June 29, 2012

He's lucky he's so cute.

Color Affection
Color Affection

I finished knitting my Color Affection this week, and now it's drying on my blocking mats while simultaneously acting as the fluffy feline's new bed. I'll try to have pictures for you next week so you can see how it looks. I'm really happy with it.

Have a good weekend!

June 27, 2012

Best Ever Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookies

These are my new favorite cookies. I've been meaning to share them with you for awhile. They're made with browned butter...

Need I say more?

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8-9 oz chopped dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats

Preheat oven to 350°F, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Continue to stir until butter has browned and has a nutty aroma. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes while you prep the dry ingredients.

Place flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl, and whisk together until well combined. Set aside.

Pour the melted butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and add the brown and granulated sugars. Using a paddle attachment, mix on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Add the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time, and beat on medium for another 2-3 minutes until light and airy.

Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until just combined. Remove bowl from mixer, and fold in chopped dark chocolate, nuts, shredded coconut, and rolled oats. Cover and refrigerate dough for 1 hr (or up to one day).

Using your hands or a cookie scooper, place the dough in uniform tablespoon-sized balls on cookie sheet 1-2 inches apart to allow for expansion. Place in oven and bake for 12 minutes, or until the edges just start to brown. Remove from oven and gently place on wire rack until cool.

Cookies

Serve with an ice cold beer. Enjoy!

Recipe slightly adapted from Simply Recipes.

June 25, 2012

Birthday Adventures

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Last week was my 28th birthday, so Matt threw me a fondue party, and took me out to the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. There weren't many blooming rhododendrons because it was so late in the season, but I still had fun playing with the ducks and geese, and walking around the paths. I will go back often.

Color Affection

As for the rest of the week, I've been knitting my Color Affection with my birthday yarn, and I think it's turning out well! I just finished the third section and started the edging last night, so I'll probably have it finished by tomorrow. Hooray!

P.S.
-I like mustardy yellow and eggplant purple together. A lot.
-Homemade pizza with prosciutto, pineapple, and roasted garlic is delicious.
-Click here for more dumbphone pics from our adventures at the rhododendron garden.

June 19, 2012

Shawl Happy

Granny Shawlette

After finishing my Mara on Friday, I decided to take a break from the needles, so I dug out my favorite crochet hook, a ball of fishermen's wool, and an old favorite pattern - the granny shawlette. This is the fifth granny shawlette I've made, but it's the first one I've ever given to myself, and it'll probably get more use than anything else I have in my closet. I especially love that I was able to finish it in a day, which is exactly why I chose it. Instant gratification.

Yarn Yarn
Yarn

Anyway, I figured it was time to add a little color to my life, so I ordered some yarn for my next two shawls. The top two photos show the yarn I've chosen for my Mojave Shawl, and the last one shows the three colors for my Color Affection, which I started last night. I can only really deal with one project at a time, so the Mojave shawl will have to wait for awhile, but I'm really excited about both of them.

I actually bought more yarn than just this, which is admittedly a splurge for me right now, especially because I'm pinching pennies for our big move, but my birthday is tomorrow so I decided it couldn't hurt to give myself a gift. It's the big 2-8 after all.

Gasp.

June 15, 2012

Weekend Knitting

Mara Mara
Mara


I've been knitting this shawl furiously for the past few days, trying to finish before the weekend. I literally knit until my fingers are swollen and raw, my muscles ache, and my brain is no longer sending the proper messages to my hands. It sounds awful, I know, but I'm really enjoying myself.

Once I've finished this shawl, I have yarn arriving for two more shawls: color affection and the mojave shawl. I'm hoping to crank these out before we close on our house and start the big move. They'll give me something to focus my nervous energy on while I'm not packing or cleaning the apartment. Luckily Matt is on vacation next week, so we're hoping to get a little hiking in, and a trip to the rhododendron garden.

Until next week!

June 11, 2012

Favorite Lentil Soup Recipe

Favorite Lentil Soup

I was still in grade school on the day I was given this recipe handout from the Rheinlander. My family and I would go there to eat once or twice per year for birthday celebrations, and I'd always order the lentil soup with the chicken cordon bleu. This was back before I could drink the beer.

Lentil Soup with Yeast Rolls

Anyway, I haven't been to the Rheinlander in years. I still visit Gustav's, though, which offers most of the same delicious food. I usually go during happy hour for a cold glass of beer, swiss cheese fondue, and a bowl of their amazing lentil soup. As for the recipe I was given back when I was a kid? It's perfect, and it's one of my favorite things to make at home. I've made a few changes based on the ingredients we usually have around the house, so you can either follow my version below, or you can check out the original from the photo above. Either way, it's delicious.

Lentil Soup
4 oz diced bacon
2 onions, diced
3 carrots, diced
1 quart beef stock
1 pint water (more as needed)
1 1/2 cup green lentils
1 teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4-5 medium potatoes, diced
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
salt to taste

Cook bacon in stock pot over medium heat until browned. Add the diced onion and carrot and saute until golden. Add the stock, water, lentils, thyme, bay leaves, and pepper, and cook for 1/2 hour.

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Add the potatoes and cook until the lentils and vegetables are tender, adding water when/if needed. Grate the nutmeg into the pot and add salt to taste. Stir in the vinegar before serving.

Serve with bread, such as these buttermilk yeast rolls, with plenty of jam.

June 7, 2012

Buttermilk Yeast Rolls

Yeast Rolls

It's raining outside. Perfect for baking. Tonight we're having friends over for our weekly Game of Thrones gathering. Unfortunately, we missed last week's episode, so tonight we're planning to watch the last two episodes of the season, and I can't wait to see how they wrap it all up!

As for the rolls, they are going to accompany a nice big bowl of lentil soup made from a recipe I picked up at the Rhinelander back when I was a kid. I'll share it with you soon. It's a household favorite.

Buttermilk Yeast Rolls
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon mild honey
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup buttermilk
3 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg, beaten with a splash of water

Stir the yeast into the water in a bowl until it has dissolved. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add the honey, salt, and buttermilk and stir until combined.

Add the flour and the melted butter, and knead until smooth and elastic - 6-10 minutes. (I use a bread machine or a stand mixer to knead, but you can knead by hand on a floured surface if you prefer.) Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel, and let rise for approximately 90 minutes, or until doubled in volume.

Yeast Rolls

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface or silpat mat, and knead a few times to deflate the air bubbles.

Yeast Rolls

Divide the dough into 9 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball, and space evenly over a parchment or silpat lined cookie sheet. Cover with a damp tea towel, and let rise for another hour.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Crack the egg into a bowl, add a splash of water, and beat until combined. Brush the tops of your rolls with the egg wash, coating as far down the sides as you can. 

Yeast Rolls

Place the rolls in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet after 10 minutes. Remove from the oven when the tops are golden brown.

Yeast Rolls

Transfer to a wire rack, and allow the rolls to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Recipe from Gourmet, December 2004 - Epicurious.

June 6, 2012

Knitted Things

Folded Poncho

I finally finished my Folded Poncho this week. It took almost two months to knit because I lost motivation halfway through, but my mojo came back eventually. I like it well enough, but next time I make this I'll stick to the recommended length, OR add a few inches to the width. I will also buy some blocking wires so the edges don't scallop as they dry.

Dish Towel Dish Towel
Dish Towel

While my poncho was blocking, I found some old dish cotton and acrylic from a previous project to play with. I have only managed to knit one dish towel so far, but I plan on making a couple more with the same colors in the next few days.

I also want to try making either this crocheted rag rug, or this knitted odds and ends rug. Or both! I think either would look great on the floors in our first home.