Easy Lemon Rosemary Scones from scratch

I’ve been scone crazy lately. There’s something about a cold New England kitchen in the morning that’s perfect for cutting butter into flour, to achieve the perfect flaky pastry. Then there’s also something about a warm oven + just the pantry basics that puts to rights the end-of-week bareness that plagues my refrigerator.

Scones are a favorite of mine because (like pancakes, another weekend breakfast staple!) there are endless variations from a simple starting recipe, so it’s easy to incorporate what you have on hand. Recently, I had lemons and a variety of fresh herbs: a great combination! I tried growing my own herbs once…but let’s just say that didn’t go too well. Now I just buy them fresh and dry the the extra to save for later, works great! I was pretty happy with the lemon rosemary scones that emerged from

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These scones were unbelievably fluffy and delicious, with just the right hints of lemon and rosemary flavor. I sprinkled them with rosemary finishing salt for an extra salty touch, because I enjoying mixing sweet and salty flavors, but that’s certainly not for everyone. My husband scraped it off, and they were delicious anyway. I bet they’d be killer topped with turbinado sugar instead, or sprinkled with a lemon sugar glaze.

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These scones are super straightforward to make, I adapted this recipe from “Best Ever Scones” from Southern Living. They are a great pre-Superbowl snack before the serious eats come to play! A savory version would be delicious too, like bacon cheddar, or scallion!

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I ate mine with honey and lemon curd. Delicious!

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Easy Lemon Rosemary Scones from Scratch: 

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 1 stick of unsalted cold butter, cubed (1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup + 3 Tbsp light cream or milk of choice
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp finely chopped rosemary

Directions: First, Preheat oven to 450 degrees, then:

  1. Combine flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the cubed butter, and use a pastry cutter or your fingers to combine until the butter is finely incorporated and the mixture is grainy, the butter chunks should be about the size of peas.
  2. Zest the lemon into the dry mixture, add the finely chopped rosemary.
  3. In a separate bowl, add the juice of 1 lemon to 1 cup of cream. The cream should curdle and become thick, like yogurt. Add this to the dry ingredients, and stir until just combined, a dough should form. Add the 2-3 tbsp of extra cream as needed, so the dough sticks together and you can form it into a ball.
  4. Transfer the ball of dough to a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat. Shape into roughly an 8-inch disc, cut into eighths, and brush with a little of the remaining cream mixture, then sprinkle with finishing salt.
  5. Bake at 450 degrees for 13-15 minutes, until golden brown.

I loved these so much, I made a variation using actual Greek yogurt instead of cream+ lemon, and adding a bunch of blueberries, here is the finished product drizzled with a sugary lime glaze. Pure heaven.

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Have a safe, delicious, and relaxing Superbowl Sunday everyone!

Chunky Knit Pillow Cover DIY

I can’t believe it, SO MUCH SNOW! To all my Washington DC and NYC friends, hope you’re warm and cozy! With winter in full force, I sure have the knitting bug. I bought more yarn than I should have in a recent Michael’s trip and on Amazon, and I’m looking for any excuse to whip up something fun. One sale item that I was absolutely ecstatic to find was Ginormous Yarn from Loops and Threads. Beyond super chunky, I bought the largest knitting needles I could find to go along with it, and bought two skeins.

pillow yarn

A project opportunity presented itself when not a hot second after re-covering my couch pillows in a DIY re-fresh, my husband complained that the upholstery fabric I used wasn’t too rough. Pillows, he said, should be exactly that- pillow-y and soft! Immediately I thought about knitting a pillow cover to go over the top, and I was attracted to the chunky knits I’ve been seeing everywhere lately.

First, I tried arm-knitting the ginormous yarn, and played around with how much I should cast-on. I guess I have fat wrists because my arm-knit was pretty loose. So instead I tried my using my fun new Size 50 (25mm) needles, and I found that I liked the chunkiness but more structured look that the needles conveyed a bit more than the slouchy arm knitted version, at least for a pillow cover. Here is the result:

pillow couch

grey pillow

Although I thought the grey color goes well with the upholstered pillows I already have on the couch, I decided to go ahead and knit another one for a second pillow. However, I’d already used 1.5 skeins of the Ginormous yarn out of the 2 skeins I purchased, so I opted to use double strands of another super bulky yarn instead. I cast on 26 stitches using Lion Brand’s Hometown USA Super Bulky yarn in “Washington Denim” for my second pillow.

