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Sunday Dessert – Alabama Peanut Butter Pie

Since my 85 years have started to catch up with me, I don’t cook as often as I used to, particularly in experimenting with new recipes that I can share. I do still cook the family holiday meals, though, and every Sunday fix lunch for my two daughters which features a favorite recipe and is followed by 3 hours of various kinds of needlework and chatting. For these lunches, I always make a favorite dessert and I thought it might be fun to share my Sunday desserts each week.

This week’s dessert was an old favorite going back to the 1970s – Alabama Peanut Butter Pie. The original post is here:  https://lillianscupboard.wordpress.com/2010/06/20/alabama-peanut-butter-pie/

Whenever I give my daughters a choice of pie, it is either Lemon Meringue or Alabama Peanut Butter. So, this week I decided on Peanut Butter Pie, which is not difficult to make but a little time-consuming.

ALABAMA PEANUT BUTTER PIE

Baked 9 inch pie shell 

Base and topping:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter

Filling:

1/4 cup cornstarch
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
3 egg yolks
1 cup cold milk
1 cup hot milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 Tblsp. butter

Meringue:

3 egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
6 Tblsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F

To Make the Base and Topping: Mix confectioners’ sugar with peanut butter to form crumbs. Spread half of the mixture in the bottom of the baked pie shell. Reserve the other half for the topping.

To Make the Filling: In a medium size saucepan, whisk together the cornstarch, sugar and salt. Add the egg yolks, mixing well, then add the cup of cold milk. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in hot milk. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture begins to bubble. Reduce heat to medium low and continue cooking and whisking for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Let cool slightly while preparing the meringue.

To Make the Meringue: In a large mixer bowl with wire beater, beat egg whites until frothy. Add cream of tartar and beat until whites begin to thicken. Add sugar one tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff and glossy. Stir in vanilla.

Spoon the hot filling on top of the crumb base in the baked shell.

Spread the meringue on top of the filling, extending the meringue to the crust to seal.

Set the pie on a flat sheet to catch crumbs, and sprinkle the reserved peanut butter mixture on top.

Bake @ 325 degrees for 10 minutes to brown meringue. Cool on wire rack.

 

Also served: Shannon’s Curry Chicken Salad:  https://lillianscupboard.wordpress.com/2008/06/27/shannons-curry-chicken-salad/
on toasted Spicy Honey Raisin Yeast Bread:  https://lillianscupboard.wordpress.com/2007/09/29/spicy-honey-raisin-yeast-bread/

Knittting – A Presto-Chango Sweater – Free Pattern

 

I found a really cute, free, easy pattern on Ravelry.com for a baby sweater and used it to make 3 different versions for the Children of Pine Ridge.

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/presto-chango

The pattern is very clever in making a simple sweater with narrow sides and then adding a detachable panel. Buttons are sewn on the sweater portion and buttonholes are knitted into the panel. The first attempt was a 6-9 months baby sweater in a pretty “creamsicle” color, using the lace panel shown in the pattern. I’m not very good at knitting lace but this one turned out pretty well.

It’s very easy to make up another panel with a different design. I used a really nice cable bunny pattern to make this panel.

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bunny-cable-square

The second sweater was made with denim and light blue yarn for a 6-9 months boy size. In this case, I used snaps for the closure and just added a couple of buttons to the top of the panel for decoration.

The third pattern was an adaptation of a favorite baby sweater in which I made the sides narrow to accommodate the panel and used the bunny cable again along with nice buttons. This is for a 12-18 month child and has short sleeves for the spring/summer season.

This was an easy and fun pattern to use and adapt. A sweater along with several spare panels would make a nice gift.

 

Knitting – Mittens Two-at-a-Time

Two years ago, I tried knitting once again after numerous unsuccessful attempts through the past 85+ years. This time, I got it – due mainly to YouTube tutorials, free Ravelry patterns and circular knitting needles. I especially like the Magic Loop which is a circular needle with a long cable. One of the features that intrigued me from the beginning was the possibility of knitting mittens (or other small items) two-at-a-time. I’m not a consistent knitter and like the idea of having two items match. Also, I hate to finish an item and then make an exact duplicate of the same thing – boring.

I’ve been doing well knitting two-at-a-time on flat items but had problems when casting on for something in the round – like mittens. There are many YouTube tutorials but the procedure looks and is awkward to do and, in my case, didn‘t produce a neatly ribbed cuff. In searching for a solution, I found a tutorial which worked for me but which I can’t find again to link. It’s basically casting on one cuff, pushing the cuff down and pulling the loop of cable out so there are an equal number of stitches on each side. Knit 5 rows and removing the cuff to two double-pointed needles, keeping the stitches and yarn exactly the same as they were originally,

Then, cast on the second cuff and repeat as for first cuff, pushing the cuff down and pulling the loop of cable out so there are an equal number of stitches on each side. The stitches on the double-pointed needles are carefully returned to the circular needle and everything is set to go to knit two-at-a-time. I attach a marker to the right hand front edge of the piece nearest the points of the needles to identify it.

This pair of teenage-sized mittens have a nice, neatly ribbed cuffs.

I use a simple mitten pattern that I’ve used many times so I’m not struggling with a pattern. The main problem I’ve had is to forget to drop the working yarn when completing one mitten and picking up the yarn that belongs to the second mitten. This only happens when transferring in the center of the two mittens.

