Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Simple Rose Tree Necklace

 I bought this pendant several years ago.  
I can't even remember if it was from Michaels, Joann Fabrics or Hobby Lobby.

 Anyhow it just hung around because I could never figure out what to do with it.

Then I bought a black chain.

I was still stuck.  

Should it have red danglies? Green?  Purple? 

Then I realized I didn't have any black jump rings or lobster clasps.  
Gold or silver colors just looked weird.  
So back it went into the bead box for many a moon.

Then I made some earrings that also had black toned metal on them. 
As luck would have it, Michaels sold a pack of black metal findings that included: French hooks, jump rings, crimp beads and lobster clasps.

Inspiration struck and I came up with this:
Simple and sweet.  I can't wait to wear it!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Nature Weaving

We made these nature weavings way back at the end of March, over Spring Break.  
I got the idea from the Blog: In These Hills.

We assembled the looms from sticks in our back yard, and scrap yarn.

Then we went for a walk around the block and wove them into our loom on the spot.
This was harder than it might seem because it was quite cold and we were weaving the items in with our gloves on.  Some of the things, particularly the pine branches, wanted to stick to our gloves instead of staying inside the weaving.

Blockette and I hung them up in the garage over a particularly ugly spot over the door into the basement.
I love that I get to see them everyday.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Summer/Halloween Placemats

I am over the moon!  I finally finished making these four place mats.  I started them over a year ago after I finished this quilt. That quilt (Rigel VII) was a replacement for a quilt my mom had made me back in 1990.

pink front

The quilt my mom made was loved to death.  It was falling apart and shredded in places.  And yet I couldn't bring myself to throw it away.  I knew that there would be some cool way to re-purpose it.

pink back

After much thought, I decided I would recycle it as batting.  It was thin and worn enough that it seemed perfect to use in placemats.

I sewed strips of fabric directly onto the old quilt to make a funky abstract watermelon. Each placemat has it's own color tone (pink, pinkish purple, orange red, and maroon). 

Can you believe all that fabric was in my stash?  A good portion of it was scraps from old projects and scraps from friend's projects as well.

orange red front
After I stitched all the strips to the batting, I lined the back of the placemats with Halloween fabric.  I did this for 2 reasons.  First, at one point I had planned to make a Halloween quilt, so I'd been collecting Halloween fabric for a while.  When I made the placemats I realized that the probability of the quilt getting made was very slim.  Which leads me to the second reason for using that fabric.  If I used Halloween fabric, then I could have placemats for summer and fall!  It's like they'd be double duty placemats.  I loved that idea so, for me changing the use for the fabric from what I had originally intended it for was a great idea.

orange red back
To quilt the layers together I used regular cheapo coats and clark white sewing machine thread, my free motion foot and the supreme slider.  I've had the supreme slider for a while, but this was the first time I worked up the courage to use it.  Now I'm kicking myself for not testing it out sooner.  Basically it's this plastic thing that clings to the sewing surface and makes the fabric move around very smoothly as you are quilting.  It works like a dream.

Usually when I attempt to use the free motion foot my sewing machine acts up.  Not this time!  No problems at all.  I think i was getting some sort of drag from the fabric that was messing up the tension.
pink purple front

I still have a lot to learn about how to get smooth stitches while I am doing free motion quilting.  I can tell which placemats I quilted first, so I must at least be learning and getting a tiny bit better.  The last placemat has very little of that spiderwebing on the curved stitched lines.

pink purple back
The edges should have been done in bias binding.  Frankly, I was just plain lazy and didn't feel like making bias tape, or buying it.  Consequently, a few of the placemats curl up on the rounded part.

maroon front
While making rectangular placemats would have been a lot easier, especially when it came to the binding part, I'm glad I did spend the extra time to make them watermelon shaped.  Our dining room table is oval and the straight edged placemats don't work very well on the rounded ends of the table.  Since these placemats have a straight and rounded edge on them, any placemat can be set at any part of the table. 
maroon back

I wish I would keep forgetting how much I do like trying and learning new things.  My sewing projects would get done so much faster.  I'm stuck in that fear of what if it doesn't turn out, or what if I mess it up.  I should hang a sign up in my craft room that says "Finished is better than perfect," just so I don't forget.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Proof: I love my BOOTS

When I was a punk kid I hated to wear shoes, even in the winter.  I'd run around barefoot if I could get away with it.  And boots?  Forget about it.  If I had to shovel. I'd snag a pair of my mom's.  Boots were just so totally uncool.  Like for sure.  Gag me with a pitchfork.

