Pumpkin Pie for Halloween

It's raining here today which doesn't bode well for the little ones heading out tonight to Trick or Treat.

Around here October and November mean Thanksgiving, pumpkin pie and my family's tolerance to my nesting.  I love to hunker down after being outside in those perfect and not so perfect weather days of autumn.  My favourite time of year.  It also means a shift in my baking to indulge in the seasonal offerings of apples, pumpkins and squash.

Here is my go-to Pumpkin Pie recipe, tweaked out of a combination of a few recipes I've tried over the years.  Yield is 2 pies.  I use Martha Stewart's Pate Brisee for the crust or when in a rush pick up 2 frozen deep dish frozen pie crusts from the grocer.  This recipe is quick to pull together, easy and oh so delish.

Don's Favourite Pumpkin Pie

1 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 heaping tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 - 1 teaspoon cloves (I use 1)
3 eggs, beaten
1-1/2 cups milk (I use 1%)
3-1/4 cups pumpkin puree
(2-1/2 cups pumpkin if using prepared shells that aren't deep dish)

Brush pie shells with beaten egg.  Combine all dry ingredients and mix together.  Add all wet ingredients and whisk together by hand until smooth.  Pour into pie shells.
Bake at 400F for 20 minutes
then reduce heat and bake for an additional
35-39 minutes at 350F
Pie filling should crack open around the
edge to be  baked through to the centre.
Cool and then let set up in refidgerator.
Delicious on it's own or served with fresh whipped cream,
vanilla ice cream or vanilla frozen yogurt.  
Wishing you all a very Happy Halloween.  Live, love and laugh much.  Hug those you love.  Renee  


a Poodle

Meet Ava, she is the sweetest, most graceful and affectionate girl you could imagine.  Life is richer when we can share it with animals.

Not a big surprise this former sheep owner/plan to be sheep owner again, fiber lover has had Standard Poodles for moving in on 3 decades, I suppose?  No, I've not spun my Poodle's hair.  Even though Don says he'd be happy to wear a hat knit from the yarn, I'll stick to sheep and goat fiber.

Interesting Fact for today:  Woolology 101 by Catherine Friend, excerpt from Sheepish

"Wool - black or white - is a natural insulator, keeping you warm in winter and cooling you down in the summer.  Because it's made of those overlapping scales, it easily repels water.  Wool breathes by wicking away moisture from the skin and relasing it into the air, leaving dry air and warmth near the skin.  Polartec might keep you warm, but it doesn't breathe easily.  Wool can absorb up to 30 percent of its weight in moisture without feeling heavy or damp, whereas cotton get damp at 15 percent.  Neither cotton nor polar fleece is warm when wet.  Also, wool naturally repels mold and mildew.

Wool is durable.  Lab tests show wool fibers can be bent back on themselves more than 20,000 times without breaking, Cotton breaks after 3,2100 bends, silk after 1,800, and rayon (a synthetic) totally collapses after only 75.  Wool resists wrinkles, and because of its natural crimp will retain it's shape.  It's fire retardant, unlike synthetic fabric, which happily burns when ignited because it's made from oil."

Live, laugh and love much and tell those you care about you love them.  Renee


Shetland Lace Triangle Shawl

If you're looking for something wonderful, delicate, yet comforting then look at Evelyn A. Clark's Shetland Lace Triangle Shawl.  A traditional Shetland Island 'Fir Cone' lace pattern that's easy to memorize and produces a swirling motif.  Top down in construction the pattern is written for yarn weights from lace through to DK, creating a beautiful and very wearable piece. 

Knit in Rowan Rowanspun 4Ply, a fingering weight 100% wool that has a plied, tweedy texture.  This yarn has been discontinued by Rowan but is easy to find in Ravelry destashes, some yarn stores still have stock and also on ebay.    

I loved this shawl.  Until I gave it away I wore it a lot.  Yeah, I gave it away.  To a dear friend who admired it and tried it on to find it dressed up  her tweed suit p e r f e c t l y, it was the perfect accessory she could not have found for that outfit and her colouring.  Us knitters, we do love to share when we know the knit will be loved and appreciated.  

