slow cooker. 
  2. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours. The longer it cooks the more creamy it gets.

From the kitchen of Val Buick.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Peanut Butter Chex Mix

A classic recipe but with a twist. Great for lots of entertaining settings. It's easy and a crowd pleaser, for sure!

Ingredients:
  • ¼ cup peanut butter 
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil 
  • ½ teaspoon salt 
  • 2-1/4 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce 
  • 8 cups Crispix 
  • ¾ cup mixed nuts with peanuts 
  • Large bag of any kind of M and M's 

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. 
  2. Heat peanut butter and oil in large roasting pan (about 5 minutes). 
  3. Add cereal and nuts. Heat 1 hour. Stir every 15 minutes. Cool. 
  4. Add M and M's.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Blanket Buddy

This is one of the most requested things I've ever knit. All my new-mom friends love getting this at a baby shower. 

Pattern is written for 1 ball of OH MY yarn.
Size 8 and 6 needles
Supplies: tapestry needle, fiberfill

Abbr: 
Kfb: knit front and back of stitch
Pwise: purlwise
YO: yarn over

Knitting the body
With larger needles, cast on 1 stitch.
Rows 1-6: Kfb, knit to end of row. You now have 7 stitches
Row 7: K3, yo, knit to end of row. Repeat row 7 until you have 40 stitches.

Knit 2 rows - garter stitch.

Continuing the body
Next row: K2, K2tog, yo, K2tog, knit to end of row. Repeat this row until you have 28 sts.
Change to smaller needles.
Next row: *K2tog; repeat from *
Next row: *Kfb, repeat from *

Shaping the head
You will be working the front and back of the head at the same time by slipping the stitches for one and purling the stitches for the other. This forms a pocket for stuffing.
Row 1 *P1, slip 1 pwise, repeat from *
Repeat row 1 until head measures 3.5"

Knitting ears
*P3tog, return stitch to left needle, cast on 17 stitches. You now have 43 stitches.
P3tog, P15, turn, P14, P2tog, turn
P16, turn, P12, turn, P14 turn, P16, P2tog, turn
P18, turn, P16, P2tog, turn
Bind off 18 stitches.
Work slip 1, P1 to end of row
Turn work and repeat from * for second ear you now have 12 stitches.

Cut yarn leaving a 10" tail. Thread tail onto tapestry needle and draw through stitches 1,3,5,7,9, & 11. Turn work and draw through stitches 12,10,8,6,4,2. Slide stitches off needle. Stuff head with fiberfill. Draw needle through stitches again. Pull up snub and fasten off. Weave in ends.
You can also bind off using Kitchener Stitch.
Optional embroider eyes with scrap of yarn.