Thursday, November 25, 2010


Ah, the Thanksgiving feast is over and everyone over the age of 20 is down for their nap except me.

The menu was:

Au Gratin Potatoes
Green Bean Almondine
Rancho Canyon Cookbook: Simple Sourdough Bread

Pickled Beets
Bread-n-Butter pickles
Pickled Mushrooms
Kosher Baby Dill Pickles
Chocolate Chiffon Pie
Sweet Potato Chiffon Pie
Apple Pie with Lemon Cream Sauce
Iced Tea with Mint

The Au Gratin potatoes, Chocolate Chiffon pie and Apple pie with Lemon Cream sauce recipes all came out of my 1963 edition of Pillsbury's Family Cookbook. When Mother was a housekeeper for the Wichita Public Library she found my cookbook in the trash. Other than a few stains it was in pretty good shape. I've had it over 40 years. If I want to make good solid American food it is the cookbook of choice.

Sister Suzy lobbied for a chocolate pie, so I, being a wonderful mother and all (tongue firmly in cheek, cough, cough), added another pie to the dinner. My twist on the chocolate pie was to use 2 Abuelita Mexican Chocolate disks instead of 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate squares and to cut the last 1/4 cup of sugar out of the egg whites. It was still plenty sweet. I bet I could have cut 1/4 to 1/3 more sugar and it would still be sweet enough.

I was going to link my Green Bean Almondine recipe but guess what? Nobody has a recipe the way I make it. So here is how I make it:

Green Bean Almondine

2 15 oz cans of green beans or 1 lb bag frozen, your choice of cut
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 lb bacon, chopped, fried crisp, drained or Ham, cubed
1 tsp bacon drippings
1/4 cup sliced almonds
2 or 3 mushrooms, sliced
salt to taste

Put everything but salt in a 2 quart sauce pan. Cook until onions are translucent. Taste for saltiness and season accordingly. Serve

My twist on the sourdough bread was to replace 8 oz of plain flour with 8 oz. of whole wheat. This is the best bread recipe I have ever tried. If you have trouble making a decent loaf of bread try this one. I think my problem with baking bread is I don't knead it long enough. This bread isn't kneaded at all, yeah!

Hope you counted your blessings and Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Well as you can tell I have been playing with the format of my blog. What do you think? I'm kind of liking it. It looks clean, easy for me to read without my glasses. I have most of the blogs I read listed. I do have a few that I can't get Blogger to list. Strange. I would love to add a quote-of-the-day or something similar as a top gadget but not if it includes an ad. You know rearranging the furniture on your blog is a whole lot less stress on the old bod than moving furniture in a house! LOL Off to play some more.

Have a good day!


Derek's quilt update

Quick note:

I saw Derek's mama today. She tells me that Derek loves the quilt. It fits his bed perfectly and is on his bed. And I got a bunch of hugs! Of course, she and I do a lot of hugging whenever we see each other, but still, pretty cool! I must confess I was afraid he would be somewhat embarrassed about the theme, because of his age. His mama said he wasn't, so double cool!

Have a good day!


T-shirt quilts

I got this comment from Kristin that reads:

Kristin said...

I saw your T-shirt quilt on Crazy Shortcut Quilts. I wanted to know if you liked doing it that way. I make T-shirt quilts and have never done a "quilt as you go" quilt but saw this and thought it might work. How did it do for you? How does the back end up turning out? They only have one picture posted. If you have more I would love to see them. Also if you have any advise for doing a quilt as you for T-shirt quilt that would be GREAT! ...

I thought my response would make a good blog post. So here it is.


I did not make the quilt you are referencing in Marguerita's blog, Crazy Shortcut Quilts. Jean N. made that beautiful quilt.

However, if, I were to make one(I have one in mind for Sister Suzy when she graduates this spring.) I would use the Crazy Shortcut Quilt method to set the quilt together. I find this way of quilting and setting a quilt together to be the easiest I have ever used.

This is how I would do one, after I had decided what size of quilt and blocks I wanted. I would stabilize the t-shirt material with a light weight fusible interface. I have found that I only need batting and backing that is 1/2 inch larger than my block for the front. (I don't like to waste fabric.) I have also found the traditional thickness or weight of batting is the easiest to quilt, in a regular sewing machine, with the least amount of bunching and puckering. I have to pin the quilt lines themselves to get everything stable enough to quilt without the bunching in thicker battings. (see: Sept 22, 2010 post) I can not recommend Poly-fil's Quilter's 80/20 traditional batting because I thought it was too 'dusty'. As you cut and handled it, it released too many loose fibers into the air stirring up my asthma. I used this batting for Derek's quilt.

I would also use a woven backing for the stability. I would have to play with a block or two to decide if a reversible quilt (t-shirt on both sides) would be feasible. I think one would look great! I would then set the blocks together using the Crazy Shortcut Quilt methodology.

I might have to make the setting strips a little wider than recommended if there were a lot of curling of the single knit edges. However, I wouldn't think so, if you fused an area a bit larger that the block you were wanting to cut from the shirt. I do think using a different width of setting strips would look interesting. I would think, you would just figure that into the border you left around the t-shirt block you were cutting.

Anybody out there have experience they would like to share with Kristin and the rest of us on making t-shirt quilts using the Crazy Shortcut Quilt method? Or, your experience with any quilt-as-you-go methods for t-shirt quilts?

Have a good day!


Sunday, November 7, 2010


I have been hungry for nachos. So last week I bought tortilla chips and the fixings for salsa. Today I had a chance to cook. While the skinned chicken thighs were simmering I made salsa. My recipe is a variation of one that I made while I was a cook in a night club.

