The Magic of Coffee Flour

People who know me know that I love coffee. I adore it, I live for it, it makes me happy. So, I was pretty chuffed when I  heard about coffee flour.

Coffee flour is produced from milling the fruit, rather than the seed of a coffee plant. Usually, the fruit is a waste product, discarded as a useless byproduct that clogs up the environment. Imagine if apple  seeds were the only part used, and the apple part itself was discarded and left to rot. Pretty messy, right?

Well, Dan Belliveau, a former technical services director at Starbucks, along with other tech guys and engineers, figured that coffee berries were good for something else besides piles of garbage or rotting in the rivers. They milled the coffee berries into flour. They didn't expect to make it available on the retail market, but somehow it ended up on Nuts.com and voilá: my coffee world is complete.

Coffee flour doesn't taste like coffee. It has a deep, rich flavor that is sort of ... brown. Burgundy brown. I've heard that it is good in smoothies, soups, and sauces, and I will try that out, especially the smoothie part. A tablespoon has 34 little calories, 5 grams of dietary fiber (both insoluble and soluble so your tummy will love you), is rich in potassium and iron, and has more antioxidants per gram than pomegranates. It is high in protein and potassium. Throw in the fact that it is low-sodium, fat-free, gluten-free, is paleo and vegan friendly, and makes the environment better: coffee flour attains food nirvana -- and not just because it comes from coffee! 

I ordered it from Nuts.com, getting a 12 ounce bag for $6.99, just to try it out. I read that coffee flour isn't exactly like regular all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour, it is more like soy or almond flour. You should mix it with other flours, about 10% to 30% coffee to 90% -70% other. You have to find the right blend for you. In texture, it is kind of like cocoa powder both in color and feel, though cocoa powder is finer. 

The first thing I tried it out on was this recipe from allrecipes.com called "Apple Cinnamon White Cake". Pay no attention to the name. I used it as a base to make a loaf of apple bread. I chose it because it was low calorie, had the mix of apples, brown sugar, butter and flour I wanted. The mix of flour that I had on hand was milled einkorn flour, soy flour, and coffee flour. I baked it in a loaf pan, and it came out pretty good, as an apple bread sort of thing for breakfast. But it really didn't have enough taste. So I tried again.

This time I used a molasses cookie recipe from allrecipes.com that looked like a good recipe. I mean, how can you screw up molasses cookies, right? The first batch, I rolled into balls and sugar like they said in the recipe, but they didn't flatten out at all. Doesn't matter! They tasted great! They are like little molasses doughnut holes. The rest of the cookies I flattened out after I rolled them in sugar, so they looked better. And they still tasted great!

If you have coffee flour and soy flour and almond flour, you can make my version of Molasses Cookies too. 

FullSizeRender (11)

Molasses Cookies

3/4 cup coconut oil, melted (or any combination of butter and coconut oil)

1/2 cup Splenda (I'm diabetic, use 1 cup of sugar if you are not)

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup molasses

1 cup soy flour

1/4 cup almond flour*

3/4 cup coffee flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

about 1/2 cup sugar to roll the cookies in

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the melted coconut oil, sugar and Splenda, and egg until smooth. Stir in the molasses. Combine the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger; blend into the molasses mixture. Cover, and chill dough for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Roll dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining white sugar. Press them flat. Place cookies 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until tops are cracked. Cool on wire racks

* I only had 1/4 cup of almond flour. If I had had more, I would have used a cup of almond flour, and half a cup each of coffee flour and soy flour. Oh darn, I have to make more cookies!


Recipe Review: Peanut Butter and Jelly Macaroons

Peanut-Butter-and-Jelly-Macaroons

Lynne came over recently and we made Peanut Butter and Jelly Macaroons. Ohhhhh, were they good. Very, very good. The recipe is on the Wheatbelly Blog. I see you can pre-order a Wheatbelly Cook Book now, too; it comes out December 24.

