About Me

My photo
I've been crocheting for over 30 years, and come from a family of yarn and fabric artisans. I learned to sew from my Grandmother who made several quilts a year entirely by hand...one for each child, grandchild, and great-grandchild. Life situations and changes caused me to take a chance and open my first Etsy shop in Feb. 2011. A few successful months later, I opened my second Etsy shop as BeccaTheBaker...and later in 2011 opened my third Etsy shop as BeyondCrochetToo. I'm a single mother of 2 teenagers (a girl and a boy), plus 2 cats. I'm a 5th generation Native Californian (Northern California. And am happy to be back on the West Coast in the Pacific Northwest where I belong.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Donut Holes from Mr. Food

Pumpkin Doughnut Holes

Versatile canned pumpkin is the secret to loads of favorite autumn and holiday recipes like our to-die-for Pumpkin Doughnut Holes. These easy
fritter-like treats cook up fast in a skillet. They're awesome served warm, topped with confectioners’ sugar. 
Yields: 2 dozen
Cooking Time: 30 min
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  1. In a soup pot, heat oil over medium heat until hot.
  2. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients except confectioners' sugar; mix well.
  3. Drop pumpkin batter by level tablespoonfuls into hot oil and fry 2 minutes or until golden, turning at least once. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining batter. Roll doughnut holes in confectioners' sugar; serve warm.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Trick Or Treat - Not So Sweet: 6 Side Effects of Sugar We All Should Know

Between waiting for the house to sell, waiting for items in my shop to sell, making and listing new items for 3 shops (not including helping my mom with hers), trying what I can to have those same shops be seen and favored, and all the other day-to-day things I do and/or need to do - I've been feeling a little low and stretched thin....Go figure! :/

And what's readily available every where you look right now? Candy!! Lots and lots of candy! Since I was already feeling a little blue (and let's be honest here...hormonal) I started hitting the chocolate - and hitting it HARD! And I've noticed that I just keep feeling worse and worse....and more depressed to the point that it's taking me several days to make things that should only take me 2 at the most.

Now, I'm good on self-awareness. So once I started noticing these feeling getting worse when I really have no environmental reasons (outside of the norm), or emotional reasons (outside of the norm...lol) for them to do so, I began really thinking about what could be causing me to feel so "ugh!" and emotional. And then I remembered this article from a few months back....

Blood Sugar Levels and Disease

6 Scary Side Effects of Sugar

Americans eat their weight in sugar each year. But too much sugar may increase your risk of a host of diseases that affect your body and mind

Sugar Can Increase Your Chances of Depression

Eating sugar and carbs can give you a temporary mood boost—it triggers your body to release the feel-good hormone serotonin—but overloading your system with sugar seems to have the reverse effect, says Teitelbaum. In fact, researchers from Baylor College of Medicine found a correlation between sugar consumption and the annual rate of depression in six countries. While the exact mechanism that triggers excess sugar to negatively affect your mood is unknown, some believe that insulin resistance may force the release of the stress hormones cortisol and GLP-1.

Moreover, research published in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that people who were diagnosed with schizophrenia and ate a sugar-heavy diet were more likely to be hospitalized in a 2-year follow-up period. “Behavioral disorders, in general, are affected by massive swings in sugar,” says Teitelbaum. “When you eat a lot of sugar , your blood sugar levels shoot way up and then go way low. These fluctuations drive your metabolism and mood nuts . And when someone is schizophrenic, he already has a hair-trigger.”

Tossing Back Sugary Drinks May Increase Your Risk of Diabetes

Consuming sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soft drinks, fruit drinks, iced tea, and sports drinks, may increase your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. A recent study published in the journal Diabetes Care examined more than 310,000 patients and found that those who drank 1 to 2 servings of the sweet stuff a day were 26% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who drank it once a month or not at all. What’s more, University of California, San Francisco, researchers estimated that 130,000 new cases of diabetes between 1990 and 2000 can be attributed to the increase in Americans’ consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.

The reason is twofold: Loading up on sugar-sweetened beverages tends to lead to weight gain, which is a risk factor for diabetes. Previous studies have found that those who toss back high-calorie drinks tend not to cut calories elsewhere from their meals. Second, sugar-loaded drinks deliver a quick rush of sugars to your body, which over time can lead to insulin resistance and inflammation, explains Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, author of Beat Sugar Addiction Now!

