Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What I Served My Picky Eater Last Night

Do you follow the Bon Appetit blog called The Feed?  I do (what a surprise) and last week they featured Karen Le Billon who just wrote French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters.  

Yes a very long title...but the message is worth the eyestrain!  The message being that in her opinion, when she moved to France with her young children she was able to glean from the French food culture around her certain rules and norms which helped her teach her own children how to become like she says, happy & healthy eaters.  Go here to read her interview on The Feed.  She's got a fun blog too - click on her name above to visit.

I have a relative picky eater in the house - he will eat a lot of just a few things and I have gotten used to tailoring my menus to his likes and dislikes. After reading the interview and viewing the informative and engaging French Food Rules graphic (BA and Ms. La Billon - please don't come after me...the credit is all yours!) I decided to take a stand.
French Food Rules from Bon Appetit.com and Karen Le Billon
Last night I served Stir-fried Eggplant and Tofu from Sunset Magazine for dinner and followed numbers 3, 5 & 6 on above list.  It was a bit stressful for me as he (younger son) came in and out of the kitchen during my prep, mumbling away at what he was going to be eating.  The misery continued on during dinner as he limped along, cutting the small "no thank you bites" I had given him into minuscule pieces for him to ingest.  I kept it together though and did my best to ignore his reactions and kept the conversation going - not about food.
What I served the little stinker....

In the end I was happy - I had made a dinner that I really enjoyed, the husband liked it too and said we should have it again (score!) and my younger son ate his dinner...well most of it.

I'm linking up to Debbie with her Tuesday at the Table feature so please go read what she says about quiche. Not only a great recipe but great advice today.  (like always!

So excited that today is finally here as I've been writing Lesson Plans and studying for a midterm that finally culminates today - can't wait to get the sewing machine out and start crafting...and have some fun!
Enjoy your day~

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Giveaway Winner & Next Podcast Topic

This was not an easy week for me due to various reasons but the main thing that kept me moving forward was nice people: wonderful comments and suggestions from you all for future podcasts; students in the classroom who really enjoyed my presence and learned something; and quick meet-ups for coffee/hot chocolate with friends.  Being nice, respectful and caring can make all the difference in a person's life - no matter how short or long the interaction.

I received 55 great comments from those of you who listen to both my podcast and Sandy's (Quilting for the Rest of Us) and am truly thankful and amazed at the wide range of quilting history you all are interested in and wish for me to research and podcast about. Amish quilts, history of fabric, history of the longarm machine, 1930's quilts, Double Wedding Ring quilts...for example.  And now for the winner...

Congratulations to hiyacinth for being the winner of the $50 gift certificate to Fabricworm.com! Her suggestion of Hawaiian Quilts (prompted from her seeing one in The Descendants) will now be the subject of my next podcast coming up next week. Cannot wait to begin the research on this starting with seeing the movie.  A big thank you to hiyacinth and everyone else who entered for the great ideas!

Hope you all have a great Easter Weekend - be safe, have fun and treasure your family,

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Miscellaneous Thursday

If you are looking for my giveaway in honor of Sandy from the Quilting For The Rest of Us 2nd Podcastaversary, please go here.  The giveaway will be open until Friday, April 6th at 6pm Pacific time.

I don't have a specific purpose in mind for today's post other than to share with you all what I've been up to the past few days...

First I'll start with a new-to-me Quilt Shop located in Los Angeles that I visited this past Saturday.  Sew Modern is (to me) the perfect quilt fabric store located in an area I don't frequent often but now that I know they are there, I have a feeling I will be getting to know the area quite well.
Sew Modern  10921 W. Pico Blvd Los Angeles CA 90064

Why do I think it is a perfect quilt fabric store: The store wasn't cutsey or huge, the store owner was wearing a darling dress made of an Anna Maria Horner Loulouthi pattern (instantly liked her....), the large wall of Kona solids and flannels and there were very creative modern quilts punctuating the walls all around.  I recognized many popular quilting fabrics - so fun to see them in person and to compare in my mind how much they differ from my computer screen image.  I enjoyed browsing but only purchased the Kona grey flannel backing and black cotton binding I need for the T-Shirt Quilt.  Excited to have Sew Modern on my radar...I'll be back.

