Sloppy. Simple. Supper.

A week with the grandchildren means a week of meals that are kid friendly. Recipes that were once my kitchen staples but recipes that have now dropped way down in my rotation. This sloppy joe recipe made me famous at church for many years. It was my standard for church suppers for youth groups.

Even the kids who didn't like sloppy joes (aka Manwich) LOVED this recipe. That might be because it doesn't taste like Manwich. (Personally, I never thought Manwich was that bad.) The seasonings here are so simple that there is not much to dislike. The overall flavor has a hint of sweetness. Kids like that. I like that.

I made this earlier this week while Mommy had the girls at ballet lessons. I've made this so many times I don't need to look up the recipe. Even all these years later. Just remember, besides the meat, it's a cup of ketchup and one tablespoon of four other things—sweet/sour/savory/tangy. That's easy to remember.


1-1/2 lbs lean ground beef or turkey (I've made it with a 1 lb pk, too.)
1 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon yellow mustard

Brown meat and drain. Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes. Spoon over toasted hamburger buns.

If I use ground turkey, which comes in one-pound packages,  I will add some chopped onion when I brown the meat to help bulk it up. It also helps flavor the milder turkey.

If you are making this for a crowd, it's easy to increase the proportions. And it freezes well, too, so you might make extra for the freezer for a super quick supper on one of "those" nights.

One friend of Mommy's, who got this recipe from us, told me this was her standard "take supper to the new Mommy" meal. She takes the sloppy joe mix, buns, chips, and maybe slaw or baked beans and a pack of paper plates. Easy for the one taking it to make. Easy for the one receiving supper to get on the table. If there are toddler or preschool siblings in the house, this is a meal they will like.

Honest disclosure here...I have had kids tell me they don't like this, won't eat this, have no intention of trying this. But if I can get them to taste one bite, I've never had one who didn't change their mind. Maybe it's the name they don't like. Call it something else if you wish.

Baby Girl gobbled her supper up the night I made the Sloppy Joes. She polished off the leftovers the next day at lunch. And begged to have it again that night for supper (there wasn't any more left) when we were having cabbage with smoked sausage and tomatoes. I can totally understand that. But to her credit, she did eat the cabbage and the "little porks."

When It Works Out

Pattern:  Guriddo Stole
Yarn:  Madelinetosh Twist Light, colorway Court & Spark
Needles: size 6

Knitting is a gamble. At least it is for me. I'm not counting dishcloths and the baby hats I've made by the dozens. But when I try a new pattern with a new yarn, it requires a step out in faith. There is a commitment to hours and hours of knitting. Without any promise that I will love the end result. Without any promise that it will look good on me. Am I willing to give that much time to something without a promise of success?

Of course, I do my homework. I check out the other projects on Ravelry and read notes from all the other knitters who have made this project. I can find out if there are particular problems with the pattern. Or, maybe even with that yarn.

But every individual knitter works differently. So it's still a bit of a gamble. And this project used about 1,000 yards of yarn. That's a lot of knitting. A lot of time. And this was a pattern I saw in a magazine. There were not many finished projects to see on Ravelry. I knitted and I hoped.

On Saturday I was determined to finish this wrap before I left for the week. I knitted all day. I knitted until my shoulders hurt. I would get up and do laundry. I knitted until my back ached. I would go cook something to leave for Daddy-O to have this week. And then I would knit some more. And lo and behold, I did it! I finished it. And I blocked it before bedtime. (Blocking is a good soak in cool water, then shaping and pinning it out to dry.) This was knitted to 60 inches long. Wet, it pinned out to 80 inches. And when it was dry and I unpinned it, it measured 70 inches. See where part of the gamble is? Lots of changes in the size. At the very end.

It was a happy day when I unpinned it on Sunday morning. It was better than I had hoped for. The yarn had transformed into a a soft wrap with a beautiful drape. It's a good thing when it all works out. A really good thing.

For those who wonder, I did do a swatch. But a small swatch is an indication of what will happen. Not an exact result. The finished shawl was better than the swatch. If it hadn't turned out so well, I figure I would still have learned something. But boy, am I happy that I love it!

Doing Grandparent Things

Both little girls have fun Mimi-made socks now. Just in time for cold weather. Yes! We finally have a cold day that calls for hand knits. They were excited to put these fun socks on. And "ice skate" around the house. What else are handmade socks for?

And finishing the socks makes me feel better about heading off this morning to SAFF (Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair) to look at more yarn. You heard me say "look." That's the plan anyway. Just going to look and to visit with other knitters. And to see what those other knitters are wearing. High today will be in the upper 40s so everyone should have on lots of knitwear. It's a sad day when this annual fiber event is held on a hot weekend. And that has happened.

And while I was at Mommy's house, I made a Halloween costume for Little Sister. She wanted to be Wendy (from Peter Pan) and that is a difficult costume to find ready made. Good thing they have a Mimi who also sews. Baby Girl already had a lovely Tinkerbell costume. And yes, two days ago the temperature was in the 70s and they were fine outside without coats.

I knew making a Wendy dress on the to-do list. The plan was to buy fabric and a pattern. Measure Little Sister well and make the dress at home. And hope it would fit. But as we were walking into the fabric store, I had a brilliant idea. Why not buy an inexpensive sewing machine and make there while I could try it on her and adjust if necessary? Let me tell you this little Singer Tradition is a sweet little machine. For less than $130 (at Joann's), it made even straight stitches. All I had wanted was straight stitching and reverse and maybe zigzag. But this little machine does that and more.

Before you get excited about the half-price coupon—they always have coupons— from that store, let me tell you it doesn't work for sewing machines. I thought I was REALLY going to get a bargain. And I did. But not half-price!

I made the dress on their dining room table and let her try it on to check the hem before I finished it. So nice to do that while I was there. And now that little machine will stay at their house. I even stitched up a jacket pocket for the new son-in-law when they came for dinner. There is always something to be mended. Maybe when the little girls are older we can do some sewing lessons.

So if you are looking for a basic sewing machine for light household sewing, this is a nice choice. There were machines at Joann's that cost more and one that cost less. This one worked fine for me.

Pattern: Ribbed Socks For Kids from Susan B. Anderson
Yarn: Patons Kroy Socks Stripe, Meadow Stripes colorway
Needles:  size 2

I'll head back down soon. I hear that Baby Girl needs an angel costume for the preschool Christmas program. "That's what we do in Pre-K, Mimi. Pre-K means preschool. In case you didn't know."

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