Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mittens and Coffee Cake

The cold weather is back, after a lovely January thaw. This morning when I got up the temperature was -21C (-5F), but the sun is back and the new snow is just sparkling.

Jim has been walking to the library for exercise lately, but has only a few pair of those stretchy little acrylic gloves. So this weekend I knit him a nice thick pair of mittens.

When we were at Art and Linda's this summer she gave me a pattern called "Plain Jane Mittens" which are knit with two strands of yarn at once.

I went to my stash and found just the right yarn, a nice soft navy blue, to go with the navy fleece jacket I made him about two years ago. The mittens knit up very quickly, due to the double strand of yarn. I changed the pattern in just a few ways: the suggested cast on of 32 stitches for the largest adult size was a little too small, so I added 4 stitches, and that came out just right. The pattern showed a decrease at the top of 4 decreases in each round. I changed that to 8 decreases in a round, and then 1 round knit plain. I decreased by slipping a stitch, knitting a stitch, and passing the slipped stitch over, rather than knitting two together, as knitting two together looked so bulky.

The first mitt I decreased at the top on the two sides, in a traditional (for socks anyway) way. That's the mitt on the right. But I wasn't very happy with the looks of it. So the second mitt, on the left, I decreased as I described. I liked this a lot, so this morning I took out the top of the right mitt and changed it to match the left mitt.

They turned out very well. EXCEPT they are actually about an inch or so too long. When the weather warms up I'll take the tops out and reknit them a little shorter. In the meantime he can wear them and have warm hands in the winter.

What's nicer in cold weather than fresh, warm coffee cake? We have coffee cake for breakfast once in a while. We are still using our own apples harvested last fall. Here's the recipe:

Preheat oven to 375F.
Line an 8" x 8" square pan with parchment paper.
Mix together:
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Whisk together:
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter or margerine
1 egg
Cut up and mix in 3 or 4 apples.
Add flour mix to apple mix.
Add enough milk to moisten to a thick batter.
Spread batter in pan. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mix on top.
Bake in 375 oven for 40 minutes.
Turn out onto cooling rack and cut into 9 pieces.
Each piece = about 200 calories.

(I don't list the cinnamon sugar mix because I keep a supply already mixed in an old spice jar with a shaker top for sprinkling on whatever needs it.)

Enjoy with a mug of steaming coffee (or hot chocolate!).

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