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.
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.
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.
Seeking relief from the 100 degree weather, I decided to tour the estate home of oil tycoon, Everette DeGolyer.
I loved seeing so many girls being photographed in their quinceañera dresses.
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). I went straight for the Juniper Moon Yarn and picked Herriot, 100% Baby Alpaca, which is a light worsted weight. 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. I 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. 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.
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.
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.
Mark grilled up some lamb kebabs with English cucumber and lemon. We served them with a creamy feta sauce,
I made honey and chili roasted Zucchini,
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.
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.
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,
add slightly cooled melted chocolate and mix again,
Dump mixture into pie plate and press evenly into the bottom and up the sides.
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
whisk half-and-half and egg yolks together in bowl
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.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and cool to room temperature. Spoon custard mixture into crust, and chill 30 minutes or until set.
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.
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
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.
There were spinners,
alpaca and sheep breeders
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.
The two skeins I purchased are natural colors, spun from fibers donated by Rembrandt Vincent Van Gogh and Picasso 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.
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. 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! I choose this free, easy pattern from ravelry for these socks.
Feel free to comment with your fiber fair experiences!
In my recent blog about our family trip to Hawaii, I mentioned my mom went along with us and shared her phenomenal cooking skills. Since we had our hungry, growing boys with us, we decided to budget our cash for activities and cook all our meals. With the exception of the luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center (excellent),
we did just that. Or should I say, Mom did just that.
My mother is a bona fide southern cook. Born and bred in Alabama, she learned to cook from her mother
who learned it from her mother
…you get the picture.
Today I’m gonna share my mother’s recipe for Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches.
You may or may not know that being a bona fide southern cook means being flexible, so when my mother decided that jarred roasted red peppers tastes better than jarred pimentos, that was the end of that. And that’s why there’s no actual pimentos in my mother’s Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches. With that being said, I’ll add one caveat…this ooey, gooey, melted mess of deliciousness is NOT a diet food, y’all!
2 1/2 C shredded cheese (Cheddar, Montery Jack, and/or Pepper Jack)
4 oz cream cheese, softened
jarred roasted red and/or yellow peppers drained and coarsely chopped
Dash of cayenne pepper
Mix your favorite combination of shredded cheese with the softened cream cheese. You can do this in your mixer with your paddle attachment or with a food processor.
Add as many peppers as you please.
Add mayo until it’s as creamy as you like it.
Add the smallest pinch of cayenne pepper for a little extra bite and stir. Brush your favorite bread with olive oil or melted butter, fill with yummy Pimento Cheese Spread and grill in a hot skillet.
Any leftover spread is great to use with celery or crackers as a dip
or as a substitute for the cheese in your next cheeseburger.
Mark and I were able to take our teens to O’ahu, Hawaii for spring break this year and my mom decided to tag along. We had a wonderful time. We rented a 50′s era, three bedroom house right on the north shore in beautiful Laie.
We had sand between our toes, in the house and in the rental car, and believe it or not, we trailed it onto the plane ride home.
My husband needed to go to Honolulu one morning to pick up a new computer cord (he’s always working) so I went along for the ride with the understanding that we would stop by a yarn store on the way home. (He maintains we made the trip to buy yarn and stopped at the computer store on the way…details, details.)
I decided on YarnStory located at 1411 South King Street, #201 in Honolulu because it was the only one open on Tuesdays. The owner was pleasant and although her yarn selection was small, she did carry some nice brands and some very nice locally dyed yarn. I decided on two skeins for two different projects.
I love the color of this Bamboo Pop yarn, aptly named Ocean.
I also purchased a skein of Malabrego’s Sock in Carabeño
and found this easy, fun-to-knit free pattern on Ravelry for my mom as a thank you for coming with us and for her role as head cook. I made quick work of it and mailed it for Mother’s Day. Here’s a pic of my beautiful friend Emily who was gracious enough to model the scarf for me.
All in all it was a great trip with great people. Bonus…I ended up with some great yarn!
Have you visited O’ahu or YarnStory? Make sure and comment with your experiences.
What I know about knitting could fit in Susan B. Anderson’s little pinky tip. I’ve never meet Susan B. Anderson or even seen her in person, but I do follow her on Pinterest, so there you go.
Now you’ve learned two things about me:
1. Don’t know much about knitting
2. Don’t know much about Susan B. Anderson
Why would someone who doesn’t know much about knitting start a knitting blog?
I love knitting. I’m obsessed with knitting. I think about yarn and patterns and needles constantly. I log on to ravelry.com a billion times a day. I’m consumed with thoughts of sweaters, socks, cowls, leg warmers, mittens, gloves, hats, dresses, skirts, slippers, booties, boot toppers, stuffed animals, blankets, and even those strange, geeky knits like this
Five years ago I moved to a beautiful little place called Alta, Wyoming, which is nestled in the valley of the Grand Tetons.
Alta has snow on the ground from seven to nine month out of each year.
That’s a really, really, really, really long time.
Sometimes we can barely see our trampoline because of the snow.
Shortly after moving here, I stopped in to our local LYS (it took me two months to figure out this means Luxury Yarn Store). I couldn’t keep my hands off the yarn. Over the next year and a half I would drop by the store every so often to browse the samples, fondle the yarn and chat with the owner. I finally took the plunge and learned how to knit.
I made this scarf. I ripped it out 15, maybe 20 times. It took me three wonderful months to complete.
It turns out that Alta is a great place for knitting because of the snow. Snow is beautiful and fun to play in, but snow is cold. So here I was, a fledgling knitter, in this beautiful, cold, snowy place, finding an embarrassing amount of pleasure in every cozy stitch.
Then I learned about socks,
then I knit a sweater (a baby sweater, but who’s counting stitches),
then I learned it was actually called a pullover.
Then I went to a writer’s conference in New York City where I met a girl wearing a lovely hand-knit vest. (I learned that knitters wear hand-knit wool vests in July, in NYC…cray-cray!) She told me about Ravelry and that’s all she wrote.
Literally, that was the end of my short, non-profitable writing career because all I wanted to do in my spare time was knit. The only reason I’m writing now is because I’m writing about knitting.