Podcast Episode 66

Not much to mention in show notes. I had no progress other than to switch needles on my Lace Chuppah. I had negative progress on my Find Your Fade – I knit fourteen rows, and then had to unknit sixteen and reknit two – so basically ended up right back where I started! So technically, I did knit, but have absolutely nothing to show for it!

This video features an unboxing from Adagio Teas. I ordered a bunch of their samples to see what I would or wouldn’t like. I’m very excited to try these! I’ll be recording a bunch of snippet videos of daily (or nearly) tea reviews based on the teas I purchased.

Podcast Episode 62 (Sorry Enid!)

Tea of the Day: Today’s tea was Twinings Peppermint and Creamy Vanilla (sold as Buttermint in the US). It’s one of my favorites, and I’ve gushed about it many times before 😉

Knitting Content

I added two squares to my Mitered square blanket (based on Knitted Patchwork Recipe by Martine Ellis). The first square is Red Sock Blue Sock Sock Adventures in an unknown colourway, and the second square is Fiber Stash Dyeworks Tweedy Toes in “Turquoise” (from Witchyknitts.
Goal is to add one more square by the end of the month.

I finished the first of Rob’s Wedding Socks (based on Sock Recipe: A Good, Plain Sock by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee). Knit out of Night Owl Fibers Basic Sock in the Rusty Hook colourway on size 2.5mm (US 1.5) needles.

I’m test-knitting the Alyoop Hat by SLOrnamentals (Kasteyl Lukes from Seattle Sky Dyeworks). If you head on over to her website, newsletter subscribers will be given a code to download the pattern for free once it’s released! This is knit out of Bernat Softee Chunky in True Grey, on size 8mm (US 11) needles.

Anotehr new cast-on is A Baby’s Mitered Square Blanket, also based on Martine Ellis’s pattern. For this one, I’m using leftover yarn from Sarah and Steven’s wedding present. I had several skeins leftover from knitting this wedding blanket, and I intended to keep it to make a blanket for their first child. Sarah is now expecting in May, so off to the races! It’s knit out of Valley Yarns Northampton Bulky in the Colonial Blue, Pacific Teal, Dark Green Heather, Light Gray, Stone Blue, and Lake Heather colourways on size 10mm (US 15) needles.

On Screen: I’m still slogging through the original A-Team series. It’s a bit more enjoyable since they got rid of the Tanya character in season three. I’m going through it slowly though, because i’ve been watching a lot more podcasts recently.

Reading: I finished Samantha’s Secret Room by Lyn Cook. It was an enjoyable read, but I felt like the climax was kind of rushed. It was a decent read, and I really liked it! It’ll be going on the Free bookshelf at work, and one less book will have to be packed at the end of it all! I’ve started reading The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama (again). I had started it a while back, and then misplaced it, so I’m happy to be reading it again. I kind of feel like I need to read this right now, because I need some hope to deal with everything that’s going on in the world right now. I can hear his voice in my head when I read it, and I find that very reassuring.

Podcasts

I’ve watched so many podcasts in the last two weeks!!! Little Big Knits Podcast, Episode 33 with selmaknitsThe CATTLady Podcast, Episode 104 with TheCATTLadyHawthorn Cottage Craft Podcast, Episode 33 with ARunnerBeanThe Knit Girllls Episodes 468 and 469 (I watched the 2nd one last night after I recorded) with LaLa and udontcallmelesHand Me My Knitting Episode 32 and Knit from Stash KAL with handmemyknittingSuburban Stitcher Podcast Episode 182 with dbbstitchBy the Lakeside January Vlog with SandyRanNight Owl Fiber Podcast Episode 43 with sweetknits1997 and NightowlfibersmomStitching the High Notes Episode 77 with OperaJo; and Must Love Yarn Podcast Episode 152 with KellySpins and jrbirdkid.

I have added three new podcasts to my subscription list!!! Podcast On / River City Yarns Episode 36 with HyaCynth and barb77Knitting with Frogginette Episode 3 with frogginette; and Ruby and Roses Podcast Episode 1 with Addyson (she doesn’t yet have a Ravelry presence, but she’s working on it! She does have an Etsy shop over here!)

