There Will Be Prizes

February 5th

tiny, cast iron pots

I’ve been incredibly lazy about sewing and knitting lately. I temporarily have a roommate and am without an art studio — now a guest room.* My craft supplies are crammed in closets and tucked in long Tupperware containers under my bed. Instead I’ve been feeding my domestic drive by cooking up a storm and have some new recipes I’d like to try. I could use some advice:
~Have you ever made keffir? Or your own yogurt?
~Have you ever cooked barley? What is your favorite recipe?

When I do pull out my knitting needles, I’ve been commissioned to make another Nudu cap. Woot! I need some help with this too, considering my knitting books are in a storage box.
~Do you have a quick pattern for a beanie/skull cap knit with bulky yarn?

Internets, show me some love and help a girl out. In return, I’ll pick a couple commenters for hand-sewn prizes. I’m thinking Spring aprons and recipe books.


* {I am really enjoying having a roomie after living alone for several years. She even has cats. And don’t tell anyone, but I kinda like one of them. Okay, maybe two. Don’t ask how many there are. Okay, there are five. Yes, I am currently living with 5 furballs and a lovely South African emigre.}

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35 Responses

  1. Hey, how about trying the Lion Website. They have all sorts of free patterns?! Good Luck.

  2. I’ve been wanting to try barley too. Let me know if you get any good recipes (particularly for soup or breakfast porridge). I’m on the hunt and will let you know if I come up with anything

    Five furballs? You lucky girl! Pictures, pictures!!

    ps. TH and I love that you said *woot*!!

  3. Homemade yogurt: I’ve made this many times with the help of a Donvier yogurt maker (which is awesome). If you don’t have one of these or don’t want to invest in one, then try the recipe Madhur Jaffrey gives in World Vegetarian. The only equipment you need for that one is a ceramic bowl and a blanket to wrap it in if your ambient temperature isn’t at least 85 degrees.

    Barley: Deborah Madison has a terrific recipe for a cream of barley soup (with leeks and mushrooms) in her latest book, Vegetarian Soups.

  4. You want a barley recipe? This is posted on my blog, but I won’t make you go looking for it:

    Thursday, December 28, 2006
    Recipes that changed my pantry — Barley
    This is the recipe that made barley a staple in my kitchen.
    It is from the “More-With-Less Cookbook,” a Mennonite publication from Herald Press. If you don’t have the book, get it. Don’t argue with me. You can get it at or through your local Christian bookstore. You can also order it from I usually give this cookbook as a wedding present. Great for people just starting out.

    This recipe has the added attraction of being vegetarian, and even vegan if you use margarine.
    My notes are in parenthesis.

    Lentil-Barley Stew

    Serves 6

    Saute in large pan:
    1/4 c. margarine (I use butter)
    3/4 c. chopped celery
    3/4 c. chopped onion
    (I add a garlic clove, chopped, crushed, pressed, whatever)

    6 c. water
    3/4 c. lentils

    Cook 20 minutes. Add:
    1 qt. tomatoes, canned
    3/4 c. barley or brown rice
    2 t. salt
    1/4 t. pepper
    1/2 t. rosemary (one sprig fresh, if you have it)
    1/2 t. garlic salt (I omit this in favor of the fresh garlic)

    Simmer 45-60 minutes. Add:
    1/2 c. shredded carrots
    Cook 5 minutes and serve. (remove the rosemary stem)

    Option (for you carnivores. I have never tried it this way):
    Brown 3/4 lb. boneless pork shoulder, diced, then add celery and onion and saute until golden, omitting margarine. Proceed with recipe as given.

    (I make this a lot for my family, and I usually add extra barley or rice and water to make the protein more complete.)
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

  5. Crazy Aunt Purl’s roll brim hat recipe should work for you. It’s in the sidebar of her blog.
    MmMmMm….. homemade yogurt is delish! But I’ve never made it myself.

  6. Also, no photos of the cats? C’mon!

  7. I love barley in vegetable or beef stew. Just don’t be a dork like me and think that the more the better. That stuff SWELLS.

    Swelling barley in a crock pot all alone = one huge mess for Heather to clean when she comes home. Can you say “pizza night”?

