Saturday, July 26, 2014

So it goes

So last we spoke I was dealing with a problem in my thumb and a dog diagnosed with cancer.  You'd think 5 months later things would be very different, but you'd be wrong.  My thumb issue went away for a while and is starting to act back up.  Nevertheless I've been powering through and crafting anyway.  Freya's still fighting the cancer and while she's not exactly healthy, she's doing okay and is still her usual perky self.

She tires out a bit on long walks so we picked up a wagon for her and she seems to enjoy it when she starts to slow down.  I feel a tad foolish wheeling my dog around in a wagon, but it is worth it to be able to have her with me.

In addition to my chainmaille and other crafting, I've taken up metal stamping since last I wrote.  If you don't know what it is I suggest taking a peek here.  I'm totally digging it and working on all sorts of new projects.

Keep an eye on the etsy site or my new site for new stamped listings.  I'll be offering tons of custom options!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

2014 is not going well.

I'm here today to tell you why I may not be here as often as I'd like over the next year or so and why I haven't been here much this month.  To start with I developed a nasty tendon problem with my thumb at the beginning of the month so I've had a hard time crafting or cooking which is most of what I blog about.  I got a cortisone shot on Friday which usually cures 80% of the people with this problem so I hope to get back to the cooking and crafting within the next week or so.

The other thing that happened this month is my beloved dog Freya was diagnosed with cancer in her bladder.  My vet says that on average with the only treatment option she has this means she has 6-12 months.  Of course the hope is that she'll be one of the above average dogs and make it another 2 years, but there is no way to know.  Because of this I'll be spending a lot of spare time and money doing medical stuff with her and making the most of what time we have left together.  Which also means my posting will come when I can, but not as often as I'd like to.  Hopefully you will all bear with me.  And if anyone has any recommendations for things that have helped them cope with the loss of a beloved pet or a terminal illness please share.  I could use all the help I can get.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Cooking Challenge Week 5: Vanilla Buttermilk Pound Cake

This week's theme is vanilla.  I use vanilla in a lot of my baking but rarely do I bake anything that's primary flavor is vanilla.  I've always been more of a chocolate girl.  Or Coconut.  Or both.  But a few of the things I love do have a stronger vanilla flavor.  I briefly debated shortbread, but that's nothing new so I quickly dismissed it and went searching through my binder of magazine recipes.  What I found was a page from an old cooking light for Vanilla Buttermilk Pound Cake and promptly decided that was what I would make.

I love the simplicity of pound cake, but I've only made it once and didn't have good luck with that recipe.  This one was better although I made a few minor adjustments.

1.  I made it in two big loaf pans instead of a few small.
2.  I saw it only called for 1 teaspoon of vanilla and thought that couldn't possibly be enough so I added closer to 2.5 tsp.
3.  I used the emergency substitution of milk and lemon juice in place of the buttermilk.  If I make it again I'd like to use real buttermilk but the cold and snow discouraged me from running out to buy it.

It is an easy recipe and a sweet, simple deliciousness.  Try it!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cooking Challenge Weeks 3 and 4

So I missed week 2- Polish food.  I went through the trouble of getting my mother's pierogi recipe but then got too lazy to make them.  I may still do them sometime soonish because I do love pierogi and its not something I've ever made.

I also didn't manage week 3 or 4 in time- and combined them when I did.  I guess I'm not so great at this thing :)  For the One Pot (week 3) and Ingredient You Hated As A Kid (week 4) I decided to make French Onion Soup.  I despised onions as a kid and now French Onion is my favorite soup- with or without the hefty coating of cheese.  Unfortunately for me, I still can't seem to master it.

I found a recipe that involved caramelizing the onions in a slow cooker all day then adding the broth and cooking another 30 minutes.

It looks okay.  French Onion-y.  But something was off with the flavor and I can't figure out what.  I got a different recipe recommended to me, so I'll probably be borrowing my mom's dutch oven and trying again soon.

Stay tuned for week 5- Vanilla and some pictures of my newest creation for my etsy shop!  I'm super excited about it!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Christmas: The third and final installment

So here they are finally.  My Christmas knitting projects.

I made 4 cowls.  Each in a different color.  One was already wrapped and given before I could take a picture, but here are the other 3.

I found the pattern through ravelry (did you guys know about this site?  It's awesome!)  You have to create an account but its way worth it.  I found this pattern on it and got knitting.  It was my first time ever knitting from a pattern and required some help from a coworker in figuring it out.  I made mistakes and none of them are perfect, but overall I'm pretty happy with the turnout.  I did one big button on three of them and the three smaller on just the one.  Just because.  :)

Most of them came paired with hot chocolate truffles.  No pictures of them because mine didn't come out looking pretty, but if you'd like the recipe you can find it here.  They taste good- mine just don't look nice.

I paired the one I had to mail with homemade cheese crackers instead.  They came out looking nice and tasting delicious.  Check out full instructions here.  My additions/changes are that I did all butter instead of a T. of shortening and I salted before they went in the oven.  My other note is that they taste better fresh out of the oven when rolled thicker and taste better the next day when they are thinner rolled.

Anyone have any recipes/patterns/ideas to share that they used for Christmas?  Or something that you got that you absolutely loved?

Saturday, January 04, 2014

52 Weeks of Cooking Challenge

If you've stuck through my on again off again blogging attempts (or read the archives) you may remember the 52 Weeks of Cooking Challenge I did a few years ago.  Well it's still going on and I've decided to give it another go this year.  I figure it works well with this month's eating in challenge and since I'm only doing the cooking challenge this time and not also the baking challenge I may make it just a little bit farther into the year.  I also have no major plans for the year (no move or huge vacation) so hopefully I can manage.

Week One's challenge is eggs so I decided to try a new method of poaching eggs (I love me a good poached egg)

This one was not so good a poached egg.  (okay these two were not good poached eggs)

I used the method from my new cookbook purchased with Christmas Amazon funds:

I love the cookbook.  It's my new best friend.  I think, however, I'm not listening to it like I should be in a good relationship.

The recipe calls for 2 T. vingear and 1 t. salt in the water in a saucepan.  I got that right.  See?

Well okay you can't see as vinegar is clear and the salt dissolved.  But trust me.  It's there.

Where I think I failed is bringing it to a rolling boil.  I thought it was a rolling boil.  It had been cooking long enough and it looked rolling boil-y to me.  I tipped my eggs in from a teacup (okay coffee cup we don't do tea in this house), covered the pan with a lid and removed it from the heat to cook for 3.5 minutes.

After checking the eggs they were decidedly not done and I continued to cook them for another minute and a half.  Then I gave up and ate them anyway.  They were okay.  But they were also probably the worst eggs I've ever poached.  The whites were not set right and the yolks were more done than I prefer and the only conclusion I can come to is the water wasn't hot enough when I put the eggs in.  

I also think now that I'm looking back at it- I should have left it on the same burner just turned it off.  Could that have made enough of a difference?  Mayhaps its poached eggs again for dinner.  I'll report back if I can get them right with this method.  Otherwise its back to my old simmer in a saucepan method.  Those cooked right, but never looked pretty.