Monday, December 24, 2007

New fingerless glove pattern

I just spent 2 days trying to knit the old pattern that I posted in Oct.
I tried it on dpns and ended up frogging it - several times.

Then I got to the last stitch on my circular needles (I use my circulars for flat knitting. I have better control with them), pulled the loop through and before cinching it down, decided to try on the glove to see how it fit. To say it didn't would be an understatement!

So....I frogged it back to bare yarn and started over. Tried to use the dpns again and again I frogged it. So after about 6 times of frogging this same blasted yarn, I went to my circulars, but changed size and knit the thing flat and then sewed up the seam. As I went, I changed the pattern so that it didn't end up with a huge bulge at the wrist. This new pattern is fitted and I liked how it turned out. Now if I can just get the second one done in time for Christmas - it's a present for someone and so I have a deadline. I've got the ribbing done on #2 and just started the glove itself, but since it's 2am, I'm going to go to bed. Well....after I finish this blog.

Here's the new pattern by yours truly:

Fingerless Gloves

Materals: approx. 2.5 oz worsted weight yarn - I used the Wallyworld $2 skein of acrylic - the big one and have enough to do several more pairs. Actually, this is left over from the slipper/socks that I flat knitted for my son for Christmas and still will have enough for a pair of these gloves.

Size 2 or 3 dpn or flat knitting is your choice. If you're not good at using dpns, do yourself a favor and knit it flat.

(The first time I did this pattern, I used size 5 and it turned out ok. I did decrease some stitches around where the ribbing and glove meet - to get rid of some of the bulk, but I do like the new pattern better.)

Gauge: I need to check this in daylight. The yarn is black and with my lighting, it's hard to count. Best I can see right now is 6 stitches to an inch and 9 rows to an inch. I think the gauge will change. For some reason, probably trying to learn to use dpns, my stitching was SO tight it was miserable to knit. With the second glove, I've loosened the stitching and it's going much better. I will measure both pieces when the sun comes up and get back to you. I'll also put "Edited" on the title so you know I've changed or confirmed the gauge.

Needle for finishing.

Cast on:

I used a size 2 needle and casted on 36 (and added 8 stitches at start of glove – after ribbing is done this shapes it to the hand so side isn't puckered or sticking out.)

Work in K1, P1 for 3" to 5" I do 5" because I like a longer cuff.

Begin glove:

Row 1 : K4, M1, K8, M1, K8, M1, K8, M1, K4 (To M1 (make 1) I knit the stitch like I would normally, then pulling the stitch up so it's a larger stitch than normal, I twist the needle so that it makes the yarn tight on the needle, then go back into the stitch I just used and reknit the stitch so that you've got two stitches from one knit stitch. The two stitches will look like a v with the needle going through the top of the v. Each leg of the v is a new stitch, the bottom of the v is from the row that is on the needle.

Row 2 : Purl

Row 3: K6, M1, K8, M1, K8, M1, K8, M1, K6

Row 4: Purl

Row 5: Knit

Row 6: Purl

Row 7: Knit (Optional - if you need more room before starting thumb gusset, which I do.)

Row 8: Purl (Optional - if you did a row 7, you need to do this as a purl row)

Row 7[9]: Knit 14/17/18/21 stitches. Place marker, K 2, Place Marker, Knit to end (If you used the optional two rows, then the bracketed number is the row you're on.)

Row 8[10]: Purl

Row 9[11]: K across to markers slip marker, Increase in each of the two stitches (4 stitches), slip marker, knit across.

Row 10 [12], Purl

Row 11 [13]: Knit to marker, slip marker, inc in first stitch, k in following stitches, inc in last stitch (6 stitches), knit across .

