Grackle & Sun

Archive for the month “January, 2015”

Knit|tinK: Sweet Little Shawl

All that ranting and moaning about not being able to knit apparently unblocked my mojo. I decided the next day that I needed to cast on a quick little project for a gift I had promised a friend months ago. I found the perfect pattern in Susan Galbraith’s Sumptuous Stripes Shawlette.

The shawl is a gift for a teenage girl, and so I decided that making it easy to wash would be the kind thing to do. I used two skeins of my go-to favourite “I’m making this for a kid” yarn, which is Lion Brand Wool-Ease in worsted weight heathered solids. We all have our guilty knitting pleasures, and Wool-Ease is mine. It wears well, and you can chuck it into the washer and dryer many, many, many times, and it comes out looking like new. The natural-coloured Romney wool snob in me is stamping her foot in the corner. I am ignoring her.

This took all of two days to finish. I had fun learning how to knit on an edging, which somehow I had never done before. Susan was super helpful in answering my questions when I couldn’t quite visualize where I was in space and time. It all came together without a hitch. Well, almost. The Universe had a hand in this project, of course. See, the funny part about the whole thing is that in order to get the drape I was looking for, I had to go up in needles size. To size 11. So, two projects going on size 11s at the same time. Ha! That’s what I get for bitching.

The only other size 11 needles I had in the house were a pair of old aluminum straights. Not even all that straight–one has a bend in it either from use or maybe from being sat on… I was NOT going to buy another pair of circs in a size I abhor, and so I used the straights. I crammed all 199 stitches onto those cold, chubby, metal sticks, and I made it happen.

Turned out pretty cute.  Thanks to awesome teenage daughter who modeled for my “knit cred”.

I have a thing for knitting stripes. In part, it is due to my “stripe amnesia”–that’s what it’s called when you forget how horrible it is to weave in a millionty ends. BUT, this pattern had no end weaving whatsoever due to the very clever, yet simple, way the colours are carried and changed. I also love the way the edging took care of binding off the live stitches and helped the stockinette to lay down nice and flat. Lovely. Especially since the downfall of Wool-Ease is its lack of blockability.

There we go. Knitting success. Mojo unblocked. Needles flying like the wind.

Aaaaaand… I’m back to the afghan. :D

As always, tinks on me.

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Knit|tinK: Squirrels

It’s been a minute since I posted a knitting project. This is true for one incredibly simple reason. I’m knitting an afghan.

It was supposed to be a wedding gift. Ha! I thumb my nose at deadlines. But if I’m very, very lucky, it can be an anniversary gift instead. I’m so not even joking. I’ve been knitting this thing since June, and I’m only, like, 8 inches into it. And that’s on size 11s! Knitting with size 11 needles is like coloring with chubby crayons. It’s like building with Duplo blocks instead of Lego.The whole process is all ham-fisted and unwieldy and weird. My one salvation is the sweet, sweet comfort of feather + fan.  Blessed be the four row repeat.

This kind of knitting is mindless. Is boring. Is the kind of knitting that requires discipline, self control, and the ability to stay the course. To not get distracted. Did you see the seed catalog peeking out from the basket? That is not helping. I sat down to knit the other night and instead wrote up my entire seed order. I try to knit on this monster beast and suddenly I’ve got the brain capacity of a rabid squirrel on a merry-go-round. Today, I did the dishes instead of knitting. I vacuumed.

I’M WRITING A BLOG POST ABOUT KNITTING THE AFGHAN INSTEAD OF KNITTING THE AFGHAN.

What is the problem? I don’t know. Usually knitting time is a gift. But for some reason, right now I just can’t sit still that long. I am restless. I am weak. I am undisciplined. I am… Look, shells! These are shells I found on the beaches in Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. Yes, Delaware actually does exist. I have been there and know it is true. I love the ocean. I am also afraid of it. And shells are pretty fantastic.

I love the devil’s purse. I wonder who first gave it that name? Did you know that these are the egg cases of sharks and skates? Some awesome little baby sea creature hatched out of this crazy collagen pod. Some mama sea creature MADE this crazy collagen pod with her body. How wild is that?

And all this sunlight saying everything is ok. Urging me to look, and then look again. To think of beauty and far off places. Of stories and adventures. Of possibilities.

Aaaaand… still no knitting. But I did get hungry what with all this cleaning and contemplation. So, I made myself a green smoothie. Can I just say that my smoothies, although quite delicious, never ever ever ever ever look like they do in health food magazines or celebrity cookbooks. My smoothies look like this.

Mmmmm, yum. Lol. Let’s be real here. That is one super healthy smoothie–burgeoning with ripe (albeit, frozen) cherries, masses of fresh kale, coconut oil, heaping tablespoons of omega-laden flax meal, super duper grain-free plant-based protein powder, and powerhouse antioxidant camu camu. It’s healthy, but it is not sexy. That is one fugly smoothie. I bring it up simply to point out that the good stuff rarely looks like it does in photos. And I think this derails a lot of people, keeps them from sticking to their good, healthy intentions. We get so hung up on the image that we lose sight of the content. It doesn’t look perfect so we messed up, right? What’s the point? Then we spend all our precious energy on trying to make things look right instead of spending it on making sure we’re doing it right. Or doing it at all.

