Monday, September 27, 2010

"Just like Mom used to make."

There was a short period of time when Hubby and I were going together that we lived across the state from each other. Absence did make the heart grow fonder and we traveled back and forth often to see one another. While on the phone planning a visit I asked hubby what he would like for dinner upon his arrival. He wanted chili and cinnamon rolls. I really wanted to impress him with my cooking ability so I soaked the beans all night, simmered the chili all day, and I made cinnamon rolls from scratch. When he arrived after a six hour drive on the cold, snowy winter roads there was a bowl of chili waiting for him.

I really wanted feedback so I asked the question I have since learned to avoid at all costs: "How do you like dinner?"

His answer was, "The chili and rolls are fine but not as good as Mom makes."

My feelings were hurt but the next time I saw her, I asked if she would share her recipes. Being the sweetheart she was, she naturally gave them to me. They are as follows:

Brown 1lb of burger
Add dehydrated onion
Open a can of tomato sauce, two cans of kidney beans and add to meat
Add some Chili powder
Simmer on low heat

Cinnamon Rolls
Get in the car, go to Albertson's and buy a dozen rolls.

Since the Chick flew the coop, I haven't had anyone to get feedback from. So when I tried a new cake recipe and asked Hubby how he liked it, I admit that there was a lapse in good judgement.

"The cake is as good as Duncan Hines Super Moist Cake." (Yea! JUST like mom used to make!)
"And the frosting is better than container frosting." (HOMERUN!)

So, with those recommendations see what you think!
Peanut Buttery Chocolate Cake
Cooking spray
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1 cup brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons 2% reduced fat milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Miniature chocolate chips (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Coat a 13 x 9-inch glass baking pan with cooking spray.
2. To prepare cake, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.
3. Combine oil and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Using a mixer, beat at medium speed until well combined. Add eggs; beat well. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Stir in the coffee and vanilla (batter will be thin).
3. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
4. To prepare frosting, combine cream cheese and peanut butter in a large mixing bowl. Using a mixer, beat at medium speed until smooth. Add powdered sugar, milk and vanilla; beat until smooth. (If frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar; if it is too thick, add more milk.) Spread frosting over top of cooled cake and sprinkle with chocolate chips, if using. Store in the refrigerator. Serves 16.

Nutritional facts per serving: 350 calories, 18g fat, 5g protein, 49g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 350mg sodium.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

An EZ look-a-like

I finished what seemed like the never ending baby sweater today. I only knit the little darling during school lunch, but the needles were small"ish", the yarn a dk weight, and it was row after row of knitting. When all is said and done, I do like it but if I use this pattern again, I will use the two colors suggested and probably in some sort of changing colorway. It will make a very nice baby gift.

Pattern: DROPS Design b14-27
Yarn: Eversoft Susan Bates
Amount: 3 skeins, less than 870 yards
Needle size: US 3

The Griz are back on track!

After two traveling game losses:
I was ready for some football!
And so was the team!
It was a beautiful day for homecoming and a great day to win! 
Griz 28, Sacramento State 25

Monday, September 20, 2010

For the "90210" baby!

The baby sweater didn't get finished last night. There were just four little rows left on one sleeve but I fell asleep and that's all she wrote  - or in this case knit! I did finish when I got home from school today and will gift it tomorrow!
Pattern: Telemark (A free pattern on Ravelry)
Yarn: Encore
Colorway: Green Tweed
Needle size: US 5

Love this pattern! Quick and easy!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Gearing up for a great knitting season!

I've been busy with school and also some "fun knitting." I have two and a half Christmas sweaters to knit but for some reason I just keep putting them off and adding other new projects.  I "have good reasons" for doing that; new babies at school, and a double sister baby shower.

I just love knitting for babies. I think it's because the projects are little and you can experiment with yarns and patterns without much time or money invested.  Also, they wear the items without complaining! If Momma loves the item then the babies are in them until they wear out. I like to make the sweaters in at least a 12 month size because Momma can always roll up the sleeves if it's to big but can't stuff them into something to small - no matter how cute!

I started this b14-27 Jacket by DROPS Design after seeing it in the Prairie Piper's finished projects on Ravelry. It is very EZ like, the sweater is started at the button band, knit across the front, the body stitches are put on stitch holders and at that time stitches are added for the sleeve. The sleeve and yoke are continued around to the back where the sleeve is cast off and the body stitches are picked up once again. Then just knit across the back. The same instructions are done for the other sleeve and front. It is all done in garter stitch and is very beautiful in multi-colored yarns. I used yarn from my stash but an investment in other yarn would be worthwhile when I do this pattern again.
 I'm still working on this sweater because it is only knit during lunchtime at school. The students are very interested in it's progress - already it is an expectation that I am at my door, knitting in hand, as they come indoors for the afternoon. I love the comments, "What are you doing?", "What is it?",  "Are you STILL knitting this?", "Oh, you're on the LEFT sleeve now!",  "Who's it for? Suzy has a new baby sister..."

