Thursday, July 29, 2010

Blueberry Cake

The blueberries in my yard have just exploded and it was time to pick a bunch today. I got about 10 cups off of the 3 bushes just today. There will be more on the way. We have given away some and now we must use them while they are fresh. We still have some in the freezer from last year! They are really good over ice cream, just simple and sweet. I thought I would continue the adventures of cooking with xylitol and make a blueberry cake.
We have a family recipe that involves butter and the main ingredients seen below, for the most part. Keeping that in mind, I modified a recipe I found on Smitten Kitchen for blueberry boy bait, a wonderful cake. I used the milk we had on hand, instead of whole. I added 1 tsp. vanilla to the recipe. I used xylitol everywhere the recipe called for granulated sugar. I did use the brown sugar where called for.
So I cut out about 3/4 of the granulated sugar. Where it lacks in grams of sugar, it makes up for it in butter!
I baked it at 350 for 40 min. instead of 45-50 min. Voila!

You could just dig in and eat it plain like this. Yum.

Or you could squirt some whipping cream on and a few more blueberries for good measure.

Or you could squirt on a TON of whipping cream, like my husband did here:

Either was good. Time for a walk to burn off some of those calories!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Bad Women Get Yarn and Fainting Goat Gelato

It was a full day out with my mom exploring the sites of Queen Anne, Ballard and Wallingford. The places we went were many. Here are but a few. The Wallingford Center which houses many awesome shops... Including a Trophy Cupcakes, which we resisted, since we knew we were headed later for something even more amazing.
One of the planned stops was Bad Woman Yarn, which was having a sale on practically the entire store. It was a great shop and had lots to choose from. Very friendly staff who told us the story of how they came to have the store name, and how they originated in Manzanita, OR.

All those were sale tags, yep. They have a big sale on the entire month of July.

I came away with this 100% merino that I fell in love with just due to the colorway.

After that, we braved going out in the heat in search for our final destination: The Fainting Goat Gelato. I'd read about it in the paper and had wanted to try it out. We got there after a late lunch so it wasn't too crowded. Definitely a line, but not out the door. They allow you 3 taste samples. I tried the Espresso. It was good. I wanted to try the Mango, the Mint, and a million others. But we had figured out that one of us would get the Salted Caramel and the other would get the Tiramisu. The paper had pointed out the Salted Caramel was a favorite and the lady in line ahead of us said so too. So we knew it was going to be good....

Don't you just love their logos? The Fainting Goat. The owners are Armenian and I think that is where the fainting goats originate. They had T-shirts too. I wanted one. OK, back to the choices. Here are a few of them...they were so smooth looking. Like pulled taffy, kind of shiny.

Ok, so for one scoop it was $3.30. So we only did one each. I wanted the cute goat cup, but that was only if you bought a pint. And in this heat that would melt before we got to the car.

Hey, look it had organic dairy and sugar. So even though I totally BLEW my "no sugar diet" thing on it, at least it was organic. I can feel good about that. Can't I? Yes, I can...
The one on the left is the Salted Caramel and the one on the right, the Tiramisu. Can't see the difference here. The taste, was well....divine...Almost too good to be true. We laughed so hard because it was so good. We shared them and practically licked the bowls. We wanted to try this other flavor we couldn't pronounce...but would've been too embarrassed to go back in line!

So we'll just have to go back to try more flavors again....

On the sidewalk as we left the block. My sentiments exactly!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Summer Ribbed Bolero

Starting out with size 8's for the ribbing using Cotton Ease in taupe. Moving on to size 10.5 needles for the lace pattern, however they were "sticky plastic" and I had to run get some metal circulars to keep from going crazy.
Continuing on with metal circs, that work much better, but happen to be size 10. Size 10.5 is hard to find. I think they will be ok since I am knitting more loosely now that the yarn can move freely.

It's time for some lemonade and working a few more rows on the deck today. I am trying to hold it up here so you can see through it.

A bit scrunched up on the needles, so looks kind of uneven, but you get the idea of the lace. It requires rows of: K2tog, yo, yo, ssk on one row, alternating rows of purling, and purling into the yarnover from front, purling into the yarnover from the back.

