skinnytaste Week 12

This week I made Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Sweet Potatoes from the skinnytaste Fast & Slow cookbook. I got started on this recipe too late in the day to use the slow cooker, so I just cooked it in the pressure cooker. It was not as good as it would have been in the slow cooker, but it only took 15 minutes.

This was really good, and I’ll likely make it again. I love any soup or stew with a hefty portion of frozen peas in it.

Easy Fancy Breakfast

A few years ago my friend Sarah told me that when she was growing up her mom used to warm up peanut butter and syrup for peanut butter syrup for pancakes. I was intrigued, but forgot about it every breakfast time.

Today was different. I remembered to give it a try. Instead of pancakes, I made French toast and cut the slices into strips. I made a dip out of warm peanut butter and syrup. It was delicious and easy. It was such a hit I’ll be making it again soon. 20190322_091525

To make it I put peanut butter in a bowl, microwaved it until it was easy to stir, and added enough maple syrup for it to be dippable. I used real maple syrup and natural peanut butter, but if you are more of a Skippy and Aunt Jemima household those would work too (they would probably be easier to make into a sauce, actually).

Have you ever tried peanut butter and syrup together? Do you have any other peanut butter hacks?

It’s Sewing, And I Helped

Do you remember the Shake and Bake commercials? The ones where kids said “It’s Shake and Bake, and I helped?” I felt like the kids in those commercials this morning when I brought out my sewing projects and directions to make sure I understood them.

It started innocently enough. I figured I should read through the project to make sure I understood everything while my mom was around to ask questions. That very quickly led to her cutting out the projects, so they would be ready for me when I got around to making them.

While she did this I stood around knitting and drinking coffee. I’m helpful like that.20190321_0849281513163270167118370.jpg

After she cut out the fabric she decided she should get started on making one to make sure it wasn’t tricky. Then it got out of control. She decided to keep going. She had me pin the bags, cut the notches for the curves, and iron them (you know, the worst part). She showed me what a zipper foot is, so now I know what to look for when I go through my sewing stuff to see if I have one.

I’m now the owner of two cute small project bags. I used the pattern Li’l Knot Bag from Indigo Bird Design. The pattern has three sizes. I made small this time, I think I’ll make a medium bag next time. This size is perfect for socks or other small projects (my Green Bay socks are already in the Hawkeyes bag).20190321_1140301633940026528833313.jpg

You might recognize the fabric as the fat quarters I bought last weekend in Winterset. I am glad I’ve used them already. I don’t want to develop a fabric stash issue, as I already have that with yarn.

Yesterday I thought it was silly that I brought two sewing projects and three knitting projects with me on a 48 hour trip. It turns out that was close to the right number of projects. I haven’t touched one of the knitting projects, but it is always better to be safe than sorry.

WIP Wednesday

I finished my Rose City Rollers this morning. I sewed in the ends and wore them all day. I really like how they fit. I’m pretty sure the purple yarn is something wholly inappropriate for socks, like a cashmere blend or something,  so they might not last for long. While they are around they will be amazingly comfortable, however.20190320_091247164151273897500214.jpg

I’m working away on my Green Bay Packers socks. I just finished the gusset of the first sock. Audrey snapped a picture of me knitting them this evening, so I have an action shot for these socks. The Green Bay blanket isn’t usually on the back of the couch, it is just there to protect the couch from Elliot’s grubby hands when he eats at the bar stools just behind the couch. You might not have noticed, but I’m sure my mom would want you to know it isn’t normally part of her living room design. 20190320_1657321735911374165515299.jpg

We’re in Cedar Falls for a few days. I packed three knitting projects and two sewing projects. I might have overestimated the amount of things I’ll get done while I’m here.

Finished Object: Bankhead Hat

On Friday I was knitting away on my projects when a skein of yarn called to me. It was a skein of Poems Silk (75% wool 25% silk) that was sent to me in a fiber exchange. It is not yarn I would normally pick. I don’t knit much with silk, and the colors are not my style. I was compelled to cast on a hat.

I blame Alissa. Her post on Friday about her WIPs was too inspirational. I asked her about having so many WIPs and she explained it so well I thought I should add another project to my knitting basket (it’s not really a basket, BTW, it is more of a pile of project bags).

