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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Crostini with White Bean Humus

If you like Humus but would like to try a lighter version then you should give this recipe a try...and don't leave out the spinach and sun-dried tomatoes as they are what make this one really sing!

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
3 cups packed pre-washed baby spinach (about 5 ounces)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
15 1/2-oz can cannellini beans, rinsed well and drained
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 recipe Crostini (following this recipe)
5 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced

Heat the oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the garlic starts sizzling, reduce the heat to medium and cook until it turns golden (do not burn) about 2 minutes. Transfer the garlic and all but 1 tbs. of the oil to a food processor. Raise the heat to medium high, add the spinach, and saute, stirring, until is wilts, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Put the cannellini beans, thyme, and 2 tbs. water in the food processor with the garlic. Process until fairly smooth, adding another 1 or 2 tbs. water if needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If making more than a couple of hours ahead, refrigerate the white bean humus and bring it to room temperature before assembling.

To assemble, top the crostini with the bean puree, a portion of spinach, and slices of sin-dried tomato, and serve.

Crostini Recipe:

16 baguette slices, between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick (from about 1/2 baguette)
2 Cloves garlic, cut in half
2 to 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt

Adjust an over rack to 6 inches from the broiler and turn the broiler on to high. Rub one side of each bread slice with the garlic and set on a backing sheet lined with aluminum foil. Brush the garlic side with the oil and season with salt. Broil until the bread is browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and broil other side 1 minute more. Then follow the assembly instructions above.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

My Sweet Princess

***My sweet princess, now endlessly lying in her hospital bed, never to leave it again......She lies there now so peaceful unlike the discontent of a month ago.
Even with her worry and pain she still wakes with concern of her hair and lipstick. Each morning brings her closer to the end but she is always the ever princess, so gentle and kind. You should see how she holds her napkin so sweetly as to catch any morsel of food that might have fallen; how she will thank you for the smallest of deeds. Her era was definitely a time when manners were of the utmost importance.. how wonderful that must have been.
As I sit with her and see her fade, I am so charmed by her daily presences and strength. Though she still enjoys her meals, she is but a mere resemblance of her former self at 70 pounds. I view each picture in the room of her precious memories of days gone by; all the happiness and people she loves and spent her life with. To see her now all alone in her hospital bed with just me, a stranger, her mind spinning with no direction to guide it from coming to it's own conclusions as wrong as they might be....
As I sit, I take my time with my princess, I treat her as I believe her loved ones have always treated her, I treat her like a precious family member with all the love and care I can give. She is precious and I will always think of her forever more….

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Susie's Reading Mitts

I found these fantastic reading mitts (Susie's Reading Mitts by Janelle Masters, the pattern is located here: http://web.archive.org/web/20090317070108/http://janelleknit.blogspot.com/2009/01/free-dancing-ewe-pattern.html) and they are also perfect for elderly people who seem to be cold when the rest of us are all hot. They are very fast to knit and look really nice. The pattern makes a set that is mid arm length but if you did 2 inches instead of the 5 inches for the arm length they would be closer to wrist length. I've got one of these little mitts done in a few hours and am now completing the second one. Mrs. Hunter will have her little mitts by Monday. She is going to love them. I did these using the Knitpicks yarn Swish DK in the color Cornflower. Looks like a cross between blue and purple almost a lilac.
This pattern was free! Thanks Janelle Masters for such a fantastic pattern!!!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Orange and Nut Toffee.....

Orange and Nut Toffee.....
You might think this sounds gross.....but OMG so good

1 recipe Candied Orange Peel, Coarsely Chopped (or purchased)
2/3 cup coarsely chopped cashews
2/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. light-color corn syrup

1. Prepare candied orange peel, set aside. Line a 13x9x2 inch baking pan with foil, extending the foil over the edges of pan. Sprinkle 1/3 cup cashews and 1/3 cup walnuts in pan. Set aside.