  8. I love schmeebot’s zeebee pattern–it works for any gauge and looks good in any yarn.

    I’ve made my own yogurt using a recipe from, and it was good, (and neat–I did this to this milk on purpose!) but I’m going to check out the one referenced above.

  9. I throw a couple handfuls of barley into my soups. That is all the experiance I have. I hope whatever you cook it turns out beautifuly-

  10. Crazy Aunt Purl does the bulky knit hat thing really well…But someone already put that..
    I have never even considered cooking any of those things, so I am of even less help there..

  11. i’ve always wanted to try making yogurt. i seem to recall there being a recipe in animal, vegetable, miracle…maybe check the web site? please share the results of your cooking adventures!

  12. Hello to your South-African emigre! And I’m no good with any crafty advice. I live vicariously through YOUR crafty skills!

  13. Hi Kelli, this recipe for yogurt is sooooo easy it’s ridiculous, I make it all the time…. great for tzatziki and making yogurt cheese from.

    1+1/2 cups milk powder (skim is fine)
    2 pints hot water
    3 tablespoons natural yogurt with acidophilus and bifidus

    Mix water (not boiling you should be able to stick your finger in it) milk powder and yogurt together and whisk well. Pour into a vacuum flask or thermos and leave overnight. Done!

  14. hi kelli.
    thank you for the incredibly sweet email. you are so awesome. you know i’m in the kelli fan club.

  15. Oooooops, forgot to add, once you make this yogurt you just use some of the first batch to make the second batch and so on…. the yogurt never ends! And of course you can add flavours such as fruit, honey etc….

  16. Hey Kelli,
    I can’t go one single day without checking your blog. I regularly make homemade yogourt. I’ve never made Kefir but I buy it at the health market, it’s very good for you.

  17. Yogurt is easy peasy and you don’t need a yogurt maker. Depending on how much your making, just a pan large enough. I learned after watching Martha Stewart making it on your television show. And, from my Thai friend that makes it regularly as well.

    Buy one small container of plain yogurt that you like. Plain. Get one that has lots of different kinds live yogurt cultures. Then, get some milk. How much milk you use determines how much yogurt you’ll make. I usually make a gallon since there are 4 of us eating it. Over low to medium low heat, heat the milk and yogurt mixture till it is warm. Warm to the touch. Warm but not hot. (there is no science to this . . . just heat it until it is warm). Then put the lid on the pan and take it off the heat. Keep it in a draft free warmish place — kind of like where you would put bread dough to rise. Then let it sit for 8-10-12 hours. You can check it after 8 hours to see if it is the consistency you like.

    I’m sure you can check out Martha Stewart’s website to come up with a much more precise and scientific method to making the yogurt. However, this has worked for me for years.


  18. I wondered about the roommate thing. What a good soul you are to have a roomie with 5 cats!

    I cannot offer advice on barley or kefir/yogurt having made neither.

    I loved that hat you made though! I think that is around they time I discovered your blog!!

  19. Just yesterday I found this barley recipe on another blog, but I haven’t tried it. To give full credit, it came from GreenStyleMom. Here is the link ( She has some other non-barley recipes that look interesting too.

    Quick Barley Vegetable Pilaf
    2T butter
    ¬Ω cup chopped onion
    1 chopped red pepper
    1 cup sliced mushrooms
    1 clove minced garlic
    1 cup broth
    ¾ cup quick cooking barley
    1 cup chopped fresh spinach
    2 Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded & chopped
    ¼ cup minced fresh basil
    3T grated Parmesan

    Melt butter in large saucepan or deep skillet. Add onion and sauté until tender. Stir in red pepper, mushrooms, and garlic and sauté until red pepper is tender. Season generously with black pepper. Add broth; heat to boil. Stir in barley. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed. Stir in spinach, tomatoes, and basil. Cook, uncovered, one to two minutes or until spinach is wilted. Spoon into serving bowl and sprinkle with Parmesan. Makes 6 servings.

    For the hat, check out this link to the DIY network site. The episode just aired last week and it reminded me of your nudo cap…,2025,DIY_14141_5551315,00.html

    Good luck!

