Sugar & Dairy-free Chocolate!

I’m trying hard to reduce my sugar intake – have been for the last month – but my chocolate cravings have been hard to resist.

I saw the naturopath last week. She sent me a small collection of recipes for dairy, soy & cane sugar- free recipes. Before I left her office she mentioned the chocolate recipe.

I have to share it because it is so satisfying! My only caveat is that you have to prefer dark chocolate; this has a very dark chocolate taste.

1/2 c. Cocoa powder
1/2 c. Carob powder (I didn’t have any on hand so I substituted finely ground cocoa nibs which I ground in my coffee grinder)
1 c. Extra virgin coconut oil
2 tsp. Honey – I used maple syrup
1/4 tsp. natural sweetener (stevia, xylitol…) (I don’t bother)
1 tbsp. vanilla or almond extract (check your vanilla ingredients it may contain sugar – I have some I made from the vanilla beans I brought home from Bali by sticking three of them in an 8 oz. bottle of good vodka!)
Raisins, other dried fruit, crystallized ginger, chopped nuts (not sure about the ginger that has to have been made with sugar!).

Warm the oil gently
Pour into a food processor or blender
Add remaining ingredients and blend well
Add nuts/raisins after blending
Pour into a parchment-lined cake pan or cookie sheet
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to set
Remove from pan/cookie sheet when firm
Remove the paper
Break or cut into pieces
Store in a sealed container in the fridge

The chocolate is very definitely more-ish!

Holiday Scarf for Hillary

I’m having Christmas dinner with a long-time friend and I had nothing for her granddaughter. Last year and the year before I sewed gifts for Hillary (now going on twelve). But I didn’t get around to making anything this year.

I was tidying up my knitting basket beside the chair in my bedroom where I watch TV and knit and saw the ball of scarf yarn I bought two years ago to make a scarf for myself. I decided to use it for a simple scarf for Hillary.

So six hours later here is a warm scarf, long enough to be tied outside her jacket, should she wish it. And one more ball of yarn is out of my stash!

Quilt for Noah – Finished


I finished the quilt yesterday. After I got it back from being quilted I still had to add the binding and a label. Did both yesterday afternoon.

So here is the finished quilt, complete with two pillow cases in matching fabric – I didn’t make shams; I hate putting pillows into shams and figured pillow cases would be easier to use. The cases are pieced on the serger so the inside seams are all finished which will allow the pillow cases to be washed without fear of fraying. I also made two dark green pillow cases for Noah to use as actual pillow cases – the two pieced ones are decorative accessories – not to be slept on but to complete the look of the quilt.

IMG_4137The back doesn’t look bad – although I realized, after I’d taken the quilt to be quilted, that I could have offset the stripe by another 12″ had I cut 12″ from the slightly wider side and added it to the narrower side with a single dark stripe! Oh well, I don’t suppose this side of the quilt will ever be used on top. It doesn’t look bad this way, but the off-centre symmetry would have worked better had I offset that stripe more.


Using Leftovers

Recently I went through my basket of leftover yarn, pulled out what I thought might be usable then took the rest to Value Village. This pair of socks is the first I’ve tried using that leftover yarn. I didn’t have enough of the two yarns I chose to work with but I thought if I interspersed them – i.e. alternated rows – I might have enough to create a pair. So that’s what I did. But the trick is not to knit a “row” (knitting all four needles once) but to knit two interlocked spirals – two needles using one yarn, two needles of the other. Knit this way I didn’t end up having to cross over the yarn after each row; I end up with a smooth continuously knit sock.

As you can see one yarn had large blocks of colour shading from dark blue to medium blue and back to dark blue. The other was a variegated yarn with short coloured sections of dark blue, green, off white. To relieve the boredom of the dark colours I added the bright green near the ankle.

That technique resulted in an interesting pattern of alternating lighter and darker stripes. And it turned out I had just enough yarn to finish the socks. Yeah!

These Socks are for Me!

Last week I went through my sock drawer and removed half a dozen pair of socks (leaving me just 35 pairs of hand-knit socks)! I do this at least once a year and it’s always a difficult decision – which ones to give away, which to keep. I like all of them including the first pair I knit in 2003 (which I happen to be wearing today).


Because I have so many pairs, they don’t seem to wear out. So the culled socks are still in more than good enough condition to pass on to new owners (who are happy to get hand-me-downs). My neighbor Estella got three pairs the other day – that should bring her collection up to six or so (she passes on some of the socks I give her). Today at the pool I asked my friend Sumitra if she’s interested – of course, she answered. So I’ll get the remaining three pair to her.

And that pair I finished last night are now safely tucked in my sock drawer. (I still have two pair of socks in the stash awaiting a home – someone will get them – one may have my friend Susan from Alberta’s name on them; that means I need to knit another large pair for Andrea before the middle of January when she and Susan will be here to work on Scout Canada stuff!)

I already started a new pair last night – can’t leave those needles hanging around doing nothing.


Response to Weekly Photo Challenge: Converge

One of the blogs I follow posted a photo like the ones below – a scene from an old German town – Luebeck – a view down the street at the convergence point where the road takes a turn.

Looking at the photo I realized I take a lot of photos like that one – I commented “Nice shot – I’ve taken photos in several places like this one.” Mitza replied “I hope you show us your photos sooner or later.”

Well, here are eight from a trip to Southern France in 2010!



Alet Les Bains

Alet Les Bains



Collioure 2

Collioure 2



Rennes Les Bains

Rennes Les Bains

Renne Les Bains 2

Renne Les Bains

St. Polycarpe

St. Polycarpe

I guess I’m also attracted to a converging perspective!

Like New!

Last Sunday I visited a friend and as I was leaving she handed my a shopping bag with six pairs of socks all needing new heels.

Now I should explain I’ve been knitting socks for her for over a decade and repairing them when she wears through the heels. I’ve got her to the point where she gives them to me for fixing before the holes are so big I can do nothing except cut off the whole foot and reknit a new one. (That’s still half the work of knitting a whole new pair!)

That was almost the situation with this pair. The holes were large enough that the sole further into the foot was weakened and all I could salvage were the toes. There the knitting was strong enough to reuse.

I did what I usually do when just replacing a heel – this time, however, I cut out more of the damaged sock. I knit a new heel, did the gusset, then added another five rows for good measure before grafting the toe back on.

Too bad I didn’t take a “before” picture.

Took me three evenings to repair this one pair of socks. This morning I shaved off the “pills” – they’re absolutely like new!

Just five more pairs to go.