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28 October 2008

Knitting and cooking

I'm very happy to tell you I'm feeling better today. I went back to the doctor yesterday and my medication was changed. It's made a difference. :- ) I can now sit here at the computer for more than 30 seconds and write what I want to write. It's been so frustrating not being able to do that.

I finished off the Ascot scarf I started the other day and have now started on a pair of these fingerless mittens that Heather wrote about on the Simple Green Frugal Co-op. The last two days have also seen these wonderful posts from Eilleen about Learning How to Sew and Oh Darn! Mending Socks or Gloves, written by Sadge.

The only other constructive work I've done in the past week is to pickle some beetroot (beets). We had a small crop of about 20 beetroot that I picked last week and left in the fridge. I finally got to them a few days ago and turned them into the most delicious bright red salad ingredient.

When you pick your beetroot, don't cut the tops off - twist the tops off and tidy the top with a knife but don't cut into the flesh of the vegetable as it will bleed into the water while it's being cooked. Wash the vegies thoroughly but don't peel them or cut into the flesh at all. Place in a pot of salted water and boil until cooked.

Then it's just a matter of making up a pickling liquid that suits your taste. I make mine like this:
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
some new fresh bay leaves
salt and pepper

I would normally have added some mustard seeds too but didn't have any.

When the beets are cooked, let them cool for a short while and when you can handle them, slip the skins off with your fingers.

Then just chop the beets into the shapes you want - either quarters or slices, place in a jar and pour over your pickling liquid. Store in the fridge. They will last for at least three months without any form of canning or preserving.

Before I go today I'd like to say a sincere thank you to a wonderful group of women who have been helping behind the scenes here. You all know that Sharon organises the swaps. She often makes more than she originally intended to because sometimes swappers drop out, and rather than allow our ladies to be disappointed, Sharon steps in. There were a number of swappers who didn't receive their promised swap this time and I'm so pleased to say that Ann R, Christine K and Stephanie all stepped in and helped. They made extras and sent them. I believe that generosity and kindness are a big part of simple lives and it tells me a lot about these women that they stepped up and helped out. Thank you ladies. I appreciate it and I'm sure the women to whom you sent your extras did too. It makes me feel stronger to see the strength of others and I want to thank Sharon, Ann, Christine and Stephanie for being a great example to us all.


  1. That knitting looks marvelous!! I'm such a basic and terrible knitter, but it's one of the things I'm desperate to change :)

  2. Hi Rhonda Jean,
    Glad to see you're doing better!
    I too have been down with my back and leg, so I know how aggrevating it gets when we can't do the things we enjoy or often need to do.I must say Dh has been wonderful about keeping things going around here!
    I wish you well!

  3. So pleased you are feeling brighter.

    I am hoping to get some sewing done today - if life doesn't intervene!lol


  4. Very glad to hear you're feeling better. It must be a great relief to not be in so much pain anymore.
    Your knitting looks wonderful. I'm just starting my first pair of socks and thought it was difficult enough just handling four needles to start off with. When I get to the tricky heel bit it could prove interesting!

    Regards, Marilyn

  5. I am happy to see you are up and about and feeling better.

    It turned cold here finally in East Texas and I have found I am ready to dig in and stay home and be content doing it.

    I have been working very hard and started my 1 year stockpile challenge and I am just 2%5 shelf) shelves short of being all set up. I did do my first months stockpile only shop this past weekend. I love to see my pretty food on my pretty shelves lol! I have destroyed my sewing room in the process but it will all work out in the end.

    There will be room for both food and crafts/sewing.

    I must tell you, I made a batch of your basic white bread dough. I took 3/4th of it and made rolls from it by just plopping them into a muffin pan. Then I took the 1/4th left and rolled it out and added a layer of butter, cinnamon and brown sugar, jelly rolled and cut it and made the most delicious cinnamon rolls ever.

    One thing is for sure, next time...I will make the whole recipe as cinnamon rolls because they just leaped off the plate lol!

    I had to cancel dinner. We were too full of rolls and cinnamon rolls to eat another bite!

    Thank you again for a great blog full of wonderful information!

  6. Glad you're feeling better. That ascot looks beautiful! Boy, all of you will certainly have me knitting and sewing soon....

  7. Glad you're feeling better. I've read about pickling in a few blogs lately. Guess it's that time of year. I was wondering though, with the volume of pickles some people seem to be canning, what is done with all the pickling liquid when all the solids are eaten. Is there something else you can use all the vinegar and brine for or do you just tip it down the sink? And with those volumes, is it worth buying all that vinegar, spices and salt to preserve side-dishes?

    I suppose my perspective is a bit biased though, as pickles have never really been part of my diet. Just the occasional cornbeef and pickle (that yellow factory-made stuff) sandwich and a slice of canned beetroot in my hamburgers.

