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I'm never bored. If I'm not knitting or spinning, I'm gardening or reading. Always up to something!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

All is Calm



This is the calm before the crazy. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. The baking is finished, the shopping is done, the presents are wrapped. Six grandkids will be under the tree tomorrow and I'll be ready for them. I didn't decorate much this year. Just some greens I picked up at Trader Joe's, the tree got trimmed and I brought a few things out of storage. With so much unrest in the world, I really needed some peace this year. I braved the Christmas shopping madness just twice. Tomorrow we're a houseful for dinner and delight. But I'll also keep Christmas quietly in my heart and pray for peace that the world so desperately needs. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Filet Mignon - Yes, Please!

Have you ever looked at the gorgeous beef filet in the butcher's section of your grocery store and wished you could make a perfect Filet Mignon for your lover?  Never mind impressing your mother-in-law!  Christmas is coming. And after that New Year's Eve. Just the two of you, snuggled up with champagne and a lovely dinner. The kids are with grandma. Or maybe you don't have children yet. Or it's Christmas Eve and the candles are lit, the music is playing and you're wrestling with a turkey or worse? I wouldn't recommend trying this on company without a bit of experience. Come on. You're worth it! Get a couple of steaks, thick cut little beauties for the two of you and give it a try!  You need a heavy skillet that can go in the oven on high temperatures. And you need a good meat thermometer. Preferably and instant digital read one. Here's what you do. You can send me a note to thank me later.

First, in your pan (10" works well) melt some butter and olive oil together. Or use some bacon drippings. A couple of tablespoons should do it. Your filet has no fat on it so you need to add some to the pan. You should salt and pepper both sides. Then brown them nicely on medium high heat. You can tell the browning is complete when the meat doesn't stick to the pan. Like I said, cast iron is best.

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. When your filets are brown, pop them in the oven. Be careful and use thick oven mitts for this. Your pan till be very HOT. Set your timer for 5 minutes. At this point you'll begin to check the temperature. If you like your meat on the rare side you'll pull them at 145 degrees on your thermometer. Decide which filet is yours and cut into it a bit. If it's too rare, put them back in the oven for another 3 minutes. Check your temperature each time. Since pork is done at around 160, you'll probably hit your sweet spot between 145 and 155. Otherwise, the meat is gray and the juices are dried up. Remember, you check a steak by cutting into it and serving it with that side down. No one will know!

My dinner last night.  A perfectly done. Filet mignon, brussel sprouts with bacon, rice pilaf. Perfect!
Stick with me and we'll roast a chicken to perfection outside on the gas grill.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Mittens for 3 Little Kittens

I was reading in bed the other night, occasionally looking up to chat with bug the devil out of my husband who was actually trying to read his book. I was explaining that I was knitting mittens for the first time and that I was making a pair for each of the little grandsons for their Christmas stockings. A nursery rhyme about mittens and kittens came flowing back into my brain from kindergarten but I could only recall part of it. Do little ones actually learn nursery rhymes any more? It must have been a fairly good brain exercise if I could recall even a few lines almost 60 years later. Maybe I'll look it up and teach is to my little grandsons when I give them the mittens. So it goes like this:

                                                    Three Little Kittens

Three little kittens, they lost their mittens and they began to cry. Oh, mother dear, we sadly fear that we have lost our mittens. What? Lost your mittens, you naughty kittens! Then you shall have no pie!

Okay, there we go. Kittens crying, mother scolding and withholding food. Child abuse, for sure.

Three little kittens, they found their mittens, and they began to cry. Oh, mother dear, see here, see here. For we have found our mittens. Put on your mittens, you silly kittens and you shall have some pie, 

Food as reward. Definitely could contribute to the trend toward childhood obesity.

Then the little guys got into real trouble.

Three little kittens put on their mittens and soon ate up the pie. Oh, mother dear, we greatly fear that we have soiled out mittens. What? Soiled your mittens, you naughty kittens. Then they began to sigh.

Name calling? More abusive behavior. You're not supposed to tell kittens they're "bad". Their behavior is unacceptable.

Three little kittens, they washed their mittens and hung them out to dry. Oh, mother dear, do yo not hear that we have washed our mittens? What? washed your mittens, then you're good kittens, but I smell a rat close by.

So Mother's not doing her job, protecting the family from marauding rats and she's worried about the kids getting their clothes a bit dirty. I think my kids would think I was nuts if I tried to teach the grandkids nursery rhymes. Better to stick to the knitting. (These are being knitted from Susan B. Anderson's Waiting for Winter pattern.)