Monday, July 28, 2008

Personal Chocolate Cake Recipe

I found this on KrisW's blog. I have been craving chocolate cake/brownies/frosting for a couple weeks now. Before you go blaming this on the pregnancy let me just say I always love chocolate and I always have to make my own baked desserts so as to avoid gluten. This leads me to waiting and dreaming about certain indulgences until I have the time and ingredients. So, yes, I've developed a pet peeve - "Oh, you're nesting!" "Must be the baby!" Noooo, actually I routinely organize and clean out my catalogs at work. I regularly have mild cravings for goodies or foods that I have to make for myself rather than purchase ready-made. Who doesn't? Anyway, I'm afraid I sound more irritated than I really am. When stuff like this is said I roll my eyes (to myself) and smile and laugh.

So here's that awesome recipe I tried out tonight:


4 tablespoons cake flour (plain flour, not self-raising)
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons baking cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
a small splash of vanilla essence
1 coffee mug

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well
Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.
Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla essence, and mix again.

Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don’t be alarmed!

Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.

My recommendations:

  • Add the chocolate chips and do so generously.
  • Stir right before you micro. I paused unnecessarily long and all the chips sank to the bottom.
  • Consistency is like bread pudding ... or so I imagine.
  • Yummy with ice cream :)
  • Be hungry or share. It was more than I expected and now I'm stuffed.
  • Spelt flour and almond milk subbed just fine. Next time I'll try carob powder.
  • Walnuts would be tasty. Maybe white chocolate chips, butterscotch, syrup on top...

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Two pieces in just a couple days. This is more like it! (And an oldie at the bottom.)

Thumbless mittens for Jack.
Easy as pie and pretty soft to the touch for what I suspect is acrylic.

My So Called Scarf for my sister.
Yarn: Rio de la Plata

Close-up of my big mistake.
I K2tog instead of P2tog. Prego brain?

Now THIS is an old FO that I finally remembered to photograph. It was sitting in my photo album next to the new items above where I noticed it was in the same blue family.

Philosopher's Wool Color Your Own Cardigan

Where do I start with this one?
  • Yarn: Love it. Soft not scratchy.
  • Pattern: Okay. This is my first sweater and it looks like a sweater so it can't be that bad.
  • Fair Isle: LOVE IT!!! Philosopher's taught a a two-handed class at the craft fair where I purchased the kit. I also bought their video which was a life saver since way back then (2002?) the internet wasn't where it is today. Can't wait to pick up another Fair Isle pattern.
  • Puppy interference: My pit bull puppy at the time got into all the balls one day. Used his razor sharp puppy teeth to shred quite a few of the colors. I salvaged what I could, modified the color arrangement somewhat and it worked out. Surprisingly.
  • Hanks: This project was also my first experience with hanks. Yeah, that's how long ago I started this project.
  • Measurements: Boy are they important! Not too easy over the phone. "Mom, measure from here to here." Add that to my own inexperience with measuring my work. Wonky.
  • Needles: Bamboo circs of course. Most importantly - I forgot to change to the larger needles after the ribbing. Yeah. Rookie mistake.
  • Steaking: I did it! With the help of my mom I should mention. I had no idea what it was called when we were sewing and cutting. We both looked at each other and said, "Well, we have to trust and cut. Otherwise it's just beautiful fabric." Easy. Don't be worried at all.
  • Knitting in the round: Again, first time ever. Loved it! Would love to convert everything to knitting in the round. Sleeves and body alike.
  • Picking up stitches: Another first. Easy. Even the neck stitches picked up for the ribbed edging. Easy, well, I think I remember it being tight in places. But after that first row, no problem.
  • Blocking: Should have. I left the sweater with Mom and she took it to her LYS for some minor refinements. Not the kind of refinements that blocking would have smoothed out. I'm pretty sure she and her sister took it back to the sewing machine to "tighten up" a few sloppy areas.
I learned a lot with this sweater. As embarrassed as I was upon immediate completion, it has grown on me. A labor of love as they say. Only a Mom could love. (Which she does.) And I, as the creator, have a special love for it, too.

