been outside playing

The last few weekends I've been outside a lot playing with the dogs and friends. Tracking, actually ~ one of my very favourite past times. These 2 dogs are Tracking Champions, only 11 to date in all of Canada. They are Questa ~ German Shepherd and my boy Chase ~ Standard Poodle.

Yesterday we also were playing with three of these absolutely adorable 9 week old puppies. How cute is that face? They're field trial bred labs for working homes from Pat and Chris's B-Line labs.

Star and Pat are prepping for their next tracking test so we'll be out plenty tracking. With having been down sick for so long I really missed getting out to track. So did Chase.

This time of year the colours are amazing, but it's going away fast. The trees have started to drop their leaves pronto and will be bare soon. I have to keep reminding myself that a week from today it will be November. Yikes.

Last night I was swatching. The colour of this Valley Yarns Williamstown is glorious. Usually I dig out autumnal colours in October, traditionally I knit with reds... but when I went stash diving last night this is the yarn that I kept picking up and petting. Not sure what it'll be yet, I'm having trouble settling on my next project. I want to start lots of them... "Cold Sheeping" has given me a serious case of startitis. This one is washed, dry and ready to see it if hits gauge on my 5.5 needles. I like the fabric is produced on 5.5 the best. The colour isn't at all like it photographed, it's a lot more vibrant and apple green.

Hope everyone is happy, well and enjoying their weekend!


Mondo Cable Cap for Nicole

This is a must knit for anyone who likes hats and cables. Bonne Marie's patterns are wonderful and her newest releases with Mondo Cables are hitting it out of the park for fall. I knit this from the mini mystery KAL.

Nicole didn't know what it would look like finished, but I was barely into the second clue when she claimed this knit for herself. Clue 3 finished it up quickly. This yarn would benefit from wet blocking, but she's not parting with it just yet. It wasn't off the needles for a minute when it was on her head. It's still there. She wants to wear it to school tomorrow so blocking is going to have to wait a bit. Holding the Terra double with the Kid Silk Haze gives this hat a level of luxury I wasn't able to photograph, but the KSH takes it up a few notches.

Pattern: Mondo Cable Cap by Chic Knits
Yarn: Terra - Light Indigo (60% merino/20% baby alpaca/20% silk)
Kid Silk Haze - light smokey blue
Yardage: 190 yards

This hat's gotten my 15 year old style maven's seal of approval. I'll knit her another one in dark purple for her to match her school colours and definitely one for myself. It was a fast, fun and easy project.


Oktoberfest: Schnitzel 101 (and the Giveaway winner!)

Who won, who won??? I'll let you know at the bottom of this post.

Our city population has begun to swell beyond capacity. Kitchener hosts the second largest Oktoberfest in the world running this year from October 9 - 17th. It starts the Friday of our Thanksgiving weekend. Opening day is time to make Schnitzel. It's easy to make, really easy.

Cast of Characters, also known as the Ingredients:

Wiener Schnitzel, flour, eggs, bread crumbs, season salt, salt, pepper and Canola oil. That's it, don't need anything fancy, although a slice of lemon is usually served with each piece and a nice touch to squeeze it fresh on the meat. I'm not keen on the lemon myself, but most everyone else is. Just imagine that the flour is in this picture too, the canister is sitting on the counter just outside of this picture. Had a blond moment ~ what can I say?

Our butcher has a machine that tenderizes the pork. If yours doesn't a good smacking with a tenderizing mallet will do the job or even the flat side of a cleaver and then poke them up with a fork or meat prongs. My dad jokes you can drive over them with a steamroller in the parking lot yet too. Once they're tenderized and we put some weight into them they'll flatten out plenty.

Traditional Wiener Schnitzel is prepared in restaurants in a deep fryer that's shallower than most and has rolled pipes a few inch down in the oil to let the bread crumbs that separate float down into the basin of the fryer, keeping the oil cleaner where the meat is cooking. It used to only be fried in beef fat, but now Canola oil is the accepted healthier substitute. At home a fry pan with just enough oil to cook in and then turning them over works well too, that's how I do it. If I'm making a lot and the oil is starting to darken I'll start with a fresh pan and new oil. Use medium high heat. You want the oil good and hot so it isn't soaked up too much during cooking, but not so hot that it's smoking. I get a good rolling bubble going on in the pan.

Pay attention from here in out ~ because the real way to your loved one's heart is with Schnitzel. Men will be putty in your hands. I wouldn't kid about something like that. The trick to great Schnitzel is a double dip into the flour and eggs and super fine bread crumbs. Double dipping is allowed here. It's a must. This is a traditional flour, egg and bread crumb crust... just a little particular about how it's applied. Get ready to get your hands messy. I keep a big bowl of warm water in my sink and a plastic scrubby to give my hands a quick clean off between each piece. I use a bowl so that I can dump it outside instead of putting that down the drain to avoid any clogging issues. These fried babies will do enough harm to your arteries, don't need to call a plumber too. We don't eat fried food often, but seriously - it's Schnitzel and Oktoberfest ~ some times we need to live a little.

