Monday, 7 April 2014

Two Weeks

It's the Easter holidays and that means 24 hrs of tripolata fun for the next two weeks and two days. It also means that I won't be able to do much by way of blogging or any other form of social media. By the grace of God I'll survive the two weeks with my sanity intact.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

I've Been Featured


For the past week and a half I have participated in linky parties all over blog land in an attempt to get more people reading my blog and hopefully build up my followers.

It's a lot of hard work, remembering to actually add a link and then checking other links that have been posted. Things have been made a little easier by Alice of Mum's Make Lists. She has a great calender on her blog that lists a vast array of linky parties plus their general start times. I've selected a few each day and linked these to my Google calendar.

I think that all the linky parties I've participated in so far are based in the States, so for the first couple of days I was up late linking away not wanting to be number 183 on the linky list. I soon realised that I couldn't carry on that way and now focus on parties that launch between 7am and 11pm GMT.

As I have anticipated more traffic, I decided to vamp up the blog. So if you are a returning reader you'll now be able to see what I look like (well from the side any way). I'm also taking my time when taking pictures and have used various editing apps to give them a professional feel.

All this partying seems to have paid off as I've been featured in not one but two linky parties.

             Tropical Fruit Drops @MrsUMakesCinnamon Crunch Cookies @MrsUMakes

The first is over at Go Crochet Crazy and was for my Tropical Fruit Drops. The second was at The Weekend Wind Down for my Cinnamon Crunch Cookies.

If you're also a blogger and you haven't taken part in blog parties, I suggest you start now. I've put together a list of the parties that I take part in under the linkup parties tab.

Let you hair down and PARTAY.

Friday, 28 March 2014

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Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Almond Loaf Cake

Almond Loaf Cake by @MrsUMakes

This is the cake that I forgot to take a picture of in my last post, the almond cake that tasted great but was too greasy from all the butter. This time I reduced the amount of butter and allowed the batter to rest in the fridge before transferring it to the tin.

As soon as it came out of the oven, the tripolatas were all over it, I'm surprised that I was able to take the picture. They kept coming over to the book case (the only place were there is enough light), trying to pick out the almonds. In the end I gave each of them a few sprinkles of the almonds to tied tem over til dinner time.

After dinner, the cake came back out and I got three seals of approval. However, after eating it, tripolata#1 asked for biscuits and wasn't impressed to hear that I hadn't baked any.

This boy must think I have nothing else to do...Anyway, here's what you'll need for the loaf cake.

150g unsalted butter
140g golden castor sugar
3 large eggs
1.5 tsp almond extract
150g self raising flour
A handful of flaked almonds
1/2 - 1 tbsp of icing sugar

This is what you'll need to do...

1. Melt the butter in a pan taking care not to burn it.

melted butter

2. Once melted set aside to cool. Whilst the butter is cooling, put the sugar and eggs into the mixer and mix for about 5 minutes.
3. Add the almond extract and then mix a little more.

Egg and sugar mix

4. Sift the flour into the sugar and egg mix, and carefully mix in until just incorporated.
5. Pour in the melted butter and carefully mix this in too.

Almond Loaf Cake Batter

6. Cover with cling film and place in the frigde for about 30 minutes.
7. When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/350°F/gas 4. Line the loaf tin and pour in the batter.

lined cake tin
The base of the tin was lightly greased to keep the lining in place

Almond Loaf Cake batter

8. Sprinkle the almonds on top, then bake for about 35 minutes.
9. Once baked let the cake cool for a few minutes before removing from the tin. Once the cake has completely cooled, sift the icing sugar over it.

Almond Loaf Cake

10. Eat and enjoy.

Almond Loaf Cake by @MrsUMakes

Saturday, 22 March 2014

New Recipes

After posting the recipe for my Cinnamon Crunch Cookies last week, I spent most of this week working on two new recipes.

The first was for yet more biscuits, a sort of jam rolly polly biscuit. In terms of flavour, they turned out great,  I just need to work on the texture of the biscuit itself, with the jam adding a caramelised Jammy Dodger feel to it.

