Thursday, July 23, 2009


The first of my tomatoes.
OMG, it was so yumm. I am sad that there are only 11 left on the plant and no flowers thanks to the deer. Hoping the Roma variety are just as tasty.


Photos at last! I finished knitting Buttercup two weeks ago, and I rank it very high on my happiness scale. I think I have worn it four times already. Go ahead, laugh. I just can't keep from wanting to show it off.
Buttercup Finished
There are a lot of talk about the neckline on this sweater on Ravelry being too wide. I knit option A with the origonal neckline. When picking up stitches around the collar I did 3 stitches for every 4 rows/stitches the entire way around which made it perfect for my taste. You can see the top of my bra through the eyelets, but I just wear a nude bra and it isn't obvious.
Buttercup Finished
I made one other mod, aside from my normal length modification, which was to make the bottom edge just a few rows of garter stitch. The pattern is written to use more fan and feather lace and I wasn't interested in the extra detail around my hips. Plus I managed to use only 6 of the 7 skeins of yarn by eliminating the extra rows.
Buttercup Finished
I think I am getting better at taking pictures of myself too. HA. s

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Just like the real thing....

I was lucky enough to live a short drive from a ColdStone Creamery for a couple of years. I almost always bought Cake Batter ice cream with rainbow jimmies mixed in. Not especially exciting considering you are able to have three mix-ins without an extra charge. But I thought it was perfection. I even bought it by the half gallon to keep in the freezer. However, they didn't seem to have as many dedicated patrons as myself and the store didn't stay open.

Ever since that sad day when I drove past and noticed the for rent sign up in the window I have been on a mission to recreate my beloved Cake Batter ice cream. Other brands began to offer it in the store. Edy's had its American Idol themed "Take the Cake" and Ben and Jerry had a birthday cake flavor as well. But the blue frosting in Edy's turned me off and the B&J's had an over powering chocolate frosting. Sure they were good... but not great.

The next step in my process was making it at home. I had an ice cream churn that got little use, and after a batch of Alton Brown's banana ice cream I jumped into making cake batter. Some quick internet searching suggested all you had to do was add around a cup of cake mix to your vanilla ice cream base and freeze it. I learned the hard way they where wrong. The ice cream was dry and floury tasting. It didn't offer the flavor I wanted and the texture was just terrible. I was sad, and discouraged. The ice cream churn sat unused in the basement pantry.

Eventually I began to plot my next attempt. Talking it over with my friend at work, discussing the technical side of ice cream making and how to avoid my previous short comings. It wasn't until I was inspired to make some Blackberry ice cream and had a delicious outcome that I was motivated to put my plan into action.

So back to the internets I went, and I found myself this recipe. Lacking any reviews, I could have been scared off. However the recipe had all of the steps I was looking for. A custard based ice cream, were the cake mix was added at the start and pre-cooked to eliminate the flour taste as well as hydrate the flour. This is not low fat, or part of any balanced diet. But it is creamy and I think very close to ColdStone Creamery's version of Cake Batter Ice Cream. So dust off those ice cream churns and indulge!

The Recipe:

Cake Batter Ice Cream
makes 1 qt.

2 cups whipping cream
2/3 cup cake mix
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
5 large egg yokes
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Pour 1 cup whipping cream into a medium saucepan. Add 2/3 cup cake mix and whisk briskly over high heat until the well blended. Begin whisking again when bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Once the batter starts clumping together, immediately remove from heat and add the remaining 1 cup whipping cream. Whisk until it is smooth, and then pour into a 2 quart mixing bowl. (*I found there where some clumps at the bottom of my pan in the corners, but they mixed into the ice cream well)

2. Break and separate 5 large eggs, pouring the egg yolks into a clean small mixing bowl. Clean and dry the saucepan used to heat the cake mix and whipping cream.

3. Pour 1 cup of whole milk into the clean saucepan. Add 2/3 cup sugar and whisk until all of the sugar is dissolved. Warm over medium heat, until bubbles form around the edge of the pan.

4. Pour about 1 cup of the warm milk mixture slowly into the egg yokes while wisking, then pour back into the saucepan and continue heating over medium heat. Stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the mixture thickens. (it should be able to coat the back of a spoon once think enough)

5. Pour the custard base through a mesh strainer into the mixing bowl (from step 1) and whisk to combine the custard base and cake batter. Add ½ tsp of high-quality vanilla then refrigerate. (this step is VERY important, patience matters!) After 5-12 hours of cooling, freeze according to the instructions that came with your ice cream maker.

The Result:

If my butt is bigger next time you see me, you will know why. Although I have been balancing out my ice cream consumption with egg white omelets. Might as well use them for something!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I am knitting too, I swear!

I just scrolled through my past few posts... garden, garden, garden, garage door, breakfast cake. What kind of blog is this anyway? I am knitting. A lot actually. I guess I had just been content updating details in Ravelry and not going into any additional detail here. Buttercup is done. WOOO! I will photograph it soon, and get a finished sweater post up especially for it before too long. I am very happy with the outcome.
Ginormous blanket is on hold. Although it is almost chilly enough the past few nights to want to snuggle under it and knit double stranded wool into garter stitch. Also on the needles are in no particular order. Pittsburgh Socks: basic sock recipe, toe up with Lorna's Laces sock yarn in bee stripe.
Pittsburgh Sock
I think it is a few stitches too wide for my foot, so I am going to frog back before I get too far along so it fits me, and not K.
A second attempt is being made at knitting with lace weight yarn. My first attempt didn't get very far before I proclaimed I didn't like knitting with thread and I gifted the yarn to a friend who I believe gave it a happy life as some beautiful item no doubt. In any case. Lace, take two:
Fountain Pen shawl from IK Spring 2009. Yarn complements of Shelly, who also had a realization that she didn't like lace weight yarn.

More Gardening

Thrilling blog right? All I talk about anymore are plants and deer. Guess what.
Garden Month 3
I have peppers on most of the pepper plants. Aside from one which seems to be getting crushed by a roma tomato plant. This particular specimen has three peppers.
Garden Month 3
And speaking of those Roma tomatoes, well they seem to be producing a lot of fruit now too. Here is one especially large cluster tucked away towards the bottom of the plant. I think I counted 12 tomatoes just in this one bunch!
Garden Month 3
The early girl plant even has one tomato which is considering changing colors. It was the first tomato that the plant produced. So it is only natural it ripen first. (the photo is so blurry- sorry about that.)
Garden Month 3
And finally... this is the part where I talk about the deer.
Garden Month 3
And how much they munched off of my poor plants. This time was a lot more severe than the past snacks they indulged in. If you click the photo all the chewed stems are far more obvious, but basically the whole fenced in area had been about full of leafy full tomato stems. Thanks a lot deer. I thought we where friends. See if I throw any more over ripe apples your way again.