Monday, February 24, 2014

Happy Birthday to My Bestie!!

What awkward phase?!
What is a better way to celebrate the friend you have known since the day you were born, then posting the "book" you planned to write about the both of you when you were in 4th or 5th grade?! Written on my dads typewriter, it is complete with plenty of typing errors and deep creases from where it has been "lovingly" folded and refolded and tucked into whatever bag or drawer seemed safe thru the years. How grateful I am that it never got lost!!

Baking challah bread together
So here's to you Meredith Lane Bauer Bertleson Feinberg Gizmunt Alchin Mowry - may you know how loved, appreciated and needed you are! Life would not be worth living without your sarcasm and sweet dance moves! I can't wait for our daughters to be BFF's too!

New Years Eve 2013
It begins with a letter to my bestie that might just make my husband jealous, but hey, such is the power of the BFF!!


Chapter One, which unfortunately remains to be the only chapter, at least involves boogers and a trip to the ER...

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Counting down to baby

30 years ago, my mother pregnant with me. I arrived 10 days late, weighing in at 9.5 pounds.
It also just happens to be this beautiful woman's birthday! Happy birthday Mama! Thank you for bringing me into this world, and raising me in a way that prepared me to become a mother myself!
Here I am, 36 weeks pregnant with our own baby girl. (Photo by the very talented Stephanie Bassos)

17 days until the due date and counting...


Friday, February 21, 2014

The Best Flour Tortillas

 

These tortillas are worth making at home. Far superior to anything you can find at the supermarket, and ingredients you can feel good about!! The kind of tortilla that is so soft and gently fragrant you could bury your face in it! Or at least eat it plain with maybe just a swipe of butter right out of the pan! I make a big batch whenever we are going to have burritos, and then freeze the rest for future burritos, dipping in hummus, or falafel wraps! To defrost just grab how many you need out of the freezer and either let them thaw on the counter if you have the time, or pop in the oven or microwave to soften. These tortillas are incredibly simple and the dough would be really fun to make with kids! The recipe can easily be halved or doubled!

//Flour Tortillas//
yields 12-16
 *vegan*

//Ingredients//
2 cups white whole wheat flour
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp refined coconut oil 
1 1/2 cups water (more or less if your dough is dry or wet)

//Method//
Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl together and mix with a fork to incorporate. Rub in the coconut oil using your fingers (or you can "cut" it in using your fork.)
Slowly add the water until your dough comes together. Knead for a minute or two to incorporate everything, you should have a nice soft dough.

At this point I use a bench scraper or knife to cut the dough into even chunks. I cut them as big as my skillet, giving me about 16 tortillas. Roll them into balls and then let them rest for about 20 minutes under a layer of plastic wrap.

Heat a skillet over medium heat. I use cast iron, but any skillet will work fine. Do not add any oil or fat, these cook in a dry skillet. 

Using a little flour roll a tortilla out as thin as you can get it (they will puff slightly in the pan.) Cook the tortilla on the hot skillet until you see bubbles forming all over the top. Flip, and let cook for about 30-60 seconds more. Adjust heat if your spots are getting dark too fast, or if it is taking more than a minute per side to cook. 

I usually roll out the next tortilla while the first is cooking, just remember to keep an eye on it! As they cook I stack them on a plate and cover them with a clean kitchen towel. By the time you are done cooking them all, you will have a lovely stack of warm, soft tortillas!  


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Off the Needles: Climb Journey


from Journey


These socks were a great knit! I would highly recommend the pattern for any knitter. If you've never knit socks before, the pattern is really simple and easy to follow. The most complicated part would be the Turkish Cast-On, which Jane Richmond made a great video tutorial for! The yarn recommendation is also spot on. KnitPicks stroll sock yarn is soft, beautifully dyed, and machine washable! So many of my wool socks don't get the wear they would if I didn't have to hand wash them :)

 

also from Journey


I used Shepherds Wool in Worsted Weight, which just happens to be my favorite yarn ever! It is incredibly soft (serious squishy factor going on), with great stitch definition. I chose the color Pewter for it's versatility.


All my notes are on Ravelry, but the only modification I made was adding another repeat of the stitch patterns! This pattern definitely rates amongst my favorite all time patterns!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

On the Needles: a Nesting Knitter

I am not sure if it is "nesting." Or more likely the looming possibility that I am permanently foregoing my "time for myself" in the coming month. But I find myself casting on for more and more projects. Maybe I am just feeling extra ambitious!

