I just finished a project from the 2014 Early Fall Vogue Knitting with Blue Sky Alpacas and wanted to share it along with my love for this fabulous yarn line.
I have a fondness for Blue Sky Alpacas because it was the first luxury yarn I ever purchased.
My first knitting project below took about 3 months of constant knitting and purling, and following the sage advise of my knitting mentor, “Don’t be afraid to rip it out.” I must have ripped out and started over twenty times and still the yarn was a beautiful as the day I bought it.
This is a popular pattern from Blue Sky Alpacas. I love the silky sheen of this yarn with these easy cables.
I made this darling bunny for my daughter for Easter.
I have several different Blue Sky Alpacas yarns in my stash. Sometimes I just take it out and look at it!
I also have a few skeins of Spud & Chloe Sweater. I plan to use this yarn for a striped baby sweater, or hats, or maybe cute leggings, the possibilities are endless.
I have been planning this post a couple of weeks and was tickled pink when I saw the latest post from meetthesheep.wordpress.com about their trip to Minnesota and visit to the headquarters of Blue Sky Alpacas and Spud & Chloe. I really enjoyed learning about these two yarn companies that are know for high quality, natural fibers and stunning colors.
Do you use Blue Sky Alpacas? I’d love to hear about it!
My post last week made me hungry for some yummy street tacos. Since West Yellowstone is an hour and a half drive from me, I thought I’d make some here. With my Sweetiepie at the grill, it’s hard to lose.
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 large handful fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 limes, juiced
1 orange, juiced
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
The key is not to marinate too long, because the citric acid in the juices will break down the meat and make it mushy. We put ours in the fridge for 6 hours.
We brushed leftover marinade on some shrimp, grilled them, and enjoyed them with the steak tacos.
Our homemade Street Tacos reminded me of our trip to Guanajuato, Mexico last autumn.
Famous for being the birthplace of Diego Rivera, Guanajuato is a colorful Spanish colonial city in central Mexico built on top of a silver mine and home to many beautiful art museums featuring Mexican artists. Here’s a few pieces from the Museum of Modern Art I enjoyed.
When my family was here in July, we made several trips to Yellowstone to see the sites and enjoy the water.
On our way out of the park we stopped in West Yellowstone, Montana for some yummy mexican food
and my Honeypie discovered a LYS – Yarn & Quilt Shop, aka Send It Home
I was delighted to see that among other fab yarns, they carried one of my favorite yarn brands, The Buffalo Wool Company.
I only have two skeins of Buffalo Wool in my stash.
Here are my FO’s,
and one WIP.
Ron and Theresa Miskin (no relation, but how cool that we share the same last name!) are the owners of The Buffalo Wool Company. They are committed to helping conserve and promote the American plains bison and the ranchers that raise them and they stand behind every product 100%.
Why bison? I can personally attest to their website claim that bison is soft enough to wrap a baby in, tough enough to keep a mountain man warm in a blizzard!
Some other awesome bison down fiber facts:
-Hypo-Allergenic – No known allergies to the fiber.
-Water-wicking- Bison down has a moisture regain of about 30%, keeping you warm and comfortable even when wet.
– Easy Care- Because its not hollow or have barbs like wool, it doesnt shrink.
The Buffalo Wool Company is currently a nominee for Martha Stewart’s American Made award. Follow this link to help them win!
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!
To re-live this night, I’m sharing my own recipe for grilled Caesar salad.
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.
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.
2-3 romaine hearts, sliced in half lengthwise
finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
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.
“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?
In my experience, Noro Yarns makes the answer easy.
Mr. Eisaku Noro is the artist and innovator behind the fabulous Noro Yarn line.
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.
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.
Noro is truly a world-class yarn as it comes from the finest natural materials in the world.
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.
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!
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.
I was determined to eat at least one humongous slice, but was stuffed after only a half. I mean those bad boys were LARGE!
In Haleiwa, we enjoyed a Tofu Pad Thai dish at the Souvaly Thai Mobile.
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.
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.
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.
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
1 1/4 cups almond milk
2 tablespoons coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
unsweetened flaked coconut
1 cup coconut milk
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
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.
The Boyz gave it a 5 star rating. Hope you enjoy it as well.
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.
After only two visits I’ve concluded that the happiest, most relaxed people on earth live on the beautiful island of O’ahu.
And of all the happy, relaxed people on O’ahu, the most relaxed were at Aloha Yarn in Kanoehe.
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?
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.
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.
And what goes better with chocolate mint than dark chocolate? Nothing at all!
Hope you enjoy my recipe for Mint Chocolate Biscuits.
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
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.
After the 20 minutes, unwrap butter-flour disks back into your large bowl.
Chop chocolate and chocolate mint leaves
Combine cream and vanilla in a small bowl then pour into flour mixture. Add chocolate and mint leaves.
Stir with a wooden spoon until liquid is almost absorbed and dough just comes together.
Lightly flour your work surface.
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.
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.
Bake until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cool on sheets.