Sunday, June 26, 2011

Apricot (and blueberry) Pie with Coconut Crumble

Another Martha Stewart pie recipe! In her June issue of "Martha Stewart Living," she had about a dozen pie recipes that I pulled out to make throughout the summer when the different fruits are in season. This week, I decided to make this pie, an apricot pie with coconut crumble. When I bought the apricots, I realized I've never really had an apricot. As in, never bought and apricot to take a bite out of an enjoy as a piece of fruit. I've probably had plenty of dried apricots due to my mother loving weird dried fruits, but never a fresh piece.

I thought I bought enough apricots to fill a 9" pie, but I was wrong. So to fill out the missing spaces, I added about a cup and a half of fresh blueberries. I figured you can never go wrong adding blueberries into a pie. And, halfway through making, I realized I only had enough brown sugar for half of what the recipe called for. So, extra organic cane sugar was added along with a secret mom ingredient. Oh, and I did toast sweetened coconut shavings for the top of the pie... yum! Which reminds me, where's my pina colada?

I was too excited to wait to post about the pie after trying, so hence it's still cooling in my kitchen. Hopefully the next post I make will be about how wonderful the pie turned out, not how horribly wrong my substitutions were and how you CAN go wrong adding blueberries.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New Crochet Book!

I realized that trying to find decent, workable crochet blocks through free patterns on the internet is not only time consuming, but very frustrating. Sorry to say, but a lot of patterns out there aren't written properly so they turn out all wonky and wrong. So I finally caved and bought a book which has a lot of squares to continue with my blanket. The book is called 200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws, and Afghans by Jan Eaton. I love free Amazon two day shipping.
Hopefully this will keep me motivated to continue making new blocks and complete my blanket in a couple of months!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Simple Blanket Squares

I started these squares a while ago and they were put on hold while I was teaching myself all the new granny squares. These are simple- in four colors and four stitch combinations. I want a simple blanket for my bedroom that won't over power the pretty quilt my mom made for me. And I also have to make approximately 60 squares, the reason why I started crocheting back in May in hopes to be finished by November when it's blanket layering season.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Real Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recently, Steve and I inherited a mint plant from his dad. It was a small mint plant, about 3 stalks big and in need of new soil and lots of water. A few weeks later, the mint had spawned into a plant with about 5 stalks and a foot taller. Since then, we have been pruning it - freezing some leaves, putting some in margaritas, using the mint to flavor our iced tea and water, and giving away bags full of leaves to friends to use. I know I don't have to use all the leaves- I could easy prune and freeze and forget.. but I really am feeling the need to get creative and use the freaking stuff. Out one friend made vegan mint chocolate chip cookies before and I was amazed I never though of the idea. She just used mint extract instead of vanilla in the batter to give the dough that minty flavor. I bought some mint extract a few months ago and did the same (but non-vegan... I love butter). So today I realized, what the heck, why don't I just put the REAL mint into the cookies?! So I found a recipe for both cookies and cooking with the mint (which is easier than you think... chop and add to batter). I used this recipe by eatpress.

The dough.

The cookies.

A close up. They turned out pretty well. They didn't flatten out like most cookies usually do when they bake (I honestly don't know the chemistry behind that.. the amount of baking soda?). And you can taste the mint, just not as strong as the mint extract (as expected). As I was browsing for other real mint cookies, I did find one that talked about steeping the mint in almost boiling water for a minute before use. Perhaps that would help bring out the mint flavor even more. Next time, which probably will be in a few days due to this freaky mint plant. Anyone need some mint?

Granny Square Experiment

I started to teach myself how to crochet last fall. Since then, I have SLOWLY progressed from making baby blankets that have a single stitch throughout to crazy different granny squares! Steve convinced me to buy this book, The Crochet Stitch Bible by Betty Barnden, and since then, I have become more confident with reading patterns and stitching new ways. Also inspiring is Craftyminx's (Dana) blog, "A Granny A Day" - a project where craftyminx is crocheting a different granny square every day for a year to make various blankets. She links all the patterns and is very dilligent about updating a pattern if the stitches are off, or adding more rows if it needs to be a certain size.

So, I've been making about a granny a day for the past two weeks. I bought six yarn colors in hopes to complete a full sized blanket by winter time. All but one yarn skein is Red Heart Super Saver (besides the dark blue, which is Caron). Here's my color scheme:
The green is almost the color of my bedroom walls, so I'm hoping when the blanket is big enough, it can become my go to blanket for making the bed. And as much as I want to add more pastels and pinks and purples, I'll refrain for Steve's sake.

I've completed about 15 granny squares so far. This one I made about 5 days ago:
It's a pattern I found from craftyminx (find her version here) and the actual pattern from DROPS Design (isn't that blanket they made beautiful?) Anywho, my square is by far not perfect (I can see two mistakes) but I've realized that none of those really matter when you stitch the whole blanket together.. especially because most of my flubbers are on the last row when I'm finishing off the whole square, whoops! So long story short, I'll probably be updating with some of my favorite squares or milestones along this project because I'm pretty darn proud of what I taught myself!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Strawberry Lemonade Icebox Pie

Yesterday, I made this strawberry lemonade icebox pie. The recipe is by Martha Stewart and the recipe is found online here. I didn't realize the recipe takes all day - making, freezing, making, baking, cooling, refrigerating, making, broiling, eating - but I didn't have anything else to do on a boring Monday, so this pie stole my attention.

I never made meringue before and I was weary about making it because a. I have never made a meringue before or anything that must be whipped to an exact moment and b. I have never really like meringue. BUT! this recipe was easy to follow for making the merinuge, and it was actually really tasty!

The pie has been sitting in the fridge overnight, so it may be a little dry and the meringue may be tough, but that won't stop me from eating the rest!