Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Decadent Sea Salt Brownies

I bought this bag of chocolate chips one time which had a really great brownie recipe on the back. Naturally it was packed full of sugar. It sounded so good, so I did what I always do: adapted it.
Here is my slightly healthier version.

1 cup dark chocolate or carob chips
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips (optional)
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
2 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable  or coconut oil
1/2 honey
1/2 walnuts (optional)
Hershey's syrup 
course sea salt 

Preheat oven to 350°. Melt dark chocolate chips in microwave safe bowl for 1 min. Stir until melted completely. Add flour, eggs, baking powder, salt, honey, and vegetable oil. Stir in milk chocolate chips and nuts. Spread batter into 8X8 pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. Serve warm topped with a drizzle of Hershey's syrup and a sprinkling of sea salt.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

James' Valentine's Day Gift

This what I made for James this Valentine's Day.

One of my few attempts at watercolor. I think it turned out pretty well. :)
It's a tree in the greenbelt behind our apartment. Maybe it doesn't look exactly like that tree, but at least it looks like a tree, right? :-)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sugar-Free Carrot Pineapple Cake w/ Cream Cheese Frosting

I found the most amazing carrot cake recipe online the other day.
Here's the link:'s Lent. And lots of people give of sugar for Lent. James can't eat it any time of the year. Not having done much baking with sugar for a while I was surprised by how much was in this cake. Then add a ton of sugary frosting and you've got a Lent-unfriendly, headache-inducing disaster. Bummer, since I really wanted to eat it...

So I changed a few things. 
Check out my revisions below for a HEALTHY cake and frosting that doesn't actually taste healthy.

 Ingredients I changed:
For the cake
~2 cups all purpose flour----> 2 cups whole wheat flour
~1 cup of granulated sugar + 1 cup of brown sugar ----> 1 cup of honey + a little baking powder (about  1/2 tsp) to help it rise properly

Those were the big ones. I did use fresh pineapple instead of canned, but only because that was what I had available. These also were no nuts or raisins in my cake (hate raisins, and somebody was allergic to nuts).

The frosting recipe is my own. Here's the post:

It didn't taste sugar-free and had no harmful replacements. Yay!

Now for the flowers. Check out this tutorial:

Yeah, I know it's in chinese. Just use the pictures. :) 

The flowers may be moist and a little squishy if they didn't get cut thin enough, but they should still hold their shape.
Place directly on the frosted cake and glue on additional layers with extra frosting. Add small carrot slices for the centers...since this is carrot cake and all...

Uh, YUM!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Seed Stitch Neckwarmer

Seed Stitch Neck Warmer
 By Lexi Cushing


Elsebeth Lavold Chunky Al (50% FS Alpaca, 50% Peruvian Wool; 50g = 75 m / 82 yd) [or any heavy worsted]
Main color: One ball dark red 
Contrasting color: One ball black 
Size 8 needles 
Size K (10 1/2) crochet hook 
15-16 sts in 4 in.
One size fits most. 4 1/2 in. wide, 27 in. long.  For a longer neck warmer, get a second 
ball of dark red and continue in pattern until desired length. 
Pattern Notes 
Separate about 6-7 yards of main color before starting. 
Picot sequence: *3 sc, ch 3, sl in front loop of last sc, rep from * 

Neck warmer 
With main color, cast on 15 
Row 1: K1, *P1, K1, repeat from * until the end of the row. 
Next row: Rep. row 1 
Continue in seed stitch for 2 1/4 in. 

Button hole 
Next row: K1, P1, K1, P1, K1, P1, K1, bind off next stitch, attach the 6-7 yard length that 
was set aside earlier to next stitch, K1, P1, K1, P1, K1, P1, K1 
Next row: continue in seed stitch, keeping the two balls of yarn and sides of the button 
hole separate.  When the button hole has reached 2 1/4 in. long move on to next row. 
Closing the button hole 
Next row: K1, P1, K1, P1, K1, P1, K1, cast on 1, tie off smaller ball of yarn (saving extra 
for the flower button), K1, P1, K1, P1, K1, P1, K1 
At this point you should have 15 stitches on the needle again. 
Continue in seed stitch pattern until you have about 24 in. of yarn left.  Bind off. 

Picot edging  
With contrasting color, attach yarn to a corner of the neck warmer. Using picot sequence 
work in 30 picots (counting the corners) on each long side and 4 on each end of the 
neck warmer, in the corners work in 3 sc in same stitch while keeping in picot pattern. 

Flower button 
Layer #1: With contrasting color, cast on 30. 
Row 1: K30
Row 2: P30 
Row 3: K2tog 15 times 
Row 4: P15 
Row 5: K2tog 7 times, K1 
Row 6: P8 
Row 7: K2tog 4 
Row 8: P4 
Bind off.  
Sew side seam together to make a trumpet shape. 
Layer #2: With contrasting color make a second flower using the 8 row layer #1 pattern.  
Do not sew side seam. 
Coil layer #2 into a spiral and place on top of layer #1.  Using crochet hook, attach, 
looping yarn through several times to hold the two pieces together securely.  
Attach main color to the edge of layer #1 and, with crochet hook, sl sts along the edge.  
Rep for layer #2
Attach main color in center of flower: *Ch 5, sl in original st, Rep from * 2 times, ch 7 sl 
in same st. 

Attach flower button to neck warmer 4-5 in. from end furthest from button hole. 
Weave in all ends.

[Please note that this pattern belongs to me. You are free to share it, but not to use it for personal gain. Check out my Creative Commons License for more information. Also, please comment if you find any errors {or if you like it!} and I will fix it as soon as possible. Thank You!]