My uncle use to tease me mercilessly about this.  That's what uncles do.  At least the crazy ones.

What my uncle doesn't realize was that was a LOOOONG time ago.  And I have seen the light.

Look! Seee?????


And because that isn't enough for my uncle, here they are on my feet:
 These winter boots have kept me warmer than any other pair of winter boots I've ever had.  I love how they have that plastic "rain boot/duck shoe" foot.  They are awesome for cold slushy days. They are also great for "boot shoveling" when people don't shovel their sidewalk by the cross walk.

I'm convinced these are the best fashion boots ever.  They are slouchy and scuffy and don't make my feet look enormous!  I love this color brown so much I want to eat it.  But of course I won't cause my feet were in these boots and that is nasty.

And finally, my newest boot acquisition:  Rain boots a la Walmart clearance.  I bought these because it's too warm for my winter boots and apparently it's monsoon season.  They are so comfy, it's like they were made for me! Plus they have that bright orange on them. Anything that makes me less likely to get run over is always a bonus.

I'm sure that STILL isn't enough for my doubting uncle.  
He'll say that I hired a stunt double.  
I don't think I could pay a stunt double enough money to wear my nasty yoga pants and robe.

I love my boots.
And that's what I have to say about that.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Gray "It's A Wrap" Shawl

I actually made two of these grey "It's a Wrap" Shawls.  I made the one pictured below for myself.  (I'm sure that Blockette will steal it though.)  The shawl in the picture has less rows than the pattern suggests as I wanted a shorter shawl.  Then, using the same yarn, I made a full size shawl for my church's Prayer shawl group.

The smaller shawl used slightly more than one skein of Sensations Sincerely in Char Grey.  The larger shawl used about 1 3/4 skeins.

I did make one small change to the pattern.  On both shawls, instead of a fringe, I made a scalloped edge.  I sort of made them up as I went along using treble crochet stitches.

The pattern for this shawl can be found at Craft Yarn Council.  Personally, I think the shawl they feature on that site looks like an 80's train wreck.  Maybe that's just the model's hair though.

Then I saw the same shawl over at Creative Yarn and I fell in love.  I think the shawl in a solid color looks neato. 

 As I'm still fairly new to crocheting, the directions confused me at first.  I wasn't sure what they wanted me to do.  I did a bit of internet investigating and found this picture on Pinkleo's Flicker account.  It's a great visual of what each of the stitches should look like. Step 13 was super confusing at first.  (They are the top and bottom cream colored rows in the photo.) Seeing the stitches cleared things right up for me as I'm a visual learner.

 I'm really pleased with how these shawls turned out.  I plan on picking up some more of this yarn too as it was great to stitch with as well.  Lucky for me it's on sale at Joann Fabrics!  Woot Woot!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Pictures from Rainstorm on Thurs

We had a huge rainstorm this past Thursday.  This was the biggest flooding of the river that I can remember since we've been living in this town.

Found these pictures here. They were NOT taken by me.  I just wanted to compile a few places that were relevant to our daily lives.
This is the far end of our street.   What we call "The End and Back," not quite to the "End"

This is the street by the golf course that I take to get to important places like the grocery store and Target. Notice the for sale sign is nearly covered.

This is the road to get to Soccer Practice.
This is the road we take to get to church.  The creek has taken over.

Same road from a different angle. The River is at the far end of the photo.

The Park engulfed by the river.

Another shot of the park.
The park taken from the bridge on "main" st.
The park's parking lot.

"Main" St.

Over all things could have been a lot worse, but I think it can be done raining for a while.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Chocolate Syrup

I want some chocolate milk!
I want to drink it now.

-Well, just make some faux quik mix.

But I don't want THAT kind of chocolate milk.  The mix kind has little foamy floaties.  That's great and all, but I want the smooth and rich sort of chocolate milk.

-So go get some chocolate syrup from the store.

