Two good things

Good thing #1: I wore Arroway today.  To prove it, I offer up this exceedingly unflattering self portrait.

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Better pics will come I promise.  At least the cat is looking cute over my shoulder.  She always sits like that… so regal.  I’ll just say that it’s super warm and I loved having it up around my neck all day.  It kept me nice and toasty all day.  Definitely going to be in my scarf/shawl rotation.
Good thing #2: I made split pea soup last night and now I have a whole fridge of split pea soup carefully ladled out into bowl sized portions! (If you don’t like split pea soup 1: my excitement about this will not make sense to you; 2: you’re crazy; 3: no need for you to read the rest of this post.)  Split pea soup is my favorite.
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To say that my “recipe” is easy is to make it sound harder than it is.  If you can chop celery, you can make this.  (You do need a crock pot though.)  Here goes.
Ingredients:
  • 1 bag split peas (the reasonable size bag, not the industrial size)
  • 1 pound carrots–I buy the ones that come already shredded because they mash really well and I don’t have to do any chopping.  If you want to do more chopping buy whatever is cheapest
  • 1 bunch of celery
  • 1 giant can chicken broth–I use the 99% fat free reduced sodium kind.  I mean giant, buy the biggest can at the store
  • 1 pound pork (I use pork instead of ham, I have never liked ham, I think it has a greasy texture that gives me the willies, if you like ham and can’t imagine split pea soup made with mere pork substitute as you like) I’ve used pretty much any cut of pork from pork loin to thick-cut boneless chops to shoulder.  Hint: sometimes the supermarket will put a sticker on it that says “great for crock pot”–pick that.
Directions:
  1. Put split peas on bottom of crock pot.  They must go on bottom.  This is a cardinal rule.  Do not violate it.
  2. Put pork in crock pot on top of peas.
  3. Put carrots in crock pot on top of pork (if you didn’t buy shredded carrots, chop them up first.)
  4. Chop celery then put it in crock pot on top of carrots.
  5. Empty chicken broth into crock pot.  All of it.  Trust me.  You need it.
  6. Add extra water to crock pot.  I have the big circular sized crock pot.  After all the ingredients are in, I fill it to the top with water.  If you have the giant oval crock pot I have no suggestions for how to properly measure the water you add.  Guess.  You may think the giant can of chicken broth gives you enough liquid since it covers all the ingredients.  It does not.  If you don’t add the extra water you will have split pea sludge, not split pea soup.
  7. Set crock pot for low and try to be patient for 16 hours.  It will start to smell good after hour 9.  This can be torturous if you are hungry.  Best to let it cook while you will be out/asleep.
  8. If pork hasn’t fallen apart on its own, use a fork to shred it.  If vegetables have not disintegrated into green soupyness mash them with a potato masher, they should disintegrate into soup at the slightest pressure.
This will make 9 seriously good sized bowls.  If you use relatively lean pork you are looking at 150 calories per bowl.  That’s right 150!  Delicious and healthy.  It will be a good week.

MMmmmmm

This is the evening I have planned:

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The food is homemade crockpot stew and a glass of a yummy Moscato (I like girly wine, I know, not as classy as a Pino Grigio but sweet and yummy and mellow.)

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My recipe for crockpot stew:

Ingredients

  • potatoes–as many as looks good, I usually get about 4 big ones
  • celery–one bunch
  • carrots–I buy a bag of baby carrots then add until it looks right and save the rest to munch on
  • pre-chopped stew meat–about a pound.  (I stock the grocery store for it to go on sale then freeze it so I can use it as I like.)
  • flour–about two handfuls
  • broth–48 oz (I use broth for all the liquid, if you’re worried about sodium you can do half broth, half water) chicken or beef, whatever is on sale

Directions

  • chop potatoes, throw them in crockpot
  • sprinkle handful of flour over potatoes
  • toss stew meat in
  • sprinkle with handful of flour
  • chop carrots and celery, throw them in the crock pot
  • add broth
  • set crockpot to low and leave it alone for a day (I usually do overnight to the next day’s dinner time)
  • eat stew
  • hide leftover stew from 6’10” brother who loves stew and will eat it all if given half a chance

It’s actually even better if you have the patience to take the stew out of the crockpot and throw it in the fridge for another overnight so it can thicken and the flavors can get all combined.  I can never wait.

As for the knitting, its a plain 64-stitch sock from the top down with a heel flap.  This is my favorite method of making socks.  I know all the benefits of toe-up socks and the short-row heel, but top-down are so darned charming.  I love everything about them.  I don’t much like ribbing, so it’s good to get it out of the way when the project is fresh.  I have enough stamina to make the leg as long as I want it.  With toe-up socks, I find I make shorter legs because I want the project to be over (and I skimp on the ribbing.)  Heel flaps are fun.  You get to go back and forth for a while rather than round and round.  Plus, if you do a slip stitch heel it’s more durable than the short-row heel because it’s double thick.  Heel flaps fit high arches better than short-row heels.  I have high arches.  Kitchner really isn’t that bad.  There, I said it.

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The yarn is Boylston, one of the Yarnia house blends I picked up when I was working there.  It’s 50% Bamboo, 27% Merino, 23% Alpaca.  It’s comprised of one strand navy bamboo, one strand navy merino, one strand bright blue merino, and one strand gray heathered alpaca.  It’s definitely on the thick side for a fingering weight, my socks will be very thick–good for hiking or as “outside” socks to go over smaller socks in the winter.