Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Carb loading with Pasta, Lemon and Cream

What does a hungry carb-loading 15 year old soccer player want the night before a big game?  

Ladies and Gentlemen I give you Linguine with Lemon and Cream:
Bow tie pasta with Lemon & Cream
The original recipe which I got from the October 2006 issue of Cuisine At Home Magazine calls for linguine pasta but I have used many different shapes over the years depending upon what was in my pantry and as you can see, that is not linguine in the above photo.  

Linguine with Lemon and Cream 
adapted from Cuisine at Home Magazine

4 tbl unsalted butter
8 slices prosciutto or ham
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 fresh lemon juice
4 tsp lemon zest
8 oz dry pasta of choice
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

Melt the butter and saute the prosciutto in melted butter until browned.  Pour in the broth to deglaze the pan.  

Pour in the cream, lemon juice, and lemon zest.  Reduce the heat to low and cook for a few minutes.  Meanwhile cook your pasta.

After the pasta is cooked and drained.  Add it into your pan with the sauce and stir. The sauce will be thin so you can either add the cheese directly into the sauce/pasta before you plate it or after.  

Serve with some sausages, a salad and a glass of wine. By the way - the 15 year old does not get any wine.  

Linking up with Tuesday at the Table with Debbie - go check out Debbie's wonderful post today.  

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Snapshot of a Weekend

A lot of this:

A little of this:

Not enough of this:

Happy Sunday,

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

An Anniversary WIP Wednesday

Lee at Freshly Pieced is celebrating the one year anniversary today of the WIP Wednesday link up.  She surprised me this past Sunday by sending me and seven others an email thanking us for being her first to link up last year. I was honored that she asked me to be involved in her post about her anniversary and shocked that it had already been a year.  Time sure does fly by.  What was I doing a year ago?

I was bogged down in some serious history research about the Bosnian War of the 1990's.  Not happy, uplifting or a feel good kind of research - not at all - but it was highly satisfying when I finished up that last 30 page research paper to cap off my Bachelor's Degree in December.  And what got me through all that research misery - quilting and quilting blogs!   Let's see what did I talk about on that first link up.....

Wow - cracked myself up going back and reading that first WIP Wednesday post.  I had eight items on that post, (go ahead and check it out and laugh...)  one of which I still have on my WIP list - the Christmas Tree Skirt fabric.  Going to ditch that fabric as I am making Christmas Tree Pants.  My tree is getting pants this year.   LOL

WIP Wednesday list:  
From left to right:
Skirt fabric for Niece, Blocks for Best Bud, Sliced Coins QT, Italian Sorbetto QT, Christmas Tree Pants fabric, School Yard QT and Christmas BOM 2010 Blocks.  
All seven in one shot - how's that for efficiency?  
While looking around for all of my WIP's to get an accurate count I found a little book bag I made up a few months ago.  I used Heather Baily's Smarty Girl Book Bag Pattern and Mezzanine fabric by Patty Young with a little bit of Nicey Jane on the ruffle.  This was a very easy pattern that sewed up very fast.  One of my nieces will be receiving this for Christmas.

Smarty Girl Book Bag 
Now for a food WIP - give me a guess as to what you think I'm cooking up in my crock pot for dinner tonight. The winner will get some.   maybe
Mystery dinner
Do I need to tell you to go visit Lee at Freshly Pieced to see what others are linking up to this week?

A bit chilly here in So Cal...stay warm.  :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Blogging Directly From Our Thoughts

Wouldn't it be great if we could take our thoughts and have them nicely laid out here in Blogger/WordPress/etc automatically? I think it would be so cool if there was a way we could dictate our thoughts and creative ideas directly to our computers so that the time it takes to find a pen or have a moment to sit down and type out that thought, is not lost.  I write awesome blog posts in my head while washing dishes or driving kids around but sometimes when I sit down here to start typing, nothing flows.  I guess my brain is more creative when I am working on something else at the same time. Any of you have this same issue?

