Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesdays with Dorie: Cocoa-Nana Bread

Bread seems like stretch for this, it's more of a cake/quickbread hybrid thing. It's very cocoa-y with a faint banana flavor in the background. Not an elaborate production to make, just keep an eye on it in the oven so it doesn't brown too quickly. I subbed almond milk for the buttermilk and the cocoa was a little less than 1 cup as the recipe called for because I ran out. A very nice treat, thanks to Steph of Obsessed with Baking for this week's selection!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Being the decider

When I think too much I start to get panicky, my mind wanders into all sorts of tiny places that make me overly emotional and generally freaked out. I am the queen of avoidance, if I don't see it/think about it/read about it - that means it won't happen/doesn't exist. This is a character flaw of mine that I really need to work on.

The reason I bring this up is I'm hitting this fork in the road of nearing the end of my 20's, coming to a stagnant place in my worklife, which is in-turn leading me to think about what I want for my career/future, making some major life decisions about kids, which isn't made any easier by our IF issues, blah blah blah. For awhile now I've been in the mindset of "if I don't think about it, it'll go away" but now everything is coming to the point where decisions will need to be made soon. I have done an excellent job of pushing everything hard and uncomfortable over in the corner, not addressing any of it and just baking cookies instead. Add to that the feelings I have lately of wanting to change something in my life, whether it be where I live or where I work or just my hair, and I think I'm working on the beginnings of some sort of weird 'I'm-almost-29-what-have-I-done-with-my-life?!-crisis'. I'm trying not to completely lose my mind though, I'm making lists and taking a lot of deep breaths and talking to people I trust and I know that eventually it will work out. I just hope I don't talk myself into a blond bob before that happens...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Making and baking (but not making bacon - yet)

For Christmas I got a stack of books including: three cookbooks, a sewing book and a book on toxic plants. Jam it, Pickle it, Cure it was especially enticing because amongst the recipes/directions are those for curing your own bacon AND rendering your own lard. Not that I'm ready to do either of those things but I like that the option is there when I want to. I had not had a chance to make anything from the books until this weekend. I saw the recipe for homemade chocolate peanut-butter cups in Jam it, Pickle it, Cure it and decided to try it out. There was no actual cooking involved, just food processing and melting. First you make little disks out of roasted peanuts, honey and a couple of other things (processed until smooth) and then you melt semi-sweet chocolate chips. Once that's done you coat the cupcake liner with a thin layer of chocolate, lightly press in one of the peanut butter disks, add more chocolate on top and let them set for at least four hours. They were perfect and relatively simple to make. Plus as long as they're kept in an airtight container they're good for a week or two.This weekend I also made a favorite of mine, arborio rice pudding. I adapted this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, adding a little extra almond extract, using vanilla bean paste and subbing almond milk for the whole milk. The texture was perfect but I should have gone a little easier on the almond extract, especially considering I used almond milk.My Featherweight cardigan is making me crazy. My sleeve increases are all kinds of jacked up and it seems like each row takes forever, although I finally got to the point to pull off the sleeve stitches and put them on scrap yarn. So since that project was driving me nuts what do I do? Cast on another project of course. This is the Saroyan scarf/shawlette thing, from Feministy. It's a super easy pattern and with worsted weight yarn and size 10 needles, it's flying. I cast on last night and I'm already done with the first section. The yarn is Madeleine Tosh worsted in Tern bought in Seattle in December. I love this yarn, the color is exquisite and it's so flippin' soft with a hint of springy-ness. Adore!

I dusted off the sewing machine today and cut out the pieces to make a straight skirt (a Simplicty pattern) with a zipper. I didn't get around to sewing any of the pieces yet but I did cut them all out. The fabric is Anna Maria Horner I bought in Portland last summer. This year I really want to branch out and expand my sewing skills past elastic waist bands. Kind of like how I want to knit a sweater that's shaped for my measurements so it doesn't look like a sack.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesdays with Dorie: Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars

This week's selection was chosen by Lillian of Confectiona's Realm. These bars were baked in a huge 9x13 pan so there were plenty. The bottom layer is a kind of cookie base with roasted peanuts, oatmeal and a hint of cinnamon. In the middle is melted chocolate chips, butter, sweetened condensed milk, more peanuts and raisins. Finally on top was more of the bottom layer. They baked for around 30 minutes then cooled for almost two hours and then were refrigerated for an hour. I loved these, a little salty with the peanuts and sweet with the fudgy middle layer. For people who hate raisins (I'm not one of those people but I know some) the raisins are nice but not needed so they could be left out. But you do need a glass of milk to drink with these.Thanks Lillian for a yummy selection!

Monday, January 18, 2010


Saturday we drove up to Nashville to spend the day, just to do something different.
We had lunch at Silly Goose, a little place in East Nashville. I had a couscous dish with olives, bleu cheese, red peppers, basil and balsamic. Highly recommend it.Visited the Sweet 16th Bakery and picked up a couple of things before they closed.

