Saturday, November 28, 2009

And Onto the Christmas Cookie Baking!

Andrew, Willow, and I headed out to Asami's house today to get started on some Christmas baking and to celebrate her oldest son's 4th birthday. I made all my dough yesterday - I favour slice and bake dough for Christmas cookies because you don't have to do it all at once.

From left - right: Cherry Sugar Cookies, Apricot Cornmeal Sugar Cookies, and Brown Sugar Striped Christmas Cookies:


Close Up of the Cherry Sugar Cookies and Apricot Cornmeal Sugar Cookies:


The apricot cookies were a new one for me, and I changed the recipe I based it on by using almond extract rather than vanilla, and putting a 1/4c of almond meal into the dough. It made for a very fragrant and chewy cookie.

Close up of the Brown Sugar Slice and Bake Cookies:


I think I went a bit overboard with the food colouring on these ones. I used my Wilton's icing dye as that was what I had on hand, but the recipe doesn't specify how much to use. Last night Andrew and Willow ate the little bits I had cut off the ends when I made the layered cookie log (I baked the the ends to get an idea of what they would taste like) - cut to Willow brushing her teeth: "Mom! My tongue is blue!" Now, I had only eaten one small bit and my tongue wasn't all that discoloured. "Andrew! Come here!" He comes upstairs and I demanded he show me his tongue (which I am sure confused the hell out of him). His tongue was bright royal blue! I laughed and told him to go look at himself in the mirror. Don't ask me how - but Christmas red and kelly green dye somehow became royal blue on the tongue.

Ray had the coolest, most icing-laden cake I have seen in a long time - behold - the Dinosaur cake:


Despite a few knocked-together heads and disagreements over who got to play with the ball, a great time was had by all - and I didn't even have time to bake my last batch of cookies. The Ginger Molasses Crinkle Cookies will just have to wait until tomorrow!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving


Yes, those of you from this area know this picture had to be taken last weekend before the eerily Seattle-like weather set in. Andrew and Willow went outside to rake leaves into piles (mind you - they had absolutely no intention of disposing of them) so they could jump into them.

Our Little Scarecrow:


I hope all my American friends and family have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I am thankful for my family, my friends, my health, having a job I love to go to everyday, and having enough yarn to insulate my home. What are you thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pumpkin Breakfast Muffins

Pumpkin Breakfast bun

Looks yummy, doesn't it? I love pumpkin-y things.

Pumpkin Breakfast Muffins

3.5c AP flour
0.5c white sugar
4 tsp baking powder
0.25 tsp salt
1.5 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 eggs, beaten
0.5c milk
0.5c melted butter
0.5c pumpkin puree

0.25c + 2 tbsp melted butter
0.75c brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375'F

1) Mix together the first 5 dry ingredients
2) Melt butter, then add in milk. Pour into well in dry ingredients.
3) Stir twice, then add in beaten eggs, stir to just combine.
4) Add in pumpkin and mix to just combine, then knead 10 times.
5) Turn onto floured surface, then pat or roll into a 12" by 16" rectangle.
6) Mix last 3 ingredients, then spread onto rectangle.
7) Roll carefully as for jelly roll, then cut into 12 slices.
8) Spray extra-large muffin tins with baking spray, then put one slice into each muffin spot as if a cinnamon roll.
9) Bake for 20 minutes, then check on muffins. Baking time varies from 20 - 25 minutes.

Eat while warm or microwave with a pat of butter on top - so good!

Note - you may need to add some more flour in during the kneading stage. Dough should be pliant and not sticky. Add sparingly or the muffins will turn out heavier than desired.

Friday, November 13, 2009

I'm The Odd One Now Again...

I'm the odd one now again...

Well, odd-number aged, anyway. I used to always like the odd-numbered years better than the even ones, but I have to say - 36 was a pretty good year. If my old belief holds, I can't wait to see what 37 brings!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembrance Day

My Auntie Daryth gave me this poppy to wear on Remembrance Day - I think it must be more of a Canadian thing, because I don't see too many people wearing them here - in Canada you would see oceans of them. I grew up every year reciting 'In Flanders Fields' - so here you go:

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

— Lt.-Col. John McCrae (1872 - 1918)

Pretty dramatic stuff for children - but I think the somber view was needed.

Monday, November 09, 2009

No Nonsense November

Yes, I am at it again. I love it when I can find a good alliterative groove for my exercise.

At my Weight Watchers meeting Saturday morning, my leader pointed out that there were only 10 weigh ins left until the end of the year, and compared the trifecta of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas to the Bermuda Triangle. People go into it with all sorts of good intentions, never to be seen again. I've lost nearly 40 pounds this year - and that nearly is so close that I was tempted to throw out a deep exhale and tell them to weight me again. I have already had a few setbacks this summer/fall - two really bad bronchial infections that made it difficult to breathe, much less exercise, and the high-eating habits of my parents' visit (Mom, Dad - I love you, and please come visit whenever you want - but you throw my eating habits some nasty curveballs. Do you know how much cheese I have in my freezer right now?!?!)

So, I decided that I had already used up my free passes for the rest of the year, and I really needed to stick to the Plan and exercise every day. Hey - I am nine days into it now and going strong. I am sure there will be pitfalls - my birthday is this Friday, I am meeting friends for dinner next Tuesday, Thanksgiving is right around the corner... but I can do this. And I am determined to have more than 40 pounds in my pocket when I reach the other side of this Triangle.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Socks in Progress

I'll have to admit I have been slumping through projects ever since I finished my cabled hooded vest. I wore it to work on Friday and had many compliments on it. One of these days I will take some pictures so you can all see what the finished vest looks like.

Since finishing the vest, I started working on Mi Escuelita for Willow in a grape purple superwash merino, and I have these two socks on the needles:


The one on the left is my second attempt at Jaywalkers (rav link) - you may remember the first pair I knit was way too skinny for my cankles and I had to give them to my sister. The pair on the left are a Christmas present for someone (I'm not telling you who - other than it is no one in my family).

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Rest In Peace, Caddie


From here:

Willow and Caddie

To here:


I have a broken-hearted little girl tonight. We thought Caddie was rallying, but it wasn't meant to be. All I could tell her was that all dogs go to heaven and can only hope that helps.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Wonder Woman and Company

Willow decided that she wanted to be Wonder Woman this year for Halloween, and her grandmother whipped up a costume for her. Yes, we could have bought a Wonder Woman costume from Target, but I didn't think my 7 year old needed to be prancing around in a bustier just quite yet.

Here she is with her friend Bat Woman (aka Mackenzie). I took plenty of pictures in her classroom, but at some point I gave up on having a photo where everyone is in focus. Seven and eight-year olds just can't stay still for that long!


Wonder Woman taking her mission seriously:


My favourite costume of the parade - Willow tells me that this is her friend, Bella. Her Christmas tree costume is adorable.


Willow on Halloween night:


She has gone back to her old form of closing her eyes for flash photography. I just don't get it. In any case, we had about an hour of trick-or-treating before the deluge began. You can see in that last picture that we were pretty soaked by the time we got home. I was really surprised at how many kids were going through our neighbourhood - we had more kids come to our door before we left for trick-or-treating than we had in the last two years combined!