Friday

[cooking] Orange you glad it's another orange recipe?

Oh look, another thing I made with oranges: Cinnamon-Orange Bread

Orange-cinnamon no-knead loaf

I usually keep a big bowl of no-knead dough in the fridge. I like to use this recipe because it makes a lot and the dough keeps well, even over a couple weeks. The recipe calls for AP flour but I've used any combination of all-purpose flour, bread flour, white whole wheat. I just use whatever flour I have on hand (not self-rising, though). It's easy to rip off a piece of dough here and there for pizza or a quick dutch oven loaf.

Yesterday I was sooooo excited to get home and try orange sorbet! I get to use my long-neglected ice cream maker. Alas, I didn't plan ahead and when I looked at the ice cream bucket, I went "Oh yeah, I'm supposed to freeze this for 24 hours first." Fine! I'll put the bucket into the freezer. What about that idea I had for a chocolate orange loaf of bread. I looked and had no baking chocolate in the pantry. FINE! I'll... I'll just use these cinnamon flav-r-bites instead!

(I don't even know if KAF sells these little cinnamon bits any more. My bag is old but it's air-tight, they're dried goods... I'm sure it'll be fine. Probably.)

So I tore off a piece of dough (this batch is 30% white whole wheat, 70% bread flour) and kneaded in some diced homemade candied orange peel and cinnamon nuggs until I felt everything was well incorporated. Then I let it rise... a little too long. I got distracted tidying up my craft room and the dough rose to a big, shaggy mess which I dumped unceremoniously into a pre-heated dutch oven (with a round of parchment paper on the bottom), muttering "Whateverrrrrrrr". It was a small loaf, so it only baked covered for 15 min and then uncovered for 8 min.

Still looked good to me:

Orange-cinnamon no-knead loaf

This made the house smell wonderful while it was baking. You know those cartoons where the scent of something lifts someone off their feet and they float over to the source of the smell? That's what happened to Dollar. The orange and cinnamon combination was just perfect.



Thursday

[cooking] Candied orange peels and marmalade

The case of oranges is dwindling. Seeing the end approaching, I frantically started to think of different ways to preserve the citrus. One was candied orange peels. I squeezed some juice, cut the orange halves in to quarters, scraped/peeled out the pulp and then cut the rinds into strips:

Future candied orange peels.

I used this recipe. I read a few different recipes, so I knew when it said "simmer very slowly until pith is translucent" that it would take a while. Two hours of simmering for this batch. 

The rinds after draining off the syrup (which I save in a jar):

Candied orange peels

After rolling them around in sugar:

Candied orange peels

Kind of clumpy. I let them dry out in the open over night and then rolled them around on a cookie sheet with my hand to knock a lot of the excess sugar off. I left them out all day to continue drying and then put them all into a large mason jar to store.

While the peels were boiling, I used my mandolin to slice up 4 lbs of oranges for marmalade.

Will boil this up for marmalade tomorrow. Jelly bag is full of orange piths and membranes leftover from juicing.

You know what's not easy? Slicing whole oranges with a mandolin. But I put on my infinity gauntlet oven mitt to protect my hand and away I went. The bowl above is oranges (the jelly bag contains some peels and pulp from oranges I juiced) and 6 cups of water, which I left in the fridge overnight. Using the ratios in this recipe, the next day I added the contents of the bowl (I removed the jelly bag) plus six more cups of water plus 9 cups of sugar (OMGGGGGGGG) and boiled away for three hours.

The finished marmalade: 10 half-pint jars, processed in boiling water and everything:

Marmalade! 🍊🍊🍊🍊🍊🍊🍊🍊🍊

It sent up kind of on the hard side (I did the frozen plate test repeatedly- and I think I waited too long) but it's fantastic. I've been enjoying it on cheese and crackers, mixed into yogurt, with peanut butter on toast.

Now that I have oranges preserved a couple way, I can take my time thinking of creative ways to use them. At the moment, I love the idea of a dark chocolate/candied orange peel loaf of bread and baked brie en croute with a layer of marmalade between the brie and pastry wrap.

Wednesday

[quilting] Beginner's Block

This week I took a one-off class at the local Joann fabric store- Beginner's Quilting. Because I need a new hobby. First, I pulled out the old/new sewing machine.

I have a beginners quilting class tonight. Better figure how to use this thing. Given to me by my sister and it's brand new. Thanks @barbjstender! I'll pay you in marmalade tomorrow.

