C²: Cooking and Crafts

Are you ready for an adventure in cooking and crafting? No? How about a leisurely walk through some discoveries and reference links? Yeah? Good. That’s what I’m serving up today!

Up First: Cooking

I love food and that has led me to enjoy cooking. At one point my mother actually tried to convince me to drop out of college and join her at culinary school. I think it was Fall of my senior year so that shit wasn’t happening.

I enjoy trying new, local restaurants and eating new food. I am a little sad though because my recent lactose intolerance took a cool mac n’ cheese focused restaurant off the menu. That’s okay because now I get to experiment with a ton of new ingredients! In fact, a friend sent me a link to GoDairyFree.org’s 21 Day Dairy Free Challenge where I found a bunch of tasty, tasty looking recipes.

I picked out the Creamy “Ranch” Pasta Salad because it looked fucking good. Just look at it. Doesn’t it look creamy? Yeah. Plus, the hubby likes ranch (dude puts it on nearly everything). We agreed that the house would be a dairy free zone and I don’t think he’s realized that his beloved ranch isn’t dairy free. So if I can replicate ranch dressing or flavoring without dairy, then he’ll be a happier hubby because of it!

It is SO delicious!
Looking at the ingredients list I was concerned about the Coconut Milk Yogurt. I didn’t know it existed and wasn’t sure I could even find it in our usual grocery store (Food Lion). Turns out Harris Teeter sells it! I was so excited to 1- find it, 2- try it, 3-discover that it actually tastes good.

The dish itself was super easy to make. It didn’t click with me that it was more of a side dish than the main dish I intended though. Next time I’ll grill up some chicken and mix it it. Yum!

I didn’t make the dough thick enough to get that high puff but they were good!
For that week’s breakfast I made scones using the other half of the yogurt. I found the bacon, pepper jack, and jalapeno scone recipe through Pinterest and made them once before with whole wheat flour. Look, I had a bag and wanted to use it up. Not the best idea because they turned out super dense and wicked dry. It was rough. This time around I used all purpose flour, the coconut milk yogurt, and left out the cheese. They turned out much better.

I’m still finding my footing in this new dairy-free world so you may or may not have noticed that the scones’ recipe called for butter. I didn’t substitute the butter in this recipe mainly because I want to use up what butter I have but also because in baked goods it doesn’t bother me so much. I say “baked goods” because I’m pretty sure if I scarf down anything in a butter based sauce (lemon butter is my favorite!) there’s going to be an unwanted party happening. That said, I do plan on using up my remaining butter and finding a suitable substitute because goddammit do I love buttery sauces! Oh, and I’m committed to going dairy free.

Up Next: Crafting

I think it’s been about four years since I decided I would learn to crochet. I bought myself a dinky book that came with hooks and learned the basics over a weekend (St. Patrick’s Day weekend to be specific). I had a lofty goal of making a Star Wars themed blanket. It would be made up of squares and each square would have a profile, item, or scene. I found a number of those squares patterned out online and I did some myself. Everything is printed and in a folder waiting to be completed. I didn’t make a single square last year and I’ve only completed one out of 8 (I think) rows. But this isn’t about that blanket.

At first I prided myself in not making anything useful (dinosaurs and penguins!) for friends but then I came around to the idea. Being able to customize something specifically for one person is pretty cool. Making that item without a pattern is even better but I totally used a pattern for the two items I made in January for some friends. Using a pattern isn’t bad. 99% of the time I use one because the hard work has already been done. It takes time to create your pattern. I know, I did it once. There’s a lot of undoing your work (I believe it’s called “frogging”), trying something else, and writing it all down. Well I wrote mine down because it was part of this project I was doing but didn’t finish… Moving on!

Fancy pants boot cuffs!
I’m in love with boot cuffs. I made three pairs for people that I think would also love boot cuffs because I needed more boot cuffs in the world. Boot cuffs, if you don’t know, go between your pants and top of your boot to help keep you warm. They also look super cute.

I found this pattern on Pinterest (it’s my go-to for a lot of stuff). The original pattern came out a bit wonky but another crafter rephrased it in a way that was more clear. This pattern introduced me to two new stitches that I promptly used in a few other projects and now don’t want to do again. At least not any time soon.

A cozy hat to keep your head warm!
This hat was requested. My friend said “a hat or scarf” and since I had recently made a scarf I opted for a hat. You can’t quite see from the crap picture I took but there are ear covers on the side. I followed most of this pattern (Pinterest) but winged it on the ties and left off the pom-pom. The recipient requested blue or purple. I couldn’t decide and since the pattern had two colors so would this hat!

Honestly, I’m not the best at finishing crochet projects. I have at least four that I’ve started and just not finished and a dozen or thirty that I’ve decided to do but haven’t even started. I’ve told two of the recipients that I’m making them something so you would think that would make me, like, finish/start them, right? As if.

The Point?

Do shit that you enjoy!

What’s Next?

Not finishing a project.