Tag Archives: baking

An Update

Oh dear, it’s been almost exactly 7 months since my last post! It was a hard winter for me, which bled into the spring and part of summer. I had the usual winter/early spring depression that left me feeling unmotivated and uninspired to do anything but the bare minimum. I visited with a friend the other day who always inspires me to put more creativity and art into my life and it made me want to get back to the blog!

I’ve gone on lots of adventures, made some cool things and wore some neat outfits. I’m not going to post everything from the last 7 months here because my life isn’t that interesting. But I do have a few things.

First up, Almond “Florentines”!

My mom used to make these all the time and referred to them as Almond Florentines. I had a bunch of graham crackers left over and wanted to make some. A quick Google search indicated that she didn’t really make Almond Florentines as they’re traditionally known. This is more like a simplified version. They’re delicious and tres facile.

Ingredients:

1 cup of butter

1/2 cup of brown sugar, lightly packed

Graham crackers

Slivered almonds

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 180C. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and the set down a layer of graham crackers.

In a saucepan, melt the butter and add the sugar. I used 1 cup of butter, but ended up with extra butter/sugar left over. You might want to use something between 3/4 and 1 cup.  Stirring constantly, let butter/sugar boil for 2 minutes.

Pour the butter mixture over the crackers, completely covering them. Sprinkle with almonds and put in the oven for 10 minutes. I put mine in for about 5 minutes, then turned the oven off and let the pan sit in the oven for the next 5 minutes. The oven is just setting everything, not really cooking.

IMG_0001When you take the pan out of the oven, the butter mixture will still be very liquidy. You might think it’s not done.

IT’S DONE, TRUST ME. But it’s also very hot. Put it on the stove top or counter and walk away for an hour.

No, seriously, walk away. Don’t touch it. It’s too hot and not ready to be enjoyed yet. You’re just going to burn yours-

I told you not to touch it, didn’t I?

After the hour is up, you’ll come back and your little cookies will have this lovely smooth candy coating on them. You can just break a cookie or five off and enjoy!

IMG_0002So tasty and delicious, you’ll have to try hard not to eat the whole pan in one night!

 

Also while going through my photos tonight, I was reminded of the totally awesome cat sweater I bought in the spring!

 

cat sweaterOutfit details:

Sweater – Target, XL // Skirt and rain jacket – made by me // Tights – JoeFresh, C  // Blouse (collar) – Zellers, XL // Shoes – Target, 10 // Glasses – Derek Cardigan

LETS ALL MARVEL AT HOW THE CAT ON MY SWEATER HAS THE SAME GLASSES AS I DO.

I’ve got a headboard tutorial planned and am also working on several sewing projects right now, so hopefully I can get some updates posted soon. But for now, those florentines aren’t going to eat themselves.

Take care of each other!

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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Chrismakkzaa…

People of the internet: we really need to get on coming up with a secular catch-all phrase for this time of year! Something that isn’t Festivus. Because, no.

Until this afternoon, my plan for Christmas day was going to be: stay in my jammies all day, watch the Doctor Who marathon on Space, make dinner and probably do a little pity-day-drinking because I’m alone.

Then, a friend came over today to do some baking, watch a holiday movie and visit (re: put a movie on and visit whilst not paying attention to the movie at all! So it goes…)

It always takes me a long time to get into the holiday spirit for me. But when my heart does eventually turn, it’s usually after a visit with this friend. Without ever saying it in so many words, she always makes me realise that there are far worse things in the world than celebrating Christmas.

So as I did some cleaning yesterday in preparation for today’s baking and visit, I stumbled across my 3 favourite decorations, in a box on the top shelf of the storage closet. I don’t put up a tree as space is at a premium in my apartment. At this point, I have to think really hard about getting a new coffee cup or that bigger package of toilet paper for lack of storage options. But these three decorations had to get dusted off and put out while cleaning.

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Love my jingle bell wreath! It’s not so noisy that it’s annoying – just a little tinkle-tinkle as I’m opening the door.

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Santa matryoshka! (Santryoshka?)  Anything in matryoshka-form is good times in my books.

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Fabric trees – the product of last year’s “oh shit, apparently I’m into Christmas now!” moment.

My cat’s pretty awesome in that she leaves them alone for the most part. Now, if a pen, or a barrette or a ball of yarn was on the table, it would be a different story.

So my house is nice and clean, it’s decorated and I have tasty cookies!

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Next November, when I’m beaking and bah-humbugging about how wasteful and pointless this holiday is, just El Kabong me over the head, make me a cup of Starbuck’s Christmas blend coffee, and tell me to get over myself. It’ll save everyone a bunch of energy.

The one holiday thing I did before today was send out a few cards to old friends and people I won’t get to see this year. I also signed up for my first exchange over at RedditGifts! I missed the Secret Santa gift exchange, but managed to sign up in time for the card exchange. I sent mine out last week and am excited to get one back! Going through the gallery of things people received, I’ve been amazed by the generosity that people lavish on virtual strangers!

