Friday, September 28, 2012

Happy Friday!

Instead of a long post explaining what I've been working on, I thought I would just post pictures and do more of a wordless post :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cheesy Pasta Bake

As part of my quest to try new recipes, the hubs and I tried the Three-Cheese Chicken Penne Pasta Bake from It appealed to me because it didn't take too many ingredients (read: cheap!) and looked to be pretty healthy for a pasta dish. I actually made a few modifications to the dish; I used regular elbow noodles rather than the multi-grain penne noodles called for because its what I had in my pantry. I also used some leftover cooked spinach instead of fresh, and instead of spaghetti sauce (because neither of us are big fans of red tomato sauce) I used Alfredo sauce, but cut back the amount.

The verdict? We liked it! I would say we give it 4 stars out of 5. The hubs thought it was good, but then agreed when I thought it could benefit from adding something, though we weren;t sure what. Maybe more sauce? More cheese? At any rate, it made for a good warm meal. Here's a shot of it before we dug in:

Aaaaaand the beauty shot :)

You may have noticed that I used instagram for these shots. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet, but I thought I would give it a go and see what I think. I am not a fan of the black bar at the top and bottom, but I'm sure there's a way around it.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sweater Weather

Here in WNY the air has a cool, crisp feel to it. We went from a very nice warm summer to quickly dropping temperatures. There have been a few nights where it has gotten down in the 40s already!

I mentioned back in this post that I was making an Abalone sweater. Now that the wedding blanket is done, I can really focus on this! I'm knitting the sweater out of Malabrigo Rios, and I can't tell you enough how lovely this yarn is to work with. Its soft, squishy, and superwash, so I wont have to worry about it making its way into the laundry hamper. I chose the Pearl 10 colorway, which has lovely variegated grays with a slight purple tint. Here's a photo of my progress:

Its a little hard to see because of the curling stockinette, but the middle is longer than the sides, creating a nice sloped bottom. I have just over 10 inches here, and I'm aiming for around 18 inches before I split for the armholes. I still have three balls of yarn, and since the sleeves are quite short I'm pretty sure I'll have enough.

I also just wanted to mention that I had a teaser up last month about a new pattern. I haven't forgotten about it, but with starting school and having weekend plans the past few weeks I haven't had time to move on to actually knitting the pattern. Hopefully soon I'll have a test knit done and be looking for test knitters!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Rating Recipes

Since our weekly schedule has changed, sometimes dinners are a little more inventive than in the past. There are some nights that we wait until 8pm to eat because one or both of us is working or at school until then. Fridays have become more of a free day, resulting in breakfasts being more than a hurried bowl of cereal or a takeaway breakfast. Half of the week I am able to go home for lunch, but the other half I either eat while driving (bad, I know) or I wait until between my classes, by which time I am STARVING.

As you can see, I don't have time to inventory my kitchen and then plan what to make before making it. If I'm cooking at 8pm I better know what I am making, have everything on hand, and maybe even have done some prep work (this has yet to actually happen!)

This week was a little off; we weren't home some nights we normally are, and I didn't get a change to grocery shop before yesterday, so our meals were very creative. Last night we tried a new recipe, hot crab dip, from I wasn't feeling making a big meal and really just wanted snacky food stuff, so this fit the bill! Plus we have leftovers, which I love. I forgot to snap a pic, but here is the one from kraft foods.

We ate ours with crackers, but this would be great spread on bread or with veggies. I think we would give it a 4 out of 5, only because I feel like it was missing something, maybe more crab? I skipped on the green onions because the Mr is not a fan, but I think if I were making it for myself I would add them.

Tonight I am trying another recipe, three cheese chicken penne pasta bake. I'm hoping this will be a healthier version of the Applebee's version, which I love. Report coming up!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Finish or Frog???

So, you may have noticed that there is a project that has been over there ---> with the rest of my current WIPs but hasn't gotten much attention. Its my Gideon's Jerry, which is Rebecca Danger's Jerry the Musical Monkey. The finished product is super cute, and my friend who had a baby this summer went with a monkey and jungle theme. I knew I wasn't going to finish Jerry by the time Gideon was born, but newborns can't do much with a stuffed toy anyway, so I figured I would finish it by the time he was a few months old and would actually be able to play with it.

It turns out I dread working on this project, and therefore it hasn't gotten a lot of love. I've been working on it for at least two months, and here is my progress so far:

That's the main body, two arms, two ears, and the start of a foot. I think the main problem I have with this project is I should have chosen a larger needle size. I think I am knitting the DK yarn on size three needles, which not only hurts my hands after a while, but is just plain hard to knit. Also its a fiddly project, which I half expected since its a toy, but I am not looking forward to seaming all those pieces together. I plan to use the rest of the yarn to make a baby surprise jacket, and every time I work on this I just keep thinking about how I would rather be knitting a baby sweater instead.

I estimate that I am about halfway done with the monkey. Is it worth it to push through and finish since I'm this far? Or should I put it away for a while and knit the sweater? Or frog what I can and reknit it sometime later with bigger needles?

