Saturday, May 26, 2012

S'mores Waffles

I love waffles.  I've shared several versions of waffles including Banana Maple, and Chocolate Chocolate Chip.  We're camping this weekend and nothing could start a camping weekend off better than S'mores Waffles.

I started with my basic waffle recipe that I shared here.  After folding in the egg whites,

I measured out 2/3 cup of mini marshmallows, 2/3 cup of crushed graham crackers(remember how I said I just bake the scraps instead of rerolling them in my graham cracker recipe post?) and 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips.

Fold all of those into the batter, being careful not to deflate it.

I scoop about a cup into a hot belgian waffle iron for 4 minutes.  I like waffles with a classic drizzle of maple syrup, but WD likes to add chocolate syrup to these.

Thanks for popping in and cooking with me.  Hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bringing the Garden In

Living up north, I'm forced to live vicariously through everyone else's garden blog posts for a couple of months before ours really comes alive.  Plus the extra altitude of living on a hill means that my garden is 2 weeks behind even my BFF's only a couple miles away.  But things are finally looking pretty around here.  Our peonies are just about ready to burst open.

Our rhododendron are in full bloom,

and while our hostas aren't blooming yet, the blooms are never really the star anyway.  It's that lovely variegated foliage that really pretties up our backyard.  Ignore that other sign of spring - the wiffle golf ball.

One of the best parts of having a garden is being able to bring cuttings inside.  I filled an ironstone teapot with bluebells to pretty up my peninsula.

It's not the most ornate vignette, but I love the way the scent of bluebells fill the room.

Thanks for popping in and bringing the outdoors in with me.  I'm linking up to Between Naps on the Porch's Tablescape Thursday.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Homemade Graham Crackers

Every year, we kick off the summer with a weekend camping trip to Darien Lake Theme Park.  Camping means a lot of things to a lot of people(we're tent campers, not glam-pers,) but almost universally it means S'mores.

This s'more was made on my stove, not a campfire, specifically for this post.  Incidentally, in the oft argued gas vs induction debate, no one ever cites the perfectly roasted marshmallow as a reason to use gas, but how would you make indoor s'mores without flame?  I've never been one for the basic traditional s'more.  I bring the traditional Hershey bars, but I also like to bring peanut butter cups and Ghirardelli squares for a more decadent treat.  

Even before going gluten-free, I had a disdain for boxed graham crackers preferring to make s'mores with soft ginger cookies or almond thins.  And in that vein, I decided to make my own graham crackers to bring along this weekend.  I started by whirring together 1 cup light brown sugar, 2/3 cup sorghum flour, 2/3 cup arrowroot starch, 1/3 cup brown rice flour, 1/3 cup white rice flour, 1/3 cup millet flour, 2 tbsps potato starch, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp xanthan gum in my food processor.  I pulsed in a cubed stick of butter.

In a small mixing bowl, I whisked together 1/3 cup honey, 1/4 cup milk, 2 tbsps molasses, and 2 tbsps vanilla extract.

I like using local honey to help inoculate against pollen related allergies.

With the food processor on low, I mixed in the wet ingredients.  I turned the dough out onto a floured board and kneaded it into a ball, then patted it into a rectangle.  Wrap the dough and chill for a few hours in the refrigerator.

Roll out half the dough to 1/8" thickness, and using a pizza wheel, cut into squares.  Prick the dough all over with a fork.  You can gather up the scraps and re-roll them, but I just left them.  Those scraps will be great for s'more's milkshakes or crumbs for cheesecake bases.  Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through.  Immediately after pulling them out of the oven, rescore the lines.

Let cool completely before breaking apart.  Pack in an airtight container.  I had to make that above s'more for blog posting purposes, and it was perfect in it's ooey, gooey, deliciousness.  I can't wait to bust these out around the campfire this weekend.

Thanks for popping in and baking with me.  I'm linking this up to Gluten-Free Homemaker's Gluten-Free Wednesdays and Something Swanky's Sweet Treats Thursdays.

Catch a Glimpse ButtonPhotobucket

Monday, May 21, 2012

Redneck Pool Heater

It was blazing hot this weekend.  The temperature reached 95 on Sunday, and SB and the Princess spent all day in her pool.  Sorry about the crummy phone pic.  Her parents put up her pool this weekend, and filled it with water from their Rinnai on demand water heater.

Our pool is still a frigid 60something.  I've shared pics of the kids playing in our pool here before, and various pool related projects like when I made a DIY buoy line out of a dollar store pool noodle.

See that stone wall back there?  It's holding back the hillside.  Not just any hillside - a heavily wooded hillside.  

