Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mystery Stitching

Last week, on a whim, I decided to start stitching Laura Perin's Mini Mystery Project on her blog, Two-Handed Stitcher.  I used Caron Watercolors Yellow Fever for the lattice and DMC perle cotton, color 988 for the border.  I had fun stitching it and I can't wait for the next installment this coming Monday.

What are you stitching this week?

Sweet P

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ribs and Arrows

Last night I made Country Style Ribs for dinner.  The recipe was easy to make.  The sauce didn't sauce enough for us so we used additional BBQ sauce for dipping.  Even Mr. E liked the ribs.  The next time I make them I will make a larger batch of the sauce or another version of a BBQ sauce.  The meat was fall off the bone tender.  The leftovers today were as good as last night.

I have been creating as well as cooking.  I stitched this Dyed Arrows piece using the floss I Kool-Aid dyed a couple weeks ago.  I added a couple more colors to it as well.  I tried to dye with lemonade Kool-Aid, but the floss wouldn't absorb the color.  I made up for it with a couple drops of yellow food coloring  I tried for two days to dye with Berry Blue and Grape Kool-Aid.  All I ended up was a dull and muddy looking mauve on both skeins.  Once I soaked the skeins in cold water they both turned a nice shade of pink.  Going right to left across the bottom row I have: orange, cherry, lemon lime, lemonade, berry blue (now pink), black cherry and an off-white (an undyed skein pulled from my stash).  The piece is finished to 4" x 4".  I'm not sure how I will use this piece.  I have a couple of ideas, but for now it will sit with a couple of other small stitched pieces I have completed.

I have a small kit of bright dye colors I plan on trying in the next couple weeks.  I hope they turn out.  I'll keep you posted.

We are enjoying an unusual warm streak here.  On Sunday it was 80, yesterday it was warm, today was another 80 degree day and it will stay that way through Thursday.  Then our temps will get back to normal.  It seems odd being able to wear shorts and t-shirts in March.  I hope we don't get any more snow this season.  As much as I like snow, I'm set for now.

Sweet P

Monday, March 19, 2012

The First Chicken Dish, Burgers and Ribs

Last week I made my first chicken dish from my freezer buy.  I tried this 3 Ingredient Onion Soup Chicken.  The chicken was OK, not stellar, but OK.  I served it instant mashed potatoes and green beans.  Mr. E, his mommy and I had it for dinner, then I was able to have it for two work meals.

Yesterday was a stunning day here in New Hampshire.  When I got home at 3:30 it was 80 degrees! Hotel Man grilled bacon cheeseburgers for a late lunch. It was so warm we took Mr. E, mommy and daddy to the park.  Mr. E loved playing on the slide.  Then it was off for ice cream at Friendly's. It felt like summer, not a day in March.

The warm weather is going to continue this week.  I think this past winter will be known as the winter that wasn't.

Tonight I am making country style ribs for dinner.  I'll be back with a review on them later this week.

Sweet P

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy Birthday Dema!

Today is my Irish grandmother's birthday. If she were still alive she would be 109. One of my nieces couldn't say grandma when she was learning to talk and started calling her Dema. Soon everyone was calling her Dema and the name stuck.

Dema was born on March 17 in Tomah, WI to Wilson and Isola Hilliker. Her father was a laborer. I don't know what her mother did. She married her first husband, Paul Bishop, on August 24, 1926. Paul was an embalmer and Dema was a foreman in a toy factory. According to the five paragraph newspaper article about the wedding Dema was a member of the Ladysmith Ladies Legion Auxiliary Drill Team. She was on her way to a Drill team competition on her honeymoon. I love the last 2 sentences of the article. The paragraph lists all the names of the women of the Drill Team who were also on their way to the competition. The sentences read, "The ladies in this party were leaving this afternoon and several stragglers this afternoon for La Crosse (WI) where they were anticipating a wonderfully good time. All traveled in autos." I suppose in 1926 it was worth noting whether someone traveled by auto or by horse!

At some point Dema and Paul moved to Minneapolis where Paul started a towing business. He used to work at the car races during the Minnesota State Fair. My mom has memories of riding in the tow trucks when she was a young girl. Dema also used to spend time with Dillenger and members of his crime gang, but she never broke the law. She also rode a Harley motorcycle although we don't have any pictures of those adventures. I know she also worked at Dayton's, a retail store in downtown Minneapolis. By the time I was born she had retired.

My grandfather died before I was born and Dema lived with us until I was 5 when she married the widower across the street. I got to be the flower girl in their wedding. Grandpa Harry died 16 years later and Dema lived another 14 years.

Dema was the one who taught me to sew, crochet, do bead work, needlepoint and cook. I have many memories of going over to house to make something. I used to stay at her house on Friday nights and got to eat a bowl of cereal before I went to bed. She used to put paper towels over the skinny vertical window of the living room door so I wouldn't get scared when I slept on the sofa bed.

When DS #2 told me they were having their first child I knew I wanted to called Dema to honor my own Dema.  I was so happy when Mr. E called me Dema for the first time.  Last week Mr. E and I had lunch with Grampa at his office.  I was able to get a couple of great photos of Mr. E with each of us.  It's hard to believe he is going to be three in a few weeks.

Happy Birthday Dema!  I hope you are approving of my Dema skills with Mr. E.

Sweet P, aka Dema

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Meals One and Two

Here I am at the beginning at my Meat Buy Adventure.  First, I apologize for not having photos of these first two meals.  My muse didn't speak up quickly enough for me to take photos of the first two delightful meals.

