Totoro, Cake, and Muffins


I’ve knit/crocheted a lot this week, but I only have one finished product to show for it. But this project is so freakin’ adorable that it makes up for all the unfinished products!

A friend asked for a knit Totoro hat around this time last year, and I never got around to making it. I hope this crocheted version is acceptable to him. If not, I know a few people who will happily take it!


I’m relatively close to finishing a hat – it’s possible I can finish today, but I may have too much stuff to do. I was worried this hat was working up too small, but I think it will end up being just right. I can’t wait until it’s off the needles so I can really tell! I can’t post pictures of this one until after Christmas, though.

I’ve made a lot of progress on another gift, a scarf. I’m about halfway done, I think. It’s a fast knit, so I’ve been working on the hat instead. I could finish the scarf on our trip to West Texas next week.


I was so disappointed Wednesday night after work when I was too tired to bake for our party at work on Tuesday. I had planned to make the butter rum cake, but it just didn’t happen. I’m proud of myself, though, for realizing I needed to stop for a breath.

I made up for the lack of baking during the week by baking twice this weekend.

First, last night I baked the Naughty Senator cake out of the All Cakes Considered book, which is a marbled cake – part mint-flavored and part chocolate with a touch of rum. It turned out pretty, but I’m not that impressed with the flavor. I’m a firm believer that there’s no such thing as bad cake, so I’m not complaining. I just probably won’t make this one again.



Now, the almond poppyseed muffins I made this morning are a different story! As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been sort of nonplussed with the Betty Crocker Christmas Cookbook, at least up until last week’s cherry triangles. I’m plugging along, though, and this week’s recipe was the best yet. Truly delicious! And easy!


I’ve had a couple of requests for the recipe, so here it is:

Almond Poppyseed Muffins

1/2 c sugar
1/3 c vegetable oil
1 egg
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 c sour cream
1/4 c milk
1 1/3 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp poppy seeds
3 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp sliced almonds

Heat oven to 375 F. Place paper baking cup in 12 muffin cups.

In large bowl, stir 1/2 cup sugar, oil, egg, and almond extract. Add sour cream and milk and beat with a spoon until blended. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and poppy seeds until blended. Divide the batter evenly between cups. Sprinkle each muffin with sugar and sliced almonds.

Bake for 14-17 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm or cool.


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