Thursday, January 31, 2013

Lacy Baby Socks

It seems everyone around me is having babies.  It's very odd to me.  The babies are all very cute...especially when I have a mama to hand them off to when the screaming starts!  The best part of all these babies, though, is knitting little presents for them!  The baby socks above are for Baby Lucy.  She was born a few weeks ago and is just precious.  These socks were made with a border to match a bonnet I've started....but not yet finished. 

Here are the sock details...

Pattern: Baby Socks by Joelle Hoverson
Lace Pattern:  the bonnet lace pattern from Erika Knight's Natural Nursery Knits
Yarn: Kertzer's Down to Earth Cotton
Needles: US 3 dpns
Made for: Lucy
Time to completion: a month

The bonnet that this lace comes from is knit on straight needles.  It was hard for me to tranfer that pattern onto dpns - or knitting in the round.  As a result, the lace is not perfect.  But at least it adds a little something to these little socks.  And it will match - mostly - the bonnet, soon to come!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Stew and Cornbread

Over the weekend, I was once again inspired to make a soup to freeze for lunches and quick dinners.  I saw this recipe for Black Bean, Chicken, and Red Pepper Stew and was immediately tempted.  There was some chicken in my freezer that really needed to be eaten.... 

I had plans on Saturday to spend the day with my best friend, AL.  I emailed her for approval of the recipe and voila!  I made it for our lunch and it was delicious!  Roasted red peppers may just be my new favorite food.  This recipe calls for a whole jar of them! 

If you plan on making this stew, be sure to read over the recipe.  It details crock-pot instructions; the stove-top directions are at the bottom.  (I had to do this stove-top, which uses more broth.)

To go wtih our stew, I wanted cornbread.  But....I'm trying to be calorie-conscious leading up to our next cruise (in a week!).  So, I turned to my Weight Watchers cookbook (which I always forget I own).  Their cornbread recipe was.....a little hard and lacking in any moisture whatsoever...but each muffin was only 100 calories.  My one true love of all cornbread, Dorie Greenspan's Corniest Corn Muffins, comes in at 180 calories per muffin.  Next time, when I have no swimsuit in which to look good, I'll revert to Dorie's muffins.  But Weight Watchers is good when you have to count every one of those pesky calories!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Night Circus

In December, I read a great book: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  I really enjoyed this novel, though, ironically, I've never really liked circuses.  

This is the review I posted on Goodreads

I've had little time to read of late, but every time I picked up The Night Circus, I was transported into a fascinating world of magic. Having no idea what to expect from this book, and not really liking circuses, I was pleasantly surprised. Morgenstern is a gifted storyteller, leaving the reader guessing from one chapter to the next. I loved Celia and Marco and all of their magical creations. This is a book I'd like to read again! 

I loved Celia and Marco's story of magic, love, and fierce competition.  If you haven't read this book and are fascinated by abnormal, magical happening, I recommend it!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Thunder Snow

We had a surprise on Tuesday morning...

Early in the morning, about twenty minutes before the alarm was set to go off, I heard thunder.  Surely not, I thought.  Mr. Higgins confirmed it, though: thunder.  We heard a bit of rain and then something that was a bit too solid to be rain.  I ran to the back door: sleet!!  

By the time I'd gotten out of the shower, it was snowing in earnest.  I think we ended up with about an inch of snow/sleet.  Along with some lightning and thunder.  Ha!

None of this was in the forecast, you see.  No rain, no sleet, no thunder snow.  Local meteorologists blamed in on faulty computer models.  Heaven forbid forecasters should....forecast....without the use of computer models.  

But I loved the now.  LOVED IT!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Baked Onion Rings

I like onion rings.  Growing up, my dad ordered them constantly and I hated them - just to be annoying and angsty, I think. Onions were never my favorite thing, but they've grown on me. A lot.  

Over the past few months, I'd come across two recipes for Baked Onion Rings.  One from Skinny Taste and another from Simply Scratch.  Feeling adventurous over the weekend, I decided to try the recipe from Skinny Taste...only I forgot buttermilk at the store.  So, I turned to Simply Scratch. 

