Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Knitted Stuff - Booties

It seems this blog fell silent just as I started it. Partly because the house "stuff" took over my attention for about a month and partly because I had only gender-specific projects going. I will post the gender-specific projects as they get worn or as I think of it after baby Hoot arrives. In the meantime, most of my at-home hours are spent putting together a pregnancy journal. I don't feel that scrapbook pages share well via pictures (seriously, pictures of pictures?) but I'll sneak a few pictures in here once it's compiled.

As for gender neutral knitting, there's a reason you all aren't seeing much knitting or even much mention of knitting. I seem to have lost my knitting mojo during this pregnancy - something I certainly didn't expect. I have started probably a dozen projects, only to rip them out. In fact, the two pairs of booties shown here were ripped out before I finally got to the end result. There has been some conjecture over why this is the case, but I mostly chalk it up to my sudden indecisive nature and a change in my knitting guage that is throwing me out of whack., finally, are two complete pairs of booties.

Pattern - Grandma's Favorite Baby Booties
*available at Crazy Girl Yarn Shop

Pattern - Cuff Booties
Simply Baby by Debbie Bliss
*if you live in Iowa City, the book is available at the library

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cooking with Kids - Monkey Bread

I love cooking with Lil Hoot. Yes, cooking with kids takes longer, makes a bigger mess and can often yield more unpredictable results, but we have already made so many fun memories and have so many great pictures. She actually started in the kitchen with me just before her first birthday. Our first recipe together - Monkey Bread!

I am certain that the reason I choose Monkey Bread is in no small part because of my fond memories of making Monkey Bread with my grandma as a kid. We may have only made it once - I really don't know, but I loved the name, the process and the end result so the whole thing sticks in my mind. We used canned biscuits and cut them up, but since I have a fondness for making things entirely from scratch, I used this Monkey Bread recipe from Smitten Kitchen.  You can, of course, just substitute canned biscuits, most recipes I have found call for 2 cans, usually Grands! biscuits (which are by far the best of the canned taste-wise).  I might have bought a bundt pan just for the purpose of making this bread.
I have little to add to this recipe, she's incredibly detailed, but here's our experience...

First, Lil' Hoot was only a year old so I made up the dough during her nap and let it rise so it would be ready for her to help afterward.  If you have older children and are just using biscuits then grab the kitchen scissors and let 'em help with the whole process!

Second, if you do choose to make the dough from scratch - I did not own a stand mixer at the time and I did mix it all by hand, totally doable.  It is better that it be slightly wet rather than slightly dry (as I found out later).
Third, who needs a fork?  Prepare for butter everywhere.  Prepare yourself that your child will eat plenty of butter and sugar throughout this process.  We just dipped the pieces in each bowl with our fingers.

Fourth, she does note this in her recipe - taking it out a smidge earlier is better than later otherwise you get a dark (rather tough) crust.  Personally, I found the glaze can make up for some dryness though.

And, in keeping with tradition, we made this Monkey Bread to take to a family gathering at my grandma's house.  She helped me make the glaze and I know we added some extra vanilla but I don't recall how much.  The glaze isn't too picky, just add a little bit at a time until you get it to the point that you like it. 

Then serve and enjoy!  Happy baking and don't forget to include your kids.  They learn valuable life (and math) skills while bonding and making memories that everyone will love for a lifetime.