14 October 2019

New Super Cozy Fall-Winter Sweater Pattern with Customizable Collar (Boatneck, Turtleneck or asymmetric folded collar)

Pattern Available on Amazon or Ravelry






A quick and easy pattern for a long-sleeved tunic sweater with positive ease. Fit is loose throughout the waist and hip. Arms are slightly tapered and long. The majority of the sweater is done with basic double-crochet stitches.  The long-sleeves taper to the ends and additional rows of ribbing are added to both wrists and the bottom perimeter of the sweater. The pattern provides instructions for a boatneck, turtleneck, or loose fold-over asymmetric collar. An easy weekend project that will provide a great sweater for a cold fall or winter day.

Item pictured is a size large.  Pattern written in US terminology.

Pattern Available on Amazon or Ravelry

Crochet Hook Set Used: 




Yarn:

12 October 2019

New Pumpkin Spice Lace Crochet Motif Sweater Top Pattern



New Pumpkin Spice Sweater Top - Seamless Lace Crochet Motif Pattern.
A great year-round sweater.  Pattern includes instruction for a short sleeved version with boatneck top or a long-sleeved version with short, collared neckline.  A wonderfully versatile, loose-fitting top that will be a great addition to the wardrobe.

Available on Amazon as a kindle or paperback.
Available on Ravelry

09 October 2019

Vanilla - Ginger Macarons. Yummy After-School Snack.

Today’s After-School Snack.





Vanilla-Ginger Macarons.  So delicious!

Vanilla-Ginger Macarons

Dry ingredients.
In one bowl mix:
1 cup almond flour
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp powdered ginger

Sift the dry ingredients through a sieve, or aerate with food processor to remove clumps.

In a separate medium-sized bowl make the meringue mixture.
You’ll need:
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sugar

Add the vinegar and vanilla to the egg whites. Whip until frothy.  Slowly add sugar, one tsp at a time, while continuing to beat egg whites until stiff peaks are formed about 3-5 minutes. 

When meringue mixture is done, sprinkle 1/2 of dry mix over the meringue and gentle fold the dry mix into the meringue using a rubber spatula.  Be careful not to deflate the meringue. Sprinkle other half of dry mix onto the meringue. Continue to fold the dry mix into the meringue mixture. The macaron mixture is done when the batter is thick and “lava like”.  It should fall off the rubber spatula in a thick ribbon and begin to self-level after about 20 seconds.  If the batter “ribbon” is still thick or bumpy, fold the batter a few more times.  Do NOT over mix.  It is better to undermix than overmix the batter.  

Pipe the macarons onto a silicone macaron template, or onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. About 1.25” rounds work well. Place them about an inch apart to allow them to expand. Tap the tray onto the countertop or tap the bottom of the tray with your hand to remove air bubbles.

Let sit for 30-60 mins until the shells are dry to the touch. You may need to set in oven or put a fan on in the kitchen during the resting period to avoid the effects of humidity. The cookie shells are ready to bake when you can touch the cookie and no batter sticks to your finger.  If you do not allow proper resting time, your cookies will not rise and create the “feet” that are such an identifiable feature of a macaron. While the cookies are resting, preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

During the resting period, begin the filling:

Vanilla ginger buttercream filling.
You’ll need:
4tbsp butter softened
1 tbsp cream
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp powdered ginger 


Whip butter and vanilla until creamy. Add powdered sugar and ginger and mix until smooth. Finally add the cream and mix until a light and fluffy filling is created.  Spoon into a piping bag with a round tip and set in the fridge to chill slightly.

When the macarons are dry to the touch, bake one tray at a time for 12-15 minutes in a 300 degree preheated oven. The cookies are done if they lift easily off the mat or parchment when cooled. If they are still moist or sticky, bake a couple more minutes or let them sit in the warm oven for a few additional minutes.

Remove the filling from the fridge to soften slightly while the shells cool. Let the macaron shells cool completely before adding the filling.  Pair the macaron shells by matching sizes. Pipe a small amount of filling on one shell.  Gently twist the top shell onto the bottom shell to evenly distribute the filling around the shell.

Place the macarons into an airtight container and place in the refrigerator.  Allow the cookies to refrigerate at least 24 hrs for the flavors and textures to meld together.


