Baking Adventures

8 07 2011

My poor little hobby blog has been severely neglected. Pre-nursing classes will do that, though. When I do have free time, I spend it baking. I’ve found that I kind of rock at baking, especially muffins and other sweet breads. Today, I baked Pineapple Bread! However, the comments on this recipe had lots of different tips about making the bread better than the original. Here is my final recipe:

Ingrediants

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 can (20 oz) of crushed pineapple (I used pineapple rings ran through a blender)
1 tsp vanilla  extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Because I lacked crushed pineapple, I drained one can of pineapple rings (save the juice!!!) and pureed them in a blender. Set aside until Step #4
  3. In a medium sized bowl, beat eggs. Add butter and sugar, then beat until smooth
  4. Mix in pineapple and vanilla extract.
  5. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
  6. Stir wet ingredients into the large bowl
  7. Pour batter into a greased pan. I used a bread pan.
  8. Bake at 350 F for 55 minutes
  9. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Use a butter knife to loosen the sides.
  10. Cool and wrap
Pineapple bread unglazed(Click for larger image)
The bread is more cake-like than anything, but really good. I added some glaze to make it more interesting and it turned out amazingly well, in my opinion.
~*~
Highly Recommended Pineapple Glaze
1/2 cup butter
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
6+ tbs crushed pineapple (I opened a new can to do the glaze)
4+ tbs pineapple juice
  1. Because I lacked powdered sugar, I ran granulated sugar through the blender 1/2 cup at a time. I also combined the 1/2 cup brown sugar (I ran out of white and had to substitute) and 1/2 cup of white sugar in the blender.
  2. Cream butter and sugar until well blended
  3. Stir in pineapple and pineapple juice to taste
  4. Do not add to bread until it is out of the pan. Spread liberally all over the top of the bread.
  5. Wait about 5 minutes for it to cool.
  6. Slice bread and enjoy!
Pineapple bread glazed
~*~
Pineapple bread glazed
It’s okay to be jealous, but you could always make your own. This is a seriously easy recipe and I encourage everyone to give it a try. Feel free to pass along this recipe, too! Linking back here would be really awesome, though. I’m kind of an attention fiend like that. 😉
Eat up and enjoy!




Monday Six & Stuff

14 03 2011

I meant to post my Sunday Six yesterday, but alas… I’ve been dabbling in other things this week. I actually have pictures, too.

(Click for larger view!)

These ugly things are called pallets. You can find them at any lumber yard or home improvement store. Our local surplus store has an abundance of pallets from their many, many neat things like hardwood flooring. They pile the pallets up beside the dumpster with a sign that says “free pallets.” Unfortunately, their sign usually vanishes before the pallets do.

So what good are these pallets? Until a couple of weeks ago, I would have said “not much.” I have a few around for my goats to climb on, but that’s as far as my knowledge goes with pallets. My husband, however, is a very handy fellow. He found out that you can actually build things with pallets.

 

Did you know you can take pallets apart? I sure didn’t. Well, to be honest, I had never really given it much thought before. It takes a hammer, a circular saw, and sometimes a pry bar to break the pallets down into smaller boards. It’s rough lumber, so some leather gloves come in handy, too.

Once you break down the pallets, you can make all kinds of things from them. We’ve seen plans for chicken coops, lawn furniture, dog houses, you name it! Right now, we lack the chickens for a coop, have a healthy disdain for direct sunlight, and our dog stays inside. So what are we building?

 

Can you tell what it is? Probably not, because at the moment, it’s only half-finished. We’re building a house for my pygmy buck, Frank, who has destroyed nearly every manner of housing we’ve supplied for him in the last almost-three-years we’ve had him. He’s destroyed two dog houses and a “goat lean to.”  He’s a very destructive goat, so we’re hoping that by building him a little house, he will finally have a place to sleep that won’t be destroyed in a few months.

