Monday, December 31, 2012

Pasta!

I got a.crank-style pasta machine for Christmas!

Durum semolina flour is extremely difficult to find around these parts, so I've been making due with all-purpose.

I'm still learning how to use it, how to make pasta, really. But I must say, it's fun as hell. And it cooks super fast! Like, two minutes, tops. Very energy efficient! 

I'm going to experiment with different noodle types. Soba and ramen, as well as rice noodles and other things. It's a whole world of possibilities!
Cheesy.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Gifts and Scarves

I totally did not realize how long its been since I updated. Curse you, Christmas!

But! I've been able to make Christmas presents for the whole family (almost).

I swear this is pink. I have no idea why everything turns out red on my camera.
I made my stepmother a hat! Its made out of Knitpick's Swish Worsted in Lotus, which I believe they sold out of. I bought it on sale. It was designed to be a quick knit, but it still took me 3 days. Its 2x2 ribbing with garter stitch for the purl ribs.

I made a Christmas Legume. My first real Fair Isle project, I attempted to make an ornament, but it came out much larger and much... tighter than expected.

Its a legume.
For my stepsister, I made a bunny. She really loves rabbits and horses, so I thought it was  good idea. Unfortunately, I don't feel as though she will appreciate it (she's a bit young mentally), but it'll score points with my Dad and stepmum. I had to learn how to seam properly. while it is very time-consuming, it is something I am very glad I learned.

My brother, too, gets a hat, but its just made of cheap acrylic. He won't care for anything requiring special washing care, so I went with easy for him. Its nothing special, 2x2 ribbing. I forgot to take a picture.

I'm still working on my Dad's present--I gave him an IOU. Frankly, I'm so sick of working with sport-weight yarn that its taking me a while. That and the colour doesn't show patterns very well, which is disappointing me.

I think I posted this before, but my Mum got an alpaca headband, early, because she made an impromptu trip to Canada to take care of my grandmother. Mum is back now and my grandmother is feeling better.



I have a few more things I plan on posting about, so forgive my sparse posts!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Finished items and Christmas

I finally finished my Cables and Garter Cardi I started back in October. After hibernating for a while, I decided to finish it for Reddit's Finish ALL the Things! I'm really proud of myself, its the biggest project I've ever done.

I call it the Prude Jacket! I picked this pattern so I could wear my tank tops to work--I would have my shoulders covered and I wouldn't have to worry about cleavage.
I really couldn't be happier. I put a lot of work into it, and it came out great. One of those moments when I'm happy to be me. :)

I finished a pocketed scarf for a Christmas Present!


Its a Common Knowledge Pattern:

Cabled Pocket Scarf
CO 12 sts
Stockinette twice the length of the desired length of pocket
Even Row: k3, p2, k6, p2, k3
Odd Row: k5, p6, k5

Every few Even Rows, cable 3.

When scarf is desired length, stockinette the same length as the previous pocket.

Fold pockets in half; stitch sides.

I used Super Bulky yarn and size 13 needles. It felt like cheating, but it was good. One present down!

I went to a local yarn store--Sheepish--for Small Business Saturday. It was my first time in an LYS! IT WAS SO COOL. The people there were really friendly, really helpful, and overall made the place really welcoming. I bought some alpaca and some nice doublepoints. I say nice, but they are SO light--they are birch--that it feels weird. It'll take some getting used to.

I made a headband for my mum.


KnitPicks is having their Cyber Monday sale. Its probably bad for my health (and wallet), but OMG SO MUCH CHEAP YARN. I bought the fixings to make all my Christmas presents. Good news is, I'm selling a scarf with a profit margin that of the amount of money I spent, so... I don't feel too bad!

We have a little 5' tree in our apartment (fake), and we need to decorate it. Of course, it'll be with nerd decorations, hopefully all hand-made (therefore, free). I'm going to knit a few things in between gifts. Christmas is always super busy...

Happy Knitting, everyone!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Zombie Review: High School of the Dead (Anime)



I hope you like fan service.

I just watched the anime on Netflix. Spoiler: Very little takes place in the high school.

Overall: Would watch more if they'd made it. It was a great depiction of a group of survivors fighting their way through Day 1 and beyond in a big city. What was really fantastic about this anime was the certain scenarios that had next to no meaning to the plot, but gave a more realistic feel to the story (Example: scared little girl wets herself while Main character rescues her. Not referenced later, but it would totally happen in a real situation). They really used the landscape of a Japanese city well; using things like rivers (common), street blocks (obviously common), and obviously the high school as a great way to show how the characters would react.

The interesting set-up of this story, however, is the balance between Enemies. In shows like The Walking Dead, the main focus of 'Enemy' is not the zombies themselves, but the survivors and their interactions. Zombies are easily controlled, but when a person goes rogue, people die (example: Shane, Dale, Season 3 so far, etc). However, in HOTD, there seems to be an even split as to the 'enemy'. The officials in positions of 'Authority' have to deal with tough decisions, such as killing a few to save many (a common theme throughout the anime). Here scared officials are the Enemy. However, Zombies approaching after any sound is made is also a viable dead method, without humans being the outright cause of this. The Zombies are still a huge, inevitable threat, as proven by the Finale. In this sense, the show seems more balanced, and moreover, the world is a greater threat.

Back to themes, there are several themes presented here that I really like.

Blood is cheap: It seems that all our main characters are the sons/daughters of important families. Our early season villain is the son of an important politician, main female characters are all daughters of important people in power. But when push comes to shove, even the daughter of an important district leader is on her own, to fend for herself. The main characters are on a search for their families, but in the meantime, no one can protect them.

Killing a few to save many: In the fervor of war against the dead, many characters have to make decisions regarding the living. One situation that is brought up a few times is letting a small group of people cross a bridge or enter a safe zone. Letting them in brings in the possibility of letting in an unturned bitten person, therefore potentially harming the large group. Its a really difficult decision for anyone to make. People are still people, letting them die is inhumane. But letting in a possible threat that could kill a greater population is a great deterrent. Moreover, the anime provides both sides of the argument in positive light--a small group, huddled in a house, kills the poor man with the little daughter out of fear instead of letting him in. At the same time, the police try not to let in the group of crazed survivors cross the bridge into a secured area. These are situation that we, the viewer, can see what side they should have taken, but if we were in that position--what would you do?

