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Crochet Reversible Swiffer Cover

March 24, 2014

I’m all about crocheting useful things, so this sweeper cover was up my alley. I love my Swiffer, and I do buy the cloths, but I prefer to use this cover on my wood floors. When you’re finished, give it a shake outside and then toss it in the laundry. I recommend hanging it to dry rather than putting it in the dryer.

Here’s the loopy side. I didn’t take a photo, but you can turn it inside out to use the smooth side.

Crochet Swiffer Cover - front

Here’s how it slips on to the sweeper.

Crochet Swiffer Cover - back

The pattern shows how to make this using two colors, but I wanted to use up this yarn, so I stuck with just one color. The bright green is the perfect thing to brighten up a cleaning session!

Pattern notes

  • The free pattern is available here on CraftStylish.
  • The pattern starts out working in rows to create a rectangle with alternating rows of double crochet and loops (4 chains and a slip stitch). Next, the pattern switches to working in the round to create the part that holds the cover onto the sweeper head. The photos at the bottom of the pattern are helpful.
  • If you have a different brand of sweeper, you might need a different size rectangle. Finished size will depend on the yarn you use and your gauge, so check along the way to make sure the rectangle will be a little smaller than your sweeper head.
  • I was confused by the instructions for round 3 (this is when you’re working in the round, after finishing the rows). Here’s how I would explain it: on the long sides, sc 7 and then decrease in the next 2 sc; repeat until you’re 2 stitches from the corner. On the short sides, starting two stitches before the corner, decrease in the next 2 sc; repeat until you’re 2 stitches past the corner. So, you’re decreasing a little bit on the long sides and a lot on the short sides. Round 4 works the same way, but you sc 6 before decreasing on the long sides.
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Rustic Olive Flatbread

March 16, 2014

I’ve made a lot of King Arthur Flour recipes, and often there’s a special ingredient or flavoring that is noted as optional. I usually don’t have that ingredient, so I skip it and the recipe is still delicious. This recipe, which Michele told me about, uses King Arthur Flour’s Olive Artisan Bread Flavor, and not as an optional ingredient. The flavor mix includes flour with black olives, garlic, olive oil, rosemary, and oregano – all flavors that I like, so I ordered some to give it a try.

Olive Flatbread

And the verdict is…this is a tasty flatbread! The flavor mix, plus olive oil and salt on top, is delicious. I’ve made other similar recipes and have liked them all, so it’s not required to buy special ingredients to make this kind of bread. But it turned out great and I’m looking forward to trying the flavoring in other recipes. This flatbread takes a full cup of the flavor mix, but they recommend adding just 1/4 to 1/2 cup to other bread recipes. I plan to try it in pizza crust – why not have some olives in the crust as well as on top of the pizza?

This is another recipe that Michele and I baked together (virtually speaking), and she posted about it today too, so be sure to check out her thoughts on the flatbread.

If you want to give this a try, you can get the recipe here on King Arthur Flour’s site. Did you know that you can view their online recipes in Volume, Ounces, or Grams? I appreciate that feature every time I use a King Arthur Flour recipe!

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Tangerine-Orange-Clementine Sorbet

March 7, 2014

Tangerine sorbet

One upside to winter is the abundance of citrus fruit. I’ve eaten countless clementines and oranges this winter, and although I’m a peel-and-eat type, when I saw this recipe in David Lebovitz’s March newsletter, I started slicing and juicing. This sorbet is beautiful to look at and fresh tasting – just the thing for an end-of-winter dessert.

The original recipe calls for all tangerine juice, but I used a combination of tangerines, oranges, and clementines, since that’s what I had on hand and I needed a lot of fruit to get enough juice (I lost count of how many pieces I used). The recipe also states that the addition of champagne is optional; I’m going to go ahead and call it required.

Tangerine (and orange and clementine) Sorbet
adapted from David Lebovitz, who adapted it from a recipe in his upcoming book, My Paris Kitchen

3 cups freshly squeezed juice, any combination of tangerine, orange, and clementine
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup champagne or sparkling wine (I used brut, which is fairly dry)

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar with 1 cup of the juice. Heat and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Combine the sugar/juice mixture with the rest of the juice and chill thoroughly.

Just before churning, stir in the champagne. Churn and freeze, following your ice cream maker’s instructions. Remove from freezer about 10 minutes before serving to allow it to soften before scooping.

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Crochet Helmet-Style Hat

February 13, 2014

Crochet Helmet Hat

Another hat! After I made a hat for myself, I made one for my husband. This one is a helmet-style hat that has a back flap that covers the ears and the back of the head. That extra protection, plus the thick yarn, makes this a nice warm winter hat. He gave the hat a thumbs-up and said that it feels light but is very warm.

I used Lion Brand pattern L32053, Havemeyer Helmet (the pattern is free, but you may need to log in to view it).

