Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Chuck the Chick

I saw this project on Ravelry and just had to make one.  You may have to join Ravelry to view, but it's free and I'm having a really good time with this group of very talented fiber artists all across America.

I love things that have an interesting twist.  The twist here is he is reversable.  It can sit like an egg or reverse to the chick.  He's quite a tubby chick, but that makes him just that much more adorable.  The pattern can be purchased on Ravelry for $4.00 and I feel like I got my money's worth with this adorable project.

What video to see how Chuck is born.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

My Love Affair with Cranberry and Orange Continues

Not just my love for Cranberry and Orange continues with this recipe, but my love for bread machines also continues.
In November my bread machine of 19 years died.  Yes, indeedy I had it for 19 years.  It worked great up until... well... it didn't.  It just stopped kneading and mixing.  Big problem in bread machine world considering thats one of the big reasons for having it.  A lot of the time that is the only thing I want it to do is make dough.  I'll bake the dough in the oven using my shaped pans.

Christmas and my parents to the rescue.  I got a new machine for Christmas courtesy of my parents.  I really didn't know how much I used my bread machine until I didn't have one to use.  Especially, during November and December.  I am counted on to make homemade rolls.  I love doing it.  Everyone enjoys them so.  I learned over the years to get a batch started by hand and one in the bread machine.  This year I had to make 6 batchs all by hand.

With my new bread machine I've been trying new recipes.  I read about this Cranberry Orange Breakfast Bread and had to try it.  As you know I love love love orange and cranberry together in a recipe.  This turned out great!  Toasted with a little butter or pumpkin butter made for a great treat in the morning.

Cranberry Orange Breakfast Bread

Servings: 12
1 1/8 cups orange juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons honey
3 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon dry milk powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select cycle; press Start. If your machine has a Fruit setting, add the cranberries and nuts at the signal, or about 5 minutes before the kneading cycle has finished.
These ingredients are waiting for the beep to add them later in the mixing and kneading process, so they don't get too beat up.

Dough is mixing and starting to form a nice ball.

I've added the cranberries, nuts, and zest.  They are getting a last whirl to mix into bread dough.
Done mixing and ready to start rising.
Dough has risen nicely and ready to start baking.  I better close the lid as to not let all the heat out.

Bread fit for a King!  You'll really feel pampered when eating this.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cranberry Orange Breakfast Barley

This is my favorite breakfast in the whole wide world.  I love barley.  I love cranberries.  AND I love cranberries with orange.  So, this recipe really fit the bill for something I'd love.  I found this recipe in the Raley's magazine  "Something Extra" a few years ago.  Fortunately, the recipe is online for all to enjoy.

This recipe says it will serve 3, but I'd say it will serve more like 5 or 6.  Since I'm the only person in my family who likes it I usually divide it into 4 serving and I eat a serving every day for 4 days.  Every time I do this I think, "I'm going to be sick of this in a day or 2."  Nope I love all for servings and on day 4 it is still delicious.  I probably make this about 3 or 4 times a year.  Once I eat it 4 days in a row I'm good for about 3 months.

Cranberry Orange Breakfast Barley

3 cups water
1 cup barley, rinsed and drained
2 cups orange juice
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3 tbsp. honey
1/4 tsp. Simply Organic Cinnamon

Prep time: 5 minutes, Cook time: 45 minutes

Place water and barley in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining ingredients and continue cooking over low heat, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the barley is thick and creamy. Makes 3 servings.

At this stage I always think it's too watery and cook it a bit longer.  In the end as it cools off that's when the real thickening begins.  As it's stored in the fridge it really becomes thick and delicious.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cake Pops for St. Patrick's Day

I got the idea to make cake pops from Bakerella.  I've been wanting to give the recipe a try ever since I discovered her blog.  What took me so long well... not to sound snobbish, but she used store bought frosting and I abhor store bought frosting.  Yeah I could have made frosting, but recently on her website she used homemade frosting and preferred the store bought.  So, I figured why mess with something that works for the first time trying it.  I bought store bought frosting.  *looking both ways making sure no one I know saw me do it*  As I peeled back the aluminum seal on the frosting an awful smell met my nose and upon a closer sniff.... yep it is the frosting.  Then I took my finger and swiped the edge deciding if it tasted like it smelled it was going right into the trash.  Well, it actually didn't taste half bad.  In fact it tasted a lot better than it smelled.  I was hoping the smell would be covered up with cake and chocolate before I got done.

Dear daughter came home from track practice and volunteered to crumble the cake and mix in the frosting.  After she was done I used a cookie scoop to portion out 60 fairly large balls of cake goo.  I'd say more like a half dollar than the quarter Bakerella suggested.  I then rolled each one of the balls by hand and stuck in a lollipop stick, which I later found out was a mistake.  You'll read below what I missed.  I stuck the tray of 60 cake pops in freezer to firm up.

