Archives from March 2009

March Blog Contest – What’s Your Favorite…

Photo: Sheri Berger
Friday, March 13th, 2009 in Contest, Sheri's Recipes

dsc02429… mug? Or teacup?  Or your preferred container for hot beverages? This is my favorite. Some of you may remember that I have a habit of over-buying mugs/cups. I don’t know what it is.  But I have found my favorite and I think my mug-buying days are over. (Unless this one breaks.  But I know where to get another one of them.) I love the size of this, the weight of it, the feel of it, and the colors. (Mine came from here. I love their work and have purchased several things from them.) Since I’m so attached to this mug, it made me wonder if others of you have a favorite?  Tell us about it in the comments below for this month’s blog contest. We’ll randomly draw the winners from the comments and will announce them next Friday.

Today’s recipe is one of those comfort food types of things. (Good taste plus pasta = comfort.) It makes a lot and there are all kinds of things in there.  Just add some fresh fruit or a big salad to the menu and you have a meal.

dsc02425Pasta and Cabbage Casserole

1 pound spaghetti noodles, cooked al dente
3 cups shredded frozen hash browns, thawed
1 lb. sausage (or 3 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed)
2 Tbl. olive oil
1 bag of shredded cabbage slaw (or 1/2 head cabbage, shredded)
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup (or can) of chicken broth
4 Tbl. butter
2 cups Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, shredded
1 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
(Want more color? Add broccoli to the recipe. Yum!)

Brown sausage in skillet and drain. Add olive oil to the pan and stir in onion, garlic and cabbage, cooking until tender (about 10 minutes). Add chicken broth and heat through.

In large bowl, combine cooked noodles, hash browns, butter, 1 cup cheddar, 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, and cabbage/sausage mixture and mix well.  Turn into a 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Add the last cup of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to the top and bake for 5 more minutes.

Because I don’t have quite enough knitting projects “in progress”, I picked up a book last night and have decided to make a Noro Chevron Sleeve Cardigan from Knitting Noro. Just for fun. (Although I’m not sure why I just admitted that to you. I ought to have kept quiet about it until I was almost finished.  One day I’ll learn.)

dsc02432People were eating chocolate here today. How do I know? There’s evidence on the floor. And just because there were kisses by my favorite mug in the photo, don’t be fooled. It was totally for eating scale so that you could get an idea of the mug size. (The carpeting looks a little ugly close up, don’t you think? It’s a good thing that there is a lot of beautiful yarn and chocolate around here to distract people from looking down.)

Sheri whoadvisesyoutostartanewprojectsothatI’mnotaloneinthisWIPabundance

Cold, Hot, Cold, Hot, Repeat

Photo: Sheri Berger
Wednesday, March 11th, 2009 in Finished Projects

dsc02427What is wrong with this weather? Yesterday it was 79 degrees here in St. Louis, and today I woke up to a 17 degree wind chill. That’s just wrong, no matter how you look at it. (Is the weather wacky where you live, too?) The good news is that I made it up to Indiana and back, and had a great time meeting with the classes and seeing College Guy and College Girl. Here’s a photo of the second class I spoke to. Some of the students in the first class overlapped to this class, so they got the evening off and didn’t have to listen to me twice.dsc02426 I know how much they appreciated that! This was the E-Commerce class (the first one was a Systems class) and they had some great questions at the end. It’s always fun to talk to people who are interested in what you do. This is the last year that Web Guy will be there to back me up – I’m a little sad about that. Of course no trip to Gas City/Upland/Taylor would be complete without coffee at Paynes (don’t these Caramel Lattes look wonderful?) and ice cream at Ivanhoes. I wish you all could experience both.  We might’ve gotten coffee at Paynes more than once in the 3 days I was there. (Or maybe even more than twice….) They roast their own coffee on the premises and they really need a good website so that people could buy it online. I brought some home with me.

dsc02422Look what came in the mail recently – a gorgeous new scarf. Claudia (who introduced me to Wendy’s Feather and Fan scarf last year at the Spring Fling), made this for me for my birthday, only she took that pattern and knit it lengthwise instead of horizontally. I love the new look. dsc02423I asked her about the details in doing it this way (because I knew you’d want to know, like me) and she said that you would cast on 400 stitches if you’re a loose knitter, and 418 if you’re a tight knitter. I think I knit on US 4′s when I did Feather and Fan scarves in Wollmeise. (I’ve made a few of those – you’d think that I would remember that detail.) I will have to give this new pattern a try.

dsc02428We did do a Sneak Up this past Monday night – I know that almost every single one of you found it, because the Elves have been super busy getting all of those packages out this week! We added in all of the new colors of Dream in Color Baby, Bugga from The Sanguine Gryphon (which you immediately bought out), Toasty from Numma Numma, more Dream in Color Smooshy in the new colors, new patterns from Through The Loops, Knitspot, and Nutty Creations, Schaefer Anne, Schaefer Lola, Schaefer Nichole, and a restock of Knitting Nerd/Knitting Girl/Crochet Geek vinyl stickers for your car.  And guess what else just arrived today? Little Loopys!  We’ve had the larger sized Little Loopys for awhile because the smaller size was backordered, but they  have arrived. (Can you pick out the one in this bag who is obviously looking for trouble? Or most anxious to get out of the bag?) We’ve emptied all of the boxes and bags of the little guys and they’re now cavorting all over here at Loopy Central. I love it when we have lots of them here because they just make us smile. I hope you’re already planning on taking Little Loopy (or the Little Loopy postcard) on your summer vacation in/out of town this summer. It’s our very favorite yearly contest, and it starts again on June 1st. (Postcards will be going out with all of your May orders.)

