Manly Scarf

Manly Scarf

Manly Scarf

Hubby modeling the Manly Scarf.

Hubby modeling the Manly Scarf.

Nephew trying on his Holiday gift.

Nephew wearing his Holiday gift.

Despite its name, I worried this scarf wasn’t manly enough. Maybe it was the yarn or maybe it was the stitch, but I wondered, “Does this scarf look masculine?” I wasn’t convinced until Hubby tried it on. Yay! It looked great, and was ready to be wrapped as a gift for my nephew.

Happy knitting, hon!

Manly Scarf

Stitches are cast on for the entire length of the scarf, which is knit from side to side on a circular needle. Tip: Place stitch markers every 20 stitches (or however many stitches you like). This makes keeping track of the total stitches much easier. 

Yarn: The yarn used in the pattern on Ravelry was Manos del Uruguay Handspun Semi Solids, skein of 100g: 138 yards/126 m

4-5 skeins of main color

1-2 skeins of contrast color

Needles:  One US 10 (6mm) circular needle (as long as possible). Change needle size if necessary to obtain gauge.

Notions:  Stitch markers. One yarn needle for weaving in ends.

Gauge: 

In stockinette stitch, 10 cm/4 inches = 14-18 stitches

In pattern stitch, 10 cm/ 4 inches = 10-12 stitches

Pattern Stitch

Row 1:  Knit all stitches.

Row 2:  Knit 2 together to end.

Row 3:  Knit into front and back of every stitch.

Row 4:  Purl all stitches.

Directions:

Cast on 250 stitches. Work in pattern stitch until scarf has desired width. The stripe pattern is 3 pattern repeats in the main color, then one in the contrast color like this:

MC x 3

CC

MC x 3

CC

MC x 3

Cast off.

Notes:  Click the link under Source to see the original pattern, where the author of the pattern explains how to substitute the yarn. I used a different yarn than the one shown on Ravelry and since–gasp–I detest making swatches, I winged it, casting 250 sts and knitting to a width and length I thought looked good on a guy. (I know, very scientific!)

Source: Ravelry, pattern by Johanna K Sarten

 

New Year’s Resolution

img_1568

Painterly landscape of the Rahway River in the South Mountain Reservation, New Jersey.

In 2017 let us remember

that with one departure

there is an arrival,

that following every before

there comes an after

and that the moments that 

seem utterly minor

will undoubtedly add up to 

something major.

This year is just like any other.

The only difference is 

what you decide to make of it.

 

Source: Tiffany & Co. Jan. 1, 2017

Puree of Bean and Vegetable Soup

Pureed Bean and Vegetable Soup

Puree of Bean and Vegetable Soup

Lucky me! One of my daughters made this thick and hearty soup and there was enough for me to have seconds…and thirds. She said that despite the many ingredients, it’s easy to make. Simple and delicious soup are perfect for a cold, winter’s day.

Keep warm, hon.

PURÉE of BEAN and VEGETABLE SOUP

Ingredients

1 (15-ounce) can white beans, drained

1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained

1 (15-ounce) can peas and carrots, drained

1 (15-ounce) can sweet corn niblets, drained

1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained

2 cups water

1 cup liquid non-dairy creamer

4 Tablespoons olive oil

3 Tablespoons vegetable soup mix or vegetable bouillon

4 frozen crushed garlic cubes or 4 medium garlic cloves

spices to taste (salt, pepper and whatever else you think will add to the flavor)

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth, taking care not to overload the blender. Blend in batches if necessary.
  2. Transfer mixture to a 6-quart stockpot, cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes or until heated through.
  3. Add spices and simmer for a few more minutes.
  4. Serve warm, or refrigerate overnight and serve cold as a bean dip.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Source: Quick and Kosher, Recipes From The Bride who Knew Nothing by Jamie Geller

Healthy, hearty and delicious bean and vegetable soup.

Healthy, hearty and delicious bean and vegetable soup.

 

DIY Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Wrapped and ready to give out.

