Easy Cowl – Upcycled Turtleneck

Recycling used clothing has to be among one of the most satisfying ways to spend a cold Sunday afternoon (other than watching the Patriots win the Super Bowl – GO Pats!)  Easy, frugal, fun and useful all at the same time, this sweater became a pair of hand warmers for Ella, a mini-skirt for Chloe and a cowl for me.  Now the rule is that no one can wear their item on the same day.  Fair enough.

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Lay the sweater out on a cutting board.

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Cut straight across the top from sleeve seam to sleeve seam.

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Cut off the sleeves. They will need to be edged in some way. Create a thumb hole with a button hole attachment on your sewing machine.

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Trim the neck seam. Embellish with a blanket stitch in a complementary-colored yarn.

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Wear on the days that your daughters are not wearing their items!

Annie
New clothes!

Cocktails Anyone? – Let the Testing Begin

Those of you who know me well, may find this next announcement a little incongruous…  I’ve begun to write two columns on cocktails for the State of Maine’s publication, Maine Spirits.  While at first blush, my low alcohol consumption may seem a bit odd for the writer of such a pursuit.  On the other hand, cocktail creation is just another form of gastronomy and it’s in that vein that I approach this new project.

Last night the journey began.  I started with a trusted source, Jamie Oliver, and made an Elderflower Tom Collins (watch the video).  I must say, it was a good start.  This morning, I then went out to restock our liquor cabinet and am now ready to roll.  First on the list is a Blood Orange Margarita.  I’ll letcha know how it goes. IMG_8875

Annie
Cocktail recipes coming to a blog near you!

On a Boat, It’s Not Always Perfect, But It Is Just Right

I traded swanky, landscaped, plated meals for the pine-studded coast liberally sprinkled with lichen-covered granite and a sea that is ever changing from a smokey charcoal to deep forest green.  My kitchen (galley) is outside and instead of being enclosed by four greasy walls lined with pots, pans and stainless equipment, I have pine tables, a cast iron wood stove and the smell of wood smoke.  My skin has the kiss of the sun, rather than the pasty white of someone who works indoors, even in the summer.

However, as a chef, there are a few things that occasionally ding my pride.  I’m a big girl, also an enthusiastic, optimistic one, so the moment doesn’t last long.  But I cook  on a boat all summer long and there are a number of situations that take priority over the visual attractiveness of my culinary hard work.  Sometimes my food doesn’t look perfect and it bothers me.

For example, the reason this salad has so many apples on it is not that Cassie, my assistant cook, got crazy with the apples, although this is not out of the question.  No, the true reason is that salad greens unprotected, literally, blow away with the first step on deck.  We feed the fish, not our guests.IMG_7753-001a

I love the look of micro-greens.  Do I ever use these delicate beauties?  No.  I would be the only one to see them.  See the blowing away reference above.

Also, the nature of my galley and the space available on any boat dictates that I serve family style.  I don’t have space to plate up 30 dinners in my galley.  Which means that sometimes my food is served in the pan in which it was cooked.  Again, there is a rustic simplicity, and dare I say beauty, to this look.  But no, beauty is not the word.  Practical, useful, convenient, expedient, safe, frugal.  These are the words I would use to describe my pans, but I tell you, a girl who wants to look pretty does NOT want to use these words and neither does the girl, who is the chef, who wants her food to look pretty.

The menu for lunch on the day these photos were taken was:

Local Porcini and Broccoli Leaf Mac n Cheese, Roasted Veggie and Local Italian Sausage Mac n Cheese, Garlic Knots, Apple, Walnut, Raisin Garden Greens Salad, Dijon and Champagne Vinaigrette and an Apricot Orange Pound Cake

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It sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?  And then I look at these photos and I’m sad that they don’t do it justice.  I remember this meal and I loved the Porcini and Broccoli Leaf Mac n Cheese… There was nothing left of this meal.  But the look of it?  The pans are …  Hmm.

Ah well, at heart I am both creative, practical, artistic, and frugal.  It turns out that my food on this beautiful boat we sail, meandering along the breathtaking Maine Coast, has the exact qualities of both me and of Maine.  I’d rather be right where I am – in my outdoor kitchen, creating honest food that fits it’s place perfectly.

Annie
Just accepting what is

Blizzard Cake – Lemon Roulade with Blueberries and Cream

For our family, the winter is a time of much needed hibernation.  Our summers are busy, intense, focused (and lets not forget FUN), however, every second has a name from the middle of May to the middle of October.  This sort of intensity requires an equal and opposite energy, which is what winters in Maine are designed for in our house.

As you may have heard, our New England winter has had more than it’s fair share of snow this year, which fits perfectly into our hibernation mode.  Those years where it doesn’t snow much are just a little bit harder to sink into.  We CAN go out all the time.  There are very few snow days, the phone rings more, the possibilities for a day are endless.

