Sunday, November 29, 2015

Cream Cheese Maple-Pumpkin Pie

This is my latest eggless, soy-free pumpkin pie recipe.  After working on it for four years, it's my favorite of all the varieties I have made.

1 unbaked pie crust
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups pumpkin purée (steamed is best)*
     or 16 oz. can
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup maple syrup
2 tsp. blackstrap molasses

Preheat oven to 350 deg. F.  Place pie crust dough in a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan.  Trim edges and prick bottom and sides with a fork.  Reserve extra dough.  Bake for 10 minutes until crust is dried out.  Remove from oven and let cool.

Blend cream cheese and pumpkin together (a food processor is good to use).

In a small bowl, stir dry ingredients together.  Add maple syrup gradually, stirring until smooth.  Stir in blackstrap molasses.

Add syrup mixture to pumpkin mixture and blend until smooth and uniformly mixed.  Pour into pie crust.

Bake at 350 deg. F for about an hour or until small cracks appear in filling.  Let cool.

Roll out remaining pie crust dough and make leaf and acorn shapes.  Bake on a cookie sheet at 375 deg. F until golden.  Garnish pie just before serving.

Store in refrigerator.

 * Note: I cook my own pumpkin for the purée. It's easy to use a steamer to cook cut-up pumpkin chunks (about 1"), slice the skin and strings off after cooking, and purée in a food processor or blender. This produces a light, wonderful texture for the pie. If you use canned pumpkin, you might want to mix a little rice milk or water in, to get a consistency of stirred yogurt.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Spiced Pecans

If you're looking for a holiday snack that's not sugary or eggy, this is for you.  Thanks to my dear friend, Kay, for sharing her recipe.


1-1/2 lb. pecan halves
1/2 cup butter, melted
1-1/2 tsp. soy sauce
1-1/8 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. Tabasco sauce (or more)

Preheat oven to 300 deg. F.

Combine all ingredients in a large metal pan, like a lasagna or jelly roll pan.  Stir well to coat the pecans, and spread them evenly in the pan.

Bake for 20 minutes, stirring twice.  Remove from oven and scoop the pecans out onto paper towels.

When completely cool, store in an airtight container.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Allie's Blankie

This lacy, cabled baby blanket is knitted from soft, 100% cotton yarn for maximum comfort and cuddliness.  It machine-washes and dries nicely, despite the yarn's washing instructions.  This little afghan makes a great lap blanket, too.

Skill Level   Intermediate

12 oz./595g or 1050 yds/961m worsted weight soft cotton yarn, such as Bernat Cottontots or Lion Brand Nature's Choice Organic Cotton

Schematic diagram included.

A free .pdf of this pattern is available as a download from Ravelry.
download now

Monday, January 27, 2014

Cottonation Oval Rug

Right side, single crochet back loops

This is the Tarnation Oval Rug pattern worked in worsted weight cotton yarn.  The only modification is to use 3 strands of yarn held together--same size hook, same number of chains, etc.  You'll end up making many more rounds to get the same size rug as you would with tarn.

Using multiple strands of yarn gives you the opportunity to create a really nice ombre effect.  This rug was made with Lily Camo Cotton yarn, in a variegated green colorway (Renegade) and a variegated brown colorway (maybe Outback-can't remember).  I started with 2 strands of brown +1 strand of green, then moved to 2 green + 1 brown, then on to 3 green, next was 2  green + 1 brown, and finally 3 brown.

It machine-washes and dries like a dream.  If any loose ends stick out, just push them through to the underside.

Back side, single crochet, back loops

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Tarnation Oval Rug

This fast and easy crocheted rug is made from t-shirts that have been cut into tarn (T-shirt yARN) -- a great way to recycle old cotton-knit garments and get a good-looking, high-use item in exchange. Your rug can be as large or small as you wish. The number of shirts to use depends on the sizes of the shirts and how large you want to make it. Machine washable and dryable, it's an excellent rug for kitchen, bath, utility, or entry.

Skill Level   Easy

1/2" / 1cm-width tarn (not stretched) made from approximately 5-7 adult-sized t-shirts

Schematic diagram included.

A free .pdf of this pattern is available as a download from Ravelry.
download now

(UPDATE: the incorrect link above has been fixed.)

You can find tips and variations for this pattern in the following posts:
How to Make Tarn
Choosing Fabric for Tarn
Saving Your Hands and Arms When Using Tarn
Making the Print Show
Allover Print Tarn
Cottonation Oval Rug (made with cotton yarn)

Another Tarnation pattern: Tarnation Rectangle Rug

Saturday, December 21, 2013


This fast, easy hat has a looped-over point and a puffy doughnut brim. Crank a few out in red and green, but don’t stop there--how about midnight blue or chartreuse or hot pink? This Christmas, show your true Elfitude!

Skill Level   Easy

183-201 yds / 168-184m worsted weight acrylic, wool, or blend in 3 colors

Schematic diagram included.

A free .pdf of this pattern is available as a download from Ravelry.
download now

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Scrappy Lap-ghan

This generously sized lap-blanket is crocheted with a large hook and two strands of yarn held together. It's a fast and easy way to use up leftover yarn, and the big stitches make it thick and cuddly.

Skill Level   Easy

approx. 1850 yds / 1692m worsted weight acrylic, wool, or blend in many colors

Schematic diagram included.

A free .pdf of this pattern is available as a download from Ravelry.
download now