Things have been crazy lately! I've been super busy with Holiday prep and crafting and planting new plants and working on my Super Secret Christmas Project. I thought I'd share a quick round up of some of the adventures, and of course, the recipes, I've been working on this last week.
I'm still knitting on my Slanket, I haven't had time for other crafts lately, this thing is time consuming.
I got some new plant friends from Succulent Treasures on Etsy. One is a Panda Plant and the other is a Zebra Aloe Vera. I love them both! I hope I can keep them alive, I have a notorious black thumb.
I've been doing 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene again on YouTube, I figured I should get some extra exercise in my days what with all these foody Holidays coming up. I would definitely recommend her workout videos, she's funny and smart and the routines are challenging without being frustrating.
In food adventures last week, I did lots of prep work for Friendsgiving, I baked delicious Peanut Butter Blossoms,
I also made Cranberry Sauce from scratch.
Unfortunately that's where the food pictures end, I got too busy eating and serving food to photograph during the Friendsgiving Feast. But I did make Veggie Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes and Vegetarian Gravy (I tried to make Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes but they took too long to cook so we ended up with the re-hydrated kind. They were still delicious.)
My guests brought tasty chips and dips and some Veggies that we got too busy to actually cook! We watched Dutch and Planes, Trains and Automobiles and sat around with tasty mugs of Peppermint Tea and crocheted and made hand Turkeys from construction paper. I ended up crocheting Perchik a cute little Wool Christmas Sweater so he doesn't get chilly during the cold Fall nights.
Alex and I (naively) tried to have Jess take some photos of us for our annual Christmas Card this year but to no avail. For some reason our otherwise cute and cuddly kitty cats would not sit still for a Holiday photo shoot! We did not end up getting a card worthy pic but we did get some lovely outtakes.
What a monster kitty! Both the kitties were total cranky pants cats the whole time we had friends over. After the guests left the muffins morphed back into sweet Angel cats and all was right with the world.
Moonunit begging for some midnight snuggles.
Prince, exhausted from all the hubbub!
All in all we had a successful week and a successful Friendsgiving. We will be celebrating a simple Thanksgiving just the two of us on Thursday with Slow Cooker Corn and Red Pepper Chowder, Bread Machine Bread Bowls, Deviled Eggs and Nantucket Cranberry Pie. We'll be tuning in to the MST3K Thanksgiving marathon and hopefully getting up early enough to catch the end of the Macy's Day Parade.
I hope you're having a relaxing Holiday week and are getting some time off to enjoy all the tasty food and friends and family time that you can handle!
Don't forget to get some exercise! haha!
-Thanks for dropping by!
'Tis the Season of Turkeys and Yams and Green Beans swimming in Cream of Mushroom Soup! Problem is, I don't like any of those things! Traditional Thanksgiving foods are not my bag. I remember a few Thanksgivings growing up where a young, Vegetarian Ashley got to enjoy the Holiday with a big plate full of Mashed Potatoes and Garlic Bread, Mmm, carbs. Not exactly a well rounded meal.
In preparation for my annual Friendsgiving I've put up my Thanksgiving Decor^ AND compiled a list of my very favorite Thanksgiving Main Dishes, Side Dishes and Desserts. Hopefully these will help you along the way, especially if you're new to going veggie or just want something less dangerous sounding than a Tofurky.
1.) Vegetarian Meatloaf. This is delicious, it's made from lentils and oats and herbs and spices and it'll blow you out of the water, especially if you make it with this Vegetarian Gravy (more on that later.)
2.) Shepherds Pie. Ok, I know, this one is not Vegetarian BUT grab yourself some Smart Ground Meatless Crumbles and it instantly is! And what is more Festive than a pie covered in Potatoes. Plus, if you wanna get Really motivated you can always make this Shepherds Pie from scratch. They're both delicious!
3.) Speaking of Pies, you should try Lentil and Potato Pot Pies with Rosemary Biscuit Crust OR Vegetarian Pot Pies with Feta Scallion Biscuits. Or you could also make my Recipe for Pot Pies, equally yummy!
Wow, that's a lot of pies!
4.) One Pot Chili Mac and Cheese in my opinion Chili is a Holiday food, perfect for Football games and family gatherings, I served a big pot o'chili at last years Christmas gathering. This guy calls for meat stuff but you can easily sub in some Veggie Stock and Smart Ground Meatless Crumbles and presto! Vegetarian!
5.) Soups! Nothing is cozier that a bowl full of soup! For Thanksgiving I'd recommend Slow Cooker Potato and Corn Chowder, Cheesy Vegetable Chowder, Vegetable Stew with Herb Dumplings (seriously, so good) and Crock Pot Minestrone. Crock pot soups are my favorite for entertaining, the soups make themselves and you can busy yourself with other important parts of the meal while they cook.
