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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Sari Silk Bolero in Positively Crochet!

Sari Silk Bolero, in my book, Positively Crochet!
 This colorful bolero is crocheted into 2 circles, (left and front) and a seam is sewn in the back, which leaves a "V" at the bottom back. Even though Sari Silk yarn may be difficult to work with, due to the inconsistiencies of the yarn, I absolutely love the vibrant colors and the work and time you put into it is well worth it! Sometimes you may even have to hold up your work to the light to see the stitches, but I just love the outcome. See my Sari Silk Purse and belt also. I ordered this gorgeous yarn on eBay, but you can buy it other places too.

Back of Bolero
Sari Silk Bolero in the book

You can see many more of my designs on Ravelry. (link to my page)

Crispy Oven BBQ Chicken

You may think this chicken looks burnt, but I cooked it this way on purpose to make it look and taste like chicken cooked on an outside grill. I know Baked BBQ Chicken is really common and most people can figure out how to cook it themselves. It is common to stick raw chicken on a flat pan and baste with your favorite BBQ sauce, right? I used to do that but was never satisfied with the outcome. We all know that chicken tastes better with the skin on, especislly if its BBQ, but when I cooked it in the oven the way I described, or sometimes in the crock pot, it always came out soggy and the sauce usually fell off and was drenched in a river of chicken broth. Not good.
So I decided to try something that I used to do when cooking BBQ chicken or pork ribs on the grill outside. We would always boil the chicken or ribs on top of the stove in water first, for about 15 minutes. This gave it a chance to cook out some of the fat plus cooking it some ahead of time ensures it will be cooked all the way through to the bone, on the grill, without having to cook it to death, which leaves a hard, dry meat. So today, I had the idea to do the same thing for oven bbq chicken.

About the last 5-10 minutes, you spread more bbq sauce on and let it cook under the broiler (see full recipe below), searing the sauce and crisping up the skin, the same way it is cooked on the grill. Walla! Success!
I will continue to cook the chicken this way from now on. I would even go so far as to say if you have to leave the house for work, you can cook the chicken in the slow cooker, and put the chicken and sauce under the broiler the same way as described here and it will be great. The broiler is the key!

Crispy Oven BBQ Chicken

1. Chicken pieces (any amount) bone in, with skin (I prefer thighs, wings and legs since they don't get too dry)
2. Sweet Baby Rays Honey BBQ Sauce

Preheat oven to 400ยบ. While the oven is heating, place chicken pieces in a pot covered with water on top of the stove. Add a little salt and let it come to a boil. Turn the heat down a little and let it boil for about 15 minutes.
Drain the water and pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Place it, skin side up, on a broiler pan with holes or on a rack in a large flat cookie sheet with sides to catch any excess liquid. (See picture of pan and rack I used in picture below)

Squirt bbq sauce from bottle onto chicken. It will be thick and that's great. You can leave it that way or spread it on with a brush. Place chicken in oven on the middle rack and cook for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, turn chicken pieces over and put bbq sauce on that side same as before. Cook 12 minutes. Turn chicken over again with skin side up, adding more sauce. After about 10 more minutes, take chicken out and add more sauce. Turn oven temperature to broil. Place oven track at highest point and place chicken under broiler. Cook under broiler for 5-10 minutes, searing sauce and crisping up skin. You need to keep a close watch on the chicken, checking it often, because it will be very easy to burn it. I kinda like that but you may not! Cool a few minutes before serving and serve with potato salad.

I used this rack and you can see how it still had liquid that drained. Believe 
me, the chicken was still very tender and juicy!

My Potato Salad

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Crochet Wine Shrug

This Wine Shrug was also published in the Annies Attic book, Top It Off, and is shown on the front cover, along with one of my other original designs, the mint green Cropped Sweater. Although this book is out of print, it is still sold in stores and online. I've also seen it on eBay for $2.00. Btw, the shrug is a long rectangle, so is easy enough for beginners!

Top It Off by Annies
I came up with  many different ways to wear thiis
shrug, as that is one of my passions. I have always liked to take one project and see how many different ways it can be worn or how many different projects I can make from one basic pattern. Those of you who know me as a designer, know this is something I love doing. In Crochet That Fits (shown at right) you'll find a basic capelet that uses the same basic shape to make 7 diffrent projects.  I made a basic capelet, skirt, purse, turtleneck capelet and hat. Not in the book are also a lamp shade, throw pillow and a tree skirt using the same shape. All you do is change the yarn size or hook size for the different projects. I also have a Cowl pattern for sale here on my blog, called the Cabled Cowl and from the same exact piece (without changing the yarn or hook), you can form it into a cowl, skirt, capelet, tote bsg, pillow and hoodie.

See ways below to wear this shrug. It calls for a bulky yarn. Read more details on my Ravelry psge HERE http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/wine-shrug.