Row 12 [14]: Purl

Row 13 [15]: Knit to marker, slip marker, inc in first stitch, k in following stitches, inc in last stitch (8 stitches), knit across

Row 14 [16]: Purl to marker slip marker, knit 8, slip marker, Purl to end

Row 15 [17]: Knit to marker, slip marker, Increase in first stitch, knit to last stitch and increase (10 stitches), knit across row

Row 16 [18]: Purl across to marker, slip marker, Knit 10, slip marker, purl across

Row 17 [19]: Knit across to marker, slip marker, increase in first stitch, knit to last stitch and increase (12 stitches), slip marker, knit across

Row 18 [20]: Purl to marker, slip marker, knit 12, slip marker, purl across

Row 19 [21]: Knit to marker, remover marker, bind off 12 (knit first stitch, knit next stitch and then slide the first stitch over the second stitch). Do this to marker, remove marker, then slip that last stitch back on with the rest of the to-be-knit stitches, knit it and all the others to end. (This binding off and reknitting that last slipped stitch keeps a hole from forming in bound-off area.)

Row 20 [22]: Purl across stitches

*Row 21 [23], 23 [25]: Knit (25 is what I use, but I like the longer length)

*Rows 22 [24], 24 [26]: Purl (26 if you did 25, then you need to do this row too)

Repeat from* for number of rows you want for palm length(remember to include the 6 rows below in calculating your length), ending with purl row.

If you want a tighter top, do six rows in K1, P1 ribbing and bind off. I do the K1 P1 it keeps the end from rolling so much and so that it keeps its shape better.

Otherwise, knit six rows even and bind off.

Sew up side seam (if knitting flat) and fasten off end.

To do this in the round, just knit all the stitches on all the rows EXCEPT when, on the purl rows it tells you to knit those few stitches between the markers. Those between the markers you will purl, so it turns out looking right and having some support at the end of the thumb.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Home-sewn 'feminine protection" - pads

Earlier this week Sarah ask me how I made my feminine supplies. I forgot that I was going to do a blog on that. Thank you Sarah for reminding me.

I'm at that season of life where I need feminine protection infrequently, but I do sometimes need protection from wetting when I sneeze. sigh Ain't having had kids great. The little left-behind damage done to a woman's body. More stuff your mama never told you about!

I was wearing a disposable "incontinence pad" because I never knew when a sneeze would cause a little dampness. I started out with it happening once in a while then went to it happening a LOT. I found that over time, I was having a continuing problem that seemed to be getting worse, so I was wearing pads more and more often, until I was always wearing them.

I came to be using cloth as part of a challenge. The challenge was to try cloth wipes for the bathroom. I did and really liked using the cloth for wiping. I had already started using cloth napkins instead of paper towels. Which got me thinking again about cloth for feminine needs.

After thinking about this for a while and reading the praises of others, I decided that I would make myself some pads and the result was AMAZING. After a couple of weeks, I noticed that I wasn't leaking when I sneezed - until I was sick and sneezing REALLY hard and a lot of times in a row. When I got really sick with a respiratory illness and was just sneezing my head off and the cloth pads weren't enough, I went back to the disposable ones. After several weeks, even though I wasn't sneezing as much, I was still having problems. So I went back to my cloth pads and in less than a week, I wasn't having constant leakage with sneezing. I guess there's something in the disposable pads that causes me to have MORE of the problem. In fact, most of the time, I don't have any problems at all.

The pads I made were very easy to make and I like them a lot. The only thing I would do differently is that I would cut up a piece of those "diaper changing pads/crib mattress protection pads" that I used with my kids and use that to back 1/3 of my pad - as a leak protection. I had even found one of those old crib pads while cleaning my daughter's bedroom. And I put it ??? I've hunted high and low and I have NOT been able to find it. I decided to go ahead and make the pads without it. So sometimes I do leak through my pads. I don't have the money to just go by some PUL to use. My solution is to just change frequently.

To make my pads I used polar fleece and flannel. I found both in the remnant bin at Wally world. From 1 yard of 60"wide fleece and about 1 1/2 yards of 35" wide flannel, I made 14 pads. Oh, the last 2 pads I used a couple of old diapers I had left instead of the flannel - I ran out of flannel. If I had had it, I would also have used PUL or mattress protection padding.