 But I'm too lazy to go to the store.  That would require putting on jeans and a bra and that is way too much effort.  Ack!  What's a lazy creamy chocolate milk craver to do?

-Shut up and make this Chocolate syrup from Dough Puncher.

Problem solved.  
Go about your daily chocolatified milky day.

Seriously, this syrup took 5 minutes to make.  Much less time than it takes me to go to the grocery store, let alone get dressed. 

The above photo is a half batch.  A half batch is enough to fill one of those 8 oz freezer jam jars.

Chocolate Syrup (full recipe) from Dough puncher
1 c water
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder ( I like penzey's cocoa)
2 c sugar
1/4 t vanilla
pinch salt

Mix water, cocoa, and sugar in med pan (a larger pan is better than one you think is just the right size.  This stuff will bubble up.) Over med heat, dissolve cocoa and sugar with whisk. Bring to boil and cook 3 min, watching carefully to make sure it doesn't boil over-- turn down the heat if necessary (You don't want to clean this molten lava off your stovetop.) After 3 min, remove from heat. Add   vanilla and salt.

Store in fridge up to 2 months. It will thicken to similar consistency of store bought syrup as it sets up in refrigerator, if you can wait that long.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Blockette's Bike Basket

Blockette outgrew her last bike over the winter.  Mrblocko and Blockette went out and found this bike themselves.  On Clearance.  And it's girly!

This is her first girly bike.

We've been buying her boys bikes in the past because they felt so much sturdier.  What's the deal?  Girls can't be all rough and tumble with their bikes like boys?

Anyhow, Blockette has been wanting some way to carry her own water on Bike rides.  I thought about making her a super fancy basket but that seemed really complicated and beyond my sewing skills.

So I made this instead:

A jeans bike basket!

Over the winter my best friend gave me a bag of old holey jeans.  This pair happens to have belonged to her daughter.  Normally I'd hack off the legs and make cut offs for Blockette, however, there was also a hole in the crotch.  With all those seams meeting up it was just a bit too tricky for me to patch.  So into the crafting pile they went.

This pair of jeans just seemed perfect for this project.

Guess how it's attached to the bike frame?

The button elastic that was already inside the jeans! 

I can't stop patting myself on the back for that idea.  I'm not sure if it's ever been done before, but it was one of the few crafting creations I got from my own brain, not Pinterest or some random blog.

As I mentioned earlier, there was a hole and worn spot on the seam of the crotch.  I was worried about the stability of the bottom of the bag.  So I decided to line it.  The fabric is also from my bestie who was down sizing her fabric stash.  It's got little skirts all over it.  I thought that was a fun fabric to put on the inside of a bag that used to be a pair of pants.

Once I had the lining made I ran into a little issue.  Since I was using the elastic as a strap this meant I couldn't attach the lining where I wanted to.  Then I realized just about anywhere I wanted to attach the lining would require me to stitch through the belt loops.  I didn't want to do that either.  Then I realized I was going to have to stitch over the fly.  I wasn't sure how my sewing machine would handle that.

It must have been fate, because earlier in the week I had purchased some fabric glue for a different craft project.  This is the kind of fabric glue that once it drys is a permanent bond.  Whatever you glue can go in the washer and dryer, once the glue has dried.

This was the first time I've used this fabric glue.  So far it's held up great.

I was unsure if Blockette would like the jean basket/bag for her bike.  I wasn't sure I'd be able to make it successfully, so I didn't tell her until it was finished.  I almost gave up at least three times. I'm glad I kept problem solving and finally finished it because Blockette thinks it's awesome!  She even told me that she now has the coolest bike EVER. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Kite Flying Weather

I love that we have this park so close to our house.  It's perfect for kite flying. 

You can't really tell in the photo, but Blockette's kite is a butterfly!

Here's a close up:
It was so windy on Sunday that it almost looked like the wings were flapping.  I think if it had been just a bit windier the kite might have broken.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Lacey Edge Crochet Shawl

I made this shawl for the prayer shawl group that just started up at my church.

The pattern was a simple one called: " Cozy Shawl" from Engineered Crochet.  

The main body of this shawl is done in the stitch called extended single crochet. I had no idea what that was.  When I read the printed directions online I thought it was just like a half double crochet.  So, I found myself a video of the stitch in progress where I discovered they are nothing alike.  The video that was helpful to me was from CrochetNCrafts and can be found here.

