Friday, September 12, 2008

Plugging along

Well, I've been making progress on a number of fronts lately. I actually was going to post a few days ago, but this is Post #250 and I felt like I should have something exciting and fun. But I don't! I'm going for selling stuff at our community thing--thank you to everyone for your encouragement! I will be selling jam and some other things to go with it. Truffles I think will wait for the holidays, though I may have samples out at the community thing with information on how people can order them. They're kind of a huge pain (though perversely enjoyable). So, Amy, it's probably going to be between $1 and $2 per piece. I have to price out my costs. But that sounds like a good future blog giveaway, doesn't it? :-) The tricky thing with a food-based business is the regulation. If I decide to make this a bigger thing than just selling jam at a community thing, I'll have to find a commercial kitchen, not to mention dealing with the bureaucracy of starting a real business. So I'll try this as a first step and see how it goes.

Knitting: Still going on Placket Neck Pullover. I really like it so far. I'm getting close to the end of the body-only part, and I'm enjoying the striping. The ends are a different matter. I've been slacking on tucking them in as I go, so when I finally do them, it'll take forever.

I promise not to give you inch-by-inch progress photos on this, but I felt this showed the striping pattern so much better than the last photo that it made sense. I'm still looking for a cardigan pattern for Lilah. I was thinking this one, but it's not quite what I was thinking. I think it would be easy to modify it to use buttonholes so I can use my cute buttons, but I had more of a collar in mind. Maybe a shawl collar. Anyway, still looking. I may decide to just do this one and see if I like it.

Reading: I had a great reading tragedy occur--I was reading along (Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett) and got to page 162, which describes the hero trapped in a basement. I went to the next page...something wasn't right. I realized that the book was mis-printed. Instead of pages 163-210, I had pages 115-162 again! Ack! Amazon is remedying the situation at no cost to me, but I still have to wait to find out how the boy gets out of the basement. I just finished a fantastic mystery, Death of a Cozy Writer by G.M. Malliet, but I don't have my review up yet. Next week is Book Bloggers Appreciation Week, by the way--we're going to have lots of giveaways at On My Bookshelf.

Writing: Finished Chapter One today! Word count - 5,238. I cannot believe it. I hope to get going on Chapter Two this weekend while Matt and Lilah have quality time.

Cooking: Have I done anything that interesting? I've been doing the Weight Watchers points (2.5 pounds in Week One! Woo!) so I've been doing simple, healthy stuff. Still no luck on my vanilla tea. I tried a random kind of tea that had vanilla in the title, but it turned out to smell much better than it tasted. It was some sort of vanilla chai thing (but teabags, not one of those mixes), and I suspect it would have been better with milk, which, since I'm using tea as a calorie-free treat, defeats the purpose. I did make a batch of Blue Blueberry Muffins (from Blueberry Muffin Murder by Joanne Fluke) and made 5 dozen mini-muffins instead of full-sized muffins. This makes them one point each, perfect for a little pick-me-up. I also made mini-cheesecakes for my book club tonight. Also one point each. I used my usual cheesecake recipe (which makes 8 dozen mini-cheesecakes made in mini-muffin tins) and cut it to 1/3 (this required a bit of tweaking in places, but it worked out well). I ended up with 3 dozen, slightly on the small side. I usually don't lighten cheesecake (seriously, why bother?) but I happened to have 1/3-less-fat cream cheese to use up, along with light sour cream. In the past, when I've made vast quantities of these, I make different kinds--add mini chocolate chips and use chocolate cookies in the crust, swirl in lemon curd, or swirl in blueberry or raspberry sauce. I just did plain this time.

Mini Cheesecakes (small batch version)

Prepare mini-muffin tins by spraying with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 325.

2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 TBL butter, melted (more if needed)
1 TBL sugar

Mix all ingredients well. Use a teaspoon to evenly distribute crust among 36 muffin cups. Sort of press it down with the teaspoon to make it go up the sides a bit. (Really, it takes almost exactly a teaspoon per cup.)

1 egg
1 8-oz. package cream cheese
8 oz. sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Beat egg white (reserving yolk) at high speed until stiff. Set aside. Beat egg yolk, cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, and vanilla until well-blended. Fold in egg white. Use a tablespoon measure to scoop filling in crust and smooth a bit. (This makes almost exactly enough for 1 TBL per 36 cups.)

Bake at 325 for 12-14 minutes, or until filling is set. Cheesecakes may crack a bit. Let cool in tins on wire rack. Carefully remove to an airtight container. If you're having trouble, run a sharp knife around the cheesecakes one at a time and scoop them out (if you spray the tins well with cooking spray, there won't be much of a problem). Refrigerate before serving.


KnitPastis said...

You have Chapter one finish! I can't help but want to read this so badly.

Yes, the Daisy Cardigan is a very pretty pattern for her next sweater.

And look at the progress you are making here on the stripes.

Umm, I would say $1 or so for a Truffle is about right. Look at Godiva. When I use to go into the Godiva chocolate shop up in Pa, I would buy one piece of chocolate (a turtle carmel pecan thing) and it was about $1.50 a pc. You can do this out of your home I would think. I hear that's how most folks started off in their candy, cakes and food business. Give it a shot!

YarnThrower said...

YAY for chapter one! Good luck on chapter two this weekend! Always nice when Daddy has quality time with the little one...

Your sweater looks so great!

Your mini cheesecakes sound so good. I'm so glad you're trying a business endeavor. You would also be a great personal chef -- I'd hire you, anyway. We're having whole wheat pancakes along with pre-cooked ham slices and some sort of packaged fruit for dinner. Not exactly a kitchen endeavor that will "wow" anybody, but it's quick and easy, which were tonight's criteria for dinner.

Have a great weekend!

Knittypants said...

Your blog is going to make me fat, you always have the best recipes.