My 1 Million Row Challenge

Monday, December 30, 2013

Vegan Corn Chowder

As promised here is a brand new recipe to end the year. On top of having a wonderful texture and taste it can be one of your higher fiber soups for the coming year. With only 5 ingredients it is also very quick to put together. You will also note that it is slightly different from the Corn Chowder recipe of January 20,2011.  It does not include the carrots or celery, i.e. the marpoix mix. So here goes.

Vegan Corn Chowder

1- 32 ounce carton of Imagine Creamy Sweet Corn Soup
1 very large onion or 2 smaller onions peeled and coarsely chopped, about 2 cups
2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Large Russet Potatoes peeled and coarsely diced between 2 to 3 cups
1 pound of frozen sweet white corn

In your LeCreuset 4 quart soup pot, heat olive oil over a low heat. Add the onions and saute over medium heat until translucent. Add the diced potatoes and saute until they start to stick to the pan. Add the Imagine Sweet Corn Soup and the frozen corn. Cook over a medium low heat for at least 1 hour stirring occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. The soup is done when the potatoes are tender. 

This should make between 4 to 8 servings depending on the size of your bowls. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Good Day

It was a good day today. I felt well enough to start digging the house out of mommy being sick mode. There is still a lot to catch up on but progress was made.

I also got to teach Lisa how to use a drum carder. We worked on some of the buffalo fiber her dad gave is to play with. I was amazed at the difference between the under coat and the outer fiber, which was still very course even after all the guard hair was removed.  We almost got through the first carding. I think it will take 2 or 3 more trips through the carder before we blend in the silk. 

I made a lovely vegan corn chowder for dinner. I will try to get the recipe up layer in the week.  After dinner I managed to knit 2 more hats for charity. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Mostly on the Mend

Eric and I are doing much better. The antibiotics are working their magic. John on the other hand has gotten what I hope is a milder form of what we had. 

I did figure out why I was running out of clean clothes. I have not done any laundry for John and I since Eric got sick.  Today I took care of that. Yes Eric still had more dirty clothes than we did. I have been doing at least 2 loads a day for him since he got sick. 

I did venture out today to Whole Foods for a few things we had run out of and dinner. It was nice to get out but it did leave me a bit tired. 

After dinner I finished a hat that I had started 2 days ago. Then promptly cast on the next hat with bulkier yarn. I did not get much spinning done today. It seemed that every time I got my rythem I got interrupted.  After 30 minutes and 4 interruptions I gave up. 

We'll it is time to call it a night. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

An Update 1461 Days in the Making

If you were following my blog in December of 2009 you might vaguely remember the one from December 9th. That was the one in which I stated that I gave up everything with HFCS and aspartame. This is thanks to my friend Kay. As you might recall the weight came off very fast for the 1st 10 pounds and then seemed to slow to almost nothing. I have since dropped 3 dress sizes and as of today a total of  24.5 pounds.  Which is also bucking the trend for women my age to gain 1 to 5 pounds a year.

In the 4 years since I have give up HFCS and aspartame, I have found more energy. I am eating a lot less junk food, because lets face it those 2 things are in a lot of processed foods. I have also gotten more active. I have given up the house keeper, which is a huge bonus since I get more exercise time in and have a cleaner more organized house. I also have more money for things we need and want. Yes some of that money made it toward yarn and fluff. I am not an angle after all.  I have more time for the things that I love. I can now wear more fashionable clothing. I am getting sick a lot less. Yes, I know that as I write this blog post, Eric and I are recovering from a very aggressive cold that has put us on antibiotics.

The best news is that my body is changing shape and redefining itself. I am finally getting happier with my body. Not that I still don't have a long way to go, in my humble opinion. But  I am letting my body lead the way without the aide of crash diets or weighing and measuring everything. No more paying for rah rah sessions where I tend to pick up bad habits.  My body has reset itself. I now stop eating when I am full. This is a very good thing. I tend to eat more when I am more active and less on quieter days. Which with restaurant portions it often leads to boxes of leftovers or I just order an appetizer instead of a meal. I also tend to snack a lot less, even when Eric is sick.

