Fantastic Bake Along – Rosemary Muffins

I am happy to finally get posting my entry to the Fantastic Bake Along – Rosemary Muffins, hosted by Tracy at It’s a T-Sweets Day. This month’s recipe was chosen by Brenna at Crochet539 and the full recipe can be found at Taste of Home. When I first saw the photos of this week’s bake along recipe, I was excited to make some muffins. My excitement only grew once I realized the muffins were savoury, and contained two of my favourite ingredients…black olives, and goat cheese. Yum!

I followed this recipe pretty closely this time around, except for a couple of small things. I substituted avocado oil for the canola oil, and because it’s just me here, I halved the recipe. I also used a mini loaf pan to bake my muffins…only because I seem to have misplaced my muffin pan. I have limited cupboard space, so I’m not sure where it has disappeared to, but I still haven’t located it.

I found the batter for these muffins quite thick, more like a biscuit dough than a muffin batter, but no matter, it still looked delicious. I’m afraid I was so excited that I forgot to take many pictures and the ones I did take didn’t turn out at all well. Luckily my little loaves turned out better than my photography.

I ate my first one while they were still warm, and I was a bit disappointed in the lack of flavour. The second one I ate a few hours later after they had fully cooled. The flavour in the cooled one was much better, although I still had a hard time detecting any rosemary. I think if I make these again, I’ll increase the amount of rosemary. I also did find the texture more like a tea biscuit than a muffin, but that was fine by me, because I love tea biscuits! I will definitely be making these again. I think they would be great alongside a Greek salad!

Please make sure you check out the other bakers who usually join in the Fantastic Bake Along at the links below.

Tracy at It’s a T-Sweets Day!
Brenna at Crochet539
AJ at A Petite Slice of Life
Tami at Tanglewood Knots
Lucia at Crochet, Knit, and More
Connie at Connie’s Creations
Marcia at Una Regiaen Bicicleta
Rebecca at Twinklehook
Abbey at Three Cats and a Girl
Susan at Granny Smith Quilting
Kathy at Sewing Etc.
Tina at Kristabella’s Hodgepodge

My Weight Loss Journey – Weeks 61 – 64, and a Reward

Despite the hard drive upgrade, I’ve still been experiencing some computer issues…mostly related to my internet connection. Apparently the wifi adapter on my laptop is dying, so I’ve had to resort to finding an actual cable to connect it to my router. Now that I know this will help to resolve the issues I’m having, I’ll have to buy a longer one so that I have more flexibility. I know, I know, it would all be fixed with a new computer, but I’m not ready to take that step yet!

The past 4 weeks have seen some ups and downs on my weight loss journey so I’ll get on with my update.

In week 61, I lost .4 pounds…any loss is good in my book, so I was happy with it.

Week 62 saw a huge loss of 2.6 pounds which came as a complete surprise! I have rarely had such a large loss in a week in which nothing really out of the ordinary had occurred. I hadn’t tried especially hard to watch what I ate, or increased my activity significantly, so it was a pleasant surprise.

Week 63 I had a slight setback, as I gained .3 pounds. Despite the gain on the scale, I was quite happy, in fact I almost expected it after the unexpected success of the previous week.

Week 64 has seen another gain of .6 pounds. I was a little disappointed, but not really surprised because I had a terrible week, not so much food wise as health wise. On Wednesday I took a day off work because I had a terrible migraine. I was back to work on Thursday, as I was feeling slightly better (the migraine was downgraded to a headache at that point, and I was fine working once I reduced the brightness of my computer monitors significantly.) This weekend has seen a return of stiff neck, and headaches, and I’ve been tempted to call my massage therapist to move up my upcoming massage.

Despite the scale setbacks, I have noticed a lot of changes lately. For instance, I’m already finding that the capri pants I bought for the cruise, just a few months ago, are already getting too large for me. I may have to go on another small shopping spree to get me through the next few pounds. I’ve also started taking the stairs a little more at my apartment building, and I can almost run up the two flights of stairs to my third floor apartment without feeling like I’m going to pass out at the top.

For those of you who have been following my journey, you will know that I was in search of something to reward myself for having reached the milestone of 100 pounds lost on the journey to my goal. On Mother’s Day weekend, Pandora had a special, where if you spent a certain amount, you received a free bangle, so I jumped on the computer and ordered my reward. I bought a lovely bracelet and several charms.

The Achievement Trophy charm is the one I bought to commemorate the 100 pounds lost.

Achievement Trophy Charm

I chose the Poetic Blooms bracelet, you can see the pretty clasp on the left in the photo below. The Enchanted Teapot and Enchanted Teacup charms, were just because I love tea, and they remind me of the times I spent with my mom, sharing tea, and toast with jam, when I was a little girl.

Enchanted Teapot, Enchanted Teacup, and Poetic Blooms Bracelet

As time goes on I will add other charms. My next one, I hope, will be one to celebrate reaching my weight loss goal…I have yet to decide what that charm will be, but I want to try to find something meaningful that will remind me of my journey.

And now I’m off to try to write another post about my Fantastic Bake Along entry…which is late again.

 

Back to Crafting – Spring SAL with The Crochet Crowd and JOANN

It feels like it’s been forever since I did a crafty post…I don’t even remember what the last one was! One reason of course was my computer issues, and the other was a lack of crafting time. I finally got back into some crafting in April, but it was slow going. Back at the beginning of the month I decided to join the Spring Stitch Along hosted by The Crochet Crowd and sponsored by Joann Fabrics and Crafts. The deadline for entering into their contest is today, and while I finished my blanket a week ago, I decided not to enter the contest because I was too lazy to block my afghan when it was finished.

