My Free Patterns

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sweet Tooth

Here are some great recipes I've been making from around blogland, and the Internet.   

One of the things I love about Allrecipes is that you can search for recipes from whatever ingredients you have in your cupboard.  I have used this countless times trying to use up various things.  This time I found some evaporated milk in the pantry that was due to expire.  I had to pause for minute, just how long had it been in there?  In the end it didn't matter, because I found this recipe for custard, which I love, so I gave it a try.  It was great.  Really great.  I wish it weren't so great because I wanted to eat another right after the first.  Sigh.

Nutmeg on one for me, plain for hubby

I know, pumpkin bread in the spring, am I nuts?  No. Yes?  The kids and I all love pumpkin, so any time is the right time!  I really like this recipe I found, it is moist and tasty.  One regular sized can makes two loaves. Normally I made one and then a few days later make a second one.  Fabulous! You can see from the picture we had already attacked it before I thought to take a picture.


  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

I just started following this blog--Easily Good Eats She makes so many things that look and sound very tasty.  Including quite a few coconut recipes.  I LOVE coconut, it is right up there behind pumpkin in terms of how much I love it.  Anyway, these cookies were intriguing because they had only 4 ingredients.  I found them quite tasty, without being in your face sweet.  Rather mild, and as you can see I make them rather huge and thin--perfect!  I like when I have no clue what I'm doing and it turns out OK.  The second tray I didn't squash down as much and they didn't end up as nice.  How he got his cookies to look so gorgeous, I don't know.  Correction, I just read my replies and found out.  If you want gorgeous cookies, check out the think here.

And that's what I've been baking.  
Here is where I Hop: 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Not just for boys

My girls recently joined the local Girl's Brigade.  It is an organization that allows the girls to have fun, play games, and apparently, do performances.  They go one night a week, and this past week when I picked them up they showed me the wee dance they were working on called Hey Bonny Lassie.  

Rori is playing the boys part, and Isla is playing the girl.  Rori told me she was going to wear black trousers (check), a white shirt (check) and wanted to wear a bow tie (uh oh, definitely don't have one of those).  Sometimes I get a bee in my bonnet about a project, probably, ok, especially when my girls ask me to make something for them specifically.  I jumped on this crafty bandwagon in a BIG way.  And it was so much fun!

First of all, I searched high and low for a tie pattern that I thought I could 
a) make
b) would be easy to get off and on for a 5 year old
c) I had all the supplies in my cupboard

I found this pattern at A Lemon Squeezy Home. 

Since she did such a wonderful tutorial, I won't go into the details of what I did to make it.  I followed her instructions exactly, except that I used fusible interfacing instead of fleece.  I will however, show you how little is needed and cute they turned out.

2 pieces that are 3"x10"
1 piece that is 2.5"x 4"
1 piece that is 3"x14"
2 pieces interfacing that are 3"x10"
1" piece of Velcro,  I used iron-on, that stuff is great!

And that's IT

before the strap

After I finished Rori's and knew I could do it, I let Isla pick her fabric.  I love letting the girls pick the fabric they want for things, and watching them decide.    Even though she is playing the girls part, she wanted a tie as well.  And to tell the truth, the second was faster, and she's been wearing it all afternoon.

Thanks for stopping by!

Here's where I hop:

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tuna Melt

I don't know about your weather, but our May has been terrible!  Rain, rain, rain, and now incredibly strong winds for about a week now.  I am well and truly sick of it, and the fact that I had to dig out a sweater this morning when I feel like it should be time to turn the heating off.  

At times like these I need comfort food.  Here is a quick, and I think indulgent lunch without being too bad for you.  Or at least, I figure anything that has lettuce and tomato can't be ALL bad for you!

Tuna Melt

2 slices of bread
1/2 a can of tuna, drained
1 tbs mayo or whatever you usually use, I use plain yoghurt when I want to feel healthy
1 tbs diced onion
splash red wine vinegar (really gives it zing!)
parsley if you have it.  I was too cowardly to brave the rain to snip some from the garden.  It was THAT terrible out.
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 a tomato
a couple leaves of lettuce
mozzarella cheese

First, dice your onion and add it to the mayo and tuna in a bowl.  Add salt and pepper, vinegar, and parsley if you have it.  A little bit of dill is nice too. Mix it all around.

I took one slice of bread and spread some spicy Coleman's mustard on it.  This gives it a nice zing!  Then I spread on the tuna and topped it with sliced tomatoes.  Next sprinkle on some mozzarella cheese and put under your grill or broiler until the cheese is melted.

