Sunday, October 11, 2015

Orzo: Rice Pilaf and Seafood Medley

I am SO sorry I forgot to post this on my day. I'm just so out of the routine of blogging. Sorry again!!

Did I mention I live in a small town with no Target, a small WalMart and 2 grocery stores? Well, I do. And in these stores I found no orzo. Well, I didn't look in one grocery store because it's an expensive one. But I did find a rice pilaf mix. And I do love rice pilaf.

Ingredients:
Rice Pilaf mix

Seafood Medley and Cream Sauce:
Packaged seafood mix (crab, muscles, calamari, scallops)
1/2 Onion diced
1/2 bunch Spinach chopped
1 clove Garlic minced
1 c Milk
1/3 c Parmesan cheese grated
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 tbsp Flour

Make the rice pilaf according to the directions. Let that cook and get to the yummy seafood! Heat a large, deep skillet to medium heat. Add olive oil. Let that heat up. Add diced onion. Once the onion starts to look slightly golden add the spinach and garlic. Stir this around and let cook for 1 min. Add milk, cheese and flour. Stir and heat. Don't boil it. This is the delicious sauce. Add the seafood. Reduce heat to low. Cover with lid and let simmer for 10-15 min stirring occasionally. Serve over rice pilaf.



**If your muscles are still in their shells, keep the lid on the pan and DO NOT REMOVE for 3-6 minutes or until the shells have opened. If the shells do not open, do not eat the muscle. Same goes for clams and other shellfish steamed in their shell.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Orzo

I selected orzo to be a part of our cooking challenge. I had cooked it several times but thought it sounded different enough to be in the contest.

After I did, I realized something about orzo. It doesn't make as good a risotto at rice does. Where rice becomes creamy with a little bit of rough texture, orzo just stays a little slimy. The flavor is good, but the texture isn't as nice as rice. The recipe had chicken stock, onions, butter, and mushrooms.
Here is the meal:


Having said that, I won't give up on orzo. I think it would be good in a soup (maybe even broccoli cheese!) or in a pasta recipe. I saw an orzo salad at a mediteranean restaurant on Friday I thought looked good.


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Orzo: One Pan Chicken and Orzo Skillet

Mom chose orzo, which was a great choice to me since I never use it.

One Pan Chicken and Orzo Skillet Dinner. Ingredient: Orzo, chosen by Mom.

Probably my least favorite thing I made. The orzo ended up being mushy because I put too much water in--I didn't have the broccoli it called for which needed to be cooked in that water as well. The favor wasn't outstanding either.



I should have made rice pilaf, since I love it. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Orzo: Mexican Orzo

So I bought my orzo early in the month, planning on doing a new variation of Pam Anderson's orzo recipe from How to Cook Without a Book: Recipes and Techniques Every Cook Should Know by Heart (again, I know). But then . . . suddenly it was May 31st and a Sunday and the last day a large amount of leftover Mexican-flavored chicken in our fridge would be edible.

So I went with Mexican orzo.

Pam Anderson's orzo recipe treats the short pasta like rice for making risotto, but without stirring. Orzotto. (I like that!) She uses more Italian ingredients, such as Parmesan cheese. But since I had a Mexican main course, I didn't feel like multiculturalism was the dish of the day. I substituted Cheddar (okay, fine, Cheddar is English not Mexican, sue me), parsley (because I had it on hand) and green onions (yay for my garden!) to make a creamy, Mexican themed "orzotto." I topped it with cilantro-lime chicken, black beans, corn, tomatoes and parsley.

Yum.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Wonton Wrappers- Southwest Style

I tried a little fusion cooking with my wontons. I had used them before  with this taco cupcake recipe, so I tried that again with with my own twists.
I made the picture big so you can see that, like the Iron chef, I made wonton wrappers 3 ways.
I made small chicken taco cupcakes using mini-muffin pans. The second dish was a wonton empanada with seasoned ground beef and cheese. I just wet the wrappers with water to seal the edges.
Finally, I put the seasoned ground beef in a wonton wrapper in a large muffin tin.
Each was baked in the oven until it looked crispy and not soggy.