1.) Deviled Eggs, duh! This is a Holiday staple, there are a million different recipes for these magical things but the traditional version is my favorite.
2.) Potatoes! Mashed Red Skin Potatoes, these are super simple to make on the big day. You could always try two of my other favorites; Cast Iron Skillet Rustic Potatoes (I seriously only own Steak Seasoning so I can make these tasty things) and Crash Hot Potatoes, Alex loves these guys!
3.) Brussels Sprouts! This is my favorite Veggie side dish, I know Alex is not a fan but he can deal, I've gotta have my tiny alien heads. You should try Pan Seared Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Pecans, Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Rosemary and Garlic or The Best Brussels Sprouts with tasty breadcrumbs. So many options!
4.) Dip! I don't think I've celebrated a Holiday in years without bringing a dip along with me. These are a couple of my Holiday favorites, Zannies Black Eyed Pea Dip, Hot Artichoke Dip and Spicy Skillet Artichoke Dip. Yum!
5.) Lastly, and most importantly=Vegetarian Gravy. This recipe is AMAZING. I seriously want to put this on everything. You must try it with mashed taters and veggie meatloaf and biscuits! Yum!
5.5) I know I should include a biscuit recipe but I usually just make the canned croissants, I KNOW, I'm a big, fat cheater. Or I bake a loaf of Focaccia Bread and position it near the dip and let everyone choose their own adventure.
1.) Surprise=Pumpkin Pie! This is my favorite recipe, I like to make two at a time. They're magical. I've also been known to throw together a Cheesy Apple Pie or this Frozen Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie that got rave reviews.
2.) Cinnamon Maple Pecan Scones. Make them, they're delicious.
3.) Cleta Bailey's Toffee Squares. I like to bake an entire sheet of these guys, (don't roll them out too thin!) and freeze them then give them out to guests as they leave as a little treat for the road.
4.) Cinnamon Rolls! These are perfect especially if you have overnight guests for the Holiday.
5.) Cookies; for November I like to make Apple Oatmeal Cookies with Glaze (pictured below), Twix Thumbprint Cookies or White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies.
I hope this post has inspired you with lots of magical, Vegetarian options for your Thanksgiving feast! This list got more comprehensive than I'd planned, I get a little carried away when it comes to the Holidays! I hope you're putting together the perfect menu for your Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving or Festivus!
Happy Holidays! Thanks for reading!
I shared with you in October my current knitting projects. Well, it's November and they're still my current knitting projects! I thought I'd share some pictures of the progress I've been making and some of the challenges I've faced along the way.
So far my sweater/blanket project (what I've been referring to as a Slanket) is just some giant rectangles. I find myself missing the traditional sweater shaping; increases and decreases. This project is simply broken rib stitch for ages and ages and ages!
One panel down, one to go! I'm trudging through it though, I want to get this project done by the end of November (fingers crossed.)
I made the mistake of ordering the wrong amount of yarn, I don't know how this happened, I'm always super careful with my calculations because math is not my strong suit but this time it got away from me. I think I'm 4 skeins short, but it might be more. Oh well, any excuse to order more yarn...a few rogue alpaca skeins might pop into my cart upon check out. ;)
As far as my cowl is concerned I'm at a bit of an impasse. I got to the end and did a three needle bind off like the pattern called for and it looked terrible! It was all sloppy and oddly spaced=no good. So I found myself a Brioche Grafting tutorial and got to work.
Needless to say, it did not go well. Don't get me wrong, that is a fantastic tutorial. It's clear and concise and shows you all the steps in a slow, simple manner. It's just hard! Grafting is a pain in the butt in the first place but Grafting Brioche stitch!? Man oh man. I wasn't prepared for that.
I set this project aside and it's been gathering dust ever since. I'm not a quitter! I will get back to it, most likely when I'm done with my Slanket and can give it the proper time and attention it deserves. But for now it's hanging out on my coffee table winking at me with the evil glee of an unmet challenge.
I love my challenging projects but a part of me longs for an instant gratification knit. I *might* have gotten myself a bouquet of pretty November colored yarns to motivate me through the long, and arduous Slanket times.
A couple of these are going to turn themselves in to hats and cowls and pop up in my Etsy shop in December. Anyhow, I hope you enjoyed the update and are knee deep in your own knitting projects, 'tis the season! Gotta get those Christmas gifts made!
Thanks for reading!
I love pizza. You might have figured that out by such posts as Vegetarian Sausage Calzones and DIY Pizza Charms. I can't get enough of the stuff.
This recipe makes wonderful deep dish skillet pizzas that will blow your mind with deliciousness. The dough recipe is your simple, basic crust BUT the Cast Iron Skillet is where all the magic happens.
