Birthday flowers

Jackson Hole Birthday

The Big Five-Oh is not always an easy birthday to swallow, but I have to say it was my best so far. My main squeeze took me to Jackson for the evening to enjoy dinner and a show.

Jackson Hole's famous elk antler arches
Jackson Hole’s famous elk antler arches

We ate at my current favorite Jackson Hole restaurant, Rendezvous Bistro. The cuisine is innovative and delicious. I enjoyed a Grilled Caesar Salad and Baby Octopus Tacos with Grilled Pineapple Salsa.

My first time enjoying baby octopus. It was mild and tender.  Perfect!
My first time enjoying baby octopus. It was mild and tender. Perfect!

Since it was my birthday, I had to have the Sweet Tomato Jam Handpies with Sweet Basil Ice Cream.

These not-too-sweet handpies were drizzled with caramel.  The perfect ending to an amazing dinner
These not-too-sweet handpies were drizzled with caramel. The perfect ending to an amazing dinner

After dinner, we went to the Jackson Hole Center for the Arts to see my all-time favorite crooner, Chris Isaak, in concert.

My 90's heartthrob!
My 90’s heartthrob!

Complete with sequined suits, Chris and his über talented band had us dancing and laughing and hollering and left us begging for more. I have to admit during his performance of Wicked Game, I was actually moved to tears. What a voice! What a performer!

Up close and personal :)
Up close and personal :)

To re-live this night, I’m sharing my own recipe for grilled Caesar salad.

Grilled Caesar Salad (anchovy garnish optional!)
Grilled Caesar Salad (anchovy garnish optional!)

Croutons
Artisan country bread, sliced thin
1/4 C olive oil
1 garlic clove, smashed
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine olive oil and smashed garlic in small saucepan. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Put aside garlic for dressing. Brush each side of bread slices with garlic-infused oil. Sprinkle each side with a little salt and pepper. Arrange on cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Turn and bake for an addition 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Dressing
2 anchovy filets, chopped
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
Reserved garlic clove
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Combine all ingredients except cheese to blender and blend until smooth, 1-2 minutes.
Transfer to small bowl and stir in cheese.

Salad
2-3 romaine hearts, sliced in half lengthwise
finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Croutons
Caesar dressing

Grill romaine hearts, cut side down, until grill marks appear, about 1-2 minutes.
Arrange on serving plates, drizzle with dressing, sprinkle with cheese and top with crouton.

Serve immediately while listening to Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing by Chris Isaak.

Bon Appetite!

After 4 years I'm lucky we could find two of them!  Pattern is

Mama’s Hands

I come from a long line of hard-working women. Both of my grandmothers fed their families with vegetables from their gardens, milk from their cow, and chickens and eggs from their yards.

taken at Mother's bridal shower.  Her mom is on the left, my dad's mom is on the left, My mom is in the center and my dad's sister is sitting on the right
Taken at Mother’s bridal shower. Her mom is on the left, my dad’s mom is on the left, My mom is in the center and my dad’s sister is sitting on the right

My grandmothers kept their families warm with clothes and quilts they stitched themselves.

hand stitched by my great grandmother in the 40's - made from fabric scraps and filled with cotton from her fields
Hand stitched by my great grandmother in the 40’s – made from fabric scraps and filled with cotton from her fields

My mother also kept a garden and put up vegetables and fruit. She sewed cute outfits for me and sisters.

me on the left in a dress mother made, Karie in the middle in a dress our Nannie bought, Danielle on the right in a dress Mother made
Me on the left in a dress mother made, Karie in the middle in a dress our Nannie bought, Danielle on the right in a dress Mother made

This heritage is what makes me appreciate the yarns of Manos del Uruguay.

The Manos Cooperatives were founded in 1968 by five women whose goal was to develop economic opportunities for women in a country where there were, and are still, few opportunities for work.

As members of the WFTO (World Fair Trade Association), Manos meets the standards set by the UN Convention for the rights of the child regarding child labor.

Sweet Baby James and the cousins
Children should play!  Sweet Baby James and the cousins

In my first knitting year, I purchased several skeins of Manos del Uruguay’s Wool Clasica, a handspun Aran weight yarn to make each of my five Boyz hats for Christmas.

After 4 years I'm lucky we could find two of them!  Pattern is
After 4 years I’m lucky we could find two of them! Pattern is Kim’s Hats.  Just look at those beautiful colors!

