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Friday Roundup: Vacation Edition!

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What I’m Knitting

I’m on vacation! (A working vacation, but still.) My husband and son and I are out in the Seattle, WA area for the wedding of a family friend. Ordinarily, many hours on a plane means I’d have plenty of knitting progress to show off… but as any parent knows, taking an almost-one-year-old on a 5 hr + flight does not make for a lot of knitting time. He did really well, but there was a lot of wrangling!

I did, however, manage to stop by a really cool yarn store yesterday when we were wandering around the Pike Place Market area. So Much Yarn is cute and friendly, with an excellent selection of yummy stuff and a great view of the Sound. I was with a group of non-knitters, so I kept my browsing short, but I managed to snag this gorgeous skein of Wonderland Yarns March Hare in Curiouser.

I saw this yarn at TNNA last year and have been dying to try it out! I’m hoping I can get a little vest for my son out of it! (Apologies for the crappy phone snap. Trust me. It’s stunning.)

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What I’m Cooking

Not much at the moment, as you can imagine… but I am eating some seriously yummy stuff in restaurants around here. I eat mostly vegan, as anyone who regularly reads this blog knows, and it’s so refreshing to see so many vegan options everywhere!

I did manage to bake some very tasty banana blueberry muffins before we left, however:

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What I’m Reading:

I didn’t take my current book with me on the trip, because it’s A) a library book and B) huge. Instead, I’m re-reading a book from one of my favorite authors, Jennifer Crusie. It’s like comfort food in book form:

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Friday Roundup: Baby Hat Edition

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What I’m Knitting

I know I said I’d be working on the green textured sweater design this week, but I had to put that on hold for some emergency baby knitting (we’ve all been there, right?). A good friend of mine just had a baby boy a few days ago, so I cast on this mini-sized Koolhaas Hat for her little guy:

Koolhaas WIPThe yarn is buttery-soft Knit Picks Comfy in a lovely heathered gray colorway. This is my first time using Comfy, and I really like it! It’s 75% cotton, 25% acrylic, which is just about the perfect blend for my taste. It isn’t as heavy or unyielding as 100% cotton, and the touch of acrylic makes it really easy to wash.

Just when I was at the decreases of that hat, I decided I wanted to work up a little hat for a baby shower I’m attending tomorrow. This decision may or may not have been influenced by the fact that the guest of honor had another baby shower in a different town last week, and every. single. thing was purchased off their registry when I looked a few days ago. Oh well–one of a kind presents are good too, right?

So I cast on a super-quick baby bonnet this morning and have been knitting furiously in the car on the way to run errands (when I wasn’t the one driving, of course!). This one is also in Knit Picks cotton, some Simply Cotton Worsted left over from my Kari Baby Blanket. I’m ready for the decreases and on track to get it finished tonight:

baby bonnet WIP

What I’m Cooking

Another round of the delicious, wine-infused mushroom stroganoff (this time with added broccoli to up the veggies) over quinoa pasta:

mushroom stroganoffI had a head of cauliflower to use up a few days later and was planning to roast it… but that took about 45 minutes and the husband and son were hungry now. So I steamed it and mashed it with garlic, Earth Balance spread, and chives from the garden, then served it with veggie burgers. Delicious! The baby LOVED it. He ate a whole plate by himself.

cauliflower mash

What I’m Reading

I’m still working on The Dream Thieves–but I do have some other writing/reading related news! One of my manuscripts is in a really cool online contest called The Writer’s Voice (modeled after the show The Voice, apparently, but I’ve never seen it so that doesn’t mean much to me!). The contest entries went live today, and in a few days, literary agents are going to request to see manuscripts they find interesting. Wish me luck! If you’d like to check out my entry, it’s here.

Friday Roundup: Decisions, Decisions

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What I’m Knitting

The 3/4 sleeves for the sweater in progress are now done! So that means I’m ready to join and start raglan shaping:

texture sweater WIP

 

I have to figure out how I want to do the raglan lines. I’m not a huge fan of the simple p2tog/ssp decreases for reverse-stockinette sweaters, so I’ll have to play around a bit and see what I want to do. Stay tuned!

