Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Just stopping by to wish everyone a Happy New Year. I'm quietly scheming and planning what to do in 2011. Of course I'm trying to keep it doable but, in about 5 minutes I was able to write a list of about 25 things I want to accomplish. What am I thinking? I'll be back to talk when I've come to my senses.........................said the hobbit

It's a Bittyful day

Things are getting back to normal around here. The hubby is home from his knee surgery and I've been assigned to handing out extra love............Aren't I a good kitty?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Something new

Hi everyone! Hope you had a very merry Christmas. Things are still a little crazy in our household. Hubbys' new knee is coming along fine and we are trying to have some kind of schedule that resembles normalcy. It won't happen,but, we love to see how close we can come. Did you try anything different this year? I tend to do the same thing but different. You know, I'll be making some dish or craft and even as I do it I'm thinking of how I want to change it up a little. Know what I mean. This year I decided to make something I've never done before. Dipped pretzels.These were a big hit. While searching for something simple fun and tasty came across a southern fairytale .If pretzels aren't your thing,don't worry,she has lots more treats for you to try.

Her suggestion to cut and wrap taffy sheets on the pretzels would make things easier and not quite as messy. However I was unable to find them when I wanted to make these so I melted caramels instead. It finally hardened enough to dip in chocolate

I left some plain and others were rolled in whatever confection I had on hand.
This was a trial run before the holidays. At Christmas time the final dip was in a combination of chopped walnuts and crackled holiday bark. You can't see those because we ate them all up. I think for Valentine I'll do them in red and white sprinkles or maybe heath bar crunch. They really are that good. What would you put on them.............asked the hobbit

Friday, December 24, 2010

It's a Bittyful Friday

I'm exhausted! The hubby's coming home today with a new knee! I've been running the household on my own and can't wait for things to get back to normal. MERRY CHRISTMAS to all!

Friday, December 17, 2010

It's a Bittyful day

I'm home alone heh,heh.Big Daddy got a new knee this week and I can do whatever I want. I think I'll help with the knitting.

Monday, December 13, 2010

One more thing done on the list

How is your list going? Every morning I make the list of what needs to be done. Reread it to see what should be done. Have a cup of coffee and highlight what I can actually do. It doesn't upset me anymore that the list is never completed. I take satisfaction in knowing that I did all I could do today and tomorrow I'll start all over again. However that does not diminish the joy one feels when you can scratch something off the list knowing it won't be back for a FULL YEAR.
The past few years I joined an ornament exchange. Make and send 9 ornaments out and receive 9 back It's always been fun waiting to see what people are making out there. This year I thought I'd pass it up. Hubby is having a knee replacement this week And so much of my time has been taken up with appointments that are merely informative blah blah that is geared to protect the hospital from being sued. But that's another story. Sarah the youngest thought differently. "you know you love it mummy" You can do it. She was right,but, could I pull it off? NO! Even on Dec.1 I knew I was going to be late sending them out. When I finally sat down to knit in the evening I was so tired I could hardly knit a row without making a mistake. They were to be mailed by Dec 10th.........pressure,pressure grrrr.
I've done these little sweaters in the past and wanted them to have a little something to make them different so I made these little hangers to put them in the tree. More pressure....grrrr.
What was I thinking?
Well it's Dec 13th and they are all packaged with my note of apology,envelopes are sealed and I'm off to the post office to send them to someone that will hopefully overlook my tardiness.
Such fun......that wasn't so hard after all. I'm putting it on my list of things to do in January. Of course I went into overdrive and made more then I needed. Would you like one for your tree? Drop me a comment by Friday.I'd love to send you one..............said the hobbit

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Getting ready for CHRISTMAS

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Isn't it exciting?? This doesn't look very tasty,but, oh what fun this will be for someone who loves to be in the kitchen.

This has been doing it's magic in my kitchen cabinets for about a month now. It was time to strain it and put it in an attractive bottle for someone very special. It's raspberry vinegar!So good for marinating chicken or mixed as a dressing.