If you are easily offended by upskirt shots, nudity, unrealistic battle scenes, and oversized breasts, this is not the anime for you. The sheer amount of fan service is rather distracting from the scenario. There are several scenes involving a plethora of women that just seem unnecessary and unrealistic. Definitely a Shounen (Or Manime, if you will), HOTD is not for the weak of heart.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Great Fingerless Gloves Debate

Partial fingers, or no fingers at all???

It tears me apart! I can't decide! Does the partial fingers make them something other than fingerless gloves? Is it simply born of laziness that one does not knit the fingers?? QUESTIONS MUST BE ANSWERED!

Seriously! What is the point of having gloves if they don't warm your fingers? Of you simply knit them long, so they cover part of your fingers, without the individual finger holes, ARE THEY FINGERLESS MITTENS? Does that even make sense?? Where is the line??

I must preface this story with a fact about me: There are few things I dispise more than an ameteur that claims to know more about a skill than they actually do. Never bullshit knowledge. If you don't know, ask. Moreover, if you're going to publish a pattern, research that it isn't common knowledge, or at least don't claim inspirational genius when creating a garter stitch rectangle.

I once subscribed to a 'Rock Knitters' website, where everyone was teenage girls in love with Fall Out Boy (not an insult to Fall Out Boy but to blind followers), who were 'inspired' to create a lumpy set of garter stitch fingerless gloves (6" rectangle, seamed together with a hole for the thumb. Obviously no research was done.) so they could 'practice guitar outside, without getting cold,' and look cool doing it. (Girl, please. If you're practicing guitar outside, either your parents regretted getting you the damn thing for Christmas and sent you out there until the lessons start kicking in, or you're annoying your neighbourhood crush by playing on the porchswing whenever he walks by to pick up his little brother from the park. That is, if that isn't your Dad's guitar from his teenage years that you found in the attic and swiped for a facebook photoshoot) It made me dislike the fingerless fad for a while.

Then I got a touchscreen phone.

So then I had to backpetal. As a slight elitist, I still resented the teenage angst I had associated with the things, but... usefulness! I need gloves, but taking them on and off just to send a text? What a nusance! Maybe if I just left the tips off, and made a hybrid Half Finger Glove...??

Don't get me wrong, I love me some fingerless glove/mittens. So simple to knit--I once made a pair two hours before a concert--so cute. Useful if you're worried about your warms/hands getting cold with a short sleeve shirt. Great for warmth when you still need your bare fingers. Hell, they just look awesome. They are a great way to learn knitting in the round without getting yourself into too much trouble with socks. Its like knitting a tube sock with a purpose besides sitting in the bottom of your sock drawer until every other pair of socks in sweaty and gross in your hamper. A tube sock that's edgy. But to actually wear them... I had some issues with it.

So the debate continues. I wear them now in places of low-judgement--Friday Night Magic, concerts, costumes, etc. Meanwhile, I've been sticking to full mittens in other places. (I always neglect to think that unless you are a knitting/are close to someone who knits, the technique of knitting is a mystery anyway. People can't tell the difference between a poorly knit item and a well-knit item, unles syou shove it in their face. Moreover, they don't care.) But the Knitting Elitist in me still feels like unless you've got some interesting patternwork or colourwork going on, knitting Fingerlesss Gloves is the equivilent of knitting a 3' scarf on size 15 needles with super bulky yarn. Sure it looks cool, but I can teach my 10-year-old Autistic stepsister with a learning disorder to make that. At the moment, I am knitting boyfriend a pair of gloves with partial fingers, because its more manly and because I think it'll look sexy, but the debate still runs strong. I am torn with resentment of an archetype and love of a look. Maybe I'll switch to mittens and just leave the debate unanswered forever.




Friday, November 9, 2012

Stigma Against Loosing Weight.

As a medium-sized person, I have seen signs of resentment when I exibit weight-loss behaviours. If I eat a small lunch, for example, or mention the caloric content of an item of food.

'But you're so skinny! You don't need to loose weight. Me, on the other hand...'

Are people that self-centered that they refuse to realize that most people have the same body image issues as they do?

Personally, I don't feel the need to loose much weight. In fact, I'd be perfectly happy with gaining the numbers if I could loose the belly fat. My weight loss goal is only 15 pounds, maximum (I've lost 6--almost halfway there!) The difference in the way I look outwardly would be slight; most people won't notice a difference. But my jeans will fit better, I won't be scared of swimsuits, and I'll overall feel better. Trimming a small amount of fat will make me healthier physically and mentally. Similarly, I am loosing the weight in quite a healthy manner, not by starving myself as people try to make it seem, but by portion control and limiting my caloric intake enough to use stored energy. And not put my body in starvation mode.

But as a medium-sized person, other people--even meduim sized ones--show resentment and concern if I exhibit these behaviours. I now don't even tell people of my special diet, for fear of critisism. 'You don't need to loose weight, be happy with the body God gave you.'

God gave me a body, but He didn't shove the food in my mouth.

In high school, people would always say how skinny I way. When I told them my jean size, they were shocked. 'There's no way! 9? No, you're like a 2.' Sorry my friends, I'm carrying a lot more fat around than I let appear. Just because I don't let it hang over too-tight jeans, doesn't mean its not there.

I am so confused with people, and why they think that its okay to criticize someone on something they obviously feel poorly about--why else would I be dieting--and that they know what is best for you. Why its only okay to be worried about your image if you are medically obese. You are only allowed to start thinking about your health when your health has deteriorated to a point when it can medically effect you. People are so backwards. Thank you, I want to look out for myself. Forgive my ignorance to the culture.

For anyone who is trying to loose weight or is thinking about it, do your research first. Find out how many calories a day you should eat for your activity level. Measure your BMI, and measure the BMI for your 'desired' weight. A number on a scale may sound pretty, but unhealthy is unhealthy. Exersize. Take the time to fidn a work-out plan that's right for you. When you've done your research, and can confidently say you're going to do something healthy for yourself, then you can go without guilt when people criticize you. You have the power to control your weight, and you have to power to do it in a healthy manner.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hats, Scarves, and Collars

With the advent of a cold front here in Georgia, I've turned my knitting to warmer things, rather than decorative.

Seed Stitch Collar

I prefer collars to scarves for a few reasons: One, they are a much faster knit. Two, they don't get caught in zippers and on velcro on your jacket. Three, they just look cool.

I made a really simple seed stitch collar with buttons for these reasons.