Fold shrug and wear as a scarf

Wear as a capelet without putting your arms in the sleeves

Wear as a wrap

Wine Shrug worn as a shrug

Cropped Crochet Sweater

Even though this booklet, Top it Off by Annies Attic, was publushed several years ago, it is still being sold in some stores. I've also seen it for sale on eBay for around $2.00. There are 13 projects for you to choose from. I see it at JoAnns Fabric and Crafts all the time. If you want the free pattern for this sweater-like shrug go to the link HERE.
I was fortunate to have 2 of my designs pictured on the front cover of the book! This is always exciting as a designer and it never gets old. I'm expecially pleased because I was a fairly new designer at the time and they chose 2 of my designs over those of several other known designers that have designs in the same book. There are mostly ponchos, shrugs, capelets and wraps.

Top it Off Crochet Book with 2 of my designs on the front cover
Other crochet designers who have a design in this book are:
1. Mary Jane Hall
2. Melissa Leapman
3. Kathleen Sams
4. Bendy Carter
5. Elizabeth Ann White
6. Joyce Nordstrom
7. Emma L. Hauck
8. Judi Kauffman
9. Maria Cook
10. Shelle Cain
11. Susan Shildmeyer

For more info on this sweater  see it here on Ravelry.

La Vie en Rose Shawl

La Vie en Rose Shawl

This stunning shawl pattern can be found in my latest book, Colorful Crochet Lace, seen at right, published by Interweave Press, a branch of F+W. It calls for lace weight yarn, but to make it go quickly, I doubled the lace yarn. Its still very drapsble though and can be rolled up to be worn as a lightweight neck scarf. See picture below.  

La Vie en Rose Shawl

If you do not want to use a lace weight yarn, you can easily use a # 2 sport, # 3 dk or even a # 4 worsted weight. Gauge does not matter with this project unless you want the shawl to be the exact size as the one pictured. 
Yarn I used is Juniper Moon Farm Findley.

This is Starf1owr's rendition of the shawl shown on Ravelry. I love it in this blue color!

La Vie en Shawl worn as a scarf

Monday, January 9, 2017

Chicken Ramen Noodle Sir Fry

If your looking for a quick, hearty lunch or dinner and your family loves Ramen noodles, then this is the recipe you've been looking for! To make it even easier, I always keep on hand a Kroger bag of frozen Grilled Chicken, which is delicious and so incredibly convenient. Actually I love Chinese and Thai food so much that I fix this exactly the same way I fix my Chinese Fried Rice. But whatever you do, if you have to substitute anything, please don't leave out the sesame oil. I've lived in the orient and eaten Chinese food in Hong Kong and if you want an authentic taste, make sure you use toasted sesame oil. I prefer the toasted because it just has a better flavor to me.

Saying all that, if you want to make my fried rice recipe, just substitute the rice for the noodles. Make sure your rice was cooked the day become though and put it in the refrigerator. Fried rice is better with cold rice that doesn't stick together. Rinsing the rice before cooking helps with that too. Let me know if you try this and what you thought!

Ingredients - to  feed 6 hungry people

Canola oil
1 small onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
4 packages Chicken flavored Ramen Noodles
2-3 cups Kroger brand frozen Grilled Chicken Strips (green bag)
3-4 eggs
1 can sliced water chestnuts, sliced into strips
1 can baby corn
1½ cups frozen peas or peas and carrots, pre-thawed in the microwave for 2 mins
1-2 Tb Toasted Sesame oil
1-2 Tb sesame seeds

Brown chicken chucks in wok on high heat with about 2 tsps canola oil till brown. When cooked, place in large bowl. In meantime boil approx. 8 cups water to cook noodles. When water comes to a boil, setting seasoning packets aside for later, add dry noodles and cook 3 minutes. Immediately drain water in colinder and rinse with water to prevent sticking. Set aside.
After chicken is cooked, place in large bowl and set aside. Heat about 1 Tb. butter and  1 tsp. oil in the pan. Add onions and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes. Transfer onion and garlic to same bowl with chicken. While pan is still hot, place eggs in skillet and scramble till done. Put eggs in bowl with onions and chicken.
In small amount oil, stir fry together baby corn, peas  and carrots and water chestnuts for about a minute or two. Then put all ingredients together in wok and stir together. Add sesame oil and about 1-2 cups water. Sprinkle seasoning packets all over noodles, chicken and vegetable mixture. Stir well. Add sesame seeds and stir through.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Chocolate Cherry Torte

Doesn't this cake look yummy? It's one I've fixed for over 35 years. This is a really simple recipe, but makes a gorgeous cake if you're looking for something special, especially if you love chocolate and cherries together! The recipe says to use 3 round cake pans but I have always used my bundt cake pan and just sliced the cake in 3 layers. Be careful though, so it won't break. It's easier to put the cool whip on the layers if it's slightly thawed. And make sure you get there largest can of pie filling. Enjoy!

1 box dark chocolate or Devil's Food cake mix
1 lg. container whipped topping
1 lg. can cherry pie filling

Make cake following package directions. Divide into 3 greased 9 inch cake pans. (I use my Bundt cake pan and slice it in 3 layers being careful not to break it). Bake for 15 to 18 minutes at 350 F. Cool on metal racks.
Layer cherry pie filling and Cool Whip on layers. Top with Cool Whip and decorate with cherries if desired.

I cut this page out of a magazine all those years ago. You can tell it's been battered!
I finally found the original recipe on the web here