Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Inspirations

Recipes :

Grilled Pork Chops with Cherry Salsa - - I love a good pork chop, but really the cherry salsa is what I find intriguing about this recipe. Even though the husband wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole, I am interested in trying it.

Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore - - It's really the crock pot aspect that grabbed my attention. I need to utilize my crock pot more, especially in this heat, in which I do not feel like cooking!

Cereal Style Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies - - Love things like this and want to try them!

Ice Cream Sandwich - - Can I even put into words how much I miss ice cream sandwiches? This gluten free version looks similar and makes me want to make it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Better Batter Chocolate Cake Mix

I got around to trying the Chocolate Cake Mix from Better Batter. I used the previous idea of subbing most of the oil for applesauce and it worked wonderfully, I subbed all of the oil, except one tablespoon of the oil with applesauce(natural, no sugar added). The cake was really delicious. I used lemon frosting! My only negative remark is that it's not actually very chocolatey tasting. I will probably add some cocoa to the mix in the future.



Does it not look delicious?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Double Diamonds

I know what you are thinking, still double knitting? Yes, it takes me some time with this technique, but I am enjoying it. I have completed the 3 repeats required for the test-knit and am going to take a small break from it while I work on a few other things, but after vacation . . . which is so very soon . . . I will be picking this up again, probably to add another two repeats. Then there will be a matching hat and fingerless mitts for a niece this winter.



Monday, June 18, 2012

Children of Immigration

I try not to be political or too far off the craft theme here, but I saw this video over at Rage Against the Minivan and I completely agree with it. These children should not be punished for being brought to this country, we should be embracing them.

More trouble with husbands

Do you see the horrendous booboo my cactus has?


This is from my husband. I told him, do not open the windows, I will do it when I get home because he takes no regard for my plants and has almost killed at least two in the past. So he waits, I open the windows . . . after I go to bed for the night he decides it is open just a little to much and closes it some . . . yeah, right down on my cactus!


Do you see how tall they are? That ruler in the back is 12 inches long, the tallest one in the back, the injured one, is about 18 inches tall! These are cacti that I grew from seed a few years ago. He hit the top of the tallest one with the window and snapped off about 2-3 inches of it. I cried when I woke up and saw it, he didn't even realize he did anything. For a while I didn't think it was going to make it through the ordeal, because it also threw off the root structure holding it up also. Luckily, a week of care and plenty of water and it survived, with it scarred top to prove it endured. I moved this plant into the craft room now, where the husband does not go.

Here is one of the cacti I started last summer:


It is growing like a weed. The packs I have purchased in the past are variety packs, so you never know what is in there or what is actually going to grow. This is the first time I have had this kind make it.

Here are my balcony plants:


The coleus is struggling, it loved last spring/summer outdoors but hasn't done so well inside over the winter and now is having a hard time adjust to outside again. I am not sure it will survive this summer. They were interesting to start from seed last year and when they flourish, boy do they flourish, but otherwise don't seem to care for the climate around here.

The two plants to the left are also struggling and I am not sure will be kept after this summer. Otherwise, you can see small cacti from last years planting.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Biking to and fro

Since it has been a very nice Spring, for the most part this year, I have been riding my bike a lot. I ride it about 2-5 times a week to work depending on how I feel and the weather. It's about a 25 minute/ 5.5 mile bike ride to work and back. It could go quicker, but there are numerous stop lights in the city. I count my blessing that with the way people in Buffalo drive, I haven't been hit yet, only had a couple of close calls.

Here is my bike set up for work:

I love these bags, I got the set up cheap at Wal*Mart.

It works well because having a back pack just makes me more sweaty, which is fun enough in this wonderful heat we have been having.

They have tons of little pockets to for drinks, etc.

There is actually a bag that hooks to the top of these two and lays on the top, but that is just excessive for me right now and I don't need that space so it sits at home. But these two bags work nice, I put my lunch in one and my work cloths and kindle in the other, use one of the smaller pockets for my keys, wallet, etc.