Use plain white bread crumbs available from the grocery store or baker. Now this is a biggy point: if they're a bit coarse, give them a few good rounds in the food processor to make them as fine as flour. There is a big difference in the texture of the crumbs and the texture of the finished Schnitzel breading. The crumbs on the left are straight out of the container and the crumbs on the right have been processed. You can see how the colour has changed too after the darker crust bits got pulverized in the food processor.

Let me apologize right now if you're on dial up... there's plenty of pics coming up next.
Set yourself up a little assembly line: flour, eggs, bread crumbs and your preheated frying pan, as well as a plate or pan on the other side with racks and paper towel to drain the schnitzel on when it's just out of the pan. Ok, here we go.

Start by seasoning the meat. I do this on both sides, unless I'm in a big hurry. To taste use Season Salt, fresh ground pepper and salt. I like to use Kosher or freshly ground sea salt. Tasty.

Press the meat into the flour. Bury it and give it a really good press. Both sides. Then give it a little jiggly-shake to drop off the loose excess flour.

Dip it into the beaten eggs.

Back into the flour. Don't skip this part. They need the double dose of flour and egg bath. Don't be shy, press it in well again on both sides, then shake off the loose flour.

Back into the beaten eggs for dip #2.

Now the fine bread crumbs. Press and cover it well. Turn it over and press it in again. Shake and jiggle off any loose bread crumbs. At this point you can either keep assembly lining the schnitzel and stack them up to cook, or keep it rolling and cook as you go. I start cooking right away. My family is starving the instant they smell the first one start to sizzle.

Into the hot oil.

Turn them over when they're a nice golden brown underneath.

As they're done you can put them on your waiting rack. I put a jelly roll sheet under the wire racks and paper towel on top. See those bubbles? The oil is nice and hot, but not smoking.

I did 3 layers of these. See how they're a little darker on the edges... that's what happens when your camera battery dies and you start rushing around looking for a new battery as the schnitzel keeps cooking. No worries, they're fine. They smell good. Mmm...

Ryan likes his plain on a bun. He's got 2 on there. See that smile, he learned that from his daddy. His mouth is full right now and he's making Mmm, mmm sounds.

Wiener Schnitzel 101. Enjoy!!

* * *

Thank you so very much everyone for the kind get well wishes. I love hearing from you all. I admit it, I adore comments. Love them. I'm happy to report that we're all feeling better. Thank you also for entering my First Blogaversary giveaway. I really enjoy having Giveaways and will do lots more.

By drawing from my favourite mixing bowl the winner of the books is: Celtic Cast On. Congratulations! If you could email me your address to rycole at hotmail dot com I'll mail them off as soon as the Post Office opens again on Tuesday morning. I enjoyed this Giveaway so much that I pulled a second name as well!! Second prize goes to Dandy. If you can send me your address at the email I just mentioned I'll ship a copy of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's Knitting Rules your way.

Have a terrific weekend everyone! Enjoy Oktoberfest and to all my fellow Canadians Happy Thanksgiving. Happy Columbus day to our American neighbours as well. :)



1st Blogaversary! ~ Giveaway

One year. Wow, I can't hardly believe it. I'm surprised how much blogging has become a part of my day, my leisure and my social life. I get so much pleasure from it ~ especially reading all the comments ~ that I want to give back, 'tis better to give than to receive.

I'm sharing one of my passions: Books. Love them. Love. Seriously. I read quite a bit online, but there's nothing nicer than the tactile pleasure of a book in hand while reading. This giveaway it's an assortment of subjects that interest me: knitting, quilting and cooking/entertaining.

The Knitter's Book of Yarn, The Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Using, and Enjoying Yarn by Clara Parkes is a must have on any knitter's shelf. From fiber foundations, making yarn, types of plyes, care of your yarn to patterns this book has it all.

Celebrate! by Sheila Lukins with Peter Kaminsky is a wonderful cookbook with 43 Celebrations/350 Recipes. Can't go wrong with this one.

Tips for Quilters by Rachel T. Pellman is 'a handbook filled with hints, shortcuts, practical suggestions from Experienced Quilters'. Lots of useful ideas in this little red book.

If you'd like these or could use some books to enhance your gift giving for someone special leave a comment to be included in the draw. Enteries will be open until Friday, October 9th at 4pm EST ~ when I start my weekend.

Thank you everyone for the get well wishes for us here with the flu.
Love 'ya all,


under the weather ramblings

We've been sick. All of us. Dragging on since Monday. Starting fall with the flu hasn't been fun. My mom made us homemade Chicken Rice soup to help us feel better. Mmmm. If this doesn't cure what ails us, nothing will.

The weather has been gearing up for Oktoberfest. Translation? Bitter cold and raining. Last night there was another heavy frost. It's not nice to be outside, but the maple trees are turning gorgeous colours and the sedum has changed to it's autumn colour. Pretty, isn't it?

Tomorrow we're invited to a wedding, the bride and groom are a warm and happy couple so I'm sure no one will pay much attention to the lousy weather. Isn't it supposed to be good luck if it rains on your wedding day? Think I heard that somewhere. Tomorrow is also my first blog anniversary. Where did a year go so fast? To celebrate I'm going to have another Giveaway. Check back tomorrow to see what it's for...

Have a great day! Hope everyone is healthy.

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