Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Duplicate Stitch

Finally!  It's a post on knitting!  I have been meaning to share this fun little trick for a while.

Duplicate stitch is a nice way to embellish or beef up any knitting project....AND it's super easy.  

Plan out your design using graph or grid paper.  Thread a tapestry needle with your yarn but do not tie a knot.  Insert the needle from the work side into the bottom of a knitted "V."  Leaving a few inches of yarn (to be sewn in later) on the work side, bring the needle up and over the left arm of the V.  Going under the row (leaving the gap in the top of the V), carry the yarn to the other side of the V.  From the top right of the V, follow the stitch down and insert it into the bottom of the V.   

From here, you can either continue over to the next row, starting in the bottom of the next V, or up, depending on your design.  Try to be consistent with the way you move through your pattern - either stitch side to side or up and down.  Continue until your pattern is finished.  Weave in ends.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Butternut Squash Lasagna

This is a wonderfully warm fall and winter dish.

Butternut Squash Lasagna
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium butternut squashes (2-3 pounds), peeled and seeded, cut into 1" cubes
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper
6 (or more, depending on taste) amaretti or gingersnap cookies, crushed
1/4 C butter
1/4 C flour
3/4 C whole milk
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup fresh basil or 1-2 tablespoons dried basil
1 package no-boil lasagna noodles
2 1/2 C shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 C grated parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the squash and toss to coat.  Pour in the water and cover.  Steam the squash for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add cookies and mix in, coating with any leftover water to soften.  Using an immersion blender, blend squash and cookies until smooth.  Season to taste.

In a medium or large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add flour and whisk for about a minute to make a roux.  Gradually add in milk and bring to a boil over medium.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring often, until sauce thickens, about 6-8 minutes.  Add dried basil (or combine fresh basil using the immersion blender) and nutmeg.  Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 375.  Lightly oil a 9x13 pan.  Spread 3/4 C white sauce over the bottom of the pan.  Arrange lasagna noodles on top.  Spread 1/3 of the squash mixture over the noodles.  Add 1/2 C mozzarella cheese and top with another layer of noodles.  Add three more layers (white sauce, squash, and cheese with noodles in between) using all the remaining ingredients.  Top with extra mozzarella and parmesan.

Cover with tin foil and bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes until cheese is bubbling and golden brown.  Let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes.  Serve with a salad and Italian bread.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


I have been making a lot of artisan bread lately. Unfortunately, we don't always finish each loaf before it looses its freshness. Instead of throwing the bread in the compost, I've been making croutons. These yummy croutons are perfect for our Sunday morning egg bake or as an addition to any salad.

The best part is, when you make your own, you can pick the flavors you'd like to use. My favorite combination is garlic and Italian seasoning, but explore your options by trying out cajun or spicy croutons!

Herb Crusted Croutons

(Amount are not specified, as they depend on the amount of leftover bread you have. Just remember, it doesn't hurt to be liberal with your ingredients.)

Leftover bread
Olive oil
Italian seasoning
Garlic salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut your bread into 1 inch cubes.

In a large bowl, toss bread cubes with olive oil, salt, pepper, and seasoning.

Spread on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until cubes are golden brown.