On the needles:

© LaMaisonRililie Designs
© Jane Richmond
© Nicholas Kupiak
Waiting patiently to jump on my needles:

© Nicholas Kupiak
© Knit Picks
© Veera Välimäki

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Angel Food Cake (sans Gluten)

Simple. Light. Sweet.
I remember when I was younger thinking it was impossible to make without a box mix. Now I wonder what magic they use to turn the few precious ingredients it takes to make an Angle Cake, into a box mix!
I urge anyone with 10 eggs and a mixer to avoid the box, and experience the pleasure of making this simple cake. Perfect for summer with how light it is, but dare I say even better in winter, when the cold, dark days have us dreaming of sunshine and fresh berries??


Angel Cake (no gluten necessary)
serves 8-12
If you don't have gluten free flours on hand, you can easily make this by just swapping the GF flours for one cup of all-purpose flour!
//Ingredients//
10 egg whites, preferrably room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. brown rice flour
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. tapioca starch
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups sugar, separated

//Method//
Preheat oven to 350F. Have your Angel Cake pan ready, and by this I mean just sitting on the counter ready to fill with your batter. Do NOT grease it! The cake has to be able to "climb" the walls. If you spray it, it will just slip down into a sad, dense heap of sugary mess.

Separate your whites from the yolks (don't throw away the yolks! This is a perfect opportunity to make a batch of ice cream...)

Combine the potato starch, brown rice flour, tapioca starch, salt and a 1/2 cup of the sugar. Sift them 3 times. This will ensure that your flour mixture is really light and fluffy!

In the bowl of your stand mixer (or in a big bowl if you plan to use a hand mixer) combine your whites and vanilla. Using a whisk attachment beat the whites on medium until frothy. Sprinkle in the cream of tartar and turn the mixer up a notch. Beat until the whites start to form soft peaks and begin looking shiny. Slowly sprinkle in the remaining 1 cup of sugar while the whites are beating. Beat on medium-high until stiff peaks have formed.

Gently fold a third of your flour mixture into the egg white mixture. Once it is pretty much incorporated, mix in another third and finally the last of it. You want to be as gentle as you can using a folding motion instead of a mixing motion so you don't deflate the air you have just worked into your whites. Pour your batter into your cake pan and smooth the top.

Bake in the center of your oven for 18 minutes, then rotate, and bake for 17 more.

Once you remove the cake from the oven it will need to cool upside down so it doesn't sink in on itself. My angel pan has feet so I can do this really easily. If yours doesn't, I think most people rest the center hole on a glass bottle (i.e. soda bottle.)

Once your cake is completely cool, just use a thin off set spatula or a butter knife to loosen it from the sides of the pan. It should come out pretty easily. The serving options are endless! Keep it light with fresh whipped cream and berries, or go my favorite route and make it dirty with coffee ice cream and rum spiked hot fudge sauce!



Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Blanket for Olive Rose


Photograph by the very talented Stephanie Bassos
Her blanket is ready, and eagerly awaiting her arrival...as are we!


Olive's Blanket
(adapted from the Purl Bee's Super Easy Baby Blanket)
//Ingredients//
US 7 circular needles (I suggest 32" or longer)
10-50 gram balls worsted weight superwash yarn, 110 yards each
I used... KnitPicks:
Wool of the Andes Superwash in Fairytale, Rouge, Brass Heather, Delft Heather, Pampas Heather, Noble Heather, and Almond. 
And Swish Supeerwash in Sugar Plum, Dove Heather, and Marble Heather
A darning needle for sewing in the ends

//Method//
Cast on 150 stitches in the color of your choice.
Work the entire blanket in garter stitch, knitting every row.
I hate to waste yarn, so I knit as far as I could with each color of yarn. The only thing you need to make sure of is that the yarn you have left will get you thru so you can change colors on the edge (not in the middle of the blanket) and that you always change colors on the same side! When working garter stitch, there will be a "stripe" on one side of your color change. I always thing of this as the "wrong side." And you want it to be uniform for the whole blanket.
I also slipped the first stitch of each row knitwise (except the rows that I was changing colors), so that I have a really tidy edge.
These little steps take the simplicity of a garter stitch blanket and keep it looking really neat and well put together, instead of too "homemade."

Use up all 10 skeins and then bind off! Weave in your ends. Wash in a baby friendly detergent and lay flat to dry.