Friday, April 30, 2010

Pretty Tree

I don't know what kind of tree this is, but it is really pretty.

Elizabeth Zimmermann's Pi Shawl-Plain, #1 update

Isn't it cute?

I have switched from dpns to circular needles, but a tad too soon. I should have waited until AFTER 72 stitches were on the needle, but I was anxious to get off of the #2s (because I thought they may be too small) and onto the #5s, which I think might still be a little too small. We will just have to see.
Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


If you are having trouble recycling your #5 plastics these two sites may help.

Here and Here.

Elizabeth Zimmermann's Pi Shawl-Plain

Meet Knit Picks, Shadow Gypsy Tonal, 100% merino hand painted lace weight wool. Isn't she lovely?

Last July when I first started knitting with our local library's knitting group, I was told about Elizabeth Zimmermann.
I rented her books and videos and she quickly became my knitting 'hero', not so much for her knitting, which is superb, but for her attitude toward knitting. Her love for wool influenced me greatly and I, too, love wool. The beauty of her Aran sweaters and the ease in which she knit them, make ME want to knit an Aran sweater, and I will, someday. But for now, I am working on her Pi Shawl. You can find the pattern in her book, Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac.

I really want to make the pretty shawl in the picture there, which is 72 inches across and those appear to be life size sweaters and mittens, etc., but I believe I should attempt the plain shawl on page 81, since it is my first shawl. I think with the red wool it will be as lovely as any shawl. Future shawls may be more elaborate.

I will keep you updated on my progress.
Oh, I want to thank my sister Robin for her gracious assistance in helping me learn the Emily Ocker's crochet cast on for the center of the shawl. If you decide to make a shawl and don't have a 'Robin' to help you with the cast on, you can go here and here to watch it on YouTube.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Garden Update

25 days in the ground.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Year of the Pie - Pie #41 Beekeeper's Pie

This pie turned out to be such a pleasant surprise!!!
It comes from the book below. Each recipe has honey in it.
But not each recipe has a submitter's name with it. This pie didn't have an accompanying name.
No name. Eeks. What does that mean? Why would someone not put their name on it? Plus the directions confused me a bit and I had never melted chocolate in water before, so that seemed odd. I couldn't imagine how this pie should look or taste when it was finished.
Nothing in my spirit said, "this is gonna be a GREAT pie".
So, reluctantly, I commenced to making it.
It called for its own crust, but I used my old BC standby. But if you are interested in knowing, the crust mentioned in the book has these ingredients.
1 C. sifted flour, 2 tsp. cold water, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/3 C. shortening, 1/8 tsp. baking powder.

Roll out your crust and put it in the pie plate and while it is chilling in the fridge, make the filling.
Here are the ingredients.
1 1/2 sq. unsweetened chocolate
1 1/4 c. water
Honey, lots of it.
1/4 C. butter
2 tsp. vanilla (divided)
1 C. sifted flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 C. soft shortening
1/2 C. milk
1 egg
1/2 C. chopped walnuts (optional) [I didn't use any]

Topping for the pie:
1 C. whipping cream
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. vanilla

Melt the chocolate in water; add 2/3 cup honey. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add butter and 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla. Set aside.

Now, mix the flour, 3/4 C. honey, baking powder and salt. Add shortening, milk and 1/2 tsp. vanilla.
Beat for 2 minutes at medium speed.
The add the egg and beat two minutes longer.

Combine this mixture with the chocolate mixture you had set aside earlier. I let it cool a little while I had a bite to eat. Pour this new combination into the pie shell. You may now sprinkle the walnuts over it if you wish. But you don't HAVE to. lol
Bake at 350° for 55-60 minutes.
Let it cool to warm.

For the topping, which is also tasty.
Whip the cream (shake it real well first), adding 1 tsp. honey at a time as it beats. Then add the vanilla and whip it til fluffy.
Put it on the pie in any fashion you wish and garnish with nuts if you wish. I didn't.

From the pictures the pie looks dense, but it isn't. It is kind of light and has a gentle chocolate flavor. The whipped topping is good too.
I baked it a few hours before it would be served and I just left it at room temperature and kept the topping in the fridge til needed.
This would be a good option for a county fair adult-division entry, because it holds up well at room temperature.

Next time we will have another pie from this honey cook book that might appeal to kids of all ages. It is called Crunchy Chocolate Pie.

