Books & Yarn

Books & Yarn 12/26/2012
Joining Ginny's yarn along today, even thou there isn't one this wednesday (i have to seize the moment when i can). Truth be told, I took this picture on Thursday! Everyone was recuperating yesterday from all the excitement on Tuesday. I can't tell you how long I've wanted to get this cookbook, I've checked it out of the library so many times. Thank you mom for the perfect Christmas present. I am currently knitting a pair or longies and they are coming out nicely.


Books & Yarn

Books & Yarn 12/5/2012
Yarn Along 12/5/2012
Okay, I'm a bit embarrassed. The project I was working on had 2 pretty big problems, so I frogged it and restarted. It's coming along perfectly now and when I finish it I will post about my boo boos! Anyone who knows me will laugh, because I used to be quite a perfectionist when it came to all things wool, but now, I don't really want to use my brain all that much (maybe when my boys move out in 20 years). Long ago I remember reading a post over at CLEAN, lusa organics (she posted it in August) and it really stuck in my head. And in an attempt to reduce my book obsession, I have started making the odd purchases digitally. I am reading Cleaning House, A Mom's 12 Month Experiement to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement. All I can say is that the book is awesome, most of it we already know, but it's good to be reminded, and have those ah ha moments in strategies that are helpful when it comes to our young ones.

Books & Yarn 12/5/2012
Yarn Along 12/5/2012
My wee babe is getting a wooden kitchen for Christmas and I've set out to make him vegetables. Two carrots done, one more to go. I am using this pattern here. Everyone have a blessed day! This post is inspired by Ginny's Yarn Along here.

Books & Yarn

Yarn Alond 11/21/2012
Yarn Along 11/21/2012

I am still working on the cowl, but I had to sneak in another project that I will hopefully have pictures of next week. The weather suddenly turned cold, and while pulling out the winter hats, we couldn't find one that was the right size for our little guy. I quick knit up a hat for him, and if he can manage to stand still for a second, I will hopefully get a photo.

I am still reading El Rancho de Las Golondrinas: Living History in New Mexico's La Cienega Valley and I thought I would share a few photos with you.

But before I do, I want to wish everyone a blessed Thanksgiving. Rest, be thankful, and give everyone in your family and your friends a hearty squeeze.







Red Chile Sauce

Red Chile Sauce
Red Chile Sauce

How time flies and things change!

I promise there will be a recipe for Red Chile Sauce made from the Chile Caribe Concentrate, but I thought I'd ramble on a bit about our "food changes" in recent weeks.

About 12 weeks ago we decided to go gluten free for health reasons (one of my family members maybe allergic or severely intolerant, or have a carbohydrate intolerance) and that has me side tracked! Mainly, just how to adapt our staple recipes to be gluten free. Honestly, it's not that hard when you are an adult, but for kids, who at every turn, have gluten products offered to them, it's been, challenging to say the least.

And I had been aware of all the different ways people had been altering their food (ie gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, soy-free, or a combo - this is a short list) I've been broadening my knowledge base, sharing ideas and thoughts with friends that are also on their food journeys for many different reasons.

Making it even more interesting, 2 people in my family are lactose-intolerant, 2 are allergic to tree nuts, and 1 is allergic to peanuts and melons. So far this is what we have identified.

So yup, we are gluten-free. That has led us to eating more corn products than usual (and yes, we try very hard to not buy GMO corn, and I don't think we do, but buying at the health food store does not automatically mean its non-GMO unless it has "the seal"). Interestingly, paleo way of eating frowns on corn products, but I have to be honest, I live in a part of the country where 4 foods are a way of life here, and those would be BEANS, SQUASH, CORN, & GREEN/RED CHILE. I don't know if I could give corn up. In fact, since moving back here close to 4 years ago and eating these foods again, I am healthy, don't have as many energy spikes/lows, and have lost weight, without trying.

The only reason I bring paleo up is for many of the recipes are gluten free, but the use a lot of almond products, and unfortunately, we can't do that! So corn must stay!

The good news is I am lucky to not be allergic to anything! Although, since cutting gluten I have felt extremely better, a 80% reduction in headaches and I don't feel tired all the time. Maybe I have a mild intolerance, who knows, or maybe it's a lesson that everything should be in moderation (except for good ole veggies) and we REALLY need to think about how our food has gotten to where it has.

Wheat now is not what it was 50 years ago, or 100 years ago, and we did not eat it the way we do now - these were the words of our GI doctor, interesting. I didn't need the GI doctor to tell me this, but it was sure great hearing him say it!

All these changes also meant we were not eating out, and consuming very little processed foods. Ironically, my DH decided to go get some fast food he was craving. The next morning he asked me to remind him to never do it again. He felt awful, upset stomach, etc. Interesting indeed!