CO 30 sts
Knit one row
[k1, p1] to end of row
[p1, k1] to end of row

Repeat until work measures around your neck comfortably

[k1, p1] Twice, k1, cast off 6th stitch, repeat until end of row
Next row, seed stitch, and add the cast off stitches back onto the needle
Repeat another 4-5 rows of seed stitch, cast off.


Its a rectangle with button holes.

Add buttons, and you're done!












Newsboy Hat

I'd give you the pattern for this, but I honestly can't remember what I did.



I know I used elements of Starcap, and I did a seed stitch band (I love seed stitch). Other than that, its not too clear.


Ravenclaw Scarf

I'm currently working on a Ravenclaw scarf for Boyfriend. He really wants one. I wanted to do it in book colours, rather than movie colours (blue and bronze vs blue and silver), but we had limited yarn choices. I went with 1x1 ribbing; I think that makes it look really clean. Using Caron Simply Soft (like the poor college student that I am) in 'Celestial' and 'Grey Heather'.

I think Matching gloves would be pretty awesome, too.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Candy Corn Earrings

Probably the easiest thing in the world. And so cute!

They are really lightweight earrings, so they are great for sensitive ears/children.

Materials
Scrap yarn in Yellow, Orange, and White (I used worsted weight)
Size 2 dnp
Tapestry needle
Earring Hook

Important things to note: When changing colour, make sure the tails point down. Its get messy otherwise.
These are 'stuffed' with the knots of the colour changes. No filling needed!

Cast on 9 stitches in Yellow across 3 dnp.
Knit 2 rows.
Change to Orange yarn.
Make sure to pull the colour change ends down!!













[k2tog, k1] 3 times. (6 sts)
knit 3 rows.
Change to White yarn.
[k2tog] 3 times. (3 sts)
Knit 2 rows.
Place all 3 stitches on one needle. Purl all three together. Hook onto earring hook. Break yarn, knot, and pull though the bottom of the corn.


I didn't have any earrings on my when
I  made this one, so I put it on a needle.











Weave starting tail into bottom stitches; cut all ends so none show.









Viola!



Monday, October 22, 2012

Office Space Hallowe'en Decorations

Paper, highighters, some paperclips, a rubber band...

We're gonna make some decorations out of office supplies.

If you're one of millions of Americans that work desk jobs, you probably hate your job and everything about it. You probably need a break from the long, monotonous hours of looking at a computer screen.

I have your solution!

Inspired by Shelterness, I decided to make my own paper pumpkins, in the office.

Step one: Cut paper into long pieces.

Step two (optional): Colour said paper pieces. Your interns will love this--colouring at work! Highlighters and sharpies are your friends.



Step three: Punch holes in the ends of the paper pieces.

Step four: Tie a knot in the end of a piece of string, or a rubber band, or else chain several paper clips together and unbend the end of one of them. Thread though one of the (set) of holes. Thread end through the other holes. Pull until there is about 2" of string/band/chain between the pices of paper. It will kinda look like a lute. Tie off.

Step five: Spread the pieces out, to form a ball!

Accessories:
Cut a thin strip of paper. Colour both sides (I chose black).
Twist tightly, holding for about 5 seconds. Release, and gently loosen. Tape to top of pumpkin.

Cut a small piece of paper, colour, and tape into a ring. Tape to top of pumpkin.
And you're done!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Totally Awesome Witches Hats!

My mother posted a picture of these on my facebook wall, I have no idea where they came from. These were not my idea!

Step 1: Buy Keebler Orginal Fudge Strip Cookies, frosting (orange is optional. I had to use food dye to make it so), and Hersey's kisses.
Step 2: Turn a cookie upside-down.
Step 3: Place small ball of icing in center.
Step 4: Smash unwrapped Kiss onto icing.
Step 5: ???
Step 6: Profit.


I think I'm going to make these for a Hallowe'en Party. They are really too easy not to.

Helpful hint: If you're using frosting from a jar (as I did), I found that scooping some up intoa teaspoon measure, and then collecting that on a knife in a circular manner, then placing on the cookie gave it a more uniform ball. Pain in the ass otherwise. 

These are really delicious! The orange isn't as bright as I would have liked them, but next batch will be better.


Happy Hallowe'en!


AMC's The Walking Dead




From Robert Kirkman's popular graphic novel comes a television show not quite like the dramas we've seen before.

Rick Grimes wakes up in a post-apocalyptic world were the the dead Walk once again.

Sounds like a pretty normal Zombie set-up to me. But the Walking Dead features something far greater than a gory love story. Because in this universe, the greatest enemy isn't the slow, shambling UnDead, but rather the Walking Dead--the people who attempt to survive.

Season Three started this Sunday, bringing new characters that make the reads of the comic both cheer and cringe. 

While the television show does now follow the book exactly, both hold common themes and major events that focus on the reactions of the Group and those around them.

Oh, and its not available on Dish anymore, but you can watch it online on AMC's website the day after it airs. Myself, I don't have cable, so this is a very wonderful option for me.

*Spoilers after this point*

This weekend, we got our first look at the jail. The Group fashions a home from Cell Block C, attempting to cure their exhaustion and prepare for Lori's baby. We must note that she is farther along in her pregnancy than the comic had at this point, which leads us to believe that this will be a main problem of this arc. Rick and Lori seem to be on rough terms, and have not truly discussed the possibilty of the baby being Shane's. In my own opinion, this is the least of their problems, as Shane is double dead and Rick has a sort of male-lion claim to all the children of the heard. We can also see that Carl is starting to favour his Dad. This relationship, and Rick's distancing from Lori, leads me to believe that Lori is not long for this world. Rick will soon develop his passion for saving Carl above all others. Oh, and their medic lost a leg. Lets hope he's still around to deliver.

Micchone is taking care of a feverish Andrea. Still separated from the group, an extremely well-cast Micchone insists on staying while Andrea plays the martyr. We can safely assume that a reunion will be soon.

We found the alive prisoners. I hope they cast well and kept the same characters. I really do. Hopefully it will give Andrea a chance to redeem herself as a badass, I'll be very disappointed otherwise. 

I feel like the major arc will be Lori-Baby-Rick, Rick's judgement being questioned (after chopping off Hershel's infected leg with A HATCHET), and what to do with prisoners in a world where crime is survival. Some great moral issues. And, of course, the ultimate question of morals... The Govenor. I love this show. Makes you think.

Overall, this is a refreshing look at the Zombie story--where its not about fighting zombies, but about surviving with humans.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hallowe'en Preparation

Fall is my favourite time of year.