What I did. First, I looked online at all the different patterns/sites that dealt with this subject. I decided what style I liked. Then I looked at how fussy the pattern was going to be and decided that, I really didn't need a "shaped" pad. Also, I didn't like the sizing on the pads. I'm a large size and the tiny pads that were out there would never work for me. So I got the bright idea of just going my own way and measuring myself so that the pad would fit ME.

I used a measuring tape to take 2 measurements. Measurement 1 was from where I wanted the pad to cover from front to back and the second was the inside of my legs - as in how wide was my pelvic region from the inside of one leg, across to the other leg?

I like a lot of coverage. I've always hated having leaks - front or back - because of skimpy pads. I hate side leaks because the pad was not wide enough or too wide and bunched up.

My starting point with the tape measure was in the back at the point that I wanted the pad to start, then I pulled it gently up between my legs (over my underwear so it wasn't tight) to the front where I wanted the pad to stop. That was the first measurement and for me, it was 18". Others might want/need it longer or shorter. It depends on a lot of factors, most of them personal choices and likes/dislikes. Just measure yourself - or if you have a commercial pad that you just love, measure one of them and make it that length. If you're not sure how long you'd like it, try different measurements and make 1 pad of that length. See what length you like best, then make your pads that length.

For width, measure yourself like you do for your inseam measurement, only instead of going down your leg, you're going from the crease of one leg, across your nether region to the crease of the other leg. Again, measure over underpanties. For me, 3" is about right.

So I made my pads 18" long by 9 inches wide. Why 9" instead of 3. Well I fold my pad in 3rds, which makes the 1/3 part be 3".

First, I washed and dried my material in hot water and in a hot dryer. This way, it's shrunk all it's going to. Next, I snipped into the selvage and tore the flannel off across the top, until I had the top squared, then did the same thing at the bottom of the piece. Then I cut my fabric into 18" lengths and then across to 9" widths. (Actually, I snipped into the selvage edge and just tore - YUP tore! the fabric across. Made nice straight pieces that way.) Now the fleece doesn't tear and it is sort of a pain to cut - unless you're fortunate enough to own a rotary cutter. Scissors are a pain, but that's how I had to cut mine. Things don't have to be exact. Who's going to see it?
Any way you do it, you want to end up with pieces of fabric and fleece the length you want by 3 times the width.

If I had found the crib pad or had some PUL, I would have cut it 18" x 3".

I did have some 18" x about 3" sections of "leftover" fleece that I used - why throw it away?

I made a "sandwich" of the 18x9 fleece on the bottom, then the 18x3 scrap I put down the middle of the fleece. If I had the PUL/pad, I would have put that next to the 3" fleece section, so that as I looked at it, there would be on the left edge the PUL/pad, next to it in the center 1/3 would be the fleece (those two together, side-by-side, would be the middle layer) and then the right 1/3 section would be the bottom layer of fleece showing up with nothing on top of it. The top layer is the flannel and it goes right side up.

I didn't bother to pin it, I just started sewing around the edges with a zig-zag stitch, near the edges. I used a small zig-zag stitch about 1/8" in from the edge. That made a large rectangle. The edges are not all "even", but they're close enough for my needs.

Next I sewed 3" in from the edge on both long sides of my rectangle. So I was sewing 3" from the edge of my material and down the 18" length. I turned it around and sewed down the other side, 3" from the edge. I did use a straight stitch to do these guidelines. After doing a couple of these, I got smart and marked 3" out from the side of my machine needle and it made it so much easier and my line is straight. Yup, right on Mr. Machine himself! You could use masking tape - if the kids haven't absconded with it. But failing tape, a Sharpie does a great job and won't smear off onto the fabric - just give it a minute or two to dry.

This straight stitching divides your rectangle into 3rds, so it makes it easy to fold and helps it to not unfold. When folded it makes the pad as wide as you wanted it by the length you wanted. By doing a trifold, you have at least 6 layers to better absorb moisture. (The ones of mine that I used the scrap piece down the middle is 7 layers thick and when I find that pad, I'm going to open up the side and add that so it will then be 8 layers thick.)

