Homegrown Texan

Born and raised in Texas, I've found the home of my heart and soul in the Pacific Northwest. I love trees, cool weather, and rain. I'm a back to basics kind of gal just trying to raise my family and find a bit of time to slow down in this hectic life.

For those who don't know, Michael is ga-ga crazy over weird, funky socks.  If you've been to our house in the last year or so, he very well may have shown off his ducky socks to you (funny green socks with a 3-D duck knitted into the front of them).  I've been on a quest for colorful socks for him, but have found that the selection for boys is so...dreary and boring.  There are plenty of things for girls, but I don't see Michael walking around in daisies or little pink hearts.

Sooo, I finally got around to teaching myself to knit (something I've been wanting to do, anyway).  I knitted a couple of simple treasure bags for the boys and  a dishcloth for myself.  I bought myself a used copy of Sensational Socks, by Charlene Schurch, which I highly recommend to anyone who is inclined to master, or even attempt, the art of sock-making.  I took a 3-hour class at my local yarn store, which I probably didn't need, but thoroughly enjoyed.  And come to think of it, I did learn a cool tip for casting on, and how to make my kitchener stitch look right.  I then furiously knitted a small pair of baby booties for a friend's baby shower.  Then, I set to work on socks for Michael.  He loves green and bright colors, so the yarn was his pick.

The socks have a k3p3 ribbing, and the leg is done in a slipped stitch rib (alternating rows of K3P3 and "K1, sl1 wyib, K1, P1, sl1 wyif, P1").  The foot is basic stockinette.  This is a basic top down, heel flap sock.

The yarn is Cascade Fixations spray-dyed key-lime.

The cuff/leg part turned out a bit large, but other than that I'm happy with the way they turned out.  Next time I'll try knitting that part with a smaller needle.  I did these on size 3 dpns, and the next smallest size I had was 00, so I didn't do that.  My son loves them, so I'm happy.  And, I'm very proud that my kitchener stitch turned out *very* nicely! *pats self on back*

Upon finishing these, Nathan immediately told me to "get out the green yarn and the knitting needles". He picked out a solid bright green for his socks. So now I'm working on those.

Last night we had a friend over and had pasta with pesto for dinner.  It was, I must say, absolutely wonderful.

I made a spicy and  a mild version.

First, I made the pesto.  Mmmmm, pesto.

Then I cut up the sausage and started cooking it.  The one in front is chipotle sausage; in the back is spinach/fontina/something (pine nut?) sausage:

While the sausage was cooking, I prepped the vegetables.  First, the yummy rainbow chard.  Isn't it pretty?

Vegetables are prepped and ready to go.  On the left is the Swiss chard.  Next to that are the Hatch green chiles that I wasn't finished cutting up, next are the roasted red peppers and Hatch green chiles ready for the spicy pan, and on the far right are the roasted red peppers for the mild pan.  The bowl just has the skins I peeled off of the chiles, and look at all those seeds I took out!

(Side note to fellow coffee snobs: The Maxwell House can is there because we recently went on vacation for the weekend and forgot to bring coffee.  I told my dad to pick up the most expensive thing the store had, and that's what he came back with.  That's what you get in a small town.  I can't bring myself to drink any more of it, but I'm saving it because it's a good can.  I'll eventually give in and just dump it out I'm sure...or, I just realized I can use it for compost.  Yay!)

Anyway, when the sausage was almost done, I added in the Swiss chard and covered it with a lid to help it steam a bit.  When it was almost done, I added in some pine nuts, the peppers and chiles, and some sun dried tomatoes and stirred until those items were warmed.  Then I dumped the whole thing over the pasta, and added the pesto on top.  I actually made two batches of pesto, but as one who can eat pesto with a spoon, I ended up using it all instead of saving half, anyway.  Yay, pesto!  The mild version is on the left, and the spicy on the right.

Finally the table, with the bread and wine our friend brought.  The bread was a wonderful sourdough; our friend said the bakery was out of the rustic loaf style, so he had to get the sandwich loaf.  It was still very tasty!  I don't know much about wine, other than if it tastes good or not (this one did!), but our friend does (which is why it's his job to pick out the wine :) ).  This is an Australian wine, GSM, and is a mix of grenache, syrah, and mourvedre (imagine an accent over the first e in the last word).  It was delish and went very well with the pasta.

