Super(foods) double choc cookies :: Baking ::

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Even on a diet I am going to eat chocolate cookies, I am just rubbish at resisting food I should not eat. So I decided that I should make them as good as I can, and make them super(food) cookies. I was lucky that in her Superfoods cookbook, Rena Patten had a chocolate cookie recipe that I could rely on (I already used this book here). And I swapped the butter for coconut oil and the brown sugar for coconut sugar 

Coconut oil is definitely up there in the superfood list - coconut sugar probably not, although it is more natural than normal sugar, so a bit better but not much. 

However (as you will see with the WW point) superfood does not mean diet foodFor me, it is all about making the most of eating a treat, and not waste empty calories. The recipe I used in the end includes quinoa flour, raw cocoa powder, coconut oil and dark chocolate - I reckon I am making full use of superfoods. It happens to be really tasty too, so what more could I wish for! 

What you are going to need? (for 19 cookies, 5WW per cookie, aouch!)

  • 200 g quinoa flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 3 tbsp pure raw cocoa
  • 150 g of dark chocolate chips
  • 125g of coconut oil
  • 100 g of coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp of low-fat milk

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C and grease and line baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cacao then stir in the chocolate chips.
3. Add the coconut oil and sugar to the mixture.
4. Beat in the vanilla and eggs, then fold in the mixture. Add the milk and mix until well combined. The mixture will be soft and sticky. 
5. Make small balls from the mixture and place them on the baking trays. 
6. Bake for about 11-12 minutes. The cookies should not be overcooked and still be a little soft when taken out of the oven. 
7. Cool the cookies completely before removing them (if you can!)

I know it is a lot of points on the WW diet - but to be fair these are decent size cookies. I could probably have made them smaller for less points, but what is the point in having a small cookie? 

So here is my way to make the most of my chocolate addiction. 

Yarn with Attitude :: De Rerum Natura ::

Saturday, 21 March 2015

At the end of last year I came across this video (I have not been able to watch it to the end by the way) and it made me seriously consider the ethics of my yarn stash. And it did not look good, I never really questioned my stash before, and I seemed to have little information about it. It did not mean that all my yarn was unethical, but there was nothing telling me it was either. And it was nagging me a bit. 

I am lucky though, the yarn industry has jumped wholeheartedly into a kind of back-to-nature movement; an understandable leap, since knitting and crocheting are all about making your own products, after all. And there are yarn options out there that are kind to nature and knit beautifully - and are not too hard to find, whilst still being reasonably priced. And one option is to get my yarn from Solenn at De Rerum Natura

My current project knitted in Ulysse
My current project knitted in Gilliatt
The philosophy behind De Rerum Natura is simple - to offer a yarn of high quality that is respectful to the sheep welfare. The philosophy is based on the close relationship between De Rerum Natura and the sheep farmers. 

So how does it knit? I found that Gilliatt knitted a bit like BT Shelter - I reviewed Shelter here - without the stuff stuck to it. It is rustic but still soft (softer than Shelter in fact), and will show cable work beautifully. So that leaves you with a lot of pattern options! I have a real penchant for neutral colours, so poivre et sel is really up my street. But there are also vibrant colours on offer - and I love how Solenn's patterns usually use both. 

Le bonnet Korrigan
De Rerum Natura may be more easily accessible to European knitters - I am mostly thinking of customs tax here, but it may be worse in the UK than elsewhere (oh! those little red notices). 

From a practical point of view, I bought my yarn directly from the De Rerum Natura site. I had it sent directly to Britain (instead of asking my Mum to bring it back with her for once), without any problem.

De Rerum Natura colour kit

I would like to think that my whole stash will be totally be ethical ... and the more options I find, the more chances I have to make this happen at some point in the future. To a certain extent, it depends on the price tag attached to the yarn (especially for big projects). And it is possible that my neutral stash might be filled with De Rerum Natura soon.  

I am really keen to find other ethical yarn out there, so please share any that you might have come across in the comment box - and I will try to review others soon!

Dots and Bobbles :: Knitting ::

Monday, 16 March 2015

Let me introduce you to Darling Dotty - the latest Truly Myrtle Designs, a feminine crescent textured shawl. I tested this pattern for Libby (I usually test charts), not that there were a lot of issues with the pattern. And it is finished, blocked, ends weaved.. And now even pictures have been taken!

Oh my, I love the texture - I have never knitted anything like it, and the result is so impressive. Even Mr MiH was impressed when he saw the shawl being blocked. 

