RECIPE: Homemade Cheddar Cheese Crackers

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I got the recipe for the homemade version of Cheez-It-like crackers from the Mommy and Me class my daughter and I attend weekly.  It was originally from Creative and Healthy Fun Food that has many wonderful kid-friendly recipes.

Many people may not know this, but I’m a crazy Cheez-It head.  I love these little crackers so much that I can eat an entire box at one sitting.  I don’t keep a box in the house because I know I’ll lose all self control when it comes to these heavenly little savories, but I figured a homemade version is less evil than the processed kind.

These crackers are delicious, but very, very dangerous at the same time.  I left a bowl on a kitchen counter to cool, and ate almost an entire bowl without realizing it!  The good thing is that my 19-month-old daughter loved them too (although probably not as much as I did)!

I used Herb de Provence but I might try something different next time, as they got a little too “herb-y” if that makes sense.  Maybe even a sprinkle of garlic powder might work well here.  Also, as I noted below, these little things bake really quickly.  The recipe says to bake for 15-17 minutes which, I think, are way too long.  I burned my first batch, and even after reducing the time down to about 10 minutes, that even feels a bit long.  Keep checking the oven frequently.  I also noticed that I liked a slightly thicker crackers, instead of paper-thin ones. They’re cheesier that way!

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Homemade Cheddar Cheese Crackers
(Adapted from Creative and Healthy Fun Food)

Ingredients:

2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon spike salt-free seasoning, or any salt free/herb seasoning will work (I used Herbs de Provence)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 F. (I felt that this temperature is too high.  I baked mine with 375 F.)

Place the first 3 ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse and until a ball forms.

Roll out dough 1/4 inch thick on a floured or parchment-covered surface. Slice into crackers or cut out shapes with a cookie cutter.

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(I used my trusted Omnigrip ruler and a pizza cutter to get the 1″ x 1″ squares. And just for fun, I poked a little hole on each cracker to imitate Cheez-It.)

Bake for 15-17 minutes (I think this is way too long, especially if your crackers are very thin. I baked mine for about 8 minutes and they came out great). Serve.

More Seed Stitch Cowls

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These are the Blue Sky Worsted Cotton yarns I purchased, with an intention to knit a baby blanket for a friend. The combination looked so lovely at first but it didn’t work for me when I actually knit them together. I think it’s because some of the colors are so similar (too similar, in fact) and the dark green skein stood out like a sore thumb. Whatever the reason, this combination just wasn’t meant to be.

Individually, however, they are stunning! It’s worsted cotton so it’s nice and slippery which makes knitting – especially with Turbo Addi needles – such ease. I’m so glad I decided to turn some of them into simple seed stitch cowl (others were knit into a pair of fingerless gloves). Of the three I knit so far (here’s the first one I knit and the pattern), the lavender one is probably my favorite.

I purchased a few more skeins of the same Blue Sky Worsted Cotton yarn to turn them into more cowls.  There goes my plan to reduce the yarn stash but it’s just too much fun to knit with them!  Maybe I’ll sell a few to justify the impulse purchase!

Let the holiday knitting commence!

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Blue Sky Worsted Cotton in Lavender (644)

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Blue Sky Worsted Cotton in Azul (628)

Aarti Paarti Cookbook Signing

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I met my girl crush Aarti Sequerira over the weekend at Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena while she was promoting her new cookbook, Aarti Paarti: An American Kitchen with an Indian Soul!

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She was even lovelier in person, if that were possible! I intend to write my thoughts on the cookbook (which is seriously awesome, full of delicious recipes and stories) and will definitely cook from it, but I’m still star struck and at a complete loss for words! If you can imagine a teenage girl squealing in delight at a boy band’s concert — that’s was me at the book signing, and even now, two days later.