Doesn't it look yummy? I've enclosed a recipe for beet/orange salad that is one of my favorites.Hope they like it as well.

Next came lots of chopping of dried fruit and nuts...Of course a little tasting doesn't hurt. We have to make sure the combination of flavors is just right.
Toasting in the oven we have oatmeal sunflower seeds with local honey and oil. Wow that smells so good.. Let them cool mix together and put into a pretty container for a treat that can be eaten for breakfast, on ice cream,yogurt or right out of the jar for a quick pick me up. This year granola was one of the things I decided to make on my own instead of from the grocers shelf. First few tries were a little shaky but, I have to say "better than store bought" is something I've heard on more than one occasion.Who knew one could have such a warm feeling over making granola.

I've been picking up attractive containers through out the year. After falling in love with every one that I brought home it might be a little hard to part with them.
Of course what is Christmas without a favorite cookie. Last year I made these and although they were very tasty,I neglected to read the recipe all the way through. It's done in 3 easy and short steps. What I failed to notice was a 24 or overnight waiting period between steps.These are called fruitcake cookies. You probably just said the same thing that came out of my mouth when I first heard about them YUCK!! Never having been a fan of the holiday fruitcake I was a little slow to take up the task but, now that I have I can tell you that I was WRONG Fruitcake is not a dirty word and I was more than willing to try them again this year. If you too are ready to forgive the fruitcake and allow it to play a part in your holiday,this is a good place to start.
For starters dice or chop:

1/2lb dried figs
1/4 lb dried raisins
1/4 lb candied cherries
6 oz walnuts
Drizzle with 1 tbls of honey ,2tbls sherry,1 tbls lemon juice. Stir this really well sprinkle with salt cover bowl with wrap and leave on counter OVERNIGHT.
When you're ready to move on,you will need:

2 sticks (1/2 pound) butter softened
1/2 teas.ground clove
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 extra large egg
2 2/3 cups all purpose flour.

Cream the butter ,clove,and both sugars at medium speed for about 3 minutes.
With mixer on low add egg and make sure it's well blended Slowly add flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix till just combined,Add the fruit and nut mixture.Divide dough in half Form into 2 logs.Roll in parchment paper and refrigerate TILL FIRM.
Here's the easy part slice cookies 1/2 inch thick and place on ungreased cookie sheet Bake 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. I liked them at 15,besides I couldn't wait to eat one. Knowing that this had to sit for 2 sessions it was easy to just mix and wait,mix and wait,cut and bake.
How's your Christmas coming?...............................said the hobbit

Monday, December 6, 2010

The girls and I in Boston

Taking a break from the busy holiday workload to look back on my day in the big city with my girls.

Like to sew? This window had at least 3 dozen antique sewing machines on display. What fun to look back on what was then and be grateful for what is now.

I promised myself I would not buy any more yarn on that trip but.........well you know how it is. I had never seen anything like this. This yarn is not quite spun.Not sure what you use it for maybe to needlepunch on a felted project? I asked the salesperson and she was so busy telling me about the women who does these and the colors that she offers that I don't remember my question being answered.
So I attempted to make a scarf with it. It was a little difficult because the yarn is delicate and comes apart easily. I figured once it was washed and blocked it would be fine.

It's a real light green like you would see in a block of soapstone. Also new to my knitting was this flower made by casting on 80 stitches. I couldn't imagine what it was going to look like but,I'm happy with the results. Currently it's soaking in a warm water and creme rinse solution. I often do this when I feel the wool is not as soft as I would like. Well I have to get back to my Christmas to-do list.Santa is cracking that whip.......................said the hobbit

Friday, December 3, 2010

It's a Bittyful Friday

Someone left the door open to the cellar. I don't know were to start,I just found a whole new world.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

stitch and bitch

Every year we are determined to make as many of our presents as possible. There is no pressure just encouragement to do the best we can. Every week someone brings in a project that has been completed and I try to post them for you to see. So much has been going on this year and I seem to be a little late with my show and tell. Our resident yaya models this lovely scarf joking that maybe it will find its way under her tree. It needs to be touched to really appreciate how great this feels around your neck.

