Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Rainy Day Baking

I had booked today off work in case I was sore from my shot. I'm not. I felt fantastic all day! Yay!!

It was a rainy day today, the sort of pouring from the sky that one could shower in if it wasn't so darned chilly. The wind seeped into the house and almost made my normally very hot feet wish for some cozy slippers.

Since it was cool, I decided to do some baking to warm the house up. First up was banana chip muffins.

Here they are in all their delicious glory. Minus one. Quality control, you know. I tried many, many recipes but I could never find one that wasn't dry. A friend gave me this one and it's now our family favourite. It's very moist. You don't have to drink a gallon of milk afterwards.


3/4 cup margarine
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 or 4 medium bananas
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup buttermilk or sour cream

Preheat oven to 325F. Cream the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Mash the bananas to make 1 1/2 cups. Blend the  mashed bananas, eggs, vanilla and buttermilk into the margarine and sugar. Mix the flour, salt and soda and add to banana mixture. Fold in the nuts. Pour the batter into a greased and floured bundt pan or a 5 by 9 inch loaf pan. Bake for 1 1/4 hours. Cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pan.

Gramma's Notes:

-Greasing and flouring the pan is very important. The bread is guaranteed to stick to the pan if you don't.

-I don't use salt in my baking. I suppose it has a purpose and someone with a culinary degree could tell me what it is but honestly, to my simple palate, baking tastes just fine without it. I figure a person gets enough salt in their regular diet that it can be eliminated from most baking and meal prep.

-We don't much care for walnuts here at our house. DD3's friend is staying with us and has braces so she can't have any nuts. So I tossed in a bag of Chipits Mini Chips. I'm not sure what the weight on the bag is. I forgot to check but it's probably about 1.5 to 2 cups.

-I've used both buttermilk and sour cream (not together) and both work fine.

-For muffins, I double the recipe and use the giant/jumbo muffin cups to make 3 1/2 dozen. I bake them at 350F for 25 - 30 minutes.


Next up was ginger snaps.

Just look at all that spicy, crackly goodness. Naturally they're minus the obligatory 2 or 3 for quality control as well as a dozen that I sent to work with DD3 when she stopped by.

The recipe is from Company's Coming Cookies and can be found on page 111. What I love about these cookies is that they're soft. The ones I remember my mom making were hard and she and Dad would usually soften them by dipping them into their tea. As kids, we didn't care but now that I do the baking, I

I worked on La Princesa's afghan a bit but only got 3 squares done. I'll post photos another time. Some housecleaning, laundry and work on my Spanish course (that red binder in the background) filled up the rest of my day. Oh, and some time spent on my blog list, drooling over and admiring everyone else's creations.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

I'm a New Woman!

I had an appointment today with the nurse practitioner to get a cortisone shot for my right shoulder. I saw her last week, after enduring months and months of rapidly decreasing mobility in it and she told me I had frozen shoulder. Frozen shoulder can be career-ending for hairdressers but I can honestly say that it hasn't affected my ability to do my work. If it was my other shoulder it could be a problem, though.

I kept reading and hearing about how excruciatingly painful these shots were so I was psyched up for the worst. PHHFFTTT! What a baby I was. It hardly hurt, at all. No worse than any other shot I've had.

She had me do a couple of mobility tests and the results were immediate. I wish I had done this sooner!

I was so happy I was almost in tears and I gave her a big hug. She said it usually hurts the next day and that I might not love her so much tomorrow. I told her that I would always love her for giving me back my mobility.

I don't have full mobility, yet. It'll take weeks for that to return and there's no guarantee that I'll ever be 100%. I don't care. I feel like I have an 80% improvement and I'm happy with that.

On the crochet front, I've started La Princesa's afghan. I wanted to work on it a bit tonight but it's hot and humid and we don't have A/C. My hands are just a smidge too sweaty so the yarn won't slide through my fingers. I took tomorrow off work so maybe I'll have a chance to work on it then.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Spidey-ghan Ta Da!

I finally got the Spidey-ghan done. I found the pattern at Stitch 'n Frog . I had a lot of fun making it because I'd been wanting to make one for our g'son. I was thrilled to find a pattern instead of having to create one myself.

