Skip to content

Cleo’s meatballs

December 6, 2017

Cleo's meatballs//

I came up with the recipe for these spinach & mozzarella stuffed meatballs after searching the grocery store for something simple to feed Cleo for lunch and only finding things that were loaded with sodium. I’ve made these with both chicken and turkey, although Cleo seems to prefer them made with chicken. For the sauce, I prefer to use passata (strained tomatoes), but use whatever you like. I usually omit the salt & pepper when making these for Cleo. I like to serve this with polenta or cauliflower puree.

Cleo's meatballs//
Cleo's meatballs//
Cleo's meatballs//
Cleo's meatballs//
Cleo's meatballs//

Chicken Meatballs with Spinach and Mozzarella
Makes 24-28 meatballs (serves about 4)

1/4 c. panko breadcrumbs
3 Tbsp. milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2.5 oz. baby spinach, chopped
6 oz. fresh mozzarella, shredded on the large holes of a box grater
1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
A few gratings of fresh nutmeg
1 lb. ground chicken or turkey
Olive oil, for frying
500g strained tomatoes, or about 2 c. of your favorite tomato sauce

Mix together breadcrumbs and milk in a large bowl; let sit for a few minutes to allow the breadcrumbs to absorb the liquid. Add the beaten egg, chopped spinach, shredded mozzarella, minced garlic, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and chicken, and mix thoroughly. With wet hands, roll mixture into balls slightly smaller than a golf ball, and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Heat 1-2 Tbsp. of olive oil over medium heat in a 12-inch skillet. Place half of the meatballs in the skillet and fry 2-3 minutes per side, until browned but not cooked all the way through. I use two spoons to gently turn the meatballs. They have a tendency to stick to the pan, thanks to the cheese, so be very careful when you turn them. Remove the browned meatballs from the pan and fry the second batch. Return all meatballs to the skillet, pour off some of the oil if desired, and add the tomato sauce. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce has slightly thickened.

Buon appetito!

Cleo's meatballs//


Summer of Basics

August 2, 2017

Mango Sorbetto

Back in May, we made a bucket list of things we wanted to do this summer. It was mostly family stuff, but I added a personal goal of sewing something. I really wanted to join in with Karen Templer’s #summerofbasics challenge, but I knew I’d never be able to finish 3 makes in 3 months if they were all knitted. Even with sewing 2 of the 3, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to finish in time. But here we are, August 2nd, and I’ve already completed my 3 pieces and have plans for 2 more!


The first item I completed was the Ishnana cardigan, by Ysolda Teague. I’ve had my eye on this one for a while. The back reminds me of Aureus, but with proportions that I find more flattering on my body. When I found out that Ysolda used the same short row sleeve cap shaping technique that I loved so much on my Primrose cardigan, that was enough to bump Ishnana straight to the top of my queue. I used Knit Picks Stroll in Dove Heather — my wardrobe had been sorely lacking a good gray cardigan for far too long, and I didn’t want to wear an expensive, non-washable yarn while chasing around a baby.

Ishnana and Dress no. 1

Next up was Dress No. 1, from 100 Acts of Sewing/Sonya Philip. I used two fabrics from the SS Bluebird collection by Cotton + Steel (Bouquet in Blue for the dress, Shibori in Sky Blue for the pockets and facings), purchased at Sarah’s Fabrics here in Lawrence. I was pretty confident going into the seams and hem, but so intimidated by the bias facing and pockets. The dress languished, half-finished, for a few weeks because I was scared I was going to mess the whole thing up when attaching the bias tape. It ended up being a lot easier than I thought it would be! I’m so proud of this dress. I’ve already worn it 3 times!

Dress no. 1

Last but not least, I made version 3 of the Sorbetto top, by Colette. I used Robert Kaufman Cambridge Lawn in Mango, purchased from Hawthorne Threads, and trimmed it with Liberty of London bias tape in Elysian W, from Jones & Vandermeer. This was my first time sewing a pleat, bust darts, and sleeves. I think I did pretty well on the pleat and bust darts, but setting in the sleeves was hard! I probably should’ve ripped out a few spots and resewn them, because there are some puckers, but overall I’m really happy with how this top turned out.

Mango Sorbetto

I just bought fabric for another Dress No. 1 and a Seamwork Mojave. Both will incorporate a little more Liberty into my life! 😉

Dress no. 1

2016 knitting roundup

December 30, 2016

2016 knitting roundup
2016 knitting roundup

I completed a whopping twenty projects this year!  A lot of them were quick one- or two-day projects, but there were still 4 sweaters, 2 dresses, and a blanket for Cleo, plus a shawl for me.  My last FO of the year is the brown crossover sweater pictured in the middle of the second photo collage above.  It’s the Harvey Kimono from Natural Knits for Babies and Moms, by Louisa Harding.  The yarn is Knit Picks Swish DK in Camel Heather.  Here’s a closer look:

Cleo's kimono

I knitted this pattern once before, back in 2008, but I wasn’t happy with how it turned out.  This time I was a little more careful about picking up the stitches for the neck trim (and I didn’t mess up the 3-needle bind-off on the shoulders), and I’m so much happier with it.  Cleo loves it too!

Looking forward to 2017, I want to knit more for myself.  I just started the Alaria shawl, after receiving three skeins of Quince & Co. Tern for Christmas.  I’ve also got yarn for a pair of Sedge mitts, a Francine headband, the Throstle shawl from the latest issue of Making, and a pair of Southern Fiords socks.  I’d like to knit a couple pairs of socks for my husband, and I’ve queued up a couple of sweaters for Cleo for next fall/winter.

