Friday, March 13, 2009

Blueberry Muffins and Vegan Mac (n' Cheese)


I haven't shared anything in a while, so I thought I'd post the link to (and my thoughts on) the recipe for the blueberry muffins which were such a hit with the girls last night.

These were really very good, although I think we all agreed they seemed a little more like biscuits or scones- at least on the muffin-tops. I made only a couple of modifications:
1) I didn't have any fresh lemons for zest, so I added a little lemon juice to the yogurt instead. I think the zest would have been much more flavorful.

2) I used salted butter, so I cut the salt content down slightly. I also used sea-salt, which is a bit saltier than regular table salt, so I cut down to account for that, too. I cut the salt down to about half the amount in total.

3) This recipe says it yields 12 regular sized muffins, but this is probably for jumbo muffin tins. Several people commented that they had to put this recipe into two regular 12-count muffin tins. I made half of this recipe in two mini-muffin tins (24 mini-muffins), so I assume that the full recipe would indeed take TWO of the standard size 12-count muffin tins, as suggested by other reviews. For mini-muffins I baked for 22-25 minutes.

While I'm posting recipes, I'd like to share one that a friend shared with me. She made it for a potluck and it was gone within minutes. Even the real-cheese eaters couldn't resist the creamy, savory Vegan Mac (n' cheese) (-great for the lactose intolerant, too!). Now you should know, this recipe makes a family-sized (or potluck sized) dish of the stuff, so cut the recipe for fewer people- even if you want to have some leftover.

You'll need a blender to make the "cheese". Also, stirring and letting stand for at least ten minutes after baking is part of the key to the creamy consistency. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Knitting In Front of the Fire

It's been a while! The cloak pattern is going great - I need more yarn! I'm so happy I chose a difficult pattern to start with because I've learned so much! I learned three different increases. I used the M1 for this pattern. I learned to wrap and turn- cool stuff! And I learned the Kitchener stitch! I can't believe I am making it! :)

Stitch n' Bitch Thursday's continue as usual, and tonight a new friend, Lisa, joined us. She learned to knit and took home a cute little hot pad that she'd made by the end of the night- good girl! It was a small group tonight- just Mom, Melanie, Lisa and myself. The weather had turned very cold, so I got a fire going before everyone showed up. We all sat in front of the fireplace with our wool Swedish house-socks on our feet, eating snacks and talking- and stitching, of course. Very cozy!

This week Melanie taught me the basics of crochet! I'm excited to learn a new craft, especially one that two of the stitch n' bitchers have been doing during the Thursday night gatherings. I'm still kind of clumsy at it and my hands feel cramped when I put down my work, but I'm hoping I'll start relaxing as I get the hang of it. There are some crochet-alongs on the web, which I've suggested we do together. A new project would be fun!

And lastly, I cheated a little and opened my birthday present from Sweden a little early- what! I've had a tough week and I needed some cheering up! Boy, was it overwhelmingly fantastic. I was speechless. Two more pairs of wool house-socks (one of which is a tiny one for our friends kids who come over-- or are they??!!), five beautiful skeins of wool yarn and two sets of double pointed needles to make the socks (project time!!), a gorgeous Scandinavian design needle and hook holder, and lastly... Per's mother's collection of knitting needles and crochet hooks- which are extra special because she died when Per was just ten years old. I cried. I felt undeserving and not a little spoiled... but now I just feel happy and incredibly grateful. I am very lucky to have such wonderful in-laws. When we go visit, I can't wait to knit with Per's step-mom (who makes us the socks) and her mom!

Knitting is truly bond-creating craft for women, and I'm so happy to have finally taken it up in earnest!