I recently picked up some of Manos del Uruguay’s Silk Blend in Ogden, Utah at The Needlepoint Joint located on historic 25th Street.

Funky piano on Historic 25th Street
Funky piano on Historic 25th Street
Classic yarn bombs lined the sidewalk to the LYS
Classic yarn bombs lined the sidewalk to the LYS
Wall of Manos del Uruguay at The Needlepoint Joint
Wall of Manos del Uruguay at The Needlepoint Joint, an amazing LYS!  A Warm, friendly shop with lots of yummy yarn selections
Silk Blend - 70% extrafine merino 30% silk
Silk Blend – 70% extrafine merino 30% silk

Silk Blend is a delight to knit.  The yarn is bouncy with an almost felted feel.  The striated  look of the colors are beautiful and add a pleasing depth to my knit project.

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Hasbroucks is a free pattern on ravelry.com

Here’s a great quote taken from the Manos del Uruguay website explaining the early importance of the co-op.

“We all were happy to have an income derived of the products we made with our own hands, but there were also important changes…This job took the women out of their homes and made them function individually. We were learning to group, have meetings, administrate money, make decisions, organize orders, deliveries and stock, take charge of all the coop’s needs and make ourselves responsible for them. We grew up and found aptitudes we hadn’t imagined we had. It was a revolution.”

- Elisabeth Sosa, artisan and former President of Manos board.

I love the feeling of working with a yarn that came to me from somebody’s mama’s hands.  Have you used Manos del Uruguay?

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The Living is Easy

I love my home.

Canada Goose traffic jam
Canada Goose traffic jam
Mama moose and calf
Mama moose and calf

Alta, Wyoming is a summertime paradise.

Sweet Baby James on the paddle board at String Lake, Yellowstone
Sweet Baby James on the paddle board at String Lake, Grand Teton National Park

The Grand Tetons preside over every activity.

Wild columbines with The Grand Tetons in the distance
Wild columbines with The Grand Tetons in the distance

Summertime in Alta means long days with a 5:30 am sunrise and a 9:30 pm sunset.

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Long days means Mark is home in time to fire up the grill for a late dinner.

Master Griller
Master Griller

Steak sauce, a little squeeze of lemon and we’re ready to eat.

brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, grill and enjoy!
brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, grill and enjoy!
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To Stripe or Not To Stripe

That is the question!

Odori - Bulky  40% Silk, 25% Wool, 25% Angora
Odori – Bulky 40% Silk, 25% Wool, 25% Angora

In my experience, Noro Yarns makes the answer easy.

Retro - Aran  64% Wool, 24% Silk, 12% Angora
Retro – Aran 64% Wool, 24% Silk, 12% Angora

Mr. Eisaku Noro is the artist and innovator behind the fabulous Noro Yarn line.

Hitsuji - Bulky  100% Wool
Hitsuji – Bulky 100% Wool

He was born near Yoshino-Kumano National Park and has applied his sensitivities of the natural world he enjoyed there to the selection of natural materials which make up the yarn as well as the spinning process itself, which honors the unique qualities of the wool.

Nadeshiko - Super Bulky  40% Angora, 39% Wool, 21% Silk
Nadeshiko – Super Bulky 40% Angora, 39% Wool, 21% Silk

The yarns are dyed using rich, vibrant colors with a depth that mirrors the natural world combined with the artistry of art, music and dance.

Silk Garden - Aran  45% Silk, 45% Mohair, 10% Wool
Silk Garden – Aran 45% Silk, 45% Mohair, 10% Wool

Noro is truly a world-class yarn as it comes from the finest natural materials in the world.

Kureyon - Worsted 100% Wool
Kureyon – Worsted 100% Wool

Standard wool from England
Falkland wool from the Falkland Islands
Polworth wool from Adelaide, Australia
Kid mohair from Camdeboo, South Africa
Patagonia wool from Patagonia, Argentina
Alpaca from Peru
Cotton from California, USA
Ganpi (plant fiber) from Japan
Silk from China, Brazil, Vietnam, Japan and Uzbek
Cashmere from China, Mongolia, Afghanistan and Kyrgyz
Camel from China
Angora goats from China

It is a true pleasure to knit with these beautiful yarns that have traveled the globe before they reach my own wayfaring fingers.

