Erin (and apple pie)


Virginia wrapped up another cardigan (even before the keyboard was able to cool down from the previous post). This is “Erin” (from Heartfelt) by Kim Hargreaves, knit using Rowan’s Calmer.


Like her, I have my hands clasped in front of me (more over my stomach, really), because as I type this, the aroma of baking apple pie wafts through the air and is making me quite hungry.

Apple pie - before the oven

Yes, it’s that time of year again. Apple pie is a staple around these parts, and will continue to be so since a coworker bestowed upon me several bags of Haralsons from a tree in his yard.

I’ve done what I can to make this not so much a treat – instead something that can be eaten as a meal (as breakfast with a cup of coffee is perfect), a dessert or just because. Basically, the apples (about 20 of them) are peeled, cut up and tossed with a handful of chopped dates, spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom) and some flour (3-4 Tbsp).

The crust is about 1/3 cup butter (chilled and diced) pressed into 1.5 cups of flour (I also like to add a dash of cinnamon to the crust) and a sprinkling of water to hold it together when rolling out. Roll the crust so that it is quite a bit bigger than the pie pan used. Fill with apple mixture and fold the crust over (like a rustic tart). Bake in a preheated 425º oven for 50 minutes (or until apples are done to your liking). I also like to put a small piece of foil over the opening at the top of the pie to help the apples steam a little. I remove this piece 15 minutes before pie is done baking.

There is debate on if apple pie is better eaten cool or warm. Personally, I like the pie to cool before eating (the apples seem sweeter, and the flavor is more melded). However, if I’ve completely lost my self-control and there is vanilla ice cream in the house… umm, let’s just not go there.

Edited to add:

Apple pie - after the oven


Blackberry Apple Tartlette (and some knitting)

Blackberry Apple Tarts

The search for a sugar-free accompaniment to an afternoon tea continues. This time, I’ve come up with a tartlette that packs a blackberry punch. In this recipe, I cooked down about 3 cups of frozen blackberries and added a cup or so of applesauce (using up some of last year’s canning) and a few dates. Once the mixture was thick enough to hold its shape, I spooned the mixture into crust cups that were made with about a cup of flour (half whole wheat, half white), 1/4 cup of butter, a handful of ground nuts (in this case, toasted pecans and almonds) and just enough water to help it hold their shape while being pressed into the mini cupcake tins. I then baked them for 20 minutes in a 400º (F) and let cool before devouring.

On to the needles…

Norwegian Stockings

I’ve started knitting Virginia some knee-high socks. These are Nancy Bush’s Norwegian Stockings, knit using Smart yarn. Obviously, I’ve only just started these, but I’d like to draw attention to the fact that the posts from here on out will now be focused on life as we like it – full of cancer-free, scratchcrafty goodness.

Cake and Yarn (What more do you need?)

I was jonesing for some cake today, but with Virginia fighting a cold and myself not wanting to get one, I figured it would be best to just leave it… unless, the cake was actually good for us.

Good-For-You Cake

I’m calling this a good-for-you cake. The recipe is as follows:
In a small bowl, soak then combine (I used a wand blender to liquefy):
1/3 cup finely chopped dates
1/4 cup oats
1 1/2 cups boiling water

Add to mixture:
2-3 Tbsp. sour cream
2-3 Tbsp. canola oil (I wasn’t measuring that carefully)
1 Tbsp. maple syrup

In a medium bowl combine:
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cup white flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cardamom

Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, briskly mix together until batter is smooth, but not overmixed. Pour batter into greased 9-inch round cake pan and bake for 30 minutes (or until toothpick comes out clean) in a 350º oven. (I actually used a 7-inch springform, but it was a little small for the amount of batter, and I had a difficult time getting the center done without drying out the sides–hey that’s what experimentation is all about, right?).

Because I had a smaller, but taller cake, I cut it into three sections and spread some cooked-down blackberries (with a splash of lemon and 1/2 tsp. corn starch to thicken it) between the layers… and since we had a bit of cream in the fridge, it seemed like a touch of freshly whipped cream on top was appropriate. Perfect with an afternoon cup of tea.

In the spinning department, I finished up another bump of superwash merino. I kettle dyed some top in several 3 oz. portions (I actually thought I had set aside several 4 oz. portions, but I blame that mistake on the vicodin I was taking at the time…).

Handspun - Superwash Merino

This skein is actually only 2.8 oz. but I was able to squeeze 220 yards of 3-ply yarn out of it. Probably not enough for a full pair of socks, but I’m spinning all this sock yarn a similar weight, so there will probably be some mixing and matching going on.

Cookuits, revisited… again

You are all probably tired of reading about my pursuit of the perfect, healthful cookuit (as mentioned in an earlier post, they’re not quite buscuits, they’re not quite cookies). Don’t despair, though, there is some knitting content at the tail end of this post.


The ingredients are fairly similar to my previous attempt, but with a couple of key differences–slightly more liquid, and the order in which ingredients are combined. These are definitely less dense, more cake-like.

Combine these ingredients in small bowl:
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup kefir
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup chopped dates

Combine these ingredients in bowl:
3/4 cup oat flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup chestnut flour
1/2 cup white flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup golden raisins

Mix dry and wet ingredients together, being careful to not overmix. For each cookuit, spoon about 1/2 cup batter onto baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes at 375º. Makes 9 cookuits.

Promised Knitting Content
Virginia finished a pair of socks for me, using some of her leftover Cestari yarn. I’m wearing these right now. I love how toasty these make my feet.

Sock #33 (52 Sock Challenge)

Oat Drop Biscuits, v2.0

Another week (can you believe it?), another shot at oat-filled goodness.

Oat Drop Biscuits, v.2

These pack a much higher nutrition content and are lower in fat (read: no butter). Recipe is as follows:

Stir together:
1 cup oat flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup chestnut flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom

Add and mix until the consistency of cornmeal:
1/4 cup canola oil

In separate small bowl, mix together and let sit for 5 minutes:
1/4 cup currants
1/3 cup finely chopped dates
1/2 cup plain kefir

Add all together and gently mix into a dense, but somewhat sticky dough. Shape into 3″ disks (about 1/2″ thick), and bake at preheated 375º oven for 20 minutes. Makes 8-10.

OK, you’re probably thinking that this is not a recipe for biscuits, but nice-smelling hockey pucks. I will admit they have a bit of a tooth, and they start to blur the lines between cookie and biscuit (I’m calling them cookuits). But did you see that list of ingredients? No refined sugar, plenty of oats, extra good-for-you additions, not to mention the chestnut flour gives these a rich, nutty taste.

And besides, who eats cookuits without something to drink. Tea? Or, like I did this afternoon…


…a tall, refreshing glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice.

Heart-Healthy Snack

To your health!