One thing about this recipe: you should be prepared to do a little work, but remember, it's worth it. First off, you have to toast the coconut that you flavored with almond and vanilla extracts, and you have to grind the unsweetened toasted coconut with a food processor, you don't just dump it in. Then, since we don't actually eat jams and jellies, you have to grind the unsweetened cherries into a paste to get the jelly flavor. And lastly, you have to separate the eggs so you can whip the egg whites until they are stiff. There is a lot of preparation, and it's not like normal cookies where you dump a bunch of stuff into a bowl and stir it up. But it tastes so good when it's done!

The one thing I would change is -- it only makes 24 cookies, and we split it up. I think the next time, a bigger batch is called for! 

I've been wheat, starch and sugar free almost a year now! It just keeps getting better and better :)


Gooey Blueberry Pie

I don't like blueberries. That's a step up from "I hate blueberries", which is where I was, but I'm trying to like them because of the whole antioxidant thing. I don't like the way they taste or feel in my mouth, but I can overcome it. 

This pie recipe is one way to like bluebrries, though, and it can be made with anything besides blueberries -- make it with strawberry-rhubarb (which we had twice, yum), raspberries, peaches, any kind of fruit. It will be good.

And yeah, it's wheat-free :)


Gooey Blueberry Pie

Pie

Crust:

1 cup ground-up walnuts (we use a food processor)

1 cup ground-up hazelnuts

a little salt

a stick of butter, melted

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted 

        Mix together and press into a pie plate; bake at 350˚ for 30 minutes. Cool while you make the fruit layer.

Cream Cheese Layer:

8 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup Splenda or whatever sweetener you like

1/4 cup half & half

        Nuke the cream cheese in the microwave at 30 second intervals to soften it. Then, add the Splenda/sweeter and half & half and whip it with an electric mixer until it's the consistency of frosting. (You can set it on the back of the stove while the crust is cooking to keep it warm until you're ready to spread it, if you like.)     

Fruit layer:

2 pints blueberries or other fruit (about 4 cups)

Juice of a lemon

1 1/2 cups Splenda or whatever sweetener you like

1 package unflavored gelatin

        Cook all but the gelatin in a saucepan until it is smooth (looks like pie filling, sort of). Sprinkle the gelatin over it and mix it in, and let it cook a few minutes more.

        Cool the crust for a few minutes, like 15 minutes or more. Spread the cream cheese mixture in the bottom of the crust. Pour in the fruit that you cooked. Cool completely, 3 or 4 hours. Top with whipped cream, if desired.

 


I Love Kale

We had dinner at someone's house the other night, and we brought one of our favorite vegetable dishes -- steamed kale. I know, you are probably thinking, Yuck! but it was actually very good. I would eat this kale with every meal if I could, even for breakfast! Here's the recipe we use:

 

Coconut Peanut Kale

  • 1/2 pound of chopped kale
  • 1/2 can of coconut milk (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (or add it to taste; you might want to start with 1/4 teaspoon and go up from there)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of peanuts (we throw in a handful)

In a big saucepan or stock pot mix the coconut milk, cayenne pepper, and peanuts. Then throw in the kale. You might need to put the kale in in two batches; let the kale cook down a little before throwing in the rest). Cook on low heat, simmering, for about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. This makes enough for two people. Enjoy!


Brownies!

My husband makes good brownies; he's perfected the recipe and makes nice moist brownies that taste really great. Unfortunately, he doesn't make any notes of what he is doing while he's baking. But, the following is as close as he can remember, so I'm putting it here so *I* can remember it, as well as a few other people who have had occasion to try them. :)

I would have taken a picture but, ummm, they're all gone. Oooops.

BROWNIES

1 c. almond flour

1 c. chestnut flour   *addendum:We just found out that chestnut flour is high in carbohydrates, so I recommend substituting almond flour or brazil nut flour for the chestnut flour.

1 c. hazelnut flour

1/2 c. coconut flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 c. cocoa

1 c. Splenda or sugar (or a really long squirt of agave nectar)

2 oz dark chocolate, unsweetened

4 oz. cream cheese

2 eggs, beaten

3/4 tsp. vanilla

hot water

1/2 cup nuts (optional)

Mix dry stuff together and set aside.  Melt the chocolate and soften the cream cheese in the microwave (cut it into small squares and microwave 15 seconds at a time until it's soft), mix it together, then add the eggs and vanilla. Add hot water to desired consistency, and add nuts, if desired. Put it in a 9" x 13" greased pan, and bake for 30 minutes at 350˚.

