I keep returning to my Knitted Toy Tales pattern book and having so much fun creating cute things. The pieces for the toys are quick knits, so it's easy to get from start to finish on a project.

Since completing my toy fish, I've started working on a teddy bear and an elephant. I have finished all the knitting work for the teddy bear and just need to stuff him and sew him together.

For the elephant toy, I have completed the knitting for the body, the tusks, and two of the legs. Only a few things left to knit and then I can stuff him and sew him together.
My delay in finishing these toys is my lack of stuffing. I know I had a bag of it a few years ago, but I've hidden it on myself exceptionally well. We did two thorough searches of the house, and eventually found the tote I was sure it was in, and came up empty. I have accepted that my bag of stuffing is lost and that I have to get a new one, I just haven't gotten around to it yet. So these toys are a work in progress, but I'm looking forward to putting them all together soon.

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, March 04, 2015 No comments
My Mother-in-law had a birthday recently and we celebrated with a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. It is her favourite cake and I am always up for making desserts with cream cheese, as I absolutely love how it tastes in sweets. I don't bake with it very often (it can be expensive when not on sale) but other treats I've enjoyed are: pumpkin cream cheese frosting, cream cheese cinnamon buns, Oreo truffles, and peanut butter truffles.

I used a cake mix for the carrot cake, but I put it in three pans instead of two, as multi-layer cakes are so much fun.

There are loads of cream cheese frosting recipes online, all with varying ratios of cream cheese to icing sugar. One recipe suggested 1 package of cream cheese to 4 cups of icing sugar. Another suggested 2 packages of cream cheese to 2 cups of icing sugar. It was really all over the place. I didn't follow any one recipe, I just keep adding icing sugar until I thought it reached peak taste.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 package cream cheese (250g), at room temperature for 1 hour
1/2 cup butter (113g), at room temperature
2 1/4 cups icing sugar

Some recipes add vanilla or lemon juice, but I didn't bother adding either, as it tasted so damn good as is. The thing I find deceptive about cream cheese treats, is they don't really taste sweet to me, which makes them incredibly easy to eat. I frequently had to get a new spoon, as I kept licking the one I was working with. With normal buttecream or marshmallow buttercream, I freeze any leftovers and make it into candies. The leftovers for this cream cheese frosting all went into my mouth. I was not shy about eating it at all.

I made some simple carrot decorations for the top of the cake, using ziploc bags to pipe on the frosting.

This cake was very yummy, and I love the three layers. I think it looks lovely.

Posted by Jen B On Monday, March 02, 2015 3 comments
I was craving some sort of lemon treat and decided to make another batch of lemon poppy seed cupcakes. The last time I made them, I piped on yellow lemon frosting, which was great, but I wanted something a little more subtle this time around. I made a half batch of icing that I left white, and just spread a thin layer on each cupcake. A lovely treat to go with afternoon tea.

Posted by Jen B On Friday, February 27, 2015 5 comments
I finished my first knit toy from the Knitted Toy Tales pattern book. I knit this adorable little fish and love having him swimming around the house. This pattern allowed me to learn new skills (intarsia and fair isle) and have a cute finished project in a short period of time.

Once the main body knitting was complete, I did duplicate stitch over the colour mistake in the tail fin (which ended up looking pretty great). Next I stuffed and seamed the body, bringing him to life. I knit and sewed on some fins, and embroidered on his little eyes. I love the way he looks.

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, February 25, 2015 5 comments
We've been making homemade tortillas for a while now, and we absolutely love them. They are cheaper than store bought (about $0.44 for 12 vs. $3.00+ for 10), and they taste amazing. Every time. Sometimes we've made them and I've rolled them too thin, and then they cooked too long, making them crispy instead of soft...and they were still amazing. Hard to roll stuff up in them, but they were great for dipping and snacking.

The recipe I use for my tortillas comes from this blog, which has a really great tutorial. I only have slight changes in my method, but otherwise pretty much the same. So happy I found it, as we make these all the time.

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup hot tap water

Add flour, salt, and baking powder to large bowl and combine with a whisk. I love using a whisk to combine dry ingredients as it's so efficient. For this recipe, I use a giant silver bowl my Mom gave me and it works great.

Add 1/3 cup canola oil to flour mixture.

Mix with your fingers until it becomes fine crumbs.

Add 1 cup hot tap water.

Mix with your hands and form into a ball. Knead the ball 40 times (I just knead it right in the bowl).

Cover with a tea towel, and let rest for 30 minutes. Divide the ball into 12 discs. I do this by weighing the large ball and then making each disc a 12th of the weight. I like to measure because I'm not always great at eyeballing them to be the same size.

Let the 12 discs rest for 30 minutes.

Roll each disc into a tortilla around 8 inches wide. I don't flour my surface because they don't seem to need it. Sometimes they roll out into not quite circles, but they still work as tortillas.

Cook on a hot, ungreased pan for about one minute on each side. The tortillas will have a lot of bubbles when it is time to flip them. We use an electric griddle I got from Mom that works great for cooking two at a time. We turn it up to high and it is perfect.

Serve with a variety of different meals and enjoy. These are served with spicy chick peas and tomatoes on rice, wrapped up with Sriracha, cucumber dressing, fresh spinach, and diced purple onion. Yum!

Posted by Jen B On Monday, February 23, 2015 5 comments
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