Thursday, November 29, 2012

Recipe: Coloradan Green Chili

There's something about chili on a cold winter's evening that's purely Coloradan. It's hearty and warm and.. just.. delicious. Southern Colorado is best known for it's amazing Green Chili recipes dishes. Burritos, omelets, potatoes and smothered in pork or vegetarian Green Chili are some of my favorites, or just a bowl of the stuff, topped with cheese and sour cream.

My sister-in-law has a recipe that we've all grown to love in the family and she's agreed to let me share it here. So, without much further ado, I present to you a Coloradan Green Chili.

Coloradan Green Chili

2lbs Meat (we use ground elk or pork)
3 14oz cans Diced Tomatoes
2 14oz cans Pinto Beans
Jar of 505 Green Chile sause (Large jar is pictured, but you only need a small one)
24oz can of Green Enchilada
1/2 cup chopped Onion
10-12 Roasted Green Chiles, cut into chunks. Use whichever temperature you want.

We prepare everything in a large pot (or dutch oven, or crock pot).

Brown meat the with the onion. You want to REALLY brown the meat, because while it simmers it will soften up a bit. Don't stir it too much while you're cooking the meat so that it really darkens.

In your large pot, add the rest of the ingredients. Stir well and bring to a boil.

Once it reaches a boil, reduce to simmer for at least 4 hours. The longer you let it simmer the better, as the flavor grows. The second day tends to taste better than the first.

If you used meat that produced a bit of grease, make sure you skim that off the top occasionally. You want the chile to be more brothy and chunky than greasy.

The longer the chili simmers, the more flavorful it will be. Once it's simmered for long enough, help yourself to a heaping ladle full, top with your favorite extras, and enjoy.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tutorial: Lining Knitwear

Last year I made Miss Natalie a Christmas stocking based on a Jennifer Hoel's Falling Snow Stocking from Ravelry. I modified it a fair amount, including adding a lining. I took lots of pictures and recorded the steps so I could recreate it when niece/nephew number 2 came along, and now I've decided to share those steps here, as the Christmas season looms.

These steps could be used to line any kind of knitwear, with little to no modifications.

Lining Knitwear 

- Fabric
- Sewing machine (or other means)

I went with a basic quilters cotton for the fabric. I went ahead and got a yard to ensure I had enough, but could have gotten by with less.

Block knitting to desired size and lay flat on top of fabric.

Trace a line about 1/2 - 3/4 inch from the edge of the knitwear. Then add another 1/4 inch seam allowance and cut out 2 pieces.

Fold over and press a line at the top edge so that when you have it in the stocking and folded over, it lines up just under the knitting's "hem". Unfold the fabric before you sew the sides together, you just want to get the line pressed in this step.

Sew the two pieces of fabric together, right-sides (sides with the print) facing.

Trim any excess fabric you might have so that there’s about 1/4 inch seam allowance. Cut silts to the sewn edge on the curves, about every couple of inches. This will help the shaping when it’s flipped inside out.

Put the lining as is inside of your stocking. Then, turn the whole thing inside out so that the right-side of the fabric is on the outside and the right-side of the knitting is on the inside.

Fold top the extra top bit of fabric and pin it just under the Latvian Plait braid stitches, using the line you pressed before sewing.

Sew the two layers together, positioning it so that you’re sewing on top of the purl bumps under the braid. You should pull the knitting as taunt as the fabric will allow. If you machine sew it, have the knitting side up, otherwise your feeders will have a field day with the yarn. 

If all goes well, when left to do it’s own thing, the braid should hide your stitches. 


Saturday, November 24, 2012

How to Fix Dropped Stitches

I originally was going to write a blog post with pictures but I was in the mood to try my hand at making a video. Let me know if anyone finds this helpful.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Cherpumple: Challenge Accepted

My friends have a tradition of making Turducken each year for Thanksgiving and this was the first year I was able to attend the event. The organizers of the party requested that I make a dessert as epic as the main course. A Cherpumple.

