Tropical Crunch Cookies

Tropical Crunch Cookies

We ran out of cookies a while back and buying biscuits for Noah are slowly becoming an expensive affair because he is eating so much (can’t believe this is a problem now!) and he also has dietary restrictions. I could easily opt for cheap cookies but they often contain a lot of dairy by-products as well as other possible triggers that we have yet to test out. So homemade food is the best way to go about the whole thing.

While leafing through my recipe books and going online to look for recipes, I came across a cookie recipe that utilised corn flakes for that added crunch. To make it edible for Noah – we make things everyone can out just so my son doesn’t feel left out – I replaced the white chocolate with some crushed banana chips and dessicated coconut to give it a little bit of texture. You can substitute with chopped dried fruit, and nuts to suit your palate.

The resulting cookie is crunchy yet not overly sweet – as I cut back on the sugar – and the olive oil (in place of vegetable oil) gave it a slight spiced-bread-like flavour. It was an instant hit with the kids, especially Noah. He can eat two large cookies at one go and sometimes even has room for another one!

Tropical Crunch Cookies
Adapted from The Australian Women’s Weekly: Biscuit & Slices’ White Chocolate Corn Flake Cookies recipe.
Makes about 30-40 cookies depending on the size

Ingredients

2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup (125 ml) olive/vegetable oil
1/2 cup crushed banana chips
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
1 cup (150 gms) plain flour
3/4 cup (110 gms) self-rising flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups crushed corn flakes

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
  2. Beat the eggs and sugar in a small bowl until the mixture lightens to a pale shade. Stir in the essence, oil, and sifted dry ingredients. Mix well – lumps are fine. Add in the banana chips and dessicated coconut. Stir well and place aside in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to firm up.
  3. When ready, roll teaspoon/tablespoons of the mixture into balls – they will be a little sticky so wet your palm occasionally. Toss them into the crushed corn flakes and roll around until the balls are evenly coated. Place on a baking pan about 4 cm apart and flatten slightly.
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes or until browned lightly. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to stand in the pan for 5 mins – to firm up – before removing them to wire racks to cool.
  5. Enjoy them fresh or store in an airtight container to keep for later.
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Music for the kids too?

Now that we’re starting to seriously “homeschool” (it feels weird saying this because I don’t really think that I’m homeschooling Eva) the kids, I am really thinking about getting a piano…just to expose the kids to something else other than the radio, or CDs.

One issue would be where to place the piano as the playroom is currently packed with toys, books and my office as well as the sofa bed; the playroom doubles as a guest room. The other is cost. We have budget set aside to spruce up the playroom with extra shelving but that’s about it. A piano or any other musical gadget is a luxury so I reckon we’ll have to look for other alternatives like secondhand instruments instead OR other cheaper instruments.

Hai…if only it were easy to strike the lottery.

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Molasses carrot cake

Molasses Carrot Cake

After watching a few episodes of Top Chef: Just Desserts (in between surfing, knitting and reviews on patagonia ultralight down shirts), I suddenly have a craving for carrot cake but I wanted something that the kids, specifically Noah, could enjoy. This meant no dairy and only ingredients that he is familiar with.

So after hunting around my recipe books and the Internet, I decided to improvise on the simplest recipe I could find – the one by Betty Crocker. I was intrigued by the low calorie option although the idea of using just 1 egg and 4 egg whites didn’t go down too well. So I just stuck with replacing 1/2 cup of oil with applesauce. Then I had the strangest idea – I wanted a dark, nearly toffee-like smelling cake so why not use the molasses I bought a while back? I usually like my cakes to be on the less-sweet side so I cut back on the sugar and sub 1/4 cup of the stuff for molasses.

The result is a moist, semi-light cake that reminds me a lot of Christmas and fruit cakes. Perhaps it’s the spices I used – cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s not a bad thing…in fact, I like it. I can’t really remember what carrot cakes are supposed to taste like – the ones I had in Malaysia always taste like buttercream more than carrot OR butter cake with carrot bits in it. The only change I would make would be to shred the carrots by hand as they appear to be too large – I used a food processor – but after looking at it again, it doesn’t seem to be all that bad.

Molasses carrot cake
Adapted from Betty Crocker’s Carrot Cake recipe.