One of these brownies is really filling, so be careful. We usually have one after supper with whipped cream or peanut butter or almond butter sweetened with stevia, which is really good, especially with coffee. It is yummy!


Bacon

"Mmmmmm, bacon... you know you want it....." and with that in mind, I set off to find it, in Knittingland.

Deep in the wilds of Ontario, land of bacon, I found these Bacon Mittens from Spillyjane:

BaconMittens

I love Spillyjane's designs. I have her Willistead Mittens to knit ... someday. 

Next up was this lovely Bacon-and-Eggs Pillow from Tamara Kelly, crocheted, of course. Crochet seems to lend itself more readily to bacon, no? Perfect for the breakfast nook!

Bacon-and-Eggs-PIllow

My search widened to encircle three gorgeous bacon scarves. The first is the Bacon Scarf, by Holly Oyster, whose name just begs to be a designer. It's a free Ravelry download.

Bacon_scarf_view_1_medium

Next up is Twinkie Chan's Bacon and Egg Scarf, from her book, Twinkie Chan's Crochet Goodies for Fashion Foodies. Wear it after breakfast while you're shoveling out the driveway!

Baconandeggscarf(photo from etsy.com)

The third scarf pattern is the very imaginative, trés cool, double-knit (so there is no wrong side) and totally free "Vegan Wrapped in Bacon". I love this.

Vegan
It is by Robyn Wade, who must be a genius. Seriously. I want to mind-meld with her.

(While I was looking, I found this awesome recipe for "Oh, Canada!", a fudge that has chocolate AND maple AND bacon in it. I love the theme song, too!")

So enough with the scarves. Found plain ol' Bacon and Eggs, by BacoKnitter; it's a free Ravelry pattern download. It makes a yummy decoration for the breakfast nook!

WakeyWakey

To carry on my search, I found this yummy Bacon & Eggs Handbag pattern, by MK Carroll. It's another free Ravelry download!

Handbag

Lastly, just before I stumbled back to civilization, I found this charming example of crocheted wonder, "Strips of Bacon" by Aoibhe Ní. It's a Ravelry paid pattern. 

StripsOfBacon

Now I will wander away, leaving the sound of bacon gently sizzling behind me, the sweet perfume of cured pork floating in the air. Stay hungry, and happy knitting!


Spicy Italian Sausage Egg Bake

We had this for breakfast the other day, and it was really good! It wasn't TOO spicy, it was just a little spicy. I guess it depends on how much cayenne pepper you put into it. 


 

Spicy Italian Sausage Egg Bake

6 eggs

1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage

1/2 cup baby bella mushrooms

1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes

8 medium sized Kalamata olives, chopped

1 small red pepper, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

1/3 cup half and half

1/4 cup  feta cheese

1/4 cup Kraft Italian three cheese

1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese for the top

1 teaspoon of paprika

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

 

Brown the sausage. Sautee with it the onion, pepper, and mushrooms. Add sun dried tomatoes, olives, feta cheese,  and Italian three-cheese to the sausage mixture and spread it in an olive oil greased two quart casserole dish. Beat the eggs and half & half and pour evenly over. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top. Sprinkle paprika, cayeenne and salt and pepper on top. Bake uncovered for thirty minutes at 350˚. 

Eggs


Berry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

My husband made this a couple weeks ago for breakfast, to rave reviews. It's from the About.com Low Carb Diets recipe collection, so if anyone wants to see the original, it's there. The original recipe is from Laura Dolson, About.com guide. We made a couple little changes in ours that are very good, however.

CoffeeCake

Low-Carb Blueberry Coffee Cake

Photo © Laura Dolson

 

3 cups almond flour, divided

1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, divided

1 1/2 cups sugar substitute (liquid, like blue agave nectar, or powdered, like Splenda), divided

3 eggs, divided

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

1/2 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons vanilla (or half vanilla and half almond extract)

2 Tablespoons oil (we used grapeseed oil)

6 oz. yummy cream cheese

1 teaspoon and 1 pinch salt

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries ( we had half fresh blueberry, half fresh strawberry, because Somebody doesn't like blueberries... raspberries or peaches would be good, too)

Heat oven to 350˚. Butter or oil 9" x 9" pan.

