Knitting

Not Your Mama’s Banana Bread


IN THE OVEN

Just a quick post to share a new take on an old favorite:  Nutella Swirled Banana Bread.  Moist, nutty, with chocolate and banana hints, it tempted me, a dyed in the wool unfan of bananas.  Thanks to Girl Versus Dough for blogging this!

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Each day provides its own gifts.  Marcus Aurelius

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Knitting

Yum


IN THE OVEN

I’ve gotten a little bit out of the habit of blogging my baking adventures, but rest assured, they continue.  I’m trying to keep my cooking/baking obsession somewhat under control but so far, I’ve not been very successful.  I made a new cinnamon raisin swirl bread the end of last week which I had every intention of taking to Stuttgart and sharing but, naturally, it got left on the counter in the kitchen.  So, we’ve been enjoying it ourselves.  The only real rub is that Mr. Iknead and I just can’t eat the baked goodies fast enough and sometimes they go stale or even moldy.  I think I might start sharing with the neighbors, would that be too weird nowadays?  Growing up, we always shared back and forth with neighbors, but that was then and we knew our neighbors well.  Now, though, we don’t, really, just mostly to wave when we see them outside.  Could this be a sign to break out of my cocoon and reach out?  I think it might be just that.  I’m thinking of banana bread today, that would be a good start.

Anyway, I wanted to share this recipe I tried last night that was so good – it was comfort food and crazy easy – Slow Cooker Salisbury Steak.  Here’s the link.  I fixed mashed potatoes to go with it and it was divine!  Real potatoes, too.  I know what my lunch is going to be!

THE GRANDS

Can you stand a few more pics of the smartest, most beautiful grandbabies in the universe?  I thought you could!

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The Sprout and Me

That’s the Karma sweater I’m wearing.  Turned out well, don’t you think?

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The Papoose and a Cupcake

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Babydiva in her Tutu – How Cute Is That?

Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind.  Samuel Johnson

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Knitting

Getting My Hands Dirty and Bread Love


GOING TO POT

I’m still love, love, loving my pottery class and look forward to it every week.  Yesterday, we learned about building with coils and how to use an extruder, which is a really quick, easy way to make them.  Takes a little bit more upper body strength than I have, but by standing on a stool and leaning my weight on the handle, I can get the job done.  Here’s my pottery WIP from yesterday – with emphasis on the WIP!  I’m starting to feel more comfortable with the clay, catching on to how it feels when it’s too wet to add details (too wet clay is floppy and will slump and collapse) and then how it feels when it’s dry enough to hold the details or embellishments added.  Cool stuff, I think.

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I didn’t get to finish this little pot, I want to flare the sides more and then narrow and smooth the top; since I’m in a class at the Art Center, I can come and go at the pottery studio when I want, not just at class time.  I may go later today and work on it a little more, maybe experimenting some with different sized coils and bases.  I love this!!

FROM THE OVEN

The Sundried Tomato Basil bread was such a success that I want to share it.  This isn’t my recipe, so to give due credit, the original was submitted by girlversusdough on tablespoon.com.  She has a baking blog, girlversusdough.com, one I’ve enjoyed following.

Sundried Tomato Basil Bread

1 cup warm water

2 tbsp olive oil

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour

2 tsp sugar

1 1/2 tbsp chopped dried basil

1/2 cup chopped sundried tomatoes

1/2 tsp salt

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add 2 cups of the flour and all other ingredients to the batter and mix with dough hook until just combined.  (I used the paddle attachment and it turned out fine.)

2.  Add remaining flour 1 tbsp at a time until dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.

3. Remove dough from bowl and place in a clean, lightly greased bowl.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour.

4.  Punch down risen dough and shape into an oval, stretching from the top of the loaf to underneath the bottom.  Place shaped loaf in a lightly greased 8×4 inch loaf pan.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

5.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Once dough is ready, bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.  So good!

Thanks girlversusdough for sharing this recipe, it’s delicious!

The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.  William James

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Knitting

Think Out of the Breadbox


THE TOMATO BASIL EXPERIMENT

Babymama and I went to lunch earlier this week and I had my first taste of tomato basil bread and now I’m hooked. I’ve baked bread off and on for years – mostly traditionals- whole wheat, rye, white, etc. so today, I’m stepping out of the breadbox (a little baking humor) and trying my hand at a Sundried Tomato Basil Bread recipe that I found on the Tablespoon website.