This stitch along was a mystery afghan, which consisted of 4 squares, each a different pattern. The original design called for 3 colours of yarn, but I was trying to use up some of my stash, so I chose one colour to start, then used an online tool to select some coordinating colours which matched some of the other yarn in my stash. I think I ended up with 6 different colours in total.

Of the four sampler squares, my favourite is the one with the cables (bottom left). My least favourite is probably the one with what seemed like a million popcorns (top right). I don’t mind the stitch itself, but I disliked that there were so many of them, and it felt like that square took forever to complete. The most interesting square is probably the one on the bottom right where there is a kind of braid technique in the corners.

Once all my squares were complete I sewed them all together then used another colour to start the border. I really wanted to bring some of the colours from the squares into the border, unfortunately I only had enough of the first colour to add a couple of stripes. I only had enough of each of the other colours to make it around 3/4 of the way, so those colours were out of the question.

Week 2

I’ve decided that it’s not my favourite blanket but it was fun trying the different patterns, I love the bright colours, and Truffles seems to like it. It will be something cosy to curl up with on a chilly night and that’s good enough for me.

My Weight Loss Journey – Week 60

Before I get started I want to apologize to any of the bloggers I normally follow. I have gotten so far behind on my blog reading that my email inbox is overflowing and has had me avoiding it because I never seem to make any progress catching up. As a result I’ve made the decision to empty my inbox, so that I can start fresh. I’m sorry that I didn’t get reading all of your blogs, but I will try to do better in the future.

I’m almost a week behind again, but I finally have my computer all set up, so I have no excuses for not blogging now. Last week was another good weight loss week for me. It wasn’t an extreme loss, but it was another step in the right direction and all those small steps are adding up! Last week I lost 1.3 pounds for a total now of 104 pounds, and only 32 to go now!

This past week I tried a new recipe which was not necessarily Weight Watcher friendly, but at 4 points per serving, it wasn’t completely awful points wise. You can find the full recipe at Sweet Peas and Saffron at the link provided. I used the Instant Pot version of the recipe, but if you don’t own an electric pressure cooker they also provide a instructions for cooking on the stove top.

I followed the recipe pretty closely except for the following substitutions. Number one, I used chicken broth in place of vegetable broth, so my version of this soup was not vegan. Number two, I used oregano in place of thyme because I didn’t have any thyme in my cupboard. And number three, I noticed from the photos and the stove top instructions that they added celery to that version, so I tossed in a couple of stalks of chopped celery.

Carrot Ginger Soup

Les Herbes Salées

If you’re like me, I was worried that the coconut milk would overpower the soup, but I couldn’t taste it at all, which was great, because coconut is not my favourite flavour but I wanted to try it out so that I would know for future recipes containing coconut milk.

I found this soup a little bit bland tasting made as directed, so when I reheated for other meals I experimented a bit and found that adding a few shakes of Tabasco sauce, and a bit of Les Herbes Salées really helped the flavour.

I hope you don’t take my negative comments to heart and give this soup a try. With just a few adjustments I think it would be really spectacular, I will definitely be making it again!

 

 

Fantastic Bake Along – Creamy, Dreamy Caramels

I have a confession to make. I have never made candy (unless you count something dipped in melted chocolate) because the process always seemed so intimidating to me. So when I saw this month’s Fantastic Bake Along, I was excited to finally give it a go. The Fantastic Bake Along is hosted by Tracy at It’s a T-Sweets Day!, and the recipe for this month was supplied by AJ at A Petite Slice of Life and can be found here on Tracy’s blog.

I was also kind of excited to try this recipe and maybe used up the coconut oil which has been taking up space in my cupboard. It turns out I should have checked the expiration date on it when I was making my grocery list because when it came time to make my caramels I realized it was old…really, really old. I originally bought it because everyone raved about how great it was to cook with, but I could never get past the strong coconut smell, and taste in anything that I used it in. (Have I mentioned that coconut is not my favourite thing? Maybe it’s just as well that it was too old to use for my caramels.) I’m sorry AJ, but I ended up substituting butter in the recipe because it was the only thing I had in my kitchen to replace the coconut oil.

I did not want to be fiddling around with cups of water and dropping things into it, and trying to judge which stage it was at, so I used my trusty digital thermometer and it worked like a dream. I added all the ingredients, and turned on the heat, stirring until all the ingredients were mixed together.

Time to turn on the heat

Not being a candy maker, the boiling sweet mixture made me a little nervous, not least when it would suddenly start to bubble up and almost come alive. I’m glad I had a good, deep pot to cook it in. As you can see from the pictures below, the colour changed quite drastically from the beginning (on the left) to near the end (on the right).

I used an 8×8 inch pan for my candy, because I wanted to cut it into smaller pieces so that I could fit it into my Weight Watcher’s plan more easily on days when I could spare a few points. I also opted to sprinkle a bit of Himalayan salt on top, but I think I should have waited until it cooled a bit more, because it kind of go absorbed into the caramel, rather than sitting on top.

Home made caramels

I  got a few burned bits from the bottom of the pan mixed in, because I accidentally scraped the bottom when I stirred in the vanilla. Luckily, the burned bits don’t affect the taste at all! (You can’t even tell they’re there. I was worried that it might also affect the texture.)

I had a bit of a hard time getting them out of the pan, even though I buttered it fairly liberally, so I think next time I will try lining the pan with parchment paper to make it easier to turn out and cut.

Creamy Caramels

A little of this sweet treat really does go a long way, but it’s so delicious! The caramels are so soft, and chewy, and happily, they don’t really stick to your teeth, they just kind of melt in your mout’h. My mouth is watering just thinking about eating one.

In all, I would have to say my first candy making attempt was a success, and I won

Check out the other candy makers at the links below to find out how their candy making experiences!