Kasha and Bowties

Mike was away for the weekend and one of my favorite things to do when he goes away is to surprise him with some kind of dinner that he can smell as soon as he walks through the door. Today I decided to use the crockpot since we haven’t used it once this winter.

I decided to go with a simple pot roast. I made it with carrots, onions and mushrooms and threw in a packet of onion soup mix and a large can of condensed tomato soup. The special part of this dinner was that instead of making potatoes, which would be my traditional pot roast side dish, I made a big batch of kasha and bowties.

Kasha is just buckwheat and it’s simple to make by just following the directions on the box. You boil some kind of liquid (I mixed some chicken broth and water since I didn’t have enough broth) with butter and pour it over the kasha which has been toasted in a coating of egg.  The kasha then cooks, absorbing the liquid, becoming light and fluffy. And then you just pour it over the farfalle (bowties) and mix it up.  A lot of people have onion in their recipes but I’m so picky about how I like my onions so I omit it.

The kasha is nutty and really compliments the pasta well.  It tastes great with all the pot roast fixings over top with a bit of the sauce.

This was so good and hearty.  Mike loved it too and could definitely smell it when he came home.  And we have a ton of leftovers which works out perfectly for this week.

Lancaster Yarn Stores

This past week I was in Lancaster for work.  When I found myself with some free time, I googled yarn stores and I found two great shops.

The first shop I visited was Kitnit Fine Yarns. Their website said they had Malabrigo and I thought I would buy a skein of their Chunky to try another Dolores Park Cowl in the yarn the pattern called for.  Of course I made this decision in the time it took me to drive there.

When I got there, I talked with the shop owner and she said they didn’t have any Malabrigo Chunky and they might have some other Malabrigo but it would be in their sale selection.

Their sale selection was awesome and I found some great yarns. I got some Noro for a hat for a friend that I’ll show off once it’s finished. But I also got the one skein of Malabrigo Sock in their sale selection in the Ravelry Red colorway.

I also got a skein of Louisa Harding Millais that I think will make a cute hat for a baby.

I also got a chance to visit Lancaster Yarn Shop. It’s in Intercourse which is just outside of the city of Lancaster and it’s exactly what you think of when you imagine Amish Country. It was a beautiful day so I saw so many horse and buggies, tons of laundry drying on lines and animals out on the surrounding farms.

This shop is possibly the cutest shop I’ve been in. I just loved the space, the way the yarn is organized and the pretty displays. And the owner was so friendly and nice to talk with.

I chatted with the shop owner while I browsed and she pointed me to the display of local yarns. There were about three different brands with different weights and all of them were beautiful and soft and it was difficult to choose just one. Ultimately, sparkle won out (who am I buying my second skein of yarn with sparkle?) and I chose a yarn by Crabapple Yarns.

I’m so happy with my new stash additions!

The best breakfast sandwich in Lemont (probably in all of State College)

I had a planning meeting this afternoon for a spring 5K race at Cafe Lemont.

I love this place.  It opened maybe a year or so ago and it’s always filled when I go there.  It’s cozy and friendly and the owners advocate for all things local – food producers, artists, community events, etc. They’ve been especially helpful in exploring the opportunity to open a farmer’s market in Lemont this spring.

Look at this cute little scarf by the register.

Their coffee is great, but the number one thing I’ve ever had for breakfast in this town is the Egg, Pesto and Cream Cheese sandwich.

The bread is a little toasted, the egg is hot and it makes the cream cheese a little melty and the pesto a bit warm.  And it sounds like an odd combination but these things were made for each other.

Don’t get me wrong.  I need a Waffle Shop fix every now and then for traditional breakfast offerings, Irving’s is great for a bagel and The Corner Room has my best fruit cup (no melon!).  But until someone gets more innovative with breakfast in this town (I just want to find a great breakfast burrito), I vote this number one.

Like I Needed Another WIP?

In the past two days I worked a couple more pattern repeats on my DNA Scarf. This pattern looks so cool but it requires paying attention to what you’re doing since all thirty something rows are completely different and not memorizable.

Last night, Mike and I decided to watch a movie and since all of my current WIPs really require me to pay some kind of attention (okay, not the socks that just need a simple ribbed pattern on the top but they’re in a long hibernation), I figured I might as well just start something new.

About two months ago, my friend Ali sent me this beautiful yarn in a Secret Turkey exchange among a group of friends.