First off, these were very good.  I liked them; Mr. Higgins liked them.  My only complaint is that dredging onion rings through flour, then egg whites, then breadcrumbs is not nearly as fun as I thought it would be.  It's messy...and I hate messes.  I filled two baking sheets of rings and decided to stop - my breadcrumbs were almost gone and my egg whites looked dirty.  Not to mention my patience was wearing thin.  

Dividing the two baking sheets between the two of us, my portion is above.  I'd make them again.....except for the mess.  But I recommend them if you're craving fried food but don't want to detour from your diet.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Scrapbook Frame

About three years ago (er...or maybe more), my sister gave me a scrapbook frame from Creative Memories.  I was super excited but....  My living situation was up in the air.  So, I never opened the box.  I'm really ashamed by how long it took me to open the box.  

When Mr. Higgins and I moved, I opened the box.  Now, two years later (ack!), I finally put a page in there and Mr. Higgins hung it for me.  I love it!  I decided to change out the page every month.  And no, I'm not keeping a picture of food in there.  I really need to have some pictures printed and a nice picture of Colorado will go in there.

I like being craftily productive!!  


Friday, January 11, 2013

The Flying Carpet Review

Like a lot of people after New Years, I'm trying to stick to a diet for the month of January to lose any weight I gained during the holidays.  (That's why I was busy making healthy tomato soup last weekend.)

When a friend wanted to get together for dinner on Wednesday, I was skeptical.  Can I really afford to eat out this week?  It's my first full week back from the holidays.....  My friend is super sweet, though, and had a Groupon she wanted to use at a new Turkish restaurant in my favorite part of town.  She wanted to treat me and she knows how much I love hummus; I couldn't say no.

I tried to eat healthy.  I had a bit of the hummus on my friend's vegetarian sampler platter.  It was good and second only to my favorite hummus in town.  I ordered what looked to be a healthy entree (and the only appealing thing on the menu) - the roasted chicken with collard greensThe chicken was amazing!  I'd never tasted collard greens before but these were good, especially with the tomatoes they appeared to be stewed with.  When the waiter came by, my vegetarian friend asked him about the greens and he admitted there was some bacon in there.  Aha!  No wonder they were good!  Is anything bad with bacon as an ingredient?!

Before leaving, my friend wanted to try the Turkish coffee and baklava.  I had only a small piece of the baklava and it was good.  Yes, that's the extent of my baklava review; I'm no baklava expert!

If anything, The Flying Carpet suffers from a limited menu - and an expensive, limited dinner menu.  Even for the many vegetarians in this part of town, there are only one or two menu options.  I liked the atmosphere - a house made almost entirely of wood, tables surrounded by piles of rugs, and rugs hung on all the walls.  However, I don't think I'll return until a) they have more lunch menu options or b) they lower their prices.  Why go there when I can get much better, cheaper food - and many, many menu options - at King Tut down the street?

But, I'm proud of myself for not overeating while out at a restaurant.  And I made good diet food choices.  Success!



Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Homemade Tomato Soup

If you had seen my kitchen on Sunday, you would have laughed.  I had an explosion....of sorts. Er.....

I had the bright idea of making some soups to freeze for lunches and dinners.  I was happily boiling my tomatoes and peppers for my new favorite recipe - homemade tomato soup.  Having made this soup once before, I thought I was a pro at it.  Not so.  

When I went to blend the tomatoes/broth into creamy goodness....  The blender exploded.  The top, despite my holding it down, busted forth and tomato brothy-ness went everywhere.  EVER-Y-WHERE!  

I stopped, stunned into silence.  "What just happened?" Mr. Higgins asked from the couch.  "Uh....," I said.  "Are you okay?" he asked.  "Maybe," I said.  "Did you mean to press the button?" he asked.  "Yes," I said.  "Were you holding down the lid?" he asked.  Yes, yes, I was. 

