Saturday, March 19, 2016

Earth Hour, Edgy Lasagna and Doggie Blanket Beginnings

Earth Hour

Tonight at 8:30 pm, it's time to participate in Earth Hour and turn off all essential lights for an hour.  This is the 10th year Earth Hour is being celebrated and takes place all over the world.  Started in Sydney, Australia, the primary goal is to showcase our commitment to the planet.  

A complete history and suggestions for celebrating is available on the official blog.

Edgy Lasagna

Lasagna is one of those versatile dishes that can be adapted endlessly and is great for using up ingredients.  Once you learn the basic recipe, it's easy to create variations that are always delicious.

My favorite way to make lasagna (and other casseroles and desserts that have coveted edges) is to use my Edge Pan.  I purchased this years ago and immediately sent ones to my mom and sister.  I checked out the Baker's Edge website this afternoon and see that there are now three products -- lasagna pan, brownie pan, and muffin pan.  My original pan bakes lasagna and brownies equally well, so I'm not tempted to place an order.  

Back to the lasagna -- I made the components separately and at different times.  Yesterday, I knew I needed to use my mushrooms, so I sautéed the mushrooms, along with onions, jalepenos peppers, spinach, and a bit of bacon.  I used some of the sautee for a baked potato topping, then saved the rest for the lasagna.

This morning, I made the sauce with more onions and jalapeños, turkey sausage, tomato sauce, and various herbs and spices.  Before adding the tomato sauce, I stole a bit of the onion/pepper/turkey sausage mixture to scramble with an egg and make an English muffin sandwich for breakfast.  After simmering the sauce for an hour, there was a satisfying depth to the mixture.

All of this plus a cottage cheese/parmesan/egg/parsley/black pepper mixture, lasagna noodles, and mozzarella cheese made a very tasty and photogenic lasagna.

Doggie Blanket Beginnings

Archie loves to sleep on all of my pillows and blankets, so I decided to make him his own blanket celebrating his name, favorite thing, and gotcha date.  I had some soft, chunky yarn on hand (leftovers/supplies for the Shark Attack! Pet Blanket), so I was ready to start knitting.

Above are all of the blanket components in the midst of the blocking process.  They should be dry this evening, so I can join them tomorrow afternoon.  

I started the blanket knowing that I wanted the primary motif to be a large monogram.  This block will be the center of the blanket.  The size was very scientifically decided by figuring out how many stitches fit on my size 11 needles and then adjusting my graphed A. 

Each of the corners will feature a dog bone.  Even though Archie is a little dog, he can handle very large bones - real or Wishbone.  I figured out the block size after graphing the bone and considering how much additional length and width I'd like to add to the blanket.

Once I had the center square and four corner blocks, I was ready to design the remaining four panels.

On each side, there will be a panel with three dog paw prints.  The sizing was easy to determine because it was the length of the A monogram panel and the width of the bone panels.

Finally, the top and bottom panels feature Archie's name and the date I got him from PAWS Chicago.  These panels took a bit of work to design because I needed to figure out the sizing and placement of the text so that it fit on the panels and was a consistent size with the bone motifs.  

I look forward to attaching all of the blocks and then offering custom dog blankets in the shop early next week.  

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