Colorado Echoes – Made to Order

If you weren’t over on Facebook this morning, I released Colorado Echoes to a flurry of excitement and quickly sold out of what stock I had.  It was a big hit to say the least!

I’m currently waiting for more sock yarn base to arrive – it’s in the mail – so I’m offering made to order skeins with a tentative shipping date of July 8th.  If you want to be one of the first to “visit” Echo Lake, Colorado and go on my Dream Vacation with me, order now and I’ll package and ship as soon as the yarn is dry!  Click on the picture for the listing.

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Multi-Vendor Giveaway – Last Day to Enter!

I’ve been promoting a multi-vendor giveaway that I’m a part of and I totally forgot to blog about it!   How could that happen?

Today is the last day to enter the FIBER LOVE GIVEAWAY, so hurry over to Homemade Hats by Jacqui on facebook and enter.  What can you win, you ask?  Well, there are 13 fantastic prizes up for grabs.  There’s fiber, dyed yarn, handspun, finished items, even store credit from several shops.  Best of all, Jimmy Beans Wool is a sponsor!

What have I put up for grabs?  $20 in shop credit!  (Winner must pay shipping and any amount over the $20.)  Go, check out the other prizes and awesome shops.  And, if you haven’t already, make sure you like my facebook page (Sarandipity Handmade)  I’m just over 350 likes – I’m hoping to get 500 soon!  That’s big!  You’ll get to see new products as they are released and hear about coupons/discounts and sales/events.

Don’t forget to tell all your fiber loving friends!  Giveaway ends tonight, 10/14 at 11:59pm eastern!  Go, spread the word!  Don’t miss out!

100 Days of Happiness – Days 1-5

I’ve recently seen my facebook feed explode with people jumping on the 100 Days of Happiness bandwagon.  I’ve often been accused of being grumpy or just plain miserable by my Darling Hubby and I think that I might just need a little daily reminder that there are happy moments for me everyday.  It’s all about perspective.  I find that the little things that bring me joy often get lost amongst the daily jumble of everyday chores and tasks.

My plan isn’t to join the 100 days website, instagram feed or even take a photograph every day, but to simply write down something each day that made me happy.  It could be something big or something small, but I want to start seeing the joy in everyday.  I may even occasionally share photos, but for now I’m just going to keep a list and post when I can (it won’t be everyday.)

I know I’m a couple days late, but I sort of unofficially started on Monday.

3/24 – Happiness is a new mattress with the hope of a good night’s sleep.

3/25 – Happiness is a skype session with a couple far away friends.

3/26 – Happiness is watching your usually shy 9 year old take the lead at his mini Lego Expo presentation at Math Night at school.   (I have pictures, but haven’t uploaded or had time to edit them.)

3/27 – Happiness is watching a stupid movie with Darling Hubby after the kids go to bed.

3/28 – Happiness is commenting on a blog and winning a free knitting pattern and having a day free of tantrums and naughty behaviour from Fidget.

I actually noticed more than just one happy moment for each of those days and it was actually hard to pick just one.  Hopefully I’ll continue this HAPPY trend!

Cheesy Chicken Shepherd’s Pie

When someone mentions Shepherd’s Pie I immediately think of something with beef, gravy and mashed potatoes.  I’d planned to use some chicken to make a pot pie, but Darling Hubby suggested I use up some more of the leftovers we had in the fridge, so I pulled out a pound of cooked chicken and parmesan mashed potatoes (leftover from Bug’s 9th birthday a few days ago), some green beans from dinner yesterday, some frozen corn and peas, and Velveeta cheese and made a yummy dinner.  Bug was already asking me to make it again before he’d even finished his first bowl (yes, he had seconds in addition to eating the leftover kale and kidney beans, also left over from his birthday dinner.)

Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take any pictures while I was cooking, so you’ll have to use your imagination.

Cheesy Chicken Shepherd’s Pie
1 lb cooked chicken, cut into chunks
10 oz of frozen or leftover veggies (I used cooked green beans and frozen corn and peas)
8oz of Velveeta cheese, cut into chunks
freshly ground pepper
2Tbsp unsalted butter
2Tbsp flour
1 cup hot water
Mashed potatoes (2 cups will probably be enough – I didn’t measure exactly)
Shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375*

Put the chicken, veggies and Velveeta in a large skillet and cook over medium heat until the cheese starts to melt.  Stir gently and frequently until all the cheese melts and everything is coated.

In a small sauce pan, melt the butter and combine with the flour.  Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes.  Gently whisk in the water and heat til bubbly.  Continue to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the chicken mixture is coated with cheese, taste and season with pepper (you probably won’t need salt), pour into an 8×8 pyrex square baking dish.  When the gravy is done, pour that over the chicken mixture.  Do not stir.

If, like me, you are using leftover mashed potatoes, warm them in the microwave for a minute or 2 until spreadable.  Spread around on the top of the gravy.  Sprinkle on the cheddar cheese.

