Monday, October 27, 2008

Can the girl cook?

We got a big surprise in the mail this week.....a belated wedding gift!! WOW, I am so excited!! First because it's a great gift. Second because I was looking at the Better Home and Gardens New cookbook pink edition in the bookstore the night before the package arrived. No joke!!! And Third, a taste of home sweet home Louisiana! Hopefully this will lead to more future cooking posts!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

YeeHaw, ride 'em cowgirl!!

Here it is, my latest and greatest of the baby presents!! These are for my cousin's baby girl who is scheduled to make her debut in December. I think these came out pretty good for my first attempt at them!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Ah, autumn!

Well I have fallen sorely behind with blogging, but for good reason! Last weekend my husband and I went hiking in New Hampshire!! I must say it is SO NICE to both be out of school and have real jobs and plan weekend getaways like this. We left on Saturday morning and drove up, which was not bad at all, about 2-2.5hr drive. We got off the interstate and went through Bristol, NH. It's a small town, but so cute and we stopped at a local diner for lunch, but they serve breakfast all day! Oh my YUM! It was so good and I got a cup of locally brewed White Mountain coffee to boot!

We went to the scultured rocks geologic site to 'play' for a couple of hours. It's a gorgeus are, literally steps off the road and we climbed down some of the rocks for close to the cold water!

Then we drove to the AMC Mount Cardigan Lodge to check in. It is near lots of trail heads and has rooms you can rent. During the full operating season they serve family style meals, which was fun because we got to meet a lot of people there. I was happy to meet some other knitters and we spent a few hours sitting around the den area knitting and chatting.

Sunday we hiked up Mount Cardigan via Firescrew. It was a graded as a moderate hike but was pretty vigorous for a while there! Turned out to be perfect for us. It was a 5.7 mile loop that hit both the Firescrew and Cardigan peaks. Here is DH resting on top of Mount Cardigan where we stopped for lunch.
It was a great weekend getaway!! On our way back to the interstate we stopped at a local apple farm for some hot cider, which was the perfect end to our day!!
In knitting news, I am finished with baby gifts for the moment, YAY! I finished the Cowgirl boots this week but still need to upload pictures. I'm hoping to make a few super warm hats now because New England is having cold mornings now!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fire and Ice Pillow

This week I finished the Fire and Ice Pillow test-crochet for the TKB group on Ravelry. I was testing the pattern, which was great! It was very simple and I ended up with a very huggable pillow!

The pattern is inspired by Bella's two "loves" in the Twilight series.
Jacob, who is a werewolf, so here's a fuzzy brown side:
And Edward, who is a sparkly vampire, so his side has a diamond pattern and, though you can't tell, it's made with a sparkly white yarn:

Side View:

Apple butter, YUM YUM!

If you saw my last post, you know that we went apple picking last week. Well I'm finally getting around to doing something with all of those apples. Fortunately a few we picked were a little under-ripe, so now they are PERFECT!!
My first apple dish is apple butter! First you have to make apple sauce and then basically sweeten and spice it up then concentrate it down. So I took some pictures along the way so that next time I'll know just what it's supposed to look like!
1-boil apple slices in apple juice and sugar! Notice that I left the skins on. I read that leaving the skins on give the apple butter a better color. Also notice I have a combination of different type of apples...this is supposed to give a better flavor.

After boiling and mashing with a potato masher:

After blending:

I choose to use a blender to grind up the skins since I don't have a food mill. This worked great!! There are a few little chunks but tastes and looks really nice!

Final Product!!!

I started with a dozen apples and ended up with about 9 and a half, half-pint jars. They are cooling now. It is a little runnier than I wanted, more like thick sauce. I'm hoping it thickens up more as it cools. I think it will taste great on hot biscuits; my husband is hoping it stays a little runny so he can use it as ice cream topping!!
Peeking out of the back there is a jar of the raspberry jam!!!
EDIT: Kim wants to try this and needed to know how much sugar, so I'm just posting the entire recipe!! This is from the Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book
4.5lbs tart cooking apples, cored and quartered (about 14 medium)
4 cups apple cider or apple juice
2 cups sugar
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
.5 tsp ground cloves (I didn't use this)
.5 tsp ground allspice
1-in 8 or 10 qt pot combine apples and cider or juice. Bring to boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 min, stirring occasionally. Press through food mill or sieve (I used a blender). Return to pot. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice. Bring back to boiling; reduce heat. Cook, uncovered over very low heat 1.5 hours or until very thick, stirring often.
2-Ladle into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rims; adjust lids. Process in boiling water canner 5 minutes (start timing when water boils). Remove jars and cool on racks. Makes 8 half pints.
Note: I don't have a "canner", just use a big pot and make sure your jars are completely submerged!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

And....another baby present!

This one was a quick crochet project. Thank goodness since this was last minute! I made it this weekend and put it in the mail today, whew!!

Also, the highlight of my weekend was apple and raspberry picking at Connors Farm. apples!!
My hubby picking raspberries....
Our bountiful harvest....
They are now residing in jars of jam, YUM!!