The yarn is Fleece Artist Blue Face Leicester DK and it’s from Nova Scotia.  A few weeks ago when I was organizing my stash, I realized that it would be the perfect yarn for a Honey Cowl.  I guess I’ve had that in my mind since then and watching a movie seemed to be the perfect excuse to get started.

I didn’t get far because I had to ball the yarn (I don’t have a swift or a yarn winder so I do this by hand over my legs) and cast on and get started.  But I love how it’s started and it is such an easy pattern.

I cast on 160 stitches to make the in between size cowl and I suspect it might not be as wide as the pictures.  But I can tell this is going to be warm and pretty.

Butler really seems to like it.

Or maybe he just likes that the shade is open and he can see the snow from a safe distance.

And here’s a bonus of both of them. Because Chica was there too.

 

Finished: Dolores Park Cowl

The Dolores Park Cowl is an easy, well written pattern and people’s results are beautiful. I love the way this project looks on the designer’s page. And it was one of the projects I wanted to complete in 2012.

Look at how beautiful it turned out on Knitorious.

And then there’s mine.

It’s not really bad and the yarn I used was fabulous. I used the Schoppel-Wolle Pur I got at Rosie’s Yarn Cellar. The colors are gorgeous and the yarn is so soft and easy to knit with.

But I am just not in love with the finished product. My knitting looks a bit sloppy to me. I’ll wear it of course, but I am not 100% in love with it yet.

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

This recipe is another one from my childhood.  It’s very easy and such a cheat because it uses Bisquick and there is nothing fancy about it at all but it is so cozy and delicious.

My recipe card is a photocopy of my mom’s recipe card. I have no idea where she got it from or how long she’s had it but it’s definitely the kind of recipe that makes me think of an era when housewives were just learning short cut type recipes and cooking for 2.5 kids in their new suburban homes.

If you google the hot fudge pudding cake and Bisquick, it says it’s impossible. I guess what’s impossible is understanding how mixing all these ingredients together creates so much gooey chocolatey pudding. I was explaining to Mike how the recipe turns out (I thought I made it for him but like six or seven years ago but he didn’t remember it) and he kept asking if there was pudding mix in it.  My guess is it’s the hot water but I have no idea how this all works since I’m not a food scientist. But it does and it’s very good.

Most of the fudge is on the bottom so when you spoon it into dishes, you pour it on top.  It’s the best part.

I think we always ate ours with Cool Whip but I haven’t had Cool Whip in years. We’re primarily a whipped cream in a can family these days.

 

WIP: DNA Scarf

Well I’ve finally started a DNA Scarf for my dad. I mentioned back in the fall that I thought he’d love it. After that post my dad said that he’s worked with Dr. Thomas Montville, the original commissioner of this pattern. So even better.

My dad picked the redwood mix colorway of Berroco Ultra Alpaca and I’m knitting the scarf on size six needles.

I’ve worked on this two nights and I’ve finished one repeat of the pattern.  I had to rewrite the directions a bit so it would be easier for me to follow but I’m finding a groove. The twenty stitches of the DNA cables in the center are made over about 36 rows.  Each row is different so I’ll really being paying attention to this one.

So far so good!

Bow Headband

I have this cozy hooded sweater that reminds me of a sock monkey.  It’s made of grey and white yarn and the cuffs and the border around the hood are made of an almost aqua yarn.  The sweater is really not good for anything but napping, knitting and throwing on only when I know I won’t leave the house.  But I love it.

After I finished my honeycomb hat and Lady Kina, I knew that combined, the scraps left could make a project that would remind me of my sweater. I used this bow headband pattern and it knit up really quickly.

It’s just as hideous as my sweater in a cozy, funny kind of way.  It fits snug and it would keep your ears nice and warm in the winter.  And I love the construction of the bow and how it really stands out.  I’m not sure what I am going to do with this but I am really happy that it’s exactly what I wanted.

Grape Earflap Hat

Here is another finished project, my third Short & Sweet Earflap Hat. This was a present and I snuck into my year end projects for 2011 even though it hadn’t been gifted yet. I was hoping the recipient was too busy to notice it there and they wouldn’t have known it was for them anyway.

I love how easy this pattern is to work up and the finished result is warm and fun to wear.

This was a gift for Jenn for Christmas and I made it with Austermann Murano. This was the first time I used this yarn and I think it knit up really well and feels great. I really love the way it turned out and I hope that Jenn loves it too.