And Happy 2010

January 3, 2010

Goodness, I stink at blogging! I don’t know how angry chicken or crazy mom quilts put so much on their blogs, much LESS do all that they do AND be moms, wives, daughters, etc……….

So on with the new year! We are home after church, wearing jammies on this cold COLD day, enjoying the last hours of vacation before the school routine starts again.  I enjoyed Christmas but I’ll be glad to NOT go anywhere any time soon.  We traveled to the D.C. area right after the big snowfall, visited the Smithsonian for the day (first time for my kids), and picked up the kids later in the break in Gastonia, NC (at Mary Jo’s of course!!).

But back to Christmas- I’ll start with my cooking/baking.

This is what I made for teacher gifts- in fact I was good and made them in September and froze them! I packaged them in a cute bag with some fancy cocktail napkins (bought after Xmas last year, of course!).

Cream Cheese Pound Cake   (Martha recipe- Everyday Food Dec ‘03)

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp.
8 ounces (1 bar) cream cheese, at room temp.  
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract  
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons rum (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°. Generously coat two 8.5-by-4.5-by-2.5-inch loaf pans with cooking spray. (Or, alternately, use a 4-quart bundt pan.)
In a large electric mixer, cream butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time to creamed mixture, beating until well combined. Mix in vanilla.
Combine the flour and salt in a separate bowl. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture in two additions, mixing until just combined. Immediately spoon the batter into the prepared pans. Smooth the top of the batter so that that is evenly fills the pans.
Bake at 350° until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean with just a few moist crumbs attached. This will take about 60 to 75 minutes for the loaf pans, maybe 5 minutes more for the single bundt pan. Be careful that the cake tops do not brown too quickly. If this starts to happen, tent with aluminum foil.
Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes, and then turn out the cakes to cool completely. With the loaf pans, the cakes should cool on a wire rack with the top sides up. (If using a bundt pan, just invert the cake onto a serving platter to cool there.) Sprinkle rum evenly over the tops of the two loaves (or the bundt cake). Let cool completely before serving.  (Best let sit at least a day before serving)

Store wrapped in plastic 3 days at room temp., or freeze for up to 3 months

Other yummies I made were gingerbread cookies, eggnog cookies (following the suggestions in the reviews), espresso chocolate icebox cookies (using espresso powder instead of coffee granules and extract), and Christmas sandies (tip- dip only the tops in sprinkles, not the bottoms).

I made  regular thumbprint cookies with the kids, but look at this recipe I didn’t get to- pepper jelly cornmeal cups– WOW!

Next year (yes, I’m already planning for Christmas 2010!) I’m going to make hot fudge for one of my gifts.  I tried this at a friend’s house- delish!  Here is the recipe if you want to start before me:

Hot Fudge

12 oz. choc. chips (bittersweet)
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
14 oz. corn syrup
½ lb. butter (2 sticks)
optional  ½ c. flavored liquor

Melt chips and corn syrup.  Add and melt butter.  Add canned milk.  Mixture simmered- do not boil- to thicken (about 5 minutes).  Cool. Keep refrigerated.

Makes approximately 3 pints.

There’s my cooking wrap-up, albeit just a partial listing.

Next, I’ll post about the gifts I made for Christmas!

Bye till next time!

~S

And it’s October

October 16, 2009

I’m doing a horrendous job keeping up with this thing!  Well, school did start and all that goes with it, so I’ll use it as my excuse.

I didn’t get a booth at my church’s bazaar this Fall- just too much going on to make myself even MORE crazy.  I did put some things in the Gallery show in Richmond though.

Mom's camera 2236 I made these Buttercup Bags for the show- aren’t they cute?!?  If they don’t sell (which would be a travesty!!) I’ll probably put them on etsy – OH! I registered for an etsy account!  I’ll give you more info once I actually have something for sale….

Mom's camera 2223And some wooden disk pendants on handmade organza ribbon necklaces…..

Mom's camera 2227

And some of my scrappy flower pins.

This week I also sent some handmade notebooks to GA to benefit a doll club.  I think they turned out SO cute- especially since I used my own original photography.

Front of notebooks

Front of notebooks

Backs of notebooks

Backs of notebooks

I used the Photojojo tutorial.