Bake in a preheated 375* oven for 20-25 minutes until bubbly and the cheese is brown.

Enjoy!

Prep time was about 25-30 mins, cook time 20-25 mins.

Tips and additions:

If, unlike us, you like onions and want to add them, saute a few in a little butter before adding the chicken, veggies and cheese.
Hubby added some rosemary to his portion.
This would be yummy with leftover turkey…maybe try this after Thanksgiving.

Leaving On A Jet Plane

So on Thursday, June 6th, I got up incredibly early (like 3am Eastern early!) and made my way to the airport to catch a flight from NY to Denver Colorado.  I’m not gonna lie, I was excited, scared, nervous and sad all rolled into a tight little bundle!  I was leaving Darling Hubby and my boys for nearly a week, boarding a plane all alone, switching planes in Chicago, hoping my luggage would do the same and excited to be visiting a completely new and beautiful state and staying with some awesome friends, their cats and meeting their cool friends.

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Sunset over Southwest

I snapped the above picture of my plane from my gate around 5:20am as the sun was peaking up over the horizon after saying good-by to my family and making my way into the airport to figure out what I had to do and where I had to go.  Thankfully, it was very easy to find where I needed to go and after checking my bag I made my way through security.  There was only a small line at 5am (my flight left at 6:25) so I was through pretty quickly and it was pretty painless, too.  I just hope that the woman I let go in front of me at the scanner was able to catch her flight.  She was running very late and was really thinking she was going to be left behind!  

I ended up sitting at the gate for a short period of time knitting on my Van Gohg sunflower socks.  I talked to a couple people about knitting and that calmed my nerves a bit.  I was still pretty scared to be getting on a plane alone.  I chose to sit by the window so I could see the clouds and was just behind the right wing.  It turns out that I wasn’t alone in my being a nervous flyer.  While the plane was not a full flight I did end up having an older couple sit in the row with me and the woman told me that her husband was also nervous.  I was actually really glad that I had another nervous flyer sitting with me because he talked my ear off and it really helped me to calm down.

Here are some pictures I snapped from my seat at the wing – and no, I didn’t see anything on the wing!  lol  I saw all sorts of different cloud types from puffy clouds to smooth clouds that went from horizon to horizon and seemed to curve around the earth…

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At take off, my seatmates and I joked about the seat back pocket insert, in particular the “bracing position.”  It turns out that we needed the bracing position as we landed at Midway in Chicago.  lol  I think the pilot slammed on the brakes, tossed out the anchor and let out the parachute.  My seatmates were also heading to Denver, but unfortunately were were not scheduled to be on the same plane.  Their plane left shortly after we landed and I had about an hours worth of wait time, which ended up being extended because the flight crew for our plane had just come in on another flight, had to disembark that plane and then make their way to ours and ready our plane for take off.  We left about 45 minutes later than scheduled, but the way I look at it, I got extra knitting time in.  

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Blues Brothers Statues in Midway

I’m actually glad that the flights happened in the order they did and not reversed.  My flight from Chicago to Denver was actually pretty boring and lonely and had I not had my mind taken off of everything during the first flight I think I would have been more nervous than I was switching planes and starting again.  Midway to Denver was a full flight, so I was guaranteed to have seatmates.  I again had a window seat, taken so I could hopefully see the mountains as we came into Colorado, and the guy on the aisle seat looked like he was ready to puke and drank ginger ale the whole flight, and the 20 something girl that sat in the middle seat was the absolute last person on the plane, never said word one to either of us, popped her headphones in and sat scowling the entire time.  I’m thankful I had my I-pod, knitting and the view to keep my occupied.

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While I was able to see the Rocky Mountains as we flew toward the airport, I wasn’t able to get any good pictures because they made us shut down all electronics for landing.  It was ok because I knew I’d have ample opportunity to see and take some amazing pictures.

The landing into Denver wasn’t as bad as the landing into Midway, thankfully, and despite getting such a late start out of Chicago, we landed 5 minutes early.  I think we had some good tailwinds.  I was a bit worried about finding my way around Denver International as it’s a much bigger airport than the Albany International that I left from.  I had no trouble taking the underground train from Gate C into baggage claim and was easily able to find where I needed to go and quickly spotted Michael waiting for me at the top of the escalator.  

I then met up with Barbara who was waiting for me over at Baggage Claim.  My bag made it, too!  lol  It was a good reunion all around!  lol

Now, by this point I was starving.  I didn’t eat much prior to leaving and really only had a banana and a few grapes and some complementary OJ – I couldn’t eat the crackers they gave us on the plane and decided to save the little peanut packs for the kids back home.

Since it was almost lunchtime (Colorado time) we stopped at this awesome restaurant called the White Chocolate Cafe.  Now, I’m soy free and Barbara and Michael are soy and gluten free, so to make things easier for the week, I decided to add gluten free to my diet as well.  I really have to commend the WCC on the way they handle allergies.  Instead of assuming that something was soy free, the waitress checked the ingredients herself to discover an unsafe item.  And, the food was amazing!

