Purls and Knit

Musings from an Environmental Engineer who tends to be full of knit.

Real Simple October Food Experiment October 15, 2009

Filed under: Food — knitbee @ 10:39 pm

The boys (Alex and Josh) and I have been a little bad about cooking dinner and eating together this semester, so we decided to cook through the Real Simple magazine menu for October.  I absolutely love this magazine and we thought that by having to cook every week night we will eat better and eat out less.

Week 1

Monday: Tilapia with Peppers and Olives

We really like this meal and it was a good way to start off our month of cooking at home.  We do not often eat fish, mostly out of cost and laziness.  I did a stint of pescitarianism a year or so ago and loved it so it was really nice to have  a fish dish to start off. The fish was yummy and we decided to add some rice because we are pretty hungry people and wanted a little extra. The onion and pepper mix was perfect to go with the fish, we omitted the olives because we are lame and don’t like them.

Tuesday: Beef and Bok Choy Stir-Fry

I had never tried bok choy before and I really enjoyed trying it.  The bok choy is pretty tangy and went really well with the salty of the steak in soy sauce glaze. This was one of my favorite meals of the week and Alex was the chef this night.

Wednesday: Spicy Orange-Glazed Drumsticks with Green Beans

I really really looked forward to this meal all week. I love spicy and orange so this was right up my alley. The green beans were super yum and it was great with the compliment of corn bread. I loved the sauce, chicken kind of weirds me out for strange reasons but I think this would be really good in other recipes.

Thursday: Roasted Pork with Brussels Sprouts and Apricots

This meal was a little bit of a stretch for us because green vegetables generally are not welcome with the boys (Alex is a better sport than Josh, he will want that noted).  I love Brussels sprouts and this was a really great recipe for them. The pork was yummy as all tenderloin is but the sprouts were the star of the show for me.  The tangy of the sprouts with the sweetness of the apricots and almonds definitely did it for me.

Friday: Spaghetti with Sweet Potatoes and Ricotta

All I have to say about this is WOW. I never would have thought that sweet potatoes and spaghetti could rock my world the way that this did.  I am not a huge fan of ricotta cheese but I gave it a chance with this and oh it was so good.  The nutty sharpness of parmesan cheese with the sweet softness of sweet potatoes and then you throw pasta into the mix, it is hard to go wrong really.  I will definitely be making this dish again. It was super easy and I usually have all the ingredients on hand.

The food experiment is going well thus far. We have not been taking pictures of all of our meals this week but I will still do a review of  our favorites at the end of the month and I will do my best to have Alex do another guest post 🙂

For all these recipes please visit www.realsimple.com.


Florida Vacation August 16, 2009

Filed under: Florida Vacation,Food,Other Sweet Stuff...,Wine — knitbee @ 7:03 pm


We have not done much today. I got up and made a yummy lunch of crab cakes fried in butter and some tequila lime shrimp on lime cilantro rice. Alex cut up a mango to go with it. YUM!

Fresh and Yummy

We decided to go back to the beach today up at Sanibel. The beach was kind of a disappointment. The water was dirty and there was a bunch of algae and other nasty on the beach. We did somehow find a few cool shells.

This afternoon we came back to the house and now we are watching a movie. Pizza for dinner.


This is our fifth day in Fort Myers. The vacation has been so great so far. We are not the only awesome people who thought that Ft. Myers would be a good vacation. This is where Thomas Edison and Henry Ford were known to winter.

Ford Winter Estate

The Edison & Ford winter estates are a beautifully restored historical location complete with beautiful gardens and three houses furnished in period perfect and original furniture and the winter office and laboratory of Thomas Edison.

Three smart kids

Alex and I are both pretty big nerds and we both got pretty into all the amazing views and architecture. We took a ton of pictures and Alex bought a really cool period replica of a 1893 light bulb.

Sweet tree

We were going to go to a winery but it closed too early so we just drove around the down town of Ft. Myers instead. We decided to walk around for a while  because we were starving. We found this great Italian restaurant  and decided to stay for happy hour with free tapas and a yummy dinner.