Happy World Bread Day!  Yup, October 16th. You are probably saying to yourself- “sugar smacks! I forgot to make bread today!”  Well you are in luck- here is a quick and SUPER delicious bread recipe you can make right now.

Jiffy Beer Bread

3 c.  self-rising flour*, 3 T. sugar, 1- 12 oz. can or bottle of beer

  • Mix flour and sugar in a bowl; make a well in the center.   Add beer, stir till blended.
  • Bake at 350 degrees in a greased bread pan for 60 minutes. Turn out immediately.
  • Try not to grab a stick of butter and eat it all yourself!!

* 1 c. self-rising flour= 1 c. all-purpose flour + 1 1/4 t. baking powder + a pinch of salt

 This recipe sounds good too- I haven’t tried it yet.

CIDER BREAD

3-1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
3 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt

  • Stir together. Make a well in center and add, in order:

1 c. vegetable oil
4 whole eggs
1 1/2 c. canned pumpkin
2/3 c. apple cider
1/2 c. thick applesauce

  • Mix everything until smooth. Pour into greased and flour pan.
  • Makes two 8 1/2 x 1 1/2 x 2 1/2 loaves. Can also be baked in one-pound coffee cans. If baked in can, fill 2/3 full. Makes 3.
  • Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

 I’m off to figure out dinner………

~S

September is Here

September 1, 2009

Hello all!

I can’t believe August is gone….. school starts next week and Fall is just around the corner.  Today was quite chilly- maybe only in the 70*s.

I’m trying to figure out where to start. Ok- UFDC Doll Convention- amazing, hectic, took a while to figure out, aspects I didn’t like, but it was very good. I learned a lot.  I’d love to say I bought loads of dolls, but that is FAR from the case!  There were SERIOUS dolls and serious doll collectors there- I went to a Theriault’s auction and saw a doll go for $345,000. Plus tax and buyer’s premium….  Yeah……….

I did get a doll I wanted- Sew for Me Toni- a repro by Effanbee, but SO cute.  I have the brunette.

I also bought some vintage Toni patterns- well, 16″ doll patterns.  I’m hoping to make some clothes for a vintage Toni I have and for this new girl too.

doll Simplicity pattern

dollAdvance pattern

I love the Advance pattern- it’s a ‘Learn to Sew” pattern for children.  Anything to make it easier on me!

Here are some of my best photos from the doll show:

1920s boudoir doll

1920s boudoir doll

Beverly Walters doll- modern artist

Beverly Walters doll- modern artist

1950s/60s fashion doll

1950s/60s fashion doll

I need to get to bed- this uploading takes along time!  Angry Chicken and the other mega bloggers must have mega computers…..

I will say that I’m making scarfletts from this pattern by Fig Tree Quilts. Easy peasy gifts!!  I’ll try to take a pic of one of my finished scarfletts- I’m starting with the plain corduroy one, not the pieced and quilted one.

I’ve also been making loads of jam, but I’ll leave that- and the recipes- for the next post.

Here is a coleslaw dressing recipe that I devised MYSELF!!!  Well, I changed a recipe so much I can claim it as mine now, right?  Very simple and cheap compared to buying it pre-made.

Cole Slaw Dressing

  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • A couple big pinches of celery salt (which is about 1/8 t.)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Finely minced sweet onion- @ 1 t.
  • Finely shredded carrot- @ 1-2 t.
  • Pre-shredded cabbage slaw (in the salad section of the grocery store)

Whisk all together. Let rest in fridge until chilled. If you like it thicker, add more mayo (and possibly adjust other seasonings as needed).

Toss with slaw to coat and mix well. Refrigerate.

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P.S.- Check out the Craft Talk link over on the right side- under “Lovely Places”- it’s a hoot!

Bye for now ~S

How can it be July?  I mean seriously, the kids have been out of school for like a week, right?  What?  It’s been more like four weeks? Really?!?

I don’t know why every year I kid myself by thinking that summer will be relaxing.  It’s been CRAZY busy- parties and funerals (not funeral parties- that’s weird!), trips here and there, worrying about relatives with cancer, orthodontist appts., speaking engagement, trip to the lake, etc.  And now I’m getting ready to leave on another trip for a few weeks.

