Archive for April, 2008

Cass in the Kitchen How to Make Fried Okra and Cooking By Numbers

:kitchen:

Fried Okra

This here is quintessential southern food, ya’ll! You gotta try it. Wash your okra, and cut off the tops of the pods as they tend to be tough. You can see the place to cut, as there is an actual line on the pod at that spot. Cut it in rounds about 1/2 inch wide. Dredge it in cornmeal mixed with a bit of salt. Heat your oil in a heavy skillet, about 1/2 in deep to 375 or so. Fry the okra for just a few minutes until it is golden brown. It will not take long if you have the oil hot enough. If you don’t have the oil hot enough, your okra will come out too greasy.

I am blessed to be able to buy mine pre-breaded and frozen, so I skip straight to “Heat your oil…” This is the best stuff! Seriously.

friedokra

Cooking by Numbers

Click the ingredients you have on hand in the frig and in the pantry, and this site comes up with recipes for you. They claim to be handy tools for busy moms. That’s my game, because I am all about the easy. Cooking By Numbers fits the bill nicely. I clicked off bacon and chocolate just to amuse myself, and it came up with Bacon Surprise:

Method

method: 1. Decide whether you want to fry or grill your bacon. Then either put your bacon in a pan over a medium to high heat or under a grill at the same heat.

2. Cook until the bacon crisps up, turning as needed.

3. Consider the sorry state of your food supplies and decide that you do really need to do some shopping if all you have left is some bacon.

4. Devour the bacon with lashings of tomato sauce and serve with a bit of bread or toast if you have some.

and Chocolate Dream

Method

method: 1. Indulge in eating your chocolate- do not share it with anybody! 2. Now you are fully relaxed and happy, go and buy some food- you obviously have NOTHING in the house.

Not only are the recipes good, they are also funny. And yes, I have more than bacon and chocolate in the house.

Congrats Sherri!

Congrats Sherri! Please send me your address to claim your new book!

That’s all I’ve got today, folks. I spent some time doing other needful stuff.

Online Craft Club Show and Tell #29

Well, how are are you? I’m a busy bee as you know if you’ve been looking at my pictures. I’ve not been knitting as much as I usually do, because so much else has been going on. However, I am through with the body on Skimmer! It looks like this:

IMG 0354

I don’t know why I thought holding it up against me would make a good picture, but there it is, nonetheless.

So! If you are knitting along with me, we are ready to make the boobs. We are going to short row those, kinda like Mariposa. If you have made this sweater as form fitting as I said originally, you will definitely be needing some short row-age. I don’t think you’ll be able to get anything beyond a wannabe-A in there without them. Our sweater isn’t adjustable so we are going to have to build more than just darts. We actually have to build a <>, and so we will use 2 times the rows that the pattern recommends, and start from middle.

Go ahead and divide the sweater front front and back, work an inch past the middle front, wrap and turn, and work 2 inches, wrap and turn, work an inch past the first wrap (picking up the old wrap as you go) and wrap and turn. Work back to an inch past the second wrap (picking up the wrap as you go). Continue in this way,

4 rows for an A
8 rows for a B
12 rows for a C
16 rows for a D
and 20 rows for a DD

If you are bigger than a DD, you’ve already been doing this kind of math and probably don’t need my help. These numbers are based on worsted gauge, so if you are using something else, adjust accordingly. That completes the \__/ and now we just go back the other way for the /–\ (dang my inability to just reach out and DRAW a shape on the internets!). So instead of going wider and wider, we’ll go an inch less with each row. When you get to that pivot row, you won’t be able to pick up the wraps anymore, obviously, so well pick them up on the next pass. Also, as you pass that row, you should start seeing a bra shape form in the sweater.

