Crochet Hat

5 Dec

After doing headbands, I really wanted to try a hat. My husband has been asking for one, so I decided he would be the guinea pig. I chose and bulky, black yarn, and got to work. However, about 3/4 of the way through the first pattern, I didn’t like it. So, I found a new pattern, made the changes I needed, and was able to set aside today to work on it. (Laundry can wait!)

Pattern: Got Spirit Hat
Changes to pattern:
Because I used a thicker yarn than the pattern and he has a big head, I made a few changes. He also wanted a cuff on the hat to be able to roll up.

Rnd 1, 2, 3, 4 same as pattern.

Rnd 5, do 2dc in first stitch same as chain, then dc in next 3. Repeat around (60 dc)

Rnd 6-11: dc in every stitch

Rnd 12-15: dc in every stitch but switch RS to WS facing out so cuff will be RS facing out

Rnd 16: sc in every stitch, slip stitch to first stitch, fasten off.

Yarn: Lion Brand Hometown USA in Oakland Black

Hook: N/9.00

Crochet Hat

Now that I have this down, I have some fun hats in the works. He also wants a scarf, so I will work with this yarn again to create some kind of scarf, which I will share as well! Anymore, it seems like I finish one project, and add 2 more.

Lovey Blankets

5 Dec

With a few new babies born to our family members and friends, I wanted to make something little for each of them. My older daughter helped me pick out yarn, and we found this really soft, fuzzy yarn, Bernat Pipsqueak. It comes in both solids and multi-colors, so we picked out some of each. It’s very different to work with, so I chose to knit. Very important to keep good count if you are doing a pattern. I get bored with just straight knit stitch, so I did do some ribbing on these. It’s just hard to tell! The pattern is something like this:

Cast on 45.
Knit across about 5 rows.

Then,
K5, K5, P5, K5, P5, K5, P5, K5, K5
K5, P5, K5, P5, K5, P5, K5, P5, K5

Repeat until blanket is almost a square.

Knit across about 5 rows to finish.

I used 14″, Size 10 1/2, knitting needles.

One ball of this yarn, which is 100g, 109 meters / 120 yards, makes 1 blanket approximately 13″ x 13″. It’s not a huge blanket, but I was going more to cuddle and take with, so it’s not as bulky to carry around.

Here are the 2 that I have finished. The green and purple one got pulled at little tight as I was finishing it up, which is killing my perfectionist mind, but it’s still really cute. I am working on 2 more in solid colors, 1 in Chocolate and 1 in Lime.

Lovey Blanket in Bernat Pipsqueak Pixie Pow

Lovey Blanket in Bernat Pipsqueak Pixie Pow

Lovey Blanket in Bernat Pipsqueak Funny Bunny

Lovey Blanket in Bernat Pipsqueak Funny Bunny

Crochet Headband

4 Dec

I let both of my girls pick out yarn to make a scarf. When I finished the first one, I had not enough yarn for a hat, but enough to make a headband. So, I luckily found this quick and easy pattern for a headband, and made a few more Flower Appliques for the accents. (Don’t worry, I’ll post more on the knitted scarves later after I FINALLY finish the second one!) I finished each of these in a few hours each. My girls love them!

Pattern: Chunky Crochet Headband. I did chain more at the beginning for my older daughter’s because her head is bigger

Yarns:
Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Blue Heather
Bernat Vickie Howell Sheep(ish) in Turquoise(ish)

Hook size: J/6.0mm

Close-up of blue heather headband with Flower Applique Headband on younger daughter Turquoise(ish) headband with complimenting scarf

My First Crochet Project – Flower Appliques

4 Dec

I have had a small Learn to Crochet kit sitting in a closet for a while that had patterns for a peace sign, a flower, and a heart. I decided to start with the flower. The directions were a little confusing and not working out for me (I think I started and pulled the stitches about 10 times!), so I headed online. I found this pattern, Flower & Leaf Appliques, and after a lot more attempts, finally got a flower!

Crochet Flower Applique

Once I was able to create this, it gave me confidence to try more. I now have also made a few flowers to use as accents to some other pieces. It’s now a quick, easy project since I know more of what I am doing!

My New Hobby – Knitting and Crocheting

3 Dec

When I was a kid, I did a LOT of cross-stitch. I think one year my sister and I cranked out Christmas ornaments for a huge list of people. I had always thought about learning to knit or crochet, but the time or opportunity just ever presented itself. Last year, my daughter joined a knitting club at school, and I decided it was time to time to try to learn. I used the sheets she was given and watched some videos on YouTube, and learned how to cast on, the knit stitch, the purl stitch, and the stockinette stitch. I started with scarves. I figured those were easy enough! I played around with the different stitches to get different looks and had fun doing it.

My first scarves Close up of my first scarves

Then, my daughter lost interest, and life got busy with other things, so I didn’t work on anything for about a year. We recently had some new babies born in our family and circle of friends, so I got the urge to start working on some new projects to give as gifts. I had to watch the videos again, but was able to pick it back up. Then, my mom came to visit, and she was working on crocheting granny squares for Christmas stockings. Again, I watched a few videos and watched her work, and learned how to do chain, slip, single, double, half-double, and treble stitches. Then, after posting a few projects on Facebook, a friend from college let me know about a forum called, Ravelry.com, which is free to join, and has a TON of free and paid patterns for both knitting and crocheting. It was a whole new world opened up for me, and I have been busy creating since.