My boy had a birthday and I made him these:

Fourteen pancakes for the 14 yr old

AC Milan cake
A big thank you to those of you who reached out with quilt block help on Monday in regards to the Box Kite block below.  Several of you mentioned the size of my template and so I went back to compare what I had printed out with the size in the book and you were right, it was way off.  A trip to the local copy place today will allow me to start again.....I am determined to conquer this block.  
Box Kite by Angela Pingel from 99 Modern Blocks 
Lastly, I want to share something wonderful I did yesterday - I got up in front a room full of 10th graders and taught!  I'm observing in a 10th grade World History class and yesterday when I arrived at 7:55am, I found a substitute in place of the instructor.  The plan was for the students to watch a 90 minute movie about WWII and fill in a graphic organizer with data that they learned throughout the movie.  In a split second, after conferring with the substitute, I decided to stay and try to bring to life what they were watching in this movie. I paused the movie approximately five times and briefly attempted to link what they had just viewed to their world, fielded comments and questions and tried to illuminate with a map where these events were happening in the world.  The best result: a student told me I was ENGAGING....for me, there is no higher compliment.

No sewing/quilting for a few days as I'm knee deep in writing 8th Grade California Gold Rush Lesson plans and studying for two midterms next week.  So much to do....need to make more time.

Hope you all have a great day~

Monday, April 2, 2012

Need Some Quilt Block Help

If you are looking for my giveaway in honor of Sandy from the Quilting For The Rest of Us 2nd Podcastaversary, please go here.  The giveaway will be open until Friday, April 6th at 6pm pacific time.

I need a little help with a block I worked on yesterday for the Modern Blocks Bee I am participating in. This is called Box Kite by Angela Pingel and you can see the original block here on her website.  First go check out what the block should look like and then compare it with mine.
Box Kite block by Angela Pingel from Modern Blocks by C&T Publishing

My questions for you:

1.  In the original block all four points of each individual "box kite" should come to a point, not cut off like mine are.  What could I have done wrong to have these points cut off when I cut all of the fabric out correctly?

2. The "box kites" should continue all the way to the end of the 12.5 x 12.5 inch block - I added a black border to increase my block size to that dimension.  Again, what did I do wrong?

I am looking for perfection but I want to understand what I did wrong so I can either make another block for my partner and/or learn for the next time.  Any input you have would be appreciated.

I'm linking up with Sew Modern Monday and Manic Monday today. Please visit them both!

Thanks everyone! Have a safe and productive Monday,

Saturday, March 31, 2012

History Quilter Podcast Episode 24 & A Podcast Anniversary Giveaway

It's not my anniversary...it's Sandy's!
Sandy from Quilting For The Rest of Us is celebrating her 2nd Podcast Anniversary and has designated April as a month of giveaways on her blog and she has invited her fellow podcasters (like me!) to help celebrate in this first week.  Please go visit her blog here to see what she and the other quilting podcasters are giving away this week.  If you have not yet discovered the wonderfulness that is Sandy and Quilting For The Rest of Us, please check her out.  She makes me laugh, reminds me we are all human and teaches me something in every episode.

Podcast episode notes now....my giveaway below:

I visited the Glendale Quilt Show with my friend Zina - here are a few of the quilts we saw:
"Picnic Blanket" by Aviva Nizani

 "Triangles Galore" by Patti Sparks 

"Once Upon A Time" by Vicki Chase
I made Butternut Squash and Kale Bread Pudding recently - recipe here at Epicurious.com.  
Butternut Squash and Kale Bread Pudding
I visited the Venice Canals in Venice, CA this past week: 
Venice Canals at low tide

I purchased the Aurifil Thread Card I spoke about at The Pacific Rim Quilt Company which you can find here.

