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Archive for December, 2011

No-Nutz Teff Cookies

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Cozy Cookies

Aaah, baking. Baked goods are comfort food, there is no way around it.

I’m still working on my Breads, Bars & Crackers recipe book. The text is almost finished, the layout very close. While doing text layout, I’ve played a bit, off-topic,  in the kitchen.

Something New for Me

There are a number of recipes on the internet for Teff chocolate chip cookies. Most of them call for almond meal, peanut butter, and/or Xanthan gum. Three strikes there, if you are me. As it is, I much prefer spice, vanilla or caramel flavored baked goods over chocolate.

After a holiday-party season where I admired the beauty of others’ cookie art, I thought it might be nice to actually eat some. I have not found a commercially-available cookie that I can eat. To the kitchen I must go…

Teff is a favorite ingredient for me (it’s a high-protein, high-fiber, gluten-free grain originally from Ethiopia). I just had to experiment with teff cookies. I had not made cookies in decades. I am glad I did it.

These were good the first time I tried! With the rich flavor of teff, brown sugar and (in my case) butter, they taste a bit like caramel.

For those of us who can’t have tree nuts or peanuts, I added some nut-like seeds. My taste testers unanimously approved.

Restrictions, Hah!

This recipe is Gluten-Free, without Wheat, Corn, Potato, Egg, Soy, Yeast, Peanuts, or Tree Nuts. It will be friendly to most folks who have food allergies.

They might be good with 1/4 cup of raisins or chopped dried apricots added. Dried fruits are not allowed for the yeast-allergic (unless we dehydrate them ourselves), so they are not on the official ingredient list.

If you substitute the butter with coconut oil or another non-dairy solid fat, you can make these tasty cookies vegan. Butter is flavorful, but then so is coconut (to which I’m allergic). Different fats will give the cookie different baked textures.

Would you like the recipe? I thought so.

No-Nutz Teff Cookies

“Wet” Ingredients
1 stick Butter – softened (or sub 1/2 cup of your favorite solid fat)
1/2 cup Light Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Applesauce
1 tsp Real Vanilla (gluten free certified if needed)

Dry Ingredients
1 cup Teff Flour by Bob’s Red Mill
5 Tbsp Golden Flaxseed Meal
1/2 cup Sweet White Rice Flour (must be sweet rice, also called mochi rice)
1/4 cup Arrowroot Starch or Tapioca starch
1 tsp Baking Soda

Seeds
1/2 cup Pepitas (raw, shell-free pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup Sunflower Seeds, raw

  • Preheat oven to 375F
  • Oil one large cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix butter and sugar. Add applesauce and vanilla, blend again. Set aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl mix, well dry ingredients (except seeds) with wire whisk. Add to butter mixture and mix just until all ingredients are moistened. Add seeds, mix again briefly.
  • Drop from large soup spoon onto baking sheet. Makes 18 cookies which crowd together on the sheet. They do not spread out much during baking.
  • Bake for approximately 13 minutes until they smell toasty. Remove from oven, move carefully from sheet to cooling rack.

These cookies are very fragile when warm. They firm up and feel like a different cookie when cooled. They last well for several days without refrigeration, but they are likely to not last that long!

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I send email notices when I post recipes or other food-related information. Would you like me to let you know when the next one comes out?

 

I spent a lot of time figuring this out and writing it up for you. Enjoy it, share it… and perhaps help me find folks who can benefit from my work? There are still suffering folks out there.

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Share my recipe for non-commercial use, but please use the same words I did, and give me credit for being its source. If you want to use it commercially, please write me and we’ll work out something. I’m very interested.

(C) 2011 Lynn DT Hershberger -
Licensed under Creative Commons “Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported”  license-

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Abundance. Colors. Hats.

Monday, December 26th, 2011

Bonnie's Keys & Coins Hats

Being a knit designer is a little like being a radio Disc Jockey. You spend time and heart making a design. You put your work out there. You hope that your design gets to the folks who might love it.

Many of my patterns are printed and sold to yarn shops. I don’t know who purchases the patterns at the shops.

I know that knitters buy patterns sometimes when they won’t be knitting it any time soon. Sometimes we buy because we dream of knitting it. Sometimes we buy because we want to “vote” for a design which moves us.

Sometimes you hear from someone on the other end… they knit the piece you designed, or they received something knit from the pattern. Sometimes you don’t hear. (Ravelry.com has made this a little more real, for which I am grateful.

Recently, I got word loud and clear. We went to a holiday party, and the hostess brought out a nice big pile of hats. Eight, to be exact. All of them were knit from my Keys & Coins Andean-Style Hat pattern (without the optional ear flaps). The crowd briefly stepped aside so that I could take this photo.