I ordered a yummy penne pasta with crab meat and vodka sauce. YUM! Alex got some gnocchi with a red sauce and panchetta…another YUM!

We left happy and full. We came back to the house and bummed around. Another great day of vacation.


Today has been our best day so far. This morning we went to the beach at Sanibel Island. Sanibel is located a little north of where we had been yesterday. Sanibel is a island accessible by two huge bridges and a toll road. The toll was kind of annoying and we had to pay $2/hr to park but the beach was gorgeous!

There is a light house located on the tip of the island. I had never seen a light house before so I was pretty excited about checking one out. The light house was pretty cool and had quite a bit of history to it, I was kind of bummed that we didn’t get to go up in the light house but it was still pretty.

Sanibel Lighthouse

After we visited the light house we went back to the van and loaded up our beach stuff to head to the beach. Sanibel is know for its great shelling. We decided to follow the trend and look for some shells while we were bumming on the beach. We had bought some goggles when we were at Publix on Tuesday. Alex and I made a pretty good team at shelling. I would shuffle my feet on the bottom of the gulf floor and if I found anything that felt interesting Alex would dive down and pick up what I found.  We found quite a few shells and saw some pretty cool little dudes, I will let Alex tell you all more about that in his guest post.

We have seen some great wild life while we are here. Just as we waded out into the water today there was a family of about 6 dolphins that swam past us jumping up to say hi. This group of playful guys combined with the manatee that we saw yesterday have just been fantastic, not to mention the birds and crabs and fish that we have seen.

Look Dolphins

We came back to the house when it started to storm on an island close to us and had a snack then promptly took a nap. I slept until 5pm and woke up starving to my mom’s phone call. Alex and I  were looking at going to a really cool sushi place while we were here but we found out that the dinner service is really expensive and that they have an all you can eat lunch, we are going to hit that up later.

Tonight, I was torn if we wanted to cook or if we just wanted to go out. I found a fish market that also has a restaurant on it, we headed there. We were pleasantly surprised to find it full of locals and when we pulled up it smelled like yummy seafood and bbq, we made our decision then to eat out.

Yummy Dinner

Skip One Fish Market, gets all of their fish fresh. The seafood is caught the same day it is served so everything tasted fantastic. We started out with some fried alligator tail. YUM! Alligator had a really great taste and texture. I will not hesitate to order it again.

Our waitress was really friendly and did a great job. We both ordered the specials of the night. I ordered the Florida Lobster Tail. I had never had lobster not in soup form and oh it was soooo good! The lobster tail came with butter and lemon, I used penty of both. My lips still smell like butter 🙂 Alex ordered the other special of the night which was a cajun grilled grouper. I got a taste and it was equally yumms. The spices that they used were great and the fish was cooked to perfection. I will for sure recommend that place to my friends and we might go back before we leave.

We have been looking for a good place for key lime pie, everything else at Skip One was amazing so we ordered a piece to share at home. The pie was so good. It was just the right creamy and the crust was crumbly and crunchy. Oh it was so good.

We also bought some shrimp and a couple of crab cakes for tomorrow dinner. We are going to make some lime-cilantro rice to eat with out newly bought seafood. We are very much looking forward to another great day full of fun and good food.


This morning we finally went to the beach. I dragged Alex out of bed at the early hour of 9:30 am and we make the trek to Lover’s Key Beach inside a Florida state park. We had kayaked around the back side of this beach so we knew where it was and a local lady said that this was a really nice beach.

Lover's Island Beach

We arrived at the beach just before 11 am. The beach was beautiful as promised, and it was not terribly busy. We threw down our bag and spread out our towels and hit the water. The water was great, it is really clear and the perfect temperature.

