Monday, June 30, 2014

The Summer July 4th Recipe.

          Happy U.S. Independence Day!

I am not a cook by any means but over the years when asked to bring a food dish to a friends or to a party these two recipes are my goto items.  Neither are particularly healthy however they are fun!

Frog Eye Salad:

I got this off the side of a pasta box and then have never been able to find the brand again.  This blogpost is being written for that reason.  I usually keep this recipe in an old Shredded wheat recipe box   I saved up UPC symbols for as a child and got in the mail.  I got to thinking however that if I were to become ill or something I want to have some of these important recipes written down somewhere other than in the place where I know it is.  In fact-it did take quite a bit of digging in that "I know where it is" place to find!  Here are two important recipes.

Frog Eye Salad:

8 oz uncooked Acine de Pepe pasta
8 oz vanilla yogurt
12 oz non-fat dairy whipped topping (I would rather use whipped cream but I just do not think it would hold up the same).
1/2 t cinnamon
11 oz can drained mandarin orange slices
20oz can pineable chunks (I prefer tidbits)
1 cup mini-marshmallows
1 cup red grapes sliced into halves.

Cook the pasta on the stove to just slightly al dente (follow the box directions).  Drain and set aside.
In a large bowl (I mean large).  Mix together the whipped cream, yogurt and cinnamon.  Add all of the remaining ingredients mixing well.  cover your bowl and put it into the refrigerator.  This can be made the day of your party but it works much better after a night in the fridge.

Grandmas Potato Salad (With Tina adjustments) This recipe is a bit harder to write as it is completely in my head and honed by practice.  I will attempt to write it down here but feel free to adjust proportions

Boil 6 medium-large sized white potatoes (only cook these until just done-or slightly firm)  We do not want them mushing apart while we attempt to cube them.
Boil 5 eggs. and allow to cool

In a large bowl (I mean large)  mix in 3/4-1 cup of mayo., 1 Tablespoon yellow mustard, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper.  Set aside.

Chop up finely 1 shallot, 6 sweet pickles.
Chop the cooled and peeled eggs into pieces roughly the size of your little fingernail.

Using a paring knife slide off the now loose potato skins and discard them.
chop the potatoes into just smaller than 1 inch cubes (uniformity is not a goal though).

drop the pickles and shallots into the large bowl and mix,  Add the potatoes and eggs and mix again.  Test your salad.  Is it too dry?  start by adding 1/4 cup of pickle juice.  If it is still to dry start adjusting with serving spoon dollops of mayonnaise.  Finally taste for salt and pepper balance.  If it needs more add it and stir.  This can be served on the same day but also benefits from a night in the fridge.

I am about to make both of these on Wednesday to take to a friend/family July 4th celebration.  Let me know if you try one or the other of them and how they turn out.

Happy Independence day Everyone!!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Free Pattern! Simple Striped Summer Hats.

Although these hats were written for baby/toddlers there is no reason they can not be sized for any head!  The key is a loose fitting shape with a small shade enhancing brim.  The reason I picked baby hats is that I am on a bit of a baby knitting/crochet jag right now.  No..I do not have any grand-babies on the way but it does seem that many of the Blacksheep knitting family are either getting ready to have their own new babies or grand-babies.  These are fairly quick to make so have some fun with them!

Knitted Version:
Yarn:  Cascade Pima Fine.  Pick whatever shades you like! Two skeins will knit two hats.
Needles:  Size 5 circular long enough for magic loop.
Sizes: made for sizes 0-3 mo, 3-6, 6-12.  Just keep adding stitches if you want bigger versions of the hat.
Gauge:  .
Cast on 71 (81, 91) I used a long tail cast on method.  In order to get a smooth join in the round slip your last cast on stitch onto your working needle, pm, knit two together.  You should now have 70 (80,90) stitches. 
Rows 1-10: Knit (about 2 inches)
Row 11: Purl one round.
Rows 12-22: Knit
Row 23: fold your work along the purl row.  Knit around but each stitch should go through the current row and a stitch from along the cast on edge (this gives you a tidy two layers of knitting.
Row 24-26: knit around
Rows 27-31: change colors to make your first stripe.  There are lots of techniques to make these jogless you can check out on the web.  I used the slip one technique.
Rows 32-36: Using the main color again knit.
Rows 37-40: Using contrasting color knit
Rows 40-54: Using the main color knit.
Row 55: knit 9, k2tog repeat around.
Row 56: knit 8, k2to repeat around.
Continue decreasing in this manner until you have approx. 4 stitches on your needle.  Cut your yarn and using a darning needle thread the end through your live stitches and secure them.  Hide your ends.  You can add embroidery, crochet or buttons for embellishment.

Crochet version:
Yarn: Two skeins Cascade Pima Fine in any two colors you like.  You should get two hats with opposite stripe colors.
To Begin: Chain 2. In second chain from hook sc 10. Join these into the round.
Round 2: Place a marker to track each round. SC two in each stitch below (20 total).
Round 3-until hat diameter is large enough to fit your desired head.  Sc around with increases.  There are many formulas for making the crown of a hat.  I have found that none of these work well for me.  Instead I crochet in a free form manner with mostly 1 sc in each space but adding two sc to spaces periodically so that the growing circle remains flat.  I check frequently by laying my work down and making sure it does not ruffle or cups up at the edges.
Crown to first stripe:  sc in each stitch until your work hits the top of the wearers ears.  During this time I create a slight flair by gradually adding 6 extra sc into the work (two sc into one space three times over two rows. 
Stripe Rows 1-4: Change to contrasting color and crochet four rounds.  Add 2 increases during these rows. 
Stripe Rows 5-9: Change back to the main color. Also include two increases.
Stripe Rows 10-14: Change to contrasting color crochet.  Increase two stitches over the four rows.
Start Brim: SC one rows in main color. Sc around.  Include 6 increases spaced out evenly in this round. 
Finish Brim: sc until brim measures 1inch. 
Turning round: sc in the back loop
Brim Hem: sc for one inch.
Fold hem along line made by the crochet in the back loop. Turn your work. Hooking each stitch through the had at the row formed by the lowest stripe and the hem edge sc.  Repeat around until a folded hem if formed.  Embellish if desired.