A Little Spring Break

So I haven’t posted here in so long, I almost forget how.  I have been taking a little unannounced break from blogging lately.  I am in kind of a creative/knitting ‘funk’ these days, and even though I have cooked up some yummy dishes lately that are definitely post-worthy, I’ve been having a bit of a dry spell with blogging and such.  I will start posting again soon, but for now it’s nice to have a little break.

One more little thing to announce and share, there is a fun give-away happening today over on my absolute favorite knitting blog, Tanis Fiber Arts.  Tanis has an amazing blog and her very own line of quality, hand-dyed yarns in the most gorgeous colours.  Her knits and blog posts are always impressive and inspiring too.  So if you are a knitter and love to get your hands on all the beautiful yarn you can, check out her Giveaway today!

Hope you’re having a great week!

Happy Saturday and a Photo of the Week

Just wanted to pop in real quick since I’ve been MIA for the last couple of weeks.  I’ve had the most horrible chest cold/bronchitis this last week that has been a really hard one to kick.  I have been doing a little cooking, and have made several wonderful things that I would love to post so hopefully I’ll get one of them up soon.  It’s just been feeling like a lot of work to blog, and I haven’t had the energy to do much of anything.

My February WIP is coming along slowly but surely.  Yes it’s March and it’s not done yet.  But I think there’s a good chance it would have been finished by now if I wouldn’t have been totally wiped off my feet with the cold this entire last week, does that count for anything?   I feel like I’m turning in my homework late or something. 😉  I do need to finish this project asap though, so I can start my knit for March!

I’ve been making the Stockholm Scarf, pattern by Julie Crawford at Knitted Bliss. I just love this scarf, it’s an infinity scarf/big lacy cowl and it’s going to be so cushy and luscious I can’t wait to wear it.  I’m knitting it in Malabrigo Rios, which is a kettle-dyed, worsted weight, superwash merino wool and it is just gorgeous.  My color of choice is Teal Feather, and it has a touch more of a teal/green-ish tint to it in real life than how it’s shown in the picture.  I’ve really, really been loving so many shades of blues and greens lately, particularly teals, turquoise, and emerald.  So the rich color of the scarf makes this project very enjoyable, although the repetitive stitch pattern is getting tedious by now and is going very sloooowly.

Oh, and yes that is a little peak at the finished Will-built coffee table that I showed you a while ago.  The DIY coffee table, sofa console, and two side tables have been finished and in the house for quite a while now so I’ll hurry and get pictures up soon!  They turned out great and are very well put to use. =)

Broccoli Cheddar Soup and Pretzel Bread

A little while ago I had mentioned that I made some Broccoli Cheddar Soup and some Pretzel Bread, and wanted to share with you since they turned out so yummy.  The Pretzel Bread was found when I was perusing around this cute blog that I recently stumbled upon, The Apron Archives (isn’t that the cutest name?).  I made sure to pin it so I wouldn’t forget about it.  Turns out I couldn’t stop thinking about it and needed to try making some soon.  So I made it to go with a Broccoli Cheddar Soup the other weekend, and the two made for many heart-warming meals.

The bread is a great one for dipping into soups and making sandwiches with.  I think what I like most about it is that it’s a pretty quick and easy homemade bread to make.  Where most homemade breads are nearly an all day process, the process for Pretzel Bread takes only a few hours.  (Your active working time with it is only a fraction of that three hours).  It was fun to make too, as there’s a little excitement when you get to drop your dough into the pot of boiling water.  Now I want to try making pretzels soon. =)

I won’t write out the Pretzel Bread recipe, as you can find it over here and here.  I highly recommend it, especially if you like making bread but don’t like spending a lot of time on it.