Cynthiaaaaaaaa as we call her, made several different scarves before she took the plunge and tried her hand at socks.
Of course she made her own needles and had to ham it up a bit before getting down to business.

When she did though nothing stopped her. This is her first pair of socks. Pretty nifty isn't it?Picture is a little blurry because of a severe case of happy feet.I don't blame her.Getting that first pair done is such a great accomplishment.

Now,check this out. New to our group,Christine, wanted to make something special for her brother. He loves dungeons and dragons,just recently got married and bought a home. He suggested a hat that he could wear when shoveling his driveway. I wish I was a fly on the wall when he sees this. I think the neighbors might be in for a surprise too!! It reminds me of one of the characters in Harry Potter.........................said the hobbit

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving, it will go on and on!

I thought I'd give you a look at the Thanksgiving bird.Here he is sitting in the sink waiting for a rinse and clean before being stuffed.

All dressed up full of stuffing and wiped with evoo and decorated with fresh basil leaves. I have to say that's all he needed.

It was just the best. We got this turkey from a local farm and I can't tell you what a difference a fresh bird makes. It needed no brineing or special treatment,just cook and eat. Here's the only problem. This turkey was 34 pounds! We hardly made a dent in it. I have enough leftovers to feed and army twice. We sent everyone home with as much as they wanted,made turkey salad for several sandwiches,took a break of a few days and then feasted on turkey tetrazinni.I froze lots of broth and 5 packages of meat. Each one large enough to make a 13x9 casserole. My husband is in heaven. He loves turkey. What are you doing with your leftovers? I think I'll do lasagna with mushrooms and chard in a white sauce next.....we'll see,said the hobbit

Saturday, November 27, 2010

It's a Bittyful Friday

IT'S THE DAY AFTER THANKSGIVING. Everyone looks like this today..........

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Hope everyone has a great day. We are celebrating at my home, so things are a little crazy in the kitchen.......
I'm always looking for a way to use my buttermilk. Still can't figure out why they only sell it in quarts when most people only need 1/2 a pint for a recipe. Anyhow Gourmet had this recipe for fantail dinner rolls and I thought I'd give them a try. As you can see mine will have a look of their own as I didn't quite get that fantail thing going. However I did sneak a taste when they came out of the oven and they are yummy. Picked up the turkey yesterday.That's a story in itself. It seems they always think I want a big bird and I don't have the heart to correct them at the time of purchase. They are always so proud to have set aside such a large one for me. Yesterday was no different. Big smiles on their faces when they informed me they had a 34 lbs turkey ready for me. Oh well, leftovers are always nice. We will only be 9 this year I wonder how my guest feel about eating 3 lbs of turkey apiece. Did I mention we do meat stuffing? I can see we will have more then one story to tell around the table this year. Off to find a pan to hold this big boy tell you all about it later...................said the hobbit

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dear Abby

No , not that Abby. This one is a friend of my youngest daughter who is living a dream life in France. Every now and then I pop over to see how life is in her world. Almost 2 months ago she said that this cake needed to be made.It was a weekend and I was ready for the challenge. However I had no orange juice and had to put it on hold.

The recipe is from Deb at Smitten Kitchen She has been a favorite of mine for quite awhile and this nudge to try her mom's apple cake wasn't hard to do. I had plenty of local apples so I followed the recipe calling for 6 apples which I mixed with the sugar cinnamon and the walnuts. I thought we'd be eating cake for a month and as I was making it the thought of freezing half seemed like a real possibility.

It's just Jiggy's (the hubby) and I so I was sure this cake was going to be shared by many.You know where I'm going with this.The kitchen was filled with those wonderful fall aromas and it was difficult to wait the hour and a half for it to be done.Then of course it had to cool. I thought it would be difficult to remove from the pan but, no problem.

