Friday, April 17, 2015

Into The Woods....To Knit

Knitting Pipeline Georgia Retreat Goodies

"So YOU'RE the one." I don't know how many times I heard this over the last few days. Yep. I was the one who arrived, unpacked the car, and discovered my suitcase had chosen to stay back at home. 

There I was, with no clothes except what I was wearing. No toiletries either. Momentary panic ensued. Then someone looked to see how far away Walmart was. There was one in the next county. I'm not complaining. It could have been worse.

Thankfully it was only the clothes I was missing. All my knitting and yarn was with me. I could buy more toothpaste and a pair of jeans. Yarn would have been harder to find. You gotta have your priorities straight—pack the knitting first.


On the plus side, I'm already packed for the next trip. I'm sure I heard this suitcase laugh at me when I got back. 


I know people wonder who on earth would travel halfway across to the country to sit and knit with strangers. Well, there were a bunch of us who did! I only drove three hours to find this spot in the middle-of-nowhere Georgia—so far out in the woods that we were mostly out of cell phone range. But there were some ladies whose drive took two days. Some flew in from far away states. There was even one knitter who came from London. All to attend the Knitting Pipeline Georgia Retreat.


But I can't think of a better way to meet new people. Instant friends since we were all knitters. There were only 28 of us who gathered for a few days. That meant we got to know each other well. 


This was not a workshop. It was truly a retreat. Away from chores. Away from phones. (Mostly because we couldn't use them.) Away from cooking. Away from schedules.


There was still plenty to learn if you wanted to watch a demonstration or try out a new technique. But you could just stay out on the porch and visit if that suited you better. Probably the most learning came from talking to the knitter sitting beside you. So much expertise gathered in one spot.


Only knitters would be excited that we had an unusual cool rainy spell the entire time we were at the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center. That meant we could wear our hand knits. Okay...we would have probably worn them anyway, but they really did feel good in the cool weather. "Now what is that pattern?" "Which yarn is that?" "Was it hard to make?" That's how we learn best.


We spent one afternoon on the porch swapping favorite book titles—knitting away during the discussion, of course. Knitters who read. (Or, readers who knit?) Interesting people to be with.

On the first night we had the typical get acquainted time—"tell your name and why you knit/how you got started." One person told us she loved knitting because "...it can be done both in solitude and in community." This was all about community.

The plan is to do this again next year. As Paula, who hosted this retreat, always says at the end of her podcast, "Haste ye back." Or, as we in the south might say it, "Y'all come back now!"



Friday, April 10, 2015

Tastes Like Spring


This is one of my favorite desserts for spring. And it's about the easiest thing to make ever. It is fresh and light and makes a beautiful presentation. What more could you ask? It was our Easter dessert a few days ago.

"Pi Day" occurred when I was out visiting the grandchildren a few weeks ago. A local shop was selling pie slices to commemorate the day. Mommy called to asked which flavor I wanted and proceeded to rattle off a long list of wonderful pies. So hard to choose! But I decided on a Lemon-Blueberry Chess pie. And it was perfect. Everyone that day got a different flavor but I am pretty sure mine was the best. Lemon and blueberry is a winning combination. Those flavors are repeated in this easy recipe.

You can use a bought angel food cake, make one from a mix or go wild and make it from scratch. We opted for using a mix this time. And the topping is just quickly stirred together.

LEMON BLUEBERRY DESSERT

1/2 cup lemon yogurt (4 or 5 oz.)
1/2 cup Cool Whip (use the yogurt container to measure the Cool Whip)
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
2 to 4 teaspoons powdered sugar
angel food cake

Stir together yogurt, Cool Whip and lemon peel. Spoon over angel food cake. Spoon berries over the top and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Garnish with lemon slice and fresh mint leaves.
Topping will make 4-5 servings  (It's easy enough to increase. It is just equal amounts of yogurt and Cool Whip.)


I used a lemon mousse whipped yogurt this time. It was the only lemon yogurt my store sold. It worked well. I have used a lemon Greek yogurt before but the Greek yogurt makes a stiffer topping--still delicious but I like a regular yogurt best. If you want to use fat-free or reduced fat products, those will work, too.


Reality check: I was sitting with my knitting group yesterday when a woman with her service dog came into the store where we meet. She was telling the shop owner some long tale about how the dog had helped in an emergency situation recently. The only part my ears really picked up was when she said, "I was near an elderly Sunday School class and this lady in the class—I think she was about 65—started having problems..."

