I am the worst blogger ever.

I'm moving into a new home this weekend and am very much looking forward to decorating. First on my to-do list is to make myself a bed. I've designed it and think I can make it for a reasonable price. Second on the list is to make curtains. I discovered at the boy's house that table cloths make cheap, easy curtains and the little clip-style rings make the project even easier.

In the knitting world I'm working on the Wild Stripes blanket from Knitty for a friend who is expecting a boy in February. I'll post photos as soon as I can. Perhaps I can take a pic with my kick-ass new iPhone.

And finally, quite late, is a photo of the sampler that my mother and I (very little emphasis on "I") made for a friend's August 2007 wedding.


Get This Girl a Camera

What's up the hiatus you ask? No excuse...just a new job, a long commute and relative homelessness. Damn real world.

There are lots of exciting things to post about. If I could only get my hands on a camera (as in, if I could only turn on the camera) I would have some kick-ass pictures to share. Alas, I will wait until later to share.


Just the Most AMAZING Cookie Ever

First, I have to issue a preemptive apology because I don't have a photo of this amazing cookie to share with you. You'll just have to trust me on this one - it looks good, it tastes amazing. Period.

Second, I have to admit that I have a fairly strong distaste for raisins. We don't get along. I prefer fresh grapes. But, we've put our differences aside and I present to you the most amazing...

1 ½ cups light brown sugar
1 ½ cups white sugar
2 cups unsalted butter room temp.
Cream together until light and fluffy the add:
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
Mix until fluffy then add:
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
3 cups flour
Mix until incorporated then add:
5 cups oatmeal - quick or regular
2 ½ cups coconut
4 cups raisins

Drop by large scoop at least 2” apart an UNgreased pan
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 mins until golden, but still soft to the touch
Cool on pan for 2 minutes then transfer to a paper bag to cool
~ 42 big cookies - the recipe halves quite easily


Loooooosing It!

I was bored out of my mind this week so when a friend asked me to teach him how to bake I nearly fell out of my chair as I ran to get my apron. Now this friend owns a kick-ass juice bar and is starting to offer baked goods as part of his fall menu. This friend also has a serious case of ADD and may be a hopeless student . BUT, as a result I was able to spend most of the week baking to my heart's content and I LOVED it! Here's a pic that I took with my phone of what I made this afternoon:
Chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, molasses spice cookies and banana/carrot/apple bread made with the pulp from the juicer. I had such a good time. Hooray for juicer pulp!


Searching for Inspiration

I'm in a bit of a knitting slump. I've been really busy for a few weeks and haven't had much time to figure out what to knit next. I have a few WIP's that I could finish, but they bore me. So I'm searching for some inspiration. Below are a few books of cute patterns that I bought over the past couple months.Lucinda Guy's "Handknits for Kids" & "And So to Bed", Zoe Mellor's "Nursery Knits" and Amy Karol's "Bend the Rules Sewing."

I took a trip to a new-to-me knitting shop, A Good Yarn, in Brookline before I went to the Red Sox no-hitter game on Saturday. I bought some sock yarn and a pattern to keep myself occupied during the game. The girl who helped me pick out a pattern showed me how to knit a socking using the Magic Loop method, rather than my usual two socks on two circulars. She didn't have a needle long enough for me to knit two socks at once so I'm knitting one at a time. Unfortunately, socks bore me.

So now I'm looking for the next big project. I need to finish my shawl and may make a scarf or two, but I need something that excites me like the fish blanket did. Oh, and I need to find something that can be knit from my massive stash because the prospect of purchasing a condo has me holding the wallet closed tightly!


Finally! The Fish are Done!!

I finished the fish blanket this weekend with a double crochet white border and then a row of single crochet with the same blue as the fish.

I am so pleased with how this turned out!

Baby Bobbi Bear Goes to Camp

The Baby Bobbi Bear finally got some ears and a face this weekend. Here he is lounging at the cabin.

Safari Elephant is Done!

Safari Elephant made with Jo-Sharp Silk Road Aran Tweed.

Camp Gourmet

Who says vacation is for easy parchese meals? Who says that sleeping late should take priority over a delicious breakfast? Give me the kitchen and let vacation begin!

How would you like to wake up to these sticky treats, fresh from the oven?
Or maybe you'd like to roll out of bed into the hammock and have a warm plate of sticky buns waiting for you.