We loved them all! Yum yum!

Wonton wrappers are hard to find in the store! I overheard a lady asking an grocery store employee where they were last week. After he made a few guesses, I butted in to tell them that they are usually in the produce section. They were a little incredulous and I don't even know if it was true for that store, but that is where I have always found them. How about you?

Wonton Wrappers: Southwestern Eggrolls (Chili's Copy Cat)

Sorry I completely forgot to introduce my pick!! While we were watching the many cooking shows we do I saw one of the ingredients used was wonton wrappers. I thought we should give it a go! So here we are!!

Our family loves Chili's. And I especially love their appetizers. I wanted to try out their Southwestern Eggrolls so that was why I chose wonton wrappers! Ok, finding wonton wrappers was extremely difficult for me. I looked at 3 stores and finally found them in the first store when I went back. At my grocery store they were in the refrigerated section where the mushrooms and herbs are. Good luck finding them in your store!

Ingredients:
1 Package wonton wrappers (80 ct)
Vegetable oil

Filling:
1 Red bell pepper diced
1 medium Onion diced
1 bunch Spinach chopped
1/2 can Corn
1 can Black beans rinsed and drained
1 large Jalapeno diced
1/2 c Cheese of your liking
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Parsley (fresh or dried is fine)
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper

Chop, dice, grate, drain all the ingredients as needed.  I used half mozzarella and half cheddar for the recipe. Monterrey Jack is also a good one to use since it has some kick. And I took out most of the jalapeno's seeds. Again, I'm a spice wimp. Now's also a good time to heat up your oil in a large skillet or deep fryer. Put enough oil in to fill the bottom of the skillet completely. Turn on medium high heat.



Combine all filling ingredients in a large bowl adding spices last. Mix with a large spoon.  Lay out a few wonton wrappers. Fill each wrapper with a spoonful of filling. Don't overfill! With water, use your finger to dampen the edges of the wonton wrapper. Seal by folding in half and pressing the edges firmly. Place into the oil carefully away from you to prevent splashing back onto you. DO NOT place into oil that hasn't been heated long enough. I turned on the heat then made 8 eggrolls before putting them into the oil. If the oil isn't heated this will make everything really soggy and gross since the wrapper will absorb too much oil. Fry until golden brown (about 1-3 min), flip and repeat. After both sides are golden brown, remove from oil and let cool slightly on a paper towel.



I served our eggrolls with the Tomatillo Cilantro Ranch! So yummy!! Could even use a little more cheese if you're a cheesy fan.



**I halved the recipe (left the spices and beans at the same amount) and still made a ton! So caution in portion control!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Wonton Wrappers: Homemade Recipe, Asian Wonton Salad Toppers and Dessert Wontons

Wonton Wrappers Recipe
Special Ingredient: Wonton Wrappers, chosen by Jasmine

So, I actually was an overachiever with this one by a lot! First, I made my own wonton wrappers. This was NOT by choice. I simply could not find them in my grocery store. As I was making them the recipe stated they needed to be rolled out very thinly. I was not looking forward to this prospect, but Jasmine had the bright idea of using a pasta machine. Brilliant!


With my wonton dough I made two recipes. Since the salad topper recipe wouldn't use much of the dough, I decided to also make dessert wontons. Here they are side by side. I used the the linguine side of my pasta machine to cut the salad topper wontons perfectly. The dessert ones are a little wonky.  


Salad topper wontons. 


Dessert wontons finished! They were delicious. The biggest problem was they were SO hot and I wanted to eat them so badly, I may have burned myself several times. But it was worth it! 


And the salad toppers;


Great crunch and fun addition to a salad. In the future, I'll probably just buy them though. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Wonton Wrappers: Giant Ravioli!




One of my favorite cooking tips from How to Cook Without a Book: Recipes and Techniques Every Cook Should Know by Heart comes from the weeknight Italian section. She suggests using wonton wrappers to make freeform lasagna and giant ravioli! While it's a little labor intensive, it's worth it!


