Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
I showed these wrist warmers here before as a work in progress.* The pattern calls for crocheting a little tube for each thumb, and I began with every intention of doing that. Then things got hectic, a threw myself into finishing Julie's crochet block blanket, and we had an unseasonably frigid spell. So I asked myself, When's the last time your thumbs got really cold? And I can't remember ever thinking that my thumbs were cold. They're tough. If my fingers are hanging out, exposed to the elements, surely my thumbs can handle it, too. That's when I called these wrist warmers done and have been wearing them ever since.**
I love the goldenrod color because it's bright but still feels autumnal. They're made of leftover worsted-weight wool yarn from a scarf I made last year. It doesn't take much yarn, so it's a good way to use up scraps. Plus, I don't think the pattern could get any easier. Crochet a rectangle, then sew it up into a tube shape, skipping a few stitches so your thumbs can poke through. Want to give it a go? Here's the pattern on ravelry and on the original website.
Of course I recently came across another pattern for crocheted wrist warmers that I absolutely love, and I just must make them sometime. Check out Alicia's version, inspired by the ones Lucy made.
I hope you're staying warm and cozy on this last Friday of October. I can't believe October is nearly over! Soak it up while you can.
*Oh wow, that works in progress post was in August. Time is flying right by. Please don't ask about those other WiPs. They're languishing in my craft basket, waiting for Christmas break.
**Well almost. Lately we've been having some lovely warm weather and I've been prancing around with no wrist warmers or jacket.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Saturday night I granted myself free time, as a way to relax after all of the researching (and stressing about researching) that I've been doing. Of course, I filled my free time with making an apple pie because with a peck of apples on my counter, it's all I daydream about. I decided on an old-fashioned apple pie using this recipe. The big draw to this recipe was that the filling is flavored with vanilla and brandy in addition to the traditional cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
I tweaked the recipe to fit what ingredients I had on hand, which means that I used red delicious apples, cut out the almonds in the crust, and instead of an egg wash I simply brushed the crust with milk. Oh, and I added extra cinnamon to the filling because if you can't use ridiculous amounts of cinnamon in autumnal baking, when can you?
Just out of the oven with my shadow hovering above it, desperately trying not to cut into it until it had cooled its allotted hour.
All the while I kept thinking that the apples would be the center of this dessert, but I have to say that the crust has made quite a name for itself in our house. It's an all-butter crust with lots of flavor and--get this--tender flakiness. I think the key is using gobs of butter, which is fine by me if the crust turns out this delicious.
Apple pie craving satiated...now if I could only stop thinking about this apple cake...
Monday, October 26, 2009
This salad incorporated lots of fall flavors--it's lettuce and spinach topped with roasted sweet potatoes (all from our CSA), toasted pecans, and cheese.
This pizza (+ a beer) made Friday night feel like a celebration. Lately we've been using this dough recipe.
Dark chocolate non-pareils from Nuts-n-Stuff, our local spice store.
The original store was downtown at the haymarket, and my mom used to stop there to get my sister's favorite muffin mix. She'd always pick up some non-pareils or chocolate stars for us to snack on. The shop made such an impression on me, that when my childhood friend and I would play "store" we'd make up signs that read "Nuts-n-Stuff." Then we'd steal food from her kitchen and try to get her parents to pay us for it. Such good memories in this little bag of chocolate!
This weekend the crochet block blanket really started coming together. It actually looks like a blanket now instead of a bunch of individual squares. I've finished the border because the actual crocheting is my favorite part, but I'm still sewing up seams. It feels really good to finally be nearing the end. I've loved making this blanket, but I'm ready for it to be in my sister's hands. My hands need to start working on Christmas presents!
Friday, October 23, 2009
Last weekend when we visited the pumpkin farm, we also picked up a peck of apples. I'm so happy to have an abundance of apples to play around with. My big plan for this weekend (besides studying until my eyes dry out) is to make an apple pie. Here are some versions I'm considering: Old-fashioned apple pie, lattice-topped apple pie, and apple pie with pecan crumb topping. Shoot, they all sound good. There's a bakery down the street that makes a wonderful Dutch Apple pie with caramel, which is apple pie slathered in their signature caramel frosting. It's the most decadent apple pie I've ever eaten. If I could make a version of that I would seriously impress myself.
I did do some simple baking with apples earlier this week using a family recipe that's been around for as long as I can remember. It's my Grandma Alice's Apple Delight, and it was included in the recipe book that my aunts, cousins, and grandma compiled as a wedding present for me. Apple Delight is baked apples with a crispy cinnamon-sugar topping that we used to eat during our Sunday dinners at Grandma's house and especially on Thanksgiving. As a child, I would try to skim off the candy-like topping, getting as little of the apples as I could. It was the same principle I used when scooping the marshmallows off of the sweet potato dish. Luckily, I now appreciate the flavor of baked apples, but I still can't get enough of the sweet, crunchy topping!