I know that 6.125 pounds a year is not a huge weight loss in any ones book. The daily average weight loss looks even worse just 0.01676933607118412 pounds per day, yes I was playing around with the numbers. This just means that I will not look at the daily weight loss. I will try not to become to attached to the scale, but rather how my clothes are fitting me and how much energy that I have. I will let you know how I feel when I hit my next milestone. Just think you might not have to wait a full 1461 days to find out.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Feeling Yucky

The crud has invaded. Both Eric and I are sick. We will try to get into the doctors or urgent care this morning. Now to keep John from getting it, because I have so little energy even knitting seems to be a lot of work. I am drinking my hot tea with lemon and honey while I write this. It might be old school but it tastes better than cough syrup.

I do have to end this on the bright side thought. Just remember that the family that gets sick together stays together.


Both Eric and I are on antibiotics and will lay low for a few days and hope that John does not get this. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013


No we are not talking about Dalmatian's. That would be a major copy write volition and I am sure the fine Lawyers at Disney would have a taken down notice out pretty fast. What I am talking about is the number of hats that I have knit for charity and people in need in Southern Arizona.

This adventure began on October 17, 2013 at knitting guild. There was a presidents challenge to knit 30 hats in 30 days for The Kids Closet, an out reach program run by the retiree's in Saddle Brook. So I came home from knitting guild and gathered some odds and ends. Since the pattern required 2 strands of yarn it did not matter on the weight or amount of yarn. After all I was using US sized 11 and 13 knitting needles. The thing that I learned about kids hats is that the more colorful the hat the better. I had the first 30 hats done in 19 days.

Since I had more yarn I kept knitting hats. I thought maybe another 5 or 10 hats with the yarn I had. Then John gently suggested that I remove all the yarn from Teri's room before her visit and add it to the yarn for hats. That added 5 more bags / baskets of odds and end yarn to the project. 2  bags have since been used up.

I then knit up 23 hats for the kids in the Flowing Wells School District. 2 weeks later I dropped off 28 more hats and 11 scarfs. Then there where 2 more hats knit for Eric's Day program charity event for a local shelter. Today I dropped off another 13 hats at a stuff the bus event for kids in need. 4 went to United Cerebral Palsy of Southern Arizona and 9 went to Child Protective Services. Then there were another 17 hats that I can't quite remember where they went, but rest assured that they are out of the house and hopefully keeping some little head warm this winter.

There are 3 more things that I should mention. First I really thought that today's hats brought the total to 101 hats since October 17th, but in actuality there were 113, but 101 sounded far better as a title. It really made a better intro too. I also can not keep a running total in my head like my dad use to do. I Secondly at Thursdays guild meeting 2 dear friends sent me home with another bag of yarn for hats. Thirdly with every other project I finish there is a little more yarn that is going to the hats. So I will be knitting hats for quite a while. Even averaging 1 skein per hat I still have a lot of yarn to use up. At least during the colder months I will try to find them homes instead of a neat pile somewhere in the house.

For those keeping track of my stash down challenge, the sad news is that even burning through 113 skeins of yarn in the past 67 days it has not made much of a dent in the over all volume of my stash. Although it has added quite a few rows to The One Million Knitted Rows challenge on Ravelry.

Hats Away

These are just a few of the 113 hats that I have knit since October 17th. Just 67 days.  

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Eric Shared His Cold

Well if the cold is bad enough Eric usually shares it with me. Today was no exception. I did not even have enough energy to get the bare minimum of 2 loads of Eric's laundry finished. The last load is still in the dryer, its dry so it can stay there a few more hours or days. It is not like there is a shortage of chucks and face wipes.

The high light of my day was drinking Christmas Blend Black tea with honey. After the 5th cup I changed to Sprite for 1 bottle, don't worry it is the imported kind so it has no HFCS's. In between napping and drinking liquids my only real accomplishment of the day was finishing 2 charity hats and getting a 3rd one cast on.

Pattern Alert On today's hats I changed up the hats to a 2 x 2 ribbing for 8 rows, so the cast on was in multiples of 4 + 1. I do this because I knit the 1st and last cast on stitch together to elimate the jag that knitting in the round sometimes produces. Followed by 4 even increases in row 9. I then knit in the stockinette stitch for 4 more inches. For the decrease I evenly spaced the 4 SSK"s. At 8 stitches left the hat was finished and then weaving in the ends and casting on the next hat.

I am leaving John in charge of dinner and plan on spending the remainder of the day resting. I hope I beat this bug soon, tomorrow would be nice John is thinking longer grrr.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Usual

Eric has been sick and I have been knitting. Not to mention it was cold and rainy today.  I have only gotten 1 scarf finished today. I have been project jumping. 

