Friday, March 28, 2014

More Cake, Please! : )

Chocolate Crazy Cake in a Mug
from Sweet Little Bluebird
There was a tasty moment at lunchtime today!

Sweet Little Bluebird is a great website that I check out from time to time.

Earlier this month in a quest to find eggless and milk-free desserts, I came across all of Mary's different versions of Crazy Cake or Wacky Cake. 

I'm familiar with this recipe. In fact, I shared the same chocolate cake recipe in the summer of 2010. My copy came from a book I acquired in the mid-seventies.

Mary has taken that recipe and tweaked it to come up with multiple variations and flavours. (Click here to find links to all the recipes.) We've tried the Spice Cake and Vanilla versions and today, I made Chocolate Crazy Cake in a Mug.

My first try (to see if it worked) was in one mug. It overflowed and allowed no room for ice cream. It also seemed like a huge serving, so today I split the batter into two mugs and that was (for us) just the right size for a little sweet treat without too much guilt.

Take care and have a great weekend!

PS In addition to the flavours listed above there's also Lemon Cake, Coffee & Kahlua Cake, S'mores Mug Cake and Coffee & Kahlua Mug Cake.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Kitchen tip: Cinnamon (bun) Hearts!

Oh, my! Look what someone's husband brought home today from a local bakery.

Now, take a second look at my sugary treat. Ingenious! Instead of just slicing the dough into ordinary rolls, they've taken each roll, and sliced it a second time almost all the way through. By spreading the halves apart, an ordinary cinnamon bun is now a cinnamon heart! Clever!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

How to Prevent ACL Injuries

Good morning!

I was listening to CBC Calgary Eyeopener this morning, admittedly with only one eye open as it was before my first cup of coffee!

I did perk up, however, after listening to an interesting discussion about ACL injuries and how to prevent them.

We all talk about being more active. We also need to talk and learn more about avoiding injuries that will have lifelong consequences.

The PEP (Prevent Injury, Enhance Perfomance) Program, developed by the Santa Monica Sports Medicine Foundation with funding assistance from the LA84 Foundation, can significantly reduce the incidence of ACL injuries. The PEP Program is a series of exercises done on the field-of-play before and/or after practice with no special equipment.”

The short videos clearly explain the exercises and include teaching points showing both the correct and incorrect way of doing each one.

Please, pass this link along to anyone you know who teaches or coaches young people.

Happy Tuesday,

Monday, March 24, 2014

Finished!! A spring sweater for a special baby girl!!

It always feels good to actually FINISH a project! I'm ever so pleased with my latest “little person” sweater. It's a very easy project from Marianna's Lazy Daisy Days.

A tiny sweater for a special someone!
Pattern from Marianna's Lazy Daisy Days

Not only is it a “top down” sweater (Yeah, no seams!), it has no sleeves – faster to knit, less wool and just right for spring. I chose to make the 9-12 month size. The pattern is also available in newborn, Age 1-3 and Age 4-6.

The directions are free, easy to follow and I found I only really had to pay strict attention for three or four of the rows. The rest was very relaxing “TV knitting” : )

I did make one change. I moved the buttonholes up slightly and also put them on the conventional side. The pattern has them reversed as if for a boy's sweater.

Thanks, Marianna, for a great (free!!) pattern.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Pause for thought...

This was posted by a friend on Facebook this morning.

Our children no longer learn how to read the great Book of Nature from their own direct experience or how to interact creatively with the seasonal transformations of the planet. They seldom learn where their water comes from or where it goes. We no longer coordinate our human celebration with the great liturgy of the heavens.” – Wendell Berry

This quote made me think. How about you?

I think I'll take a little person I know on a walk this morning...


Sunday, March 16, 2014

St. Patrick's Day...FADGE

On the menu tomorrow, in honour of St. Patrick's Day...


What's that you ask?

A simple, easy-to-make potato bread.

Potatoes, flour, butter, salt. That's all you need!

I posted the recipe last year. Take a peek!


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Experimenting! Lion Brand Bonbons, little shamrocks and roses!

Some more experimenting!

I couldn't resist these little balls of yarn, Lion Brand Bonbons (eight per package).

Fortunately, I had the tiniest hook imaginable that I'd inherited from my mother: a Morrall's Aero. On the back it says “1 Made in England 14”. I've looked up some charts, but can't really figure out what that means.

First, I tried some of the little flowers I'd tried before. Quite a difference in size!

And, since it's March, I tried some little shamrocks – the easiest pattern ever and each one took only seven minutes.

Monday, March 10, 2014

How to draw a Celtic Trefoil in five easy steps...

One week until St. Patrick's Day! Here's a little doodle trick I learned five or six years ago.

A Celtic Doodle
by Maggie
Step 1: Using pencil, lightly sketch a small triangle.

Step 2: Extend each side of your triangle with a curved line.