For those of you that don't know what a Cherpumple is, here's the description from the Wikipedia page:
cherpumple is a holiday novelty dessert, inspired by Turducken, where several different flavor pies are baked inside of several different flavors of cake, and then stacked together.
 The recipe is straight forward enough: Bake 3 pies; Bake the pies into 3 cakes; Stack cakes; Frost the shiznit out of it.

For my pies, I used store bought Apple, Pumpkin and Cherry pies. I baked each as the per the directions on their box.

I bought a 9" Springform pan to bake the cakes in. I just used the box cakes and followed the recipes for each flavor. I put a layer of batter in the bottom of the pan before adding the pies, which fit exactly.

After the pie was added, I put the remaining batter into the pan. The Cherry pie went into Chocolate cake, Pumpkin into Spice, and Apple into Yellow.

The pies fit so perfectly into the cake pan that you can see the crust in each cake, the chocolate best of all.

Each layer of the cake was heavy, and I stacked them chocolate, spice and yellow. After a night of sitting, though, the bottom cake started to leak filling from the weight. In the future I'd likely stack it so the pumpkin pie layer was on the bottom, then apple, then cherry.

I put a generous layer of frosting between each layer. You can see the effect of the weight on the layers already.

I piped generous amounts of frosting onto the sides and top, then smoothed it out to seal everything in.

The next morning we had some leakage in the bottom layer and I used some fondant pumpkin patches to seal them up. Also to just add some decoration.

After we all stuffed ourselves silly with Turducken, I had the honor of trying to slice the cake. It was definitely a balancing act to serve up each slice, but the presentation was pretty impressive.

Each slice was split between 2 or 3 people and at the end of the night, half the cake still remained. Most people tended to like the mix of flavors, though I think most people agreed that it would be better without the pie crust.

Cherpumple was definitely an adventure in baking, construction and consumption, but I doubt I'll make it again. It's fun, but kind of a big sticky mess of wasted food, unless you're feeding 50+ people.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Note To Myself: I'm A Runner

I have the shoes. I have hat with the ponytail hole and built-in sweatband. I have the pants with the little reflective strips. I have the belt with the pocket for my phone and holsters for water.

I don't look like a runner, though.

I've run two half marathons this year and a handful of other, smaller races. I've already registered for two marathons in 2013 and I'm looking for a third. I have medals and race bibs hanging from my bedroom walls. I have goals and times I want to beat for each race.

I'm not fast, though.

I have pictures of treadmill screens on my phone. I've downloaded applications that map out my routes and track my average paces. I can tell you how many seconds, no, minutes I've shaved off my 5k time in the last 9 months (ten). I have a calendar by my door covered in stickers for each day I've run.

I'm not confident, though.

When I don't get a run in for awhile, I miss running. It makes me happy and no matter how crappy I feel at the start of a run, no matter how much I have to push myself to hit the pavement, I'm always happy I ran.

I'm a Runner. Don't forget it.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Recipe: Spaghetti Squash & Alfredo Sauce

It's still squash season, and if it's one thing I love, it's a good squash. My favorite go-to squash is the spaghetti squash, mainly because I LOVE spaghetti. What better to feed my never ending desire for carbs I shouldn't have a good spaghetti squash?

Once you cook the spaghetti squash, you can prepare your pasta dish like normal. Toss in a jar of marinara sauce or whip up a good alfredo, either way, you'll be surprised at how easy this healthy spaghetti substitute is.

Spaghetti Squash

Preheat your oven to 375°F and puncture your spaghetti squash 6-7 times around the whole thing. Once your oven's done preheating (or before if you're lazy like me) put the squash on a cookie sheet and put it in the oven for 45 minutes. 
After 45 minutes, test to see if the squash is easily cut into. If it's not quiet ready, bake for an additional 10 minutes and test again. Rinse and repeat until it's easy to cut into.

Once your squash is cooked, carefully cut it in halve lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and gunk into the trash. Then, using a fork, scrape the flesh of the squash so that it comes away from the skin in long stripes, like spaghetti.

For this squash, I cooked some chicken breasts and made my default parmesan alfredo sauce.

Alfredo Sauce

My recipe isn't exact with the measurements, I really just eyeball it. So, here's some eye balling.