Ingredients

3 cups shredded carrot (about four medium sized carrots)
2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup dessicated coconut (optional; you can sub with chopped nuts, raisins and other dried fruit)
Slight less than 3/4 brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup olive oil
4 medium eggs
1 tbsp coconut milk
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp nutmeg powder
1 tsp vanilla essence

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 170°C and put aside a greased loaf pan or square pan.
  2. Mix the eggs, sugar, oil, applesauce and molasses until well combined before adding in the flour, vanilla essence, cinnamon and nutmeg powder. Stir until just lumpy.
  3. Fold in the coconut, coconut milk and shredded carrots. Mix well.
  4. When ready, pour into your pan and bake for 30-45 mins – test using a toothpick (it should come out clean if cooked).
  5. Leave to cool in the oven with the door ajar for 10 mins before removing it from the oven. Cool in the pan for an hour before removing it to place on the rake. Enjoy on its own or with frosting if you like
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Prototype knitting

WIP:  Mélange

I won’t say too much because it’s very much a work in progress as you can see but I am excited about this one.

It has been a while since I last designed anything as I have pretty much stalled on that front. But somehow, somewhere, I caught the bug and I had been thinking about it for a long time. So long that I bought stitch dictionaries a while back and never dug them out until two nights ago. It took me one night of planning and looking for the right stitches and then another night of charting and then another afternoon of plugging everything into an Excel book. I seriously have a lot of respect for pattern writers and designers, especially those who even include row-by-row stitch counts.

I hope I won’t take weeks to finish this – my goal would be to finish this within this month so that I can get it tested – another first for me as well – and then publish this. Wish me luck!

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Knit: Teal Leaves

FO: Teal Socks

Teal Leaves
Pattern | Leaf on the Wind by Purrlescent
Yarn | Phildar Lambswool in Turquoise
Needles | 2.75 mm, 2.5 mm & 2.25 mm DPNs

When I finished my previous sock project, I decided to find the perfect fit for my socks and embarked immediately on another sock project. I chose a solid colour yarn and a lace pattern that wasn’t all that complicated…or so I thought.

The gauge called for was different from what I knitted and I had to rip back at least thrice to find the right fit. In the end, I should have just gone with my gut instinct and selected the size based on feet measurements (M) given rather than gauge plus total stitch count (L). Still it makes for a good lesson in gauge. I realized that 2.75 mm needles gave me a gauge closer to that in the pattern but the fit wasn’t good and ended up being on the big side (not good if you want your socks to last). So I had to go back to my initial chosen size.

Then I discovered an error. Although the pattern is done toe up, it utilized a round toe which I am not familiar with so I ended up having to rip back when I realized that my toe shape was radically different from the one pictured in the pattern. After that, it was smooth sailing for a while…until I reached the heel and gusset. I found myself ripping back again after completing the heel because I couldn’t get it over my feet. Switching to 2.75 mm at just the heel flap made it easier but for future projects, I’d switch at the gusset itself instead of later. The heel construction in this pattern is different which resulted in a denser but also tighter fabric.

Once I was done, I switched back to the 2.5 mm and ignored the note (in the pattern) asking knitters to move one size up because of the biasing in the pattern. At this stage, I know that 2.5 mm is just nice for my shin and if I switch one size up, it’ll never hold. I was right. By the time I finished the cuffs and tried on the socks, I was convinced that not moving a needle size up and sticking to my usual cuff style knitting which is a 1×1 rib in 2.25 mm.

The finished pair is currently still blocking to help “expand” it so that it’ll fit over the heel without too much pulling and yanking. Sock knitting has given me a buzz and I am looking forward to working getting a good fit for the hubby as well as sock gifting as knitting socks for other people is something else altogether – at least that’s what I think! Trouble is that I need time…in between all my knitting projects, reviews on things like scrubs uniforms and the kids, ai…

UPDATE: After blocking, it’s still too tight so on hindsight, I should have done the gusset and heel flap in 2.75mm needles. I had to struggle to get both of them on! Too much work! So these will probably be gifted to someone.

Ravelry Project Page Ravelry info available here.

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WIP: Teal Socks

Teal Socks

The picture above is actually old – I’ve already finished one sock and am working on the cuff for the other one. In the midst of all the craziness caring for two kids, preparing for the trip to Paris last week and housechores like cooking plus other things like exercising and sewing – I have hexagon pieces to work on – I forgot to update this blog and as such, it has been hibernating for quite a while. Longer than I would like as most of my family get their updates from Facebook, Skype (calling me) and this blog. O’well…better late than never I guess.

Unlike my previous sock project, this one is another attempt at finding the right combination of needles with sock sections to get that perfect fit. I’ll explain more when I do finish both socks but can I say that I have caught the sock bug? All I can think of is just knitting socks and more socks. The good thing about this is that it’s just in time for winter and I get to destash but the bad thing is that other projects like my cardigan and the kid’s winter outfits plus sewing for the house and the kids are all put on hold. Eeps.

Suddenly part of me wishes I had a clone! Now wouldn’t that make life all the more easier? Tehehehe.

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