The color variety she includes, I find wonderful! However, above all… what a gift this was to me. My friend likes the hat so much that she got on a little roll knitting it for her loved ones. I’m touched, honored, and moved.

Pretty, don’t you think? Thanks, Bonnie, for sharing your prolific and artful output with me… if only for a moment. It’s much appreciated.

 

Buckminster Fuller on Gifts and Genius

Friday, December 16th, 2011

I am a huge fan of geodesic domes (simple example at right). Once upon a time I did some research to find out what it would take to build one as my home. At the time there were two main methods, both more affordable than standard home building.

I never built my dome, though how it might look is still clear in my mind. Its potential has not left my possibilities entirely.

The gentleman who developed the geodesic dome was R. Buckminster (Bucky) Fuller, 1895-1983. Domes are remarkably strong and light.

A friend who lived through Florida’s Hurricane Andrew told me a dome house in her area rolled to another neighborhood but did not fail. It was put back on its original lot and lived in again. The weakest link was in the tethering of the home to the foundation. Fascinating.

I twice have visited the BioSphere in Montreal, Quebec Canada. That dome is many stories high, and almost spherical. It’s now a nature-focused live museum space. It was first built for Expo ’67.  Take a peek, it’s magnificent!

For years I’ve had a simple quotation site. A quote from B. Fuller I’ve had there is this:

When I am working on a problem I never think about beauty. I only think about how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.
– Buckminster Fuller

Here is a quote worth pondering, which I just found in my “new” quote book (A Collection of Wisdom, Rodney Ohebsion). Wow, this man was wise!

I am convinced all of humanity is born with more gifts than we know. Most are born geniuses and just get de-geniused rapidly.
– Buckminster Fuller

So, what if he were right? How could we reclaim that genius we may have lost? Can we just assume we had more and can get it back again?

Could this be something like being an artist as a child (crayons on the wall notwithstanding) and then thinking as adults that we’re “not talented?”

I am 53 years old. I hope I have not stopped the exploration of whatever genius might be inside me. It seems at times, I only see my warts. What is there, unnoticed, waiting to be uncovered?

Coco Chanel on Life and Art

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

This ColorJoy blog started in November, 2002. I had a burning desire to show art in life. I wanted others to see the artfulness in themselves.

It seemed I kept hearing “You are so talented; I’m not creative.” Yet, the speaker might have a magnificent garden, make incredible soup or bread, or have happy children.

I maintain that relationship-building is artful, that food can be an artform, that choosing clothing can be costuming as art, that words and everyday objects can be artfully arranged. All these creative expressions make us artful.

I am an artist. I couldn’t call myself that until I was in my 30′s.

You see, my artworks don’t hang in frames on a wall. I don’t draw. I don’t paint on paper or canvas (though I love embellishing gizmos and household objects).

My hands create more comfortably in three dimensions. I often make items which can be utilitarian (thus called craft, which often is seen as a bad word).

My friend Altu has a restaurant. Her food is artful. Her sense of flavor is well-honed and rich.

In addition to things, actions can hold art inside them. Dance, theater, music, poetry, even the creation of a safe and comfortable space for gatherings.

And yet, so many people discard their artful, creative nature. They say they had a talented sister, as if a family is permitted only one. This makes me sad.

You can imagine my delight in finding a quote from world-changing fashion designer Coco Chanel, which echoes my own thoughts.

Her realm was fashion. She uses the word fashion where I might say artfulness. however, she insists that the artificial boundaries we set need not exist. Here are her words:

Fashion is not something that exists only in dresses. Fashion is in the sky, in the street; Fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.
–Coco Chanel

I love this! One more wise quote for now:

How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something, but to be someone.
–Coco Chanel

I hope during this busy season of relationship, you are gentle with yourself. Consider time for a quiet cup of tea, a walk around the block, a few relaxing rows of knitting for yourself.

It only takes 2 years for some folks to call something a “tradition.” Not all of those traditions serve us well over time. May you free yourself of those things which do not work for you in some way.

Discouragement Doesn’t Pay

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

I’ve been in that place where I know my life is changing. Now, we know that the one constant in life is change, but here I sit, surprised again.

I’ve been self-employed since early 1999. My work started as a Y2K consulting business. It has morphed until now I teach computers one night a week in community education, and spend the rest of my worklife in creative pursuits.

My primary work is knitting-related; teaching, writing, designing. I also sing with my beloved Brian, and write recipes/cookbooks; make presentations about baking with food restrictions.

Whoops!

With that many balls in the air, why am I surprised by change? The only constant is me, and my creative inner self. The world around me is constantly changing and outside of my control.

