Saturday, November 30, 2013

Creamy Potato Soup

As I was rummaging in the refrigerator for dinner ideas yesterday, I came upon the whipping cream that I had used in a recipe earlier in the week.  I decided that it would need to be used up, and that decision resulted in this soup.  I made this in a 2 quart crockpot, but it could easily be done on the stovetop, or increased for a larger crockpot.

Creamy Crockpot Potato Soup

3 cups water
4 chicken bouillon cube
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into half inch cubes
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
1 clove crushed garlic (this would be about 1/3 teaspoon if using dried minced garlic)
1/2 cup whipping cream (milk can be substituted)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup (approximately) dry instant mashed potato flakes ( adjust amount used to get soup to desired thickness)
Fresh parsley, chopped ( dry will work as well)
5 to 6 ounces Diced leftover ham, or chopped smoked sausage (optional)
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Combine water, bouillon cubes, potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic in the crock of a 2 quart slow cooker.  Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours, or until vegetables are tender.  Stir in cream, milk, potato flakes, parsley and meat if using.  Cook on low for another hour or so, until soup is warmed thoroughly and somewhat thick.  Makes 4 servings.

I think that some finely chopped green pepper would be good in this soup, but I cook for a picky eater, so I did not try it.  I contemplated adding cheese to this too, but I decided that using whipping cream in the soup had probably added enough fat to the pot already.  If I had used all milk, I might have added some cheese.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Ribbed Headband with Flower Trim



This is so easy that you still have time to make one of these for Christmas.  I made this one is just a little over an hour.

WW yarn (I used Bernat Special Value yarn)
J hook
Yarn needle
Large button (optional)

Stitches used:
Ch (Chain)
DC (Double crochet)
HDC (Half double crochet)
FPDC (Front post double crochet)
BPDC (back post double crochet)
TC (Triple Crochet)

Even if you have never done post stitches before, you should be able to make this headband.  Here is a link to an article from Crochet Today that explains how to do post stitches, and shows some of the lovely effects that can be achieved with them.   (If you Google front or back post stitches, you'll find lots more tutorials for these stitches.)

Size: 4 inches wide by approximately 18 inches in diameter.
Can easily be modified to make larger or smaller.

My headband is worked quite loosely so it is somewhat lacy in appearance.  Using a smaller hook and working more tightly will create a more solid headband.  You will need more rows to get enough length, and  a longer beginning chain to make it as wide as mine.  The pattern works with any uneven number of DCs in the first row.  The stitch pattern could also be used to make a ribbed scarf.

Chain 15 fairly loosely.
1st row:  DC in 3rd chain from hook and in each chain across. (13 DC) (Ist two chain count as a DC in this row.)
2nd row:  Chain 2, (counts as first HDC here and throughout rest of pattern), turn, *FPDC in next stitch, HDC in next stitch* repeat from * to *  to end of row, working last HDC into the turning chain. (7 HDC's and 6 FPDC's)
3rd row:  Chain 2, turn, *BPDC in next stitch, HDC in next stitch*, repeat from * to * across, working last HDC into the turning chain

Notes:  Each row has 13 stitches in it.
You will always BPDC into the previous rows FPDC and vice versa.  All HDCs are made into the HDCs of the previous rows.
Repeat rows 2 and 3 until headband is long enough to fit around your head snugly. (I did 32 rows, all worked loosely, and my headband was about 18 inches long before I sewed the ends together.) Sew ends together.

Flower trim:

Chain 4, join with slip stitch to form a ring.  *Chain 3, slip stitch into ring to form a loop*.  Repeat from * to * 6 or 7 more times, making chain 3  loops around the outside of the ch 4 ring.  (each loop will form a petal, and you can make any number of petals, I made 7)
Once you have your  loops made, you will stitch into the loops to form petals.
Into each loop do:  1 SC, 2 HDCs, 2 DCs, 1 TC, 2 DCs, 2 HDCs, 1 SC .  This will form a petal.  In between each petal I slip stitched into the area between each loop, but I don't think this is necessary.

Sew flower to headband, using it to hide the area where you joined the ends.  If desired sew a button to the center of the flower.