Following a High-Glycemic Diet May Cause Acne

While dermatologists and other experts have debated whether greasy french fries and chocolate cause breakouts, some truth has been found that backs the old wives’ tale. According to a 2008 study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, what you eat can affect your skin. The study’s Australian researchers measured the effects of high- and low-glycemic diets on the skin of teenage boys. The glycemic index of a food defines how quickly it’s broken down into glucose by the body. High-glycemic foods, such as refined carbs, sugary drinks, and even certain fruits high in natural sugars, cause large spikes in blood sugar when eaten. Low-glycemic foods, such as whole grains, are broken down into sugars more slowly, so they do not cause spikes in blood sugar. The researchers found that those who were on the low-glycemic diet experienced a 50% reduction in acne, while those who ate the high-glycemic diet experienced a 14% increase. Researchers speculate that insulin resistance—commonly associated with eating a high-glycemic diet—may fuel inflammation and the production of the acne-causing oil sebum.

A Diet Rich in Sugar Can Hurt Your Heart

Eating an excessive amount of fat isn’t the only thing that increases your risk of heart disease. Mounting evidence suggests that sugar plays a direct role on the health of your ticker. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people who took in more than 17.5% of their calories from added sugars were 20 to 30% more likely to have high levels of triglycerides, a type of fat that’s found in your blood. When you consume more sugar than you need for energy, the excess sugars form triglycerides, which are then stored in fat cells.

The same study found that people who got 25% or more of their calories from added sugars were more than 3 times more likely to have low levels of HDL (the good cholesterol that helps prevent plaque buildup by carrying cholesterol from your arteries to your liver where it is then excreted) than those whose diets included less than 5% sugar. Both high triglycerides and low HDL levels contribute to atherosclerosis—the hardening of your arteries—a condition that increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart attack.

The case against sugar is so compelling that, in 2009, the AHA released guidelines suggesting people limit intake. Women should eat less than 6 teaspoons a day; men are to keep their intake to 9 teaspoons.

High Blood Sugar Can Increase Your Risk of Yeast Infection

Yeast grows by feeding on sugar, so if you drink a 48-ounce Big Gulp every day, your body is going to be a fermentation tank, says Teitelbaum. Yeast infections—both down there and in your mouth (also known as oral thrush)—are typically caused by an overgrowth of the bacteria Candida. These bacteria exist naturally in your body, but are usually held in check by your immune system. However, when your blood sugar is particularly high, the extra sugars in your saliva and urine provide a perfect breeding ground for the bacteria.

Sugar May Increase Your Risk of Cancer

“The sugar-cancer connection is compelling and scary,” says Bennett, pointing to in vitro studies that show cancer cells feed on sugar to fuel their growth and proliferation. “Researchers call them ‘glucose guzzlers.’” While it’s not proven that sugar fuels cancer growth in the body, we do know that obesity—a likely effect of eating too much sugar—increases your risk of developing a number of cancers, and that both sugar and insulin fuel cancer-cell growth.

A number of studies indicate a strong relationship between sugar consumption and an increased risk of cancer. For instance, University of Minnesota researchers looked at more than 60,000 patients over 14 years and found that people who drank two or more soft drinks a week had an 87% higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer. University of Buffalo researchers found that diabetic women had a 39% increased risk of developing breast cancer over those with a fasting glucose level below 100 mg/dl. That is, women with the highest blood sugar levels were much more likely to have breast cancer than those with the lowest levels.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pumpkin-Spice Latte - Reprint from Betty Crocker

Pumpkin-Spice Latte

Pumpkin-Spice Latte 
Bloggers Adam and Jo Gallagher from Inspired Taste share a recipe for homemade lattes. Our favorite fall coffee house drink at home—the pumpkin-spice latte.
Prep Time: 
10 Minutes
Total Time:
10 Minutes
2 servings

  cups milk
tablespoons canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  to 2 tablespoons sugar (to taste)
  teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
tablespoon vanilla
  cup hot brewed coffee
Garnish, if desired:
Whipped cream
Dash pumpkin pie spice
  cinnamon sticks
  1. In 2-quart saucepan, heat milk, pumpkin and sugar over medium heat until hot (do not boil). Remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, the vanilla and coffee.
  2. Pour into 2 large mugs. Garnish each with whipped cream, dash pumpkin pie spice and a cinnamon stick.
Makes 2 servings
Make the Most of This Recipe With Tips From The Betty Crocker® Kitchens
Allow the Pumpkin-Spice Latte to cool, and serve over ice for a cold version.
If you do not have pumpkin pie spice at home, make your own by combining 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons of ground ginger and 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg. This will make about 2 tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice mix.
Nutrition Information:
1 Serving (1 Serving)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Movies To Crochet By #5

I love finding movies that I missed, or newer movies that I never heard of and turn out to be a nice surprise! :)

See You in September

2010 NR 90 minutes
Feeling abandoned by her therapist who's gone on an extended vacation, beautiful Lindsay (Estella Warren) gets help with her fear of commitment from an ad hoc support group formed by other New Yorkers also left high and dry by their shrinks. But when her pals dare her to date fellow group member A.J. (Justin Kirk), Lindsay begins to wonder if she's finally found her match. Tamara Tunie directs this charming romantic comedy.

