Touch of Nectar

{December 24, 2008}   Wave Afghan – Xmas Present






Close up of the stitches/pattern.

This is a Christmas present for my dad – AKA the hardest person EVER to give gifts to. It is an afghan of my own design. The pattern makes me think of the ocean. Dad has oil paintings of ocean scenes in his living room and his favorite colors are browns and blues, so I think he will like it. It is almost done (I ran out of the light blue yarn). Just one more section to crochet and then it will be wrapped up and put under the tree.


{December 24, 2008}   Bento #23 – Dinner Leftovers

bento23This bento was my work lunch from a couple of days ago. I didn’t actually get to eat it at work because of all the snow we’ve had lately. I’ve been stuck!

In the upper section is banana yogurt, apricot glazed pork and trail mix (peanuts, dried cranberries and chocolate covered raisins).

In the left compartment is pretzels and canned pineapple chunks. In the right, carrot shreds, grape tomatoes and steamed green beans.

{December 15, 2008}   Current Project – Granny Squares

I decided that the back of my couch needed an old-fashioned granny square afghan.  Call it a Christmas present to myself. My couch is a dusty sage green, and both the hubby and I like “natural” colors.  Picking the colors was HARD. There are so many great yarns in lots of great colors. I finally decided on a wool-acrylic blend (washable!) in olive, chocolate, cream and silvery gray. The gray ended up looking more blue than gray as I worked it into the squares, but I think it looks okay.

I am working two squares of each possible color combination, which will give me 48 squares total. I have about 12 squares left to crochet. They go really fast! I am still undecided about how I am going to join them together. I’m toying with the idea of a 5th color – either a lighter green or tan. I may just end up buying the yarn and playing around to see how it looks.

More photos later! 🙂

{December 11, 2008}   Gnocchi Leftovers – Bento #22

bento22Last night’s dinner was Gnocchi with Sherried Shallots. True to form, I’m revisiting dinner for lunch today.  Ala bento!

The gnocchi is on the far right. Also in my box is peas from the freezer and a small salad. I love this box because I can pack cold things as well as what I want to reheat all in the same container. I just lift out the salad bowl before I pop the container in the microwave. 

Also packed (for snacks) is banana yogurt from TJ’s and a couple of cutie oranges. There’s chocolate in my desk at work.

sherried-gnocchiAnother night, another super simple dinner. This took me less than half an hour to throw together.

The recipe originally comes from Cooking Light (via RecipeZaar, of course!) I made a few adaptations to make it work with what I had in the house. I lowered the proportion size too. The recipe says it feeds four, but even after I almost halved all the ingredients, I got three good sized servings and one toddler-sized serving.

I used a whole large onion in place of the shallots and halved the sherry, sour cream, chicken broth and gnocchi. I sauteed the onions in a bit of olive oil until they started to caramelize THEN added the sherry and chicken broth. I think this gives the dish more complex flavors than just onion.

I was afraid that the gnocchi wouldn’t cook in the sauce, (it would have been fine) so I cooked it seperately, then added it right before I added the sour cream. Shredded, leftover turkey was pulled from the freezer in place of the chicken. Just before serving I stirred in a good tablespoon or so of dried parsley. Mostly just for color. Served with a tossed green salad – ranch dressing for the kidling and hubby, vinaigrette for me. Yum!

Gnocchi with Sherried Shallots.

2 cups thinly sliced shallots or onions
1 cup dry sherry
1 1/2 cups
nonfat sour cream
1 cup fat-skimmed 
chicken broth
1 (18 ounce) package refrigerated 
2 cups shredded skinned 
cooked chicken
1/3 cup chopped 

In a 5- to 6-quart pan over high heat, stir shallots and sherry until shallots are limp, about 10 minutes.

Add sour cream, broth, gnocchi, chicken, and parsley. Stir until gnocchi are hot, about 5 minutes.

Spoon into bowls and season with nutmeg and salt to taste.

{December 10, 2008}   Bento #21 – Dinner Leftovers

bento21Dinner last night was Mustard Glazed Pork Tenderloin, mashed potatoes and peas. The pork recipe comes from my Low-Carb cookbook and can be done OAMC. 

Hubby and the kidling both inhaled their dinner. Score for me! There was still enough (planned) leftovers for my lunch today.

Rounding out lunch is strawberry yogurt (TJ’s) and canned pineapple chunks.

white-cran-vodkaI had one of *those* days yesterday. Got nothing done, listened to everyone complain all day. You know how it goes.

So when I got home, I fixed myself up a cocktail (a double actually). I had white cranberry juice in the fridge and vodka in the freezer so I was on the hunt for something that used both and wasn’t a Cosmo again. Score!

White Cranberry Vodka Cocktail

5 ounces w
hite cranberry juice
2 ounces vodka
2 ounces
ginger ale
1 teaspoon
lemon juice
lemon twist, garnish

I omitted the lemon juice, but otherwise made the drink to the recipe specifications. The ginger ale is a nice touch. I think this would also be good made with vanilla vodka. Nice and icey and not too sweet. Perfect.

{December 9, 2008}   Bento #20 – Tuna Cakes

bento20Today’s bento is mostly dinner leftovers from last night. The section on the right has sauteed zucchini and tuna cakes. In the little container is dill sauce. Just the right amount for one tuna cake.

The section on the left has vanilla yogurt from Trader Joes and mandarin oranges. Great pantry dinner made into a pantry lunch! 

tuna-cakes-and-zucchiniI’ve started to keep a list of meals I can make from items in my pantry. This was a great find!  Tuna Burgers.

Tuna, onion, egg, breadcrumbs, milk, and dill. You just toss it all together and make patties. Fry them up. EASY. The only thing I would change about the recipe is that I would use less milk. My patties were a little wet. Maybe just a few tablespoons, not 1/4 cup.

To go along with the tuna burgers I made Dill Sauce. This recipe comes from my 1001 Low Fat Recipes book. I used fat-free sour cream in place of the yogurt, and added a bit of lemon pepper to the mix as well.

For our vegetable, we had Parmesan Zucchini Spears (and fries for hubby). I didn’t have lemon zest, so I just used lemon pepper. I cooked them until they were barely crisp-tender. I don’t like mushy zucchini.  These would be fantastic done on the grill in the summer.

{December 9, 2008}   Crochet Project – Cascade Scarf

crochet-cascadeFor Christmas this year, I decided to make a few gifts. I haven’t crocheted anything in years. It is a wonderful thing to do while sitting in front of the TV watching a movie or whatever. I’m not very good, but I can follow a basic pattern. So I went searching the net for something pretty, but simple and found a pattern for this Cascade Scarf on A Little Slice of Life’s blog. (also on ravelry)

The yarn is a very soft lambs wool in a dusty-rose shade. The photo doesn’t pick up how nice the color is. It isn’t solid, there is a tiny bit of lighter pink variation that runs through it.

It took me two nights to complete (not counting frogging it to make it a little shorter). I had to go back and buy a second skein of yarn. It takes more than I realized. I am very pleased with the result though, and I think it will make a lovey present for my sister in law.

This won’t be my last crochet project this year either! I think I am going to try and make a felted hat next! I fell in love with some pretty caramel-varigated yarn at the store and it had to come home with me.

et cetera