Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bakin' with Bacon

Now, Nerdy Husband and I are very adventurous eaters. But this weekend, we took the plunge and tried something that is new and exciting even for us.

We put these things together:

Bacon Brownies

to make this

Bacon Brownies

Bacon brownies! See that bit of yummy goodness sticking out of the middle!

We got the idea from Bacon Today and decided to go for it. Honestly I think that NH was a bit surprised that I went for it, because I am trying to diet, but we took the precaution of inviting friends over, so that we would not eat the whole pan of brownies ourselves.

They tasted like brownies, with an aftertaste of baconny goodness (spell check says baconny is not a word, but I think it should be). If I were to do it again, I would cook the bacon until crispy, then cut it into small pieces and mix with the batter. The brownies kind of fell apart a lot. Not sure that we will try again though.

Since the urge to bake hits me every weekend, and the knitting group had a trip to Hanks, the most awesomest yarn store ever, I attempted to make Chocolate Chip Blondies last night.

Well, if your recipe calls for a 9 x 13 pan, and the biggest you have is an 8 x 8, you can't just put the batter in the small pan and think it will come out. If you trust the toothpick test, set the blondies out to cool, and try to cut them, the result is a gooey mess that is half raw, underneath perfectly cooked top. If you try putting them back in the oven for another 20 minutes, they will still be gooey in the middle and over cooked on the top and corners.

It takes skill to burn something and undercook it at the same time. Rather than risk giving my friends food poisoning with bad food, there were no treats. Epic fail.

Some research (looking at a brownie box) shows that using such a small pan requires cooking on low heat. Also, I could have split the batter between two pans. If this baking trend continues, I will invest in a full size pan again.

More Adventures with Bacon - And what I did over Christmas break

Time to take a little trip down memory lane, in order to bring you another bacon story, with some actual crafting content.

Every year, our knitting circle has a Secret Santa swap, and a big Christmas shin dig. Last year, Laura made Pigs in a Pig, and they were a huge hit.

If you haven't had the opportunity to try them, Pigs in a Pig are pigs in a blanket, with bacon instead of biscuit. Wrap a Lil Smokies sausage in bacon, and roll that in brown sugar and spices, and bake. Delicious! If you don't like the sausages, you can use small pieces of chicken instead, and pretend that it's healthy.

Laura has since moved away, but it was decided we needed to still have the Pigs in a Pic, even though they didn't fit with our theme of Taco Night. I volunteered to give it a shot. It gave me a chance to experiment with bacon, and I may or may not have made a test batch for dinner one night.

At the party, there was sooo much good food. Taco night was an awesome idea, so everyone could eat what they wanted.

We had a great time. Charlotte hosted, (thank you!) and we ate and chatted and had our swap.

My swappee was Kelly. She knits socks, and asked for yarn, so she got some yarn from Hanks, and a matching project bag. And chocolate.

Secret Santa Gift for Kelly

The bag was one of my simple project bags. With a twisted cord of cotton yarn, which didn't turn out to be the best closure. I also need to upgrade my pattern to a nicer bag, with boxed corners. But it's functional.

Secret Santa Gift for Kelly

Jodi was my Santa, and she got me some awesome sock yarn, and the cutest Mr. Man buttons. There were some awesome gifts, and I think everyone was very happy with the swap this year, organized by the talented and infamous Bad Jen.

I really love these crazy events with our knitting circle, every so often. It was such a fun time!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

So, I'm going to try to post pics of some of my projects.

First, I'm going to start with some sewing.

I followed Born Knitty's tutorial to make a teething square for Jackson, my nephew. He likes to hold on to and suck on little blankies like these.

I found some John Deere fabric that was also yellow, which my brother and his wife, respectively, would love. Put together with some blue flannel and a Claire's bag (why do we have a Claire's bag? I have no idea)

Jackson's Teething Square

sewed it together

Jackson's Teething Square

and the end result.

Jackson's Teething Square

I gave it to Jackson while he and his mama were visiting for Christmas, and he seemed to like it. Although the one addition he would probably like is for a tag. Apparently he really likes to touch and suck on the smooth texture of tags. I'll keep that in mind for next time.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

State of the Stash - 2010

I have a tradition. Every year, I go through all of my crafting supplies on the first of the year. I empty out the tubs, take note of what I have, reorganize, wind up partial skeins that have gotten tangled, wipe down all of the containers storing yarn, check for damage, that sort of stuff. And I take pictures.

I've done this every year since 2007, but only posted to the blog in 2008.

Every year, it gets a little easier, and I get a little more organized. This year, it included organizing my craft room/guest room.

Craft/Guest Room

The spinning wheel sits in the corner, next to my craft bookcase.

Craft/Guest Room

Do you see the yarn? No? It's neatly packaged away in the blue boxes.

And then there's the bookcase.

Craft/Guest Room

This is where I store all of my UFO's. Every last one of them. Knitting, crochet, spinning, the braided rug I started in 2005, all of it. Several of these are more than a year old.

Here's a better look.

Stash Toss 2010

My goal for 2010 is to clean this up considerably, so I can use it for other things. Like books.

Anyways, my sewing table, blocking board, and ironing board all fit in the closet, although in reality they don't spend much time there. The important part is that they can!

Having a guest room, with furniture, painted walls and pictures makes me feel oddly grown up.

But surely that can't be all of my crafting supplies, right? Right. The giant tower of craft remains in my hubbies office.

Stash Toss 2010

I did organize everything on here.

There's a shelf for sewing supplies

Stash Toss 2010

and one for fiber

Stash Toss 2010

and the other shelves are organized by how much I'll use them.

But what about the yarn stash?

Well, here is my handspun

Stash Toss 2010

and here is my collection of all the little bits and bobs.

Stash Toss 2010

It may seem odd to keep all of these little scraps, but they are surprisingly useful. I'm never without stuffing or stitchmarkers.

Here is all of the partial balls

Stash Toss 2010

and the source of all my guilt, the yarns which I haven't used at all.

Stash Toss 2010

Indy and I investigated and

Stash Toss 2010

The oldest: a ball of GGH Apart I bought in 2006, for the Rockstar scarf I never made.

This seems like a reasonable amount of stash to me. It hasn't grown too much since last year.

My only crafting resolution this year is to finish every UFO I have now by the end of the year. And to keep my guest room looking like a guest room.