Wrapped and ready to give out.

Go from this…

img_2057

to this…

img_2074

in four easy steps!

Four-Step Favors

Need a quick and easy idea for favors, goodie bags or stocking stuffers? These sweet-n-salty snacks are so yummy, my family couldn’t wait to eat the duds and broken pieces.

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Ingredients:

pretzel logs

chocolate discs (click here to see Wilton’s Candy Melts)

sprinkles, cookies to crush and/or sparkly sugar

wax or parchment paper

Prep:

Pour sprinkles into pans with sides. I used several 9″ x 11″ dishes for different sprinkles. Line baking dishes with wax or parchment paper so finished pretzels can dry.

Directions:

  1. Melt chocolate discs in microwave according to package directions. I used several flavors and melted one flavor at a time. (Tip. I microwaved the discs a little less time than recommended and stirred to finish melting the discs. Over doing it in the microwave causes the chocolate to get “sandy” and then it’s not usable.)
  2. Spoon melted chocolate over half a pretzel log.
  3. Immediately either roll the chocolate part in the sprinkles or spoon the sprinkles on top of the chocolate. Rolling is more efficient, but the melted chocolate drips into the sprinkles and makes the sprinkles globby. I ended up spooning decorations on top of chocolate.
  4. Line pretzels up on baking dish to dry. Drizzle melted chocolate over the bare half of the pretzel.

After all the pretzels are decorated, refrigerate them until the chocolate has hardened. Since I made these at night, I refrigerated them overnight (although they’d probably be fine in an hour) and wrapped them the next morning.

Melt chocolate in microwave.

1. Melt chocolate discs in microwave.

Spoon chocolate over half of each pretzel, then spoon sprinkles over melted chocolate.

2. Spoon chocolate over half of each pretzel.  3. Spoon sprinkles over melted chocolate.

 

 

 

 

 

Line pretzel logs on a baking sheet. Crushed cookies and sugar were used as well as sprinkles.

4. Line pretzel logs on a baking sheet. Crushed cookies and sparkly sugar were used as well as sprinkles.

Drizzle melted chocolate over bare half of pretzels.

4 continued. Drizzle melted chocolate over bare half of pretzels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These were such a hit, I’ll definitely be making them again!

Happy Holidays, hon!

Warm and Cozy Knit Infinity Scarf

Honey Cowl.

Honey Cowl.

img_1270

img_1272

I made this Infinity Scarf, called a “Honey Cowl,” last year and wanted to knit it again. This time, I followed the pattern for the shorter version. The Simplicity yarn color “49 Shades of Gray” has a hint of mint green and is a Merino wool blend. It was a pleasure to work with.

Happy knitting, hon.

Infinity Scarf, Honeycomb Cowl

Finished Measurements:  22 inches in length by 12 inches in width for short version (44 inches in length by 12 inches in width for longer version)

Yarn:  55% Merino Superwash merino, 28% Acrylic, 17% Nylon, 140 yards (128 meters), 2 (4) skeins (double check amount of yarn needed depending on type of yarn and yardage.)

Needles:  One US 8 (5.0mm) 26″ (66 cm) circular needle for short version or One US 8 (5.0 mm) 36″ (91 cm) circular needle for longer version.  Change needle size if necessary to obtain gauge.

Notions:  One stitch marker for beginning of round. One yarn needle for weaving in ends.

Gauge:  5 sts = 1 inch (10 cm) in honeycomb pattern.

Notes:  For an in-between size, 1 skein and 160 sts will create a 32 inch long by 8 inch wide cowl.  2 skeins at 160 sts will create a 32 inch long by 16 inch wide cowl.

Pattern Stitch:  Slip Stitch Honeycomb

Note:  When working rounds 2 and 4, slip as if to purl and keep yarn in front)

Round 1:  Knit

Round 2:  *Purl 1, slip 1 wyif* repeat across round

Round 3:  Knit

Round 4:  *Slip 1 wyif, Purl 1* repeat across round

Directions:

Cast on 110 (220) stitches.  Being careful not to twist stitches, place marker and join for working in the round.  Knit 4 rounds.