Pattern: Darling Dotty by Truly Myrtle Designs
Yarn: Rowan Baby Merino Silk DK in Dawn
Needles: 4.5 mm
Modifications: None, except changing the needle size because of the gauge

I am not going to lie, the border takes a bit of time - a row per day was my pace. But it does finish the shawl beautifully. I am hoping to use the techniques of this shawl for another project, especially the 'dots' stitch - it would be a great embellishment on a simple garment. 

Red and Grey :: Knitting ::

Saturday, 14 March 2015

This month's le challenge theme was passion - so easy to interpret and then so hard when you have to get down and make something. I had something else in mind for this month - but could not work out the pattern in the end. So I knitted this little hat last night - Little Baby MiH was desperately needing a new hat (that fits his massive head), and therefore it is a win-win. A new hat and an entry for le challenge! 

I have had this red like passion yarn (oh yeah, weak interpretation but I was desperate!) in my stash. It is a Wendy merino chunky yarn. The grey yarn is leftover from my Nord

I am happy to post the pattern if anyone is interested. It was knitted in 6.5 mm - which might explained why it took me no time to knit it. And it is a baby hat, and that is so rewarding! I really need more of these cute easy projects in my life! 

What is your entry? Have you been inspired by passion? Here are all the other entries. Next month's theme will be posted tomorrow on Le Challenge, so stay tuned. 


Thursday, 12 March 2015

I am finally recovering from our week away with both kids - and Little Baby MiH first flight. It was a much needed break, and spending some time with my whole family. Mr MiH and I were very (very) lucky and skied every day and so did Baby MiH who went to ski school this year! He can certainly go down the hill - but cannot stop yet - yes, it is an issue, just not as far as he is concerned. 

We go to the same resort every year (Serre-Chevalier). When I was younger, I thought that this was the most boring ever, when there are so many resorts to try. Now that I have kids, I love that everything is familiar, I know where to rent skis, the pushchair, the sledge and the route to the resort.. I am all about the routine, and at the end of the day there is so much excitement a girl can take after a flight with 2 kids. 

The weather was fairly good - but as time on our own is SO precious, it did not matter. We went skiing every day, and if the weather was bad we made the most of our lunch en tête a tête, and spend quality time together. There is no way I am wasting a babysitting offer. Time as a couple has become scarce, and therefore important. 

The flights were ok. It was a dream on the way there, I should have done better... The way back was a bit more challenging, starting by the baby being sick of me before we boarded the plane, and a serious case of ear popping. By the time we landed, The wonderful woman who invited us to take the 'special assistance' passport lane (ie avoiding 20 minutes of queue) literally saved my life. Gatwick airport clearly have a family friendly policy, and has been a wonderful experience (if you are based in the UK and a choice). 

We are back. I will be back on the blog. I have a few projects that are finished, and need posting, and few others in the works to share soon. I intend to be around more frequently now. 

Mr Moustache :: Cross-stitching ::

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

I finally managed to take picture of Little Baby MiH in his customised vest top - I had talked about the customisation process here (a bit of time ago now). He has been too small to wear it until now - but he is wearing it all the time now that he is able to. 

I bought a set of organic vests for Little Baby MiH before he was born, and only customised one of them. If you have a winter baby, vests are not something you get to see often. It is probably best to customise the summer ones - in case you fancy making some. 

It does make the perfect gift though - a vest is really useful, but a bit boring, so customising it adds a real personal touch - I am thinking initials to be super fancy. 

I bought the organic vests from BabiPur, the waste canvas 
from the Needle Craft Shop and use some DMC thread in brown. 
Here is my Pinterest board for embroidery pattern inspiration. 

I took a few pictures of Little Baby MiH to get these three (a mere 140...), hope you enjoyed them! 

Dotty about texture :: Knitting ::

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

I am currently testing Libby's Truly Myrtle forthcoming pattern (you can see it on her IG feed), and it is all about texture. It starts with the dots pattern, and all I can think of is adding dots to a cardigan or a jumper - it would make any block colour garment so much more exciting (for a yoke or on sleeves, maybe?).

Since the pictures were taken, I decided to actually knit a gauge... and realised that I needed to go up a needle size - doh! I knew it was a bit wrong really, hence doing a last minute gauge before I went really too far. I was not getting the light fabric Libby talked about. Anyway now that I am knitting with the new needle size, it is going fast. I should be finished by the end of next week, and will post more details then (it is the deadline, so I better finish on time!).