[cooking] Mincemeat tarts and peanut brittle

Last night I made some mincemeat tarts (with the mincemeat I started weeks ago) for a work party today:

mincemeat tarts

They're good- I like them. But we'll see what kind of feedback I get today. They still have a bit of a game-y taste but I think it's from the suet I used (rather than the venison). I don't know what real mincemeat is meant to taste like.

I also made some quick microwave peanut brittle (to add to the variety of Christmas cookies/treats I'm giving out):

peanut brittle

I unfortunately lost one of my glass bowls in the first attempt (heard a sad, low pop come from the microwave and I immediately knew). Not sure what the problem was- it was the same bowl that I used last year with the same recipe- maybe there was a new scratch on the inside of the bowl, I'm not sure. Anyway, it was very sad.

Gotta carve out some crafting time. And last-minute gift shopping. And wrap everything. And finish up the Christmas cookies.


[misc] Penny Wednesday

Penny, helping me with my second pair of Camp Out Mitts:

Penny helps me start a new project.

My work holiday party is tomorrow afternoon and I'm going to bring doenjang jjigae (vegan) and mincemeat tarts (loaded with venison, definitely not vegan). Lots of cooking to do tonight. And I didn't make any holiday cookies last night, so I feel behind. Nothing's wrapped. But packages are on their way from Amazon. At least this week is going by fast- I am in dire need of a vacation.


[knitting] Camp Out Mitts

Whipped up a pair of quick fingerless mitts with less than one ball of Noro Kureyon:

Mismatch fingerless mitts. #campfiremitts #kureyon

I've had a couple old balls of Kureyon kicking around my stash for years. It was such a fast project that I'm making another pair in a different colorway...

I used a very, VERY short US 7 circular (less than 8 inches?) to do the main body and it's a little awkward holding it. I found that I can't really work continental style (picking with yarn in my left hand) and have to do English style (throwing yarn with my right hand). The actual needles are very short so it's difficult to get acclimated to where you can actually hold on to them. I think it might just take more practice.


[travel] Mobile, AL

Was away last week to Mobile, AL for work. Got to stay in a pretty posh hotel:

Christmas tree goals 🎄

Has some good food (this was at Loda Bier Garten):


I was able to get one soul-food fix at a place called Mama's. Sometimes the best food isn't the most photogenic, so no picture of my shrimp and grits and okra and collard greens but it was just what I was looking for in terms out Southern comfort food.

On my way out, I made a pit stop to a local yarn store called Mobile Yarn:

Visited a lovely yarn shop in Mobile before heading home. Got my souvenirs!

Great shop- I can't recommend it enough. The owner was so nice. The other ladies participating in a class were hilarious and friendly. Good yarn selection. Very nice samples and bits and bobs around the shop. I hope I get send to Mobile again- just so I can go back here.

Now it's time to catch-up on everything. Christmas is 7 days away? Maybe I should start thinking about, you know, getting ready for it? Siiiiiiiiigh.


[misc] Penny Friday

Penny, last night in my lap while I knit:

Lap cat wants me to stop knitting and get her supper already. 🍗

The cats get supper at 6:00 pm. At 6:01, Penny starts staring at me... which progresses into meowing and tapping me (my head, hair, shoulder) with her paw. So demanding.

Still chugging away on the little knit dress. Will be traveling next week and should have plenty of airport/airplane knitting time.


[cooking] Pozole

Last night's supper, pozole:

Pozole last night, with collard greens. 🍲

I already had some pork shoulder that I slow cooked a while ago and froze. I just defrosted some chunks and pulled apart with my fingers into a big pot. I added two cans of rinsed hominy. I had some dried New Mexico chilies soaking in boiled water. After 30 min, I pureed them with some onion and garlic- and added this paste to the pot. Cover everything with some chicken broth, add salt and a couple teaspoons of Mexican oregano and simmer. To make it a bit healthier and add some greens, I chopped some collard greens and stirred this in near the end and simmered a few more minutes. Pretty easy weeknight meal.

I spent some of the afternoon at the King Arthur Flour Baking School for a free Bake for Good class. This was a basic bread class- you don't take anything home (everything that the classes make gets donated to the Haven shelter/food shelf) but you learn best practices and get to ask questions. I think it's borderline cruel that they wheel out previous classes finished rolls from the oven, for you to see/smell while you're working but... you go home with the recipe and experience to make it yourself. The highlight for me was seeing the instructor roll a bit of dough into a perfect ball. It was like, 50% technique, 50% black magic. 

I've been putting off starting mincemeat so I figured I might as well do that last night as well (that was a mistake... a multi-hour mistake). Boiled up some venison shoulder in cider, sugar and spices. Gathered and prepped all my dried fruit (cranberries, apricots, golden raisins, apples). Minced the venison and suet by band (I'm going to ask Santa for a meat grinder this year). Put everything together, reduced, topped off with some Sortilege maple whiskey and into the fridge it all goes for weeks. If it comes out well, I might portion some into mason jars to give as gifts.

I had no time to knit last night... siiiiiiiiiigh.


[knitting] Knit Dress

Working on a dress for my niece:

Working on a little knit dress. I’m at the miles-of-stockinette stage. #knitting #littlesisterdress

Making progress on the stockinette body. The little pops of color in the yarn keep it at least a little interesting. I think I'll measure and do some math after and figure out what size to make using heavier yarn. 


[misc] Penny Monday

Penny in the bass case:

Penny in the bass case. 🐱 🎸

Weekends are now spent covered in cats- they are constantly looking for a warm lap to hang out on for hours. Santana's winter spot is under the covers on my side of the bed to curl up and nap in. I don't make the bed so I can never tell when she's in there and will inevitably (a) try to lay down on top of her (oops), or (b) plop a laundry basket down on top of her. I realize my mistake only when I hear a plaintive little mew and the covers start moving.

Started a little dress for my niece in fingering weight yarn. I'm doing the 2-year-old size but I feel like it's coming out so large, I might save it for Christmas next year. I also took out some black and yellow sport-weight-yarn. Once I finish this one, I'll try making a "bumble bee" dress in a smaller size.

Working on a (too large) toddler dress with thin yarn and US 3 needles after whipping out a bunch of hats and socks so quickly is a little humbling. (I'm so humble, I am the most humble-est, number one at the top of the humble list.) I do have some sweater patterns printed for DK and worsted weight- maybe I'll squeeze one of those in before the bumble bee dress.

Also rummaged around the stash and found two ancient skeins of Noro Kureyon- going to try to make a couple pairs of fingerless mitts.

I made Nantucket Cranberry Cake this weekend. It's legit awesome. I had a container of fresh cranberries that I didn't use for Thanksgiving (I like the kind from a can; someone else brought homemade cranberry sauce)- to what to do with fresh cranberries? More than a few people recommended this recipe to me and it's awesome. 


[knitting] Cotton-Ease Socks

I already have a couple Christmas presents done for a certain someone:

Cotton Ease Socks

Leftover Cotton Ease Socks

The yarn is Lion Brand Cotton-Ease. It has been discontinued for a little while and if you can't tell from the patchwork 2nd pair, I'm using up all my leftovers. I'm very tempted to cruise around Ravelry and see what users are selling from their stash... but I have a bag of misc worsted weight superwash wool, so it's not time to go hunting for yarn yet.

I love this yarn though- it really holds up to so much wearing and washing. And because the yarn is worsted weight, I was able to knit two pairs in a week. Now I can move on to other Christmas gifts...