Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Picking up the pieces

have pulled my old Banana Leaf scarf out of hibernation. It's really a perfect summer knit though I have to say that summer knitting in San Francisco isn't exactly ... taxing.

The wind was whipping today. The morning was partly cloudy but I barely needed my cardigan for my lunchtime putter.

Anyhow sunshine and green. This is my dedicated knit. I started and stopped casting on socks. Stay tuned!



Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Baking is my new exercise

Yes, I know baking is nothing new for me. It's my other past time. Some people, knit, bake, spin, weave, stitch, make soap and sew (and some do them ALL --I'm looking at you Araignee!) but I seem to do alright with knitting and baking alone. ;)

So last night I took to battle with flour, and sugar and then some ...


My back is much better, but not good enough for exercise, physical therapy, chiropractor or massage. I can't sit still for too long but I don't necessarily like moving a lot either, therefore baking has become my new exercise. I'm taking steroids and I need activity to keep the crazy at bay.


I shuffle just enough and for certain tasks can sit down and relax a little bit. These are Peach Cobbler "Scones". They are not too sweet and a good vehicle for peaches in the morning. They would be a welcome addition to any summer brunch. This was my first pass. I would do it again, but I might modify the assembly. I haven't decided yet. Conceptually I liked it and I got a lot of compliments on the flavor and bake.


Let's talk about bread. Bread is kind of like lace for me. I love the idea of it but I'm kind of overwhelmed by it and at times feel like it's just a challenge from the universe. Such a challenge that I decided to try 2 recipes at the same time. This wouldn't be so much of an issue except that both recipes yield 2 loaves and I only have 2 loaf pans... so I used a brownie pan. What? It's bread, it baked ...


It's really about yeast. I look for big foaming action and usually don't get it if I'm either not using instant yeast. I think I don't manage the water temperature well enough. However mixing in the sugar as a catalyst and then sprinkling the yeast on top also helped.


Yesterday was day 2 of  attempting to make sandwich bread. I finished roughly at 12:30 am with this lot. Now there will be a lot tea sandwiches I suppose and nutella and Lady H made delicious plum jam ... so it won't go to waste. (Apparently you can freeze bread as well)

The household has been keeping up with The Great British Bake-off on PBS and so there is a lot of sassy talk about how my "bake" or "crumb" is. There are general inquiries on the my color of my crust and they like to knock on my loaves of bread.

It was HM's birthday at work and she keeps my sanity in check everyday over there. Some newbies have come on board with their own flavor of friendship and baking skills so we decided to have a bit of a baking buffet for the office to celebrate. So ... I sort of, got busy.

Wednesday I should have a knitting post. I've just been trying to get some decent pictures for you. But my needles are definitely clickety clacking ...

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Highlights

Thanks for your patience as I sort out my life and health. It's sciatica probably exacerbated by my scoliosis and youthful desire to skimp on before stretching. (I'm ok with after part, kinda...)

This is a first for me and I'm trying hard to follow Dr. instructions and take the medications prescribed. I did request no painkillers like Vicodin -- opting for the old ibuprofen ...good to have somewhere to escalate to if needed is my philosophy I suppose. I'm not going to lie I was shocked by the amount of pain I am in but also really in awe of true patients of pain if you know what I'm saying. For those of you with chronic issues my heart is with you even more.

Anyways on to some highlights. These are some abbreviated photos based on a phone back up and the help of my lovely family.

My parents lovely town during our evening walks 



The indoor market! 

Stuttgart 

The Mercedes Benz museum

Swag & Swine

I'll dig up some more photos soon.

Thank you for your kind comments and visiting. You're appreciated. I'm grateful.


A momentary pain in posting ...

At least that's what I'm hoping it will be. I screwed up my back kids and am having crazy muscle spasms and pain.

I can't even knit. 

I'm putting my big girl pants on and going to the Dr. this afternoon.

I promise to get it together after.

Meanwhile I hope you are crafting and laughing your way through the summer. Any good summer cooking going on? Family activities that are making you all enjoy spending time together?

While with my Mom this summer we rediscovered the joy of Gin and Gin Rummy. My friend Ms. Annie B had me rediscover the joy of a crispy refreshing Gin & Tonic at the end of last summer. But right now I'm all about iced black tea and strawberry lemonade. Grown up never? Maybe the classic white wine.

What about you?

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A sporting loss and a sporty win.

Our family missed Game 7 of the NBA finals where our dear Golden State Warriors battled it out with the Cavaliers.

We missed it because we were en route to visit my parents in Europe.

Alas the Warriors did not win. The sad sounds when the pilot announced it before we landed is a testament to our motto: Strength in Numbers.

I did finish my Post Season socks though and even brought them with me for comfort and support.

A photo posted by @theellenreport on



I have meant to post sooner, but while taking a trip out to Strasbourg my iPhone was stolen and well ... there went my photos and my easy connectivity to the world.

The trip was filled with good times and fun things which I hope to tell you about a bit very soon. There are some more socks too ;)

I'll be making the rounds soon to see what you've all been up to. I hope your summers have been filled with good times. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Cake: A crumby study

It's no secret that the baking crazy takes hold of me every now and then. I bake so much that I have to bring most of it into work or send it out to our friends and family nearby. My neighbor that shares the floor with us (We have a 6 unit building) and I have taken to doing a bake exchange between our 2 flats. (I admit to eating more than my share of her blueberry pie, by sneaking it off to the office for breakfast. I may actually be a pie person now.)

I have always loved Smitten Kitchen's blueberry crumb cake. I rushed this one a bit. I think I used too much blueberry considering these were ginormous. The ratio was a bit off.


And since cherries are sweet delicious and in season, I thought let's try it with cherries. This was tasty and this time, I could've used more fruit. This version also taught me that maybe buying a cherry pitter is not such a crazy investment after all ... 



Lastly I modified The Kitchn's Nectarine and Blackberry upside down cake. I used a mixture of cake and all purpose flour because that is what I had in the pantry and I completely left out the cornmeal. Seriously, do we need to fusion and texture everything people? Settle down. Let the classic cake shine. I also used brown sugar instead of granulated for the topping. It looked a bit like it was under a sheet of glass when I was done. The cake was tender and people tell me it wasn't too sweet. I took it to my father and stepmother's this weekend and I think there was one piece left. That's a good sign, indeed.




WINNERS! The random number generator selected 9 (Kathy B's son Zach) & 10 (The Delusional Knitter) for the National Parks Coloring book giveaway. I'll be in touch to confirm mailing addresses and get those out to you this week. Thanks to everyone that entered.

What's bringing the sweet and color in your summer so far?

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Giveaway: National Parks Coloring Book

A good friend of our family's Ms. Sophie Tivona a talented illustrator and artist has released her first coloring book. It's a coloring book of illustrations of the National Parks.

From Amazon.com
In order to support and celebrate such an awesome project I'm going to be giving away 2 of these books.

All you have to do is leave a comment here with a way to contact you for your mailing address. Ravelry, email etc. by end of day June 12th. I'll announce the winner June 13th. 

Meanwhile, color your days in happy.