While setting up my RG profile, I was encouraged to put together a “wish list” for people to check out. Of course it’s too late now, but it’s nice to just have a handy list for other gift-giving times. So often, people ask “so what do you want?” and I’m left answering with something like “uh…. I dunno?” Here’s my wish list!

This evening, I also squared up some plans for the 25th. I’ll be spending it with my 2 favourite family members. A rather large rift was driven between two groups within the family this year and, while there’s a lot of work to be done to repair relationships, I think Christmas is a great time for redemption, no?

I was told just to come and be with family, but given who I’m going to be with, I know there will be presents. Now, I know people don’t give presents to get presents, but I like giving and making things! So I have a week to be That Person and do the last minute shopping. I don’t want to spend a lot, but I do want to give a little something. Luckily, I work a block away from a big shopping mall, so I can spend my lunch breaks searching for ideas!

I’m also in charge of making Christmas dinner, which I’m excited and nervous about! We’ll be sure to keep Dominos on speed-dial, just in case.

This will probably be my last post before Christmas. I suspect this week at work, it will either be frustratingly quiet or maddeningly busy!  In my last post, I gave a sneak peak of the project I’m currently knitting. Well, it’s not done! I screwed up majorly, twice. I’ve since changed yarns and I think it’s working better now. I’m sure they’ll probably be my first post-Christmas update, as I have some visiting and movie watching coming up, and yarn goes great with those activities!

Until then, be good to each other. Tell your loved ones that you love them; give hugs; be nice to strangers and count your blessings! Happy holidays; Merry Christmas; Happy Hanukkah; Joyous Kwanzaa and enjoy the Solstice this weekend!

I Made Some Stuff Last Week!

I always feel super-accomplished when I finish projects and see them through to the end. Last week, I finished more than one project, so I’m feeling great about them!

First off, I finished my legwarmers!

legwarmers

 

I realised pretty quickly into this project that I wasn’t going to have enough of the pink to have solid pink leg warmers. I found some purple in my stash in the same weight and decided to do them two-toned.

These were mostly just to play and try out knitting legwarmers. I wanted a pair to wear over tights while walking to and from work when I wear dresses and skirts. They’re not very pretty, but with a pair of boots – the intended use – I like the way they look.  Of course, I didn’t wear them today – I had orange tights on, so I wasn’t going to throw pink and purple into the mix to walk to work in the dark for 10 minutes this morning.

My vanity knows no bounds.

This project was the first time I ever used the seed stitch – it never really appealed to me before. But after seeing the seed stitch “in real life”, I love it!  I really want to make a seed stitch cardigan now. I’ve found a regular stockinette-knit cardigan pattern that I’m hoping I can just substitute the seed stitch in. I’m a good knitter and I can understand a pattern, but altering something big like a sweater makes me nervous. I don’t want to buy a ton of yarn, get part way through and then realise “oh, this isn’t going to work at all….”

On to the next one. I finished this jumper last night!

newjumper

 

OOTD  – Jumper: made myself // Blouse:  Ricki’s, 16  // Tights: Joe, from Superstore  // Shoes: TUK from Torrid, 10

I had the jumper made half way about 2 weeks ago and then got to what I perceived as a “hard part” and set it aside. I picked it up again yesterday and was finished within an hour! Nothing before it’s time, eh?

I wanted to make a jumper like this for a while and remembered that I had 3 metres of this suiting in my stash from a few years ago (when chenille suiting was really popular at the fabric stores). The verdict? It’s shitty to work with – sheds all over the place in long strings. And probably a touch too heavy for the garment, but I do like the weight it gives to the skirt.

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I looooove the buttons I used! At $5 each, I probably won’t be buying them again (I  only bought 2 and got them 50% off, which is why I bought them). Also: kind of into the wide french manicure lately. I can do it with shorter nails, which is nice, because I just can’t handle long nails at all!

On the weekend, I also made cookies!

coookiesAnd enjoyed them with a hot beverage in my Holly Hobby mug! You jelly?

They had swirly white- and milk-chocolate chips in them. It changes the taste just enough so they taste like something new and exciting and not your everyday chocolate chip cookie!

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I have to go to work tomorrow and then I’m off until the following Monday! Since I have no plans or preparations for “the holidays” to work on, I can just do whatever I want for 5 days! I cast this on last night:

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Not telling what it is yet, but maybe by the weekend I’ll have another Finished Object to post pictures of!

Stay warm and take care of each other!

 

Holy Snickerdoodles! It’s November!

With Hallowe’en over, the weather, television, radio and magazines promptly decided It Is Now Christmas.

I have seen so many holiday ads on TV already and already heard some holiday music in the stores!  I needed some fake blood on Sunday for my burlesque show and had to go to 4 different stores before I found some! But I was tripping over holiday decorations already!