We waded out to about hip deep water and I was twirling around and pretty much acting like a little kid. I looked out to the horizon and saw this large dark spot moving through the water. Approximately 15 ft away from us this huge blemish continued to move through the water. By this point I was pretty freaked out and ran back and hid behind Alex. We both started backing up toward the beach. The dark spot continued its trek but about 20ft from us it came up and we saw a very manatee looking nose. Once we figured out that the creepy dark spot was a manatee we got really excited because it is not really the season to see them right now.

The manatee was a real privilege to see. It was HUGE! The manatee was about 100 ft from the shore at low tide so it was in fairly shallow water and he seemed to just be trolling along.

Toes in the Sand

We hung out at the beach for a couple of hours when we got tired and hungry, so we came back to the house and had a kashi pizza for lunch. Once we did our normal bumming around for the day we headed over to this really nice outlet mall and did some shopping.The mall was huge and I am pretty sure that we walked the entire thing. I was pretty sure that my legs were going to fall off by the time we were done so we came back to the house for dinner.

I made some steak and mushroom pasta for dinner. It was really yummy, we paired it with a light Merlot that had semi-full body with lots of floral and fruity undertones.

Steak Pasta

The day was really fun and we are heading to the beach and to a light house tomorrow.


Post 2

It rained all afternoon so Alex and I just bummed around and watched TV. I took a nap, the rain made me sleep so well. It stopped raining and the weather became beautiful. We got lazy and decided to go out to dinner instead of cooking the steak we were going to grill. We found this great open air restaurant just outside of Lover’s Key State Park.

The food was good. I had a crab cake burger, which is just a crab cake on a bun with a tomato and an onion. The crab was fresh and in large lumps…YUM! Alex had a shrimp po’boy sandwich, I tried it and it was also good. The shrimp was breaded and had a tasty garlic creamy sauce on it. The restaurant was really good and had affordable options, the open air atmosphere was welcome because the day was so nice after the rain. We saw a dolphin and a cruel pelican what was just swishing this fish around in his mouth.

After dinner we tried to go walk on the beach but it was really wet (from the rain, not from the ocean,Yes I know that there is usually water on the beach), so we decided to come back tomorrow. After being rejected by the beach we drove down the road to a nice shopping area. We checked out all the expensive stores that we can’t afford to buy anything in and then drove by a cool wine bar called “the grape”. I really wanted to stop and have wine and dessert, or just wine for dessert, but Alex is an old man and decided that we should just come back to the house and drink what beverage that we had here.

When we got back to the house we cleaned up the house a little, did a load of laundry and ran the dishwasher. I popped open a Raspberry Woodchuck. It was really good. I am going to try to have my local liquor store order some when I get back to Rolla.

Today was really fun and tomorrow we are heading to the beach so it will be even better.

Post 1

Kayak tour was really interesting. Alex and I are probably going to have to bum around for the rest of the day to make up for all the paddling we did today.

We arrived at “New Pass” just down from Lover’s Key State Park and met our guide, Connie. We booked our kayak tour through a small company GAEA Guides, we did the two hour tour through the mangrove estuary.

We unloaded our kayaks and met a cool couple of optometrists from Manchester, England (David and Rhoda, I think those were their names). The five of us set out and paddled around  the estuary.

Our guide was great about pointing out all different types of birds and even had cool history facts about the little dudes. The prettiest bird that we saw was the Roseate Spoonbill, it is mostly white with almost fuchsia highlights. Connie told us that these are really rare and that we were lucky to see so many of them. We also saw all sorts of pelicans, gulls, sanderlings, and Ibis.

The mangroves were really cool to see for myself. We had talked about them in my ecology class, so it was really interesting to see all three types of mangrove trees in one place. We got some great pictures but they are on a little waterproof disposable camera so I will have to upload those later.

Today has been great so far, we are pretty tired trying to get used to the time change and the flight yesterday. I think that we plan to nap and then make some steak for dinner.


I AM BLOGGING FROM FLORIDA! I am a slight bit excited to be on vacation. Alex and I flew out of St.L this morning at 11:25 AM. We arrived in FL at 3:00PM…there is a time change so we lost an hour today. Trip is great thus far with nothing of promises of getting better.

