Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Gratitude 20131231

~Progress on crochet

~Good Kiddo time
~Office closing early
~lovely visit with an old friend last night
~fun NYE party tonight

Monday, December 30, 2013

Gratitude 20131230

>>waking up early enough to write morning pages
>>yarn therapy

>>picking up library holds that include...
>>my first book for the Postal Reading Challenge!
>>fabulous (too-brief!) visit with an old friend

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Creative Every Day 2014

I have the unfortunate tendency to put off doing things that are just for me, even simple little things like taking a few minutes to knit, or stopping to take snapshots of something that catches my eye, or taking a bit of time to dance or sing. I'm not amazingly good at any of these things, which is fine. The point is to create, regardless of the result. For one thing, no one is an amazing painter their first time taking up a brush. More importantly, there's a lot of merit in creating for the sake of the doing, regardless of the result.

To help me remember to do more of the creative stuffs I love, I've signed up for the Creative Every Day challenge for 2014. It's a gently encouraging challenge, more about the doing than specific results. I've not decided exactly how often I'll report in. I'm inclined to note each day's creative endeavor in my daily gratitude list, then do a weekly check in post with more details and thoughts. One way or another, I'll post about the process here :)

There will be fun overlap between this and the Postal Reading Challenge, as I plan to make postcards to mail, and maybe some other mail art :)

I am right excited about this challenge!

Gratitide 20131229

♣ looking forward to dinner with an old friend on Monday :)
♣ listening to podcasts while knitting
♣ sewing up a basic doll for a friend to paint (I forgot to take a picture! Will share one once I've got one)
♣ then hanging out with the aforementioned friend for a while
♣ taking a nap
♣ getting to the library just in time to pick up my holds before it closed
♣ getting the first comment on this blog! I am inordinately pleased by this :)
♣ the rain stopping so I'll only have one sopping wet doggie walkie today

Friday, December 27, 2013

Spiced Cider Muffins

I decided to make these spiced cider muffins, with minor changes. I don't own a mini muffin pan*, so these went in regular pans.  Tiredness precluded the final dip in butter and spiced sugar. I'll include that step in a future iteration. :) I made honey butter** to go with.

Total success :) They're yummy, light, and satisfying, especially with a hit of honey butter.

While the muffins baked, I did a bit if research into Chai tea. I need to make a pot of Hathi's Chai tea! Actually, I think I need a house elf to come to my house every morning before work and make this for me. 

I wanted to bake tonight, but fatigue reined in my enthusiasm.  I'll enjoy the anticipation of future baking instead :)  

On a totally different note - look at the tableau I found stepping out my front door early this morning! You'll have to imagine the bracing air and smell of winter  

*a tragedy I hope to correct some day

**1 part honey, 4 parts butter, dash of cinnamon, tiny sprinkle of salt, let butter get to room temp then whisk everything together. If it's cold in your house, you can warm the butter a tiny, tiny bit, just make sure it doesn't melt at all.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Gratitude 20131226

♠ Dude! I feel motivated! This is awesome
♠ today's Daily Science Fiction story!!! I'll post a link once it's on the website
♠ the Peanut Butter Delights came out very nicely
♠ I feel all cozy in my knit skirt and twin set
♠ noticing tree details via my camera

♠ I can easily blog again! Like, all the time and stuff!
♠ Spiced Cider Muffins with honey butter :) Will post about them tomorrow, once I see if they appeal to others. 

♠ Possibly getting to see an old friend, if schedules can be made to match

Peanut Butter Delights - results!

These came out delicious! They're like the love child of chocolate and a granola bar :) I am totally making these again. Next time I'll let the batter sit and cool a bit before spooning it out - the last ones poured from this batch had a better texture.

There's only a couple left from last night's batch. Yay! They were liked! The down side is that I have to resist those last delights if I'm going to find if/how the texture stands up to storage. Thankfully, I am willing to suffer for my (culinary) art :)

I am so glad I avoided cutting them into bars! I tried cutting one in half - total, delicious mess.

Here's my ideas (so far!) for variations:
~add dried fruit
~add crushed candy canes
~use almond or cashew butter
~use other rolled grains (wheat flakes would work. Corn Flakes would not)
~add sunflower seeds
~add peppermint oil or peppermint extract

What variation of Peanut Butter Delights do you want to try?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Peanut Butter Delights

Since I work in an office and enjoy baking, I bring treats to work on special occasions. Tomorrow I'll bring in some Peanut Butter Delights, aka Peanut Butter Chocolate No-Bake Cookies. I found the recipe in several different places online; I linked to the Cooks.com recipe because it has that handy Printer Friendly button right there at the top :)

Other recipes suggested dropping spoonfuls of the batter onto parchment paper, so that's what I planned to do. I don't trust my ability to cut them into squares without making a mess. So, I melted the butter, put the milk, sugar, and cocoa powder* into the pan, then went to lay out aluminum foil to receive the aforementioned spoonfuls.

Yes, that bit of foil is as tiny as you think it is. No, I don't have parchment paper to use instead

However! I was not daunted! Much!

While I waited for the mixture in the pan to boil, I decided to use silicone muffin cups. It should only affect the shape of the final product; given the ingredients they're bound to be tasty! I'll report in tomorrow with the final results :)

*I realized while typing this sentence that I forgot to put in the vanilla extract. D'oh!

Gratitude 20131225

♥ leaving work at 2 yesterday
♥ Hanging a little butterfly wind chime in my office
♥ the ginger snaps came out very nicely
♥ getting some brain power back after being sick - I feel creative and smart and stuff!
♥ lovely Xmas morning opening presents with family
♥ deciding to do something create every day in 2014
♥ Dude! I made a blog, and have plans for it and stuff!
♥ warm, handmade slippers

♥ hot tea on a cold day

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

2014 Postal Reading Challenge

I've decided to take up the The 2014 Postal Reading Challenge Yay!!

I adore epistolary novels, love to read in general, and have long wanted to both write more book reviews and send more post. I even have a 2013 picture calendar that would much rather be turned into postcards than just get recycled :) Given all that, I'm going for the Air Mail Express level. Squee!

Anyone interested in recieving a postcard made from the 2013 Biltmore Estate calendar? Most will be directly cut out of the calendar pages, but others will be more mail-arty :) I aim to turn the entire calendar into postal mail of some sort.

On a barely related note, I only just now realized that The Indextrious Reader is also a BlogSpot URL - we're blog platform siblings!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Gratitude 20131223

Gratitude List: 
1. Wearing one of the pretty scarves I've been given :)
2. Library books about origami
3. Lunch at 5 Guys with my nephew and 
brother this weekend
4. Visiting the library is an important part of Kiddo visiting with his Dad
5. Finding a pad of lovely 6X6 paper in the scrapbook aisle at a fraction of the cost of origami paper
6. Baking

7. Easily putting photos into posts

8. Being able to post or draft posts from my iPod touch, then edit at a computer with a proper keyboard

Rainbow Connection!

I saw a rainbow this morning. Just as I unlocked my office door, I saw more light in the sky than the clouds should have allowed - there had to be a break in the clouds on the other side of the building. I dashed back outside just in time to see a beautiful pale rainbow. It lit up the gray sky for less than a minute, but it still painting color across the gray in my psyche :)