I used nearly 2 skeins of Caron Simply Soft in Berry Blue.

I really like how this yarn drapes in this shawl.  There are a few more patterns I want to try out, but if they turn out funky I'll make another one of this pattern in a different color of simply soft.

Apparently Blockette thinks it's super cozy.  Hopefully it's new owner will too.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Peach Spice Roasted Chickpeas

These Peach Spice Roasted Chickpeas are my absolute new favorite Roasted Chickpea recipe! 

I've made: Chili Lime Roasted ChickpeasHoney Roasted Chickpeas and BBQ Roasted Chickpeas that were super scrumptious.  Those other recipes can't hold a candle to the Peachy Goodness of the Peach Spice Roasted Chickpeas.

What makes them so amazing?  I'd have to say the chunky sticky blobs from the peach jelly.  It's like a crunchy sticky peach cobbler!

I got the idea for this version of Roast chickpeas from the blog Home Cooking Memories where they featured a recipe for Orange Spice Roasted Chickpeas.  They used orange marmalade to flavor the chickpeas.  I didn't have any marmalade though.  I also had no desire to purchase marmalade, because I'm not it's biggest fan.  I did have a small amount of peach jelly sitting in my fridge.  I thought why not try that.

Turns out, I had exactly the right amount of peach jelly left in the jar.  It was meant to be!

I'm going to keep an eye out for peach mango jelly.  That would taste amazing too!

Peach Spice Roasted Chickpeas adapted from Home Cooking Memories
2 cans chickpeas or garbanzo beans (or 3 c/500g soaked and cooked dried chickpeas)
1/3 c peach preserves/jam/jelly
1/4 t cinnamon
1/8 t nutmeg
1/8 t salt
Cooking Spray

Drain and rinse chickpeas. Spread on a kitchen/paper towel to dry. Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray sheet with PAM. Place chickpeas on sheet in a single layer. If chickpeas have any skins are loose, discard . Spray chickpeas. Roast 15 min. Stir & move them around on the sheet. Bake 15 min or til brown and crunchy.  Remove from oven.
In bowl, combine jam and spices. Spoon warm, roasted chickpeas into jelly mixture. Gently coat chickpeas . When coated, spread onto baking sheet in a single layer. Return to oven for another 10 minutes. (My chickpeas needed an additional 10 minutes before they were done.  Give them a taste test to be sure.) Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Break up clusters and loosen from sheet with spatula. Allow to cool completely. Store in airtight container.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I cant believe it has no Salt Seasoning Blend

Here's a quick little post about this salt free spice blend I found this winter.
It's the strangest thing...it totally tastes like it has salt in it!  So much so that I double checked all my spices to make sure they didn't contain any salt.  (They didn't.)

I must have some really strong garlic powder because the seasoning is really garlic-y.  If I were to make this spice blend again, I'd cut the amount of garlic and onion powder by half.

Saltless seasoned salt blend from Big Bears Wife
5 t onion powder
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon ground mustard
1 t dried thyme
1/2 t dried basil
1/2 t pepper

Blend all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Creole Seasoning Blend

The other day I came across a recipe that required Creole seasoning.  I had gotten some Cajun Seasoning from Penzey's Spices a while back that I thought would be similar in flavor.  To my surprise, I discovered that we had used it all up!  Of course I didn't realize this until I had already begun stirring things up in the kitchen.

A quick search yielded a recipe from Type A Parent.  I had all the ingredients except for the celery salt so I omitted that.  I'm listing the recipe with it in case you'd like to add it.  Also, I'm listing the amounts as a ratio.  The original recipe was for tablespoons, but I wasn't sure if I'd like the blend so I only made a small amount.  One part in my recipe was 1/2 tsp.

I feared that this blend would be too spicy, but we thought it was just right.

Creole Seasoning from Type A Parent
4 parts sweet paprika
2 parts onion powder
2 parts garlic powder
2 parts dried oregano leaves
2 parts dried sweet basil
2 parts dried thyme leaves
1 part black pepper
1 part white pepper
1 part cayenne pepper
1 part celery seed (optional)

Blend all ingredients and store in an airtight container.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Cornmeal Blondies

Cornmeal Blondies from The Knead for Speed are a great  go to dessert for when you want bars, but are out of chips!  I think they are also a good thing to make when you want something sweet, but are almost out of flour.