Sheri whoisalsogoingtotakeLittleLoopyonSpringBreaktheweekafternext

Friday Bonus – 2 recipes today!

Photo: Sheri Berger
Friday, March 6th, 2009 in Sheri's Recipes

It’s Friday! Is anyone else happy about that, or is it just me? I’m giving you two great recipes today. One is a “bake” and one is a “cook”. Sort of.  Both are delicious and quick.

I’m heading back up to Indiana on Sunday to speak at two classes at College Girl/College Guy’s school on Monday. One is for an E-Commerce class and the other is for a Computer Systems class. I did this last year and had a lot of fun doing it.  (Plus, I get the added benefit of seeing my two favorite kids again!) I’ll be back in to Loopy on Wednesday, which means no blog on Monday. Feel free to email Susan (susan AT theloopyewe DOT com) or give us a call if you need anything while I’m gone. Thank goodness for the Elves – they’ll be here and will continue to get your orders out in a timely manner. They’re the best!

On to the recipes – The Cauliflower recipe is from Elves Anna and Mary. The Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie? Well, I told you’d I’d make it and let you know. And I’m letting you know. YUM!

dsc02397Creamy Cauliflower Gratin

1 large head cauliflower
4 tablespoons butter (divided)
2 tablespoons flour
2 heavy cups of whipping cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
6 ounces fontina, gruyere, or white cheddar cheese shredded
2 cups bread crumbs

Cut cauliflower into florets.  Place in 9×13 microwave safe dish.  Add 3 tablespoons of water.  Cover  loosely and microwave on high for 8-10 minutes., stirring halfway through, until crisp-tender.  Drain and set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and whisk in flour until smooth.,  Gradually whip in cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Microwave on high for 4-6 minutes, whisking every 2 minutes, until thick and smooth.  Stir in cheese until melted.

Put cauliflower in 9X13 greased pan and pour sauce over.    Microwave remaining butter and toss with bread crumbs.  Sprinkle over cauliflower.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes until lightly browned.

Note – you can make ahead and freeze, but just don’t add bread crumbs until just before baking.

dsc02421Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie from Leigh Anne

1/4 lb. butter (1 stick), melted and cooled
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, well beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup walnuts or pecans (I left these out)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
(0r use the mint flavored chips, for a different flav0r)
9″ unbaked pie shell

Mix all ingredients and pour into the pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. (Watch the top. If it starts to brown too quickly, put a piece of foil over it while it finishes baking.)

Serve warm with ice cream.

Thanks to  Seanna Lea for posting about Smitten Kitchen in her blog comments from Wednesday. I’ve added that to my list of great recipe sites, too. Anyone have any others we all need to know about? Feel free to leave them in the comments.

Have a great weekend and get lots of knitting done!

Sheri workingonasockinanewDyeDreamsyarnbaseandIreallylikeit

Are you a Cook or a Baker?

Photo: Sheri Berger
Wednesday, March 4th, 2009 in Sheri's Recipes

dsc02418Besides being a knitter or crocheter, are you a Cook or a Baker? The definition for Cook is “one who cooks” (that’s so helpful.).  The definition for the process is: “1. To prepare, as food, by boiling, roasting, baking, broiling, etc.; to make suitable for eating, by the agency of fire or heat.” And Baker? “One who bakes.” And: “1. To prepare, as food, by cooking in a dry heat, either in an oven or under coals, or on heated stone or metal; as, to bake bread, meat, apples. Note: Baking is the term usually applied to that method of cooking which exhausts the moisture in food more than roasting or broiling; but the distinction of meaning between roasting and baking is not always observed.”  (Obviously Loopy’s dietary needs are simple – no cooking or baking necessary.)

I always thought of cooking as the daily meal kinds of things, and baking as the breads and dessert kinds of things. At any rate, I keep finding good recipes that I am ready to try, so I must be gearing up to get back into more regular meal preparations. Many of you know that we are experiencing the Empty Nest Syndrome for the first time this year, and one of the things that has suffered is the baking/cooking. (Hereafter known as B/C). It’s just hard to get excited about preparing meals for just the two of us, especially when we both get home around 6 pm. (That’s another reason why I am a fan of crockpots.) I have two blogs that I love, for recipes. The first is done by a gal who committed to crockpotting her family meals for an entire year last year. There are some great options on her site, and I’m trying her Buffalo Wing Soup next. I’ll let you know how it goes. The other blog I love for recipes is done by my friend Leigh Anne in Portland. She not only has great recipes, but she also has a gift for “staging” (unlike me) and every photo she takes to go with the recipe, makes you want to whip it right up. I’m thinking I need to try her Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie soon.  And while both sites have what I would consider “cooking” and “baking” recipes, I tend to go to the crockpot blog when I want meals and to Leigh Anne’s blog when I want desserts and sweets. :-)  Check them out – I know you’ll find some great new recipes.

Here at Loopy Central, we are buried in 400 Sock Club boxes today (the great majority of them going out the door in a few minutes – thanks to all of you who paid so promptly!).  We decided that things were running “amok” – such a crazy day.  But then I looked “amok” up on dictionary.com (because apparently it’s a day for definitions) and this is what it said: “Noun: A psychic disturbance characterized by depression followed by a manic urge to murder.” Or you can spell it the other way: amuck and you get “in a frenzy to do violence or kill.”  So we’re no longer talking about things running amok/amuck.  Things are just fine here.  Busy, crazy, but fine. Really.

Sheri whothinksB/Cwouldn’tbesobadifitdidn’tinvolvegroceryshoppingfirst

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