Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Zucchini bread

The mini-heat wave we had over the weekend finally broke and I managed to make it up to the garden to see what was growing. I picked a bunch of overgrown zucchini and two watermelon before I ripped out the plants. The recent wind storms had really done them in.

Last night, I made zucchini bread using a recipe that I found in Pinterest, modified to fit my tastes. Because, when is the last time I followed directions as they were written. My main goal was to make it a little bit healthier by reducing the amount of oil and sugar used.

Zucchini Bread, Redux

2-3/4 c flour
3-4 c wheat bran
1-1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg (I was out and used ~3/4 tsp allspice with equally delicious results)

1 c brown sugar
3/4 c unsweetened applesauce
1/4 c oil
4 eggs
1/3 c water
2-3 c shredded zucchini
1 tsp lemon juice
1 c nuts or chocolate chips

Mix together the dry ingredients. I have used all sorts of combinations of spices, pretty much anything that works in pumpkin pie, will work here.

I am uber lazy and dumped some applesauce into a 1 cup measure and topped it off with canola oil. To that I added the brown sugar and eggs, mixing until blended. Then the water and zucchini went into the bowl along with the lemon juice. After everything is well mixed, I added the dry ingredients and mixed until just blended, then add the nuts or chocolate chips.

This makes two loaves that have a delicious, crunchy crust and with a lovely tooth because of the wheat bran. They have just a hint of sweetness and are not greasy at all.

I cannot wait to make them again!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Apple butter finished

Today, I finished off the batch of apple butter that I started yesterday. I had spent entirely too much time surfing the net looking for recipes and ended up not following any of them. First, I don't understand the need to add extra liquid in the form of apple cider (which I misread as apple cider vinegar about 83 times before I got it right), just to spend additional time simmering.

Nor did I bother to use multiple varieties of apples. I suppose I could have, because my folks have a couple of different trees. All but one of them are a pain to get at, so I only used the one. I am way too cheap to buy apples for this.

I had 4.5 quarts of unsweetened applesauce when I began, to which I added roughly two cups of brown sugar and some cinnamon. Overall, I am pretty happy with the results; however, it is sweeter than I expected. Next time, I will try an applesauce to sweetener ratio of 8:1.

I ended up with an even dozen 4 oz jars and four 8 oz jars. I cannot wait until I can try the stuff out! I think it would be phenomenal over vanilla bean ice cream!

Saturday, September 10, 2011


I finally feel like I might possibly be in a place to start blogging again. So many changes have taken place in the last 3 (ack!) years that it would be impossible to try and chronicle them all. Instead, the super-condensed version is that

1. Sophie arrived at the tail end of January 2009
2. In May of 2009, Eric graduated from medical school
3. We moved to his residency location in June
4. In August 2009, we separated and the kids and I moved back to my hometown and have been shacking up with my folks ever since
5. I started working part-time via the internet in February 2011
6. In March 2011, the divorce was finalized.

Not much to sum up two years of angst and turmoil.

The knitting hasn't been as frequent as I would like, but there is still some. My fascination with cooking has increased, in an inverse relationship to my freedom to do so.

This fall, I have been experimenting with applesauce. Yes, I realize that I am late to the game and that there isn't much new to learn, but it has been fun trying out different things. Luckily, my folks have an apple tree that produces small, but tasty fruit. The tree is beset by an infection that is nearly impossible to eradicate, but that does not affect the taste or quality of the apples, but leaves them rather ugly. In other works, perfect for applesauce. Today, while Sophie and my nephew napped (he was visiting for the day), I grabbed a small ladder and picked a milk crate full of apples.

Normally, I go through the painstaking process of peeling and coring them before cooking the applesauce. I had read somewhere in the ethernet that cooking the apples with the skin intact will release more pectin and cause the sauce to set up more firmly. Since, this batch is destined for apple butter, I thought I would give it a whirl. Actually, what I read also recommended leaving the cores intact, but given how bitter the seeds are, I didn't want to risk that flavor seeping into the finished product.

It finally dawned on me that I don't need to quarter the apples and then remove the core. Instead, this time setting the apple on its blossom end, I made a slice that went very close to the core, but just missed the seeds. Then I turned the apple 90 degrees and made another slice. Doing this twice more left me with a square core and 4 apple chunks. The best part of doing it this was is how much faster it was than my normal routine of using the combo peeler/slicer that my mom has.

I tossed the apples in large stock pot with some water. No precise amount, just until the water came about a quarter of the way up the apples. Then, onto medium heat until the water started to boil, then I turned it down as low as it would go so as not to scorch the sauce. I cooked them covered, stirring occasionally, until everything was good and mushy. At this point, all of the skins had slipped off and were suspended in the sauce in huge chunks; not particularly appetizing. I set a food mill over a large bowl and worked the hot sauce through, leaving a silky smooth sauce.

For now, this went into the fridge. Tomorrow it will become apple butter.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

It's an illness really

I honestly never realized how much pink I have in my stash. It's a good thing this babe is a girl because I am finally getting a chance to use some of it up. On Christmas day I knit up this cute little bib (Ravel it). The edges roll and I used a yarn that was too large for the gauge, but overall I am happy with it.

