Granola chica

I don’t love all kinds of granola, but this one is my total fave.   This is Pumpkin Spice Granola made from a recipe I came across on Everybody Likes Sandwiches.   It’s just a little bit sweet, has kicky spices and is not dry and icky.  And how cute is this batch housed in my new Daiso orange topped jar?  100 yen baby ($1.50)!

Ok, back to the recipe.  This recipe is adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods which I don’t own but will look for,  based on the yummy granola.  I make half the recipe on the Everybody Likes Sandwiches site because I only have one jelly roll size pan and half fits perfectly.  I use rough chopped almonds (not walnuts), skip the sesame seeds and use dried cranberries.  I don’t know what pumpkin pie spice is but I use 1/2 t cinnamon, 1/8 t cloves and 1/4 t each of nutmeg, ginger and cardamon.  I bake it for about 40 to 45 minutes stirring it around every 15 minutes until the almonds are good and toasted.  So good.

Back to my knitting now that I’m fortified with granola.

Stripes on the brain

I think I’m stripe obsessed.  I’m knitting the Paulie cardigan – it’s striped.  I’m dreaming of making a striped Renfrew top but I washed the striped material with some magenta fabric and now it’s got a few blotches (jetlag and laundry don’t mix).  It’s waiting for a hot wash to see what happens.

And then I see this pattern!  Stop already.

How can I possibly resist such striped loveliness?

Today is a dreary, foggy, cloudy day – perfect for crafting and studying.  (That’s for my work thing next week – must pass or no FAA certification…)  Luckily I can study and knit simultaneously.  I plan to sew a bit on the brightest magenta Renfrew top to blow those clouds outside away.  Spring is here, I saw trees flowering in San Francisco on Monday.  No pics as I was driving.  Happy to see the blossoms though.

If you’re more interested in crafty pursuits than making dinner, I can point this Sweet Potato Chili recipe out to you.  Easy and delicious, no one will know it’s so freaking easy to throw together.

Happy February!

Gruel no more

I’ve returned home from that last week and a half of work tired and with a cold.  But it’s OVER!  Back to a normal schedule please.

Despite me thinking that yesterday the holidays were over, every flight out west was jammed to the gills.  I managed to get the very last seat on a flight to LAX which is not SFO but close enough (out of almost 300 seats on the plane – that’s a coup!) and spent a good part of the flight watching Dr. Oz on the TV.  I don’t usually watch daytime TV, but the offerings are pretty darn awful and Dr. Oz was the pick o’ the litter imho.  Unfortunately every time I watch his show I learn too many things and freak out about my lack of fiber/too much salt/lip balm addiction.  Yesterday was about healthy foods.  What could be so bad?  Today I’m waiting for Whole Foods to open to see if they have ground chia seeds.  That’s what can happen!

Yes, chia seeds are the wonder food and I will now hunt them down.  They made muffins with them on the show so I’ll let you know how they turn out.  This morning, in an effort to get back to healthy food eating habits (unlike working in airports where there is no healthy food) I made oatmeal.  I hate oatmeal.  It tastes fine, it’s just wall paper paste and won’t easily go down the old gullet.  But needs must so I found an oatmeal recipe (yes I needed a recipe) and made steel cut oats for the first time.  Voila!  We have a winner.  I added cinnamon, apples and a bit of maple syrup and ate it up.  Tomorrow might be bananas and pecans.  We shall see.  The world of steel cut oats has just opened for me.

Crafty-wise I’ve got nothing.  Maybe some new flannel pj bottoms for you tomorrow?  A bit of knitting?  I’ll see what that good breakfast can do for me.

Curry addict

I’ve been on a curry and lentil kick this week.  The snap above is my lunch, Curried Squash and Red Lentil soup and it’s delish.  I love soup on a football watching Sunday!  (FYI I made the recipe pretty much as written using Penzey’s Maharaja Curry, adding a veg bouillon cube and less water – just so it fit into my soup pot.  Skip the cilantro oil and just add a handful of chopped cilantro to the soup.)

My other curry this week has been from Jorth’s wonderful, entertaining blog – that is super yum too. Good thing I’m not craving something bad for me!

My Gray Cardigan is almost done so I should have something to show for all my sitting around and football watching.  So far so cute, buttonbands and seaming to go.  The Raspberry coat is sitting untouched (but not unloved) – you guessed it.  It’s still not cold, 66F (19C) today and not cooling down.  What this is, is CARDIGAN weather.  Not COAT weather.  Maybe that’s my hurdle – too much nice weather saps my motivation.  I’ll get there, winter will come here sometime.

