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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

knitting | yellow lace slouchy hat

Well, I finished my second attempt at my slouchy yellow lace hat & I am happy to say it was successful!
The first time around I followed the pattern but the hat didn't end up being deep enough for me. I had a
 second skein of this pretty yarn, so I decided to try it again, making it deeper and now I am in love with 
the results. I still plan to tweak this pattern a little bit to get it exactly how I would like it, but in general 
it is such a pretty & easy pattern. Here is the original pattern that I used.

Also, I recently designed a cute new tote bag with a favorite Jane Austen quote printed on it! I bought a plain canvas bag from Hobby Lobby and then I printed my design on to iron-on transfer paper and after a bit of ironing I had a cute new tote for all of my current knitting projects. Easy! 

My new tote is very helpful because lately I have been going knitting once a week with a couple of ladies that I go to church with. They are both talented knitters, so I am excited to learn a few things from them & just be encouraged to knit more. One of my goals is to try more challenging projects... I think next up they will be teaching me the magic loop method... I already have a pattern in mind to try, from the book Lace One-Skein Wonders. I borrowed the book from one of the ladies & I love so many of the patterns in it. It is definitely a book I will be buying for myself soon!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

recipe | lemon berry baked doughnuts

I recently got myself a doughnut pan, which I have wanted for a while. I am so excited, because homemade baked doughnuts are the best!! I decided to try this recipe first, because I made it before in muffin form, so I was sure it would turn out good. Of course, these are great as muffins, but there is something so cute & fun about doughnuts! So, I can say I love my doughnut pan & I can't wait to make more Saturday morning doughnuts in many different flavors...

Lemon Berry Baked Doughnuts

¼ cup butter, softened
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 2/3 flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 1/3 cup frozen berries

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly spray your doughnut pan with non-stick spray & set aside.

Mix together the butter, oil, sugar & brown sugar until creamy and smooth.
Mix in the eggs & vanilla. 

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt & cinnamon.
Alternately mix in the milk and the flour mixture three times, starting and ending with the flour mixture. 

Chop or pulse the berries in a food processor, so there will not be very large chunks of berries. Gently fold the berries into the dough. Scoop the dough into a disposable decorating bag or a ziplock bag and cut off the tip of the bag. This will make it easy to evenly & cleanly squeeze the dough into the cavities of your doughnut pan. Be sure to fill each cavity most of the way.

Bake the doughnuts for 15 minutes or until they are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
Allow the doughnuts to cool completely.

Next, on to the glaze, because no doughnut is complete without a glaze...

Ingredients for the lemon glaze...
1 cup powdered sugar
1 lemon, zested & juiced

To make the lemon glaze... 
Put the powdered sugar & lemon zest in a bowl.
Gradually whisk in the lemon juice until the glaze is the desired thickness.
If the glaze is too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it is too thick, add a little bit of lemon juice or water.
Whisk until the glaze is smooth.

Once the doughnuts have completely cooled, drop each doughnut into the lemon glaze. Using a fork, you can easily turn each doughnut over to coat the other side with the glaze. Set the glazed doughnuts on a cooling rack and allow the glaze to set up before serving.

Oh, so good....

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

photography | through my lens lately...

(Necklace is from Two Little Doves!! I love the turquoise and that it is so simple & delicate!!)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

recipe | lemon shortbread cookies

Just because everyone loves pink heart-shaped cookies for Valentine's Day!

Lemon Shortbread Cookies

2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
zest from one lemon
pinch ground ginger
2 cups all-purpose flour
Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Mix in the salt, ginger, and lemon zest.Gradually add in the flour and mix until combined. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Roll out the dough 1/4 inch thick and cut into shapes.
Place on a cookie sheet about an inch apart and bake for 9-10 minutes
Allow cookies to cool completely while you make the lemon icing.

For the "lemon" icing...
juice from one lemon
1 cup powdered sugar
(I added one drop of red food coloring to make them pink for Valentine's day!)

To make the icing, whisk together the above ingredients. If the consistency is too thin add more powdered sugar. If it is too thick add more lemon juice or water, a little bit at a time, until it is the right consistency. Once the cookies have cooled completely, drizzle the icing all over the cookies and allow the icing to set up.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

photography | winter's sunrise

Foggy mornings don't happen very often where I live, so it may sound silly, but I guess that makes them kind of special. And when they do happen, it is never around for long, because the sun always shines and burns off the fog in no time. 
So, this morning when I woke up and looked out the window to see that it was foggy and that the sun was just beginning to create a magical glow, I quickly bundled up and grabbed my camera. I think it is possible that my favorite weather is the glorious combination of fog and sunshine. The light is heavenly and as a photographer it makes me a bit giddy!
Any time it is like this I think of a favorite quote of mine... 
"In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary."  - Aaron Rose
That was this morning. And, of course, the snow & frost made everything even more beautiful.
Pretty soon I will be excited for spring, but for now I am going to enjoy the beauty of winter!!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

recipe | soft pretzel bites

 I made these pretzel bites for a little Super Bowl party that my family had. The game was quite depressing 
for us Bronco fans, but we still enjoyed the time together and, of course, the yummy food!!

Soft Pretzel Bites

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 package active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
4 tablespoons butter, melted
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
Coarse sea salt

In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine warm water, sugar and kosher salt. 
Sprinkle yeast on top and allow it to sit for 5 minutes. 
Add in the flour and melted butter. Mix until well combined. 
Use the dough hook attachment to knead the dough until it is smooth, for about 5 minutes. 
Remove the dough, knead it by hand a few times and form it into an ball. 
Place the dough in an bowl brushed with vegetable oil. 
Cover and allow it to sit in a warm place for an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
In an 8 quart pan, combine 10 cups of water with 2/3 cup of baking soda and bring to a boil.
 Cover a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper and lightly brush it with vegetable oil.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a clean counter top and divide it into 4 even pieces. 
Roll each piece of dough into a long rope and cut it into several 1 inch pieces.

Place 4 to 6 pretzel bites into the boiling water at a time. Leave them in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove them from the boiling water using a strainer spoon and place them on the cookie sheet. 
Sprinkle each pretzel with coarse sea salt. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until they are a dark golden color.
Serve Soft Pretzel Bites warm, brushed with melted butter or dip them in hot cheese sauce.
(These Soft Pretzel Bites are best served fresh, the same day they are made.)