Saturday, December 7, 2013

Gorilla Casserole

About 40 years ago one of the home and food magazines had a recipe they called something like "Tomato, Beef and Pasta Casserole".  The write-up described it as making enough to feed 12 hungry gorillas.

At a family gathering, Aunt Evelyn and I were putting together the casserole and decided we preferred the name "Gorilla Casserole".  The name stuck and I made it often for my family.  Instead of filling two 9" x 13" pans, I would put it in four 8" x 8" pans.  That way I could freeze three pans for later meals.  I never tested it with 12 hungry gorillas but it did fill up teenage boys!

Gorilla Casserole

2 1/2 lbs ground meat
2 Tbs vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onions (2 large)
2 cups chopped celery (3 ribs)
1 1/2 cups grated carrots (3 large)
4 lbs tomatoes chopped or equivalent in canned tomatoes (two 2lb.3oz. cans Italian-style)
2 Tbs salt
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
20 oz frozen spinach
24 oz macaroni or noodles
1 cup Parmesan cheese 

Brown meat & drain fat.  Stir in ingredients listed through garlic powder.  Bring to a boil, lower heat & cover; simmer 1 hour. 
Meanwhile; per package directions cook 1-1/2 lbs macaroni shells, or elbow macaroni, or noodles, drain & set aside. 
When sauce is don, stir in cooked pasta & spinach, slightly thawed.  Mix thoroughly.  
Pour into 2 9x13 pans.  Top with Parmesan cheese. 

Oven - 350 degrees
Bake for about 30-45 minutes until heated through, bubbly and cheese is melted.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

December Already!

My last post mentioned The Remedy knitting.  Now, there will be a rippit, rippit noise from The Remedy.  Thanksgiving chatting and TV watching were detrimental to knitting so I will take it back to the half-point lifeline and reknit.

Since it is December it is time for some Christmas baking.  A couple of years ago I posted my dad's favorite dark, moist fruitcake.  My favorite is a lighter fruitcake that is delicious with the candied fruit but I like it too with dried fruit.  It is open to a bit of adaptation and should taste just as yummy any way it is prepared.

White Fruit Cake
Makes 2 loaves.
Oven - 275 deg 

1 lb butter
1 lb sugar (2 cups)
1 lb flour (4 cups)
1 lb pecans
1 lb white raisins
1 lb candied red & green cherries
6 eggs - separated - beaten
1 1/2 oz bottle lemon extract 

Cream butter & sugar, add egg yolks.  Mix and add fruit & nuts alternately with flour.  Add lemon extract & fold in egg whites.  Line loaf pans with wax paper.  No greasing necessary. 

Bake 2 hours. 
After the cakes cool, you can wrap them in foil to season, store in refrigerator or freezer.  I like to wrap the cakes in cheesecloth, sprinkle on some wine or cider, then wrap in foil and place in the refrigerator. 


Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Remedy

No, I don't have an answer for all the ills of the world but I do have a shawl in the works from the pattern named The Remedy.  The yarn is Stardust Sock, color Garnet.  It has sparkles in the yarn.
The shawl is knit from one end to the other instead of side to side.  It  is going fast, especially since the knitting is very relaxing.

Even here in Arizona, it is a cool, rainy day, not one to be outside.  I call it soup weather and that is most appealing to eat right now.  Many years ago the Austin American-Statesman published the recipe for Souper Salad's Mama Mia Soup.  It has been a family and friends favorite so quite the old standby for soup weather.  Thought I would share the recipe with you.


½ stick margarine
¼ pound onion, diced (about half of a large onion)
¼ pound fresh mushrooms, chopped
Half medium green bell pepper, diced
About 3 green onions, chopped
2 ounces chicken base or bouillon cubes
6-ounce can tomato paste
12-ounce can chopped or sliced tomatoes with juice
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
¾ teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Pepper to taste
2 cans (5 ounces each) boned chicken (or 2 or 3 chicken breast halves)
5 ounces shell macaroni
½ cup Parmesan cheese

Saute the onions, mushrooms & bell peppers in margarine for 10 minutes.  Add 2 quarts of water, tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken base, seasonings & chicken.  Bring to a boil.  At least 30 minutes before serving, add macaroni & continue to boil for 10 minutes.  Then lower heat to serving temperature.  Add Parmesan just before serving. 

Makes about 1 gallon.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Changement Shawlette Finished

I joined a Knit-A-Long for a shawlette/scarf and managed to get it finished with the rest of the group.  My Changement Shawlette was knit with Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine sock weight yarn on size 6 lace needles.  There are 280 silver lined clear beads in the lace part.

Today is very windy so we have been limited on photo ops.  Half time of the UT-OSU game seemed like the time to get out.  Now, back to crying over the UT performance.

Friday, November 15, 2013

AudKnits Blogiversary Contest Prizes

AudKnits conducted a contest on the 5-year anniversary of her blog.  She had some lovely prizes to gift so naturally I left a comment and hoped to win.  Last week she contacted me that I had won!  I'll get right to the photos of the goodies I received.