Red Chile Sauce (from concentrate)

1 tbsp shortening/oil
1 tbsp flour
1 cup chile caribe concentrate
2 cups water
1/2 tsp ground Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Heat oil over medium heat, add flour, stir and cook for 1 minute.

Add chile concentrate and water, stirring well to avoid lumps.

Add seasonings and simmer at low heat for 20 to 30 minutes to desired thin/thickness. Add more water if you feel necessary depending on your concentrate.

From here you can freeze it if you decide to make a double or triple batch, but.... 

You can make it gluten free by using a GF flour substitute blend or cornstarch, but it will not freeze well. Something about the starches in these blends tend to separate, so you will have to make it fresh each time.

You can also substitute broth for the water, but honestly, it is perfect with just water.

We add Red Chile Sauce to lots of things, such as beef stew, over steak, and it is used in traditional New Mexican dishes like Enchiladas, Posole, and Carne Adovada.



Books & Yarn

Yarn Along 11/07/2012
Yarn Along

I decided to join the yarn along today over at Small Things. Lately, when I have tiny moments of time, I usually weave on my inkle loom. With the change in temperature, my thoughts are shifting to the cooler weather ahead and I needed to get out those knitting needles!

On my needles is the Lovely Ribbed Cowl at the Purl Bee. I am using yarn that I spun a few years back, a super soft, single, baby llama in a light worsted weight. I am hoping the cowl will come out okay, for the yarn used in their pattern is definately worsted weight.

The book I am reading has been on my wish list for ages, but I decided again to see if the library had a copy available, they did. El Rancho de Las Golondrinas: Living History in New Mexico's La Cienega Valley is a coffee table type book filled with the history of this amazing place. We've visited there often, and someday, when the kiddos are older, I hope to volunter (maybe they will want to also). I am sure I will be still reading this next week, so perhaps I'll also share a few photos of our journeys there!


Chile Caribe (The Concentrate): The Recipe

Chile Caribe Concentrate
Chile Caribe Concentrate

This post is dedicated to Karla and Pow, who asked me the question: how do you make red chile sauce? The post is part one of two.

This recipe is to make the concentrate which Red Chile Sauce is made from. This is one of MANY ways to make Red Chile Sauce.

Even thou I love every red chile sauce I made or ate elsewhere, I noticed that there were versions I liked more than others.

And up till now I had only been using ground red chile powder, and had used frozen red chile once. I could never quite get the desired texture, color, or flavor I was looking for. After talking to some locals, they said I needed to try using the dried chile pods. This drove me to finally make the Chile Caribe Concentrate; I felt this was the key I was looking for.

I now realize that the dried red chile powder makes a passable product, but the concentrate, made from scratch was definitely the way to go.

First I went on a search for the most vibrant red new Mexican chile pods I could find. I am also making a mental note that I now feel confident purchasing a large bag of dried chiles at the farmers market during the chile season now that I know what to do with them AND I would love to get my hands on red chile from Chimayó.

Red Chiles - A Comparison
New Mexican Red Chiles & Chiles de Nuevo Mexico

A note about dried chiles: I'm including the picture above because I want to show you the difference in the chiles. The chiles on the left are dried New Mexican chile pods. They are a vibrant red. The ones on the right are called Chiles de Nuevo Mexico (New Mexican Chiles) and they are from Mexico. They are a deep red, rich color. They are not the same thing! Look for vibrant colored chiles that are grown in New Mexico. Also there is a Caribe chile, do not confuse it, it is definitely a different variety.

Also, while in Chimayo and talking to a gentlemen there, he highly discouraged mixing different types of chiles and/or powders as done in Tex-Mex cooking. The goal is to have one pure chile flavor, and I agree that this is the way to get a true New Mexican flavor.


Chile Caribe Concentrate

8 ounces whole red chile pods
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon salt

Remove stems and seeds. Then rinse chiles very well. Place chiles in pot with garlic. Cover with water. Cover pot and bring to full boil. Turn off heat , keep covered, let chiles soak for 20 to 30 minutes.

Transfer chiles and garlic to blender. Add 1 teaspoon salt, add 2 cups soaking water and 2 cups fresh water.

Purée very well, then strain thru fine mesh strainer.

After puréeing it will yield approximately 6 to 7 cups of concentrate.

After straining it will yield 31/2 to 5 cups of concentrate.

I freeze this in 1 or 2 cup increments. It freezes well!

Note: In the Tasting New Mexico Cookbook, they recommend using half the about of water when blending, you could definately do this and it will produce a strong concentrate. Each cookbook has a slightly different way of doing it, I am only sharing my way of making it, and honestly, you can't mess it up. If your concentrated comes out a little different, that's okay. When you use it to make the sauce it will come out good either way!