My filling this time was spinach and ricotta, but I've done all cheese and wild mushroom as well. I kind of winged it (and it was kind of four months ago) (holy cow), so I don't really have a recipe, but once you make your filling, you plop about a tablespoon onto the middle of one wonton wrapper. Dip a finger into a bowl of water (my kids loved helping with this part!) and wet the sides of the wonton wrapper. Place another wonton wrapper on top, pushing out extra air and sealing the edges of the wonton wrappers together. Boil in a shallow pan of water for 3-5 minutes.


Pam Anderson suggests serving them topped with a little bit of the starchy pasta water, olive oil, Parmesan and pepper, which is a tasty sauce; my husband tends to prefer marinara. Both are good!

I have to add a suggestion: if you make a huge batch like I did, don't stack them into multiple layers. Even with oil between the layers, they'll get stuck. But hey, then it's basically lasagna, right?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Agave: refreshing fruit slush bowls

This recipe comes from my good friend Queen Emily. She served this to me once as a dessert while we were visiting her house, and I loved it!

1 pint of strawberries (I think?)
4 medium pink grapefruit
3 bananas
Agave to taste

Slice strawberries and banana into a bowl. Cut peel off grapefruit and section into supremes over the bowl, allowing the juice to collect in the bowl along with the sections. Squeeze the juice out of the leftover pulp into the bowl and discard the pulp. Add agave liberally to taste and toss. Divide into four Tupperware containers and freeze for 1-2 hours, or until mostly frozen. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Agave: BBQ Sauce

I had no idea what to do with agave nectar since you can do so much with it. Sounds backward but that was the predicament I was in. I looked on Dominosugar.com endlessly since they had a ton of agave recipes. And I found one that worked! Of course I had to tweek it to my liking though.

Ingredients:
1/4 c Agave nectar
2 c Ketchup
1 c Water
1 tbsp Hot sauce (my husband prefers Tabasco)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp White vinegar
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Soy sauce
1/2 tsp Onion powder
1/4 tsp Pepper
2 tbsp Flour
1/4 c Butter (cubed)

Combine flour with 2 tbsp of water to create a sort of flour roux. I didn't try it but a butter and flour roux probably would've worked just as well, maybe even better. Set this aside.

In a saucepan (I used a pot, I thought it worked well for the quantity made) over low-medium heat combine everything EXCEPT the flour roux and butter. Stir and allow that to simmer for 10 minutes. Next, whisk flour mixture into the sauce. Allow to simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Add the butter and whisk until incorporated. Simmer for 10 more minutes! Then it's ready to serve.


(I forgot to take a picture of the actual sauce so you'll just have to enjoy it on these ribs!)

 Agave BBQ Sauce on Baby Back Ribs:

Place ribs in slow cooker around the bowl so they curve around slightly, bone side facing in. Slather that with BBQ sauce. I mean slather those puppies up! Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Using a large spoon, ladle the sauce back onto the ribs every couple of hours. Serve hot!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Agave: Creamy Avocado Citrus Salad Dressing

Creamy Avocado Citrus Salad dressing--Special Ingredient: Agave, chosen by Brooke

The original recipe calls for honey, but I substituted agave instead. It was a yummy, zippy and thick dressing. I probably wouldn't make it again just for myself (since my husband has a bit of an aversion to avocado after food poisoning) but I enjoyed it.




Friday, September 18, 2015

Tomatillo cucumber salad with agave sweetened dressing

I like getting lots of bang for my buck. I made one meal with 3 out of the 5 ingredients in it and another with the other 2.
For the salad portion of the meal, I made a salad Ben and I really liked! I removed the seeds from one peeled cucumber and diced it into small cubes. I diced 2-3 tomatillos to a similar size. I chopped some baby spinach leaves and tossed it together. I made a dressing out of red wine vinegar for the acidic taste, olive oil for the consistency, and agave for sweetness. It just took a little dressing, maybe a few tablespoons of each ingredient.