Mrblocko did not want to share his creamer so I used milk instead.  To make up for the missing flavor from the bottled creamer, I added an extra teaspoon of vanilla and a teaspoon of cinnamon.  I imagine you could try all sorts of variations of this bar using all the various creamer flavors.  Hazelnut or Irish Cream sound particularly tasty to me!

Because this recipe contains cornmeal I expected it to have a gritty texture.  The texture was only slightly gritty, just enough to let you know that cornmeal was there.  I suppose if you wanted a grainier bar you could use polenta or coarse ground cornmeal grits.  I prefer less grittiness, so the fine ground cornmeal was perfect to me.

I'll make these again for sure!

Vanilla Cornmeal Blondies adapted from The Knead for Speed
1 c fine ground cornmeal
1 c unbleached flour
1/2 c + 2 T brown sugar
1/2 c + 2 T sugar
6 T butter, melted
1/4 c + 2 T milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease 8″ x 8″ square pan. In large bowl, whisk cornmeal, flour and cinnamon. Set aside. In separate bowl, whisk sugars, melted butter, milk, egg, and vanilla .
Add wet to dry and stir until incorporated. Evenly smooth batter (it will be thick) into prepared baking pan. Bake 32-35 min, or to desired doneness. Let cool completely before cutting into 9 – 16 bars.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Apple Snickerdoodle Cobbler

Yet again, I forgot to take a picture of the food I made before we shoved it in our faces and made it disappear.
The Snickerdoodle version of the Apple Cobbler was the brain child of Rachael at Baked by Rachael.

It was good, but I guess I'm not as big of a fan of snickerdoodles as I thought I was.  Maybe it was to different from the classic cobbler to win me over completely.  I found myself missing the oats! 

For not LOVING snickerdoodles, I thought this was a pretty labor intensive dessert.  You have to prepare the dough, let it sit, then prepare the apples and then wait for it to bake.  It's nearly an hour, of prep time, with chilling the dough, and then 45 min in the oven.  It seemed like a long time for what should be a simple dessert.  I think I could have made an apple pie in the same amount of time.

While we all enjoyed the dessert, I think I'll stick with the super speedy microwave version of the apple crisp my mom always made.  Apple-y goodness in about 15 min.  However, if you've got patience and an affinity for snickerdoodles, give this cobbler a try!

Apple Snickerdoodle Cobbler from Baked by Rachael
1/2 t cream of tartar
1/8 t salt
1/2 t baking powder
2/3C flour
1/4C butter, softened
1/3C sugar, plus 1/2C
1 egg
3/4 t cinnamon

8C apples (roughly 6-8 apples depending on their size)
1/4C brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 F. In sm bowl mix first 4 dry ingred for the cookies. In separate bowl cream butter and 1/3 c sugar. Add egg and then dry ingred.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for a minimum of 30 min (an hour is best) so the dough is less sticky and easier to work with. In sm bowl combine 3/4 t cinnamon and 1/2 c sugar. Set aside.  In large bowl add 1/4 c brown sugar and 1/2 t cinnamon. Peel, core and slice apples. Add to brown sugar and cinnamon mix, toss to coat. Transfer to 8x8 dish.  Form 1" balls of dough. Roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place coated dough balls on top of apples, press down to slightly flatten. Bake 45-55 min til apples tender and cookie lightly golden. Cool 15 min before serving.  May be stored in fridge several days, if it lasts that long.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Fake Entrelac Scarf

I made this scarf to challenge myself with a new technique.  It uses a crochet technique called Tunisian Crochet.  This stitch is sort of like a hybrid of crochet and knitting.  Since I'm a hopeless case at knitting, I thought, maybe if I could figure out how to do this type of crochet, it would make learning how to knit a bit easier.

While I haven't yet attempted to teach myself to knit, I found this new stitch quite easy to learn.  There is this awesome video I watched that was created by Crochet Geek that I found invaluable. I watched it over and over, and with many stops and starts, stitched along with the video.  Eventually, I was able to crochet the pattern away from the computer, and even stitch it while simultaneously watching TV!  Once I figured out the rhythm, it was a piece of cake.