Remove from oven and add lettuce and top piece of bread.  Slice.  Enjoy.  That easy.  That good!

Here is where I hop:

Oh, and one last thing, I'm in the finals of a cooking competiton, please, if you have a minute, vote for me!! THANK YOU

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I've been featured!

A few weeks ago I  answered a call for help at the Craftsy website.  They were looking for projects people have made that they are proud of, that they could feature on their website.  I sent in my girl's cardi's that I did a blog post on about a month or so ago.  It was selected!  You can see it here:

Now, if I'm honest that is almost the only fibre related item I have this week.  I am still plugging away on my WIP's, and trying not to start any (more) new ones!

I am still working away on my Mom's top (after taking a small break on the front, but the back is done), and I've started a tank top for myself as well. Just what I need, another project!  Why is it so compulsive to keep starting new projects?  I wanted to make a white tank top to go with the skirt I made a few weeks ago.  I like this Tiger Lily Tank Top pattern a lot, and I'm almost done with the back.
straps look odd because they cross each other, not quite there yet!

In addition, I've become addicted (I don't use this word lightly here) to the tv show Chuck.  

Apparently the UK really IS behind the times, because I just became aware of this show, and it just finished it's 4th season.  Anyway, I've been working my way through the episodes and working on my tank top. 

If you get a chance to watch it, I highly recommend it, not least because Zachary Levi is adorable.  

Lastly, I want to send out a BIG thank you to Tami over at Tami's Amis & Other Creations
Last week I talked about the pottery class I was taking and she recommended I make a yarn bowl.  It was one of those comments that goes PING!! Followed by a duh, I should have thought of that.  Not two months ago I was trolling Etsy looking at yarn bowls, and then once I started my class it never crossed my mind.  Well, thank you Tami, I started a yarn bowl in class last night!  I am super excited about it too.  I'll post pictures in a couple of weeks when it is done.

Happy Crafting everyone!!

Oh, and one last thing, I'm in the finals of a cooking competiton, please, if you have a minute, vote for me!! THANK YOU

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Tarka Dhal

I made a couple of really tasty dishes last week, here is one of them:

Tarka Dhal 
(all of my veggie friends, pay attention, this one is for you!)

First, let me tell you about my favourite cookbook--ever!  I mean, I do love my good old red and white chequered Better Homes and Gardens (everyone should have a copy I think)

 but it can't compare to this book when it comes to tasty meals:

Years ago I was in a cheap book outlet (I can't resist) and they had a special on cookbooks.  I bought this Indian one, a Chinese one, and a Polish one.  By FAR this is a book I use once a week.  The other two are headed to the car boot sale in a few weeks. The recipes are amazing, and not just Indian.  There are several that are Thai (I have no idea why they are in an Indian book, but I LOVE Thai) and loads of vegetarian and rice dishes.  What I'm saying is, I love this book!  

Anyway, here is the recipe that I made.  It is vegetarian, and full of lentil goodness.  Lentils are amazing.  I'm just saying.

Tarka Dhal

1 cup red lentils
1/2 cup yellow split peas
5 cups water (or chicken broth, or vegetable broth)
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste, depends on how salting your broth is)
either a fresh green pepper, chopped, or dried red chilies

For the Tarka
2 tbs oil
1 onion, sliced
1-2 tomatoes, chopped
handful of mushrooms, sliced
handful (or two) fresh spinach

1) Boil all the lentils and yellow split peas in the water/broth with the ginger, garlic, turmeric and chilies.  Cook until soft.  The book says 15-20 minutes but in my world/kitchen it is much longer, like 45 minutes.
2) Mash the mixture with a fork until it has the consistency of a creamy chicken soup.  I don't really mash mine, probably because I cook it for so long.  Also, my husband likes a coarser texture.
3) If the lentil mixture looks to dry, add a bit more water.  Season with the salt.  To prepare the tarka, heat the oil in a heavy pan and fry the onion.  Then Add the tomatoes and spinach until the spinach is wilted.
4) Spoon the lentils into a serving dish and pour the tarka on top.  Garnish with fresh coriander and mint (if you have it).  

Serves about 4.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Mug Wraps/Cozies

Wow, is anyone else having real issues with Blogger?  I wrote out a whole post that was eaten by the internet when I thought it was being posted!?!  Then it was down for most of today.  Sigh.  I don't think I'll have the energy to do it again, so here is a quick version.

