Success, with reservations

June 30, 2011 § 1 Comment

Well, I finished the Nurgake. There were some issues, and I think I need to re-measure myself because the sweater came out the size I expected but doesn’t fit me as expected. Which is not to say that it’s not lovely, just not what I expected.

Comfy and cool.

The biggest issue I had (after I did all the previously noted mathy adjustments) was that I ran out of yarn about three inches short of where I wanted to be, and since I was using well-marinated stash I knew I wouldn’t be finding any more any time soon.

I actually already knew at that point that it wasn’t fitting as closely as I expected, and I considered just ripping it out and starting over. Then I came to my senses and looked around my studio for a coordinating yarn. I settled on some Elsbeth Lavold Silky Tweed in a dark green. I stuck with the same needle, but the Silky Tweed a little bit thinner so it made a drapier fabric. The gauge is actually slightly tighter, too, and I think if I was going to do it again I’d switch to a larger needle, which would of course give me an even lacier fabric but I think it’d be fine since it’s so far down on the sweater.

See the eyelets? Nice detail, right?

Because of the difference in texture, I decided to do an eyelet row when joining, and then another a few rows before binding off. To tie it all together I picked up and worked a few rows around the neckline with the Silky Tweed as well. I don’t absolutely love how it turned out, but I’m pretty pleased with it. It’s comfy and moderately flattering, and I’m pretty proud of being this successful considering how many moderations I ended up making to the pattern. I got quite a few compliments at work, and considering where I work that’s a pretty good indicator of project success.

Look! I'm fuzzy! I somehow managed to not get a single in-focus full shot. It's a gift.

Bakin’ with Bacon

June 29, 2011 § 1 Comment

A couple months ago I was kicking around the interwebs and came across this post featuring bacon wrapped in cinnamon rolls.

Droooool...

I drooled, and decided I needed to make me some of those. However, I’m really trying to get away from things like premade dough, cake mixes, etc. Mostly just because I’ve found that the more non-chemical-laden things I eat, the worse the chemical-laden things taste to me. And really, cinnamon rolls are not that hard to make from scratch, especially if you have a bread machine.

Before the feeding frenzy...see how easy the foil makes it?

So I dug around in my recipe books and found a super simple recipe in my Best of Baking tome. The general consensus was that stuffing cinnamon rolls with bacon was genius, but the rolls themselves were a bit blah. So I fiddled with the dough a bit and used a trick that I use when I make monkey bread: add some spice to the dough itself. Sure enough, that’s all it needed to kick this up from yummy to I-wanna-eat-the-whole-plate.

Recipe

The easy way requires a package of bacon (pref. maple if you can get it) and a can of your favorite cinnamon rolls. Cook bacon, lay out dough, put slices on dough, roll and bake according to manufacturer’s instructions. Note: the original post I saw indicated that the bacon was added uncooked to the rolls and then baked. I think that’s probably fine for the quick’n’dirty way, but with the long way, below, there’s a long rise time and I wasn’t comfortable leaving the bacon at room temp for that long. I am not a fan of overcooked bacon and find that the cooked bacon in the rolls below stays nice and chewy.

The real homemade way starts out and ends up the same, but you gotta make the cinnamon rolls yourself. I think it’s worth the effort. (Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker’s Best of Baking)

Ingredients:

Bread:
  • 2 1/2c. flour
  • 1/4c. sugar
  • 3/4c. + 2Tbsp. water
  • 1tsp. salt
  • 1tsp. bread yeast
  • 1tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2tsp. pumpkin pie spice
Filling:
  • 1lb. bacon (maple if you can get it)
  • 1/3c. sugar
  • 2tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, softened
Glaze:
  • 1c. confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 to 2Tbsp. milk

Place all ingredients for bread into bread machine, in the order recommended by manufacturer and run dough cycle.