What I’m Cooking:

Vegan, gluten-free stuffed peppers (with quinoa and zucchini and lots of other good stuff). They were very tasty, but next time I’ll cook them longer–the peppers themselves were a little tough.

stuffed peppers

An easy weekday stir fry over rice, with white asparagus. It was tasty, but honestly, I didn’t notice much of a difference from regular asparagus. But isn’t it pretty?

white asparagus stir fry

And faced with a banana tree full of overripe fruit, I made banana muffins. We were out of walnuts, so I went with almonds. They were really good! I might make them this way again next time.

banana almond muffins

What I’m Reading

I finally finished The Raven Boys (that ending! OMG!) and started the sequel, The Dream Thieves. It’s excellent so far:

Dream Thieves Cover

 

 

Friday Roundup: You’ll Have to Take My Word for It

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What I’m Knitting

I made some progress on the sweater sleeve I was talking about last week, but reverse stockinette doesn’t make for very exciting pictures:

sleeve WIPAlthough I guess that line of loose stitches at the place where the DPNs change is exciting (for a certain value of the word). I’ll have to do some major tugging during blocking to get that to even out.

What I’m Cooking

My mom had a birthday last week and we hosted a party for 20 people at our house. My mom’s a strict vegan, so I went all out on my share of the potluck lunch: stuffed mushrooms, coleslaw, and the pièce de résistance: a vegan, gluten-free, refined-sugar-free cheesecake.

And I got exactly zero pictures of any of it. Bummer. But trust me, it was all beautiful and very very tasty.

I made an enchilada casserole later in the week and missed getting pictures of that too… but I did remember after I heated up my leftovers! This is one of those dishes where the leftovers almost taste better than fresh.

enchilada casseroleNom. Comfort food at its finest.

What I’m Reading

Still working on The Raven Boys (which is getting really, really good!). Maybe when my son stops teething I can sneak in a little more reading at night before bed, sigh.

Friday Roundup: Long-Forgotten Project

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What I’m Knitting

I picked up a sweater WIP that my Ravelry project page tells me I started all the way back in October of 2013. That was just a few days before I found out I was pregnant, and, well… eleven published baby designs later, here I am coming back to it, haha.

This was my original concept sketch for this sweater:

photo_mediumI was looking for a way to incorporate some bobbles into a design. I love them, but they’re so impractical most of the time. Before I abandoned this project, I got all the way up to the armholes in a lovely yarn, Stonehedge Shepherd’s Wool Worsted:

IMG_0122So I started a sleeve a few days ago! I’m abandoning the idea of using the same texture pattern on the sleeves because I think it’ll be too overwhelming. Instead, I’m going with 3/4, reverse stockinette sleeves.  It’s a lot of purling, but oh well. I think it’ll look good in the end. Hopefully it doesn’t take me another year and a half to finish it.

What I’m Cooking

A friend of mine is expecting her third child any day now, so I made her a few meals and froze them so she can just defrost when it gets crazy. No pics of the enchilada casserole because it just looks like a big tub of sauce once you assemble it, but I got one of the quiche, which came out rather pretty:

IMG_8057I decided to make my good old standby, quinoa-kale-lentil stew (she’s a health-conscious mama, so I figure she’ll need something for when she’s ordered pizza for the fourth night in a row and is dying for something healthy). The recipe has you put the kale in at the very end and stir it around until it cooks down and gets velvety. Every time, I think I’ve ruined it by putting waaaaay too much kale in:

IMG_8049 IMG_8052But through some dark magic, that becomes this in only a few minutes:

IMG_8056Kale is weird.

What I’m Reading

Still working on The Raven Boys, which is really, really good. The prose is a little bit too much on the literary side for me sometimes, but I can see why so many people recommended this book.

Friday Roundup: Days of Wine and Chocolate

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What I’m Knitting:

I finished the colorwork mitt, but it’s currently blocking and is still damp–not that interesting for pictures. Hopefully I can get a rough pattern written up and get it up for testing in my Ravelry group this week!

What I’m Cooking:

I managed to get a decent amount of cooking in this week! I’m trying to avoid wheat for the next few weeks, so that gave me a little more of a challenge.