Success!  Simple recipe, great flavor.  This one’s going in the recipe box to be baked again and again.  With cheese, fancy mustard and smoked turkey  – two words – different and delicious!  Such a pretty loaf!

Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.  Buddha

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Knitting

Cookie Heaven, Josie’s Disappointment


NOT HALF BAKED, NOT HALF BAD

I’ve not done much baking blogging here in the last little bit, I’ve been obsessed with other, newer and sexier ideas and things, but today I wanted to share the Iknead family’s favorite cookie recipe.  I hope you love it as much as we do.

BEST EVER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES – REALLY

2 1/4 cups unsifted flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli bittersweet chips and dump in the whole bag)

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Stir flour, salt and baking soda together and put aside.  Beat butter and sugars at medium speed until blended and creamy.  Add vanilla and eggs, beating well after adding each egg on low speed until blended.  Gradually add flour mixture, stir in chocolate chips and nuts.  Drop by tbsp onto parchment covered cookie sheet (this just makes for easy clean up, parchment is not essential) and bake 9 to 11 minutes until golden brown.  Cool on rack and enjoy!

I baked a batch of these yesterday morning at Mr. Iknead’s request and decided to photograph them and share the recipe.  Josie Pug is EXTREMELY interested in anything that goes on in the kitchen and was underfoot the entire time, as usual.  I know better than to put Josie within snatching distance of cookies, but I got distracted by something and she sneaked out the door behind me.  Before I realized it, this is what went down:

Cookies?  What cookies?  Just smelling the flowers is all.

Oh!  You mean these?

Well, maybe a little taste.*

*No pugs were harmed during this photoshoot.  Much to her disgust, I chased her down, took the cookie away, trashed it and banished her from the yard. I kept pushing her away but she got away from me on the last photo.

**Chocolate is extremely poisonous to dogs, the smaller the dog, the less it takes to sicken them.  Please keep chocolate, any chocolate, out of their reach.

Make the most of yourself for that is all there is of you.  Ralph Emerson

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Knitting

FO Friday 03/01/13, A Stash Tour


OFF THE NEEDLES

It’s finished and is all I’d hoped for and more!  Introducing –

Etched Rio Wrap!  TA DA!

I love it – it’s the perfect weight (not too hot, not too cool), the perfect color (love caramel), it stays put (not falling off one of my narrow to the point of almost nonexistent shoulders or the other) and the drape (OMG).  After some initial misbehavior on the yarn’s part, we came to an understanding and this project truly became a labor of love.

STEP UP, STEP RIGHT UP

After reading a post on uknit2, I decided to document my stash status and share a little of it here.  At the moment, it’s relatively neat and more or less organized, sock yarn, sport weight, lace weight, bulky, you get it, you’re a knitter but the more I looked the more odd I thought part of my stash was.  Here, you be the judge.

Stash as of 2/28/13

Sock Yarn

Stash as of 2/28/13

Sport Weight

Stash as of 2/28/13

Odds and Ends

Here’s what I think is sort of odd

Stash as of 2/28/13

A Ziploc/Shopping Bag Stash

Actually, come to think of it, it’s not odd at all that I hoard ziplocs and shopping bags.  After all, fiberphiles use more ziplocs than anyone else on the planet and for your safety, don’t get between me and a nice, heavy, handled shopping bag.  I won’t pretend to speak for other crafty types, I’m trying to stick with what I know – but no, it’s not odd at all, it’s more than a little smart, green and best of all, frees up more bucks for my fiber fixation.  So, strike the odd.  Smarter than the average bear, us fiberphiles.  I rest my totally turned around case.

IN THE OVEN

Not yet, kneading takes more than a little energy and I’m still promising Mr. Iknead to take it easy, but soon, very soon there will be fresh bread.  I knead it (get it?)!  I know, I love a corny play on words.

Fly by Tami Amis for more FO Friday treats – you’ll be glad you did!

Live so that you wouldn’t be ashamed to sell the family parrot to the town gossip.  Will Rogers

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FLASH – Bigmommy and the babies are in town and are headed over!!  Pics and report tomorrow!  Yay, getting a little lonesome!

Knitting

Hit and Run, FOF 02/01/13


OFF THE NEEDLES

They’re finished!  The Phloem Socks are finished, with ends woven in, tried on, pictures taken and finally, shown off for this week’s FO Friday.

This one shows a little more detail.  Turned out well, I think.

