Continental knitting

I knit in a style that’s just a bit unique.  I knit continental style, which refers to how the yarn in held (opposite hand from the needle making the stitches).  I don’t “pick” the yarn to form stitches I throw, which is unusual for continental knitters.  I also knit so stitches to be knitted have the leading leg in back and stitches to be purled have the leading leg in front.  This is called combined knitting and refers to how the stitches are mounted on the needle.  And I don’t turn my work, which is called mirrored knitting.  So, to someone who knows about knitting style I can just say I knit thrown continental combined mirrored.   There’s a lot of extra stuff going on but for those of you who do not knit, you now know way more than you ever wanted to know about knitting . . . or you’re scratching your head and wondering what in the heck I just said.

So, here it is, thrown continental combined mirrored.

Personalized spice mixes

SpiceMixesI use a lot of spices and herbs when I cook, and I cook a lot of the same stuff all the time.  Rather than opening 4-6 different spice/herb bottles to season something I started using the empty bottles to make the mixes I use all the time.

The spicy pork seasoning is BBQ Boys mix with doubled ground onion and ground garlic.

The S&R is a steak and roast mix with rosemary, thyme, black pepper, onion and garlic.

The marinara is the spice mix I use for the tomato sauce I use for anything requiring tomato sauce.

I also have an apple mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and xylitol I use for apple compote and apple custard I make for Wadly.

I’m sure I’ll being adding more mixes to my array.  Having premixed organic spices speeds cooking and ensures the taste stays consistent across the dishes I make.

Finding a home

Tie dyed batik broadcloth
Tie dyed batik broadcloth

I think we’ve all ended up with things too good or nice or unique to get rid of but with no place in which to put or use them.  I have a piece of fabric like that . . . a hand died batik on broadcloth.  I don’t quilt with broadcloth, I don’t wear those colors or that style . . . but 3 yards . . . yeah, couldn’t part with it.

It’s now an out-of-the-sun curtain and it works beautifully to keep light from reflecting onto my monitors.  And I look at it and smile . . . and think of the wonderful woman I inherited it from who also could not find a use for it but thought it was too good to get rid of.  Nice!

No soy/sugar non dairy creamer

Having food allergies makes life very interesting in a way that cannot be appreciated by those who don’t have food allergies. I’m not saying that in a disparaging way, just as a fact. Anyone with food allergies is nodding their head at this point.

Given soy and milk allergies, finding a coffee creamer that works is a challenge. In researching creamer alternatives I found a recipe using water, vanilla, raw cashew butter and medjool dates. My recipe is an outtake of that recipe.

In trying the above recipe there were a few things I didn’t care for. Using water instead of coffee as the liquid made no sense. It waters down the coffee which to me is counter-productive. I didn’t find the vanilla added anything. If I’m adding anything extra it is organic cacao powder with another date to counter the bitter.

My most pleasing recipe, sans cacao powder, is 1/3 cup raw cashew butter (organic), 3 medium to large medjool dates (organic) and about 1/2 cup fresh coffee as the liquid. Mince the dates and blend it all together until the dates are liquefied. According to what I’ve read this should stay fresh and viable in the fridge for 3 days. I use about 1/3 of the above in my gigantic cup with fresh brewed coffee. Mmmmm.

Awesome Chocolate Waffles/Pancakes

This recipe uses zucchini from my aquaponic bed. I’m getting enough zucchini to be able to eat a whole one a day, sometimes two a day. Woot!

ChocWaffles
Mmmmm.

These are SO awesome!  Fresh zucchini, coconut flour, eggs, cacao powder, medjool dates, butter and baking soda.


2 eggs, 2 medjool dates, 2 tbsp melted butter, 1/2 cup grated fresh zucchini
2 eggs, 2 medjool dates, 2 tbsp melted butter, 1/2 cup grated fresh zucchini

In a pint jar add 1/2 grated fresh zucchini, 2 large organic eggs (warmed in hot tap water before opening), 2 tablespoons melted butter, 2 medjool dates (pit removed).  Spin on the blender attachment and run on lowest setting until everything is chopped and mixed.


After blending
After blending


Cacao powder, coconut flour and baking soda added and blended.
Cacao powder, coconut flour and baking soda added and blended.