The salad tasted very fresh and crunchy. I would definitely make it again.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tomatillo: Tomatillo Cilantro Ranch

If you've ever visited the Mountain West you may have seen Cafe Rio. If you were wise you stopped in for their amazing Mexican food. If not, I'm sorry. I've never done anything with tomatillos before so I decided to give Cafe Rio's ranch a try.

Ingredients:
2 Tomatillos
1/2 bunch Cilantro
1 medium Jalapeno (remove seeds for less heat)
1 Ranch packet
1 c Milk
1 clove Garlic minced
1 tsp Lime juice
1 c Mayonaisse
1/4 c Sour cream (optional)

Cut up tomatillos, cilantro, and jalapeno. Mince garlic. Since I'm a wimp in the spicy department (see my Butter Chicken post!), I removed all the seeds from the jalapeno. I used my handy dandy food processor (cut the cutting and mincing down significantly) and I'm sure a good blender would work as well. First combine all produce. Turn on food processor for 30-60 seconds. Repeat until everything is chopped nicely. Add milk and lime juice. Pulse a few times. Add mayo and ranch packet. Blend until smooth and mixed well. It will be thick!


The only picture I took of the dressing on its own. It doesn't look super appetizing in the picture but it was so good!


Substitutions: I didn't have a full cup of mayo so I just added in some sour cream and it worked well.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Tomatillos: "Cafe Rio" style sweet chicken/pork

This is the one ingredient from the challenge that I did get a chance to make! This was a big hit in our family. I got the recipe from my husband's side who eat this regularly, especially when the family is all together. It is really simple!

"Cafe Rio" style chicken/pork
Ingredients:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup salsa verde (that has tomatillos)
1 1/2-2 lbs chicken or pork

This recipe is so easy and it can be made a variety of ways. You can cook the sauce with the raw chicken/pork or pour it over the cooked meat and let it simmer for a bit. I usually shred the meat in my Kitchenaid mixer with the paddle attachment.

I serve it with shredded cheese, lettuce, cilantro rice (similar), and cilantro ranch (similar) on warm tortillas.  

Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Tomatillos: Roasted Salsa Verde and Salsa Verde Chicken Quinoa (or rice)

Salsa Verde Chicken Quinoa
Roasted Salsa Verde
Special Ingredient: Tomatillos, chosen by Me!

I chose tomatillos for my special ingredient. I have made several things with tomatillos but wanted to stretch myself and branch out. I found a recipe for Salsa Verde Chicken with Quinoa. I don't love quinoa and so I just used rice. The recipe calls for homemade roasted salsa verde, which was pretty fun to make. Then you just bake it all together. The original recipe didn't call for cheese on top, but I thought it needed it.



I also served it with blue corn chips, fresh grape tomatoes and a sprinkle of cilantro. It was a good, easy dinner. However, I think I like my other tomatillo recipes better. (Our Best Bites' chili verde pork--only in their cookbook but AMAZING).


Monday, September 14, 2015

Tomatillos: Charred Tomatillo, Chicken & Broccoli Salad

I've only ever used tomatillos in salad dressing, but I was excited to give them a chance to star. I adapted a recipe from EatingWell 500-Calorie Dinners Cookbook when I read that tomatillos are great charred. The cookbook had a charred tomato salad, so I made it into a charred tomatillo salad.


4 c broccoli florets
1 lb tomatillos (smaller is better, I'm told)
2 tsp + 3 Tbps extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder (I omitted this)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 14-oz cans chunk chicken

1. Bring about 1" of water to boil in a large pot. Add broccoli and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water; set aside.

2. Peel off leaves and rinse them. Toss with 2 tsp olive oil. Cook in a heavy pan over high heat until charred. Remove from heat and quarter. Do not clean the pan.

3. Heat remaining oil in the pan over medium. Add salt, pepper, chili powder, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar (watch out for spatter when adding liquid). Stir, scraping up any brown bits.

4. Break up chicken, and combine tomatillos, broccoli, and chicken. Pour pan sauce over. Serve warm or cold.

This was kind of acidic for me. If you like tomatillo flavor, you might like this, but we . . . didn't.