Ok, I think I have sufficiently muddied the waters for ya! If you are indeed knitting along and you don’t understand what I have said, please, please, PLEASE! leave a question in the comments. I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Also, next week, I will try to post some closeups of my work so you can have a look at what should be happening.

~~~~~~~~~~~~
Here’s how to play:

Take a picture of your current project, whatever that happens to be. Or maybe one you recently finished. Or the materials for the one you are about to start. Let’s say materials for a project in whatever state it happens to be in at the time you snap it. On Friday, post the picture and tell us about your project. What you did, or what you are going to do. How much you are enjoying it, or hating it. You know–show and tell.

Just copy & paste the code below the graphic and get crafty with me!

Be sure to come back and leave a comment so we know where to find you!

I want to thank the kind folks at Powerful Signal for sponsoring the Club this week, where you can pick up a cell phone repeater should you need one.
[tags]Online Craft Club[/tags]

Cass in the Kitchen: Home Made Granola and Rice Stuffed Chicken

:kitchen: Welcome back ya’ll. I have been looking forward to this post all week. I have two recipes to share with you, and about a bazillion pictures. If you are on dial-up you might need to go get coffee, but I can promise the pictures are so worth it. I always like pictures with my recipes, not because I need to know what something should look like but because … hmm, why do I like pictures? Maybe because a good picture lets me know if I will like the dish without slowing down to read the recipe? Who knows, but I like some foodie pictures, don’t you? One more warning: there are both nuts and naked chicken ahead. How’s that for food porn?

Granola

We really like the homemade granola around here. A lot. As in, we’ve gone through 14 and a half cups of it in less than a week. That’s how much this recipe makes, and I also figured out the calorie count because I am on a diet changing my eating habits and needed to know. Please don’t panic when you read the number, because this is not “bad food”. There are two servings of grain, a protein and a fruit in each half cup. And also 227 calories. You’ll need about an hour to make this, and here are the ingredients, more or less:

8 cups of oats
1/2 cup oil (canola preferred)
1 cup maple syrup (you can use brown sugar instead)
2 cups of nuts (I used the mixed, already roasted kind)
2 cups of dried fruit (I used mixed berries and raisins)

You can make this in an oven, and it’s not that difficult, but I used my huge electric skillet this time, and it was much easier without all that oven door opening, and also, it didn’t heat up the whole house. So, turn you heat to about 250 and pour in the oats. Let these cook just until they are hot, and then drizzle the oil over them while you stir. Keep stirring until the oil is mixed in and absorbed. Then cook it for another 30 minutes or so (in the pan, longer in the oven). The oats should look dry and smell vaguely like oatmeal.

nuts in the measuring cupThen you know its time to add the syrup. Drizzle it in just like you did the oil, but be aware that it can get a little clumpy if you go too fast. Aim for a thin ribbon, and stir, stir, stir. Then you can add the nuts. I admit that I got a little camera happy when it came time for the nuts, and so I present two pictures. One of plain ol’ nuts in a measuring cup, necessary, but pretty boring.

And then there is the macro shot, which I think is awesome. You can see the salt dust! I kinda aimed across the cup to get this shot. Umm, ok, I’m hushing. I know you are here for the recipe, not the photography. But I am still showing you the picture.

nuts macro

Okay, moving on. Stir in the nuts. Once the nuts begin to smell roast-y, and that depends entirely on the heat and how dry your mixture is, and whether you are using a skillet or the oven, but you will know it when you smell it, then you are almost done!

Add the fruit:
adding the fruit

Stir in in real well, and turn off the heat. Viola! Granola!

finished granola

You can vary the ingredients and the amounts to customize the granola to your personal taste. It’s different every time you make it!

Here’s how I like to eat mine:

serving the granola

I spoon it over yogurt. That adds a milk to my 2 grains/fruit/protein and gives me a perfectly balanced meal. And it is so stinking good!

Rice Stuffed Chicken

So, I was reading the Everyday with Rachel Ray magazine I mentioned and there was a little blurb in there about stuffing chicken with leftover friend rice. “Hmm”, I thought to myself, “That could get pretty interesting!” I’d never in my life made stuffed chicken before, but I knew that was going to change. When I went grocery shopping, I looked for fried rice, but I ended up with this instead:
yellow rice

We cooked it and spooned it in (thanks Country, for wielding the camera):
spooning in rice

Here it is, ready to go in the oven. Here’s a tip I learned a long time ago. Most folks roast a chicken breast side up. This leads to a nice crispy skin, but also frequently leads to dried up breast meat. I like my boobs juicy and tender, so here’s what I do: I roast my chickens like they walk. That means the breasts are in the pan, and the juices flow over them, basting them the whole time they cook, and you don’t have to do anything extra.

chicken raw

A little salt and garlic powder, and an hour and half later, we had this:

chicken cooked

Oh, doesn’t that look good? The meat had picked up a subtle flavoring from the rice, and it was just so. good! The family reports it was very tasty, but being a calorie nazi, I had mine a little differently. I knew there was no way I could afford that rice, since it had all that chicken juiciness in it, so I had mine like this:

chicken salad

380 calories with a generous 1/2 cup of chicken, 1/3 cup of cheese and 2 tablespoons of salad topping.

Oopsie! What’s Social Spark anyway?

Umm, it occurred to me after I hit publish on the previous post that I mentioned Social Spark, and did not explain one measly word about it beyond discussing the blog sponsorships and their impact on my yarn fund. And then I popped over to the site to see if my sponsorship was ready, and lo and behold, they were looking for bloggers to tell other bloggers about Social Spark. Hey, I can do that! I’m qualified and verified and woohoo!