Never heard of this one, but it sounded okay when I couldn't find anything else to watch. - Turned out to be a really good movie with a sweetly romantic plot. 

The Newton Boys

1998 PG-13 122 minutes
Four Texan brothers (Vincent D'Onofrio, Ethan Hawke, Matthew McConaughey and Skeet Ulrich) ignite a crime spree in the 1920s, robbing more than 200 banks across the nation -- without ever killing anyone. In a career highlight, the unexpectedly compassionate team pulls off the largest train robbery in U.S. history. Richard Linklater (School of Rock) directs this heist film, based on a true story, that focuses more on characters than mindless action.

I'm not a fan of Matthew McConaughey, but this one must have been made before his "banging the bongo drums naked" craze. (If you don't know, don't ask. LOL) - This one is a really well acted true story. I especially enjoyed seeing old interview footage of the brothers. 

The Italian Job

1969 G 99 minutes
In director Peter Collinson's Golden Globe-nominated caper flick, enterprising swindler Charlie Croker (Michael Caine) hatches an ingenious plan to steal a huge cache of Chinese gold en route to Turin, Italy, as collateral for a new Fiat plant. The diversion for the heist: A gigantic traffic jam during an Italy-Great Britain soccer match. Incarcerated criminal genius Mr. Bridger (Noel Coward) helps Croker get financing -- from his jail cell.

I love the remake with Mark Wahlberg, but the original is just as great. Very '60s camp, but fun.

Love's Kitchen

(No Ordinary Trifle)
2010 PG-13 89 minutes
After the tragic loss of his wife, a down-on-his-luck London chef starts afresh by pouring his energies into a fixer-upper eatery and attracting the attention of an American food critic with a decadent dessert: a mouth-watering trifle.

Despite the cover - Gordon Ramsey is hardly in this....which is a good thing because although I idolize him as a Chef, he sucks as an actor. 
Any movie that combines romance with cooking is okay by me, but this one I especially liked. :)

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies recipe - repost from Delish.com

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
From Delish

Jeanie Gover of Rockland, Maine, took a runner-up spot in Quick & Simple's Best Pumpkin Recipe Contest with her autumn-inspired playful dessert

By Quick & Simple Staff

Nutritional Information
(per serving)
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Total Carbohydrate
Dietary Fiber
Serves: 36 

Yields: 36 servings
Total Time: 40 min
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Oven Temp: 350

  • 1 can(s) (15-oz. solid-pack) pumpkin
  • 2 cup(s) (packed) brown sugar
  • 1 cup(s) vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
  • 3 cup(s) flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) cinnamon
  • 11/2 teaspoon(s) ginger
  • 1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon(s) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) (ground) cloves
  • 1/2 cup(s) vegetable shortening, softened
  • 2 cup(s) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg whites

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or grease with vegetable shortening. In large bowl, beat together pumpkin, brown sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla extract with electric mixer until blended.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cloves. Add to pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.
  3. Drop batter by tablespoons onto prepared pans. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, rotating pans halfway through, until tops spring back when lightly touched. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, beat together all filling ingredients with electric mixer on high speed until fluffy. Spread 1/2 tsp. filling onto flat side of one cookie and top with another. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Question for my followers.....

One of the first things I decided to do on this blog was help promote other Etsy sellers by featuring them in my weekly Wishlists. The original concept of these lists came directly from items I found on Etsy that I truly wanted. But, over time it changed and became more of a treasury of sorts......and then eventually I stopped doing them completely because of lack of time, and also because I frankly wasn't sure anyone was even looking.

I was just going through my Etsy favorites, and was reminded of all the great items I still want. So IF I do the Wishlists again, it will go back to the original way of featuring items I really wish I could own - based on themes, of course. :)

So that brings me to the question: for those of you who are truly following (aka paying attention....lol) - would you like to see the weekly Wishlists come back? Or would you prefer I just do more Pay It Forward posts featuring sellers that I have actual buying experience with?