Grease 9x9x2 pan lined with aluminum foil. Cook bacon until just done — don’t get it crispy or it won’t roll up! Combine sugar and cinnamon for filling. Flatten dough into 9″ square on lightly floured surface. Spread butter on top surface of dough. Sprinkle cinnamon/sugar combo. Lay bacon in strips across dough (in one direction only, no overlapping). Roll up tightly and pinch the edge into the roll to seal it. Cut into 1″ slices. Place in prepared pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, app. 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

Preheat oven to 375F. Bake 25-30 min., until golden brown. Let cool for about 10 minutes in pan, then lift out using aluminum foil. Combine powdered sugar with milk gradually until desired consistency is reached, then pour over warm rolls.

Submitting to Yeastspotting

The Elder Gods are totally going to make me pay for this one

June 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

How did I not post about these?

Great googly-eyed Cthulu!

They’ve been done and given away for like two weeks now! I have to admit, they were not originally intended as a gift. You see, I came across this pattern on the interwebs, and while it is clearly intended for wee ones, I figured if I used a big fat yarn that would upsize enough for an adult. (This is a great way to upsize lots of patterns, by the way — my colleague Zontee wrote an article about it a while back.) I ended up using Hometown USA in Green Bay.

Turns out I was right, but not an adult with feet as big as mine. Fortunately, I have a dear friend who has wee feet (and whose handle on the interwebs is kid-cthulu — how much more perfect could that be?). And so these were duly passed along to her. And, having made the pattern once, I can see that it would be super easy to upsize just by adding some more stitches and adjusting the spacing of the tentacles, so I suspect a pair for me will be along shortly. Maybe mine will be in New Orleans French Berry. Fuschia Cthulu! I think the Elder Gods would approve.

Bet you wish you were my boss…

June 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

She got this for her (un)birthday today:

Wait 'til you see the inside!

Oh, yeah. That's a cake, right there.

I saw this post come across my Twitter feed a few months ago and promised The Boss I’d put one together for her. Alas, I confused the dates of her birthday (and also was out of the office last week when her real birthday happened), so I put this one together for her this morning. It is as delicious as it looks. However, unlike the original blogger , I find whipped cream a giant pain in the ass to frost with. I’m just sayin’.  Also, protip: don’t construct the cake on a lipped paper plate. There will be absolutely no way for you to cut and serve a neat slice (which is why there is no lovely and stylish picture of a slice).

A couple of notes on the recipe, which is a little light on details: For the whipped cream I just grabbed a couple 8oz. tubs of Cool Whip — I ended up using every bit of both tubs. For the strawberries I bought a 2 quart container and again ended up using every single strawberry (except for that one that I sneaked while I was cutting them up).

All the Difference in the World

June 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

In fact, this is how I feel right now (I'm the Vader, not the kitten).

Last week, I didn’t blog because it was just a rough week and I was away from a computer for most of it and, well, no blogging got done (gotta learn how to use the WP app on my Droid!). This week, I’ve been planning to blog all week but have just fallen victim to a nasty sort of ennui and not gotten around to it. I couldn’t figure out for the life of me where said ennui was coming from, but I finally realized that I haven’t really done anything creative for about a week now. I mean, I’ve been working on a couple of ongoing knitting projects, but they’re just following patterns — nothing to get the creative juices flowing.

So last night, I decided to chef it up a bit. I made a bunch of stuff that not only had I never made before, but that I was making up right on the spot! This is one of my very favorite things to do in the kitchen, and I can’t believe how much shinier the world is after having done it. Yesterday, I was cranky and down and bored and today I feel like singing and twirling and hugging people. Not that I’m going to actually do those things — I feel like my officemates might frown on it and possibly have me committed — but in my head? Singing and twirling and hugging.

