Monday, February 23

Sunday's All Day Ragu Sauciness

 Sundays have become one of my favorite days of the week. I use it to relax and create yummy foods for the night and also for the week. Baking bread and simmering something all day in a large pot has become a Sunday ritual for us. My husband looks forward to it as well, since he tells me he's a very good taste tester.

I do have to say that I cook a lot and I don't use a lot of recipes to build soups, stews & sauces. It's usually by instinct and a lot of tasting. I did however put together an easy to follow recipe for this sauce. I used the last of my frozen stewed tomatoes from our garden last year. Although I've built sauces from good canned tomatoes as well and that's what this will be about. It's important to taste as you go and for me whats better for tasting than fresh bread!

Look at that stretch! Gluten free bread doesn't have to be hard or taste strange. This is the GF French bread recipe. Check it out and enjoy some warm yumminess.

As you can see below this bread makes for the perfect tasting spoon. I think I was guilty of tasting this sauce a lot!

The great thing about this sauce can mix it up and use different meats like pork, panchetta, beef roast, etc. I just keep it at 2 lbs and mix it up! Also can play with herbs, broths and so forth. It's just plan fun to try it one way then give it a go and play.

Sunday Ragu Sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 2-4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary (chopped)
  • 2 lb ground beef chuck roast (I always get fresh ground's the bomb diggity)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup beef broth (or bone broth if you make it, would be amazing)
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
  • 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes or stewed tomatoes
  1. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium high heat. Add garlic and saute until the edges are golden, about 2-3 minutes. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with salt, to taste. Add beef and cook until browned, about 5-8 minutes, making sure to crumble the beef as it cooks; season with salt, to taste.
  2.  Stir in diced/stewed tomatoes (if stewed break them up in the pot), tomato paste, red wine and herbs. Reduce heat to low; simmer, stirring occasionally, with lid slightly ajar, until sauce has thickened, about 90-120 minutes. 
  3. It's important to taste about halfway through to make adjustments. 
  4. Serve with your favorite pasta or polenta!

Sunday, January 18

Valentines Creative Weekend One

Sundays are so much fun for me...whether it's cooking/baking for the week or taking on new designing projects. I was thinking that I haven't done holiday hats or anything like that for my store yet. So I'm getting ahead of the game (for myself) and worked on a couple of fun hats today. The one I finished before writing this blog is the Skully Love Cap. Isn't it cute?!

 The second one is almost finished and it's called Tiny Hearts. I can just picture all the color combos for this hat. The spots could be dots or hearts really, it's all up to you. Now I'm thinking one more hat and I'm good for the day and the designs.

 These are just a few of the new designs I will be working on for the store. I've been wanting to take the skills to the next level with fair isle knitting, the color combos and designs are so much fun to play with. With the new name and direction of the store comes new labeling possibilities. I'm working on some vegan leather tags and unbleached stamped tags for the hats. Can't wait to play some more! Hope everyone had an amazing weekend and enjoys their evening. xo

Saturday, January 17

Double Pointed Needle Storage

A little confession I have to make... I'm a person that needs to be organized. In fact I often have to stop in a middle of a project to fix, straighten or declutter things around me. It helps me think straight and well allow the creativity to flow I guess. I grew up that way, around a Mother that was rather OCD about all things in the house. Back to the post at hand (speaking of organizing!). As a knitter you start to collect a lot of different sizes of needles, especially double pointed needles needed for various projects. The problem with the needles is the fact they come with 5 needles in each set. I had this cute pouch that I kept all of them in and played the game of fishing each time I needed 4 or 5 of one size. Can I say frustrating!! Anyways I could sew up an organizer and do plan on doing this in the future as a project for my fellow knitters around me, they make killer gifts for knitters!

So with this project in mind I looked online to see what I could find for a basic pattern if anyone has ever knitted one. There were lots of OK ones out there but none I liked. I really wanted one like the sewn up jelly roll types with pockets. I finally found one similar to what I liked and took that pattern to a larger scale, so it can hold all the needles sizes I need. I found the pattern on Briney Deep Designs blog. So you can use her great pattern or go a bit bigger like I did. Either way it was a fun project and now I have a pretty and functional way to hold my needles!

This is her pattern with my changes to make it larger...

Needles: US #5, straights and double points
Yarn: I used Bamboo Pop (1 full ball and a quarter of the second was used. I figure under 350 yards) The original pattern didn't have yardage, so I'm going by what I used. 

