Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I really made out this year! I got a ton of baking/cooking stuff! Here are some of my cooking related goodies:

And the best present of all.... DRUM-ROLL PLEASE!...

4.5 quart Classic Kitchenaid Mixer!!! I got a giftcard too, so I'm going to look for accessories for it when I can go to the store. I love it so much, and I'm kinda scared to use it because it's so pretty. 

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Birthday Goodies & Christmas Baking part 1

I got a couple of kitchen goodies from friends and family for my birthday!

An egg beater (I've wanted one forever)...

And new measuring cups <3 since I actually don't own any.

I made some cookies today to  try out a recipe to include with my christmas cookies. I'm still trying to decide which sugar cookie recipe I'm going to use and if I'm going to use royal icing on them or not.

Nut Lace Wafers (from The Complete Book Of Baking by Carol Clements) they're AMAZINGLY delicious!

I also made peppermint bark:

More as I bake! I'm also making some amazing ginger cookies, and I have one more recipe to pick out.

OOH, I also got a vintage cookbook- the Farm Journal's Country Cookbook- Revised Edition (1959, 1972) from my grandma. I'm excited to try out recipes! Not the jello molds though, BLECH.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends, family, and followers! I hope everyone has a fun and safe holiday full of delicious food!

I'm over at Katie's house. She's making the turkey. I brought Pecan pie and am making green bean casserole and candied sweet potatoes. The food is going to be delicious!

Safe travels and great food!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Waffle Shortage, eek!

So, if you haven't heard, there is a shortage of a breakfast staple- Waffles! Ok, ok, it's not that big of a deal right? Just make your own and freeze them. Played around with a recipe, I'm going to play around with it some more soon (for some reason mandarin waffles sound delicious)...

But anyways, pull out your waffle iron and get to cookin'. They're fast, easy, and don't take a whole lot of effort. :)

Waffles (makes about 12 depending on your waffle maker)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 cup sugar (I add a little more because I like them sweet)
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 eggs
little over 1 3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
dash of cinnamon
cooking oil or butter for iron

Preheat waffle iron.

Put dry ingredients into a bowl and set aside.

Beat eggs. Add other wet ingredients and mix.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until moistened. You don't want to over mix or they'll be rubbery.

Follow instructions on your waffle iron to cook waffles. Pull out of iron using a fork. Set aside on a plate (with a paper towel underneath to absorb excess moisture) until they reach room temperature and then put them in the freezer. Pull out and pop in the toaster when you want to enjoy. Easy peasy!


Sorry I haven't been doing a whole lot of anything lately. I'm sick, which turns me in to a big baby. Finally after 2 weeks of not getting better and missing tons of class, I went to the doctor and discovered (or rather, they discovered) that I have pneumonia. Fun! So I've been lounging around, relaxing as much as I can, and trying to recover. I've been stressing out over missing school, and trying to make up everything I've missed, but at this point all I want is to feel normal. :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

"Too Young" to knit? NEVER!

I find it a little funny that when most people find out that I know how (and LOVE) to knit, their first response is "But you're so YOUNG!"

I think it's sad that more young women don't know how to knit, bake, or do other crafts. Don't get me wrong- I think it's great that women are able to do damn near everything else they could possibly want to do. I simply think that everyone should have a constructive hobby, and doing something with your hands is productive and stress relieving. Well, except for when you knit in your tail or drop 20 stitches because you want to see if something is going to fit (AHEM, me).

That's probably why whenever I get the chance to help out a new knitter, I do. I may not be very experienced, but I still love it- and I want others to love it as well. There's something about giving someone a gift that you made especially for them with your own hands that just can't be beat. Everyone that I've made a gift for has loved it, regardless of whether it had complicated stitches or a fancy pattern.

I hope that more women take up knitting- young OR old (or anywhere in between). I hate when people think that knitting is old-fashioned. Heck, maybe we need a little tradition thrown in our lives, it seems to be vanishing fast.

Well, I'll end my cough-syrup induced rant and get back to casting on my brothers hat. The weather is getting chilly here and I want to finish it this weekend.

Happy Knitting!


DISCUSS here: What do you think?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Finished kids hat!

