Monday, April 25, 2016

Gluten Free Recipe - Polenta with Veggies and Duck Eggs

My husband Brian was diagnosed with Celiac Disease a few years ago, and this has changed and limited our diets.  We both love to cook, so I am always looking for new things we can try that are healthy, tasty and gluten free.

My most recent adventure occurred because a bag of polenta that I was storing in the freezer split open, making an annoying mess in the bottom of the freezer.  As I cleaned up the tiny specks of corn grits while on my hands and knees, I thought "now why was that at the bottom of the freezer anyway - you should use it!"


I love the fresh corny taste and smell of polenta, love it.  In the past we've cooked it up and put it in a loaf pan, slicing off portions to fry in olive oil with eggs or just by itself.  This time, I decided to use it as a "bedding" for a dinner meal, cooking it to a soft consistency.

I really like Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Polenta.


Now that we are using it more,  I order it with our monthly subscription on Amazon, and its an excellent deal that way (free shipping too!)

The polenta takes about 45 minutes to cook thoroughly, so start with that.

Enough Polenta for two people:

1/2 cup Bob's red Mill Gluten Free Polenta
2 1/4 cup water

Heat the water in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, and while its warming up, stir in the dry polenta.  A general rule of thumb for good polenta is one part polenta to four parts water.  I use extra water because we live at 8500 feet elevation and grains always take a bit longer to cook, and use a little more water.

Cover with the lid slightly ajar, and cook over medium heat, stirring every few minutes to keep it from sticking (it will stick a little bit anyway, but stirring will help).

About 20 minutes or so after you start the polenta, cook up the goodies you are going to top it with.  The first time I made this dish,  I used bell peppers, onions, garlic, green chilies, and duck eggs.  

We keep chickens and ducks, and have a large number of eggs this time of year.  Duck eggs have a richer and stronger flavor than chicken eggs and I generally don't like them for breakfast.  But for dinner with the other ingredients, they were perfect!

Additional Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 Red bell pepper
1 Yellow bell pepper
1/2 White onion
1/2 cup 505 Green chilies 
2 cloves garlic
2 duck eggs
1 Tablespoon butter

Chop the bell pepper and onions and mince the garlic, set aside.  Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a skillet, and starting with the bell peppers, add them to the oil and sauté for about 2 minutes.  Add the onions and stir, sauté this mixture for another 2 to 3 minutes or until the onions start to soften.  Add the garlic and lightly brown it, then add the green chilies.  When everything is combined and nicely bubbling, reduce the heat and start the eggs in another small skillet.  (Don't forget the stir the polenta occasionally while you are doing all of this!)

Cook the eggs in a small skillet in the butter.  I did ours over easy-ish, but you can cook them any way you prefer.  

The polenta should be done by around now.  You can tell its done if it has thickened nicely and the individual granules are not visible because they have dissolved and cooked completely.  

Spoon the polenta into bowls, and top with the veggies and eggs.  Garnish with cheese, sour cream, and slices of avocado.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Polenta with Veggies and Duck Eggs

You can easily add chicken, sausage, beef strips or anything else you'd like to this.   It was surprisingly hearty and delicious with the eggs, and made a very nice low cost, nutritious and satisfying dinner.  

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Knitting Across the Pond

Last month I had the amazing opportunity of exhibiting at the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show in London.  Having decided to do it on relatively short notice, I had only four days after getting home from Stitches West before I was on a plane heading to the UK.  Whew!

The Spring event is held at the Olympia exhibition hall, located on the west side of central London.  I had the tiniest of stalls, but that was all I needed, since I wasn't exactly bringing truckloads of product with me.

Brian designed a special scaled-down banner for me, and made these dandy little velcro hangers (the walls provided are velcro compatible - jolly!) for me to hang things from.  The table and shelves were rented.  Probably won't do that again - they were very expensive, and the black paint on the shelves rubbed off on my labels, ack.  

Knitters in the UK are every bit as enthusiastic about yarn as they are in the US and I had a blast talking with them.  I met some fantastic people!  

Imogen, owner of Fig Tree Yarns on Jersey (Channel Islands) had actually purchased a skein of my yarn at Yarn & Coffee in Santa Fe, and now is carrying my yarn in her lovely shop.   I also made contact with editors from  Simply Knitting and Simply Crochet magazines, both of whom took some Cat Mountain Fiber Arts yarn for their design team to create projects for features this coming fall.  Whee!  

I even had a little time to play tourist: visited the Victoria and Albert Museum, went to the Borough Market, walked in Hyde Park, and ran across this landmark outside of the Earl's Court Tube Station

I learned a ton about what to do and not do should I decide to exhibit again, and was overall very pleased with how the show went.  There is another one at Alexandra Palace in London in October RIGHT after the Taos Wool Festival.  As in, I'd need to leave the next day.  Not sure how that might work out, but we'll see.  

