Posted in Cooking, Dinner, Foodie, Instant Pot, Multi-Cooker, Multi-Pot, Rice, Winter

Multi-Cooker Monday – Perfect Rice

When I was doing research before purchasing my Instant Pot, I read several posts about how fabulous making rice in the Instant Pot was. I have to say, I was a little skeptical. I’ve made rice in the Slow-cooker and it was less than a success. So….could making rice in a Multi-cooker make that big of a difference? I’m here to tell you, YES, it can! So far, I’ve just followed the recipes/cooking times in the recipe section that came with my Instant Pot. But every time the rice has been fluffy and perfect. The best part, I don’t have to babysit it on the stovetop either!

Want to get started making rice? I’ve rounded up some of the best recipes for you to try….

Hope you get a chance to make some rice in your Multi-cooker soon!

Happy Cooking!

Lori

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Posted in Afghans, Blankets, Blocks, Dishcloth/Washcloth, Kal, Knitting, Squares, Stitch Patterns, Tutorials, Winter, WIPS

Stitch Pattern Sunday – Block Challenge!

 

I’ve decided to add some “Block Challenges” on Sundays to encourage everyone participating in the “Beat the Winter Blues” KAL to try designing some of your own blocks. That way, in addition to the Stitch Patterns I provide for you, you’ll be able to try some other stitch patterns too! By now, you’ll probably have noticed, most of the blocks have an approximate cast-on amount between 30 and 34 sts (and between 38 to 42 sts for cable type Stitch Patterns, because they have a tendency to “pull-in” at the cable…..).

You might feel like this is “cheating”, making you design some of your own blocks, but ACTUALLY the whole point of my “Stitch Pattern” series is to help you get comfortable with knitting/using Stitch Patterns. What a better way than for you to try designing a block or 2 yourself? so here’s this week’s challenge….

  1. Find a Stitch Pattern using ONLY knit and purl stitches (there are LOTS of online resources if you don’t own a Stitch Dictionary).
  2. Figure out how many cast-on stitches you’ll need (don’t forget there are quite a few people in the KAL who are ready and willing to help with this).
  3. Knit a square using your Stitch Pattern that blocks out to the squares you’ve been knitting (mine have been blocking at 9″, but maybe yours aren’t….).

So…..Are you up for the challenge?

Happy Knitting!

Lori

Posted in Afghans, Blankets, Blocks, Dishcloth/Washcloth, Kal, Knitting, Squares, Stitch Patterns, Tutorials, Winter, WIPS

Stitch Pattern Saturday – Double Andalusian

 

The first Stitch Pattern of 2019! Double Andalusian with some simple, easy to memorize, knit/purl combinations. It’s still not too late to join our “Beat the Winter Blues” KAL. We’ve been having an awesome time admiring great looking blocks for blankets, but also, some LOVELY dishcloths made too! You just can’t beat getting together with your crafty friends and knitting through the winter!

Double Andalusian –

Cast-on a multiple of 3 + 1, plus 1 edge st on each side (for the KAL, you will be casting on 33 sts)

Row 1 (Right Side) – Knit all sts.

Row 2: K1 (edge), purl to the last st, k2 (edge)

Row 3: Knit all sts.

Row 4: K1 (edge), p1, *k2, p1; repeat across to last st, k1.

 

Posted in Fair Isle, Knitting, Stranded, sweaters, Winter, WIPS

WIP Wednesday – Grand Forks Cardigan

Happy New Year everyone! Well, it’s 2019, and although I made no “resolutions”, I have declared 2019 the year of the sweater for me. Yes. I’ll still be working on my Stitch Pattern Sampler Blanket this winter ( as part of the “Beat the Winter Blues” KAL). BUT. I also want to work on sweaters in 2019 too! If you’ve been around the blog for any time at all, you’ll know I THINK I can project multi-task…..not always successfully either!  😉

I also hold a pretty deep sweater phobia that started way back when I first learned to knit (if you want to read that story it’s here). A sweater phobia I am CONVINCED I can conquer! I made a HUGE step towards conquering that phobia by knitting my Harvest Cardigan in 2018! I also learned some things about sweater knitting with that project (I should maybe write a post about that sometime soon….). So, in order to continue any progress of conquering the sweater phobia, I feel I HAVE to continue to knit sweaters! It’s a MUST!

On December 25th, during a little down-time in the day, I perused my knitting books and magazines and decided this Grand Forks Pullover had a lot of the elements I wanted to knit….top-down, round-yoke, stranded colorwork, pretty. The ONLY thing that I didn’t like about it was it was a pullover. SO…..before I cast-on, I re-read an article or two on steeking (this article from Tincan Knits is really a good one!) and planned for those steek stitches.

Here’s the sweater progress (see the steek stitches?) so far. I’m pretty happy with the progress. What are you knitting in 2019? Are you conquering any knitting fears this year?

Happy Knitting!

Lori

Posted in Beans, Cooking, Instant Pot, Multi-Pot, Recipes, Soups, Winter

Multi-Cooker Monday – Navy Beans and Ham

First off, I want to wish everyone a safe and Happy New Year!