Opposites Attract

Who says red and green are only for Christmas? Or scarves only for winter? Not this knitter!

Opposites Attract
{crochet scarf}
By Lexi Cushing

Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash, by Cascade Yarns. One ball of Sage {color A}; one ball of Red {color B}. Any worsted weight will do.

Hook size: J

Gauge: 12 hdc and 12 rows in 4 inches.

Notes: Don't worry if the gauge is a little off. It's just a scarf. Also, if wool is usually too warm or too itchy for you, try something smoother, like Sweater, by Spud and Chloe.


Using color A, ch 139
Row 1: Sk first 2 sts, dc in next ch, *ch 1, sk next st, dc in next ch, rep from *. Ch 2, turn.
Row 2: Hdc in each st across. Ch 2, turn.
Row 3: Dc in first st, *ch 1, sk next st, dc in next hdc, rep from *. Ch 2, turn.
Rows 4-5: Rep row 2.
Row 6: Sc in next 30 sts, ch 12, sk 12 sts, sc in remaining sts across. Ch 2, turn.
Rows 7-8: Rep row 2.
Row 9: Rep row 3.
Row 10: Rep row 2.
Row 11: Rep row 3.
Fasten off.  Weave in ends.
Flower Button:
Using color B
Petal sequence: sc 1, hdc 2, dc 1,tr 1, dc 1, hdc 2, sc 1
Ch 4, link ends to form a loop.
Round 1: work in 7 sc. Join, ch 1.
Round 2: Hdc 2 in each sc. Join, ch 1.
Round 3: (sc in first st, ch 3, sk one st) all the way around. Join.
Round 4: One petal sequence in each ch 3 loop.
Round 5: (Sl in back of sc of round 3, ch 4) all the way around.
Round 6: One petal sequence in each ch 4 loop.
Round 7: (Sl in back of sc of round 5, ch 5) all the way around.
Round 8: One petal sequence in each ch 5 loop, but this time double the number of dcs in each petal. Join, tie off.
Weave in ends.
Cut 42 6” pieces of yarn, tie on ends of scarf in groups of three.


Ch= chain
Sc= single crochet
Dc= double crochet
Tr= triple crochet
Hdc= half double crochet
Sl= slip
Sk= skip
Rep= repeat
St[s]= stitch[es]

[Please note that this pattern belongs to me. You are free to share it, but not to use it for personal gain. Check out my Creative Commons License for more information. Also, please comment if you find any errors {or if you like it!} and I will fix it as soon as possible. Thank You!]

Creative Commons License
Opposites Attract: (crochet scarf) by Lexi Cushing is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Joe Cool Hat

This a gift I designed for my younger brother Joey. But it's a surprise for Christmas, so he couldn't see it. I had to recruit my other little bro, Tyler, to model it for me.

Introducing Mr. Cool: Tyler Cushing

Joe Cool

By Lexi Cushing

Rowan Pure Wool DK:
(Main Color) 1 ball Earth, (Contrasting Color) 1 ball Quarry
Tapestry needle

#6 dpns

one size fits most

22 sts and 28 rows over 4" (height of gauge is not especially important in the pattern, width matters more)

This color chart is a repeat of 10 stitches. If you think you might need to adjust the size either add or take away 10 sts in the cast on and continue with the pattern. Just remember that if you do your numbers will be slightly different than mine.

Also note that this pattern assumes knowledge of color work.

Color Chart

Body of Hat
Cast on 100 in MC

Rows 1-7: K2 P2
Switch to CC
Row 8: Purl
Row 9: Knit
Row 10: Purl
Row 11: Knit
Row 12: Purl
Next row: Using both MC and CC work in 10 repeats of color chart

Continue until you have made four 9-row repeats.
Next row: Working in color pattern *knit 8, k2tog, rep from * 9 times.
Continue working in the color chart for 1 inch, or desired length, keeping in mind that you now have 10 less sts (or 1 less st per repeat). Think about it as eliminating st #10 [in brackets on chart].

Top of Hat

Next row: working in color pattern as closely as possible *Knit 7, k2tog, rep from * 9 times.
Next row: *knit 6, k2tog, rep from * 9 times.
Next row: *knit 5, k2tog, rep from * 9 times.
Next row: *knit 4, k2tog, rep from * 9 times.
Next row: *knit 3, k2tog, rep from * 9 times.
Next row: *knit 2, k2tog, rep from * 9 times.
Next row: *knit 1, k2tog, rep from * 9 times.
Next row: *k2tog, rep from * 9 times.

You should now have 10 sts. Cut MC and CC at about 6". Using tapestry needle thread yarn through all 10 sts and pull the needle out. Gather loops tightly and secure with a knot.

Weave in all ends.
[Please note that this pattern belongs to me. You are free to share it, but not to use it for personal gain. Check out my Creative Commons License for more information. Also, please comment if you find any errors {or if you like it!} and I will fix it as soon as possible. Thank You!]

Sausage Rolls

 Perfect for High Tea!

Fully cooked sausage links
Your favorite biscuit dough
Spicy brown mustard
1 egg
Dried or fresh chives, minced

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Break dough into as many sections as you have sausages. On a floured surface roll out each chunk of dough to about two inches longer than your sausage, and several inches wider. Slather with mustard and sprinkle on some of the chives. Roll a sausage in each piece of dough and place on a cookie sheet or baking stone. Scrabble the egg with a fork and gently brush onto the tops of each sausage roll. Sprinkle with chives.
Bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Slice and serve warm.