Enough Sci Fi.  Earlier this morning I remembered that I had the fabric cut for Block Eight of the of the FQS Designer Mystery Block of the Month 2010 so I sewed it up while enjoying the sun streaming in my front windows across my sewing table.  I'm not a huge fan of the time change in the Spring but I love it in the Fall.
Block Eight

Four more to go
I  had a lovely surprise in my backyard yesterday when walking around and assessing my citrus trees ~ my Mexican lime tree has actually given me some limes!  I first planted this tree in the whiskey barrel you see in the photo below where it barely limped along for two years.  After two years I decided to put it in the ground in my north facing portion of my yard which is not ideal as it doesn't receive enough sun but at the time that was the best choice.
Mexican Lime Tree
This darn tree has grown and flowered but has never given up one lime until now.  So happy to add the lime to my citrus hunt yesterday.
Eureka Lemon, Mandarin Tangerine and Mexican Lime
Linking up with the Manic Monday Linky Party and {Sew}Modern Monday so go check out what others have posted.

Off to do homework...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cream Cheese Wontons and HST's

This past Thursday I got started with my next quilt project:  Eighteen quilt blocks for my best bud's quilt top in which her mother will be finishing up.  Her mother designed the quilt top in EQ7 and gave me the print outs of the overall plan and the instructions. Being that these blocks are for my best bud, I want them to be perfect so even the first step of cutting the fabric was a bit daunting.

What if I made a mistake?  What if I made those initial cuts wrong?  Thankfully I did not and so I then moved forward with chain piecing.  1,000 HST's later (ok not really 1,000 but it sure seems like it) I had two piles ready to be squared up.
I've never worked on so many half square triangles (HST's) before so it's taking me a while to square them up.  I'll work on a pile and then move on to another chore and then come back to squaring up again.  How do you get through a huge pile of HST's that need to be squared up?  

By Saturday morning I was ready to sew up the first block and while still wanting to do a perfect job, kept myself moving forward as I couldn't wait to see how the plan that was given to me transferred into reality.  So here is the first block:
Super happy with #1 although I wish that the lower left corner came together better but hey, I'm human and I know that she will appreciate it.  Plus in a sea of 38 or so blocks, hopefully it won't show up too much.  

Now for the Cream Cheese Wontons ~ Thursday night while making dinner consisting of Chicken Teriyaki, Steamed Broccoli, Sushi Rice and Cream Cheese Wontons I realized that the wonton wrappers were just about the same size as the HST's.  Too funny eh?  Instant blog title inspiration.  
Stupid blogger rotates my photos...
I pulled out my On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee just for you to give you a little wonton history:  According to Mr. McGee wontons are the original ravioli, in which the dough surrounds and encloses a mass of other ingredients.  Just typing that made me hungry...  He also says that wontons are mentioned in written records before 700 CE and archaeologists have found well-preserved specimens that date to the 9th century. How cool is that?  

Here's a little history of how I make mine -  
Wonton skins filled with Cream Cheese, a little cream and garlic powder.

Fry them up in hot oil for about 10 seconds 

So tasty and savory!  
Time for me to go make dinner....enjoy the rest of your Sunday,

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Kahlua Brownies & a Quiltspotting

Happy Tuesday everyone!

First I'll start with a Quiltspotting and I'm giving full credit to Tanesha from the Crafty Garden Mom podcast and blog for coming up with that term.  She spoke about quiltspotting in Episode 19 - go give a listen if you haven't discovered her yet.  

By the way quiltspotting reminds me of Tastespotting - love that website.

So my Latte Quilt has been spotted in Houston, TX at Quilt Market!    
Latte Quilt at the Hoffman Fabrics booth
Thank you to Marilyn Pond of Marilyn's Maze who visited Houston over the weekend and so thoughtfully found my quilt and sent me a photo.  I was so touched when I saw the photo and noticed that the folks at Hoffman Fabrics had attached sign to the front giving me credit for the design.  