To use: just fold it in 3rds along your stitch line, lay it in the bottom of your panties, pull up and you're ready to go. Snug panties are a help in holding the pad in place. Also, if you used the PUL/pad - which I would REALLY recommend if you can at all afford it, make sure that the 1/3 section that has the PUL is in the bottom third. That way, it's farthest from your body. The flannel will keep it in place in your panties and the next layer will be the PUL/pad which will keep the pad from leaking. (or in other words, fold the 1/3 section without the PUL/pad in towards the center of the pad first, then fold the 1/3 section with the PUL/pad towards the center next. That way, the center 1/3 of the pad is on top and next to your body, then the second section is next, then the section with the fleece - pad- flannel is last. When folded properly and with a middle layer of PUL/fleece, you're pad will be: flannel, fleece, fleece, fleece, flannel, fleece, PUL, flannel.)

Nicest thing about this pattern is that it unfolds to wash and dry so that it doesn't take forever for it to wash and dry. I toss them in with my whites. I wash with 2 Tbs of grated Fels Naptha soap, 2 TBS of washing soda (this is NOT baking soda, but the box is similar to the baking soda box - the same company makes it.) and white vinegar in the rinse spot - where you'd put the fabric softener. I wash them in hot water and dry in the regular dryer. They've been being washed once a week since about Oct. and I've not had any trouble with them raveling or coming apart. I've got a couple that have a bit of very light staining, but that's my fault for not treating them or at least putting them in some cold water or rinsing the blood out. I was in crazy mode from the comings and goings I was having to do, and just tossed them in a special container I use and the blood dried on them. I then forgot and washed in hot without pre-rinsing them or treating the stain.

Some people worry about "germs". The soap/washing soda is alkaline and the "germs" don't do well with that. The vinegar is acidic and the "germs" don't like that. Then there's the heat from the washer and dryer and they don't like THAT either. By the time the laundry is done, you've got more bacteria on your hands than you do in the clean pads (or clean cloth wipes, even ones that you've used to wiped after a #2 with!)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Emergency Baking substitutions

So you're in the kitchen and open your cabinet to get out the ingredients to bake and find that the kids have used up the last of something and neglected to tell you. What to do, what to do?

Here are some handy substitutions. Actually, many of these are useful for everyday cooking. You know what the ingredients are! For instance, most baking powders have Alum in it. Do you know what "alum" is. Aluminum! Yep, the stuff that's been indited as a culprit in Alzheimer's. I'm under the impression that there are only 2 brands available. One is found in health food stores. I don't remember the name brand. The other is Rutherford's. The Rutherford's is a double acting, but you can make your own single acting powder.

Baking Powder (single acting)
This works well, but doesn't store well. Also, you need more of this than you do commercial.
2 Teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon Baking SODA (sodium bicarb)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

Mix together and add to your flour. (Use about half again what the recipe calls for)

Cake Flour
For each cup of cake flour you want, measure 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch into a 1 cup measure, then spoon in enough flour to make 1 cup. Level off and sift together.

Self-Rising Flour
8 cups flour
5 Tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt

Mix together, then sift a couple of times. Store in an airtight container. (Don't use homemade baking powder unless you're going to bake with the flour immediately.)

Confectioners' sugar
Put 1/4 cup regular sugar into the container of your blender and blend at highest speed for 2 mins. Stop the blender once in a while to push the powdered sugar off the sides of the container.
If you use a food processor, you can process up to 1 cup at a time.

1 cup regular sugar = 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups in a blender and a bit more in the processor.

To stop it from clumping together, mix in 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch to each 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar. (Store-bought sugar has the cornstarch in it so it won't mess up your recipe.)

Commercial powdered sugar is a little finer powder than what you can do in a blender, so know that 3/4 cup of your homemade sugar is equal to one cup of commercial stuff. 2 1/4 teaspoons is equal to 1 Tablespoon of commercial.

