Category: Real Life (Page 1 of 28)

Day 9 – Caribbean-Spiced Veggie & Sausage Skewers

The final meal that I was trying out from Hello Fresh was these delicious looking pork sausage skewers. The potato salad threw me off because it’s made with very simple but odd to me items. It was mayo (real stuff, not miracle whip stuff), white wine vinegar, sugar, red onion, parsley, and potato. Red ones this time instead of the yukon yellows that I had in the first meal.

Still, the flavours were fantastic. It was a bit spicy for my husband, but I didn’t mind it too much. Since we don’t have a grill and I ended up ruining the oven temporarily, I used our little flat top counter grill to cook the kabobs. I did find that the meat portion was lacking slightly in this rendition. They give you 8 skewers, but I was only able to make 6 with the portions of meat I had on hand. Maybe I cut them too large, but they seemed to be the proper size for the item mentioned.

As I mentioned yesterday, it was $32 for 6 meals (3 meals for 2) and I couldn’t really go wrong taking it for a test. None of the meals were especially fancy, they were all easy to prepare, took 30 minutes or less to cook, and were all enjoyable. We’ll see how the next trial turns out (Good Food, which I have honestly never heard of before) and then maybe we’ll stick with one for a bit to make things easier at home while I continue to heal from my c-section and watch two children under two.

Bon appetit!

Day 8 – Zesty Hoisin Chili Beef

Meal two from Hello Fresh was hoisin beef, which I was really excited about. Some of my favourite flavours are right there on the plate, and unlike Chef’s Plate where I found the meals almost too small for two people, this one meal seemed gigantic. It could have easily created 4 meals for myself (but of course I shared with the husband, so it came to less than that).

It was easy to prepare, didn’t take many ingredients, and was still packed full of flavour. So far Hello Fresh is shaping up to be one of the better meal delivery services I’ve tried. I do have a basket order of Good Food coming in next week, a family member gave me a coupon for an entire free trial of food (3 meals for 2 people) and they look REALLY fancy. It’ll be interesting to compare and see how the food is. From my cousin’s description she enjoys the flavours of Good Food but the meats in Hello Fresh are incredible.

Either way, it’s great to get out of my comfort zone when it comes to food. Being pregnant and running after a 2 year old all day means that I tend to stick to simple meal plans that I know we’ll enjoy and I can whip up without too much thought. That doesn’t leave a ton of room for creativity. Trying new foods and new flavours is great. Portion size is under control since they send me all of the ingredients, and it’s cheaper than buying fresh produce where I live. I understand that the price of these services is not something everyone wants to pay for, but in my case some weeks it’s simply worth it (plus I’ve only been trying out these services when they’re on sale at a hefty discount. I paid $32 for both Hello Fresh and Chef’s Plate, and Good Food is free… you can’t really go wrong with those prices).

Day 7 – Fingerless gloves

If you ever want to knit something that impresses your friends but is actually quite simple – I highly suggest you look into cables. Cables are a really simple type of stitch that LOOK really complicated, but it’s nothing more than knitting out of order. You typically put a few stitches on a stitch keeper, move it to the front or back of your piece, and then knit the next stitches, then go back and knit the ones you put on your stitch keeper.

That’s it.

It looks complicated watching someone else to do it because you’re dealing with extra needles and/or a stitch keeper hanging out some place, but the stitch itself is simple and you can typically just ignore whatever bit you’re not working with. The overall effect is fancy and impressive. My fingerless gloves are about half way done and I’m slowly working gusset increases for the thumbs. The yarn is a merino / bamboo blend that knits up wonderfully and shows the stitches off – exactly what I was hoping for. I expect this gloves will get a lot of use (I hate full gloves that cover my fingers) and it’s the first time I’ve attempted gloves at all, so I’m pretty proud. For some reason I’ve found them more intimidating than the sweater I knit as well as socks. Probably because I have to knit them on DPN and that can be an awkward procedure (I know I could knit them on 2 circulars, or a smaller circular, or do magic loop, but I’m quite comfortable working with DPN so why not).

I’m also contemplating starting up some Christmas knits early. In specific christmas balls to go along with the Star Wars themed one I knit last year. I’d like a set of 6 (I have one), and I’d like to knit christmas balls for everyone in the family with their names and birthday on it. We’ll see how that goes (if it goes).

Day 6 – Garlicky Shrimp

You might remember that not too long ago when my husband was in depot, I tried Chef’s Plate, a Canadian version of Blue Apron. Well, I since learned that Hello Fresh is a thing here in Canada, and unlike Chef’s Plate, they deliver here to Saskatchewan. With a 60% off coupon I decided why not try it for three meals and see if it’s something that we want to pursue going forward for healthy portioned meals. Fresh produce this far North is expensive, and I could use a break from all the meal planning from time to time.

I’m counting it as a creative endeavor because I think meals and meal preparation IS a creative task.

First up was garlicky shrimp.

It was amazing. The portion size was perfect, they offered lots of protein and I had zero complaints. I found the meal superior to the meals I had eaten at Chef’s Plate, and well worth the cost. My husband also enjoyed the meal which is great because I wasn’t sure if it was something he would be fond of. The potatoes filled us up, the baby arugula was a unique taste that neither of us would have thought to pair with everything else.

I’m looking forward to the next two meals.

Day 5 (hey, waffles are creative!)

For christmas last year my parents bought me one of those 5-in-1 griddle / panini press things and until yesterday it sat in the box collecting dust under my desk (blocking power cords from llama bean, actually). Then I had an incident with my oven preventing me from using it, so I dug it out so I could make some kabobs and noticed that it had a waffle attachment.