  20. I’ve never ventured into barley so I’m no help there, but I love the hat! Way too cool. Oh and LOVED the bird poop story. I can’t even begin to tell you much that would happen to me.

  21. Larissa Stretton February 5, 2008

    Hey Kelli!!

    Finally, I can do something nice for you! (At least I hope it’s nice, must confess, barley’s not a huge fav around my house, so it doesn’t hit the table often–as a matter of fact, can’t remember the last time it did!!), but this one is from a local newspaper that I was hoping to try someday. Maybe it’ll be good!!

    Butternut Squash, Barley, and Feta Bake

    2 small butternut squash
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 small onion, diced
    1 rib celery, diced
    1 green pepper, seeded and diced
    1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    3/4 cup quick cook barley
    1 3/4 cup vegetable broth
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh italian parsley
    salt and pepper to taste
    4 oz feta cheese, crumbled

    Bring large pot of water to a boil. Slice the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and boil squash just until tender, about 20 minutes (hint: I find baking it rather than boiling gives better flavor). Remove from water and let cool until you can handle them. Use a small, sharp knife to cut the skin away from the flesh. Cut the flesh into 1/2inch pieces and discard the peel. In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Saute the onion, celery and bell pepper until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, barley and vegetable broth. Cover and cook 5 minutes. Add the diced squash, sage and parsley and cook additional 5 minutes, until squash and barley are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    Transfer vegetable mixture to a lightly oiled 2-quart baking dish. Top the vegetables with the crumbled feta. Bake, uncovered, until the cheese is golden, about 25 to 30 minutes.

    Makes 8 side dish servings, 4 main dish servings.

    Sounds good, eh?

    Congrats on another Kudu hat commission!! No pattern for that unfortunately, but it looks like some others have hooked you up! Knit on!


  22. Check out or
    both sites have great patterns…ciao

  23. Hey Kelli. Thanks for the kind words on my blog. I love taking pics, and maybe soon I’ll figure out how to do it properly. 🙂

    I’ve got a great, healthy recipe involving barley that you might like to try. Beef & Barley Stuffed Peppers. They are fairly quick and very easy … enjoy!

    Beef and Barley-Stuffed Peppers

    2 cup low-salt beef broth
    1 cup uncooked quick-cooking barley
    4 large red bell peppers
    1 # ground round
    2 cup sliced mushrooms
    2 garlic clove, minced
    6 Tb chopped green onions, divided
    ¬Ω cup tomato puree
    2 Tb chopped fresh parsley
    ¬Ω tsp salt
    ¬Ω tsp dried thyme
    ¬Ω tsp dried oregano
    ¼ tsp black pepper
    1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

    1.) Preheat oven to 350.
    2.) Bring beef broth and barley to a boil in a small saucepan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.
    3.) Cut each bell pepper in half length-wise, and discard seeds and membranes. Arrange bell pepper halves in a 9” pie plate. Cover with heavy-duty plastic wrap. Microwave at high 5 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain.
    4.) Cook beef, mushrooms and garlic in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 4 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add barley, 2 tablespoons green onions, tomato puree, and next 5 ingredients (tomato puree through black pepper) and cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Divide beef mixture evenly among pepper halves. Top each pepper half with 2 tablespoons cheese and ¾ teaspoon onions. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until cheese melts. Yield: 4 servings.

  24. Thanks for making my day so many times! I am usually a lurker, but I enjoy reading here. Thanks again!

  25. I haven’t made yogurt yet, but love mushroom barley soup. I love the recipe from the Moosewood cookbook, I posted it here:

  26. Knitting pattern:

    Skull cap with bulky yarn!

    Barley…usually use it in soup. LOSER, I know.

  27. man that is the cutest pot ever! and i am in love with your comments on this one. i have absolutely NOTHING for you. but thanks for bringing up the topic. you rock.

  28. Kelli – you need to get yourself signed up on ASAP. It’s fabulous and you can find a knitting pattern (or 1000) in a second.

