MiGi handmade

Date Day Cabled Headband...

Annalea MagañaComment

i'm all about instant gratification; "quick and dirty" is a term i've often used. i know this is something that i should work on and that my emotional stability would benefit from a good dose of patience, though i haven't quite figured out what that would look like. this is probably why, as a knitter, i prefer making accessories or things for little babies. and if it's a one skein project i feel like i've hit the jackpot!

case in point with this lovely little number, designed by nancy ricci. the pattern calls for chunky yarn, there are directions for a wide (shown) or thin headband and (bonus!) gauge isn't important which i LOVE because i NEVER check my gauge. sacrilege, i know...

i used a skein of malabrigo mecha from my stash in color 33 cereza which is a gorgeous deep and vibrant red with blue undertones.

the pattern is an 8 row repeat with cabling in rows 3 and 7. don't be intimidated if you're new to cables or have never done them. wool and the gang has a great video tutorial if you're feeling nervous.

once you reach the length you want, just bind off and join the edges with a mattress stitch (or your preferred method of joining) and you're good to go! this would make a great quick gift, just be sure to make one for yourself, too. it was perfect to wear on a chilly date day with my man. function AND style!

are you a knitter who's into long-haul projects or do you like them quick and dirty, like me? what's your favorite "go-to" knitted gift?

Basket Shmasket! This Year, It's Bags!!!

D.I.Y.AnnaleaComment

i've been making easter baskets for my kids for, gosh...going on 15 years now. they're fun, and i enjoy putting them together but as i found myself perusing the aisle at the $.99 store (4 kids and all...) i decided to forgo the baskets - which i always tell myself that i'm going to donate or reuse but then i never do - and opted for paper lunch bags instead.

i decided to "easter" them up by cutting a little bunny from some cute paper that i had on hand which was left over from valentine's day.

after that, it was just a matter of filling them up and attaching the bunnies. easy peasy!

i love how they turned out and i don't feel guilty about throwing out empty baskets with bits of grass still clinging to the bottom. and get this...four bunny peeps fit perfectly into a little snack sized zip-loc baggie. just in case you were wondering (wink!).

Me, Myself and My Blog. Oh Sister, Where Art Thou...?

AnnaleaComment

where art thou, indeed. if i think about that too much i'll be infused with more self-inflicted guilt than i already have over the fact that i haven't posted anything since last may. stupid. feeling guilty about my lack of blogging presence. but...there it is. a little inside about me.

moving on.

hello, christmas right around the corner!!! can you believe it?!? we just put up halloween decorations and my kids are still trying to decide what they want to dress up as but, yesterday, i watched a christmas movie on netflix. can't help it - love 'em! i have a friend who's probably already done with her christmas shopping (you know who you are, lady) and diy's are already popping up all over pinterest.

i've been in somewhat of a funk the last several months and so haven't been as productive as i would have liked. still, not a total loss creatively speaking. i did manage to play around here and there...

now i'm in the process of making clay oil lamps which i chose as the take-away favor for our church's women's christmas dinner, coming up with new fragrances for the skin-care products that i sell in my etsy shop - honey grapefruit...yum! - figuring out what will be my homemade gift to my kids this year, and wondering if i'll have enough

juice

time to make all of the things i want to make between now and thanksgiving. an occasional coffee or lunch date with friend so that i don't isolate (easy for me to do), dealing with menopause (which completely SUCKS!), knowing that the 13th anniversary of my first husband passing away is next month which always makes me somewhat wonky starting about now and which feels doubly so this time because i'm in the same time frame in this marriage as i was in my first in which he died - 10 years. not an easy place to be and i can see that i'm making myself extra busy right now instead of sitting in it. i've tried to work on this and it isn't always easy. thankfully, there's grace. from my friends who know me, from my husband who loves me, and from God who knew this was all coming down the line.

baby steps.

