Friday, December 30, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - AS

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Winter Hike

{itty bitty nest}
We are having unusually warm weather here in the Black Hills. Perfect for some winter hikes under the bright blue skies. I hope you are enjoying your post-Christmas week!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Pattern: Habitat by Jared Flood
Needles: US 7 & 8

I've been wanting to knit this hat for quite a while. I used some yarn I purchased at the Argyle Fiber Mill in Argyle, Wisconsin.  The mill spins and collects what has fallen around the machinery and spins again. They call it “dryer lint” yarn and the content depends on what has been spun. This yarn is primarily alpaca, which has created a super warm hat. The pattern was easy and straightforward enough that I have a second one on the needles right now.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

Photo credit: Judi Tatem

This great recipe came to my mom from a friend, Dean Stetson, who had been a chef in France for a while. He returned to New Hampshire to work in the family blacksmith trade, but still keeps on cooking great things. While it is called Deep Dark Chocolate Cake, we tend to refer to it as Dean's cake. Mom just made it for Christmas, so if you are family in NH, enjoy!

Deep Dark Chocolate Cake
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons salt
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare three 9" pans or one 3" tall springform pan by greasing and flouring with cocoa. Then line it with waxed paper, grease and flour with cocoa.
  • Beat eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.
  • Sift together the remaining dry ingredients and add to beaten liquid ingredients.
  • Beat at medium speed for two minutes.
  • Stir in 1 cup boiling water. Batter will be thin.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes for layers; 35-40 minutes for 13x9; or 45-50 minutes for springform - check with a toothpick for doneness.

Chocolate Butter Cream

1 oz semi sweet chocolate
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3 egg yolks
1 cup butter
  • Melt chocolate, set aside to cool.
  • Boil water and sugar for 2 minutes, set aside.
  • Beat egg yolks and slowly add the sugar syrup. Beat at high speed for 5 minutes until thick and pale yellow.
  • Add softened butter, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  • Add chocolate and beat smooth.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Looks like Christmas here!

It is definitely starting to look like Christmas around here. The advent calendar is rushing by, greens are hung at the door and the paperwhites are blooming and sending their fragrance through the house. I've been working on some sewing projects over the past month and have been at a loss with photographing them, but finally decided to get some done today. 
A Christmas wall hanging made with Have a Sheri Berry Holiday fabric panel.
Buckets are appearing around the house, made with a great pattern from Maya*Made.
And lots of other secret things that shall not yet be revealed!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Whole-Grain Pancake Mix

{Whole-grain pancakes with local farm sausage and Grandpa's maple syrup}

I have one cookbook that resides on the my kitchen counter and never makes it to the cookbook shelf. It gets used every few days or more often - King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking. I recently discovered a fabulous whole-grain pancake mix in it that I made up over last weekend. Since then we've had pancakes three times for breakfast this week! I guess the ease of it is what makes it great. And it is so much cheaper to make (and better for you) than cold cereal. You can find the more detailed recipe on KAF's website.

Whole-Grain Pancake Mix
4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached flour
3 1/2 cups old-fashioned or rolled oats
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
3/4 cup to 1 cup vegetable oil
  • Grind the oats in a food processor until they're chopped fine, but not a powder.
  • Put the flour, oats, and all other dry ingredients into a mixer with a paddle. Mix on slow speed, and drizzle the vegetable oil into the bowl slowly while the mixer is running.
  • Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks at room temperature, or indefinitely in the refrigerator or freezer.
To make the pancakes
  • Whisk together 1 cup of mix, 1 cup of buttermilk (or a combination of half plain yogurt and half milk), and 1 large egg. 
  • Let the batter stand for at least 20 minutes before cooking. Batter will thicken as whole grains absorb liquid.
  • Make pancakes as your normally would and add any special ingredients, like fruit or extracts.

Friday, December 16, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - AS

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mexican Produce

Pattern: Mexican Produce by Brooke and Beth of the Egg & Tartan
Yarn: Cascade 220
Needles: US 5

We love salsa in our home, so what better birthday present than all the salsa ingredients for your play kitchen? This was a fun and easy pattern. I plan on slowly knocking off some more veggies from Egg & Tartan. They have two more sets - French and Asian produce.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cranberry Torte

This easy dessert is a favorite of mine around the holidays. The recipe comes from Elizabeth Tatem, better known as Cousin Lib, a cousin to my grandfather, Stewart Tatem. She lived for many years at the lake near my grandparents. After retiring from the University of Connecticut as a secretary, she boarded a tramp steamer for three months and traveled around the world, going from port to port. She later moved back to North Carolina and married for the first time at 70 years old. 