Baby’s First Christmas

December 22, 2016

Baby's first Christmas

Snow day gingerbread house


Are all those presents for me?!?

We’re all ready for Cleo’s first Christmas!  All of the presents are wrapped and under the tree (yes, even the ones from Santa — I figured I’d make it easier on myself while she’s still too little to notice).  Last weekend we had a big snow, but it was way too cold to take Cleo outside, so I made her a little snowman that she could look at from the kitchen window.  She wasn’t too impressed with my little Frosty, though.  She’ll probably feel the same way about opening presents, but I had so much fun picking things out for her and wrapping them up.  I know she won’t remember any of this, but I can’t wait to tell her all about her first Christmas someday.

Christmas gift knitting, 2016

December 17, 2016

Knitted Christmas gifts, 2016

I have always loved making gifts for people at Christmas, and having a baby hasn’t slowed me down at all.  Okay, maybe fewer gifts are coming out of my kitchen this year, but my productivity as a knitter has easily doubled!  I made hats for my niece and nephew, but everything else is for my little darling.

Stitch sampler baby blocks

I started knitting these stitch-sampler baby blocks shortly after I found out I was pregnant.  It didn’t take long to knit the squares, but I ran out of steam after stitching the first three blocks together.  I finally finished stitching together the remaining three blocks earlier this month.  The pattern is from the book Knitting for Baby, by Melanie Falick & Kristin Nicholas, and I used Knit Picks Comfy Worsted in Rosehip, Carrot, Peapod, Marina, Celestial, and Lady Slipper.

Hats for Hadley & Hogan

Have you seen the Top This! yarn by DMC?  I first saw it when an Instagram friend posted a picture of the kitty hat she made for her daughter.  This butterfly hat (which has metallic thread running through the dark purple section on top!) is for my 4 1/2-year old niece, and the bear hat is for my almost-2-year old nephew.  I had to add a couple of red stripes in there to make it a Chicago Cubs hat — my brother has been a huge fan since he was a kid, and what better way to start instilling that love in his son?  😉

Red sisterBlue sister

These sweet sisters are reversible!  This was a last-minute gift for Cleo.  I’d finished all of my other knitting projects and wanted something else to work on.  At first I wasn’t sure if I could finish it before Christmas, but then I ended up finishing it in just three days.  I’m really in love with how it turned out…might be my favorite thing I knitted for Christmas!  The pattern is from the book Itty Bitty Toys, by Susan B. Anderson, and I used scraps of Plymouth Encore Worsted in Regal Red, Periwinkle Heather, Off White, Dark Brown Heather, and Golden Glow.

Kitty hat & mittens for Cleo

And finally, a winter set for Cleo’s stocking.  Another Top This! hat, in the Kitten colorway, and mittens from the book Natural Knits for Babies & Moms, by Louisa Harding, in Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk DK in Pinkaboo.

Now I’m working on the Harvey Kimono (also from Natural Knits for Babies & Moms) with some Knit Picks Swish DK.  I’m not expecting to finish it before Christmas, although I would like to have it done shortly thereafter.  I spy some yarn under the tree, and I can’t wait to start knitting a few things for myself in the new year!  🙂

Christmas time is here

December 10, 2016

Baking cookies

Christmas with a baby is so much fun!  It seems like we’ve done something festive almost every weekend for the past month.  We’ve had our tree up since mid-November.  Two weekends ago we were in Wichita, celebrating Thanksgiving with my family.  We visited my grandparents, watched a couple of cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies with my mom, and spent lots of quality time with my brother & his family.  Last weekend we took Cleo to our town’s old-fashioned Christmas horse parade, but of course she slept through the whole thing.  I was so excited for her to see her first horse, and Santa, but oh well.  Next year.  We had our first snow on Wednesday — it was so beautiful, and Cleo’s face lit up when she saw it!  That felt pretty special, and it made up for her lack of interest in the parade.

During the week, I’ve been busy getting everything ready for Christmas day.  Wrapping presents, planning the feast, mailing out Christmas cards, finishing up knitted gifts.  Everything is just about done, so this week I’ll be resting up for the busy week leading up to Christmas.  Well, “resting up” as much as Cleo will allow!  I think I’ve taken exactly one nap since she was born.

Terra shawl

November 19, 2016

Terra shawl

Terra shawl

Terra shawl

Pattern: Terra, by Jared Flood
Yarn: Knit Picks Gloss DK in Fairy Tale

Yesterday I finished knitting my first ever shawl!  When Brooklyn Tweed recently released their Arbor collection, I fell in love with the beautiful emerald green Terra shawl.  I especially loved the photo of the model wearing the shawl as a scarf.  I knew immediately that I wanted to make one for myself, but the Arbor yarn was just too expensive.  And then Julie wrote her awesome post about not participating in Slow Fashion October, and I was inspired to look for an alternate yarn that fit my budget.  Knit Picks Gloss DK turned out to be a perfect choice.  It’s a blend of Merino wool and silk and comes in a palette of beautifully saturated colors, similar to Arbor.  I chose the color Fairy Tale, a lovely raspberry shade.  I wore the finished shawl for the first time this morning, when we took Cleo to the library for Russian story time and a little walk around downtown.  It was super cozy!