I think my mom bought it new in 2012, never used it, gave to to my sister who never used it and then gave it to me. It still had the factory twist ties around the electric cables. I showed Dollar and was like, "This sewing machine has literally never been used." I went through the manuals, figured out how to fill the bobbins, thread the needle, etc etc etc and I sewed a few lines on scrap fabric to adjust the tension. Then I brought it down to the store to use for class.

First, I went to pick out some fabric (dark, medium, light) and then we cut, sewed, pressed. I ended up with:

Not perfect but not bad for my first quilt square.

I added the extra orange border and I'll finish it at home as a little mat or blanket for the cats. 

I made a quilt top nearly 15 years ago. I literally have no recollection of making this. Yeah, maybe sewing all those colored squares rings a bell but I don't remember cutting fabric or sewing the border or... doing any of it, really. It's crazy. But I want a couple more charm quilts for the house. I bought packs of pre-cut fabric and the class I took was just to give me basic knowledge of measuring, piecing, sewing, pressing, etc. 

Tuesday

[knitting] Rikke V

It's still all orange recipes, all the time around the house but I did finish a new hat:

Alpaca Rikke Hat

This is my fifth time making a Rikke hat. I love the pattern- perfect fit, perfect amount of slouch. This hat is extra-slouchy; I went 9 inches before starting the decreases.

The yarn is long discontinued Araucania Atacama, two skeins. I used nearly all of it and plan to use up the small remaining amount for a pouch. I alternated the skeins every 2 rows, to avoid potential color-pooling or a obvious color change once I switches skeins.

I got two more skeins of Cascade Casablanca in the mail so I'm back to working on the mermaid tears/crocodile stitch bag. Took a beginners quilting class last night. I got my sewing machine out and figured out how to use it. I think I'm ready to start tackling the stacks of charm squares I have and make a couple quilts.

Friday

[cooking] Orange Bundt Cake

So yesterday was a day. A bummer of a day. Nothing too horrendous, just annoying identity theft/fraud. I wavered between being angry and depressed all day. In the evening, I needed a pick-me-up (which I think is technically tiramisu but whatever, bundt cake will work in a pinch).

First, I had a cara cara orange screwdriver to lift my spirits:

Spirits lifting. Cara cara orange screwdriver.

Screwdrivers are my faaaaaavorite and this was just so perfect with ice cold vodka (this Ice Glen from the MA Berkshires is a nice one) and fresh squeezed juice.

Anyway, time to bundt. King Arthur Flour has declared 2017 the year of the bundt. I've never made a bundt before but got a classic Nordic Ware 10-cup bundt pan. Now I can see myself collecting bundt pans of different designs. They'll be like my Pokemon- gotta collect 'em all.

The recipe I used is this orange pound cake. This recipe is a real egg-hog but the ingredients are exceedingly simple- butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, salt, orange juice and zest. Very easy to bring together and plop into the bundt pan:

My first bundt- orange pound cake recipe.

After baking at 350 for 50 min:

Bundt, after baking

I let it rest for 10 min and then turned it out onto a cake platter. I didn't do the bourbon/butter glaze opting instead to brush more fresh squeezed OJ over the exterior. Then I dusted with powdered sugar:

Bundt, dusted with powdered sugar

Looks fancy-pants was this was a EASY dessert to do on a week night. And the orange flavor is sooooooo great.

Bundt perfection. Orange pound cake recipe from King Arthur Flour. #yearofthebundt #kingarthurflour

TGIF. Looking forward to a three day weekend. Duck a l'orange tonight. Green Mountain Spinnery/Basketville tomorrow. Pats playing tomorrow night. Quilting class Monday night.

Wednesday

[cooking] Cara Cara Oranges

Saw a post on Facebook that my local Co-op grocery store was having a case sale on citrus. Grapefruit, navel oranges, juice oranges, blood oranges and cara cara oranges. 

Cara cara oranges? What is this? I googled it. Pink flesh, sweet, low acid. Sold. I went over to pick up a 20 lb box.

Cara cara oranges. Orange all the things!

Time to orange all the things. Supper last night was:

Orange three ways. Bone-in pork chop with soy-orange reduction, braised balsamic-orange red cabbage, tomato bulgar scallion salad dressed

Orange three ways: bone-in thick pork chop with soy-orange reduction, braised balsamic-orange red cabbage, tomato bulgar scallion salad dressed with orange juice. 

Future plans: orange curd, duck a l'orange, maple-orange chicken wings (for the Pats game Saturday night, oooo-OOOOO!!!). Sunday, when I have time, I'd like to preserve some as marmalade but I don't can often ever (and I think my mom has most of my canning supplies) and am not confident in my canning skills. Cocktails: screwdrivers (aw yeah, my fave) and maple-orange-bourbon smash.