Repeat the 4 rounds of “Slip Stitch Honeycomb Pattern” above until work measures approximately 11 inches.  Make sure that you have enough yarn left over for the following:  Knit 3 rounds and bind off loosely.

Source:  Ravelry, http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/honey-cowl/people

 

Time for Pie (Gluten Free Dough)

Gluten Free Baking cookbook by Michael McCamley.

Gluten Free Baking cookbook by Michael McCamley.

Inspiration Photo.

Inspiration Photo.

Do you need a good gluten free dough recipe? 

This gluten free pastry dough recipe can be used for pie, quiche or other baked goods.  In this post, you’ll find ingredients and directions for making an Apple Pie as well as a link to a How To video I posted on You Tube.

Raw gluten free pastry dough doesn’t have the same sweet, buttery scent of regular dough but, once baked, the crust is flaky and delicious. Trust me, when this is served, there are no leftovers!

Happy baking, hon.

My Gluten Free Apple Pie.

My Gluten Free Apple Pie.

Click HERE to watch–Ta Dah!–my second, and short, How To Video.

Gluten Free Pastry Dough Ingredients

3 2/3 cups gluten-free flour, plus extra for dusting

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 stick butter, plus extra for greasing (I used Crisco vegetable shortening.)

1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)

Apple Pie Filling Ingredients

6 cups apple slices (I use a combination of Granny Smith and other varieties)

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

approximately 1 Tablespoon flour

dash salt

1 egg, beaten (used to brush on top of crust before baking)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degress F.

2.  Combine apples, sugar, lemon juice, salt and spices.  This mixture will give off a lot of liquid so use a slotted spoon when spooning into pie crust, allowing you to spoon the apple mixture without the excess liquid.

3.  To make the pastry dough, combine the flour, xanthan gum, and confectioner’s sugar in a large bowl. Rub in the butter (or vegetable shortening) with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Add the egg and milk (or almond milk) and combine to make the dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

4.  On a gluten free floured surface, divide the dough in two and roll each piece out to form a large circle*–one to line the pie plate and one to go on top of the pie. Line the pie plate with one of the pasty circles and add the apple filling.

5.  Add the second pastry circle as a lid and, using a fork, crimp the edges of the pasty all the way around. Pierce the pie in the middle a couple of times to let out steam during baking.

6.  Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden.

Serves 8

*I rolled out the dough by a)pressing dough ball down to flatten it, b)sandwiching dough between two pieces of wax paper, then c)rolling the rolling pin on top of the wax paper.  (Demo can be seen in the video.) If the dough sticks to the wax paper, you can spray the wax paper with non-stick spray.

**You can make this pie ahead and freeze it.  Let pie cool completely before wrapping in saran wrap and aluminum foil.  A couple of days before serving, defrost at room temperature.

Serving options:

Serve warm–after removing from oven, let cool about 20 minutes.

Serve room temperature–cool completely.

Rewarm defrosted pie– warm in a preheated 250- 275 degrees F oven, uncovered, until desired temperature.

Time for Pie (Pumpkin)

I’ve been using this recipe for years. It’s easy to follow and the pie is always delicious. We’ll call it a winner!

Happy baking, hon.

PUMPKIN PIE

Basic Pie Crust:  Single Crust

(to make two pies crusts, see Double Pie Crust measurements in Apple Pie recipe)

1 1/3 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1/4 cup ice water

Food Processor Directions:  Insert steel blade in food processor. Mix flour and salt, then place the mixture in the food processor. Add shortening and process until mixture resembles cornmeal (about 5 seconds). Slowly pour ice water through feed tube and process until dough forms a ball (about 5 to 10 seconds). Chill dough for easier handling.

Roll out ball of dough into a circle. Line a 9-inch pie dish with crust. Flute the edges.