I proceeded to melt the chocolates.  The white chocolate I did over a hot water on the stove and the green I put into a plastic bag and microwaved it.  I wanted to use the green to drizzle green over the white chocolate.  With it in a bag I can cut the corner and squeeze just a drizzle when I need it.

Cake Pops

1 box yellow cake mix (cook as directed on box for 13 X 9 cake)
liquid green food coloring (enough to get your desired green color for the cake)
1 can Cream Cheese frosting (16 oz.)
Wax paper
White and Green candy melts (2 lbs. white 1 lb. green)
Lollipop sticks (at least 60 in my case)
After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl.

Mix thoroughly with 1 can frosting. (I use the back of a large spoon, but it may be easier to use fingers to mix together. But, be warned, it will get messy. Also, you may not need the entire can of frosting, so start out by using almost the entire can and add more if you need to.)

Roll mixture into quarter size balls and place on wax paper covered cookie sheet. (Should make 45-50)

Melt chocolate in the microwave per directions on package. (30 sec intervals, stirring in between.)

Dip the tip of your lollipop stick in a little of the melted candy coating and insert into the cake balls. (Insert a little less than halfway.)

Place them in the freezer for a little while to firm up.

Once firm, carefully insert the cake ball into the candy coating by holding the lollipop stick and rotating until covered. Once covered remove and softly tap and rotate until the excess chocolate falls off. Don’t tap too hard or the cake ball will fall off, too.

Place in a styrofoam block to dry.

Lynne's note:  I got 60 fairly large balls out of my cake mix and frosting.  I used all 16 ounces of cream cheese frosting and probably should have started with about 12 ounces.  Mine are really gooey though I don't think anyone will complain.  I didn't read the directions about dipping lollipop stick in candy melts THEN in cake ball and THEN into freezer.  This will probably prevent the problem I had with the cake balls not staying on the sticks.  With some wrangling all are on sticks and glued with candy melts.... now!  I didn't have any styrofoam and chose to stand them up on wax paper.  Again I really think everyone is going to be tickled to get a treat and won't complain.  When all was done and candy coating firmed up I took an ugly one to my daughter for a taste test.  She said, "If this is an ugly one the others must be adorable!  This is really good!"  Ahhh just what I needed to hear.

I'll send about 30 to school with daughter.  A few to college with son and probably the rest to work with hubby.
Cake pops were a success.  I heard from my hubby that the adults had some minor trouble in biting them and having the cake fall to the floor.  I asked my daughter if there was any trouble.  She said, "No why you ask."  I said, "Your father said a few of his coworkers lost theirs to the floor."  She said, "Well duh mom you're supposed to hold your hand under it when you bite it."

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Stitches, What an Experience!

Well, not my best photo, but at least I'm having fun.  We're at a class at the big Stitches West event in Santa Clara.  I am on the right Julia on the left.  Julia asked me before we left if she made shirts with her new store name (Fig Tree Alley Fiber Arts) on it would I wear it.  Of course~!

We made a weekend of it rather than just a day like last year.  Last year was fun don't get me wrong.  We took the "Stitches" train from Sacramento with 500 other knitters.  It was so much fun.  This year no train available.  Boy, did us fiber artists complain.  I think the train will resume next year.  We debated about whether or not to go Julia and me.  Then we decided to get a hotel, stay the night, take a class, and really enjoy the market place without out worrying about being too tired or having to catch a train home.  Julia brought a bottle of wine to enjoy back at the hotel.  I discovered a new wine I like Smoking Loon's Cabernet.

We took a class called "Intro to Entrelac."  Well, Julia and I just learned how to purl the week before and this class was a bit above our heads.  Not that we didn't understand and couldn't get the concept, but because we are very slow knitters.  It's just experience.  We'll get faster.  Fortunately, we had a great teacher who helped everyone at their own pace.  By class end we could see the beginnings of entrelac and that was very exciting.

Not my swatch, but this is what entrelac looks like and you can see why we'd want to learn it.  The basketweave look is so impressive.  My teacher told me that Entrelac is french for interlaced.

This year I really went easy in the marketplace.  I still have yarn from last year's big Newton's sale.  I did buy 2 hanks of yarn, 2 ornament knit kits and 2 kumihimo kits.  Pictures will be coming soon of my kumihimo forays.  Having lots of fun braiding.

I've Been Slacking!

Slacking : to shirk or evade work or duty... I wouldn't call my blog work or even a duty.  It's something I enjoy, but I do feel an obligation to myself to do at least 4 entries a month.  I don't like to do a blog entry without a photo.  I really feel it's more fun and informational if there is a picture.  It is for me anyhow.  So, sometimes I let things slide, because I need to download photos from my camera.  Then I'm faced with do I make 4 blog entries right now, because I have the photos or do I string them out over the month.  I guess I'll do what I feel like since it is my blog.  So, without further interuption... on with the pictures.