Cotton Baby Toys

My three month is starting to pick up things, and they’re immediately going to his mouth. I wanted to make him something to chew on, and would also absorb some of the drool he’s been spouting, as well.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed the beautiful colours that are available in cotton yarns. I’ve bought skeins here and there for dishcloths, but I knew there had to be another purpose. I’m also working on some baby socks made in the cotton, as well. I’ll share them when I get them finished.

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Here’s the pattern. You’ll need a 5mm hook, cotton yarn (you can make two toys with on of the little skeins) and something to crochet on, a teething ring, a chain link, whatever drives your fancy. Note: if you use a wooden tether, you’ll have it take it once they get teeth and can make dents in the wood. I used a BPA-free plastic toy. Also, you can wash these in the washing machine! I put them in a garment bag to keep them from getting beat around too much.  Here’s the type of links that I used:

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Make a slip knot on the ring.

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Ch 3. Make 1 hdc around the ring, ch 1. Make 7 more hdc around the ring with 1ch after each one. Make 1 last hdc. All together you’ll have 19 st.

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For the next 8 rows, put 2hdc in the first st, hdc until the last, and then put 2hdc in the last st. Each row will have an increase of 2 hdc, one on each end.

For the next three rows, make 2 hdc decreases, then hdc across to the last 4 st, and make two more hdc decreases. Finish off and weave in ends. Find a baby to give it a chew, and enjoy!

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Jack was already in bed by the time I got around to finishing this, but hopefully I’ll get a picture of him with his new toy tomorrow to share with you!

*Edited on October 27 to add more pictures.

Squash and Apple Soup

Here’s another soup recipe!

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2 cups of squash (I cooked it in the oven until it was about 90% cooked)
2 cups of apple sauce
1 cup of pumpkin (I had leftover pumpkin, you could add more squash if you don’t have any)
2 cups of water
1 cup of apple cider
2 tbsp fresh ginger
Pepper to taste

Simmer over a low heat until the squash is soft, then purée until it reaches a desired consistency. You may need to add more water to thin it out. We also used very fresh and ripe apples, so I didn’t put as much cider in, because it was sweet enough, but you may decide to add more.

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

We love cheese in this house, and pasta, too. It’s really easy to make your own mac and cheese, and it doesn’t take a whole lot longer than making the stuff that comes in the box.

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First, put a pot of salted water on to boil. When it comes to a boil, add a small box of macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package. Once it’s cooked, drain the pasta and set aside.

Meanwhile, you can start the sauce. On medium heat, melt two tbsp of butter, and add two tbsp of flour and whisk until smooth. Add one tbsp of Dijon mustard, and two cloves of crushed garlic. Slowly whisk in about 2 cups of milk. Add some black pepper. Continue to stir, making sure the milk doesn’t scald. When the milk has heated, add 3 cups of grated cheese. We used some cheddar, mozzarella and havarti. Once the cheese has melted, add a pinch of crushed pepper flakes. Add to the macaroni, and eat immediately.

The beauty of this recipe is that you can use whatever pasta and cheese that you wish. It can be different every time you make it!

Pumpkin White Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake

Here’s a great pumpkin cheesecake recipe! This recipe makes a 9″ cheesecake. It can easily be made into a 6″ or a 12″, just follow my tips on the page for the Turtle Cheesecake . There are also some tips on there on how to prepare your springform pan.

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Base
Don’t forget the wax paper or parchment paper on the bottom of your pan!
Take some ginger snaps and crush them. You’ll want to make 1 1/2 cups. Melt 1/4 cup of margarine or butter, and mix it with the crumbs. Press down into the bottom of a springform pan with the bottom of your fingers. Bake at 32 for about 8 minutes.

Filling
Remember to grease the sides of the pan!
Mix two blocks of cream cheese, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 tsp of vanilla, and 1/2 cup of yogurt (I used vanilla). Take out about 1/2 cup of the mixture and set aside. Add 1 cup of pumpkin, 1/2 tsp of both ginger and allspice, and 1 tsp each of cinnamon and nutmeg (or 2-3 tsp of pumpkin pie spice). Pour into your pan. Melt 1 bag of white chocolate chips, and then add it to the cream cheese mixture that you had set aside. Pour it into your pan, then take a spoon and swirl it through the pumpkin, take care not to disturb the base. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.