I’d love to say I’ve been sewing and crafting, but I haven’t much.  Well, I have been in the past week though- I’m trying to get Christmas presents [did she really just say that?!?] done so I can take them on my trip, which is also where we will be for Xmas (14 hours away by car).  If I get them done NOW that one less thing to worry about LATER.

I’ve been making Xmas pillowcases for all the family members who will be there in December- aw!!!  I thought it was a cute idea.  I’m using the pattern from Connecting Threads.  And I’m making quilts for the kids- I’ll have to show you those and explain them later.  Nothing crazy complicated-

And for myself, I made and am in the process of making more of these adorable and simple buttercup bags.   The pattern is easy, it goes together quickly, and only take a fat quarter of fabric for each the outside and the lining!  What a great use for a gorgeous fat quarter. My only suggestion is to add interfacing to the lining fabric- it’s a bit floppy if you use fine fabric.

Buttercup Bag

I made my first because I wanted a bag to go with the dress I purchased to wear to the UFDC convention banquet. (Yes, I’m going to the doll convention next week!) I like how it’s similar but doesn’t match. ( I say that because I picked the bag fabric while trying to remember what the dress looked like, and it’s exact shades of blue!)

And if packing and all wasn’t enough, we were adopted a few weeks ago by a sweet, and pregnant, cat.  So we set up a nursery on our screened in porch, and late Sunday night she had the kittens.  We were excited- three kittens! I thought, I can probably find home for 3 kittens…… The next morning we got up to check on them- there were SEVEN kittens.  Whoa.  (she obviously wasn’t done)  Hubby will have to be their nurse while we are gone!  But Rose is a good mama, so we know they are in good hands.

one day old

And to close, I will leave you with a great recipe I’ve made three times in the past month.  It’s from a publication called “Let’s Do Lunch” In Southwest Virginia: A Memoir . (I think it’s out of print- it was a limited edition printed last year by a lovely lady at my mom’s church. ) This recipes is very economical too if you buy the peppers from Dollar Tree- seriously!! That place is a gold mine.

Roasted Red Pepper Spread

  • 1- 8 oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 1- 8 oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 t. garlic powder

– Gently beat cream cheese at low speed with hand mixer; set aside.  Drain the peppers, chop, and add to cream cherese with the thyme and garlic powder.  Transfer to fancy serving bowl and serve with crackers.

[Sam’s note- I just whiz it all in the food processor- quick and easy. And bec. the peppers I get at Dollar Tree are 12 0z., I just add more cream cheese and spices accordingly.]

I’ll be taking my laptop with me, so hopefully I can post some more while I’m gone.  And I’m going to try to work on my hexagons too!

Bye till later!

~S

It’s May

May 15, 2009

Goodness time flies!

No new soups recently.  I’ve been busy, and the weather has been crazy- hot, cold, rain.  I’ve also been subbing in our school district.  Quite the shock to my system!  As one girl said, I need to “get mean.”  I usually have to get another teacher to give the class the evil eye to make them quiet down.  I did high school ONCE- they scared me!  The middle school wasn’t too bad- still were loud.  My favorite so far is subbing in the preK special education class.  I was an aide to one student yesterday-that was good too.

My doll bed?  Still not painted, but more hexies have been made.  I haven’t tried to assemble them yet- guess I better get started.

I have to go sub soon, but I wanted to post about a MAY GIVEAWAY over at Sew, Mama, Sew !!!!!

I might even pull myself together and participate!!!! (Beyond going to EVERY blog and entering their drawing)

Ok- off I go.  Lots to do.  (Strawberries ame in early this year- for you too?  I have jam to make…….. tomorrow though!)

~S

Say it Ain’t So!!

April 21, 2009

hallmark

Hallmark Magazine, which I really like, is no more.  This sucks.  Too many good magazine are folding.  And WHY don’t they keep their websites up?!?!  Mary Englebreit, and now Hallmark- all the templates and recipes and stuff are gone.  They are big companies- can’t they just stay there, static??

Moving on……… I’m glad Easter is over. I mean I love Easter, but all the hoop-la of the past month is done, and I’m glad.  We had a quilt raffle at church (no I DON’T know how much we made yet, thank you for asking- we are counting this week!) and it is over.