Not the best picture, as I was in a hurry to snap it before the vultures descended on the food.  Anyway, here goes:

I meant to pair this with a salad, but forgot about it until the last minute.  I could have whipped one up, but the boys said "salad?  We don't need no stinking salad!"  And we really didn't.  There was plenty of food for all (and plenty of leftovers are now waiting for me in my fridge).

If you are so inclined, please use http://www.goodsearch.com for your internet searches.  Designate "Desert Marigold" as your charity of choice, and your searches will help generate money for my sons' school.  Goodsearch.com is powered by Yahoo.

If you don't want to, that's cool, too, but hey, if you don't ask, you don't receive, right?

This made me smile.

I was just taking a break between work and making dinner to do some knitting.

Michael happened to be playing with his Leappad at the same time.  After a few minutes, he picked up the pen to his Leappad, started twisting it around, and said, "Look Mom, I'm knitting!  Look at this stitch I just made!"

I did take him to a class to learn to knit, but the teacher and I determined that he's not quite ready to manage holding the yarn and needles together.  He'll get there, though. :)

This is so cool!!!

Oatmeal (made from steel cut oats); add honey, raw milk, and a palmful of pumpkin pie spice
grapefruit juice

I'm trying Trader Joe's organic fair trade Nicaraguan coffee this morning, and it's delish!!!

That's what Nathan said this morning after he and Michael had sang a blessing on their breakfast, which goes something like this:
Blessings on the blossoms
Blessings on the roots
Blessings on the leaves and stems
Blessings on the fruits

Yes, one of the things they are learning from their Waldorf education is to take time to appreciate the food they are eating.  Which I think is a good thing.   I'm not particularly religious, and for me traditional prayer in the form of talking out loud to God doesn't really work.  It doesn't make me uncomfortable for others to do it, but for me to lead my family that way would be entirely fake.  So I've pretty much neglected this aspect (prayers before meals) because I wasn't sure how to structure it in a non-formal-prayer fashion.  I like what the school is doing in this regard, and I like that it forces everyone to take time to think about what a blessing a meal is.    (And besides, their little voices singing this stuff sounds darn cute!).  Plus it's a tradition, and I like traditions, even though, again, I'm having a difficult time figuring out how to establish them since I'm not religious at all, and most traditions we have in this country are at a minimum loosely based on religion.  I'm getting there, though.  Waldorf has some good ideas that we're incorporating (have only gone through one year, so I can't call anything a tradition, yet).

Of course, when my dad, Mr. Meatatarian was here (not that I don't enjoy a good steak or burger), his immediate comment was "what about 'blessings on the cows and chickens...'?"  I told him to leave the kids alone; there are a lot of vegetarians/vegans at their school and while I have no plans on joining their ranks, I don't need the kids offending them, either.  (He was teasing, by the way).

You Are an Espresso
At your best, you are: straight shooting, ambitious, and energetic At your worst, you are: anxious and high strung You drink coffee when: anytime you're not sleeping Your caffeine addiction level: high

When we were hiking in Northern Arizona a couple of weeks ago, my son Michael cautioned us to watch out for "poison owie" (i.e., poison ivy).

That is all.

...I found this on a friend of a friend's journal and decided on an attitude adjustment instead.  Love to all my (LJ, non-LJ, and real life) friends.

If there are one or more people on your friends list who make your world a better place just because they exist, and who you would not have met (in real life or not) without the internet, then post this same sentence in your journal.

So for whatever weird reason, I'm craving some kind of whole grain.  As I perused my pantry shelves, my eyes landed upon a box of organic bulgur wheat that I bought from Trader Joes (when I was, again, craving whole grains; I had no idea what I was going to do with it when I bought it).  I've never cooked this before, but a quick search on the internet told me I could basically make a pilaf.

"This shouldn't take too long," I thought.  Quick chop of some onions, saute in butter, add 1/2 c bulgur wheat and 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth.  This is the proper ratio of cooking liquid per the package directions (directions say to use water; I used the broth for more flavor).  The directions state "bring the water and bulgur wheat to a boil.  Reduce to simmering, cover, and cook for 10-12 minutes.

It's now been 20 minutes and there is still so much damn liquid in there, it's more like a soup.  Now I'm *never* going to eat lunch.

Edit: It *finally* got done, after an hour.  I added some pine nuts, freshly grated parmesan cheese and creamy goat cheese.  Topped with a sprinkle of chipotle chili powder.  Mmmmmm.

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