Shortcut:  If you don’t have time to make your own crust, use store-bought pie crusts.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Pumpkin Filling (for one pie)

2 eggs

2/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 16 ounce can cooked pumpkin

1 13 ounce can evaporated milk–0R–3 ounces non-dairy creamer or almond milk

1 egg, beaten (used to brush on top of crust before baking)

Beat 2 eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Add remaining ingredients except extra egg to be brushed on crust and blend thoroughly.  Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell.  Brush egg on edges of crust.  Bake at 425 degrees F for  20 minutes, then reduce to 325 degrees F and bake another 35 to 45 minutes.  Pie is done when middle of pie is set.  Tip:  If edges of pie crust are getting medium brown and middle of pie isn’t set yet, gently wrap tin foil around perimeter of crust until it’s done.

*This pie freezes well.  Let pie cool completely before wrapping in aluminum foil and freezing.  A day before you are going to serve it, defrost at room temperature (not in the fridge).

Serving options:

Serve warm–after removing from oven, let cool for 20 minutes.

Serve room temperature–cool completely.

Rewarm frozen pie– warm in a preheated 275 degrees F oven, uncovered.

Time for Pie (Apple)

Basket Weave Crust on Apple Pie

Basket Weave Crust on Apple Pie

Thanksgiving’s almost here which means one thing…pie! I’ve been using this recipe for years and it’s always come out delicious. Click here to watch my You Tube How To video. Next up…pumpkin pie!

Happy baking, hon.

APPLE PIE

Basic Pie Crust:  Double Crust

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup vegetable shortening

1/3 to 1/2 cup ice water

Food Processor Directions:  Insert steel blade in food processor.  Mix flour and salt, then place the mixture in the food processor.  Add shortening and process until mixture resembles cornmeal (about 5 seconds).  Slowly pour ice water through feed tube and process until dough forms a ball (about 5 to 10 seconds).  Chill dough for easier handling.

Basket Weave:  If you want to form a basket woven crust, make extra dough ahead of time.  Shortcut:  If you don’t have time to make your own crust, use store-bought deep dish pie crusts.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Filling

6 cups apple slices (I use a combination of Granny Smith and other varieties)

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

approximately 1 Tablespoon flour

dash salt

1 egg, beaten (used to brush on top of crust before baking)

Combine apples, sugar, lemon juice, salt and spices.  This mixture will give off a lot of liquid so use a slotted spoon when spooning into pie crust, allowing you to spoon the apple mixture without the excess liquid.

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.

Split dough in half, form two dough balls and roll out each half into a circle.  Line a 9-inch pie dish with the bottom crust.  Spoon apple filling into the crust and smooth apples into an even layer. Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of flour on top of filling mixture.

Position top crust over the filling and trim and flute the edges.  (Photos and a short crust rolling video will be added to the blog soon.)

Basket Weave:  I was inspired Martha Stewart Living’s November 2012 magazine cover which features a basket woven pie crust.  To form the basket weave, cuts the dough into 8 strips.  First lay 4 strips across the filling.  Secondly, carefully weave remaining strips through the dough strips already laying across the filling.  Then press top and bottom crust edges together and flute edges.

Egg Wash:  Without brushing fluted edges, brush top of pie with beaten egg.  Cut steam vents in the top crust if needed.

Bake the pie at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F  and bake for another 40 – 45 minutes.  Pie is done when top crust is lightly browned, the apple filling is bubbling, and the apples are tender when tested through the slit in the crust with a toothpick.

*This pie freezes well.  Let pie cool completely before wrapping in aluminum foil and freezing.  A day before you are going to serve it, defrost at room temperature (not in the fridge).

Serving options:

Serve warm–after removing from oven, let cool for 20 minutes.

Serve room temperature–cool completely.

Rewarm frozen pie– warm in a preheated 275 degrees F oven, uncovered.

Glass Class

img_0399

Glass rods in a Venice studio.

Glass fusing isn’t just for kids!

