Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cookie Monster

These are about 4 or 5 inches in diameter.

On second thought, better make that Monster Cookies, because they're huge! I'm always looking for things that my husband, Scott, can have for breakfast that don't involve a bowl or milk, since usually he's eating breakfast in his car on the way to work. He needs something that will fill him up and give him lots of energy because he doesn't always get lunch at the same time, and sometimes it's a long time between breakfast and lunch. Most breakfast rolls/muffins aren't filling enough or are more sweet than nutritious. I'd heard about "breakfast cookies" that were loaded with granola-type ingredients, but hadn't seen a recipe. Then my September issue of Martha Stewart Living came and, lo and behold - a recipe for breakfast cookies! I immediately showed it to Scott to see if he wanted to try them and he was game, so I decided to try it.

Raw pumpkin seeds, raw sunflower seeds, Craisins, dried blueberries & dried apricots.

I made a few changes to the ingredients, since Scott wasn't totally enamored of some of the dried fruit choices. The original recipe calls for dried mango, dried papaya, and raisins or dried currants. I substituted dried blueberries for the mango, diced dried apricots for the papaya, and dried cranberries for the raisins. The rest I left the same. In shopping for the ingredients, I found that it can be difficult to find raw pumpkin seeds and raw sunflower seeds at the local chain supermarket, unless they have a really good bulk foods section. They can be expensive, too. If you have a Trader Joe's near you, I found all my nuts, seeds and dried fruit there and really reasonably priced. I'm pretty confident that Whole Foods would have them all, too, but we don't have one near us.

I use a chopper for my nuts and chop a handful at a time.

The quantities of this recipe seemed huge to me (except for the dried fruit), and I was skeptical. I mean, it's supposed to make 8 large cookies using 1 cup of batter or 16 smaller cookies using a half cup. So why would you need a whole pound of butter? I suppose that for all of the dry ingredients you would need a lot of fat to hold them together. Anyway, I was right - this makes way more than 16 small cookies and they were by no means small - more like 4 or 5 inches across. When I added the oats to the recipe the dough kept trying to escape from my mixer bowl and it was hard to keep it from clumping on the paddle.

Escaping dough! This recipe is huge. The white area is the dried coconut.

The dough is very stiff and I decided to use the half cup size. Even then, the amount of dough was enough that I patted them down significantly in order to avoid having cookies that were thicker than an inch, which made them spread out enough that I could only get 5 or 6 on a sheet. The fun part was putting the banana chips on top before baking; I pressed mine into the dough slightly to make sure they didn't fall off. This recipe easily made 18 or more very large cookies. I highly recommend a large drink with them - juice, milk or your favorite coffee beverage. And if you're someone who doesn't eat a lot of fiber, make sure you drink a lot of water throughout the day, since this is a lot and you'll need the water to help digest it. And as with any high fiber food, you may notice a slight change in your number of bathroom trips. *grin* My husband commented on its effect on him.

Verdict: My husband liked the one he had yesterday, although he didn't have a drink with him and his only complaint was that he needed something with it, as it felt dry on its own. Not terribly, but he felt it needed a couple of swallows of something to go with it. I had one this morning with coffee and it was pretty good. I think it might be good crumbled over yogurt as an alternative to granola or muesli. If I make this again, I'm definitely cutting the recipe in half (except for the fruit, perhaps), since I'm not sure that my family will eat all of these giant cookies before they start to go stale.

You can find the recipe here.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

On the Menu: Meringue and Two Kinds of Sorbetto

Colette Meringue skirt in denim with t-shirt by Rock Steady clothing. I love this outfit.

 As part of the Colette Patterns Spring/Summer Palette Challenge, I decided to try my hand at the Sorbetto tank top pattern, available on the Colette website and the Meringue skirt, found in The Colette Sewing Handbook. These are pretty much the only garments I was able to get done from the challenge, because I had to pack up my entire sewing room when we moved, plus I was in the hospital for a week with gallbladder issues. Ugh! But I digress. I'm a late-comer to the Sorbetto pattern; I think everyone familiar with Colette Patterns has tried it, not least because it's a freebie but also because there are so many ways to adapt it. I've seen it with and without sleeves; with a box pleat, with an inverted pleat and with no pleat; embellished with piping, lace and buttons or simply plain. People have made it into a dress. The possibilities seem endless.

Because my main problem is always getting a good fit at the bust line, I decided to perfect the fit of the original first before I tried to branch out. A scrounge in my stash revealed some lovely pale blue shirting that I used as a muslin. After much adjusting for my full bust and re-adjusting to take into account the rest of my figure, my wearable muslin looked good enough to start making the final versions. I wasn't completely enamored of the fit, but decided I could fine-tune it with the final products. This was also the first time I'd really used my dress form for bust fitting, as it's a relatively new purchase, so that enabled me to get a good fit at the bust.

Sorbetto Version 1, untucked. I'm still not enamored of the waist shaping and I think it looks better tucked in.
The final versions fit in my color palette far better than the muslin, naturally. Version 1 is made from a beautiful quilting cotton that has an amazing hand and which has been sitting in my stash for about 15 years. Yes, you read that correctly. It's a bit more country/Americana in feel in terms of the print, but I love the maroon and cream of the flowers against the cadet blue background. I chose some vintage lace from my stash as a simple embellishment on the pleat and finished it with ready-made maroon bias tape, since I've made my own bias tape for a few projects lately and I'm over that. Plus, I was impatient to finish it after all the time I spent fitting it. I may tweak it more later by adding a dart at the hemline in order to fine-tune the fit at the waist and to compensate for the added fabric that occurs when I do the FBA.

Sorbetto Version 2 with piping and buttons. I'm digging the fit on this more than this first.
Version 2 is a really nice geometric print in stripes - black, navy and maroon on cream. This fabric is something I bought specifically for this challenge, mostly because I love the print but also because the quality is fabulous for quilting cotton. It's from the Aunt Grace fabrics by Marcus Brothers and it comes in a green and orange color way, too. I used navy piping to accent the pleat this time and navy vintage buttons from my stash. Ready-made bias tape again, this time in navy. I made both versions using French seams, so there are no raw edges.

Both of these tanks look super cute with my Meringue skirt. I'd been contemplating this skirt and looking at all the different versions I'd seen online - solid vs. print, light vs. dark, etc. I found myself returning to a denim version done by Sarah at Rhinestones and Telephones, and thinking that it seemed like the perfect everyday skirt. I think she says she wears it at least once a week. So here's my version, in non-stretch dark denim.

This is a size 16 with no alteration other than taking it up an inch in length. Ideally, I think I probably should have taken the waist in slightly in the back. Not enough to do a sway-back adjustment but just deepening the back darts a bit. I should note that the fit was pretty good overall before I had my surgery but because I lost weight (and fat!) in the hospital, the fit is not as great at the waistline any more. I plan to take it in a bit at the waist by deepening the darts. What I love about this skirt is how it's a good basic with just a twist (the scalloped hem), and pretty much every top and every shoe works with it, I can wear either Sorbetto with it and throw on my maroon cardigan if I need more sleeve coverage. And it's super cute with my favorite striped t-shirt, as you can see from the top photo.