It’s been a super busy couple of weeks, and I hope everybody’s doing well! We survived “snowmaggedon” last weekend (didn’t really affect me much, I take the bus to work and we really only got a few inches). I hope you all have a fantastic week until we see each other again, and spread that kindness around!

Podcast Episode 60

Tea of the week: Twinings of London Peppermint & Creamy Vanilla (aka Buttermint in USA). This is a smooth, decadent tea that has become one of my very favorites! It’s also more affordable than loose-leaf orders from David’s, so it’s a nice, inexpensive splurge.

Actual Knitting Content:

Rob’s Wedding Socks, knit out of Night Owl Fibers Basic Sock in the Rusty Hook colourway on size 2.5mm (US 1.5) needles.
Goal: Finish the leg on the first sock by his birthday (NYE).

Find Your Fade by Andrea Mowry. I didn’t reach my goal, but that’s because I had a new cast-on. Knit out of
1- Oasis Yarn Aussi Sock in a OOAK colourway.
2- Zwerger Garn Opal Vincent Van Gogh in the Starry Night colourway.
3- Bernat Sox Multi in the Faded Denim colourway.
4- Zwerger Garn Opal Regenwald / Rainforest 4 fach/4 ply in the Panama Franzi colourway.
5- Open Skies Yarn Tweed Sock in the Chilly Mornings colourway.
Knit on size 4mm (US 6) needles.
Goal: I’m so close to finishing section 9, I’m hoping to get it done by December 31.

Mitered Square Blanket – added my two squares this week (see notebook). Based on Knitted Patchwork Recipe by Martine Ellis. Knitted on 2.5mm needles (US 3). Added 3 squares this week:

  1. Fiber Seed Sprout Sock “Blue Suede Shoes” from Witchyknitts
  2. Fiber Seed Sprout Sock “Beach Party” from mandypinecone
  3. Bear in Sheep’s Clothing, Bear Masham “Squall” from ARunnerBean

Goal: Add 1 square per night during Hanukkah, to be shown during nightly vlogs.

Basic Knitted Dishcloth by Jane Lake. Knitted out of Bernat Handicrafter Cotton Ombres & Prints in the Lavender Ice colourway on 4mm (US 6) needles.
Goal: Make one more dishcloth, likely during appointments tomorrow.

Snowy Owl by Claire Garland. Knit out of Red Heart Très Chic in colourway 4351 on size 6mm (US 10) needles.
Goal: Obviously, as this is meant to be a Christmas present, I need to get it done by the 25th. My goal is not to lose my mind and/or tear my hair out LOL

I’ll be casting on a test knit for a bulky-weight hat for Kas of Seattle Sky Dyeworks, but that won’t be until Chicago

Vlogmas Episodes: I’ve been watching the following podcasters’ vlogmas episodes: Hawthorn Cottage Craft with ARunnerBeanBy the Lakeside with SandyRanThe CATT Lady Podcast with TheCATTLadyKnit Night with MekaMika with ShamekaknitsSteeped in Books with TrueCanuckGirl, and Suburban Stitcher Podcast with dbbstitch.

Podcasting News:

I imagine not many people are posting regular episodes, since so many people are vlogmassing (yes, I made a verb out of vlogmas – sue me). But this week I got to watch Stockinette Zombies episode 272 with jknitma and justrunknit, and Must Love Yarn episode 149 with jrbirdkid and KellySpins. Next one’s a big milestone!!! I can’t wait!

Everybody have a fabulous week, and a fantastic holiday (I won’t be posting show notes for the 8 Nights of Vlogging episodes, although I will post the episodes in their own special thread). Please, especially during this holiday season when we’re all so stressed and rushed, take the time to be kind to one another!

Episode 59 – with show notes!

ACTUAL KNITTING CONTENT~!!!!!

FO: Finished a Basic Knitted Dishcloth by Jane Lake. Knit out of Bernat Handicrafter Cotton Yarn in the Lavender Ice colourway on size 4.0mm (US 6) needles. GOAL: I’ll be making several more of these in the next week or so.

