Sunday, August 30, 2009

Back Home From the Beach

We took a short break, a trip down to the Wilmington, Ft. Fisher, Kure Beach area. Took baby to his first aquarium. Here's a picture of us babywearing at the Aquarium:

It's hard to believe my baby is so big these days. He turned 1 last Sunday.
He thoroughly enjoyed his first taste of chocolate frosting.


Sometimes I wish I could keep him little forever. He's so perfect and sweet and innocent. He doesn't know how scary and hurtful the world can be. Today he took his first real steps. He'd taken a few stumbling unknowing steps, but today I stood him on his feet, and he took 4 very deliberate steps over to hubby. It was incredible to watch, and he was so proud of himself. A year ago he was this tiny little wadded up creature, now he's a tall, strong, independent little boy.

Then:



Now:



It's still hard for me to believe how it happened, even though I have been here for every glorious moment.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lemon Bars- Recipe

Another egg consuming baking project. I've never made these before. I read through recipes, and borrowed tidbits til I came up with something I had the ingredients for:

crust:
1c butter
1/2c confectioners sugar
2c all purpose flour
dash salt

I blended all this in my food processor until it was a nice crumbly consistency. sprayed my 9x13 glass baker, pressed it into the bottom, baked at 350 for about 15 minutes.

Filling:
4 eggs
1.5c confectioners sugar (or granulated, i was out)
1/2c lemon juice
4tbs all purpose flour

whisk together, pour over hot crust, bake for addition 15-20 mins. Let stand to cool, then cool further in the fridge. You can tell they are done when they are brown around the edges and looks solid in the middle, appears firm when you jiggle the pan.



you can see the layers of crust and filling, yum!



I also dusted them with some more confectioners sugar, maybe about a tbs.

Review: The crust was PERFECT! The filling could use more than 1/2 cup lemon juice, if you like them really tart. These were more sweet than tart. maybe closer to 3/4c, and maybe some zested lemon peel. and a touch less flour. They are very good though, considering it was my first time making them.

Sail boat and waves

This is another Fair Isle style pattern I worked up. I couldn't get a good picture to save my life, probably because I had a squirmy baby on my lap. Admittedly, the sail boat would have looked better in different colors, the brown is too dark, it looks black next to the white, and the gray doesn't contrast enough with the white, or maybe it's just too small. *sigh* the waves turned out well though. I'll make some mittens to match later today or tomorrow.

from the front:


From the back:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Recipe of the Day 8/18

We have this for dinner at least once a month, everyone likes it which makes it a keeper for sure!

Mulligatawny Soup- Serves 6

* 3 stalks celery, chopped
* 3 carrots, diced
* 1/4 cup butter
* 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1 1/2tbs curry powder- use more for more flavor
* 96oz chicken broth (3 of the cartons)
* 2-3 apples, cored and chopped (i used a granny smith apple)
* 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts - cut into cubes (I have seen it done with Lamb too)
* salt to taste
* ground black pepper, red pepper, garlic, and onion to taste
* 1 pinch dried thyme\
*1/2 cups raisins- optional
* 1/2 cup milk or cream

* 1 cup rice, 2 cup water

Directions: Cook Rice on the side. In soup pot saute carrots, garlic, onion, and celery in the butter, about 5 minutes, or until onion is clear. Add curry powder and flour, stir rapidly until it begins to get clumpy and stick to the bottom of the pot. Add chicken broth, stir well. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes. Add chicken, apple, raisins, and remaining spices. Cover and continue to simmer another 20 minutes, or until chicken is done. Add the rice and the milk, let cook another 5-10 minutes.
I served it with some whole wheat Naan bread I got at the store. was pretty fabulous :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I made these for baby's birthday cookout Saturday, they are sooo yummy!



