Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Crafty Wednesdays: Knitting Project

This is my first knitting project using looms. I'm not following any specific instructions or patterns, just what I have in hand: old yarns! These are made of acrylic (I usually only use natural fibers but since this is my first try with loom knitting, if it doesn't come out right it won't be such a big deal): a light beige one with a mohair-like feel and a dark chocolate one (a blend of wool & acrylic).

Since I didn't know if I'd have enough yarn for a big project, I decided to keep it simple and reasonable so I'm making a short sleeve beige sweater with dark brown stripes.
Loom knitting seems pretty easy, straight forward and fast. The instructions about how to start, knit and finish are pretty clear...Except that I chose the double knit and that the finishing instructions for this type of knit weren't very obvious. But I came up with a solution of my own ;).

Of course a double knit requires more time and more yarn but I think that for this type of yarn it was the right choice, so far it looks very pretty. I'm still working on the sleeves (in beige only) with the small straight loom, which are basically 2 scarves. Then I'll use the big straight loom and will knit 2 rectangles (front and back) with both the beige and brown yarns to create large stripes. Even though loom knitting is relatively fast, it still takes time to make something. I expect another 2-3 weeks to finish my project. Naturally this is a simple design. Once I get more comfortable with the basics, I can try augmenting and decreasing the stitches and learn about more complex stitches as well.

I recycled some suede & crochet flowers in various shades of brown from an old sweater and I'd like to turn them into brooches (reinforced with black felt on the back). I think these would look great with my sweater ;).

Monday, May 03, 2010

Mondays in the Kitchen: Tapenade de Haricots Verts / String Bean Tapenade

I'm always looking for good savory snack recipes that are also nutritious (this way I don't have to stuff myself with too many nuts and fruits). I'd love to have a fridge filled with spreads, chutneys and condiments of all sorts...But I'd need a fridge the size of the kitchen wall ;).

Today I opened "Légumes Bio ~ Mode d'Emploi" by Valérie Cupillard (which is basically "organic veggies 101": how to choose them, how to prepare them, what flavor combinations work well and of course...recipes). So I decided to try her "tapenade de haricots verts" which uses string beans, bulbous fennel, a white onion and umeboshi plum juice. I had no fennel and no ume juice...So I went with plan B which worked very well.

I steamed string beans with 2 small spring onions. Once cooled, I pureed the veggies with just enough water (usually I reuse the leftover water in the steamer) then I added some black olive paste/tapenade (which brings a certain depth to the puree), dried basil, dried oregano, garlic powder, salt, pepper and a splash of EVOO (everything to taste). I stirred everything well and spooned the tapenade into a glass jar. It is very good! It probably keeps for a few days in the fridge but I'm not sure it's gonna last that long...;).

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Quick Cookies for Me...and The Fairies

I had a little sweet tooth but I know that I have to be reasonable with my treats. So I whipped up a quick gluten, egg & dairy free cookie dough (no leavening either) that worked just fine. I love the taste of wild rice flour which is somewhat reminiscent of chocolate to me.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup almond meal/flour
  • 1/4 cup wild rice flour
  • 1 tbsp sweet potato flour (you can substitute arrowroot, tapioca or buckwheat flour)
  • 2 tbsp date syrup
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • A splash of oil
  • Dried cranberries (optional ~ mine are apple juice sweetened)
  • Water
Preheat oven to 350F. Mix all the flours together. Then add the sweetener, vanilla & oil. Stir well then add the cranberries. Stir again. Pour just enough water to have a sticky dough. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Get a tablespoon worth of dough, roll it between your hands then press onto the baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Bake for about 15 minutes. Let the cookies cool on a wire rack and enjoy ;).

Variations:
-Replace the cranberries with raisins.
-Add 1 tbsp of cocoa powder and/or chocolate chips.
-Skip the date syrup and use apple juice instead of water.
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