Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Daddy's Orange Scarf... finally complete!
Earlier, this month, I started taking knitting classes for beginners, and after only learning the basics of casting on, doing a knit stitch, and binding off, I've completed my first project: the most simple orange scarf for my lovely hubby...

I used size US 11 needles and did nothing but a garter stitch the entire way with 100% acryllic 100g Bernat Satin yarn in the color "Sunset". :) It used up the entire skein!
As for the fringe, I got those from another skein of Sunset that I have, and just stuffed the tufts of yarn through the first and last rows, and tied a knot. All done!!

Daddy says he already loves it very much -- it's not orange because of Halloween nor because he's a fan of the OSU Beavers persay...he just looks really good in orange!!
But apparently, he's not the only one who's enjoying the scarf:

Other knitting goals for 09-10:

<> scarves for everyone I know

<> thigh-high stripey stockings for me

<> something for Ella!!

<> something for the kitchen...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Homemade Oreos~

I love chocolate, of course, but more specifically...I love Oreos.
So last month, Dash decided to try his hand at some homemade Oreos, to indulge me in my sugar-love while still sticking to my goal to create more in the home and buy less. :)
Below is the result, with step-by-step photos about the process involved.

<()> The Crumbly Cookie Patties call for:
  • 1 1/4 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 C unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1/2 C plus 2 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg

1) Combine all the dry ingredients (as seen above) in a large bowl.

2) Beat the egg and butter into the dry concoction, until a sticky batter forms:

There is so much butter in this recipe and pretty much all cookie recipes... @_@
But anyway, it should come out looking something like this:

I'm sure we all recognize that rich dark chocolate color that is the Oreo cookie. :)

3) Place batter onto a cookie pan (non-greased worked fine for us) and work into small Oreo-sized discs:

4) Bake at 375 for 9 minutes...

Oops! Tooooo big. @_@

3) Place batter onto a cookie pan (non-greased worked fine for us) and work into small Oreo-sized discs use only a tsp or so dollop and barely flatten...the batter will flatten out quite a bit in the oven as it bakes):

4) Bake at 375 for 9 minutes...
That's more like it :)

5) Let the cookies cool on a rack and move onto the...

<()> The Super Sweet Filling call for:
  • 1/4 cup room-temperature, unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1) Mix all above ingredients in a bowl with a vinyl spatula until a consistent paste forms.

2) Slab a dollop of the paste onto a cookie platter and either smoosh down with another cookie or smear around to cover all the space between the two cookies.

Ta-da!! Unsightly but delicious homemade Oreo cookies!

I wanna say they're "healthier" than the brand name kind, only because you actually know what you're putting into them and therefore into your by knowing how much butter goes into every cookie, it makes me not want to consume as many at one sitting like usual! Two pros right off the bat! :)
Because we made the first sheet-fulls of cookies too large, and only learned to make them smaller toward the end, we had a grand total of 20. But by more efficiently using our batter next time, we could easily make 40 I'm sure :)
And the only process only took about one hour, with the beating and cooling and whatnot...

Good luck on your own endeavors for making these cookies and enjoy~!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

First Book?

People are always saying you should read to your children.
And I ask..."At 6.5 months of age~?"
Because in my experience, it is quite hard to sit Ella down for some reading.
She's either:
a) too amped up to pay attention
b) more interested in chewing on the book
c) asleep

But! As of late, she's grown quite fond of The Hungry Little Caterpillar, and even "listens" as I read it to her. Could it be? She's...starting to pay attention to books?? We'll have to see where it goes, but for now I love how she embodies the main character herself in that shot ;)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sushi Party!!!!

Just wanted to let you know, this past weekend, our fabulous friends, Kae & Seishiro Hokazono, put on the most incredible sushi dinner!! Along with our boarder, Nori, the ever-entertaining couple from Russia, Artures & Nastia, and two children under two, I'd say it was a night to remember!
There was good music, amusing stories told, and the most amazing temakizushi 手巻き寿司 (hand-rolled sushi) to be had!

Just look at that spread!

There had to be at least 15 different ingredients with which to grace our seaweed and rice foundations. I always prided myself on how I averaged at about 14 plates at your typical 回転寿し (rotating sushi) joint, but that night...I don't even know how many sushi I wrapped up and stuffed myself with! Below are some photo highlights of some faves:

This bowl contained a mixture primarily consisting of the meat nearest the spine of the fish (血合い I believe it's called~?). Anyway, it was delicious!! And the texture was just perfect for adding to the sticky rice and flaky seaweed sheet.

And what's sushi without salmon and crab?? Look at that dish! Gorgeous!!

Some boiled squid. Mm-MM! Caught by Artures, the fisherman, too! What an amazing skill, it impresses me to know end -- knowing the ins and outs of sealife like that~

Last but not least...egg! But not just any egg. It's the wonderfully sweetened and oh-so-fluffy egg that works wonders in the mouth when accompanied by some slightly salty sticky rice + seaweed wrap. Mm-MM. One of my personal faves. Plus since it tends to be on the cheapest plates at 回転寿し bwa ha ha...

Kae is an incredible chef. Can you believe she prepared all this herself?? And she's so dedicated to good work and taste that she started working on it all the night before! Such vigor and ability to balance all the different tastes -- especially when dealing with ingredients that will be raw!
Truly, a feat. m(_ _)m

Thursday, October 8, 2009

On Our Daily Walk

Just thought I'd share with you some shots from our daily evening stroll around Corvallis (such is the benefit to having a dog...mandatory walks!)

Also, I don't think I mentioned this in my last blog, but just the day after Ella's 1/2 Birthday...our bicycles got stolen out of our garage ;_; How cruel, right? And how ironic! After three+ years of surviving the dangerous streets of LA...they can't even last a month in "one of the safest towns in the USA" Corvallis. Le sigh...
But! Thankfully insurance came through and now we have a Kona Africabike to share!
They are very durable, rugged, overall utilitarian, and for every two bikes sold, one is donated to a town in Africa. Not bad, eh?
So yeah, I can't wait to use this thing to get to the store for a quick errand, or Wednesday Knitting Class! More on that in a future blog ;)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Happy Half-Birthday, Ella!

That's right, we celebrated something I never thought had any point.
Ella's 6-month birthday!

It really was because Nori (our new longterm guest) said he really likes chocolate and I wanted to bake a cake!

Would you believe this cake is all "vegan"? Here's the recipe as proof:

Dairy-Free (Vegan) Chocolate Cake

1 1/2 cups all purpose-flour
1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp unsweetened nonalkalized cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt

1 c. cold water
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp vanilla

Sift together into a large bowl the first 5 ingredients listed above.
Combine the last 4 ingredients and then add to that big bowl concoction.
Stir until smooth.
Scrape/pour batter into a greased and floured 8"x8" pan and bake in oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes (or until you can poke it with a toothpick and it comes out clean).
Let the cake cool on the rack for 10 minutes before detaching the edges with a blunt knife and invert to remove completely from pan.
Dust with powdered sugar, and enjoy a la mode!

Isn't that nuts? No butter. No milk. No eggs!
It's a first for me, that's for sure~

Well, Happy Birthday once again, Ella.
We love you!!