Friday, November 28, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
I've started knitting again, and rather frantically. That's sort of how I roll with knitting. Hot or Cold. No warm. I have too large of a stash of yarn which has sat in a big black plastic tub for about the last year while I fell in love with the new boy in town -- my Bernina. Knitting's greatness really lies in its portability. My sewing machine lives out in the epynonymous grey cottage, hence unless toddler is asleep, it's challenging to get a block of time out there. On the other hand, if I do find a block of time (falling mysteriously from the sky), I can whip things out much more quickly on the sewing machine. And I am a big fan of the whipping things out school of craft. Must admit.
Here's a mitten shot from a two year old pair. Knit with noro silk garden and along for the walk in woods yesterday. The new pair (knit from an old ball of Colinette Skye) is simply awaiting thumbs. I'm thinking about doing the thumbs in a contrasting color, just because...
Sunday, November 16, 2008
I started this project many moons ago, inspired by a MS Baby (see, told you it was a long time ago) busy book for babies. Now that my last baby is 20 months old, I figured I should finish this thing already before it really was interesting to only me. So, without further ado, Jack's busy baby book of seasons. It still needs some kind of cover art work, but he really doesn't seem to mind.
I think the winter page is my favorite, though "fall" is probably the most fun.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Yes, I'm becoming a bread head. Not the best, because a bread butt soon follows. However, I'm hooked, which, to extend the metaphor, means I'm sunk.
Yesterday's experiment: Hungarian cinnamon swirl bread. I must admit, mine looked a little funky. It didn't really rise very much.
After some reading, I think either the ingredients were too cold (flour came straight from the freezer), I didn't let it rise long enough, or the yeast touched the other liquids too soon. Oh, really I have no idea. Anyway, we had sort of mutant loaves. They actually tasted pretty delicious toasted (according to my official tasters, and I must concur). I am tempted to try the cinnamon spread from king arthur flour co, but it does have some dried shortening. It makes me think a bit too much of the hydrogenated fats in breads that I'm trying to avoid. Am I wrong about this? I am also intrigued by their Vietnamese cinnamon, that supposed to be more cinnamon-y than the usual stuff. Hmm.. I'm such a sucker for that kind of thing.
Also, check out this great blog post (from 2006!) from Smittenkitchen about some tips she learned in a bread baking class and some great sounding recipes. Chocolate orange bread anyone? Two of my favorite flavors, and colors for that matter.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Well, no one tagged me, because very few people even know that I'm here (hello, Molly!). However, I'm going to play along with Posie Gets Cosy's one word meme.
Where is your cell phone? Purse
Where is your significant other? Loft
Your hair color? butter
Your mother? Impulsive
Your father? Missed
Your favorite thing? family
Your dream last night? driving
Your dream goal? serenity
The room you're in? open
Your hobby? making
where do you want to be in six years? Centered
Where were you last night? Dancing
What you're not? Thin
One of your wish-list items? slippers
Where you grew up? Sheltered
The last thing you did? Ate
What are you wearing? Boots
Your TV? Eh.
Your pets? Imaginary
Your computer? Lifeline
Your mood? Motivated
Missing someone? Dad
Your car? Minivan
Something you're not wearing? Hat
Favorite shop? Anthropologie
Your summer? Loose
Love someone? Madly
Your favorite color? Fuschia
Last time you laughed? Saturday
Last time you cried? yesterday
I made the bird from a cute hand-sewn pattern bought at wee wonderfuls.
Her name is Doris. She has lost her hat some time ago. Perhaps I'll knit her a tiny new one.
Owl hat jumped into my hands at Anthropologie and I just couldn't put it back. They won't wear silly hats for very long. Even though I knit and hate to buy hats, this one's was too delicious.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Another day, another loaf. This time, I tried a recipe from my new cookbook, The Bread Baker's Apprentice. Great reading, btw, Peter Reinhart really tries to teach you the theory and the science behind successful bread making, rather than just give you recipes. For a tinker-er like me, it's good to understand the underlying principles so you can substitute and fiddle with abandon.
I tried his only non-yeast recipe because I figured if he only included one, it had to be good. I mean how can you resist this description, "the use of honey, buttermilk, lots of corn kernels, and polenta-grind cornmeal (rather than the usual finely ground cornmeal) gives this bread moisture, texture and sweet yet tart flavor bursts." I mean, c'mon. Break out the polenta.
It might be a bit heavy for Thanksgiving, imho, and next time, I think I'll skip the bacon altogether (I just used a small amount to see what he was so enthralled with). I served it with chili, but I think if you throw together a green salad and serve a piece of this bread, you've got a meal.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Uh-oh. I'm afraid I've fallen for bread making. Last time I went through a bread-machine phase, I think my husband and I gained ten pounds. I was making loaves every other day, tossing in all kinds of extra ingredients (dried apricots & nuts; chunks of sharp provolone; chocolate chips -- I think I even threw in some ham). I think I burnt out the motor with my whole wheat breads. Anyway, breadmaker gone, bake to buying bread.
Then Molly started a movement. I looked at the flickr group she set up. I read her delicious entries. I found a lecture on line of the problems with factory made bread. Yeah, I'm in.
Presenting, the first loaf. Recipe: Fast White Bread from the Joy of Cooking. Kind of ironic, because I really only buy whole wheat or artisan white bread. But anyway, the kids loved it, and I must admit, it was good. Started it at breakfast and had a turkey sandwich for lunch. I really would like to progress to some artisan breads, but hey, baby steps. I'll enjoy the process.
I like to think I'm getting a bit better about finding the balance in celebrating the holidays and overwhelming myself with plans to create "perfect" holidays, that everyone will forever remember fondly and appreciate long into their adulthoods. I've learned it's easiest to decorate with natural things like pumpkins and leaves and acorns and supplement those with a few easy projects the kids make. This year, we made some ghosts from muslin, white cotton, tulle, stuffing and acrylic paints. Easy to put up, and easy to store.
You can see a little painted pumpkin in the window. That was a pre-school painting of Max's that I laminated years ago. You could go crazy with all the scary stuff at Party City (some of which is really disturbing) and my older boys would love it. But, it's so much waste, and plastic and things to store. I just have a hard time getting psyched about it. It's a balance between finding fun stuff the kids like and finding decor I can live with (and put-up, take-down and store in a reasonable time). I also like things that live until Thanksgiving. Like our leaf-wreath with a crow on it. I just take down the crow after Halloween.
Poor Max was sick on Halloween. I brought him to school for his party and then he was back home on the couch to nap again before trick-or-treating. Here's the children's book: The True Story of the Ghoul Who Missed Halloween. He actually didn't miss it, but he certainly limped through.
Now on to Thanksgiving. I'm hosting this year. So much for balance.