2. In a 2-quart heavy saucepan melt butter over low heat. Stir in sugar, water, and corn syrup. Bring to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring gently until sugar is dissolved. Avoid splashing side of saucepan, (splashing will cause gritty candy).
Clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring gently frequently, until thermometer registers 290 F (soft-crack stage), about 12 to 15 minutes. Mixture should boil at a moderate, steady rate with bubbles over entire surface. (Adjust heat as necessary to maintain a steady boil and watch temperature carefully during the last 5 minutes of cooking, as temperature can increase quickly at the end.) Remove from heat; remove thermometer.

3. Carefully pour toffee mixture into prepared pan; spread evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle with candied orange peel and remaining nuts. Let stand at room temperature several hours. Use foil to lift toffee out of pan; break into pieces.
To Store, layer toffee pieces with waxed paper in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Candied Orange Peel Recipe
Cayenne pepper or rosemary sprigs are added to the sugar syrup for an extra layer of flavor.
2 medium oranges
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1 tsp. cayenne pepper or 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (optional)

1. To remove orange peels, with a paring knife cut peels into lengthwise quarters, cutting to the surface of the fruit. Reserve fruit for another use. Pry back the quartered peel and pull away to remove. With a spoon scrape away the white pith inside the peel. (If pith is left on, peels with be bitter.) Cut peel into thin strips.
2. In a 2-quart saucepan combine the 1 1/3 cups of sugar, the water, and cayenne or rosemary. Cover and bring to boiling. Add orange peel strips. Return to boiling, stirring constantly to dissolve sugar. Reduce heart. Cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat. Mixture should boil at a moderate, steady rate over entire surface. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until peel is almost translucent.

3. Using a slotted spoon, remove peel from syrup, allowing syrup to drain off of peel. Transfer peel to a wire rack set over waxed paper (discard rosemary, if using). Set cooked peel aside until cool enough to handle but still warm and slightly sticky. Roll peel in additional sugar to coat. Continue drying on the rack for 1 to 2 hours.

4. Store, tightly covered, in a cool, dry place for up to 1 week. Or freeze for up to 6 months. Makes about 1 cup.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Reconnecting some more!

I'm so stoked today....I've reconnect with two nieces and am over the moon. My Niece Michelle helped me to make that happen. So now I'm connected to Donna too....OMG it is so awesome!
Donna, is just back from Afghanistan and is now in Hawaii visiting Michelle with her husband Phil. It's nice to know they keep in touch with each other.....I hope we can arrange all getting together soon. I wish I knew how Gregy is doing....I miss that kid. He has one of those smiles that will melt your heart. Maybe he'll get on FB or something soon.
Michelle and Donna are frigging amazing....I'll not even go into details but they have over come things that most people couldn't begin to over come. They've turned out to be better people than some of the people I know that have had ideal lives. I am so very proud and amazed by them.

Why oh why does Hawaii have to be so so far.........:0((

Saturday, April 16, 2011


You know, when you have brothers and they get married and divorced and they have children...you don't always get to watch them grow up or be a part of their lives. I have three brothers that I grew up with...(I'll not even mention all my other brothers) and they all had children.....I am 47 and I barely know any of them because of divorce....I often think of this and I've cried over the years because of it....I would so love to have a close family where we all get together for the holidays and talk about ole times........good and bad and everything in between!
I wish I had all sisters because then I don't think I'd have this issue.....
Recently I reconnected with my Niece Michelle....OMG it is the best thing. She is so much like me I think she was suppose to be my daughter! I am so excited the only thing that could be better is if I lived close enough to just pop in my car and drive over to have a cup of coffee and work on a craft project.... I can dream can't I! She and her sister and brother will always have a very special place in my heart. What a great way to start the weekend!

Balti.....if you can't travel to the Balti Mile then you can make it yourself!

Balti is a curry well known in Birmingham, England. This spicy savory dish is scooped up using Naan Bread and rice is not served with it. Although Balti and Naan Bread are regionally from India, Birmingham is famous for making the best.