1) Streusel topping: Mix 1 cup of the almond meal, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 cup of the sweetener, a pinch of salt, and the 1/4 cup butter until the mixture is crumbly. We used ground walnuts instead of the almond flour, which made it even tastier!

2) Cream cheese layer: Mix cream cheese, 1 egg, and 1/4 cup sweetener. 

3) Cake layer: Mix dry ingredients: 2 cups of almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 cup sweetener (if you are using powdered sweetener). Then add the sour cream, oil, vanilla, liquid sweetener if that's what you're using, and 2 eggs, and mix well. You want the batter to be thick enough to support the rest of it, but not too gloppy -- you should be able to spread it evenly in the pan; you may need to add 1 or 2 Tablespoons of water at this point.

4) Assembly: Spread the cake batter in the pan, and top with the cream cheese layer. Then sprinkle the berries on the cream cheese layer and the streusel topping on top. 

5) Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool and slice. It's very filling, so you won't need to eat much! It's very yummy :) 


Recipe

I love breakfast. 

Before I started to eat the way I do now, I used to love to have toast with jam or just butter, or a bagel with with cream cheese and green olives, or pancakes with bacon or sausages. But now, those things are just like a big plate of skull and crossbones, screaming, "Danger, Will Robinson!!" 

I still love breakfast, though, and I do not miss eating wheat. Wheat'll kill you, and I am not making that up. My husband and I have cut down to two meals a day, because we feel too full for more than that. We have a late breakfast and and early supper, and that's enough. I don't need to snack on anything throughout the day; I don't even want to. I'm losing weight, slowly, but that is not my purpose. I'm just trying not to ingest anymore poison that is now being passed off as "more healthy grains".

A friend started being gluten-free because she was watching my progess, and she was getting tired of always having eggs for breakfast .... eggs fried, eggs in an omelet, poached eggs, hard-boiled eggs. Breakfast can be so much more than that, if you stock the right ingredients.

One thing we eat for beakfast is a yummy hot cereal, especially in the winter. It varies depending on what we've got on hand, but here's the basic recipe:

Hot Cereal

 1/4 c flax meal or coconut flour or whatever flour you've got that is not wheat flour, even a mixture is good

1/4 c pumpkin (I used canned, but any kind is good)

big spoonful peanut butter

nutmeg

cinnamon

walnuts or pecans

strawberries, or rasperries, or apples, or blueberries, enough to make you happy (or use a mixture!)

Splenda, agave nectar, sugar or maple syrup (if you're not going sugar free like me) to taste

1/4 c water, adjust it as you see fit

Stir it up and put it in the microwave for one minute, till it's really hot, then stir it well to get the pumpkin and the peanut butter mixed. It's fast and easy and quite yummy.

Even if you have cereal several times a week, this recipe has enough leeway to give you some variety. 

Childe Eating Porridge     Childe Eating Porridge, Frans Hals


Wheat'll Kill You

Starting about the middle of October, my husband and I read Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis. We were amazed at how bad, seriously bad, wheat is for you, and we decided then and there to make a change in how we ate. We’re eating wheat-free and sugar-free now and loving it. One of the side-effects of eating wheat free is being more creative in our cooking. I made a lasagna last week that used sliced zucchini and baby spinach instead of noodles, and it was delicious. I didn’t even miss the noodles at all.

This morning my husband surprised me with a masterpiece for breakfast. It was pancakes, layered with creamy cheesy filling and sliced strawberries, and it was so good, about halfway through I asked him where he got the recipe. Turns out he didn’t use one; he made it up! I am sharing it here with you to enjoy. 

Pancake Parfait

I. Pancakes

1 c almond flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 eggs

1/4 cup Splenda

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons lime juice (to catalyze the baking soda so they’ll be puffy, like pancakes; if they want crepe-like pancakes, leave out the lime juice and baking soda)

enough liquid to make them the consistency wanted; you can use half and half, water, coffee, milk, cream whatever

1/4 cup grapeseed oil or melted butter 

Beat it all up, make little pancakes, about 3 or 4 per serving.