I freakin love Hallowe'en.

Pumpkins
I've tried out a few pumpkin knitting patterns. I feel like its the simple ones that work the best.

I've been using this pattern, from Ravelry. Even if you don't make the arms and legs and face, its a really great pattern for pumpkins. I've made about seven of them now, for various people and reasons.


Apple Cider

I made apple cider. Turns out--super easy. Sorry, no pictures--camera was acting up. If I do a second batch, I'll update.

For the experiment, I took one apple, and sliced it. If you have a mandolin slicer, that would make things super easy. Or, you can core the apple, and slice the pieces into chucks. Oh, and I used a Gaia apple.

In a small saucepan, I put about 1.5 cups of filtered water, and the apple slices. I covered, heated to boil, and then let it simmer for maybe 45 minutes. Systematically, I pulled the lid off and mashed the apples with a potato masher.
When it smelled good and apple-y, I took it off the heat. I put a large funner into a jar, threw a coffee filter into the funnel, then poured my mashy-juice mixture in batches. I threw out the mash, but you can use this for applesauce! And its delicious!

After I filtered the juice, I rinsed out my pot and poured the juice back in. I heated it to a simmer, and added about a tablespoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon of nutmeg. You can also add ginger and other assorted spices.

For a hard cider, I recommend adding Captain Morgan's, or another spiced rum.

There is plenty of information on the internet from more informed people than I. But seriously, try it! Its delicious!

CANDY CORN.
Pattern Here
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/happy-candy-corns

Frankly, I hated the little faces on the original pattern, but I love the little corns! So cute!

Turns out you can MAKE candy corn yourself. The eating kind. I must try this.

Bowl Cozy

I have bright orange, square bowls. Pretty Hallowe'eny to begin with. But I decided to make a striped cozy for it anyway. I eyeballed it, and missed a bit--its a bit large--but the effect is the same. I feel like if I had ribbed the cozy, I would have fit very well.

I'm thinking that I'm going to make some cute little bows.

The image quality of pictures I post should rise in the near future--Friday I will be purchasing an Asus T300 Tablet (Like the one boyfriend has). No longer shall I take pictures with a 1.3 megapixel phone! And I can update more often.So excited!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Hallowe'en Hot Pockets

I made hot pockets! But pumpkin shaped!



Hot Pockets
-1 pie crust (store bought or homemade)
-Small can tomato sauce
-3 cloves garlic
-Half cup chopped onion
-Italian Seasoning
-Chili powder
-Cheese

If applicable, defrost pie crust.

In small saucepan, saute garlic and onions. Add tomato sauce; season to taste. Let simmer.

Cut pie crust into shapes with a cookie cutter. Be sure to cut an even number.

Place half the shapes on a cookie sheet. In the center, put about a tablespoon of sauce, and spread some cheese. Be careful not to overfill.

Take the second half of the shapes, and roll them so they are slightly bigger than the first half. Don't roll them too thin, however.

Wet edges of sauced shapes, place second half of shapes on top. Press edges together.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until brown.

Calories: About 150 each (yield of 7).

They are really portable! And adorable! But really small. I'm thinking to use a larger cookie cutter next time.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Knitting Recap.

I've been doing a lot of knitting.



I made a Totoro!

It was a present for a friend of mine. The pattern came from Ravelry, which is one of the best things I have every discovered. Ever.

I still don't like the tummy, but it was a pain in the ass, and the gauge was wayyyy too tight and it hurt my fingers. I'm not a perfectionist. I'm sure it'll be fine.

I made Socks for Ballet Flats!

I think I'll make them a bit longer next time, but really, not a bad pattern. They knit up pretty quick. I hate the feeling of wearing shoes and no socks, but its a bit awkward to wear full socks with a dress or something. So, found these. They do show a bit on the sides--as you can see in the picture. However, this makes be want to put a cute edging on them! I must look into this.

More projects to come!




Monday, September 24, 2012

Ruffled Shirts

I have a new resolution to only keep one project going at a time, so I can hopefully actually finish things.
Unfortunately, I get really excited about things, and when I'm in the middle of a project, thinking about another one, it makes my knitting really boring. Oh well, I'll just have to keep calm, and carry on.

After watching Repo! The Genetic Opera for the 100th time (roughly), I have decided I want that freakin' shirt-vest combination.

 Pain in the ass to find a decent picture. What whatever. The idea is pretty straight-forward: Ruffled top, harness vest, tall collar, etc, etc.

Hancock Fabric was having a  sale on Simplicity Patterns, which made my day. Unfortunately, I got there late, and most the good ones were gone, but I was able to pick up a few. Including some vest patterns! Sweet!

But the top, I feel like I could make myself, sans pattern. Well, more like a combination of patterns and shit that I make up. Either way.

I could probably work a t-shirt into something similar, and knit up some lace for the ruffles. Might not be a bad idea, really. A blouse would work best, but I don't really have any to spare.

The lace would have to be something full, but still delicate. I like this one, personally.

We'll see how it ruffles, though. I'll do some experiments and see what works best. Experiments in lace!

I have to finish those socks first, though... erg...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Knit Cthulhu


I have seen crotchet Cthulhu's everywhere. However, I cannot crotchet to save my life. I'm so terrible at it. So, I made a knit version.

DragonCon 2012!!


Note: There is a small amount of 'crocheting' here. However, I do this with my fingers. I'll post a video or something on how to do this later.

Yarn: Worsted Weight Yarn (any)
Needles : 4mm (Size 6), dpn. Or any dpn, really, the product will just turn out to be a different size.
2 buttons

Ball 1
CO 8 sts, divided onto dpn. Leave a long tail.
k 1 round
Increase every st
k1 round
[k1, inc1] 8 times
k 1 round
[k2, inc1] 1 round
k 1 round
[k3, inc1] 1 round
k 1 round
[k4, inc1] 1 round
k 1 round
[k5, inc1] 1 round
k 1 round
[k6, inc 1] 1 round
k 3 rounds
[k6, dec 1] 1 round
k 1 round
[k5, dec 1] 1 round
k 1 round
[k4, dec 1] 1 round
k 1 round
[k3, dec 1] 1 round
k 1 round
[k2, dec 1] 1 round
k 1 round
[k1, dec 1] 1 round
k 1 round
Dec every st
k 1 round
Cut tail long. Thread into a tapestry needle, run yarn through remaining stitches. Pull tight.
Making sure the ball is the right side out, stuff through hole in top. Run cast-on tail through cast on, pull closed.