Wayward!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Tomatillos Food Challenge!

So when Jasmine gave the us the cooking challenge, I wanted to pick an item that was fresh and in season for summer, but not something we were all familiar with. Fresh summer produce makes me think of corn on the cob, tomatoes, and watermelon but those were so familiar! I finally settled on

Wayward Challenge logo with product photo by Craig Cloutier on Flickr via CC



Tomatillos! 

My sisters and mom told me this was a little more challenging for them. I'm pretty familiar with tomatillos but not everyone is, so here is a little about them:


Tomatillos look like a green tomato in a wrapper, that's called the husk. Husks should be removed before cooking or eating. The tomatillo's skin is sometimes a little sticky under the husk so I usually rinse them. Tomatillos can be eaten raw or cooked. Cooking, roasting, or blanching helps to enhance its flavor. Most salsas verde (green salsas) contain tomatillos. When selecting tomatillos at the grocery store, look for them to be about the same size, and green. A yellow hue means they are overripe. Can't wait to see how everyone used tomatillos!

The mama tries Indian food

I am not a fan of curry. To me Indian food = curry, so I wasn't anxious to try it out. I also was feeling less than adventurous, so I decided to just look in the small international food section of Food Lion and see what was there. I was definitely looking for something without curry. I thought I hit on it when I saw this:
I didn't see curry listed in the ingredients and it said "Just add meat or chicken."

I tried it, (with a side of orzo risotto, I might add!)
I would give it a 2 on a 1-10 scale. I just didn't like it. I tried it, but it wasn't to my taste. Ben didn't like it much either, but Kevan did! He ate the leftovers and took the rest of the sauce home, too.


Friday, September 11, 2015

Indian: Butter Chicken

Now, I know what you're thinking, "Uh, Jaime already did butter chicken!" Well, I did a much lazier edition of butter chicken! I didn't have half the spices the recipe called for and the bulk spice section in our small grocery store didn't help either. Luckily, the Asian aisle did!

Ingredients:
1 Chicken Breast
1 Packet Butter Chicken Paste
4 tbsp Butter

2 c Rice optional

 See? Lazy.

   So, really all I did was combine the paste with butter, let that cook for 15 minutes then added the chicken. It was pretty easy so I tried making Naan bread. Well, that didn't turn out very well so we'll just leave that wayward moment out of the post!

   I served the butter chicken on top of rice and served it with bread and salad. It was very spicy for me! Like so spicy I could barely finish. My husband served an LDS mission in Australia and was able to meet a lot of Indian immigrants. He was served a lot of spicy Indian dishes so he was used to both the strong flavor and spices and enjoyed it quite a bit! This is something I think I'd have to make from scratch next time to tone down the spicy level!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Indian: Naan Pizza

So I'm embarrassed to say that I barely participated in this challenge! I had huge plans and I guess the impending birth of my newest baby girl (Oh yeah! Guess what I had another baby girl and she is amazing!) and tons of other stresses, I just fell short! So here are some pins of what I wanted to make. 

My husband and I don't especially care for Indian food so I thought of a way that we could tweak a traditional Indian food to be something a little more our speed. The last time we went to an Indian food restaurant we had some delicious naan bread. I thought I could make naan into pizza and I wasn't the first one with this idea!

Here are some of the recipes I found that look delicious!

Pizza #1
Pizza #2 I love barbecue chicken pizza!
Pizza #3 The chunks of mozzerella look amazing on this one. It reminds me of the prosciutto pizza I posted a while back.

Indian Food: Best Butter Chicken

Best Butter Chicken  Special Type of Food: Indian, chosen by Jordan

My husband loves Indian food. I suspect that was a strong factor in his choosing to go to India on an MBA school trip a few years ago. He has made some amazing Indian food at home so it's a little intimidating for me. I found this recipe for Butter Chicken aka Tikka Masala. It turned out delicious. This was one of the best things I made and opened me up to making more Indian food.



