About Me

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Hello! I am Diana, wife to Ted. We are the parents to one miraculous 6-year-old little princess. Aside from my daughter my earthly passions include home-cooking at an intermediate level, Music, knitting, photography, learning Adobe Photoshop, digital scrapbooking, and online social networking.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fresh Off The Needles: Autumn Toddler Sweater

Well, the last time I blogged about knitting was back in July because I took a break from knitting most of the summer. But I am back into it now and wanted to share my latest completed project. It is a toddler sweater for the Little Princess. It is the same pattern I have used to knit baby sweaters, and is adapted from Baby Knits for Beginners by Debbie Bliss. It is my favorite knitting pattern book that I have ever used, and there are some great intermediate projects in there as well. I borrowed the book from my SIL about 3 years ago and haven't given it back (((blush))). I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to knit non-complicated stuff for babies & toddlers:

I say the pattern is adapted because I used the pattern for "Sweater with Square Set-In Sleeves" which has a diamond stitch pattern. I did the sweater in straight stockinette stitch choosing to do a striped color pattern instead.

Back in the spring, I knit a sage & rose toddler dress for her in the same pattern that I used for other dresses I have talked about on here, and I loved to color combo so much (and had the leftover yarn in my stash) that I decided to do up a sweater for the Little Princess for fall.

It knits up fairly quickly on size 7 needles, it took me 3 days to complete the body panels & neck band, but not without a small glitch that involved the sweater not fitting over my child's giant melon, and me having to rip out my bind-off and redoing it. And then knitting fatigue set in, my pace slowed and it took me another whole week-and-a-half to finish the sleeves and the sewing together.
Anyway, it's done, it fits great, and I am really happy with it. The princess seems to like it as she keeps picking it up and saying "Mommy, you knit this for me?" :)

Here are a few pics I snapped with her in it, and a little digiscrapbook page I did about it:

This scrapbook page was created using all goodies you can find over at The Sweet Shoppe.

That's it on the knitting front for now. There could be a baby shower for a close friend on the horizon, so we shall see what kind of projects that may bring! Thanks for reading!

-Diana, The Ivy Kitchen

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Make Mine a 4-Way, Please!

Oh. Hi. O...I know I haven't done a legitimate cooking entry in over a month now, but here I am with a discovery that I have been wanting to share for awhile! Back in August my friend Ryann from A Working Mommy's Blog, and a Cincinnati girl, asked our collective mommy's board if we thought this was weird:

Chili served over spaghetti with shredded cheese & onions.

As a New England girl, I had never heard of such a thing, nor have I ever travelled to Ohio. My first thought was about Texas-style chili over spaghetti, which sounded interesting. She claimed (her claims have now proven to be beyond reproach, hehehe) that she got it that way at a restaurant called Skyline. Our friend Terri, also a Cincy girl at heart, backed her story up. The whole idea intrigued me, but I had never heard of it being served that way. So I went to do some reading.

Not only do people, indeed, eat their chili over spaghetti in Cincinnati but there are lots of restaurants (or chili parlors) that cator to this very demographic! In reading the Wikipedia article found here, I discovered that the chili in question was not at all like Texas style chili. Same basic idea but with more eastern European and middle eastern influences with the use of cinnamon, cloves, and chocolate! The culinary adventurer inside of me was starting to get really piqued.

I also read some about Skyline which appears to have more than just a cult following among Cincinnati natives and extends to those who've relocated all across the country. People have cans of it shipped to where they are. Apparently the chili is traditionally served as a 2-way (chili over spaghetti noodles), 3-way (chili, noodles & completely covered with shredded sharp cheddar cheese), 4-way (chili, noodles, cheese, fresh chopped onions) or a 5-way (chili, noodles, cheese, onions, and kidney beans).

I looked up recipes for Cincinnati chili, and lo and behold, there was one at allrecipes, under my nose the whole time! In reading the reviews of the recipe over and over were the words "very similar to Skyline." So follows the recipe that would change my culinary presuppositions forever, or at least taste really, really good.

Cincinnati Chili from AllRecipes.com (with a few slight modifications by me).

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 pounds ground beef
1/4 cup chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 bay leaf
1/2 (1 ounce) square unsweetened chocolate
2 (10.5 ounce) cans beef broth
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 6 minutes.

Add beef, in batches if necessary, and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned. Now here is where I altered the recipe just slightly. In reading the reviews on allrecipes, many people stated that the "authentic" way to make this was to boil the ground beef in the broth. So that is what I did, I added the broth to the sauteed onions, brought it to a boil and cooked the ground beef in it. I get a finer consistency from the ground beef this way.

Add chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, allspice, cloves, bay leaf, chocolate, beef broth (see above), tomato sauce, cider vinegar, and red pepper.
Stir to mix well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
It is the best if you now refrigerate overnight. I did not let it sit over night, and it was still DELICIOUS!

Remove the bay leaf. Reheat gently over medium heat. Serve over hot, drained spaghetti. Top with shredded cheddar cheese. End recipe.
The chili is supposed to be a thinner consistency and mine turned out pretty thick, but it is because I should have added another cup or so of beef broth after the meat was cooked. That being said, both DH and I loved it with a thicker consistency and he even said he likes this better than traditional spaghetti sauce.
It was very good, and this recipe makes more than enough to freeze for future meals. We ate ours as a 4-way, DH is not big on beans, and it was just so delicious. The picture at the top of the entry shows a scant amount of cheese compared to how it is served in restaurants, but I was trying to be good. Hopefully I will get to visit Ohio one day and stop by for some authentic Skyline chili! And a big thank-you to Ryann and my Cincy girls for introducing me to it.
-Diana, The Ivy Kitchen