The flight was a little ridiculous. It was almost like riding in a mobile day care. There were seriously fifteen children screaming the entire two hour flight. On a better note I got to read quite a bit of my book, “The Friday Night Knitting Club” and I worked quite a bit on my cross stitch scarf. We did arrive safe and sound in Florida and the approach to Ft. Myers was really great. It was awesome to see all the islands from the air.

We touched down and took a taxi to my aunt and uncles vacation home. The house is fantastic! This house is a nice sized three bedroom two bath that my aunt has done a great job of furnishing. It is beautiful and I hope that my first house is half as nice.

We went to the grocery store to get some food for the week. We got a ton of yummy citrus that was grown locally and we also got some shrimp that was caught in the gulf. I am so jealous of the grocery stores here, there is so much that looks amazing.

Alex and I spent most of the evening just chilling. We watched “My Fair Lady” while I made dinner. Alex and I cleaned the shrimp and I made shrimp destin. Dinner was really good and we did an awesome job of pairing wine with our meal, if I do say so myself. We stole some of the oreo icecream that was in the fridge for dessert.

I could not ask for a better start to what is going to be a great vacation. Tomorrow we are doing our kayak tour so you can look forward to reading all about it.


We are officially doing the kayak tour on Wednesday. I made the reservations yesterday. We are getting really excited to have our little get away. I am thinking about buying a new camera, not just for the trip but also because I need a new one. I guess that I will have to wait and see until I can make it to go shopping.


This is where we are going!

florida map

Alex and I are taking a vacation to Florida next week. We are going to my aunt and uncle’s summer house in Ft. Myers, FL. We are really excited to leave and have a get away. I plan on keeping you all updated about the daily events and I can justify blogging about my trip on this blog because I plan to visit some local yarn stores and also visit a winery. We have not really planned a whole lot for the trip mostly just bumming around on the beach.

The one thing that we have planned is to do a kayak tour of the estuary at Ft. Myers. We are both really excited about that.

We are leaving Tuesday the 11th of August and getting back the 18th. We will spend an entire week in Florida! This is my first real vacation. My family has gone to Port Aransas, TX a couple times with some family friends. Besides that I have not really been anywhere not going to church camp. Alex, has been everywhere but we have never traveled together. We might hate each other by the time we get back, who knows?

I thought that it would be cool to go to some local yarn stores and get some yarn from the area to make a project to remember our trip. Right now I am thinking about a felted basket with waves on it. I also, plan to make something for my aunt as a thank you gift for letting us use their house and minivan for a week.  Let me know if you have any ideas.

I will keep you updated for any new developments about the trip.


Herman Wurstfest and Wine Tasting June 15, 2009

Filed under: Food,Wine — knitbee @ 10:32 am
Tags: , ,

This will be my first post about wine. While a lot of my posts are fueled by wine, this one is all about my trip to Wurstfest in Hermann, Mo.

Wurstfest is a giant sausage and bratwurst festal in Hermann, Mo. Alex and I have been to Hermann before and really loved it. We were really excited to go back with our friends, Sarah (the new roomie) , Josh (the old roomie) and James (fellow wine and wurst lover).

Hermann is a smaller town in central Missouri. They are known for their wineries and antique stores. It is a really cute little town, lots of really cute bed and breakfasts as well as wineries, antique stores and some great museums and historic sites. The town is walker friendly and most things are accessible just a short walk from anywhere else in the town.

We all caravaned up to Hermann or met there. The first place we stopped was Stone Hill Winery. Stone Hill is a awesome place to go on it’s own, they are a really cool winery that has a ton of history and awesome underground cellars.

We first visited the wurstfest that was set up there in a pavilion. It was pretty rainy and cold but we didn’t really mind because we had bundled and Sarah had the awesome idea to buy a bottle of wine to drink while we waited in line to do sausage tastings. The five of us sampled and tasted hundreds of different types of sausage and bratwurst as we made our way through the many booths. Poor Sarah, is a vegetarian so I packed her some crackers and cheese. Fun was had by all. I am not sure if it was the two bottles of wine that the five of us shared or just the really great local sausage and bratwurst but I ended up buying and taking home around 12 packages of meat.