Sticky Buns
(low fat version)
If you make these the night before they will be ready for the over in the morning

Proof 2 packets of active dry yeast (not rapid rise) in 1cup + 2T warm milk

In a mixer combine the following:
6 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2t salt
1t nutmeg
1t cinnamon

Add to dry ingredients:
1T butter
yeast & milk mixture
4 eggs at room temperature, 1 at a time

- Knead with dough hook for 10 minutes
- Rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk ~45 minutes
- Punch down and let rest for 10 minutes

Meanwhile, spray two 9x13 pans with Pam
In the bottom of each pan combine the following:
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup of pecans broken in large pieces

Roll out on a floured surface into a large thin rectangle. Spread 3/4 cup of light sour cream over the entire surface. This is what your rectangle should look like after sprinkling with cinnamon.

Sprinkle with cinnamon and then cover entire surface with 1 cup of light brown sugar. Finally top with 1 1/2 cups of chopped pecans.

Roll tightly from the long ends so you have one long log of goodness. Cut into 1 1/2" slices and arrange in the two pans. Cover very loosely with plastic wrap and let rise overnight.

In the morning preheat the over to 375 degrees. Uncover the sticky buns and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden (put a cookie sheet under the pans to catch drips).

While the buns are cooking sray Pam on a serving pan that is large enough to hold all of the sticky buns. When the sticky buns are done and while they are still hot loosen the sides and quickly invert into the serving pan. Scrape any sugary goo left in the pan and drizzle over the buns.


After such a indulgent breakfast how does a beautiful and delicious salad sound like for dinner?

Finishing the Fish Blanket - part 2 crochet edge

After crocheting my fish together I added a double crochet white border and then finished it with a single crochet blue border. Below are detailed instructions how to add a double crochet border.

1. Start with a single loop
2. Yarn over the hook - this is the only way the double crochet differs from the single crochet
3. Insert crochet hook before every "bump" similar to the way you did when creating fish rows in the earlier instruction
4. Pull the working yarn through
5. Yarn over
6. Pull through TWO loops
7. Yarn over again
8. Pull through remaining two loops
Repeat all the way around. At the corners create 5 double crochet stitches into the same corner hole. This creates a nice clean curve. On the mouth and tail ends of the blanket create a double crochet in each stitch, which will be slightly closer together than the tops and bottom of the blanket. If you finish with a single crochet border create the stitches loosely when you work around the edges and over the rounded bodies of the fish. This will allow the blanket to lay flat when you're finished. Enjoy!


Fill'r Up!

Yesterday was "fill-up the freezer day," which is when I spend the entire day cooking meals and freezing them in single serving gladware containers for the boy to eat after I leave. It is the ultimate act of spoiling! Here's a pic of the super-stuffed freezer.
I began fill-up the freezer day by starting a split pea & ham soup in the crock pot. Then I moved on to a cheesy tuna casserole from our new Rachel Ray book. Then I simultaneously made a creamy barley risotto with shrimp & leeks and lemon chicken & artichoke in a white wine sauce over linguine. Finally, I assembled the boy's favorite mexican bake thingy (which I think is gross). I froze the entire 9x9 pan without baking it so he can have it fresh and hot from the oven in all its mexicali glory, eeew.

This morning after my run I continued running to Walgreen's to pick up some pecans and oatmeal. The run home with a bag under my arm wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. But, the 102 heat index was pretty intense.

Now I'm baking a loaf of banana, carrot & pecan bread and am making a few batches of oatmeal waffles. I hope there's enough room in the freezer!


Beignets, Coffee and Creole

I went to New Orleans for the first time this weekend. We packed a whole lotta eating and touristing into 24 hours. We stayed at the W, which was obviously understaffed. Their efforts at five star service fell so short that it ended up being a huge inconvenience. Fortunately, we weren't in New Orleans for the hotel and spent very little time there. Although, it really would have been nice to have a bar of soap.

We arrived Saturday afternoon and went on a four hour walking tour of the French Quarter while we waited for our room to be prepared. For dinner we went to the Commander's Palace Restaurant. It was delicious and the service was excellent.
After a night of bar-hopping in the French Quarter we woke up early and enjoyed beignets and cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde.
Of course I bought a box of Cafe du Monde beignet mix and a can of coffee and chicory at their company store. I also picked up a local cookbook "Recipes and Reminiscences of New Orleans," which was a cookbook of the month selection in 1978 and is in Southern Living's hall of fame.After a few more hours of shopping and browsing, including a stop at the local yarn shop The Quarter Stitch, we ended our tour at Mother's for lunch. I had crawfish etouffee and the boy had a po-boy with debris on top.Thank goodness for 24 hour vacations. Our weekend of eating probably took 10 years off our life expectancies, but it was taaaasty!

