Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Newest Crochet Project

Shhh she doesn't know it yet (unless of course her mommy reads this) but I made new little niece Ella Marie her own little shrug! It's very cute if I do say so myself. It won't fit her until next fall, but I think it will work out pretty good. I've made a handful of these, including some for myself, and they're very nice and cute, and useful for covering your shoulders on a cooler day, or if you're looking for a bit more modesty.

Here is Ella's:

Pointing out the variation in the colors. It's all green, but it has a colored thread that changes colors in it, and it provides some cool shading.

I think she'll look cute in it!

Here's a picture of me wearing one of mine -- mine has shorter sleeves.
Cute huh?


I LOVE biscotti. We've had biscotti (store bought or home made) as a fairly regular staple in our house since I was in middle school. I started making it myself about a year or so ago, and I absolutely love it. It's delicious, it's very satisfying to dunk, and when left in an air-tight container, it will stay fresh for up to a month. How great is that?? (note: it will not actually last a month uneaten)

I was in the mood for biscotti earlier this week but I'm trying to watch my calories and fats, so I went online in search of a low-fat biscotti recipe. Most biscotti is low-fat anyways, but some include oil or butter in the recipe. I took this recipe from and changed it a bit to meet my taste desires.

Instead of Low-Fat Almond-Cinnamon Biscotti, I made Fairly Low-Fat Chocolate Spice Biscotti.

Here's as best of a recipe as I can give you:

  • 3 large organic cage-free eggs
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all purpose organic flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • Dash of cardamom
  • Dash of ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Chocolate chips. Dark, milk, white, whatever. About 1/2 cup. Maybe a tad bit more.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease baking sheet. Combine eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract in bowl of heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat until well blended. Mix flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Gradually add to egg mixture, beating until blended (dough will be soft). Mix in chocolate chips.

Turn dough out onto LIGHTLY floured surface and gather together. Now divide dough into two equal sized balls. Roll dough between palms and work surface into a log almost the length of your cookie sheet. Make both about the same size, palming the ends so they're rounded. Transfer to greased baking sheet. Take a bit of sugar and sprinkle it on the top of the logs. Flatten log with hand to 1-inch thickness. Bake until light brown and cracked on top, about 30 minutes. Cool log 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

Transfer warm log to work surface. Using serrated knife, cut log into 1/4- to 1/3-inch-thick slices. If you're feeling fancy, cut on a diagonal. Arrange cut pieces face up on baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes per side. Transfer to racks and cool (biscotti will harden while cooling).

If you're feeling crazy, it's fun to melt chocolate, put it in a Ziplock baggie, cut one of the corners and use it as a decorating tip to drizzle chocolate.

This is what mine looked like when they were done:

And that's my fancy new Eco Cup. With a bit of chocolate on the sides. :)

Unemployment Begins

It has been far too long since I have written, and for that I am sorry! So much has happened since I last wrote that I have been thinking of how best to blog about it. It's difficult to know what should be written and what should be kept private. This is a public blog, but it's a personal blog as well. I have not been able to find a "niche" for this blog... it's not about crafts, or religion, or weddings, or being a mom, or any of that. I'm not a mom, I've been married for two and a half years, I'm terrible at remembering to photograph my crafts, and although I will write about my beliefs, I am by no ones standards an expert on religion.

So I just write about my life, really.

Here's a quick(ish) catchup, and I will consider going more in-depth.

I finished my last day of work and it was excellent. I cried, just a little, and just once. Okay, maybe twice.

I wanted to give the girls something small to remember me by, so I wrote them each a thank you letter for being such awesome coworkers and friends, and I gave them each a plastic dinosaur. They each got a different dinosaur, and I tried to match it up to their personality a bit. Sarah got a triCERAtops, Rachel got an Apatosaurus (gentle and quiet), Melissa got a T-Rex (because, well, that's obvs) and Mia got a baby raptor. They all really liked their silly dinosaurs and are keeping them on their desks. It was silly but cute.

I met with Mia and thanked her for being a great boss and I gave her the card and dinosaur, and she gave me some beautiful presents!

She made these earrings for me, and she gave me a copy of her favorite baking book. How sweet is that?! I admit to tearing up a little bit, but I did not let myself really cry.

A bit of a closer look at the earrings. They're made of sterling silver, labradorite, rose quartz, and freshwater pearl. How beautiful are those?? I know the color is hard to see, but the labradorite has a very beautiful grey-blue tone, and the rose quartz is the gentlest pink. They're so beautiful and I've worn them three times since Friday.

This is a glimpse into the baking book. It's excellent and has lovely pictures. The really cool thing about this book is that all of the recipes are just one page long, so you don't have to flip in the middle of baking! I'm super excited to try out some of these recipes.

The front desk ladies (Sarah, Rachel and Melissa) gave me some very cute balloons and some beautiful flowers. It was then that I cried. And tried to hide my crying by covering my face with balloons. No, I'm not awkward at all.

How bright and beautiful!!! How can those not make you happy?

And I was so charmed by these little guys (no idea what they are called) that I put them in their own little vase. So simple and beautiful! And what gorgeous color!

So that's it for work! I am now officially unemployed until May 1st. It's a bit scary knowing we have no income for the next month and a half, but I think we'll be okay. I'm getting more and more excited for our Wyoming adventure, but first I get to see my family in Idaho and meet my new niece, Ella! And then we fly to Chicago to see my family and Bryan's sister, Amanda, and her family! And all my Chicago friends! I'm very excited. Life is really good right now.

We had a going away party hosted by our good friend Paul on Saturday, and that was a lot of fun. We'll have a lot more time to say goodbye soon enough, but it was cool to see so many people I care about all at the same place.

To steal a quote that my dear sister Stacey put on her blog, "Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all." - Helen Keller.

I've been focusing on that quote a lot lately. Isn't it great??