I decided on the Bankhead pattern. I cast on 90 stitches and got to work. From the beginning I didn’t like the yarn, but I did like seeing how the colors progressed. I knit until I was almost out of yarn. I ended up with a hat that fits the kids. They need another hat, especially Elliot, who is hat obsessed.

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I don’t like the yarn, but I loved the pattern. I’ll be making this hat again, next time with a solid wool yarn. Maybe even a farm yarn…something that screams sheep.

I was hoping to have a project to work on mindlessly for a week or two, but once I started this hat I just wanted to be done with it. I’m now only 170 g in the hole for my yarn diet.

Fiberpalooza

Today is one of the best days of the year. It’s Fiberpalooza in Winterset, Iowa. Every year Ivy and I head over to browse the yarn market, wander around the little town square, and eat fried pickles.

The market moved this year to the gym at the middle school from the gym at the elementary school. There was more space, which meant more vendors. In the end, even though there were more vendors, I ended up buying from the same people I usually buy from. Ivy did too, actually. We are old and set in our ways.

I went over board on yarn purchases. I’m now 187 g in the hole for my yarn diet. I need to get knitting on my WIPs so I get back in the black soon. 20190316_1436285070698841640051620.jpgThe yarn on the left is from Fiber Cuiro and Sundries LLC. It’s a Romeldale/Suri Alpaca blend. It’s lace weight, but I’m going to pretend it is fingering and make a wrap out of it. Probably. Or I’m going to put it in my wine cabinet/yarn storage cabinet and look at how pretty it is for years. Only time will tell.

The rest of the yarn is from Yarn Geek. I love her yarn. I already have a skein of it in my stash, and I made socks for John from her yarn last year. I went into her booth and all self-control was lost. It started when I picked up two mini skeins for my sock yarn blanket. Then I saw the Rainbow Dashing (just left of the mini skeins) and knew I needed to take it home with me. I was trying to convince Ivy to buy more mini skeins when I saw the sparkly yarn (it is much more sparkly in real life than in this photo). I said “SHUT UP!” like a loud passionate teenager and grabbed the yarn. I may have said that while the dyer was having a conversation with Ivy about the mini skein options. After I reached over, clutched the yarn in my hungry grasp, and held it close to me, I explained to Ivy and Sarah (the dyer) that I was overcome with yarn love and was not yelling shut up at them. Being yarn nerds, they were understanding.

After the fiber festival we headed to the town square. They have a wonderful cafe that we eat at every year. We always start with fried pickles. Two years ago they switched from pickle chips to pickle spears. We still haven’t recovered from that shock. This cafe is where Clint Eastwood and Kathleen Kennedy ate in The Bridges of Madison County.  If you are a mid 1990s film buff that tidbit might be exciting to you. Personally, I care more about the pickles. 20190316_1145361661947229707001221.jpg

After our lunch we walked around the square checking out the shops. The old county jail is now a shop carrying hand-made goods. The last time I was there I found a kitchen towel that featured knitting. This time I found one for my other love – reading. I don’t really need another towel, but this is a really absorbent and soft towel, so I felt justified bringing my 1000th tea towel into our house.20190316_1437268362933261523165712.jpg

At Heartland Fiber Co. I wasn’t tempted by much. The store was crowded with knitters in for the festival, so it was hard to wander around. I was going to walk away without anything when I discovered a basket on the floor filled with random bits of yarn. They sell yarn leftovers for $0.10-$3.00 depending on the size. I splurged on 3 balls and spent $3.25. I loved being able to pick up a few yarns for the blanket for less than a mini skein. I’ll be searching for fingering weight in the basket every time I visit their store.20190316_1435452839623490959629519.jpg

We ended the day at Ben Franklin, a store where I always find random things that need to come home with me. Today it was a googly eye chip clip. How could I possibly say no to that? I also picked up some fat quarters to make some project bags or stuff in my drawer and forget I bought until I find them next year and make Kathleen take them. 20190316_1435235529541052004340250.jpg

It was a wonderful day in Winterset. I now need to go knit furiously until my yarn diet is in the black. I would grab some pretzels to snack on, but the bag is giving me a dirty look.