Thursday, September 29, 2005

Crochet in the Dark

Sorry I didn't post yesterday as promised, but at 8:10 last night the power went out, with the computer on all ready to blog. This has happened here at Verano before and last time it took them 3 days to get the power back on. This time, thankfully, the power was back on by 11:30. So now we get more 'scheduled' power outages to fix whatever went wrong. grrrr.

So no post yesterday. And I was just lazy enough today (HOT!) that I didn't take a picture of my finished project. Sorry! I'll get it done soon! But in the meantime, let me tell you about my FAVORITE crochet magazine, Crochet! I know, not a very creative name. But very creative content! My lastest copy arrived in the mail today and it has sooo many great patterns; hats for charity donation, sweaters that fit and don't look like they were designed by knitters, a freeform crochet jacket, a scarf crocheted with fleece strips, the cutest robe ever for girls size 2-6, and that's just a few of the projects!! I have looked at several other crochet magazines (all of them, in fact) and this is the best, by far. Creative designs, readily available yarns, no pattern mistakes (yet), all kinds of crochet techniques, I could go on and on. I will be keeping this magazine subscription for a very long time.

Where's my hook!?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Hush Puppies!

Okay, one more day on the southern theme. Since I've had a request, and since this is the BEST recipe I've found for them:

Hush Puppies

1 beaten egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
1 Tbsp. water
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
Cooking oil for deep frying (yum)

In a small mixing bowl stir together egg, buttermilk, green onions, and water. In a medium mixing bowl combine cornmeal flour sugar baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients. Stir just till moistened. In a heavy saucepan or deep fat friar heat about two inches of the cooking oil. Drop batter by Tbsp. into hot oil. Fry a few at a time, about 2 minutes or until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels. Keep warm in 325 degree oven while frying remainder. Makes about 18.

Dropping the batter into the oil can be a bit tricky. It takes some practice to get it right. I find if I use my finger to scrape the batter off the spoon in one quick smooth motion it stays in one piece more often.

Now of course with smothered okra and hush puppies you MUST have blackened fish. Catfish is the traditional southern fish, but just about any fish tastes great blackened. Just buy some blackening seasoning at the grocery store and season the fist to your taste. If you want to go really authentic Cajun, try alligator or turtle. Now everyone says alligator tastes like chicken, but they're wrong. It tastes like alligator!

Mmmmm, hush puppies. Just don't make them too often. They're dangerously addictive. And for you crochet enthusiasts out there, don't despair because I finished my blue ponchette and I'll post a pic of the finished product tomorrow!

Y'all come back now!


Hey, who knew I'd get so many comments about okra! Maybe I should change the name of the blog to Okra Forever! I'm sure there's a niche group out there that would love it. Haha, not really. As much as I like okra, I just don't know that there would be enough to say about it to make an entire blog. A blog entry, on the other hand....

And I have a picture right here! This is one of my okra plants from last year. I love the flower on them, pale yellow petals with a dark crimson center. The okra I planted this year got nibbled on by the omnipresent bunnies, but it recovered surprisingly well considering the damage they did! I'm not sure how much longer it will keep producing since we are approaching 'winter' here. (Yes, you can laugh. But my garden does get frost on the coldest nights!) Right now it's the only thing in my garden that is producing anything.

Okra is a heat loving plant. Maybe that's why it won't grow in upper state New York. Tell your friend I'm sorry for him having to eat frozen okra.

And finally, here's how to make smothered okra:

1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
2 Tbsp butter
2 cups sliced okra
2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

In a 10 inch skillet cook onion and bell pepper in butter about 5 minutes or till tender.
Stir in okra, tomatoes, salt, red pepper, and black pepper. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes or till okra is tender.


I promise this is the last you'll hear about okra,

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Down home cookin.....

Today for dinner we made my favorite southern meal. MMMmmmm. I had some okra in my garden that was ready (it's one of the few things the rats won't eat) so I thought it would be okay to deviate from our planned menu and do something special. We had blackened salmon (I know, not strictly a southern fish, but it's cheap frozen at Sam's), smothered okra (mmmmm), and hush puppies (the boys call them just 'puppies'). I lived in Arkansas for a year and a half and learned to LOVE southern cooking, especially okra and hush puppies. The boys really liked the salmon and the hush puppies, but it was like pulling teeth to get them to even try the okra! We finally got them to try it by giving them a 'puppy' only after they ate one bite of okra. Sammy did it once (without spitting it out) after we all cheered him on. Brad liked the cheering (and the puppies) so much he ate several bites of okra, but he gagged a little on every bite. Oh well, can't win them all. I'll just sneak the okra into soups from now on.