ALMOST ON THE NEEDLES

OK, let’s see –

Towels in dryer – check

Beds made – check

Banana bread in oven – check

Fire started – check

Fancy coffee in cup – check

Dishwasher loaded and running – check

I swatched my newest project last night, Etched Rio Wrap in Metalico Gold Dust, got close enough to gauge, wound the six skeins and I’m good to go.  I love the excitement of a new project, this must be what opening night on Broadway feels like!  Oooh, there’s my cue!

Sorry about the hit and run blog style this week, I know you understand, it being a new project and all.

What lights a fire under you?  Shopping for yarn?  Looking at patterns?  Winding?  Admiring someone else’s project?  I’d love to know!

Head on over to Tamis Amis for lots more FOF love.

Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises.  Demosthenes

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Knitting

FO Friday 01/18/13


ON AND OFF THE NEEDLES

This week’s FO Friday is Meg White’s Cabled Hat, a free Ravelry pattern.  Turned out right nice as a friend of mine would say.

A quick knit, with just enough fiddliness to keep me interested.  I think the yarn is some I picked up at Hobby Lobby a while back, I Love This Yarn 100% wool.  Due to our (Mr. Iknead’s and mine) new austerity plan, I’m working toward losing at least a little of my yarn snobbiness.   I’m trying as hard as I can to bring Mr. Iknead, a very thrifty (read tightwad) guy over to the dark side, knitting him a pair of soft, warm, merino socks, I think it might be working.  The upshot of this plan is that in order for me to be able to stay home, baking and knitting, I have to scale back on some things, like high end sock yarn.  Ouch.

I’m still working on the Phloem socks using a happy discovery of two hanks of beautiful Shibui Sock that I found during a stash dive.  Hopefully by the next FO Friday, I’ll have them ready to wear.  I loves me some Shibui!

BY THE BOOK

Another casualty opportunity to cut back is with my book and audiobook habit.  I downgraded my Audible membership and have been using our local library instead.  I love the downloadables, both e-books and audios and I’m nearly always at the ten book limit at any given time.  One I’m listening to now is Danger to Self: On the Front Line with an ER Psy.chiatrist, by Paul R. Linde.  Fascinating.

IN THE OVEN

Have butter and eggs sitting out, getting ready to make Sour Cream Pound Cake, a recipe from my trusty Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, a wedding gift 33 years ago.  It’s been well used and well loved, judging from the stains and sticky stuff between the pages and is the first cookbook I grab when thinking about what to have for supper or what to bake when my sweet tooth kicks in.  A classic and a favorite.

Check out Tami Amis blog for more FO Friday goodness.

Simplicity is the key to brilliance.  Bruce Lee

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Knitting

If I Were a Size Six Knitting Needle/WIP Wednesday 01/09/13


where would I be?  I’ve been asking myself this question over and over since this time yesterday.  I started a new project day before yesterday that called for four different needle sizes; for the first time ever I think, I actually had the needles I needed, sizes 8, 7, 6, and 5.  All hunky dory, right?  Yeah, right up until the time I dropped the whole handful and one of the size 6 needles apparently was sucked into a black hole.  I’ve looked everywhere I could think of and even some places that I knew absolutely that it couldn’t possibly be, stripped the sheets off the bed, rolled up a rug, moved furniture and it still hasn’t shown itself.  I went to the Yarn Mart and just bought another set, knowing that in Bethworld, as soon as something is replaced, the original reappears in the most obvious place possible.  Hasn’t happened yet but it will, it will.

ON THE NEEDLES

I’ve a couple of things in progress, small, quick gratification projects for this week’s WIP Wednesday, first up is the Sideways Grande Hat from Boutique Knits, knitted flat and then seamed.

A free Ravelry pattern, Meg White’s Cabled Hat, to match the cabled scarf I finished last week is the other.

A posting for FO Friday this week doesn’t seem too far fetched, but you never know.  I learned a long time ago not to count my chickens before they hatch and never, ever turn your back on a nearly finished project.  It has the ability to unknit and then lose itself in the stash pile, making you doubt your sanity because you know, positively know that you laid it down RIGHT HERE and now it’s missing in action.  I’m just sayin’….

AROUND MY HOUSE

Yay!  We have electricians today and they say they’ll be finished early this afternoon.  I got a preview of the undercabinet lighting and it is beyond awesome!  Here’s a peek –

I feel a heavy baking episode coming on – especially since I cleaned the oven yesterday and the bottom is a clean slate, ready, willing and able to take another pie bubble-over or cake batter mishap.  What did we do before self cleaning ovens?  Did our ovens get smaller and smaller due to the build up of crud on the bottom and the fact that cleaning involved protective clothing and dangerous chemicals?  I know mine without a doubt would have.  Gotta love progress.