Now on to the Kahlua Brownies.  I made these with the intention of enticing my fellow soccer teammates to  attend a Friday night game we had a few weeks ago.  Don't know if it was truly my brownies, but we had 14 players show up that night  - for all of you not initiated in the world of soccer - that means three substitutes!  Hard to win games with tired players when not enough players show up.  

This is a three layer bar which is very rich so cut accordingly.  The original recipe is called Chocolate-and-Sherry Cream Bars and I believe came from Fine Cooking Magazine.  A quick Google search came up with the same recipe but with no credits to Fine Cooking.  I have adapted it to my taste with Kahlua.

Kahlua Brownies
1 cup butter
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
4 slightly beaten eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup half-and-half or light cream
1/4 cup Kahlua
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate 
2 tablespoons butter
4 teaspoons Kahlua

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Either grease or lay down parchment paper into 13x9x2 inch baking pan.
2. First layer: In a medium or large saucepan melt the 1 cup of butter and the unsweetened chocolate over low heat.  Remove from heat and stir in the slightly beaten eggs, granulated sugar and vanilla until just combined.  Stir in the flour.  Spread in the prepared pan and bake for 20-22 minutes - you don't want to overcook it.  Let this layer cool.
2.  Second layer: In a large bowl beat with an electric mixer the sifted powdered sugar and the 1/2 cup softened butter.  Slowly add the half-and-half and the 1/4 cup of Kahlua.  At this point you could add in the walnuts if you wanted a crunch to balance out the super sweet second layer.  I do not.  Spread the filling over the brownie crust and chill in the refrigerator until firm.
3.  Third layer:  In a small saucepan melt the chocolate pieces and 2 tablespoons of butter over low heat.  Stir in the Kahlua until smooth.  Drizzle this third layer over the chilled filling with a spoon or enrobe the entire layer.
4.  Cut into bars and enjoy!  Best if enjoyed at slightly colder than room temperature.

Linking up the Debbie @ Tuesday at the Table and Fabric Tuesday @ QuiltStory.

Enjoy your day!

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Halloween Costume Mosaic

I love mosaics and because I have nothing crafty I am working on related to Halloween right now I thought I would show you a Halloween costume mosaic of some of my past work:

1. 2000: Dinosaur, 2. 2003: Penguin, 3. 2004: Grimm Reaper & Knight, 4. 2005: Obi Wan Kenobi , 5. 2005:Obi Wan Kenobi & Darth Vader, 6. 2006: Han Solo , 7. 2007: Knight & Stick Man, 8. 2008: Grimm Reaper , 9. Homegrown Pumpkin

I had a wonderful time making all of these costumes for my boys - many have now been handed down to my young nephews which makes me very happy.  Many were borrowed for parties, plays etc., which was also super fun for me.  This year I had no requests for a costume although I was asked yesterday at about 4pm to make an "executioner's" mask.  What is it with boys?  With no black fabric in the house I had my son look through his clothes to see if he had a black t-shirt that was too small - about 30 minutes later he was a happy boy with his recycled "executioner's" mask.

Check out the video of the Stick Man costume that was in photo #7.  That was a great costume that took a lot of work but was so worth the outcome.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

WIP Wednesday: When Bad Rotary Cutting Happens to Good People

The last ten days:  work + school + life = no crafting therefore no blogging.  

Today:  lots of free time = crafting and blogging.  Yea!  So I sewed up two new pouches - one for me and one for a friend who is going on a little vacation.  

For a friend
Could not resist Going Coastal fabric in a local fabric store (M&L) yesterday. Wanted to make myself up a new pouch and walked around and around looking for the perfect fabric.  Could not believe it when I spied this as I have almost bought it online many times.  Lining is Hullabaloo by Urban Chicks from the Dots Swap hosted by Debbie from A Quilter's Table earlier this year.  Love it Debbie!  