For a garnish, I crushed a few more cookies, then sprinkled them over the top, and then it was served with a dollop of whipped cream. If you’ve got any orange chocolate in your house (melting wafers, maybe), you can grate that over the top.

Turtle Cheesecake

Now to take a break from our regularly scheduled pumpkin offerings…

Here is a recipe for a turtle cheesecake.

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This recipe makes a 9″ inch cheesecake, but can easily be adapted for a 6″ or a 12″. You just need to play with the quantities. A 6″ would use 1 cup for the base, 1 block of cream cheese, and 1 egg. A 12″ would use 2 cups in the base, and 3 blocks of cream cheese and eggs.

Base
Melt 1/4 c of margarine. Add 1 1/2 cups of Oreos crumbs and mix together. When you assemble your springform pan, pan a layer of wax paper or parchment paper on the bottom. Put your cookie mixture on top of the paper, and press down with your fingers. Bake at 325 for about 8 minutes. After you take it for the oven, let it cool, then put pecans over top of the vase, caramel sauce, and melted chocolate (I used about 1/4 cup of melted chocolate chips, and I also used the caramel sauce for sundaes).

Cheesecake Filling
Before adding the mixture to the pan, it is very important to grease your springform pan. Even if they are nonstick, the cheesecake may still stick, and there’s nothing that can break your heart like spending a few hours making a delicious cheesecake, and then have half of it stick to your pan. I use Pam that’s made for baking, and it works great. Bend together 2 blocks of cream cheese, two eggs, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of yogurt (I used about half plain Balkan style, and half vanilla… It was just what was in our fridge), and a tsp of vanilla. If you want your cheesecake to be caramel-flavoured, add about 1/4 cup of butter. Bake at 350 for approximately 40 minutes.

After you take it from the oven, let it cool, then add more pecans, caramel, and chocolate. When I melted the chocolate chips this time, I added a little bit of shortening (is ‘smudge’ a technical baking term?) to make it smoother.

Serve after it has had time to set and enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Making some pies for Thanksgiving? Have some pumpkin left over? Here’s a delicious smoothie that you can make using left over pumpkin!

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1/2 cup of pumpkin
1 cup of vanilla almond milk (you could also use regular milk, and add a teaspoon of vanilla)
1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice OR 1/4 tsp of each ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice
I also added 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder

Blend and drink immediately. Yum, yum!

Why do I love pumpkin so much? Well, it’s so good for you! Pumpkin is full of vitamins A and C, potassium, manganese, copper, and riboflavin (a B vitamin). There is also a considerable amount of magnesium, phosphorus, iron, folate, vitamins E and B6, niacin, thiamin and pantothetic acid! So feel free to indulge in that piece of pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving weekend!

How to Prepare Pumpkin

I realize that I’ve put up a lot of recipes using pumpkin, but have never made a tutorial on how to get pumpkin out of that delicious vegetable. It’s really easy to do!

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These little babies are called pie pumpkins, or sugar pumpkins. They’re what I prefer to use. You get about 3-4 cups of pumpkin purée from each one. The first thing you do is cut them in half. Then you scoop out the seeds and stringy bits (definitely keep the seeds, you can roast them in olive oil and salt and they’re soooooo yummy! Or oil and garlic, or chilli powder… The possibilities are endless!) and place them flesh-side down on a cookie sheet. Add water to the cookie sheet, and then rub a little olive oil on the skins of the pumpkins. Road them in the oven at 350 for about 25 minutes. Once you’re able to pierce the skin with a fork, you’re all set!

Finally, take them out of the oven and let them cool. When you can handle them, scoop out the flesh with a spoon, and voila! Pumpkin!

Now you may ask, what can one do with pumpkin? Well, I’ve got a new cheesecake in the oven right now (recipe to come soon!), but I’ve also made plenty of other things with pumpkin purée. Check them out!

Pumpkin Dog Treats

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Pumpkin Rosee Pasta Sauce

Two Pumpkin Pasta Recipes