I am now down to 7 UFOs in my Ravelry projects. Next is both the baby bibs and baby bell bottoms. Although I really want to pick up the beach blanket. My hesitation is the stripes - I want to reorganize the colors and widths. There's a site for that if I check my bookmarks...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

3 Baby FOs in ONE Day!

And pictures! I can't believe it myself, but 3 baby items are completely done. In one day I went to Joann for buttons, sewed on the buttons, took pictures, uploaded and now I'm blogging about it! Where did all this motivation come from?

I actually had fun picking out the buttons even though they aren't all that interesting.

Jack's booties with newly added buttons - Ocean Squares.

Jack's first bib had been waiting for the button for quite some time.

Jack's jacket is finally done.

I'm very pleased with the way it turned out. The color combination turned out better than expected. The crochet border was also easier than expected. I ended up doing two rounds of single chain. The blue yarn was also pretty soft. Years ago I bought it at a garage sale missing the band so I have no idea what it is.

Next two projects: Jack's Mitts which will be knit with the blue from the jacket and a colorful baby bib.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Jacket Update

I casted off Jack's jacket and sewed up one of the seams last night. One more seam then a single chain edge then a slip stitch edge. Not sure what either are but I'll apply something in a contrasting color.

Tonight I finally made this creamy broccoli soup I'd been dreaming about. Never made soup before and I'm rarely happy with the soups I find so I did it myself. Yummy and it will last for days. I searched Allrecipes for ingredient ideas yesterday and jumped in after work today.

  • Sauteed broccoli and onion with salt and garlic powder (in olive oil)
  • Added to 1 can each of Cream of Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese cooking soups, 2 cans of milk
  • 1 box of frozen spinach
  • Simmer for 1 hr 30 min

Not sure what else it needs yet. Maybe some real cheese, I just didn't have any tonight and wanted to get it going.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Wow, It's Been A Long Time, He Says

G commented on my lack of posting. Yep, it's been too long. Seriously unmotivated. Thankfully the laundry and cleaning are still getting done. Conversely, he's been on top of things. Repair to the doors and molding (former dog shut himself in the bathroom and tried to claw his way out.) Touched up the paint in the stairwell and hallway and painted the spare bathroom. So bright and fresh and clean downstairs now. Beautiful!

Peppadew Peppers - these things are awesome! And I'm having some difficulty finding them in the store. A little sweet, a little spicy. Firm, crunchy texture. Great on salads and apparently many other ways too. Originally found them, of all places, in the salad bar at Albertson's. You would think they'd have them on the shelf. Nope. The search goes on for a local source.

Oh, yeah. I picked up my knitting a few times in the last forever. Francie's (sister) MSCS is almost halfway done. I'm decreasing for the second arm on Jack's jacket, then minor assembly. The crochet border could hold me up though. After these two, I don't know. I wouldn't want to get ahead of myself.

Jack is on a nice schedule - 20 minutes sleeping 5 minutes kicking. Otherwise nothing much to speak of. Actually, the heat freaked me out a bit. Okay, a lot. A couple weeks ago it got REALLY hot really quickly (115 in the shade). So what happened? My feet swelled a little and I assumed the worst - preeclampsia. I've since talked to other moms and had an appointment. I'm fine.

Oooh! And I don't remember if I've mentioned. (I could look but, well, I'm conserving effort.) Our new OB is awesome: 1. She chimed in on the Scrubs reference to "Gyno Girls." And laughed. 2. I asked about picking up dog waste (since cat poo is off limits). "As long as you don't lick your fingers."

Shoot! I didn't mean to make this so long but I have to mention my recent baking. Bread I make in the bread maker every few weeks. Nothing new. Two different carrot cake recipes - both yummy. Pancakes from scratch - easy, I just don't do it all that often. Pizza - the crust even passed the Italian test. (G loved it) Lastly, the one that didn't turn out as expected, French Bread. Took it out of the bread maker to shape and do the second proof in the oven. Well, it didn't really take shape, turned out flat like Foccacia. Tasty though and I'll definitely make it again! Not bad for lacking motivation :)