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Archive for the ‘Baking and Food’ Category

{image via Oh for Cute at Etsy}

…I would totally try to knit something out of this vintage baker’s twine, wouldn’t you? Set of 5 vintage spools (that’s a total of 45 yds.) for $16 at Oh for Cute’s Etsy shop.

{Picture via my beloved Nigella Kitchen cookbook}

*Also, just kidding about the baked goods.  I made these really awesome Nigella brownies the other night.  And when I say awesome, I mean really awesome. {Watch her make them here.} I made mine with 1 cup of  Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate chips (in place of the chopped milk chocolate) and they were dense, dark and decadent. They must be eaten warm out of the oven with a very tall, very cold glass of milk.

If you are stuck home with kids because of the snow/rain/ice today, you can have these ready to eat alone in a bedroom closet in under half an hour.  You. are. welcome. ~J

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With Christmas just a few days away, things are pretty busy here around Casa Sorella – but I did want to pop in to share a few more Christmas hats with you.  This one is for my adorable nephew Jackson – he is a Jets fan, so now he can show a little team spirit when he watches the game with his Dad.    Instead of the 1×1 rib the pattern calls for on the bottom, I worked a chunky 3×1 rib.  I secured the pom-pom extra well, as he has already ripped the one off of his blue winter hat.  {I love boys.}  I can’t wait to see this on the little meatball’s head!This plain and simple cap is for my son.  He came home from school the other day (he’s 9) and said: “Mom, I can’t wear this Scooby Doo hat to school anymore.  The kids are teasing me – they think Scooby Doo is for babies.”  {Boys are mean.}  So I knit him a hat that nobody could possibly make fun of!  No pom-pom for this fourth-grade boy – way too risky.For Ben’s edge, I worked a 2×1 rib – a few rows in gray and a the rest in the blue, then worked the rest of the pattern as written.  Here are the details:

  • Pattern: Kim’s Hats by Kim Hamlin
  • Source: Last-Minute Knitted Gifts
  • Yarn: Cascade 220 Wool {for Jackson: Green -9430 and White – 8505; for Ben: 8555 – Blue and 8400 – Gray, all 1 skein each}
  • Needles: Size US 9 16″ circulars and set of Size 9 dpns.
  • Size Made: Jackson – toddler/ Ben – child
  • Mods: Jackson – 3×1 rib/ Ben – 2×1 rib

Yesterday, I made Nigella’s Girdlebuster Pie {how awesome is that name?} and some Snickerdoodles for the annual cookie exchange.  Today I will be making 6 lbs. of meatballs and 8 lbs. of sausage and peppers for our Christmas Eve party.  Things can get a little stressful with all the prep-work, so I’ve implemented a  “no complaining” rule for myself – no complaining about anything, not even how tired I am.  I got through yesterday without making one complaint and my hubby said he was very proud.  Thanks Joanna, for the inspiration! ~J

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This week, I’ve been working on getting things ready for Thursday. On Monday, I made pie crusts for both my Pumpkin Pie and The Pie That’ll Make You Cry, and yesterday, I rolled them out and nestled them into their baking dishes to chill for baking.

My pie crusts look all sorts of crazy when I roll them out.  After taking the dough out of the fridge to rest for a few minutes, I roll it out so that it’s larger than the pie plate, then, I carefully wrap the crust around my french pin:

Then, I slowly unroll it, draping it gently over the top of the pie plate:

It doesn’t matter how gentle I am, because it always tears, but that’s okay! Then, I trim the excess dough with a spatula and use it to patch any thin spots and tears.

Be sure to build up the edges of the pie crust so that it bakes evenly:

There we go.  These babies are waiting patiently in the fridge for their fillings, which will be made later this afternoon. I also piled up my scraps and rolled them out to cut little decorations out for the top of my pumpkin pie.  Once rolled – for some inexplicable reason – I couldn’t find my box of cookie cutters {!?!?!}, so I used a cheese knife to cut out some hearts.

The rustic look is in, right?  And since my kitchen was already a mess, I decided to use some ripe, black bananas to whip up some of Nigella’s banana bread.  Only, I ditched the loaf pan in favor of a muffin tin.  I topped some with walnuts and left some plain for those who do not like nuts.  You know who you are.