The French Bull plates, serving platters and home dec products I spoke about you can find at www.FrenchBull.com.  Quilters - you will love these products!

Now on to the giveaway:

In honor of Sandy's 2nd Podcast Anniversary I am giving away a $50 gift certificate to Fabricworm, a wonderful online quilting fabric shop that also has a brick&mortar shop in Paso Robles, CA which I always make time to visit when I'm in the area.  My giveaway begins now and will close on April 6th at 6pm Pacific Time.  I will announce the winner on Saturday, April 7th.
To enter the giveaway please comment with a future suggestion for a quilt history topic for my podcast but if you really can't come up with something then talk about food.  Food always works with me.  Good luck! 

Happy Saturday everyone!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Teacups

First up my Work In Progress: 

I finished up the two remaining blocks of the Sew Happy Quilt QAL on Sunday and although I already gave you a photograph of all of the blocks together, here is another one. Decided to get a bit creative and pin them to my north facing fence for a different look.  

My favorite block is the QST Pinwheel - the first on the left in the second row but my proudest accomplishment is the Foundation/Paper Pieced Quatra Star block (second on the left, second row) as I tried this new approach to piecing a block and it worked.  Jenna of Sew Happy Geek posted a very helpful video about the construction of the Foundation/Paper Pieced Quatra Star block on YouTube which I watched over and over again on my iPad while working on this block.  Probably took me two hours to make this block but it was worth it when I opened up the block after that last seam was sewn....and the points matched.  Success!

Still working on:
T-Shirt Quilt
March Modern Blocks Bee
Magazine bags for the boys

Now onto the Teacups: 

One of the hardest things about my father passing away is missing my mother all over again and as we work to get his house ready for sale I am having to take items that I've looked at my entire life and decide where they go.  Yesterday I brought the Teacups into my own home and for me it was bittersweet.

The Teacups were my grandmother's and they have been displayed in my parent's home for as long as I can remember.  Apparently my grandfather would purchase a teacup for my grandmother when he traveled away from home, delighting her upon his and the teacup's arrival.  The historian in me would love to know where he went but that's a search for another time.  I've loved these Teacups since I was a little girl and now they are mine.

Strange thing about life: when you are told practically all of your life that something will be yours someday...and you just put it out of your head because you know what it means when it becomes yours....and then it is yours....it's truly bittersweet.  

Someday soon I plan on having my girlfriends over for tea while using the Teacups and toasting my mother and my grandmother.

Ok linking up to Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

Enjoy your Wednesday,

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Moments In My Weekend

Nephew playing catcher

Gondolas in Venice Mosaic

Rialto Bridge Mosaic
QAL Block 11 - first foundation pieced block

Biscuits in process for the sleepover crowd

Yoga Mat Bag finished

QAL Block 12 - first machine applique

And then there were 12
More detail on another post about the QAL Blocks and the Yoga Mat Bag.
Enjoy your Sunday,

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Work-In-Progress Wednesday: T-Shirt Chronicles Part III

In my post last Saturday about my latest podcast, I slipped in that I was going to take a break from the T-Shirt quilt.  I intended to fold it up neatly and hang it in my closet along with my other WIP's but it never made it.  I did fold it up neatly but then it sat in front of the TV, taunting me with comments such as, "You're going to let pieces of fabric beat you?" and "Susan....get your butt in gear and finish me, I want to be finished!".  I listened:
T-Shirt Quilt 96 x 71
Why not a sideways shot? 
After some helpful motivation and advice from my quilting buddy Zina, I decided to finish this quilt top up.  We were both working on projects which we were dreading so we kind of goaded each other into getting those things done so we could feel better.  As for the advice, she suggested using the walking foot for piecing as sewing the Kona Cotton to the interfacing backed jersey fabric was making me crazy. The fabrics didn't like each other and were bunching up  - by switching to the walking foot my problem was solved.