Right now I’m working on a project- very cute.  I’m going to the UFDC convention in Atlanta this summer (my 1st time), and one thing they ask for is donation for their “helper room”- technically NOT a raffle.  You can buy chances and put your name in the hat for whatever you like. Well, I saw a doll bed at the Salvation Army and decided I’m going to fix it up and take it.  This is what it looks like now:

doll bed- before

Why did everyone paint everything that yucky brownish- yellow color anyway?  I’m going to repaint it, sew a mattress and pillow and linens.

And on top of that- (literally)- will be what I’m currently working on- a bed spread or quilt of some sort.  I sound so wishy-washy bec. I have a few irons in the oven at once- I’m not sure which will get done first!  I have daughter working on a yo-yo coverlet- she’s really taken to it and can make them from knotting the thread to the end. (I love to see kids sew!) 

I myself and doing what I said I’d never do, unless I was incarcerated for life- English paper piecing, or Grandma’s Flower Garden.  It’s all by hand. Yup.  And for a doll bed, the pieces have to be pretty small.

little hexies

I have more than just these made- this is just an illustration of what it will look like.  I’ve estimated that I will need over 200 of those buggers- HA HA HA!!!  And not just basted, as shown, but actually sewn TOGETHER.  And going full circle, this is why I say I have a couple irons in the oven for the doll bed covering.  But it’s fun.

I need to get some things done today, but I did make this soup last night- Spinach Lentil soup.  As always I kinda followed the recipe.  More lentils (about 1/2 lb.), more sausage, added garlic, cumin, garam masala, more broth than water, etc.   Mine turned out very thick- less a soup than just a dish.  Daughter amazingly liked it and asked for it in her lunch tomorrow!

Till next time!

~S

And Now It’s Saturday

January 24, 2009

One of my kids had an overnight guest, so yesterday was a flurry of cleaning, making beds, buying chips and pizza.  AND my sewing machine was put away- I can’t wait to get it back out!! 

I’m WAAAY behind on my birthday quilt- surprise surprise!  “Stuff” has just come up, as stuff does.  I’ve also been working on items for my church’s craft bazaar this Spring.  I belong to a few church groups that will be selling things, one of which is my quilting group.  We are making coasters – yeah, I know it’s not an original pattern, but it’s quite basic, and it’s not like we are selling these on etsy.  So I’ve made LOADS out of all kinds of scraps and other donated fabrics not suitable for quilts (frugal!).

moms-camera-1392

Did you celebrate National Pie Day yesterday?? I did!  We went with a basic apple pie.  DH requested peach, but I had to remind him that it’s not peach season (I like to eat seasonally- kids need to know strawberries = May/June where we live!!!).

I need to make my soup swap soup today too- YES!! anyone  in my swap reading this- I put it off to the last minute. Happy Soup Swap Day too!

Off to get ready to go to a memorial service- I’ll leave you with a TNT bar cookie recipe I’m taking with me.  Quick tonwhip up, fairly healthy, and everyone always likes them.  I’ve used all kinds of preserves too- blackberry, apricot, strawberry, etc.  My only change- I often don’t have fruit juice, so I just use water.  With the sweet fruit spread you can’t taste the difference.

Apricot Oatmeal Bars

1 c. quick oats
1 c. flour
2/3 c. packed light brown sugar

1/4 t. salt

1/4 t. baking soda

1/4 c. vegetable oil

3 T. apple or cranberry juice

1- 10 oz. jar apricot preserves, preferably “all-fruit” (1 scant cup) (or other flavor all-fruit) (Regular preserves work too- just has more sugar)

– Preheat oven to 325*. lightly oil (or spray with non-stick spray) an 8×12″ baking dish; set aside.

– In a large bowl, work oats —-> soda until no lumps of sugar remain. Drizzle with oil and juice and mix with fingertips until evenly moist and crumbly.

– Set aside 1/2 c. for topping; press remainder evenly in bottom of dish. Spread preserves over top. Sprinkle with reserved oat topping.

– Bake 30-40 minutes or until golden.

– Let cool in baking dish on a rack. Cut into 15 bars. Store at room temp. in airtight container.