After lunch we made our way straight to the house (my home for the next 6 day) so I could settle in and meet the kitties.

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Yellow Kitty – Duck

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Serra (who, for the duration of my stay was referred to as Serra Kitty – I was referred to as Sara Hooman.)

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Sweet Wesley

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Beautiful Princess Buttercup

We made a trip out to Whole Foods later to get some stuff for dinner and ended up staying up way too late talking and playing games (it wasn’t until like 1am EST that I finally crawled into bed.)  We had a pretty easy day on Friday, so it wasn’t a big deal that I didn’t get into bed early.  Though, I think Barbara and Michael were pretty impressed at the fact that I was still going pretty strong after being awake for over 20 hours! lol

I’ll post about Friday’s trip into Boulder to visit Shuttles, Spindles and Skeins and tour the Schacht Spinning Wheel Factory.

Two Month Soy Update

I looked back through my old blog posts and realized that I’ve been off soy for over 2 months and haven’t had any stomach trouble since I had a reaction to the strawberry cake I made for Bug’s birthday at the beginning of February.  I think I’ve figured out what that was all about.  There was no soy involved yes, but my stomach hadn’t healed from the damage I’d previously inflicted my body reacted to the butter.  Since then I haven’t had any issues with butter.  This means that maybe I can start making cookies again (provided the other ingredients are soy free) with butter rather than shortening!  Yay!  Happy Dance!  I’ll eventually (hopefully) blog about it, but I recently made homemade crescent rolls (from scratch) with a lot of butter and eaten quite a few of them without issue.  The recipe I used needs  little tweaking, but hopefully I’ll have it right before tomorrow night as I’m making several dozen to bring to Easter dinner at Darling Hubby’s Grandpa’s house on Sunday.

So, what have I been eating?  Well, I’m still making my own homemade breads.  I’ve learned to make 2 one pound loaves of white bread at a time using my bread machine for the dough and then baking it in my oven.  I freeze one and slice the other for immediate consumption.  It’s so good!  I generally have 2 slices for breakfast with a cup of Rooibos (African – pronounced roy boss) tea with honey, often topped with orange marmalade or kerrigold irish butter.  Yum!  Sometimes for lunch I’ll make a Fluffernutter sandwich (made with Peter Pan PB and the original marshmallow fluff) with banana and honey.  Yum!  I’ve been eating  a lot of fresh fruit – plums, nectarines, bananas, grapes, strawberries.  We always have a veggie with dinner.  I’ve also started finding new ways to cook potatoes and I’ve been making myself sweet potato fries, too.  I’ve found a brand of panko bread crumbs that are soy free – only one of about 7 different bread crumb brands on the shelf!), so I’ve been making my own breading for chicken and fish (yes, I’ve started buying fresh fish from the fish counter rather than the dried out or greasy soy laced battered things that come in a box.)

I’m still making my own taco seasoning and seasonings for chili and all my meats. And, just cause it’s less fat, I’ve been rinsing my browned ground beef before I add seasoning or put it in my other dishes.  It cuts down on the amount of fat that my family is ingesting.  We’re still eating a lot of pasta.  It’s yummy and everyone eats it, either with homemade spaghetti sauce or plain with just butter and sprinkle cheese.  I also make my own homemade pizza dough, topped with my own seasoned tomato sauce, turkey pepperoni and skim milk cheese.  I only use olive oil or corn oil, now, as well.

Oh, we’ve even been making our own homemade bagels.  Darling Hubby usually has a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast and since I’m soy free I can’t have the bagels from the grocery store.  I found a simple recipe in my bread machine book and we’ve made several batches.  It took a bit of time for us to really figure it all out, but now it’s easy, though time consuming, to make homemade bagels.  Darling Hubby enjoys Asiago cheese bagels, so that’s what we’ve been making as of late.

I’ve found a few treats for myself that are soy free.  I found some yummy sweet potato and beet chips (I think the brand was Terra) and even some kosher for Easter chocolate chips that have no unnecessary ingredients.   The grocery store decided to no longer carry my Equal Exchange organic chocolate bars, so I no longer have those to snack on.  They were delish!  Oh, and the No Pudge! brownie mix, made with only good stuff is yummy made with Stonyfield’ No Fat French Vanilla yogurt.  Oh, and we bought an air pop popcorn popper so we can make batches of fresh popcorn for snacks and always for movie night!  Both my kids can polish off an entire bowl of popcorn all on their own!  lol  They love their popcorn!

So, there you have it.  The things I’ve figured out while on a soy free diet.  It just takes a little consistency and several days of eating the same thing over and over til you find what works, but it can be done!

If anyone has any questions about going soy free or has anything to add to my growing (thankfully) list of foods to eat, please comment!  I want to help others who may be going through the same thing I am!  Now I’m off to make soy free tacos!  lol