 

The only problem now (besides doing the math to figure out the pitch of the roof) is that I have concluded this house is much too nice for Frank. I think it would make an excellent little club house, especially if it had a window and some paint. I can sit inside it quite comfortably, and it feels quite cozy inside it, thank you very much. However, the rough lumber makes it quite uncomfortable for lounging, so just this once, Frank may have his own little club house. I’ve already christened it “The He-Buck Doe-Haters Club.” I plan on making it a sign that says as much.

 

And now, for my meager Sunday Six attempt:

 

Deidra  rolled her eyes as she turned her back to him. “Then what, Jimmy? Let’s say we do win this war and bring them down. What am I supposed to do then? My son is dead, my husband betrayed me, and there’s no one else who cares whether or not I live or die.”

“You could always come with me.”

 

Until next time, folks.





Jell-O Yarn, Take Two!

28 09 2010

This weekend, I was a yarn harlot. There was rarely a moment when yarn was not in my hands. I knitted, I dyed yarn, and even found time to recycle a sweater. I was very, very productive.

The highlight of my weekend was dyeing yarn with Jell-O. I love dyeing yarn, and this time it was a Mega Challenge. I was dyeing 465 yards of yarn with the intention of making it the palest of greens. Having worked with pale colors only once before, I was very nervous that my yarn would come out either booger green or Swamp Thing green. I’m not sure that there is really much of a difference, but in my panicked mind, any shade other than my desired pale green would be a catastrophe.

(Click for larger images!)

First, I started off with a large skein of Lion Brand’s Fisherman’s wool I bought back in January (!!!) while on a shopping trip with a friend. Since a skein of yarn can’t be dyed in its store-bought form, I spent at least an hour winding the yarn onto my “yarn stick,” which I use to measure yarn I recycle from sweaters. It measures the yarn into three foot loops. This would work out well for dyeing, so I tied the yarn ever-so-loosely in several places to keep the loop shape.

It wasn’t until much later in the dyeing process that I realized the smart thing to do would have been to divide the yarn into two different dye projects of 230-odd yard loops rather than one large loop. Oh well…

Ta-da! It’s a big old hank of yarn! Unfortunately, it would be a while before I could actually dye the yarn (of all the times to be out of vinegar).

So I put the yarn in the only safe place in the house… the pantry! It’s the one place where I know neither feline nor canine can possibly reach my precious yarn! Although now that I mention it, my dog is a border collie. I’m sure if he ever figures out that his Milkbones are kept in the pantry, he will figure out how to get into it.

Unlike last time, I was using three times as much yarn as my recipe called for. Sadly, I only had two boxes of Jell-O. I figured that in the worst case scenario, I would have to go out and buy another box of Jell-O. My risk for getting the color too dark was very slim at this point. I relaxed just a little.

Well, I relaxed until I mixed all my ingredients into the pot. Yikes… Witch’s Brew, anyone? I tried not to think about just how dark that concoction appeared.

One of my hooligan cats came to assist me in the dyeing process. This is Karl, and he didn’t really want to help me. He just wanted his belly rubbed… and maybe a bite of whatever I was obviously cooking.

Unlike last time, I now have a thermometer to monitor the heat of my dye! Yay! TracyGP had made a comment that my dye needed to be about 180 degrees F rather than boiling. Okay, I can do that…

See? Easy as pie. Now I wait… which isn’t so easy…

About 175 degrees later, this is what my Witch’s Brew looks like. Still not very hopeful.

Okay, time to put the yarn into the dye! Yes, that is my arm there. Yes, this is about the time I probably should have reconsidered my plan of putting ALL the yarn into the dye. No one said I was very bright, though.

This is about the time when it hit me that dyeing 450+ yards of yarn at one time probably wasn’t a good idea. Oh well, too late to turn back now…

Yarn does not like going into the dye willingly. There was a mighty battle to be had. My spatula and I emerged victorious!

Now to wait… which was very hard. I knitted a while. I watched some television. I even played around a little on Facebook. Finally, fifteen grueling minutes had passed and I returned to check on my yarn. It still wasn’t done (of course), so I waited the additional 10 minutes it required before returning for another look.