I've also cast on for yet another bib in pink. (Ravel it) I will post pics as soon as I have it completed, which should be yet this week! I love how fast baby knits are!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Round up

Ever have those days where you just aren't listening to the powers that be?

Today, after lunch at work, I wasn't hungry, but had the munchies for something a little sweet so I headed to the lunch room with a handy dandy dollar coin. After multiple attempts, the vending machine refused to take it. (Hint #1) So, I went back to my desk and picked out the exact change needed to purchase the peanut butter M&M's that were taunting me. Upon plugging the change into the machine, I promptly proceeded to purchase Skittles. (Hint #2) This time I figured that I should just not eat any more junk food today and will have the apple I brought a bit later.

The last couple of weeks have been terribly busy. I finished up the last of the custom orders just before Christmas and sent it out. It feels good to have that off of my shoulders. I have been knitting like crazy and sewed two skirts for Christmas for two of my nieces who are sisters. They were a huge hit! I used this tutorial which was extremely easy to follow. The only change that I made was to do rolled seams because I don't have a serger. (I also found this great link for a bunch of cute girls clothes!)

I also got buttons and sewed up the seams on the BSJ (Ravel it). The orange is bright, but not quite so retina searing in real life. I am thrilled with how it turned out. The buttons aren't quite perfect, but will certainly do until I can find great ones. I do like them, they don't detract from the jacket itself.

The count is down to just 6 weeks for this little one to arrive. At Christmas, my uncle was the unofficial photograper and he snapped this gem of me and my sister who is due 9 weeks after me. (sorry it is so small - it is the only size I have...) Our bumps are near matches!

Friday, December 05, 2008


Wow - it has been such a long time since I posted. There are lots of good reasons for it, but mostly, I just haven't had the energy.

The craft show is finally over. Actually it was the weekend before Thanksgiving and I am just now recovered. All in all, I did well. I made slightly more than last year, but had hoped for much better than I actually did. Given the economy, I'm not complaining. I took a couple of custom orders as well during the show and have finished up about half of them. I just need to get boxes from the post office and off they will go.

DH is finally into interview season. He has spent all of November and will spend the remainder of December preparing for board exams (blech) and interviewing for residency positions. Some have gone well, some not so much. I will be glad when it is all over. Living until March 19th has become the only main a big goal. That is the day that we find out where we will be living for the next 4 years.

DS is doing well and his prognosis continues to be good. I don't know that we will see any further improvement in his status, but where he is at will not hinder him tremendously, so I can't complain.

Baby Girl is active and, well, a night owl. We are down to 10 weeks and counting. Now that the craft show is over, I can finally get down to doing what I have been itching to do for months. Knit for this little one.

The last few nights have been spent swatching. And swatching. And swatching. I loathe swatching. I must have tried 4 different yarns from my stash before I finally found one that matched the gauge I wanted for the BSJ (Ravel it). Knowing that I am probably the last knitter on Ravely to try it, it has has been preying on my mind for quite a while. Normally garter stitch is not my favorite stitch, but when paired with a hand-painted yarn, I think the results are stunning.

This is Claudia's Handpaint in Fingering - Passion Fruit Colorway.


There has been a slight bit of pooling, but it is better than I expected because the stitch count changes on just about every row. I will try to post a picture shortly, but I am stealth blogging at work

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hey you over there

Yes we are all still alive over here. No one has died, but we have had a close call and well, my husband, the med student, is either going to drive me to a slow, painful death or I will kill him myself.


As is normal around here, all of the knitting of late has been for sale. The ultimate in boring. No fun pictures to post, no good stories to tell. Just lots and lots of hats.

I have been sewing like crazy lately too, trying to crank out as many purses as possible in the next few weeks. I had to spend more than $100.00 this weekend because I was out of my favorite handles. I do have a new bag to post and I lovelovelove it. I almost hope it doesn't sell because I want it for myself!

Life has been particularly haried this last month. The pregnancy is progressing as it ought, no complications. I have my diabetes test this week which I'm not too worried about. Other than a lingering cold and some insomnia, I am doing okay. Tired, but okay.

DH is plugging along at school and October has had great hours during his radiology rotation. Today he started the interview marathon for residencies. This one is just a couple of hours away, so he will be back home by bedtime. Before long though, he will be making treks out to various parts of the mid-Atlantic and northeastern regions of the US. Yippeee! Thankfully, most of the programs are paying for the hotel stays, but we still have to come up with all of the airfare.

DS was horribly sick last month and ended up spending a week in the hospital, some of which was in the ICU. He is getting better, but there is a good chance he will never be 100% again. Or rather, his new 100% will be about 95% of his old self. On one hand, we are extremely thankful that he is doing so well and that we have access to an academic children's hospital locally. On the other, I am plagued by doubts and fears about his future. Most kids do recover fully, but it can take 3-6 months for all of the symptoms to resolve. The waiting is more stressful than I would have thought possible.