II. Filling

8 oz. cream cheese

3 Tablespoons maple syrup or Agave nectar

 Put cream cheese and syrup or nectar into a bowl a microwave it until it is soft enough to stir. Mix well.

III. Fruit

 Strawberries, blueberries, peaches or other fruit, cut up.

IV. Layers

Put it together in layers. Put one pancake on the plate, put a gob of filling on it and spread it around, top it with a layer of fruit. Repeat two or three more times. Yummy!

This made enough for two people.

  Pancakes        Pancakes2


Mac & Cheese

Note to self: Macaroni and Cheese is much much much tastier if:

1. You use Cabot sundried tomato & basil cheese (thanks Lynne!)

2. You stir a quarter cup of pesto into the cheese sauce.

3. You bake it the whole time with the cover ON, not off. Usually I put buttered crumbs on top and bake it uncovered, and it is good the first time you eat it. The leftovers, however, are kind of dry and .... dry. I made my mac and cheese earlier in the day and I had Joe put it in the oven for me, since he was in the kitchen anyway and I was spinning, but I neglected to tell him to take the cover off first, and it came out so much nicer. Very moist and yummy and not dried out on top. 

I spent the whole day spinning and knitting and reading The Lightning Thief. Not a bad day. I am very happy to have finally finished spinning the last of the 8 ounces of blue fluff I bought at SPA 2008. I have been spinning that stuff for years! And now it is finally all made into yarn. To celebrate, I spun a whole 2 ounces of pure alpaca pencil roving from Blueberry Farm Alpacas, a lovely alpaca farm right in Camden. It was like spinning a dream! I am so hooked on spinning alpaca now....


What Fun!

The March Knitting Weekend has come and gone, and it was a big ol' pile of fun!!! It was fabulous and I am very happy about it. I already can't wait til we do it again next year. Fortunately I am doing another knitting weekend in April (see above), so I get to do it again sooner, but just with different people. Four people are already signed up for the March 2011 Knitting Weekend, so that is fabulous. I only have 8 more spaces left! There are still 3 spaces left in April this year! 

We had a blast. Everyone arrived at the knitter's reception at Unique One at 7 p.m., and we had wine and cheese and crackers, and salmon/dill hors d'oeuvres (see recipe below), and shrimp cocktail and chocolate dipped fruit and lots of time to knit and yak about knitting and meet new people. Then we went to the Lord Camden Inn and continued the party until it was time to go to bed!

Saturday started with a beautiful breakfast at the Inn, followed by lots and lots of knitting and talking. Some people went in and out to take naps, go for a scenic drive and look at  the ocean, shop in Camden, or take a walk. It was all very relaxed and unhurried. People went out in two's and three's to grab lunch at the Camden Deli or Camden House of Pizza (Sarah and I brought pizzas back to the Inn so we wouldn't have to stop knitting!) and then in the afternoon we knit some more. There was lots of laughter and lots of learning. I helped Vivian and Jennifer figure out Judy's Magic Cast On for making toe-up socks, after I figured out how to do it myself, heh heh. Jennifer got off to a good start on a pair of toe-up socks; I will have to do that soon. She was doing two socks at a time from the toe up. Seems like such a great idea!

I re-wrote the Compass and Anchors hat pattern for my sister, Rachel, to suit her particular gauge. I think it will come out nicely. I also helped her figure out how to change the baby cables fingerless mitts pattern to suit her gauge. Lots of people started the baby cable fingerless mittens, especially since I had the pattern and the yarn in their goodie bags. I finished the second mitten on Saturday morning, and they are pretty nice, if I must say so myself. 

The rest of the weekend I worked on the modular scarf that was originally being designed and knit for the modular knitting class that got cancelled, so now it is a knitting pattern for the knitting cruise. It turns out that I needed 7 squares, and it only takes 45 minutes to an hour per square, so the whole scarf takes me only about 8 hours all together to knit. I finished the scarf on Sunday night (last night) and I would have brought it in to take pictures of it this morning, but Nora decided that it was hers. She was sleeping on it this morning and just refused to move. I guess she likes it a lot. It is quite nice.