Thanks to a SCBWI meet up a few years ago, I discovered a fun place to fuse glass. Most recently, I visited Fire Me Up Studio in Cranford, New Jersey with my daughter and friends. We picked our projects, donned our goggles and gloves, and went to work scoring, snapping and breaking glass. We needed instruction. We needed patience. We needed a snack!

img_0707img_0708

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

img_3826

Glass rods glued to a glass base. The glue burns off when glass is fired.

img_1420

My daughter’s rainbow design slumped into a bowl.

img_0701

Before. (Do you “see” my inspiration?)

img_1688

After. (If you guessed the beach, you were right.)

Fire Me Up Studio: Glass fusing as well as pottery painting, hand building and canvas painting, Cranford, NJ.

Glassworks Studio: A DIY glass fusing studio, Morristown, NJ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amazon Rapids Press Release–My 1st Fiction Story is Published!

Original animal artwork by Kathleen Harte Gilsenan of Maddie Lab Studio.

Check out “Life is Better as a Writer” and other original animal artwork by Kathleen Harte Gilsenan of Maddie Lab Studio.

Amazon just launched an App called Amazon Rapids, and one of my stories is available on the App! Hon, would it surprise you that the story is titled “Triplet Party Panic?”

Press Release 

Amazon Announces Rapids – A Playful Approach to Reading for Today’s Connected Kids New App Features Fun, Engaging Short Stories Told in a Unique Chat Style Amazon Rapids Offers Readers Ages 7-12 Hundreds of Illustrated, Original Stories with Dozens More Added Monthly

Amazon announced a new app that offers a playful approach to children’s reading. Amazon Rapids offers illustrated short stories written in a unique chat style that brings stories to life, one message at a time.

Stories on Amazon Rapids are told through the lens of characters chatting with each other, from an alien texting about invading Earth to two chickens debating if they should cross the street. The app is available for iOS, Android and Amazon Fire devices, and offers hundreds of original stories, with dozens of new ones added monthly.

Parents who sign up now can subscribe at a special introductory rate of $2.99 per month to give their kids unlimited access to short stories. Parents can start a free two week trial at http://rapids.amazon.com. “Many kids already love using phones to chat with friends and family,” said Rohit Agarwal, General Manager of Amazon K-12 Education. “We wanted to see what authors and illustrators could create with an app that made it easy to tell stories that way. We’re excited to share Amazon Rapids with parents and their kids.”

With Amazon Rapids, kids can choose from many types of stories including adventure, fantasy, humor, mystery, science fiction and sports. Stories feature a variety of topics, from a grandma invading her granddaughter’s group chat to a duck taking over a rooster’s duties on a farm. Additionally, with age-appropriate content and key features like the built-in glossary and “read to me” mode, kids can feel confident and read independently. Whether a kid is on her way to soccer practice and has 10 minutes in the car, or waiting with friends for the school bus to arrive, she can quickly immerse herself in a hilarious adventure and enjoy the simple pleasure of a great story.

Amazon Rapids Includes: 

Unique chat style — Stories are told through the lens of characters chatting with each other, letting stories come to life one message at a time.

Hundreds of original stories — Kids can explore a large and growing library that’s filled with original stories spanning adventure, fantasy, humor, mystery, science fiction and sports.

Age-appropriate content – All content is thoughtfully edited to be appropriate for kids ages 7-12.

Built-in glossary — Kids can easily look up the definition and pronunciation of words to help build their reading confidence. Each time they look up a word, it is automatically added to their personal glossary for easy reference. 

“Read to me” —Kids can have stories read aloud to them while they follow along with the text. “Having been a teacher for over a decade, I’ve learned to write stories in a way that compels kids to dive in and the Amazon Rapids format is a perfect way to make that happen,” said Raymond Bean, best-selling children’s author. “In my first Amazon Rapids story, Alien Invasion, a boy named Gordon and an alien connect via a misdirected text message and hilarity ensues as they discuss the aliens’ plans to land on earth.”

Parents can visit http://rapids.amazon.com to download Amazon Rapids today.

Source:  Art by Kathleen Harte Gilsenan of MaddieLabStudio