Collect about a cup of fresh grated parmesan,just under a cup of whipping cream, and half a cup of white wine (optional). Not pictured here: pepper, parsley and oil.

Add a splash of oil to a sauce pan and put the heat on high. Add the cream and wine, then cook until simmering. Reduce the heat and gradually add the cheese, continually stirring so it melts evenly and doesn't boil over. Season with pepper and parsley to taste and cook until the wine smell has burned off, or until sauce starts to thicken.

Combine your spaghetti squash and chicken to your delicious sauce and enjoy!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pattern: Squish-Squash Cable Hat

Winter's coming, and you know what that means.. Time to knit some new hats!!

I wanted to play with cables and I needed a new hat, so thus, enter the Squish-Squash Cable Hat. It's thick, quick, squishy, and slouchy. It's warm and versatile.  Fold the long brim up for extra warmth, or wear it slouchy.

Techniques You'll Need:
- Magic Loop (or DPNs)
- Knit & Purl
- Slip, Slip, Knit (ssk)
- Knit 2 Together (k2tog)
- Cables (Front and Back)

Extra Things You'll Need:
- Cable Needle

As always, I present this pattern to you for free with the understanding that it's mine. Mine, I tell you! Do not copy or sell this pattern, or the hats you make with it, without my permission. This pattern is for  personal and charity use only. Kthx.

Squish-Squash Cable Hat

This hat is knit from the bottom up, starting with an extra long k2, p2 rib brim and then alternating cables worked up the body. The decreases are worked in the last round of cables, using both ssk and k2tog stitches to maintain the look of cables throughout. It's very squishy, stretchy and warm.

For more info on cables, watch's Cable Videos.

: Queensland Collection Kathmandu Chunky
Gauge: 16 stitches x 22 rows of k2, p2 for 4"
Needle: US 7 (4.5mm), 16" circulars

Cast on 80 stitches and join for working in the round.

K2, P2 for 3 inches, then work the cable pattern four times.

Cable Pattern (work 4 times):
R1-R7: * k6, p2, repeat from * around
R8: * C3F, p2, C3B, p2, repeat from * around

After the 4th cable work 4 rounds of * k6, p2, repeat from * around. Then, work the following:

R5 : * k2, ssk, k2, p2, k2, k2tog, k2, p2, repeat from * around
R6 : * k5, p2, repeat from * around
R7 : * k5, p2tog, repeat from * around

Note: For round 8, you'll have only 5 stitches for the cables. Make sure that 3 stitches are always in front and 2 in the back. So on the CF, put 3 stitches on the cable needle, for CB, put only 2 on the cable needle. I try and denote this in the pattern.

R8 : * C3F, p, C2B, p, repeat from * around
R9 : * k3, ssk, p, k2tog, k3, p, repeat from * around
R10: * k4, p, repeat from * around
R11: * k, ssk, k, p, k, k2tog, k, p, repeat from * around
R12: * k, ssk, p, k, k2tog, p, repeat from * around
R13: * ssk, p, k2tog, p, repeat from * around
R14: * ssk, k2tog, repeat from * around
R15: ssk around

Cut tail ~8 inches and weave stitches through all 5 stitches twice. Tighten to close and then weave in ends. Block the hat, especially near the crown, if you tend to work your cable rounds a bit tight like I do.

Wear it to IKEA and entertain yourself by taking pictures in the crappy lighting.

 Return home and do much of the same there, in slightly better lighting.

Realize how silly you're being and then continue about your day as normal.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Recipe: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Nothing says autumn to me like roasted pumpkin seeds. A simple snack that you can make into any flavor you want. It's also a great side effect from carving pumpkins or making pumpkin pie :D

This isn't really a recipe, as much as a suggestion as to what to do. Really you just need to..

.. get your seeds..

.. clean your seeds..

.. dry your seeds..

.. season your seeds..

As far as how you season them, that's up to you, but I really just experiment. A tablespoon of melted butter with some garlic salt and a pinch of paprika is my default go to, but I've used curry, lemon pepper, onion salt.. pretty much anything from my spice rack.

.. roast your seeds at 375°F until golden..

Wait for them to cool a bit and then enjoy the delicious.