::Broccoli Cheddar Soup::

1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2-3 leeks, quarter lengthwise, rinse, then chop
4 garlic cloves, minced
6-ish potatoes, preferably yukon golds, diced
2 large heads broccoli, chopped
1 qt. chicken stock
6-ish c. whole milk
1-2 T fresh parsley and thyme, chopped
grated cheddar cheese

In a hot pot over med-high heat, sauté onions until translucent, about 4-5 min. Add in leeks and garlic and saute another 4-5 min.  Add in the potatoes and broccoli, a pinch of s+p, and let cook and steam until they’re a little tender, about 7 min., stirring frequently.  Sprinkle in the flour, stir and cook for a few minutes to cook out the raw flour flavor.  Pour in chicken stock and let cook until hot, then stir in whole milk.  Let simmer until the potatoes and broccoli are tender enough to eat and the soup has thickened a little.  Ladle about a third of the soup into a blender and puree.  Pour back into pot.  If you prefer a completely creamy and smooth soup, use an immersion blender, take the pot off the heat and puree the soup until smooth.  (For this soup, my hubby and I prefer the chunks of veggies to bite into, so I puree just some of the soup to make it a little more creamy).  Sprinkle in the fresh herbs, season with salt and pepper to taste.  To serve, garnish with a big pinch of cheddar cheese and enjoy.

I love adding the cheese to the soup as it’s dished up and let it melt in the bowl, as I think the cheese flavor just sort of disappears when added into the big hot soup pot.  This is my kind of dinner (and lunch) for all the cold winter days we’re having.  Enjoy!

Photos of the Week {7} : My Valentines Surprise

I have been laying off the internet ‘play time’ this last week, i.e. facebook, pinterest, and blogging, as a little break from it every now and then is nice. The week was taken up with my husband being sick with a cold, and me being busy making desserts at the restaurant for Valentines Day.  After I got all of the desserts done at work I caught his cold, so we both have been laying low.

I did some nice desserts at the restaurant, which I am so wishing I would have brought my camera in to get some pictures of.  I made a lot of the usuals, Tiramisu, Cannoli, and the (almost flourless, gluten-free) Chocolate Hazelnut Torte.  And for all the sweethearts being treated to a special dining experience, I made some Goats Cheese-Buttermilk Panna Cotta (I loved them, they turned out so nice) that went with a Red Wine Apricot – Black Mission Fig Compote and a Citrus Lace Tuille.  The other special was a chocolate lover’s tart: Chocolate Soufflé Tart in a Chocolate Almond Shortbread Crust with a Godiva Sabayon and Raspberries.  They were also garnished with some pretty little edible flowers.

I would love to get some of these desserts on my blog, but I never bring in my camera to work and I just can’t talk about them and post a recipe without some pictures!  =)  I’ll share some of them on here soon.

Anyway, despite my hubby being sick this last week, he still took me out for a lovely dinner, surprised me with a vase of pretty flowers, and… a very nice and unexpected surprise…

First I must tell you that last Fall we did a road trip down to Yellowstone N.P., Grand Teton N.P., and Jackson Hole, WY.  In Jackson I made a point to stop in to a very fine chocolate shop called Coco Love.  (There’s a blog post here on the shop if you’d like to see more pictures).

In this sleek little modern shop are some fine pastries, coffee, gelato, and fine chocolate truffles of world renowned Pastry Chef and Chocolate Master, Oscar Ortega.

I didn’t leave there without indulging in some amazing chocolates, my favorite was the Goats Milk Caramel Truffle- amazing!

Anyway, this last week my husband surprised me with some special Atelier Ortega chocolates for Valentines…

And a surprise it was!  We have been enjoying the divine flavors and amazing velvety textures of these fine chocolates over the week.

They’re so pretty, they make for a great photo subject too.

Well, there’s three left which I must go take care of right now.  =)

Great job to my husband, and many hugs and kisses!

