Archive | December 2007

Cooking reflections

How timely that J at Knitting Group today mentioned the recipe/recipe box post on Mason Dixon Knitting blog today, the ‘reflection on this past year of cooking’ day. I’ve been blessed/cursed to inherit a gigantic amount of recipe-related items such as these little booklets (over 50 0f them) …

cooking booklets

and this handwritten recipe card from someone’s ‘Mama’ – I think it is my great-grandmother’s Mama, but no one can say for sure.

jelly roll

(for those without Eagle Eyes) –

Jelly Roll 

3 egg whites

3 egg yolks

1 c sugar

1 1/2 c flour

2 level teaspoons baking powder

1/2 c warm water

flavoring

Sift flour, measure, add baking powder, sift 3 times. Beat egg whites stiff, fold in sugar, fold in beaten yolks.  Add water and mix in flour lightly.  Bake 25 min in oven 350 or 375.  Spread with tart jelly.  Roll in wet cloth.  – Mama

Before you get all dreamy and nostalgic, here is my recipe/cookbook corner…

cookbook corner

You can see that I have a lot of recipes and I’m always looking for more. I have a worse habit of cookbooks than yarn. I’ve been cooking since I learned how in 7th grade. It is probably no surprise that there are fewer ‘cooking things I learned this year’ and more just recipes I tried.

Recipes/Cooking Things I Tried this Year (the ones I remember)

Fruit salsa (from Chef Walter whose link is “dead,” ok, but needs refinement and perhaps store-bought cinnamon pita chips)

Truffle cake (from Sheri at the Loopy Ewe – rave)

Special K bars (from Sheri at the Loopy Ewe – good, but mine needed more cereal)

Southern pralines (Martha Stewart Living, December issue – rave), coated some in chocolate, too!

Minestrone soup (Martha Stewart Living, some 2007 issue – rave)

Many versions of tortilla soup (none as good as I want)

Paninis (Food TV, Michael Chiarello I think?), we use the grill and an iron skillet
Cooking from my Pantry (the cooking version of Knit from your Stash – rave) -this really upped the ‘creativity factor’ for cooking and eating in the house over the summer.

I don’t recall using any different techniques this year, but I have found a few gadgets that I really like and use often.

My Favorite Kitchen Gadgets

Scooper, bamboo spoons, chopper, mandolin slicer, and adjustable measuring cup from Pampered Chef

Rada knives

Parchment paper

Clothes pins (or closing every kind of bag imaginable, even in the freezer)

Pasta roller

Looking forward, I’d like to try a new recipe each week during the next year. I have a new cookbook (like I need more, ha!) that I got for Christmas from my lovely MIL (Ro’s Simple Pleasures). It is a local cook and book from Paducah. I made some onion soup tonight from it and it was yummy! I’d also like to make a gingerbread house with Bug next Christmas.

In looking at my ‘cooking life,’ I’ve come to realize that cooking is very much a way to share something with others. In particular, baking allows me to show affection and friendship, but it is also a stress reliever for me when I am upset. It sounds funny, but I bake when I am happy and I bake when I am sad.

Finally, what is a post without Bug?
static hair

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Year-end reflection begins

I like the idea of looking back on the past year (like Knit Lit and One Hot Stove), but I’m going to put my own spin on things. I knit and do crafty things because I enjoy learning and creating, so here is my knitting reflection.

Knitting Things I’ve Learned How to Do this Year

1. knit socks (Crazy Heels and Toes)

2. read a lace chart (class at my LYS)

3. use a circular needle, including magic loop (Crazy Heels and Toes)

4. do shadow knitting (Rosalind)

5. do a simple cable (Fetching)

6. dye yarn with kool-aid (class at my LYS)

7. make a skein and use a swift (ladies at the LYS)

8. felt in the washer (Fiber-trend clogs)

9. add beads into knitting (Odessa)

10. make a blog (initiated by listening to Lixie Knits It)

Knitting/Fiber Things I’d Like to Try Next Year

1. Weaving on a hand loom (if my Weavette loom ever gets here)

2. Knit or crochet a garment (sweater, maybe?)

3. Finish one of my lace projects

I think I’ll write about my cooking things learned tomorrow….

Post-Christmas Post

Well, Christmas has come and gone.  I always feel a little sad after Christmas has gone.   I enjoy the “suspending” of real life routine that comes with the holidays.

Bug enjoyed her Christmas and seeing her Nana and Pappaw.  She loved playing with her little ponies and her tea (coffee, to her) set.

ponies and “tea”

She got the thrill of her life when a lady at the park let her walk a little tea cup chihuahua named Roxie.

Bug and Roxie

She liked putting up my hair in a pig tail like hers on Christmas Day…

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DH liked his socks (first pair ever!) and I finished the fetching wrist warmers.  I didn’t give them away, yet.   I’m not sure that DH’s sister would have wanted them anyway.  The DNA scarf is progressing, now 46 inches (118cm), but is slow going.  I love the alpaca and am probably thoroughly spoiled by the softness of this fiber.

Ramblings and a recipe

Even though the semester is done, I’ve been at work both days (not for a “full” day, though).  I’m not going in again until after New Year’s (my goal).  I’m feeling somewhat burnt out at work, so I’m trying to find some peace and replenishment.  I have a tough time finding some kind of balance between work, family, and personal time.

