Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Cajun Chicken Soup

So I came back from my family gathering with the Christmas yuck. Most likely from my dear big brother who was hacking and coughing the whole time. Yay.

I've felt like doing little other than sitting on the couch and crocheting. Oh, and I made some chicken soup. It was so good even the hubs, who doesn't usually like soups, enjoyed it.

So, even though this is a blog primarily about crocheting, I thought I'd share my soup recipe with you. Maybe you can crochet a potholder or something to use when cooking this soup.

Cajun Chicken Quinoa Barley Soup

1 onion, chopped (I often use frozen chopped onions when not feeling well or in a hurry)
12 baby carrots, chopped into halves or thirds
4 boneless, skinless chicken tenderlions, whole
1/3 cup uncooked barley
1/3 cup uncooked quinoa
32 oz. chicken broth (I prefer low sodium)
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tbsp. cajun seasoning
1 tbsp. smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste

1. Mix all ingredients into a stovetop pot or slow cooker. If using a slow cooker, you may wish to add up to two additional cups of broth. In slow cooker, place on low and allow to cook for 4 hours. For stovetop pot, place on medium heat and bring to a boil.

2. When chicken is cooked through, remove to cutting board and shred with fork. Return to pot or slow cooker.

3. Simmer soup until grains and vegetables are tender. 

We usually eat this with grilled cheese sandwiches! MMM.

For those interested in nutritional facts, this recipe contains:
Per 1 cup serving:
129 calories
1 g. fat
26 g. carbs
5 g. protein
469 g. sodium
4 g. sugar

For lower sodium, use a low- or no-sodium cajun seasoning.

I hope you enjoy this warm, hearty soup this winter. I sure have!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Christmas Gift Idea: Soap Scrubby!

I don't know if I mentioned it, but this year my goal is to crochet all of my Christmas gifts. My index finger on my right hand hurts every morning when I wake up. But, in the process, I'm learning a lot and making many cool things for people in my life.

While surfing for "last minute Christmas gifts", I came across the idea of a soap scrubby, given with a bar of handmade soap. My favorite soap is a handmade soap that I buy several bars of at Pennsic each year from Past Thyme Perfumerie. I love love love their Dragon's Blood soap.

So, I took a look a look at several patterns, and then true to form, decided not to use any of them and make my own. I thought these might be great for some of my coworkers. SO....here's the pattern!

Hook: J (6.0mm)
Yarn: Lily Sugar 'n Cream Cotton

sc= single crochet
DC= double crochet
HDC= half double crochet
CL= Custer stitch

Note: To complete CL, yarn over, insert hook into next stitch, yarn over, pull yarn through loop to height of row, yarn over, repeat four times. Yarn over, pull yarn through eight loops on hook, yarn over, pull through remaining two loops on hook.

Rnd 1:  Ch 10, insert hook in 2nd chain from hook and HDC in each chain across. Make 3 HDC in last stitch, and contine down the other side with 1 HDC in each stitch on the other side of foundation chain. Make 3 HDC in last stitch, join to first stitch with sl.

Rnd 2: Ch 1, 1 sc in next two stitches, (CL in next stitch, sc in next stitch) three times, sc in next three stitches, (CL in next stitch, sc in next stitch) three times, sc in each stitch to end of round, sl to last stitch in round.

Rnd 3: Ch 1, DC in each stitch around. Sl to last stitch in round.

Rnd 4-9: Repeat Rnds 2-3 three times.

Rnd 10: Ch 1, DC in each stitch around.

Rnd 11: Ch 1, sc in each stitch around. Finish off and tie in ends.

Braid three strands of yarn to create a 5'' braid. Knot off at both ends. Starting at last stitch made, weave in to every other stitch on last row.

I made one for us too and hubs loves it! Enjoy!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Sunny Kitchen Hot Pad

As promised in my last post, I'm going to share with you how to create my Sunny Kitchen Hot pads. I looked and looked and looked for a pattern for hot pads that I liked, but couldn't find one, so I whipped this one up. They're super easy (and quick to make). They look nice and make great gifts (I will be giving some to coworkers for Christmas!)

Hook: J (6.0 MM)
Yarn: The "Sunny" hot pads use Sugar and Cream Cotton Yarn in Creamsicle (less than 1 skein), or you can use any color of cotton yarn you like

DC= double crochet
HDC=half double crochet
Sl= slipstitch


Rnd 1: Ch 3, insert hook in first chain and slipstitch to join. 10 HDC inside ring, sl to first stitch of round.

Rnd 2 & 3: Ch 1, 2 HDC in each stitch around, sl to first stitch of round

Rnd 4: Ch 1, (2 HDC in first stitch, 1 HDC in next stitch) repeat around, sl to first stitch of round

Rnd 5: Ch 1, (2 HDC in first stitch, 1 HDC in next two stitches) repeat around, sl to first stitch of round

Rnd 6: Ch 1, (5 DC in first stitch, skip two stitches, sl, skip two stitches) repeat around to create scallops. Sl to first stitch in round. Weave in ends.

This pattern is also available as a FREE PDF  download on Ravelry.


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Yarn and hooks and needles, oh my!

I first became interested in the idea of using yarn to make things about a year ago. I first tried knitting.....that ended horribly. Somehow, I kept adding stitches to each row and ended up with a very very curved start to my first scarf. I found the needles quite unwieldy to my small (and I mean small) hands.

But, I didn't give up! At least, not on the idea of creating things out of yarn. I moved on to trying crochet. I got the hang of that in no time! I was quickly able to make some great things to wear, like fingerless gloves and socks!

You might now be wondering WHY I so wanted to be able to create things out of yarn. Well....for one thing, it is kind of hard to find wool socks or hats these days. We do a lot of SCA camping in cold weather (you can find out more about that here). We were getting ready to go to Gulf Wars, which is often a very cold event. And I wanted to be able to create wool socks, hats, sweaters and other warm things that also looked somewhat period.

Also, I'm a teacher, and I love the idea of handmaking things for people I care about. Last Christmas, when my (then) 6 year-old niece saw me working on the pair of fingerless gloves pictured above, she declared she wanted a pair to match mine. My nephew also declared he wanted a pair to match his uncle Mike's scarf. And so, of course, I lovingly obliged. Apparently, they didn't take them off for WEEKS. <3 When I was home a few days ago for Thanksgiving, my sweet niece said, "Aunt Lah, I still have the gloves you made me!" She went and dug them out and put them on to show me!

So...here I am. Since that time I've actually become much better at crochet-  better than I thought I would be! Stitches I tried a year ago and bungled are easy to understand and do now. I rarely follow patterns anymore, just use what I've learned from other projects and generally create my own pattern. Sometimes I write it down....sometimes I forget!

When I write it down, I'll share it here with you and on my Ravelry store. I'm also learning nalbinding, so you might see a few posts about that, and I love felting my crochet for projects and doing needle felting, so I'm sure that will slip in from time to time as well! In my next post- the Sunny Kitchen Hot Pads I'm crocheting for my coworkers as Christmas gifts.

Thanks for stopping by, and until next time!