Jack Mann's Salsa

3 lb jalapenos
3 lbs green peppers
3 lbs onion
1 No. 10 of stewed tomatoes

Trim tops off jalapenos, seed green peppers, remove onion peels. Cut everything to fit in the chute of a meat grinder. Grind in order of ingredients. CAUTION: Wear rubber gloves and DO NOT sniff fumes while grinding or mixing. Will make about two gallons.

A teaspoon is absolutely delicious on a bowl of chili.

My variation:

4 oz jalapenos
8 oz green peppers
8 oz onions
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp liquid mesquite smoke
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
1/2 - 1 tsp salt
2 15 1/2 oz cans stewed tomatoes or 2 - 3 lbs of fresh tomatoes if you have them

Seed green peppers. Chunk onions, garlic, green pepper and put in food processor; add liquid smoke, salt. Decide how hot you would like your salsa. I have people who don't like much heat(wusses) so I seed 3 of the 4 jalapenos before putting them in the food processor. Run food processor until everything is medium to finely chopped. Scrap into a medium bowl. Dump tomatoes and cilantro (if using) into food processor and give it a whirl. Scrape into the medium bowl; mix well. Get out chips and taste. Adjust salt and heat. Taste some more. Makes 1 to 1 1/2 quarts.

When we have friends over that I know like some heat I will use 8 oz. of jalapenos unseeded in one batch and then make the milder batch. If I am desperate for some extra heat I will chop some jalapenos in a separate small bowl to add to my bowl of salsa. My sister doesn't like the taste of cilantro so when she comes I leave it out.

Nachos were very good. They hit the spot. I have some left-over chicken and the broth, of course. So, some time next week I will probably make chicken-n-noodles because that is one of Hubby's favorite dishes.

I also baked an apple cake. I found Mayamade's recipe referenced on someone else blog (sorry I have forgotten who's) and it looked interesting.

One Bowl Apple Cake


* 2 cups finely diced, peeled and cored apples (about 2 apples)
* 1 cup sugar
* 1/4 cup vegetable oil
* 1 egg
* 1 tsp. baking soda
* 1 tsp. cinnamon
* 1/4 tsp. salt
* 1 tsp. vanilla
* 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
* 1 cup flour


* Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
* Into large bowl add diced apples and sugar. Let stand for about 15 minutes.
* Pour in oil and egg. Stir.
* Add dry ingredients. Stir.
* Add vanilla and walnuts. Stir. It will be quite stiff, don't worry.
* Pour into a well greased and floured 8 inch square pan. Bake for 45 minutes @ 350 degrees.
* Cool in pan for 10 minutes on a cake rack.
* Dust top with confectioners sugar before serving.

I made it and it tasted good. I thought it was a little heavy and too moist but good. So me being me I made a few changes.

I cut the sugar to 1/2 cup and I added 1/2 tsp of powdered stevia extract.
The flour was cut to 1/2 cup and I added 1/2 cup of almond flour.
Instead of vegetable oil I used used ghee (clarified butter).
I used pecans instead of walnuts.
Then I tweaked the spices. I added a 1/4 tsp of nutmeg, 1/8 tsp of allspice, and 1/8 tsp of cardamom. (from Foods)

Hubby, Sister Suzy and I really liked the changes. The cake was more cake-like, not as dense and moist. I tried to take a picture but they were way too fuzzy!

Have a good day!


Thursday, November 4, 2010

derek's quilt finished

First I want to show you the some of the steps I used to make Derek's quilt. In this picture the block is set together and I am making quilt lines on the block with a graphite marker and a ruler. I marked lines at 45 deg angles.

Then I measured the block and added 1/2 inch to the width and length measurements to cut the backing and batting. I starched pressed the backing; laid the batting on the backing, smoothed out any wrinkles in the batting; finally laying the quilt block on the sandwich smoothing and trying to keep the quilt block centered and square. I started to pin from the center.

Once a row of blocks were pinned and stacked. I would quilt the stack putting them on the done pile.

When finished with a row I would take my 15 inch square and trim up the blocks.

This is the lay-out where I moved some of the blocks around and figured out what size each block would be and how wide the borders would be. I used 1/8 inch equals 1 inch scale. I wanted it big enough to see how it would look and simple enough (1/8 = 1) to make it accurate on the paper I was using. Yes, I really did measure the blocks with the red and yellow strips on them and cut out little pieces of paper to represent the blocks. Don't you just love the little stick figures in the correct colors! I have found the little pieces of paper makes it easier to move the blocks around instead of redrawing the blocks.

I forgot to take pictures of the rows as they were set together.

Finished! Yeah! I took it outside and laid it on the front lawn to photograph. The big old tree out by the street was throwing some long shadows. The only sun with no shadows was by Gracie, our basset hound. She just too excitable.

This is the back. Cool, huh!

I finished it Friday the 29th of October and delivered it the 30th. Two whole days before the deadline! Yeah! I love it when a plan works! Jenny loved it! And the best part is she wants me to teach her how to quilt! So after the first of the year we are going to get together and have some fun!

EDIT: Oh! By the way, the fix with the extra material; Jen didn't even notice it until I pointed it out. Wonderful!

Now to finish Sister Suzy's sweater cause Hubby wants some lounging socks or slippers. He says his feet are cold. We have kicked around me learning to knit socks but I may make him some quilted slippers instead. I have way more experience in the garment making area.

Have a good day!