Yesterday I joined a gym in town while the rec center is closed for the break and it was fun to go yesterday.  They have a big movie theater and I watched the end of the last Bourne movie.  I wonder if they only play action movies to keep the pace up.

Today I took Bug to the doctor (waited 45 minutes past the appt time before we even saw the doctor!) to find out she has an ear infection.  We didn’t have an inkling until she screamed non-stop last night about midnight for an entire hour and then woke up screaming again at 3am.  I’m surprised I’m even still awake.  It is a good thing she is cute and loves the cats!

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On the crafty front (the last 2 weeks or so…), I’ve finished one fetching and cast on the second in some lovely alpaca that I bought at the Fiber Festival.
fetching

I also worked on the Rosalind (DNA) scarf for DH.  It currently measures 24 inches (61cm).

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I am hoping to get it done over the break since he bought a winter coat to match it (how nice is that!)  I’m very lucky that he appreciates the things I make for him.  He also likes his felted slippers (clogs).  Also he just handed me a frozen fuzzy navel!  MMmmMmmMm!   I am such a lucky girl.  Here is the “recipe.”

Frozen fuzzy navel

orange sherbet

peach schnaps

vodka (optional, for a strong drink)

The amounts you choose will depend on how strong you want your fuzzy navel.  Scoop some orange sherbet into a blender, add some peach schnaps and vodka.  Blend until the consistency of a thick milkshake.  Enjoy!

THE candy weekend

A friend and I meet in Berea at her mom’s house to make Christmas candy each year.  It is a wonderful chance to catch up and cook together.

Here goes: (left to right, top to bottom):

our girls, coconut bonbons, truffles,

haystacks, chocolate-covered pralines, pralines

mock heath bars, peanut brittle, and buckeyes

(not pictured: chocolate fudge and butterscotch fudge)

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Here is the room with all of the candy stacked on each other and in the chairs (again the fudge didn’t make it into the picture)…

candy

Bug’s teachers are the main recipients of my portion of these chocolatey-sugary-buttery confections.   We used almost 10 pounds of sugar (mainly the fudge and the brittle), 3 pounds of butter, 5 bags of coconut, and about 10 bags of chocolate chips. MmmmmMMMmmm!

Adventures in yarn and candy

Lots of things going on here.  I finished the clogs for DH.

Here is a pre-felt picture…

pre-felt DH clogs

and an after-felt picture…

after-felt DH clogs

I also made several batches of peanut brittle.  It is a wonderful treat to give away.

Peanut Brittle (a la the “old” Fisher peanut bag)

1/3 cup water

1 c corn syrup

2 c sugar

3 c raw peanuts

1 t salt

2 t baking powder

2 t butter (real butter does make a difference here)

ingredient

Combine sugar, water, and corn syrup.  Bring to boil, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches 240F (soft ball).

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Add peanuts, stir constantly until the mixture reaches 295F.  You will begin to smell a “toasted peanut” smell just before it hits this temperature.

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Remove from heat and add in butter and stir.

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Add in salt and baking powder  (mixture will foam).

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and start to turn a more caramel-like color.

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Pour onto parchment paper and let cool a few minutes.

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Carefully stretch out the mixture by pulling at the edges.  It will be hot, but the thinner peanut brittle is so delicious and not so rough on Grandma’s dentures.

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Let it cool completely and break it up… Voila!

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This is 4 batches.

I also tried the a Southern Praline recipe from December’s Martha Stewart Living.  It was awesome.  They didn’t turn out so pretty, but were delicious.  I won’t stir them as long next time.

pralines

I did some experimenting with the usual truffle recipe.  I tried piping the mixture instead of letting it harden as much.  It was a bust.  I’ll just have to do it the long way (scooping and rolling the little truffle balls).  They tasted fine, but were very soft and small.  The chocolate coating also clotted up… boo-hoo.

truffle expt gone bad

There will be more candy-making this weekend.  Laurel and I are traveling to Berea to make candy with a friend from high school/college.   It is always nice to catch up.

My SP is the best SP ever!

Bug and I arrived home to find a giant box at the door.  It had been a long day of work, then errands.

This box was sent by my SP11 pal, author of Coffee Yarn.   I actually already read her blog, which I stumbled upon because I was interested in dyeing yarn with coffee.  She is the best pal ever.  She sent so many wonderful things.

A beautiful box

box

filled with lots of thoughtful goodies including:

contents

a woven scarf, a knitted bookmark,  2 patterns (one toddler skirt and one vest), yarn (dreamsicle cotton and blue-green mohair blend), espresso-infused dark chocolate, a sock blocker key ring (with tiny pattern) , bath salts, post-it notes, paints and detangler for Bug.   I know it may sound strange, but I don’t have many hand-made items.  I give them all away and rarely make anything for me.  It is very special to have someone make something for me.

card

To top it all off, she made this beautiful card!  What a thoughtful person she is!!!!  I’m not sure that I should even join SP again because I’m sure that no other pal could live up to her… 🙂  Thank you so much!

Bug enjoyed every bit of opening the box, opening the presents inside, and playing in the peanuts inside….

bug in box

She got very upset when we finally cleaned them up and she couldn’t play in them anymore.

bug upset

In other news, I finished my socks.  The ends need woven in and washed.

socks, pair 2

Also, I made Sheri’s Truffle Cake for work except I used pomegranate seeds instead of raspberries for decoration.  It was a big hit!

truffle cake