This time I used a diagonal stripe pattern that transitioned to a stockinette, so that each side (shown is front and back) can be a little different depending on how I’m feeling. For the second pillow, since the yarn was not as bulky, I had to cast on slightly more stitches and used four skeins (working two at a time). I knit it in one large piece that folded over the pillow, then used the yarn to “sew” up the sides.

Together, the pillows make a handsome pair:

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pillow back

Using this chunky yarn and the giant needles, there are so many possibilities! I think I might like to go back and get more Ginormous yarn and knit a chunky blanket, but I envision that I’d need a several skeins, at least 5+ for a decent size blanket. Other options are a chunky cowl or scarf. I thought it might also be fun to make chunky pom-poms out of it to top other knit hats.

As soon these finished up, I couldn’t help but cast on my next project. Spoiler, it’s baby themed!

A Pillow Cover Refresh DIY and Sweater Weather

Last night it snowed three inches, leaving this morning a bright white wonderland. This always puts me in the mood to putter around inside where it’s warm and cozy, and I love me some DIY. Lately I’ve been wanting to re-cover some pillows on my couch that when I first got them, I thought the colors were bright and fun. But the more I decorated the apartment (and especially after we recently got a new couch), the pillows just didn’t quite fit with general feel and overall theme of the room. It seemed like the perfect weekend DIY project.

pillow

There’s a small fabric store steps away from my work, and it’s hard to resist the urge to pop in for a look on my way home some nights, if it’s still open. One day I came across some upholstery fabric on sale, and I couldn’t resist. This fabric was just waiting for this project because it just happened to be a square of the perfect size. Folded in half, the fabric covered both pillows with a little extra on top, perfect for a fold over pillow cover, envelope style.

New Pillow

I just summarized what I did, so it’s not a comprehensive tutorial but you get the idea. I love the look of my new pillows, and I think they play much better with the color of the couch and the other pillows we have. The whole project took only an hour or so, and was perfect for someone like me who barely knows her way around a sewing machine. Some day I’ll figure out how to sew something other than a straight line, but not today!

Pillow on couch

Despite my sewing skills being a little less than noteworthy, I got a chance to work on another project of mine that I’ve been talking about for some time, but never got around to finishing. Well this weekend, it’s done! The sweater I’ve been knitting that I started last spring, is finally complete. It was knit in two pieces (front and back) then sewn together and the sleeves and neckline picked up and knit.  Here is how it looks on the hanger:

sweater

I love the simple striping detail, especially how it goes up into the top shoulder. Also the seam lines up the stripe pattern from the front and back pieces so they join together, giving a neat chevron look:

Sweater2

I highly recommend the pattern, as I said before it’s the Second Story Tee from the Spring 2015 Interweave Knits issue. I used exactly the yarn they recommended and didn’t change the patter much at all in the way of adjustments, it was very straight-forward. Shown in blue below, is the magazine picture of what it should look like, and it’s a little more fitted on me, but I like it that way.

It would have come together quicker if I knit with a little more regularity, but I really did take my time with this one. I think it was worth it though!

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Looking forward to a lot more knitting, since I just bought a whole boatload of yarn just  waiting to be whipped up into some crafty things! As a preview of what’s to come…

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Yes, that’s Giant yarn!!

Happy MLK Day!

Cheddar Cornmeal Pancakes and Rainy Day Knits

It’s an impossibly rainy dreary winter day, and waking up this morning to hot coffee and complete grey, I wanted nothing more than to cook some hearty savory pancakes and finish off some knitting projects.

In my fridge I had about quarter block of my favorite cheddar cheese that was just dying to be made into something delicious. I’ve turned out some pretty delicious cheddar cornmeal waffles before, so I decided to adapt the recipe into a pancake.

old croc

My all time favorite cheddar cheese!

pancake collage

I was decadently happy with the result, although I have to say these puppies aren’t exactly health food. But I love the flavor of the cheddar and the dense cake-like texture that would be great with some thick gooey maple syrup.

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Eating mine with some thick-cut orange marmalade

Cheddar Pancakes

The recipe is pretty straightforward:

  • 1 cup cornmeal (yellow stoneground)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup milk of choice
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp melted butter (plus additional for cooking)
  • 1/2 cup grated extra sharp cheddar
  • (optional) 1 tsp chopped dried sage

Mix the dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients except the cheese together, this works best if the wet ingredients are at room temperature. If you can’t use room temperature ingredients, mix the wet ingredients without the butter, then combine the wet and the dry together first, then mix in the melted butter. Lastly, stir in the cheese.

