Vegetables, yarn, and yarns: all of my passions all in one place.

Monday, September 29, 2014

More Baby Knits (and Construction)

Well, I'm in labor over here and have been for a week. Alas, it's early labor so I'm just biding my time, wondering if this day will be the day these contractions start kicking it up a notch. My hospital bag is packed and every morning, I have to take my toiletries out of the bag and then put them back in. It's a barrel of frigging monkeys.

The good news about the baby wait is the upstairs is not ready for her to be here yet:

Baby's room

Baby's closet

Guest room

And all together

Granted, since the taking of these pictures, the plaster and debris have all been hauled out to a dumpster, but it's still not exactly a heartening site.

On the knitting front, there has been much progress. I finished my Her First Party Dress, blocked it, and added a cute little black ribbon with white hearts on it that my husband actually picked out.

I didn't knit this one up like it was stated on the tin, mostly because I don't understand why anyone would knit this flat when it is clearly an in-the-round sort of design. Thus, once I finished the yoke of the dress, with all it's cabling, I converted the rest of the pattern to be knit in the round. I also changed the bottom ruffle from what it was to a cable that sort of matches up with the yoke. A little pearl button from my mason jar o buttons and voila.

This dress is packed in the hospital bag, along with a matching hat I created the pattern for that the blog will see in due course. I don't have pictures taken of it yet because it only just finished blocking.

I also finished a quick little Washcloth I knit mostly to use up bits of worsted weight cotton scraps. It worked like a charm.

I also used up a skein of self-striping baby yarn I got on clearance but really ended up not caring for a great deal to make some Essential Leg Warmers and a matching hat. With the hat, the leg warmers look at least a little less strange.

Finally, there is the baby's Dalek Costume. The dress is the Mummy's Little Dalek Jumper but the hat I created the pattern for myself, and I'll be sharing it with the general public soon. I think I'll wait and see how it actually fits on a baby's head first.

Of course the knitting is far from over. In fact, I have already started on the Doctor Who scarf my husband requires to complete the baby's dalek ensemble. Then, of course, there will likely be frantic Christmas knitting while on maternity leave.

For now though, it's just a lot of waiting. Oh and contractions.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Using up the Zucchini

August has passed and the end of gardening season is upon us. It was a late start, with the lack of hot nights in the early part of summer, a lot of the plants just didn't get the opportunity to flourish. The tomatoes, for example, never really turned color except for one or two weeks. Instead, the green tomatoes I kept hoping beyond hope would ripen started rotting on the vine. Near the start of fall though, things really started to get going. Especially the squash. We have more squash now that we know what to do with, of both zucchini and scallop/patty pan varieties. There's plenty of kohlrabi and the tomatilloes are finally filling in their husks. The peppers are coming in and sadly, a large rabbit has completely obliterated the broccoli.

In the front yard, there is chocolate mint. Oh is there chocolate mint. And I have been delighting in mint tea, with and without chamomile. Since the chamomile never grew in, I have to use tea bags to get my chamomile fix. The mint leaves, though, I just pluck off the stem, give a wash, and throw in my Teatanic tea infuser, a lovely novelty gift given to me by a friend who shares my love of bad puns.

It sinks every time.

To use up my plethora of zucchini, I decided it was finally time to try out the recipe for zucchini chocolate chip cookies from Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Vegetable Miracle, one of my favorite books on food and eating whose website features an easy print version of the recipe, which I have conveniently included above.

We also took this opportunity to use our handy food processor for the first time ever. It was a wedding present, I do believe, but since we lived in an apartment when we got hitched, there was no counter space with which to use the food processor and it was just relegated off in a cabinet, never to be used. When we moved into our house, it sat there on the counter and I would say, "You know, honey, you should really use the food processor to shred that" and the husband would poo-poo and say it was easier to just do it with our manual shredder.

I'll have you know, I was right. He was wrong. And we have much shredded zucchini bagged and stuffed in the freezer for future use. The cookies were delicious.

And because I had a family reunion to attend in which a dish to pass is required and a mass of shredded zucchini. I baked some zucchini bread too, using my mother's recipe, passed down from her mother. The best thing about these sorts of recipes is that they give no real instruction and often interesting directions. For example, I had to call my mother and ask if by "Crisco oil" she meant "Crisco" as in shortening or vegetable oil. She meant vegetable oil. Why it was necessary to specify a name brand, I leave for you to ponder, but I have left off the name brand placements in my recipe here.

Mom's Zucchini Bread
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 and 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon (I tend to be more liberal with my cinnamon)
1 c chopped nuts (optional)

Mix together in a bowl, pour into two greased bread pans, and bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for one hour, or until the top is firm and golden brown.

Easy peasy and delicious. Some of my more modern recipes in the recipe box require stapling on an extra index card to fit all the instructions. Not the good, old-fashioned recipes of my childhood. They usually contain no instructions at all on the back, just a list of ingredients on the front with a notation for the number of degrees for the oven and length of time in which the baked good should remain in said oven. That's all and sometimes, it's all you should need: a boatload of shredded zucchini, some bread pans, and a list of ingredients.