Sunday, April 26, 2015

Working off my breakfast

of Mochi Waffles. I did a hour on my mini stepper watching Sunday Morning. Got to work off the carbs but at least it was with kinako--soy bean powder to add a little bit of protein to it. 

I saw a post on Lucky Peach on FB about Poly-Grain Mochi Waffles that I wanted to try with the mochi that my mom sends me for my good luck new year's day mochi soup. 

I'm so lucky my hoarder sensibility made me keep this old waffle make we picked up a flea market. The plates are removable to wash and the hinge are bit adjustable to it help with the hard froze cubes of mochi it put in. It also has temperature gauge from low to high I thought it was nice.
heating up waffle maker
After I heated the waffle maker up, I coated the plates with butter and tossed in the mochi. I wasn't sure how long it would take, so I kept opening to check. 
early in the procces
As it cooked the mochi puffed up more and more and the indent got deeper.
all done
I dressed the waffles with kinako. It's my favorite topping on mochi. I love the slightly sweet roasted nut flavor. I add a little sugar and a pinch of salt to the kinako. It was great, crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. I'm definitely doing this again. Maybe when my parents come up for a visit. If you have waffle maker and some mochi hanging around, this is worth the try.
can't wait to try it!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Spring has Sprung at my House

Testing out camera on loan by friend. Want to get some shots of our food to put up in the window in the front. Need to get use to shooting with it first. Here's what sprung around my house. It's a beautiful day

cherry blossoms
a single daffodil in my hosta patch
more forsythia
chives that come back every year

Friday, April 24, 2015


It's always around this time of year when I start thinking cake but more specifically, birthday cake, MY BIRTHDAY CAKE. Yes, this baker bakes herself a birthday cake. I had big dreams of testing out cakes and fillings to find my favorite combination to create "the birthday cake". But as life moves on, taxes and baking items that others love, took up most of my recipe testing time.

Can't say I didn't test any recipe. I did test the mousse recipe when J was in town for a visit so at least I know I can fiddle with that as filling. And remember last year's cake: lemony white cake recipe from Dorie Greenspan with lemon swiss buttercream and a crown of fresh berries. Here's the link to that post. So I have a couple of ideas.

My love of lilikoi won out this year and I decided to make Earl Grey Tea Cake with lilikoi mousse and cream cheese frosting. 

We end up eating cake at 9:30 in the morning
I slightly adapted the Milk Tea Cupcake recipe from JustJennRecipe. Here's what I adjusted: used 4 tea bags of Stash Double Bergamont Earl Grey Tea, 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla and baked the cake in a two 8" square pans for 30 minutes.

Here's a couple of shots of the great start.

steeping the tea in milk
creaming the butter and sugar to a very light yellow
bake to golden brown
Then drama begins. I think the trouble started with starting the cake too late and not having enough time to cool and chill everything component of this cake before assembly. 

As the cake cooled, I started on the filling lilikoi mousse using the same recipe I tested the raspberry mousse. Here's the link to that post. I was ambitious enough last weekend to make the lilikoi curd. I forgot to take a picture of the mousse on it's own. Here's a picture of the leftover mousse for me and WG.

a beautiful light yellow color
I thought the cake cooled off enough that I decided to take them out of the pans [apparently not]. I buttered and floured the pan but didn't a put a sheet of wax paper on the bottom. I should have known better. The bottom stuck to the pans and needed to puzzle piece them back. I wanted to slice each layer in half but I wasn't sure they would be stable enough as thinner layers. [This where I stopped taking pictures of the steps because I was getting annoyed.] 

To make a long story of my birthday cake disaster short, here quick recap [well as short as I could make it]

  • top layer cracked
  • added mousse layer, use it as glue for the crack
  • chill to set mousse
  • frosted cake
  • realized that the cake was too big for cake box
  • trimmed frosted cake
  • layers begin to slide
  • about to toss the cake on the floor
  • lots of slamming and cursing
  • shoved bamboo skewers in the cake to hold it in place
  • shoved the *%$#^% cake in the refrigerator
  • I'm done for tonight
  • wake up 15 minutes earlier [I already wake up way too early] to get cake ready for travel
  • pull skewers out, last minute touch up to cake
  • add "Happy April" in lilikoi curd to top
  • realize cake too tall for box
  • find a container to bring the cake in
  • add plastic wrap to the top
  • say good by to "Happy April"
Here's rest of pictures I got. Not sure how this cake survived not being thrown in the garbage. But it did and it survived the hour commute on NJ transit and arrived in one piece. That's all I could ask. It tasted great and may make batch for the restaurant. I just have to remember everything is better with some time to chill including the crazy baker.
before the trim and sliding layer disaster
when realize it still was too big for the box

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Donated Yarn Market bags

When you happen to be the office knitter/crocheter, unwanted yarn finds its way to my desk. 

This giant skein of yarn came from a dad at my office. I can only assume it was from school project. Hoping I can make two market bags with it. 
12oz of brown cotton
Not exactly my color, going to try and make it work. I'm thinking of trying my hand at ombré dyeing--a dark navy blue. More to come.
base of the market bag

Friday, April 17, 2015

Stash busting continues

Had a day to myself this past weekend. Should have gone outside to enjoy the sunshine and get some exercise but instead I decided to stay inside and get some finishing work done on projects that have been waiting for me. 

This was a treat to myself for surviving a much stressful week with finishing up my tax prep and a mammogram visit. Just me, my projects and binge watching Orphan Black

Started off finishing off a farmers market net bag. Using scrap cotton yarn, I made bright blue, white, orange and red bag. Use Grrlfriend Market bag by Laura Spradlin. Easy pattern, great looking bag. Thinking of making up another (maybe more) out of some brown cotton that I adopted. Not the nicest color but thinking I may try dyeing an ombre navy over the brown. 

bright and happy and can't wait for the farmers market goods

Remember commute project #2: Seed Stitch Pouch. I added the zipper, lining and zipper pull. Here's a couple of pics of the process.

hand stitching in the pink zipper
zipper in, now to pick out the lining. purple?
or pink with flowers
pink with flowers all pinned in
Wish I added a pocket in the lining but thought about after I got halfway into stitching the lining. Live and learn the next pouch will have one. 

Decided to add some magenta top stitching at the top edge of the lining and the knitted edge of the pouch. Plus I used a one of the crocheted button I made with my Koigu scraps as the button pull. This is a pretty big pouch. More like a clutch. Once I'm totally finish, I'll post that picture of the finish project. Hopefully this weekend. 

I'm also trying to finish up a crocheted basket made with plastic bag strips. Cute little basket. Will try and make basket with t-shirt yarn. I guess this is a the life of an upcycler. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Log Cabin is Done

That is the mystery yarn log cabin blanket is done. Two months shy of year. I think it came out beautiful. Had to buy 2 skeins of yarn for the contrasting border. I did it because I wanted the blanket to be a little bit bigger.

Here's a couple more shots of the blanket before I ship it out to it's new home.
starting the border
close-up of the mystery yarn
border done, ends to weave in