Ball 2

CO 8 sts, divided onto dpn. Leave a long tail.
k 1 round
Increase every st
k1 round
[k1, inc1] 8 times
k 1 round
[k2, inc1] 1 round
k 1 round
[k3, inc1] 1 round
k 1 round
[k4, inc1] 1 round
k 3 rounds
[k4, dec 1] 1 round
k 1 round
[k3, dec 1] 1 round
k 1 round
[k2, dec 1] 1 round
k 1 round
[k1, dec 1] 1 round
k 1 round
Dec every st
k 1 round
Cut tail long. Thread into a tapestry needle, run yarn through remaining stitches. Pull tight.
Making sure the ball is the right side out, stuff through hole in top. Run cast-on tail through cast on, pull closed.


Sew balls together, preferably at a hole.

You can either do the tentacles or the eyes first. I prefer to make the tentacles, and then arrange everything on the face at the same time. I sew the the buttons on with red thread, to indicate evil eyes. Its the little things.

Tentacles
Here comes the crotchet. Here is how you do it with your hands; I assume tis similar with a hook, but that's fancy stuff and I don't get it.

Make a chain just longer than you want the tentacle.
Insert 2 links up. Chain one. Repeat until end.

You can kinda twist the tentacle as it happens, to define it.

Add button eyes and sew the tentacles into place!


Happy Knitting!

Edit: I forgot a decrease row! Its in there now.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Plants vs Zombies: Popcap does it again.




PvZ: A game that seems so intriguing. Essentially a tower defense game, it's brightly coloured, plays happy music, and involves a speech impaired fat guy with a kitchen pot for a helmet adviser. According to the website, it was been awarded over 30 Game of the Year titles.



In my own humble opinion, this game is on the same level as, say, Angry Birds. Rather mindless, playable by any age; PvZ just didn't offer any mind-tickling puzzles. I picked it up on the Steam Summer Sale, and I honestly wouldn't have paid more than the few dollars that I had. I was severely disappointed.

However, I must admit the game was very well made. It has a distinctive flavour, easily distinguishable. The plants and zombies became very iconic. You will never forget the music. The game itself was easy, simple to understand, simple to master. I would recommend thins game to anyone who is looking for a simple, mindless game to waste a few hours with. It is definitely time Well Wasted.

And for any knitters: Be sure to check out Ginger Grant and her Botanical Creatures vs the Undead pattern on Ravelry!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Free Lace Beret


I've made two of these now, one for myself and one for my best friend.



That white stuff is snow.
I knit it on 4mm needles, with good ole' Red Heart worsted-weighted yarn. It have the hat a nice bulky feeling, great for winter. In fact, I even took it to the Great White North with me! Its wonderfully warm and I think its pretty cute. And it was cheap to make!










The second iteration was done on Caron Simply Soft yarn, which is a bit more fluid than the Red Heart. It was a much easier knit, and the texture was better. I have yet to test it in cold weather, as September in Georgia still means 85+ weather.









I took between 10-15 hours to knit. Its done flat, so there is a seam, but its not very noticeable.

I would recommend doing this on 14" needles. The stitches get very scrunched up.

This was the first beret I've made, so I can't tell you how it added up to other patterns. I had a bitch of a time with the first one. That may have been the yarn, though.



The band is really nice for sensitive ears. Personally, my ear freeze in anything below 70 with a breeze. The band goes right over them, so that issue was dealt with.

Its a fun pattern, and I definitely recommend it!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Knitter's Guide

Knitting isn't very complicated. In fact, the reason I love it so much is its simplicity. Its wonderful to sit and do something without thinking, and just relax and let the world happen. So relaxing.

I've come up with a Knitter's Guide with items you may need.

Set of needles

  • Whatever size suites you. I have several pairs of 4mm, I find them to be very useful.

  • Metal or Plastic, these are far more important than one would think. Trying to weave in ends is terrible.
  • I got a pack of 4 at WalMart for probably $2. So worth it.
Yarn Storage
  • Bag or Box, just somewhere where you can keep it all in one place. Particularly if you have cats.

Optional:

Row Counter
  • Honestly, I just count. But row counters are really cheap, so if you like to have them, you're not going to get set back more than a dollar or two. Smartphone/tablet users can find all sorts of free apps that do the same thing.
DPN stoppers
  • You can get little rubber stoppers for the end of a dpn, so that you may use it as a straight needle. It keeps the stitches from going off the other end. Personally, if I had anything that large, I'd switch to a straight needle. If this is not an option, just use my grandmother's trick--put a rubber band around the end. Same effect.
Measuring Tape
  • If you have a sewing measuring tape, its a great idea to use it. Personally, I love mine. However, a ruler works just as well. Seriously.
Round Markers
  • These are very useful for marking rounds, or places where you need to do a certain stitch, or any other number of things. A small piece of contracting colour in a loop works just as well. 
Scissors
  • Obviously, any scissors will work. But you may want to invest in a pair of small knitting scissors. Easier to carry around.

Similarly, you could just buy a Knit Kit, something that has been on my wish-list for a while, but I keep forgetting about it when holidays arrive. Its super awesome and handy and TSA approved. Cause that's important.

When I was in grade school, we weren't allowed to have needles--they thought we'd stab each other or something. But my friends still wanted to learn how to knit. I taught them using pencils. Made the yarn all grey.

However, if you are a crafty person, and I assume you are, you can even go so far as to make your own needles. There are some really cool How-To's on how to do these. I think I might do a post about that, its a good excuse to make my own.

Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Knitting.

One would think that with a title including the word, I'd have talked about it by now. Honestly, I haven't had much time to knit. Normally, I'd knit during class, but seeing as I'm working this semester, it really cuts back on my yarn time.

Knitting is one of my Time Wasters. Those wonderful little things you do that make life worth living. Time Wasters are some of the most important things in life--without them, where would we be? Not all of us are blessed with a job that we love--I'm certainly not. But knitting--and really, creating things in general--makes it all worth it.

I've been knitting on some level for about 15 years. I started by knitting tiny little scarves for my dolls when I was 5--must have drove my mother mad, all these little rectangles everywhere--and over the years, got better at it. It probably wasn't until high school that I actually realized what someone could do with the skill of knitting. By that time I'd perfected the technique, but had no idea what to do with it. It was over those four years that I came to develop and research patterns, and started to make things I could use.