My good old standby, quinoa-lentil-kale stew (good for the colder weather we’ve been having lately!):

Quinoa kale stewI’ve never cooked with wine before (we don’t drink much, so we never have any in the house), but I figured it was time to give it a shot and picked up some cooking wine at the grocery store for this mushroom stroganoff recipe. Holy cow–it made a huge difference in the dish’s flavor. I’m a convert!

stroganoffI also got in some tofu curry and spaghetti squash with veggie marinara:

IMG_7984 IMG_7991And saving the best for last, these vegan peanut butter cups. They were dead easy: melt semi-sweet chocolate chips and put a spoonful on the bottom of a muffin cup, chill for 10 min, mix natural peanut butter with a little powdered sugar and vanilla and plop some on, cover with more chocolate and freeze. They maybe aren’t as pretty as Reese’s Cups, but they were delicious.

IMG_7975 IMG_7979My mouth is watering at that last picture. I might have to make some more this week…

What I’m Reading:

I picked up The Raven Boys after hearing raves about the series from loads of people. It’s really good so far, but I’m having trouble getting past the fact that one of the main characters, a self-destructive, unpleasant teenager, has the same name (Ronan) as my cheerful baby!

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Friday Roundup: Yarn Dominance

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What I’m Knitting:

I’m working on some swatches for new designs in a truly outstanding yarn that I wish I could show you… but I also made some progress on the Yellowstone mitts re-knit this week.

Yellowstone take 2 WIPRemember that yarn dominance issue that caused the rip and re-knit a few weeks ago? Well, I’m really glad I did it. Here’s a shot of the version with the wrong yarn dominance (e.g., the motif color not being held in the correct hand on each side) next to the new one. The current one needs some blocking after its frogging, but I can really see a difference in how well the motif stands out!

Yarn dominance

What I’m Cooking:

I was on a pasta kick this week… so that meant vegan cream sauce and Pad Thai. At least the Pad Thai was made with rice noodles, right?

IMG_7927 IMG_7935My big Wednesday meal was a baked potato bar this week. Pretty basic, but I jazzed it up with homemade vegan queso, broccoli, and chili:

queso cookingNow THAT’S a baked potato. (With McCormick Bac’N Bits! They just happen to be vegan–who knew, right?)

image1What I’m Reading:

I finished Devine Intervention (which was a very fun read!) and am between books at the moment. I love that delicious moment when the whole world of books is open to you. I have a To Read list as long as my arm, but most of them are new enough that the library doesn’t have them, so I think a bookstore trip is in order.

Friday Roundup: Busy Mom Edition

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The baby started crawling this week! He’s been scooting backward for a month, but a few days ago moving forward just clicked… and now he’s shooting across rooms at top speed, exploring everything he couldn’t reach before. On the one hand, this is great, since he was getting very frustrated at not being able to move. On the other hand… well, let’s just say I didn’t get a lot done this week.

But it’s hard to be mad at this little face.

Ronan impish

What I’m Knitting

I ripped out the failed half-mitt from last week and started again. Stupidly, I ripped out the whole thing, including the cuff ribbing that was totally fine… so with the limited time I had to knit this week, I only managed to get the cuff re-knit and a few rows of the colorwork done. Sigh.

Yellowstone Mitt I/P

If you look closely, you can see the tops of both the cat and the baby’s heads.

What I’m Cooking

Home-cooked meals also took a hit this week, but I managed a few. I forgot to take pics of the Wednesday potato-chickpea-veggie curry (yum!), but I did get one of our tasty weekend breakfast. Although we eat mostly vegan at home, we make an exception for eggs every once in a while, and I love a good veggie scramble on an english muffin. This includes chives from our garden–fun for us because we’re horrible gardeners and they are the only plant that keeps coming back year after year:

Eggs on a muffin

You know how sometimes you end up with things in your fridge or pantry that have to be used up right away or they’ll go bad? That happened to us yesterday… so our dinner consisted mostly of guacamole and brussels sprouts. Some days I wonder if I’m really qualified to be an adult.

Sprouts and guac

What I’m Reading

I finished my friend’s manuscript and started DEVINE INTERVENTION. It’s great so far–light and funny, despite the subject matter of dead kids and angelic oversight. The author, Martha Brockenbrough, is teaching a class at the writer’s workshop I’m attending in July, so I thought it would be nice to read a few of her books.