First, the Chic-a Knittenger Bag, a roomy messenger bag designed especially for knitters.  It is sized 15" x 13" x 4". 
Knittenger Bag
The company site gives this description:  "Inside features a large pocket for your project, a separate section for patterns or books, and a smaller pocket for extras.  The back of the bag has a mesh yarn pocket that zips closed and boasts 7 grommets for feeding yarn into the main interior project section.  A wide strap makes this one-of-a-kind bag easy to carry along."

The next part of the prize was Bargello Knits by Patty Nance.  There are complete instruction oh how to knit Bargello knitting and lovely patterns that I am anxious to try. 
Trying out the patterns will be easy with the prize packages of yarn.  Lovely Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn that is.  First up is a skein of Daffodil and two skeins of Sunshine.  That will make winter knitting bright and cheerful!
Daffodil and Sunshine
Then there is the skein of Island Blue and two skeins of Uptown.  The photos can't show the richness of the colors or the softness of the merino wool yarn.
Last, every detail to knit Bargello is covered, even little zip-lock bags to put the small butterflies or bobbins of colorful yarn.

I feel so blessed and lucky to have won these wonderful prizes.  Thank you AudKnits.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Yarn Crawling...A Knitter's Fun

Those of you who haven't experienced a traveling shopping trip to yarn stores, you haven't been on a Yarn Crawl.  The month of October was declared as the time for the first Arizona Yarn Crawl.  This was a statewide event with most of the local yarn shops in the state participating.

Ron and I checked the list of participating stores and the map.  While I printed a Passport to get stamped to prove which of the 17 stores we visited, Ron marked the map on his iPad for directions to the stores and plotted a route.  First we took a day-trip to three yarn shops in Tucson.  At Kiwi Knitting I bought this lovely Painted Desert yarn.
Painted Desert
I also bought a great circular needle that I needed for a current project.
A few days later we headed out on a three day exploration of Arizona and yarn shops.  We drove north to Phoenix and took off on a diagonal slant northwest to Kingman.  Passport stamped, yarn, pattern and gifts in the bag and off to Flagstaff.  There we collected another Passport stamp but didn't buy anything.  It was late by then so we spent the night in Flagstaff.
Caracara bought in Kingman
Next morning early we turned south to Sedona, got Passport stamped, and on through Jerome to Prescott for another two stamps.  There is one store front with two stores in it so that was a one stop shopping.  This is the yarn I got at that stop.
Cascade Sunseeker -  it sparkles!
The next shop was in Payson where I bought another circular needle.  Then on to Fountain Hills, just northeast of Phoenix.  There I found a great shop and bought yarn that was on sale!
Southwest Yarn Co Bamboo
After spending the night in Fountain Hills (right across from the fountain) we went to Carefree where I got this yarn, also on sale.  There are three skeins of worsted weight.
Our next stop was at Scotttsdale but no yarn followed me out the door.  Then off to Phoenix where I bought another circular needle.  I am now stocked up on several sizes.  Tempe was our next stop, nothing bought there.  Then on to Mesa.  There I found this gorgeous silk yarn.
Maharashata Silk lace weight yarn
Our final stop was in Gilbert.  There I bought a skein of yarn and the official Yarn Crawl Bag.
Araucania Lontue
Pockets inside and out

List of all the stores participating
At this stage we have visited 16 of the 17 yarn shops.  What was left?  The shop about 8 miles from our rv park in Green Valley.  We got the final stamp and turned in the Passport.
The drawing for Yarn Crawl prizes will be Nov 15.  It has been hard to knit and type with all my fingers crossed hoping to win one of the great prizes.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Fun at Magnolia State Fiber Fest

The first Magnolia State Fiber Fest was a busy, colorful experience.  There were classes on knitting, felting and weaving that I observed for a few minutes each.  Also demos of spinning and weaving going on.  When we asked about a particular knitting technique, the knitter was more than happy to describe how it was done.  Lots of friendly, helpful organizers, demonstrators and vendors were there.

There was a lot of fiber for sale, both dyed and undyed.  Since I don't spin, it was interesting to see the fiber but I wanted the yarn!  So on Friday afternoon I made a jaunt through selecting yarns that I really liked.  Then on Saturday morning I checked all the yarns again and made my purchases.

Garnet color, Stardust Sock Yarn

Ophelia Sleeps, Stellar Sock Yarn

Mother of Pearl look Shawl Pin
Other scenes, some not focused well, shows the fun and busy booths.  Two vendors are also members of the Lone Star State Knitters Group I am in so I had to have a photo taken with each.

Mary of Fancy Fibers Farm with me

Felting Machine

Booth where I bought my yarn
Sample Sweater at the Heavenly Fiber booth

LeiLani of Heavenly Fibers with me
I have seen an announcement that the Magnolia State Fiber Fest is scheduled for next year so put it on your calendars!