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Monday, January 23, 2012

New Hats

Hey Mom, are you sitting down? Because I don't want you to faint or anything, but look...I'm posting a second time in one day. :)


We have been hard at work getting boxes unpacked and getting our new home organized. One thing that I have found in unpacking is a rather large stash of yarn, so I've started crocheting again. It's not that I ever really stopped, but I just wasn't hard at work on anything in particular. Other then the prayer shawl that I am making for the group at my in-laws church. Of course, I haven't exactly been working HARD on that since I usually only get a row or two done at a time. So it's taking a very long time to finish.

ANYWAY...in regard to getting serious about crocheting, I specifically wanted to make a hat for Jacob. You see, Jacob really likes hats. He wears his sister's hats all the time. And his Daddy doesn't like that. You see, Daddy thinks that boys should NEVER wear frilly girly hats, even to play a little. And ESPECIALLY not when the boy's mommy takes pictures that could be used for future blackmail...and sometimes posts them on Facebook.

SO I started looking at hat patterns. And I found LOTS of girl patterns, but not a lot of boy patterns, at least not the free patterns. I also found a lot of adult patterns, and a much smaller number of children's patterns. So I have been working on adapting things. I started out making this hat in the same yarn with which I made a scarf for Samantha last year. It was the only yarn I could find that day that was the right weight. I was trying to see how the pattern worked up and then would possibly make one for Jacob with a different yarn. It was supposed to be a beanie type hat. But when I followed the pattern directions, that is NOT AT ALL how it turned out. So I started undoing it. When I got the hat about halfway undone, I decided not to undo the whole thing but to see if I could change the bottom half enough to make it fit Samantha. SO I tried...and I wound up with a cross between a beret and a slouch hat. Samantha likes it, so we kept it as is.


But I knew that pattern wouldn't work for Jacob's hat. So I continued my quest for the right pattern. Next I tried this one, once again in the same yarn as Samantha's scarf. It's a no brainer, really. I have several skeins of this yarn and it is a somewhat bulky yarn which means that it works up quickly, so it is my test yarn right now. And I really do like the hat. Once again, so does Samantha. So she gets to keep this one, too. It is a little big, but I figure I can either line it to help make it fit a little better, or I can use some elastic thread in the edge.



I wasn't sure about the pattern for Jacob, though. And once I started using the yarn for his hat, I quickly realized that the pattern is nearly impossible to work with his yarn anyway. And even if I did manage to get it worked correctly, the pattern is practically not there because of the way is yarn works up. So that was a no go for him, too.

So then I moved to a very simple pattern that uses worsted weight yarn. I made it with the worsted weight yarn, and it turned out pretty small, in fact, it just barely fit Jacob. So I used a slightly larger hook and a the bulkier yarn. I also modified the pattern a bit and it turned out just right. Jacob loves the hat. But when I tried to take his picture, he wouldn't wear it any longer. This was the best we could get.
So Samantha modeled it for us instead. Brent thinks the hat is too fuzzy, but guesses he can live with it. Now the final question...there's enough yarn left to make a matching scarf, should I make one for my boy? Seriously...I want your opinion. Because when I asked Brent about it, he replied, "That's really yuppie."

And then, just because I saw this cute pattern (which I also ended up having to modify and it still turned out a little big) I made this cute little number for Samantha.

I am really enjoying crocheting hats, it's something I can actually get done because they are quick to finish. Now who else wants one? :)

Calzone

I tried making homemade calzone the other night. I used a hodgepodge of recipes to do it, and they didn't turn out exactly right...or at least not the way you think it should. I still liked them...a lot in fact, especially the inside, but Brent said that they are strange, and while OK, not worth the time and effort.

I started out with the dough for crust. I wanted to make a whole wheat crust but the recipe called for wheat germ and I didn't have any. So I used a recipe that calls for all purpose flour, but used the rule that you can substitute up to half of the flour with whole wheat and then just add a little extrra water. I also used pizza dough yeast, but then still let it rise.
So here are the ingredients:
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1.25 cups all purpose flour
1 pkg yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
about 3/4 cup hot water (about 110F, not too hot so you don't kill the yeast)
1Tbsp olive oil

In a small bowl combine the yeast, sugar and 1/4 cup water, leave in a warm place until frothy. (It ought to get frothy within 5-10 minutes. If it doesn't get frothy within 15-20 minutes, you may have made the water too hot and killed the yeast or you might just have yeast that is too old...yes, I know both of these answers from experience) Combine flour and salt in a medium bowl. Add yeast mix to flour mix along with the oil and remaining water. Mix to a soft dough. (With the whole wheat flour, I had to add quite a bit more water, but I don't know how much...I just kept adding a little at a time until all the ingredients came together as a dough.) Knead on a floured surface 10 minutes until smooth. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 45 minutes)
Punch dough down and knead briefly. Pinch off a ball of dough and roll into a 6-8 inch circle, depending on how big you want your calzone.


Place fillings in the center, fold over and seal the edges with a fork.

Place on a greased baking sheet, brush calzone with olive oil and bake in a 450F oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

You see how the cheese is oozing out of the one on the bottom? Well the calzon on the left, yes, the one that is cut off a little, had A LOT of cheese oozing out...and when I took it off the baking sheet, that cheese separated from the calzon, so I ate it...yes just the little chunk of cheese...and BOY WAS IT YUMMY!

Now for the filling ingredients. I got a Pioneer Woman cookbook for Christmas and she has a recipe for calzone in it. I sort of used her cheese mix and then just added other stuff. I used 1 cup ricotta cheese, .75 cup shredded mozzerella, and .75 cup shredded colby/monterey jack and mixed them all up. Then I added frozen chopped spinach that had been thawed and drained. I also cooked sweet italian sausage with onions and garlic, then drained the grease and added some of that on top of the cheese and spinach, I also added fresh sliced mushrooms. I tried tomatos, but they made it too watery. We used pizza sauce for dipping.

Overall, Samantha ate the ones that didn;t have any spinach, Jacob loved it all and inhaled it, Brent said it was OK, and I thought they were really yummy, even though the crust was a little crunchy instead of being like bread. I might need to work on the the dough a little, but I think the rest of it was just right! :)