WIPs:

Work continues on my Find Your Fade by Andrea Mowry. Yarns used so far are Oasis Yarn Aussi Sock in a OOAK colourway, Zwerger Garn Opal Vincent Van Gogh in the Starry Night colourway, Bernat Sox Multi in the Faded Denim colourway, Zwerger Garn Opal Rainforest in the Panama Franzi colourway, and Open Skies Yarn Tweed Sock in the Chilly Mornings colourway. Knit on size 4.0mm (US 6) needles. GOAL: I’d like to finish section nine this week (thirteen is near the end of the pattern, no idea why I thought I was there).

I’m still working on my Straight and Narrow Socks (own pattern). They’re knit out of Mia Bella Kitten Sock in the Sapphire colourway (who knew it had a name? It didn’t when I bought it!) on size 2.5mm (US 1.5) needles. GOAL: to finish the first sock. I won’t cast the second one on right away, since I want to start a different project, and I’m not ready to start writing the pattern up yet. The pattern should be out some time in the next couple of months.

I have just cast on a NEW Scrappy Blanket! I’m loosely following the memory blanket by Georgie Nicolson. Squares added so far include Three Irish Girls Adorn Sock in Zuzu’s Petals, an unknown striped/patterned yarn, and The Plucky Knitter Plucky Sock in Apple Cider (first and third from my friend krysknits). Knit using 3mm (US 2.5) needles.

VLOGMAS

I have always loved watching Vlogmas episodes. Here are the ones I’m following this year!
Hawthorn Cottage Craft with ARunnerBean
MekaMika with Shamekaknits
By the Lakeside with SandyRan
The CATT Lady Podcast with TheCATTLady
Steeped in Books by TrueCanuckGirl

Other Podcasts:

Other podcasts I have watched since I spoke to you last include:
Little Big Knits with selmaknits
Must Love Yarn with jrbirdkid and KellySpins
Night Owl Fibers with sweetknits1997 and Nightowlfibersmom
Hand Me My Knitting with handmemyknitting
Ninja Chickens with NinjaChickens
Espace Tricot with EspaceTricot
The Knit Girllls with LaLa and udontcallmeles

Have a great week, and please be kind to one another!

Pickles in my kitchen!

I know, I know. I promised to post this last week, but then work got super busy, and I forgot! So a couple of weeks ago, I made some pickled beets (see here for recipe – I doubled the brine & spices) and Thai-style pickled carrots (see bottom of post). I haven’t opened them up yet, given that they’re usually best after they’ve sat for at least a month. I plan to bring a jar of each over to my parents’ for a taste test the weekend we put the Christmas tree up! I was inspired by a GINORMOUS canning pot my aunt gave me (it even dwarfs my dutch oven, which is pretty big – please forgive my dirty stovetop).

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The first task with pickled beets is to cook them. My mom always used to boil them for about 45 minutes, then wait for them to cool, peel them, etc. So to save some time, I cooked them in the Instant Pot (10 minutes, NPR – in retrospect, they got a bit soft, I could probably have gotten away with 6-7 minutes). I peeled and chopped them, and put them in the fridge until the next day.

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The next day, I prepped the brine, for which I had to run out to get sugar (I never have actual sugar in my house). Because what kind of French Canadian doesn’t know that beets are pickled in sweet brine? This one. That’s what kind. I didn’t want bits of spice in my jars, so I used tea filters to contain them. I didn’t have any cheesecloth, and one thing we have no shortage of in my house is tea filters, so off to the races we went. The nice thing about these particular filters is that they tie shut with a string, so I just tied the string to my pot handles!

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Unfortunately, they didn’t have any wide-mouth pint jars at the store, but they did have two cases of these amazing pint-and-a-half jars, so I bought those. The batch I made (15 lbs of beets, roughly) filled 9 jars. I put a few thin wedges of onion in each jar, for additional flavor (plus, beet-brined onions are DELICIOUS).

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I had a bit of extra brine, and I didn’t want to waste it – it smelled so good! I had to double the recipe for the amount I was prepping, so I chopped up a few onions and popped them into a pint jar with the leftover brine.

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I know it sounds tedious, but the boiling water bath is NOT a step you want to skip. These got 30 minutes in the water, according to the recipe. The carrots got the same treatment. You can tell I was tired by this point, because although I washed my dutch oven and started the carrots right away, this is when I stopped taking pictures LOL I didn’t follow much of a recipe for the carrots, I had made those before.