Tropical storm ho

Everywhere I went last week, I seemed to be following around a tropical storm like a besotted rock groupie.  OMG!  Why do people live in tropical storm places?  Gray rain, flooded and hot.  How can that be?!  My hair is still mad at me.

Oh well, enough about me, here’s more about me.

Here we have my active WIPs. We will not discuss the semi-active projects hanging out with me.

Upper left is the rolled up pattern (sans seam allowances and planned design changes) waiting for next week when I’ve got a big ol’ chunk of time off to work on my Burda Raspberry coat.  I think of you constantly my love!

Upper right is the almost completed Red Scarf for this year’s scarf drive for Foster Care to Success (FCS).

Lower left is the much neglected, but much-loved Different Lines Scarf for MEEEE!  I actually carry this project around in my suitcase but never work on it because I’m always exhausted at work.  I’m trying to work on it on my off days because it’s gorgeous.  The first Stripe Study I made was given to its intended recipient and it’s much-loved and worn.  Because I get jealous since I don’t have one, I’m making the next one for me.  Hah!

Lower right is my dinner and it’s freaking delish.  When I travel (well, when anyone travels) the food choices are awful and usually fried.  When I get home I CRAVE vegetables!  This was my dinner, Weeknight Curry from Super Natural Every Day - it’s a Thai red curry with veg!  Yumm!  I used zucchini, summer squash, baby yukon gold potatoes, Japanese eggplant and Chinese broccoli in this one.  With chicken, of course.  I drank the broth.  Shexy…

Vacation detours

I am on vacation.  I will not be going anywhere.  At all.  Seriously, when you’re gone all the time, home is good.  I may even buy new sheets to celebrate.

When I got back to SFO the other day I thought I’d drive home via Berkeley and a seriously great fabric store there, Stonemountain and Daughter.  I’ve been hankering to make a coat.  I love coats and own several (more than several, but I shall have a clear out soon).  I usually just wear one or two, plus my uniform coat and those coats are all black.  I want to make a coat that’s not black, something a bit more fun.  But not too hard since I’ve never made a coat and I want to be successful.

Stonemountain has an upstairs section where all the fabrics are half price.  They usually have some fab wools and silks up there so I thought it would be worth a look.  I found several pretty coating fabrics – gray, black, brown – but knew that this raspberry Italian textured wool coating would do for my frivilous, non-black coat.  Raspberry!  AND it was $13/yard.

Now to figure out how to make a coat and find a pattern.  I’ll look in my reference books and online, but if anyone has coat making recommendations now is the time to share them.  I also need to find a pattern and that turns out to be the hardest part of all.  The big pattern companies have about 2 coat patterns each in their Fall offerings and one is so 80s it’s almost fashionable again.  Luckily I’ve got years of Burda magazines to look through.  I’m sure I’ll find a few to choose from there.

Also, now would not be the time to point out that it’ll be in the 80s all week where I live, so coat needs are not immediate.

Foodwise, I got a baking stone at Kohl’s sale the other day.  It’s a rectangular “cookie sheet” but I’d never make cookies on the thing.  Pizza and bread yes.  The first thing I made was Smitten Kitchen’s Shaved Asparagus Pizza and it was one of the most delicious things I’ve ever put in my mouth.  Seriously.  I used low fat mozzarella, a bit of cheddar leftover from Mac and Cheese and lots of red pepper to make it hot.  Yum.  I tried the pizza dough recipe from The Bread Bible and that was good and easy too.

While relaxing in my bed fighting off the jetlag, I was watching a Hercule Poirot (my fave of faves btw) and there is said HP rocking a mighty interesting shawl (he’s got a cold in this episode).  Gorgeous colorway, interesting use of feather and fan-like pattern.  Must note that for possible Raspberry coat coordination at a later date.  Also, be afraid.  I learned how to do screen grabs and it’s totally easy…

Must get back to relaxing now!

Yes I can

I mean the “yes,I can” as an answer to a question, rather than as an empowering call to action.

What, indeed, can I do?  Well it’s make a pair of undies.  I wondered if I could and yes I can.  I’ve seen lots of people do it on the blogs and have even come across some ladies making lovely bras.  I’ve no interest in bra making since I’ve got a super common boobage size and get them on sale.  Panties are the cheap thrills of the lingerie game, so I thought I’d start there.