Flourless Carrot Cake with Goat Cream Cheese Frosting and A First Apartment

Annalea2 Comments

one of my closest friends just got her first apartment. this is huge. the kind of huge that's scary and exhilarating in the same breath. and it's not like she did this right from leaving home or just graduating from college like so many. she's done it for the first time since

leaving

home, getting married, having children, dealing with loss, going through a divorce,

moving back home

... huge, right? brave. making every decision on her own and not having to check with anyone about paint colors or furniture placement or which way the toilet paper should come off the roll. freaking out about bills. eating cereal for dinner at 10 o'clock.

this is huge-ness that deserves an equally huge dessert and when i came across this recipe, i knew it would be perfect to bring to her house last night when several of her friends and i got together to help unpack and set up her kitchen. she doesn't eat gluten or dairy though is able to tolerate goat milk products (hence the replacements for the frosting).

Gluten Free Carrot Cake with Goat Cream Cheese Frosting

adapted from a

Donna Hay Recipe

the what...

  • 5 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups brown sugar (not packed)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 3½ cups almond meal 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 - one pound bag of carrots, peeled and grated 
  • ½ cup minced fresh pineapple
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 cup walnut pieces, toasted
  • ½ cup currants

goat cream cheese icing

  • 6.25 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 5 ounces goat butter (meyenberg from whole foods)
  • 1 cup powdered (confectioner's/icing) sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice 
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • note: my changes to the original recipe don't yield an icing that holds it's shape well. rather, this icing is like an extra thick cream.

the how...

preheat oven to 325°F. line the base of a lightly greased 9-inch spring-form pan with parchment paper and set aside.place the eggs, sugar and vanilla in an electric mixer and whisk for 15 minutes or until thick and tripled in volume. put the oil, almond meal, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, salt, carrots, coconut, walnuts and currants in a large bowl and mix well to combine. fold through the egg mixture and spoon into the pan. bake for 1 hour 20 minutes – 1 hour 25 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out with a few crumbs attached. cool completely in the pan before refrigerating for 2–3 hours or until firm. to make the cream cheese icing, place all ingredients in an electric mixer and beat for 5 minutes or until smooth. chill for 1 hour (it's a good idea to make the icing the night before you're planning on serving the cake). to serve, run a small knife around the edge of the cake and remove from the pan. spread with the icing. serves 8–10.

look that color! so pretty! and it was moist and dense and tasted just like a traditional carrot cake though i like to think that this one is on the healthier side. 

the best part? seeing the happy gleam in my friend's eyes when she took that first bite. loved it! and if you haven't yet tried your hand at gluten free (flourless) baking, i think this would have you sold. you could even turn the batter into muffins or small quick breads. 

your gluten free friends will love you!

Triple Layer Chocolate Raspberry Rose Cake with Sweetened Cream

Annalea2 Comments

sometimes, you just have to splurge. a new baby, a promotion, first apartment...you know, something BIG! for me, it was my niece's 13th birthday which was a big deal because, 1) hello! it's 13 and 2) this was the first time she was at my house since i'd met my brother for the first time last summer. BIG! HUGE! also, it was mother's day so i wanted to make something special to honor all of the mom's who happened to be celebrating with us. enter this (not so) little lovely cake.

i had two inspirations going in. first, the look of this beauty from

twig studios

and the taste of this chocolate cake from

my baking addiction

, both of which i found on

pinterest

.

the best chocolate cake

can you imagine the marriage? it's quite perfect, actually. and when they say "the best chocolate cake", they mean it! i've made this recipe twice now and it's divine. the recipe uses simple ingredients and is really straight forward. for this cake, i doubled it and used three 8-inch cake pans (be sure to butter and flour your pans and line the bottoms with buttered parchment).

3 cups of heavy cream whipped to a gorgeous cloud, sweetened with 1 cup of powdered sugar and flavored with a teaspoon of almond extract (vanilla is fine or none at all). actually, i would have loved to add some rose water to the cream too. yum! then just start layering: cake, raspberry jam, cream, fresh raspberries. rinse. repeat.

don't get caught up in having it look perfect. let the jam and the cream ooze and drip from between the layers. i did insert five wooden skewers to keep it stable and kept it in the fridge until about 15 minutes before we were ready to eat it. sooooo good! be sure to add candied rose petals to the top to make it extra special.

i know it might look complicated or like a lot of work but it really isn't. and who wouldn't love this cake? not only was it delicious, it was total eye candy as well! and if chocolate isn't your thing, you could make any cake flavor and still stack it up this way. lemon cake and blackberries with blackberry jam, vanilla cake with orange marmalade and mandarin oranges. get crazy and get baking!