My Free Patterns

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Comfort Food

Right now we all have colds.  Therefore not only do I have a head full of cotton wool, I do not want to cook.  At all.  However I do want to eat comfort food, and that means a bit of cooking whether I like it or not.  Today I am feeling a bit better, so I made creamy potato leek soup with scones, and caramelized pineapple for dessert. 

Creamy Potato Leek Soup


  • 8 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 pound bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 leeks, sliced
  • 1 cup heavy cream (I used milk)


  1. In a large saucepan or stockpot, bring potatoes and chicken broth to a boil. Cook until potatoes are tender. Meanwhile, place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, reserving 3 tablespoons of grease and set aside. Sautee the leeks in the frying pan with the reserved bacon grease 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. When the potatoes are tender, stir in the fried leeks, heavy cream and bacon. Stir to blend and remove from heat. Serve hot. 

The only changes I made was to whiz up the potatos and broth with my stick blender before adding the rest of the ingredients.
To go with the soup I made bacon and cheese scones.  I know, bacon overload, but that IS comfort food to me.
Cheese and Bacon Scones


250g self raising flour

pinch of salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder (optional)

55g butter

25g shredded cheese, I use cheddar

2 slices bacon, chopped and sautéed

150ml milk


Because I am a lazy cook, I use my Cuisinart mixer to blend everything.  First, sauté the bacon until cooked.  Then add the flour and butter to the Cuisinart and whiz that up, then add the rest of the ingredients and blend until dough forms.  On a floured board kneed the scone dough a bit, and then shape into a circle about 1 inch thick.  Cut into 8 triangles and then bake in a 220C oven for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown.  Lovely!


Carmelized Pineapple with Vanilla Ice Cream 

I should probably be ashamed to admit I've never bought a fresh pineapple before.  Before last week that is.  They were on sale, and looked so good, I couldn't resist.  Then I spent about a week trying to figure out what to do with it.  I found the answer here

So I cleaned the pineapple and cut it into chunks.  Then in a frying pan I heated 4 tbs butter.  When the butter melted I added 1/4 cup packed brown sugar and the pineapple.  Cook for a few minutes until well coated.

Remove from heat, I placed them directly into bowls.  Let cool for a bit and then add vanilla ice cream.  Delicious!  I had extra caramel sauce so I poured a bit of it over the ice cream. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Doll's hat

In the hope of finishing off a few baby hats for friends, I decided to give a new pattern a try.  I found it here:

Having just finished it an hour ago, all I can say is it is pretty, and TINY!  It is supposed to be for a newborn, but it fits my daughters doll just right.  So that is what it is now, a dolls hat.  My other daughter Rori wants one for her doll--so I've been asked to get right on it and knit another one.  That's the problem with twins, I've got to do two of everything.  That said, I have been meaning to make them some clothing for their dolls, so the project wasn't in vain.  Here is a picture of it:
pale yellow acrylic yarn

Friday, October 22, 2010

So Good

I found this Greek style coconut yoghurt at Sainsbury's last weekend.  It was so good I had to go back on Wednesday and buy two more.  Can we say addiction??  If you like coconut things, you've got to try this.  It isn't too-sweet like most coconut treats, it is just-plain-divine!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake

What to do with old or bruised bananas?  I say make a cake!  Of course that is my answer to almost any situation in life.  So today after lunch, when I dropped the rather oldish bananas off the shelf and onto the floor---the answer was obvious.

Chocolate Chip Banana Cake


  • 190 g all-purpose flour
  • 135 g sugar
  • 7 g baking powder
  • 2 g salt
  • 225 g mashed bananas (2 regular sized ones)
  • 1 egg
  • 100ml vegetable oil
  • 60 ml milk
  • 125 g semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a round cake pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine bananas, egg, melted butter and milk.
  4. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture until blended. Be careful not to over mix.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Pour batter into pan. Bake 175 degrees C 30 to 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted into center of cake comes out clean. (It will have some melted chocolate, but no crumbs.)



Today I am feeling very proud of myself, and satisfied with a project I just finished.  Continuing with my family Christmas present project, last night I finished a hat for my nephew Seth.  He turns 12 a few days before Christmas, so I tried to make something a pre-teen might like.  After consulting with his mother, it turns out his favourite colour is gold.  That is not an easy colour to find in yarn!  However thanks to Ebay and some time spent searching, I found a really nice one.

It is called Patons Zhivago and it is apparently a new type of yarn.  It is 50% tencel and 50% acrylic.  I had to look up what tencel was, because I had never heard of it.  Well, it is a biodegradable fabric made from wood pulp cellulose.  Very eco-friendly, which pleased me.  It is very soft and feels just wonderful.

Anyway, I made him an earflap hat, which was great because it only took one 50g ball of yarn.  Then here comes the part where I am proud--I had to crochet around the edge and for the tassles.  I was very lucky my Gram showed me how to do a single chain (sc) this summer, because that is really all I needed to do.  I think it looks great, and now I think I might want to give crocheting a go as well.....

close up of crocheted border

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Today is very grey, coldish, and rainy.  All in all very autumnal, which makes sense in the middle of October.  October is my very favourite month, and not just because I was born at the end of it.  It means leaves changing colour, bundling up but not being too cold, warm dinners, and baking things with pumpkin.  It seems to me that for whatever reason there is a severe lack of pumpkins in the UK.  On this point my American roots go deep----I love pumpkin.  Last night I made Pumpkin Milkshakes (just like Dairy Queen's blizzard) and they were fantastic.  With that in mind, today (just now in fact) I made some Pumpkin Whoopie Pies.  I would love to know where the name comes from, but not enough to look it up.  They are from an Allrecipes recipe, but I tweaked it to suit me.  I would also say if you want to make this recipe but cannot find pumpkin, you can easily substitute cooked and puréed butternut squash or sweet potato.  They will also taste yummy.  Here is what I did:

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies   

  • 250 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 5 g (1 tsp) baking powder
  • 5 g (1 tsp) baking soda
  • 2 g (1 tsp) ground cinnamon
  • 0.9 g (1/2 tsp) ground ginger, nutmeg, all spice
  • 3 g (1/2 tsp) salt
  • 115 ml vegetable oil
  • 225 g (1 cup) granulated sugar, and half demerera
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 300g (1 1/2)  LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Filling:
  • 230 g 7/8 oz cream cheese (soft cheese), at room temperature
  • 85 g (6 tbsp) butter, softened
  • 3 ml (1/2 tsp) vanilla extract
  • 100 g (1 cup) powdered (icing) sugar or more as needed to reach consistency
  1. For cookies: Preheat oven to 350 (180C) degrees F. Lightly grease or line four baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, all spice and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter and sugar in large mixer bowl on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pumpkin and vanilla extract; beat until smooth. Stir in flour mixture until combined. Drop by heaping measuring teaspoons onto prepared baking sheets. 
  3. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes or until springy to the touch. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
  4. For cream cheese filling: Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl on medium speed until fluffy. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Spread a heaping teaspoon of filling onto flat side of one cookie; top with flat side of second cookie to make a sandwich. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling. Store in covered container in refrigerator.
The link to the original recipe is here:  

Some members of the family preferred theirs without the icing

And some with the icing, yum!

Friday, October 15, 2010


While most people might think it is too early to start thinking about Christmas, I've been thinking about it for at least a month now.  My family is spread across both the US and now the UK, and this year we are having a family Christmas at my parents house.  I am looking forward to seeing everyone, enjoying the warm weather, and the food! 

With that in mind I've set myself the ambitious task of making everyone a homemade gift.  I know, not everyone likes a hand knitted hat or scarf, but tough luck for them, because that is what they are getting.

I've completed a few projects so far, but I just finished my very favorite hat of all time.  It is for my wee niece Kat, who will be 20 months at Christmas.  

Now I have to get started on one for her twin brother Archie.  I'm thinking a wee jesters hat, but time will tell!

I've also been busy making my poor dog embarrassed to belong to me.  She sometimes gets cold, so I whipped up a sweater for her.
  Surprisingly she she doesn't seem to mind it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Old Style

I've done something I never thought I would do--I've knitted a tea cozy.  Not, it's true, really.  I was chatting with my sister on MSN Messenger (fantastic if you live across an ocean) and she was making fun of me for wanting to knit a mug cozy.  Ok, I thought, I'll keep looking.  Then I went and found a tea cozy pattern, and got straight to work.

I found a free pattern (of course!) and I used the yarn that came in my loom kit from Cost Co. (you have to scroll down to find the pattern).  While my husband hates the colours, I LOVE THEM!  Here is what the first side looked like: 

I wasn't sure at this point if it would even fit, but I carried on anyway.  I have to say it was a fast and easy pattern, but there were way too many ends to weave in.  I hate that part.  When it was finished however, I thought it was worth it.

I'm a little too pleased that my tea pot now has its very own sweater.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Well I am really pleased to announce that I sold my first circular pin cushion on eBay today.  Ok, I didn't make that much money, but every little bit I do will go toward sending blankets and hats to children in South Africa.  I'm really pleased, and I hope the person that bought it likes it as much as I do!

On another topic, I found a quick, cute project yesterday.  It is a knitted flower!  There reason I went looking for a flower is all about a circular loom.  We were at Cost Co. the other day and couldn't resist buying a knitting kit with 12 balls of yarn, a circular hat loom, and a few other bits and pieces.  I knocked out my first hat pretty quickly, but it looked a bit bland to me.  So I thought, why not embellish it with a flower, and the search began.

Is the site I found, and it only took about an hour to make it.  Give or take a bit, I had to keep getting up and helping the kids, hanging the laundry, you know what I mean.  Anyway, here  is mine:
I needed to use a thicker yarn for the middle bit, but not a bad first go I think.  I think if I persevere with the loom I'll try out a variety of flower patterns.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Lacy Leaves Scarf

I finally finished this scarf, yay!  It seems I started it ages ago.  The pattern required more attention than I sometimes had to offer.  It is called Lacy Leaves, and is a free pattern from the Bernat website. 

You have to sign up for a free membership to see the patterns, which is totally worthwhile. On the subject of patterns, I am amazed at the number of talented, creative people out there that are willing to share their patterns.  Thanks so much!  I use free patterns all the time.  I just found one for a knitted flower I'm going to try, but there's time for that later.
I knitted this scarf in Sirdar Balmoral yarn, which is a fantastic wool.  It is 72% wool, 25% alpaca, 3% silk. It is warm and soft against the skin.  I'm going to try to sell it in my Etsy store, we'll see if anyone else loves it as much as I do.  Here are a few pictures:

Monday, October 4, 2010

A busy day

I had a busy day today.  After dropping the girls off at nursery, I came home and got to work.  First I made a circular pin cushion: 
 It was fast and easy and I think it looks pretty good for a first effort.

Since I've been knitting for the charity KAS Care for a while now, I've built up a rather large amount of things to mail to South Africa.  I thought if I were able to sell a few things I could use the money to offset the price of the postage to S. Africa.  That in mind, I also finished a knitted lavender pillow as well.  

I'm not too sure about the lavender pillow, it seems a bit lop-sided. 

After the girls got home we did some gardening.  We picked more blueberries, raspberries, and pulled up the onions.  Then we planted tulips--my favorite!

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