When I told my husband I made the recipe for the challenge he said, "Oh. I thought you made it for me because you know I love Indian food," HA! Well since then I've made a lot more.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Indian: Chicken Korma

I wanted to recreate my Indian restaurant experience at home, so I found a recipe for the dish I had: Chicken Korma. This particular recipe requires a bit of work and ingredient coordination—and salt, since the recipe doesn't call for any—but it's very tasty. (You may want to increase the spices or heat; we omitted all heat from ours.)


I wish you had smell-o-vision right now. The wok has the spices below (1 tsp each) plus an onion, 3 cloves of garlic and 2 bay leaves in oil. (The blender has 1/2 c half and half, 1/2 c plain yogurt and 1/3 c cashews soaked in 1/3 c boiling water.)


Add three chicken breasts, cubed, to the wok and cook for five minutes. Add 1 c chicken broth and 1/4 c tomato sauce. Simmer 15 minutes. Add blender mixture and simmer 15 minutes more.

Add a slurry of 1 tsp cornstarch + 1 tsp water and cook to desired thickness.

Serve over rice!



Monday, September 7, 2015

Indian cuisine challenge!

Jordan picked . . . .
Indian cuisine!

We recently tried a new Indian restaurant near our house, and it was fantastic! I wanted to try more Indian cuisine at home, so I knew right away what I wanted to do when Jasmine suggested this idea! So keep your eyes out for yummy Indian recipes this week!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Cooking Challenge Introduction

Hey, all! Jasmine here! I watch a lot of Netflix. Let me repeat, I watch A LOT of Netflix. But I run out of shows and search endlessly for new ones. A couple months ago I found "The Next Food Network Star" and LOVED it. On one of the episodes each contestant was given an uncommon ingredient and they had to make something with it. This gave me an idea. What if us (wayward) girls did something similar? I thought about this for a while before sharing the idea with my sisters and mom. I pitched them my idea and all were in.



Here's the challenge:

Each of us choose one ingredient or cuisine. We share this with each other. Everyone can choose to make something out of the challenge foods chosen within the given month. At the end of the month we all share with each other what we made!

This is a fun challenge to participate in. I don't know about everyone else, but for me I was getting tired of cooking the same old meals over and over. This, in theory, was a way to challenge our culinary skills, broaden our experiences, and try new things.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Fast, easy, fantastic: quick thank you gifts for teachers!

We often give gifts to our kids' teachers at the end of the school year. A couple years ago, I hit on a gift idea that became a favorite: a "spa kit." (This may have been inspired by a birthday gift from Mom.) After a long, stressful school year, teachers need to relax! What better way than a spa kit?

I made the spa kit easy on myself: I hit up the dollar store and put together a basket or gift bag of things like exfoliating scrubbies, eye masks, bubble bath, bath pillows, lotion and scented candles. This year, I made the spa kits even more special with the addition of handmade "spa cloths."



The handmade gifts add an extra touch, and they're super quick to make: it took under three hours to make the first set of five hearts. I already had the yarn from another project, so it was no extra cost. Plus, there are tons of cool crochet or knitting patterns online for free (Ravelry lists over 4500 patterns, but you might need to be logged in to see them)!



The spa cloths came especially in handy with my two-year-old accidentally spilled her water bottle all over us and one of the gift bags. They got their very first use right away!

Want to make your child's teacher gift even more special? Have them write a thank you note, mentioning their favorite activities or memories of the school year!

My spa cloth projects on Ravelry

Patterns
Sweet Somethings (heart) by Julie of Simply Notable
Leafy Washcloth by Megan Goodacre of Tricksy Knitter (with mods from Ravelry user Penserosa--decreases at edge)
(Also to come: Starfish Cloth by Dione Read of Sew Funky)

Yarns
Hearts
Peaches & Cream in Hot Blue
Lion Brand Microspun in Red


Leaves
Knit Picks Shine Sport in Green Apple (held double for the larger leaf)

(Starfish will be done in Knit Picks Shine Worsted in Snapdragon)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dying to dye (yarn)

One night, my husband came home and found the kitchen in disarray. "What's all this?" he asked.

