Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Fall Ball

Despite the cool temperatures, my tomatoes are continuing to ripen. Twenty-five tomato plants can produce a lot of tomatoes.

I've been making soup, soup, soup, especially my favorite: homemade chicken noodle soup with wheat garlic breadsticks.

And, happily, I've started putting up my fall decor. I set up a pretty display of branches on my window seat in the living room. Unfortunately, the bright light makes it difficult to photograph!

I put the ends of the branches in a mason jar weighed down with rocks, and put the whole thing in a little wooden candle holder that I may have gotten at IKEA years ago.

Moss is my favorite, and I love to scatter it around. I've got a sheet of it under the candle holder, and have put a few pumpkins and gourds around it.

Out come the plaids!

It will take me weeks until I'm finally satisfied, but until then I'll keep dragging in tree branches, leaves, and seeds!

I recently had a little get-together for my mother's birthday. I set up a fall-themed display on our table, with chrysanthemums...

...pumpkins and gourds...

...these fir tree seeds that look like miniature pine cones...

...and some fall flowers from my garden.

Using some of my scrapbooking supplies, I cut out squirrel shapes and made place cards for each setting.

I tied up some pretty leaves and placed the name tag on top.

I think it made for a very pretty table!

My mother always requests carrot cake. I tried out a unique recipe for her a few months ago and she said it was the best carrot cake she'd ever had. I didn't like it as much, but she sent the recipe to some relatives in California and they raved about it, too. I made some minor modifications when I made it this time and was more satisfied with the result.

Taking the idea from my sister- and brother-in-law's wedding, I peeled some carrot strips for the top. I like the way it turned out!

Zingy Ginger Carrot Cake
Adapted from Sweetapolita
Makes one layer cake

5 cups of grated carrots
1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cup milk

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans and set aside. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices together in a bowl and set aside. Cream your butter and then beat in sugar. Beat for at least 3 minutes, until creamy. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Don't worry about its curdled appearance! Fold in 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by half of the milk. Repeat additions, ending with flour. Stir in carrots and crystallized ginger. Do not overmix!

Divide batter evenly between your two cake pans and tap them lightly to ensure that you don't have any air holes. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes, until centers are set. Cool and then ice with your favorite cream cheese icing.

This cake did not last too long around our house!

I finishes a knitting project for a special friend recently. I wanted to make something light and pretty, so I matched up two complementary purple wools that I had in my yarn stash. The dark purple that makes up the body of the shawl came from Germany, and the lacy edge is Malabrigo Lace in Pearl Ten.

I really like how it turned out. I still don't know how to wear over-the-shoulder shawls, but this is the perfect size to wrap around your neck a few times to keep out the wind.

The pattern is Cladonia by Kirsten Kapur, but I modified it a bit. Instead of the large, loopy picot edge, I made it smaller and daintier. I like it so much that I think I might make another, even though the bind-off of 300+ stitches was pretty painful!

Have a great week!

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