If your processor can make 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups of powdered sugar from 1 cup of regular sugar, then you won't need to make any adjustments.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Honey Whole Wheat Graham Crackers and "gingerbread" houses

I have yet to try this, but it looks really good. You won't taste the beans or the vinegar in it and the beans with the milk and grains makes this a complete protein.

Part A
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour (save out about 1/4 cup. If flour is very absorbent, you won't need the full 1 3/4 cups, but if it's already absorbed a lot of humidity, you may need a bit more than the 1 3/4 cups. By saving some out, you won't have to add a bunch more water to have a workable dough.)
1/4 cups white bean flour
1/3 cup dry milk powder
1/4 teaspoon soda
scant 1 teaspoon baking powder (scant=almost, but not quite, a full tsp, but more than 3/4 tsp)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt

Part B
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons water

Place part A in a bowl and mix it together. Make a well in the center and add part B.
Mix until it forms a dough. Don't knead it, just get all the flour moist. This is where you'll find out if it needs more water or flour.

Roll out dough to about 1/8th thickness (you can roll it in parts and use 2 pencils as a guide to get an even thickness. Place pencils on either side of the dough mass that you want to roll. Using a rolling pin, slide the pin over the dough until the pin rests on the pencils. Sort of like the skids used to move heavy pieces of stone.) You can also roll it directly on your cookie sheet, but you'll need one without sides or a pin that will roll between the sides of your sheet. Make sure you spray your cookie sheet with no-stick stuff before you start. After it's rolled out, you'll need to score the dough or cut it into shapes with either a knife or have fun with your cookie cutters.

It's best to prick the dough with a fork to keep air bubbles from forming. They won't hurt anything, just don't look as tidy. Large pieces have to be pricked.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Makes one jelly roll size pan of crackers if it's just scored into squares. Two pans if you cut out shapes.

This would also make a good "clay" for an edible project (don't know if I'd want to eat it after the kids have played with it for a while, lol). Let the kids model with it and then bake it until it's dry. Then they can eat it (or not). I would have them make the project in a couple of hours time, not let it sit out overnight.

You could make figures out of it, but I'd bake them at about 200-250 so they get dry. I don't know how long, as how long to bake will depend on how big the pieces are. You can make your own Nativity set. (This will make brown people/buildings. I guess if you wanted white people/buildings, you can make a dough from either salt or cornstarch and use that for anything you wanted to be slightly off white (salt) or stark, bright white (cornstarch).) Any of the above will also make good things to make cutout ornaments with. I have a set of 12 Day of Christmas ones that I've used. I poked a good size hole in the end so I'd have an opening to thread so I could hang them.

For those whom don't like the taste of gingerbread, they could also use this in place of gingerbread to make "gingerbread houses". It would take a couple of recipes, or only make a smaller house.

Download a template from the net or design your own house, roll out dough and cut out. It's easy to do. Use a sharp knife and a straight edge to cut 7 squares. 4 for "walls", 2 for the "roof" and 1 cut on the diagonal for the 2 triangular pieces that go to hold the roof up on the ends.

Place on a piece of cardboard covered with aluminum foil or cover the cardboard with pretty paper then on top of that with plastic wrap. Make this larger than your house and you can landscape it. Use frosting or make "royal" icing to use as glue - any kind that will dry. White icing makes "snow" and chocolate blends in with the brown to look like mortar.

Either use a pastry bag and a tip or fill a zip-type bag and just cut a very small corner off of it and pipe a layer of frosting on the sides of all the "walls" to get them together. Next put some on the bottom edges so it will stay on your cardboard base and place on the covered cardboard. Then attach the roof pieces. Glue all sides of every piece so that it will hold. You may want to let 10 mins go by to let the pieces harden a bit before you move them around. So do some gluing, let the pieces dry for a few minutes, then move them and add some more pieces. I'd let it sit for about an hour before I decorated it, just so the glue will have a chance to set better.

