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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Banana Cinnamon Muffins

While visiting my parents in New Mexico, I got the amazing opportunity to cook in their beautiful kitchen.

My fiance woke up early one morning while we were there and went to climb a mountain! So I decided to make some fresh banana cinnamon muffins to be ready by the time he made it back.

The more ripe the bananas, the better for cooking. The really ripe bananas create a flavor that almost reminds me of caramel.

Once in the muffin tins, sprinkle some cinnamon and sugar on top.

These little muffins are so delightful, this is one of my favorite recipes. They are very refreshing and relatively light (so you can eat 2!)

Best with coffee or milk... yumm!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gingerbread Men

I've been basking in the holiday spirit lately and I got the fun idea of making gingerbread men!

I used a recipe from my 1934 cookbook for "gingerbread" and about halfway through mixing the ingredients I got a bit confused. I couldn't help wondering how the things listed would make a cookie dough. Finally (and just in time) I realized it was, in fact, a recipe for ginger bread, not gingerbread cookies! With a bit of tweaking I managed to salvage the recipe and it turned out pretty well if I do say so myself.

Due to the surprisingly difficult task of finding a gingerbread man cookie cutter, I ended up purchasing a pre-mixed gingerbread cookie mix that came with a cutter. I whipped this up as well, just in case my home made mixture turned out terrible.

Here are the cut outs from the pre-made mix. All you had to do was cream the butter and add a whipped egg. Then chill for an hour and roll out. The dough was very easy to handle, roll, and cut.

Here are the cutouts from the home made batch. I went a little overboard with the molasses... the dough was VERY sticky and I had to use a lot of flour to roll it out. You can see how much darker they are than the other batch.

Here are the little guys - yummy! I sprinkled some coarse sugar on top of some.

I really liked both batches. The pre-mix was much sweeter, it tasted like a mixture between sugar cookie and gingerbread cookie. The home made batch had a bit of a spice kick to it.

These little cookies were great to give as gifts, they wrap up very nicely.

A day or two after baking, they are a little crunchy and taste wonderful with coffee or tea.

These were so much fun, I'd like to do it over again and maybe make some sugar cookies as well. What are you doing to celebrate the holidays?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

It's Beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

I can't hetp it, I'm just a sucker for all things christmas so when it finally comes time to trim the tree, it still makes me feel all warm and fuzzy!

Growing up, we always had a fake tree which was great b/c we could set it up way before christmas and enjoy for even longer. My fiance, however, has insisted on a real tree. Last year we went out to a cute little tree farm and he cut it down and everything! This year we just got this fir from a nursery.
After a delicious dinner, Kelly, Nic, Brent, and I put all the trimmings on the tree!

Pierre was sleepy, but clearly in the hoilday spirit.

Brent is finding just the right spot.

Voila! It is so lovely! Now we just need to put more presents underneath.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dog Sweater Take 2

On my quest for the perfect dog sweater knitting pattern, I stumbled across this:
Snowflake Dog Sweater

It is knitted in two pieces and then sewn together, leaving a space for each armhole. I decided on green and white, mainly because I'm trying to use up my scraps of old yarn.

The snowflakes are created in a sort of intarsia (or would it be fair isle?) knitting. It is easier than you would think because you can carry the colors from side to side instead of using small bobbins (which always complicated things for me).

I altered the pattern a bit because Pierre is a tiny little guy but it was still a bit too big once knitted. I ended up taking it in a lot when sewing the pieces together which would bother me if it was a sweater that I was wearing but, well, Pierre is a dog so he can deal with it I think!

The finished piece, I love the snowflake pattern!

The underside view, I like the lone star. You can see where I had to repeatedly take it in.

Isn't he handsome?!? He's all ready for the holidays. I wanted to add on little sleeves (not in the original pattern but I like them) but I ran out of green yarn.
What sort of Holiday projects are you excited for??