For me

Works in Progress: 
T-Shirt Quilt - earlier this week I was ready to start stitching up the t-shirt quilt.  The t-shirt blocks were squared up and ready to go and I decided to go through the solid Kona Light Grey fabric just to make sure those were squared up as well.  Well....they were NOT.  I had cut the Kona squares while I was sitting on the floor - big mistake.  (If you are a Stash Resolution Podcast listener - my title is respectfully taken from one of her segments in her show.)  All of the Kona squares are at least 1/2 inch off.  What the heck was I doing that night while cutting?  Must have been a rare night that I was actually watching what was on TV.   That project is back on hold until I have time to go buy more fabric.

Quilt for my best bud - Minimal cutting and no sewing.  Her birthday is coming soon so this needs to be first on my list for next week.

Latte Quilt update:  My quilt top has now been quilted by Nena of Nena's Quilt Shack and is now in Houston, TX!  I pulled this photo off the FB account Nena.  You can see the binding she sewed on the front.
Latte Quilt
I'm so anxious to see photos of the Latte Quilt up in the Hoffman Fabric's booth at Quilt Market.  

Please visit Lee at Freshly Pieced to see what others are working on this week.

Have a super fun Wednesday evening - wherever you are.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

When Opportunities Bring Fulfillment

Earlier in October I posted a finished photo of Supernova to my Facebook account just for fun.  I received  great comments and congratulations on the finish from my friends and family but then was completely surprised by a comment from an old friend who works for Hoffman Fabrics. She asked if I would be interested in working on projects for Hoffman and if so would I come down to their headquarters to meet with them.

It could have stopped right there and I would have been fulfilled.  Seriously.  I felt so validated that my friend had thought enough of a photo on Facebook to ask me to work on projects for them.   Of course I said yes.

Last week I visited their headquarters in Mission Viejo, CA and had a tour of their warehouse full of fabrics - oh my goodness what a treasure trove of fabric.  I had no idea how gorgeous batik fabrics really were as I had not had any previous introduction to them.  As we walked by bolts and bolts of fabrics I kept thinking to myself how various fabrics could be made into skirts, bags and of course, quilts.  I was in heaven.

After viewing different "color stories" of fabrics, we chose a mixture of batiks and screen prints for me to make them a quilt  *drumroll please* for them to take to Quilt Market.  They are going to take my quilt and use it in their display for Quilt Market at the end of this month.  Well...first they have to like what I made:
Latte Quilt for Hoffman Fabrics
So what do you think?  I did not use a formal pattern but just took elements from what I see on blogs all the time to come up with a way to focus on the Hoffman screen prints with the batiks providing a highlight and frame.

While finishing up the Latte Quilt this morning I made Nutella Scones.
Nutella Scones
Nutella Scones
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup milk
1 large egg
Jar of Nutella

Preheat oven to 400F.  Sift dry ingredients into medium sized bowl.  Add in chilled butter and mix in with a pastry blender until a coarse meal forms.  In a small bowl mix together the cream, milk and egg.  Add wet mixture to dry mixture until moist clumps are formed.  You may need to add a bit more milk if the dough is too dry.  Use large spoons to place about 1/4 cup of dough on parchment paper lined cookie sheet, spacing them apart.  Use those spoons to make an indentation inside the dough ball.  Use two different spoons to add about a teaspoon (or more if you like!) of Nutella into each of the scones.  Then go back to the dough and add enough to the top to envelope the Nutella.  Bake scones until golden brown about 15 minutes.  They freeze very well : Place them on a cookie sheet UNWRAPPED in the freezer.  About an hour later come back and wrap each of the frozen scones up airtight.  Leave out on the counter for 30 minutes to thaw.  

Linking up to Tuesday at the Table with Debbie from A Quilter's Table - go see what others are making today.  I made Debbie's Butternut Squash Soup that she highlighted in her Tuesday at the Table post last week - so good!   Also linking up to Quiltstory - go see what others are have created - lots of Halloween inspired goodies this week.  

I'm off to school ~ have a wonderful Tuesday,