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In the meantime, go get the book and start cooking! :)

PATTERN: Seed Stitch Cowl

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Cats might have nine lives but this skein of yarn lived just about 10. I initially purchased this cozy Blue Sky Worsted Cotton (in Bone) yarn from Purl Soho, along with several other pastel colors, to knit a baby blanket for a friend who’s expecting her first baby in December. I actually finished the blanket but I didn’t like how it turned out (it was too narrow) so I frogged it and tried again with some necessary tweaks. But even after knitting six skeins of yarn twice (and blocking the blanket twice — eek), I still didn’t like it. I took that as a sign that these yarns were meant to become something else.

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I got the idea to knit a cowl after reading this post from Knit and Bake. It’s a very straightforward seed-stitch but its simplicity is so lovely it made me swoon. I love a seed stitch – it creates such wonderful texture and warmth. I can’t wait for the temperature to drop so I can adorn my neck with this cozy cowl. And a great part is that this knits up in no time.  I finished mine in about 4 hours, while watching the old Sex and the City episodes when the baby was a sleep at night.

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Seed Stitch Cowl
(This pattern was inspired by a cowl by Knit and Bake. I changed the needle size and the number of cast ons.)

Supplies:

Circular needle (20 inches or shorter) or four double-pointed needles in US size 10.5 mm
1 Skein of yarn (100 g).  I used Blue Sky Worsted Cotton in Bone (80).

Instruction:

Cast on 77 stitches. Knit in the round, while trying not to twist. K1, P1 all the way across the row, until you have just enough yarn to bind off. Bind off loosely.

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The finished cowl measured 24 in (circumference) x 8 in (length).

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Just a quick note: I like my cowl really loose. If you like yours a bit more snug around the neck, reduce the number of cast on stitches. As long as the cast on ends in an odd number, you’re good to go!

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Is it fall yet?

Another Lunch Bag from Pink Penguin

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I admit it – I’m cheap. I refuse to trade in my money for junk that are neither practical nor useful.

Gifts are the worst. It’s a death trap for our wallet because we’re usually confused and often pressed for time when selecting them. If we’re not very careful, we’ll end up throwing away our precious money on stupid tchotchkes that are usually overpriced, cheaply made, and overall lame. I know this because I was once a victim of it all. I would make a mad dash into a store on the way to a party and pay a pretty penny just so that I don’t show up empty handed. The gifts usually screamed out “I put absolutely no thought into your want or need” inside a colorful tissue paper. Where’s the spirit of gift giving in that?

Now, I make stuff. Sure, it takes more time and effort, but it’s more personal.  And it saves me money. And since I’m a cheapo, that’s what matters. And it satisfies my crafting addiction so it’s a triple-win. So no, no store-bought gift for you!

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This is Pink Penguin’s Lunch Bag I made for a lovely three-year-old on her birthday (I’ve made the same bag before, here). Her mother and I often discuss that we want our daughters to grow up smart and sassy, so I purposely avoided bubblegum pink and used two bold colors in orange and turquoise. I love these two color combinations.

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Project: Lunch Bag
Pattern: Pink Penguin’s Lunch Bag
Recipient: Scarlet for her 3rd birthday
Materials:
All fabrics purchased at Fabricworm.com

(Click to view the fabrics used on the project)

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One Trick Pony

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I’m all about repurposing a pattern. I just change up a few things here (widen the width) and there (lengthen the length) and turn the same one pattern into several different garments – like converting a lace scarf into a poncho, shawl, cowl, shrug, blanket, or whatever. This is an infinity scarf I knit, using Debbie Bliss’ Lazy Scarf pattern. I mattress stitched the ends to make a one big loop.

I’m not only cheap financially, but I’m also stingy with exerting effort. Am I lazy? Yes. Am I a one trick pony? Perhaps. But who cares if the one trick I know is really really cute.

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Project: Lacy Poncho
Pattern: Inspired by Lacy Scarf by Debbie Bliss
Recipient: My sister for her birthday
Yarn: Cascade 200 Sport (3 skeins)
Color: Azure8892, purchased at WEBS Yarn

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Here’s the pony gallery! I’ve knit so many of the same thing in the last year. Most of them were gifted or sold to friends.

Lacy scarf collage

Oh, and this lap blanket.

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