Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!  What a crazy year it has been.  I got married, moved, and started a new job.  It was a great year for change and I can't wait to see what the new year will bring.

We went from the wettest place to the driest place!  Abundant ocean to no water for miles.  I am missing the surf and amazing views, but am learning to love the desert.  It is sunny, dry, and mountainous.  Happy Holidays and good luck in the new year!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Candied Orange Peel Recipe/Tutorial

I love candied orange peel from the store, but homemade candied orange peel is amazing.  It takes a lot of work and time, but the end result is worth it.  I used 4 pounds of oranges and it made enough to give 4 small jars for Christmas presents.  I would do at least this amount. The more you do, the longer they will last before you have to make more.


Start by peeling oranges, then cutting away the pith.  Get as much of the white off of the peel as you can.  Then place the peels in cold water to cover and bring to a boil.  Strain and repeat for a total of 3 times.  Rinse with cold water each time.

Place 1 part water and 1 part sugar in the same pot and bring to a boil.  This will be your sugar syrup.  Place the orange peels in the syrup and simmer until translucent.  The syrup should remain at a simmer until you are satisfied with the results. I simmered mine for about an hour.  This can vary from 30 minutes to 3 hours depending on how thick your peels are.

Remove (strain) from the syrup and lay out to dry.  When they are partially dry (not soaking wet) place them in a bowl of sugar and coat.  You can save the syrup and use it for iced tea or other cooking with sugar syrups, it is a great addition to a fruit compote, smoothies, or a pancake topping mixed with berries/syrup.

Allow the peels to dry until they are to your liking.  The humidity and temperature will make a huge difference in your drying time, so be patient and keep an eye on them.  I left mine out for a day on my counter, you don't want them rock hard, just firm and not wet. (in Arizona)

To finish them you can either dip them in dark chocolate, stripe them in chocolate, or leave the plain.  They will be devoured either way.  :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Free Slouchy Beret Hat Pattern

I have been looking for a slouchy hat pattern that was also chunky and fun for a while now. I stumbled across Give Me a Purl blog and I love her chunky hat pattern.  I made mine in Lambs Pride Bulky.  It took less than one skein and I finished it in 2 sittings.  Gotta love instant gratification.

I used a size 15 circular needle, (i need a 10 1/2 for the lambs pride but somehow didn't find mine!) and it came out great.  I wanted a looser, fun, bright hat to wear around in Arizona.  If I make it again for someone in say... Nebraska or Colorado, I would totally use smaller needles.  The pattern works great with this combo though, just a little FYI.  

{Lambs Pride Bulky, size 15 circular needles, and a stitch marker}

Here is a little from her blog about what materials she used and the skills needed to make this project.

The hat is a really fast knit and was made to use this ball of Super Bulky yarn that was living in my stash.
Materials: Pronto Super Bulky yarn, 100 g (~90 yards)
Needles: 9 mm / US 13
Gauge: 10 stitches / 10 cm (4 inches) in stockinette stitch
M1: Make 1 stitch. Pick up the loop lying between stitches and knit it, making sure to twist it to avoid making a hole.
K2tog: Knit two stitches together.
P2tog: Purl two stitches together.
Sts: Stitches.

Get the full pattern here.  Happy Knitting!


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