Slip-Stitch Cowl knit in Kureyon
Slip-Stitch Cowl knit in Kureyon
Kim's Hats knit in Silk Garden
Kim’s Hats knit in Silk Garden
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Cookie A’s Summer Sox Socks knit in Taiyo (40% cotton, 30% silk, 15% wool, 15% nylon) purchased at Aloha Yarn (free pattern!)

Do you love to knit with Noro?

Ono!  The Hawaiian word for delicious

Foodies in O’ahu

While in O’ahu, my daughter Megan and I had a great time sampling some yummy menu items from restaurants on the North Shore.

Sunrise on the North Shore
Sunrise on the North Shore

Our first stop was Fiji Market & Curry Shop.

Fiji-Thai Cuisine
Fiji-Thai Cuisine

We found this down-home island market and restaurant just behind a gas station off the main road in La’ie.

The Samosas were among the best I’ve ever tasted and the Dahl, a pea-based soup, was for sure the best I’ve ever had. It was perfectly seasoned with cumin and mustard seeds and had just the right creamy consistency.

My hubby is an Indian food aficionado, so I will try to recreate at least those samosas for his birthday. Stay tuned in August (maybe September) for that attempt!

Also in La’ie, we enjoyed breakfast at Tita’s Grill.

"Ah You Hungry"
“Ah You Hungry”

We were warned by our vacationing neighbors that the portions were large.  The sign should have confirmed that for me…but, no.  I insisted that I was hungry and declined Megan’s offer to split an order of French Toast.  I mean, it was only $4.95.  How big could it possibly be?

When our order came up, I immediately gave mine to a local.

He ate all the French toast plus his own giant order of Spam and eggs!
He ate all the French Toast plus his own giant order of Spam and Eggs!

I was determined to eat at least one  humongous slice,  but was stuffed after only a half.  I mean those bad boys were LARGE!

Megan attempting the impossible
Megan attempting the impossible

In Haleiwa, we enjoyed a Tofu Pad Thai dish at the Souvaly Thai Mobile.

souvaly-mobile-main-918x400
When we were there it was packed!

The atmosphere was heavenly with plenty of large, clean picnic tables under a canopy of twinkling white lights. The pad Thai did not disappoint. It was delicious with thin rice noodles and a sweet red curry.

After Meg’s surf lesson, she asked her instructor for a healthy lunch recommendation. He told us about The Beet Box Cafe right there in Haleiwa.

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We split the most delicious Portobello Burger I’ve ever tasted. The surprising and yummy part of the burger was the sunflower sprouts. I had planned to recreate this recipe for today’s post, but the sunflower sprouts are taking longer than I thought.

Can't wait until they're ready!
Eight days old…Can’t wait until they’re ready!

I will be making this for my family as soon as my little sprout garden decides to produce.  Roasted portobello, grilled zucchini and hand-leafed lettuce topped with garlic aioli and crunchy, nutty sunflower sprouts served on a whole grain bun sounds like the perfect summer dinner to me!

Once I resigned myself to the slow growth of my sprouts, I decided instead to make a dish I didn’t get a chance to try during our short stay…Coconut Banana Pancakes with Coconut Maple Syrup. Since my mom is gluten-intolerant and is currently visiting our home, I’ll be sharing our gluten-free version.

Good for you foods
Good for you foods

Coconut Banana Pancakes with Coconut Maple Syrup
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 cup rice flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups almond milk
2 tablespoons coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
unsweetened flaked coconut
Sliced bananas
1 cup coconut milk
2/3 cup pure maple syrup

Directions
Combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Coconut flour may be lumpy, use a whisk to combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and oil.
With your whisk, stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until smooth.

Ladle approximately 1/4 cup pancake batter onto hot griddle prepared with cooking spray or oil.  Flip when bubbly and edges are slightly browned. Top with sliced bananas, shredded coconut and coconut syrup.

Coconut Maple Syrup (thanks, Mother, for this recipe)
Combine coconut milk and maple syrup in a small saucepan. Cook on low until steaming.

Ono!  The Hawaiian word for delicious
Ono! The Hawaiian word for delicious

The Boyz gave it a 5 star rating. Hope you enjoy it as well.

Bon Appetite!

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Over the Rainbow

Last week I went back to the Rainbow State with my Meggie-pie for a mother-daughter island dream trip come true. We enjoyed the ocean, relaxing on the beach and great restaurants (not necessarily in that order). We made a cute little bungalow in La’ie our home base and explored the island from there.

