Monthly Archives: August 2012

Listen to Your Heart

Come back every Tuesday for “The Bees Knees”, where I post the best quotes from my favorite movies, TV shows, songs, and books.

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Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies

Let me get one thing straight.  I LOVE fall.  I LOVE it.  I love it like peanut butter loves jelly, like toast loves butter, like trees love rain.  I love the colors, the smells, and the tastes of fall…and since this past weekend was perfect fall weather (cold, rainy, and damp), I felt it only appropriate to start baking with one of my favorite ingredients:  pumpkin.

I will say that I haven’t ventured into baking and cooking with real pumpkin yet, but I’m not above using the canned stuff.  It works just fine and is less work for me…so it’s A-O-Kay in my book!  As I browsed the Internet looking for the perfect recipe for a rainy day, I came upon these:

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles.  My search was complete.

These cookies are so easy to make…and you can make them up to 2 days ahead of when you need to bake them.  Unlike normal snickerdoodles, these cookies are little round puffs of happiness.  They almost taste like a scone rather than a cookie.  I think I might try adding more pumpkin and less flour next time, just to see if that helps lighten the batter up a bit.

For a blistery fall day, or just a rainy day in August, these cookies just hit the spot!

Thanks to Pennies on a Platter for this awesome recipe!

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Ingredients:

For Cookies:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Sugar Coating:

  • 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin puree, then beat in the egg and vanilla.
  2. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir until fully incorporated. Cover and chill the dough for at least an hour, if not overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liner. Mix the coating ingredients in a small bowl. Scoop equal dough balls and roll into the sugar mixture. Set on cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Dip the bottom of a flat drinking glass into water, then into the sugar mixture and use to slightly flatten the dough balls. Recoat the bottom of the glass in the sugar-spice mixture as needed.
  4. Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes, or until baked through. Let cool on the baking sheets about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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The Beginning of Fairies

Come back every Tuesday for “The Bees Knees”, where I post the best quotes from my favorite movies, TV shows, songs, and books.

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Nature’s Little Wonders: Bees Book Review

It’s been said that names are destiny.  If that’s the case, I think I’m destined to be among the bees.

In Greek the name Melissa means honeybee.  When this became common knowledge to my friends and family, I unwillingly inherited a love, an obsession, for honeybee related things.

Coffee cups, tee-shirts, home décor, jewelry, books, and cookware bearing the honeybee quickly found their way into my life.  Almost as if by default, I became vastly interested in the honeybee and my funny little joke with friends and family turned into an all-out appreciation for these amazing creatures.

Instead of coffee mugs, I got books.  Instead of home décor, I got documentaries.  I followed local farmers online, read their stories of disappearing bees and honey harvesting.  I became immersed in the very creatures that defined me.

Ever since, I’ve been slightly obsessed with bees.  While I still collect the little nick knacks and accessories, I also greatly enjoy reading about these intelligent and mystical creatures.  While bees have been around for centuries, we’re still discovering the inner workings of the colony and how it runs.  Scientists are still finding new species of bees all the time, and there’s still plenty to learn about these tiny creatures that are so essential to existence on Earth.

If you’re interested in learning more about bees and how they contribute to the ecosystem, as well as human existence, I highly suggest you take a gander at Nature’s Little Wonders:  Bees by Candace Savage.  This little treat of a book will give you a reader’s digest version of the history of bees, along with some colorful photographs and illustrations, cute poetry, and insights into fascinating studies that are proving just how miraculous these insects are.

I think I was most surprised to learn that there are well over 16,000 species of bees in the world, with 4,000 existing in North America alone.  New York is home to about 477 species of bees, and there are still several more that reside in floral states like Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, and Missouri. 

While Nature’s Little Wonders won’t give you a detailed description of the history of bees and honey creation, it will definitely sweeten your appetite to learn more about these little workers and might even motivate you to research ways you can contribute to the preservation and sustainability of bees.

 

“And if bees were not themselves immortal, perhaps they were messengers sent by the gods to show us how we ought to live, in sweetness and in beauty and in peacefulness.”

–Candace Savage, Nature’s Little Wonders:  Bees

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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Very Few Things Are Indeed Impossible

Come back every Tuesday for “The Bees Knees”, where I post the best quotes from my favorite movies, TV shows, songs, and books.

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Rainbow Crocheted Granny Square Afghan

This Rainbow Afghan has been in the works for months now.  In crocheting an afghan, I’ve learned several things:

  1.  PLAN AHEAD.  Make sure you know how many squares you need before you start going crazy with granny squares.
  2. LAY OUT YOUR PIECE BEFOREHAND.  I cannot tell you how many times I had to unstitch and resew this blasted afghan together…even though I laid out all the pieces before I started assembling!
  3. HAVE FUN!  After all those mishaps, I will say that it is really satisfying to see your completed afghan.  Yes they are a lot of work, but they’re great for decorating and cuddling…my two favorite things!

As for this pattern, it’s super easy to make.  I ended up with 176 pieces, enough to make a 16×11 blanket (that’s 16 squares, not inches).  I used Red Heart Yarn, but you can use whatever you’d like…just make sure you have a lot of it!

Rainbow Afghan

Materials:

  • 1-2 balls of Red Heart Super Saver Yarn in the following colors:
  •    Red
  •    Purple
  •    Green
  •    Blue
  •    Brown
  •    White
  •    Orange
  •    Yellow
  • Crochet hook (any size will do)
  • Tapestry Needle
  • Scissors

Instructions:

  1. Chain 4.  Join with a slip stitch to make a loop.
  2. Chain 3 (counts as first double crochet).  Do 11 double crochets into the loop and join with a slip stitch to top of chain 3.
  3. With new color, chain 3.  Between the two double crochets where your hook is (I’m pointing to it with my needle in the photo), do 2 more double crochets.
  4. Continue making 3 double crochets between all the double crochets from row 1.  You should have 12 clusters (1 cluster being a group of 3 double crochets).  Join with a slip stitch to top of chain 3.
  5. With new color, chain 3.  Between the two clusters where your hook is, do 2 more double crochets.
  6. Continue making 3 double crochets between all the clusters from row 2.  You should have 12 clusters in this round.  Join with a slip stitch to top of chain 3.
  7. With new color, chain 3.  Between the two clusters where your hook is, do 2 more double crochets.
  8. Between the next 2 clusters, do 3 double crochets.  Chain 2.  Do 3 more double crochets.  This creates a corner.
  9. Between the next clusters, do 3 double crochets.  Then create another corner between the next two clusters.  Continue this pattern all the way around your hexagon.
  10. Join with a slip stitch and weave in ends.

When it comes to joining all your hexagons, you can use whatever method you’d like.  This is a great pattern for someone who’s just learning to crochet, since you really only need to know how to create a chain and double crochet.  You’ll be “hooked” on this in no time!  🙂

Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

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