I have been so excited about Social Spark since I got a glimpse of it in Las Vegas last year. It is truly an exciting platform. Social Spark combines social networking with paid blogging. The best part is you can do one without the other. Each blogger can create a profile that lists their interests and what they like. Here’s mine. Oh, wait. I can’t link you to it, because SocialSpark is still in alpha. I’m a tester. *Giggle* I totally like being out there on the edge of a new thing!

Ok, so you can fill out a profile, and then you can take opportunities to blog about stuff you probably would have talked about anyway for money. Or you an wait for a company you like to offer a blog sponsorship. OR, you can ask a company to sponsor you. Yeah, crazy talk, huh?

It’s going to be a great place for you to hook up with other bloggers with similar interests, because the whole thing is searchable. Think ….. Ravelry for the paid blogger niche of humanity. Or even those who would consider paid blogging if the price was right. Yeah, I mentioned Ravelry. Yeah, I really do think it will be that big.

They even collect stats for you on who your visitors are, where they come from and all that.

So, imagine if Sitemeter met Blog Catalog met PayPerPost met Facebook. Kinda like all that. And you know who they want? You, the mommy blogger. Or me. Or maybe her. They want real people to give the real scoop! Now, I said Social Spark was in alpha testing, but they are asking people to sign up to be notified when the site goes live to the general public. So head on over and enter your email address. They’ll let you know when the site is opened, and you can check it out.
Sponsored by SocialSpark

A Blog Sponsorship and a Store and Just Say No to Drugs

My, my, my. Things sure change quickly, don’t they? On the internet, I mean. One day you think you have it all figured out, and the next there you are on your butt, mouth agape in shock wondering where that came from. Something like that has happened recently, with the launch of Social Spark and the blog sponsorships they offer. You all know I monetize this blog, and I’m pretty sure none of you begrudge me those funds since you are all still here. With a blog sponsorship, I can earn money from the blog with no extra effort involved. Money I can make for no effort means that I will not have to take as many paid posts as I have been. That’s good for you guys, because you get more of what you come here for: family, fiber, food, fun. And free stuff, let’s not forget the free stuff. So A blog sponsorship is coming as soon as I can iron out the kinks. I’m not sure when, but eventually, probably sooner rather than later, and I wanted to give you a heads up, because that’s the way I am. Once the sponsorship goes into effect, you will see a splash page when you visit, once per week. As long as you don’t clear your cookies, you won’t see it any more often than that. And when you do see it, if it aggravates you, you can click in the corner to close it. I’m hoping you won’t do that, though, because the first one is going to be an invitation to vote for this blog as Best Craft Blog in the Blogger’s Choice Awards! I don’t think I have a chance of winning, but I would love to be in the running for just a few minutes, LOL. Oh, and after you see the splash for the one time per week, there will be a bar at the bottom of your browser. You’ll still be able to read all the content, and use the menus in the footer, and see the pictures of yarn porn, so basically, it will add to my yarn fund just by sitting there. And yes, I’d like to do without the splash page. And I have made that suggestion, and splashless sponsorships will be coming, but this campaign was developed before my suggestion was given.

Now, here’s the rub. One of the companies I work for has stated that they will no longer use blogs that take on the sponsorships. I could go on and on about how it’s an alpha test program, and how it’s foolish to declare something evil without actually seeing it. I could wax poetic about how I like choice and that whenever I have a choice between an organization that gives me choice and one that does not, I will choose choice. And also, I prefer choice yarn and choice meat and have you ever noticed how the better things are referred to as “choice”? I like choice. And I was able to say “choose choice” for the first time ev-ar just now, and I am still giggling over that. But I wont do all that. I will just say that given a choice between having a sponsored by bar at the bottom of the blog and having to insert one more drug reference into this craft and family blog, I will choose the bar.

Ok, that’s the sponsorship and the drugs. Let’s get to the fun part. I am adding a store to Cass Knits! I am excited about it, and I hope you will consider using this site as a portal to your shopping pleasures. And a portal is exactly what it is: you’d be shopping for the same stuff in the same places, only you could click through from here, and it would help me out. Again, it’s about adding to the yarn fund while keeping the focus of this site on family, fiber, food, and fun. I’ll post more on that once I have it up, but I thought since I was doing an admin post anyway, I might as well mention it.

Ouch. Ouch. Also, I am a crazy woman.

No April Fool’s joke here folks. This sad tale is true. I have a blood blister on my left thumb pad. I have a cut on my right thumb pad. There was no knitting in the house of Cass yesterday. Those are the ouches. The crazy woman part requires pictures:

IMG 0336

I finally switched the kids rooms. Well, I started switching them. I totally should have totally rented a couple of travel trailers to hold the fallout, don’t you think? All this stuff will reside in the office area while we sort it and only what fits will go back. I did this in my own room a few weeks ago and the results have been marvelous. Less stuff, and I can find what I kept, and it’s great. Well, except I need to sort through my hang-up stuff one more time.

IMG 0337

See that set of bunk beds? I took it partially apart and put it back together myself. All dh had to do when he got home was shake his head at me. Oh, and move one dresser.

IMG 0338

This is the ex-girl cum boy room. Umm, there were at least beds in there before bedtime last night. Well, I’m outtie. If you need me, please call loudly. Any excuse to stop working will be greatly appreciated.

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