Melt some butter in a skillet and cook ’em up! This recipe made about 10 large pancakes.

  • Servings: about 4
  • Calories per serving: 291
    • Total Fat: 11g, Protein: 10g, Carbs: 39g, Sugars: 2g

Hat VernonAfter breakfast, I was finally able to finish the hat I’ve been working on, the Vernon Hat from Interweave Knits Winter 2016 issue.

I thought this hat was the perfect mix of interesting, challenging, and quick, all at the same time. The color combination is a little challenging to match with, I suppose I could have used more neutral colors instead. I initially loved the purple, but when I was looking for a contrasting color for the brim I bought a faint blue instead of the recommended white/ash, just by accident. I think they still work well together. I would definitely make this pattern again!

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I really think the two colors make this hat so much cuter than if it were all one color. I would love to do it in a yellow/grey or a navy/ grey as well.

Vernon

Love the slouchy back

I used to subscribe to Interweave Knits magazine through the mail, but now I just get it straight on my iPad. What that means though is I have a lot of old issues lying around containing patterns I wanted to make but never got around to. I was thinking of going through them again and re-evaluating which ones to keep and which ones to toss. I don’t know if it’s better to digitize the ones I like and store them on my computer, or clip them into some kind of scrapbook collection. Any recommendations?

I thought for my next project, I might use a super chunky yarn to arm knit pillow covers, to give my living room a fresh look. We’ll see how that turns out!

Knitting Projects from 2015 and 2016 Plans

Another year gone! It’s hard to believe it’s 2016, and I have to say I didn’t knit much this year and when I did, I mostly tried other people’s patterns rather than trailblazing my own. It doesn’t help that I’ve been knitting the same sweater for what seems like ages, so in addition to finishing it up, I want to work on a few smaller and fast projects in the upcoming year.

I did finish a few other small projects this year. I tried to knit this Archway Hat from Interweave Knits Fall 2014, but somehow my gauge was off and it ended up waaaaay too big for my or anyone’s head! I turned it into a sort of cowl thing instead by mirroring the pattern up to the end. I actually love it, so that was knit mishap with a happy ending!

Cowl Picture

A friend from work gifted me the Harmony Cloche pattern by Heidi May (inset picture), and I made it a full three different times for myself and others. I definitely recommend this pattern! It is so versatile that I can wear it cloche style with the brim flipped up (as intended) or with the brim down so it’s more like a front billed hat. I love it both ways. I made it in blue, purple, and black using the recommended yarn.

harmony cloche

I also whipped up a winter classic for my hubby, a hunter green cable knit pom-pom hat! I did make up this pattern, but here is a similar one on Ravelry that is free and easy. We sported our hats at the airport flying home to Boston, with me in my green Slouchy Knit Beanie and him in this cable hat, and the flight attendant asked us if we were matching on purpose in our green knit beanies. I told her no, I just like to knit hats! So funny and totally unintentional.

cable hat

I have a couple projects in progress, including the Vernon Hat from the latest issue of Interweave Knits. I am loving this issue and want to make absolutely everything, but I’m starting small. I feel like I need at least one new hat for myself every winter!

Vernon hat

Lastly, I’m still working on the Second Story Tee by Debbie O’Neill (below) and with any luck, will finish that up soon. I decided to do it in a deep wine burgundy color, since I have a lot of blue in my closet right now. I’m hoping it turns out okay!

I’m always looking for inspiration and people to make things for. I cast on a new hat and my husband asks, “who is that going to be for?” I gift hats or gloves almost every year, and it gets harder and harder to figure out who to give them away to, so I often end up just keeping them and wearing a different hat every day. What did I do when I lived in sunny California? At least Boston has cold knit-appropriate weather.

I wish everyone a happy, healthy, and productive 2016! I welcome ideas for knitting projects and suggestions, as I dip my toes into writing patterns (pretty roughly) and making new things.

Some projects I have in mind for 2016 include:

  1. Pot holders/trivets
  2. more hats!
  3. An arm-knit blanket or pillow cover
  4. Baby hats and blankets for expecting friends!
  5. Another sweater?

What projects are you casting on in 2016?