Our first meal was Italian Meatloaf made from fresh ground sirloin.  Yes, I said fresh ground sirloin.  When I picked my order at the butchers, he cut up the Top Sirloin while I was standing there into five top sirloin steaks and the remaining pieces were fresh ground.  If you've never had fresh ground beef, you must give it a try.  (A side note: all of the meat from Janetos is fresh.  There is no pink slime in any of it).

Anyway, this meatloaf is awesome.  You must follow Cinnamon Girl's directions about cooking the meatloaf on a large roasting pan instead of loaf pan.  Lucky for me I was able to have one lunch yesterday and one more lunch today.

On Friday night Hotel Man and I had a stay at home date night.  I marinated one of the Top Sirloin steaks in Bourbon Brown Sugar Freezer Marinade and cooked it for our meal. I put the steak and marinade into a oven-proof pan and cooked it on high heat for five minutes on one side and two minutes on the other side.  Then I put it in a 450 degree oven for five minutes.   It was awesome.  I served it with Trader Joe's Harvest Grains Blend and green beans.  There was enough leftover for one lunch.

Meals to date:
  • One main meal from ground sirloin, plus two lunch meals
  • One main meal from Top Sirloin, plus one lunch meals
  • Running total: two main meals, three lunch meals
This coming week I may be cooking two meals.  One for Mr. E, mommy and daddy and me.  One for Hotel Man and I on Friday night.

Sweet P

Filling Our Freezer

In the process of remodeling our basement we bought a side-by-side fridge and freezer.  I've been waiting impatiently to fill it up.  This past week I was finally able to do that task.  My local butcher, Janetos Market, had a Truckload Meat Sale.  I was at the shop at 9 am, plunked down my $243 and came home with pounds and pounds of beef, pork and chicken.  Late afternoon and early evening found me sorting and repackaging the meat.  At the end of the process my freezer now looks like this:

My data muse insisted I figure out how much I paid per pound of meat, how many potential meals there are and how much each of the meals cost before adding any other ingredients.  She even suggested I start a series of posts tracking the meals we get from this freezer full of meat.

So, without further ado, here are the statistics:
  • I paid $243.45 for 90.91 pounds of beef, chicken breasts and pork
  • That equates to an average of $2.68 per pound
  • I was able to make packages for approximately 52 meals
  • That equates to $4.68 per meal

Meat packages include:
  • Stew Meat - 3 packages
  • Blade Steaks - 6 packages
  • London Broil - 6 packages
  • Top Sirloins - 5 packages
  • Ground Sirloin - 2 packages
  • Ground Round - 8 packages
  • Chicken Breasts - 10 packages
  • Pork Chops - 6 packages
  • Pork Ribs - 4 packages
  • Pork Loin Roasts - 2 packages

Some caveats to the process:
  • These packages are set up for two people and possible leftovers.  The leftovers generally become lunches for work.
  • Hotel Man travels a lot for work.  When he is gone I generally don't cook big meals for myself.  Therefore, there will be weeks when I may not even open the freezer to take a meal out.
I have set up a page for tracking the posts for each meal.  You can find the page here.

Will you join me over the next several months as I use up The Meat Buy?

Sweet P

Monday, March 05, 2012

Blaming It On The iPad

I blame my lack of posting on the iPad. Since I got one over a year ago I have fallen seriously short on blog posts. It's not easy to post from the iPad. Typing anything more than a sentence or two is trying on the small keyboard. Uploading photos is next to impossible.

I feel bad not posting. I miss the dialogue that's created from comments. I keep promising myself to spend more time on my laptop so I can blog more. Maybe it will happen, maybe it won't. Time will tell.

Anyway, here are a few projects I've been up to lately.

On Valentine's Day my Muse told me I needed to crochet some hearts. A quick searched through the Ravelry patterns produced this heart doily from Coats and Clark. I used Sunflower Yarns fingering weight yarn in a pretty coral. The pattern took about an hour to make and I love the results.
One Friday I got an unexpected day off as my DIL's dad was rushed to the ER and Mr. E spent the day with me. I decided a surprise day off meant working on a simple little pattern. I had ordered a few patterns from Know Sew Cute, one of which was a set of small felted nesting bowls. I dug through my stash of Cascade wool yarn and stitched these four bowls. I tried, unsuccessfully, to felt the bowls. I have since learned my washing machine doesn't agitate enough to felt. I decided to stitch a couple of other felting projects then throw the whole lot into the machine at my son's apartment complex.
My muse moved from hearts and nesting bowls to kool-aid dyeing yarn. I bought two skeins of white Cascade wool yarn from my LYS and several packages of kool-aid and went to work. I followed the directions from Lion Brand Yarn for dyeing the yarn. The process was easy and I enjoyed doing it.

This is my Pink Lemonade yarn. The process took one package of pink lemonade.
The grape yarn required four packages of kool-aid and three times through the dyeing process. The first two times I used one package. When the color wasn't saturated enough for me, I used two packages the third time and result is what I was looking for on the yarn.
My muse wasn't done yet. Next up was dyeing DMC cotton floss following instructions from Pioneer Primitives. Each of these colors used one package of kool-aid. From left to right I have Lemon Lime, Strawberry, Black Cherry and Orange. I want to dye purple, yellow and perhaps, blue, if I can find blue raspberry kool-aid.
What have you been up to lately?

Sweet P