Check out Tami Amis for more WIP Wednesday project love.

To be positive is to be mistaken at the top of one’s voice.  Ambrose Bierce

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Knitting

Bright, Shiny and New


SOMETHING REALLY NEAT

Babymama and Babydaddy got me the coolest thing for Christmas, it’s called Q&A A Day, a five year journal that asks a single, simple (or not so simple once it’s thought about) question a day.  Each day a new question with room for five years of answers.  For example:  the January 1 question is “What is your mission?”.  I’m looking forward to answering each question as it comes and reading the previous year’s answers.

ON THE NEEDLES

For this week’s WIP, the Catnip socks are still up.  I’m turning the heel on the second sock and have high hopes for FO Friday this week.  Here’s my progress:

ON THE STOVE

I tried a new recipe this evening, thanks to Pinterest and the blog, the-girl-who-ate-everything.com and it was an out of the ballpark hit, both with me and Mr. Iknead.  Here’s the pic from the original blog:

Easy White Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili

So good on a cold, damp day!

IN THE OVEN

The last piece of holiday pie (blackberry) is finally gone, thanks to Mr. Iknead.  Now I’m casting around for something to bake, maybe a recipe from King Arthur Flour for Baked Raised Doughnuts.  It won’t happen tomorrow I’m pretty certain, we’re having some electrical work done on our  house so I’m pretty sure we’ll have no electricity most of the day, but the next day for sure.  Off the oven subject but I’m especially excited about the LED undercabinet lighting we’re having installed.  No more dark corners or eyestrain trying to read in the dark.  Exciting, right??

There are two things to aim at in life:  first, to get what you want, and, after that, to enjoy it.  Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second.  Logan Pearsall Smith

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Knitting

OK, OK, I’m blogging already!


WHAT’S UP

I been neglecting my blog the past week or so, I’ve been so busy, wrapping up Christmas stuff, attending the grands’ Christmas pageant (more about that in a second) and just acclimating myself to real retirement.  It’s a big change, believe me, but I’m getting into the swing of things.  Even though I can’t seem to sleep past about 6:30 a.m., just taking my time with the newspaper and coffee is a continuing happy.  I’m busy, don’t think I’m sitting around watching soaps and eating bon-bons.  I’m baking (which is different from cooking), cooking, visiting my mom, knitting (lots of it) and reading.  I love retirement – I think more people should try it! ; )

THE GRANDS’ PAGEANT

The Papoose and Babysis were in their first Christmas pageant on Wednesday evening.  The Papoose was an angel (no surprise there) and Babysis stepped up as the Baby Jesus.  The sweetest things ever!  We did have a tiny bump in the performance when Angel Papoose turned around, saw the audience and immediately had a small meltdown,  crying very pitiously until Bigmommy took her down from the stage and she came to sit (on the front row of course) with Grandmary, Pops, Pawpaw and me.  Best. Angel. Ever.

Two seconds and counting down pre-meltdown!

In the green room before her big entrance

Babysis rocked it out as the Baby Jesus, sleeping through the whole thing and being all the more precious because of it.

Showing off her new smile with Bebe (that’s me)

FUNNY THING ABOUT TIME

It flies.  The holidays are nearly upon us and it feels (at least to me) like we just wrapped up Christmas 2011 a week or so ago, relaxing and telling each other that “this was the best Christmas ever”.  We’ll say it again in about a week, vowing that nothing could top Christmas 2012, what with two babies on their first Christmas and one who’s just getting the hang of presents and Santa.  The wonder never leaves me, I’m blessed.

Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart.  who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens.  Carl Jung

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Knitting

WIP Wednesday 12/12/12


ON THE NEEDLES

A couple of WIPs this week, Mr. Iknead’s Simple Skype Socks and a pretty cabled scarf that I started on a whim, both coming along nicely.  The second sock has great potential to be a FO Friday project, only lacking the leg and the top cuff.  Hope I haven’t jinxed it.

Simple Skype Socks

Cabled Scarf

IN THE OVEN

Today is my mother’s birthday, I’m in the process of making a lemon pound cake to take up to the nursing home for her to share.  I’ll post a pic when it’s finished and ready to go.  Happy birthday Mom, I love you!

For more WIP happiness, check out Tami Amis blog.  You won’t be disappointed, I promise.

Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.

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