Jammin’ Cookies

This is another holiday favorite of mine.  I can’t remember not having this recipe, where I got it is lost in the fogs of my mind.  I really should write these kind of things down! (pictured here with Million Dollar Fudge)

JamminCookies

Ingredients

3/4 cup confectionary sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (a bit more, I always let it overflow a bit)
2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (approximately guessing at) of strawberry or raspberry jam or preserves.

1/3  cup sugar (to roll dough in)

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and confectionary sugar.  Add the egg and vanilla, mix well.  Add the flour and salt, mix until combined.

Roll the dough into approximately 1 inch balls. Roll each ball in the sugar to coat.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and using your thumb or the end of a spoon or the top of an extract bottle to press an indentation in each cookie.  Dip into the sugar first to help prevent sticking.  Using a 1/2 teaspoon, fill each indentation with jam.  Don’t over fill the cookies, you can spread the jam when they come out of the oven and it is still melty, if they need a little help to look pretty.  Overfilling can cause them to bubble over the edge of the cookie while they cook and be messy.

Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes or until golden on the bottom.  Let cool in the pan for a few minutes, spread the jam for any cookies that need a little help looking good, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

Note:  the uncooked balls can be frozen, then pulled out and defrosted completely before baking.  Although it would be very hard to not cook them right away!

Gray Area Log Cabin Blanket

Almost done, just need to weave in the ends for the gray border and multi-colored edging.  It was too cold outside for me to want to take any photos out there (in the teens for the high and windy!), so I had to take them next to the sunny kitchen window.  Not room enough for a full view.

GrayArea_LogCabinBlanket1

I made 20 of the log cabin granny squares, and then did 2 rounds in gray around each square, joining them join as you go in the last round.  After joining the squares, I went around the whole blanket with 4 rounds of gray.  Then I did 1 round in gray of single crochet, crocheting into the chains on each corner space, with 3 sc in the center chain (not in the chain 3 space, in the individual chain stitches).

GrayArea_LogCabinBlanket2

Then I did 1 sc round changing colors as I went so I had some of each color.  I didn’t end off when I changed colors, which was a bit of a pain to have all those attached, but I could pick them back up when I did my final round of reverse single crochet (also called crab stitch).  I like the kind of edge that stitch makes, it looks nice and finished.  Here is a closer look at the edging (front and back)…

GrayArea_LogCabinBlanket3

Join As You Go

I have made all my Log Cabin squares and am now starting to join them together so I decided to do a quick tutorial on my favorite way of joining granny squares (of course, it took much more time than I had hoped!).  I am hoping to be clear and keep it simple, as it really isn’t that complicated, but it is often easy to make things sound more complicated than they are.

My squares are going to be bordered with two rounds of gray, and I held off on that until I was ready to start joining, so the first thing to do is complete the border on the first square in order to have one to join to.   The rest I will join as I am doing the second (last) round of the gray border.  (The photos show more than that joined together already). To help make it easier to see, I am doing the last round on this demonstration one in pink instead of gray.

I begin the joining in the corner, so crochet your last round up to the corner ch3 space, 3dc in the ch3 space as usual and then ch2 (I normally ch3 for each corner, this is one less ch, my attaching stitch will count as the 3rd).

JoinAsYouGo2

Now you are going to sc into the ch3 corner space of the square you are joining to. Make sure you have the wrong sides together (in other words, the right sides are outward and the wrong sides are inward).  Once you have attached to the other square with the sc, continue on crocheting 3dc in the corner of the square you are crocheting the border of. Continue reading

Hot Oatmeal for Cold Mornings

I love oatmeal.  I mean real oatmeal, not that instant powdery stuff (although that is handy when you want to eat now because you should have been out the door 10 minutes ago) but the kind you have to cook in a pot.  It reminds me of a farmhouse breakfast and happy childhood mornings when my dad would make this for everyone.  I didn’t live on a farm, but I still think of one when I think of bowls of oatmeal : )

Oatmeal

I have a variety of things I like to put in my oatmeal, apples or dried cranberries are real good, blueberries are wonderful.  Today I ate it without additions, since I was fresh out of those and just topped it with brown sugar (maple syrup is fabulous too).  It tastes real good with a little bit of butter melting on top, adds a bit of richness that I am sure my doctor would think cancels out all the healthiness : )  I pass on that now a days.

I thought I would share my recipe because I use a different ratio than what is on the container, I like mine to be thick with a bit of chew still in it.