I’ve never made waffles before, I didn’t even know what the difference in recipe would be between waffles and pancakes (turns out not that much, waffles are a bit richer) but heck I was feeling creative so I decided to go for it.

They were pretty good. A bit thicker than I am used to (I’ve never had fresh waffles before, only frozen, so lets be honest here I have nothing to compare them to) but they seemed to turn out pretty well and they were really simple to make. I’d like to try my hand at some savory ones too, eventually. Have waffle recipes you want to share? Let me know in comments.

Day 4 – Mitered Memory Blanket

So I completed the first ‘goal’ of my mitered memory blanket – a 3×3 square. 9 squares total. Then I had to make a decision. I could continue adding to it, making it larger and larger until it’s the size I want – or – I could start on a second 3×3 piece, and then crochet them together with a border around it.

I decided to go with the second choice for a few reasons. Number one, I don’t have a ton of different colours of sock yarn scraps, and I’m bound to repeat colours each 3×3 block. If I break those blocks up into chunks with a black border separating each section I think this will help combat the repetitiveness.

I also just think it will look neat. So instead of being one giant blanket of smaller squares, it will be small squares within squares within a square blanket… teehee. Next step is to begin a second 3×3 – then I can practice crocheting the two together and see how it looks.

Day 3 – Mitered Memory Blanket

I love the yellow swatch in the blanket – and the whole thing is starting to feel so soft and comfortable! I am hoping to complete at least one tile a day, but I know that’s a pretty optimistic goal. Still, I’m not doing too shabby!

Day 2 – Fingerless Gloves

I’m beta testing some amazing yarn which I’ll get into in another post – but I wanted to show off how awesome the cables look, neat and defined. I’m knitting a pair of fingerless gloves (my first) and have learned a few new terms.

LC (left cross) and RC (right cross)

These are cable terms, at least for this pattern here at Purl soho (which happens to be free if someone else wants to give them a knit). They’re not particularly complicated terms, but I’m used to doing cables with a simple C6F or C6B and I’ve never encountered these stitches before. Once I’m done 2 rounds of cables it’ll be onto the thumbs – sigh. Gussets. The bane of my existence. We shall see how that goes.

I also had a quick refresher course in M1L and M1R (make one left, make one right) but seemed to pick it up without too much issue. Hopefully these gloves turn out, because the yarn is just yummy and I can’t wait to wear them!

Inspired – Day 1

I love inspiration. It motivates me to be a better person, to try harder, and to not give up when things get difficult (which they always do). My inspiration this week comes from a very special blog where the writer has been posting just about every single day for a year about her creative endeavors. I am pretty sure I won’t be able to post every day or even do something creative every day (especially since Wednesday I’m expecting my daughter to arrive) BUT that doesn’t mean I’m not still motivated, and that I wouldn’t love to at least try.

I figured it was fitting since this ends her first year that it marks the beginning of my first one. So let’s consider this day one, and see where we end up. Hopefully we get some neat creative things done along the way – but if not, that’s OK too. Remember the goal here is to challenge myself and to inspire and motivate myself to keep up, not to berate myself if I fall behind or have a few days where the creative juices are just not flowing.

For today I’m starting off with a square on my mitered memory blanket. I’m up to 7 now and it’s starting to feel more like a piece of cloth rather than just weird squares of yarn. It’s soft and squishy, and as I knit it I imagine Llama Bean or Nugette taking it to college with them to keep warm and remind them of home. It doesn’t LOOK like much right now, it will require blocking and a boarder (and to be much larger, of course) but I can see it in my mind. Each square tells a story. Not all of the yarn came from my stash, either. A lot was donated through a christmas exchange (if you’ve got spare fingering yarn you want to donate it takes less than 25 grams to make a square, just drop me a message here or on twitter and we can see about an exchange!) that I’m very grateful for. Some squares tell my story of learning to knit socks, staying up late working on baby clothes, or just trying to de-stress from the day. Other squares tell the stories from other people. That’s what I love about projects like this. Plus you can never have too many home made blankets…

Memory Blanket

In keeping with my goals of learning new techniques and at least getting SOME knitting done in 2018 even if it wasn’t a lot of knitting, I picked up my mitered memory blanket from a few months back and added a few more squares to it. I’m not sure why I initially found the project difficult but my last two squares turned out much better and I’m finding it a simple relaxing knit (which is something I need right about now). As you can tell by the picture, my 2nd square (the blue and white one) is actually backwards. Long term that may bug me, it’s facing wrong side and it’s pointed the opposite way from the three other squares – but I decided to embrace this mistake. When the blanket is done, it will be a reminder of my learning, and getting better at something like this. It will be proof that I have improved.

Same can be said about the very first square, the black one. It’s not sized properly as I miss counted some rows and made some very simple mistakes. The two most recent squares (the gold/grey and the pink) are much nicer, show off the stitches, and are done ‘properly’ – but I think that even heirloom items need mistakes in them, it’s what makes us human.

Originally I had grand ideas of knitting one square a day and completing a year-long project (that resulted in a nice blanket) but I think I’ll continue to just work at it here and there when I have time between other projects, or the urge strikes me. It doesn’t take long to complete a square, and this is a fantastic way to stash bust those little ends of yarn that I’ve been collecting for absolutely zero reason (well, now they have a reason). Eventually once I find the blanket is as large as I want I’ll trim it with a black crochet boarder to complete the ‘look’ and to give it a cleaner appearance. I’ll also block it which should help make it look more uniform.

Remember, you shouldn’t be afraid to try new projects, even if they don’t turn out perfect the first time. There’s nothing wrong with growing from your mistakes, and there’s nothing wrong with showing your human side and even embracing those mistakes you’ve made. We all started from somewhere.

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