Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Reverse Sewing

You'll know those itty-bitty little blocks I've been sewing and finished?

Well, guess what?

I put all of them together backwards...all XXX hundred of them.

Normally I would tell myself it's OK....I've made up a new pattern and continue assembling the quilt top.

This top won't let me do this...it wants me to sit and reverse sew all these blocks.

Needless to say, my Clover seam ripper is my best friend right now.....

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Chinese Food Rant

My husband and daughter would eat Chinese food each and every meal if you let them.  Needless to say, I've eaten a lot of Chinese food...and personally come to detest the stuff.

However, as my daughter is home for the Thanksgiving weekend from college in Indiana, I knew the weekend would have at least one meal of the dreaded stuff....little did I know it would be more than one.

Our holiday weekend dinners went something like this:
 - Wednesday: Sushi...luckily I could beg off as I was cooking for everyone the next day.
 - Thursday: Thanksgiving dinner...no Chinese food involved.
 - Friday: Thai...isn't that a close relative of Chinese food?

And the all important Saturday...the last night before she goes back to college.  What does she want?

Chinese food....the real stuff...nothing else will do.

Dear Husband suggested a trying a new place, as he's always on the lookout for a better Chinese meal.

First impressions:
 - Beautifully decorated.
 - Attentive staff.

What we got (at least in my opinion)....
 - A restaurant that reeked of body odor.
 - Two older ladies enjoying a meal, one trying to explain the difference of Skype and Facebook to someone who was obviously not computer-literate.  (Note I said "older"...no disrespect intended.)
 -  Luke-warm food.

But the worst thing about the restaurant? They used MINUTE RICE...not even the real stuff.

Needless to say, I won't go back there again...and have prohibited my family from even bringing up "Chinese food" for the next year.  Don't you think I've suffered enough?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Easy Turkey Recipe

For those who don't cook and want to impress their family....

For those who cook but never seem to get that perfect turkey brown...

For those who just want to play jokes on their family (yes, I would fall into this category)...

May I present the Inflatable Turkey...found in a cute little store in Orange last year...it was the hit of our Thanksgiving...giving us many, many chuckles...

Warning...don't carve into it...doesn't taste too good!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Blocks Are Together!

Loving how these blocks are going together...the colors are just fabulous!  Every time I work with these blocks  I'm reminded of going into the candy store and seeing all the colors.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Recipe...Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

I know....I know...it's pretty quick to be posting another recipe.

But I didn't know the difference between Grade A and Grade B maple syrup...much less the supreme syrup of Vermont...my FaceBook friends quickly educated me.

I learned:
 - Grade A: to be used for flavor....great for pancakes or waffles.
 - Grade B: to be used for baking...stronger, unprocessed flavor.
 - Vermont: use anything labeled Vermont maple syrup...it's supreme!

What does this have to do with the Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie, you ask? Ummm...I don't know, but somehow our conversation got to the point where I promised to post this recipe.

It's easy-peasey.....

It's a crowd pleaser....

And it's one of our "have-to-have on the holiday menu" items.

1/2 (15 ounce) package refrigerated pie crust (or you can make your own if you prefer...but I cheat)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons bourbon (dark rum preferred in my family)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups coarsely chopped pecans

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Fit piecrust into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate according to package directions; fold edges under and crimp any excess.

3. Sprinkle pecans and chocolate evenly onto the bottom of the piecrust; set aside.

4. Mix together the eggs, sugar, butter, corn syrup, bourbon, and vanilla in a bowl and stir to thoroughly combine all the ingredients.

5. Pour the pie filling into the prepare pie shell..

6. Bake 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the pie is firm around the edges and slightly loose in the center.

7. Cool the pie completely on a baking rack before slicing.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Recipe...ApplePie Cheesecake

The only cheesecake that never fails me....

The only cheesecake I never worry about having an ugly crack on the top....

The only cheesecake I bake for holidays...

And....the only cheesecake that's healthy for you, as it has a bunch of apples in the recipe (yeah, that's a reach, but it's what my uncle keeps on telling my aunt so he can have a piece each morning for breakfast after Thanksgiving).


1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

3 (8 ounce) blocks cream cheese, not whipped (and please don't use the Less Fat variety)
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 (21-ounce) can apple pie filling
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spray a 9 1/2-inch springform pan with a non-stick cooking spray.  Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, vanilla, and melted butter.  Press into the pan.  Set aside.
4. Prepare the cheesecake filling.  With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until very smooth.  Add in the eggs and beat to combine.  Beat in the cream and lemon juice. Fold in the applesauce and cinnamon.  Mix until well blended (no lumps). Pour into prepared crust.
5.  Place the brown sugar and butter into a small saucepan or skillet.  Heat over medium until the sugar is just melted, stirring often.  Drizzle on top of the filling in a swirl pattern.
6. Bake 1 hour and 20 minutes until the top feels firm to the touch.  Remove from the oven to cool.
7. Raise oven temperature to 400 degrees.
8. Spread the apple pie filling evenly over the baked cheesecake, starting at the center, leaving a tiney border of cheesecake visible.  Sift the cinnamon over the top.  Place the brown sugar and butter into a small saucepan or skillet.  Heat over medium until the sugar is just melted, stirring often.  Drizzle over the apples.
9. Return to oven and bake 15 minutes.
10. Cool completely and refrigerate at least overnight (like this would ever happen in my household...).

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Trimming Blocks....

I have this incredible desire to piece blocks to the required size in the pattern.  However, sometimes this doesn't happen, as quite often my seam is "not quite straight".

I've been told I should practice more....maybe by using a sheet of lined paper without thread. I think I should just continue to put things together...and work around my "issues".

So I've learned to how to get the perfect size...cut your initial two blocks a bit larger and then trim down to size.  This seems to work really well when the IPod is blaring out some Annie Lennox.

What you see is the remnants from my current project...all the blocks (and a few more for back-art) have been squared up to the appropriate size...

Quite a beautiful pile of scraps....which I've learned to throw over the ground near the large oak tree at the studio so the birds will have a warmer nest.  Sometimes I even see bits about in our trees...