Other Projects in Production:
Block 11 of Sew Happy Quilt QAL 
Yoga Mat Bag fabric washed, cut and ready to go
I made the Chopped Salad with Bacon and Fried Garbanzo Bean recipe that Debbie from A Quilter's Table showcased yesterday on her blog.  Let me say that fried Garbanzo Beans are amazing - crunchy, creamy, salty and spicy - wonderfulness all wrapped up in a tiny package.  Try them!  
Chopped Salad with Bacon and Fried Garbanzo Beans
I'm linking up (a little late...busy at school) to WIP Wednesday with Lee from Freshly Pieced today. Please go visit and see what she's been working on - you must see her New York Beauty QA quilt block.- stunning!

Did you know it was National French Bread Day?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

T@tT: Double-Chocolate Espresso Walnut Cookies

I love to read the newspaper in the morning while drinking my tea as the sun streams in my front windows.  I don't usually have time to read the entire paper in depth but there are days in which a favorite section or two must be read.  Thursdays for as far back as I can remember has been the Food section and I've been reading, cutting and cooking from that section for years.  This is my stack of Food sections from the past month or so.....need to get recipe cutting and organized into my recipe binder.  
Well the Thursday Food section is no longer as The Los Angeles Times has moved their food coverage to a new Saturday section.  Without getting off topic, I was looking forward to this new section thinking it would have expanded coverage as the Pulitzer Prize winning food writer Jonathan Gold has just joined the Times, but no luck so far - the food portion is now a measly 4 pages.  Bummer. 

But there is a sweet ending to my story:  Double Chocolate Espresso Cookies!  In the March 17, 2012 Saturday section there was a Culinary SOS column in which Double-Chocolate Espresso Walnut Cookies were featured from a restaurant here in the greater Los Angeles area called Julienne ~ which after checking out their website, I need to go there for lunch someday.  They caught my eye as they were made with chocolate (which I love) and espresso (which people I love, love) so I thought I would give them a try.  I omitted the walnuts as nobody around here likes them but followed the reminder of the recipe exactly.  My were they ever good.  (I had to have a little nibble...)   
Double-Chocolate Espresso Cookies

I'm linking up with Debbie with her Tuesday at the Table feature today - she's posted about a salad that I'm dying to try....go check it out!  
Happy First Day of Spring!  
Enjoy your Tuesday,

Saturday, March 17, 2012

History Quilter Podcast Episode 23 Two Color Quilts

Forget about St. Patrick's Day, it's National Quilting Day! Oh I jest...just pulling your leg about forgetting about St. Patrick's Day - cause I'm 1/2 Irish!  I'll be attending a St. Patrick's Day Block Party tonight and am looking forward to a great time with my wonderful neighbors.  I need to bring an appetizer so I think I'll make a crab/cheese dip my mother used to make - it's served hot so I'll bring it in my little fondue pot.

Yesterday I recorded my latest podcast (Episode 23) about Two Color Quilts, a topic suggested to me by my fellow quilting podcaster, Daisy of Lazy Daisy Quilts.  Thank you Daisy!

I talked about making Italian Sausage and zucchini pasta from Sunset Magazine.  You can find the recipe here.  Very light and super flavorful. Easily adapted with more vegetables or a different pasta.
Italian sausage and zucchini pasta from Sunset Magazine
What I am working on:
The T-Shirt Quilt and I are taking a little break from each other.  Although I did not speak of that in the podcast, I looked at it last night as I was taking it off my bed and decided that I should be working on fun things right now.  I'll be back at work on the Sew Happy Quilt today in honor of National Quilting Day.  Go check out Sandy's blog at Quilting...for the rest of us as she is hosting a Giveaway in honor of today's festivities.

Two Color Quilts:
Here is the HGTV link to the Simply Quilts segment hosted by Alex Anderson called Two-Color Quilt Show.  It's a six minute segment about an exhibit at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles called Take 2: Quilts in Two Colors. Check it out here.

Here's a link to a very modern black & white quilt called Vortex in Variation by Nora Ronningen.  Her mother blogged at Collector With A Needle about the experience of having her daughter's quilt shown at the International Quilt Market in Houston last year.
Vortex in Variation by Nora Ronningen
Here is the PR flyer for the Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts show that was hosted by the American Folk Art Museum in March of 2011.  They even have a free iPhone App to view all 651 Red & White Quilts in the exhibit.  Check it out here.