In retrospect, I probably should have given it more time to soak up the dye, considering the quantity of the yarn being dyed. However, I was pretty happy with the color, so I went ahead and removed it from the heat.

This is the yarn after the water/dye was drained off of it. I have to admit, I was feeling a bit nervous here. I was worried the color wouldn’t hold and it was really just kind of a stained greenish-white.

Dawn bath sequence initiated… Time to wait for 30 minutes. Patience is not something I have a lot of, so I played around on Twitter for a while before checking back on my yarn.

It looks… like yarn. I was very happy that the color held like I’d hoped, but I still had a bad feeling about this yarn. I wasn’t sure what or why until I drained the bath and began the rinse process.

Dark green streaks… I should have known. I hadn’t stirred the yarn enough in the pot, so parts of it became darker than I wanted it to be. Panic and doubt rampaged my mind until a good friend of mine suggested that perhaps the darker splotches wouldn’t be as noticeable when it was wound up into a proper yarn cake. It was a theory worth testing.

I took the yarn outside to hang it on my porch to dry. It was my hope that once it dried, the real colors would show and perhaps some of the darker spots would go away.

Here’s the yarn, still damp as it hung out to dry in the sun. It took more than 24 hours for it to dry naturally in the sun.

Being the wishful (and irrational when panicked) thinker that I am, I hung the yarn up with the darker side on top. My theory was that as it dried, the darker parts would “run” into the paler spots. The darker spots would lighten and the lighter spots would darken. It made sense… right???

Whether or not this worked remains unknown. Perhaps just drying the yarn helped show its true colors. Regardless, here is the newly dried yarn:

See??? It DID darken up! Okay, it’s very slight and only I would have noticed it… Either way, it was time to bring my yarn inside and ball it up.

I’m still pretty clumsy with my yarn swift, and this yarn was far too important to risk tangling, being eaten by a dog, or stolen by my small pride of cats. So I cleared off my desk, draped half the yarn around a large bottle of baby lotion, the other half around my knee, and began winding it ever-so-slowly with my ball winder. It took a couple of hours with this method (and constant animal interruption), but at last, I put all 465 yards of yarn into one cake!

Of course, it wasn’t until I was about 300 yards in that I realized once again that perhaps making smaller cakes would have been a better way to go about things. As before, it was too late to go back, so I kept on trucking. Behold my Super Sized Yarn Cake!

Yes, that is a regular sized Pepsi can. And yes, I was playing Sims 2 while I wound my yarn, lol.

Godzilla Yarn (lol I think I just named it) beside an average sized cake of yarn (about 200 yards).

As you can see, the darker stripes aren’t nearly as noticeable now. In fact, they kind of give Godzilla Yarn a bit of character. I kind of like it, to be perfectly honest.

Well, once again, I have managed to stumble my way through another project without causing any lasting harm to myself, others, or even my yarn. I consider that an accomplishment. Add the fact that I got the exact color I was hoping for despite my many mistakes and you have one happy hobbyist.

Tune in next time for the brief tale of the turtleneck recycling adventure!





RIP Zoe Marie

8 07 2010

Yesterday morning between 7:15 and 7:30 a.m., we lost our beloved Zoe to listeriosis. She was sick for five long, heartbreaking days. Most goats only last about three, but my Zoe was a fighter. She fought with everything she had until the very end.

Zoe was very special to us. She was very even tempered and rarely upset by anything. She loved people and children. She tolerated the outside cats. She loved to be hand-fed bananas and maple branches. She would fight the other goats for a patch of clover. She was Boss Goat among her herd of five wethered offspring and her cranky mate, our buck named Frank.

My Zoe tolerated zero nonsense. She kept her boys in check and made Frank walk the line. She was the best mother goat I’d ever heard of, never needing assistance with her kids, always keeping a watchful eye on them, even long after they were weaned. No one dared to bother her babies while she was around.

I couldn’t have asked for a better goat than Zoe Marie Presley. She was my dainty lady. We will all miss her presence, but she’s moved on to a better place.