 

Photos of the Week {6}

Jackson and Ava, our furry buddies who are brother and sister but think that they are boyfriend and girlfriend, once again had a wonderful weekend full of running and playing their hearts out.  We are doggy sitting Ava again, so the two have ran and played like you wouldn’t believe.  Day one included them playing and wrestling in the back yard for at least eight hours, non-stop.  Today they finally tired out and I managed to get these sweet pics of them, very carefully, as although it looks like there was a sweet cuddly nap here for a while, it only lasted about two minutes.  I had to use some creativity here to get the camera in time and get a shot of them looking so sweet and innocent right before they looked at me and moved.  They are little busy bodies, but so cute and sweet.

I *will* start to get more interesting and exciting pictures to share for my photog project!! =)

Pretty Off Piste

My creamy cabled Off Piste hat is done.  It is very soft, comfy, and cute, what more could you want in a hat?  Aimee, owner of Knit N’ Needle Yarn Shoppe, really did an awesome job designing this.  The pattern is super fun and pretty easy.  I made this with Malabrigo Twist in Natural and just love that yarn.

So I had to settle for the self portrait thing for now.  I might add on a better picture later, but couldn’t wait to share…

Lately I have really developed a love for cream + cables.  I love them together, so soft and winter-y and the natural color makes the cables really stand out.

My thing for white/cream combined with cables started earlier this winter when I was watching the movie The Holiday.  There is a beautiful cabled cardigan (cashmere of course) that Cameron Diaz wears when she’s in the little (oh so perfect) English cottage and meets Jude Law’s character.  I instantly fell in love with it and googled it for a pattern to make one just like it.  I was surprised and so happy to find the Fireside Sweater that mimics Cameron’s cardigan.  There’s a beautiful Fireside Sweater on Posh Knits.  Mine will look just like that.  =)  Isn’t it the perfect winter cardigan?  Maybe I’ll be super ambitious and tackle that for my March project.  Heck, I better start on that now if I want to finish by the end of March.

Even though I finished this in February, I’m still calling it my January knit for my Knit 12 in 2012 project, along with the cowls.  I have three weeks for a February project, and I’m still stuck on hats!  I almost want to make another Off Piste but somehow make it a little chunkier.  So I have a fetish for hats.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure I’ve made up my mind on what to make this month, I’ll be back soon to show you the work in progress. =)

::Ravelry:: project page here.

Whiskey Barbecue Sliders

There have been quite a few recipes I’ve seen on some good blogs and websites lately that just got stuck in my head and wouldn’t go away.  So I gave in and cooked them up to enjoy over the weekend and for the Superbowl.  I ended up making a pot of Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Pretzel Bread, some cookies (of course), and these Whiskey BBQ Sliders.  I want to post the soup and Pretzel Bread later but for now, it’s all about the whiskey and the barbecue.

I first came across the Sliders over at Taco Tuesday and they totally caught my eye and made my mouth water, so I checked ’em out over at Pioneer Woman too.  With the jalapeños, whiskey, and a whole lot of barbecue sauce I was sure that my hubby would be excited for this dinner.  Ended up that he was, so much that he got in the kitchen to cook with me. =)

He loved how the entire house smelled while they were cooking too, “The house smells awesome right now, if there was a cologne that smelled just like this, I’d want it… I want to grab all my clothes and hang them up out here so they’ll smell as good as the house does right now.”  So funny, I’m not sure he loves that I blog about his comments, but I get a kick out of them.

We made them more like small-ish burgers, but I like to call ’em sliders anyway, it just sounds more exciting.  I love that they’re so saucy, and the sautéed onions add flavor and more texture in the sauce, the jalepenos and whiskey add a little kick.  Next time though I’ll use the ‘hot’ jalepenos rather than the ‘tame’ ones, maybe just chop them up to add into the sauce.  Sweet potato fries dipped in blue cheese dressing go great with these too.

I think this will be a sort of regular dinner around here.  Its fun to have a new way to cook up some of the beef in the freezer, and one that’s really quick and easy too.  I know you want the recipe now, it’s right here and here.  Oh and don’t forget, you’ll need heaps of napkins for this.  =)