It all turned out, as I got to look like this for the finale:

 

I did 5 costume changes at that show and then next night I had a dress rehearsal with my belly dance group. It was crazy busy at work all week, so by time I got to Hallowe’en – aka the best day of the year – I was burnt out and stressed and didn’t want to do anything. I came home after work, ordered pizza and watched movies. At least I wore orange and black!

 

But I was talking about how It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, wasn’t I?

Yes, this happened today:

 

The the heavy snow made the drive home pretty tense. It took over an hour to get home, when it usually only takes 20. I came home, put on my jammies and decided to do some baking.

I have it in my head that I’m going to get a bunch of work done this weekend because “i’m snowed in”. I don’t know where I came up with that, because it takes a lot more snow to be snowed in in Saskatchewan! (as in, I’ve never been snowed in or had work/school cancelled due to weather). But at any rate, I would like to get a bunch of work done this weekend while I’m avoiding scary roads.

So I’ve been wanting to make Snickerdoodle cookies for a while. I’ve never had one before and thought they looked delicious and had to try them. I know, I know – how did I get to be 32 without ever having a Snickerdoodle? Well, there’s a laundry list of stuff I’ve never had. Everyone at work found it hilarious last month when I had a Gobstopper for the first time.

“It’s just like a jawbreaker!” They said. Well, I’ve never had a jawbreaker either. This left people wondering if I had any kind of childhood at all.

But tonight I got to cross Snickerdoodles off the list! I used Ash-Lee’s recipe for the cookies, for the most part.  I didn’t put chai in mine, due to the fact that I’m still pretty much scared of chai. Just because I’ve had ONE chai tea that I like doesn’t mean that I actually like chai tea.

I also had to take out the cream of tartar because I didn’t have any. Ash-Lee’s blog was pretty adamant about cream of tartar – ALL the cream of tartar, all the time! I mentioned this to another friend tonight, half out of whining and half because she knows all the things when it comes to cooking and figured she’d know how I could get around the cream of tartar thing without having to go to the store.

“Just take out the tartar and the baking soda, and add in the same amount of baking powder”. Now, I’ve never had a Snickerdoodle, so I don’t know what they’re supposed to taste like, but these ones turned out pretty damn tasty, even without cream of tartar.

 

I baked the first batch all rolled up in balls and that did not turn out at all! Set off the smoke alarm (at midnight!) and turned to molten lava on the bottom. So the second batch, I flattened out a bit and that made the delicious cookies you see above! The first batch, disappointingly, turned out more like this:

 

I let these cool and then promptly threw them in the garbage. I was so discouraged, I almost didn’t try another batch! But I forged ahead and am so glad I did! Now I have tasty treats for the weekend and can scratch something off my miles-long “Stuff I’ve Never Eaten Before” list. Who knows, maybe tomorrow I’ll try eating a beet.

No, I probably will not. Let’s not get crazy.

November and December are shaping up to be crazy-busy months – even though I don’t care for “the holidays” at all. So I hope I can get a few posts in by the end of the month, but I’m not holding my breath. I’ll see what I can do!

Be good to each other!

Sometimes Cupcakes Are All I Can Manage

I’m having a rough go of things right now. This always happens in the summer. I mean, it also happens in fall, winter and spring, but it feels extra-sucky in the summer. I feel like Harry Potter, stuck in an eternal summer at the Dursleys. To those of you whose glasses aren’t as thick as mine, what I mean is I just feel far away and disconnected from everything. I want to quit everything I’m involved in and never go back to it.

What up,  chronic untreated depression and anxiety?

So about all I can manage right now are cupcakes: baking, taking pictures of, sharing and of course, eating.

For the uninitiated, I guess the technical term here is: I fucking love cupcakes. Full stop. They’re one of the greatest things on the earth. I remember one birthday, not too long ago, where I actually did more cupcake-eating than I did drinking.

You can take a cake recipe and make it to the letter, decorate it all fancily and it will be  good cake. I’ll enjoy it. But do the exact same thing in miniature, cupcake form? Boom – you’ve just made that recipe 800 times better.

So Wednesday, it was a coworker’s birthday. Naturally, it called for cupcakes (I’ve been known to say that just a random Tuesday calls for cupcakes too, so I’m pretty easily swayed).

 

I made vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting (yes, as much of an aficionado that I am, vanilla-vanilla is still my favourite…). I put some star sprinkles in the batter for a surprise when a person bites into them. Because I usually ice everything pink/red/purple, my red dye supply was dangerously low. So I did something different and did turquoise icing. They were a huge hit at work! I didn’t have any leftover to take home with me.

The nerdy tidbit about this recipe – my favourite part next to the actual eating of the cupcake – is that the recipe I use is one the earliest known cupcake recipes. It’s over 300 years old and has stood the test of time! (If you’re curious, just Google “1234 Cake” or “Number Cake”).

And that’s about all I got right now! I went to Zumba after work which is always good for working out aggression, stress and other negative shit. Then I came home to pizza, beer and yarn – more great de-stressors. I had to frog like 20 rows last night thanks to a dumb mistake, so I have a bit of work to do!

More later, take care of each other!