Spin the top off and add 1 tbsp coconut flour, 1 tbsp cacao powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda.  Spin the top back on and blend until the powdered ingredients are integrated.

Step4
Cook and serve with butter. Mmmmm.

Chunky Chicken Soup

Chunky chicken soup
Chunky chicken soup

This is a fast and simple recipes.  If you’re like me and mostly just cook for yourself and maybe another, you will love this one.

Wadly got a nice buy on some boneless skinless chicken thighs.  I like thigh meat as it’s tastier and juicier.  Already boned and skinned means no fuss . . . though this recipe would work with skin on and bone in and it would work for chicken breast if you don’t mind less tasty.  If you go the whole thigh route, fillet it out a bit so it’s not so thick and put it skin down.  The skin and bone will add flavor.

Cut a handful of baby carrots in half lengthwise or peel a whole carrot and cut it in diagonal slices just under 1/4″ thick.

Cut two 1/4″ slabs of zucchini.  I cut off the length I want and then cut it in lengthwise slices.

Chop some red and green pepper.  You’ll also need a 1/4″ thick slice of onion.  Don’t dice the onion.  Cut it into big chunks.

Take the stem end off a roma tomato and slice it open.  Don’t cut it in half, just make a single slice up the side and a few short slices in top and bottom so you can lay it out flat.  Pull the middle bit out and rough chop it.

Melt a generous tablespoon of butter in a small pan (I use the really small cast iron skillets for a lot of the “just me” stuff).  Turn the pan down to really low, the low side of simmer.  This won’t take long to cook and cooking it slowly will make the chicken super tender and keep the veges from becoming mush.

Put the two slabs of zucchini down side by side in the middle and arrange the carrots around them.  Sprinkle the onion and peppers on the top.  Stick the chopped bits of the tomato on top.

Place the chicken on top.  Don’t cut it up, just lay it over the top of the veges.

Sprinkle oregano, salt and pepper on top the chicken.  Lay the tomato skin side up over the top of the seasoned chicken.

Cover and cook slowly until the carrots are tender.  Lift the skin off the tomato and discard.  Lift the chicken out and cut it into big pieces.  Return to the pan, stir and pour into a bowl.

This soup is simple, fabulous and no fuss and the perfect meal for a dreary spring day.  You can bump the flavor a bit more by adding a couple tablespoons of your favorite “with chicken” wine if you’re feeling posh.

Enjoy!

Orange and ginger creole?

One of the unspoken mandates for celiacs is really tasty food to compensate for all we can’t partake.  Of late I’ve been marinating everything . . . hamburgers, steak, pork or chicken and it’s been wonderful.  I thought I’d share, both the recipe I use for my creole seasoning (pork or chicken) and the twist it got this morning.

My creole seasoning is spicy but not too spicy if you like spicy.  Use only organic seasonings.  If you haven’t gone organic with everything you can, herbs is a must for where to start.  When an herb is dried the flavor is concentrated, but so are any chemicals ON the herbs.  Go organic with your spices and herbs.

  • 2 tbsp cayenne
  • 2 tbsp pepper
  • 4 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic (powder)
  • 1 tsp onion (powder)

This mix is just a tablespoon or two more than will fit in a recycled spice container so plan for the extra you’ll have to store if you can’t use it right away.

This morning’s deviation from the norm included freshly grated ginger (micro-grated) and fresh squeezed orange juice.

For a single serving, squeeze the juice of 1/3 of an orange into a bowl.  Add grated ginger (1 tbsp?), the diced pork (or chicken) and shake a couple teaspoons of the creole seasoning over the top.  Mix thoroughly and set aside while you prep the veges.

I’m a little short on ingredients this morning.  For those of you who read my blog, you’ll know that’s not unheard of.   This morning’s stir fry had zucchini, onion and mushroom.  With a bit of bell pepper it would have been even better, and it was awesome!

Make sure you saute the mushrooms separately until thoroughly browned so they come out tasting like mushrooms.  Once all the veges are cooked set them aside.  Add more butter and a tablespoon of peanut oil to the pan.  Pour in the marinade laden meat.  As soon as it looks nearly done, return the veges to the pan.  Stir to incorporate and it’s done.

If you’re a thickened sauce person, spoon out the chunks and thicken the broth. 

This is lovely, full of flavor, healthy and a quick fix.