Five Things Friday

Since I have absolutely zero FO’s and no actual knitting or spinning progress to show you (actually less than what I showed Wednesday since I bit the bullet and frogged back that green sock), I figured I’d share 5 random things that are making me happy today.

1) I’m really intrigued by this Kelbourne Woolens Mystery KAL:

Image copyright Kelbourne Woolens. Click for blog post.

I’m not usually a fan of mystery KALs, and I need another shawl (ok, project) like I need a hole in the head, but I like the the patterns that resulted from the previous two MKALs (here and here) and I’m intrigued by the yarn they’re promoting: The Fibre Company Meadow, a laceweight blend of Merino wool, llama, silk, and linen. Also, hyndrangeas are my favorite flower. I think I’m grasping for excuses here…

2) This recipe for a Paleo rhubarb clafoutis is absolutely scrummy, and super simple to make. Most Paleo-fied desserts are shockingly high in fat and calories, but this one is comparatively easy on the metabolism. You mix eggs, almond milk, almond meal/flour, coconut sugar, and fruit (I’ve used both rhubarb and strawberries) and bake it into a delicious little bread-pudding-like treat. The recipe serves 8, and each serving contains 173 cals, 10g fat, 17 g carbs, 11.5 g sugar, and 6.5 g protein. I occasionally double the serving and have it for breakfast topped with blueberries. Yum!

Photo from FastPaleo.com

3) This article from Cool Green Science delves into the details of why being in nature makes us happy. The isolation of people, especially kids, from nature is something I really worry about as an ecologist/conservationist/Earth-conscious human and I’m stoked that people are doing work to provide hard evidence about why it’s important for us to have regular experiences outside of climate-controlled walls and glass windows. In particular, the article writes “Numerous studies suggest that recent increases in the levels of mental disorders globally are tied to increasing urbanization and people’s decreasing exposure to nature.” Now doesn’t that sound like something we should care about?

4) On that note, I’m going camping this weekend and am ridiculously excited about it! Even though it’ll be chilly at night, I can’t wait to be OUTSIDE, in the WOODS, for multiple days IN A ROW, with actual honest-to-goodness, in-person FRIENDS! (That sentence, right there, is a reminder of how isolated I usually am from friends, the outdoors, and leisure time.)

5) And finally, I leave you with this random photo of my fluff-tastic Darwin, posing in an awfully majestic manner.

My fuzzy little man.

Have a happy weekend, friends!

Advertisements

Keeping Things Sweet

Halloween is here, which means the rest of the holidays are not far behind. To celebrate the start of the holiday season of thankfulness, I’ve decided that every Sweet Sheep order placed during the month of November with a subtotal greater than $10.00 will receive a free sample-sized lotion bar as a gift!

Woolen Diversions

Free sample-sized lotion bar with every order over $10.00!

This is just one way for me to say a heartfelt THANK YOU for being a customer! I will send a scent at random but if you have allergies or know that you ‘hate fruit scents’ or something like that, feel free to indicate that in an order note and I will try to accommodate you. The sample will be a fun way to try a new scent, or share it with a friend to spread the sheep-y goodness! Since the gift-giving season is nearly upon us, I’d appreciate as much exposure as we can muster: follow Sweet Sheep on facebook, sign up for the newsletter, and tell your friends! Everyone should have a handmade holiday, yes?

Woolen Diversions

Homemade pepita brittle.

I hope you’re all having a lovely Halloween! I’m usually a bit of a Halloween humbug since I hate dressing up and really can’t afford to eat candy (physically speaking), but I’m trying to get in the spirit a bit this year. I woke up about 2 hours earlier than I had intended and couldn’t fall back asleep so I figured, what the hell, let’s make candy.

I followed Smitten Kitchen’s pepita brittle recipe and it was super easy! I had never made candy before and wasn’t sure if I was doing it right, but it tastes fine so no harm done. The transformation from sugar, (an alarming amount of) butter, water, and corn syrup to finished candy was interesting to watch. There was a lot of foaming involved, and the addition of baking soda and salt caused more. I kept waiting for it to turn a deep brown color like in the blog photos but once it began sticking to my spatula like taffy I figured it was time to mix in the pumpkin seeds and spread it out to cool. The resulting candy is VERY buttery tasting, which surprised me, but is also delicious, so yay for that.

What’s the most recent new thing you’ve tried, just for the heck of it? How do you celebrate Halloween?