I made it with Loops and Threads Necessities. I've never seen Necessities named on anyones' blogs but that's what it says on the label. I used a 5mm hook. I only made a couple of changes. The pattern doesn't say to add a round of black after the first red section but I wanted the separation of colour so I added that. I found the tips were curling too much so, on the last round, I did a ch3 instead of ch2 and adjusted the finishing round. They still curl a bit but not as badly as they did at first. It measures 43 inches in diameter.

Edit to add: The pattern calls for a ch3 for the web lines. I had to change it to ch2. Also, it calls for 14 oz each of red and blue. The yarn I bought came in 7oz balls. I used about half of the second blue one but only a bit more than 3/4 of one red one.

It still bubbles in the middle. The picture doesn't adequately show how dome-like it is. I had no idea why it wouldn't lay flat until I went to measure it and discovered that my points weren't lining up. Somewhere, waaaaay back in the beginning, I miscounted and ended up with only 11 points instead of 12. ARGGHH!!!  Oh well. Little Man won't mind.

Here's a photo of it smoothed out some.

I quite like this pattern and plan to make another round ripple in the future but, next time...count those stitches!!!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Shopping Spree

I'm almost done the Spidey-ghan. My next project is a pink and black afghan for La Princesa, our 12 year old (and only) g'daughter. I had picked up some pink when I was in the city but it wasn't really as "hot" as I had wanted. So, this afternoon, I headed on over to the town down the road to hit up Walmart and see what they had.

I think the pink will be about right. Check out the colourful one on the right. I have no idea what I'm going to make with it. I just loved how bright and cheery it is so I picked it up. I'll figure out what to do with it later.

These ones will turn into a blankie for our newest g'son who will be 1 in August. His room is done in these colours. Hopefully his mom doesn't change things up before Christmas. I got the last 2 balls of brown so his blankie will be mostly yellow.

I got 5 balls of the upper one. I fell head over heels in love with the colours. It has a fine shimmery thread running through it. It's soft but not snuggly soft, if that makes sense. I might work it with a strand of white to make the colours more subdued. A friend's daughter is expecting her first baby (a girl) in September. I think this would be beautiful done up in a baby sweater, but I'm not sure how it would be received. Modern moms don't seem to use the "old school" sweaters. They all use fleece hoodies. Maybe I'll just make a blanket with it.

I only got one ball of the lower one to see how I liked working with it. It's sooo petting a kitten. I'll probably make a hat or a scarf for La Princesa.

So, there you have it. All squirreled away before Grampa can see it and Not that he does but he might raise an eyebrow since I already have a humungous stash. What he doesn't know won't hurt me, right?  LOL

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Happy Birthday to DD3

DD3 is 22 today. She and her friends had planned on floating down the river but it was rainy and cool so they changed plans, going out on the town instead...such as it is in our little town.

The tradition in our family is that the birthday person gets to have whatever they want for supper. She chose blueberry pancakes, her absolute favourite thing to eat. Grampa cooked up some breakfast sausages on the bbq. The man needs some meat, after all.

Next week, 2 of the g'kids have birthdays and then it's Father's Day on Sunday so we're having one big get together to celebrate them all at once. It's just so hard to get everyone together and, with everything within a week, this is the easiest way to go.

DD still lives at home so we had to do a little something to make the day special for her. Tonight's supper was very low key, though, as it was just us.

She's grown into such a fun young lady. She has a razor sharp wit. The quick comebacks just roll off her tongue. She's kind and thoughtful but will call you out if you're being an ass. Which is really quite funny to see because she's only 5'3" and weighs all of 100 pounds. Mini but

Happy Birthday, Chica.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Spidey-ghan Progress

I started this afghan a little while back. Progress is slow because I work part time and I have 2 bum shoulders that don't allow me to spend a lot of time crocheting in one sitting. I can only manage about an hour a day. Sometimes I push it to 2 hours but then I pay the price the next day. I wish I could spend hours and hours like I used to be able to but, hey, at least I can still do some, right?

I'm using Loops and Threads Necessities that I picked up at Michael's when I was in the city recently. The colours are actually a bit darker than the photo shows. I'm using a 5mm hook and you can see that it's puckering a bit. I tend to crochet on the tighter side so maybe I should be using a larger hook. I dunno. I'm no expert. Maybe it'll block out. My g'son is only 5 and won't care that it's not perfect.

This is my first round ripple so I'll work out the kinks on the ones that will be loved because they came from Gramma, not because they're perfect.