Part of the Wurstfest was a sausage making demonstration. I got elected to help. Yet again I am not sure if it was the wine but this was really cool. It pretty much just involved me turning a handle and adjusting the casing so the sausage stayed uniform. I think that I did a pretty good job!

We also did a tour of Stone Hill Winery, it was really really cool. Tons of history and old underground cellars. I did come to one conclusion…Prohibition really really sucked. It totally destroyed the wine industry in Missouri. Missouri used to be a pretty big deal when it came to wine, we are making a come back.

After we did another tasting and bought over a case of wine at stone hill, we ventured on to the next winery. The next winery we visited was Hermanhoff Winery. There were a TON of people at hermannhoff winery. We did a quick tasting and bought some yummy cherry wine. Of the three we visited, this was our least favorite, mostly because everything had a heavy oak taste and it was really full and loud and expensive.

The last winery that we went to ended up being the favorite. We had bought a bottle of the Vignoles from a wine store in Lee’s Summit and really loved it, and decided to go to the winery and see if there were any more of their wines to  start a love affair with.  Adam Puchta & Son Wine Company is awesome! The winery is relatively small and is still family run. Wayne, a sixth generation Puchta gave us our tasting. He was great, he indulged all of our nerdy science questions about the wine making process and even gave us snacks that paired well with each wine that we tasted. I cannot really pick a favorite from here because they are all so good. All of their wines, even the dry ones, had a really smooth taste and were very pleasant to drink. We bought about a case and a half of wine while here and I, personally cannot wait to go back there. Adam Puchta & Son is a personal favorite and Alex has a total man crush all over them.

Overall, here are my conclusions. Wine+Sausage= Awesome day +Great memories! Adam Puchta rocks my world and stone hill will always be a place I look forward to visiting. Hermann the town is great and if you have not been there then go! Even if you are not into wine or sausage, there is a ton of activities that are amazing.


Cinnamon Roll Bread April 8, 2009

Filed under: Food — knitbee @ 6:57 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I saw this idea in a bakery in Osage Beach, MO. Needless to say…AWESOME!

I didn’t really have a recipe for this. I just made my normal sourdough recipe and added cinnamon and sugar and brown sugar, after rolling it out really thick.

My whole house smelled amazing when this was baking. The bread was nice and tangy as a sourdough should be and then there was the gooey goodness seducing you into eating a piece (or three)



Bread Pudding April 5, 2009

Filed under: Food — knitbee @ 1:03 am
Tags: , ,

This blog is supposed to be about food, wine and knitting. I have mostly posted on knitting, here is my first food blog.

I LOVE bread pudding!!! Alex made some sourdough bread on Monday with my started (yum so good). We have not done a very good job of eating it up this week so I wanted to do something with it before it went bad. Bread pudding was such a good idea!

Here is the recipe that I used. (Thanks to Caitlin for helping me make the rum sauce)

Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce


  • 4 C scalded Milk
  • 1/2 loaf sourdough bread (1 in chunks)
  • 1 3/4 C sugar
  • 1 T Butter
  • 1/4 t Salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 t Vanilla
  1. Soak Bread in 2 C of hot milk for 5 mins in greased pan
  2. In the other 2 C milk add butter, sugar and whisk in eggs – Add Vanilla
  3. Mix well and pour slowly over bread mixture
  4. Bake at 350 for 1 hr- until less jiggly
  5. ENJOY!

Rum Sauce


  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/3 C dark rum (I used Captain Morgan spiced rum)
  • 1 C Powder Sugar
  1. In sauce pan on medium heat, add margarine , rum and powder sugar
  2. Stir until sugar melts over heat
  3. Quickly beat in egg yolks (do this fast and be hearty with the whisk otherwise you will end up with spicy scrambled eggs)
  4. Cook until desired thickness and serve over bread pudding