I had bought fewer carrots than I had beets, so this recipe only made 7 pint-and-a-half jars (750mL). For thinner carrots, you don’t have to quarter them. Judge based on your pinky. The pieces should be about that thickness. Again, due to the amount of veg I had, I doubled the brine recipe. I will write the recipe as if I only had 5 lbs of carrots (should make 5 or 6 pint jars, ish). Now keep in mind, Thai chilies are HOT. So these carrots have a bit of a kick to them.

Thai-Style Pickled Carrots

5 lbs carrots, peeled, cut to the length of the jar, and quartered
4 cups water
4 cups white vinegar
1/2 cup pickling salt
Thai chilies, whole
lemongrass – one stalk for each jar
1 yellow onion, sliced thinly

In a pot, boil water, vinegar and pickling salt. In each clean, sterilized jar, place 1 slice of onion. Pack each jar tightly with carrot sticks, one stalk of lemongrass, and 2-3 Thai chilies. Ladle the hot brine into the jars, leaving 1″ of headspace. Close jars fingertip tight and place in a boiling water bath. Process for 30 minutes. Let rest in water for 5 minutes, then remove to countertop. I usually place a dishtowel on the counter to prevent scorching.

Enjoy!

Accountability, and changing habits

One thing that generally helps lift depression for me is the time change. I never do well with Daylight Savings Time, and always feel better in the fall when things go back to “normal”. I’m sort of the opposite of a person with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Another thing that helps is concentrating on self-care and improving my habits. I mentioned in the podcast this week that I’ve been neglecting my blood sugar (ran out of medication and it was a little while before I could get some more), and my diet, and basically everything. It all snowballed into a blood sugar reading of 26 mmol/L on Sunday night, and that scared the hell out of me (for anyone who uses a different system, “normal” is between 4 and 7 on this scale).

So Rob challenged me to come up with a plan, and to write it down. So I did. I sat down with a cup of Green Gables black tea with strawberries that my boss brought back from PEI, and I wrote out a chart on which I get stickers when I hit my goals for the day. I’m a sucker for stickers, so this works well for me 🙂 I thought I would share it – as a Word document, so you can customize it if you want.

Weekly Accomplishments

My plan was to post each week’s completed chart as part of whatever post is going up. I know I promised pickling recipes, and they’re coming. I did nine 1.5 pint jars of beets, and seven 1.5 pint jars of Thai-style carrots yesterday, as well as a pint of sweet onion pickles (I had brine left over from the beets). That post will be up later this week. Episode 57 of the podcast has also been uploaded, so if you haven’t had a chance to check that out, here it is.

We got downright BURIED in snow last night, and of course, my neighbourhood wasn’t plowed this morning. It was a good reminder that I need to bring my boots home from the office. Part of today’s exercise is going to be shovelling around my car and putting the winter tires in the trunk (my appointment is on Thursday). I hope everybody else is weathering things well. The photo is from last week’s temporary snowfall. We got a lot more than this last night!

Snow on ground from bus stop near my house.

Finished projects? What finished projects?

So apparently I really suck at taking photos of my finished projects before I give them away. Here, let me show you…

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Now, two of those projects haven’t been given away. They’re mine. But I’ve misplaced the mittens (and I really miss them, because it’s COLD outside), and I haven’t blocked the Color Affection yet, because I suck at blocking. (For the record, clockwise from top left: Color Affection by Veera Välimäki knit out of Night Owl Fibers Basic Sock in colourways Rusty Hook, Pumpkin Spice Latte, and Leather Boots; Knotty Mittens by Tessa Rexroat knit out of Bear in Sheep’s Clothing Bear Masham in the Squall colourway; Winterlong by Bristol Ivy knit out of (discontinued) Filtes King Velour in colourway 1317; and Peppermint Mocha Socks by C.C. Almon knit out of Tilting Planet Apollo Sock in the Ocean in a Bucket colourway.)

It’s kind of like when I’m cooking, and I think afterward, “Man, I really should have taken pictures while I was prepping this, because it’s really good! And I want to share the recipe on the blog, but now I have no pictures!”