Enjoy!

Materials Used:
These are the actual items that I used. You can use parchment paper in place of the silicone mats and you can use a plastic ziplock type bag in place of the pastry bag.

 
I participate in the Amazon Services Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Online Shopping for Electronics, Apparel, Computers, Books & more, and affiliated sites.

I purchased the above items at full-price. I did not receive a discount or a promotional credit in exchange for my post. I'm simply linking to the items that I actually bought and used in this recipe in case others might be interested.

22 September 2019

The Weekender Easy Long-Sleeved V-neck Sweater

The Weekender Easy Long-Sleeved V-Neck Sweater Pattern is now available.

My daughter requested a couple new sweaters. Here’s what I came up with …..
The red used Loops and Threads Soft and Shiny in Red with crochet hook 5.5mm. It is this sweater from which I wrote the pattern. (Also available on Amazon.)
I then modified the pattern to make the greyish-green one using super-chunky Bernat Velvet. For the gray sweater, I switched to a crochet hook of 8mm and modified the gauge given the thicker yarn.




18 September 2019

Starflake Tunic Tank Top (Pretty White Lace Top)


The newest lace piece "Starflake Tunic Tank Top" seamless lace crochet motif pattern is now available on Ravelry. (Available on Amazon as well.)









Flourless Chocolate Kahlua Cake

4 oz 100% cacao unsweetened chocolate 
( I used the premium baking bar by Ghirardelli)
1/2 c chocolate chips
1/2 c cocoa powder ( I used two packets of nestle hot cocoa mix)
2/3 c sugar
8tbs butter
1/4 c kahlua liqueur 
4 eggs
1/4 tsp pink Himalayan salt

For topping (optional):
Powdered sugar for dusting 
Chocolate syrup ( I used Torani spicy dark chocolate)

Using a microwave or double-boiler, melt unsweetened chocolate, chocolate chips and butter.  Stir until smooth.

In separate bowl, whisk together the 4 eggs. Add the sugar, cocoa powder and salt.  Continue to whisk until fluffy and thickened (about 6 minutes). 

Fold the melted chocolate into the whipped egg mixture. Finally stir in the kahlua.

Pour the cake batter into a cake pan.  An 8” inch springform pan or 8” bundt pan works well.  Bake at 300 degrees for about 45 minutes.  The top of the cake will form a thin crust, but the inside will stay moist.

To prevent the bottom from burning, you can bake the cake in a water bath if you prefer.

When the cake is done, remove it from the oven and let cool in the pan for at least 15 mins.  Loosen the edges with a silicon scraper. Place the cake on a plate and remove the springform mold, or invert onto the plate.

Dust the top with powdered sugar and then drizzle with chocolate syrup.

Enjoy!

16 August 2019

Snickerdoodle Macarons

Other recipes and pictures: 

Snickerdoodle Macarons


Dry ingredients.
In one bowl mix:
1 cup almond flour
1 cup powdered sugar
Pinch salt

Sift the dry ingredients through a sieve, or aerate with food processor to remove clumps.

In a separate medium-sized bowl make the meringue mixture.
You’ll need:
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp white vinegar
1/4 cup cinnamon sugar (or 1/4 c granulated sugar mixed with. 1 tbsp of cinnamon)

Add the vinegar to the egg whites. Whip until frothy. Slowly add cinnamon sugar, one tsp at a time, while continuing to beat egg whites until stiff peaks are formed about 3-5 minutes.

When meringue mixture is done, sprinkle 1/3 of dry mix over the meringue and gentle fold the dry mix into the meringue using a rubber spatula. Be careful not to deflate the meringue. Sprinkle another third of dry mix onto the meringue. Continue to fold the dry mix into the meringue mixture. Add the last third of dry mix and fold gently to incorporate the dry ingredients. The macaron mixture is done when the batter is thick and “lava like”. It should fall off the rubber spatula in a thick ribbon and begin to self-level after about 20 seconds. If the batter “ribbon” is still thick or bumpy, fold the batter a few more times. Do NOT over mix. It is better to undermix than overmix the batter.

Pipe the macarons onto a silicone macaron template, or onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. About 1.25” rounds work well. Place them about an inch apart to allow them to expand. Tap the tray onto the countertop or tap the bottom of the tray with your hand to remove air bubbles.