I'll definitely knit another to replace for myself when I pick up more Rowanspun 4ply.  This yarn has body that holds being block well while staying soft and comfortable.  I often chose patterns based on being free or in a pretty book to purchase for my library shelf, I don't for a second regret buying it on Raverly and enjoying both the process of knitting it and the product.  Knit exactly as written, for a change I made no mods.

Shetland Lace Triangle Shawl, you'll be glad you knit it.
Live, love and laugh much.  Find joy in your day and tell those you care about you love them.  Renee 


Hello Again and a Knit

It's been so long, very long, since I've blogged.  Since New Years Day 2012 actually when I planned to take a blogging break.  At the time I had no intention of it being away for more than one season.   The past couple years have been filled with ups and downs. happy and sad, growing and changing.  And now it's seeing the return for my urge to blog.  Hello, again.  I wonder if there may be someone that visits, I'd appreciate a comment to let me know if you've enjoyed (or not) what I'm sharing again?

The social network of Knit Bloggers has taken a dramatic drop in popularity, yet there's a giant increase in fiber facsination.  Summarized beautifully by Sarah Swett, Fiber Artist, "Make stuff.  Stay home.  Draw. Dress locally.  Hand wash. Learn to darn."  For me, taking yarn and needles and creating something useful, beautiful, artistic and functional is greatly satisfying.  Sustainable living, growing food, cooking and eating well at home, reducing our carbon footprint are all embraced by knitters and crafters with natural fibers.  In this high tech world, the creative arts are gaining in appreciation and participation.

A quick update of the past few years here at Casa del Koch:  Don and I are now married 26 years and our kids are adults, Ryan now 23 and Nicole 20.  We still have our Standard Poodles and but I'm sad to say we had to sell our horses January 2014.  My mom passed away last January and with that grief I lost the desire to knit, quilt, spin or create.  Things I've done for most of my life.  An outing to The Knitters Fair in September brought it back.  My mojo.  The need and want to play with sticks and string, to indulge in all things wool and fiber.  I plan to share my knitting, a bit of whatever I'm crafting, photographing and some recipes along with events and adventures that inspire me here again on my blog.  A place to also journal the following of my dreams.  Welcome, if you're reading this.

And the knit?  MIRA:  a simple project in lucious yarn.  2 skeins of Classic Elite "Vail" in soft gray from their Mountain Top Collection.  It's a light fingering weight yarn, 70% alpaca for softness giving it a slight halo, 30% bamboo viscose gives it a beautiful luster and drape.  The yarn looks like it might be splitty, but it wasn't and behaved beautifully round knit on 5.5mm 24" Addi Turbos.  This cowl pattern available free on Ravelry.  I tweaked it a tiny bit by adding a small picot on the cast off edge with clear 6mm beads.

It can be worn wrapped around your neck twice or draped like a shawl.  Images in this post show the cowl before blocking.  With the season now into autumn, my most favourite, this knit will see a lot of wear.  It would make a wonderful Christmas gift.   A helpful video tutorial on the cast off picot edge is available here by Wendy McDonnell aka Yarn Fairy.

I love the look of layering knits over knits.  The cardi is from Mark's Work Wearhouse, picked up during my months of non-knitting.  

Thank you for visiting.  Be well, tell those you love that you love them and have a great day.  Renee


HAPPY 2012

Beauty.. Freshness.. Dreams.. Truth.. Imagination.. Feeling.. Faith.. Trust..
This is begining of a new year! 

Was your 2011 wonderful?  We had a good, busy year. 

It's with optimism and a smile that I look forward to 2012 and reflect on 2011.  The next few months will be cold and wintery here in Ontario, a good time to buckle down to finish projects and start new ones.  With that in mind I'm going to take a planned winter break from blogging.  I'll return in spring, hopefully with projects to share and more time to spend blogging myself.  I plan to keep visiting all my friends in the blogosphere and enjoy your wonderful posts.   Stop in to say hi on Flickr if you're so inclined.  See you back here when the daffodils bloom! 

May 2012 will be all you wish for and more.  Live, love and laugh much, tell those you care about you love them and find happiness in your day.  Renee 

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