IS #9: For Your Cookbook Library

Apparently, when it comes to inspiration, I’m largely inspired by books. I’ve talked about a sock knitting book and a spinning book and now I’m going to totally change it up and gush about a cookbook. (Warning: this post will have nothing to do with knitting or yarn. It will also make you very, very hungry.)

Deb Perelman is the delightfully down-to-earth cook and blogger behind my hands-down-favorite food blog, Smitten Kitchen.  Anything delicious I’ve ever made has come from her blog. Can you even try to resist roasted sweet potatoes with pecans and goat cheese? Thick and hearty oatmeal pancakes? Lime yogurt cake with blackberry sauce? Whole wheat pasta with cauliflower, walnuts, and feta? No, you can’t. Alright, what about salted brown butter crispy treats? Yeah, I got you with that one, didn’t I?!
 
She cooks such a wonderful mix of fancy and simple, sweet and savory, and throughout it all her goal is to minimize effort and the number of dishes the meal creates without compromising the recipe. I can totally get behind cooking like that. And now, she has a book, and it is wonderful.

Each recipe is beautifully photographed and makes you want to practically eat the page. I don’t know about you, but cooking can feel like a real chore to me sometimes, especially when I’m hungry, so tantalizing photos really help to make me look forward to cooking instead of dreading it. The Fiasco and I have made variations of her vegetable fritters (zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, leek) over and over and they never fail to please, especially with her garlic-lemon-yogurt sauce.

She covers all sorts of food groups but her desserts really shine. Look at those peach dumplings! I don’t think I’ve ever eaten fruit dumplings before and now I feel like I’ve been really, really deprived. Besides the recipes, Deb is a very entertaining writer, she has a lovely, friendly, witty voice and begins each of her recipes with a little story behind it — you can read it like a book, it’s not just a list of ingredients and techniques.

I, obviously, am in love with this cookbook and highly recommend it (personal opinion, not endorsed in any way). If you don’t want to spring for the book just yet but want to get a feel for her general style, be sure to check out the super helpful recipe index on her blog. You can search for anything you’d like to make by ingredient, season, style, or meal type.

Have you got a favorite food blogger or cookbook? I’d love to hear about it or anything else that has been inspiring you lately, please link your blog or leave a comment below!

 

Not-So-Lazy Sunday

There are so many knitting-related and home-related things on my to-do list today, it’s crazy! But it’s also kind of fun to cross these things off. I haven’t had a day at home with nowhere to be in quite a while, so I’m excited to finally get things back on track.

First up were oatmeal pancakes. They weren’t really on the list, but they sounded so delicious and I thought the Fiasco could use a hearty breakfast to fuel him through an entire day of lesson planning and preparing for his first day of school (awww) so I made them. That link goes to the Smitten Kitchen food blog, which I absolutely adore. It’s my FAVORITE place to find awesome recipes and these pancakes did not disappoint. I’ll admit that when I saw I would have to grind oats in a food processor to make oat flour AND cook oatmeal before even mixing things together, I almost backed out and thought “we could just eat the oatmeal…” but I persevered and I promise it is totally worth it and really doesn’t take that much more time. We are big fans of the store-bought FiberOne pancakes (healthier, with extra fiber!), but these oatmeal pancakes surpass them by far and probably have a decent amount of fiber themselves. Go make them!

As for knitting, I plan to finish my Huacaya hat design for Burgis Brook Alpacas today:

I’m nearly there, just another repeat and the crown to work out. Then I will be winding this beauty up:

That is Mondegreen, a new yarn from The Verdant Gryphon that will be released next month. It is 60% BFL wool, 20% silk, and 20% baby camel… and it is fantastic. FANTASTIC. I will be knitting another sample for my Beribboned Hat design with it this week. Then next weekend I will hopefully be able to convince my friends to model it for me and then I can release the pattern! Yay, exciting.

By the by, if you’d like to be notified exactly when new patterns are released, you can sign up for my email mailing list here!

That’s most of the knitting that has been occupying me lately. I’m fighting the urge to cast on about a million shawls because I already have so many on the needles, but there’s something about the onset of fall that makes me want a shawl for every outfit. This doesn’t seem unreasonable to me, really. 😉 Designs first, shawls later. Oh yeah, and housework. Lots of housework.

What’s your favorite shawl pattern? (You know, just to fuel the fires.)