What's Better Than a Big Bowl of Cookie Dough?

Nothing! There is nothing better than a big bowl of cookie dough. But, it's 96 degrees outside and the heat index is 122 degrees so I'll probably wait until tonight to bake the cookies.

The DoubleTree Hotel cookie is one of my favorite recipes. I usually use a mixture of different chocolate chips rather than using just semi-sweet chocolate chips. Today I used mini m&m's, milk chocolate chips and miniature baking reeses cups. I used walnuts today but pecans are delicious when they're in season.

DoubleTree Hotel-Style Cookies
1/2 cup rolled oats processed in the blender into a powder
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 eggs
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (or another variation)
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cream together the butter, sugars, vanilla, and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Add the eggs and mix until smooth. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and blend well. Add the chocolate chips and nuts to the dough and mix until ingredients are well-incorporated.

Spoon rounded 1/4-cup portions onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Place the scoops about 2 inches apart (you don't need to press the dough flat). Bake for 16-18 minutes or until cookies are light brown and soft in the middle - don't overcook!

For best results, chill the dough overnight or for several hours before baking the cookies.


You Want Cookies, Not Cake?

What to do when visiting the boy and I want to make cookies but don't have all the ingredients and there is a box of chocolate cake mix in the pantry? Improvise. Today's discovery: cake mix can be transformed into cookies and those cookies can be transformed into kick-ass peanut butter filled pieces of heaven.
Now I'm a bit of a purist, but I appreciate a run-of-the-mill, store-bought, chocolate cake mix every now and then. It can easily create a low-fat cake, it's always squishy and moist and it's faster to make than a peanut butter sandwich. These cookies are just as fast as making a cake and are about 100 times better than a plain ole' cake.

Cake Cookies w/ Peanut Butter Filling
1 chocolate cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 c. oil
1 t. vanilla
Mix the ingredients together until the batter is will incorporated. Form into about 20 1" balls and roll in powdered sugar (they will be quite sticky). Place on a cookie sheet about 2" apart. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. extra chunky peanut butter
1-2T milk
Mix the sugar & peanut butter together, adding enough milk to form a smooth frosting-like filling.

Spread the filling equally across half of the cookies and top with the other half. Stick in the fridge until set. Enjoy!

Baby Hats & Books

On Friday after the bar exam I had a date at Borders with the entire fiction section. I took three hours to search for the three most mindless, girly books I could find. Anything that had a hint of substance or a depressing plot line went back on the shelf (and in some cases, onto the "read later" list).

Tuesday I sat down on the front porch and read "Something Borrowed" in its entirety. It was actually pretty good, I liked it a lot, particularly because it wasn't a legal text book. But, old habits die hard so I had to knit while I read. I present to you the bar baby hats for two law school colleagues who are expecting baby girls in the next couple of months.



The bar exam starts tomorrow. What would Martha Stewart do? She'd bake a cake.

Crocheting Together Your Fish Blanket - A How-to Guide

This is a step-by-step how-to guide for those of us who created our own fish patterns or used one from the Internet and are now faced with the tedious task of creating a blanket out of those fish.

1. Arrange your fish
2. Start with the tail of one fish and the mouth of a second, using a crochet hook the same size as your fish knitting needle (I'm using a US8). Holding wrong sides together draw your seaming yarn through the edge loops of both fish. Yarn-over and create a single crochet (note that this photo does not show the yarn over sc step).
3. Insert hook again through both fish with wrong side together. Notice how I am inserting once between each "lump." Each fish should have an equal number of "lumps" so if you use the "lumps" as a guide your fish should match up perfectly.

4. Yarn-over and pull your seaming yarn through both fish - 2 loops on hook.

5. Yarn-over and pull through both loops

6. 1 loop remains on the hook

7. Repeat steps 3 through 6 until you reach the end of your fish AND CONTINUE without cutting your seaming yarn. This is how your fish rows will look.

When you reach the edge of the blanket cut the yarn & pull through the last loop to secure. Then go back to the beginning and add another fish to the row you have just completed (see photo #1). When all of your fish rows are together single crochet together the open vertical seams in a similar fashion on continuous chain for each vertical row. When you reach the horizontal center crochet seam you can either go over the seam, or under it, but be consistent.

Finally, single crochet around the entire blanket and then, if desired, do a row of double crochet. To allow for ease you may want to do a few extra single crochets at the four corners and the rounded edges of the fish. More pictures of this to follow.