    Here’s a cute bulky hat pattern to check out:

  29. Are you coming to Ukraine? This is stuff we eat here. I don’t make any of it but I drink Kefir. I didn’t know anyone outside of Ukraine knew what it is. It is supposed to be good for you. I still can’t deal with barley….sorry…. 🙂

  30. Kelli,

    Try these (some are Aran weight but I confess none are bulky), or try Knitting Pattern Central for scores of free patterns. Good luck!

  31. Girlfriend, I’ve got next to nothing for you… I don’t eat barley, I don’t even know what keffir is, and the only yogurt I eat comes from Trader Joe’s (but that’s some good stuff…)

    However, on the knit front – try (their search feature is fab!), or Also – RohanKnitter made a fantabulous bulky knitted cap in December (‘tho it had cables, and might not be what you need? Still, it was gorgeous…)

    Happy cooking, happy crafting!
    (you future crazy-cat-lady-in-training!)

  32. oh my, i love making yogurt! i typically just take a quart of whole milk, heat it to 180F, cool to about 112F (just don’t let the temp drop below 105), add my starter and put the jar somewhere that is a fairly warm heat (no contact heat–will scald the parts of the jar the yogurt is touching).

    for starter, i will often use yogourmet, but a small batch of yogurt from the grocery that is organic and doesn’t contain gelatin (eck) is a good substitute. just bring it to room temperature before adding to your warm milk.

    for a warm place, i will put the jar in the garage in the summer. in the winter, i use our igloo cooler with two jars of hot water.

    give the yogurt at least 4 hours to culture, but don’t let it sit unwatched or overnight–it will become too sour. to check the yogurt at 4 hours to see if it is solidifying–i just tilt the jar. you don’t want to break the yogurt before it has time to chill–likely an aesthetic thing. if you tilt the jar and it seems sort of liquid, let it sit another hour. refrigerate and enjoy!!!

  33. Hello from a fellow South African Emi living in Texas, now awaiting perm residence, yeah! Do tell your SA Emi I said “goeiedag”! (Good Day) Barley hmmm – I just add a handful when cooking a beef-based veggie soup, it will thicken the soup and the little barley kernels (?) will swell up whilst cooking. This is how my grandma made beef veggie soup, always lentils, green split peas and barley in the soup. She trated carrots and potatoes as well and added a handful of pasta too (bigger noodles work great). Normally the soup would start off with some beef shanks browned, taken out of the pot and browning onions, adding a Knorr cube (chicken flavor – and yes, chicken flavor with beef, its really good), then adding water and the beef again and cook until the meat is soft, removing, cutting into pieces, disregarding the bones and adding the meat back to the broth – add more water if necessary. Then you add your handful or two handfuls of barley (rinsed), your green split peas, and a handful of rinsed lentils. Make sure you have enough liquid and cook at a lower heat or the barley will remain at the bottom and burn. Taste test to make sure the barley is soft and add the grated carrots and potatoes and salt to taste. I sometimes add a bit of ketchup and worchestershire sauce to bring the taste out. Enjoy! Especially good on a cold drabby day (Do you have those in Phoenix??)

  34. What??? You have a south african roommate and you’re only mentioning it now…That still makes me like you even more.
    Regards to you roommate.

  35. Never made yogurt but now I’m going to try…This is my favorite salad – I make a huge bowl in the summer and eat off it all week. It’s good alone, or I put a cup or so on a bed of salad greens; it’s also good in a pita roll up…

    Feta and Pepperoncini Barley Salad

    1 1/2 cups water
    2/3 cup uncooked quick-cooking barley
    1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese with basil and sun-dried tomatoes
    1 cup halved grape or cherry tomatoes
    1/2 cup finely chopped pepperoncini peppers
    1/2 cup chopped bottled roasted red bell peppers
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
    1 tablespoon capers, drained
    1 tablespoon cider vinegar
    1 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil
    1/2 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
    1 (16-ounce) can navy beans, rinsed and drained

    Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan; add barley. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 18 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and the barley is tender. Drain and rinse under cold water; drain well.

    While the barley cooks, combine feta cheese, tomatoes, peppers, basil, capers, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and navy beans in a large bowl; toss well. Add the cooked barley; toss gently until combined. Serve immediately.

    I used Black eyed peas instead of navy beans, but both work!