I’m hoping to be able to keep it up, and over the next few weeks, I will share my finished projects. As I work on more, I will share those too. I’m starting my younger daughter on knitting, and my older daughter has been knitting again and wants to learn to crochet as well. I’m excited at the opportunity to work with them on this as well!

Potato Soup

2 Dec

This past weekend, we visited our favorite German restaurant, Angelika’s German Imports Market & Deli. My younger daughter had potato soup with her sandwich, which was so good. She wanted more of it, so I tried to come up with something close. It tasted similar, but not quite as good as Angelika’s did. I also added in cabbage to ours, since I had some that needed to be used and felt it would fit in well. I would probably add some bacon or ham next time, but as is, it was very good.

Note: This picture shows it a little thicker than it originally was because it is the leftover soup. I forgot to snap a picture the night we had it!

Potato Soup

Potato Soup

How to make it:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 large stalk celery, diced
1 large onion, diced
3 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1-1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and diced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups beef broth
Salt and pepper

Directions:
Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, onions, cabbage, parsley and marjoram. Cook until transparent. Stir in potatoes.

In a small bowl, whisk flour into 1 cup of the beef broth. Pour into pot. Add remaining beef broth, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 Dec

In the past, I’ve used this Chicken Enchilada Soup recipe. I really liked it, but felt it was a little lacking. So, I looked around at a few recipes, and added in black beans and corn, then used diced tomatoes and green chiles in place of the enchilada sauce. If you want a little more kick to your soup, add in a diced jalapeno with the onion and garlic.

It turned out so good! I topped each bowl with shredded Mexican blend cheese and tortilla chip strips. You could also put sour cream, fresh cilantro, and/or a lime wedge.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

What you need:

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or, I just use chicken from a rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken to save on time)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
6 cups chicken broth, divided
1 cup masa harina (This is corn flour. You can use corn meal, but it will may have a grittier texture)
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 14.75-oz can whole corn kernels, drained
1 10-oz can Ro-Tel (or 1 can diced tomatoes and 1 small can diced green chiles)
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt

How to make it:

In large pot over medium heat, cook chicken in oil until well browned on all sides. Remove, shred, and set aside.  (This step is skipped if you already have cooked chicken)

Cook onion and garlic together in remaining oil until onions are translucent.

In a bowl, whisk together masa harina and 2 cups water until well blended. This step is important, if you just put the masa harina right in the pot, it won’t blend in as well, making it gritty.  Pour into pot along with the remaining 4 cups chicken broth, black beans, corn, Ro-Tel, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and salt. Bring to a boil.

Add chicken. Reduce heat to low and simmer 30-40 minutes, until thickened.

Chicken Salad

13 Oct

There really are a LOT of different ways that chicken salad is made. So, when my husband wanted Chicken Salad, I wasn’t sure where to start. Sure, I could just do chicken, mayo, maybe some onion. I have played around with it a couple of times, and finally found the combination that he, my older daughter, and I can all agree on…and here it is!

Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad

What you need:

4 cups cooked chicken, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 bunch green onions, diced
1 1/2 cups mayo
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced or 1 teaspoon dried dill

How to make it:

Add all ingredients to a large bowl. Mix well. Chill for several hours or overnight.

Ground Beef, Summer Squash, and Rice Skillet

12 Oct

I recently acquired a zucchini and a yellow squash at a Kiwanis Club meeting. I have made plenty of different meals with zucchini and yellow squash, but wanted to try something new. So, I used what I had on hand, and came up with this combination. Even my little one liked it, and she’s been rather picky lately! It also took little time to put all together, which was nice with the busy nights we tend to have lately.

Ground Beef, Summer Squash, and Rice Skillet

Ground Beef, Summer Squash, and Rice Skillet

What you need:

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1 cup beef broth
1 zucchini and 1 yellow squash, sliced
1 cup cooked rice (I made it in my rice steamer)

How to make it:

In a large skillet, brown ground beef over medium heat. Add in onions and garlic, and cook until onions are translucent. Next, stir in Worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt, tomato paste and beef broth. Add sliced zucchini and yellow squash. Cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until squash has softened. Stir in cooked rice and serve.

Katie’s Chili

4 Oct

Katie has been asking me to make chili for the longest time, but I kept putting it off. It’s still warm here in AZ, and hot meals just don’t always sound appealing. But, I have never made it before, so it was time. I know there are a ton of different ways to make it, all based on personal preference. So, we found 5 different versions in the cookbooks that we have, and came up with a combination of our own. It was really, really good! Now, I won’t wait so long the next time she asks.

Katie's Chili

Katie’s Chili

What you need:

1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (optional)
1 15-oz can dark red kidney beans
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
1 10-oz can tomatoes and green chiles (Ro-Tel)
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
Juice of one lime
Salt and ground black pepper

How to make it:

In a large pot, brown the ground beef. Add garlic, onion, green pepper, celery, carrot, and jalapeno, and continue to cook until vegetables have softened. Next, add kidney beans (undrained), diced tomatoes (undrained), tomatoes and green chiles (undrained), tomato sauce, and beef broth. Stir well, adding more beef broth or water if it seems too thick. Next, stir in chili powder, cumin, oregano, lime juice, and salt and ground black pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer about 20-25 minutes.

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