Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Jungle Fever Baby Blanket is Finished!!!!

This little story blanket is to be a gift for a friend who is expecting. "There once was a little monkey who lived deep in the rainforest jungle---". The possibilities are endless---.

Placing the creatures on the blanket was the most difficult part of this project. My BFF Mary, helped me with the creation of this story---. She was in charge of the "gnarling " of the tree trunk - no easy task! We both twisted and pinned the yarns in place until we had created the tree of my visions. I wanted this tree to look like the huge tree in the wilderness reserve at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. From there - the rest of the story blanket took shape.

We had pins everywhere! and we moved each little creature several times before we declared it to be perfect! The tree was the most complicated - but the most fun! We added a sneaky snake coiled around one of the branches and a bird nest at the top of the tree.

The snake was made with my Embellish Knit I-Cord maker. This has to be the greatest knitting invention ever! I also used it to make the tree and branches. I love how the yarn just naturally make an eye for the sneaky snake. It looks like he only has one eye - but I am just pretending that his head is turned so that you only see one side of his face.

Don't you just love the little lily pads? The frog and alligator are adorable and seem to have a personality of their own!

These baby blocks that spell out the little name are made from yarn that came from my Mother's stash. After she passed away, I inherited about two bushel baskets of the old fashioned acrylic yarn - not really a favorite for knitting - but is just perfect for making these blocks. This is a wonderful way to use this stash of yarn. The little monkey is really a child's finger puppet - it is lightly tacked in place so that it can be removed later for playtime.

The birds are little plastic buttons. Note the bird nest at the top of the tree---

The vision that started it all---

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Summer Cobbler

Nothing says summer like a fresh berry cobbler. This is our favorite and easy recipe using mixed berries. I used a combination of blackberries, cranberries, raspberries, blueberries, and peaches for this cobbler. Sometimes I just use one kind of fruit like blackberries or peaches.

Line the bottom of your pan with fruit that has been mixed with sugar - to taste. For the batter - mix together 1 stick of margarine, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 cup milk, 1tsp vanilla. Pour batter over fruit.

In a glass cup - combine 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water - microwave until dissolved. Pour this sugar water over the batter in narrow rows back and forth.

Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

*****Note - I always double the batter mixture because I usually use a large pan for my cobbler. If you are using a 9 inch pan - the single batch of batter will be fine. I do not ever double the sugar water mixture - the single batch is fine even for a large cobbler.

Enjoy with your favorite ice cream. If we don't have homemade ice cream - we like to use the soft serve at McDonalds for our cobblers. Yummm.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

White Chili with Chicken

Everybody has their own recipe for white chili. The gardener says that he has never tasted one that he really likes - except this one. We had this last night with some crusty bread and it was wonderful---

2 cups chicken breast - I use a rotaisserie chicken and break it apart
1 medium onion - diced
2 cans chicken broth
2 cans cream of chicken soup - I use the lowfat kind
1 can Great Northern Beans
2 cans Butter Beans - take a fork and mash one can before adding it to the soup
1 1/2 tsp white pepper
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
3 T olive oil
2 4oz cans of mild green chilies
2T hot sauce - I use 3 packages of Taco Bell mild sauce (from the restaurant) -( this is what makes this soup so good!) and about 2-3 drops of a good hot sauce.
2 T fresh cilantro - (from my herb garden)

Saute the chicken breast and diced onion in the olive oil and add the garlic powder and white pepper. Add remaining ingredients and simmer about 20 minutes.

Serve with crusty bread and top with grated mozzerella cheese.