They are easy to unhook and take into the house with me at the end of the day too.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Wookie's Porch Love

For numerous reasons, one being it isn't allowed and I tend to be a rule follower . . .maybe to excess, dogs aren't allowed in our back yard or on the balcony if they are not leashed. I am the only person in my building that sticks to this, but I have reasons other than the rules to do so. Wookie is so small that he could easily fall off the balcony or slip out the spaces in the fence, so it's not in his best interest to be unleashed.

He loves outside though and in the Spring/Summer time I like to be out on the back balcony, so rigged up one of his older retractable leashes to a shelf in the kitchen, so he can go out on the balcony with me, but not go too far.

Here is is looking over the edge of the balcony watching birds down in the yard.


As you can see from these two close-ups of Wookie's very alert face, that the apartment building has barbed wire right below the balcony to discourage people from trying to break into the apartments by climbing up the balcony. Another reason to make sure Wookie cannot get too far, yet still enjoy his time out there.

And a top/back view to show you his lovely shaved fur.

Here is my desk setup outside.

I love him being able to go outside with me, as it is often cooler outside than in our apartment. I think this weekend we may have to do some yarn dyeing together. We saw a little dog in the pet store a couple of weeks ago with a blue tail . . . do you think Wookie would let me do that to him? Doubtful.

We now have a new neighbor at the end of our balcony who has a dog, a Corgi - I believe, who is not as well behaved and Wookie is struggling to accept the fact that another dog is out on his balcony.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Double Diamond Double Knitting

Still working on the double knitting scarf for my test knit. I am half way through the required repeats for the test knit, but will most likely need more for the length of a scarf.



I am still loving the black side the best, it is definitely going to make one warm scarf.

It is taking me some time because obviously double knitting takes more time, but I really haven't spent much time knitting or crafting lately. I will need to take some more time this week to finish this up though. I am enjoying the double knitting process and have lots of wonderful ideas running through my head for projects and theories that involve double knitting. If only I could knit as fast as my mind had ideas!  Hats, sweater, bag, socks, etc.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Gluten Free Baking Adventures

So recently I tried a few gluten free box mixes:

I tried Wegmans New Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Mix, because why not? I was expecting the worst, meaning I was expecting dry, crumbly cookies, which is what I have got with every other gluten free cookie mix. But these weren't, they were soft, almost cake like in the middle, with a crisp bottom. The reminded me of a black & white cookie, but sugary and no frosting, but same type of cake/cookie taste. Definitely will buy these again. I think next time I will do power cookies with sugar sprinkles on top.




Next I order the Better Batter Gluten Free Sampler Pack. I haven't tried everything yet, only the brownies, yellow cake, and a little bit of the flour. As I use each, I will let you know how it went.

Better Batter Fudge Brownie Mix - - This was really good. I sprinkled in a small handful of mini Ghiradelli Chocolate Chips into the mix also. I made mine gooey and they were really good. Nice and crisp on the outside, but ooey, gooey inside. This is something I would definitely purchase again. I really like that this mix did not have that grainy texture to it that a lot of gluten free mixes do. I think in the future I might choose the cake-like-brownie option with some cream cheese frosting.

Sorry, forgot to take pictures.

Better Batter Yellow Cake Mix - - Now, I have tried the Betty Crocker Yellow Cake mix and it taste too much of egg and isn't all that good. With this, I was expecting more of the same, but this actually has a nice taste and texture to it . . . if you can ignore all the oil in it. This box mix requires way too much oil and the cake tastes like it. It tastes like you drizzled oil on the cake once it was finished and let it soak it up. UGH! Not good, however, I am not giving up on it because everything else about it is good, so I am going to try it in the future with applesauce instead of oil and I think that will work much better.

Again, no pics, sorry.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

DesignKnit's Spiral Shawl Pattern release

The spiral shawl that I test knit recently has now had the pattern released! Here is Erica's post about it and here is the link to the Ravelry Pattern page.  Go have a look!