Surfer Girl
Surfer Girl, Haleiwa
Cattle Egret - they were everywhere on O'ahu
Cattle Egret – they were everywhere on O’ahu
Inside the USS Arizona Memoria
Inside the USS Arizona Memorial
Beautiful Canopies
Beautiful Canopies
Gorgeous beaches everywhere
Beach Girl, La’ie

After only two visits I’ve concluded that the happiest, most relaxed people on earth live on the beautiful island of O’ahu.

Shaka Sign
Shaka Sign

And of all the happy, relaxed people on O’ahu, the most relaxed were at Aloha Yarn in Kanoehe.

The nicest people on earth
The nicest people on earth

The owner, Nanea Kuaiwa is seated on the right.  Her given name means “peace” in Hawaiian.  It seems she was fated to own a knit shop.

Nanea has beautiful samples everywhere.  Why didn’t I take more photos?

I should have taken more photos. The whole shop was tastefully done with artful displays of beautiful yarn.
I should have taken more photos. The whole shop was tastefully done with artful displays of beautiful yarn.

My favorite was a beautiful lace shawl pattern from Knitting Daily.   Instead of the recommended yarn, Nanea used Araucanía yarn called Ruca.

Kailua Beach State Park
Kailua Beach State Park

This yarn is incredibly soft with a silk-like sheen made from sugar cane.  I was tickled pink to purchase sugar cane yarn in Hawaii!

Unfortunately, this yarn is discontinued.  Luckily Nanea had four skeins left in this color, which is the perfect color for my mom.

About 1/5 completed
About 1/5 completed

I got quite a bit done on the plane ride home, enough to know how much I’ll love knitting the rest this summer.

Maybe I’ll have it done by Christmas.

Have you visited Aloha Yarns? I’d love to hear about it!

Tea time!

Mint Chocolate Biscuits

While in Dallas, I ate dinner at the DeGoyler House Terrace Cafe at the Dallas Arboretum. I had the Salad Trio, consisting of chicken walnut salad, spinach salad and fruit salad with a yummy poppy seed dressing.

the perfect meal after a long hot day (100 degrees in the shade)
the perfect meal after a long hot day (100 degrees in the shade)

My favorite part was the little cheddar herb biscuit they served with the salads. It was so flaky and tender, I knew I had to try and replicate the recipe.

I got to thinking about the herbs I have at home and realized that I had yet to cook with my new chocolate mint plant.

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I love this yellow pot my grandmother made

And what goes better with chocolate mint than dark chocolate? Nothing at all!

Hope you enjoy my recipe for Mint Chocolate Biscuits.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup cake flour (for a very fine crumb)
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling and cutting
1/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/4 cups cold heavy cream, plus more for brushing
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 oz good quality roughly chopped dark chocolate (I like Lindt 70% chocolate bars)
3-4 T fresh chocolate mint leaves, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Sift together flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
Add cold butter pieces

the butter mixture should be the size of small peas
the butter mixture should be the size of small peas

Rub in butter with your fingers.

Have 6 or 7 good sized pieces of plastic wrap ready and spoon about 3/4 cup of butter/flour mixture into each. Wrap each one tight and place in refrigerator for about 20 minutes.

Keeping the butter nice and cold ensures flakey biscuits!
Keeping the butter nice and cold ensures flakey biscuits

After the 20 minutes, unwrap butter-flour disks back into your large bowl.

Chop chocolate and chocolate mint leaves

Look at all those antioxidants!
Look at all those antioxidants

Combine cream and vanilla in a small bowl then pour into flour mixture. Add chocolate and mint leaves.

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I make a well in my flour mixture like my Grandmother taught me

Stir with a wooden spoon until liquid is almost absorbed and dough just comes together.

Lightly flour your work surface.

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I love to use my sifter for this job

Turn out dough and pat into an 8-by-10-inch rectangle.
With a short side facing you, fold rectangle into thirds, just like folding a letter.

this is the fun part
this is the fun part

Rotate dough a quarter turn clockwise. Pat out again, fold, rotate and pat out again until you’ve rotated a total of 3 times (boy, these are gonna be flakey biscuits!).

Pat out dough to a rectangle shape with 1 1/4-inch thickness, and cut into 12 equal biscuits.

Place biscuits about 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush tops with cream, and sprinkle with sugar.

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ready for the oven

Bake until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cool on sheets.

Perfect!
Perfect!