Once the pies are finished, I plan on doing a little knitting and relaxing…how about you?  How are your Thanksgiving preparations coming?  I’d love to know what you’re baking… ~J

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This morning we woke up to dark cozy bedrooms and a cold, rainy day.  It is one of those days where you just want to cocoon, so I put on a big pot of chicken soup:

and baked a loaf of fresh apple cake:

Now when the gang comes home from work and school, they’ll walk into a house filled with delicious, welcoming smells and yummy treats to eat.  Stay dry today, knitters! ~J

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This past weekend, I whipped up a batch of delicious fall cupcakes – delicious and tender pumpkin cupcakes topped with maple-infused cream cheese frosting and crushed Heath Bars.  I came across the recipe {by the fabulous Ina Garten} in this month’s issue of House Beautiful magazine.

They were so easy to make, and incredibly scrumptious!  The frosting was sweet, but was well-balanced with the spice of the cupcake.  I highly recommend you make these this weekend…

I promise you won’t be disappointed.  Click here for the recipe…enjoy! ~J

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Pecan Pie Muffins

Oh.  My. Goodness.  Please, if you do nothing else today, make these muffins.  Yesterday morning, I was minding my own business, reading Ree’s Tasty Kitchen blog and drinking my coffee when I stumbled upon this yumminess.  I knew I had all of the ingredients in my pantry, so before I could even finish my second cup of coffee, I had my apron on and the oven preheating. I’ll walk you through the steps P-Dub style (that’s short for Pioneer Woman, for those of you who don’t know)…

1. In a medium bowl, add 1 cup chopped pecans, 1/2 cup of flour, and 1 cup of light brown sugar:

…and stir until combined:

2. In a small bowl, beat two large eggs and then stir in 2/3 cup of cooled, melted butter:

3. Pour butter/egg mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients:

…and gently combine until it is gloriously thick and amber in color:

4. Spoon into a greased 12-cup muffin tin:

Thankfully, I was able to scrape together a full dozen:

It was so hard not to eat any of the batter…but I wanted to be sure I had enough for the pan.  I mean – just look at this deliciousness:

5. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.  Don’t overcook them!  While they are baking, feel free to scrape out whatever is left in the bowl and eat while leaning up against the kitchen sink.  Not that I did that, or anything…

Once they are finished, use a knife to remove them from the pans and leave to cool on a rack for a few minutes before eating.

That’s if you can wait that long.  The outsides are muffin-like in texture, the edges are crispy and caramelized, but the insides  – they have the look and taste of an actual pecan pie.

These are Heaven.  Positively sinful.  And they were so easy, I don’t know why anyone would go through the trouble of making a pecan pie ever again! Make sure you have a tall glass of milk ready, because you’ll need it.  Eat them fresh out of the oven, or if by some miracle they make it to the next day, warm them for 15 seconds in the microwave.

The recipe can be found on the Tasty Kitchen website.  I thank you, blackhawkwife, for posting such a scrum-diddly-umptious recipe; my hips, on the other hand, do not.  ~J

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This morning I woke up feeling like quite the domestic goddess, and decided to whip up a wholesome loaf of whole-wheat & molasses quick bread.  The recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman.  It was very easy and quick, and I plan on having a warm slice of it, spread thickly with butter, for my mid-morning snack.

If you have buttermilk (or plain yogurt), molasses, whole wheat flour, cornmeal, salt and baking soda tucked away in your kitchen, you already have everything you need to make your own loaf.  The recipe for this deliciousness can be found here.

Also, one of Jaime’s co-workers, Alyssa, sent home a bag of freshly picked vegetables from her garden.  I am trying to decide what to make with them for tonight’s dinner.  Maybe I’ll add some red onions and green peppers to the mix and make fajitas, or perhaps a rustic, free-form vegetable tart with goat cheese and fresh herbs.  Fresh vegetables are one of the best things about summer, don’t you think?

Also on the agenda today – a little sleeve knitting!  The front of the sweater is finally off of the needles, thank goodness.  I am very excited to be winding down to the end of this project; I’m hoping to have photos of the FO for you by the end of next week…

I hope you find a little time to enjoy a bit of domestic happiness today.  ~J

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