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.