Monthly Archives: November 2011

Yesterday’s Goal

One item is off my Christmas List!

assorted birdies

Half a dozen Birdies, Sitting in a tree…

To give you some perspective,

long line of post-its

Each pink square is an order.

The pink post-it notes are my Christmas List.

By the way, the required third party testing for ASTM standards has been waived for small batch. I’ll be in business next year. Many thanks to everyone who called or wrote in support of small business! I (and thousands of others) owe you one.

Hiya, Cupcake

I’ve got stuff to do today to stay on track. Seriously. I do.

But first let me tell you about these cupcakes.


I made minis – The best looking ones are in Ellie’s lunch.

I’ve been looking for an eggless replacement for my yellow cake recipe for two years. It’s been on my mind more often lately because of monsters like these. Sorry for the Fox News link, but at least it doesn’t have the undercover video. I’ll tell you all about where eggs come from one of these days, but not today. There’s no time today because you need to make these cupcakes.

New Go-To Cupcake*
makes 12 regular cupcakes or 36 minis

Preheat your oven to 350 and grease a 12-cup muffin pan or line it with little paper cups.

1 1/4 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. of salt
1/2 c. granulated sugar
   Whisk these together in a bowl. It’s the lazy way to sift.

1/4 c. brown sugar (I’m pretty sure this is the key.)
1/3 c. oil
1 c. some kind of milk (I used soy.)
2 t. vanilla
   Whisk these together in another bowl. I actually whisk them in a 2 c. measuring cup because I am LAZY and don’t like to wash anything I don’t have to.

   Pour the wet into the dry and whisk until relatively smooth.

   Fill each muffin cup 2/3s full – it comes out perfectly. You can get 36 minis out of the same amount of batter if you don’t lick the spoon. And bake 24 minutes for the regular size and 12 minutes for the minis. You’l know they are finished, because they will be beautifully golden and nicely rounded on top.

Now make the frosting. This cupcake is an all-purpose wonder. I’ve put straight up buttercream on top, floofy chocolate buttercream and most recently, salted caramel buttercream. *swoon*

Buttercream Frosting all Kinds of Ways
Makes enough for one batch of cupcakes. Doubles easily.

The gold standard is:
1/4 c. Earth Balance in the stick (Organic Valley’s Butter is also a winner)
1/4 c. vegetable shortening
2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 t. vanilla

   You’ll need an electric mixer to get this good and fluffy. Beat the Earth Balance and shortening together until it’s a little lighter in color. Then start adding the powdered sugar 1/2 a cup at a time, beating until each addition is mixed. Beat in the vanilla and add food coloring if your child is obsessed with pink. For a more floofy frosting that you can pop in a pastry bag and squirt out like clouds, beat in a couple tablespoons (GRADUALLY or you’ll get accidental frosting soup) of your milk of choice. If you manage to have leftovers, store it in the ‘fridge for later.

   For chocolate add: 3 T. cocoa powder and 1-2 T. some kind of milk
   For salted caramel add: 1/2 t. caramel extract or a big spoonful of caramel sauce and 1/2 t. salt (maybe more depending on how much you like salt)

   You can also substitute 1/2 c. cream cheese (Tofutti’s vegan version works great if you can get it) for the shortening.

Now frost those cupcakes. And eat them up.

*This is an edited adaptation of a recipe from Vegan Cupcakes take Over the World. I haven’t actually seen the original recipe so it is possible that I put it back how it was supposed to be.

Little Lunch

I’m still plugging away at Christmas orders, but in non-knitting news, I’ve been trying something new.

At Ellie’s new pre-school, the kids eat school provided lunch before they are picked up at noon. We were picking Ellie up before that since we ‘eat weird’ for this neck of the woods but she really really really wanted to eat lunch with her friends. So I bought a couple little lock-top containers and started packing her lunches in lazy bento fashion. This has been a little bit of a challenge since there is not a lot Ellie eats at this phase of her development (if it’s green or obviously grown in the ground, Ellie has ethical objections).


Friday’s Lunch

She’s got graham crackers with peanut butter in the middle, a laughing cow cheese wedge, veggie straws (just two green ones), a couple Oreos and prepackaged applesauce from our hurricane supplies. The real cute is in her little bento bag.


Pink AND a cat!

The unexpected side effect of Ellie’s little lunchables is that three days a week Michael and I can eat grown up lunch.


Curry couscous with corn, black beans, seitan and carrots.

There’s actually nothing in there that Ellie doesn’t like (except carrots) but there is nothing in there that Ellie will eat (except the seitan).

Ellie said her lunch was “yummers” and ate everything except the cookie part of the Oreos (???). Ours was yummers too and we ate it ALL.


This week the emphasis is on:

The Bear Pattern (ARGH!)
Ellie’s Cardigan (More on that.)
Washing Clothes as the Sun Shines (No point to a clothesline otherwise.)

pink pink pink

She picked pink for her cardigan. Wait until you see the button.

The cardigan will be Head of the Class from Timeless Knits for Kids. I bought the book sight unseen thinking that if I liked this one so much, there MUST be a few more I’d want to make.


If anyone wants Timeless Knits for Kids, I’d love to share. I’ve got both sleeves finished and I am at the armholes on the sweater, so you won’t have to wait for it too long. It’s one of those sweaters worked all in one piece up to the arms and then divided around the armholes. I really hate working that way* – even if it doesn’t actually take any longer than knitting a thing all in pieces it FEELS like it does. Not to mention the WEIGHT. But I bought the book so I am committed.

The yarn is one of my new favorites, O-Wool Balance (50% organic wool, 50% organic cotton) in Rose Quartz , from one of my favorite shops, Green Sheep Shop where O-Wool is the Yarn of the Month for November (20% off). Happy coincidence or shameless attempt to get me to spend more money on yarn? It’s so hard to tell.

*I very much want to make Jared Flood’s Brownstone (in O-Wool Balance, of course) for Michael but the thing is knit ALL IN ONE PIECE. A man’s sweater in the round will take ALL ETERNITY and break my wrists long before I get to the collar.

Oh. Hey There, November.


Gobble Gobble

Some of you may remember how I wanted to put together another set of Birdies. It turns out that the three that I wanted to include are actually radically different designs even though they have the same basic body shape. So I will be releasing them one at a time instead of as a 12 page collection. Since it’s November, you get Turkey.

He’s only available on Ravelry so far, but I will make him available on Etsy for November.

Happy November!