I refused help as I cleaned up my mess.  Finally, I glanced down at my wrist, which had been hurting.  It had taken the brunt of the hot broth eruption and was an angry red.  I finally stopped cleaning and stuck it under cold water.  Already, angry red blisters were forming. 

Terrified of the evil blender, I put the rest of the tomatoes/broth in my Ninja.  Thank goodness for that nifty machine!  Once I started, I remembered using the Ninja when I made the soup previously.  Sigh!  I must really remember to write down these helpful hints!

I love this tomato soup and highly recommend it if you like Campbell's but are terrified of all the sodium and neurotoxins (MSG) it contains.  That being said, I added salt, pepper, and tons of other spices (cilantro, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes) to my soup.  It's just too delicious!  And almost, almost worth a few burns.  Ha!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Archies: 2012

It's that time of year again.   It's time for the Archies - my annual review of the past year and all the great things it offered.  This idea came from Donna and it's something I genuinely enjoy doing.  It's basically a list of my favorite things from the year.  My 2011 list was particularly fun (due to a wedding) but 2012 was a great year, as well.  Here's why....

1.  four vacations in one year (4 cruises, one trip to CO).
2.  Josephine Grace.
3.  a best friend's wedding.
4.  Project Life.
5.  Virgin Gorda - The Baths and Spring Bay.
6.  Mullet Bay, St. Maarten.
7.  Middleham Falls (and the hike to it), Dominica.
8.  Sky Pond, Rocky Mountain National Park.
9.  retreat at Memory Lane Inn.
10.  CocoCay.
11.   Studio Calico kits.
12.  picnics with Mr. Higgins.
13.  Labadoozies on Labadee.
14.  iPhone 5.
15.  first December Daily Album.
16.  a new LYS -  MadTosh.
17.  Casa Rita's.
18.  The Dovekeepers, Alice Hoffman.
19.  lunches with my old boss.
21.  new friends who knit!
22.  DFW Fiber Fest.
23.  My mother-in-law's sweet potato casserole.
24.  The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern.
25.   free airline tickets, thanks to AA.
26.  October Afternoon.
27.  Texas Caviar.
28.  the discovery of Cat's Creations in Mineral Wells, TX.
29.  Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese.
30.  Chocolate Yogurt Cake.
31.  fireworks at Epcot.
32.  knitting for babies.
33.  The Tiger's Wife, Tea Obreht.
34.  decorating our home.
35.  Blue Mesa - chips, Happy Hour, lunch wraps.  
36.  homemade Tomato Soup.
37.  view from Timothy Hill, St. Kitts.
38.  MI:4 - GHOST PROTOCOL soundtrack.
39.  board/card games with family.
40.  Michelle Dozois' "Peak" workout series.  It kills me.
41.  Cinnamon Chip Scones.
42.  Pinterest.
43.  Brimstone Hill Fortress, St. Kitts.
44.  The Civil Wars (singer-songwriter duo) - please stay together!
45.  THE HOBBIT soundtrack.
46.  homemade pesto.
47.  Chocolate Orange Cream Cheese Pound Cake.
48.  green smoothies.
49.  The Rose Garden, Susanna Kearsley.
50.  french toast bakes. 
51.  challenging myself to do longer, harder hikes.
52.  flannel sheets.
53.  bamboo yarn, t-shirts, etc.

If you're looking for a way to reflect on the past year, I highly recommend The Archies.  And if you make your own list, post a comment to let me know! 

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Happy New Year!   

2013 seems such an odd year.  It's odd to say, odd to write...just odd.  But I sincerely hope it's a wonderful year for all.

We're back from spending three days with my parents and seven days with Mr. Higgins' parents.  Our trip to Nashville was great fun.  It snowed several days but, unfortunately, with little accumulation.  We always hope for snow in TN but, this year, our home in TX saw more snow than we did during our travels.  Go figure.  

It was very sad to pack up all the Christmas decor yesterday.  I kept looking for the light from the Christmas tree...but it was no more.  The cats are particularly traumatized to have lost their favorite spot to nap - under the tree.

I'll have more craftiness to show you soon enough.  But in the meantime, Happy New Year!