Previous month:
August 2007
Next month:
October 2007

September 2007

Fall Cupcakes!

Cupcakes1

Yes, fall is here.  Some of you are groaning because this means that summer is over, but remember this also means that, well....autumn is here!  Time for brisk mornings and hot drinks, good books and cozy fires, nature giving its grand finale in firey red leaves and big crysanthemums, and of course, baking!  This year for my father-in-law's birthday I added to his gifts by whipping up some cupcakes. 

Cupcakes5_5   Cupcakes7_2

I've never made cupcakes before, believe it or not, and I've never made frosting.  We didn't get home until almost 9pm last night and I thought I'd be too tired to get these done, but they went very quickly and easily.  I actually ended up with a little leftover, which I poured into a heart-shaped ramekin for Chris and I to share. 

Cupcakes2

The long part was the decorating, because it was of course the fun part.  I LOVE baking with pumpkin.  If you do too, you'll love these.  It's based off a recipe from Martha Stewart, which I modified to fit my liking.  Hope you enjoy!

Cupcakes3

Mike's Birthday Cupcakes (Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting)

  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
  • 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Food coloring or paste, in reds, oranges, browns, yellows
  • Candies for decorating, such as chocolate sprinkles, orange sugar crystals, various candy corns, black licorice strings, candy pumpkins, etc.

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners (this recipe makes about 24 cupcakes, depending on how full you fill yours); set aside. Measure flour by lightly spooning it into measuring cups and leveling with a knife.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree, chocolate chips, 24 drops yellow food coloring, and 16 drops red food coloring.

3.  Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about 1/2 to 3/4 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack, let cool for 10 minutes.  Remove cupcakes from pan onto wire rack; let cool completely.

4.  Meanwhile, make the frosting:  Place cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Add butter, and beat until fluffy. Reduce speed to low; gradually add sugar, and continue beating until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, and mix to combine.

Now comes the fun part - decorating!  Spoon a little bit of frosting into small bowls and experiement with adding color.  Red and yellow make orange, add a tiny speck of green to red to make an autumny brick red, etc.  Sprinkle orange sugar crystals over white frosting, wind a rope of black licorice in a spiral on orange icing, nestle a candy corn on red icing.

By the way, a note on herbs and spices - this recipe calls for ground allspice, which I did not have on hand.  When I got to the store to pick some up and saw the $9+ price tag, I just about gave up.  I only needed 1/4 tsp!!  Turns out they had a bulk herbs and spices section along with their bulk foods.  I've noticed more and more grocery stores doing this - our QFC when we lived in Northgate had one, and this was the Top Foods in Snohomish.  I bought about a tablespoon of ground allspice and it cost me exactly $0.01.  Needless to say, I may never buy bottled herbs and spices again!

Cupcakes8


Crochet Pumpkin Tutorial

Crochet_pumpkin_lg

This is a free tutorial I've shared in one of our past newsletters, as well as posted on my own personal blog, and thought you all might enjoy it.  The weather is starting to be the type where I just like to cozy up on the couch and make things with my hands.  I really enjoyed creating this pattern, and sometime would like to make a whole family of these pumpkins.  Please feel free to leave comments or email if you have any questions.  Hope you enjoy!

Crochet Pumpkin

Materials:

1 skein Monteza Classic Elite llama/wool blend yarn in pumpkin orange (I used #3885), or similar bulky wool yarn
1 ball Crystal Palace Kid Merino yarn in brown (I used #4673), or similar mohair/wool/nylon blend yarn in complimentary color
1 skein Monteza Classic Elite llama/wool blend yarn in olive green or brown, or similar bulky wool yarn for the stem
Size H/8 crochet hook
Large eye needle
Fiberfill for stuffing
Optional: Dark green wool felt, olive green pipe cleaners, small orange button with 4 holes

This project uses only one stitch, the single crochet (sc) for the entire pumpkin, working in rounds, making it a doable project for beginners. The stem incorporates a few half-double (hdc) and double (dc) crochet stitches, but once you get the basic stitches down, the rest is a breeze. For instructions on basic crochet stitches, check out any crochet book from the library, ask a friend or relative to show you, or search on google .  (Feel free to use this pattern for your own personal use, to make your own decorations or a gift to a friend, but you may not reproduce or create for selling.)

Instructions:

For the pumpkin (using the orange wool and brown mohair yarns together):

Foundation and Round 1: ch 2, then 6sc in 2nd ch from hk. Place marker by placing a stray length of yarn of a different color in the last stitch you did, so you know where the round ends.

