Pumpkin Hat(s)

I made this hat twice:  it’s based on the same star hat pattern that I used for the newborn hat and matching big kid hats last spring, and the first version (despite my attempt at sizing up the pattern) was still newborn sized.  I gave that one away to a cute baby who came to a BWI meeting  and started over.


The second attempt was much better for my giant-headed baby.  When I got to 6 stitches, instead of binding off, I switched to brown and added a stitch every other, and then knit with 12 stitches per round for about an inch and a half, to make a little stem. If I’d been crocheting, I would have crocheted through back loops to turn and make a flat top,  but I don’t know how you do that in knitting so I left it open (which looks fine).  And it fits!!  I have gone back and forth about adding a leaf; I might do so someday or if it still fits next fall, but I have a lot of holiday crafting I want to do and it’s time to move on from pumpkins🙂

Gingerbread Cake with molasses cream cheese frosting

I started with the King Arthur Flour gingerbread recipe, using my usual substitution of powdered buttermilk mixed with the dry ingredients and water added with the wet, because powdered buttermilk is always there for me, and I can never remember to buy fresh buttermilk.  The children insisted that the cake shouldn’t be super spicy, because “Daddy will want to share his cake with us!”, so we left out the optional black pepper. I had a lot of excellent pouring and stirring help, and we recovered most of the lost flour from over-enthusiastic stirring.

We made a double batch, floured my silicone square cake pans, and split the batter between them.  

I let them cool completely in the pans, and it paid off:  only one tiny little corner stuck and I was able to frost it back in place.  I probably would have gotten smoother sides if I had trimmed the edges of the cake, but I had a lot of help with the cake from the Junior Baking Squad and they’re very easily distracted by loose cake scraps; I think if they had started eating cake we might have had a frenzy.  

The frosting had some improvisation.  Despite being alerted days ago that I was out of powdered sugar, it failed to make my shopping list.  I put granulated sugar into the food processor, which did break it up a bit, but it was still a bit grainy.  I worked mostly from the frosting part of this recipe, but scaled down to accommodate the fact that I only had 6oz of cream cheese.  I think in the end I used 6oz cream cheese, 6 tbsp butter, 2c sugar (what I had was basically superfine granulated sugar) and 2tbsp molasses, plus a splash of vanilla.  The frosting was a little drippy straight from the food processor, which worked well for spreading, and I chilled some for using for piping and decoration. 

Rather than stirring little pieces of candied ginger into the batter, we used whole pieces for decoration, which meant I didn’t have to try to chop sticky candied ginger and the Junior Bakers could help decorate.  I also broke out my new cake decorating kit for the first time, which meant that the base frosting was smoother and I was able to make some nice piping.  Maybe next time I’ll even try writing with the tip designed for writing! But nonetheless, still my prettiest cake ever, and very tasty.

Hats and more hats

I wanted to send a baby present to one of my friends, so I crocheted matching hats for her newborn daughter and her preschooler (plus one to fit the baby next fall):

  

Then I made a hat for baby B, and the big kids liked it so much they demanded matching hats:

  
And then, I discovered that the smallest hat was still about 12 stitches too big for a newborn, so I made him a smaller one in blue:

   
 
There are still two more hats on my queue, plus however many more colors of tiny hat I decide B needs before it gets warm (baby hats are so fast!) but somehow I don’t have a ton of crafting time with a newborn in the house, so we’ll see how fast those actually get made.

Daniel Tiger’s yellow sweater

  
Have you ever noticed, when watching TV with your toddler, that Daniel Tiger has at least three zip-up cardigans in his closet? He only ever wears the red one, but my DT fan loves yellow, and asked for a sweater just like Daniel Tiger’s yellow one.
I had made a sweater before. I’m a little more than half done on a CustomFit pullover, but it’s been in time out for a while while I work on smaller projects.  But I started this one in late September, and because kid sized things are faster than adult sized things I finished it at the end of February, just in time for cardigan-instead-of-jacket season.

It has pockets, it has a hood, and it’s big enough that I think it will fit him for a while, and he loves it, so I am very happy. I suspect I will have to reinforce the stitching on the zipper at some point, but for now my hand-sewn running stitches are holding and my time for hand sewing is kind of limited at the moment.

   
   

Granola Bars: Take 2

  
I made another set of these granola bars, this time with pecans so I can share with some walnut-allergic friends.

   
   I put them in a 9×13 lined with parchment and let them cool almost 2 hours in the pan before lifting them out, and I think being thinner and cooler helped. I also stirred the dry and wet ingredients together in a bowl really thoroughly before packing them into the pan; I think some of yesterday’s granola wasn’t as well moistened as it could have been. 

Still used a raw cranberry honey and added craisins, but these are overall a much more satisfying bar texture.

Cranberry Honey Nut Granola (bars)

  
These are awfully crumbly for granola bars, but definitely on the right track.  I used this recipe with cranberry honey, and tossed in some dried cranberries.  I used a silicone 9×9, which may have been responsible for some of the crumbly texture; I’ll try a parchment lined 9×13 next time and see if thinner bars hold together better. 

Either way, they taste pretty good!

Fruit and Nut Granola Bars

  
Inspired by this recipe, I’m pretty sure these would work with other fruits or spice mixes or nuts.

  • 2c pecans
  • 2c rolled oats

Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper. Toast for 10-15m until they start to smell toasty.

  • 6oz pitted dates 
  • 4 oz dried apricots
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • .5 tsp salt

Combine above with nuts and oats in a food processor. Process until well blended, then add

  • 6oz (approximately one large) Granny Smith apple, roughly chopped with skin (or without if you prefer)

Process until the mixture clumps together into a lump. Spread carefully (the flatter you get this, the more even the bars will be) into an 8×8 or 9×9 pan. If the pan is silicone, use it as-is, otherwise line it with a piece of parchment paper with some extra length to use as handles to remove the bars.

Bake 20 minutes. Let cool a few minutes in the pan, then pull out/invert onto a cutting board and slice with a pizza cutter or big knife into granola bar sized pieces.