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Sunday Projects

August 20, 2012

Now that Pennsic has passed we have a couple of free weekends before the next round of events begins.  Of course, some of our travels will depend on the state of the Hubs’ Achilles tendon and whether he’s able to fight or not but that seems to be improving – fingers crossed!

This past weekend we got a few things taken care of that we had been meaning to do for a while.  We loaded up the trailer with a bunch of old scrap wood and stuff from the garage to take to the landfill.  Not the most environmentally correct, I know, but most of it was treated wood so it’s not burnable and we can’t take it to the yard waste drop off.

We also went over to my mother-in-law’s house and dug up a ton of iris plants that she had in her spare lot, as well as a few special ones from her yard that are supposed to be rare varieties.  For the time being, we have them planted in one of the old garden beds in our yard behind the garage.  They don’t look like much now, but if they survive the depredations of the neighborhood squirrels and woodchuck, we’ll see what comes up next spring.  The plan is to take pictures and try to figure out what varieties we actually have.  According to the MIL, some of them are rare enough to be valuable – we could sell pieces of the rhizome to other iris collectors.  We’ll see…

Finally, I went into a little bit of a baking extravaganza.  I finished off the last batch of my pre-workout muffins last week, so it was time for something new.  Also, I wanted to make some new cookies for more ice cream sandwiches.

Looking to use up some bran cereal I bought for muffins, I found a recipe for blueberry-bran muffins that sounded tasty.  The recipe is from About.com, so I won’t say it’s the most tremendous cooking resource but it’s a recipe that’s not loaded with oil or sugar, which is what I look for in these muffins.  The recipe says it makes 12 muffins, but I ended up with 15.  I probably could have crammed all the batter into 12 cups, but 15 works just as well.  I will say that 3 cups of blueberries is maybe a bit much – I didn’t use a full 3 cups and they’re VERY blueberry already.  I also added about half a teaspoon of cinnamon to the batter and two-thirds of a cup of broken up walnut bits.  Typically I’ve put pecans into my muffins, but the price of pecans has gone through the roof crazy lately – almost $16 for the three pound bag I usually buy!

The cookies I made are Chocolate Sugar Cookies from Smitten Kitchen’s post on cookies for ice cream sandwiches.  This recipe is a little atypical for most cookies – instead of creaming the butter and sugar together to start, you mix the dry ingredients and then add in the softened butter.  The mixture ends up having the “sandy” look of a graham cracker crust mixture.  Add in the egg and the mix binds together into a thick dough that is scoopable and rollable without a lot of sticky mess.  As the recipe suggests, I used about 2 tablespoons of dough for “oversized” cookies, rolled into balls and slightly flattened by hand.  They are huge – about 4 inches in diameter!  In the future, I’ll likely use a little less dough to get closer to a 3 inch cookie.  You can see the difference as they spread in baking – unbaked on the left and baked on the right.  I ended up with 18 cookies.

I made up a few sandwiches with the vanilla ice cream we had in the freezer and got more at the store today – vanilla and “caramel delight” from Edy’s.  I thought the caramel would be a tasty sandwich filling and not going overboard on chocolate!  Speaking of which, off to the kitchen to assemble more sandwiches…

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