Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Spiced Tea and Shawls

It's that time of year when hot drinks and warm clothes aren't just luxuries; they're necessities. So I have this nice recipe for my spiced tea and added this new shawl made by a technique that I invented/taught myself. After all, there's nothing new under the sun, so maybe I just re-invented it.^^ It's kind of a cross between crochet and weaving, so I have no idea what to call it. Suggestions?

Makes about a pint of spiced tea mix

18 oz Tang (or other sweetened orange drink mix)
1 dry unsweetened lemonade packet
1 tsp cloves
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar (or to taste)
3/4 cup instant tea

Mix. That's it; just put it in a bowl and  mix. To brew you just add a heaping spoonful to a coffee cup with some hot water.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you are having as much fun as I am up at my grandmother's, that you are eating lots of good food, and that you have lots of things to be thankful for^^

Train tracks and fall leaves. I'm thankful for the great weather!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Rose and Mistletoe Kanzashi

One of the reasons I love making kanzashi is there are so many flowers, plants, and other natural things you can create with the technique. I especially like coming up with new kanzashi designs based off of local plants and animals. Some purists would say some of my creations are not traditional, and therefore I have no business calling them kanzashi at all. I think it is the spirit more than the rules that define an art form, and by creating based off of my surroundings I am adding to the art rather than making something completely different. What do you think?
My version of a rose kanzashi.
My completely original kanzashi; mistletoe. 
I'm not sure the plant can even grow in Japan, but it makes a nice kanzashi^^ 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day

You know, we're pretty lucky in this country. Voting for who we want in charge, the ability to remove them if they turn out to be bad leaders, the right to complain. Of course some people take that right a little too far, but there you have it. Maggie thinks this whole business is getting out of hand. She's not sure who's running for what other than president, but she's pretty sure name calling isn't nice. I tend to agree. See you at the polls, and no, I don't want to know who you voted for^^

Friday, November 2, 2012

All Souls Day and Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts

My family celebrates? All Souls day. Not sure celebrate is the word I'm looking for, but it'll do. Much like Obon in Japan, All Souls day is a way to remember everyone who has died, and to pray for both their happiness in the after life and that we might see them again after our death. Most people don't believe that the dead come back on this day as ghosts to visit like Obon, but I'm sure there's some who do out there somewhere. It's a pretty quiet, but international, festival; unless you celebrate it in Mexico. There they call it 'the Day of the Dead' and it's like a funeral, Halloween, and Mardi Gras all rolled into one. I have never heard the more widespread All Souls day be brought up on the news, but I think the world has heard of Day of the Dead. Crazy, right?

Many cultures have a fondness for round themes when it comes to the departed. Both Buddhists and a variety of Celtic folk stories say ghosts like round foods like rice balls and cakes. What else would I make then, but my baked pumpkin doughnuts? Here's my recipe, which is oil and butter free and full of spiced pumpkin goodness^^

Pumpkin Doughnuts

1 small can pumpkin
1/2 cup honey (or 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed, and 2 TBSP extra milk)
1&1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
2&1/2 cups self rising four
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk

6 tablespoons or so cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered or confectioners sugar

Mix the pumpkin, spices, and honey together in a bowl. Add the flour, milk and eggs and mix some more. Dough should be thick, slightly thinner than peanut butter. Spoon into greased doughnut pans (I got mine from Wilson's Cake decorating supplies. The pan is like a muffin pan, but doughnut shaped!)You can also use muffin liners and make muffins instead.

Bake at 350 F until a toothpick comes out clean, about 8-10 minutes for the doughnuts. DON'T overcook them; if the bottoms get more than slightly brown you'll end up with dry doughnuts, and that's bad^^

Mix the sugar and cream cheese in a micro wave safe bowl. Then, nuke it for about 30 seconds. Drizzle over slightly cooled doughnuts. Best eaten warm of course, but you can microwav the about 30 seconds and they'll taste fresh baked. Keep them in the fridge for over a week; they freeze well too as long as you don't glaze them before you freeze them. Makes about 18