Devine-Intervention

Friday Roundup: Failed Colorwork and Winning Sauce

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What I’m Knitting:

I put in some time on a new colorwork design this week. The yarn, Stitch Sprouts Yellowstone, is probably the best yarn I’ve ever used for colorwork–even and smooth, but still a teensy bit grabby, with great stitch definition.

I knit colorwork with one color in each hand, so I decided to take yarn dominance into account and switch the color in each hand halfway through, since this is a yin-yang sort of design. I thought I was being rather clever! But I somehow got it into my head that the yarn in the right hand was the dominant one, not the left…

yin-yang fail WIPSee how the motifs on each side are kind of sunken rather than popped out? Sigh. Glad I noticed and thought to check before I had the whole dang thing done, but ripping this out is going to be a wrench.

I did get this lovely skein of Malabrigo Chunky in the mail this week, as a prize for winning second place in a best colorwork competition for Malabrigo March:

Mal ChunkyIt’s a little darker than I’d usually go for, but I love it! I think it’ll become a hat, with some texture to break up the inevitable pooling.

What I’m Cooking

Remember how I said last week that I pretty much always follow a recipe when I’m cooking? Well, this week I went completely out on a limb and made my very own vegan tomato cream sauce from scratch. And it came out delicious! I am unreasonably proud of this sauce, which we devoured over gnocchi.

vegan tomato cream sauceI also made a batch of broccoli “cheddar” vegan soup for our Wednesday big dinner and managed to get a quick snapshot:

broccoli cheddarI had two non-vegans ask me for the recipe, so I guess it turned out pretty well. :-)

What I’m Reading

I wish I could talk about my friend’s manuscript, because it’s awesome so far. But hopefully I’ll have it done this week, and then I’ll be be back to sharing my reads!

Friday Roundup: Winner, Take 2

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Since I didn’t hear back from the winner I picked last week for the Golden Morning book, I went back to the random number generator to choose a new winner:

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 2.15.38 PMComment #4 was Sarah, who said “My knitting changes a bit seasonally. I cannot bear to have a pile of alpaca on my lap during the summer. Lace is always a favorite, and laceweight yarn is a staple in my stash. I think I keep my knitting focus on smaller things that will not cover all of me as I knit them, but if they are large, they need to be light.”

Congratulations, Sarah! I’m sending you an email to get your address details and the pattern book will be on its way to you shortly.

Now to your regularly scheduled Friday Roundup post:

What I’m Knitting

A secret accessory design I can’t show you. I know, I know, I said I was done with these for a while, but a call for submissions that I couldn’t refuse came to my attention a few months ago and I got a design proposal accepted. This accessory is small and fun, though, so I should hopefully be back to something blog-able next week.

What I’m Cooking

I forgot to take pictures of the amazing (if I do say so myself) enchilada casserole I made for my usual crowd dinner on Wednesday, but I managed to snap a few pics of other meals.

Basil was on sale at my local grocery, so I snagged a bunch of it to try a vegan pesto dish from my favorite cookbook, Isa Does It. The pesto was tasty, but the real star of this dish is the breaded tofu on top. I’ve never tried to make breaded tofu before–it was much easier than I thought, and soo00 tasty. My 9-month old son loved it too!

pesto tofuI’ve never been the type of person who can whip up sauces without a recipe (kind of funny, since one of the first things I did when I started knitting was to go “off-recipe” and start making up my own things!). But I tried a almond-milk based cream sauce last week that was completely tasteless, so I started adding things to it (like miso and nutritional yeast, my favorite vegan flavor enhancers). The resulting sauce was so good that I tried it again this week, with different proportions of ingredients and a whole bunch of veggies.

White pasta sauceIt was amazing. I can’t believe how cheesy a sauce can taste with no cheese whatsoever. I think it’s the umami flavor (pleasant savory taste) that the miso brings to the table. I have a new favorite sauce recipe that I can tweak to my heart’s content! My son also loved this one, even though it was loaded with garlic and onions. He’s definitely my son. :-)

What I’m Reading

Not too much to say on this front either–I’m still working on my writer friend’s manuscript. Baby’s sudden sleep regression = major dent in my reading/knitting time, unfortunately.

 

 

 

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