Monday, October 29, 2012


Today is my day off with absolutely nowhere to be. What does that mean? Laundry and cooking. This week cooking is actually baking. I've been in a baking mood for the last week or so and I've been craving something pumpkin for a while. Killing two birds with one stone here, I am making Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.

This is the first recipe in a while I've actually followed the instructions exactly (well...nearly). I am unfamiliar with using pumpkin puree and so only used what was called for. Except ground cloves. Ground cloves are expensive so I used allspice instead. The only other difference in the recipe is that I chilled it for an hour before baking. Cold dough tends not to spread as much and you get thick and chewy cookies. Oh, and I used dark chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate. Love me some dark chocolate.


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (I used allspice because cloves are expensive)
2 cups (12-ounce bag) milk chocolate chips, not semisweet (I used dark chocolate)
Nonstick cooking spray or parchment paper

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray or line them with parchment paper.

Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Beat in the white and brown sugars, a little at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin puree. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Slowly beat the flour mixture into the batter in thirds. Stir in the chips. Scoop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cookies are browned around the edges. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let them rest for 2 minutes. Take the cookies off with a spatula and cool them on wire racks.


Batter finished and going in the fridge to chill. Side note: if the finished product is anywhere as delicious as this batter, I will be a very happy baker. (No, I won't die happy. Dying would mean I don't get to make Deep Dark Chocolate Cookies.)

Ready to go in the oven! Josie (my landlady/housemate) happens to have a 2 tsp scoop that works wonderfully for scooping cookie dough.

First batch done! Might have to eat one... you know, for quality testing...oh control. Soft and warm, they remind me of pumpkin bread with chocolate chips. I suppose that's what these are, really, but I have to resist eating them all. I promised I would share.


All finished and neatly stacked on a plate. Two dozen have been set aside to share. One for knitting tomorrow morning and the other for work on Wednesday.

Also portioned out a bunch and stuck them in the freezer so I can have cookies whenever I want. Even after (maybe especially after) a long day at work.

Also seen are two tubs of Chicken Enchilada Soup
and a bag of Spinach Lasagna Rolls.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hemlock Rings

No, not actual hemlock rings. A Hemlock Ring Blanket. I knit this lovely thing up for a friend's present before she goes on a trip coming up soon.

I don't have any pictures of in in progress though I wish I did - it was a monster on my needles. It became its own project bag eventually. I knit it on US 10 dpns and 40" circular needles using nearly four balls (close to 858 yards total) Cascade 220 Superwash in Mocha. Most people at the yarn shop I bought the yarn from agree it looks better knitted up than in a ball.

Finished pre-blocking. It takes up 2/3 of the width of my full sized mattress.

I soaked in the bathtub with Eucalan for 15 min before blocking it.

Blocked out and drying. Finished blocking it out at 11:30 Sunday night. It wasn't dry until Tuesday morning. That's 16 square feet of blocking board it is on. I probably used close to 300 pins.

Post-Blocking. It's a bit lopsided from my pinning but it is still pretty.

The blanket is currently (October 2-9) on display at Black Sheep at Orenco in Hillsboro, Oregon. It is my favorite lys and I have so much fun when I'm there (typically 2-3 days a week: 2 open knit days on Tuesday mornings and Thursday nights and a Chardoknitting on the second Friday of the month). The blanket is due to be sent next Thursday (after work on the 11th) and so I am letting Tina display it for a week. When I pick it up, it will be wrapped and ready to send off, where it will hopefully be used and not just displayed.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mini Lasagna Food Porn

This is for all my food loving friends. Which is many of you.

I saw this recipe for Petite Lasagnas on Pintrest and in person when my friend Jaclyn made it. She made it without the turkey though. She thought something was missing, so I set about to see if I could find that missing thing. If you've ever cooked with me, you know I don't stick to recipes very well most of the time. This time was no exception. Some of my measurements aren't exact; I tend not to measure spices and what not.


Petite Lasagnas
recipe adapted from Can You Stay for Dinner?

¼ tsp salt, divided
¼ tsp pepper
½ cup chopped onion (I'm not a huge fan of onion)
½ cup chopped mushrooms
¼ cup chopped zucchini
½ cup chopped green bell pepper
½ cup chopped spinich
2 cloves garlic, minced
14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes, or tomato sauce
Dried oregano, basil, rosemary, sage, and Italian Seasoning
~I don't know how much of each I actually used. I eyeballed it until it tasted good.
1 ½ cups part skim ricotta cheese (I used 1-15 oz container)
24 small square wonton wrappers
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, mushrooms, zucchini, bell pepper, salt, and pepper. Saute until onions are translucent or nearly so and everything is nice and soft. Add the garlic and stir constantly for 30 seconds.

Add the crushed tomatoes, spinach, and herbs. Bring the pan to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a bowl, combine the ricotta, a pinch of salt and pepper, and more herbs. Stir to mix well. Set aside.

Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Place 1 wonton wrapper into each of the 12 cups, pressing firmly in the bottom of the cup and up the sides.

Using half of the ricotta mixture, divide it among the 12 muffin cups. Next, using half of the tomato sauce, spoon it evenly over each of the ricotta filled cups. Sprinkle with mozzarella.

Gently press another wonton wrapper on top of the mozzarella layer.

Repeat the process by distributing the remaining ricotta, then the remaining tomato sauce, and finally the rest of the shredded mozzarella.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

Let the cups cool, remove them from the pan, and serve!
Fresh out of the oven and 
topped with cheesy goodness.
They didn't come out of the pan as pretty as I would have
liked, but they tasted good, so who cares.