Possible plans: orange-sesame chicken, orange pound cake, chocolate orange something.

Orange all the things!


Tuesday

[crochet] Mermaid Tears Tote

I started a new crochet project this weekend:

What I did this weekend. In between putting a towel over my head and holding my head over a steaming pot of water. This cold suuuuucks. #crochet

The pattern is free: Bernat Mermaid Tears Purse. I more commonly see this crochet stitch referred to as "crocodile stitch". This is my first time trying it out and it's a yarn gobbler. It's working out with the color transitions of the yarn- Cascade Casablanca (discontinued)- but I may have to hit someone on Ravelry up for another skein if this bag doesn't come out deep enough.

I'm making the pattern nearly twice as wide for a tote-sized bag. I have grand plans to sew in a lining and zipper, which I've never done before. My sister gave me a sewing machine and I still have as yet to thread it and figure out how it works. I signed up for a quilting class next Monday and I'll bring the sewing machine (and hopefully the teacher there can give me a basic sewing machine refresher).

As I approach the end of my 3rd and final ball of Casablanca, I'm already on the prowl for a new project. If something doesn't sweep me off my feet soon, I'll dig into the UFO basket and plug away on my uninspiring, unfinished projects.

Monday

[misc] Murderface Monday

Murderface is the best cuddler:

Murderface

Had a slow weekend. I'm suffering through the latter stages of a cold. The house is so dry that I've been boiling a pot of water and putting my head over the steam (with a towel over my head) multiple times a day.

We took down the Christmas decorations and tree. The new rabbit hutch is in place next to the old one and we're trying to transition Rocky. I started a new crochet project. And I signed up for a beginners how-to-quilt class at Joanns next Monday. 

Friday

[misc] 1978 Star Wars Calendar

This arrived from eBay:

Legit 1978 Star Wars calendar (the year Dollar and I were born) and the dates work for 2017! Best eBay purchase ever.

1978 is the year both Dollar and I were born and the dates work for 2017. AND it's Star Wars. 

May the force be with you... All through the year!

Thursday

[misc] Rocky Thursday

Rocky, with a popped-corn-on-the-cob treat:

Rocky and his tiny corn cob treat. You can microwave it to make popped-corn-on-the-cob. #houserabbit

Rocky got a nice, new hutch for Christmas. It's all put together and we are waiting to make the transition, hopefully without causing him too much stress. 

I've got a cold. I've had it all week and I've been trying to ignore it. And then I tried to self-medicate with tea, kimchi stew, sudafed, themaflu. I feel all kinds of messed up in the head. I have a new crochet project that I would like to start but I can't even think about focusing on a pattern. What the crap, 2017. 

Wednesday

[knitting] PussyHat Project

First start-to-finish project of 2017:

Took a little longer than expected due to a cold but the hat is done and ready to be mailed. #pussyhatproject #pussyhat

Pattern: PussyHat Project (rav link)

Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash 

Needles: US 7 (ribbing), US 8 (stockinette)

Knit this hat for a friend who will be participating in the Women's March on Washington in DC. More info on the PussyHat Project. There will be a March in Montpelier from 1 - 3 pm on January 21, starting at the Montpelier High School and ending at the State House.

I knit the hat long enough for the ribbed brim to be folded over. I cast on 96 stitches and knit it in the round, then kitchenered the top closed. 



Tuesday

[knitting] Abagail Sweater

A lace vest I finished for my niece:

Little sweater for my niece. 💜 #knitting

Pattern: Abagail Sweater (rav link)

Yarn: Berroco Corsica, just over one ball.

Needles: US 5

This project was finished for almost a year- it just needed buttons. I found a couple small purple ones that matched the yarn well. I didn't have the foresight to add a couple buttons holes as I knit the sweater, so I just sewed them on and pushed them through gaps in the garter edge.

Wednesday

[knitting] Finished Mermaid Tail Blanket

The finished mermaid tail blanket:

Mermaid tail blanket, done and ready to be wrapped. 🐬 #knitting #mermaidtailblanket


Dollar's niece loved it. They told me she'd go nuts but I wasn't anticipating how nuts she'd go. She got into it immediately and was "swimming" across the floor all evening.

Pattern: Mermaid Tail Lap Blanket for Children and Teens (rav link). I made the in-the-round version

Size: 6 to 7 years

Yarn: Caron Simply Soft, less than 6 balls, yarn held double throughout

Needles: US 11

I used acrylic yarn because it's inexpensive and can be machine washed. The materials for this project were less than $18, which makes it a nice, economical project. I encountered no knots in any of the 6 balls. I even have two entire balls leftover.