2lb Boned Lamb, beef or chicken, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 onions chopped
3 tblsp Vegetable Oil
2 small Tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp. Balti Mix (if you can't find this the recipe follows)
2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/2 green Pepper, seeded and chopped
1-1 inch cube fresh ginger, peeled
1/2 tsp Chili powder
1 tsp Garam Masala
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Fry the onions in the oil in a flameproof casserole until translucent.
Add all other ingredients except the meat, and 1/2 pint of water.
Bring to a boil; then add meat

Put the casserole in the oven and braise the meat for 45 minutes, checking every 10 minutes to give it a stir and make sure there's enough water.
When the meat is tender on the outside but still a little pink inside, take the meat out with a slotted spoon. Let the contents of the casserole cool a ltitle. Then empty the contents (without the meat) into a blender or food processor and liquidize.
This becomes your basic balti sauce, and should be the consistency of thick soup. Add the meat back to the sauce and continue cooking in the oven until tender. About 30 minutes longer.
Serve with Naan Bread.

Balti Mix recipe
4 tblsp (60 ml) coriander seeds
2 tblsp (30 ml) White cumin seeds
2 pieces cassia bark, (2 inch)
1 tsp (5 ml) fennel seeds
2 tsp (10 ml) black mustard seeds
4 whole cloves
1/2 tsp (2 ml) wild onion seeds
1/2 tsp (2 ml) fenugreek seeds
1 tsp (5 ml) dry fenugreek leaves
10 dry curry leaves
1 tsp (5 ml) Green cardamom seeds
1/2 tsp (2 ml) lovage seeds
Roast, cool and grind the whole spices
Mix with the ground ones, and store tightly covered

Naan Bread
2 tblsp Warm water (110 degrees F)
1 tsp. white sugar
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm milk
1/4 cup plain yogurt, room temperature
1/4 cup margarine, melted
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp poppy seeds (optional)

Put warm water in a small bowl, add sugar and yeast and stir until dissolved. Set aside for 5-10 minutes or until it foams. Blend in the warm milk, yogurt and melted margarine. In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, baking powder and poppy seeds. Pour in the yeast/milk mixture all at once and work it into the flour, using your hands. Continue mixing, adding flour or water as needed, until the mixture leaves the sides of the bowl. Knead for 6-8 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover with a damp cloth and let stand in a warm place to rise for about 4 hours or until doubled in volume.
Preheat oven to 550 degrees F (285 degrees C) or your oven's highest setting and set a rack in the lower third of the oven. Place a large pizza pan or iron griddle on the rack and preheat. Also preheat the broiler. Punch the dough down and knead briefly. Divide into 6 pieces and shape them into balls. Place them on the oiled plate and cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Let balls rest for 10-15 minutes. Roll out and stretch each ball until it is about 10 inches long and 5 inches wide. Remove the pizza pan from the oven, brush with oil and place one of the pieces of bread on it. Bake at 550 degrees F for about 4-5 minutes until bread is puffed and has brown spots, then transfer to a wire rack, returning pizza pan to oven to keep hot. Place bread under broiler until "charcoal" dots appear on the surface. Wrap finished bread in a towel while baking the remaining loaves. (If your pizza pan is beg enough, try baking two loaves at a time.

Luca - Cabled Baby Blanket by Arianna

I found this pattern for a cute baby blanket "Luca - Cabled Baby Blanket by Arianna " I made it once in a cream and mint color for my grand baby to be stash...then I decided it was a perfect size for people who are wheel chair bound. Sometimes the elderly feel cold when we all feel hot so I'm making one for one of the ladies I sit with. She loves blue so this time I'm making it in a medium and a light blue. The cables are so lovely. What a fantastic pattern and it was free! Thank you Arianna!
You can visit Arianna blog and this pattern here:

The I love this cotton yarn was not so much the best choice, after washing the blanket I had to pick the lint balls off of it. I'm a bit disappointed with this....I will not use this yarn again.

holding place for my button