Makes 24 cupcakes:

3 eggs
1 cup oil (I like to sub 1/2 cup apple sauce for 1/2 cup oil sometimes, makes it healthier and more moist)
1 cup sugar (I use the raw sugar)
1 tart apple, grated
2 large carrots, grated
1 cup raisins, soaked then drained
1tbs vanilla
1tbs cinnamon

2 cups whole wheat flour
1tsp salt
1tsp baking soda
1.25tsp baking powder
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts. I used abut half 1/4c flax seeds in place of nuts.

preheat over to 350. mix together eggs, oil, sugar, apple, raisins, carrots, vanilla. In a separate bowl sift the flour, salt, baking soda and powder together, then combine til mixed. Fold in raisins and nuts last. pour batter into greased pans or muffin tins. bake 25mins
I only put raisins in half of the cupcakes this time.




Frosting:

1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
4tbs butter, softened
2.5c powdered sugar
2tsp vanilla


blend cream cheese and and butter, add sugar and vanilla, beat until smooth.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Chocolate Cupcakes

Rainy Day Chocolate Cupcakes



I'm calling these rainy day cupcakes, because today was rainy, and I was bored, so I decided to do some baking with what I had in the cupboard. Makes 12 cupcakes.

Ingredients:

1c all purpose flour
1/8tsp baking soda
1.5tsp baking powder
1/2 heaping cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1/8tsp salt
2.5tbs melted butter
1 heaping cup granulated sugar (used raw organic)
2 eggs
1/2tsp vanilla
3/4c milk (used organic soy)

preheat oven to 350, place cupcake liners in muffin tin, or use pan spray. mix sugar and butter and eggs, then add milk and vanilla. add baking powder and soda and salt, cocoa, finally the flour. mix well. measure about a 1/4c into each cupcake wrapper. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes back out clean. Another trick for telling if they are done is to touch the top, and if it feels springy, not leaving a dint, then they are done. Let cool, top with favorite icing. Enjoy!

I will say these aren't the very best cupcakes I've ever had, but this was my first time making them from scratch, and I thought they were easy, and turned out well. Not as sugary sweet as a store bought mix. Plenty moist, not crumbly, rose well, but not too high so they were still easy to frost. I will probably serve them at a play group I'm hosting tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Update on my quiche

hubby hated it :o( *cries*

I get so discouraged trying to cook for him sometimes because he turns his nose up at anything new or different.

The Quiche That Made Me A Believer

Ever since our hens started laying, I've had to get busy using up the eggs. I personally have never been a fan of eggs, or quiches. But out of desperation and a fridge full of eggs, I found a recipe, tweaked it, and this was the fabulous result:

Crab Quiche:



Ingredients:

1 frozen pie crust (I used Marie Calenders)
3 eggs
2 6oz cans lump crab meat
1/2 cup milk (we use Organic Soy)
1/2- 1c shredded cheese, depending on your preference. I used 1/2 c of Monterey Jack
2tbs flour
2 dashes hot sauce- we like Texas Pete
Generous dash garlic powder, onion powder
1-1.5 tsp Old Bay seasoning, depending on how spicy you want it.

Preheat over to 350. Whisk eggs, milk, spices, and flour. Stir in crab meat and cheese. Pour into pie crust. place pie crust on a cookie sheet, bake for 40-45 minutes.

This would also be fabulous with mushrooms in it, but my crew won't eat them.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My own Pattern

This is my first stab at a technique of knitting called Fair Isle. It involves carrying one or more strands of yarn behind your main color (MC), and knitting with them to create patterns and images on the front of the work. This is a patter of simple rose buds I came up with for this newborn hat. Here's a picture of it almost finished:




As a beginner, I am probably a little too proud of myself for how well this piece has turned out. It was easy, and did exactly what I wanted it to do. Granted, this is a very, very simple pattern, but it has inspired me to try out more complicated ideas.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Hippie Homemaker Knits

Fun, Fashionable, Hand Knitted Apparel for the Whole Family....


