The Simple Guide to Knitting Pot Holders

Crochet, knit or sew, it’s a great feeling to know that you made something useful yourself, and it’s even better when you can give something nice, attractive and well-made to a friend!

Knitting pot holders is a great way to keep your hands busy while you’re watching TV or waiting for dinner to finish cooking, it’s an excellent and therapeutic way to create a meditative zone for yourself and it’s also a way to create presents and useful trinkets for your own kitchen!

blogpost2image1There are a dozen different ways to approach a pot holder project, because there are a dozen different kinds of pot holders!

The most important thing to keep in mind when you are choosing a pattern to use for your knitted pot holders is that they will have to be “felted” when they are complete.

This is a process that helps transition the yarn, which will be loopy and have holes in it, into a solid piece of fabric which will be able to protect your hands and fingers when used in the kitchen.  In other words – don’t expect to knit a pot holder and be done with it!  You will be burned, and sorely disappointed.

To knit excellent pot holders, use a garter stitch and a 10.5 needle.  The knit product before felting should be approximately 9 inches wide and 13 inches long.

After felting it will reduce to 7 by 7.  The pattern can be as complex or simplistic as you like and can involve as many colors as you want to add.  Just be sure to tie off the ends with a crochet hook before felting.  Then, to felt the pot holders, put them in a wash bag.  On a hot cycle, run the pot holders with one pair of jeans or a large towel, twice.  Let them cool and do not dry in the drier.

The Benefits of Gluten Free Cooking and Diet

Gluten free cooking has become all the rage in the United States in the past two years.  Its popularity is derived from a mix of a few cultural mores.  First of all, the population of the United States has finally realized that carbs are a treat, and not necessarily the best base for all meals, all the time.

With obesity up and the epidemic of Type 2 Diabetes ravaging the country, it seems that many Americans are finally ready to put down the bread.  That being said, there’s just nothing that will replace the feel of a nice, chewy piece of French bread with some sharp cheddar or the sensation of a smooth pasta dish that supports a meaty and delicious sauce. Unfortunately, cooking without these ingredients may cause one to have to renovate their entire kitchen.

Proponents of gluten free eating have, for generations, primarily focused on the impact of Celiac disease, which is an effective allergy to wheat.

But there are so many people who do not have Celiac disease or one of its derivatives, who still find their blood pressure and inflammation disorders to be significantly reduced when they reduce or eliminate gluten from their diet.

Gluten is a compound that’s found in many foods, because it’s a staple protein in wheat.  The chemical makeup of our cultivated grains, particularly wheat, barley, rye and malt, is very different from the original grains that humans evolved to eat.

Sometimes these are referred to as Ancient Grains, and they do not generally contain gluten. Recognizing the popularity of the gluten free lifestyle, there are many mainstream food processors like General Mills who are now removing gluten from their traditional products, and selling people a healthier way to eat.  For years, tapioca, rice and sorghum were substituted in recipes for wheat based flour, when gluten free products were made at all, and the flavor and texture were horrible.

There’s a reason Tollhouse cookies taste so amazing, and it’s not because they’re made with tapioca flour.

Before we finish up this post here’s a great Gluten-Free Shopping List!

GF_Fact Sheet-Shopping List-Printable

The Perfect Wedding Cake

One of the most amazing and exciting things about being a chef is being able to help people celebrate their most precious occasions.

Birthday cakes mark the day we got to have someone new in our lives, and weddings mark the beginnings of beautiful and meaningful relationships.  For a chef who focuses on pastries and cakes, the ability to contribute to the events of friends and family in such a meaningful way is so important.

Making a wedding cake starts with a good understanding of the bride and groom, and sense of what the wedding itself will be “about”.

Some couples select a theme for their wedding.  When that’s the case, the baker will be able to suggest a few cake flavors, and then design the cake to fit well into the couple’s theme.  Colors will match, and some decorations can even be made to contribute to the overall feeling.

blogpost3image1However, increasingly, couples are electing not to choose a theme for their big day.  They are instead going with a more casual, friendly and relaxed approach to the whole wedding experience.

In some ways, this can make it more difficult for the baker – there’s less information to go on.  On the other hand, the baker has the opportunity to be really creative and genuinely come up with something that will help the couple remember their day for years to come.

If you’re a bride or groom to be who is considering the cake question, think about what flavor or flavors you want to incorporate.  Your baker will be able to suggest some great combinations – remember, it’s not like creating a latte!  You have to think of lots of different pallets and make sure you will be serving a cake that will suit the rest of the food at the wedding, and your theme.