 

Cozy 20-minute Arm-Knit Scarf

I can’t believe the holiday season is finally here! I miss all the beautiful fall colors already, and I’m not quite ready for snow. Where did the time go? 2015-10-27 14.05.49

In the meantime there’s been Thanksgiving! I always have a Friendsgiving since I live so far from my family and usually see them at Christmas, so it was fun to see friends again. I never cook the turkey, and only contribute in the form of pie. This year it was the Pecan Pie from Smitten Kitchen.

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While I’ve been meaning to just sit down and brainstorm some knit gifts for the holidays (hats, hats, and more hats!), what I most wanted was a fast and easy project. I’ve heard about arm-knitting before, but I had never learned. I thought it was about time! In less than one episode of Jessica Jones, I whipped up a simple infinity scarf:

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Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in Starlight.arm knit 2

arm knit4To learn, I used this online tutorial from Simply Maggie, but if you are not in to the videos and prefer pictures only, this blog post about arm knitting from Flax and Twine is also great. You’ll notice that most of these scarves double the yarn to create a thicker scarf, using two skeins at once. I only used one skein (and not even the entire ball) for mine, but I liked the looser look of the knit:

arm knit

Yarn: 1 skein Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in Starlight, or another super bulky yarn.

Pattern:

Cast On 8 stitches using long-tail cast on.

Arm-Knit until piece can wrap three times comfortably around your neck, or measures approximately 80 inches.

Cast off, leave about a foot long tail. Use the tail to join the two ends of your scarf (making it an infinity scarf) by sewing the two ends together with the yarn. Weave in remaining ends.

This pattern can be customized to double the yarn or increase the width with the number of stitches. It was a great quick activity and I would totally make it again!

Happy Holidays!!

 

 

Healthy Whole Wheat Strawberry Chia Oat Muffins

Although it’s technically spring, Boston hasn’t caught up with the rest of the world yet, and still thinks it should be snowing. When I woke up to a cold house and a fridge in dire need of restocking, I knew I had to make some kind of hot breakfast item with whatever I had left so I didn’t have to leave the house.

We always buy a carton of strawberries for the week, and we still had a decent number left, but only in okay shape. Combine those with the oats and flour I keep on hand, a bit of almond milk and leftover yogurt, and voila! Some deliciously moist and not-too-unhealthy breakfast muffins.

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I forgot to put it in the picture title, but I added some chia seeds to the batter for extra protein. I am in love with chia seeds, but sadly my husband does not feel the same. He thinks they have a strange texture, and in liquids they do expand and remind me somewhat of slightly crunchy tapioca. I usually put them in my yogurt or oatmeal for breakfast, but if I bake them in something like pancakes or muffins, it disguises the texture and passes husband muster.

I’ve been experimenting with whole wheat flour recipes for baked goods, and this is the first one where I used no regular white flour at all, and still liked the texture! I’m really excited at how these turned out, and definitely would make again.

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For the muffins, Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, line a muffin pan with baking cups, or grease with kitchen spray. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. Chop the strawberries.

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For wet ingredients, first mix greek yogurt and almond milk together until smooth. Add the vanilla and chia seeds, then the egg and coconut oil until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, mixing until just combined. The batter should be wet but not runny. If too dry, add a splash more of almond milk. Then fold in the strawberries.

2015-03-21 10.19.23Once combined, scoop into the muffin cups so that they are just to the to the top. Here is where I like to add a secret ingredient. I sprinkle the top of each muffin with some raw sugar crystals. I use Sugar in the Raw Turbinado Sugar. It gives the muffins a nice sweet crackle and sparkle when they come out of the oven, just that extra something.

Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean or the tops are golden brown.

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If you used muffin cups, let the muffins cool for a few minutes before trying to take the papers off, otherwise they will stick badly to the paper. I ate these straight out of the oven with jam, then snacked on one later after they were totally cool. They were just as delicious and moist as when they were hot out of the oven!

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Whole Wheat Strawberry Chia Oat Muffins:

  • 1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 cup Quick Oats
  • 1 TBSP Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4-1/2 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you like it, i used 1/4)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 3/4 cup Almond Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 TBSP Chia seeds
  • 3 TBSP Coconut Oil, melted
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries

Makes 12 muffins.

For 1 muffin:

  • Calories: 152
  • Total Far: 5g
  • Total Carb: 25g
    • Dietary Fiber: 2g
    • Sugars: 14g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Vitamin C: 13%
  • Calcium: 6%
  • Iron: 4%