Zoe Marie Presley

Zoe Marie Presley
2007-20010

Mother of Jack, Jasper, Jesse, Junior, and Jeremy





No Time For Hobbies…

8 04 2010

Or updating for that matter. Since I lack the time for a proper update, here is a list of recent happenings:

  1. I have bought lots of yarn and jello to dye more yarn. No dyeing has taken place since dyeing my yarn for the shawl.
  2. The shawl yarn? No go. It wasn’t the right color. I bought some instead because I have no time for redyeing.
  3. Working on shawl… it’ll be a miracle if it gets done in time.
  4. Bought lots of sweaters to recycle. They’re filling up the basket in my closet, but none have been recycled as of today.
  5. Intended to make special dyed yarn for Haley for her belated Christmas gift… the yarn is still in the bag I brought it home in.
  6. Planned on taking pictures with my new camera to post online. I think I have a month’s worth of photos still on the camera that haven’t made it to the computer yet.
  7. Zoe had babies! I couldn’t have stopped that if I tried. I was at work when it happened, so I missed everything.
  8. Plan on milking Zoe… are you seeing a pattern here?

This list makes me very sad. However, this picture makes me happy.

I need a different job. I’m thinking of going to nursing school after all.





Kool Aid Dyeing!

4 02 2010

This week, I tried my had at dyeing yarn with Kool Aid. Unfortunately, I did not keep an accurate account of the process like I did with my Jell-O Dyeing Process. Basically, it went something like this:

1) Soak your yarn for 30 minutes in room temperature water mixed with a little Dawn. I used just enough to make the water a little bubbly.

2) Mix your Kool Aid in a bowl or glass jar with some water, just enough to dissolve the powder. I used one pack of Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade for this one per skein. After the mix dissolved, I added about another cup of water.

3) Add yarn to the bowl. I then added more water until it covered the yarn.

Note: Next I did something I hadn’t seen in any instructions. I added a lid to my bowl/jar and shook it up. I don’t know, it seemed like a good idea at the time… lol

4) I put the bowl and jar in the microwaved and covered them with plastic wrap with a tiny vent on one side. I zapped them for 2 minutes, let them rest for 5 minutes, then zapped another 2 minutes… repeat until the water looks clear or somewhat milky.

Optional: Let the yarn soak in another Dawn bath, but this time at the same temperature as the water you just took it out of. I only did this to one skein and honestly, I don’t see a difference between the two.

5) Hang to dry overnight outside in warm weather. In my case, I had to hang it up inside and away from the cats, so it took like two days to completely dry.

Here are the before and after pictures!

Before: A recycled sweater made of angora and lambs wool. To date, I have only harvested 220 yards from the sweater. I still have a lot more to go.

After: Pale blue yarn worthy of my wedding shawl! *squee!*

Now to ball it up and put it to work!





A Job in Photography?

5 10 2009

As you may have guessed, all my hobbies have recently come to a grinding halt. A photographer’s position opened up locally, so I decided to apply. I spent a long time researching the position and how to present myself at the interview. I had to pretty much relearn everything I thought I knew about job interviews. Okay, it wasn’t that drastic, but I did have to step out of my comfort level a little.

The hardest part of preparing for the interview was compiling a small portfolio. Since it wasn’t a professional position, I didn’t need a terribly expensive portfolio or 8×10 copies of my work. Many photographers I spoke with insisted I didn’t need to even bother compiling a portfolio. I decided it was best to be overly prepared than to be unprepared. I selected 20 of my best works and placed them in the portfolio.

At the open interview, of the four ladies I saw, I was the only one with a resume, let alone a portfolio. The interviewer was impressed with my work. Today I heard back from her. Pending pay negotiations, I may be their new photographer. Yay!

“Lonely”

I should hear back in a couple of days about the job. The lady really seemed as though she wanted to hire me on, and I’m hoping everything works out.  I’d really like to work there, so wish me lots of luck!

Tune in next time when I talk about my knitting and yarn recycling adventures.