Speaking of pictures, I didn't really get any. Apparently I was too busy knitting! However I think Conny got a few that she might share with me  :)

So now I am down to 4 projects, the easy socks from Frolicking Feet in color Cherry Pits; the off white baby blanket; spinning my BFL, and the Hard Alee Aran pullover I am making for the knitting cruise. I also got spinning again on my Quebec wheel, which I am madly in love with now that I know how to adjust the tension and put the drive band on correctly, and I am finishing up spinning some blue fluff I got at SPA in around 2008. I only have a little more to spin, and 2 bobbins to Navajo ply, and then I will have about 4 skeins of lovely 3-ply worsted-ish weight yarn to do something with. I'm making progress. 

Salmon & Dill Hors D'Oeuvres:

Cut smoked salmon into pieces that will fit on crackers. Spread rice crackers (or your favorite kind of crackers) with Kraft garlic & herb mayo, OR tartar sauce. Place salmon on cracker, and top with a sprig of fresh dill. Yummy! And so easy to prepare!


Portland Flower Show!

Today my friend Lynne and I went to the Portland Flower Show. It was great to get a shot of spring by looking at all the pretty blooms and shrubs. I am not a gardener. However, especially this time of year, I love to see actual living flowers. Here are some pictures of what we saw at the show:

Daffodils      Daffodils2
Flowers      Orchids
Pinkflowers      Otherpinkflowers
Primroses      Tulips
                      Waterfall  

The best display in the show, in my opinion, was called "There and Back Again", a homage to Tolkein's hobbit world. This display had so much to see, but I only took a picture of the little hobbit house itself:

Thereandbackagain     Bilboshouse        

After the flower show, Lynne and I went to Whole Foods (what a great store!) and then we went to Jameson Tavern in Freeport for lunch. They had a drink special called an Elderflower Martini, and since I had never had one, I had to try it:

Elderflowermartini
It was, of course, fabulous. It has kind of a grapefruity taste to it and it is a pretty shade of pink, and it quite appropriately came with a decorative edible orchid perched on the edge. I loved this drink and bribed asked to get the recipe for it. It is made with Absolut Mandarain vodka, St. Germaine liquor and cranberry juice. If you're going to be at the knitting weekend coming up SOON, I will be making them there so you will be able to taste one for yourself! 

We sat in the corner and above us was a lighted sign that was quite reassuring:

Nostreetgirlsorsailors 

We were not street girls (however, after 2 elderflower martinis, I wasn't so sure) and although Lynne and her husband own and operate a fantastic windjammer in Camden, I was pretty sure we didn't qualify as sailors either, so we were safe. It was a very fun day :) 
 

 

      

   


Back to Work (and Day 2 & 3 of vacation)

Sorry, I forgot to post Day 2 of vacation. Pretty much, it was just spinning and knitting. Oh, and there was a fire drill in the hotel. They warned me about it, so I left for a walk and missed the whole thing.

My Hanne Falkenberg jacket is done except for 1/2 the collar band and the two narrow sleeve cuffs. I got some lovely yellow Peace Fleece at Halcyon not too long ago, and I knit a mitten from it. I spun the 4 ounces of 50/50 merino & tencel fiber I got from Spunky Eclectic at the SPA in February, it is a pretty blue-green/yellow/brown color called "Aspen". It's shiny! It's really pretty, and I think the skein will become a Christmas present. I also went to Grace Robinson and got some sport weight 100% silk from Colinette in the pretty blue color "Lapis", which I have now half done a "Sea-Wool Scarf" from Yarn Forward magazine, issue #11 I think. It's a small version of a Faroe-type shawl, meant to be worn as a scarf, with long tassels that hang down from the 3 points. Its pretty. It might become a Christmas present too. I love it but I don't think I would wear it. I also don't know what to do with my Martini scarf; I love it a lot, but I don't think I will wear it. 

Even though I had to work yesterday at the store, I am still counting it as Day 3 of my vacation, because last night I went to a fabulous concert in Rockland at the Strand Theater. I heard Coco Montoya and Tommy Castro play some excellent blues! It was a rockin' event, and I loved it. Before the show, I went to dinner at Rustica, about 50 steps from the Strand, and had veggie lasagne followed by........

