This is the Amstel Hat from the Fall 2012 Interweave Knits magazine. I love it and it's going to be perfect for all the outdoor hikes that I go on. I have to be honest and say that might not have chosen to knit this hat if I hadn't seen it in person in a LYS. Some projects are like that. They don't look all that wonderful in a magazine picture but are fabulous in person, probably because in a picture you can't really see the great texture or experience the tactile appeal. As I don't have much to say about this project (other than I love it) instead I'm going to share a little about the hikes that Simcha and I take here in Topanga, California which is one reason why I need all the hats, mittens, and shawls that I'm constantly knitting.
The Misadventures of Claudia and Simcha ~
I think I've mentioned before that Simcha and I go out on a hike every morning and sometimes again in the afternoons as well. We both love being outdoors and we have tons of great trails all around us that we mostly have to ourselves. Mostly. We do share them with the local wildlife and that is primarily coyotes, deer and an occasional skunk.
And, as can happen, the other evening when Simcha and I were out hiking I heard in the distance a pack of coyotes going crazy and yapping loudly. I knew instantly that this was going to be too strong a temptation for Simcha to resist chase after them, which I obviously did not want him to do. So I came up with a new command. I call it the "Wait for Me" command and basically what you do is run after your dog calling out "Waaaaait for Meeee." This should be interspersed with an occasional "I'mmmm Coming Tooooo." Hopping up and down as if you have twisted your ankle adds a nice effect if combined with a sharp cry of pain for attention. Thankfully the years of training and discipline have paid off because in the distance I could see Simcha turn his head to look back over his shoulder at me and then slow his pace as he waited for me to catch up. Once I had his attention I picked up a stick and threw it for him to chase and thereby successfully diverted his attention away from the coyotes.
I can't tell you what a pleasure it is to have a dog that is responsive to commands and is such a great hiking buddy. He's been primarily trained to follow hand signals and I think that has fostered a strong bond that allows us the freedom to take the type of hikes that we do. Which isn't saying that we don't have the occasional misadventure along the way.
These fragrant pumpkin poppers are moist and spicy ~ a perfect Fall treat to enjoy with your coffee or tea. I used the recipe from Domestically Speaking and modified it by using dark brown organic sugar (versus light brown) and whole milk versus low-fat. I had tons of cinnamon sugar left over even when making less than the recipe called for. I made my cinnamon sugar mix using 1/2 cup white sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon. As you can see in the picture I made some "poppers" and some small muffins. If you don't have a mini muffin tin making small cupcake sized muffins is a great alternative you simply need to increase the cooking time. I cooked my muffins approximately 22 minutes. Instead of rolling mine in gobs of butter I melted 2 tablespoons of butter and applied that with a pastry brush and then liberally sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.
Simcha really enjoyed these, judging from the four (4) muffins missing from my kitchen counter (paper included). Other sweet pumpkin treats I've shared in the past are a pumpkin bread and a pumpkin chocolate chip cake ~ both very yummy.
Until next time be well and love well and enjoy the colors, texture, and flavors of this season as we are fast approaching Winter!