I like trees, and the boys enjoy trekking back there with paintball and airsoft guns, but all those trees mean a shaded yard.  And a shaded yard means a cold pool.  We have on the roof solar heaters, but there's only so much they can do with our limited sunlight.  We looked into gas heat, but those things are really expensive.  I checked the webosphere for cheap pool heaters, and that's when I came across the concept of a Redneck Pool Heater.  We had some copper pipe sitting in our garage after we switched to pex tubing when we did our kitchen reno.

It took several evenings and one nasty blistery burn for CG to put ours together.

Voila!  Our very own Redneck Pool Heater.  It sits in our grill, but can be removed when it's done heating up the pool.

And here it is with the lid down.  We tested it out and the water coming out was 7 degrees warmer than the water coming in.

A couple of days with this running continuously, and about 3 propane tanks, and we should be able to start using our pool.  In May.  Craziness.

Thanks for popping in and checking out our new pool heater.
shabby creek cottage

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Tale of Two Shippers

I do a lot of internet purchasing(and yes, I do total it up come tax time for good ol' NYS.)  In the last 3 months, I've bought 2 lax shafts, 1 lax head, several lax shorts, football tickets, CityPass tickets, fishing tackle, some stuff from Williams-Sonoma, and the stuff I'm reviewing on-line.  I've had great experiences, not-so-great experiences, and everything in between.  I thought I'd share a couple of recent on-line purchase experiences, both of which are custom printed products.  First the Good.  I recently ordered several photo books from My Publisher.

My Publisher offers a free program download that makes it extremely easy to put together photo books.  They offer several sizes of books in paperback, hardcover, leather covers, etc.  You can caption and arrange your photos yourself, or let the software do it by chronological order.  I chose to make an A to Z minibook(tiny little 2.5"x3.5" books) of my boys. The software is so easy to use with drag and drop functionality.

I ordered 8 of my minibooks on Thursday May 10th.   The minibooks are only $2.99 each, and shipping for all 8 only added $1.69.  That's 8 minibooks + shipping for less than $30.  They e-mailed an order confirmation at 9:07am.  At 2:15pm, they e-mailed that my order had gone into production, and that it could be seen and tracked on-line.  The next day, May 11th, I received an e-mail that my order had shipped at 10:37am.  I received my package the next day, May 12th.  How sweet is the note on the included invoice?  It's cute and makes me smile.

And now the Bad.  My boys play a lot of sports and I've bought an awful lot of spirit wear throughout the years.  $100 warmups for one season of wrestling?  $45 cross country hoodies? Too many lacrosse shorts to count?  Check, check, and check.  This year's spirit wear flyer came home at the start of the season in March.  The on-line storefront was through Graph-Tex and the website stated that orders would be shipped 3 weeks after the storefront's end date.  The Vestal JV/Varsity Boys Lacrosse storefront would stay open til the last week of March.  I placed my order(for a shooting shirt and shorts,) and my credit card was charged on March 21st.  I received an order confirmation e-mail on the 21st at 8:38am.  And then I waited.

And waited, and waited.  3 weeks had come and gone without an e-mail.  I called on Thursday April 27th, and asked about my order.  The gentleman told me that there had been a delay with the shirts, but that they were being printed as we spoke, and that my order would ship on Friday or Monday.  Still no e-mail, but I had spoken with an actual person, and was confident that my order was on it's way.  Thursday May 3rd a package arrived.  Yay!  But it felt a little small.  Urmm...where are my shorts?
1/2 an order, 0 e-mails.  Very good quality, but questionable customer service.
Friday, May 4th, I called and asked about the shorts.  I was told that he would check on the order, and call me right back.  {Insert Final Jeopardy music}  3 hours later, I was told that there had been a delay in receiving the shorts, and that they were expecting them on Wednesday, and would be putting them into production and shipping them out immediately after receiving them.  More waiting.  Still no e-mails.  Thursday, May 17th(today,)  I called at 9:32am and left a voice mail with my order number asking to be called back.  More waiting.  I called again at 1:18pm and asked about my order.  I was told that they had shipped out on Tuesday and that he would e-mail me tracking information.  He even confirmed my e-mail address from the order information.  It's 4pm and there are still no e-mails. 

 I had mentioned in this last phone call that I understand that some businesses charge your card at the time of the order vs when an item ships.  I'm ok with this, as long as I receive e-mails keeping me in the loop, so that I don't feel like someone has absconded with my money.  If my order will be split up and shipped separately, shoot me an e-mail.  I've bought multiple times from Kohl's, Barnes & Noble,, and the aforementioned Williams-Sonoma when items have shipped separately.  It's not a big deal as long as I'm expecting it.   Incidentally, Graph-Tex is located in Cortland, a 45 minute drive from here.  No package should take more than 2 days to arrive on my door.