Cooking the dough in the skillet while you throw the ingredients on it makes the bottom all crispy and bubbly like, then a quick spin in the oven with an even quicker broil finishes it off with a nice, crispy, brown top.
Super simple, just saute your veggies...
Then throw your crust in a hot cast iron, reduce the heat and toss in your sauce...
Deep dish goodness!
Then throw in all your veg and veggie meat...
Then toss on a bunch of cheese, then into the oven for a bit!
This pizza will blow your socks off! You can pick whatever toppings make you happy. I've made this with corn and zucchini, pesto and tomatoes, garlic chicken (well, soy chicken), roasted potatoes, the list goes on and on.
Here's the recipe, give it a try!
Cast Iron Skillet Pizza
Makes 2 Pizzas
1 Cup Warm Water
1&1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Sugar
2&3/4 Cups Flour
11&1/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast
If using a Bread Machine, add ingredients in order listed, choose Dough setting and let your machine do its thing! Make sure to check the dough about 5 minutes into the first Knead cycle to make sure it's not too dry, add an extra teaspoon or so of water if it is.
If making dough from scratch, combine warm water and yeast, let sit for about 5 minutes until frothy. While liquid and yeast are sitting, sift together salt, sugar and flour. Mix activated yeast water to dry ingredients then knead into a ball, set into a large, greased bowl, covered and let rise for one hour (I like to spray the top with a mist of canola oil so it doesn't dry out.) Knead after one hour, put back into greased bowl and let rise for another hour.
Separate dough in to two balls. I like to make a dough "log" and run a pizza cutter through the middle to make two even portions.
Ps. I wouldn't recommend frozen dough for this recipe because frozen dough turns out a little tough on reheating imo. If you don't plan to make two pizzas in this style I'd use the leftover dough for an oven baked crust. just sayin.
(to be divided on two pizzas)
2 Field Roast Sausage Links
1/2 Red Onion
3/4 Green Bell Pepper
4 Tbsp Black Olives
2 Clove Garlic
2 tsp Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Marinara Sauce
1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly saute red onion, bell pepper, sausage in olive oil until slightly tender, then add garlic and saute until fragrant, set aside. Heat Cast Iron Skillet until smoking on a medium high burner. Roll out your dough on a lightly floured surface to fit skillet. Reduce skillet heat to Medium, quickly (carefully) throw your dough into the skillet then cover with half your toppings in this order; sauce, veggies, olives, cheese and red pepper flakes.
Bake for 10-15 minutes at 400° (keep an eye on it) then broil for one minute or until cheese gets a nice hint of brown to it and crust is toasty. Slide pizza onto cutting board and make pizza number two in the same manner.
Here's the handy printable version.
This has become one of my favorite ways to make pizza, it's quick, simple and gives your crust an awesome texture.
Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Thanks for stopping by!
November is here! Time to start planning my Thanksgiving menu and putting away my spooky Halloween decorations! I hope you guys are enjoying the colder weather and the Holiday vibes as much as I am. I'm still working on putting together the ultimate fleece lined Fall wardrobe but in the meantime I wanted to share this fun shawl I made with you. I knitted this shawl during the Summer and now it's finally cold enough out to wear it.
It's almost impossible to photograph sparkle yarn! I promise, it's sparkly.
This guy whipped together surprisingly quickly. It's called Kouyou, which, according to the author, Angela Tong, translates to Fall Foliage or Red Leaves. Perfect for this Season. I'd definitely recommend this pattern, easy to read, lots of pictures and great results.
My only complaint is the yarn requirements, I could have made the Large size but the pattern told me I didn't have enough yarn! Bummer. I had 474 yards of sparkly yarn so I made the Small (420 yards) instead of the Large (520 yards) and I had half a skein of yarn leftover! Guess I'll be making some matching glitter mitts.
The yarn I used is Sunseeker by Cascade Yarns. It's 48% Acrylic, 47% Cotton and 5% Metallic Thread. It's washer and dryer safe, which is convenient. I'll probably still lay this guy flat to dry with blocking pins though so it retains it's lovely shape. It's a basic, worsted acrylic blend yarn and it does have a little bit of scritch to it but I'm hoping with a wash or two it'll soften a bit.
Can you see the sparkles!?
I'm going to be rocking this sparkly wonder with my faux leather jacket, a light sweater and some cozy leggings this month. Bring on the rain! I'm ready!
Hope you had a fantastic Halloween!
Thanks for stopping by!
This is a creative space dedicated to building a happy handmade home! I feature recipes, crafts, DIY's and pictures of my cats! Join me on a journey of exciting wonders. Get inspired! You might even learn something new!