Hot Chocolate Mix & Free Printable Tags

If you haven’t noticed from many of my previous projects, I absolutely love Valentine’s Day. Today I made a Valentine’s gift (in advance!) – a Hot Chocolate Mix. I found the recipe here at Half Baked Harvest. The only changes I made was that I used all dark chocolate chips instead of a mix of milk chocolate chips and white chocolate chips because dark chocolate was all I happened to have on hand. Which of course is such a surprise at my house. 😉

January 28’s project: Dark Hot Chocolate Mix

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In effort to be “scientific,” Marcus and I made one mug with water and one mug with milk. Take it from us, do NOT make this mix with water. It tastes much better made with milk. With the milk, it was pretty tasty. (Though in my opinion I’ll admit, it still was not quite as good as my beloved Cadbury Hot Chocolate.) Marcus said this mix was far better than the hot chocolate from the store, especially since you can control all the ingredients.

If I make this mix again, I might try using Cinnamon chips in place of the white chocolate chips.

I also made printable tags using a super cute graphic from Designs by CP. I’ve uploaded it here so you can print out tags for your own Hot Chocolate Mix gifts for Valentine’s Day. (I’ve uploaded them as Word docs so that you can customize them easier.) I’d recommend using a heavier card stock-like paper if you have any or a photo paper with a completely blank back, not the kind that has logo, etc, on the back.

20130128-211843.jpgHot Chocolate Mix cards – front

20130128-211851.jpgHot Chocolate Mix cards – back

Drawstring Bag & Cookies

Not a very exciting project for today – yet another drawstring project bag. I still needed one more bag for my prize donation at my knitting group’s anniversary party tomorrow.

I did however make another batch of the chocolate chocolate chip cookies from January 18’s post. This time, I used all white sugar and dark chocolate chips and made sure to under-bake them. This batch was even better than the first one!

January 25’s project: Drawstring Bag & Cookies

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For Monday, I plan on chopping up a gorgeous wool sweater that I rescued from Goodwill. Someone had apparently not read the “hand wash only” tag and threw it in the washing machine. Their loss is my gain! 🙂 (Hopefully it will be dry by then. January isn’t the best time to be washing sweaters. Sigh)

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

One of the struggles I knew I was going to face in my MSED challenge was the balance of creating while still managing to fit in the boring stuff like laundry, dishes, etc, as well. During the last couple days, the boring stuff has been slipping a bit so that’s what I tackled today instead of playing around with a new design for a knitting needle roll-up case. The house is now tidied up for the weekend, but of course I didn’t have time required for the roll-up case. I did, however, decide that I had time for some baking.

I knew that my friend Annie was coming over tonight for a movie night so I decided to make some cookies. I’ve been wanting to find a good chocolate cookie recipe for a while, so that’s what I chose. After looking through a surprising number of cook books that didn’t have quite the type of cookie I was looking for, I found the recipe “Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies I” here at AllRecipes.com.

I used half white sugar and half brown sugar, added 1 ts of instant coffee, and increased the salt and baking soda to 1 ts each.

January 18’s project: Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I am very happy with how the cookies turned out. They were just as quick to mix up as my usual go-to cookie recipe (Tollhouse), which I was very glad to note. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and wonderfully chocolatey, but without being too sweet. I think this recipe would also be tasty with peanut butter chips and maybe walnuts too. Watch out, milk just might have a new favorite cookie!

In addition to the very very good cookies, we had also some fun new tea that Annie recently ordered from David’s Tea. Tonight we tried the Stormy Night black tea, which was quite nice – not as spicy as I’d feared, and the Cookie Dough white tea which was awesome! (And quite appropriate to have with the chocolate cookies too.) So that’s why the lovely Fiesta tea cup & saucer are in the background. The tea cup is empty because the tea was sooo good that I drank it all before I remembered to save any for the “photo shoot.” 😉20130119-000041.jpg

Needless to say, this recipe will definitely be made again. (And again, and again, and again, and again …)

Knitted Shiitake Mushroom

For this past Christmas, I made my husband a hat. It was a perfectly fine and serviceable hat, as well as being exactly what he wanted since he had picked out both yarn and pattern. It was, however (in my opinion) an incredibly dull and boring hat to be his main Christmas present. So I decided to make a couple small surprise gifts for him as well, including a couple knitted mushrooms in honor of one of the interests he acquired this year: gathering wild mushrooms.

They turned out so cute that we decided that I should knit another shittake for our favorite mushroom supplier, Tom of Killbuck Valley Mushrooms, Burbank, OH. We met Tom at the Shaker Square farmer’s market, where we quickly decided that the only thing nicer than Tom’s mushrooms was Tom himself, especially after we had the opportunity to take a tour of his beautiful mushroom farm.

I used the Myriads of Mushrooms pattern as a starting point for the shiitake, but kept adding more and more details to make them more realistic, including embroidered gills, bumps and flared stems. I even sacrificed used a bit a of my precious Wollmeise yarn for the caps, since the colors were so perfect. Here’s my Ravelry project page for the brown one.

January 3’s project: Knitted Shiitake mushroom

shittake_group_side(The shiitake in the upper left with the brown cap is the one I knit today; the grey shittake and teeny brown generic-y mushroom are the ones I knit last month.)

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