So, what were we talking about? Oh, yeah. Me not knitting an afghan.

:P

As always, tinks are on me.

Mookies and the New Year

I hope you have all had a very happy Elevensies and that the New Year brings you much happiness, many blessings, and every good thing. Since we recently moved a couple hours away from most of our friends, we realized that we would not be able to celebrate Togetherness (aka, EmpanadaFest) in the way that we used to do–with a big open house and mountains of empanadillas–what with the distance and drive time in poor weather. So instead we had a low-key four-of-us New Year’s Eve and Togetherness Day today. In addition to beating pots and pans and sweeping out the old year and lighting incense for the Ancestors, it may have involved watching The Big Lebowski. It also involved food.

I never thought I’d have a recipe on my blog, lol, but here goes. As part of that celebration, I made a recipe that I’ve been working on for a little bit now. It’s a delicious paleo take on a cookie-muffin hybrid love child. I basically modelled it after a traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe, but substituted paleo ingredients, and lo, it worked. Yes, it’s just that easy! Fool’s luck and all that. The muffin tin is key for achieving maximum brownage. Just like the corner pieces are the best part of brownies, the perfectly browned exterior is the best part of a cookie. Caramelized sugars are a gift. But first, dude, can I just say that food photography is wicked hard. My hat is off to all of you brilliant bloggers who take beautiful food photos. That shit takes skill.

World, I present to you…

Mookies!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour*
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • roughly 1 tsp of baking soda or baking powder**
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 sticks of butter, softened***
  • 1/2 cup honey****
  • generous splash of vanilla extract (I use 2-3 tsp, because it’s mas deliciouser)
  • 3 eggs******
  • one bag gluten, dairy, and soy-free chocolate chips (ie, Enjoy Life chocolate chunks or mini-chips)

Quick Asterisked Asides:

  • *Raw almond meal works, too, but is not as elegantly foo-foo.
  • **Technically, you should use baking soda because pH. However, I suffer the misfortune of being able to taste baking soda in baked goods (it’s a distractingly gross metallic taste that makes me want to wipe my tongue clean with a sponge, and doesn’t that sound fun?), so I always and only use baking powder in recipes. Some would have you believe that interchanging these does not work, but I have yet to experience any baking FAILS due to this exchange.
  • ***Since this is a Paleo recipe, I am obligated by law to tell you that this butter should be grassfed if you’ve the dosh for it.
  • ****Supporting your local bee population and local apiarist(s) by purchasing local honey is an honourable deed.
  • ******I love my chickens!

Instrucciones:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease a mini-muffin pan with butter or coconut oil or some other culinary unguent of your choice.
  3. In a large bowl, beat wet ingredients until you feel comfortable that you’ve done a pretty good job at mixing it all together. Some of you may perform this step with a hand-mixer or a posh standing mixer. That’s cool. I’m sure it’ll work just fine. I use a fork. It’s a special magical fork that came into my life when I met my dear husband (of now 18 years!). It was, and I do not joke, his only fork when he was a hip young bachelor living in a studio apartment at Uni. Lol. Anyway, it is known as The Fork, and it is mine now, mwah-ha-ha-ha, and I use it to mix everything. If I can’t mix it with The Fork, I don’t make it. And I’ve made angel food with this fork, so… One does not need fancy equipment to make deliciousness. That’s all I’m sayin’. Here is a picture of the fork to inspire you:
  4. In case you are unsure, the wet ingredients are the Butter, Eggs, Honey, and Vanilla. Which could be a recipe on its own, right? Om nom nom. But don’t stop there…
  5. Add dry ingredients (flours, salt, leavening) to wet ingredients. Beat until well incorporated.
  6. Your dough should be slightly loose, but not at all runny.
  7. Add chocolate chips and fold in with a rubber/silicon spatula.
  8. Use a spoon or something to fill the mini-muffin pan bits with the dough.
  9. Bake for 12-15 minutes depending on your oven. It’s 13 minutes to heaven in my oven. ;)
  10. Cool for a few minutes before trying to remove the mookies from the muffin pan. Cool completely on rack.

Mookies cooling. Be patient.

Two quick alternatives for you:

Alternative #1–I’ve made this recipe with 2 eggs instead of 3. It makes for a drier, more cookie-like crumb. Don’t overbake.

Alternative #2–Leave out the chocolate chips and make thumbprint mookies instead! After spooning the dough into the mini-muffin pan, use a spoon (or your thumb, for authenticity) to make divots in the center of each mookie. Fill with jam of your choice and then bake. Super delicious, like, whoa. Great with tea.

Enjoy!

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