So what do you all think?  Is it fair to expect e-mail updates when ordering on-line?  Is 2 months without an e-mail acceptable?  Thanks for popping in and shopping with me.  And check out My Publisher.  These books make great gifts.

*I was not paid or perked in any way for this glowing endorsement of My Publisher.  I'm just really happy with the experience.
*Editorial note* - after going live with this review, I was contacted by a very apologetic Ben Connery at Graph-tex, who refunded my shipping costs, gave me a tracking number, and offered me reasons to believe that this slip up in customer service is not how they like to do business nor is it tolerated.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Knitted Doll Poncho

I haven't posted a knitting project since this baby gift way back in 2010.  It's not because I haven't picked up my knitting needles.  I have.  There have been scarves, vests, tunics, mittens, and fingerless gloves.  But knitting is something I do when I'm waiting to do something else.  My knitting comes with me to doctors' and dentists' offices.  I take it to sports practices, and the long wait for Black Friday deals(incidentally nobody will think of jumping the line in front of someone openly toting sharp metal skewers.)  Plus, there's the whole readership thing.  The only people who will read a knitting post tend to be the few out there who can read the gobbledygook that is a knitting pattern.  Still I bothered to write the pattern down so without further ado - here's the Knitted Doll Poncho.

This poncho will fit an American Girl Doll or Journey Doll or other similarly sized doll.  Remember when the Princess broke her arm back in March?  I kept up a steady stream of conversation to help keep her mind off the pain, and one of the things I said was that I loved her poncho and her Journey doll should have a matching one.
And here's how I made it:

cast on 24 stitches of a basic craft yarn on size 7 needles.
Row 1:  K
Row 2:  P
Row 3:  K3, cable4, K3, cable4, K3, cable4, K3
Row 4:  P
Rows 5-8:  Repeat Rows 1-4
Row 9:  K8, yo, K2tog, K5, yo, K2tog, K7
Row 10:  P
Row 11:  K3, cable4, K1, yo, K2tog, cable4, K1, yo, K2tog, cable4, K3
Row 12:  P
Rows 13-24:  Repeat Rows 1-12
Row 25:  K8, yo, K2tog, K5, yo, K2tog, K7
Row 26:  P
Row 27:  K3, cable4, K3, cable4, K3, cable4, K3
Row 28:  P
Rows 29-32:  Repeat Rows 1-4
Row 33:  K
Row 34:  P
Row 35:  K3, cable4, K1, yo, K2tog, cable4, K1, yo, K2tog, cable4, K3
Row 36:  P
Row 37:  K8, yo, K2tog, K5, yo, K2tog, K7
Row 38:  P
Row 39:  K3, cable4, K3, cable4, K3, cable4, K3
Row 40:  P
Rows 41-44:  Repeat Rows 1-4
Row 45:  K
Bind off

Make 2 of these rectangles and make up the poncho by stitching together the rectangles as below.  Stitching the blue parts together, then the red ones.
Add on some fringe.

And your doll is ready for cooler spring or fall temps.
Thanks for popping in and knitting with me.

Sew Woodsy

Somewhat SimplePhotobucket

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cinnamon Mango Scones

You might have noticed the mangoes in my fruit bowl in my finished kitchen reveal photos.  If I was a professional, I'd have probably replaced those with some bright green apples(and had better lighting, but let's not pile on ;-P)  But the fruit is ever changing in that bowl, and last week it was champagne mangoes.  I used a couple for breakfast the other day to make some Cinnamon Mango Scones.

I started with 2 champagne mangoes.  If I had the larger type of mango, I'd only have used one.

I sliced the flesh of the mango off each side of the pit, and scored through the fruit to the skin diagonally

in both directions to create diamond cubes that I sliced off the skin.  Reserve the fruit while you make the scone batter.

In a medium bowl, I whisked together 2/3 cup sorghum flour, 2/3 cup arrowroot starch, 1/3 cup white rice flour, 1/3 cup brown rice flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp salt.

In a separate bowl, I mixed together 1/3 cup melted coconut oil, 1/4 cup agave nectar, 2 tbsps maple syrup, and 1 tsp vanilla and mixed the wet ingredients into the dry.

Mix in 1/4 cup of hot water and fold in the reserved mango.

Drop by large scoops onto a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Let cool for a few minutes before removing from the baking sheet and enjoying.  These were so moist, not at all like a store bought scone.

Thanks for popping in and baking with me.