Everything I do, I love to do. It’s just when the percentages of my work shift between areas of focus, I get a little off balance for a while. Even we artists are creatures of habit in some ways!

I was glad to read this quote today:

One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged.
Lucille Ball

What a fine woman she was, what a change she made for the women who followed her. If she could continue in spite of the temptation of discouragement, I will follow her footsteps.

I think transitions are hard. I focus well once I get going. Stopping that focus to go on to another is rough at times.

I have trouble just leaving my desk to go out to an appointment. Of course a change in the percentages of my work areas will also throw me off for a while. Maybe “challenging” is a better word to use than others.

The Good Stuff

We had beautiful sun and temperatures above freezing today. My walk was extra wonderful tonight. I walked briskly and it was invigorating.

I’ve also been knitting “like the wind” as Brenda Dayne of the Cast-On Podcast would say. I made a Sprite collar/cowl for myself in two colors of purple.

I ran out of yarn just before I needed yarn for i-cord edgings. Luckily, I found another yarn in my stash that worked fine for the edging. I think you can’t even tell I had to change gears at the end.

I finished a chunky-weight tweed vest, and a pair of unmatched bulky footie-slippers for myself. I’ve also knit a pile of tiny socklets which have been a hit at two different local sales (they will go up on Etsy as jewelry soon, I’ll let you know when).

Plans for More

Now I’ve pulled out two old projects to complete them.  A Maxi ZigBag I’m making for myself has been ripped out twice in a few years of on/off knitting, but it’s back on track. I did 6 rounds on that one today.

Also, I’m getting ready to work on my Equilateral Vest by Lucy Neatby again. I haven’t worked on it for 2 years! My gauge got so tight between casting on and finishing the project, that it’s the wrong length. I need to improvise a bit.

Luckily, it’s modular (made in pieces) and can be pieced together with more knitting and it won’t look funny at all. Unluckily, I’ll need to find some more yarn (it’s discontinued). I’m not going to worry about that one right now, but I do have a plan.

I hope all is well for you and yours. Be kind to yourself in this season of busy-ness.

Eensy-Beensy Socklets!

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

The fun is taking over here at Casa de ColorJoy. Eensy Beensy Socklets are so fun I can’t seem to stop. Fortunately for me, friends and students are joining with me for the fun!

Above is a string of socks in yarn weights from Magnum (appx 2-3 sts/inch), bulky, Aran, worsted, DK, handpaint sock, commercial fingering, laceweight. The finished socks range from about 4″ (10cm) to 3/4″ (20cm) tall. They are all knit with the same pattern. All have a circumference of 8 stitches. The yarn is the only thing changing their size.

Here are some things I did with the socklets:

I’ve taught 3 classes in the last 2 weeks, on how to make these socklets. One woman made them for her daughter’s birthday, since the daughter is fond of miniatures. One woman was making little decorative socks in Christmas red, in every size of yarn she could find in that color.

And one… my 11 year old knitter… well, she can be proud of herself. She finished her first full-sized sock this week (toe up with afterthought heels). I’ll get a photo of those for you when she finishes the second sock.

She’s also knitting a wonderful leaf-patterned hat in the round, from a graph/chart. It’s only her 2nd hat.She’s a quick learner.

And she knit an Eeensy-Beensy socklet in worsted weight yarn. She was interested in figuring out the structure of top-down socks. and thought these socks would fun nice gifts (and good holiday travel knitting) as well. Since these follow the same structure (althoug abbreviated) of a heel flap sock with turn, she got a taste of the structure while having some fun.

Look at her work! Remember, this young lady is only 11 years old and has not been knitting very long. She’s just wonderful to work with.

Sale Today Only

Sunday/Today, I’m selling some of these earrings at Rae’s Yarn Boutique in Lansing, Michigan. I’ll be there noon to 5. The price on the earrings I showed above is $24. There will also be a few other specialty items such as extra-tiny laceweight socklet earrings, and the necklace you also see above.

While the sale is on, Rae is also offering a 25% off sale on all of my patterns in her stock. They do accept sale orders over the phone. the number is 517/336-YARN.

After the sale at Rae’s shop is over, The  jewelry will go up on my ColorJoy Etsy shop for sale.

Tiny things can bring such joy. I don’t know what it is, but showing folks my super-tiny socklets really makes them smile. I think that’s all the reason they need for being.

Value yourself!

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.
— Malcolm S. Forbes

Mistakes are essential

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

Do not be embarrassed by your mistakes. Nothing can teach us better than our understanding of them. This is one of the best ways of self education.
Thomas Carlyle