Thursday, January 30, 2014

A knitted baby sweater

The clever girl in 2009 and the clever baby in 2014!
Many years ago, when I was pregnant with the clever girl, I knit this sweater.  It is the Placket Neck Pullover from the book Last Minute Knitted Gifts.  I intentionally made it a gender neutral color, as I just couldn't get behind everything being all pink and frilly for the clever girl.  Brilliant!  When the clever baby came along, he could wear it, too!  The older he gets, the fewer hand-me-downs he can get from the clever girl, but I am always thrilled to put him in something I made!  And the clever girl loves when he wears her old clothes.  What will I do when he doesn't fit it anymore?  So sad...

I knit this little sweater with a 50% cotton, 50% acrylic yarn from GGH.  I don't recall the name of the yarn but it might have been Bali...  It makes for a really cozy, smooshy sweater.  A few things I love about this pattern:  The edging is all done in a seed stitch, which is not binding or snug but gives a nice visual and textural detail.  And the "buttons" on the placket are beads, not actually buttons.  I used a red, green, and orange bead.  A fun way to spice up the sweater.  Finally, the entire thing is knit from the bottom up with very little seaming!  Just sewing the underarms together from where the sleeves meet the body.  I love a pattern like this. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

TWD: Baking with Julia - Vanilla Chiffon Roll

To be honest, this week's Tuesday's with Dorie recipe filled me with trepidation.  Vanilla Chiffon Roll.  Yikes.  Chiffon means beaten egg whites which means lots of folding.  And folding is just something that I am not very confident about.  I need a hands-on class on folding.  Origami?  Yeah, I can probably figure that out from a book.  Folding ingredients?  Not so much.  HOWEVER, I think I did a good job this time.  (Though I am not 100% sure...)  We'll just go with the idea that I did a good job, ok?

Anyway, the first thing to know about this cake is that it is filled with a chocolate-walnut mousse.  YUM.  I mean, YUM.   Toasted walnuts, walnut oil, melted bittersweet chocolate, egg yolks, sugar, water and heavy cream come together to make this marvelous, delicious mousse.  I will admit that I got distracted when whipping the cream so it got a bit OVER-whipped, but not so bad and I was still able to make a mousse (and not butter) so that was a relief!  Baking, among many many other things, can be problematic on sleep deprivation. The clever baby is already 9 months old, and he is getting teeth like gangbusters which leads to lots of waking, thus very little sleep for me.  I do find that sleep deprivation is a very good sort of torture - it does crazy things to the brain.  But that is not the topic for today, the Vanilla Chiffon Roll is, isn't it?  I am side-tracked already....

Monday, January 13, 2014

Double Dipped Pretzel Rods

We received a yummy gift basket from some friends that, among other treats, included some dipped pretzel rods.  So when it was time to think up something to bring for the clever girl's holiday party for her kindergarten class, I thought pretzel rods would be a fun treat!  I mean, who can resist the combination of salty and sweet, plus there are fun sprinkles all over them!  Perfect!

These fun treats are easy and relatively fast to make.  Depending on your sprinkle choices, they could be used for any occasion!  Birthday parties, spring flings, halloween, anything you want!  Or for no occasion at all, as they are pretty tasty...

Friday, January 10, 2014

Gingerbread Bundt Cake with Pear Caramel Glaze

For dessert after Christmas dinner, I made Gingerbread Bundt cake with Pear Caramel Glaze.  I do not recall how I fell across this recipe online, but I am so glad I did!  It is amazing.  Plus, it makes use of my fabulous new bundt pan.  I know, how many bundt pans can one person have?  I put this particular pan in my "want" list on Amazon for about forever.... looking at it and debating and just not convincing myself that I really should buy another bundt pan.  But then I simply decided that this particular bundt pan was so stinking beautiful, I would give another bundt pan away if that helped my conscious to purchase this pan.  So that is what I did (purchase it anyway... I haven't gotten rid of another pan yet!!).  I mean, take a look at the cake coming out of this pan:

Isn't it beautiful?  In case you are now drooling over this pan as well, it is the Nordic Ware Platinum Collection Heritage Pan.  Oh, and the pan released the cake perfectly!  After I baked this cake, Mr. Clever Mom, my mother-in-law, my mom, my dad, AND my sister were all remarking as to how beautiful the cake turned out.  This was BEFORE they tasted it.  Mr. Clever Mom wondered why I debated so long about buying it.  I guess I am frugal that way sometimes, maybe more than I should be!  Ah well... on to the amazing recipe.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

TWD: Baking with Julia - Country Bread

Our Tuesday's with Dorie recipe this week is Country Bread.  You might also call this "Bread Success", or "yahoo, I did it" bread.  Though I knew what the recipe was for this week well enough in advance, the date actually snuck up on me so I was scrambling a bit to get it done.  This bread (like many in this book) has several steps, one which involved an optional overnight rise.  I wanted to do that overnight rise, as according to the book it would give the bread a kick of sourdough flavor, which I love.  So once I realized that my time was running short, I busted a move on making this bread!  Thanks to recently making Pumpernickel Loaves, I already had all of the ingredients on hand!  (Rye flour isn't usually a standard pantry item in my house...)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Carrot Spice Muffins - aka Morning Glory Muffins

I received a juicer for Christmas!  I mean to tell you, having a juicer makes me so excited, I can hardly stand it.  I have been making up all sorts of concoctions and basking in my healthy mornings.  Seriously, I have been doing the happy dance all over the kitchen!!  Thank you, thank you, Mr. Clever Mom!  I LOVE it!  A by-product of having a juicer is lots of pulp.  The other morning I made just plain carrot juice (which was my impetus for wanting a juicer so badly - I have been buying carrot juice constantly!!) so I had a bunch of carrot pulp left over.  Surely, there is something I can do with this pulp, I thought.  So, I made carrot muffins!!  And they turned out DELICIOUS!

Now, if you don't have a juicer thus no carrot pulp in your house, do not fret.  This recipe actually calls for shredded carrot.  I merely substituted the carrot pulp and hoped for the best, and it worked!  The recipe is from Dorie Greenspan's Baking - From My Home to Yours, which I HIGHLY recommend if you enjoy baking at all, or are interested in learning more about baking.  Every recipe I have tried in this book is a winner!