Monday, November 12, 2012

Tall Glass o' Milk Brownies

This is my favorite brownie recipe.  Not a lot of extras, just chocolaty goodness through and through.  Best served with a nice, cold glass of milk.

Tall Glass o' Milk Brownies
(from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book "Classic Brownies")

1.  Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees.  Line a 13 by 9-inch baking pan with foil and grease the foil.  Whisk 1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) cake flour, 3/4 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt together in a medium bowl.

2.  Melt 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate with 12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter in the microwave, stirring often, 1 to 3 minutes.  Transfer the chocolate mixture to a large bowl and let it cool slightly.  Gradually whisk in 2 1/4 cups (15 3/4 ounces) sugar, followed by 4 room-temperature
eggs, mixed in one at a time, until combined.  Whisk in 1 Tablespoon vanilla.  Fold in the flour mixture, in 3 additions, with a rubber spatula until just incorporated.  Gently mix in 1 cup semi-sweet
chocolate chips.

3.  Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top.  Bake the brownies until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.

4.  Let the brownie cool completely in the pan, set on a wire rack.  about 2 hours.  Remove the brownies from the pan using the foil, cut into squares, and serve.

I use Hershey's Unsweetened Chocolate Baking Bar and Trader Joe's Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Couple of Fall Recipes

I'm moving these fall-favorite recipes over from my old blog.  The salad dressing is great for Christmas, too.

Lowfat Cranberry-Balsamic Dressing
(from the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook)

2 cups cranberry juice (I use Ocean Spray)
3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbs minced shallot
1 tea minced fresh thyme or 1/2 tea dried
1/2 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tea salt
1/2 tea pepper

1. Simmer the cranberry juice in a small saucepan over medium heat until slightly thickened and reduced to 2/3 cup, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate until cool, about 15 minutes.

2. Shake the chilled, thickened juice with the remaining ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid until combined. The dressing can be refrigerated for up to 4 days; bring to room temperature, then shake vigorously to recombine before using.

For my salad, I put in red-leaf and butter lettuces, thinly sliced red onion, dried cranberries, crumbled goat cheese (chevre), sweet and spicy pecans (from Trader Joes),  and croutons.  You could add apples or pears, as well.

Corn Muffins
(from the America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book)

2 cups (10 oz) all-purpose flour
1 cup (5 oz) yellow cornmeal (preferably stone-ground, medium grind)
1 1/2 tea baking powder
1 tea baking soda
1/2 tea salt
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
8 Tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin.

2. Whick the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whick the sour cream, sugar, milk, melted butter and eggs together until smooth. Gently, fold the sour cream mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined (do not overmix).

3. Using a greased 1/3-cup measure, portion the batter into each muffin cup. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the pan half-way through baking.

4. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then flip out onto a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Lavender Baby Set

I made a cardigan and hat set for my friend's little girl:
Raglan Cardigan from the book, 60 quick Baby Knits.
(errata available here)
(ravelry notes here)

I found the perfect purple button at Joann Fabrics.

Baby Earflap Hat from Allicrafts
(Heart applique from Skip to my Lou)
(ravelry notes here)
Li'l Cutie!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Mother Bear #3

My third Mother Bear for the Mother Bear Project:

My first Mother Bear made it all the way to Mali, Africa:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Saturdays and Sundaes

This past weekend, we had some friends over for a make-your-own-sundae party.

Banner courtesy of The Girl.
The Boy's ready to dig in.


The Girl is busy with her creation.

Yes, please.  With a cherry on top.
Oatmeal Chocolate-Chip Cookies
(recipe coming soon!)
Tall Glass-o-Milk Brownies
(recipe coming soon!)

Friends having fun:

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Light Summer Supper

The hubs and I shared a platter of Bruschetta y Crostini for dinner tonight. 

It was just the thing to hit the spot on a hot summer evening.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Paring Down

I'm getting a new bed!

I haven't purchased a nice, new piece of furniture in 13 years.  Everything I have in my bedroom was inherited from hubby's grandmother, supplemented by a couple of Target pieces.  Luckily, my sister works in a furniture store and was able to get this baby for me at cost!

Of course, it's bigger than the bed I have now, so I will need to get rid of a small bookshelf that currently houses all of my crafting books.  I had to make some difficult decisions, but I was able to set aside quite a number of books to donate:

I think sacrificing a few volumes, filled with "stuff I'll make SOMEDAY", for a gorgeous, comfy bed is worth it, don't you?  I know the library book store will be happy with my choice.  It's actually very liberating to know that I won't have to dust these anymore.  Plus, I now have Pinterest to store all my "make this someday" ideas!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Summer Peach Cake

Have some ripe peaches lying around?  Maybe you would like to use them in this peach of a cake:

This recipe is from the Sweet Summer Endings episode of the America's Test Kitchen cooking show.  You can watch the episode HERE.  If you sign up for a free account, you will be able to access this recipe, and every other yummy recipe from the show.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ashlyn's Mary-Janes

Did I mention that I love to knit for babies?  Well, I do.  My neighbors recently added another little girl, Ashlyn, to their brood and I wanted to make a sweet something to welcome her into the world.  I found a free pattern for Mary-Jane Booties and it just so happened that I had the exact yarn called for in the pattern.  So, how could I not make them?