Once you get the hang of that it is mostly about knitting the lace pattern for a long stretch until you get to the length you want, and then the next step in the pattern...Time for more lemonade!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

On a Lighter Side

I love summer eves when it stays light out later and we do after dinner walks, pick blueberries in the yard...and tonight I could stay out until 9:00 pm knitting on the deck. Heavenly!
Oh, here is my precious homegrown tomato before I ate him! Ahhh, so DELISH! Since it's hot out, I decided to lighten up and knit with some Cotton Ease again. I had one skein of it leftover from another project in Taupe. I went and got another skein for this Ribbed Bolero pattern I found for free. I saw it here on Andipants' Untangling Knots blogsite first. It sounded great! I cast on a few extra for a bigger size as hers was a small. She gives great directions on her blog on what she did.
And another lightening up story: I tried baking with xylitol this week to see if we could make a reduced sugar cookie worth eating, without using Splenda. We have been using Truvia packets alot for sweetener lately (stevia). I tweaked a recipe around and used xylitol for most the sugar called for, only using 1/4 c. of brown sugar. So my smart husband calculated everything out to be 2.5 grams of sugar per cookie instead of a bazillion.

They didn't come out half bad! I ate 7 of them. oops....

Sunday, July 18, 2010

"Lucille" Goes Camping

Enjoying a lovely sunny time out by the Cooper River... Our resident chipmunk who lived inside our campsite stone fireplace. (photo taken by my Dad)
Evening Grosbeak, also photographed by my Dad.

Our peaceful hammock by the river.

"Lucille" had a great view of all this!

Actually, the next two pics I think show it flipped wrong side up, but you get the idea so far of the yoke:

I think "Lucille" really enjoyed camping this week at Salmon La Sac. It was so peaceful and relaxing by the Cooper River. I am done now with the easy part of the yoke and ready to begin the more complicated lace pattern. Too bad we had to come back home to reality! Vacations are like that though, aren't they?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Signs of Summer

Roses from the garden...

Blueberries ready to pick!
Coleus plants on our porch. I love them!

Leaves from my favorite smoke bush in the neighborhood. They are the dark plum color now. In the fall they turn the above colors!

First tomatoes! That means we have sun in Seattle! 75 degrees today!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Lovely Lucille

Oh, it does appear I like green here, doesn't it? My "new" blog template is green, the new yarn is green! Such a pretty shade too. Do you like it? In the local yarn shop window, a lovely green baby sweater caught my eye. My sister and mom also loved it-great minds think alike! It was "Lucille", a free pattern. The sample was a size 0-3 mos. using 2 skeins. I will hopefully have plenty of yarn, using my size 2 needles. The Fibre Co.'s "Canopy" Fingering weight in "paw paw" green alpaca/merino/bamboo. It is SOFT!
A treat to have in your hands. The yoke is fairly easy. It will get down to some serious lace pattern pretty soon here. And then sleeves...stay tuned. For now, I am glad it cooled off some to give us a break from the heat.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Time for Gelato!

Baby "Gelato" Garter Stitch Jacket is complete and being modeled by Matilda, our bear who was a wedding gift 27 years ago and traveled the coast with us on our honeymoon. Since no babies live here, I had to find a suitable "stand-in."

(Edited to add these pics in the daylight! Poor little sweater is not quite dry and the wind was twirling it around a bit, but hub caught it finally. I know it looks big here hanging in the air. It is the 6/9 mos. size)
Well it was time for a trip to Trader Joes to get some lemonade, avocadoes and their fantastic tiny sugar plum tomatoes. They taste like candy, seriously. We are in the middle of a regular Seattle heat wave, breaking records today. No AC in our house means it's a toasty 82 degrees inside right now. Whew! So, what better time to try out some gelato flavors. On the left we have Villa Dulce Mint and Chip. Very delish! And then there's the local folks of Snoqualmie Gourmet ice cream who put out this snazzy gelato flavor, Raspberry Honey. You can really taste the honey on the "finish". Very refreshing!
Now, my Drops Garter Stitch Baby Jacket is complete with buttons and is ready to be blocked. I think I shall name it "Gelato", in honor of the occasion. There is a hint of pink and sort of a dark mauve so I went with little flower buttons that looked whimsical and funky.
Shown before blocking, below:

And shown here, blocking. Should dry quickly in this weather. Better pic to follow, I'm sure, when we are back to daylight.

Again, this was knit from side to side, on size 2 needles, using fingering weight yarn. (like you would use for socks) The pattern was a free Drops pattern.
I did the 2nd size and used 4 skeins Aslan Trends, Sante Fe -merino wool/polyamide. I have enough of the 4th leftover probably for some little item. I chose to do only 3 buttons at the top. Machine washable, cold water, dry flat. How about that? I still can't believe that. So I hand washed it and then spun out the excess water a bit in the washer. Funky...whimsical!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Just Hangin' Out Eating Cherries

While we endure a little Seattle "heat wave" here, I'll pour myself a nice glass of lemonade and show you this little photo my hub took of a squirrel in the neighbor's tree this eve.