This is a pay-for pattern but I think it's well worth it. The instructions are well written, there are a variety of sizes and two construction options: in-the-round (for a sack-like result) or back-and-forth (for a blanket-like result). I did in-the-round because ain't nobody got time for back-and-forth during the holiday knitting frenzy.

After so much knitting on US 11, I went back to working on some socks on US 6 and it felt like I was holding toothpicks. I'm going to have to gradually work back down to feeling comfortable on smaller needles.

Tuesday

[misc] Murderface Tuesday

Murderface, my little Christmas helper...

Ho ho help me. 🎅
Ho ho help me


Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. We had dinner with family Saturday, Sunday and Monday with lots of gift giving/receiving. I'm honestly relieved it's over and I can do whatever crafty thing I feel like now. I spent a good portion of Monday morning putting away and organizing all my knitting needles, hooks and notions. I took interchangeables apart and put them away in proper cases. I put crochet hooks back into proper cases. I put books and pompom makers and patterns and thread and buttons and yarn away. I'm missing a couple DPN knitting needles... I suspect the couch swallowed them up. I only have a few remaining unfinished projects and I'll try to finish what I can in the next week- to start the new year fresh!


Friday

[cooking] Holiday Cookies

I made 6 different cookies to package up and give as gifts:

Holiday baking done. Clockwise from bottom: chocolate crinkles, almond cloud cookies (with homemade almond paste), peanut brittle, soft molasses cookies, peanut butter cookies and brown butter chocolate chip and pecan cookies. All recipes from #kingarthur

Clockwise from bottom: chocolate crinkles, almond cloud cookies, peanut brittle, soft molasses cookies, peanut butter cookies, brown butter chocolate chip and pecan cookies. All of the recipes are from King Arthur Flour.

For the almond cookies, I made homemade almond paste. It came out a little chunky, not perfectly smooth, and wet. When I was mixing the dough, I did end up adding 3/4 cup of flour, just to bring it together a little bit more. But the almond flavor is wonderful!

The peanut brittle was the best surprise. It only took 10  or 15 minutes to bring together and the microwave does all the work. 

In little cardboard loaf pans and ziplock bags, ready to give away:

Packaged up, ready to go. #holidaycookies

Thursday

[knitting] Fur-trimmed blue garter slippers

A pair of simple, novelty-fur seamed simple garter stitch slippers, to be gifted to my mom for Christmas:

Another pair of simple garter stitch slippers, closed with fuzzy yarn. #knitting #simplegarterstitchslippers

I spent way too much time using a darning needle to fluff out the white fur while watching something on TV. But it's soooooo floofy now.


Wednesday

[knitting] Simple Sporty Slippers

Another pair of simple garter-stitch slippers, this time without the furry novelty yarn:

Simple garter slippers

They came out matchy-matchy, with the bands of color lining up exactly the same for both slippers. Happy accident.

Tuesday

[crochet] Little Doilies

Last year I gave my mother this doily. It's pretty good sized- probably 14 or 15 inches in diameter. I had some of the same crochet cotton leftover and pulled out my 99 Little Doilies book to make some small matching doilies:

Doily #96

Doily #54

They are small, all right. More like coasters:

Two tiny coaster-sized doilies. #crochet #doilies

And I still have some of the cotton thread left over. Maybe for more small doilies for next Christmas.

Monday

[knitting] Mermaid Tail Blanket

I've been making a mermaid tail blanket/sack for Dollar's niece:

Mermaid tail blanket/sack grows.

Using the Stephen & Penelope project bag that I got in Amsterdam to hold the yarn.

This is working up fairly quickly on US 11 needles and worsted yarn held double. Hope to finish it tonight (all my other knitting has been kicked to the curb while I work on this) but I've got holiday cookies to make!

Had a good weekend. Friends came over for dinner Friday night- and worked on servicing my snowmobiles, which was so nice. I kind of drank too much (pretty sure makgeolli stops being a health drink when you down an entire bottle of it... still, it's not as bad as soju) and Saturday was just a day of napping and nursing my hangover with kimchi jjigae. Sunday we went to see a matinee of Rogue One and then came home to watch the Pats win in Denver. 

We're on the home stretch to Christmas. So much to do this week- making lists, checking twice, ordering last minute gifts.

Friday

[painting] Joy of Painting... a lot.