Limoncello

...... limoncello for dessert. I was introduced to limoncello on one of the September knitting cruises this year by Mrs. Krueger (of the Alaskan Mrs. Kruegers), and it is yummy. It will knock you flat on your ass in about 10 miliseconds, so you have to be careful, you have to really really really sip it. And when I say, sip it, I mean SIP IT. Slowly. Take a small sip, savor it, swallow it. Do not sip again until the burning in your throat goes away!!! It took me 20 minutes to drink that little glass of limoncello, but I could still walk afterwards, so I count that as a win. And I knew I had about 4 more hours before I would be driving, so all was well, don't worry. 

Things are pretty slow at the store, but I am trying to be positive. As in, "I am positive I am not making any money!!!" Heh. Hopefully things will pick up. The yarn store part of Unique One is actually coming along pretty well, but the sweaters are woefully under-inventoried. Susan and Tracy and Stephanie and I are knitting as fast as we can, but it takes a while to make the sweaters in amounts that really show. I have to get through a backlog of sweater orders from this summer, but as soon as those are caught up, I will start making stock for the shelves and then you will see an improvement. I wish I had more inventory for Christmas, but whatchagonna do. All I can do is keep on as best I can. 

Happy knitting, and I promise not to write such long blog posts again for a while.


Vacation Day 1

I'm on vacation, in Freeport, Maine. I only get 3 days, so I better make the most of it! and so far I am doing great :) 

 I slept late this morning and had a lovely breakfast. I love that the Hampton Inn offers free breakfast. The lady that runs the breakfast room is named Donna, and she is a sweetheart. I asked her if there was a sidewalk all the way from the Hampton Inn down into Freeport, and she assured me that there was.... which settled my plans for the day. Funny, if I had had to get into the car to drive into town, I would have just stayed in my room all day, because I didn't want to deal with traffic or parking or whatever. But since I could walk, I did. 

First I had to go file my taxes online (one great thing about the internet, you can do stuff like that from anywhere!) and then I was ready to go. 

It is actually a little bit of a hike from the Hampton Inn to Lala Bean, but what a great day for a walk!!! It was so sunny, and really windy, and I loved every step of the way. I was wearing a black windbreaker, and the sun was so hot, it felt like a heating pad on my back. It was a little too hot, really, but what a great feeling for the third week into November :) 

I got into town and went into Beans, mostly because I wanted to look at the two moose they have there, with the locked antlers, that were found in New Sweden, a town not too far from my home town of Portage Lake. It was pretty cool to see those two moose. I shopped around both floors in Beans, and considered buying a Bean tote bag, since I am currently carrying half my knitting in a grocery bag (which is SO ridiculous; my husband rolls his eyes at how many bags and baskets I have at home). But I didn't buy anything. 

I went into the British Good store, because I always love to go in there. Today they had a fabulous yellow male store cat playing around, and he only had 3 legs. It reminded me of a cat I used to have named Missy, who only had 3 legs. There were lots of great things at the British goods store, and I thought of you Shelagh! but I didn't buy anything. I was sorely tempted to get the giant bag of Smarties candy, but I refrained, because I knew that the Lindt store was on my way back to the hotel. 

It was fun shopping around, browsing all my favorite stores, and I zoomed through the new mall area, but again did not buy anything. I am a bad consumer. I went to Petrillo's for a light lunch of carrot ginger soup and a small salad, which was soooo good. There was a lot of ginger in the soup and it had a great zing to it! It was just perfect. I definitely recommend Petrillo's, which is a little out of the way, on Depot Street, behind the new mall. It is small, but very friendly, and the Italian menu was great. I got a salad with soup and coffee for twelve bucks, it was very yummy indeed. 

The Lindt store got me on the way back, and that's were I dropped my $32. I got some peanut butter truffles for Joe and something for a Christmas gift, and some assorted flavors of truffles for me. I got my spinning wheel out of the car when I got back to the hotel and I have a vision in my mind of spinning and drinking diet coke and eating truffles for the rest of the day. Oh, and maybe watching a movie. 

So, I feel all windblown and possibly sunburned and full of yummy, good-for-me food, and the prospect of spinning and knitting and eating chocolate for the rest of the next 36 hours (except for when I sleep), and I'm thinking this is a pretty good vacation.