Category Archives: Boy Bait

food and other tasty things

Knitting for Dudes (or, the ticking timebomb)

Knitters are a giving bunch. After all, a gal can only wear so many of her own creations. It’s only a matter of time before the men in a knitter’s life start to look suspiciously in need of a handmade sweater.

So, after weeks of hard work, you hand your man a masterpiece. You picture delight, gratitude, and awe for your knitting prowess. “Aw, shucks,” he’ll say, as his friends ooh and ahh over his new oversized alpaca hoodie. After weeks of tireless knitting, how could you expect any less?

Here’s the thing; non-knitters will never appreciate the amount of love and anguish in every stitch. More importantly, few things are worse for the knitter than shelling out big bucks and lots of time on a project for a guy that rejects them.

So, here are my suggestions for gift-knitting for men without the heartbreak.

The Guy Friend: Scarves are the perfect gift for friendly guys of all non-romantic varieties, from your next door neighbor to the barista slinging lattes for your weekly Stitch and Bitch. While they’re super easy, scarves tend to take FOREVER, and are best saved for someone who’s going to be around awhile.

The Hey-I-Might-Like-You Guy: You’re fresh in the throes of love. He’s everything you dreamed, he treats you like a queen… but you’ve only been dating three weeks. Do yourself a favor, and stick with a Simple Hat for this one. A nice crocheted beanie will show your affection and skillz without scaring him off. Avoid fancy patterns and pompoms, and show the depth of your feeling with the caliber of yarn you choose. Try an inexpensive cotton for your summer fling, or spring for a sumptuous cashmere blend for a real keeper.

The Serious Boyfriend: He knows all your friends’ names, he waters your plants, he uses the words We and Our. This one gets an Afghan. An afghan you say? Isn’t that the most committed project ever? Well, yes and no. Yes, afghans are gigantic. BUT, with a simple pattern and large needles, toiling away on a collection of squares or strips will ultimately cost you far less pain and heartache than weeks of sweater shaping. Besides, if he’s around long enough for you to finish a blanket, he probably deserves it. I like Granny Square Afghans for the endless variety.

The Husband: He shelled out for the ring. He’s danced with grandma. You share dental bills. This dynamo deserves a Fisherman Sweater. Now that he’s stuck with you through thick and thin, knit him something that will keep him warm in all kinds of weather and last for decades.

All pattern ideas are clickable links to free patterns. Knitting With Balls is another great resource, as are vintage patterns. Choose your own adventure!

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Nutella Pots de Créme

FINALLY! Nutella Pots de Créme are here, and just in time for Valentine’s Day. Pot de créme is just a fancy word for cup-full-of-love (technically, cup of cream. whatever.). It’s a decadent dessert with a texture somewhere between a créme brulée and a chocolate mousse. Make these for your sweetie and he or she will fall into a deep sugar coma of amorous bliss.

2/3 cup milknutella pot de creme recipe

1 egg

dash of salt

1 cup milk or semisweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup Nutella

whipped cream

finely chopped, roasted hazelnuts for garnish (see note below)

Put egg, salt, chocolate, liqueur, and Nutella in a blender. Pulse to combine. Meanwhile, bring milk just to a boil in a small saucepan. Add hot milk to blender and mix until completely smooth. The hot milk should be enough to melt the chocolate and cook the egg. Done!

Pour mixture evenly into 4 glasses or soufflé cups. I think wine glasses give a romantic touch. Servings will be small, but this stuff is decadent. Let sit at room temperature for a few minutes so that the larger bubbles pop. Cover each glass with plastic wrap and chill thoroughly.

When ready to serve, top each serving with whipped cream and sprinkle with hazelnuts. These go well with a bubble bath.

nutella recipe

Note: Two things here. One, roasting nuts is easy peasy. Throw your nuts in a dry (NO oil or butter) skillet over medium heat. Swirl them around until they start to turn brown/smell delicious. Remove from heat. This takes no time at all but will make a HUGE difference in flavor. Two, always buy expensive items in bulk! This tip will SAVE YOU as a college student. Special ingredients like nuts or exotic spices or basmati rice can cost a lot when pre-packaged. Luckily, most regular grocery stores nowadays have bulk aisles just like the health food store. If you get your fancy dry ingredients  here, you’ll pay pennies. Trust me.

Not Your Mama’s Meatloaf

Meatloaf is the girl with a bad reputation that most people would love if they just got to know her. Warm, comforting, and tasty as leftovers, meat loaf is homestyle boy bait at its finest. Of course, plenty of girls dig mom food too. This is a perfect meal when your honey’s had a bad day (as long as they’re not vegetarian).

better meatloaf

my finished product, with vintage styling.

This version is kicked up a bit with a bottle of beer and plenty of spice. If your only memories of meatloaf are cafeteria-style, now’s the time to give it another chance.

1 lb ground beef (or lamb, or turkey)

1 bottle of dark beer (taste tested with Boulevard Brewing Co. Bully Porter)

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 of one onion, finely chopped OR grated if you’d like to soften the taste

1/2 tsp. dried basil

2/3 cup dry bread crumbs (you can find packaged bread crumbs anywhere. dry stuffing mix or crushed crackers work too.)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (technically optional, but really makes a difference)

salt (start with 1/2 teaspoon), black pepper (generous pinch), and garlic powder (two generous sprinklings)

your choice of topping (see below)

Put the ground beef in a large plastic bowl. Pour in 3/4 cup of beer. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a little garlic powder and stir gently to combine. Be gentle; you’ll be mixing more later and you don’t want to pulverize the meat. Just make sure the beer is evenly mixed in. Cover and refrigerate for as much time as you have, no more than a day.

Note: If you don’t remember to marinate in advance, no biggie. Just remember to add the beer later on.

Add eggs, bread crumbs, chopped onion, basil, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir with a fork to combine, adding another sprinkle of salt, pepper, or garlic if you feel the need. Slide the whole mixture into a loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray. If you don’t have a loaf pan, turn the meat onto a greased cookie sheet or glass casserole pan and shape your own loaf. Slide into a preheated 350° oven and bake for 1 hour and ten minutes.

I highly recommend using one of these topping options…

Like Momma’s: mix 1/2 cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar OR molasses, and a teaspoon dry mustard OR one teaspoon of regular yellow mustard. Spoon over top of meatloaf halfway through cooking and return to oven.

BBQ: before baking, skip Worcestershire sauce and add 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke. The stuff exists, trust me, and it’s deliciously weird. Halfway through cooking, spoon 1/2 cup BBQ sauce over the top and return to oven.

Restaurant Style: prepare a 79¢ packet of mushroom gravy according to directions. Drizzle gravy over finished meatloaf, reserving some for the table. Don’t forget to throw away the packet where your honey can’t see.

Let the loaf sit for ten minutes or so before slicing, and serve with mashed potatoes.