Suffice to say, I’m not very good at planning out blog posts ahead of time. But I’m going to try to improve on that. Just like I’m constantly trying to improve my organizational skills and my abilities to plan things out before they surprise me. These are things that are negatively affected by depression and executive dysfunction. So I’m a work in progress. Just like my knitting projects 🙂

I’m still working on the same two projects, incidentally…. Find Your Fade by Andrea Mowry (Drea Renee Knits designs), and a sock pattern of my own design that I’ve been dragging my feet on (see what I did there?) because I decided to try something different out for the sole, it’s not working out, and I can’t bring myself to rip back AGAIN. So I’m just not knitting on them right now. I have other WIPs that are more time-sensitive, but the Find Your Fade is bringing me joy right now, and I need a bit of that, so FYF it is! (By the way, I was at Rhinebeck, and I was THIS CLOSE to Andrea Mowry! I was too shy to bother her.)

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Some of my upcoming posts will be about pickling, knitting, and cooking. I’m trying to work out a schedule so that my updates are more regular. And then maybe I’ll feel a little bit less like life keeps tackling me as I’m trying to walk down a flight of stairs. Maybe. 🙂

Depression is a dirty, rotten liar

I haven’t been very active for a few weeks, either on the podcast or here on the blog, because depression has reared its ugly head and has been lying to me on a daily basis. Telling me I’m not good enough. Telling me I’m not smart enough. Telling me I’ll never succeed at anything. Telling me I should just stop trying.

Also, funds have been very, VERY limited recently. Somehow, even though I’m trying to budget and paying more attention to my spending than ever, there’s less and less money to go around. A big part of that is because my daughter recently turned 18, which means I lost all those lovely parental tax credits I was getting from the government. And let me tell you, that was a pretty significant portion of my monthly budget. That tax credit used to pay for my car insurance, our tenant insurance, and my monthly bus pass. It also paid for any meals we had “out” (usually delivery).

So anyway, all that to say I’m having to pinch my pennies a bit harder, and it’s difficult, which makes the depression get a better toe-hold into me. Why am I telling you all this? Because I’m trying to dig myself out of it. And one of the ways I do that is to make myself a little bit accountable outside my own head. One of the plans is to meal plan a bit better. Today being payday, I went through the discount grocery chain’s flyer with a fine-tooth comb, made a list, and made some plans about what we’re going to eat for the next seven days.

I plan on making a pot of Budget Bytes Gingerbread Steel-Cut Oats in the Instant Pot (recipe will be followed except for the method – I’ll follow the method I usually use for steel cut oats in the IP). That, and a pot of seriously-discounted yogurt (yay sales!) will cover breakfasts. I also bought some bananas, so I may make a second batch of steel-cut oats with bananas if I run out of gingerbread. I bought some seasoned chicken legs (with back attached). When I picked up the package, both my kids groaned. See, a few weeks ago, chicken legs were on a deep discount at my store, so I bought a crapton. We’ve been eating nothing but chicken legs for a long time, and the troops are tired of them. So those are my work lunch for the next four workdays (I’ll cook them momentarily).

I bought some chickpeas and tahini to make Real Simple Five-minute hummus (my daughter eats it like it’s going out of style, so why not save a bit of money and make it at home?) There are fresh vegetables to go with that. She also has cans of condensed soup, which are one of her favorite foods – those will be doled out one per day. I bought chicken hotdogs and buns for my son’s lunches, and I usually leave him a big pot of rice in the fridge at the beginning of the week. I managed to get two barded king roasts for less than $12, and some ground pork that should be enough to make 3 meals (along with 3-lb bags of onions and carrots). My budget was $100. I spent $101.16. I feel okay about that. I need to do more advance food prep, and I need to make sure I have decently healthy food for my grocery store shifts, so I don’t end up buying something to eat on my break (I literally can’t buy anything this week).