Alternatively, a row of large buttons or a felt flower would also be an effective and attractive way to hide the seam.  (or maybe your sewing is better than mine and your seam looks good and doesn't need hiding!)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Crockpot Pork Tenderloin

Last week, I was lucky enough to get pork tenderloin for $1.99 a pound.  I've always thought that slow-cooking is not really the best way to make pork tenderloin, but I've changed my mind after trying this recipe.  This turned out moist and delicious and not anywhere near as sweet as I was afraid it might be.  I started with this recipe from  All recipes.  I did not have all the ingredients, so I had to make a few minor changes.  Also spicy food does not agree with me, so even if I had the fresh red chile peppers, I would have left them out!

Crockpot Pork Tenderloin
Approximately 8 servings

2 (about 1 pound each) pork tenderloins, Doubt that it really matters how much meat you use.
splash of olive oil (for browning if you choose to do that)
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce (I used Sweet Baby Rays)
1 cup water
1 chicken bouillon cube, crushed
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp dried minced garlic
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 large onion, sliced in thick slices (so that Miss Picky could easily fish the onion pieces out)
freshly ground black pepper (optional)

Brown pork tenderloins in oil, in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  (I suspect that you could leave out this step if you wanted.)  I browned mine and then spent 5 minuted cleaning oil spatters up!
Combine teriyaki sauce, water, chicken bouillon cube, brown sugar, garlic and red pepper flakes in crockpot and whisk to combine.  Toss in sliced onion.  Add tenderloins to crockpot and turn to cover with sauce.  Grind a bit of fresh black pepper over top of the meat if you want.  (I did and did not find the meat too peppery.)
Cook on high for 4 hours, spooning sauce over tenderloins a few times during the cooking period. 

Be aware that this meat was so tender that it did not slice cleanly so the presentation was not as nice as you would expect from pork tenderloin.   I spooned the sauce over the meat to serve.

I think this would probably make good pulled pork sandwiches as well.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Finally Finished Something

I started this baby dress quite a while ago, but ran short of the pink yarn, (Bernat Satin), and was unable to match it.  It finally  dawned on me that I could do the skirt in a different color.
The dress pattern is 'Flower Baby" from the magazine Crochet Today May/June 2008
The hat pattern is my Shell baby Hat,  the flower pattern on the hat is improvised.
The booties are knit from this pattern.
These items will be donated to the local pregnancy resource center.




Monday, January 9, 2012

52 Week Organized Home Challenge

This weeks challenge is kitchen cabinet organization.  I think this will be quite a bit more work than the kitchen counters.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Menu plan

Tuesday:  Ham Tetrazzini, tossed salad  (new recipe, looking for ways to use up leftover ham)
Wednesday:  Grilled chicken, ranch mashed potatoes, green beans
Thursday:  Vegetable beef soup, homemade whole grain rolls
Friday:  black bean and corn chili, corn muffins
Saturday:  homemade pizza
Sunday:  Chicken and fettucine Alfredo, carrots, broccoli
Monday:  Pork Barbecue on homemade buns (both leftovers), applesauce, tossed salad

2012 "Resolutions"

I'm not really one to make resolutions, since I am so likely to break them by day 3.  However, I ran across this organizing site a week or so ago, and organizing like this sounded like a goal that would be easily achievable.


SA52 Week Organized Home Challenge

This week's project is to de-clutter kitchen counters.  I like to keep my counters are  pretty bare, so this isn't a very time consuming challenge for me.  The coffee maker, Kitchen Aid mixer and electric tea kettle are on the counters.   I used to have a bread maker on the counter as well, but mine broke a few weeks ago, and I don't know if it will be replaced. When the mail and newspapers get brought into the house, they tend to be deposited on the kitchen island.  Same with Andy's keys, wallet and whatever else he might be carrying.   I think I might buy a cute basket to set on the counter by the door for this sort of thing.


Cancelling the newspaper is another thing for me to consider in terms of decluttering.  It would reduce the amount of paper coming into our house quite a bit, and the news can be read on-line or heard on local radio stations.  Also our local paper is going to start delivering only 3 days a week, instead of the current 7 days a week, but the cost is only going down by $4 a month, which seems to be somewhat of a rip-off.

A personal goal I have in terms of organization is to get back into menu planning.  For many years I made a weekly menu plan and it saved a lot of time, and probably money too, since I didn't have to run to the store three times a week, and I also made better use of leftovers.  I tried to make use of items already in my pantry and freezer for the most part, and my grocery buying focused more on restocking perishable items and staples, and  stocking up on good deals, rather than buying things for the next days meals.  For the last few years, I haven't been menu planning and over the past year my grocery shopping has deteriorated into aimlessly wandering through the store, tossing items into my cart without much of a plan at all.