Cranberry Torte
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 eggs, beaten
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Pour cranberries into a buttered pie plate or torte pan. Mix nuts and 1/2 cup sugar and pour over berries.
  • Melt butter and when slightly cooled, add 1/2 cup sugar, flour and eggs. Spread this over the berries and nuts.
  • Bake until golden brown.

Friday, December 9, 2011


Pieter turned two this week. How amazing that he has been with us for two years. It seems like his first birthday was just last week. We had a great day of celebrating his birth. He put on his birthday crown at breakfast and kept it there all day.
Yum! Carrot Cake!
He loves his new truck from Grandpa and Grandma!
Gift bags made with leftover Frolic scraps to match the birthday banner.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Backyard Visitors

It is that time of the year again when all the deer come down from the hills to find a cozy place to bed down and some food away from the piles of snow. We've had these two bucks in the backyard now for a couple of days. They love to check out the bird seed under the bird feeders and eat all those wormy apples from our trees that are in the compost. It is a lot of fun to watch them from the windows.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Tree

We put the tree up over the weekend and Pieter can't stop loving it. As soon as he wakes up he turns the lights on and starts his perusal of all the ornaments. The birds and cats seem to be the favorites. The day before going out for the tree I realized that I had better get sewing on the tree skirt that I bought (months ago), so we got busy and had some results by the end of the day. I used a panel from the Keepsake Christmas Collection by Cranston Village/VIP. The nativity scenes give Pieter lots to look at - he especially loves the baby!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Spare Ribs

When we arrived home after finding our Christmas tree this weekend, we walked into the house smelling some very yummy spare ribs. This family recipe is from my maternal side, from Catherine Stoughton, a friend of my great-grandmother Ida Myers. I enjoyed this meal growing up with mashed potatoes and corn.

Spare Ribs
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 cup celery, diced
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon orange juice
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup*
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
1 cup chopped pineapple**
1 cup water, or enough to immerse the ribs
Country-style pork spare ribs

Saute onion, garlic and celery. Add the the remaining ingredients to the pot and simmer for 2-3 hours. I like to put this in my crock pot and it is ready when we get home after a cold day in the woods.

*The original recipe calls for 2 cups of ketchup. I find this to create a very vinegary flavor and have toned it down to 1/2 cup.
**The original recipe calls for a can of crushed pineapple. I prefer to buy a fresh pineapple to avoid all the BPA that is in canned food (see this article for a recent study about BPA in canned soup).

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Black Hills Christmas Tree

The day for our christmas tree hunt couldn't have been any more beautiful. Bright sun, blue skies and a perfect winter warmth. We headed up into the hills with our friend Mark and his great truck. Pieter loved the ride, especially when we had to stop to put chains on the tires.
We went further up a creek we explored this fall where the beavers live. Ben and Pieter enjoyed kicking snow into the water as we crossed over to a nice grove of spruce along the creek. Our special treat was seeing a Bald Eagle.
{Bald Eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus}
Here it is! We got this tree just at about the 20 foot limit and it gave Ben quite a work out to drag it back to the truck. Ben brought home the entire trunk to use for some wood working projects.

Friday, December 2, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - AS

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tulip Cardigan

Last night we went to bed with rain coming down
and woke up this morning with beautiful, fluffy snow everywhere.

PatternTulip Cardigan, Lindsay Pekny
Yarn: Cascade 220
Size: 6-9 months
Needles: US 6 & 8

Oh, how I love knitting with Cascade 220. This is the workhorse of all yarns and the array of colors is endless. When I got done with Sweet Child of Mine, I was ready for a quick knit. This pattern definitely was it - entirely seamless in construction and a wonderful finishing technique using the I-cord bind off. I could probably make quite a few of these sweaters without getting bored. I loved using so many colors, something I rarely do. A perfect cardigan for our little girl next fall.

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