Oh yeah... yarn.

I feel bad, because the name of this blog is Fiber Salt. Fiber Salt. When’s the last time I’ve talked about any sort of fibry thing? Months and months and months ago. And I mean, I bet a lot of you are reading this because I was published in Knitty, for goodness sake! Well, I’m going to remedy that now.

Here it is:

The current project. Crazy Ribs Gloves for my mom. I'm done with the first one, and just started the second. I wasn’t blogging about them because I wanted them to be a surprise, but then I realized that she picked out the pattern, and knows what the yarn looks like. And they’re awesome, and I really want to share them. They’re the first pair of gloves I’ve made where they actually fit like they’re supposed to (aka the finger joins aren’t a half inch above the finger splits on your hand). I really, really like them, so I might just have to make a pair – or some sort of variant of it – for myself.

On the cooking front, I know in real life I’ve expressed my deep love for my crockpot, but I don’t think it’s been adequately expressed on the blog. I. LOVE. MY. CROCKPOT. I use it for practically everything: steel-cut oatmeal, dry beans, soups, etc. I use it so often it earned a space on the countertop instead of hidden away in the back of a cabinet.

My theory is, if it cooks over a low simmer on the stove, you can make it in a crockpot. So, yesterday, when I made the Trader Joe’s 17 Bean and Barley Soup recipe from the back of the bag of the bean medley, I made it in the crockpot. I also might have modded it a little. But either way, it was super delicious.

17 Bean & Barley Soup [crockpot]
2 cups dry 17 bean & barley medley
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup carrot, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1-14.5oz can diced tomatos (plain), drained
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried basil
½ tsp Italian seasoning
1 bay leaf
6 cups water
6 veggie bouillon cubes
The veggie amounts are roughly equal to ~½ a jumbo onion or ~1 regular one, ~3 whole carrots, and ~4 stalks celery. If you want, instead of water and bouillon, you can use 6 cups of veggie broth.

The first, and really vital step is this: bring a large pot of water to a boil – think you’re making a pot of pasta. Now, add the beans, and boil them for 10 minutes. This isn’t vital to the cooking process, but it is important for your health: red beans can have a toxin in them that can cause severe symptoms after eating just a few beans where it’s present. The boiling denatures (for not-science people: kills, destroys, renders useless, etc.) this toxin, as crockpots don’t reach temperatures high enough for denaturing. Don’t forget this.

Drain your beans, and then – are you ready for this? – put everything in the crock pot. Stir it a little bit to mix. Cover. Cook on high for 8-9 hours, or on low for 16-18 hours.

Yes. That’s it. It’s magical, wonderful, and fantastic. Long live crockpot cooking!
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