Until Next Time!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Gluten Free Pie Crust

A very faithful gracious reader provided me with this Gluten Free Pie Crust.
Sometimes, gluten is just not our friend, so we (she and me) hope that this will help some one in our little Year of the Pie blog-o-sphere.
This recipe comes from The Gluten Free Gourmet Makes Dessert.

2 1/4 C. Featherlight Mix **see below**
1 rounded tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. salt
1 T. sugar
3/4 C. shortening
1 T. rice vinegar (or other)
1/4 C. liquid egg substitute or 1 egg, beaten
4 T. ice water
Sweet rice flour for rolling

In a medium bowl, blend the flour mix, xanthan gum, salt, and sugar. Cut in the shortening until coarse crumbs form. In a small bowl, beat the vinegar and egg substitute together with a fork. Add the ice water.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with a fork and keep blending until the dough forms a ball. Work a little with your hands to obtain a smooth texture. cover and refrigerate 30 minutes or more before rolling out.

Divide the dough in half and roll out on waxed paper or plastic wrap dusted with sweet rice flour. Use as much of the sweet rice flour as needed to work easily. Place the dough in a 9 inch pie plate. Bake as directed for the filling used.

For a baked single crust, prick the pastry with a fork on sides and bottom. Bake the crust in a preheated 450° oven for 10-12 minutes or until slightly browned. Cook before filling. This recipe makes enough pastry for a 9 inch two-crust pie or two pastry shells.

**Featherlight Mix**

3/4 C. Rice Flour
3/4 C. Tapioca Flour
3/4 C. Cornstarch
2½ tsp. Potato Flour

I have yet to make a pie with this crust, but it will happen, so stay tuned.
In the future when I say, let's use our gluten-free pie crust, we will refer back to this.

Thanks for stopping by.

A Little Woolen Sock

I found a free pattern for baby socks, that are made like regular socks.

It was quick and easy to make and quite fun. I got a little lost on the toe decrease instructions, so I just went with how I know to do it. It worked out o.k. I only made one, it is my practice sock. My next try, will be a pair with bigger needles and I will try to knit a bit looser.

You can find the pattern here.

I used some left over wool that I had. It is Patons Merino Wool. So far in my knitting experience, this Merino wool is my favorite to work with and wear. It is warm and soft.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Chris and E.

Chris and grand daughter #2

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Cute Family

What a cute family.
A mother and her seven children.
The fella in the white shirt, second from the right is my dad.

Thanks for stoppin' by.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pie Stuff

This little contraption lives in a drawer at the church next to our house, which we attend.
I often wondered what in the world it was.
Well, within the last few months I have found out.

Here is the handle side.
I have seen it used in the following manner:
A lovely lady searches for it in the drawer, fetches it and sashays over to the nearest pie and
pushes it down on the pie. This action leaves marks in the pie and the pie cutter has a gauge to go by when cutting the pie. In this particular instance a pie would be cut into six pieces. Or, I suppose they could also turn it a bit and make another set of marks to cut the pie into twelve pieces. Ah, much better.
Anyway, I have never used it nor do I plan to.
My mother taught me to cut pie, just cut it from handle to handle and then turn the plate and cut it again and then turn the plate and cut it again and one more time. You're done.
My husband, former restaunteer, taught me to cut it into twelve pieces.
Either way, just eye it and cut it. Half of my pies disintegrate when I cut them anyway. so there is no need to be all pretty about it. lol

Oh, but when the pies are still uncut and pretty....this little pie bird would be so cute.

I don't have a pie bird, but would love to have one some day.
They are for two crusted pies to allow the steam to escape.
They come in all shapes and sizes.
Just Google them and you will see.

Hey, thanks for stopping by.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Year of the Pie - Pie #40 Vanilla Cream Pie

This pie has been my 'back up' pie since early on in the pie 'year'. With basic ingredients that one would normally find in their kitchen, I kept it for a time when I needed an easy pie with out going to too much extra trouble. Since the strawberry pie I have been in a pie 'slump', not knowing which pie to make and I have been a little under the weather for a couple days, AND the weather turned a bit chilly, so I pulled this friend out of the recipe collection and put it together.
I said that to say this, when you are feeling a little puny and don't know WHAT to make, make this. It is easy easy and will warm your soul.

You will need:
1 9-inch baked pie crust
2/3 C. sugar
1/4 C. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
2½ C. whole milk
5 egg yolks [save three of the whites for the meringue]
2-3 T. of unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 T. vanilla

In a medium saucepan mix the sugar, cornstarch & salt together and add the milk. Whisk it all together and slowly add the egg yolks, whisking to completely blend the eggs until no yellow streaks remain.
Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a bare simmer over medium heat. Cook for about 30 seconds ( I sometimes let it cook a little longer than that-just don't let it burn).
Remove from the heat and add the cut up butter and the vanilla. Stir til blended.
Pour into the baked pie shell.