Now you can buy a panty pattern but I just cut apart a pair that I liked but were ready for the trash.  I made my pattern from the cut up pair and made a “muslin” from a tshirt pulled from the Goodwill bag.  My first sample came out perfectly wearable.  I now have a use for the small scraps of knit fabric from sewing projects or a use for tshirts I don’t want to wear.

The panty construction process also had me review all the stretch stitches on my Bernina that I just wasn’t using.  They’re awesome and I used the stretch overlock for the straight seams and plain zigzag to attach the fold over elastic.  I found fold over elastic for 50 cents a yard at my fave Fabrix so I stocked up for future projects.  As you can tell, I’m pretty pleased with myself for finding a way to wear a tshirt on my ass.

I also made another recipe from my new favorite book Super Natural Every Day.  I’ve made several dishes that were all good and today’s soup was no exception.  It’s the Green Lentil Soup and I made the version with green split peas because I like them better.  Yummy!  It’s a bit spicy with a hint of coconut milk and curry.  Yay for leftovers!

This one’s hard to spell

My unbeaded version of Romi’s Celaeno is done!  It’s been pretty much done for awhile, but I just didn’t have time to finish the last of the knitting and block this.  But now that I’m back home I got on that.  I broke out the Thomas the Tank Engine blocking mat and went for it.  I even remembered to block points on this scarf (I forgot on the last scarf – Maia) and I think it’s a winner.  Romi’s patterns are just lacy enough for my taste and very wearable, plus they’re good travel projects.  This is from her 7 Small Shawls ebook, so next up is Elektra.  I guess I’ll be forced to yarn shop to find an appropriate yarn for Elektra…

What else is happening at casa de Sil?  I’m celebrating Christmas way early this year since I have to work from the 18th through the 31st with no time off for good behavior.  I’ve got to fit all my “must dos” into the next week and a half.  It can be done.  I started my “must” list with making SpindleRose’s caramels, these delicious candies are only made once a year.  This years batch came out super yummy because I finally figured out my candy thermometer is a bit slow.  This batch is chewy and rich.  Perfect!  Now I’m off to the gym to work off one or two of the pieces I had to taste test.  Had to!

Squash and such


What’s with the crazy looking pic?  It’s the Hipstamatic app meets my lunch.

After seeing Stephanie’s soupy freezer cache the other day, I knew it was time for me to use that red kuri squash that’s been sitting on my counter for two weeks.  I mean, it’s cooling down and may not even make it to 70 today.  I know!

I found several yummy recipes to try.  A nice sounding squash gratin, an easy baked squash and the winning soup

I didn’t change the recipe too much ingredient-wise.  I nuke my squash (whole – as it comes – no poking) for 6 minutes so it’s a kind of cooked and cuttable.  I let it cool, cut it open and cleaned out the seeds and scooped out the squashmeat (is that a word?).  I used chicken broth instead of vegetable broth and a granny smith apple.  BTW, my cinnamon is a totally superior kind (Penzy’s Extra Fancy Vietnamese), but don’t worry the cinnamon in the recipe doesn’t overpower the soup, it’s a nice addition.  I also added a tablespoon or two of medium dry sherry at the finish for extra depth of flavor.

What I did change was how I made the soup.  Since my squash was nuked and pretty much cooked, I just carmelized my onions, added the apple for a bit and dumped the rest of the ingredients in the pot and let it simmer about 20 minutes.  Pretty much my usual soup MO.  The stick blender did the rest and I’ve got soup for now and some in the freezer.  Bring on those mid 60 degree days!

But why is it red?

Note to my friends – if you ask me to bring a dessert to your party, you probably don’t need to ask anyone else to bring one.  Just saying.

The party host asked for cupcakes, so cupcakes I’ve got.  I wanted to make red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing to show these Californians what I get to eat when I work in the deep, deep south.  I used Paula Deen’s Grandmother Paula’s Red Velvet Cake recipe for the cake and the cream cheese frosting from here.  The only change I made was to use only ONE bottle of red food coloring in the cake.  It’s really red, so two must be crazy!  I must admit, this is one darn tasty red velvet cake.  In fact it’s much nicer than most of the red velvet cakes I’ve had in the south, but I don’t think I ever had room for dessert when I’ve eaten at Ms. Deen’s restaurant.  Too full.

And because dessert is my favorite meal, I also made a triple choco mousse cake, just in case I couldn’t find any food items to suit my palate at the party.  As if!  Flourless chocolate cake is the base and chocolate mousse and white chocolate mousse layered on top.  It’s so rich I need to lie down just looking at the thing!

Party on Garth!

P.s. Does anyone find the font on this new blog template too small for comfort?