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1  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Potatoes and Broccoli Au Gratin on: April 18, 2010 04:46:38 PM
Ive been browsing lots of recipes and food blogs lately, so it only made sense that I document our meal the other night. I have to make dinner anyway, right?

A while ago there was a food item on a plate of leftovers from my church MOPS group which I volunteer at that I loved. It was a sort of a hard boiled egg casserole or salad with this cheesy stuff on top and it was just so amazing. I ate it cold, but I couldnt tell if it was intended to be served hot. Weeks later, there was a day when I couldnt stop  thinking about it and really wanted it for dinner. Finally, I googled it and found what looked like my dish, Hard-Boiled Egg Casserole. I had to make it right away. I even went to the store and got Half and Half and Gruyere cheese instead of substituting milk and parmesan or something. It was not only wonderful, but exactly what Id had!

What I found, though, was that I liked the sauce even better on my broccoli than I did on the eggs. So the dinner that I made was based on that. I halved the sauce recipe and used that for this dish.

Potatoes and Broccoli Au Gratin

based on Hard-Boiled Egg Casserole


    * 2 TB butter
    * 2 TB flour
    * 1 cup half-and-half
    * 1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese
    * grated parmesan cheese (I actually used a cheese blend)
    * salt
    * pepper
    * dill (I use dried)
    * Trader Joes Aioli Garlic Mustard Sauce (or mustard and garlic powder)
    * small-medium red potatoes (or any potatoes, really)
    * broccoli (fresh or frozen should be fine, I used frozen)
    * deli sliced ham or leftover ham (0ptional)

Wash your potatoes and poke holes in them with a fork. I put them in my casserole dish and then microwaved them. I used the baked potato button, but if you dont have one, just microwave them for a few minutes.

Seriously, it seems like my potatoes are always undercooked if I dont precook them except in a few situations. When I saw that my grandmother microwaves her potatoes before making scalloped potatoes and ham, doors opened in my mind. I guess you could also boil them first.

Meanwhile, start making the sauce. Its basically a sort of a roux, so if youve made macaroni and cheese from scratch youre ahead. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add in the flour. Cook and stir until it makes a sort of paste. Add a little more flour if you need it.

Add the half-and-half gradually as you stir until it starts thickening. Add in salt, pepper, and dill to taste. I didnt measure these, I probably used 2-3 shakes of sea salt, 4-5 grinds of pepper, 2-3 shakes of dill. If you dont have/like dill you can safely leave it out or replace it with something you have/like. Parsley, maybe?

Add the garlic mustard sauce (or garlic powder and mustard). I didnt measure this either, I just put in a dab so maybe 1/4-1/2 teaspoon. Add in the gruyere cheese and stir until melty and wonderful.

Take your potatoes out of the dish and cut them up to your desired size. Most of mine were sort of rounds, but you could cut them up more and make cubes. Butter your dish and lay about half of the potato pieces out on the dish. Scatter your broccoli amongst the potatoes(I used frozen broccoli and just put it in frozen). If you want ham, cut it up into small pieces and scatter about half on top of the potatoes and broccoli. Pour/spread about half of the sauce on top. Scatter the rest of your potatoes, broccoli, and ham on top and pour on the rest of the sauce. Top with parmesan cheese and a few more grinds of pepper if you like.

Bake at 375F for about 20 minutes.

I neglected to take a picture of it after it came out of the oven before it was attacked, but heres a portion of it. When I was putting the casserole together I thought it didnt look like enough sauce but it tasted great and I didnt feel like it was lacking in sauce. You could double the sauce and coat the potatoes more if you want it really saucy, but I dont think it needed it.

Also posted on my blog.
2  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Completed Projects / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle: Donatello on: December 30, 2009 11:34:34 PM
For Christmas I also crocheted my husband a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Its Donatello which is his favorite. It was really hard to get it finished without him seeing it, but he really liked it.

I used the pattern from here
3  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / iPod Nano Case with Bow on: December 27, 2009 01:26:07 AM
Case for my cousins iPod Nano (4th gen).

This is an original project made to fit a 4th gen iPod Nano. It has a decorative bow on the front and a removable wrist strap. It can also be used to affix the case to a belt loop or something.

This case was designed for my 14-year-old cousin as a Christmas present.

4  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Completed Projects / Amigurumi Penguin, Snitch, and Blue Scarf on: December 23, 2009 02:07:48 AM
A few more gifts I've completed for Christmas.

This is my second completed amigurumi project. Im pretty happy with it. Ill be giving it to my aunt for Christmas.

This is a Harry Potter Snitch. It's going to be a gift for my best friend.

