Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday fun

Guess where I'm spending the weekend...

Have a wonderful weekend!
I'll be back on Monday

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Another trip around the sun

This morning began with our family's traditional coffee cake and candles with the birthday song, because why not enjoy the super-fun part of one's birthday as soon as one wakes up?

Birthday coffee cake

Here's to another year of good times, lovely friends, loving family and an appreciated, blessed life!

Start Your Birthday Right Cinnamon Coffee Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick or 60g) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
8 Tbsp (1 stick or 120g) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350F/160C.
Butter 9" round (or 8" square) cake pan and line bottom with buttered parchment paper.

Make batter:
Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together in a bowl.
In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl for at least 1 minute (can be done by hand or with a mixer).  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Stir in half of the flour mixture.  Stir in milk.  Stir in rest of the flour mixture.  Beat for about a minute.  Pour into pan.

Make topping:
Mix flour, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.  Stir in melted butter until combined.  Rub the mixture between your hands to create crumbs of topping.  Scatter crumbs all over batter.

Bake for 40 minutes or until well-risen, slightly golden, and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool on rack for 15 minutes, then remove from pan.  Cool completely.  Replace any crumbs that fall off...or just eat them.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Baking with butter (aka "call the cardiologist")

I realized last night that I have baked with more than 2 pounds of butter in the past week (or less).
It has been mighty tasty around here lately.

weekend birthday cake

Over the weekend, we enjoyed chocolate birthday cake with butter roux frosting.  More specifically, it was The Best Chocolate Cake in the Whole Wide World with Cloudburst Frosting from Alicia.  I felt a recipe title like that was a rather bold claim and needed investigation.  I can confirm it is most excellent, particularly when enjoyed with a glass of pinot noir...or tea, of course.

tea and cake

Last night, I was enjoying a bowl of broccoli cheddar soup and perusing Deb's latest recipes on smitten kitchen.  All she had to do was mention homemade apple butter poptarts, and I knew that was my next project.

homemade apple butter pop tarts

These babies are dee-lish-us, but they should come with a free visit to the cardiologist.  There is half a pound of butter in the dozen of these.  Whew!  My girlfriend gail asked how they compare to hand pies, and I have to admit that I might prefer hand pies.  I think I prefer a greater ratio of fruit to pastry (did I just say that?).  On the other hand, I foresee limitless possibilities in trying these with various fillings from Nutella to homemade jam.  I picked up some pomegranate jam at the farmer's market last week.  I bet that would be amazing.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday fun time

A dear friend sent me a link to this video, asking if the mommy's nose in question was mine (could have been!).  This is so delightful.  Enjoy your weekend, friends!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Blue and purple Neighborly

I finished a knitting project!  After more than six months poking along on a cardigan for myself (so many rows, so little time...), I switched to knitting for my girls again.  Back to my favorite stand-by, the Neighborly vest.  It's pretty, simple and knits up quick with no seaming.  Hooray!

blue and purple neighbourly

Happy, warm and toasty kiddo!  Just in time, too.  The weather spontaneously turned to autumn on us this week.  I haven't done our winter clothes shopping yet, and the girls' wardrobes are wanting.  This vest is perfect for now.  Now, I need to cast on for Ellie's...

Ravelry notes here.
Original (free!) pattern here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

First poncho morning

Last spring, I knit a poncho for Stephanie in a week when the temperatures ranged from 80F to 30F.  We were still living out of suitcases and she needed something fun and functional.  This poncho was not it.  She refused to wear it, and I couldn't blame her.  It stretched like crazy and wore like a big ol' baggy blanket.  Not exactly stylish.

Fast forward to today, our first cold autumnal morning on the bicycle, and suddenly the idea of wearing a big ol' baggy blanket sounds absolutely perfect (not that this means she wants her picture taken in it)!

First poncho morning


We cycle to school each morning.  Ellie rides ahead of me on her big girl bike without training wheels (very important!), and Stephanie sits behind me in the child seat of my Dutch Omafiets.  We are famous thanks to the huge basket up front.  Just about everyone at school knows who we are because of that basket.  Hubby thinks the basket is crazy and wants it gone, but it's my bike and I have an affection for it that cannot be explained.  Anyway, I digress.  The poncho.

She doesn't want her picture taken

Stephanie sits behind me and sticks her cold hands up my sweater to get warm (yow!).  This morning, thanks to that dreaded but now loved poncho, she was nice and toasty and oh-so-happy.  This poncho does indeed cover her front and back like a big, warm blanket.  I won't be surprised in a few more weeks when she asks me to make it long enough to cover her legs as well.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Heartwarming house-warming

I made a new mom friend at Ellie's school.  When she handed me her card, I learned she is a knitter-crocheter-crafter-sewist-thrifter friend and the hand-dyer of Dutch Girl Yarns!  Today, she had a housewarming gift for me:

Super-generous housewarming gift from new  (knitter-crafter-thrifter) friend

Five skeins of her yarn, 2 homemade jams, 2 recipes, and a corduroy skirt she thrifted today for 50 cents (and it's awesome!).  I am floored by her generosity.

Friday, September 7, 2012

7 on the 7th

birthday girl ready to blow out the candles on her morning cake

I stayed up until nearly midnight last night making things ready for the first-thing-in-the-morning family party.

It was so worth it.

Happy weekend to you, friends!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Escape to DC

DC Metro

This past weekend was Labor Day weekend, a long holiday weekend in the US.  A quick look at our calendar revealed that this weekend was our best and last shot before Thanksgiving to drive over to Northern Virginia to visit family, so off we went!

Most of our time was chock-full of family fun, but the first day (Friday) we had to ourselves.  We rode the metro into the city to visit The National Museum of Natural History.  We saw bones galore, some mummies (of people and animals!) with their tomb artefacts, impressive taxidermy in the Hall of Mammals, and insects galore.  Our favourite was the indoor butterfly garden on the top floor.  It was relatively small but housed a beautiful variety of gorgeous butterflies.  The blue morphos are always stunning and the luna moths are etherial...but our new discovery were the green peacock butterflies.  See the black one with green stripes?  Look closer...

in the butterfly garden

green peacock butterfly

Thousands of magnificent speckles!

We ran out of steam before visiting the gems and the fabulous (and creepy) Hope Diamond.  We were lucky to visit an almost empty museum.  How that happened on a holiday weekend I will never know, but it was nice!  The last time we were there, we did fight the crowds to see the gems, and the girls simply could not see the point (can't blame them!).

How was your weekend?