A few weeks ago, I got out all my oil painting supplies and ran through some Bob Ross Joy of Painting episodes. When I whipped out five paintings over three days:

Got the paints out to whip up some Christmas gifts. #joyofpainting

#joyofpainting

Whipping these painting out like whoa. #joyofpainting

#joyofpainting

#joyofpainting

Now I just need to order frames. I'm out of a bunch of colors so I'll wait until after the holidays to paint more.

Thursday

[cooking] Bake for Good: Orange Holiday Rolls

Had another Bake for Good class at King Arthur Flour yesterday. This week we did a sweet bread: orange holiday rolls. They smelled so good with orange zest and orange oil in the dough. Here are mine: dough divided, rolled and curled up:

Orange holiday rolls. 🍊 #bakeforgood #kingarthurflour

At this point, the rolls would rise, then you'd brush with egg white and sprinkle with Swedish pearl sugar. After baking, they look like:

Orange holiday rolls, topped with Swedish sugar. #bakeforgood #kingarthurflour

I definitely want to make these again at home. 





Wednesday

[knitting] Aran Cap #3

For my birthday, my sister gave me a skein of donegal tweed. I used every last inch to make a hat:

Aran cap with pompom. Perfect winter hat. #knitting #hatknitting

I've made this pattern (and old, out of print Candide pattern) a couple times. This time around I knit a ribbed fold-over brim and added a pompom. 

Tuesday

[misc] Biggest. Christmas tree. Ever

Sunday we put up our Christmas tree:

🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄

It's 8 feet tall! The tallest tree I've ever had. Adding lights was challenging (one string each of rainbow, white, green, red lights) to make it all look even. But I was really spoiled for ornament space this year- so much room to hang stuff.

I always get new ornaments throughout the year and I love adding them. This is a little Peruvian gourd that I picked up in DC last February at the National Museum of the American Indian.

Photo

Dollar's mom gave me a bunch of his ornaments from throughout the years. Here's one of his first:

OG ornaments.

One of my many cooking ornaments:

Photo

But seriously, though. This tree was kind of spendy and we're keeping it up until Feb to get our money's worth. 

My favorite present is under the tree already:

🎄


Now that the weather outside is frightful, our little heat-seeker is constantly climbing into laps and stealing recently vacated seats. This is how she looks at me when she climbs into Dollar's lap in the evening:

Penny just looooves looking at me like this whenever she gets into Dollar's lap.

So smug. 

Still working on holiday knitting and started on some Christmas cookies. Gifts are piling up on the dining room table- will start wrapping soon. Started up the two snowmobiles yesterday and took them for a quick spin- but I think they need to be serviced. And I've got to finish decorating the house.

Friday

[knitting] Fur-trimmed green garter slippers

Another pair of simple garter-stitch slippers:

New simple garter stitch slippers, seamed with fuzzy yarn. #knitting #simplegarterstitchslippers

Used sock yarn held double- a dark green striping yarn and black sparkle. I seamed with a furry novelty yarn. I don't know why I didn't think of doing this before but I love the final effect. And the slippers are still machine wash/dry.

TGIF. Will be heading down to Hmart tomorrow for my quarterly supply run of Korean groceries and alcohol. The rest of my waking hours will be devoted to knit, knit, knitting up gifts. And I think I'll try to get a tree on Sunday; time to deck the halls.

Thursday

[cooking] Bake for Good: Cookies

I signed up for a series of free classes at King Arthur Flour. Around Thanksgiving and Christmas time the education center offers Bake for Good classes. You show up, bake and what you make is donated to The Haven. You get the recipe and experience.

Yesterday we did cookies. A ginger spice cookie:

Baking for Good at King Arthur Flour! Ginger spice cookies 😍 #kingarthurflour #bakeforgood

Similar to molasses cookies that I make from the KAF Baker's Companion cookbook. I love these types of soft, spicey cookies covered in glittery-sugar.

Those were followed by roll-out sugar cookies. We didn't mix this cookie; we were given a brick of already-mixed dough (from their sugar cookie mix); we just had to roll it out and decorate:

Decorating! That's how we roll (and cut sugar cookies). #kingarthurflour #bakeforgood

Good class. Only disappointing aspect is that you literally do not get to even try one cookie. You know going into it that that's the deal but it still would have been nice to try one of the ginger cookies to decide whether or not you want to go to the shop to buy the crystallized ginger pieces and the sparkling white sugar.

Having said that, the demonstration of the recipe is informative and you learn about mixing at the right speed,  the temperature and measurement of ingredients, differences between roll-out cookies vs. drop cookies vs. cake-y cookies.

Next week we're doing sweet breads!