Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Long-promised yarn photos & some recipe links.

Hello everyone! Remember when I went on a fun yarn adventure with my family? Well I did, and here's what I brought home:

Pretty purple handspun wool from the Yarn Basket in Tecumseh, MI.

Soft grey alpaca from the Clinton Woolen Mill -- $3.50 a skein!

Lovely undyed handspun thick-and-thin wool & mohair, also from the Clinton Woolen Mill.

The Clinton Woolen Mill was undoubtedly my favorite shop we visited and if you're at all local you really must check it out. The selection was beautiful, the prices were unbelievable, and the atmosphere was very comfortable. I'm not a spinner (yet?) but there was a wide array of beautifully dyed fleece and roving soft and dreamy enough to make me wish I were. For now, though, there are more than enough lovely local handspun yarns to keep me busy. I'll be back soon! (There is an apartment for rent just above it and I definitely contemplated asking about it -- too bad moving out to Clinton would be far from practical!)

So, last time I posted I'd begun working on a pair of fingerless mitts for E. Unfortunately, we're no longer "an item," as they say. It was very amicable and there are no hard feelings, but needless to say his mitts got moved waaaayyyy down on my priority list! Instead I wanted to do some simple, therapeutic knitting for myself, so I picked up that grey handspun pictured above and got to work on a rendition of the Aspen Neck Cowl. It's knitting up quickly and I think I may even finish it in time for Harvest Gathering this weekend!

In other news, I've been sticking with my plan to try a new raw recipe each week. Last week I tried out these kitchen sink cookies. I absolutely love no-bake cookies to begin with but the recipes I know call for lots of butter & sugar, so I was intrigued to see how this one would come out. I only made a very small batch, two each for me & the friend I had over for dinner. They were good but not great; using that much nut butter for the base makes them very, very rich and heavy. I'll experiment a bit more, though, because there is something just so delightful about making cookies in the fridge!

Tonight I'm going to try a raw corn chowder, so I'll let you know how that goes. Another (not raw) recipe I absolutely have to recommend is this sweet potato & black bean breakfast scramble. I actually made it for dinner, served with some brown rice and grated cheddar. I know I made some other alterations, including adding collard greens, and it was a huge hit with everyone who tried it, plus the leftovers were perfect for taking to school for the rest of that week. I'm certain I'll be making it again and, really, can't recommend it highly enough.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

First food post in who knows how long...

Nearly everyone agrees that raw fruits & veggies are an important part of a healthy diet. Luckily for me I prefer most veggies raw anyhow, but munching on carrot sticks can get old fast. I've been fortunate enough to try lots of delicious raw meals at various restaurants and talented friends' houses, but I rarely prepare anything raw at home besides the occasional salad or smoothie. Starting this week I'm challenging myself to try out a new raw dish every week.

This morning I woke up with carrot soup on my mind and Googled for a raw recipe. This one looked appealing so when I got off work today I spent a whopping 71 cents on a couple organic carrots. I tried about a half-batch just now. I used green pepper instead of red because that's what I have in my garden and threw in some cayenne & cumin, too. Word to the wise: if you are halving all the ingredients, it's a good idea to make sure you halve the ginger too! I don't know why I didn't, except that I was excited about ginger and not thinking, so this has got QUITE a kick. I had to water it down pretty significantly but I have to say the flavor is excellent. The texture would be better if I strained out the pulpy bits but that feels too wasteful so I didn't (I do get to borrow a juicer soon, though, at which point I will definitely use this recipe with it!). I tossed in some small pieces of bell pepper and enjoyed this cold with some toast on the side. I plan to have the rest slightly warmed for breakfast tomorrow. Mmm, carrots & ginger!

Also, behold:

I realize it doesn't look like much, but that is my first foray into cheese-making! Some friends of mine get a 3-gallon weekly delivery of fresh, raw milk and lately they haven't been able to keep up with drinking it all. I gladly volunteered to take a half-gallon off their hands the other day and used it to make farmer's cheese, which really couldn't be easier. I served slices with garlic toast and crumbled the rest into a salad. Yum. Next time I think I will try mixing in some basil &/or other tasty herbs (suggestions?). Eventually I would like to delve much, much deeper into aged cheeses and all that good stuff, too.

I'm afraid I lied last time about the yarn pictures coming this time, only because I feel too lazy to bother with them right now. Next time for real!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

First FO in who knows how long...

Wow, I think I almost forgot what it feels like to actually finish a project. Here are my lovely blue Fargyle socks:

I completed them about a week ago and they were lots of fun. The pattern is so so clever! I think some time I might like to re-chart it so it could be done in fingering weight with more, smaller argyle-esque diamonds...but I'm getting ahead of myself. For now I'll just enjoy this pair, which is very comfy and incredibly warm.

Shortly after finishing those I began knitting some fingerless mitts for E. The pattern is improvised and going fairly well. I'm planning to have them completed in time for Harvest Gathering, though I must admit to being a little nervous about that since I just took a whole month to knit DK-weight socks. So far so good, though, and I have the added incentive of knowing there is incredibly gorgeous handspun yarn waiting for me to play with it just as soon as I finish the mitts. Photos of said yarn next time!