  8. glad to hear youre feeling a better rhonda.

    ps did you get my email the other day?

  9. Glad to know you are feeling better. :)

    It was so funny to see the Bragg's there at your home. Actually, it's nice to see because that means it is a small world.

    I have the "same" bottle on my kitchen shelf.

  10. Hi Rhonnda, I've always wondered how beetroot was made. Thanks for the step by step. I'll give it a go now!


  11. So glad you are feeling better! I love the beets! They look scrumptious!

  12. Mt grandma used to pickle her beets that way, she addes slices of white onion to the jars. They were delicious pickled like that!
    I am so glad to hear that you are doing better.

  13. Hi Rhonda
    I'm glad to hear you are feeling better too!
    Thanks for the recipe for pickling the beetroot, they are so much tastier homemade than bought, so I'll certainly be giving that a go!
    PS How funny, my test word was 'patern' which struck me as amusing considering that you were talking about knitting!

  14. Hi Rhonda
    Beetroots pickled or otherwise are a specility of my dear husband. You have reminded me we have some still to harvest.
    Glad your knee is feeling better and you are getting out and about again.

    Pippa x

  15. Hi Rhonda: Glad to see you are on the mend! It is a pain not being able to do what you want due to physical infirmities.

    And I do LOVE pickled beets, especially with goat cheese and salad. Yummy. When my beets are ready, I'll give your recipe a go.

    My best,

    AM of the Bread

  16. I love your scarf. I am a knitter too but just don't have as much time at the moment with young kids. Your beets look delicious too.

  17. I am one of those who received an extra set from Sharon. I really didn't expect it because I know how busy everyone is. When the package came it was a marvelous surprise. Somehow she sent my favorite color! She even added in an extra surprise of a pattern. I am so ver touched by her generosity in putting the swap together and then by taking care of all the loose ends. Thank you from the bottom of my heart Sharon!

  18. thank you cindi. It means a lot to me to have you acknowledge the generosity of Sharon and her team of wonderful women. :- )

  19. I love that scarf. Adding the little flowers makes all the difference :)

  20. Hi rhonda,

    Glad you're back on your feet. I hope your knee continues to improve. I suffer a lot with my joints so I share your pain, so to speak! Its quite bad at the mo as its been cold and damp here in the UK these last few days, which is generally what sets them off.

    I love the Ascot scarf - would you be able to post the pattern? It would be perfect for my Mum for Christmas.

    I've been making bread rolls based on your bread machine post a few weeks back, and now DH refuses to buy bread from the shops as mine is so good, so I've promised to keep it up!! Also I've been knitting lots and have done no fewer than 4 dishcloths to date, and am currently working on a bag for my niece. I'm knitting things for people this year and plan to spend very little on presents this year, just a few thoughtful things for a few special people and invite people round to share good food. I'm looking forward to that much more than previous years' commercialised circuses!

    Love to all,


  21. Hi Rhonda Jean, my blogging hero!

    You are such a wonderfully talented knitter. I am continually amazed at your many talents. You are such an inspiration!

    Goodness, where has the time gone? I can't believe that November is creeping up. Wasn't it just July?

    The time is getting ready to change here and so I am washing the windows -- such a time-consuming chore. I've taken a break from my ladder, bucket, and rags to drop you a note and let you know that I am still (and always will be) an avid reader of your beautiful blog.

    Often, as I'm raking leaves, cleaning out the chicken boxes, or sorting seeds -- my thoughts turn to you in your corner of Australia and I think, "I wonder what lovely bit of writing Rhonda Jean has done today? I wonder what task she has tackled?"

    Wishing you limitless joy and good health,

  22. Glad you are improving, hope it continues to do so.

    I thought the last few days would have cured me of any knitting urge. I've been sorting and hanging a whole aisle of knitting needles, everytime I thought I was close to being finished someone would bring another box full. I was so glad when I finally finished, definitely thought I was knitted out. On my way out of the aisle I spotted a box full of sock yarn, urge bit me again. Definitely will buy it on opening day.

  23. I certainly appreciate the pincushion and needlecase that Steph kidly sent when my swap partner vanished.
    I learnt to knit earlier this year and am really enjoying it, socks are my fav thing to knit especiall with self patterning wool which makes the socks look wonderful.

  24. We had roasted fresh picked beetroot with our roast chicken last night. Tasted of the earth!
    Knitting..mmm...such a wonderful skill if you know how. My mother was a wonderful knitter but was not motivated to teach me to knit or read patterns so I only learnt plain and pearl. Pity because I was keen to learn.
    I'm often frustrated by that lack though I have managed a simple jumper or two!


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