Now, the only thing that really stops me from knitting whatever I want is willpower. Its tough to do big projects! Lots of work! Not to mention, I have a strange stiffness in my left index finger that flares up when I knit big projects. Well, if I do them quickly. Know your limits! Don't push yourself too much, or you'll never finish anything.

I would advise new knitters to pick a project that isn't too outrageous. Most people I've met start with the old standby scarf--a great start! Its not complicated, only has one type of stitch; you can use big needles to make it go faster, and its functioning! It also fixes the knit into your muscle memory, which to me is very important. It lets you watch how tension affects your knitting. Overall, the ubiquitous scarf is a fantastic first project.

For medium knitters, I suggest socks. Socks open up the world of double-pointed needles, which once I mastered, let me do almost anything. Socks are great projects because they are very easy to customize and there is a multitude of websites with advice, how-to's, general patterns... Youtube is a great place for that. And I will probably mention this again at some point, but I love this website. Probably one of the most useful things ever. 

Expert knitters... I couldn't advise you on that. I wouldn't call myself an expert knitter in the least bit. The only advice I could give is to make things that you like, or that challenge you. Otherwise, you'll get bored and stop knitting!

There are all sorts of knitting clubs and things, although I've never been in one. This is the best way I can share my knitting. However, knitting with people is a great way to bond--and if you have questions, you can ask each other! Friends make everything better.

There are thousands of free patterns online. You can join Ravelry and get even more.. I'll post patterns/where I get my patterns from whenever I post a project. Always give credit where credit is due! And at the same time, always feel free to eyeball something and make it on the fly. The great thing about knitting is that you can always unravel and start over. Be creative! You can make almost anything by knitting.

I'll post small Knitter's Guide in a separate post later. 

Happy Knitting!

Con Food

DragonCon was this weekend!!

We're going a bit on the flip side as we normally do here--trying to pack as many calories into an easy-to-carry, non-perishable food. At a convention, one can expect to burn an extra 500-1000 calories a day. Which is great for someone who is trying to loose some weight, but terrible for people such as Boyfriend, who are underweight and mostly muscle.

So, I've devised a good way to make sure he keeps his energy up after all the running around we shall be doing.

Energy Bars

1/2 cup Peanut Butter
1/2 cup Honey
1.5 cup Rolled Oats
1 cup chopped almonds (or other chopped nuts)


Preheat oven to 450.

Melt the peanut butter and honey over a low heat in a medium saucepan. Stir often, if not continuously (I used a rubber spatula). Remove from heat.

Stir the oats and the nuts into the peanut butter mixture, slowly. Be sure to coat everything!

You can add more oats if it seems too thin.

Grease a small glass pan. Pour mixture into pan, and spread with spatula evenly.
I threw a few more nuts on top.

Bake for about 10 minutes, just to help it set. Freeze.


There are quite a few things wrong with these--they fell apart rather easily. However, I was in a rather warm environment--90+ degrees--so that is a variable that could contribute. I kept them in the freezer overnight, and that helped a little.

These also made us VERY thirsty. It wasn't much of an issue, as we had access to lots of water, but I would definitely warn people about that.

The biggest battle here was a picky eater. I would have liked to put some craisins or some other dried fruit into this, but Boyfriend isn't a big fan of that. Alas.

Dragon*Con costuming stuff and such will be going up soon!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Garlic!!

My mother reminded me that garlic boosts your immune system. I needed no further convincing that it was time to make garlic bread again.

I like this recipe of garlic bread better than other ones, because it does not require baking the bread and then toasting it--just one easy delicious recipe.

Garlic Bread

Bread
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 packet (2.25 teaspoons) yeast
2 tsp salt
4 tablespoons (half a stick) butter
3 cups flour
1-2 cloves garlic
Garlic Powder (optional)

Filling
2-3 tablespoons Olive oil or melted butter
2-5 cloves garlic
Garlic Powder (optional)
Italian Seasonings (optional)

Mix water, sugar and yeast. Let proof.

Meanwhile, mince your garlic. All of it--for the bread and the filling. If you feel like it, put it through the food processor. Separate 1-2 cloves (1.5-3 teaspoons) of garlic.

Once yeast has proofed, mix in butter and salt to yeast mixture. Add garlic and garlic powder. Slowly add flour and mix with fork until moist. Knead until a smooth dough.

Let double in covered, greased bowl.

Meanwhile, mix all the ingredients for the filling except the optional Italian Seasonings in a cup. Let sit while dough rises.

Preheat oven to 350.

Punch down dough. On a well floured surface, roll to about 1/4" thick. Cut a piece about as long and wide as your bread pan. Lay in bread pan. Pour about 1 to 1.5 teaspoons of filling over it; spread roughly even. Sprinkle optional Italian seasoning, and perhaps more garlic powder. Cut next piece to roughly the same directions; place on top. Repeat process until you run out of dough. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.

Eat and be merry!

If this doesn't blast your system with garlic, I'm not sure what will. Well, I know, but taking a bite out of a clove of garlic is a bit intense. Trust me. It tingles.

The idea of the laying is to 1) get more garlic into the bread without making the texture weird, 2) Get more buttery goodness in there, and  3) I just like layers.

Alternatively, you can make layers that stack horizontally rather than vertically, and make a pull-apart bread (no cutting needed!) but I find its a pain in the butt trying to fill up the pan, get them all the right size... I just went for a stack.

This bread is really fantastic with cheese. You can even add shredded cheddar to the filling! But don't tempt me. I spread one of those Laughing Cow Cheese Spread wedges on a slice, and it was awesome. The bread is really filling, too, so it makes a great snack/small meal. Good for college students looking to live cheap. And it'll boost your immune system, so you won't get sick as often! Hurray!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Energy Efficient Recipes #2: Pita Bread

The making of pita bread always seemed like a sacred thing to me. I ate pita pockets as a kid, in Canada--they were much more readily available there than in the South--and when I went to find a recipe, it seemed that everyone had their own way that had been passed down from generation to generation...

But as it turns out, the making of pita bread is entirely up to the person. The recipe I used is as follows:

Pita Bread

1 packet dry active yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons, for those of us who buy it by the jar)
1/2 cup WARM water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups flour
2 tablespoon olive oil

Mix water, sugar, and yeast. Let proof*.