The other day whilst doing my weekly blog hop, I was intrigued by Andrea at Wisdom Beings in Wonder, writing about her Vampire Swap on Ravelry.  I've never done a swap, but it sounded like good fun.  I found one that was small and simple, better to ease into things I think.  This month they are doing a mug cosy swap, so I jumped right in.  Then I went to work trying to make a cosy I'd be proud to mail away to someone.  Here are some I made.  If you would like, please leave a comment telling me your favourite and that's the one I'll send as my gift.

Cozy 1

Cozy 2

Cozy 3

Cozy 4

And lastly, this isn't fibre related at all.  I've been taking a ceramics class (just an 8 week night course) at the local college, and having a blast.  I swear I am getting better with time, but here are some of my first few attempts!

Twisty Vases

A bug, a pot, a mushroom

Happy Crafting Everyone!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

An odd mix??

I'll just go ahead and admit that sometimes I may eat odd things together.  I am not a fussy eater, I just eat what I like and stay happy.  My husband says when we first met (in co-ed housing during my master's program) one night for dinner I had a bowl of cereal followed by crab sticks (the fake kind made out of fish, see how un-fancy I am) with fiery hot cocktail sauce.  I actually do remember that night, because the cocktail sauce was so good.  I like to add loads of horseradish and lemon juice to mine.  But I digress.  Here is what I made for dinner the other night, and it was delicious.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 cup quartered pepperoni slices, about 32 slices (I used salami)
     * I also added chopped black olives and sun dried tomatoes
1/2 cup marinara sauce
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and spray small bread pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2.  Place flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper into the bowl of a stand or electric mixer, mix to combine.  Slowly add in eggs, oil, buttermilk, Parmesan, Mozzarella and pepperoni until just combined.  Pour half of batter into prepared bread pan that measures 9x5x2 3/4-inches.  Top evenly with marinara sauce then pour remaining batter over sauce.  Top with Italian seasoning and additional Parmesan cheese.  Bake for 45-55 minutes or until toothpick comes clean from center.  Let cool for 30 minutes before removing from pan.  Slice and serve warm or room temperature.

With the pizza bread (it was wonderful by the way) I served up some asparagus soup.  I know, you are shaking your head at me and say, "What, ANOTHER asparagus recipe??"  But I have a good excuse, really I do.  I am a big proponent of not wasting food, and if I buy something, I will try to use it no matter what.  Well, I bought two bunches of asparagus last week, and one bunch went into the Asparagus & Pea Pasta I've already blogged about.  Well the second bunch just sat there looking more and more sad and wilty, until I felt it was only good enough for soup.  Thankfully, I LOVE asparagus soup.  Here is the recipe I used:


  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice


  1. In a large saucepan, combine asparagus, chopped onion, and 1/2 cup chicken broth. Cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer uncovered until asparagus is tender, about 12 minutes. Process the mixture in a blender to puree the vegetables. Set aside.
  2. In the same saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Stir in the flour, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Whisk in the remaining chicken broth, and increase the heat to medium. Cook, stirring constantly until the mixture boils. Stir in the asparagus purée and the milk.
  3. Put the sour cream in a small bowl, and stir in a ladle-full of the hot soup. Add the sour cream mixture and the lemon juice to the soup. Stir while heating the soup to serving temperature, but don't allow it to boil. Serve immediately.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Blanket Squares

I don't think I mentioned before, but I am knitting my Mom a top for Mother's Day.  There is no way I can finish it by this Sunday, however I have an added advantage.  We don't live on the same continent!  She picked the pattern and colour, and I told her she can pick it up in July when she and my Dad visit.  Phew, that gives me a bit more time.  I am slowly working my way up the back of it, after having to tear it out twice already. 

I'm finding that this pattern requires a lot of my attention, at least the part where the leaves are.  Hence the ripping out time and again.  However, I seem to have broken the back of the hard part for right now.  Anyway, my point is that I am a T.V. watcher and knitter, because I have issues just sitting still.  I can't focus on this pattern and knit so I've turned to an old favourite.  I'm knitting more blanket squares for KAS.  It occurred to me that since it is heading toward summer here, they are heading into winter there, and the thought of cold children is horrible.  Here are some of my latest squares:

2-stranded acrylic held together.  Great stash buster.

20% wool blend

Unknown donated yarn, I think the grey is wool and the colours acrylic

Unknown rather odd donated wool.  Soft though.
For the patterns I like to vary it.  I was given this book last Christmas:

Which has some good, easy squares in it.  Very easy to do while vegging out in front of the tv.  I am also going to do a few more challening squares from my favorite book:

Happy Knitting Everyone!!

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