Let sit for 30-60 mins until the shells are dry to the touch. You may need to set in oven or put a fan on in the kitchen during the resting period to avoid the effects of humidity. The cookie shells are ready to bake when you can touch the cookie and no batter sticks to your finger. If you do not allow proper resting time, your cookies will not rise and create the “feet” that are such an identifiable feature of a macaron. While the cookies are resting, preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

During the resting period, begin the filling:

Vanilla buttercream filling.
You’ll need:
4tbsp butter softened
1 tbsp cream
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/4 cup powdered sugar


Whip butter and vanilla until creamy. Add powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Finally add the cream and mix until a light and fluffy filling is created. Spoon into a piping bag with a round tip and set in the fridge to chill slightly.

When the macarons are dry to the touch, bake one tray at a time for 12-15 minutes in a 300 degree preheated oven. The cookies are done if they lift easily off the mat or parchment when cooled. If they are still moist or sticky, bake a couple more minutes or let them sit in the warm oven for a few additional minutes.

Remove the filling from the fridge to soften slightly while the shells cool. Let the macaron shells cool completely before adding the filling. Pair the macaron shells by matching sizes. Pipe a small amount of filling on one shell. Gently twist the top shell onto the bottom shell to evenly distribute the filling around the shell.

Place the macarons into an airtight container and place in the refrigerator. Allow the cookies to refrigerate at least 24 hrs for the flavors and textures to meld together.


Enjoy!

Note: I placed them in an ice cube tray to cool again after adding the vanilla creme filling.


Materials Used:
These are the actual items that I used. You can use parchment paper in place of the silicone mats and you can use a plastic ziplock type bag in place of the pastry bag.


I participate in the Amazon Services Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Online Shopping for Electronics, Apparel, Computers, Books & more, and affiliated sites.

I purchased the above items at full-price. I did not receive a discount or a promotional credit in exchange for my post. I'm simply linking to the items that I actually bought and used in this recipe in case others might be interested.

17 July 2019

New Crochet Pattern : Cascading Cardigan Vest Lace Crochet Pattern


A "one-size-fits-most" seamless lace crochet pattern for a long, asymmetric cardigan vest with halter back. The garment, as shown, drapes 56" in the front and then drapes 22" in the back leaving a 15" back opening. A wonderfully versatile piece that can be worn in many ways. Looks great over a tank top with skinny jeans, leggings or shorts for a fun summer outfit. Or, layer over longer sleeves on a cooler day. Great layering piece to add a dressy overlay to an otherwise casual look. Very comfortable and easy to make.
Garment used 8 skeins of Cascade Yarns Peach Pearl Ultra Pima 100% Cotton Yarn. 






Materials Used:
  

29 June 2019

Green Tea Vanilla Macaron Recipe





Other recipes and pictures: 
Green Tea & Honey Macaron Recipe

Green Tea Vanilla Macarons

Dry ingredients.
In one bowl mix:
1 cup almond flour
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp matcha powder
Pinch salt

Sift the dry ingredients through a sieve, or aerate with food processor to remove clumps.

In separate medium-sized bowl make the meringue mixture.
You’ll need:
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp white vinegar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Green food coloring (optional)

Whip egg whites until frothy.  Slowly add sugar, one tsp at a time, while continuing to beat egg whites until stiff peaks are formed about 3-5 minutes. Add one drop of food color if desired and mix until desired color is achieved.

When meringue mixture is done, sprinkle 1/3 of dry mix over the meringue and gentle fold the dry mix into the meringue using a rubber spatula.  Be careful not to deflate the meringue. Sprinkle another third of dry mix onto the meringue. Continue to fold the dry mix into the meringue mixture.  Add the last third of dry mix and fold gently to incorporate the dry ingredients. The macaron mixture is done when the batter is thick and “lava like”.  It should fall off the rubber spatula in a thick ribbon and begin to self-level after about 20 seconds.  If the batter “ribbon” is still thick or bumpy, fold the batter a few more times.  Do NOT over mix.  It is better to undermix than overmix the batter.  

Pipe the macarons onto a silicone macaron template, or onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. About 1.25” rounds work well. Place them about an inch apart to allow them to expand. Tap the tray onto the countertop or tap the bottom of the tray with your hand to remove air bubbles.