Mix in flour and oil and combine until a dough. Knead for about 8 minutes, then turn into a greased bowl. Let it double.

Punch dough down, and split into chunks. Roll on a floured surface into 8" circles.


 Cook on a nongreased skillet for about 3 minutes a side. They should bubble and rise.

Yield: 8

About 140 calories each

Notes: yes, you can substitute the sugar for honey. I'd use a medium heat to a medium-high heat. It keeps them from burning as much. You can also do half sizes. I use those for mini pizzas, because a whole one fills me up. The 3 minute thing is a generally agreed upon number--I usually only do about 1 minute, before they start burning. If anyone has any suggestions on how to fix this, I'd be appreciated.


*Proofing Yeast: I'm adding a section on this because I've had friends really mess this up. 
Think of your yeast like a bear. Its been in a nice, cozy packet of a cave for a long winter. Its warm and cozy, and it doesn't want to get up. So, you've got to make it think its finally springtime. Warm it up a bit. Coax it out. But you can't set the damn cave on fire. I use warm water from the tap, not scalding, but warm enough to wash your hands with on a cold day. Mix the warm water with the bear--I mean yeast--and let it sit. Maybe give it a bit of sugar as a welcoming present. You'll know its awake and happy when it gets all bubbly and it rises to the top. It'll smell like a bakery. THEN you can get happy and add your flour and stuff. 


Things I like about this recipe: Its cooked in a skillet, so you don't heat up the house with the oven. Keeps your A/C costs low. Its a fairly simple recipe, with only a few ingredients. They keep decently well. They make great bases for mini-pizzas, are great for sandwiches, great with hummus. Its a pretty versatile recipe.

Things I don't like about this recipe: I still haven't worked all the kinks out. They still burn about 90% of the time. I don't mind burnt things, so it doesn't affect me, but I'd like to make a non-blackened batch.

Things I would change about this recipe: Whole Wheat flour. Nuff said. Its not just a 1-to-1 ratio on wheat to white, though, so I can't advise how to go about that. However, that in itself would make a much healthier version of these.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Energy Efficient Recipes #1: Mini Quiche

I'm still trying to save money after Boyfriend bought a tablet, so I've been working on some energy efficient recipes.

This is also a good place to come if you live in a dorm, and don't have full access to a kitchen. I'm trying to use the toaster oven rather than the full oven.
Excuse the mess, its an old toaster oven.

Mini-Quiche

3 Large eggs
1/4 cup Milk
1/4cup chopped onion
1/4 cup spinach
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Whisk eggs and milk together. Add onion and spinach (and whatever yummy veggies or meats you care for). Pour into 6 silicone baking cups. Top with cheese. Bake in toaster oven at 350 for 10 minutes.

About 55 calories each.

This does require silicone baking cups, which I got from Amazon for cheap. I find them extremely useful as lunch container dividers, so you don't have to take multiple containers. They are a great size and have a nice little fill line. Not sure why, but I love the fill line. The only problem I have is they do not like to be washed in the dishwasher. They fly everywhere. I try to pin them down, but its rather fruitless.

What I love about this recipe: Its really versatile. You can put whatever you want into these little cups. I just had spinach and onions on hand. If I liked peppers, I would chop up about 1/4 cup mixed red and green  peppers, which will give them a delightful mix of colours. You can even put bits of lunch meat (if not a vegetarian) in them, for extra protein. Adding the cheese on top limits the amount of cheese you can actually put on these, and cheese is one of those caloric sinks I've been avoiding. This is a great way to have the protein aspect of your meal. It gives you the satisfaction of making muffins, without the carbs. There are no refined sugars, the only sugar comes from the milk and onions. You could even add salt to it without making it really harmful.
As far as my energy efficiency goes, the toaster oven uses around 50% less energy than a normal oven. Similarly, it won't heat up my home like the oven will, so the AC doesn't work so hard.
As far as my 300-calorie-lunches so, its a perfect little muffin of protein and low caloric intake. Gives me plenty of wiggle room for my starch and veggies. And it has veggies in it! Pretty good all around, I must say.

What I don't like about this recipe: If you're watching your cholesterol, eggs are a bad thing. You could use an egg substitute, or use only egg whites. I feel like that would change the fat content too. Basically: If you want to avoid eggs, this is a bad thing for you.

What I could change about this recipe: Change from eggs to egg whites. Change from 2% Milk to skim... generally reduce the fat content.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tablets and Cooking

Boyfriend got a new tablet! Its an Asus TF300 for those who are interested.

However, this unplanned $450 expense means we've got to save a bit of money over the next few months.

I keep track of our spending pretty well, I have a spreadsheet full of numbers. It looks like Electricity, Food, and Gas are our top spenders. Well, and rent, but you don't get much cheaper with rent. Anyway, so I'm going to try an experiment to see how much money we can shave off our bill.

First, luckily enough, our AC shouldn't have to work as hard, as we've had a few cooler days (its sad when I'm calling 85 'cool'), and after August things start to cool down. I bumped the thermostat up to 79 (it was at 78), but I don't expect that to do a whole lot. However, I'm going to try a few more things:

1) Unplug anything we don't use on a daily basis. So: game systems, toaster, fans, lamps... um... can't think of a lot more that exist.

2) Raise the fridge temp by a degree or two. I'm fairly certain its on ULTRA COLD, because Boyfriend is paranoid. But what he doesn't know, won't hurt him.

3) Cook recipes that take a short amount of time.  This is a bit of a challenge, so I'm excited. Hopefully I'll post some recipes. pan sear steak, nuke potatoes for a minute before cooking them, making large batches of things, then nuking them throughout the week. Cook these large batches during cool parts of the day, so the AC doesn't have to work so hard. Also, use the oven for several things at once. Don't open the oven door while things are cooking. Use the toaster oven when possible. Use the small burner for the small pan. This is something I've done forever, but its worth mentioning: Use less water to cook pasta. You can use about half of the amount it calls for on the box. Drives me nuts when people over-water their pasta. But I digress.

4) Clean the dishwasher drain. This is something that has needed to be done, but its just a job I hate. Get out all the nasties.

5) Do laundry during cool times of the day. The heat from the drier heats your house. In the summer, it means your AC has to work harder. In the winter, it makes your heater work less hard. All around, it just makes sense to use it while its cool.

6) Dust out the vents. I've tried to do this before, but I might try to vacuum them out, if possible. we don't have a canister vacuum, which is why I haven't done it before. Its probably better for our health, anyway.


