Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Okay, I'm sure millions of people already know this. But I just thought of it for myself this morning, so for me it is innovative.

I used 4 bottles of barbecue sauce to make ribs on Sunday. There's always some left, you know? That stuff that sticks to the sides. So I wanted to incorporate them together. A balancing act was out of the question.

So I took some foil, folded it up and wrapped it around the necks of two bottles. Now they are in the sink and gravity is doing the rest.

BTW, you want to make killer ribs? First, grill them for a bit on the barbecue. You aren't cooking them, just getting some nice grill marks and a little char on them. Oh...make sure you've emptied out that thing that catches grease or you will have a BIG fire and a lot of heat to deal with. That's another story.

Now, put your ribs into a big lasagna pan. You might need two pans. Dump your favorite sauce over them. Cover with foil.

Cook in a 250 degree oven for 3-4 hours or more. Yes, that's 250 degrees.

You will end up with the most delicious, fall-off-the-bone ribs ever!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pantry-to-Fridge Pickles

(NOTE: This is an earlier post. I'm just redoing it so I don't have to keep looking for it.)
(I use a jar from store-bought pickles, but changed the name!)

I call these "Pantry-to-Fridge Pickles" because you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry already. My own version is somewhat mild, slightly salty and slightly sweet. These are dill pickles, not sweet pickles, though. Most recipes I found for fridge pickles call for too much sugar, and I hate sweet pickles, to be honest. (Obviously, though, these are not "Kosher" dills.)

You need:

2 cups water
2 cups white vinegar
1/8 cup sugar
1/4 cup Kosher salt (you can use canning salt but I wouldn't know the proportion so play with it)
1 Tablespoon pickling spice

The above list is pretty much 'right,' at least to my taste. But the following is up to you:

Onion powder
Dill weed
Garlic powder

Cucumbers--four to eight to ten depending on how big they are. Figure out what will sit in 4 cups of liquid.

When you buy them, make sure they are very hard, as the pickling will soften them a bit. Unwaxed cukes or Kirbys are best.

Okay, so cut the cucumbers the way you like them and throw them into a bowl. Sprinkle with your herbs and spices. I just eyeball it. You like garlic, add more garlic. This isn't carved in stone, but you should probably go easy the first time around.

Put the water and vinegar in a microwave safe bowl or a pot. I use my 8-cup measuring cup. Nuke or simmer until nice and hot. Then mix in the sugar and salt a pickling spice.

Pour it over the cucumbers. Cover. When it's cooled down a bit, put it in the fridge overnight.

Next day, put the pickles in jars and pour the 'juice' over them. Enjoy!

PS--you can use fresh ingredients, but then this wouldn't be a pantry recipe!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mama Mia!

Last night, I made homemade mozzarella for the first time. My daughter's friend and her mom were nice enough to teach me!

It is sooo easy! In fact, the hardest part is getting the curds. And all you have to do there is go to an Italian store that makes fresh mozzarella and buy them.

I want to do this a few times until I'm totally sure of myself, but I promise I will post the how-to. You'll be amazed.

Basically, you bring a big pot of water up to temperature (about 180 degrees but wait on that until I post about this again), then you dump in the curds for about 3 minutes (again, I'll have the exact timing later).

Then you strain the curds out into a bowl. They will be somewhat stringy. Wearing gloves (because the curds are HOT) you pick up the blob and fold it up, then you just let it stretch down. You keep turning and folding until the stretchiness slows down and the cheese is shiny. You wrap it up into a ball and put plastic wrap around it. Then you put it in the fridge.

Or you eat it right away because fresh mozzarella is AWESOME.

Or...and we had this as a snack last night: instead of smushing it into a ball, you take the stretched out piece and lay some prosciutto on it, then you roll it up and cut pinwheels. I don't even like prosciutto and I had two of these.

I promise I'll post a how-to ASAP. But next post, I will share my own Pantry-to-Fridge pickle recipe!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Crochet Vest

Here's a vest I've been working on for a while. It's on the cover of the March/April issue of Crochet Today magazine. The yarn is 'Beach Glass' which is a Bamboo Ewe yarn.

This was a good pattern to use because it is made in one piece (you sew it together at the shoulders) and because it is a vest there are no sleeves. I just finished the armholes and the next thing to do is the wide, ridged border. It closed with 3 buttons. It might get too warm to wear it soon, but it would be nice where there is air-conditioning. And I'll wear it in the fall even though "Beach Glass" is certainly a summer color!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Latest finish

Here is a quick project I finished recently. It is a baby sweater. It's supposed to be a size 12 months but I think it's more 9 or even 6 months. Whatever, it isn't for any particular baby. I just liked it. It is from an issue of "Crochet Today" magazine.

Using stitch markers made this go a lot faster. I don't know how I worked without them before. The repeat is 3 single crochet rows, plus two rows that make the 'eyelet.' I was having trouble remembering where I was until I got the markers. They come in 3 colors: blue, red and yellow. For me, since I learned the primary colors in this order, blue was row 1, red was 2 and yellow was 3. I just kept at it until I finished it. It also helped that I had the right yarn and hook right from the start. I have a few 'almost finished' projects for which I need to buy new yarn. My biggest one is a vest. I'm up the part where I have to make a border around it (with buttons) but there is enough finished to actually try it on, and I'm happy to say it fits.

Mother's Day was very nice and I wrote about mine in my "Family News" blog. Despite a toothache (I had a root canal done last week and am still hurting) I had a wonderful Mother's Day. I hope all my readers (few of you that there are) did, too!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Buggy Buddies

Here are two little bugs I crocheted for a friend's kids. You've already met the Bee, but now she has a friend. Miss Bee is pretty much an egg shape and Miss Ladybug is a squished ball. They are my own design, which means I pretty much fudged it until I got what I wanted. I think I posted before that Miss Bee's wings are actually a butterfly pattern. For Miss Ladybug's spots, I just used a small hook (G) and made two small circles, then sewed them on. I back-stitched down the middle of her back to delineate for her wings. Their faces are embroidered with floss.

My bugs are small enough for a child's hands and nice and squishy!

Today I'm linking to a new blog I found: "Sugar and Dots"! Isn't that a cute name?