Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Playing with Knives

As my interest and experimental experiences with cooking and baking grow, I find there are gaps in my skills requiring attention. The use of knives is one of those areas in which I am not proficient.

Source: Kitchenique

Interested in improving my technique using very sharp and pointed objects, I signed up for a class in basic knife skills at Kitchenique, a gourmet kitchen store and cooking school in Destin.

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The chef and owner, Vicki, made my experience so much fun as did all her staff. We were instructed in the importance of cleanliness and all things associated with the care and use of knives, especially safety. Then the cutting began.

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We cut and chopped and otherwise mutilated all sorts of vegetables.

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It will take much more practice before my victims (otherwise known as vegetables) are cut in smaller and more uniform pieces.

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If it grows, our class was probably busy chopping it.

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Vegetables were not our only victims; we also practiced on chicken and ham. Some of the vegetables ended up in the soup pot for our lunch along with our choice of chicken or ham (or even both).

Vicki donates all the vegetables cut in class and not used in our lunch soup to various church soup kitchens. Vicki and her staff kindly loaded my car with boxes and boxes of freshly-cut vegetables which I promptly delivered to my church for our soup kitchen ministry in feeding homeless folks.

My experience at Kitchenique was thoroughly enjoyable and will improve my cooking techniques. I am definitely going to try another class with Vicki soon.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Baking Valentine Gifts

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Heart-shaped Whoopie Pies made great Valentine gifts to offer my students this week. I’ve never made Whoopie Pies before and wanted to give them a try.

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After baking, filling, and finishing the final assembly, the treats were packed in boxes found at A.C. Moore. After last month’s baked offering, my students have been asking what I’d bring them in February. So, I took them sweet little hearts.

Monday, February 14, 2011


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Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Gifts for Sewing: Part 2

The second part of my gift offering for an event in March I am attending is done.

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To accompany the pin cushions made for the other attendees, I created a set of embellished straight pins using tiny beads and E-6000 glue.

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The pins were a very messy project because of the glue factor. I’m not good with messy stuff, but I persevered and cleaned up the very second I was done. Each set of pins is mounted on craft felt and attached to a card.

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All eight of my gift offerings are ready.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Paper Doll Bridesmaids

One of my nieces is getting married and asked me to make paper doll chains for her bridesmaids. Paper dolls are something I’ve not done since I was a little girl. A quick Google search netted me a template and out came my art pens, ruler, scissors, large sheets of watercolor paper, and my painting kit.

My big plan to photograph the paper doll chains is not working this morning as it’s dark and rainy.

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A shade of purple was requested by my niece for the dresses. Because these are paper dolls, I did not want to get too carried away with the project so tried to keep it relatively simple. I did add a pink waistband and a small lilac-colored button sticker from Martha Stewart.

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Julie specified each of her bridesmaid’s hair color and asked me to include their names to personalize the chain. There are six bridesmaids, so each chain has six dolls—for a grand total of 36 little bridesmaids who needed painting and embellishing.

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Although she did not say anything about how she plans to present the paper doll chains, I figure she could probably use cards and envelopes, so I made those, too. Since her friends are represented in the chain of dolls, I created a bride version of Julie on the front of the card and modified the dress design. She can tuck each paper doll chain inside a card for presenting to the girls. Despite the gray tone seen in the photo, the card is the same ecru watercolor paper as the dolls.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Unofficial Miami Dolphins Beanie

They may not be a contender in the 2011 Super Bowl XLV game slated for Sunday, but my husband has always loved the Miami Dolphins. I knit a beanie for him at Christmas using his favorite team’s colors.

Since I could not find a knitting pattern for a Miami Dolphins beanie, I modified Kathy Lang’s Beanies for the Brave pattern found on Ravelry (her pattern may also be found on the web, see Resources below).

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This beanie is not approved/endorsed/licensed or otherwise sanctioned by the NFL people-in-charge-of-such stuff. It has, however, been approved by my husband—in the end, that’s what is important to me.

Cascade 220 100% Peruvian Highland Wool (ordered through Unwind, the Yarn Shop) was used in colors approximating those of the Miami Dolphins. You can change the colors to reflect another team—of course, that’s unofficial and my husband wouldn’t like it---shhhh.

  • Color A: 1 skein Cascade 220, color #7812 (“Lagoon”)
  • Color B: 1 skein Cascade 220, color #9542 (“Blaze”)
  • Color C: 1 skein Cascade 220, color #2404 (“Atlantic”)
  • Color D: 1 skein Cascade 220, color #8505 (“White”)

One of the young men working on the remodel of our house saw me knitting the beanie and asked for one, too. So here is Jason’s finished beanie, my thank-you for the hard work he’s put forth to do a quality job for us.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Boxty Cakes for St. Brigid

By propping myself up on one foot Tuesday evening, I managed to try a new recipe to celebrate St. Brigid’s Feast Day on Feb. 1, a day also known to most everyone as Groundhog Day. However, since St. Brigid was born in Ireland around A.D. 451 or 452, a long time before groundhogs were celebrated for their shadows, she’s the one I honored.

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You can find all sorts of Irish recipes online honoring St. Brigid, but I chose Boxty Cakes using a recipe from fish eaters.

Boxty Cakes
  • ½ pound hot cooked potatoes
  • ½ pound grated raw potatoes
  • 2 cups flour (see my note below)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ cups buttermilk
  • Butter for frying
  • Salt and pepper

Drain, peel and mash the hot potatoes. Stir in the raw potatoes, flour and baking soda. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well with enough buttermilk to make a stiff batter. Shape into 3 inch patties about ¼-inch thick and fry on hot, greased griddle until crispy and golden on both sides.

Note: I carefully followed the recipe, but the end result tasted more like flour than potatoes. Next time, I’ll try Rachel Rappaport’s recipe posted on Coconut & lime. Her version calls for only ¼ cup of flour.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cotton Boll Knitting

My binder of hoarded project ideas gleaned from here and there came in handy over the weekend to entertain me during my enforced bed rest. One such project was something shared on One Pretty Thing—a knitted cotton boll pattern originally posted on Knitting Daily to hold . . . cotton.

Despite nature’s directives as to the best color for cotton bolls, my choice was Sea (Mer). After a quick bit of knitting, I pondered the usefulness of a cotton-stuffed cotton boll. It’s cute, soft, small, and maybe even cuddly—but what in the world will I actually do with it?

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A few wild ideas buzzed through my head, but I finally tamed my wayward thoughts and opted for a simple solution. The adorable little boll of cotton will tuck quite nicely in my toiletry bag for travel or even in my purse.

  • Knitted Cotton Boll pattern from Knitting Daily
  • One Pretty Thing blog
  • Patons Silk Bamboo yarn in Sea (Mer) color code 85219—purchased at Michael’s