Went vintage clothing shopping at the Hip Zipper.Got slightly freaked out by the huge Billy Graham statue downtown, at least I think it's Billy Graham.Saw an exhibit at the Frist Center. (no pics allowed inside so this is us outside looking dorky)Had a mocha at Crema, which is supposed to be the best in the city.Found two books from one of my favorite authors at Bookman/Bookwoman.Ate biscuits and country fried steak after waiting an hour at the Loveless Cafe.Then we drove home, or rather I drove for about an hour before Doug decided I should not drive as it was raining steadily and I was making him nervous because the 18 wheelers kept passing me and splashing water all over the window shield causing me to freak out.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

This Sunday in pictures

I had to go in to work this morning to take pictures of an event. I've always been struck by how pretty the light coming through the stained glass windows is. After the event I went through the sanctuary and hall and snapped some pictures of the windows (and the plaque on my office door).The paperwhites are blooming, the smell is somewhat obnoxious though, but they're very pretty.I've spent the rest of the afternoon being lazy and knitting. The progress on the Featherweight cardigan is s l o w, there are so many stitches now. I have to do 45 increases (which comes out to 90 rows).And I'm sure you have already done it but if you haven't it would be really nice to send some funds to an organization that's assisting with Haiti relief. Besides sending cash to organizations like the American Red Cross, lots of folks in the crafting community have set up special ways to buy/give/donate towards the cause. I got a new little vase from Melissa, who is giving a portion of her proceeds to Doctors Without Borders. Ravelry has a page for designers who are giving some of their proceeds to Haitian relief efforts and the Craft Hope page on Etsy is doing the same thing. In the wake of so much suffering and sadness it's a really good thing to do.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Recently I bought an abundance of teabags, Earl Grey, Lady Grey and Mint. Lady Grey is my favorite and I drink more of it than the others. So I have a lot of Earl Grey in the pantry, which led me to finally try the Earl Grey cookie recipe from the Martha Cookie book (click here for recipe). These are little buttery cookies with a hint of bergamot. Easy-peasy to make too. Mine are not as pretty and round as the ones in the book though.Also grey, my first knit-a-sweater-a-month sweater, the Featherweight Cardigan in Malabrigo laceweight. It's grey with some pale lavender undertones. It may take me forever to finish, the yarn is so thin and light it's hard to get good tension, but it's so soft.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tuesdays with Dorie: Mrs. Vogel's Scherben

Sometimes you should do what the directions say, otherwise you might end up with a not-so-great result. This week's recipe was chosen by Teanna of Spork or Foon? Teanna has an excellent blog where she makes totally amazing things with gorgeous photos and writes hilarious commentary. Now these little dough strips were supposed to be deep fried and then tossed in confectioner's sugar while still warm. Something akin to tiny bites of funnel cake. I, however, baked them in the oven instead of frying them. They didn't turn out so hot, they were a little too brown in the thin spots and kind of dry since they weren't fried in oil. Lesson learned, sometimes it's better to follow the directions!

Monday, January 11, 2010

A hat, a cake & keeping warm

I finished my first knit-object of 2010, I started it right after Christmas but didn't finish it until last Thursday. I blocked and washed it over the weekend and ta-da! It's the Ripple Hat from Knit and Tonic (the worsted version) knit up in Dream in Color Classy I bought in Seattle. The colorway is called Strange Harvest and it's a weird mustard-y color that I really like. I really love this hat because almost every hat I've knit has a ribbed band but this one has a garter stitch band instead. It's a super easy pattern and pretty quick too.A couple of weeks ago I was catching up on my blog-reading and found this recipe from goodLife{eats}. It's a Cardamon Citrus Coffee Cake and it's really good. I have a large baggie of cardamon I bought last year and I'm trying to find recipe that call for it. Plus by making this cake I got to use my shiny new bundt pan. Easy recipe, I almost forgot to put the filling though so my filling/sugar swirl sit almost at the bottom of the cake. I just dusted the top with powdered sugar but I think it might be nice with a thin orange juice glaze too.It's been unusually cold here the past week, we even got a tiny dusting of snow last Thursday. Nothing to write home about though, the thing about being an adult is there are no snow days (at least no where I've worked in the past nine years). Yesterday I was worried our heating system was working too hard so I turned the heat down and Doug brought in the electric heater from his shop so we could run it while we were in the living room. When our cat Ed figured out that the heater was putting out warmth he plopped himself down in front of it and stayed there. Happiest cat ever.Oh and here are the paperwhites, week four. I took this picture yesterday and this morning when I woke up the tallest one has started to bud.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

2009 Knitting Review

I feel like I wasn't as productive in 2009 as I was ln 2008, meh. I did knit several small things I don't have pictures of (baby hats and such).

2 scarves (gifted)

2 bunny hats (gifted)3 man hats (gifted)

1 cowl (gifted)

3 hats (for me) Here's the most recent, the Elizabethtown hat, done in Rowan Felted Tweed I bought in Seattle.1 pair of mittens (gifted), made for Regina, knitted in Ella Rae Classic Wool4 sweaters/tops (for me)
Liesl, I don't have a picture of yet. I'm not real happy with it, plus I still need to sew on the buttons.
Ophelia, knit up in Malabrigo Cotton. Again not really happy with it. My fault though, bust needs to be bigger, or I should be skinnier, oh well.1 shawl (for me)
The Woodland Lace Shawl that I drug around on airplanes for months, knit in Dream in Color Smooshy. It went to Seattle twice this year plus Portland. I love it, I just wish it was bigger.
My lofty goal for 2010 is to knit a sweater a month (or close to it). There's a Ravelry group for this adventure and I already have several sweater's worth of yarn in my stash. We shall see how this all pans out. I may be crying 'uncle' before the end of January...