At home I've been working on baby shower gifts. Two sisters, Julie and Trish, are expecting babies a month apart and I'll be at the shower Oct 9th! I knit the blanket  -  testing a pattern for a fellow knitter at the LYS. It's been on display but now is the time to be gifted. The bunny turned out very cute, it's from Caron and is called One Skein Bunny. I like the safety button eyes and nose that I ordered online. I used Red Heart Yarn for this project for several reasons: I didn't want to spend $32 on yarn for a stuffed animal and it washes well.
Trish knows that she is having a boy and so I have a sweater done and will be to adding a bunny for her too!

Last night I started a quick sweater for a fellow worker's first grandson. He was born "90210" we all enjoyed that! I'm hoping to have it done and to her Monday, we'll see...

Fall is in the air.

Yesterday the temperature began to drop all over the state.  At midnight the thermometer read 54 degrees and by the afternoon it was 39. I thought snow was in the air. The Chick did too because she called and asked for one of her favorite soup recipes, White Chili. When we first found the recipe it was very unusual but I think that now it is a favorite of many.

Happy eating Chick!

White Chili
4 chicken breasts
1 tablespoon oil
2 medium onions chopped
4 cloves garlic
2 4oz mild green chiles chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 16 oz cans white beans drained
6 cup chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
2-3 cup monteray jack cheese

Cook chopped chicken, saute onion, stir in garlic, chiles, and spices. Saute 2 minutes. Add beans and broth, bring to boil and simmer 30 minutes. Before serving add sour cream and cheese heat through. 12 servings.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cooking up some memories.

Hubby has been bringing home corn from a buddy's garden and is suddenly interested in just how I cook my corn. I cook the corn the way an old friend and neighbor taught me:

Corn on the Cob
1. Heat a pot of water until boiling. 
2. Add a tablespoon of sugar and corn to the pot. 
3. Place a plate over the corn so it weighs down the corn. 
4. Turn off the heat and let sit for 10 minutes. 

Excellent corn every time!
Years ago, just outside our subdivision there was a small farm owned by a lovely little old lady. Mrs. Stapleton had lived on the farm for many years. The little girls and I would walk there with kitchen scraps and feed the chickens and geese. We learned all sorts of interesting farm things, where eggs and milk came from and countless gardening and canning tips.

For many years Mrs Stapleton would call me on Good Friday, "Jo-day (her voice raising on the day), can you take me to the airport?  The chicks have arrived."

Off we'd  go to the airport and pick up a crate of chicks. They would immediately go under the warming lamp getting some TLC after a stressful trip.  Mrs. Stapleton let my girls touch the chicks, she knew that they would be gentle and understood their importance. This was her food and "pin money" for the next year, a very serious business!

Once she called me and said that her water heater had gone out. Would Hubby please get one for her? At the time he worked for Sears and didn't mind helping a neighbor out. When he arrived at her house, he was a bit surprised - not only did he have to take the new hot water heater down into the cellar but he had to take the old heater out AND install the new one. He was paid for his work - a dozen eggs!

My girls grew, and I went back to work. Sadly, I lost track of Mrs. Stapleton's daily life.  When I had a chance to take a deep breath and look around - she was no longer in the neighborhood. While taking her cow from the barn to the pasture, the rope had wrapped around her. She had been pulled down and broke a leg. Mrs. Stapleton never did return to the farm. First it was the leg and then Alzheimer's took over. I never seemed to have enough time to go visit, then so much time had gone by I didn't know where she was or if she was even still alive.

It was quite a surprise to get a call one sunny afternoon, "Jo-day, can you take me North of Laurel so we can get some tomatoes to can?"

What a wonderful visit we had on the phone that day. I am forever grateful that Mrs. Stapleton remembered my number and I was home to take that call. Through the fog of Alzheimer's and years apart, on that day she was back living the days when my girls were little ones and we were good friends. That day I realized I had been as important to her as she was to me.

Just six weeks later I read her obituary in the paper. What a sweet good-bye she had given me with the phone call on that summer afternoon.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


I began blogging for several reasons. Ease of keeping in touch with family and documenting my knitting are two, but the primary intent of the blog was to create a journal. I saw a friend's published hardbound blog book and thought that it would work very well. I have always wanted to journal but didn't like the idea that there would be edits within the journal making the end result "unprofessional". Blog2print worked great for my needs.  I journaled throughout the 2009 year and then uploaded the blog/journal to the program within Blog2 print. This program allowed me to make choices about the cover, and layout.  Although there will be changes in the 2010 edition, I like this finished product VERY much:
The cost was reasonable, around $50 for a hardbound book of 83 pages. Think about publishing one from your own blog!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Griz kickoff 2010!

We headed up to Missoula Saturday for the season opener. We were all decked out in our lucky Grizwear...from head to toe!
I had intended on taking a shot every time the home team made a touchdown...
53 seconds into the game,
1 minute 46 seconds into the game,
2 minutes 4 seconds into the game,
You can see how it's going! Until...
Lightning hit, and the stands have never been so empty before halftime.
In the end Griz mauled Western State Colorado!