Round 2: 2 sc in ea st around (12 sts total). Move marker to last stitch (continue moving with each round)

Round 3: [1 sc, 2sc in next st] repeat around (18 sts)

Round 4: [2 sc, 2sc in next st] repeat around (24 sts)

Round 5: [3 sc, 2sc in next st] repeat around (30 sts)

Round 6: [4 sc, 2sc in next st] repeat around (36 sts)

Round 7: [5 sc, 2sc in next st] repeat around (42 sts)

Round 8: [6 sc, 2sc in next st] repeat around (48 sts)

Round 9: [7 sc, 2sc in next st] repeat around (54 sts)

Round 10: [8 sc, 2sc in next st] repeat around (60 sts)

Round 11:  [9 sc, 2sc in next st] repeat around (66 sts)

Round 12: [10 sc, 2sc in next st] repeat around (72 sts)

Round 13: [11 sc, 2sc in next st] repeat around (78 sts)

Rounds 14 – 27: sc in each st around (78 sts each time)

Round 28: [12 sc, skip next st] repeat around (72 sts)

Round 29: [11 sc, skip next st] repeat around (66 sts)

Round 30: [10 sc, skip next st] repeat around (60 sts)

At this point, stuff the pumpkin with fiberfill (not too stuffed!), and continue adding bits of stuffing as you complete the closing rounds.

Round 31: [9 sc, skip next st] repeat around (54 sts)

Round 32: [8 sc, skip next st] repeat around (48 sts)

Round 33: [7 sc, skip next st] repeat around (42 sts)

Round 34: [6 sc, skip next st] repeat around (36 sts)

Round 35: [5 sc, skip next st] repeat around (30 sts)

Round 36: [4 sc, skip next st] repeat around (24 sts)

Round 37: [3 sc, skip next st] repeat around (18 sts)

Round 38: [2 sc, skip next st] repeat around (12 sts)

Round 39: [1 sc, skip next st] repeat around (6 sts)

Round 40: [1 sc, skip next st] repeat around (3 sts)

Finishing: make one more sc in middle st to close the opening, clip yarn and weave in the tail.

For the stem (using the green or brown wool yarn):

Foundation and Round 1: ch 3 (counts as 1st hdc), 11 hdc in 3rd ch from hk (12 sts total, incl. ch 3)

Round 2: sc in each st around (12 sts)

Repeat round until the stem reaches desired length, approx 2 – 3”.

Next round: ch 4 (counts as first dc), 2 dc in each sc around (24 sts total, incl. ch 4)

Last round: 1 sl st, 1 sc, ch 5, 1 sc in 3rd ch from hk, 1 hdc in next ch, 1 dc in next ch, sl st in next 2 sc (one pointy stem base made). Repeat around, completing 6 evenly spaced pointy stem base pieces, or alter as desired. Stuff stem with fiberfill.

Putting it all together:

Using a very long length of orange yarn, make three even wraps around the entire pumpkin to create the pumpkin-like grooves, threading through an orange button on the bottom if needed to keep secure. Pull yarn fairly tight so that nice deep grooves are created, and so that the yarn doesn’t slide. Using a length of the green yarn and the large eye needle, whip stitch the stem to the top of the pumpkin. 

Tips:

  • If desired, cut leaf shapes from dark green wool and stitch near the base of the stem.
  • Create tendrils by wrapping olive green pipe cleaners around a pencil and tucking into the base of the stem.
  • Make your stitches tight so that the stuffing doesn’t show through.
  • To make a smaller pumpkin, use a lighter weight yarn and a smaller crochet hook.

Crochet_pumpkin_table


Get Cookin'!

Gbp_autumncountry_big

We've got cookbooks in!  Several of our popular Gooseberry Patch cookbooks have now been entered online, including the brand new one Autumn in the Country.  If you go to the website and click to view one of the cookbooks, you can see a zoom image of the cover, plus the table of contents, one of the inside spreads, and a page of the recipe index.

Gbp_autumncountry_inside

If you aren't familiar with Gooseberry Patch, their cookbooks feature simple to make, yummy dishes that run the gamut from appetizers through to dessert.  They have a nice sturdy, wipable front cover and spiral binding.  Inside you won't just find recipes, but also sweet illustrations paired with tips and tricks on decorating, celebrating, cooking, and entertaining littered throughout.

Spoonsheart_big

We also have Speedy Suppers, Kids in the Kitchen, Ready Set Eat, and plenty more!  Several in, and I'm continuing to add more, so stay tuned!  We also have some kitchen items, like heart shaped measuring spoons, and vintage style measuring cups - hope you enjoy them!


Hot Off the Presses!

Newslettersept2007

Look what just came in!  Our new September/October 2007 newsletter has finally arrived, we're so excited!  Our newsletters took a temporary hiatus while we had our baby, but we just received the latest from the printer today, and are furiously folding, stuffing, and stapling so we can send it on out to you all!  If you don't receive our newsletter and would like to, please go ahead and enter your info on our website - we send out in both email and print format, so just specify your preference.  Our newsletters feature photos of new products, recipes, craft projects, articles and tips on a variety of subjects surrounding house, home, and garden.  We also include several coupons!  Sign up today, and you should get in on this mailing!  If you have any questions at all, please feel free to email us, and remember you can always leave comments on this post below...