Archive for February, 2010

6-Day Old Peeps

Joanna’s little Easter Egger, Helen.

Our Easter Egger, Evie.

Our Blue Cochin, Lilly.

Lilly is the most precocious of the trio, and as such she’s much harder to photograph!  She’s always on the move.  After doing some research today, it looks as though Lilly is a Blue Splash Cochin!

New Peeps!

Now that our girls are giving us delicious eggs, we decided we wanted a couple more hens to add to the number of eggs we can share.  Most of all, though, we love our current hens so much that we wanted to expand our flock to our coop’s limit!  We went back to My Pet Chicken to get two more peeps, and since their minimum order is 3, we convinced Joanna to add one more to her flock too, so that we could both have a total of 4 hens.  (Her arm is still sore from the twisting.)

We both wanted another Easter Egger, and while our original plan was to order 3 of them, I discovered Cochins on the site and decided what we really needed was a big fluffy skirted girl in our little flock.  I picked the blue standard cochin from the colors they had available, knowing that blue doesn’t breed true in chickens and that she could turn out to be blue, black, or splash.  Our chicks hatched Monday and arrived early on Wednesday morning, and when we opened the box it looked like they’d shipped us a blond chick and 2 chipmunks.  Joanna’s egger is the lighter of the chickmunks, who she named Helen, and our egger, Evie, is the darker of the two.  Our blue cochin, Lilly, is currently fat and blond with feet that are feathered on the outer toe and half of the middle one on each leg.

I plan on documenting their growth via photos on a daily basis for at least the first two weeks, so check back often to see their progress!

Beautiful Eggies

Seed Stitch & Steeked CardiCoat

I wanted to knit a cardigan / coat to wear in these transitional weeks (months?) between winter and spring, but did not like any of the patterns I found.  I decided to pose for myself this challenge: write a pattern for a top-down raglan knit in one piece, in the round, with seed stitch borders/ trim, employ steeking to create division between front panels, and dye the sweater after knitting.  So far, so good!  I’ve completed the writing of pattern except for the instructions for the sleeves and steeking, which you can download by clicking the link below.  I’m calling it a CardiCoat because of its heavy weight and slightly longer length.

View My Pattern!

Sky High Mashed Potato Chicken Pot Pie

A few weeks ago, Alex and I stopped at the local Chicken Out for dinner after visiting friends.  Alex has a very intense allergy to peas, chickpeas, and lentils, so he could not experience the deliciousness that was their personal-sized chicken pot pie.  This thing was awesome.  It was mixed veggies and juicy, tender chicken suspended in a substrate of mashed potatoes.  It had a flaky double crust, and the upper crust was elevated far above the edge of the pan due to the extremely overfilled interior.  I decided to try to replicate this savory delight, but hadn’t gotten around to it until tonight.

Sky High Mashed Potato Chicken Pot Pie

Double Pie Crust:

2 1/2 c flour

4 T sugar

1 t sea salt

2 sticks cold butter, cut into small pieces

8 T ice water

Mix together all dry ingredients, pour out onto floured pastry board.  Use pastry cutter to cut in butter until mixture is of even consistency, and butter cut into the flour mix is pea-sized.  Gather together the flour and butter mixture into a mound, making a depression in the middle.  Add 2 T of ice water at a time, blending with fingers.  Continue adding water (potentially as few or as many as 6-10 T) just until mixture holds together.  Gently form dough into a ball, pat slightly to flatten, then roll out.  (To prevent the dough from tearing while I transfer it to the pie pan, I roll the dough around the rolling pin, then roll it off the pin over top of the pan.)  Prick with fork, then bake at 400˚F for about 10 minutes.

Pie Filling:

8-10 Medium Red-Skinned Potatoes, washed and cubed

3 T cream or milk (I used heavy whipping cream this time)

3 T butter

Sea Salt

Black Pepper

2 Chicken Breasts, cooked to an internal temp of 165˚F and seasoned with salt and pepper, and cut into 1/2″ cubes

1 can Corn

1 can Green Beans, sliced into 1/2″ long pieces

Put pieces of potato into a large pot of salted boiling water.  Cook for 10 minutes or until tender.  Drain off water, and transfer to a large bowl.  Add milk or cream and butter, then use beater or mixer to whip until smooth.  Add vegetables and chicken, stir until mixed.  Pour into partially-cooked pie crust, then put other prepared crust on top and fold under edges of dough.  Pinch dough to made edging, and pierce 6-12 small slits into upper crust to allow steam to escape.  Since all the ingredients in the filling are pre-cooked, bake only until crust is golden.  For me, that took about 10 minutes.

Invite all your friends over, serve while hot, and enjoy.

Next time I make this recipe, I have planned for a few changes to my recipe.  First, The whole can of corn made the pie have a fairly sweet taste.  While many people probably wouldn’t mind this, I am not a fan of sweet flavor in savory dishes.  Next time I plan to use 1/2 a can of corn and possibly 2 cans of green beans.  In addition, I want to try substituting the cream and butter in the mashed potatoes for a can of Cream of Mushroom Soup.

Post-Blizzard Chickenmonium

Friday and yesterday we received the biggest snowfall on record- we got between 23″ – 25″ with drifts in our yard alone of up to four feet deep.  After carving out paths in the back yard for the dogs and so we could access the front and back of the Eglu, we tried to let the girls out for some time in the sun today.  At first they weren’t at all interested, but after a while they cautiously sneaked out, and have spent the past several hours preening on the patio rug in the sun.  They even started investigating the snowbanks that line the paths they’ve been traveling this afternoon, which proved to be a great photo op.

Snow Day Knitterings

Today we had the 4th snow day of the school year, so I took the opportunity to do some knitting as well as a bit of… we’ll say creative photography.

First off is IntSweMoDo #3, the Katrina Ballerina Layering Lace Cardigan.  However, I’m calling it my Angelina Ballerina Cardigan after one of my favorite books as a little girl.  I’m using KnitPicks Main Line yarn (which has since been discontinued) in Ivory, and am about 1/2 way through my 4th ball of yarn at the point where this picture was taken.  I have 7 balls total, so I should have plenty to make this exactly how I want it.

So far my mods include:

  • Knit a size small based on the instructions for a medium, because my gauge is way off (using size 7 needles)
  • Knit 14 rows between each button hole
  • After putting the sleeve stitches on a cable to finish later, I K2tog under the arms at the join between fronts and back to get the correct number of stitches based on pattern numbers, and to make the underarm sturdier
  • Made 4 button holes so the upper body section stops just below the bust

Otherwise, I’m doing everything else as instructed.

And finally, for your snow day pleasure, I present to you Alex, Ilse, Mr. Darcy and Tychus.

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