Let sit for 30-60 mins until the shells are dry to the touch. The cookie shells are ready to bake when you can touch the cookie and no batter sticks to your finger.  If you do not allow proper resting time, your cookies will not rise and create the “feet” that are such an identifiable feature of a macaron. While the cookies are resting, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

During the resting period, begin the filling:

Green tea vanilla buttercream filling.
You’ll need:
4tbsp butter softened
1 tbsp cream
1 tsp Vanilla
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp matcha powder.

Whip butter until creamy. Add powdered sugar and matcha powder and mix until smooth. Finally add the cream and vanilla and mix until a light and fluffy filling is created.  Spoon into a piping bag with a round tip and set in the fridge to chill.

When the macarons are dry to the touch, bake one tray at a time for 12-15 minutes in a 325 degree preheated oven (or 295 convection setting). The cookies are done if they lift easily off the mat or parchment when cooled. If they are still moist or sticky, bake a couple more minutes or let them sit in the warm oven for a few additional minutes.

Remove the filling from the fridge to soften slightly while the shells cool. Let the macaron shells cool completely before adding the filling.  Pair the macaron shells by matching sizes. Pipe a small amount of filling on one shell.  Gently twist the top shell onto the bottom shell to evenly distribute the filling around the shell.

Place the macarons into an airtight container and place in the refrigerator.  Allow the cookies to refrigerate at least 24 hrs for the flavors and textures to meld together.

Enjoy!

Materials Used:
These are the actual items that I used. You can use parchment paper in place of the silicone mats and you can use a plastic ziplock type bag in place of the pastry bag.


I participate in the Amazon Services Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Online Shopping for Electronics, Apparel, Computers, Books & more, and affiliated sites.

I purchased the above items at full-price. I did not receive a discount or a promotional credit in exchange for my post. I'm simply linking to the items that I actually bought and used in this recipe in case others might be interested.

07 June 2019

Update:: Crochet Pattern Purchase Information : Ravelry & Amazon



You can now find my patterns on Ravelry! In addition to the design portfolio, I have also set up a group forum (visible to registered users) where people can ask questions about the patterns, and showcase their completed projects from the patterns.  I look forward to seeing what folks contribute to the forum.

My patterns continue to be available on Amazon as well.  Here you can find both ebook (color) & paperback (trade-size b/w).

New patterns will be made available over the summer as time permits.


05 June 2019

Skinny Meringue foam: My healthier low-calorie version of the Starbucks Cloud foam



I was thrilled to see that Starbuck's added a new line of coffee drinks inspired by the delicious Spanish drink "Leche Merengada".  The leche merengada is a meringue milk flavored with cinnamon and lemon.  It is popular in Spain, especially in the summer, as a cold drink or made into an ice cream or gelato.

Starbuck's refers to their espresso meringue powder milk foam drink as the "Cloud Macchiato". They offer it in caramel or cinnamon.  The cinnamon version is more like the traditional Spanish drink in that the drink is flavored with a cinnamon & lemon flavored syrup.

Both of the drinks are very sweet.  Too sweet for my liking. Even if I ask for just one pump of the syrup, it is still very sweet for me. So, I was on the quest for a skinny, low-fat version of the drink that I could make at home. I love the thick foam, but I prefer to have less sugary drinks that let the rich taste of the espresso flavor the foam.

My goal was to get the same thick meringue foam, but with much less sugar and fat.  I opted to substitute honey for the flavored syrup and tested out using meringue powder, egg white powder, or a combination of both, to make the meringue foam. 

So, I experimented with Wilton's Meringue Powder and Judee's Dried Egg White Powder . Both whip up great peaked meringue foam with just water as the liquid ingredient. You can, of course, choose another liquid.  But, I wouldn't recommend anything heavy like whole milk or half/half.  They will weigh down the meringue and you won't get the beautiful shiny peaks.  I actually whipped them up with just water and was thrilled with the result.  Again, my goal was to cut calories and sugar.

Both products whipped up great. But, when looking over the ingredients, the meringue powder has quite a bit of extra ingredients and has more calories than the plain egg whites.  The egg white powder has only one ingredient: dried egg whites.  


Nutritional Info on the Meringue Powder.

