October 24, 2008

The Shrug

I understand why this item of clothing is called a "shrug", but this term doesn't really do the piece justice. "Shrug" sounds so uncouth and rough. It conjures up more of the disdainful or uncaring gesture than a comfy garment.

So… I knit a shrug. And for the most part, I like it. (I chose the wrong size – too big, but I can live with this.)

I did a lot of pattern searches (Thanks, Ravelry!) before deciding on this shrug. I knew I wanted to knit a warm, solid (no lace pattern) shoulder warmer, and I knew I the yarn I wanted to use. It was just a matter of putting these two items together in a pleasant way.

Pattern: Two-Tone Ribbed Shrug from Fitted Knits

Yarn: Brooks Farm Four Play (wool + silk, yum) in M 4P 3 - variegated rose and caramel colors; 2 1/2 skeins used

Needles: KnitPicks Options Harmony, size 3.75 mm and 5.0 mm

Started: August 8

Finished: September 13

Ravel it!

Notes: Obviously, I didn't make this shrug two-toned, as suggested by the pattern. As I said above, I picked the wrong size and so it's a little large on me and the sleeves are longer than expected, but I'm okay with that. It is still a comfortable shrug and I expect to get much use out of it, especially this winter (with a baby).

One thing that threw me off was that I didn't expect to like or wear the collar "up", and the pattern suggests that you can simple fold the collar down. But it doesn't look right that way (and probably why all the photos show the collar up). But I've come to accept the dramatic look with the collar up, and am okay with this.

Um… and sorry that I didn't share this FO with y'all earlier. Sure, I've been sitting on this for six weeks and, heck, I even wore it to work and knit nite once it was finished. But I've been bad about getting pix of my FOs and knits-in-the-works. (Oh, yeah. There's more.) Better late than never, eh?

Plus, as a bonus you get preggers pix of me and a spooky Walter. w00t!?

Posted by Nanc at 01:49 PM | Comments (6)

October 20, 2008

Italian Squash Soup

I lovelovelove going to the farmer's market. Sadly, this trip downtown is less frequent than I would like (and 22 miles is getting to be a far trek just for veg).

But when I do make it, I have a great time, gather up tasty vittles, and find happy things that make my day. This time, I got a new recipe that is uber tasty! Yay for introducing new veg to my diet.

This past weekend, Chris and I went to the farmer's market to partake in some of the late harvest fruits and veggies. We stuck to the local farms and vendors (a separate building), and found plenty of good soon-to-be eats.

Besides the wonderful produce and usual suspects, there were meat, honey, pasta, and canned goods vendors. Heck, there was even an herbal sorbet vendor! (Yum – Chris had Rosemary Lime Chablis and I enjoyed Rose Geranium Raspberry.)

It doesn't take long for me to fill up my produce bags and gather lots of tasty fruit and veg. I quickly gathered up my usual suspects: tomatoes (sooo tasty!), Sweet 100 onions, apples and pears, sweet potatoes, and the last corn of the season (Peaches & Cream).

And that's when I spotted it: a huge, long pale green vegetable, easily 2' long and 12" around. Intrigued, I had to ask. What is this item and how would you prepare it? What's great about the farmers who are their own vendors is that typically they don't mind talking about their produce, as long as they're not swamped.

So this older woman in a thick accent tells me that these are Italian squash. She tells me more, but honestly I lost most of it. So she sends me over to her husband (?) for more information and a small, less comical squash. He searches in a box of still-large, but not ginormous squash to find one with tender skin, and finally pulls out one that is maybe 10" long and 8" in diameter. And this is the recipe he tells me:

Italian Squash Soup

  • 1 Tbl. Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28 oz. chicken broth (or veggie broth)
  • 2 c. water
  • 14 oz. diced tomatoes (or 3 medium tomatoes, peeled)
  • 1 medium cucuzza (Italian) squash, lightly peeled * and diced
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced (optional)
  • Salt & pepper (and grub rub)
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. marjoram
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 c. small pasta, such as orzo or angle hair (broken)
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Good, crusty bread

* Note on peeling the squash: Although cucuzza has a thicker skin than zucchini, the skin is not as tough as a winter squash. You want to scrape off the outer skin with a paring knife, but keep the green layer of the veg. (Don't scrape down to the white flesh.)

  1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, sautéing for 3 to 5 minutes until onion is translucent.
  2. Add broth, water, tomatoes, cucuzza, chicken meat (optional), and seasonings. Bring to a boil, turn heat down, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Add dry pasta and cook for 10 minutes, or until pasta is done.
  4. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and crusty bread.

Next time I make this, I'll also add some carrots (sliced) with the onion and garlic and probably make it vegetarian.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, and that this soup warms and nourishes your soul like it did ours.

Posted by Nanc at 02:34 PM | Comments (1)

October 13, 2008

Weekend update

Hi Mom- I promised to post some pictures of pregnant Nancy, so... here they are.

While my Mom is up in Michigan, patiently waiting for pictures, Nancy's folks came down for a visit last week. It was a great visit. We ate some great food, played some Rummikub and Uno, and spent time catching up.

They also brought along the Nancy's baby bassinet, for our upcoming arrival. We'll have more pics of it soon.

It was also a bit of a cultural exchange. We got the folks to play Wii bowling one night. I watched Bill O'Reilly with her Dad, and he watched Rachel Maddow with us.

Posted by Matty at 12:31 PM | Comments (8)