Step 3: Draw a longer line parallel to each line from step 2. Turn your paper before drawing each line.

Step 4: Connect the inside lines (green).  

Step 5: Connect the outside lines (orange).

That's it! Remember to doodle lightly in pencil before tracing over in pen. Do a few, then try varying the widths of your “ribbons” and the length of the lines.

Once you've mastered this doodle, try this celtic knot or this clover knot.

Have fun!

PS You might enjoy reading this article from the Daily Mail – it analyses the kinds of doodles you draw.  

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Yarn Doodles! Tiny flowers and leaves to crochet

Maggie's Yarn Doodles: Tiny Flowers and Leaves

I call these yarn doodles!

My knitting basket currently has two projects – a sweet little, “top down”, no seam baby sweater and a small blanket to tuck in around a little one in an infant car seat. Both projects are at the stage where there are no complicated bits, so they come out when the TV is on.

Wanting a little challenge, I'm also trying little sample bits of interesting patterns I'm finding on the Internet and this past week's theme was spring flowers. Not sure how I'll use these little bits of pretty, but I'm thinking baby hats and hairbands.

You can play around with hook size and wools when making these flowers. I used a 3.50 mm hook and Lion Brand (Vanna's Choice) medium weight (4) acrylic yarn: white, dusty purple, aqua, antique rose and Loops and Threads (Impeccable) fern.

The purple and blue flowers (2.5 inches diameter), plus some tiny leaves (1.5 inches) are courtesy of Tara at Mamachee.

The little white flowers (1.5 inches) are from Jo at About Mo and Me.

Lucy at Attic24 designed the pink May rose (2 inches diameter) and the larger leaf (2.3 inches).

All three ladies have multiple free patterns on their blogs. Be sure to explore!

Have a great day!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

(No Yeast) Whole Wheat Bread! YUM! Comfort food : )

Maggie's Whole Wheat Bread
(adapted from Muffins and More)
In my part of the world, we're still bundling up...

...shovelling snow...

...sitting around the fireplace...

...and eating comfort foods.

If you're cooking up a batch of stew or a hearty soup today, make this Whole Wheat Bread recipe to serve alongside.

Originally a recipe from Company's Coming, Muffins and More (1983), I made a small change out of necessity many years ago. Ever since, I've used the adapted recipe – reminds me of Wheaten Bread, an old traditional recipe from Northern Ireland that we've made for years.

This recipe is quick to assemble – you'll have it ready before the oven is up to temperature!

Maggie's Whole Wheat Bread
(adapted from Muffins and More)

Whole Wheat Bread
From Company's Coming, adapted by Maggie

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.

1 1/2 cups buttermilk (or sour milk*)
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup vegetable oil

In a small bowl, mix liquid ingredients.
Pour into dry ingredients.
Stir just enough to combine.

Bake in a greased loaf pan (9x5x3) at 350ºF for 40 – 50 minutes.

  • To make sour milk, add 1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar to measuring cup.
  • The original recipe called for molasses instead of corn syrup. I prefer the lighter taste of the corn syrup.
  • The trickiest part is mixing the corn syrup into the milk and oil mixture. Beat with a whisk as you slowly drizzle in the corn syrup.
  • You can combine wet and dry ingredients by hand or in a mixer. Beat at a low speed just until ingredients are combined.

Monday, March 3, 2014

A little crocheting...polka dots!!

Good morning!

It is so cold here! I'm tucked up inside, watching TV and playing with the yarn left over from my Maybelle afghan project.

First, let me just say that if you have Netflix, check out Endeavour, a PBS Masterpiece Mystery. It's a prequel, featuring a young Inspector Morse. I was so disappointed when I realized it was just a Mystery movie instead of a series.

For something a little scarier, watch another British mystery show, The Bletchley Circle. There are 7 shows in all (45 minutes each). Four women who worked as decoders during WWII regroup in 1952 to solve some murder mysteries! Good stuff!

Anyway, back to my yarn basket! After making some little hearts to hang on a branch – a little bit of Valentine prettiness – I thought I'd replace the hearts with some polka dots. These little circles took only a few minutes each to crochet.

Here's how...

You need:
3.50 mm hook (US size E/4; UK/Canadian 9)

Variety of Medium (4) yarn...I used Vanna's Choice by Lion Brand (aqua, magenta, cranberry, kelly green, antique pink, dusty purple, beige, colonial blue) and Impeccable by Loops & Threads (fern)

Using first colour, chain 3, then sl into first chain.
Chain 1.
Maggie's Polka Dots
* sc, ch 1 * seven times
* sc in next 2, ch 1 * until circle is two inches in diameter.
Finish by darning in tails.

Using second colour, sc around outer edge of circle. Tie yarn loosely in a knot, leaving 4-inch tails.

Note: As you single crochet, hook yarn through back side of stitch. This will create a spiral pattern.

I'm not experienced at writing directions. I hope you can understand my notes!!