"I'M DYYYYYYYEING," I wailed.

And I was. Dyeing with an E, that is! It's really easy to dye yarn made from animal fibers (wool, alpaca, cashmere, even silk) and nylon, and you can use common ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen!

My first dyeing experiments were for a colorwork sweater for my oldest daughter. First, I wanted to make sure we liked the colors, so I did little samples of 20" of yarn. I was trying to do about 1% of what I'd use for the final dye concentration, so I filled up my containers with 100 mL of water, added the dyes (food coloring and Kool-aid), and then used a dropper to get 1 mL of the dye stock. I mixed that 1% dye stock with more water.

Here's a secret of dyeing: it doesn't matter how much water you use. I measured the water to get the concentration right for a tiny test, but when you do the actual dyeing, as long as you have enough water to cover your yarn and let it circulate, the only proportion you really need to worry about is the amount of dye to the amount of yarn (by weight).

To prepare the yarn, you need to wind it in hanks (long loops) and tie figure-eight ties through the loops in three to four places to prevent tangling. Then soak it in clean water. (You'll need vinegar later, so you can add it to the soak water instead of the dye bath, but I usually don't.)
Then you can prepare the dye stocks. Tools of the trade: tons of measuring cups to get my 1% solutions, microwave safe containers and a kitchen scale.

The colors in my rainbow here are McCormick's neon pink food coloring, McCormick's yellow food coloring, McCormick's green food coloring, Ice Blue Raspberry Kool-aid, and a mix of McCormick's neon purple (2 parts) and neon blue (1 part).

In the foreground, I'm soaking the yarn samples to be dyed.


Now it's time to dye! You need heat and acid to set this dye on protein fibers. With food coloring, you have to add some vinegar; a tablespoon in the dye stock is plenty (this doesn't have to be measured either! No wonder I love this!). The Kool-aid doesn't need vinegar because it already has citric acid. The heat is simple too: microwave! (Stovetop and oven work just as well too--but don't boil the yarn; it felts.)

Above, my tests are ready to microwave: I put 1mL of the dye stock into a baggie, added more water, and put in my wet yarn. I did more of the blue because I had a few samples of other things I was thinking about dyeing.


I nuked them for 2 minutes, let them sit for 10 and nuked them for 2 minutes. I repeated this until the dye bath "exhausted," meaning the water was clear (or milky in the case of the Kool-aid, but the dye was absorbed by the yarn). Here they are after microwaving:

Baggies may not be the best choice for this... But notice how the yarn is colorful and the water, not so much.

My daughter and I picked the colors for her sweater from the samples and then I stuck the yarn to be dyed in the full dye baths:

And, below, after microwaving. Check out the water--it's clear, except in the purple. Blue dyes often take longer to exhaust, so I recommend leaving the yarn in overnight after heating:

This jar of yellow did something interesting. Maybe I didn't have enough acid in it, but while it was in a cool-down phase between microwave bouts, I was worried about how much dye was left in the water. I added more vinegar and turned around to put away my big ol' jug. By the time I looked back, the water was perfectly clear and the yarn a vibrant yellow!

Allow the yarn to cool--you can speed this up by taking it out of the dye bath, but DO NOT PUT COLD WATER ON HOT YARN. This will cause the yarn to felt.

Once it's cool, you'll want to rinse the yarn with clean water. Be sure the rinse water runs clear. If it doesn't, either your dye isn't set, and you need more acid and/or heat, or you've used more dye than the yarn can actually absorb, so the excess is washing off. The yarn will usually fade more dramatically if the problem is that the dye isn't set.

And now it's time to dry! Above, the yarn is hanging out in my salad spinner, which is really handy for drying small amount of yarn. Below, it's hanging on a chair with a fan to dry the rest of the way.

Since this was for colorwork, I made myself some posterboard bobbins and wound up the yarn. The darker pink and the white are purchased--Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Sport in Rouge and White--and the white is the base for the other colors.
And in the finished product:

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