Of course I have the knitting basket in Eric's room with a couple of ponchos in different stages. I have the hat project in the den.  I have my small 1 project to go bag, that was the scarf that I finished tonight after tinking 3/4 of a block because I ran out of yarn. By the way a new scarf is already on the needles so that the needles would not get lonely. 

I also went project diving in a bag of ufo's and pulled out a shawl that I had started last summer with sock weight yarn.  I had it halfway done before it landed in the UFO bag. Today I made  a lot of progress and knit another 1/2 skein of yarn, about 110 meters of yarn. I think that I will try to get it finished tomorrow.  

We also got a chair for the sitting area. I think it was in just about record time. Just 1 week shy of 5 years. That was the beginning of the remodel that added the sitting area.  

Well it is time to call it a night. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Cranberry Chicken

Lets face it, it has been quite a while since I posted a new recipe. This one is a new family favorite. It has only 5 ingredients. Takes less than 5 minutes to put together. As a bonus it has 4 servings. It also tastes good cold.

Cranberry Chicken

2 Large chicken breasts, skinless and boneless about 1 pound
1 cup of cranberry sauce, I use the chunky kind
1/2 cup of water
a pinch of salt and pepper

4 quart LeCreuset Cast iron pot with lid or something of a similar weight.

Spray the inside of of your LeCruset 4 quart soup pot with Pam. Who ever is washing the pot can thank me later. Wash the chicken and place in the pot. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Cover the chicken breasts with all the cranberry sauce, you will have a nice thick layer. Add the water to the bottom of the pan. Cover and place the pot in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour. The chicken will not come out dry. The chicken will also be very pink on the outside when cooked. 

Let the chicken rest for 5 to 10 minutes in the covered pot before slicing. Slice into medallions no thicker then 1/2 inch and arrange on 4 plates. It is also good to have a little extra cranberry sauce on the table in case anyone wants a little more cranberry sauce on the chicken.

I hope that you enjoy this quick and easy recipe as much as we do. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Clare's Cafe

Today while I was out and about with Nancy she took me to this terrific little cafe called Clare's in Oracle.  The food was good. I had the hash browns and a bowl of fruit.  I could have gone for another plate of the hash browns they were so good. Nancy had the breakfast casadia with eggs, cheese and sausage. It looked wonderful.  There was a small basic menu and all the food that came out to other tables looked good too. 

On top of the great food there was wonderful art work on the walls. If you want to add some art work to your walls this is deffently the place to go. There are several different mediums from water color, oils, photography. Some local crafts people also had things like silk purses, totes and a viratey of hand crafted purses.  I also saw jewelry, cards, hand woven baskets.  

Clare's is deffently worth the drive.  Here is a poster from the ladies rest room that includes the address. 

Monday, December 16, 2013


Last night was a long night with Eric. I managed to get to bed by 2:30 and John let me sleep in until after 7am so it was not the caffeine rich day I was anticipating. 

I did manage to spend time with Nancy and get some knitting and talking in.  Do you believe that I ran into someone who did not remember my name but rather my shawl.  I will add the link tomorrow. 

At home I got some cleaning in and finished 2 more hats tonight. Now that I refilled the yarn bag it seems that I have a long way to go again. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Small Steps

One empty bagay may not seem like much. But this is one of the bags that that was full of yarn for the hat stash down. This bag represents about a dozen hats for kids in need. This bag is also represents my long term goal of deep cleaning the house. One less bag of clutter in the house. Yes I know that I am am talking about yarn.  But even too much yarn can lead to clutter, sigh. I guess I will not be the one with the most yarn. I will have leave that to friends. 

Oh well it's time to end this blog and head off to the 4th avenue street fair.  It's a little too cold to take Eric so I am leaving the guys at home.  

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Scrapy Hats

I think I will be knitting Scrapy Hats for at least another 6 months. My goal is to knit through all my odd balls of yarn before I move on in my night time knitting.  I have knit 81 Scrapy Hats since mid October. Yes I have another one half knit. 

To give you an idea of how many odd balls I have to knit through, I am including a picture of just about 1/3 of what I have degisnated for hats. Take in mind that this is after 81 hats. This is only 2 bags. I have  at least 2 more to go after these are empty.  I have already emptied 2 bags. 