I wished this pattern looked a bit more like the knitting entrelac stitch.  While it is similar, it's not exactly the same.  With knitting, the direction of the yarn alternates with each diamond row.  With the Tunisian crochet the stitch direction stays the same.  I'm sure there is a way to change this, but I'm not advanced enough to figure it out.

This pattern yields a dense fabric.  I think if I was going to make another scarf with this stitch, I'd use a sock weight yarn instead of a worsted weight/4.  The scarf would have a much better drape.  As it is, it sort of stands up around your face.  It's definitely a scarf for wearing on a super cold day, and not a fashion accessory style scarf like the others I've made. 

The yarn I used for this scarf was 100% acrylic  Loops and Threads Impeccable in: Amethyst, Kelly Green and Ginseng, purchased at Michael's.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April Choc Chip Cookie: Chickpea Version

This month you get two for the price of one!  Two very different Chocolate Chip Cookies that contained Chickpeas caught my eye.  I couldn't decide which one to make, so I baked both of them!

The first recipe I tried was the  Deep Dish Cookie Pie from Chocolate Covered Katie.

This recipe is like a giant cookie baked in a springform pan.  The recipe calls for a 10" springform pan, but I only had a 9" pan.   I baked the cookie for 35 minutes as the recipe stated.  The top looked dry and crumbly, so I figured it was done. 

The inside was quite gooey.  I'm sure if I had baked the giant cookie for 10 minutes more it wouldn't have been.  Blockette and I happened to love the gooey, almost cookie dough-like consistency, but Mrblocko did not.
 If I ever make this cookie again I'd bake it for just a bit longer to please Mrblocko.

So, the question you are probably asking is, "Can you taste the chickpeas?"

People who have commented on Chocolate Covered Katie's post on this recipe swear up and down that you cannot taste the garbanzo beans at all.  Maybe this is true if you don't know that they are in there.  I could taste them.  I didn't think the taste was unpleasant, but then again I've discovered that I really like chickpeas as long as they are not from a can.  If you think the taste of chickpeas is disgusting than this is probably not the dessert for you.

Deep-Dish Cookie Pie from Chocolate Covered Katie
2 cans white beans or garbanzos (drained and rinsed) (500g total, once drained- feel free to use soaked, cooked dried beans)
1 c quick oats
1/4 c applesauce
3 T oil (canola, veg, or coconut)
2 t pure vanilla extract
1/2 t baking soda
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 c brown sugar
1 c chocolate chips

Blend everything (excep chips) very well in a good food processor (not a blender). Mix in chips, and pour into an oiled pan. Cook at 350F for 35-40 min. Let stand at least 10 min before removing from pan.  Store leftovers in the fridge.

Now for the second more traditionally shaped cookie: Chickpea peanut butter cookies/dough from Eat Good 4 Life.

Mrblocko liked this chickpea cookie version.  I think I liked the unbaked dough better than cooked version.  At the very end of baking, there wasn't enough dough for a full sheet of cookies, so I just placed the remaining dough in the fridge.  I ate it by the spoonful as a mid morning snack the next day!

These cookies did not spread at all for me, so be sure to flatten them out to ensure that the centers are fully cooked.

At first, I thought the texture of the cookies was a bit off.   They were very chewy and almost gummy.  Then, I had the idea to store them in the freezer.  These babies were amazing eaten ice cold, directly from the freezer.  Once they thawed, they got gummy again.

Overall, these were a good snack.  I felt better about eating them than a regular chocolate chip cookie.  I also didn't feel a big sugar crash like I do with most sweets.  Maybe that was because of the lack of starchy flours, and all the protein from the chickpeas and peanut butter.

Now for the chickpea question...Could I taste them in the cookie?  Sort of. 
They were less beany than the jumbo deep dish cookie.  This was probably because the peanut butter.  That is such a strong flavor that it masked the bean taste.  However, once you finished the cookie there was this slight aftertaste that hinted at garbanzos.  Again, it wasn't unpleasant, but not for the bean loather.