LK2tog: Lift corresponding stitch from “case body”, place on left needle. Knit together with 1 “pocket” stitch.
LEK2tog: Lift stitch from “case body” inner panel edge (next to seed stitch border), place on left needle. Knit together with 1 “pocket” stitch.

Co 116

knit 5 rows of seed stitch (continue doing seed stitch in pattern for the first 4 and last 4 stitches of every row)

Row 1: P1, K1, P1, K1, K across to last 4 stitches, K1, P1, K1, P1
Row 2 and all even rows: P1, K1, P1, K1, P across to last 4 stitches, P1, K1, P1, K1
Row 3: P1, K1, P1, K1, K1, [K3, P1] to last 7 stitches, K3, P1, K1, P1, K1
Row 4: K1, P1, K1, P1, purl to last 4 stitches, K1, P1, K1, P1
Row 5: P1, K1, P1, K1, K across to last 4 stitches, K1, P1, K1, P1
Row 6: K1, P1, K1, P1, purl to last 4 stitches, K1, P1, K1, P1
Row 7: P1, K1, P1, K1, K2, [P1, K3] to last 5 stiches, K1, P1, K3, P1, K1
Row 8: Row 4: K1, P1, K1, P1, purl to last 4 stitches, K1, P1, K1, P1
Work these 8 rows for a total of 8 repeats of the overall pattern.
Work 5 rows in seed stitch

The flap...

Row 1: P2tog, K2tog, P1, K1, K across to last 6 stitches, P1, K1, P2tog, K2tog
Row 2: K1, P1, K1, P1, P across to the last 4 stitches, K1, P1, K1, P1
Row 3: P1, K1, P1, K1, K1, [K3, P1] to last 7 stitches, P1, K1, P1, K1
Row 4: K2tog, P2tog, K1, P1, P across to the last 6 stitches, K2tog, P2tog, K1, P1
Row 5: P1, K1, P1, K1, K across to the last 4 stitches, P1, K1, P1, K1
Row 6: K1, P1, K1, P1, purl to last 4 stitches, K1, P1, K1, P1
Row 7: P1, K1, P1, K1, K2 [P1, K3], to last 5 stitches, P1, K1, P1, K1
Row 8: K1, P1, K1, P1, Purl to last 4 stitches, K1, P1, K1, P1
Work 5 rows of seed stitch and then bind off.


Pick up 109 st on the wrong side at the bottom edge of case body, just above seed stitch border and between side seed stitch borders. Each pocket stitch will correspond to one case body stitch (excluding seed stitch border).

Row 1: LEK2tog, K4, LK2tog, K4, LK2tog, K4, LK2tog, K4, LK2tog, K5, LK2tog, K5, LK2tog, K6, LK2tog, K7, LK2tog, K8, LK2tog, K9, LK2tog, K10, LK2tog, K11, LK2tog, K12, LEK2tog
Row 2: Purl
Repeat these 2 rows 21 times. 
Then continue the same count for the last 5 rows but in seed stitch.
 Bind off

For the closure you can do an i-cord (she has on her page), a button closure or ties. I found a button that I plan on sewing on with an i-cord to wrap around. 

 I'm very new to putting up patterns and I'm so glad I found an amazing pattern to play with. Thank you to Briney Deep Designs for a great idea!

Wednesday, January 14

Hot Cocoa Love

Nothing like a hot beverage in your favorite mug on a chilly day, snowy day or really anytime you need a little bit extra coziness. I love tea most anytime of day, while reserving my mornings for a cup of coffee and every once in awhile needing something decadent like hot cocoa. Since I've been gluten free for 2 years now, I've played with a lot of recipes to make at home and have the convenience of the "instant" loving world. So I have a couple of recipes I'm sharing with with dairy and the other without. I prefer the one with dairy most of the time but do love heating up coconut milk for the other. So this is a preference for any of you wanting to try it out.

