Gift-Knitting Race Continued…

In between knitting holiday projects, dinner has to be resentfully thrown together for picky family members who wolf it down in less than one-tenth the time it takes to make it lovingly and carefully prepared for my always appreciative family. But with as many knitted gifts as I hope to make, at this time of year dinner above all has to be a quick proposition. Time to return to that family favorite and one of my favorite stand-bys, Trader Joe’s sausage and lentils.

The ingredients for this dish will get you through the express line at TJ’s – and in and out of the kitchen – in record time. A couple of sliced carrots and one big chopped onion, sauteed together in a large pan with a drizzle of olive oil until soft. One package of chicken sausage (the kind that is seasoned with cilantro gives the meal a bit of a kick), sliced, and added to the pan to brown. At the end add one package of prepared lentils and about 1/2 to 1 cup of chicken broth, and allow it to simmer until the lentils are heated through. This, accompanied by a tossed green salad, is about the quickest and most satisfying meal I know.

Then, appetites satisfied, I can get back to the knitting. Another Kristen Kapur Thorpe hat joins the growing collection, this time for my brother-in-law. On my husband’s side of the family, only my brother-in-law and his partner live in a part of the country where winters get cold enough to wear a warm wool hat without succumbing to Sweaty Scalp Syndrome. For this I am actually rather grateful.

Here is one hat, and I have another to make, with sufficient style variations that they don’t walk around looking like the Thorpe Twins version of Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee. Hmmm… maybe add a pom-pom on the top? Lose the ear flaps? Make a brim deep enough to turn up? There must be endless variations on the Thorpe theme.

And because no doting mother ever tires of fulfilling the super-model fantasies of her teenage daughter, here are a couple more gratuitous photos of my very own super-model wearing the hat intended for my niece (if I can get her to part with it in time to get it into the mail, that is).

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