Martha Stewart blogged about the Infinite Variety show here and has numerous photos.

Here is the Green & White Modified Bento Box quilt which is made by Anya who blogs at Hills Creek Quilter.  I just love how she used different shades of green. She blogged about it here.

Time for me to make breakfast for the masses...it's definitely a pancake morning and mine will have more blueberries than pancake batter.  hehe
Take care, stay safe and have fun.

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Community Cookbook Recipe

Community cookbooks are fascinating food history as they document what groups are eating in specific geographic locations within exact time frames. It would appear that with any gathering of women who belong to a group (church, school, crafting, musical, etc.) eventually they will gather together their combined favorite recipes, have them published and sell them as a fundraiser. The PTA at my children's elementary school did just that in 2006 with a few recipes of my own included.  When cooking from a Community Cookbook that has recipes from people you know, it adds another layer of community - I enjoy contacting the people whose recipes I use to tell them that I was thinking of them while cooking along with their wonderful recipe.

Wondering when they began? Would you be surprised to learn that here in the United States we've been producing Community Cookbooks since the Civil War?  Just like the Signature Quilts I spoke about in Episode 21 where a few women made Signature Quilts during the Civil War to raise funds for uniforms and supplies for the soldiers, Community Cookbooks also had their beginnings during the Civil War as a way to fund raise for the Northern cause.  By the time World War I came around, approximately 6,000 had been published (go here to read Michelle Green's Food & Wine Dec '02 article for more).

Last night for dinner I made Chicken Avocado Tortilla Soup from my local Community Cookbook. Not only a light soup, but it's a real time saver as the chicken is cooked in the broth. Start to finish this recipe took me about 40 minutes to prepare. It's also a very adaptable recipe based on your tastes as you can make it as spicy as you like, add in more tomatoes or chicken, omit the cheese or avocado, etc.
Chicken Avocado Tortilla Soup
Chicken Avocado Tortilla Soup
 4 T. Olive oil
1/4 c red or white onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped fine
3/4 t. ground cumin
3/4 t. dried oregano leaves
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1/4 t. pepper
8 cups chicken broth
1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes - or use fresh
1 4 oz can diced green chile's - any strength you prefer
1 1/2 lbs. boneless & skinless chicken breasts
4-6 corn or flour tortillas - cut into 1/2 inch strips
1 or more ripe avocado - cut into slices
2 T. fresh cilantro
Salt to taste
1/2 cup cheddar cheese shredded

In a large pot suitable for soup, heat up the olive oil and add in the onion and garlic and gently cook for about 5 minutes.  Add in the cumin, oregano, cayenne and pepper and let cook about 1 more minute until fragrant.  Add in the broth, tomatoes and green chilies. Bring to a boil  and then let simmer for about 10 minutes.  While broth is simmering, cut up the chicken into small 1/2 inch slices.  Remember this is a soup in which you want the chicken to fit in your spoon.  
Meanwhile heat up a pan (I used my cast iron) on your stove top and add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom.  Add in the tortilla slices and fry just until both sides are crisp.  Transfer to a paper towel lined plate for later.  
Tortilla slices frying up in the cast iron pan. 
After the broth had it's 10 minute simmer period add in the chicken and let cook about five minutes.  Because the slices are so small and the broth so hot, it will cook to the necessary temperature very fast.  This is not something you want to let simmer on your stove for long as the chicken will get tough.  Tough chicken is not good.  
Now you are ready to plate.  
Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the tortilla slices, avocado slices, cheese and cilantro to your taste. 

Let me know if you make Chicken Avocado Tortilla Soup and what you thought of it.  I will be calling my friend who added this recipe to our Community Cookbook to let her know I made it last night.  I haven't spoken to her in ages so I'm looking forward to connecting again over food.  
Enjoy your Friday - be productive and eat some good food.