Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Beginning: the 4th Doctor's Scarf

And so it begins - my 4th Doctor scarf!

I chose the season 14 version

Well, it took forever to get started because I restarted a couple times. First time because I had to change a color to one I liked better, the second time because I decided an everyday size would get more use than the actual size, and the last time because I didn't like the needle size. In other word, I was being a picky perfectionist - if you were questioning my type A personality, you probably aren't now.

I took a long time to start this project because finding the right colors was crucial if I wanted colors close to the real 4th Doctor's scarf. I also didn't want to order online, so I had to use what was available locally. Luckily the site I use for my pattern, Witty Little Knitter, has suggestions. Tara Wheeler, the woman who runs the site and put the pattern together, was great enough to list different brands and color suggestions. If you are interested in knitting any 4th Doctor scarf you should check out her site!

I'm using an orange color instead of the red pictured
I chose to use Vanna's Choice yarn. Once I had all my yarn I got started on the pattern.  I am now using size 9 needles after trying 7 and 8s. If I do this again I will most likely use 10s because it seems like my scarf is going to be shorter than I wanted.

Speaking of shorter, I did decrease the pattern in order to make it more everyday friendly.  I decreased the width and all the stripes by 1/3 their original sizes so I could maintain the original proportions as much as possible.

25% done so far! The light in my living room is awful, so the colors are off *sigh*

Need to weave in those tails!

I'll make sure to update my progress bar as I go - in case anyone is interested - but I'll probably only do weekly picture update.

Next up is working on a crafting project for my writing class. I have to do a demonstration;  mine is going to be a freezer paper stencil.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cereal Cookies

The cookie post has finally arrived!

It took so long for me to make this recipe because I didn't have any cookie friendly cereals in my house and then I kept forgetting to buy some.

The cereal cookie recipe is 2 parts - the cereal crunch and the cookie dough. The recipe I used was derived from an interesting one I found in last month's InStyle magazine.  The recipe author uses cereals in different recipes and I thought her cookie one looked really cool.  The picture with the recipe showed whole piece of Cap'n Crunch sticking out - that finalized my plans.  I edited the recipe because I felt it called for way too much of the ingredients for a recipe making 12 cookies.

**Notes: This is a salty & sweet treat. If you don't like the salty and sweet mixed, I would recommend decreasing the salt in the cereal bit and/or dough part. It also came out very buttery/oily.  I'll probably cut the butter next time. 3/4-1 stick in the bits and 1 1/2 in the batter.
The original said it was for 12 cookies, but I ended up with 17 large cookies and 1 tiny baby cookie.

The cereal bits:

Watch for sneaky fingers - this stuff will disappear, eaten by nibblers

* The following measurements made much more than I needed, but I saved it because I think it might be good with some ice cream

4 cups Cap'n Crunch (off brand is fine off course, I used it)
3 to 4 cups Fruity Pebbles (again, off brand is fine)
1 stick of unsalted butter (8 Tbsp)
4 tbsp nonfat dry milk powder
1 1/3 tsp salt

1) Preheat oven to 250 degrees F
2)Melt butter in bowl using microwave. 45 to 50 secs will usually get it done.
3) In separate bowl mix all the dry other ingredients
4) Add butter to dry ingredients & toss to coat
4) Cover baking sheet w/ parchment paper or aluminum foil
5) Layer cereal mix on baking sheet
6) Bake for 35 - 40 minutes


* The magazine recipe called for 2/3 cup granulated sugar and 3/4 light brown sugar, but I ran out of white

2 sticks of unsalted butter (16 Tbsp) at room temperature
1/3 cup white granulated sugar
3/4 cup + 1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Cereal bits

1) In a mixer or with hand mixer, beat butter and sugar (white and brown) until creamy and fluffy
2) Add vanilla and egg, blend in
3) Add remaining cereal, fold in by hand so the pieces don't get too broken up - I wanted to be able to see the normal shape of the cereal pieces
4) Roll dough into balls of the same size and place on a baking sheet. Bigger the ball, thicker the cookie. Space out so cookies have room to spread as they cook (unless you want a giant cookie sheet).
5) Refrigerate for 1 hour
6) Preheat over to 350 degrees F
7) Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown
8) Cool.

Again, the original recipe that I altered was done by a chef interviewing with InStyle. If you want the original look for last month's issue of InStyle or check there website.