If you taste the filling right now you will think you died and went to heaven.

Taste it real quick and then make the meringue.
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
6 T. white sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Whisk on high speed the egg whites until white and fluffy, add the cream of tartar, then sugar one T. at a time and then the vanilla.
Spread it on the warm filling and bake at 400° for about 5 minutes or so. Watch it carefully.
Then take it out and let it cool at room temperature.

Every now and then my meringue works and piles up nice and high on the pie.
Each time I make a pie I write the recipe and the pros and cons to it in the Pie Journal that I am making for Margaret. As I was leafing through it just now, looking for how long I should let the pie chill, I saw three different meringue recipes and I have written down three different temperatures to bake them at. I got a kick out of it. Just goes to show that there are no rules when making pies.....more like guidelines. lol

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Square Foot Gardening Update


Carrots, Lettuce, Radishes, Spinach
Thirteen Days After Planting
Add Image

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Year of the Pie - Pie# 39 Strawberry

This pie is just plain good. You will need:
One 9-inch baked pie shell. Cooled. {1 C. flour, 1/3 C. + 1 T. shortening, 1/4 tsp. salt, 2-3 T. ice water}
1 Qt. of fresh strawberries (I used more than a quart and mine were from California!)
1 Cup Sugar
3 T. cornstarch
1/4 C. water
Whipped topping if desired.

Clean the strawberries and divide in half, reserving the best for the filling.
Mash remaining berries and bring to a boil.
(berries boiling)
Mix the sugar, cornstarch and water together and stir slowly into the berries.

Cook slowly until thickened and clear.
The "clear" here confused me because I thought, "how can strawberries become clear? But as you see in these photos, you can see that the mixture does clear up.

It is nice and thick and much CLEARER.

Let the mixture cool.

Line the pastry with the remaining pretty berries that you previously set aside. The recipe calls for them to be placed in it whole, but I sliced mine in half.

Pour on the cooled glaze.

Set it in the fridge for a few hours to let it set up.
Slice it . Throw on some whipped topping.

Hope you enjoy this pie. We did. Please try to make the glaze on the stove and not use one of those prepackaged glaze-packs.

When we lived in Georgia, Maggie(the little one) and I went to the strawberry patch with our neighbor Lynn (in photo). Delicious.
Until Next Time!

Monday, April 12, 2010

My New Best Friend

I have walked for a couple of years with no dog 'protection'. More than one dog has followed me home. None of these canine acquaintances indicated that they wanted to do me bodily harm. A couple months ago a dog was dropped off in our village and he didn't bother me. But when the neighbor 'adopted' him and he had a home, he has tried more than once to have me for supper (well, breakfast). He tries to nip people of our community who walk to church. The owners have been told about the problem, but nothing seems to change. Well, my cousins husband loaned me this gadget to try. He had just gotten it from Amazon. com and hadn't used it yet. I told him I would be his guinea pig. He dropped it by my house and the next morning I took it with me on my walk. I did my usual walk by his house and I remained as calm as possible while he came charging and barking. I aimed it at him and pushed the button and it stopped him in his tracks. I continued on and he came again....only to have his plans of harassing me thwarted again.

You can carry it in your pocket or just in your hand. It emits a sound when you push the button that is apparently unpleasant to dogs. I suppose it will work as long as the animal isn't deaf.

I really like it.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Square Foot Gardening

We had a frost advisory/alert for last night.

I found that a full size fitted sheet fits great over the boxes and gives them a nice hug around the edges. I placed ice cream tubs over the four corners of the box with plants and then created a tent for the rest of the plants.

The box with the seeds just had radishes and a few lettuces coming up so I just used one tub and a sheet.

He is a view of the radishes, planted sixteen (give or take) to a square.

Looks like there is a stray.

They all seemed to fare pretty well.
We did have a light frost. Parts of the yard were covered with a shimmering white substance.

Until Next Time.

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Good Time....As We Saw It

Last evening my husband and I took in opening day for the Ft. Wayne TinCaps. We had been looking forward to it for quite some time. The weather here has been exceptional for this time of year. Except for yesterday. It was cold and windy. When we arrived at Parkview Field it was 45°

We like to arrive early so we can park and stroll around and have a look-see.
This is what it looks like before everyone gets there.