Anyway, beyond the money and food thing, I know I need help to pull myself out of this. Both my kids are in therapy currently, so I can’t really afford to go that route myself, but my employer has a rather impressive Employee Assistance Program that I intend to contact some time before the end of the week. I got stressed out at work this morning, for entirely valid reasons, but I was 100% unable to prevent myself from bursting into tears over it in my boss’s office. Don’t worry, my boss is entirely in my corner and wants to do whatever she can to support and assist me. I wasn’t stressed out about her 🙂

So since the EAP is available to me, and costs nothing, I will avail myself of the assistance offered. Because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with seeking help. Depression and anxiety affect a lot of people, and a lot of them don’t have access to the kind of assistance I have available to me. So as difficult as things have been for me in recent weeks, I am privileged to have assistance available to me.

I guess my point in bringing all this up is, if you need help, ask for it. Talk to your doctor, if you can. Talk to a friend. Talk to your family (if that’s something that would help – not everyone has a supportive family, or even family at all). Talk to me. We all need a helping hand once in a while. And some of us need that a bit more often. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Also, everybody’s always looking for ways to save money, so if you have a favorite tip, share it in the comments 🙂

Podcast Episode 52

I recorded this VERY late Monday evening, and it turned into a sort of exhausted stream-of-consciousness thing, which was not my intent. I’m still working on sorting out my recording setup – I still need a tripod, and a new chair, which will have to wait for post-Rhinebeck, unfortunately.

In any case, here’s the episode. There was no tea, and I’ve been knitting on the same project for about two months now, so I have nothing exciting to share on the knitting front either. But here’s the episode, such as it is.

In other news, I’m currently cooking a kick-ass pumpkin and fish curry, and if it turns out, I may share the recipe in a week or two!

Western “Omelet” Quiche

I know I promised to post this recipe a few weeks ago, but I was having trouble finding a) the time, and b) a way to get my photos and my blog page in the same place. I generally write my blog entries from the office, during my lunch hour. But I can’t access Google Photos (where the pictures that I take with my phone end up) from work. My laptop at home is quite small, and doesn’t have a standard sized keyboard, so it’s not the most pleasant thing to work on – also, I don’t spend a whole heck of a lot of time at home! But enough with the excuses. I promised, so here’s the post!

Quiche is a simple, easy, and elegant way to use up leftovers – and wow your family/guests at the same time! A few eggs, some dairy, whatever meat and vegetable leftovers you have lying around, and VOILA! Quiche! A few weeks ago, I had a few vegetables that were getting soft in the fridge, and I needed something quick and easy to prep for my lunches for work. Now, don’t do what I did… I bought the cheapest frozen crusts I could find. Pie crust isn’t all that hard to make, so I really should work on mastering that. This is what I ended up with, fifteen minutes before the grocery store closed:

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That, my friends, is a shattered pie crust. But the store was closed by then, so I had to go with what I had. I rearranged the pieces as best I could, stabbed the thing with a fork all over (prevents bubbles from forming in the crust), and got to work. I use deep-dish pie crusts, because I like my quiche to have a bit of substance to it. I’ll stop blabbing and just get into the recipe now.

Western “Omelet” Quiche
Serves 6 for brunch, or 4 for dinner

1 deep-dish frozen pie crust (or homemade is good too)
5 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (you can substitute half-and-half or whole milk)
1 large onion, finely diced
2 jalapeno peppers, finely diced (seeds and veins removed)
1/2 to 1 cup chopped leftover ham (I used a tin of canned ham, drained)
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used Swiss) plus 1/2 cup set aside
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp thyme

Pierce pie crust with a fork to prevent bubbles forming. In a large bowl, beat eggs, and add heavy cream. Continue beating until frothy. Add onions, peppers, ham, and 1/2 cup shredded cheese. Stir to combine thoroughly. Add seasonings and mix one final time. Pour egg mixture into pie crust and place on baking sheet (in case of overflow). Top with remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese, and additional smoked paprika. Bake in 350F oven for 50 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 230
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15.1g 19%
Saturated Fat 7.8g 39%
Cholesterol 47mg 16%
Sodium 633mg 28%
Total Carbohydrate 14.1g 5%
Dietary Fiber 0.8g 3%
Total Sugars 1.5g
Protein 9.6g
Vitamin D 13mcg 66%
Calcium 159mg 12%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 122mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet.2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Recipe analyzed by 

Leave a comment letting me know how you liked this quiche! My kids devoured the second one I made in one day.