Coming to you from the stream of consciousness,

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Current project: Blue Ponchette

I guess the title says it all! This is the pattern I'm currently working on that I described yesterday. Only a few more rows and I'm done with the main piece! Then I will join the end to the side of the front to make a point and sc around the neck and bottom edges with a combination of the Sugar and Cream yarn and the Sparkle yarn. I'll post another picture of the finished product!


And the rain rain rain came down down down....

It is still raining. With thunder and everything. I had arranged to meet the Verano Housing Programs coordinator at the community gardens to walk through and decide which plots need to be redone (I'm on the garden council) but about half an hour before we were scheduled to meet, she called and asked to reschedule. I wasn't too sorry about it as it was pouring at that moment. But I had the thought that slogging through the garden in the pouring rain might make a good blog entry. Oh well, I'm much happier to be dry!

In an unrelated topic (but not really because this is officially a crochet blog), I should be a pattern tester! I recently started a project from my last issue of Crochet Fantasy and all was going well until I finished the first row and discovered I had one too many ch1 spaces between my double crochets! So I had to undo the whole row and remove 2 chains from my foundation chain. Oh well, I figured I had just miscounted the number of chains I had made. After finishing a few more rows I deciding that I would like the smaller size better, so I undid what I had done and started over. I chained the amount listed in the pattern (I counted it twice!) and finished the first row and, lo and behold, I had one extra ch1 space again! Once again I undid the row and removed 2 chains from the foundation chain. They had the wrong number listed for both sizes!

Now I know someone had checked the pattern because they had a big picture of the finished piece in the magazine! I don't understand how they missed that mistake since the foundation chain is the very first thing you do when you start crocheting, and it can really mess up the rest of your work if it's not right! Perfectionism and nit picking should really be on the top of necessary job skills for a pattern tester. See, I'd be perfect! lol

Anyway, despite the initial setback, the project is going nicely (and quickly). I'll post a pic of it tomorrow. Don't worry. It's not anyone's Christmas present, so looking won't spoil any surprises!

How dry I am.....

Monday, September 19, 2005

And the heavens were opened!

For the first time in months, it has rained here in Orange County! A loud and occaisionally intense thunderstorm came through this evening. Though nothing like Southern rainstorms, I was impressed and delighted. I can think of only one other thunderstorm that we have had in the 3 years we have lived here. Now I won't have to water my garden tomorrow! ;)

Speaking of water, both of my sons have figured out that their mouth can produce water (spit). Mostly they just swish it around in their mouths and between their teeth, or they let a few spit bubbles out on their lips and quickly slurp them back in. However, my youngest has taken to spitting; actually it is more a controlled drool than an actual "spit". Tonight he leaned over the back of our futon couch and dropped a little puddle right on the floor!

He knows he is not supposed to spit, and his facial expression gave away the fact that he was doing it knowing full-well he was not supposed to. This earned him an immediate "time-out" on the stool in the kitchen. Now, my oldest will cry and complain when he is put in time-out, but he will stay on the stool; not the youngest. He climbed off three time before his time was up (each time we re-set the timer for 2 minutes). After the third time my husband took the stool and son into the bathroom for a time-out. He left the light on and the door open (we don't do scary "spider closet"-like time-outs). My son still screamed because he was left alone but he stayed seated. Ah, the difficulties we go though to avoid corporeal punishment (and other lazy parenting methods). More work but greater returns.

All wet,

Friday, September 16, 2005

Opening Day!

I'm fairly new on the crochet scene, and on the blog scene! I picked up crochet in the summer of 2003 on a whim and discovered I loved it! I've been crocheting like crazy since. Recently I attempted to go a whole week without touching a hook. I did it, but it nearly drove me nuts! So I guess I'm addicted. Oh well, I suppose there are worse things to be addicted to.

This summer I entered the two crochet item pictured above in the local county fair. Neither of the items placed. :-( Now I can understand why the sun dress didn't place, it wasn't my best work. But the poncho... It took some work to finish and looks (and feels) absolutely gorgeous! When I went to pick it up after the fair, the lady who put it on display said she was admiring it. But it didn't even get an honorable mention. It makes me wonder what it takes to place. Oh well! Maybe I'll enter less popular categories next year!