Thank goodness I have people lined up to distribute these to kids in need.  We'll it's time to get in a few more rounds before bed. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


I really do think some people are very dense. Take yesterday at knitting for instance.  *I did edit out most of this paragraph to protect the truly dense. The bottom line is that is not cool to demand a designer give their patterns away for free. Also it is not cool to buy one copy of a pattern and make photocopies to distribute to friends.  All I can say is that it was a classic head desk moment.

Please remember that when you think of photocopying someone Else's work to copy and distribute for free you are depriving that person a small monetary reward for their work. Every designer and pattern maker loves what they do. Some rely on the money to pay for the basics like putting food on the table.
Some of the larger publishing houses have been known to go after people for copy write infringement. Is your check book large enough for this? So please think before you copy and share. Maybe even contact the designer to see if they are available to teach a class on their books or patterns.

Or another good one was later in the day. I was waiting for the last wheelchair accessible parking space at Trader Joe's. When I was the subject of numerous rude gestures. * This paragraph has also been edited to protect the rude drivers out there on the roads. Please Remember Manners are necessary when driving during the holidays and year round..

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Little Bit of Everything

A lot has happened since the last post. I got a request from Eric's day program for winter gear for the Primivera Men's Shelter in town so that the young adults from his Taglit program learn about clothing the poor. So I stopped knitting kids hats for a few days to make a couple of adult hats. Everyone is suppose to bring something, so I don't feel the pressure to make dozens of hats. I will add the rows and picture at the end of the blog. I have since gone back to making kids hats.  I enjoy these, they are like candy because they go so fast. I also found out that the kids who got them so far love them. Plus they said that they would take as many as I could knit.

We went to a marshal arts recital of sorts. Yes I know it is not called a recital but my Japanese is not good enough to remember the name of the event as well as spell it. My apologies to all. Eric's friend Matthew a second degree orange belt, did a terrific job. We were rewarded for the outing with a Saturday night of wild eyrping and laundry. Followed by a day of trying to get liquids into Eric. We are hoping to get Eric back on his formula tonight. Needless to say it was a lot of long hours and a very wild weekend.

Today I got some spinning done. All I have to do is spin 3/4 more of the next bobbin and then I will ply the yarn. Hopefully John can get the Lazy Kate straightened out before then. I also think I might have over estimated the time I have for the on line course that I am in the middle of. I hope to play catch up this week. I find it hard to get really creative things done when I am in a state of exhaustion.  Plus it is probably not safe to use certain carding tools while half asleep.

Well it is time to go make dinner.

2 hats for 88 more rows toward the 1 million row challenge. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Change is Coming and Things are Leaving the House

My deep cleaning spree seems to be over.  I got most of today's cleaning done in less than an hour. So it seems I must now come up with a routine that will keep moving between 2 and 4 hours a day.  I need to do this without getting bored. 

I did manage to get 2 more hats finished today. So tomorrow I will drop off a couple more bags of cold weather gear to the same school that I dropped them off at last time.  I wonder how many I can drop off before they say no more.  For those keeping track that's 71 hats finished since the 3rd Thursday in September. By the way I don't think sitting and knitting will not get me the excersize I need. Well it is time to try to finish hat 3 today.  Here is a picture of a few of the hats and scarfs leaving tomorrow.  

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Journey Has Begun

My body won today. After getting up very early with Eric and taking care of him, I started the laundry. I then took a long nap after he left for his day program. Not everything on my to do list got done or even finished once I started. With 8 loads to start the day I did stop after the 5th load of laundry. John was very nice in folding the last 3 loads of laundry and putting all the laundry away. He is a  keeper.

I did find the time to start on on line fiber course today. I am only 2 weeks behind on a 6 week course. I wonder where Teri learned to dig her holes at the start of classes? I did read both the 1st and second e-mails. I also think I finished my Pintrest board, but might go back and add some color. I also started the journal of my Journey for the Golden Fleece. Tomorrow I will start the next packet.

For now it is time to wave bye bye to the computer and get back to work. TTFN.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Busy Holiday Weekend

We were lucky enough to have Teri and Tej visit for the weekend.  They came in very late Wednesday after a full day of work.  We had a great weekend full of eating and talking.  

We hit most of Teri's favorite eating spots including Cafe Poca Cosa, Micha's, Eegee's, Blue Willow, Frost and China Phoenix.   We also had treats from 5th Street Deli and Nadine's. 

Yes we did spend a lot of time eating. We also spent a lot of time catching up. The long weekend went much to fast.  I will share one picture of our wonderful weekend.