Sunday, November 22, 2015

Chocolate Crinkles

 These cookies are my favorite. They are my husband's favorite, my sister's favorite, my kid's favorite.  They are everybody's favorite.  If that isn't enough to convince you to make them, I have one more thing to say: These cookies are like eating a soft, pillowy, brownie that is rolled in magic stuff powdered sugar.  If you dip them in milk, eggnog, coffee, or hot cocoa, they just get better.
If you don't want to make them now, I can't help you.  Just don't expect me to share any of mine with you.
Chocolate Crinkles:
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
3/4 cup cocoa
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup powdered sugar-reserved for rolling cookies in

Mix oil, cocoa and sugar.  Blend in eggs, vanilla, sugar and dry ingredients.  Chill for several hours, or overnight.  Heat oven to 350.  Roll dough in balls and roll around in powdered sugar.  Bake 10-12 minutes.  Makes about 2-3 dozen.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Simple Holiday Table

 I have always had visions of a beautiful Holiday table, but it has only happened a few times in our house.  Now that my kids are older and can appreciate a beautiful table (okay, that is a lie) I thought I would try it.  I saw these gold chargers the other day while buying all the things browsing in Target. The perfect thing to fancy up our table.
I thought I could also use things I already had, like the spray painted gourds and acorn stems that I made earlier this year.  A chocolate in the cranberry sauce bowl is a nice touch too.  I am sure my kids will at least appreciate that part. 

 While at the dollar store buying candy to smuggle into the movie theater, I spotted these dishes.  I sat there in disbelief for a moment.  They are so much like these dishes from West Elm, that were on my Christmas list.  I decided it was a better choice to go with the cheap version, since broken dishes happen quite a bit around here.
Next week, the food shopping and cooking will begin. We are putting bacon on our turkey and sausage in our stuffing, with a kale salad to cancel it out.  I can not wait!
Happy Thanksgiving, friends.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Spider Cookies

These cookies are the loved by all who live in my house (except me) so it is a good thing they are easy.  I made a double batch the other day in a matter of minutes, no baking required.

Spider Cookies:
Melt one bag of butterscotch chips in a medium sauce pan, stir in 1/2 cup of peanut butter and one bag of chow mein noodles.  Spoon onto wax paper.  They will set up in about a half hour and will be ready to eat.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Kale Salad You Will Want To Eat

 A sweet woman caught me in the middle of a long and slow, "Ooooh yeah, baby," the other day at the grocery store, while I was fondling the pomegranates.  She gave me the side eye, so I felt like I had to explain to her that I make this awesome kale salad with them, so when they are in season I get a little excited.  She walked away (after another side eye) but I didn't let that ruin my pomegranate buzz.

Kale and Pomegranate Salad:
I package of kale (it is available in our grocery store already washed and chopped) or three big bunches, washed and chopped.
Juice of two lemons
1/8 cup olive oil
Seeds of two pomegranates
2 cups of raisins
1 8oz. bag of raw sunflower seeds
salt and pepper to taste
Empty kale into bowl and add lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Now, you are going to massage your kale.  I realize this is weird and you may be thinking you don't have time to massage your kale, but just trust me on this and make the time.  It makes the kale soft and delicious.  More chewable, if you will.  Dump all other ingredients on top and toss.
You can also substitute dried cherries or cranberries for the raisins.  I have yet to find either of these items where sugar is not the second ingredient.  If I am going to eat fruit that has sugar on it, it is going to be in the form of a pie, not salad.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Maine Squeeze

 Sometimes I like to go up in my room, close the door and eat crunchy things while staring at the ceiling read.  While doing this one day I was thinking it would be nice to have a blanket at the end of the bed, so I wouldn't have to crawl inside.  That just leads to falling asleep.  Should I make a blanket, or buy one?  I am sure every knitter has had this dilemma.  You feel like you should make it because you can, but I don't always do that.  If I find the perfect knit, I will buy it.  I used to feel guilty about this, but I got over it.
I decided I wanted a really thick, squishy blanket and after looking around, I could not find what I wanted, so I decided to write a pattern and I wanted to share it with you.