Monday, September 17, 2012


I finally finished the blanket! I am SO proud of myself. I think this is the biggest thing I have ever finished, and it felt so good to wrap it up and give it to my friend (well, leave it at the presents table anyway!) I know she and her new husband will appreciate it, and that is why I love making homemade gifts. Here it is in all its glory:

I only had time to do a single crochet border of black around the blanket instead of a row of each color like I wanted, but I think it looks fine anyway. I estimate the blanket used about 2800 yards of yarn, which is crazy! That's about half of the yarn I have used already this year.

In other news, this weekend was a busy one, with the wedding and visiting friends who have moved and a family reunion. The only photo I took (bad me) was the sunset over the lake on our way home yesterday:

Isn't that beautiful? Sometimes I forget how pretty Western NY is. We really are blessed with nice weather and beautiful scenery much of the year. Remind me of this statement in four months when I am covered with lake effect snow, will ya?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Black hole of Blanket Knitting

All my free time has been taken over by homework and blanket knitting. It all comes to an end (well, the blanket knitting anyway) on Saturday, so don't be surprised if you don't hear from me before then! A cute kitty photo to hold you over:

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fall Baking

Its finally cooled down in Western New York this weekend, and that got me in the mood to bake! Middle of last week I made some of Courtney's Chewy Chocolate Chip Heath Bar Cookies. They were awesome!

If you haven't checked out Courtney's site before, you really need to get over there. I love all the different recipes she comes up with, and she's a fellow New Yorker!

This weekend I whipped up an apple pie and some banana bread. The pie was for Sunday dinner at my parents. We were celebrating dad's birthday and since he loves any kind of pie I decided on apple, since everyone loves apple pie! It turned out pretty good.

The banana bread was baked out of necessity; normally I use my bananas in a morning smoothie. I was sick this past week though and didn't think consuming dairy based smoothies would be that great for my congestion, so at the end of the week I still had three bananas that were quickly approaching the garbage bin. I make banana bread at least once a month, and this batch was just ok. I may be on the lookout for a new recipe!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

September Reading

The last time I blogged about what I was reading was way back here! I have since finished Hunger Games, Semi-Sweet, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (reread), and Gilead, which I mentioned in my last blog post. I also read the entire Redemption Series by Karen Kingsbury and The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

So what am I reading right now? I'm glad you asked!

This is a book that the Mr. and I have been reading together. We don't get to sit down and read together very often, so it has been slow going, but its pretty good so far. I like how real the authors are very honest about their own marriage. I'm hesitant to recommend this until we finish it, but so far so good!

This is our book that we are reading for staff meetings at work right now. With this book, again, I'm not very far into it, but I like what I have read so far!

This is part of my "read-all-the-young-adult-books-before-I-am-too-old" effort. I know this series was really popular when it was coming out, so it has become my audiobook listening when I'm driving. I'd say I'm just over halfway through and there was definitely a point where I thought about just turning it off because it seemed like the story was crawling, but I'm glad I kept with it!

I will definitely be starting a new book soon, and I have a few more lined up ready to go as I finish the current reads. I am toying with the idea of reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower, since the movie will be out soon and I will most likely see it at some point. Also, I will continue the Inheritance series, so Eldest will be started (probably on audio) once I finish Eragon. I also have a book on selling items on Etsy on my to read list, but I'm not sure about starting that one. I am in the process of opening a shop for my knitting patterns on Etsy, and might be putting other stuff in there as well, so its probably a good idea. Guess we'll have to wait and see!

Monday, September 3, 2012


Even though I didn't sort for the current term at HPKCHC, I am still playing along as an SoS student. This means I'm not earning points for a house, and therefore while I don't NEED to turn in classes or do an Order Mission or an OWL, I can keep up with classes to better my sorting priority for next term. I also decided to do an OWL (with the help of some friends!) out of items I already had in my queue. Here is my lineup for my Divination OWL:

 First up is the Abalone sweater. I love the look of this and I think it would work really well with my wardrobe. The Stockinette Zombies are doing a knit-along for this pattern in September and October, which works out really well for me! You should check out the knit-along in their group. I am using Malabrigo Rios in the Pearl 10 colorway. Here's a shot of my yarn, needle, swatch, and pattern.

The color isn't quite true in this photo, but its shades of medium to dark grays. I'm super excited to cast on this sweater! I'm hoping to finish it before Rhinebeck so I can wear it then.

Next is the Daybreak Shawl. This has been in my favorites for a year and a half! I'm glad I finally found the perfect yarns for this shawl; I'm using Malabrigo Sock in the Impressionist Sky and Turner colorways. Here's a shot of my materials for this.

I'm also planning to knit the Easy Fingerless Mitts in some yarn I was gifted a little while ago. I'm planning to use Mirasol Yarns Sulka in a skein or purple and a skein of brown. I'm hoping to use up every last bit of this yarn (cause there isn't much in the skeins) so I will be striping these fingerless mitts. I haven't swatched/started these mitts yet, but hopefully that will happen this afternoon.

Lastly I want to make the Boogie Earbuds. This is a knitted tube around your headphone cord to keep them from being tangled and give them a cool look :) I'm using some leftover Cascade Heritage Paints in Londonberry. I'm not really sure how to swatch for this pattern, so maybe I just need to fo an inch or so of the pattern?

As you can see I have quite the variety of items planned. Worsted weight, fingering weight, bulky weight, sweater, shawl, accessories, stripes, variegated yarn, and tonal. Should be a good time! Now if only I could finish that darn Moderne Log Cabin blanket so I can get cranking on these!