Or something like that. My mom is having me knit some things for her new fiber arts studio/store, Up and Dyed. Right now I am finishing up my first baby items, a hat and matching mittens:



This is also a great example of Magic Loop Knitting, which is my preferred method for knitting in the round. I never, EVER use double pointed needles, this is so much easier. Here are a couple more pictures of Magic Loop in action:




I would also like to do some adult hats, and some other layette items, such as bibs, baby legs, and maybe booties (if I can master sock knitting). I'm still a beginner, so I am pretty nervous about trying to market my work, but mom is very excited about it, so I guess we're going to give it a try.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Busy week, we've all been sick

Baby has finally gotten over his snot, my sore throat is starting to clear up, but now daddy is knee deep in it as well. One of my favorite home remedies for a sore throat:

The Hot Toddy

mug of steamy hot tea (Earl Grey is good),
splash of lemon juice,
dollop of honey,
splash of dark rum

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Baking FAIL!

I was going for fruit cookies, I ended up with lumps of sweet, crumbly bread. My original plan was to make this recipe for Fresh Fig Cookies:

1c granulated sugar (i use raw sugar instead of white)
1/4c shortening 1/4c butter, softened

1 egg
2c flour
1.5c chopped fresh figs (or dried, soaked and drained)
cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, to taste
nuts coarsely chopped, optional (I didn't have any, but will add them
next time. walnuts or pecan would be good)

mix sugar, butter, and shortening until smooth, add egg, flour, spice, then figs and nuts. spoon onto pan, bake at 350 for 15-20 mins. makes 24 large cookies.


I have made this recipe before, and it was truly fabulous. This time I was going to sub a half cup of whole wheat flour for white flour. Well tonight my figs were too ripe, and they turned to mush when I mixed them in to my batter. That made the batter too wet and sticky. So I added flour, and added flour, and added flour. Finally got it back to a good consistency. Then I decided since all the figs were mush, I would chop up some fresh cherries and just make fruit cookies. Well the cherries did fine, but all that extra whole wheat flour made the cookies really really bread like. and I should have added an extra egg, because they are falling apart. I made some simple frosting for them, but I managed to accidentally double my recipe for the frosting, and now I have all this left over cherry butter cream frosting. Here are some pictures of my baking disaster:


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Recipe of the Day- 8/1

Tried a new one out on the boys today. Indian inspired lentil stew, served with my super awesome corn muffins. Baby and I loved it... daddy wasn't so keen on the lentils.

Indian inspired lentil stew:

1.5c dried, rinsed lentils
5c water (or chicken stock)
4 carrots, peeled, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
3 medium red potatoes, chopped
dried onion
4oz tomato sauce
curry powder, red pepper, salt to taste
dash (around 1/4c) of milk (we use organic soy) or half and half

bring lentils and water to a boil, add veggies, cover and reduce heat, add spices, simmer until veggies are soft and most of the water has been absorbed. At this stage I like to remove half of the soup and blend it down in the food processor but it's not necessary. I like the thickness it adds to the soup. Right before serving add the milk. This would be good served with brown rice, crusty bread, naan, or we liked it with corn muffins.

Growing our own spaghetti sauce

This year we grew our own ingredients for marinara sauce, since that's something we eat a lot.

We started in March with raised beds dug in our backyard:



Then our tomatoes (Romas and Bella Italias) and peppers grew and grew, with lots of sunshine, water, and love:


In late June and July we began to harvest. We also grow our own rosemary:



To make the sauce I used:
about 12 fresh tomatoes (as seen above)
4 medium green pepper (as seen above)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 cloves of garlic
1 carrot
dried oregano, basil
pinch sugar (raw organic)
salt and pepper to taste
3-4 tbs of canned tomato paste for color and texture

Peeled, seeded, chopped veggies, pureed in the food processor, then cooked on the stove with spices and tomato paste until thick and fabulous (about 30 mins, covered, simmering on low)! You can also add onions, mushrooms, squash, or zucchini to this for extra veggie goodness! This made a double batch, enough for 2 meals. I froze half.
YUM!

Finally Starting My Homemaking Blog

I've been meaning to get this started for a while. Mostly I want this blog to be a place where I can share some of my various projects- cooking, gardening, knitting; and my thoughts about parenting, working inside the home, and trying to live our life outside the norm. Expect to see lots of recipes and rambling!