Monday, February 22, 2010

Maker Monday: week eight

This week I started owl mittens for Mary-Claire (pair number two due to an unfortunate issue with the first pair). I also started a baby blanket for Stacey's shower. The blanket is beautiful, but you won't see pictures until after the shower as she wants it to be a surprise. If you are dying to see it I'll post pictures on Ravelry (sarahjane77) sometime this week.

The baby shower is in three weeks, and until then I probably won't have any photos or fun Maker Monday updates. I didn't think the time frame through when I fell in love with the pattern, so I'll be focusing on finishing the blanket until it's done.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bagels: Bread of the Week 8

This week for the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge I made bagels. I love bagels. Until today my favorite place to get bagels was Bruegger's. Now my favorite place to get them is my kitchen.

These bagels are chewy and delicious. I used bread flour, as I don't have high gluten flour. Gluten flour will make them even chewier. The next time I place an order with King Arthur Flour I'll be adding a bag to my order. They were very easy to make. I think I will make them at least once a month.

I'm going to freeze the leftovers and pull them out one at a time as I use them. I don't have any sandwich bread right now, so I think I'll be eating hummus and spinach on bagels all week for lunch. Doesn't that sound delicious?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Have you ever Spelt like that?

Confession: I really like giving stuff up for Lent. Last year it was the elevator. The year before that it was coffee. This year it's prepackaged food.

I am cheating a little bit - peanut butter only has three ingredients, so I figure it's OK, and I can't drink milk so I'm sticking with soy milk. But other than that I'm stuck cooking even more than usual.

I didn't think it would be a big deal. I bake my own bread already. I make most of my food from scratch. Then I remembered my addiction to salty crunchy snacks. Some people say that you can eat carrots or celery and get the same crunchy pleasure. Those people are liars. When it comes down to it you need crackers or pretzels or chips.

And so tonight I came home from work and whipped up some spelt crackers. Well, first I had to stop at the health food store because I was fresh out of spelt. Can you believe it? What's that saying? A kitchen isn't a kitchen without a bag of spelt? But I digress... I tried the spelt everything crackers from the Smitten Kitchen. I rolled them as thin as I could, sprinkled them with sesame seeds, minced garlic, coarse sea salt, and minced onion. Less than an hour after I started I was munching on homemade crackers.

How are they? The parts that I rolled thin are pretty tasty. The thicker portions taste like health food (not in a good way). I'm planning on making some hummus tomorrow to spread on the crackers. I think it will be tasty. Not Wheat Thins tasty, mind you, but Lenten tasty. And that is plenty good enough for me.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pimped Cubicle

Today was my first day back in the office. I wasn't looking forward to sitting in a cube all day until I remembered that Kim, Patrick, Bailey, and Jaden had given me a Pimp Your Cubicle kit.

As you can see, before I started pimping, my cube was pretty dull.

After pimping it up it looked much better. I think the leopard fringe bordering my cube, along with the pimp mouse pad, disco ball, dollar paper weight, and gold push pins add a lot. I'm still not happy to be away from the beach and in an office, but having a bling key on my keyboard makes it a lot easier to deal with.

I now have the coolest cube in the office.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Maker Monday: week seven

I'm not the type of person that knits on the beach. All I knit this week was a pair of Hawkeye baby booties (which I finished before I left Iowa). I think it's an indication of how little I will knit over the summer. If I can be outside I would rather be in the fresh air. I'm glad to be back to knitting weather, but that may be because I haven't had to leave the house yet.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread: Bread of the Week Seven

I love cinnamon raisin bread. It's sweet and spicy and perfect for toast. I was hopeful that this recipe would be up to par, as I stepped out of my BBA or Cooks Illustrated comfort zone and tried a Reader's Digest cookbook recipe. It was not as easy to follow. The ingredients called for a cup more water than the recipe called for. It was frustrating.

It didn't turn out the was I imagined. It tasted like Hostess raisin cinnamon buns. It was delicious, just not what I was going for. I would try making cinnamon raisin bread again, just with a different recipe.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Best Birthday Ever!

It was my birthday last Friday, which means I am going to bombard you with photos of my fabulous friends. On my birthday I went to Taki with some of my favorite people.

After enjoying some sushi the waitress brought me some rich chocolate cake. It was decadent enough that we could all share it. I was particularly impressed that they acknowledged my birthday with a raspberry sauce. You really can't beat that.

I am grateful that my friends were able to help me celebrate. I am blessed to have so many wonderful friends.
Me, John, Carnahan

Julie & Laura
Amy & Justin

Ryan and Allyson

Stacey & Matt

TC & Melissa

Hot Toddy & Amanda

After my wonderful birthday dinner I went home to bed. I had to be up early so I could leisurely drink a pot of coffee before my massage and reflexology appointment with Emily. After our relaxing morning I went home to determine what to wear to birthday dinner #2 at Cafe Di Scala.

Saturday night we went to dinner with Emily, Jeff, Sarah, and Jeff. Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures that evening, as I was too busy eating some of the most memorable and delicious food I have ever had. Every course was better than the last. After three hours I was sad to see the restaurant close around us, as I didn't want the night to end. The company was even better than the food.

Thank you to everyone who helped me celebrate my birthday. I treasure your friendship. Thanks also to Mom & Dad for being great parents and always telling me that you are proud of me. I love you very much.

Maker Monday: week six

I had lofty goals for this week in knitting. In planning my knitting I neglected to factor in that it was my birthday weekend so I would be spending even less time than normal at home.

This week I finished knitting Mom's scarf. I still need to sew in the ends and block it. I finished a kitchen scrubbie. I have baby booties on the needles. I did not knit on my sweater or start a baby blanket for Stacey. Nor will I this week, as plane travel and large knitting projects do not mix.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Greek Celebration Bread: Bread of the Week Six

This week I made Greek Celebration Bread. It was a week full of celebrations, so I made three loaves for them. The first loaf was for Ann's birthday. The second loaf was for Monica's not so horrible reaction to chemotherapy. The third loaf was for me successfully baking bread.

Greek Celebration Bread is a tasty bread with cinnamon, cloves, almond extract, nutmeg, and several other spices. It smells amazing, and tastes even better. I decided against putting the optional glaze on the bread, as I thought that it would be tasty enough on it's own. I'm glad I didn't add it, as it was delicious without the topping.

I didn't get any good pictures of the bread. As you can see, it sort of looked like a big potato. This photo also shows off my fancy new cutting board. I think it's too pretty to actually use a knife on.

All of the spices in the bread made it taste a bit like French toast. My favorite way to have the bread is lightly toasted.

I will defiantly make this bread again. I think it would be perfect to bring to a brunch.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Maker Monday: week five

This week was not as productive as last week. I made one chemo cap (which I forgot to take a picture of before I gave it away). It was red and fuzzy, perfect for Valentine's Day.

At the moment I have my sweater, a kitchen scrubbie, and Mom's scarf on the needles. Her scarf is now 38 inches long, so it is moving along nicely. I've included a picture of the scarf below. It will be wider and have a more defined lace pattern once it is blocked.

My knitting goals for the week are: finish the scrubbie, make baby booties for Angie, start a baby blanket for the Staceanator, work on my sweater, and finish Mom's scarf. I probably won't get it all done, but I am willing to try.