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tea time!
Tea time!

Bon appetit!

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Deep in the Heart of Texas

I’d never been to Dallas (the city), but I have great memories of Dallas (the TV show) as a teenager. JR Ewing, his family and their crazy exploits were a weekly part of my teenage years.

Who Shot JR?
Who Shot JR?

I flew in for a family function and had a little time to do some sightseeing, so I drove over to Trip Advisor’s #1 attraction in Dallas, the Dallas Arboretum. I wandered around for a couple of hours, enjoying the many varieties of heat and humidity loving plants.

My favorite flowering tree, the beautiful magnolia
My favorite flowering tree, the majestic magnolia

image image Seeking relief from the 100 degree weather, I decided to tour the estate home of oil tycoon, Everette DeGolyer.

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The DeGoyler’s donated estate makes up most of the acreage of the Arboretum
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View of White Rock Lake
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walled garden behind the DeGoyler home

I loved seeing so many girls being photographed in their quinceañera dresses.

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Peacock with fanned flowerbed tail

After the Arboretum, I managed a little time to visit a darling, fun LYS in North Dallas, Yarn and Stitches. A cute group of women were chatting and knitting away and they were all ready to help me when I walked in (although I’m pretty sure they didn’t all work there). image I went straight for the Juniper Moon Yarn and picked Herriot, 100% Baby Alpaca, which is a light worsted weight. image The owner, Hope Logan helped me find a darling pattern for some fingerless gloves. Unfortunately, this pattern was sold through Etsy and (no surprise here) I couldn’t figure out how to download it once I got to my hotel room. I did, however, find another equally cute pattern on Ravelry using the same worsted weight yarn. imageI love it!

I don’t know if I’ll be back in Dallas again, but if I am I hope I have a little more time to sit and knit with these fun ladies. Yarn and Stitches was everything I love in a yarn shop. Happy people chatting and knitting and LOTS of beautiful yarn. image I’m sure there would have been a lot less drama at the Ewing Ranch if they had raised sheep instead of longhorns. Just imagine those Ewing women sitting around the Big House spinning and knitting and see if it doesn’t make you smile.

It was good

Before There Was Pinterest

I’m probably not alone in that I loved Pinterest before Pinterest existed. My old school version of Pinterest consisted of cutting out pictures, articles and recipes from magazines, sorting them into categories, placing them in plastic page protectors, and filing them in groups. My idea folders had the same names as my current Pinterest boards.

old-school Pinterest
old-school Pinterest took a lot of effort

When I took the Pinterest plunge a couple of years ago I got rid of all my idea folders except for the recipes. I couldn’t bear to part with them because so many of my favorites weren’t online.

We stayed home last weekend and I made my own version of a few of these recipes for Sunday dinner.

Beautiful summer day in Alta, Wyoming
Beautiful June Sunday in Alta, Wyoming

Mark grilled up some lamb kebabs with English cucumber and lemon. We served them with a creamy feta sauce,

Lamb Kebabs (marinate 30 min in olive oil, lemon Joyce, garlic and oregano) with Feta Sauce (1/4 C feta, 1/4 C Greek yogurt, 1T lemon juice, 2 cloves garlic, 3 T olive oil - process until smooth)
Lamb Kebabs (marinate 30 min in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and oregano before grilling) with Feta Sauce (1/4 C feta, 1/4 C Greek yogurt, 1T lemon juice, 2 cloves garlic, 3 T olive oil – process until smooth)

I made honey and chili roasted Zucchini,

Sweet and Spicy Zucchini (toss with olive oil and a generous drizzle of hones, sprinkle with salt and chili powder, roast 25 min at 425
Roasted Honey and Chili Zucchini (toss with olive oil and a generous drizzle of honey, sprinkle with salt and chili powder, roast 25 min at 425

and the Boyz put together a butter lettuce salad with cucumbers, chickpeas, red onion and sliced green olives, then tossed it with a homemade white balsamic honey dressing.

Butter Lettuce Salad with Honey Basalmic Dressing (1 T honey, 1 T white balsamic vinegar, 3 T olive oil)
Butter Lettuce Salad with white Balsamic Honey Dressing (1 T honey, 1 T white balsamic vinegar, 3 T olive oil)

For dessert I gussied up a traditional southern favorite, coconut cream pie, with a chocolate coconut almond crust and topped it off with mounds of whipped cream, shaved dark chocolate, toasted coconut and sliced almonds.