Now you're ready to decorate. Use whatever you've used for "glue" to hold your decorations on. Any type of candy is fair game. Just use your imagination. Dinner mints can be sidewalks or paving. regular chocolate-covered mints can be shingles or paving stones. Roll out gumdrops and cut into shapes, or make trees out of them. Lollipops make good trees too. Hard candies in a Christmas assortment (out at this time of year) make good pieces for decorating. Use some of the round pieces with the decorated centers for the "windows".

Or, before you bake the dough, cut "windows" in your wall pieces and add some crushed "lifesaver" type candies inside the cut-out square for stained glass. While the dough bakes, the candy melts and it looks pretty. Just crush the pieces very small and let it sit on the tray for a minute or two when it comes out of the oven so that the candy will harden a little before you move it.

Add a steeple and make a church. Only use 3 walls and make an open house that is decorated inside as well as out. Have fun and let the kids have fun. You're not making a piece of art for a prize, you're just having fun. Rustic is good! Don't worry that it's not "squared" or "perfect". You can buy perfect from the store, already done up. No fun to be had, but hey it's PERFECT. (or not. take a close look at store bought stuff and see the flaws in it.)

One last tip, if you don't want to make your own graham crackers, buy the store ones and use them to make little house with. You can make a whole village out of a single box. It takes 2 long pieces, broken where it's scored in half for the 4 walls. Another long piece, broken in half for two sections of the roof and another 1/2 piece, cut on the diagonal (a tricky cut, saw gently with a serrated knife to keep from breaking the cracker) for the two roof ends.

Hey, use some of those new mini, mini-lights and light your village with them.

Great gifts for grandma and grandpa from the younglings.

Or make "kits" either before baking the dough or after and let the grandparents play with the kids with this. (Remember if you give a before baking kit, it only works if there's an oven going to be available to bake the dough. Otherwise bake "blanks" and let whomever gets it do their own decorating.

So you kit would include either the dough ingredients layered in a pint jar with a list of the wet ingredients needed, plus the instructions. Or the dough that has been pre-made into the correct shapes and baked. With either one, include the fixings and instructions for the "glue", an assortment of candies (homemade or store bought), a pre-covered base and any other goodies you'd like to add.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

French/Italian bread or tortilla pizza

Does everyone know this quick breakfast, lunch or dinner trick? This takes less than 1 1/2 minutes in the microwave, less than 5 under the broiler or less than 20 in the oven. I taught my 2 1/2 year old daughter to make these for herself on a tortilla - without the sauce. I was pregnant and in labor from 17 weeks onward and on bed-rest. So I'd lay on the couch and watch her, telling her what to do. This is how she learned her numbers! (I could see the microwave from the living room - it was in a small trailer.)

Take a loaf of French or Italian bread and cut it in half front-to-back so that the top is removed and can be set upside down (on what was the top) on a cookie sheet next to the bottom half.
Then put some spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce (even though I cook, I've never figured out how to have a different "taste" for pizza sauce, so I keep some Ragu pizza sauce around). Spread some sauce on both halves - how much will depend on how much sauce you like on your pizza. Add some cheese and any toppings you have handy. You can use amounts that suit you or more importantly for some of us, what's available to use. You can use less cheese or even cut the bread into thirds instead of in half, but watch your hand that you don't cut yourself! This would lower the calorie count, but still taste good.

Bake in a 350-375 oven or under broiler until bread is heated and cheese is melted and bubbled a little.

This can be frozen either before or after it's cooked. I prefer to freeze after cooking so that the sauce doesn't absorb into the bread and make it soggy. Either way, just wrap it well in whatever serving size is convenient for you and freeze. We eat it all in one sitting, but then, I have a teenage boy. lol If it was just me, I'd make the pizzas and then cook them, then cut the bread again so that I have 1/4 of the loaf. I'd individually wrap the other 3 pieces, put in a zip type bag, suck the air out of it and freeze. When I wanted pizza, I'd put one piece in my toaster oven on toast or I could nuke it in the microwave for about 45 seconds - or until the cheese bubbles a little. You're wanting to thaw/heat the bread and melt the cheese.