This is my second scarf. I made the first for my sister in yellow, this one is for my youngest sister.
5  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / iPod touch Cozy/Case with pocket on: December 21, 2009 02:12:40 AM
Cozy/case for almost-13 year old cousin Sidney. She is getting an iPod touch for Christmas.

I looked at alot of different patterns for iPod cases, but there was nothing that was what I wanted, so this is an original pattern. I sized it with an iPod touch. My iPhone fits as well.

It has a flap to hold it secure with a hole for the earbuds to plug in as well as a pocket for storing the earbuds. I was considering making a strap also, but once the pocket was on I thought a strap would be too much.

I used Lily Sugar'n Cream yarn and a G hook.
6  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Completed Projects / Cane Cozy, Yellow Scarf, First Amigurumi, Christmas Star, Wrist Warmers on: December 19, 2009 02:48:20 PM
I started crocheting almost a month ago and now I'm crocheting a bunch of gifts for the upcoming birthdays and Christmas.

This scarf is my sister's Christmas present. Her favorite color is Yellow. This is my first scarf. Ravelry Project.

I made this "cane cozy" for my grandfather's birthday(Dec 15). It was my first improvised project.

My first "amigurumi" project! I made this cat for my mom's birthday present(Dec 20). It's made to resemble her real cat. I was surprised by how quick the pieces were to make. The hardest part was putting everything together. Ravelry Project.

I made this star to go in a Christmas card for my husband's Granny. Ravelry Project.

These wrist warmers are my mom's Christmas present. The bamboo yarn I used was my first "fancier" yarn. It's really soft! Ravelry Project.
7  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Discussion and Questions / Amigurumi Faces on: December 11, 2009 11:29:39 PM
Last night I made all the pieces for my first plush/amigurumi animal and now I need to put it all together.

I've googled and searched around but I didn't see any really helpful information.

Most faces are at least partly embroidered it seems. I did learn to embroider "properly" as a child by making a burp cloth for my new cousin which I never finished(He's 16 now.) so in theory I know the basics, but there are some particulars I'm not sure about.

Do you embroider with embroidery floss or with yarn?

Do you use a yarn needle like the one you put the body parts together with, or an embroidery needle?

Do you put your needle through the holes in the crochet? between the stitches? just between the pieces of yarn? Or do you stick your needle through a piece of yarn?

These mysteries and any other tips would be much appreciated!
8  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Holly Ornament and Trivet for Grandma on: December 09, 2009 02:52:24 PM
I started crocheting recently(like just a couple weeks ago), so these are a couple of the my recent projects.

I made this holly ornament for our annual ornament exchange and craft party. This is the ornament I will exchange. I finally got the front loop/back loop thing down with this project. Here's the project on Ravelry. I think this is the project I'm happiest with so far. As a bonus, I've got a sister named Holly.

I'm planning to give this to my grandma for her birthday, which is December 24. It's a dishcloth pattern but I'm calling it a trivet. Here's the project on ravelry.
9  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / First Crochet Booties on: November 22, 2009 10:37:28 PM

I made these booties for my aunt Erikas baby shower for my new little cousin Zachary. Its my first pair of booties, and also my first finished crochet project. My mom, who is great at crochet and makes beautiful doilies, had shown me a few years ago, but I had never made anything but a misshapen square. Gramma made the pom-poms.

I couldnt remember how to get started so I followed the beginning tutorials in a book and learned the basic stitches. I looked up a video on youtube if I was unclear from the written instructions. Once I had a a long block of all my test stitches I started on my booty pattern. My first try didnt come out right. The next morning I showed my grandma and though shes more of a knitter, she was able to clear some things up in the pattern. The second one came out fine, we sewed it up and put on the pom-pom. My next one came out alot bigger than the first, so I had to do it again and that one matched.

I didnt tell my mom I had made them until Erika opened them at the shower, and she was really surprised.

Im hoping to make some Christmas presents by crochet.
10  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Christmas Tree Toppers on: November 19, 2008 04:36:08 PM
This year will be the first time having my own Christmas tree. I got married this September and before that I always lived with my family.

I started looking at things last Christmas, but I just realized yesterday that I hadn't even considered tree toppers!

I like angels best, but stars are good too. They were both in the sky, after all!

I've been browsing everywhere and I just don't know what kind of topper I want. I know I prefer angels, but I'm not sure what style. I don't want something that's too countryish or too boring looking, but also not something too crazy.

So, what is your tree topper? Where did you get it or how did you make it? I'd love to see pictures! I'd be curious to see what people use regardless of if you think I'd like it.
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