Orland Cabled Beret

A challenging cabled beret with a rolled brim. This is a great project for advanced beginners that will fuel your creative desire to cable. If using Cascade 220 yarn, this beret will fit the head circumferences below. If you want to add a bit more body for a roomier and slouchier beret add 8 sts on to your cast on #. Alternatively if you want a snug fitting beret, subtract 8 stitches from your cast on #.

Size: Approximately 19” to 21” Head Circumference
Yarn: Light Worsted Weight Wool Yarn (Cascade 220 Heathered Shown In Picture); Approximately 2 ½ - 3 oz.

US Size 6 (4mm) – 16” Circular Needle
US Size 8 (5mm) – 16” Circular Needle
US Size 8 (5mm) Double Pointed Needles

Cable Needle
Darning Needle

Gauge: 5 sts = 1” on US Size 8 Needle

dpn(s)         double pointed needle(s).
st(s)            stitch(es).
rnd(s)          round(s).
PM             place marker.
k                 knit.
p                 purl.
tog              together.
k2tog          slip 2 sts knit-wise one at a time, transfer back to left needle, then knit these 2 sts tog.
p2tog          purl 2 sts tog.
p2tog tbl     purl 2 sts tog through the back loop.
ssk             slip 2 sts knit-wise one at a time, transfer back to left needle, then knit these 2 sts tog through
                  the back loop.
wyif            with yarn in front; move yarn to the front.
sl                slip stitch purl-wise
psso           pass slipped stitch over.
M1k          make 1 knit: with your left needle, pick up the ladder formed between the next 2 sts from front
                  to back, then knit into the back of the ladder. It forms a twisted knit st.
M1p           make 1 purl: with your left needle, pick up the ladder formed between the next 2 sts from back
                  to front, then purl into the front of the ladder. It forms a twisted purled st.
2/2 RKPC  slip 2 sts to cable needle and hold at back of work, k2, p2 from cable needle.
2/2 LKPC  slip 2 sts to cable needle and hold in front of work, p2, k2 from cable needle.
I-Cord        please refer to a stitch dictionary or the internet for directions on how to work I-Cord.

Additional tips:
If you want to add or subtract slouch from the beret, you repeat or omit rnds 5, 12, 19, or 25 as you wish. Please note that the beret was not test knitted to add more slouch in this manner, but was test knit with less slouch with good results.

When cabling, try to relax and enjoy the process. Working too tight or too loose may result in uneven gauge. Just go with the flow, and try to keep your tension consistent.

This pattern is covered by copyright law and all rights remain with the designer. No part of this pattern may be reproduce in any form, transmitted in any form, or by any means, be it in print, photocopying, translation, or otherwise, in any format or under any circumstances without prior permission of the copyright holder. Similarly, not of the items made, or used for commercial purposes including promotion and/or sales, individual or otherwise, without prior permission of the copyright holder.

Using US Size 6 Circular Needle, Cast On 80 sts using Norwegian Long Tail Cast On Method. Join, being careful not to twist sts, and place a marker to designated the beginning of the round.