Also, I find it easier to put the stitches for the thumb on holders, complete the bodies of the mittens, and then go back and do the thumbs individually.

I knit a lot of mittens for the Lakota Children of Pine Ridge and it’s nice to be able to do them with this technique.

Dilled Chicken Medley

This recipe goes back to 1997 when I found it on the back of a cornstarch box. I adapted it to my family’s tastes and we all loved it. 

DILLED CHICKEN MEDLEY

  • Servings: 2 generous servings
  • Print

3 medium potatoes, quartered

1 cup green beans

14.5 oz chicken broth, divided

2 Tblsp. cornstarch

1 Tblsp. fresh or 1 tsp. dried dill weed

1 Tblsp. oil

1 medium onion, sliced

1 cup shredded, cooked chicken breast

 

Precook potatoes and green beans to fork tender. Reserve

Stir together in a small bowl:   ¼ cup  of broth, cornstarch, dill until smooth. Set aside

In large skillet: Heat oil, add onion, cook for 3 minutes. Add chicken and cook until heated through.

Add remaining broth, potatoes and green beans to skillet. Simmer covered about 5 minutes or until heated through. Stir cornstarch mixture and add to skillet. Stirring constantly, bring to boil, boil 1 minute.  Serve immediately. 

Knitting for Charity – Amigo Blocks

Knitting for Charity – Amigo Blocks

My main interest in knitting is making things for charity, so I was pleased when I was contacted by a gentleman on Ravelry, suggesting I might like to make some squares for a charity he supports in Mexico. They collect 5-inch and 6-inch knitted and crocheted squares which are given to women in a migrant shelter in Mexico to form into afghans. The organization gets a small amount of money for each afghan and the women are in turn paid a small amount for their work in assembling the blankets. The afghans are donated to children in the school that is associated with the shelter. It seems that every woman I have known wants to do something useful and pretty and also earn a little “pin money”. That makes this project especially appealing to me. You can read details about the project here:

http://www.srbrown.info/afghans/

All squares are mailed to Dr. Brown in Connecticut who sees that they get to Mexico.

My daughter and I have 33 squares each to contribute. Mine are pictured above and below.

Here are my daughter’s squares:

In addition to making good use of small amounts of yarn and being a good item to carry in a purse for spare moments in the doctor’s office or waiting in the car, I like to use the squares to learn new stitches. It takes a little experimenting to see how many stitches you need to cast on for your needles, yarn and gauge, but it’s enjoyable and rewarding. Below is a recent square that I made from a pattern on knitpurlstitches.com. It’s called “Seersucker” and I knit it with #5 bulky yarn.

http://www.knitpurlstitches.com/2016/09/seersucker.html

This is a nice way to try out new stitches or color combinations.

 

 

 

Salted Caramel Bars

Hershey’s makes delicious salted caramel chips which are available in our area only during the Christmas season. I buy three or four bags and squirrel them away for use during the year. This is a blonde brownie that I have made in various ways,  made even more delicious with these chips.  Of course, any kind of chips would be fine – dark or milk chocolate, butterscotch, peanut butter, etc., but the salted caramel version gives a special flavor to these easy-to-make bars.

Salted Caramel Bars

  • Servings: 12-16 bars
  • Print

2 eggs, room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup of Hershey’s Sea Salt Caramel Chips
½ cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

9 inch square pan, lined with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugars, oil and vanilla. Whisk in the baking powder and salt. Stir in the flour, chips and pecans just until blended.

Spread in prepared pan. Dampening your fingertips will help spread the batter in the pan. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F until top is light-golden brown – don’t overbake.

Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove by lifting parchment paper and cool on wire rack.

Tip: Before cutting, remove parchment paper and place it under the rack for easy cleanup of crumbs.

 

Knitting – Baby Sophisticate Sweater – Free Pattern

 

In the fall of 2017, I found a pattern on Ravelry that has become my favorite for a baby or toddler sweater. The free pattern is here:  https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/baby-sophisticate-2. I bought an additional pattern for children’s sizes and there is also a pattern for purchase for adult sizes.

It’s just a nice, practical, comfortable-looking sweater with a shawl collar. I have only been knitting for two years and often run into sections of patterns that are difficult, but this one was manageable from start to finish.

I made one sweater in the three-month size in a pretty seafoam color and added a matching hat, pictured above.

I also made three toddler (2-3 years) sweaters in dark blue …

…a tan and brown with a checkerboard panel …

…and a red one with fuzzy white trim. On this one, the white, fluffy yarn was so difficult to work with that I just used it as trim and didn’t make the large collar.

On a pattern like this with a lot of increases, I type out a chart like the one below that will tell me how many stitches will be in each section and a total for the end of the row. In this case, when the increases are finished on row 7 there will be 6 stitches on the right and left sides of the sweater, 14 stitches each for sleeves and 26 stitches for the back – total of 66 stitches. In this case, there are 32 rows with the correct number of stitches.  Taking the time to type up this reference and have it with me as I’m knitting saves me from making errors and cuts down on frustration.

INCREASES:
ALTERNATING 8 AND 10 INC – ODD ROWS
EVEN ROWS PURL

R1      2 8 20 8 2                                  40 STS
R3     3 10 22 10 3                               48 STS
R5     5 12 24 12 5                                58 STS
R7     6 14 26 14 6                                66 STS

This is a really nice pattern, enjoyable to knit, and makes good, warm sweaters for the Pine Ridge children.