Here's where it got crazy. After admiring how gorgeous it was we had a small sliver just to make sure it was tasty.........then another sliver by the end of the weekend we had consumed the entire cake. We just couldn't seem to get enough of it. I decided to make it for my soup people. Of course I couldn't offer it by the piece so I checked out my stash of pans and found a tray of mini angel food cake pans.
They absolutely loved them and I have been making them ever since. Thanks Abby.............said the hobbit

Friday, November 5, 2010

It's a Bittyful Friday

Cold and rainy................sleeping in

Friday, October 29, 2010

It's a Bittyful Friday

Her I am looking over my feefdom.Don't I look regal?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Bitty sock

It seems like just yesterday I said I'd show you my bitty socks. Of course Bitty thinks they are hers and she was intent on getting into the photo opt.
I do a lot of my projects with fingering yarn and I always have a little yarn left over. These are done using #2 needles and are simply knit in stockinette with a rib cuff. The yarn is thin enough to fit in a shoe or boot without being too tight for comfort.

I have a gram scale so I weigh the yarn and try not to use more than half of it. That way I can make 2 socks exactly alike. Here in N.E. they are the perfect thing to wear over your tights to keep you warm. If you dare venture outside.............................said the hobbit

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Road trip with the girls

Well, we finally did it!My 2 daughters and I have tried to plan an all girl get-together for a while now and two weeks ago we finally pulled it off.
Boston is only an hour and half away but, the traffic can be intimidating ,not to mention the ridiculous parking fees. Our plan was to avoid all that by driving to Sarah's ,parking at her apartment and taking public transportation in. Here she is planning our strategy to ride the bus to the famous Sully Square Station.

While she was concentrating on that,sister Renee discovered her stash of fabric and was intent on taking a few samples to go. I wonder if she managed to tuck a square or two away?

After catching the bus, we rode the Orange line into town. Renee was in entertainment mode and immediately started hamming it up for the camera,which set the mood for lots of laughs and giggles. A most difficult decision was "Where do we go?What do we see?"Boston has so much to offer and we have so many varied interest that this was a major decision.
It was decided we should go to a yarn shop on Newbury street,which is the Rodeo drive of Boston. The shop is small,but,filled with hand dyed yarns of high quality.

Mmm looks like Sarah knew what she wanted. A chunky hand dyed yarn requiring #15 knitting needles. But, that was only the beginning of the day. I'll be back to tell you the rest of the story.............................said the hobbit

Friday, October 22, 2010

It's a Bittyful day

Sunny today but soooooo cold. Think I'll just sleep it off.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mmm Time for apple sauce

Wow! We are really into fall. The air is crisp,the days are definitely shorter and pumpkinAs soon as I finish this post I think I'll be looking for my gloves.
I'm sure everyone has a recipe for applesauce but for those of you just starting out in the kitchen,this one is pretty easy. Here what I think makes it easier.

A quick rinse and then,with a paring knife,I take out the core and the blossom end.
Next I cut the apple in half and using a melon ball er or something similar I take out the core.I've used the melon tool to death . This is an olive spoon that allows you to serve 1 olive and lets the juice pass through a cutout in the bottom. That doesn't happen in our house.If you want an olive just reach in the jar and get it. The plus with this tool is that it is constructed in one piece and only cost a few 2-3 dollars and save me a heap of time.
See how clean this is after just one twist of the wrist. Now I peel the apples and put everything in a pot.

Now I put all ingredients in a pot.
We have 3-4 lbs of apples
4 strips of lemon peel
juice of that lemon
3 inches of cinnamon stick (1/2 teaspoon powdered)
1/4 cup brown sugar
up to 1/4 cup white sugar (optional)
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
Just let this simmer stirring occasionally. Might take 25 minutes. Just standing by the stove and having that wonderful aroma wafting up is warming.

When it's done it will look like this. Remove the peel and the cinnamon stick if used. If you like it really smooth you can put it through a blender or a food mill. Most of the lumps that you see are a leftover peach that I threw in. Don't be shy! If you have any fruit hanging around that you think is being ignored just toss it in. Pears, raisins, cranberries raspberries will all be a plus to this. Pile it on a toast or put a dollop on your oatmeal or yogurt.
It's all good...............said the hobbit