Not true when it’s blowing 30 knots from the North East and the snow has been falling for hours with no end in sight.  Those days are p.j. days, cozy days, baking days, writing days.  They are slow because the choices are limited, meetings are cancelled and the urge to knit increases 10-fold.  The permission to have a meandering freedom about the day is exactly what a family needs when their summers are as packed as ours are.

Our days are on somewhat of a repeat.  Snow, shovel, bake, knit, write, snow, shovel, cook, knit, write.  Repeat. I find myself in the minority, where the continual wildness followed by a hoary, sunny calm is energizing.  Interspersed with a snow shoe and a horse ride, the dormancy is like a cozy sweater with a long, soft scarf wrapped around my neck.  Comforting, calm, creative and cozy.

This cake, Blizzard Roulade with Lemon Curd, Blueberries and Cream,  is named after the first blizzard that blew through our winter, but certainly not the last.  As I write, another 8 to 12 inches is falling on our world.  Maybe I’ll go bake another cake.

Annie
Cozy and calm

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Lay the cake out flat on the towel.

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Spread blueberry jam and lemon curd. Roll gently.

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Final roll. Anchor with a toothpick if needed.

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Delicious frosting.

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Can’t resist. Who caught that on camera?

Happy Chinese New Year – The Year of the Ram and, well, Fiber

We are feeling sheepish – but not in the bashful sense, rather in the fiber way.  In celebration of the wonderful sheep that give us fiber for all of our knitting projects, the Schooner J. & E. Riggin launches a year-long giveaway of gorgeous yarn.  It’s the year of the ram (or the goat or the sheep depending on who you are talking to) and in honor of the Chinese zodiac (yang) and it’s Lunar New Year, 52 Skeins and our Maine Knitting Cruises will be giving away one skein of yarn from small, hand-crafted vendors.  Some are our favorites and some are new to us, but no less lovely.

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Each week, the yarn will be featured on our Maine Knitting Cruise page, on Facebook, and all the other social media places you might expect (Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest).  To enter to win head on over to the Maine Knitting Cruises Facebook page and do the following – a) leave a comment, b) tag a friend (for an extra entry) and/or c) share the post (for an extra entry). Enter each week.  At the end of the year, we will draw one name from all 52 weekly winners. This lucky person will win a 52 skein stash of yarn (valued at over $1,300).

As it turns out, the hardest part of this giveaway might be on our wallets here at home.  All of this yarn is so gorgeous, that we will not be able to resist making purchases of our own.

Good luck to you all.  And may the best sharer win!

Annie
We believe in ewe.

We kick off Week 1 of 52 Skeins with locally (to MidCoast Maine) spun and dyed ontheround yarn! To know more about ontheround and where to find her fabulous yarn and details on the whole 52 Skeins giveaway visit the Maine Knitting Cruises page on our website.

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Throwback Thursday – Beach Walk

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Fun Photo Friday – Men in Skirts (or Curtains)

The curtains needed replacing.  They’d served us well, done their 10-year duty in the galley and needed to be switched out.  As I’m working on the switch, this is what happens on deck…MenInPlaid1

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Justin, Capt. and Mouse sporting the new Schooner Celtic look.

Remember the Time… – Race Week Fun 2014

The actual race started out well and then drifted to a lumpy sea at the end, but man did we have fun. The entertainment began the night before with the small boat races.

There were two categories- rowing and sailing.  Oh, and a prize for the crew members who made the biggest fools of themselves.  Justin, Ella, Toni and Cassie got right into the spirit of things and dressed the part of pirates and… a moose?

In any event, Cassie and Toni, entered into the rowing race, had their oars pilfered at one point and were firing day old biscuits at competitors. Ella and Justin, the sailing contingent, resorted to using a bilge scoop to paddle the chamberlin failing enough wind and managed to both stay in their boat.  Unlike Cassie and Toni who ended up attempting to swim and tow the peapod.

Once back on board, the night ended perfectly with a collective round of Mingulay Boat Song and we went to our bunks with the harmony of the music still reverberating in our chests.

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Annie
So much laughter!

Hey Gang!  Come join us for a taste of Maine, some good fun and a lobster or three!

Photo credit: Susan Land

Throwback Thursday – Beached Peapod

 

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Photo by Dana Degenhardt (circa 1999)

 

 

Citrus – As Colorful As Spring, Only Closer

The holidays are over and the color now seems to leach out of the landscape as the lights are down, the ribbons are recycled and the decorations stowed.  Outdoors is a poor place to be searching for color this time of year, so the inspiration and the delight needs to come from a different source.

Likewise, the gem-hued berries, the sunny-colored corn and the brightly adorned peppers are also a memory from last year’s garden.  Luckily, we have citrus to console us until the weather turns and once again we can delight in the rainbows that are produced in our gardens and our outdoor mural.

Moroccan Chicken

This week’s column – Broiled Grapefruit; Chocolate Orange Pound Cake; Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Kalamata Olives – is all about this healthy, versatile fruit.  Just as welcome in cakes as in a main course dish.

Annie
Getting my Vitamin C

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