Monday, June 28, 2010

Claire and Gjergji

I missed the McCarty family reunion this year because I was in Cedar Falls for Sturgis Falls. Luckily Claire and Gjergji were in town before the reunion so I was able to catch up with them.

Gjergji is a beer fan, so we took him to El Bait Shop which has 105 beers on tap. The beers were good, but the company was even better.
John and I are going to head to Williamsburg later this year to visit C & Gj. Gjergji has promised lots of wineries and breweries. Claire has promised a yarn store. I'm excited for both.

Maker Monday: week 26

I finally finished the brown hat. The pattern, Jacques Cousteau Hat, is really easy to follow and totally mindless to knit.

This week my favorite part of knitting was getting together with friends to knit with Liz. Liz lives in Maine, so we rarely get to knit together. I didn't know her very well when she lived here, but I have gotten to know her on line. I wish we would have got to know each other sooner because we have a lot in common.

When I started knitting I had no idea that I would make such wonderful friends. There is something about sitting together in a group drinking coffee that leads to wonderful conversations. I am so lucky to have found such a great group of people.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pain de Campagne: Bread of the Week 26

I was excited to try Pain de Campagne because these loaves are perfect for creative shaping. I made pull apart rolls (an epi), a cap (an auvergnat), and a loaf with scissor cuts that make it look cool.

Unfortunately they didn't brown up as well as the last loaves I made. They tasted great despite their paleness.

It's hard to believe I'm halfway to my goal of making a loaf of bread a week. I have gotten much better at baking and I eat less bread than I did before the challenge. I think it's because store bought bread just doesn't taste as good.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Maker Monday: week 25

I'm working on a hat this week. I'm almost finished, so there will be photos next week. It is looking good and is mindless to knit, which totally makes up for the slow progress.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pain a l'Ancienne: Bread of the Week 25

This week I made Pain a l'Ancienne. I can't pronounce it, but I love it. This is the first hearth bread that browned beautifully for me. The crumb was perfect. This bread made me feel like a real baker. I will defiantly be making it again.

One of the problems I've had since I started breaking bread is that my weight has plateaued instead of going down. I've started another blog chronicling my weight loss quest. If you've ever struggled to lose weight please check it out and give me advice. The blog can be found at

Matt and Jenny

My friend Matt got married last week in the Dominican Republic. Last night John and I headed to the reception. It was great. The food was delicious, the cake was the best I've ever had, and the groomsmen and bridesmaids each gave funny and heartfelt speeches. John and I were also able to spend the evening hanging out with Chris and Becky. It was a wonderful night.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Autism Speaks Walk

This morning I skipped the farmer's market in order to join Emily in the Autism Speaks Walk in West Des Moines. Emily drove over from Iowa City for the walk. Our sorority, Alpha Xi Delta, is a national partner with Autism Speaks.

It was a beautiful morning for the 2.5 mile walk. For the first time in what feels like months it was sunny morning. I have a slight sunburn, but it was all worth it.

Sushi Night

Last night we headed to Taki to have dinner and catch up with friends.

Zak was in a bike accident a few weeks ago, so he's sporting a robotic looking arm for six weeks. I think he was happy to eat at a place with chopsticks, as they will help him itch inside of the brace.

Nich was in town from Chicago. Zak and I were finally able to meet his girlfriend Angie. She's very nice and I'm looking forward to seeing her again soon.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Maker Monday: week 24

I was supposed to be working on Christmas presents this week. It didn't happen. I came into some yarn last weekend and it was so nice and squishy I couldn't put it down.

I made a smocked dishcloth. I was drawn to this pattern because it looks cool, but is mostly mindless knitting.
I had enough cotton left over to make a circular dishcloth after that.

Last week I found one of Mary-Claire's blog posts depressing, so I decided to make her a hat. She picked out the pattern when we were both home for Easter. This wool is soft and squishy, which will make for a good winter hat. I'm not sure if she'll like the color or not. I do, and when I'm knitting that is really what matters now isn't it? I think it will look nice with her clothes and will provide a pop of color in the midst of a dreary Chicago day.

After I finished the hat I had enough yarn left over for a beer coozie. I love it when my coozie matches my outerwear, so when making hats for others I like to whip one up if I have the yarn.

This week I'm going to work on Christmas presents if I finish the hat I'm working on. That hat is knit on size 4 needles and 8 inches are knit before you start decreasing. It's taking a long time.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire: Bread of the Week 24

This week I made Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire. The grains used are cornmeal, rolled oats, wheat bran, bread flour, and brown rice. It made for a hearty bread.
The rise went well, but the bread fell once it was in the oven. I have that problem every time I use cornmeal in a bread. I don't mind too much, as this is the kind of bread I enjoy toasted, and dense bread tastes fine when it's crunchy.
This bread is best enjoyed covered in peanut butter and jelly and eaten while looking for new recipes in cooking magazines.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Last night we were able to check out Mullet's. It's a great new bar right across the river from Sec Taylor. It has the best view of any bar in Des Moines.
The view is made even better by a large roof level deck.
The signature drink of Mullet's is a Miami Vice. It's half rum runner half pina colada. It reminds me of what Jon Wilson would drink in Mexico; it's icy, layered, and delicious.

It was a fun bar and I'm sure we'll be back a lot. All of the food we tried was excellent. They have brunch on the weekends, so I'm sure we'll be back soon to check out the pancakes.

Saturday Morning Knitting

This morning was very stormy. Farmer's Market was cancelled due to the weather. It was the perfect morning to sit at a coffee shop knitting.

So that's what I did. I met Ivy for a few hours of knitting and chatting. She leaves for a week in London in a few weeks, so it was nice to catch up with her before she goes. Unfortunately it isn't possible to read her shirt in this photo, it says "London the Sioux Falls of Europe".

Monday, June 7, 2010

Maker Monday: week 23

This week I made a UNI bottle coozie out of leftover sock yarn. It's short enough to fit a Boulevard bottle yet long enough to cover a Maple Nut Brown Ale.

I also worked on Christmas projects, which you don't get photos of because that would sort of ruin the surprise (although by December you may have forgotten about this post).

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Blueberry Cornmeal Cookies

Last week Mary-Claire sent me a link to a recipe for blueberry cornmeal cookies and asked me to make them. I decided I would give them a whirl.

These cookies have a lot of good things going for them. I like it when cookies aren't too sweet, and these are just sweet enough. I like cornmeal in baked goods. I like blueberries. Even though there were a lot of good things going for these cookies I'm just not that into them. They were OK. I still dream of owning the cookbook they come from, but I won't make them again.

Marbled Rye Bread: Bread of the Week 23

This week I made marbled rye bread. I made one loaf with a bull's-eye marble and one with a marbled effect. The breads are baked on sheet pans, not loaf pans. The marbled loaf was perfect for sliced bread with dinner and the bull's-eye was the right size for sandwiches.

I'm not a big marbled rye fan, so one loaf went home with John and another loaf sat neglected on my counter.