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Some actual progress. February 23, 2009

Posted by jeninmaine in bebeh, Crafty, knitting.
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It’s been a LONG TIME since I wrote about anything crafty, namely because the past month or so has been a big steaming pile of suck when it comes to free time. With the dog being sick and dying, the kids being sick (though thankfully not dying), me being sick…I’ve had to do so much catch-up with work that there has literally been no time to do much of anything. Housework has fallen by the wayside and now that everyone is better we’re still trying to get caught up.

Anyway I have managed to do a little here and there – no spinning, sadly, and only a wee but of dyeing of things I owed to people – mostly knitting. First I wanted to make something for myself, so I knitted a cowl out of the handspun I fell in love with and bought from Joy. I was trying to think of something useful yet simple to show off the colors in the yarn. I really like it.

I like how the colors are different depending on which side you’re looking at.
Cowl for me from Fabulosity handspun

Cowl for me from Fabulosity handspun

Cowl for me from Fabulosity handspun

Cowl for me from Fabulosity handspun

I plan to take the remaining 15 yards or so and rig some sort of cord so I can cinch it into a slouchy hat.
Cowl for me from Fabulosity handspun

Cowl for me from Fabulosity handspun

Cowl for me from Fabulosity handspun

I look like pan-fried ass in these pics because this was the day before I relented and went to the doc for strep.

Second I told myself I must finish at least one thing that I had sitting in my WIP pile so I did that, I finished knitting the Entrelac Scarf I started back when kidlet was a baby. I need to run in the ends and block it so photos will be forthcoming.

Thirdly I had all this Dream in Color Classy I bought the middle of last year so I could make a Tulips Cardigan for Mim, only once I had it in my hot little hands I got all intimidated and put it away.

DiC Classy: to be Tulips Sweater

I found it while cleaning up and said to myself, “Self, you really need to get over this and knit the damned thing before she’s too big to wear it.” The pattern goes up to 6 years old, but I wouldn’t put it past me. So I bit the bullet, caked all the yarn and jumped in with both feet.

Front
Tulips Sweater for Mim

Back
Tulips Sweater for Mim

Surprisingly and to my joy this is a very easy and quick knit! I don’t know why I was so cowed by the idea of making it but so far I am really loving it. I’m nearly done with the body and I doubt the arms will take all that long to finish, the only thing I’ve never done before is the applied i-cord that goes around the neckline. I love this yarn and plan to make a matching hat. And just imagine, I may actually have it done so that Mim can wear it this Spring! What a concept.

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Banana CakeMuffinBread February 20, 2009

Posted by jeninmaine in food.
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Banana muffins

I made some more banana cake last night, in the form of muffins so the kids can take them to school/daycare. After investing a bunch of money around the holidays on silicon bakeware, it’s ironic that I’ve really come to love my coated aluminum Nordicware pans the best. Ever since I started using cooking spray with flour – I couldn’t find Baker’s Joy locally so I ended up with Pam with Flour – it has completely eliminated any sticking issues. I just have to be careful when I spray it because it tends to get everywhere. I also have to remember to wipe it off the surfaces of the pan that aren’t going to be filled with batter so it doesn’t bake on. Overall, though, I’m a convert. I guess I’ll save the silicon for soapmaking or donate it to GeeDub.

Nom.

Banana muffins

Recipes. Here’s the cake recipe, since I was asked for it – I used to make banana bread which has less flour and is heavier, but was never totally satisfied with the results. The cake, however, this will be my banana bread recipe from now on, it’s spot-on perfect. With a few edits, of course ;)

Banana CakeMuffinBread

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar (recipe calls for 1-1/2, but I don’t think it needs that much)
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup mashed banana
1/2 cup milk (it calls for buttermilk or sour milk but I never have those on hand)
1/2 cup butter (recipe calls for “shortening”, eugh)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla (I use a sploosh)

Combine dry ingredients and 1/2 tsp salt. Add banana, milk, butter, eggs, and vanilla. Beat on low until combined, then beat on medium for 3 minutes (very important!) Pour batter into whatever you’re baking it in – cake pans, muffin tins, Pyrex bowls, bake at 350 degrees (325 if using convection) for 30-35 minutes, test by poking with a knife. Cool on racks. Nom.

And of course no baked good would be complete without buttercream frosting! I use a standard recipe, more or less.

Buttercream Frosting

1/3 cup butter, soft
4-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
sploosh of vanilla

Beat butter until fluffy, add powdered sugar gradually and mix well in between. Slowly beat in liquid, adjusting amounts by how stiff or soft you want your frosting to be. Spread on cake if you want. Nom.

Happy Birthday Mim! February 17, 2009

Posted by jeninmaine in bebeh, food.
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Today is Mim’s first birthday! We already had a really casual party on Sunday at the local Chinese place, I mean she doesn’t know what’s going on so it’s not like I had to plan anything elaborate this year. Also the folks at the Chinese place love my kids, seriously love them.

Mim’s pretty party shoes! Which stayed on all of 1.5 seconds before she kicked them off.

Mim turns one!

I made banana cake with buttercream frosting – I freakin’ LOVE buttercream frosting, the kind made with real butter and vanilla. I used to detest making it before I got a mixer, now it’s so easy. Mmm frosting. I’m drooling just thinking about it. I was originally going to use a banana bread recipe and just make them into cake shapes but of course I didn’t start baking until mid-morning on Sunday (we were meeting at noon) so the 55-60 minute baking time gave me pause…until I found a banana cake recipe with the same ingredients, just more flour and milk, that only took 25-30 minutes. Sold! I ended up using Pyrex storage bowls for baking pans, two medium round ones for most of the batter and one small one-cup sized for Mim’s personal cake. They were yummy.

Mim turns one!

Her little cake had a smiley face in it!

Mim turns one!

Mim’s Signature Look.

Mim turns one!

Time for cake!

Mim turns one!

First up – testing the buttercream frosting.

Mim turns one!

Nom.

Mim turns one!

Processing…

Mim turns one!

Yeah, that’s good, let’s have some more of that.

Mim turns one!

Once all the frosting was licked off, the cake itself wasn’t too shabby

Mim turns one!

Here, have a Happy Birthday smack.

Mim turns one!