Knit 4 to 5 rnds (your preference) to form the rolled brim.
Work k1, p1 ribbing for 4 to 5 rnds (your preference) to form the ribbing.
Rnd 1: *(p1, M1p) 2x, p1, (k1, M1k), 2x, p1, M1p, p2, PM; repeat from *.
Rnd 2: Switch to US Size 8 Circular Needle. *p3, 2/2 RKPC, 2/2 LKPC, p2; repeat from *.
Rnd 3: *p3, k2, p1, M1p, p3, k2, p2; repeat from *.
Rnd 4: *p1, 2/2 RKPC, p5, 2/2 LKPC; repeat from *.
Rnd 5: *p1, k2, p9, k2; repeat from *.
Rnd 6: repeat rnd 5.
Rnd 7: repeat rnd 5.
Rnd 8: repeat rnd 5.
Rnd 9: *p1, 2/2 LKPC, p5, 2/2 RKPC; repeat from *.
Rnd 10: *p3, k2, p5, k2, p2; repeat from *.
Rnd 11: *p3, 2/2 LKPC, p1, 2/2 RKPC, p2; repeat from *.
Rnd 12: *p5, k2, p1, k2, p4; repeat from *.
Rnd 13: repeat rnd 12.
Rnd 14: repeat rnd 12.
Rnd 15: repeat rnd 12.
Rnd 16: *p3, 2/2 RKPC, p1, 2/2 LKPC, p2; repeat from *.
Rnd 17: *p3, k2, p5, k2, p2; repeat from *.
Rnd 18: *p1, 2/2 RKPC, p5, 2/2 LKPC; repeat from *.
Rnd 19: *p1, k2, p9, k2; repeat from *.
Rnd 20: repeat rnd 19.
Rnd 21: repeat rnd 19.
Rnd 22: *p1, 2/2 LKPC, p5, 2/2 RKPC; repeat from *.
Rnd 23: *p3, k2, p5, k2, p2; repeat from *.
Rnd 24: *p3, 2/2 LKPC, p1, 2/2 RKPC, p2; repeat from *.
Rnd 25: *p5, k2, p1, k2, p4; repeat from *.
Rnd 26: repeat rnd 25.
Rnd 27: *p3, 2/2 RKPC, p1, 2/2 LKPC, p2; repeat from *.
Rnd 28: *p3, k2, p5, k2, p2; repeat from *.
Rnd 29: *p1, 2/2 RKPC, p5, 2/2 LKPC; repeat from *.
Rnd 30: *p1, k2, p9, k2; repeat from *.
Rnd 31: *k2tog, k1, p9, k2; repeat from *.
Rnd 32: *k2tog, p9, ssk; repeat from *.
Rnd 33: *k1, p9, k1; repeat from *.
Rnd 34: *k1, p2tog, p5, p2tog tbl, k1; repeat from *.
Rnd 35: *k1, p7, k1; repeat from *.
Rnd 36: *k1, ptog, p3, p2tog tbl, k1; repeat from *.
Rnd 37: *k1, p5, k1; repeat from *.
Rnd 38: *k1, p2tog, p1, p2tog tbl, k1; repeat from *.
Rnd 39: *k1, p3, k1; repeat from *.
Rnd 40: *k1, wyif sl1, p2tog, psso, k1; repeat from *.
Rnd 41: *k1, p1, k1; repeat from *.
Rnd 42: *sl1, k2tog, psso, and remove markers; repeat from *.
Rnd 43: *k2tog; repeat from *.
Rnd 44: k2tog, k2tog, k1 (4 sts left).

Work I-Cord long enough to form a knot at the top (approximately 1 ¼ inches) fasten off and knot.  Darn in all ends. Wash and block, being careful not to stretch the rolled brim. Wear with joy!

Copyright 2009 – Kimberley Cunningham Varland – Rabbitbrush Studio - Big Sky Mountain Designs

Ravelry Link:


Traveler's Scarf

traveler's scarf

This scarf was born out of the need to have a very simple travelling project. The pattern was easy (for me) to memorize, and I could stuff it in my bag. I rarely worked on this project at home, it was mostly made sitting in the car, at doctor’s appointments, or at one of son’s hospital stays.

I also wanted to use a less expensive yarn so that it would be an affordable project for all. I decided to try Lion Brand’s Wool Ease Worsted Weight. I don’t love super long scarves so I only needed 1 skein of yarn for this project. I always try to use a product with some content of wool for it gives the ability for stretch. Also, gauge is not super important unless you are looking for a specific size.

traveler's scarf

I recommend that you block this project (on blocking wires if you have them) or it will not look like the picture. Blocking opens up the pattern. My “unblocked” measurements were 39” by 4 ¼“ and my “blocked” measurements were 44 ¼” by 7 ¼” . The scarf grew 5 ¼”  in length, and 3” in width!

If you want a scarf that will be less/more in width, subtract or add in units of 5 sts.

traveler's scarf

Traveler’s Scarf

US Size 7 (4.5mm) 16” Circular Needle
1 + skein(s) Lion Brand Wool Ease Worsted Weight or other Worsted Weight yarn.
Gauge: 5sts = 1 inch
Blocking Wires

CO: cast on
st(s): stitch(es)
sl1: slip one purl-wise (you could also slip knit-wise, just pick one and consistently do it)
k: knit
p: purl
yo: yarn over
skp: slip one purl-wise, knit one, pass slipped stitch over knitted stitch
k2tog: knit 2 together

Using Norwegian Long Tail Cast On, CO 30 sts.

Rows 1 thru 6: Sl1, knit across.

Begin Pattern:
Row 1: sl1, k3, *p2, k1, yo, skp, repeat from * 3 more times, p2, k4
Row 2: sl1, k5, *p3, k2, repeat from * 3 more times, k4
Row 3: sl1, k3, *p2, k2tog, yo, k1, repeat from * 3 more times, p2, k4
Row 4: sl1, k5, *p3, k2, repeat from * 3 more times, k4

Repeat pattern rows 1 thru 4 until desired length is achieved.

Then to finish:
Rows 1 thru 5: sl1, knit across.
Cast off knit-wise.
Block the scarf on wires and wear with joy.

Ravelry Link:

2009 Copyright - K. Cunningham-Varland - Rabbitbrush Studio - Big Sky Mountain Designs

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