We also do the same thing with tortillas. Usually we don't fool with the oven we just nuke them, open-faced, for about 45 seconds to one minute. Roll them up or fold them over to eat. This makes a fast breakfast as well as lunch or dinner.

Serve with grape juice and a salad. Yummy

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Buttermilk Biscuit master mix and recipes

Buttermilk Biscuit Mix

Some years ago I devised this mix and enjoyed it very much. This is a master mix, meaning that you make up a large amount of the mix and then use portions of it to make other things.

10 cups flour (white, 1/2 and 1/2, whole wheat; OR 8 cups white flour, 1 cups each bran and wheat germ)
1/2 cup baking powder (3/4 cup if using whole wheat)
3 Tbs sugar
4 Tsp (1 Tbs +1 tsp) salt
3 Tbs vital wheat gluten (opt. makes buiscuits lighter - especially if using whole wheat)
1 2/3 cups shortening*

Mix dry ingredients together (you can sift it if you want to).
Cut in shortening.
*you can use equal REAL mayo. (not lite or Miracle whip!) This will keep the biscuits soft once they cool, but then the mix MUST be refrigerated! With just shortening, it will keep on the shelf for several months.

To Use:
1 batch (6 cathead or 9 rolled and cut out)
2 1/2 + 1/3 cup mix
1 cup buttermilk (or put 1 Tbs lemon juice or vinegar in bottom of measuring cup and fill to 1 cup mark and let sit 5 mins. Yes, this will curdle and look nasty, but tastes fine after baking.)
Mix together to make a soft dough. Knead 5 times, adding just a little flour if needed to keep it from sticking. Make catheads or roll and cut out or roll out in your pan and cut almost through the dough where you want the biscuits to be. This will give you square, break-apart biscuits.
Bake at 375 F for 18-20 mins or until golden brown.

2 Batches (12 cathead or 18 rolled and cut out)
5 2/3 cups mix
2 cups buttermilk (or put 1 Tbs lemon juice or vinegar in bottom of measuring cup and fill to 1 cup mark and let sit 5 mins. Yes, this will curdle and look nasty, but tastes fine after baking.)
Mix together to make a soft dough. Knead 5 times, adding just a little flour if needed to keep it from sticking. Make catheads or roll and cut out or roll out in your pan and cut almost through the dough where you want the biscuits to be. This will give you square, break-apart biscuits.
Bake at 375 F for 18-20 mins or until golden brown.

You can also use this to top pot pies and casseroles instead of using pie crust or mash potatoes. Just pat dough out to size of whatever you're covering or drop like dumplings

To make Dumplings for savory or sweet foods:
Add 1/2 - 3/4 cups more milk to make a thinner dough, scoop out with spoon dipped in water and drop into boiling broth, juice, milk, etc.. Cover and cook for 10 mins, uncover and cook another 10 mins or until done. (Cut one and see if inside is done - light and fluffy instead of still looking wet.)

"New" fridge and Pizza mac

My dear daughter fixed lunch for us today. I was busy cleaning a fridge I got off of Freecycle.

Seems someone got it from a remodeler friend. I think she thought is hadn't been cleaned and decided she didn't want it. But it had, it was just stained. I tried some commercial cleaner I had on hand and it didn't get any cleaner. So I got out a Mr. Clean sponge. Now I really do try to use my eco-friendly stuff, but this was NOT going to come any cleaner.

This fridge is black with a texturized finish and the Mr. Clean Eraser did the trick inside and out. It looks like new and is a lot larger than the older one I've had since 1984. The nice thing is that it has a shelf in the freezer and 4 layers of shelves for the fridge section. Plus the doors hold a gallon and a half gallon. No more frozen milk! YEAH!!! And I can finally organize my leftovers and all the normal stuff that lives in there.

This recipe is SO easy!

16 oz package of twisty macaroni, cooked according to the package directions
12 oz jar of Ragu pizza sauce
1 soup can size pitted black olives
1 cup of cheese

Cook the mac and drain. Pour the pizza sauce in, break up the black olives (or skip them if you don't like them). Add the cheese. Stir well and eat.
Takes about 20 mins from start to finish.