This is a little bit of a tease, because I will blog about all this shiny happy making kitchen creativity tomorrow — no pictures of the yumminess have yet occurred. But I do have a little something for my knitting and crocheting friends today: a couple of blogs I did for work about how to decrease:

And a little more teasing of upcoming blogs I have planned: a non-fiber 5 minute craft project that’s both super easy and super useful; caramel-filled chocolate cookies; bacon cinnamon rolls; the finished Nurgake; and a couple of new projects on the needles. Oh, and if I can ever get some decent pictures, that hat pattern I keep promising! There are also some more work-blogs coming down the pike that I’ll link over to. So stay tuned, and I’ll try to avoid the lengthy radio silences in the future!

(Image via Akira the Don)

Great tracts of land

June 10, 2011 § 1 Comment

I am so going to love this skirt. When it's not, you know, 90 degrees.

I picked up my Intolerable Cruelty the other day to work on it (red, see? for May’s Project Spectrum! And I didn’t even know I was doing PS at the time! My brain eeez soooo beeeg!) and put it back down after about two stitches. Waaaaay to hot and sticky to work with wool. So, after some time spent surfing on Ravelry, I grabbed a bag of beautiful green* Rowan Tweed that’s been sort of hanging out in my stash for awhile and cast on a Nurgake (Ravelry link).

As it turns out, it's actually pretty easy being green.

Unfortunately, I’m a little more, shall we say, bountiful in some areas than the person the original pattern was written for, and it comes in only one size. What’s a girl to do? Math, that’s what! One thing about this pattern is that it’s a little sparse on the details. Not that it’s badly written, just that I wouldn’t recommend it to a beginner. There are definitely some areas where you need to be able to read between the lines to figure out what’s going on. Oddly, I find this makes it easier for me to alter a pattern, because there’s less I need to reinterpret…or perhaps rather because I’ve already done the interpreting for myself it’s easier to adjust that interpretation.

So I’ve done the math and changed the numbers and so far, it seems to be coming along well. I did make one teeny mistake when changing the numbers, but that was an easy (one stitch) tweak, so no worries. I’ve just started the collar decreases and am excited to get to the end of the front bodice so I can join up and try it on to see if my adjustments were correct. This is going so fast I won’t even mind terribly if they’re not (but I’m pretty sure they are…math is a wonderful and powerful tool when used correctly).

*Funny story…I just happened to check the PS website on my way to grabbing the Ravelry link for the sweater…June’s color is green! I didn’t even know! Clearly, I am just totally in tune with Project Spectrum this year.

Because you always want s’more!

June 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

I have a love/hate relationship with Twitter. It brings me so many awesome things that I want to make, both of the food and craft varieties (not to mention all of the cool articles I get from feeds like @NASA, @mashable, @arstechnica, @blastr, etc.) that sometimes I get a little overwhelmed. But sometimes, it brings me to something awesome that reminds me of something I’ve already done! The other day, I clicked on the link to this, which reminded me of my own super easy, no bake S’mores Pie recipe from last year. Here it is, for your nomming pleasure:

Recipe

  • 1 graham cracker pie crust, baked*
  • 1 bucket Two Bite Brownies
  • 1/2 package mini marshmallows (or giant delicious ones cut into bite sized pieces)
  • Chocolate syrup (I’m a Hershey’s girl, but use what you like)

Preheat oven to 350 deg.
Break brownies into large chunks (approximately quarters) and place evenly in pie crust. Cover with marshmallows. Place in oven for 7-10 minutes, until marshmallows are lightly browned. Let cool, then drizzle with chocolate syrup.

* I used a pre-made crust because I am ridiculously lazy. I found that it did not hold together at all well, and if you have any inclination at all to bake your own, definitely go with that. The crumbliness of the pre-made crust was not a deal breaker, but I’ll definitely make my own next time.

Note: The above is the original recipe I typed up last year. I actually did not re-read this recipe before I re-created it this time, and I should have. I again used a pre-made crust and it again crumbled. I also just popped it under the broiler this time, which browned the marshmallows but didn’t let them heat long enough to get nice and gooey. So, I strongly recommend foregoing the pre-made crust and the broiler. But really, it’s delicious either way.

Where Am I?

You are currently viewing the archives for June, 2011 at Tasteful Diversions.