17 July 2011

Knits for Babies!

I've been meaning to post, and I've been busy, so it hasn't happened. I run the newsletter AND website AND Facebook page for the CSA to which I belong, which means a LOT of posting and writing weekly. Work is having me move to support a different customer, which means wrapping up things I have done for the current/past customer, waaaay more commuting to Long Island ('scuse me, "Lon GAISland") than I planned, and an ongoing disagreement about whether I would be moving to LI or just occasionally roost in a hotel there.

Meanwhile, I have gotten some knitting and crocheting done. The plans to keep knitting for me, or finish FOs, have gone kinda sideways because I suddenly needed to make a bunch of baby things. I did knit a shawl for myself while on the family trip out west (oh, yeah, I should blog about that, shouldn't I? GREAT photos) out of Bernat's Handicrafter Cotton in a "Summer of Love" shade that isn't on their website. It has white, orange, and purple in it, and I just made a simple shawl until the yarn ran out. Love it! I'll get a picture one of these days.

Most of what I have done is for babies. There seems to be a rash of them and I'm having fun with various patterns. First done was this one, for a young man named Nathan Josiah:
I used the pattern for Evelyn's No-Sew Blankie but in Joann's Sensations Rainbow Classic yarn instead of handspun. Because big sister Judith was getting a baby boy doll at the same time, I used some of the remaining yarn to make a similar appropriately-sized blankie for her doll:
Then I went back to finishing a crocheted blanket my mother asked me to make for a friend of hers who was going to be a grandmother again. I'd made blankets when her twin grandsons were born, and the boys LOVE the blankets. After hearing all the stories, I have no problem with making a blanket for the new baby. I had to put it aside when I found out that Nathan was due at the end of June, not the end of July as I'd mis-remembered. This blanket used two baby-coloured yarns (they aren't sure of the gender) and part of the Circles to Squares Afghan pattern:While on a trip back to Dallas to see friends, and a friend's play (which was TERRIFIC!), I whipped up a quick Father's Day gift for a friend of mine who was surprised to learn that he is committing parenthood again. I'd been wishing that someone would have a girl baby because I found two really cute patterns, one for booties made of a sparkly yarn to look like ruby slippers, and the other for a hat. Since Kari will be born in Kansas, ruby slippers seem the perfect gift!And here's the current project, using the vendor's pattern and the correct yarn, and it's coming along. Not as quickly as I would like, as I haven't as much knitting time as I would like, but it's growing steadily. My grandmother (who is one of the people who taught me to knit and now is having issues with fine needlework) asked if I would help make something special for the coming grandbaby of some dear friends of hers back in Hawai'i. I think this will do, don't you?
I have been baking my own bread, from starter that I've gently nursed. Today's loaf contains a splash of (real, of course) maple syrup as the sugar part of the recipe and while it doesn't add a noticeable taste, my starter seems to love it. The warm kitchen probably helped. I have a few veggies from the last CSA delivery that I was able to collect (my share partners get to divide mine into theirs on the weeks I am on LI) and roasted the root ones while the bread was in the oven, to avoid heating the kitchen any more than necessary.

Dessert tonight is vanilla gelato with fresh blueberries, and fresh cherries that I picked up at a local Farmer's Market last Sunday and left in the 'fridge while I was gone. I shop there because my CSA doesn't deliver fruit, and I love the peaches, cherries, and so on. Last weekend they had four types of cherries on sale - I bought three of them! Along with pickling cucumbers, tomatoes, apricots, and some yummy Italian ice that was perfect to savor while listening to the band that performed. Every week there's some new performer, and the Italian ice stand brings different flavours. See you there?

Ending Pantry for the SNAP Challenge

My week was over last weekend, but I've been busy and didn't have time to post. Here is what I was left with in the pantry:
If I were a bigger person, or bigger eater (which might make me a bigger person!), there would probably be less left. I meant to put the nine cents I had left at the end of the week in the pantry photo, but forgot. I'll post the chart of what I spent as soon as I remember to convert it to a JPEG. I was VERY lucky with sales last week, this week I could not have gotten most of the items at the price I paid, although I found a loaf of bread for 93 cents. It was "10/$10", according to a sticker on the loaf, but it was on the old-baked-goods rack at one grocery.

The pink item in front is my last egg, one of the hard-boiled ones. You can't see, the peanut butter jar is about half empty. I put the macaroni into a measuring cup so that you can see how much is left, because it didn't show in the box. I was surprised that I didn't eat all the greens, but not completely surprised I didn't eat the chickpeas. I love them, but mostly in soups (and I had a bean soup already that week) or curried, and I had no way to make a curry. Too many ingredients were not in my SNAP pantry.

In addition to my starting pantry, I was able to buy some cabbage for a St. Patrick's Day meal, and also two oranges that I found on the hurt produce rack. Such a treat! I really, really wanted some fruit by midweek. I carefully parceled those out, one each on two different days.

Here is what I made for St. Patrick's Day:
Stuffed cabbage. I chopped potatoes and the other half of my onion, and all the cabbage I wasn't using to roll, sauteed them in a bit of oil, then added half a box of kale. I also shredded in a bunch of cheddar cheese. Then I blanched the big outer leaves to soften them, and put a bit of filling on each, and rolled them. I ended up with five rolls. I pureed a can of tomatoes and that's the sauce. Not exactly traditional Irish, but with the cabbage and potatoes and lots of green, it would do.

When I went to get the cabbage (on sale, of course), none of the heads were small enough to fit into my remaining budget. Then I noticed that the bin had a lot of loose leaves. So I grabbed as much of those as I thought I would need, and weighed them. A bit under a pound. This gave me enough leftover money to buy the oranges.
The other half of the kale, and some un-chopped tomatoes, helped to make a red-green-white dish for St. Joseph's Day later that week:

Pasta, and a bit of white cheddar shredded on top.

Some of the other things I ate included the mac-n-cheese I mentioned in an earlier post, made with milk and cheese and macaroni and not much else, because that's what was in the pantry:

I forgot to take a picture before I ate some. I like it when there are crusty edges, and because this was on the thin side there was a lot of crust, not too much soft middle.

On the weekend, I treated myself to french toast. The end of the bread was getting dry, and it's a good thing to do with dry bread. I still had some of the milk, and a couple of fresh eggs, which made the dipping batter. I added a bit of cinnamon because I didn't have sugar or anything sweetening, and of course no jam or honey for on top or in the batter:

It was pretty good. I mixed the remaining milk-egg mixture with the last bits of milk and some water and a handful of rice, and turned it into rice pudding. It would have been nicer with raisins (IMHO!) but was OK.

If I were going ahead with a second week, I wouldn't need to buy a few things, which helps. But with the basic item's I'd bought now at a higher price, the pantry might have remained as scanty as it was the first week. And Congress is talking about reducing SNAP even further........