My family isn't gluten-free, but this yummy recipe is
My family isn’t gluten-free, but this yummy recipe is

Here’s my recipe for the pie.

Chocolate Almond Coconut Crust (can be made 2 days in advance)

2 ounces good dark chocolate (I like the 70% dark Lindt bars), melted
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
1/4 C sliced or chopped almonds

Pre-heat oven to 325. Lightly coat 9″ pie plate with cooking spray.
Mix butter and coconut and almonds together with your hand,

Coconut, butter, almonds
Coconut, butter, almonds

add slightly cooled melted chocolate and mix again,

I love cooking with Lindt dark chocolate
I love cooking with Lindt dark chocolate

Dump mixture into pie plate and press evenly into the bottom and up the sides.

Ready to bake
Ready to bake

Bake for about 20 minutes. Cool completely, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Coconut Custard Pie Filling

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups half-and-half
4 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch in a heavy saucepan

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whisk half-and-half and egg yolks together in bowl

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Gradually add egg yolk mix to saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly; boil 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Whisk in butter and vanilla, stir in coconut.

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Cover tightly with plastic wrap and cool to room temperature. Spoon custard mixture into crust, and chill 30 minutes or until set.

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Chocolate Coconut Almond Whipped Cream Garnish

1 1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 t vanilla
1/8 cup toasted coconut
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
1 1/2 oz shaved dark chocolate (the leftovers of the Lindt bar used in the crust)

Beat whipping cream at high speed until foamy; gradually add sugar, then vanilla. Beat until soft peaks form.

Mix cooled toasted coconut, chocolate shavings and sliced almonds in a small bowl with a spoon

Mound whipped cream on top of custard and sprinkle with chocolate-coconut-almond mixture.

It was good
It was good

Bon Appetite!

First Fiber Fair

My good friend Karen took me to my first fiber fair a few weeks ago and I fell in love with yarn all over again. The Snake River Fiber Fair is located in Idaho Falls, Idaho

IdahoFalls
The Snake River

and sponsored by the Weaving, Spinning & Fiber Arts Guild of Idaho Falls. I had a great time talking to local fiber enthusiasts. Now keep in mind when you live out west “local” means your state as well as any state that touches your state and sometimes even a state that touches a state that touches your state.

Everything in green is local (except California)
Everything in green is local (except California)

There were spinners,

P1030002
Eric Hanson of Butte Shadows Alpacas

dyers,

Carolyn Greenwood of Greenwood Fibers
Carolyn Greenwood of Greenwood Fibers

alpaca and sheep breeders

Cheryl Smith of Paintbrush Alpacas
Cheryl Smith of Paintbrush Alpacas

knitters, crocheters, weavers and a couple of button makers thrown in the mix.

My first pick was Paintbrush Alpacas. Before the Snake River Fiber Fair I thought baby alpaca was actually from baby alpacas. Turns out, this is not usually the case. Royal baby alpaca is the softest, finest grade with baby alpaca coming in at a close second.

Ron and Cheryl Smith have several adult alpacas that consistently produce royal baby and baby alpaca grade wool. I asked Cheryl what made her decide to raise alpacas. She looked at me like I was crazy, “Are you kidding?  Have you ever been around alpacas?” I guess that answer speaks for itself. This one certainly looks adorable.

darling hair-do
darling hair-do

The two skeins I purchased are natural colors, spun from fibers donated by Rembrandt image Vincent Van Gogh and Picasso image These pics are the actual yarn labels. It’s an episode of Portlandia come true!

I decided to knit the light sport weight Van Gogh, Picasso and Rembrandt yarn with this classic fair isle pattern from Country Weekend Socks by Madeline Weston.

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work in progress

The pattern calls for four colors, but I’m happy with the look of just two.  My hands are in cozy alpaca heaven when I’m kitting these socks.

My second pick was a skein of 75% superwash wool/25% nylon hand painted sock yarn in my favorite blues and greens from Greenwood Fiberworks. P1030022 Carolyn Greenwood lives in Genola, Utah where she hand paints her beautiful yarns that she imports from the United Kingdom. You can find her yarn and patterns in her etsy shop.  What a wonderful eye for colors! P1030011 I choose this free, easy pattern from ravelry for these socks.

first Wildflower sock completed
first Wildflower sock completed

Feel free to comment with your fiber fair experiences!

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