The smell of cookies baking, the extra warmth from the oven, and the comfort of a sweet treat, lots of reasons to mix up another batch of cookies. This time it is the Peanut Butter Cookie, which I have reduced to a small batch bake for those of us seeking a small indulgence rather than a mountain of cookies. If you do need a larger batch, no worries, this recipe is very simple to multiply when more than two dozen nutty delights are needed.
Not all peanut butter is made the same. The peanut butter made in the U.S.A. is a sweeter cousin to the peanut butter made elsewhere. It is perfect for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, peanut butter cookies, and other peanut butter sweet treats. So if you are not in the United States, see if you can source some from the international section of your grocery store.
If you don’t already have mini ice cream/cookie scoop in your kitchen, treat yourself to one of two. They are a time saver when working with a wet cookie dough or when trying for consistent-sized cookies. I prefer the small one often used as a melon baller for this recipe (1/2 tablespoon). The cookies with spread during baking so a little dough goes a long way.
A Vlogmas Spin-a-long with a Sweet Treat at the End
The countdown to Christmas is fully underway. This year for Vlogmas, a YouTuber’s countdown, I decided to find a way to take a break from the hectic pace of Christmas, at least for a few moments each day.
With that goal in mind, each day I am spinning a small bundle of fiber, enjoying a tiny chocolate treat, and choosing a rejuvenating suggestion from a jar I filled with suggestions back before Vlogmas began. So far in the first days of December, I have crafted with beads, made a savory treat, tried a new embroidery design, and started reading a new book. Today when I withdrew the small folded paper from the jar, I was delighted to see that it suggested I make a sweet treat. I’ve been looking forward to this suggestion appearing because I have a brownie recipe I have been wanting to share.
A few months back during the heat of summer, I invested in a small convection oven, marketed as an air fryer, it really is just a fancy toaster oven, but with excellent versatility that past toasters lacked. There didn’t seem much sense in heating up the house by using the large oven during the summer months, now that my husband and I are empty-nesters again. A smaller oven would heat up the house less and would correspond with our smaller food preparation needs. It was the perfect solution with just one hurdle to cross – smaller batch recipes. Cooking, and especially baking, just for two is not the easiest thing to accomplish. Most recipes are designed for feeding 4-6 people. Cakes and pies are especially difficult. The humidity and the heat of Virginia makes sweets treats fuzz up quite quickly unless they are refrigerated, and there is nothing that makes a crisp pastry go limp like refrigeration.
So with new mini-oven and a goal to make smaller portions of favorite foods, I embarked on an Autumn of culinary experimentation. In my previous blog, I share some of my Autumn favorites, but now the temperature have turned cold chocolate is what is needed.
After years of a love-hate relationship with the classic American dessert, the Brownie, I have finally figured out a recipe both my husband and I will consume with joy. It has both crisp bits and gooey bits, and is small enough to bake in an 8″ x 8″ (200mmx200mm) baking pan that fits just perfectly in my Instant Vortex Air Fryer. I am sure the recipe would also work in a regular oven or full-sized convection oven with just the minimal baking time/temperature adjustments.
I hope you find joy in this basic, but tasty comfort food.
If you choose to take a few moments and watch my Vlogmas video, you will also hear how I stumbled upon a second chocolate delight when a foggy brain necessitated making a second dessert.
By simply adding extra sour cream (about 3 tablespoons total) and steaming it in a pressure cooker for 60 minutes, rather than having a Brownie, you will have a Chocolate Steamed Pudding instead. If you have never made a cake in a pressure cooker, I highly recommend looking up Instant Pot recipes by Amy & Jacky at https://www.pressurecookrecipes.com/
The spices of the holiday season evoke memories of family get-togethers, fresh-from-the-oven baked foods, and warm beverages. Recreating these tastes and smells can lead to an overabundance that is not always a good thing. Figuring out how to make smaller batches of spicy treats has been my goal these past few months, and I am ready to share the results.
This blog coincides and supports my latest vlog where I talk about the fun I have had making pies for a household of two. As I mention in my vlog, I use an Instant Vortex Air Fryer, which is just a fancy name for convection toaster oven. There are other mini convection oven/toasters on the market, but this is the brand I have used. The recipes I am sharing can easily be made in a regular oven or convection oven, but during those hot late-summer months, it was so very nice to have recipes that could be made in a small oven and didn’t heat up the kitchen.
I hope you check out my video and enjoy these spiced up treats.
After three months of spinning and knitting, I not only have a finished shawl, but I also have a pattern. I love how this worked out and I will be making another just as soon as I spin up another fleece.
Check out my latest video where I show-n-tell this capelette and share some of my unwinding with fiber and fabric.