Monday, December 3, 2007

"Mr Fenton" and Walmart - a joke

Ok, I love clean jokes and I love to laugh. We laughed over this one until we were in tears. Or perhaps things have just been so tense over trying to get the car back up here and insurance taken care of. (No, this old car was not insured for collision. We have a $500 deductible and the trade-in value is only $478. So there was no reason to insure it for that. They would have just declared it totaled and not paid anything.)
Anyway, I thought you guys might enjoy reading it.

This is why women should not take men shopping against their will. Don't take us, we don't want to go!!!!

After Mr. and Mrs. Fenton retired, Mrs. Fenton insisted that her husband accompany her on her trips to Wal-Mart. Unfortunately, Mr. Fenton was like most men, he found shopping boring and preferred to get in and get out. Equally unfortunate, like most women, Mrs. Fenton loved to browse. One day, Mrs. Fenton received the following letter from her local Wal-Mart.

Dear Mrs. Fenton,

Over the past 6 months, your husband has been causing quite a commotion in our store. We cannot tolerate this behavior and may be forced to ban both of you from this store. Our complaints against Mr. Fenton are listed below and are documented by our video surveillance cameras.

June 14: Took 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in people's carts when they weren't looking.

July 02: Set all the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at 5-minute intervals.

July 19: Walked up to an employee and told her in an official voice, "Code 3 in Housewares-get on it right away".

Aug. 4: Went to the Service desk and tried to put a bag of M & M's on layaway.

Sept. 14: Moved a "CAUTION-WET FLOOR" sign to a carpeted area.

Sept. 15: Set up a tent in the Sports Department and told other shoppers he'd invite them in if they would bring pillows and blankets from the Bedding Department.

Sept. 23: When a clerk asked if they could help him, he began crying and screamed, "Why can't you people just leave me alone?"

Oct. 04: Looked right into the security camera and used it as a mirror while he picked his nose.

Nov. 10: While handling guns in the Hunting Department, he asked the clerk what aisle the anti-depressants were in.

Dec. 03: Darted around the store suspiciously while loudly humming the theme to "Mission Impossible".

Dec. 06: In the Auto Department, he practiced his "Madonna look" by using different sizes of funnels.

Dec. 18: Hid in a clothing rack and when people browsed through yelled "PICK ME, PICK ME!!"

Dec. 21: When an announcement came over the loud speaker, he assumed a fetal position and screamed, "OH, NO! IT'S THOSE VOICES AGAIN!"

And last, but not least, on

Dec. 23: Went into a fitting room, shut the door, waited awhile, then yelled very loudly, "Hey! There's no toilet paper in here!"



Sunday, December 2, 2007

Easy Cream of Broccoli Soup

I thought I had everything together to do a daily post again. Then life happens.
My oldest had a car accident. She's ok, the car is not and the Jaguar she hit is even worse. And they claim it's my daughter's fault. Perhaps it is, but a Jag can go from zero to sixty in only a couple of seconds. The lady didn't even try to brake or swerve and when her husband came to get her, he started to shout and she shushed him, then pulled his head down, whispered something to him and he immediately shut up. So I wonder what her driving history is.
So I've spent the last week trying to get the car back to our county from about an hour from here and getting another car we had that wasn't usable roadworthy.

Anyway, here's a nice recipe for Cream of Broccoli Soup:

1 Polybag of frozen broccoli - about 32 ozs.
2 cup water and
2 chicken bouillon cubes or
2 cups chicken broth/stock
1/4 to 1/2 cup dry milk powder
2 tbs butter
1 tbs lemon

Put the broccoli in a large pot with the water/bouillon or chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook through. Do NOT drain. Put the broccoli and it's water in a blender. Add some dry milk powder and some butter and lemon. Whirl it until it's creamy. Takes about 10 minutes to make this. If you want, add some grated cheese to the mixture after it's blended. Yummy!