Now, on to today’s “recipe”. I say that because it’s really more of a cooking “method” than it is a “recipe”. My family has been making Navy beans and Ham for as long as I can remember. At Christmas we cooked a spiral -sliced ham and when the ham was gone, I decided I would put the ham bone to use making the soup base for some yummy Navy Bean and Ham soup! If you own a Multi-Cooker (this might have been one of the best purchases I’ve made….EVER!), it’s really simple to do!

I started by cooking the Beans. Now that I think about it, I’m not really sure if they’re really called “Navy” beans in the grocery store (my beans were no longer in their packaging….) or maybe that’s just what my family called them…..Anyway, they are a small, white bean. When I cooked the beans (about 3 cups of washed beans with enough water to cover the beans…about 4 cups maybe), I also added a 1/2 tsp ginger, and 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper to the water (the ginger is supposed to take the “gas” out of beans and the cayenne was just to add a little “zing” to the beans! ). I set the “manual” setting to 35 minutes, made sure I had the vent lever on “sealing” (if you’ve been around the blog any length of time, you’ll find I forget to do that more often than should happen….). When the beans were done, I drained them and set them aside.

Now, on to cooking the broth. Again, super easy! I placed the ham bone (with still quite a bit of ham attached) in the Multi-Cooker. Filled the pot about halfway full of water (now that I think about it, it would have been nice to saute some onions, carrots and celery to add to the broth, but as I didn’t have any at the time and there was NO WAY I was going to town….well, you can draw your own conclusions…..). Set the “manual” setting on 60 minutes. Made sure the vent was on “sealing” (it’s a REAL thing with me for sure!) and let the Multi-cooker do it’s thing. After the broth was cooked (and while the cooker is now on the “keep warm” setting), I scraped as much ham off the bone as I could. Removed the bone and as much floating ham fat as I could. Added the beans in with the broth and let everything warm up. Then, I ladled myself up a big bowl, added a couple Tablespoonfuls of ketchup over the soup (don’t judge me, I’ve been doing it since I was a kid, there’s just something about the tomato and acid flavor of the ketchup that is just SO GOOD with the beans!) and sat down to enjoy. I’ll be freezing portions of the soup to eat later this winter (Mr. Muddling won’t touch Navy beans and Ham, sometimes he doesn’t know what’s good!  😉  ).

Happy Cooking!

Lori

Posted in Afghans, Blankets, Blocks, Dishcloth/Washcloth, Kal, Knitting, Stitch Patterns, Winter, WIPS

Stitch Pattern Sunday – Blanket Sizes (and How Many Squares)?

If you’re following along with this winter’s Beat the Winter Blues KAL, one of the most asked questions is “How Many Blocks Will I Need to Make”? I have to say, that’s a fair question. In order to give you an answer though, I figured I should find some “common” blanket sizes. Well….common to the closest measurement divided by 9 (if you remember, my blocks knit up to 8″, but blocked out to 9″). Here’s the amount of blocks you’ll need to make a blanket (just a note here….if your blocks are blocking out to something other than 9″, you’re going to have to do a little math to get you close to the above sizes….sorry about that…..BUT. that’s the great thing about a KAL, one of us should be able to help with the whole math thing!  😉  ).

Blanket Sizes (and how many blocks you’ll need!):

  • Crib Size – 36″x54″ – 4 blocks wide x 6 blocks long = 24 total
  • Lapghan – 45″x45″ – 5 blocks wide x 5 blocks long = 25 total
  • Large Throw – 54″x63″ – 6 blocks wide x 7 blocks long = 42 total
  • Full Size – 72″x88″ – 9 blocks wide x 11 blocks long = 99 total
  • Queen Size – 80″x96″ – 10 blocks wide x 12 blocks long = 120 total

If you really want to make a Full Size or queen size blanket, but the total of blocks scared you….don’t panic! You’d be surprised how quickly the blocks knit up. I’ve been averaging 1 to 2 blocks a week with VERY little knitting time devoted to knitting blocks! Plus to be fair to me, I have a habit of getting distracted by other projects. It’s a real thing for me! 😉

Happy Knitting!

Lori

Posted in Afghans, Blankets, Blocks, Dishcloth/Washcloth, Kal, Knitting, Squares, Stitch Patterns, Tutorials, Winter, WIPS

Stitch Pattern Saturday – Bamboo Reed

As part of the “Beat the Winter Blues” KAL, I present A new Stitch Pattern for your Afghan blocks, washcloths or Sampler Scarf. The Bamboo Reed. This is an easy to memorize Stitch Pattern (“easy to memorize” might be my FAVORITE!). It also has nice texture!

Bamboo Reed

Cast on an Even number of stitches (for your KAL squares you’ll cast-on 32 stitches)

Row 1: K1 (edge), *yo, k2, pass the yo st over both knit sts ; repeat across to last st, k1 (edge).

Row 2 K1 (edge), purl across to last st, k1 (edge).

Repeat Rows 1 & 2 for pattern.

( just a note – when blocking my Bamboo Reed block, it doesn’t block out vertically as much as it will horizontally. I’ve been knitting all my blocks until they measure 8 inches and they block out to 9 inches. This block would not budge , vertically past 8 inches. My suggestion would be to knit this square to the length of what your squares have been blocking to…..)

Happy Knitting!

Lori