Saturday, September 13, 2014

Hot Plate Mat in Star Stitch

Because I was between projects and waiting for yarn, I decided to work on a vintage pattern that used a stitch I wasn't used to making so that I'd get some more experience with it. That brought me to the Hot Spots Plate Mats pattern which uses the beautiful star stitch.

The first thing I'll mention is that because this is a vintage pattern, the instructions are rather...minimal. After the third row, it just directs you to repeat the rounds, increasing as necessary to keep the work flat. Not having worked much with rounds, I ended up doing a lot of frogging trying to figure out when I needed to increase, when I didn't. Eventually I got into a groove and started increasing for several rows with the same pattern, like three star stitches as one would work normally work a star stitch, then creating a star stitch increase by drawing up your last loop through the fastening ch of the next star st. After several rows, you will notice that the piece isn't working flat again, so you'll need to modify the pattern you'd been using such as make four star stitches, then create a star stitch increase. Continue to do that until your hot plate mat is the size you desire.

To make the hot plate mat, I just pulled out some yarn I had on hand (which wasn't rug yarn as the pattern suggests). I had some pretty variegated Red Heart Super Saver worsted, and I love the way the star st looks using variegated yarn, so that's what I ended up using. For practicality, I would probably go with a heavier yarn if I was going to make more of these because this mat came out rather thin using the worsted, but it's still functional.

I finished off the pattern with a border of sc around. As per usual, I didn't use a stitch marker and had some difficulty figuring out where to end, but I ended up folding the mat in half and giving it my best guess.

All in all, my goal was achieved - practice using the star st which is really a beautiful looking stitch on a finished item. Now that I've practiced and gotten somewhat proficient at it, I think I might actually work up a baby blanket using this stitch!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Blueberry Muffin Recipe

Delicious 2nd attempt using longer recipe

I was looking for a quick and easy blueberry muffin recipe to use up the plethora of blueberries I had bought before they went bad. I found this recipe:

Seemed simple enough. I gave it a go. This was what the muffins looked like out of the oven.

First attempt at blueberry muffins using easy recipe

Honestly, I was a little disappointed. They weren't as sweet as I like my muffins to be and were really quite bland (even though several family members said they were delicious).

So the next time I had way too many blueberries in my fridge, I looked for another recipe to try that had more sugar! And found this one.

I changed it up a bit and this (because SUGAR!) was the revised recipe I used:


1-½ c flour
1 c white sugar
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
⅓ c olive oil
1 egg
⅓ c half and half
1 c fresh blueberries

Crumb Topping

½ c white sugar
⅓ c flour
¼ c Crisco butter flavored baking sticks
1½ tsp ground cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Line muffin cups with liners.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Add and mix oil, egg and half and half to flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
  3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.
To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together sugar, flour, Crisco, and cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.

I substituted half and half for milk in the recipe because we have skim milk in the house and I always like some milkfat in my cooking. I also substituted the Crisco for butter because I think it's easier to work with and bakes better than butter.

The amount of crumb topping made from the recipe was too much for the number of actual muffins the recipe made. Fortunately, I was making banana bread muffins at the same time and so I used the leftover crumb topping from this recipe to top the other muffins too.

The final result of these muffins really was to die for. This is now my go to blueberry muffin recipe...and I've decided this crumb topping needs to be put on everything and will use it when I try making eggplant bread again.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Mashed Cauliflower Recipe

We had my stepkids and grandchildren over the other night for dinner. I had a large head and a small head of cauliflower in the fridge so for something different, I decided to make mashed cauliflower as one of the veggies with dinner. The recipe that I followed ended up close to this:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • ⅓ cup cream
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp butter
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 8 oz shredded cheese
  1. Steam cauliflower and garlic until tender.
  2. Mash cooked cauliflower and garlic.
  3. Add cream, oil, butter, salt and pepper. 
  4. Add shredded cheese and stir until melted.
The original recipe did not call for cheese, but cheese makes everything delicious so my stepdaughter and I decided it absolutely needed cheese!

While it does look like mashed potatoes, do not think that it tastes like mashed potatoes. They definitely still taste like cauliflower. Even though I mashed them completely until they looked like mashed potatoes, the texture while eating was still a bit different as well.

Overall, very delicious and I will be making them again.