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Best if used before 1982

I woke up again not well, headache, stomachache, etc, and thought it might be nice to make peach muffins for breakfast. Without being truly awake, I just started to follow the Basic Buttermilk Muffin recipe in Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, using the Fresh Fruit Muffin variation. I remembered making these before and they were quite good, only I didn’t remember how long ago that was.

I scooped out some whole wheat flour (it was supposed to be whole wheat pastry flour…but that’s what I had) from I don’t know when. It smelled, um…a little dusty. I threw it out and found a “new” bag I must have gotten to replace the first one, but even that expired a year ago. Then there was the bag of peaches that I obviously hadn’t checked on in a week. Out of three, I got almost enough fruit. I threw out two bags of shriveled frozen fruit, two jars of old baking powder, didn’t even have enough vanilla, but I still went through with my plan to make muffins.
Well, I know they were good the last time I made them. Sorry to Deborah Madison…all the recipes I’ve tried from this book have been good. I just didn’t do her proud this time around. That’s all I’m going to say about that! 🙂

We did get some art doll photography time in yesterday and the day before. I’ve got to edit and upload Max Bailey’s new kitty doll photos to Flickr and then we’ll get them up over on the Ruffing’s blog.
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Soft pretzels

While working on a new doll pattern today, I had a mad, desperate craving for soft pretzels, the kind you buy from street vendors in NYC. I was frantically looking for a recipe, going through my pile of cookbooks, until I finally found one in Beth Hensperger’s The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook.

I loaded up my bread machine, forgetting to put the paddle in the pan so that it sounded like it was kneading the dough, when it was really doing nothing. I’ve been a bit spacey lately. Fortunately, I checked on the dough in time to reach in and insert the paddle.

After the dough finished the bread dough cycle in the machine, I shaped it into pretzels, left the pretzels to rise a second time, then boiled each one in a couple quarts of water with two tablespoons of baking soda for about a minute each. This is what makes them chewy.

I brushed them with an egg white beaten with a tablespoon of water, sprinkled them with Kosher salt, and put them in a 400 degree oven for about sixteen minutes until they were golden.

Then…carbohydrate relief. Sigh.

A similar recipe can be found here.

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Potholder Project

I made this set of potholders by sandwiching one layer of cotton duck/canvas between two layers of organic cotton batting, then sandwiching those between two layers of cotton terrycloth (I used cotton washcloths), all roughly 9.5 inches square. I used my walking foot to quilt the layers together. Then I trimmed them down to 8.5 inches square with my rotary cutter and ruler.

Since I didn’t have enough of my polka dotted cotton to make a true bias, I cut 2.5 inch strips and sewed them on the edges of the potholders without turning the corners. I put the strips right sides against the terrycloth, on one edge at a time, sewed a 0.5 inch seam, turned each strip over to the back, turned under the raw edge to match the front, slipped stitched it down, and then top-stitched it down from the front side. I did all four edges this way, turning under the corners where necessary so no raw edge was left out, but leaving about 5 inches of the strip loose at the final corner.

At the final corner, I took the 5 inches of the strip I left loose, turned under the raw edge, then flipped it over on itself to make a loop for hanging, which I then sewed down by hand on the back of the potholder.

We then tested them out on some homemade cheesecake, and they worked great 🙂

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Order out of chaos

Finally! I’ve sewn and stuffed and attached all my previously adrift doll parts. They look like little fencing champions, all lined up in white. Are there only ten? Oh, but it feels like there must be more! Perhaps I just had two more in mind.

To celebrate, I made Swedish Lucia buns which, according to our old Betty Crocker’s International Cookbook, are traditionally served in Sweden to celebrate their Queen of Light Festival, also known as Saint Lucia Day, which comes at the beginning of the Christmas season. Once again, I am a bit off with my holiday traditions.

They are wonderful, however, and similar recipes can be found online, like this one.

Copies of the old Betty Crocker’s International Cookbook can still be found on EBay, which reminds me…I’d like to get an extra copy for myself. Ours is getting tattered.