Thursday, June 26, 2008

Brenda's Splendid Cookies

If you're like me, you used to be three sizes smaller. I'd complain about my weight gain, but I can't whine in good conscience because I had a wonderful time eating all those delicious delicacies that have made me skyrocket up to a size...well, a size that is a little plumper than I ought to be.

But the heck with that. Here's Brenda's recipe for cookies and it's made for people like me who want the sweet, sumptuous experience of eating something decadently delicious without consuming more than, oh, maybe a gazillion calories. As you might have read previously, Brenda surprised us with these cookies and they are fantastic!

The Recipe
8 tablespoons of softened Promise margarine (or butter, if you dare)
1 1/2 cups Splenda brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baked sode
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup "fat-free" milk or 2% milk
3/4 cup Gharardelli chocolate chips
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spray cookie sheet or use parchment paper or a Silpat

Beat Promise and brown sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat again about 2 minutes.
Combine flour, baking soda and salt in another bowl.
Add flour mixture to magragaine mixutre, alternating with milk and flour. Stir until all combined.
Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes.
Cool. But if you're like me and you can't wait, eat very carefully so you don't burn your tongue on melted chocolate chips.

If you make this recipe and you like it, thank Brenda. When she's not baking cookies for us, she's making sure our orders are shipped to happy knitters throughout the world. Along with Tina, she processes the packages of yarn so they can be mailed out or picked up each evening by our most wonderful UPS guy, Marlon. I've got to get a shot of Marlon one of these days. He's looking hot in his brown summer shorts. (Our compliments to the guy who designed the uniform.)

Yarnmarket Promotion: Win a Cat!

For those of you who've been concerned about Scarface, you'll be happy to know that he's doing extremely well and has now taken over my home. He's still pretty skittish, but at night he likes to cuddle up against me while I'm sleeping. His purr sounds like a race car, and he nuzzles like crazy. Sure do wish I could keep him.

Unfortunately, with Alex's severe allergies I promised him that I'd have no more cats after Kim and Hannibal (who died in the past year at the ages of 14 and 15, leaving me devastated and catless).

Anyway, we've got to find a nice home for this pussycat and I thought we might have a contest. Our luckiest shopper would win a free cat. Of course, we'd have to ensure that the lucky winner would:

1. Answer to the cat's every beck and call
2. Feed it human tuna, half-and-half cream, and Science Diet like I do (okay, this is asking a bit much)
3. Pat it and stroke it and brush it and give it lots of affection
4. Understand that it's a scaredy cat and requires patience
5. Not have any other cats because Scarface is FIV positive
6. Never let him outside where he might infect other animals
7. Change his name to something nice like "Snugglepuss"

We've nursed Scarface back to health and have had him neutered, so he's in perfect operating condition. Oh! That reminds've got to check out the Engineer's Guide to Cats on YouTube. It's a riot!

If any of you know someone who'd love to be enslaved by this sweet, affectionate, half-Siamese, blue-eyed sweetypuss, please let me know. I need to find a nice home for him before I fall in love and refuse to part with him.

Catching Up

It's been one heck of a month. We were making last minute preparations for TNNA when I got a call from my family that there was an emergency we had to attend to. Alex and I high-tailed it up to Canada, and didn't return for 2 1/2 weeks.

Fortunately, Jan, Josh, Stephanie Quattrini from Hanzon, and our lovely Trade Show Ladies, Sue and Marianne, did a terrific job without us and reported that our booth was always very busy. A lot of yarn shop owners visited to find out more about YarnMerchant, the service we offer so they can better serve their customers. (Motto: If everybody's happy, then...ummm...well, everybody's happy!)

Stephanie had the pleasure of appearing in a segment of Interweave Daily Knitting TV which was being shot at the event. Let's hope viewers can easily understand her lovely British accent. We always laugh when Brits are shown on US TV with sub-titles. I wonder if they do that there with US accents?

Anyway, the show was good, we're back home, and we're now hunkered down preparing for the busy fall season. I've been having a great time ogling the new summer yarns we've just added to our Showroom. There are too many to mention, so I'll recommend just a few of my favorites. Tomorrow I might have a few others to mention because we've got so many wonderful new yarns coming in every day and I can't decide which ones are my favorites.

For those of us who are paying more attention to ecologically friendly fibers, Sirdar's Sublime line is gorgeous. There's an Organic Cotton DK that comes in eight soft shades. I love the softness..and the price isn't bad, either, at $7.85 for 120 yards. I think I'd use this for a really cool tank top or maybe a beach cover-up. I always love the feel of pure cotton.

If you like an interesting texture, we've also received Elsebeth Lavold's Bamboucle, a lovely mixture of cotton, bamboo, linen, and nylon. It's a worsted weight that's great for summer, and it comes in some pretty summery colors. I absolutely ADORE this color, and I've read that it looks good on absolutely everybody. There are 14 colors to choose from...but this one is my personal favorite because it would work with just about everything I have in my wardrobe.

Another delightful bamboo choice is Debbie Bliss Prima. It's 80% bamboo and 20% worsted wool, and it has the loveliest sheen. These are just some of the colors. Do you like our display unit? We were having a heck of a time figuring out how to keep all our yarns nice and tidy in our new Showroom. Pat and Michele put their heads together and invented, "Pat and Michele's Amazing Yarn Stacker." It worked so well that they went into full production, cutting, drilling, gluing and then painting all the pieces.

We like their invention so much that we think we ought to branch out by selling them as Pat and Michele's Amazing Donut Stackers, Amazing Bagel Stackers, or Amazing Pineapple Stackers. What do you think?

There are so many new yarns that I'm afraid I'm going to spend the rest of the day fondling them and deciding which ones I should put into my personal stash. Right now I'm working on socks for Devra for next Christmas. (Yes...Devra, my friend with the Vest that never ends.) I was pretty excited when she said she'd like socks because they're quick and easy. Oddly, I'm going to end up with three socks exactly the same. I finished the pair while I was in Canada and still had some yarn left so I started on a third one. I needed something to keep my hands busy. There's not enough yarn left for a fourth sock so I guess I'll give all three to Devra just in case she loses one of them (you know how you see those abandoned socks on the side of the highway and you wonder how on earth they got there).

Or, you never know...with all the preservatives and other gunk they're putting into our food and air these days, she could suddenly sprout another foot. If that ever happens, she'll be prepared.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Update on the Cat

Alex managed to lure Scarface into the house, and we got him to Dr. Shields at Cross Creek Veterinary Clinic on Friday. As of this morning, he is resting comfortably, healing nicely, and it looks like he's going to be okay. Now we have to find him a home.

Unfortunately, Scarface is FIV positive, so he needs to be an indoor cat from now on. (We had him neutered, and we hope this will make him prefer to stay inside.)

If you know anyone who'd love to own a very sweet, but frightened pussycat, let us know!