Friday, July 6, 2018

Ripple Wave Socks, Binge Worthy TV and Nectarine Breakfast Bread

Aren't these fun socks! They are my Ripple Wave Socks and I feel like dancing a jig in these sprightly colors.  Just like the wonderful Irish folk song Uncle Benny "they've set my toes a tapping" hum hum hum.  Of late I've spent too much time in silence or listening to gloomy news reports with not enough time filling my home with music.  Listening to beautiful music makes my heart soar, feet tap and just makes me happy.  Growing up I listened to a lot of music.  On Saturday mornings my mother would often cook a full English breakfast (replete with fried egg, bacon, fried tomatoes, toast, marmalade and, of course, a pot of tea) and beautiful music would be playing in the background and our weekends began in this leisurely fashion.  When I got to choose the music I liked to listen to Irish folk music and I particularly liked Roger Whittaker who sings Uncle Benny on Danny Boy and other Classics.  To this day I enjoy hearing him sing these songs.

But enough about music and more about socks!  If you haven't yet been bitten by the sock bug the heat of summer is a perfect time to get hooked!  You'll love the endless choices of gorgeous sock yarns, how quickly a pair of socks knit up, and most importantly come fall you'll realize how wonderful it is to wear your own hand knit socks. You'll also be very popular with friends and family who vie for a pair of your socks!  If you are intimidated to get started, don't be.  You can find many free youtube videos to help you or you can sign up for a paid Crafty Class (I've been a fan of Crafty ever since they taught me the Brioche stitch and I breezed through my first Brioche Project).   And the choice of sock patterns is endless.  There are thousands of free sock patterns on Ravelry, including my Color Block Socks.  Who knows maybe you too have a sock pattern lurking within you.  In any event I encourage you this summer you give sock knitting a try or if you are already a sock knitter to store up a supply for next winter.

Particulars:  Ripple Wave Socks; designed by Kate Lore Designs; US 1 needles; Ritual Dyes sock yarn, i.e. Maiden (100gr, 400 yds of 80% superwash merino and 20% nylon. 2-ply twist) this is yarn leftover from my Sunset Highway Sweater (the blue/purple is the upper yoke colorway and the green is my contrasting color).  This is a wonderful pattern and a pleasure to knit.  I should also mention that all proceeds from the pattern are donated to Doctors without Borders which is no surprise to anyone who knows Kate Lore, a long time blogger and all round class act.  To link to more examples of socks that I've knit (I've knit many) would be too cumbersome so instead I'll link to a pair that has a particularly nice and intricate design that is perfect for slow indoor summer knitting ~ 50 Shades of Green. ~


Summer.  Yuck.  My least favorite season.  I'm clearly not a sun worshiper so when it's sweltering outside I like to be inside binging on TV shows.  And as I love hearing other people's favorite shows I thought I would share my list of binge worthy TV.  I didn't include the obvious (i.e. Game of Thrones and Outlander) and if I've missed a show that you love I want to hear your recommendations in the comments!  FYI we are "on-demand" TV watchers and obtain all of our programming through Amazon Prime's Fire Stick (best investment ever).  Many of these shows are free to Amazon Prime Members or are purchased through channels available on Amazon.  But as not everyone is an Amazon user the links below are to IMDb ("Internet Movie Database") where you can see reviews and read more about the shows and stars.  Be warned this is a very diverse list and there are shows on it that will not be everyone's cup of tea due to violence.

Bates Motel    Learn how Norman Bates became "Norman Bates."
Lost in Space (2018)  A fun and well done redo of this classic.
Berlin Station   Modern spy story of the CIA in Berlin
Peaky Blinders  Fascinating (but violent) story of gangs in England post WWI
Frankenstein Chronicles  Clever story of how Mary Shelley's Frankenstein came to exist
Counterpart  Modern sci-fi
Riverdale  See Archies Comics come to life in the small town of Riverdale
Ripper Street  Well done crime story set in the era of Jack the Ripper (stars Matthew Macfadyen)
Altered Carbon  Modern sci-fi
Goliath - Los Angeles lawyer fighting corruption (set in Santa Monica, California)
The Royals  See the British monarchy as you've never seen them before
Imposters  Fun romp with engaging actors
Westworld  Modern sci-fi
Animal Kingdom  Story of a small time crime family in California (stars Ellen Barkin)
Banshee  Violent but interesting story set in a midwest town
Ozark  "Normal" family moves to the Ozarks on the run from gangsters and the law
Billions  Wall Street schenigans
The Americans  Spy story set in the 70's
Da Vinci's Demons  See how fictional Leonardo Da Vinci's life evolved
Electric Dreams  Sci-fi (an updated Twilight Zone)
The Staircase  A fascinating story for true crime buffs
The Night Manager  Adaptation of a Le Carre Novel
Suburra  Crime and family drama set in Italy


This is a wonderful breakfast bread that is a new summer treat for me.  The sweetness of fresh nectarines are perfectly balanced with cornmeal, lemon, and thyme and it's quick to throw together so long as you have ripe nectarines on hand.  It's also a fun change from muffins in the morning.  I used a recipe from the latest Southern Cast Iron magazine which never fails to deliver recipes that I love.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Nectarine Breakfast Bread ~

Bread ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup granular sugar
2 Tablespoons stone ground cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon finely ground salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large organic eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (I use Kerry Gold butter for all my baking)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 lemon - zest used as follows: 3/4 zest for loaf and 1/4 zest for Lemon Thyme Syrup (see below)
1 cup chopped pitted nectarines
1 whole nectarine sliced into decorative wedges (for layering on top)

Lemon Thyme Syrup ingredients:
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup granular sugar
2 large sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 of lemon zest from a whole lemon


1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Prepare a bread pan by rubbing with butter and coating lightly with flour.

2.  In a large bowl whisk together dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon).  Set aside.

3.  In a medium bowl whisk together wet ingredients (eggs, milk, melted butter (add last), vanilla, and 3/4s zest from a whole lemon).

4.  Using a Swedish dough hook or wooden spoon quickly incorporate wet ingredients into dry.  Gently fold in chopped nectarines.  Pour batter into loaf pan and smooth top.  Place decorative nectarine wedges across the top, leaving 1 inch space between each slice.

6.  Bake 55 minutes and check if loaf is a nice golden brown and a tester comes away clean.  If the loaf needs additional time continue baking but cover loosely with foil to prevent over browning until tester comes away clean.  Baking time will vary depending on ingredients, humidity, etc.  I baked my loaf a total of 65 minutes with it covered in foil for the last 10 minutes.

7.  Allow loaf to cool in pan for 20 minutes.  Then turn out onto a cooling wire to cool completely.  While loaf is cooling prepare lemon thyme syrup.

8.  Prepare lemon thyme syrup by combining water and sugar in a small saucepan and bringing to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat and add fresh thyme and lemon zest and let cool before using.  Slowly drizzle cooled syrup over cooled loaf allowing it to cover all surfaces but mainly focusing on the top.

This loaf freezes well, although like all baking it's best the day it is baked.

Recipe slightly adapted from Southern Cast Iron Magazine July/August 2018 issue.

I'm also a fan of muffins in the morning and my favorite morning muffin recipes are: Orange Muffins, Raisin Bran Muffins, and Espresso Banana Muffins.

Until next time be well, love well and this summer try beginning  your weekends with a cooked breakfast and listening to beautiful music while knitting away on a pair of socks!