Finished the hat last night! Oh, and I got a new phone, so hopefully the quality of pictures are better :)

This message was sent using the Picture and Video Messaging service from Verizon Wireless!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hey there I'm Katie and in case you don't know me I'm Valarie's drinking/knitting buddy (and of course her super close, wonderful friend). So I figured I'd share some past projects and one I'm working on now. :)
The last pic is the shawl I'm working on.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Hat In Progress

My cousins wife asked me to make a hat for their son. I'm working on it now. I slightly modified my Hat With Cables pattern for a smaller head. More pictures as I go!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pierogies- Potato and Cheddar

Pretty easy to make, although time consuming. It's better if you have 2 people once you get to the rolling-out/filling the pierogies.


3.5 cups all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1 cup of water
2 tablespoons of buttermilk, sour cream, or plain yogurt

2.5 cups of instant potatoes, water, butter and salt as called for on box
1 cup cheddar cheese (or whatever you like)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1.5 teaspoon onion salt

While dough is resting, make filling. Prepare potatoes to package directions, with the exception of adding the spices to the boiling water. Mix in the cheese after adding the instant potatoes.

Combine the flour, eggs, sour cream (or whatever you're using) and half of the water, and stir vigorously to mix in the eggs.

Stir in the rest of the water and mix until dough begins to form. Turn out onto a floured surface, and knead GENTLY, lifting and stretching the dough as you go, for about three minutes. DO NOT overwork. Dough will be smooth and somewhat sticky. After dough has been kneeded, place into a storage bag and place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. While dough is resting, make filling.Form dough into 1.5 inch balls, and roll out on a floured surface into a 3.5 inch round about 1/8th inch thick. Cover as you go with a damp towel.

After dough is rolled out, add filling. Put about a tablespoon (or less, it's a judgement call) of filling in to the center of the dough. Close by folding gently in half, making sure not to touch the seam with the filling as it will not seal properly. Press dough together, making sure that it is sealed so the filling does not leak out while you're boiling them.
Fill a large pot with water and a little salt. Drop pierogies gently into boiling water, and boil until they float to the top. If for some reason the pierogies do not stick to the bottom, boil for about 5 minutes. Remove from the water, and place on a plate. Drain any excess water.

In a frying pan on medium high, heat butter or oil and fry pierogies on each side until they're as dark as you like them. I like mine crispy!

Remove from pan, let cool a bit (they'll be pretty hot) Enjoy!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Gingerbread Pancakes with Butterscotch Apples

I'm pretty mad that I can't find my camera charger, so I can't take good pictures. So... once again, terrible quality pictures from my BlackBerry. They were SO delicious!

Friday, October 23, 2009


I was thinking about starting to add video to some of my blog posts! So let me hear it, what do you want to see? (For those of you seeing this on FaceBook or another outside site other than my blog, please follow my direct link, and leave your comment on this post!)

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hat With Cables

Download/Print PDF
A few more pictures on Ravelry

My first cable project!


Ribbed and Cabled hat pattern

Size 8 US double point needles (5)
Cable Needle
Stitch Marker
One Skein Lion-Brand Wool-Ease Thick-And-Quick yarn in the color of your choice, mine was done in denim.
Yarn needle to weave in ends

Note: this pattern makes a hat about 20 inches in diameter, and it will stretch some if you need it to. If you need to decrease or increase, any increment of 5 stitches should keep it very easy for you to still follow the pattern cable wise, but if it's not an even number of stitches it will throw you off on ribbing. I'm doing a k3 p2 ribbing on my smaller, child-sized hat, and will be posting instructions for that if asked.

Using your method of choice, cast on 80 stitches (20 on each needle), join being careful not to twist. I used the sling-shot cast on. Place marker between first and last stitch.

Knit in Knit 2, Purl 2 ribbing for 1.5-2 inches.

Start Cable pattern:
Rows 1-3: Knit 4, purl 1
Row 4: Using your cable needle, Slip 2 stitches from the left needle, move to the back of your work. Knit 2, Knit the 2 slipped stitches, Purl 1, repeat to end of row.

Repeat cable pattern rows 3 more times. You will have 4 cables.

After your last cable row, Knit 4, Purl 1 for 2.5 inches.