All that registered were the words "elderly" and "65." The sad part was I didn't think this lady was particularly young herself.  I'll buy that 65 can be called "old" but "elderly?" Really?


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Ham 'N Cheese Supper Bread


It was midweek and there was only one slice of ham left from our Easter dinner. I thought it might have lasted longer. Part of the leftovers were packed up and sent back with the city "kids." And we certainly enjoyed the ham—ham and eggs for breakfast, ham and potato salad, ham sandwiches. Well, I guess we did eat that much. Last night there was just one slice left.

I remembered a recipe from long years ago, back when my "Dinner For Two" cookbook still made one serving too many. In the 40+ years since then, hundreds of cookbooks have passed through my kitchen. I would give them away when I was done with them. But I saved this one. There were several good recipes in it that I had made. So here we are full circle. I am back to cooking for a small household. This time, happily it IS for two!

Tonight I made Ham 'N Cheese Supper Bread. Since it had a little meat in it, the rest of the meal was all vegetables. I served it with oven roasted vegetables and butter peas (cooked from a bag of frozen peas.) It was a very good middle-of-the-week supper.


HAM 'N CHEESE SUPPER BREAD

1 cup Bisquick baking mix
1/2 cup chopped ham
1 tablespoon instant minced onion
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1/4 teaspoon prepared mustard (such as French's)
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 1-qt. casserole.

Mix baking mix, ham, onion, egg, milk, oil, mustard and 2/3 cup of the cheese. Spread in casserole. Sprinkle remaining cheese and the sesame seeds on top.

Bake until top is golden brown, 30-35 minutes. Serve warm.

Serves 2

NOTE:  Wrap leftover bread in aluminum foil and refrigerate or freeze. Heat in foil wrapping in 400 degree oven until warm, about 10 minutes. (If frozen, 30-35 minutes.)

This cookbook is so old that microwave ovens had yet to hit the market, so I think we would reheat in the microwave now. But it's kind of fun to see how we used to do it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

It's A Wrap


The Hemlock Ring blanket I made several weeks ago finally met its new owner. It's just a lap blanket size and it worked well as a wrap on a cool Easter weekend afternoon. I had envisioned it thrown across a lap, but I like this look, too. It's a cool gray day here today. If I had a Hemlock blanket, I'd wrap it around myself for the afternoon.


Pattern:  Kid's Fruit Cap by Anne Norling
Yarn:  Baby Bunny by Plymouth Yarns
Needle size:  size 5


I finished a sweet little baby cap over the weekend for Jessica to take back with her. There is another baby shower at her office this week and her co-worker is expecting a baby girl. This is an office filled with creative people who really appreciate handmade things. I am always glad to help out.

Happenings in the kitchen? It's all about the leftovers for a few days. That's a happy situation as far as I'm concerned.



Monday, April 6, 2015

Happy Easter!


Another Easter has come and gone. 
We enjoyed some family time with the "big kids" 
who came home for the weekend.


They dyed Easter eggs.


They flew a kite.


We went to church together and came home for Easter dinner.
I told them that this was the smallest Easter dinner I have ever cooked. 
My cold/allegry just kept me from doing more.


But it was enough to fill a plate.
And to send them home with leftovers.

I probably should have posted the ham glaze recipe before Easter, but here it is now. Better late than never! It's the same one I used last year when I cooked Easter dinner for Mommy and her family out in the midwest. Baking a ham is about the easiest thing you can possibly do. Baking it at home is a much more economical way to do it. A grocery store spiral-sliced ham cost twice as much as the unsliced ham. And a spiral-sliced ham from the "ham store" costs 4 to 5 times as much. At least know this most basic way is a reasonable option for you.

I bought a fully-cooked semi-boneless half ham—just over 6 lbs. At Easter, they are easy to find. They were displayed at several places in my grocery store. We followed the directions on the label, baking it for 20 minutes per pound at 325 degrees. I scored the outside and covered it with foil for most of the baking time. Daddy-O added the glaze for the last 40-45 minutes and left the foil off to finish the baking.

This glaze is easy and it's delicious.

EASY BROWN SUGAR-MUSTARD GLAZE

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon pineapple juice

In a small bowl, mix all ingredients until well blended.
Brush glaze over ham during last 45 minutes of baking. 

Double the recipe for a larger ham. Can also use glaze on pork chops or pork roast.


And the midwest family? Little Sister told me last night that she found "a million eggs!" at the Easter egg hunt out there. It is fun to be four.