Instant Hot Cocoa (w/dairy)

2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cocoa (Dutch-process preferred)
2 1/2 cups powdered milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons arrowroot starch (or cornstarch)
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste (optional)

Instant Hot Cocoa (w/out dairy)

3 1/2 cups of sugar
2 1/4 cups of cocoa (Dutch-process preferred)
1 Tablespoon of salt
Directions (for both recipes)

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk to incorporate evenly. Seal mixture in an airtight container, keeps indefinitely in the pantry. To make, I used 1/4 cup cocoa mix to about 3/4 cup hot water or hot milk of choice. Stir to blend, add some marshmallows or you favorite topping and enjoy

Monday, December 1

Hat and Arrows

This is a new adventure in knitting for me, which is super exciting to learn more. This technique is kind of hard with tension and changing between holding each color strand of the yarn. For the knitters out there, it's all about the tension and making sure the yarn isn't pulling while picking up the new color to knit for pattern. I kind of lost my cool the first time I've tried doing something like this. Which of course the best thing to do is just put it down and walk away. Come back to it when you are ready and refreshed...which is what I did. This hat was the first of the projects that I felt like I knew what I was doing. The picture below shows how it's look after finishing the first set of arrows. I don't know about you, but I get really excited when I start seeing a pattern or that point when things are really coming together for a project. Plus that yarn combo!!

I don't normally do this, but I decided to put it on and model it so you can see the slouch and how wide the band came out. I fell in love right away and I hardly ever keep one of my projects, but this baby is staying with me. Also it will be added to my store soon with color choices...gotta have the color choices!

Monday, November 3

To Our Bella Mia

It was three years ago that this sweet little girl came into our lives. Not a human baby, but a sweet furbaby in need of being adopted and loved. Her previous owners were cruel to her and I thought we were going to be on a rocky road at first with her. That wasn't the case at all! She took to both my husband and I right away...seriously it was like she was part of the family right away. My husband has had pets growing up but and in his adult years living in Oregon, he thought of the wildlife as his pets to a degree. Our home is surrounded by woods and lots of wild life. So I know what he meant right away with his logic of them being his pets too. Every year we have the new and last generation of deer, turkeys, etc coming around our property.

Our little one has proven to Ed what it feels like to have dog truly become part of the family. I remember him saying a few months after adopting her..."I can see why people live longer from having pets". The love, playfulness, loyalty and the gift to make you smile at almost anytime is a gift we cherish. Bella is our daughter more than a dog in our life. She goes with us almost everywhere (within reason of course) and loves to travel. I love making stuff for her and she actually likes it too. This picture below was taken seconds after I put her newly knitted sweater on. That tale was going crazy with happiness!

I was tempted to add a picture of my husband playing with Bella, but he frowns on that since he was wearing his Valentine's pj bottoms. That always makes me giggle! I wanted to share this because she is precious and she filled a hole in my heart where I wanted a baby so bad at many points in my adult life. She is perfect in every way and I wouldn't change a thing. Happiness, content, furbaby, love is what I feel everyday spent with her and the moments my husband Ed is goofy and loving to her is the best ever.

Friday, April 11

Balsamic Beef Roast

I love cooking roasts for dinner...whether it's a beef chuck, pork tenderloin or even a whole chicken. For the two of us it can make 2-3 dinners, but for a family it's great to have an easy no fuss dinner. My favorite beef roast is the flat chuck roast, it really ends up falling apart and has always turned out so juicy. With this recipe you can do so many things with it...I've made pulled beef sandwiches (or French dip), tacos or shredded on top of nachos. This has become my go to recipe and sometimes I change it up by adding organic cola to the mix instead of the broth, or adding herbs like thyme and basil. Once you try it you will be inspired to do the same and it's a no fail recipe with so much flavor!

Balsamic Beef Chuck Roast
  • 1 3-4 pound beef roast (I prefer chuck but you can use round)
  • 1 cup water or broth (vegetable or beef)
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (make sure it's gluten free if needed)
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce (gluten free)
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce (gluten free)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar or honey
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon paprika (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon basil (optional)
  1. Place roast beef into the insert of your slow cooker. In a measuring cup, mix together all remaining ingredients. Pour over roast and set the timer for your slow cooker. (4-5 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low)
  2. Once the beef has cooked, remove from slow cooker with tongs to a serving dish. You can either let rest and slice or break apart lightly with two forks & then ladle 1/4 of the juice onto the beef. 
  3. The remaining juice can be made into gravy or keep as juice for French dip. 
  4. To make gravy...melt 1 tablespoon butter into sauce pan on medium but only melt the butter, don't allow to get too hot so it bubbles. Add a tablespoon of your favorite gluten free flour and whisk to combine to melted butter. Add juice to the pan while whisking to create the gravy. Also yummy with sauteed mushrooms or sauteed onions.