Anyway, what this means for you guys, is I'll try to post an energy-efficient recipe about once a week, based on what I'm eating for this week. Of course, I'm still going on my 300-a-lunch challenge, so I guess I just upgraded to hardcore mode.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Salads

I always knew lettuce and greens had very little caloric value, but I had also heard that salads are a trap--you think they are healthy, but are filled with hidden fat bombs. And I still kinda think that way. I never ordered salads at fast-food restaurants--I thought they were designed to be cheap and aimed at people who thought they were eating healthy--'Salad' seems healthy, but still made with all the fatty shortcuts all other fast food was made with. That and they are so expensive, compared to things like sandwiches. All designed to make maximum profits. And romaine lettuce is supposed to be a wasteland of nutrition--its just cheap to grow and people will eat it. Dressings, croutons, bacon bits--everything is a trap to think you're eating healthy,

So I've had to change how I think about salads. Its probably not a normal thought process to see salads as unhealthy, so I can't expect the self-inflicted cognitive therapy to work for everyone.

I'd had to look and see what the actual nutritional value of all the 'traps' were, and realize that I needed to do portion control (as is my major issue).

So I started looking at what I would put into a salad. Dressing and cheese are my big things.

Courtesy of kraftrecipes.com
Dressings
2 tablespoons of ranch is 140 calories. 11-14 grams of fat. For a normal, 2,000 diet, that's about 1/5 of the daily recommended dose. So that's no fun, especially if you're shooting for less. So chose something more 'diet-like', and went with a reduced fat raspberry vinaigrette. Considerably better than ranch, and quite delicious, I must say. It does stain everything pink, so if you mix your salad before hand, expect all the meat to look like confetti.

An alternate to dressing I used was sesame oil. It contains a lot more calories than most dressings, per tablespoon, but I use a lot less of it. Maybe half a tablespoon, which is only 60 calories. Also, it has a lot of unsaturated fats, which are better for you anyway. The important thing is to toss it with the salad, to coat every leaf with it. Its very potent, and has a unique flavour. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Cheese
When I was a kid, I'd get salads at school--a few leaves of romaine and about a cup of cheddar. Maybe some peanuts. Cheese is one of the best things ever. But for a dieter, its a bit of a problem. For salads, I've been trying to keep it down to 1/4 cup, and use mozzarella--fewer calories than cheddar--or else 2 tablespoons of Parmesan.

What Else to Add
I'm the only one in the house that really eats vegetables, so I don't keep many stocked. The obvious choice for salads is more veggies, but I've been getting more creative. And I need protein.

Eggs: chopped up hard-boiled egg. Protein, some potassium, some colour to make my day happier--its pretty much wonderful.



So basically I'm eating lettuce-egg-small amount of cheese-sesame-oil salads. Tasty. 150-200 calories for a lunch. Not so bad.

Salads on the go: Wendy's had this awesome Berry Almond Chicken Salad now. I get a half-size and its about 280 calories. Hell, a full size is only 460, so as far as fast food goes, you're still doing well. And its cheaper than a sandwich, so eating out on a budget and diet is finally easy. And its delicious. I'm super happy about it, and hope it stays.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Meatballs

Meatballs
  • ½ Pound ground beef
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup parmesan
  • 1 egg
Mix all ingredients together. Sprinkle with seasonings as you please. Form into small, ½-inch balls. Fry in pan. Eat.

About 130 calories for 3 meatballs.

Things I like about this recipe: 3 meatballs is a good amount of protein, and its still a reasonable number of calories. They are delicious, reasonably sized for lunch boxes, and are overall really good.

Things I don’t like about this recipe: The main issue with meatballs is not the meat, it’s the pasta you eat it with. 2 oz of rotini is 200 calories. That’s ¾ cup dry. Not to mention sauce. So even though these are a great way to get some protein, be careful what you eat with them. I’m still working on the perfect lunch with these, but it looks like I'm leaning toward meatball sandwiches. I’ll keep you updated.

Things I could change about this recipe: Not a whole lot. You could replace the parmesan with more breadcrumbs, make the breadcrumbs from whole wheat bread... put more veggies in it, maybe... more Garlic... These are pretty basic, simple meatballs. I don’t see much reason to change it, although suggestions are always welcome.

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

So I made Apple Cinnamon Muffins. They are really simple!

3/4 cup All-Purpose flour
1/4 cup Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/6 cup Olive Oil
1 egg
1/6 cup Milk
1/2 a Chopped Apple

Mix flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. Stir in oil, egg and milk. Throw in apple. Fill lined muffin tins 3/4 full (I got about 7 out of it), and bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes.

150 Calories each (With a yield of 7)

Things I like about this recipe: Its really simple, and it doesn't require a special trip to the store. Most everything is in your pantry, save for the apple. Good for dorm kitchens, because your only mess is one bowl  and one muffin tin. Overall, its a nice, simple recipe. They are filling.

Things I don't like about this recipe: Caloric content. My goal for lunches is 300 calories, so this is a sink for half a lunch. The oil really gets you. There’s not too much sugar in it, so that’s good, but otherwise is not that perfect.

Things I could change about this recipe: Substitute applesauce for the oil. It saves about 50 calories for the muffin, and it adds more of an apple-y taste to these yummy muffins! It also turns the muffins from a main component of lunch to a snack.
You could also change the flour to whole wheat flour, but the ratio would be different. I’ll have to experiment and find out! Whole Wheat flour would definitely make this healthier, but for those of us who can’t find it at a decent price, we make due.

The Beginning.

It seems a bit strange that it has come to this.

There are several things that define my actions in this time of my life.

One: I feel the need to lose the 'freshman 15' that took me 2 years to gain. My family history is to blame--my mother, around a similar age, gained an enormous amount of weight rather quickly, and I vowed to never become like this. So, I have taken it upon myself to stop the process before it happens, and get to a place with my body that I feel comfortable.

Two: I love to cook. Recently, this has been a direct battle with my dieting. I have a small frame, so limiting my caloric intake is really difficult--the line between weight loss and starving myself is around 100 calories. I've had to do a lot of thinking about how I view food. Its been an interesting journey.

Three: I like to knit! Its a hobby, and I've been knitting in some form since I was about 5. I like to think I can knit anything. Like to.

Four: I am a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction. Zombies, nuclear holocaust, etc--its all very fascinating.

Anyhoot, that's enough about me, lets find other things to talk about!