They are so tiny and cute!  When I look down at my big, ol' feet, it's difficult to believe that they could have ever been that small at any point in time.

Ravelry notes HERE.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Summer Berry Pie

This jewel-box of a pie is from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book.

1.  Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.  In a food processor, process
9 graham crackers until evenly fine, about 30 seconds (you should have 1 cup crumbs).  Add
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar and pulse to combine.  Melt 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter and continue to pulse while adding warm melted butter in steady stream; pulse until mixture resembles wet sand. 

2.  Transfer crumbs to 9-inch glass pie plate, forming crust evenly in bottom and up sides.  Bake crust until fragrant and beginning to brown, 15 to 18 minutes; transfer to wire rack and cool completely while making filling.

1.  Combine 2 cups fresh raspberries, 2 cups fresh blackberries, and 2 cups fresh blueberries in large colander and gently rinse (taking care not to bruise them); spread berries on paper towel-lined rimmed baking sheet and gently pat dry with additional paper towels.

2.  In food processor, puree 2 1/2 cups of the mixed berries until smooth and fully pureed, about 1 minute. Strain puree through mesh strainer into small saucepan, scraping and pressing on seeds to extract as much puree as possible (you should have 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups). Whisk 1/2 cup granulated sugar,
3 Tablespoons cornstarch, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in small bowl to combine, then whisk mixture into puree. Bring puree to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon; when mixture reaches a boil and is thickened to consistency of pudding, remove from heat, stir in 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, and set aside to cool slightly.

3.  While puree is cooling, place remaining berries in medium bowl. Heat 2 Tablespoons red currant jelly* in second small saucepan over low heat until fully melted; drizzle melted jelly over berries and toss gently to coat. Pour slightly cooled puree into cooled pie shell; top with fresh berries. Loosely cover pie with plastic wrap; refrigerate until chilled and puree has set, about 3 hours (or up to 1 day). 

1.  Just before serving, beat 1 cup cold heavy cream, 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar, and
1 teaspoon vanilla extract with electric mixer on low speed until small bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium; continue beating until beaters leave trail, about 30 seconds longer. Increase speed to high; continue beating until cream is smooth, thick, nearly doubled in volume, and forms soft peaks, about 30 to 60 seconds. 

2.  Cut pie into wedges and serve with whipped cream.

*Apple jelly can be substituted for the red currant jelly.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Striped Summer Tote

I crocheted and lined a new bag to tote around my summer essentials:

The crochet pattern (Market Tote Bag) is from Lily Sugar'n Cream Yarn and can be found HERE.  (You may have to sign up for a free account to view it.)

I added a lining with pockets, and a magnetic snap closure.

Striped, puckery seersucker is actually more difficult to work with than I anticipated, but I'm happy with the results.

Ravelry notes HERE.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Tara's One-Skein Baby Set

I knit up another One-Skein Baby Set for my friend's new grand-niece, Tara, who lives in Scotland:

Sending love to you, little one, from across the Atlantic. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

One-Skein Baby Set

It's been baby season around here lately.  Neighbors are having babies.  Friends are having babies or are becoming grandparents to babies.  Friends are adopting babies.  No family babies, but there are friends-of-family babies, to be sure.  That means that there are a lot of little heads and toes to keep warm, which is a good thing because:  I love to knit for babies!

My new favorite baby gift is what I'm calling the "One-Skein Baby Set" (because it uses less than a skein of Plymouth Encore Worsted yarn).  It consists of a pom-pom hat and bootie socks:

For Baby Owen
The hat pattern I use is the Little Boy Blue Ribbed Baby Hat from The Shizknit blog.  I cast on 72 stitches and add a pom-pom.  I follow the rest of the pattern as written.

The little socks are the Encore Worsted Kids' Socks from Plymouth Yarn (infant size).  This is a great first sock project because it is small and quick, and the worsted yarn is easy to work with.  I cast-on onto size 6 DPNs (long-tail cast-on) and knit the rest on size 5 DPNs. 
(There is an error in the pattern for the infant size. Under the TURN HEEL instructions, it should say
“no p1 for infant size” at the end of row 3 and “no k1 for infant size” at the end of row 4.)

For Baby Ezra

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lucky Birthday

Since it's almost the end of March, and my last post was all about Valentine's Day, I thought I better put up something new.   Granted, this is about Sweetpea's St. Patrick's Day themed birthday, which has also passed, but at least I'm in the correct month. 

And the favors I made could be used for any rainbow-themed party:

These were inspired by similar favors I saw on Pinterest.  The pinned version used Rainbow Twizzlers, but since they were impossible to find in my neck of the woods (and I didn't have time to order them), I used Airheads Extreme Sour Candy.

I used my Silhouette SD to make Print-and-Cut labels.  Here is my file on Google Docs.
You will need Silhouette Studio to process the file.

I also made the Cake Batter Snack Mix found on the Cookies and Cups Blog:

It really does taste like cake!  I skipped the little party hats made out of Bugles.

Some simple cupcakes with sugar shamrocks and rainbow sprinkles rounded up the party theme:

Make a wish, my darling Sweetpea!