This is what it looks like when the National Anthem is being sang. That is downtown Ft. Wayne in the back ground.

The sun set and it started getting a tad chilly.

The TinCaps beat the Bowling Green Hot Rods.
I can't say enough about how pretty the park is and the good job that the organization does. Everything is top notch. Truly. Even the inebriated souls behind us were polite to a point. The ticket prices are very reasonable. They put on a very good fireworks display after certain games. Last night was no exception to that.

It is a nice drive to the ballpark (I get to knit) and easy to park and walk to the gate.
When we left it was 38°. You can believe me when I say, we were cold. We did wear our warm clothes and bundled up in blankets. I encourage you to get out to a minor league game near you soon.
Personally, I think all of the world leaders should get together and just take in a game. It think it would be good for them. :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

More Socks

I just like to knit. What can I say?
I would love to have my next project be Elizabeth Zimmermann's Pi Shawl. If I can get the ingredients together for that you will hear a loud whoopie from this part of the country.
I gave the other pair of pedicure socks to Margaret, so I think I will make these for me.
They are Sensations, Bamboo & Ewe. 55%wool, 30% nylon, 15% rayon from bamboo.
They seem to be self-striping. Very pretty.
I like to try different "yarns". But I like for them to have some element of wool in them.
Elizabeth Z. said that 'wool is wool' anything else is just yarn. I am sure not everyone feels that way. But I do value her opinion.
At a recent fiber arts festival, I spoke with a lady that was spinning BEAUTIFUL and SOFT alpaca to make her husband a sweater. It was lovely.......someday.

Anyway, I have recovered from my Coke/M&M coma and am coherent again.

My niece just recently realized she has 'gluten intolerance'. Do any of you have any experience with that? If so, would you be willing to share your thoughts? I would find it most interesting.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Jury Duty

Jury Duty!
I went in for jury duty yesterday. From 12:15 to 5:20 I sat patiently for my name to be called. It was the thirteenth seat. Every seat had been filled. They called my name. I thought I was calm, but when they called my name FEAR swept through me and everything started going in slow motion. My life didn't flash before my eyes, but it a very strange feeling. Somehow I got to the seat and sat down. My mouth suddenly became void of the moisture that it needs to operate properly and I uttered out a few dry words to the prosecutor. I could hear him speaking to me, but it was like the twilight zone or something. I was able to answer his questions, etc. Then the other lawyer asked me a few questions and I stumbled through them. They both then went to the judge and the judge released me.
I was so stressed out that I bought a liter of CocaCola and a bag of M&M's and had Coke and Chocolate when I got home.
There are consequences to that. lol
My walk wasn't as energetic this morning as it could have been.

Anyway, I am just a normally shy person and crowds and being on the spot make me very nervous. But if you put me with a smaller group and ask me the same questions I would be much calmer.
I think if I could have made it on the jury I would have been a good juror.

Until Next Time.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Year of the Pie - Pie #38 Blackberry Pie

Here is my recipe for Blackberry Pie.

2 9-inch pie crusts
4 C. blackberries (I bought frozen from Wal Mart)
1 C. Sugar
5 T. flour
2 T. butter

Roll out your crusts and let them chill while you mix the filling.
Mix the sugar and flour together, then stir in the berries.
Pour into a crust line pie plate and add the top crust.
Create slits in the top and bake.
425° for @ 40 minutes or so.
Watch it and put a crust guard on it or some aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning.
Let it cool.
Cut it into twelve pieces.

This little pie stayed here at home.
We had an unexpected visitor and we offered him a piece.
He said it was his third piece of pie today.
He said this pie was the best of the three. I have never known Paul to lie.
If you have teeth that have been compromised or can't do really small seeds in your system. Be careful with this pie. Otherwise.....Enjoy!

Until Next Time.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Square Foot Gardening 4 of 4

Here is the box with the plants. We are saving the 4 northern squares for tomatoes.

Now...Breanna.....don't swoon, but looky here.

We bought a rhubarb plant and gave it its very own square.

Square Foot Gardening 3 of 4

We soaked the plants that have already been started in some sun warmed water til their roots were soaked really well. We also watered the box well too, so that the dry soil doesn't absorb all of the water that the roots just soaked up.

We cut the bottoms off of the roots and stuck them in the dirt.

When all of the plants were in we planted seeds. Radishes, carrots, spinach,lettuce. We planted one square foot section of each those and will do a second planting of them in a week or so.