Nutritional Facts on the Egg White Powder. (This is the one I preferred.)


CHAI::


The first drink I made was for my daughter who loves chai more than espresso.  To make the foam, I used

1/2 tsp meringue powder
1/2 tsp egg white powder
1/4 c water

Mixed with an electric whisk for about 2.5 minutes and got this wonderfully thick foam.

This quantity would work well for a large 12-16 oz. glass, or 2 smaller 6-8 oz. glasses.



Meringue foam from 1/2 tsp of each of the powders and 1/4 cup of water. 


I made her a drink with:

2 oz of chai concentrate
4 oz of 2% milk 
ice cubes

I topped with the foam and then sprinkled cinnamon and drizzled with raw local honey. Total calories = about 130.

Iced Chai with Meringue Foam


The foam held up incredibly well.  Still foamy well after the drink was finished!

ESPRESSO ::

For me, I love espresso.  So, I made a test batch for a small one-shot iced espresso with meringue foam. I topped with cinnamon and a drizzle of honey.  To cut down on calories and sugar content, I didn't use the meringue powder or any milk product. I used just the egg white powder with water and vanilla.  My drink had only 15-20 calories.

For my low-calorie, low-sugar meringue foam "cloud" iced espresso, I used**:

1 tsp egg white powder
1/4 cup of water (you can substitute with low-fat or skim milk, or almond milk, etc.)
1/8 tsp vanilla (optional)

I whipped this for about 2.5 minutes with an electric whisk.  

(**Note:This made too much foam for just my small 6 oz. cappuccino glass. You can easily cut this down to 1/2 tsp powder and 1/8 cup of water for just one serving and a splash of vanilla.) 

Poured one shot of espresso over ice and topped with the foam.  I then sprinkled the foam with cinnamon and a drizzle of raw local honey. (If you prefer a sweeter drink, consider adding a little honey to the espresso before you top with the foam. The foam is so thick that the honey stays on top.)


Meringue foam from 1 tsp egg white powder and 1/4 cup of water (before adding vanilla)

Iced espresso with meringue foam cinnamon and honey
The foam was so thick that the espresso wasn't even coming through the foam.  I took a spoon and stirred the foam into the espresso to flavor the foam a little more.  The foam stayed incredibly thick.  In fact, the foam lasted longer than the drinks and the ice cubes.  Even two hours later and the foam still has it's shape! Eventually it will separate, but it holds its shape incredibly well.


If you prefer a sweeter coffee, add a little honey to the espresso before you top with the foam.  I personally like my sweetness to stay on the foam, so I prefer to drizzle the foam with the honey.

UPDATE (My favorite so far for iced coffee):



Update on a sweeter version more similar to a Leche Merengada flavored foam.  Today, I made the meringue foam and flavored it with a tsp of lemonade and cinnamon.  It was delicious on iced espresso.  Here’s what I used for one serving:

1/2 tsp egg white powder
1/4 c of water
Drop of vanilla
1/2 tsp sugar 
1tsp lemonade
Cinnamon (to taste)

Espresso
Milk or cream (if desired)

Add the egg white powder, water and vanilla to a medium sized mixing bowl. Whipped with handmixer for about two minutes until peaks formed.  I then sprinkled the top of the meringue with the sugar and mixed until the sugar was incorporated.  I then added a the lemonade and sprinkled the top of the meringue with cinnamon and mixed with the hand mixer a little more until the meringue was smooth, peaked and cloud-like.

Added one shot of espresso to a glass of ice.  Poured a tiny bit of half & half over the espresso to give a cascading effect and then topped with the foam.  Delicious! Calories were about 70. 


Alternatively: (note that this has higher sugar content and calories)
If you'd like to make the foam more like a traditional leche merengada. Make a lemon-cinnamon syrup by boiling water with sugar, a cinnamon stick and a little lemon zest. Boil until the mixture thickens.  Let cool.   Add this syrup to your coffee drink instead of the honey.

YUM!!!

Ingredients and Utensils used: (The litte frother was use to froth the chai. It is not strong enough to whisk the egg whites. I needed the electric hand mixer with whisk attachment for the egg whites.)




I participate in the Amazon Services Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Online Shopping for Electronics, Apparel, Computers, Books & more, and affiliated sites.