Decrease Rows:
Row 1: Knit 2, Knit 2 together, Purl 1 to the end (64 stitches remaining).
Row 2: Knit 3, Purl 1 to end of row.
Row 3: Knit 1, Knit 2 together, Purl 1 to the end (48 stitches remaining).
Row 4: Knit 2, Purl 1 to end of row.
Row 5: Knit 2 Together, Purl 1 to the end (32 stitches remaining).
Row 6: Knit 1, Purl one to end.
Row 7: Knit 2 Together to the end (16 stitches remaining).
Row 8: Knit to the end.

Cut or break yarn, leaving a tail of about 10 inches. Using yarn needle, draw yarn through the remaining stitches and pull tight. Turn hat inside out and weave in ends. You're done, good job!

Questions, email import_goddess_85 at yahoo dot com

I added new pictures!

This pattern is for personal use only. Pattern and hats made from it cannot be resold without express written permission from me, Valarie Fletcher.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Adventures in Alternate "Fibers"

It really IS easy to make "yarn" out of plastic grocery bags! If you want to know the technique, please leave a comment (on the blog post itself, not on facebook if this is posted there). I knit up a quick gauge so I could see how it felt. It's not bad. Takes a little getting used to, but overall it's pretty easy. I did garter stitch on US 8 needles, casting on 10 stitches. I think I'm going to find a bunch of bags and make a bag! This was with one plastic bag. Best thing about it? Well, besides it being recycled of course! If you need more "yarn" you don't have to do a lot of work, just loop more on!

Maybe I'll make a door mat for wiping icky winter feet on!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Challah Take 2

I love love love Challah bread. I've only made it a couple times (yesterday being the second). SOMEONE left the oven on pre-heat (which I never use, EVER because this happens!) and the bread got way darker than I would have liked, but it still turned out perfect.

And now, for the recipe:
5 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup (8 fl oz)warm water (105-115 degrees f)
1/2 a cup plus 2 tsp sugar
3 large eggs, + one if you are doing a glaze
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter @ room temperature
You can add a tablespoon of poppy or sesame seeds, but I don't like to.

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Let stand until foamy. With a wooden spoon, stir in the sugar, 3 eggs, 4 1/2 cups of the flour, the salt and butter until the dough comes together in a sticky mass (below)

Turn out onto lightly floured work surface, and knead. Work in the remaining flour to keep the dough from being too sticky. Knead for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. DO NOT add too much flour! This is a sticky dough. I have to flour my hands to keep it from sticking. As you are kneading, it will become less sticky.Form the dough in to a ball, and put in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rise in a warm and draft free spot until double in size, about 2 hours.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Punch down the dough. Scrape or turn out dough on to a clean work surface (lightly floured).

Now comes the tricky part. I am terrible at braiding, I can't give advice on braiding, and you would get lost if I even tried to describe. I just throw things around until it looks ok. Depending on how many strands you want, divide the dough into that many parts using a sharp knife or scraper. Roll them out with your hands until the strands are about as long as your baking pan. Place on the pan, and work your braiding magic.
Once you have your braid done, cover with a dry kitchen towel and let rise again until it doubles in size and feels spongy to the touch, about 45 to an hour.
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven, and preheat to 350 degrees.

If using, brush the bread with the beaten egg and sprinkle with seeds.

Bake until nicely browned (probably not as brown as mine) and it makes the hollow sound when tapped on the bottom, about 30-35 minutes. Transfer to wire rack an cool completely (who does that!)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A million projects at once!

(Yay, a new picture! ^)

Of course I can't have just one knitting project going at one time. Currently I have on my needles: a dish cloth, a baby blanket (that I think will never get finished at this point, I lost the pattern!), a cap for my brother... and I just cast on a new scarf.

I had a lovely pattern I made up that I was knitting on for a scarf in a beautiful heather grey, but I messed it up. I miscalculated when I started and had a few more stitches on one square than another. It probably wouldn't have been too noticeable, but it was driving me mad. So I tore it all out, and am using that gorgeous yarn for a very simple (and hopefully quick) scarf I pulled off of the Yarn Harlot and so far so good. I'm loving the texture!

Sorry the pictures are so terrible, didn't feel like pulling out my camera this late. Better pictures will come when it is finished!