basketweave.baby.blanket

I am quite pleased with how well this blanket turned out. Despite a slow start and some panicked text messages to my friend Steph in Japan (who kindly talked me off the crafty ledge), it ended up being an easy, fun and fast pattern. You can find the pattern on Ravelry here, but I definitely recommend skipping the chart and investing in a  stitch counter that won’t self destruct as soon as it comes out of the package. IMG_0404

  • Cast on 161 stitches, and slipping the first stitch of each row (for the entire blanket) knit 8 rows
  • Row 1: (K5 – border) P1, K4, P5 repeated until the end with another K5 for the border at the end
  • Row 2: (K5 – border) K1, P4, K1 repeated until the end…..K5 border
  • Rows 3,5,7,11,13,15: (K5) P1, K4 (K5 border at end)
  • Rows 4,6,8,12,14,16: (K6) P4, K1 (K5 border at end)
  • Row 9: (K5) P6, K4 …(K5)
  • Row 10: (K6) P4, K6 …(K5)

Basically, when you are knitting the right side, your first stitch after the border will be a purl, and the wrong side is a knit the ensure the variations in weave. And don’t panic that the pattern looks terrible until you hit row 11 or 12 – the little cross hatches will finally start to pull it all together. IMG_0491 Work to the desired length, then knit 8 rows and bind off. Hooray! This is the last of the baby blankets as gifts for a bit (thank you all for finding a new hobby for the moment), but begins my state fair entry making. I plan to double this pattern and make a couch sized blanket as an entry this year….because clearly I am insane. IMG_0859

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irish.soda.bread.facts

I made some homemade butter last week, and the by product is always buttermilk. So of course that means I get to treat myself to some fabulous toast this week in the form of Irish Soda Bread. It’s one of the easiest recipes for bread and bakes up into a fabulously wonky peasant loaf.

  • Mix 2 cups flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda & 3/4 tsp salt* in a bowl (*note: if you are using the buttermilk remaining from your homemade butter, skip the salt as your milk will already be salted)
  • Add 1 cup buttermilk to the mixture and stir to form a soft dough
  • Either knead on a floured surface or in the bowl for 2-3 minutes
  • Form the dough into a round loaf about 8 inches across – cross hatch with a knife to spiff it up
  • Bake for 40 minutes at 350*
  • The bread is done when it sounds hollow after a light thump

 

For a softer crust, wrap in a clean tea towel and set the bread on it’s side to cool.

I did a little research into the history of soda bread while the bread was baking and it’s pretty interesting stuff! Did you know that the cross hatch on the bread is considered “blessing the bread” and is meant to let the fairies out and keep the household safe?  The cross also allows the bread to be broken easily in the hand in the event that an unexpected guest arrived – breaking bread to share. It is a bread based in poverty as it is made with the simplest of ingredients – the baking powder replaces yeast – and is formed in different shapes based on region? Interesting!

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adventuring:peru.take.II

It has taken me a really (really) long time to process the photos from our trip to Peru. This one seemed to really take a lot out of us. There is a difference between vacation and travel, and travel can be tough. This is not to say that we didn’t have an amazing time – it’s just that it was a lot of work.

However, I have finally gone through the photos and it was so awesome to relive the trip one picture at a time.

DSC_0013 DSC_0049 DSC_0095 DSC_0143 DSC_0162 DSC_0192

More can be found in a flickr album here. It seems I shot a lot on my cell phone, but I definitely made better use of the hard body camera this trip vs. Japan. I win. Now give me a cookie.

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homemade.butter

We only go to the store once a week. So when I realized this morning that I had used the last of the butter on the Victoria Sponge on Monday, I was bummed. But wait! I still had some cream left from the whip, so viola! Butter was about to happen. It’s super easy and happened while I was making coffee.

  • Add heavy cream and salt to stand mixer
  • Turn on medium high and wait until the cream begins to separate into butter and buttermilk (5-10 minutes depending on quantity and temperature – colder takes longer)

And just like that, you have butter. Yay!

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victoria.sponge

I have been on a Great British Bake Off bender for weeks now and can’t stop talking about it and wishing I were adorable and British and lived in a land where tea and cakes all the time is totally acceptable. Despite the fact that I live in Alaska and not the land of shires and queens, that hasn’t stopped me from going on my own baking bender. Last week I made a few batches of scones, and this week I am trying my hand at the fabled Victoria Sponge. This is the easiest dessert in the GBBO repertoire, but one feels so accomplished making it.

  • Cream 1 cup room temperature butter in your stand mixer. Once light and fluffy, slowly add 1 cup sugar until incorporated.
  • Beat 4 room temperature eggs one at a time into the mixture until incorporated (the room temp thing is key – cold eggs will harden your butter and it turns into a mess. So, trust me on this one.)
  • Sift 2 cups flour and 2 teaspoons baking soda into a bowl.
  • Slowly fold flour mixture into fluffy egg/butter/sugar mixture.
  • Add to 2 greased 8 inch round pans.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes at 325* – cake is done when it comes away from the sides of the pan or tester comes out clean
  • Cool.

When your cake is cool, whip up a batch of homemade whipped cream, slather some jam or fresh fruit inside and layer your two cakes like a giant sweet sandwich full of delicious. Now, brew some tea, don a giant hat, and talk smart about cool things like cricket and the queen mum.

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birthday.pupcake

It’s that time of year again. Time to celebrate that little dog’s birthday. Our little blue heeler turned 9 today but you wouldn’t know this sassy senior was a day over 4. And the way she wolfed down her cake? Definitely still a kid.

 

  • Grate 1 1/2 cups carrots into bowl
  • Add 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup peanut butter, 1 tsp baking soda and 1/4 cup honey and stir
  • Arrange sliced carrots in your choice of design in a lightly greased pan and pour batter in

 

  • Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350*
  • Cool, release, and serve.

Your pup will love it! (And you can even eat it too!)

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sour.cream.&.raisin.scones

If you have had any contact with me in the last few weeks you know I have been on a Great British Bake Off bender. If you are unfamiliar with the show, let me just tell you that it inspires a need for all things baked, preferably stuffed in ones face while trying on a quaint English accent.

Today the need for scones was too great and I preheated the oven. (to 400*)

  • Mix 2 cups flour with 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda & 1/2 tsp salt in a bowl
  • Grate 8 TB of frozen butter into the flour mixture and work the mixture with your fingers until it resembles coarse meal
  • Stir in 1/2 cup raisins or whatever weird dried fruit you choose

  •  Whisk together 1 large egg and 1/2 cup sour cream in separate bowl and add to flour mixture
  • Press the dough together against the side of the bowl incorporating with as little hands on time as possible
  • Roll dough to 3/4 – 1 inch thick and cut in equal triangles

  • Sprinkle top of scones with sugar and bake for 15 – 17 minutes on the lower middle rack

 

Stuff face. Great with some cream and jam and of course

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