Friday, March 18, 2016

Stitches West 2016

Thanks to everyone who stopped to see us at Stitches West this year - it was a fun time and lots of nice people!

I had help from Brian this year, which was SO wonderful; having him along always makes an event more fun, and he has a great knack for making our space flow (not to mention for doing the heavy lifting, phew!)

My favorite bit of the whole weekend was when the lovely group of ladies from last year's Stitches visited to show me their Woodland Capelets made from the kits they bought  last year!

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Zig, then Zag - One for Crocheters!

Finally a Fusion Yarn pattern for crocheters!

Mainly I am a knitter, so it took me awhile to come up with something for people who prefer to crochet - apologies for that.

As the name implies, this is a zig-zag pattern scarf, worked on the length.  I chose to work this on only one side (ending with each row on the left and starting a new row on the right, rather than turning the work).  My friend created hers by knitting through the back loop only, and that gave an interesting effect as well.  This project uses a 500-yard skein of Cat Mountain Fiber Arts Fusion Yarn.  Sample was made from Alpine Autumn.  

This scarf is very long - about 100 inches, and the zig zag pattern reminds me of old crochet afghans from the 1970's.  The pattern includes instructions for how to reduce the length and make a wider scarf, if you so choose.  Happy crocheting!

Ravelry link to Zig, then Zag

Many thanks to friend Regis for modeling the scarf for me.

Saturday, January 2, 2016


The path up to the top of the hill fort.

I love when a knitting design has historical, geographical, or situational relevance.  I love it even more when I have the privilege of visiting a place and knitting an object whose design has ties to it.

"Dunadd" (Dun Ad in Scottish Gaelic) means "fort on the River Ad."  This site is located in the Kilmartin Glen, Argyll and Bute, Scotland. Activity at this site dates back to the Iron Age, and it later became an important political, trading and ritual center for the Kingdom of the Dal Riata.

We visited on a predictably cloudy day in April, while touring the Kilmartin Valley, an area rich in neolithic sites and standing stones.

View from the top,  of the River Ad and the valley below

The "Inauguration Stone" Dunadd is thought to be the site where kings were inaugurated.  Note the outline of a foot in the center of the stone; it is believed that the king placed his foot into this carving, linking him to the land and people (Webb, Sharon (2013) In the Footsteps of Kings. Kilmartin House Trust, Argyll, Scotland

Prior to this trip, I had purchased a kit for a wrap, designed by Alice Starmore, named Dunadd.  It features two moderately intricate Celtic knot designs.  It has been a pleasure to knit so far.

As with many things that I knit for myself, this fell into queue behind samples for my yarn business, gifts for others, and other activities.  Now though, I am nearly finished.  Happily, it even matches our new bedspread!

 Virtual Yarns Kit for Dunadd

I chose the color Caper Caillie, one of my favorites from Virtual Yarns.  My gauge is off, so it will use more yarn than called for, but that is not a problem - I am pleased that it will now be large enough to serve as a throw, or a very large cosy wrap for our chill nights in Colorado.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year

The view from one of my favorite walks, on this bright, crisp morning.

What will 2016 bring?  

Monday, April 21, 2014

Dyeing Yarn with Cuties

I am way behind here - waaaay back at the beginning of March, I visited my sister's family at their new home in Iowa for the occasion of my niece's fifth birthday.  My nieces are simply the sweetest girls on planet earth, and (bestill my heart!) they both are into knitting.  So, you understand, we HAD to dye some yarn.

The cheeky little blond (wait, they are both cheeky little blonds) in the swimming suit is the birthday girl.  It was below zero Fahrenheit outdoors that day, but she insisted on wearing the swimming suit that I bought her for her birthday.  I think it had Rapunzel on it, though THE character of the birthday weekend was Elsa from Frozen.  Alas, there were no Elsa swimming suits at the Disney store.  We later persuaded her to at least put on some clothes underneath it.  It made me shiver just to look at her.   

Here we are before adding dye.  We used Kool-aid and food coloring (both work great on wool!)


Addi with her first batch, carefully monitoring the temperature, as was I.  At the altitude where I live, water begins to almost boil at just the temperature where I slow things (about 180 degrees), and it makes an audible rumble that tells me when to turn down the heat.  Unused to cooking, nor yet dyeing yarn in the lowlands, I made sure we used a thermometer to keep the dye pot from getting too hot.   

Somehow I lost the photos of our many finished hanks of lovely yarn.  But I'll close with my favorite photo of the weekend . . . dear little Lauren knitting away at her project.

The look of concentration on her face is the best!