Pattern notes:

  • I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick yarn in the Spartans color (dark green alternating with dark green & white stripes). I only had about 48″ of yarn left, so one ball was cutting it really close.
  • The pattern calls for a size P crochet hook; I used size N. I usually go up a hook size, so going down two sizes was very unusual for me. There were a couple of unfavorable reviews for this pattern, and I think the recommended hook size must be way off, so people are having trouble with the gauge. I had to try a few different times to figure out what size hook to use.
    Once I did, though, it was an easy pattern to follow.
  • To make the pom-pom, I used the technique shown in this video.
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Crochet Snowbelle Trapper Hat

February 3, 2014

Crochet Hat

This was the first time I crocheted a hat, and I’m happy to say that it was easier than expected and just as cute as I hoped it would be. I don’t love wearing hats, but it’s been quite a winter, what with the Polar Vortex, and seemingly constant snow, so hats do come in handy.

You can see more about the pattern, including photos of the hat on someone’s head here, and you can purchase the pattern here on Ravelry. I was lucky to get a copy of the pattern when she was giving it away for free, but it’s only $4.00 to buy it, and I think it’s worth it. 

Pattern notes:

  • I used Red Heart Super Saver yarn and a size K crochet hook (one size larger than called for, but I usually do that because I crochet with a lot of tension).
  • The pattern is very detailed and I found it easy to follow.
  • She includes links for making the braided tassels and pom-poms. I had some trouble with the pom-poms, so I used the technique shown in this video (I wrapped the yarn around 3 fingers to make a smaller-sized pom-pom).
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Sweet-and-Sour Potluck Meatballs

January 23, 2014

Have you heard of Amy Thielen and her book, The New Midwestern Table? I enjoyed watching the first season of her show, Heartland Table, on the Food Network. I haven’t made any of the recipes she made on the show, but when I saw this meatball recipe, it went on my short list of new recipes to try.

Sweet-Sour-Meatballs

They aren’t going to win a beauty contest, but you won’t care about that when you start popping them into your mouth. The peanuts, scallions, and carrots add a nice texture to the meatballs, and the tangy Asian flavors in the sauce keep you coming back for more. With only two of us in the house, we were eating meatballs for days, but we didn’t get tired of them, and I plan to make them again soon.

I made a few changes based on my preferences. My version was delicious, and I have no doubt that the original version is also fantastic.

Sweet-and-Sour Potluck Meatballs

Adapted from Amy Thielen’s recipe here

Note: Make sure that the crushed/chopped/minced items are very small; the meatballs are small, so you want to avoid large pieces of ingredients.

1 pound (16 oz) lean ground pork
1/2 pound (8 oz) extra-lean ground turkey
1/3 cup crushed dry-roasted peanuts
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 large egg
1 loosely-packed cup parsley (including stems), finely chopped
4 scallions, green and white parts, minced
3/4 cup finely grated carrots
3 Tablespoons soy sauce, divided
Fine sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1 Tablespoon canola oil
2 Tablespoons grated, peeled fresh ginger
1 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes, with juice
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Asian chili-garlic sauce
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice

Preheat oven to 375º F.

Mix in a large bowl with your hands: pork, turkey, peanuts, panko, egg, parsley, carrots, scallions, 1 Tablespoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Roll into Tablespoon-sized meatballs and arrange on baking sheets, leaving a little space between the meatballs. You should get about 45-50 meatballs. Bake about 15 minutes, until the meatballs are firm and cooked through.

While the meatballs are cooking, pour the tomatoes with their juice into a food processor and process until smooth. In a large skillet or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the pureed tomatoes, 3/4 cup water, the brown sugar, chili-garlic sauce, the remaining 2 Tbsp. of soy sauce and the fish sauce. Simmer, stirring often, and scraping the sides, until the sauce has reduced by about half, 5 to 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the lime juice and season with salt.

Add the meatballs to the sauce and cook, stirring often, over medium-high heat until the meatballs are glazed with the sauce, 10 to 15 minutes. (At this point you can keep the meatballs warm in a crock pot.) Serve with toothpicks.

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My Most Popular Post: Grand Marnier Bundt Cake

January 3, 2014

When I looked at my 2013 annual report from WordPress, I was not surpised to see that my Grand Marnier Bundt Cake post was the most viewed post this year. The post is actually from 2009, and a lot of people seem to be searching for a Grand Marnier bundt cake recipe. Search no more, because this is an awesome cake.

Grand Marnier Bundt Cake

I’ve made this cake countless times, including just the other day, and it never disappoints. The original post shows mini-bundts. The slice in the photo above is from a cake baked in a 6-cup bundt pan. It’s great as-is, but you can make it prettier by garnishing with some whipped cream, or drizzling some chocolate sauce on the plate and putting the cake on top.

Give the Grand Marnier Bundt Cake recipe a try!

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