Sunday, March 18, 2012

Tumbling Blocks - Ta Da!

It's finally finished!  The afghan that I first started early January has been completed!  It's on our bed now, and it makes me want to decorate the whole room to match :-).  Here are the pictures:


The border - pointed on the sides and straight across the top/bottom.

different angle

I'm so, so happy with it! 

Again, for those interested, the pattern for the individual diamonds (and joining method) comes from Red Heart's Prairie Star pattern, but I graphed out the tumbling blocks design on my own.

The Joy
I have to admit that somewhere around the beginning of February I got a little sick of working on this.  It was taking soooo looong.  And I took a break to make other things occasionally (as evidenced by all the other crochet projects I've blogged about). But I persevered.  And discovered the joy of making it through to the end.  So this blanket is a very vivid reminder of the joy James writes about - the joy that comes from perseverance.

Joy to you!

Brownies and Blankets

Olive Oil Brownies
Last week I got to make a meal for a family that can't have milk.  I thought, "what can I possibly bake that doesn't use butter?"  And voila, I found this recipe on Pinterest.  Except, as I was beginning the process, I realized that the semi-sweet chocolate I'd bought listed "milk solids" as an ingredient!  Ack!  So I quickly searched for a cocoa substitution for semi-sweet chocolate and found an answer here.  (What did we ever do without Google?).  I added pecans to the recipe as well, because the called-for milk chocolate chips obviously wouldn't work. 

I made enough modifications to the recipe, that I'm going to post it here.  It can easily be made Vegan by using egg substitute.

Olive Oil Brownies:

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs (or egg-substitute equivalent)
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 and line an 8×8 pan with foil.
In a large bowl, combine cocoa and olive oil.
Whisk in sugars, eggs and vanilla until combined.
Add in flour and salt and stir until incorporated. Fold in pecans.
Spread in prepared pan and bake 25 minutes.  DON'T OVERBAKE!!
Let cool completely.  Remove brownies from the pan by lifting out the foil.  Flip over onto a cutting board and peel foil off.  Cut into squares and enjoy.

Coconut Cream Brownie Bites
I also found this recipe on Pinterest.  Naturally, since it's a Duncan Hines recipe, it calls for a Duncan Hines brownie mix.  But I used my favorite fudge brownie recipe (from Bittersweet by Alice Medrich) instead.  No pan size is specified in the recipe, so the first time I made it, I followed the comment suggestions and used a smaller (8x11") pan and one batch of fudge brownies.  The result was very yummy, but was an extremely thick coconut cream layer with two very thin layers of brownie on either side.  Yesterday I tried it again, doubling the brownie recipe but leaving the coconut cream layer the same, and using a 9x13" pan.  Now I've got something that's basically a fudge brownie with a ribbon of coconut cream.  Also very good, and probably a better bet for a party, since some people are not coconut fans. I'd probably prefer something between the two.  (Oh well...that just means I can experiment more :-)

Twin Boy Blankets
A family at church just welcomed twin boys.  I wanted to make blankets that would be similar, but different, and I wanted to try out a rectangle granny blanket.  And this is what I did:

That's dark brown with the light blue, by the way, even though it looks black!

I also finished the afghan for our bed!!!!!  I haven't taken pictures yet, though, so it'll get its own blog post :-).

Joy to you!