Maine Squeeze: (I had lots of help from friends and family to come up with the perfect name)
Maine (because that is where I live) Squeeze (this is very squeezable) is a very thick throw that measures 48" by 58" and knit using two strands of yarn at once.

1820 yards bulky weight (holding two strands at a time)
I used Buttercream Luxe Alpaca Solids  14 balls
This yarn is a dream.  It is an Alpaca blend, so it feels and looks like alpaca but it can be washed in the washing machine and is affordable.
Any other bulky weight yarn will do.

Gauge and Needles
9 stitches equals 4" doubling yarn using size 13 US needles

Darning needle
Cable needle

CO-cast on
BO-Bind off
PM-place marker
SM-slip marker
RS-right side
WS-wrong side

Stockinette stitch
Row 1: K
Row 2: P
repeat these two rows

Make Cluster
Slip next three stitches onto cable needle, wrap yarn around stitches six times counterclockwise, K3 from cable needle

With size 13(US) needles holding two strands of yarn together, CO 93 stitches
K4, PM, (these are your 4 side border stitches, they will always be knit) K 85, PM, K4 (other side border stitches, you will always knit these 4 stitches)-total 93 stitches
K 4 rows- top border
Next Row, stockinette stitch for 8 rows (make sure to always knit 4 border side stitches, even on Ws row) ending on WS row
Start cluster stitch pattern- clusters are always made on RS
Next row (cluster stitch row1) *K5, make cluster, repeat from* to last 5 stitches, K5
Next row (WS) stockinette stitch for 9 rows
Next row (cluster stitch row 2) *K1, make cluster, K4, rep from * to last 5 stitches, K1 make cluster, K1
Next row Stockinette stitch for 9 rows
Repeat cluster stitch pattern until blanket measures about 54" ending with a cluster stitch row (it doesn't matter if it is row 1 or row 2)
Next row (WS) work in stockinette stitch for 8 rows
Next row (RS)K 4 rows for bottom border, BO weave in ends with darning needle.
Please email me with any questions you have.  Enjoy!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Baked Oatmeal

 It is a chilly, rainy day here in Maine.  The perfect day to make baked oatmeal.  I have a recipe I wanted to share with you, that has been "healthitized."  I am not even sure if this is a real word.  I just know my kids are constantly asking if I have "healthitized" a recipe.  I like to indulge in treats just like everyone else, but like to save the processed sugar and flour for things like brownies.  And burger buns.  This recipe has no butter, or processed sugar.  I have it for breakfast every morning.  If you close your eyes and concentrate really hard, you may think for a second you are eating apple cake.  Maybe not, but here is the thing- it will leave you feeling full and satisfied.
Healthitized Baked Oatmeal:
In a 9x13 pan add 31/2 cups of Oats, 3 cups vanilla (unsweetened) almond milk and three cups of water.  Stir in 1 teaspoon apple pie spice, or cinnamon, a dozen medjool dates, chopped and a half cup of raisins.  You can chop up three medium apples and stir those in too.  I placed mine on top because my son is in love with the apple corer, peeler, slicer.  This is a win for me because I don't have to chop any apples!
Bake at 350 for about a half hour.  Keep in refrigerator.

On another, very exciting note I had a piece featured over at Scary Mommy.  You can read my story, A Mother Alone In Target, here.  It is very sarcastic, over the top and I  use all the bad words.  Just wanted to warn you.  It is a little different than my writing here.  It has been a humbling experience for me.  The best part has been the huge amount of support from so many people.  Something I wasn't expecting.  I feel like I have been welcomed into this wonderful writing community with open arms.  Now that, my friends, is even better than eating apple cake.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Needle Felting

 Have you ever done any needle felting?  If you haven't, I must say, it is one of the most therapeutic crafts around.  Who doesn't like jabbing things with a sharp object?
I made these a few years ago for my oldest son.  I have two wonderfully talented sisters that taught me how to do this, but I like this simple Martha Stewart tutorial.
It is easier than you may think.

These little softies make great gifts for new babies.  You don't have to worry about any dangerous parts coming loose.  I love making these, and need to start thinking about which little creatures I will be making for the stockings this year.
If you decide to try it, or already do this, happy stabbing felting!