Now go enjoy some cookies!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Sorry still no cookies. I actually went to the grocery store and forgot my list for the recipe. *sigh* I made another trip though, so here should be a cookie post in the next couple of days.

For my cooking lovers I offer something different.
Last week there were no family dinner plans, so I went through the fridge and pantry to see what I could whip up. I'd always wanted to try to cook a simplified version of authentic, not instant, ramen (google pictures of it if you've don't know anything about it).  I was successful in scrounging up some usable ingredients.

My dinner:

Please excuse my lack of measurements. I eye-balled as I cooked and used my personal taste. This is also my first recipe with no base recipe used, so I'm not really sure how to explain everything in the best, easiest to understand manner.

Ingredients: Recipe made 5 servings - honestly, it depends on how much you eat in one serving though
3 cups beef broth
about 1 lb of beef (I had stir fry quality beef on hand)
2 packs of instant ramen noodles (don't need seasoning packs)
Soy Sauce
Garlic, minced
White mushrooms
Canola oil
Frozen green peas, cooked
Canned baby corn
Nori (dried seaweed), cut into pieces
Imitation crab meat strips, cut into small strips
white pepper
ground ginger
minced dried onion

1) Boil water for ramen in a sauce pan (size depends on how much you are making)
2) In large pot, heat oil over medium heat
3) Add garlic, about 1.5 teaspoons or to your taste preference, and small package of pre-sliced mushrooms
4) Saute mushrooms and garlic until mushrooms are cooked - soft and a golden color
5) In skillet, heat canola oil over medium heat.
6) Add beef, cook until done (depending on how you like your beef). Set beef aside.
7) Optional: Save beef juice for broth
5) Add beef broth to pot w/ garlic and mushrooms, let it simmer
6) Add about 3/4 teaspoon of ground ginger, 1 tsp minced dried onion, salt and pepper to taste
7) Mix in the spices, add about 2 tablespoons of soy sauce.
8) Optional: stir in beef juice
9) Stir and keep on low-medium heat
8) Water should be boiling, add instant ramen noodles and follow cooking time instructions on the package.
9) After noodle cook, DO NOT add the seasoning packets. Drain the noodles. Set aside.
10) Take broth off heat. Serve ramen.

I put all the vegetable and protein (crab and beef) on top like ramen you see in pictures. This also helped feed everyone, since my family all like different veggies and toppings.
NOTE: Toppings can be added and subtracted based on what you like.

In a bowl I put in noodles, then poured over broth (with mushrooms) until noodles were about 3/4 covered. On top I put slices of beef, crab, corn, peas, and seaweed in sections on top.

I hope that was at least partially decipherable.

Howl & Sophie

My Cross-stitch project is complete!!

Late last spring I found a ton of free cross-stitch patterns based off anime shows and films. They were all created by a screen name littlemojo, but, unfortunately, her site was no longer up and working.  A bunch of fans shared the patterns they had saved, but, on another unfortunate note, those websites are no longer running. Luckily I was able to pull a few before everything disappeared.

I am a huge Studio Ghibli fan, so I chose Howl's Movie Castle as my first project's theme.  The pattern is a movie still of Sophie and Howl with the background removed; it is from the beginning of the film if you are wondering.

This was the first cross-stitch of this scale that I have completed.  Usually, I just stick to small Christmas ornaments - easy and quick.  This is 151 x 91 stitches; it took me about 4 months to complete if I take out all the months I wasn't able to work on it.

Here is the halfway (-ish) mark:

The Completed Piece (Victory!):


I really love this pattern, so I decided to keep it, instead of gifting it like I often do with my crafts.  There is a special in town for cross-stitching and framing, so I'll probably go by there in the near future to get it backed and framed.

If you are interested in this pattern or patterns from this genre of entertainment, leave me a comment and I'll try to help you find what you are looking for.

Movie Side Note: If you like animation and fantasy, this is a beautiful and great film that you should see. It is actually based on children's book. I recommend the book as well. The two mediums differ greatly, but this is a case where neither is less satisfying because they are both great enough to stand alone and have their different stories.

Next crafting related post will be about the start of the formidable Doctor Who scarf. Actually, it isn't that formidable anymore now that I've edited the pattern for everyday wear. Expect it in the next couple of days Doctor Who fans.