Thursday, November 27, 2008

Amazing Autumn Coffee Swap - Final Assignment

This week is Thanksgiving in the US, and our Canadian friends have already celebrated their day of thanks. So for this week, share a recipe, or tell us what your favorite 'Fall Foods' are - for me, I just love some Chili!! I always enjoy it, but during the cool, crisp weather of Autumn, I truly begin to crave it and make it more often - what's your favorite?

Well, for me I crave soups and stews in the fall. There is something warming and satisfying about coming home after a long day, opening the door and being greeted by the smell of a rich, hearty soup that's been simmering all day in the crock pot.

I have several favourites - too many to start listing them here really. So I will give you the recipe for one that the whole family enjoys. It's sort of a cross between a soup and a stew, so easy to make and tastes fantastic (or at least in our opinions anyways!)

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Perfect for a cool fall day!

Italian Sausage Soup

1 lb Italian sausage, browned, cooled and then cut into bite sized pieces (use any "heat" level you like - sometimes I use mild other times hot, just depends on what I feel like!)
1 large can of chopped stewed tomatoes
1 package of Lipton Onion soup mix
1 jar of spaghetti sauce (any old kind will do!)
1 bag of frozen mixed veggies (I like the "Mediterranean" kind that has peppers and eggplant in it - sorry I can't for the life of me think of the brand. It's in a red bag at Superstore if that helps!)
water ( I usually just fill the now emptied out spaghetti sauce jar with water - it's usually enough!)
red pepper flakes
basil
salt and pepper
broad egg noodles
freshly grated parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients other than the noodles and cheese in the crockpot. Set to simmer on low for 10 hours. Half an hour before you want to eat, turn the crockpot to high, add approximately 1 1/2 cups of uncooked egg noodles, replace lid and cook for 1/2 hour more. Serve soup with freshly grated parmesan cheese as a garnish. On a really good day I'll put the bread machine on timer to be finished at the same time as the soup, which is a wonderful compliment to the meal. I'm just not always that organized in the morning!

Hope you enjoy the recipe!

As for knitting - I've done precious little of it over the last two weeks. I've been sick with what started out as a bit of a cold that then took a vicious turn for the worse and became a full on asthma attack. It's left me feeling too drained to do much of anything in the evenings besides put on my flannel jammies and crawl into bed. Maybe next week I'll have knitting to tell you about!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

There'll be no knitting to show for awhile now...

...because either Lucky or Guinness got bored the other morning at home and chewed my camera beyond recognition. They also did in a cel phone, a charger and half my knitting accessories. The next day they chowed down on the Canadian Tire flyer that had come in the mail and N's Christmas wish list. Yesterday they did not chew anything inappropriate. (Thankfully - because really. Their cuteness can only take them so far.)

Unfortunately, I did have knitting to show you. I managed to actually get some done over the last few days.

Mr. Greenjeans' body is now done. It's just wanting sleeves and the band around the edge to be done. I'm so close, I can almost feel it's cozy warmth already. Much to my horror, mind you, I'm a little concerned about the fit. The bust (oddly enough -- nothing ever fits properly across my shoulders and/or bust!) fits perfectly. The lower half of the sweater is leaving something to be desired. As in probably at least an inch on either side. Now. I figure it's one of two things. A) I was feeling anxious whilst knitting it and my guage went askew or B) I've gained way more weight than I should around my mid-section to date. Oh please let it be my guage...

Nicole at SnB last night did make me feel much better about it as she was wearing a stunning sweater that she knit awhile ago and I was struck by the fit of it. It was an incredible fit for her. As in to a tee. Then she told me it had previously been about three inches to narrow across the bust so she blocked the you know what out of it, and the end result was, well, what I would definately call a perfect fit. So, Nicole. I hope your blocking suggestion will work miracles. (and thankfully it's a one button kind of deal so if it doesn't meet in the middle so be it.)

On with the unphotographed progress of my WIP. I did manage to finish the mystery sock. It fits well, and I'm pretty happy with it. Starting the second sock was my SnB project for last night. Apparently, though, I have lost every knitting skill I ever posessed and had to cast on more than once. First time took me forever as I also have apparently lost any skill for counting past ten, but I finally got going and realized I was creating some sort of freaky mobius style sock cuff. Frogged it back and started over. I'm happy to report I've managed to do 3 rows of the cuff. Sad, I know. But there you have it.

Friday, November 07, 2008

No knitting to show...

Sadly, my knitting muse has not been speaking to me lately. Well, actually it's more a case of I've just been too bloody tired in the evening to knit. I've been plugging away sporadically on my WIP, but have nothing really to show for it.

Mr. Greenjeans has stalled out, with only a couple inches left to go on the body. It seems to take me forever to knit a single row of it right now - I've no idea why. Prior to about two weeks ago it was zipping along famously.

My mystery sock KAL for Socktoberfest hit the brakes last week on the toe. The toe of all things!!! I have to rip it back and start it over - not the whole sock. Just the toe. I somehow managed to bugger it up and it's going off at a weird angle. Odd. Didn't think it possible to screw up a toe of a sock.

And the fireside sock that I started the day I went to divorce court, well I managed to get the whole cuff done waiting for my turn -- judge was running behind and apparently I knit very quickly when anxious, then I got another seven rows done in the waiting room at my doctor's office later on that day. (Let me tell you... there's no better way to spend a "vacation day" from work than going to court to finalize your divorce and then heading over to the dr. for a flu shot. Ugghh.) Anyways. Since that day I've done precisely one row on the sock since. I'm not sure I like the yarn for this pattern. It's Claudia Handpainted in Buckeye which I figured would be lovely, but it's turning out with great pools of grey on one side of the sock and the red a wee splotch on the other side.

Maybe tonight being Friday, which of course used to be my weekly knit night in front of the TV, might get me back in the swing of things. I will have a house full of teenagers for G's birthday party tonight and goodness knows I probably won't be able to sleep for all the racket that will probably ensue. Plus, it started snowing last night which means the cold weather is setting in. Perfect time to finish new socks and a sweater, don't you think?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Amazing Autumn Coffee Swap Assignment #3

This morning I sit here sipping a fresh cup with a bit of cream and some sweetener.. and the first sip makes the morning seem just a bit better than it was before. I love the smell, the warm feel of the cup in my hand, the taste - just everything! What is it that you love about your first cup of the day? Are you a daily drinker? How do you take yours? Tell us how you love to enjoy your first cup!

Oh how I love my morning coffee. Mmmm. It's definately the best cup of the day. I usually take mine with milk and a sprinkle of caramel or chocolate in it for sweetness. A previous coffee swap partner had given me a wonderful container of "flavours" that you can use to either flavour your regular coffee when you brew it or just sprinkle some in your cup. It was a perfect way for me to cut way back on my sugar intake in my coffee.

I usually stagger upstairs in the morning to the kitchen and fix my cup of coffee then it's outside with the dogs. They seem to know that as soon as mom has a cup in her hands, it's time to head to the back door! Lucky and Guinness play in the yard while I keep my fingers warm by wrapping them around a steamy mug of coffee. Once I'm done my cup, then it's time to bring the dogs in, give them breakfast and start getting ready for my day. I love those first few minutes of peace and calm outside before the chaos begins!

I definately miss it if I don't have that first cup of the day!