Monday, September 24, 2018

Muffin Monday in the fall

It is now officially the autumn, or fall, or Indian summer. The temperatures here have dropped away from summer, practically overnight... but this is not a weather blog!

Nor is it a baking blog just yet, but today is Muffin Monday so let's talk about muffins.

Before I went to California I bought a litre of buttermilk. It sat in the fridge for a week and then when I came back I looked for a way to use a lot of it at once. I could have made a few batches of Choco-Wheat Germ muffins, but I decided to make a "refrigerator batch" of bran muffins. This recipe makes about 3 dozen muffins, but you can keep the batter in your fridge for a couple of weeks, just spooning out what you need when friends pop by or for a special breakfast.

Oh, hello, let me just pop these muffins in the oven

I got sick of having a large bowl of batter in my fridge in a couple of days! It takes up a lot of room!

But the muffins were good and I now have a couple of dozen in the freezer.

For your information:
Moist Bran Muffins by Joan and Marilyn

1 cup shortening or margarine
2 cups white sugar (or 1/2 cup molasses and 1.25 cups of sugar)
2 cups natural bran
4 eggs
3 cups buttermilk
1 Tbsp baking powder
3.75 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking soda
1/2 cup hot water

In a very large bowl, cream shortening and sugar.
Stir in bran, eggs, buttermilk, baking powder and flour.
Dissolve soda in hot water, pour on top of first mixture.
After one minute, mix together.
Cover and keep cool in fridge for 24 hours before baking.
Batter will keep up to two weeks in fridge.

Tip: Add one cup or more of cut-up dates or raisins or currants or prunes.

Bake at 375° F for 20-25 minutes. Makes 3 dozen muffins.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Three pictures or maybe more

I was so sure I would get a ton of knitting done on this last trip.

Here we have the "before" picture. This is what I took to the airport Wednesday morning.

And this is the state at the end of that first flight. Not bad!

After a few days, I had not much more, but I got to the LA airport many, many hours early for my flight and knit and knit. When I got on the plane, I put the knitting away and tried to sleep!

So it is not finished, but I had a really good time in LA and Venice Beach.

I stayed one night in Silver Lake, which was really just a base for one night and I didn't really know why that's a cool neighbourhood. The next day we went to Sherman Oaks for a Saori weaving class. Now that is a nice neighbourhood!

I made this!

The piece is rather larger than that, and you can see more of it, plus our happy faces, on the instagram of the weaving instructor. I suppose I could take more pictures of it myself, but now this is the only one I have!

A few Uber rides later, and we were out in Venice Beach. We rented a house on a canal! There were originally a large number of these canals when Venice was first developed, but they were mostly filled in for paved streets for cars. There are 4 or 5 "blocks" surrounded by canals.

Nice reflections on a morning walk.

Palm trees everywhere.

We went to the beach. One of those dots in the water is our New Zealand friend swimming.

You're never too old to notice the pretty boys on the beach.

We went into lots of shops.

I got a tattoo with my friend.

On our last day, we had to be out of the house at 11, and could keep our bags there till 1pm. My plane wasn't until 10 pm! There were 7 of us, and after 1 pm, we broke into two groups. Some with early flights went to the airport while three of us went to Santa Monica and had a nice lunch, which we strung out as long as we could. The others had big rolling suitcases so it wasn't practical to go for a walk at all,  but we saw the beach and then went off to the airport around 3 or 4 pm.

I had plenty of time to play with my photo collage app on my phone.

The many flamingos of Venice:

I flew through the night and got in to Toronto at 6 am Sunday. Ugh, I'll take care to avoid the red-eye in future! I got in so early that the subway wasn't running, and I didn't have much cash left, so I took the UP Express train most of the way home and then picked up a bike-share and rode home as the sun was coming up! 

Ta-da, that's my California adventure!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

All sorts of travel knitting

I travelled in August and can show you this, which will one day soon be a blanket:

I made some of it in the past months, and some on this last trip. I have to finish the strip I am working on and then see how much yarn I have left. There is another ball, tiger-striped, that Elaine is making socks with! Yes, indeed, socks unto the next generation!

So, when she finishes the second sock, I will grab the leftovers back and see if I can make a bit of a border on this wee blanket. This might be the last thing for the charity bag: I am taking it all to a shelter in October.

I shall be travelling this week! I am going to Los Angeles for a few days to see Helen and a few other of my mom-pals. I met some in NYC a few (um, eleven) years ago, and another few a mere five years ago in Niagara Falls.

I have a 5-hour flight there and another one back again, and I hope a few evenings of hanging around. There will be seven or eight of us in a house in Venice, so who knows what shenanigans we will get up to. I suspect there will be wine and finger food, but otherwise have no idea what we will do.

In any case, I will need some knitting.

I got this sock yarn about a million years ago (2006, to be exact) and I will now make a hat out of it. Portable, mindless, one more for the charity bag, perhaps, or maybe a nice fall hat for one of us.

Finally, I will be travelling next May (I think) and I wanted to make a new sweater for the occasion. I have settled on a vest of DK single skeins in a sort of beige/blue/green/yellow colour scheme!

It'll look a bit wacko, perhaps, but I have high hopes for it. I will tell you about my planned trip when it becomes a bit more planned!

Places to go and people to see, and things to knit!

Monday, September 03, 2018

It's September

It's so hot here! Sitting with a laptop actually on my lap is very uncomfortable because it just heats me up even more.

I did finish some knitting.

This was supposed to be a Yes, Checks hat. I'd seen something about increasing the stitch count for finer yarn, but when I actually cast on, I just thought, I will cast on 160 stitches, without consulting even the original pattern.

It is enormous for a hat but makes a fine cowl, so I just left it open. The yarn was in the latest charity-yarn-donation bag I picked up, and I think I will take a bagful of the gazillion things I knitted this year to a women's shelter pretty darn soon. Winter, believe it or not, is coming. And then I shall look at my yarn pile and give a bag of that to the next charity knitter.

I should have a few other things to show you in the coming days. Perhaps one of those oh, so helpful lists of the things I hope to accomplish in the coming month! First I just have to accomplish all the straggling things leftover from the summer.