Quick, we're only a few days away from Halloween '10!

cast on and knit fast (darn cute yoda hat, anyone?)
make your own owl pellets (I wish I had miniature bones lying around)
adapt these scavenger hunt cards for a scary search
or get working on a costume for me: Indiana Jones, the Lego


gingerbread cake

When it's like this outside...

it's best to stay inside and eat cake.

gingerbread cake
serves 9-10

2 C all-purpose flour
1 teas baking soda
1 1/2 teas ground ginger
1 teas ground cinnamon
1/4 teas ground cloves
1/2 teas salt
1/2 C unsalted butter, softened
3/4 C packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 C molasses
2/3 C hot water

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Grease 9" square baking pan (2" deep) and set aside.

Combine flour, baking soda, spices, and salt in medium bowl.

In large bowl, beat together butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one and a time, beating well after each. Mix in molasses, then flour mixture, then the hot water. Mix well until batter is smooth.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in middle of the oven for 40-45 minutes, until a tester is clean. Cool in the pan, on a rack, for another 20 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm.


veggie chili

Fall is definitely here and I, for one, am ready for it. Ready for some comfort food, ready for these cold sunny days, ready for a fire in the fireplace, ready for a warm bowl of chili...

Oh, look! A warm bowl of chili!

I warn you, this recipe makes enough for an army, or a freezer-full. But it's so good you'll be glad you've got extra on hand. Trust me. Start chopping.

Yeah, I should mention that this isn't a 'quick, it's 5 o'clock what are we having for dinner tonight' recipe (I mean, just look at that ingredient list!) No, this is a lovely vegetable-filled recipe that requires a bit of slicing and dicing. Nothing difficult or tricky, just chopping. Your efforts will be rewarded with layers of flavour and deliciousness.

It is known in our house as 'Kim and Larry's chili' because they are the friends who got us hooked. I'm not sure where they got this recipe, but I hope they don't mind me sharing...

veggie chili
serves at least 12

1 1/2 C dried beans (black, pinto, red, your choice)
4 C water

3/4 C bulgar
1 1/2 C boiling water

2 Tbs oil (or more if necessary)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, finely chopped
1 C celery, finely chopped
1 C carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4" coins
1 C squash, peeled and cut into 1 1/2" cubes (we use butternut squash)
1 C eggplant, cut into 1 1/2" cubes
1 C mushrooms, halved or quartered
1 red pepper, cut into 1" squares
1 yellow pepper, cut into 1" squares
1 zucchini, cut into 1 1/2" cubes
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 1/2" cubes

1/2 teas Tabasco sauce
3 Tbs chili powder
2 Tbs cumin
1/4 C (or 1 Tbs dried) each of fresh basic, dill, and oregano
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teas dried red pepper flakes

2 28-oz cans tomatoes
3 C V-8 juice
2 oz tomato paste
1 C niblets corn
grated Monterey Jack cheese

First, bring beans to boil in water, then simmer until tenter. Strain, saving liquid. Also, soak bulgar for five minutes in boiling water, then set aside.

Saute vegetables (garlic, onion, celery, carrots, squash, eggplant, mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, sweet potato) in oil for 15 minutes, stirring often. Add spices (Tabasco, chili powder, cumin, basil, dill, oregano, jalapeno, salt and pepper, red pepper flakes) to vegetable mixture, and saute 5 minutes. Add canned tomatoes, V-8 juice, tomato paste and beans. Add a tablespoon of the beans' cooking liquid, and add more to taste. Simmer, uncovered and stirring often, for 30 minutes. Add corn and soaked bulgar to the pot and cook until heated through.

Serve in bowls, topped with cheese.


a tale of two slippers

Girl's feet were cold. Girl knit slippers.* Girl's feet were warm. Girl was happy.

* Ribby Slipper Socks from Interweave Knits, Holiday 2008 edition. Available as a free download via Ravelry.


knitting needle roll

My knitting needles are no longer tangled up in the bottom of the yarn box. No siree. Now they're properly put away in a cozy knitting needle roll.

The features I wanted: lots of pockets, enough fabric at the top for an overflap, elastic (instead of ties) for quick one-handed securing, and fun fabric.

I used the ideas of a few different tool rolls, including Lotta Jansdotter's in Simple Sewing and this one, but didn't follow any particular pattern. If you want to make your tools a cozy home, there are a ton of designs and options out there. I'll share a few more photos in case you're interested in how mine came together...


for the record

1 bucket strawberries = 5 half-pints jam

3 bags fresh peaches = 11 pints preserved peaches

25 pounds tomatoes = 9 quarts stewed tomatoes

30 pounds apples = 6 pints cinnamony-sugary chunky applesauce for me + what looks to be a lifetime supply of applesauce for the baby

2 bags ripe pears = 10 pints pearsauce



market bag

To market, to market, to buy... a lot!

This here is a hybrid market bag. I used the bottom and body of the 'let's go shopping' pattern (free ravelry download) and incorporated the design of the 'grrlfriend market bag' pattern (another free download) in the top handle.

It was a pretty quick knit, but not so quick that I'd mass produce them for gifts or gift wrap.

This one was filled with birthday goodies and given away. Fun. I definitely see more market bags in my future. Perhaps a red one for me?