Time slips by, often without our notice. Goals made in January tend to be forgotten until we find ourselves contemplating the end of another year. In the crafting world, the chant of Keep Calm and Finish by Christmas may not always be heard, but it is seldom not running through the mind of the crafter. Fortunately, most crafters understand that if it is not finished by Christmas, it will still be finished by the following one.
This year I set a personal goal of making some simple, beginner-friendly patchwork projects available for family and friends. While it was not my first set of patterns to make available, it was the first set that I would highlight in video form and share with the world.
One particular pattern would have to wait until the end of the year since I so very much wanted to make it Christmas themed.
Leaving any bigger project until the end of the year is flirting with danger in this particular crafter’s home. Ideas for holiday projects flood my mind the moment the temperatures begin to chill and the leaves on the trees begin to fall. This year was no different but with great determination, I managed to get this project wrapped up despite the unexpected hurdle of having a minor injury to my right arm (It is hard to hand quilt when your hand is not cooperating).
The journey of bringing this project from conception to fruition has been a joy. Soon this tree skirt will be in the mail, traveling thousands of miles away to its destination, and providing joy to its recipient. With a bit of luck Christmas Logs Under the Tree will arrive just in time.
As the big crafting season begins, I have been thinking about one of the most important lessons life and aging teaches. Be Kind to Yourself – it is such an important thing to do all year long, but as crafters, it is something we often neglect to do as we scramble to make just one more item before the holiday deadline.
In my latest video, I talk a bit about how bad I am with this lesson life keeps teaching me. After showing of few of my latest projects, I change gears (around the 20:57 mark). Even when I am trying to be kind to myself and not over-do it, the unexpected can happen and force me to slow down even more. Learning to find peace and joy when the brain and body war against each other is not always an easy lesson to learn. It is, however, a worthy lesson to learn.
I hope you enjoy my video – pieces or the whole – I have enjoyed sharing it.
The free pdf pattern for the placemat I share in the video is here for your enjoyment if you wish to download it.
As I near the anniversary of making my first video, I find myself amazed at how much I have learned. Certainly video making has had its learning curve. Yet, it is what I have learned about myself that amazes me the most. When I began this new adventure, I would have been anxious and even horrified by the silly video-short that wraps up my latest vlog.
Covid-quarantine hair notwithstanding, a year ago I would have struggled with accepting the person I see on the screen. Now I can find joy and whimsy in the person – the whole person – who allows herself to be filmed.
Last year marked the 20th anniversary of a major turning point in my life. I went from being/feeling healthy to something else entirely.
As with most who find themselves challenged with trauma, tragedy, and underlying health issues, I travelled through many phases of adjustment, including anger, denial, and the belief that I could control the outcome. Finally in this past year, I gained a greater understanding and perspective of just how much I have faced in these last decades, let alone, what I faced in the earlier years of my life. With a more clear understanding of the past, I was able to feel at peace because was able to stop longing for what I could not have, and instead, I began to truly celebrate who I have become.
None of us want to believe we are vain. Although vanity is not always a bad thing, it is a crippling thing when it prevents us from embracing life and from sharing our life with others.
Aging is a part of life, and for some, the events of our life speed up the aging process. It certainly has in my case, but then again, my body and mind have never really been in sync.
As I compiled this latest video, I recognized that vanity and fear of aging could prevent me from sharing a silly video-short with the wider world. This gave me pause and had me reflecting all that this past year of vlogging has taught me.
After reflection, I decided that I would continue embracing the joys of life and the pressing onward with my healing. Yes, my healing. Being able to see myself as I am and not as I have wished I could be is indeed a sign that I am healing.
My Mid May Vlog
In this video, I share updates on what I have been doing, provide a quick fiber dyeing tutorial, and share a ridiculously silly demonstration of basting a king-sized quilt with my husband on a breezy day.
In patchwork quilting, as in life, something might look more complicated than it really is. Taken as a whole, a problem or a quilt, might intimidate us and cause us to doubt our ability. However with a bit of deconstruction, a simple solution is often revealed.
In this video, I will show what happens when you mix two simple blocks. This particular pattern is basic and may not trick the eye as much as other combinations will. That is why I chose it. It changes the way our eyes see the blocks, but it doesn’t play tricks on our eyes (I will have one of those to share soon).
I have made this quilt pattern such that any combination of 12″ blocks could be substituted. Calculations for fabric would be slightly different depending on the designs chosen, but the calculations should be good estimates for other blocks. Over the next weeks/months, I will be adding more basic blocks to the collection. While the patchwork pieces will get ever-so-slightly more challenging, the use of the blocks in a quilt top will stay basic.