Please leave a comment if you have any questions and I will get back to you!


oh, oh, O.R.E.O.

Holy stress case, this has to be some kind of torture. One by one each of my friends has called while having a panic/stress breakdown. I've had at least 25. How did I avoid one tonight? I baked these delicious homemade oreo cookies. Recipe from the Smitten Kitchen's website.

I'm panicking now while watching a criminal procedure video, but the baking worked for a short time.


"Ratatouille for Dinner" - a brief synopsis of my day

Oh smitten kitchen, how you inspired me today…

Mom: “I am not pleased with my vegetable intake”
Me: “You must see what the Smitten Kitchen made, hold on I’ll get my computer”
Mom: “that’s beautiful”

Six hours later Mom goes to grocery store, upon her return

Mom: “Can you make that ratatouille for me now?”
Me: “grrr, no, snap, study, snap, snap, ”

Thirty minutes later we have this for dinner:

recipe here.

Note that this lovely creation follows this morning's delicious carrot & banana bread. Eat that, bar examiners!

Seaming while reading? I think not

I cannot seam and read at the same time, I can only knit and read. Consequently I'm facing a boat-load of seaming after I finish the bar exam next week. I'm so excited for this nightmare to be over...I can't wait to stop studying! Here are a few of the projects waiting for me:

Pieces of an Elephant

Fish, lots and lots of Fish

And my cashmere shawl, which just needs more yarn

Spotty Rotty Banana = Carrot & Banana Bread

There's something about spotted bananas that calls for an immediate, drop-everything need to bake. There was a lone spotty banana staring me down on the counter this morning and even though I should be spending every waking moment with my head in a book I succumbed to it's calls and mashed it into a chunky mush. Unfortunately, it only yielded a measly half-cup. Not to fear, I have a supply of frozen shredded carrots on hand for dilemmas like this!

The loaves didn't rise as high as I would have liked, but the results were delicious. When I measured my carrots I packed the measuring cup tightly. I think if I measured the carrots "loosely" then the batter would not have been as heavy and the loaves would have risen higher.

Carrot & Banana Bread

  • 1 large over-ripe banana mushed in a 2cup Pyrex measuring cup
  • Shredded carrots with the moisture squeezed out added to the bananas to make 2 cups - see the note above about measuring "loosely"
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1t salt
  • 1t baking powder
  • 1/4t baking soda
  • 2t cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2T oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce (I use one snack-pack size container)
  • 1t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1-1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts

Mix all the wet ingredients & sugar together. Add the bananas & carrots, mix well. Then add the dry ingredients in 2 or 3 batches, mixing to incorporate after each. Finally add the chopped walnuts.

Pour into two greased 8 1/2 x 5 pans
Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes until a toothpick tester is dry

This is really good served with a little cream cheese on top. Yum!


Still Alive

I'm still alive. The bar exams are next week. I'll be back.


My 30th Birthday

I turned 30 this week. It was a rainy day but we managed to get a big group of friends together for lunch and an amazing chocolate mousse cake that was decorated with berries. Here's what was left of the cake for me to bring home:

I also brought home some balloons that were given to me by a friend.

And received these beautiful flowers from the boy, who tried to fly in for the weekend but couldn't because of thunderstorms. My gift from him should arrive next week...

Graduation Party & Subsequent Blog Hiatus

Now that graduation has come and gone I am studying for the July Bar exams for entrance in two states. I haven't had any spare time to blog at all. Study, study, study...

Here are a few photos from my excellent graduation party.

Lobsters & Grilled Prosciutto, Tomato & Mozzarella Sandwich

Mini Bundt Fruit Shortcakes & Key Lime Pie


Baking & Birds

This morning I baked a third trial-run of a dessert for my graduation party this weekend. I know I want a fruit salad and thought individual cakes with fresh whipped cream would go nicely. I bought a silicone mini-bunt pan and tried a disasterous sugar-free angel food cake recipe on Sunday. On Monday I bought a Nordic Ware individual bunt pan and tried a boxed angel food cake. It rose too far and made a mess of the oven. Oops. This morning I ran the Nordic Ware pan through the dishwasher because it was impossible to clean the angel food cake out by hand and tried a Bisquick shortcake recipe. I greased the pan well and they came out perfectly. So it's settled, dessert will be shortcakes with fruit & key lime pie.

While I was baking I saw a scarlet tanager and a male cardinal in the hawthorn tree vying for the suet. I was able to run upstairs and take this photo from a window.