Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Last Push of the Semester

Tonight in class 45% of my grade is due...45%. Three different assignments of varying importance : a Unit Curriculum Map, a Lesson Plan and a presentation of the Lesson Plan.  Putting so many things on the line, due at the same time seems such a gamble, such a risk, that it makes me realize that this is something that I will not do when I become a teacher.  Okay so maybe it's acceptable in college but certainly not for middle or high school students.

So with so much schoolwork on the line my sewing machine continues to sit in my closet, waiting for me - no, calling to me to bring her out to finish up projects, create new ones and calm the nerves that have descended upon me.  My Christmas list is starting to grow...gotta finish this...gotta start this..she would love this, etc.

So what do I do when I'm stressed?  My usual form of coping is cooking and so last night I rewarded myself and everyone in the house by cooking again.  After all the craftiness in the kitchen on Thursday and days upon days of leftovers...note to self - don't make so much darn food next time - I got back into my kitchen to rustle up something new.

With a bushel full of Lemons I harvested on Saturday as my inspiration I made Lemon and Oregano-Rubbed Chicken Paillards from Cooking Light Magazine.  The recipe is all over the internet so I won't list it here - go here for the recipe.  The meal turned out delicious and was very easy to make and I even made a little bit extra for chicken salad sandwiches for the kids for their school lunches.  Served with rice, lemon wedges, tomato slices from my garden and fresh bread, it was a successful start to another week of cooking.

Please visit Debbie @ Tuesdays at the Table to see what others are have cooked up this week...I already see that Toni made Pretzel Bread.  

Although a presentation is looming tonight, it's Tuesday - my favorite day of the week.
Hope you enjoy yours...
Susan

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving 2.0

Yesterday I hosted Thanksgiving 2.0 with my side of the family.  It was an altogether different vibe than the afternoon before as there were young children running through my house - playing "indoor soccer" in my hallway, trying to sneak in a game of Super Smash Bros. on the Wii and playing 21.  I love all the laughter, the delight and the surprises when young children are around.

Although they range from five to fifteen in age, all six have a great time together.
A few funny facts about those six:
Three have braces.  
Four were not put on this earth to eat.
Two were - bet you can guess who they belong too..
Two are obsessed with video games.
The two girls are the loveliest nieces one could ever have.
The youngest is a carbon copy of his father.

My father with all six of his grandchildren

My brother's and I with our father
My kitchen had the night off from cooking as we brought in wonderful Lebanese food from Open Sesame. We the addition of those leftovers to Thursday night's dinner I think I may not have to cook for three days!

One little quilting tidbit for today...I learned the other day that the Latte Quilt I created for Hoffman Fabrics to display at Quilt Market is now in Minnesota.  Apparently a sales rep from Hoffman was travelling to Minnesota after Quilt Market and asked to take it along for display.  Reminds me of Flat Stanley...anybody remember him?  Unless the Latte Quilt makes another stop somewhere in the U.S., I should be getting it back soon.

With the festivities over I can now pull out my sewing machine and get back to crafting.  Yea!  
Enjoy your Saturday,
Susan

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Thanksgiving in Photos


We here at The History Quilter household hosted the husband's side of the family yesterday for Thanksgiving.
Artichoke Dip served...
I had no plans to serve an appetizer because SIL said she would bring her Spinach Dip with Sourdough Bread.  Awesome. Easy. Less work for me.  Plans change when the masses hear about the possible absence of the piping hot Artichoke Dip which they love.  So I make the damn dip while worry slowly creeps into my brain that I might offend SIL when she arrives with her appetizer.  Time for a glass of wine...

SIL and family arrive and it almost immediately realized that the Spinach Dip is still 20 miles away, on their counter.  She feels terrible but I am secretly relieved until...

I drop the piping hot Artichoke Dip dish on the open oven door.  Piping hot Artichoke Dip splayed all over the open oven door while the Turkey is still cooking in the oven is NOT good.  Ten minutes later all was worked out and I had another glass of wine.  
BBQ Rib Roast

Turkey

PW's Mashed Potatoes - delicious but not photogenic

Roast Asparagus 

MIL brought her stuffing...she received points for participating

I skipped the ham and ate the Pineapple. I know, I'm weird.
Quick photo op with my boys and nieces
Then it was time for dessert. My table was laden with brownies, chocolate cake, apple pie, anise cookies, biscotti and pumpkin cheesecake.  I made the cheesecake and everyone else brought the rest.  Coffee, tea and great conversation were flowing throughout dessert while we watched the Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers.  Bummer.  

My favorite - the Pumpkin Cheesecake
It was a great day but it's not over....Thanksgiving 2.0 is coming up in eight hours with my side of the family!  
Enjoy your Friday...
Susan

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I've got a Turkey in the oven, a Rib Roast in the BBQ and various sides in my father's oven around the corner...so in this quiet break before I have to start putting everything together let me wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.  No matter where you are, whom you you with or however your chose to enjoy your Thanksgiving meal, I hope you are having a wonderful time.  

My boys - Thanksgiving 2001
Don't forget go come on back for my Thanksgiving Meal photos!
Susan

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Table Plans

My checklist for the last 12 hours: 

Massive school project completed - check
Thanksgiving menu planning - check
Thanksgiving food shopping  - check 
Thanksgiving turkey barely fitting in my refrigerator - check

Fall leaves in my tomato plants

Flowers ready for the Thanksgiving Table

Potatoes ready for PW's Mashed Potatoes

Eggs, sour cream, cream cheese and cranberries all standing by...
On my Thanksgiving Table this year will be: 
Artichoke Dip w/chips
Thanksgiving Turkey
Honey Glazed Ham
Standing Rib Roast w/Horseradish 
PW's Mashed Potatoes
Turkey Gravy
Roast Asparagus
Orange Jello  (the kind my mother used to make!)
Assorted Breads
Pumpkin Pie  
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Assorted Beverages
Whatever else friends & family might bring

Check back for the play-by-play of how I'm prepping for my busy day...and please visit Tuesday at the Table with Debbie to see what others are planning for their table.  
Enjoy the rest of your Tuesday,
Susan

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Another Snapshot...

Cooking, blogging and even podcasting will commence once I'm done with a massive project due Monday night.  So for now here is another quick view into my busy world....

Two hours of this...
yes that's me...before I added the water & mud
 Four hours of a block party...
Appetizers for block party last night
 A tiny bit of this...
4 blocks done - 12 more to go...
 And most of my waking hours spent on this...

If you have a deadline looming...good luck.  :)
Susan

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!
Susan

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Snapshot of a Weekend

A lot of this:




A little of this:


Not enough of this:




Happy Sunday,
Susan

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.  :)
Susan 

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...
Ciao,
Susan

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,
Susan

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!
Susan