Chickpea peanut butter cookies/dough from Eat Good 4 Life.
1 15.5 oz can chick peas, rinsed and patted dry (or 250 g - feel free to use soaked, cooked dried beans)
2 t vanilla
1/2 c + 3 T peanut butter
1/3 c honey
1 t baking powder,
1/2 c dark chocolate chips (I used chopped Dove dark chocolate Promises as I had no dark chocolate chips at the time)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In food processor place ingredients (except chips) and pulse for 2 min til smooth. You may have to scrape down sides a few times. Add dark chocolate and pulse for 5 seconds. The mixture will be very thick and sticky. With med cookie scoop place balls in cookie sheet and flatten them slightly with hands.

Bake 15-20 min. (I baked the first sheet for 15 minutes and they were underdone.  20 minutes seemed like the perfect time for me.) Cool on a rack and store in freezer.

Monday, April 1, 2013

March Reads

Ah March... I've got a severe case of spring fever. 
That means I transition from Dystopian literature to Jane Austen! 


Because It's My Blood by Gabrielle Zavin

This is the sequel to All These Things I've Done, a book I read last month.  In this futuristic book, Anya, the main character becomes more involved in her family's Chocolate mob business.  I'm eagerly awaiting the release of  In the Days of Death and Chocolate that comes out this fall to see how successful Anya will be at running her version of the illicit chocolate business.


Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

This is an ingenious telling of an alternate regency period world where "glamour," or the magical enhancement of the appearance of the visual world, is a skill expected of refined ladies.  This reads like a Jane Austen novel.  It is exactly what I would expect from her if she lived in a world that contained magic.  When I began reading this book I was expecting something along the lines of the book Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer, another Regency Period novel set in an alternate "magical" world.  While I really enjoyed Sorcery and Cecelia, and the two subsequent sequels, Shades of Milk and Honey was so much better.  Sorcery and Cecelia has a lot of modern feminist undertones to it, but Shades of Milk and Honey is written in the voice of someone who is living in the era, so much so that the author did her best to exclude words not in existence at the time, and used older spellings of words.  It really added to the feeling that you were reading an Austen Contemporary from this magical world.  I also like that the author didn't overdo the magic.  There arent any fantastical beasts, or over the top magic.  The magic is subtle as it would be if it were a part of someones every day life.  Sure there is frustration at not having the skill for "glamour" but I liken that to jealousy and frustration of not being able do some similar skill like painting or embroidery that was expected of "accomplished women" of the time.  This was one of those books I didn't want to end.  I wanted to keep living in the world the author had created.

The Dashwood Sisters Tell All by Beth Pattillo

This book is by the author of Jane Austen Ruined My Life and Mr.Darcy Broke My Heart. The three books are loosely part of a series of books where the main character's lives mirror those from one of Jane Austen's Novels, only set in Modern times.  There are also secret lost documents belonging to Jane Austen in each story as well.  This story,( if you are familiar with Austen, you'll know from the title), has the main character's lives similar to Elinore and Marianne from Sense and Sensibility.  The main characters travel to England to spread their deceased mother's ashes, and take a Jane Austen tour as directed by their mother in her will.  Amidst this, they realize that they are in the possession of Cassandra, Jane's sister's private unknown diary.  I loved how the romances developed, even though, being familiar with the story, I knew what was eventually going to happen.  This was a lovely modern retelling of a great classic novel.

Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal

This was the sequel to Shades of Milk and Honey.  I found this book to be far less enjoyable than the first in this series.  What originally drew me to this series was how the first book, "Milk and Honey" was written in a very similar voice to Jane Austen.  This second one, much less so.  I think this was mostly due to the subject matter.  First, Austen novels are romance based, where the main characters are searching for love, with all the twists and turns and misunderstandings that accompany it.  The main characters in this story have already found love and are married.  Second, Austen novels, although many are set during war times, and frequently mention officers and other men of military rank, never mentions war.  Glamour in Glass was all about the war with Napoleon and spying and all that jazz.  Third, Austen novels tend to end happily for the main characters, at least the good ones.  This was not the case either in "Glamour."  The ending was quite melancholy.  Although I didn't enjoy this book nearly as much as the first book, I will read the third book in the series(whenever my local library decides to get it) because I want to see where the author is going to go with the main characters at this point.

Jane Bites Back by