Coconut jam rolly polly biscuit

The second recipe was for a cake, a loaf cake, an almond loaf cake to be exact. This was delicious, however, the butter content was too high, which left the base of the cake greasy.

This is where the picture of the Almond Loaf Cake would have been if I remembered to take one before it was gobbled up

I'll try another batch of the cake over the next few days.

As most of the week has been taken up by baking,  I have done little to no knitting or crocheting. I still haven't received a response from the makers of the Ladies Shrug, but I know where the mistake is so when I get the urge I'll rip the last few rows and carry on.

Enjoy your weekend.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Cinnamon Crunch Cookies

Biscuits seem to be the baking staple of the U household. It's the only baked good that the tripolatas are guaranteed to eat (I've tried apple pie, they ate the apples and left the crust).

Mr U (supposedly) only likes plain cakes, no frosting, no fruit, seed or nuts. So until my boys learn how to appreciate a good home made pie, my oven will be filled with biscuits and the odd cake.

For this reason I've been trying to come up with a new biscuit recipe. I'm getting bored with shortbread and biscotti, and didn't want to just copy someone else's recipe.

After some research I came up with Cinnamon Crunch Cookies, they're quick to whip up and can easily be adapted.

I made four batches before I was happy with them. The first batch was very well done. The second batch was a little less well done and I finally admitted that the cinnamon was a overpowering. The third one had the perfect cinnamon quotient but was still a little overdone.

Then finally these came out of the oven.

It worked, the tripolatas love them, and they made many attempts to swipe them straight from the cooling rack. At one point I had tripolata#2 in a fireman's lift, was holding onto #3's arm whilst trying to use my leg to stop #1 running into the kitchen.
They of course thought this was hilarious, and still managed to get more cookies. Kids =0

So here's what you'll need:

Makes 16
115g of softened butter
70g of light brown sugar
40g of castor sugar, plus 1/2 tsp extra
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tbsp honey
175g self raising flour
1 tsp cinnamon

and this is what you'll need to do:

Preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F and grease a baking sheet

1.  Mix the butter and sugar together in a freestanding mixer or with an electric whisk until it is light and fluffy

2. Add the vanilla extract and honey, then mix again.

3. Add half the flour to a bowl and then pour in the butter and sugar mix. Mix these together until just combined and then mix in the remaining flour.

4. Pour the cinnamon and extra sugar onto a plate. Roll the dough into balls (about 25g each). Roll the balls into the sugar and cinnamon and then place on a greased baking sheet.

Don't flatten the dough and leave enough space for them to spread.

5. Place in the oven for 10-12 minutes, turning the baking sheet for the last two minutes to achieve an even bake.

6. Once baked, leave the cookies on the baking sheet to cool down before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container.

* If you don't want a massive cinnamon hit, sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon on the plate a little at a time.

* Mix up the sugar and cinnamon before each use or the sugar will sit at the bottom and the last batch will taste more like a Sugar Crunch Cookie.

I would love to know how these turn out.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

How To Get Yarn From Old Sweaters

Recycling a sweater for yarn
Unraveled Sweater by My Virtual Sanity

Most of us have a jumper hanging in our wardrobe that we no longer wear because it's misshapen, looks worn or simply doesnt appeal to us any longer and though we don't wear this garment, we just can't seem to get rid of it.

Thanks to Pinterest and Dawn Prickett of My Virtual Sanity I've found a nifty way to put that old jumper to good use, and save money at the same time. It involves unraveling the yarn and using it to knit another piece.

However, if unlike me you don't have an old jumper,  you can do as the original blogger does and check out the offerings of charity shops. This is a great idea as not only are you saving money on yarn, you're also giving towards a good cause.
Click the link to check it out.

Recycling Sweaters for Yarn

I will definitely give this ago, what other methods do you know of for reusing yarn from knitted or crocheted garments?

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