Sorry for the lack of pictures. I took some, but this humble dish is not the most photogenic. It is, however, delicious and quick enough to whip up on a weeknight when you're craving apple pie. I should note that while Apple Delight is sweet enough to count as dessert, my family has always classified it as a side dish, so that we can also eat some pumpkin pie!
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3 lbs apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
I remember many a childhood trek through the pumpkin patch, searching for the perfect pumpkin to make a Jack-o-lantern. It's such a fun tradition.
Neither K nor I had been out to the pumpkin patch in years.
I've always had a soft spot for miniature pumpkins. They're so darn cute!
This year I've been seeing white pumpkins everywhere. What's up with that? Have they always been around and I just haven't noticed? I must admit they do look appropriately ghostly.
Lately our days have been veritably filled with pumpkins. Yesterday's breakfast was pumpkin muffins, which K helped me to whip up late Saturday night. The muffins turned out rich, moist and tasting just like fall. I thought I might make some more with the leftover canned pumpkin, except then I had this conversation with K:
Me: Hey, did you put that half-can of pumpkin in the fridge?
K: What half-can of pumpkin?
Me: You know, the leftover pumpkin from the muffins we made.
Me: Well, the recipe only called for 1 cup of pumpkin, so what happened to the rest of the can?
K: Oh, I thought it said 1 can of pumpkin.
Me: No wonder they were so pumpkin-y.
Anyway, they tasted good!
Tonight we're having roasted pumpkin soup made from the Long Island Cheese pumpkin from our CSA. It's a recipe we made lots in Japan using kabocha pumpkins. It's a pretty flexible recipe, but if I can hammer out some details, I'll share it here.
I hope your weekend was full of autumn fun!
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Thanks to Phyllis and David for braving the crowds with us. And also, to Julia--I hope you enjoy these pictures! Your presence was sorely missed (the pumpkins said hello).
Friday, October 16, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
I've also found a fascinating website and am looking forward to combing through my university's collection of dime novels. Fun (and busy) times ahead!
What are you reading these days? I'd love to hear what you're reading for pleasure (or work/school/whatever).
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*This stack only contains the nice-looking books I've been reading. I'll spare you the scads of photocopied essays and giant theory book. Blah.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
Brrr...October is much colder than I remember! We haven't yet fired up our gas heaters, but we will soon. What we have been doing is pulling out quilts, fleece blankets, and our winter clothes. We've also been hovering over candle flames and mugs of hot tea. I've brought in my potted plants and taken up crochet again.
First on my crochet agenda was weaving in the ends on my wrist warmers and leg warmers. I definitely needed to keep the goosebumps at bay! And now that I am warm I can finally turn back to my sister's very belated birthday blanket. It's been languishing in my yarn basket, and she's been requesting ever-so-nicely for me to please finish before the weather turns cold. Well guess what, there's a chill in the air and I'm still plodding away on this blanket. I do think the end is in sight--most all of the blocks are sewn together and I'm crocheting a border around it.
The picture above is from March. Yikes, I've been working on this for a long time. In my defense I have come a long way since March. The finished blanket (oh, the optimism!) will be 5 by 6 crochet blocks with border around them. It will be big enough for snuggling and napping under. If you're interested, the crochet patterns come from this book.
I hope you're staying warm and well!
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
This is my new favorite tote bag. I've had the idea in my head for ages and the other day while I was reading for class, I had to stop and write it down just so I could concentrate on my school work. I finally sat down on Friday afternoon and whipped this out. It's my first tote, so I didn't expect it to be perfect. I mostly wanted to just make it so the idea would stop haunting me. I needed to clear my head.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Oh, it's October already! September really sailed past, and now my very favorite month is upon us. I'm so ready for autumn strolls, the smell of woodsmoke in the air, and wrapping up in quilts with cups of hot tea for company. I'm also ready for lots of apple cider, pumpkin bread, and my annual apple dumpling from the Harvest Homecoming festival. October is going to be a very good month. I can feel it!
I snapped these pictures in Maysville over the weekend. There was a chill in the air, and the fall colors looked quite spectacular.
The leaves aren't changing colors just yet, but pumpkins and mums are popping up everywhere.
They're adorning porches, doorways, sidewalks and courtyards.
Peeking into a courtyard
I hope October treats you well! What are your plans for fall? Have you planned things you want to do or foods you want to eat? Do you have autumn traditions?