Wednesday, March 21, 2012

S'mores Brownies & a new cookbook

I love new cookbooks, I mean not all cookbooks but most of them. I especially love the ones with lots of sweets in them. The new cookbook from Joy the Baker fit that bill perfectly. It's a pretty book to look at and the recipes inside are clever and imaginative and so delicious looking. I can't wait to make everything in it. 

For the inaugural recipe, I picked S'mores Brownies and I am so glad I did. It's something akin to your basic cake-y brownie recipe with crushed graham crackers in the batter and topped with giant marshmallows. I did slice my marshmallows in two to make them fit better and mine were a little darker than the photo in the book but they were so good. This was one of Doug's favorite new recipes, he a lot of them. Do yourself a favor and invest in this book, there are recipes for Strawberry Cookie Dough Ice Cream, a Peanut Butter & Jelly Shake, Avocado Fries, Peanut Butter & Bacon Cookies and so many other treats.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

New in-progress knitting

I've been project hopping, it happens to me a lot. I get bored working on one thing continuously, which is why I'm usually knitting several things at once.

Right now, I'm working on the Chevron Baby Blanket from PurlBee for our baby's nursery. The colors of the blanket are the same colors we'll be using in the room. It's really gone quickly, I did adjust the pattern by not holding the yarn double, going down a couple of needle sizes, and switching colors every 20 rows. The yarn is Blue Sky Alpaca Worsted Cotton in Poppy, Lemongrass, Sleet, Mediterranean, and True Red . I'm just doing two color repeats so I have around 70 rows to go to finish. I'm slightly concerned about the washing/blocking, I really hope the colors don't run.
I got the itching to use some of my prized Madelinetosh yarn club yarn for a project, which I actually don't have a lot of in sweater quantities. One of my favorites is this Eyre Light in a color called 'Envy'. The color reminds me of a lot of different things - sea colors, forests, mermaids, emeralds. I wanted to use it for something other than a shawl, I was thinking a mini-sweater. I combed through my pattern stash and found the collection of patterns (Breezy Blues from Cecily Glowik MacDonald) that I bought several months ago. She's one of my favorite designers and I have a lot of her patterns queued. I only have 950 yards of the Eyre Light, which sounds like a lot unless you have a 42" inch bust you have to accommodate. Luckily the Drifting pattern has just what I was looking for and I have right amount of yarn for it. I loooove the way the Eyre Light is knitting up, the colors are beautiful and the fabric is producing a nice drape. It's just a lot of stockinette, but I don't mind.   

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The beginnings of a new room

If you read my infertility blog you already know that after many years, many invasive treatments, and more money than we like to think about, my husband and I are expecting our first child at the end of July. This little one is seven years in the making and in those seven years I've often thought about how I'd decorate our baby's room. Now that we're finally expecting, it's been one of the fun distractions I've thought about while waiting for ultrasounds and test results and doctor's appointments.

We aren't finding out the gender, so baby's room will be pretty gender-neutral. On Pinterest, I've pinned a few things that I thought were possibilities and I've had a document on my computer where I saved all the pieces I really like and want to use. The walls are going to be a pale grey, I want to use the curtains from Ikea, a white Jenny Lind crib, various prints from Berkely Illustrations and two other prints we already own, one from Nikki McClure (shown below), bought in Portland last summer, and another one from the Renegade store in Chicago. Doug is going to make some book ledges for the wall and I'd like to find a dresser we can paint. I am totally in love with the Hopscotch rug from CB2 and the little owl nightlight from The Land of Nod. I want a rocker and saw the one below online from Ikea, but I'm not totally sold on it. I don't want to spend a ton of money but I don't want it to be hideous either.

I'm working on a few DIY projects too, a blanket I'm knitting that I'll show you tomorrow, and another yarn-y project, a mobile made of yarn-wrapped balls, an idea I got from Put Up Your Dukes. Over the weekend I made the balls, I just wrapped different size styrofoam balls (bought from Michael's) with leftovers from my yarn stash. I used a tiny dot of hot glue to glue down the first strand end and then just kept wrapping until the ball was covered. The little ones were the hardest to do, I kept dropping them. I now have to figure out what to use for the round pieces. I'm pretty happy with how it looks right now.

I'm very excited to finally get to decorate a baby room after all these years.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Baking with Julia: Rugelach

This was not my first time making rugelach, waaay back in 2008 the TWD group made rugelach, but the recipe in Julia's book is slightly different. The cream cheese dough is essentially the same: cream cheese, butter, flour, salt, and sugar. After the dough was roughly patted out, it chilled for a few hours before being rolled out and filled.

Julia has recipes in the book for prune or apricot levkar, which I am sure would have been delicious, but I went the cheater route and used apricot pastry filling from the grocery store. The filling was spread on the dough, that was more of a square than a rectangle (I still can't quite get my dough-rolling skills right). On top of that went a mixture of sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon, followed by a layer of coarsely chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, a few hazelnuts, & pistachios) and topped off with dried cranberries, Mission figs and golden raisins. Unlike the rugelach in Dorie's book, Julia's rugelach recipe calls for you to roll the dough up like a jelly-roll, which was moderately difficult for a dough packed with filling. After the rolling, the dough chilled again, this time overnight (I think you can do as little as four hours or overnight).

The next day I gave the rolls in egg wash, sliced them, dipped the slices into a cinnamon sugar-nut mixture and into the oven they went. I love the finished product, the dough is flaky, the fruit remains moist and the caramelized sugar is delicious. A time-consuming but delicious cookie!  

This week's recipe is hosted by:
The Urban Hiker
My Baking Heart