Ingredients

Makes 1 serving

1/2 cup old fashioned oats
2/3 cup 2% milk (you can use 1% or skim, if that is your thing.  Remember whole milk?  That would make a rich oatmeal.)
pinch of salt
a bit of dark brown sugar or maple syrup
a dash or 2 of cinnamon, if you like
a splash of vanilla is nice too
diced apples or dried cranberries or any fruit you like, if you have it

Directions

In a small sauce pan on low-ish heat (I have a gas stove, hard to judge exactly), combine the milk and oats.  Add in the salt, and the cinnamon and stir frequently.  Don’t get carried away puttering about and forget to stir, milk can burn quite quickly.  Add in your chopped apples or dried fruit so it can cook and soften a bit.  Keep stirring until most of the milk is absorbed and it is getting pretty thick.

Spoon it into a bowl, top with dark brown sugar or maple syrup and enjoy the warmth!

Log Cabin Granny Square

Here is a quick tutorial on how I am going about my Log Cabin squares, it is just a variation of a typical granny square (please let me know if you see any mistakes in the directions)…

Update:  post with pics of the finished Gray Area blanket

LogCabinGranny1

Start with a sliding ring, and make a 1 round granny square.  To do that, in the sliding ring you ch3 (counts as 1st dc) 2dc in the ring, [ch3, 3dc in the ring]3 times.

LogCabinGranny2

End with a ch3, tighten the loop, slpst into the top of the first ch3.  End off.

Continue reading

Log Cabin Blanket

I like making blankets in the winter, once they get large enough they help keep you warm while you work on them!  I had been thinking of doing a log cabin motif for quite a while, and I had bought more yarn than I needed for the baby blanket I made for my granddaughter.  Perfect excuse to make a colorful blanket for myself, so what if it doesn’t match my living room, can’t let all that yarn go to waste!

Update:  wanted to note how much yarn.  Had less than one ball of each color. 2 balls of red (just barely over 1 ball) and 4 balls of the gray.

LogCabinCrochet_yarn

I have also been itching to make a blanket with gray, I really like how colors look with gray and I think it makes the colors look more grown up. I also added some cranberry, I really like red!

Here is my log cabin motif…(I forgot to include the darker blue in the yarn picture, at least it is in this one).  I haven’t made a diagram for this one yet.

LogCabinCrochet

I was thinking of doing variations of the log cabin, so it was a bit of a sampler blanket, but I didn’t end up liking the ones I tried.  There wasn’t anything wrong with them, I just felt like it didn’t really add anything, the regular log cabin was good by itself.  They are rather busy, so I think sticking to the one kind of motif is the right choice.

I am liking that they are square, but not square looking with just the stripes of color.  I decided to put a little of the gray in each so it isn’t just in the background.  I like the gray a lot, reminds me of soft, warm sweatshirts.  Warm is something we have a lack of right now (went below zero Fahrenheit last night! brrrrr)

2013 in Pictures

Happy New Year!  A peek at last year while I look forward to what the new year will bring.

Million Dollar Fudge

Another of the things I love to do is cook, so I decided that I would start to share some of my favorite recipes now and then.  This is one I have had for about 30 years and it is a well loved recipe.  I hadn’t made any in years and came across it again when looking through my recipes for Christmas. It makes a lot, but you will be glad it does because it disappears quicker than you would think!

MillionDollarFudge1

Ingredients

12 ounces evaporated milk
2 tablespoons butter
4 1/2 cups sugar
12 ounces semi sweet chocolate (I used chips)
12 ounces german sweet chocolate
8 ounces marshmallow fluff
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped walnuts or other nuts (optional)

variation: add pistachios and dried cranberries or cherries

Directions

Grease a 13″ x 9″ pan with some softened butter.  Chop up all the chocolate.  In a very large bowl, mix together the chocolates, the marshmallow fluff and the salt.  Set aside.

In a large saucepan bring the evaporated milk, butter and sugar to a boil, stir often while it heats.  Once it reaches a boil, reduce to a simmer and set a timer for 6 minutes.  Stir often as the mixture simmers, rub the sides now and then to mix in any sugar that sticks.  Once the 6 minutes is up, remove from heat and pour over the chocolates and fluff mixture.  Stir and beat with a spoon until it is evenly mixed and smooth.  Fold in the walnuts.

Spread into the prepared pan and cool completely before cutting.

MillionDollarFudge2

Scarfs for Gifts

I have been making a few scarfs for gifts too, here another Lotus Flower scarf with Caron Simply Soft in Country Blue.  They work up pretty quickly.

BlueLotusFlowerScarf

You can see the nearly complete circle I tinkered with for the beginning, it worked out pretty well.  I am also making one of these in a medium gray yarn, that has a bit of sparkle to it like the first one.  That one is going to be a gift for myself!

BlueLotusFlowerScarfDetail

I made this spiral fringe scarf for my daughter, but then I heard her say she doesn’t wear scarves!  Oh, so sad, I will have to keep this soft, warm scarf for myself.  It does match a green winter jacket I have!

SpiralFringeCrochetScarf

Wishing all wonderful, merry holidays!