Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Still in Baby Mode

Eek, just look at this adorable onesie with the vintage cateye glasses. That baby is pretty darn cute too. Get the how-to for the onesie right here. I didn't have the stuff, but maybe I'll have to search out the materials. I thought about painting it, but this housework ain't doing itself.

I did have a leftover onesie and a cute iron-on, so baby Mia will have to do with what I had on hand. Her trousseau is already quite impressive and the baby shower hasn't even happened yet. Who doesn't enjoy buying baby girl garb? I have been averting my eyes in the baby section of every store. I was trying to make these burp cloths, but cannot seem to locate 3-ply cloth diapers. I've only been to two stores, but I give up. Obviously the cloth diaper movement did not make the huge comeback as I'd imagined. :P

Ellison Lane Quilts is hosting a Modern Mini Challenge with lots of fabulous prizes. This five week series kicks off February 6 with inspirational ideas from a crew of very talented quilters. There will be mini quilts and mug rugs with modern twists. I have a feeling we'll get ideas and inspiration galore, even if you don't create a piece to submit to the challenge. And seeing the Blog Hop list, I can tell I'm going to be adding a few new blogs to my reading list.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Ahh choo!

I'm still sneezing from making homemade ranch dip/dressing mix this morning. Inspector Gadget loves those little green packets, but you have to make a gob of dip or split the package. Plus, the sodium content is a bit high. MSG must pack a sodium punch. My feet swell if I just look at a pickle. You should see what happens when I eat one. My mom tells me this water retention thing goes away eventually. Yay!

In the past if I was out of little green packets, I would add my own spices to sour cream, but now I have enough ranch mix to last a while. I bet it's cheaper than those packets too. I'm going to start making my own laundry detergent next. Really.
We had wings last night, and I didn't have any green packets. I just added some dried dill, oregano, garlic powder, pepper, lime juice and fresh cilantro to sour cream. Wouldn't blue cheese crumbles be good too? I bet it's no surprise, but I have blue cheese haters in the house.

The wing of the night was this Fire Roasted Chili Lime recipe. You made a dry rub and kind of par grilled them on indirect heat on a grill. Since I grilled in the dark, I had to use my iPhone flashlight app to see.
Then you tossed the wings with the sauce mixture and put them back on the grill over direct heat. The flare-ups provided good light.
The butter in the sauce creates good char marks, but you really had to watch these babies on the grill. They were pretty good, but I think I prefer our grilled, Frank's Hot Sauce version, no butter. I always do a dry rub too. It's nice to switch up the wings as we eat them pretty often. These Spicy Thai wings are definitely getting in the mix.

Since I'm the grill master and busy out by the grill, I usually serve a simple crudite platter I can assemble ahead of time and call it a day. There was a Tator Tot request last night, so I threw those into the oven during the last grill pass. After a busy weekend, an easy Sunday night dinner (and easy clean-up!) is a really good thing.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Baby Making

I was inspired by the talented mmmcrafts adorable plush taggie. The pattern is by the also talented, Chez Beeper Bebe. You gotta love the inspiration out in blogland. It's a virtual land of fun. We're getting a new baby girl (Mia) in the family next month and I'm a tad excited! Now I want to make burp pads. I need to get some padded cloth diapers.

I'm giving Mia this little quilt I made with Anna Maria Horner's Chocolate Lollipop collection. I think it will make the perfect picnic pad, beach or down by the lake quilt. The dark backing should hold up pretty well to our outdoor lifestyles. I need to make a label and give it a wash.

Look what my swap partner sent me. Isn't it adorable? I don't know why Bones wouldn't look at me. Probably embarrassed to be in a photo shoot in the front yard. He has a rep in this hood as being the meanest thing on four little, squatty legs. The miniature quilt is by the talented Rochelle. She blogs at Three Turns to Home. I've used talented three times in the first two paragraphs. Somebody buy me a thesaurus.

I watched two movies today. "50/50" is the drama with Seth Rogan and the kid from "3rd Rock from the Sun." It was sad. Made me cry. If you Red Box, use the code BREAKROOM to score a free movie this week.

The second movie was "Idiocracy." Funny, I had to look up the title as I'm watching, sewing, and computing at the same time. I have laundry going too. ;) This movie is really odd. Definitely defines idiocracy.

Here's the Wiki definition:
Idiocracy is a 2006 American film, a satirical science fiction comedy, directed by Mike Judge and starring Luke Wilson, Maya Rudolph, Dax Shepard, and Terry Crews.
The film tells the story of two ordinary people taken into a top-secret military hibernation experiment to awaken in a dystopia wherein advertising, commercialism, and cultural anti-intellectualism run rampant and dysgenic pressure has resulted in a uniformly stupid human society devoid of intellectual curiosity, social responsibility, and coherent notions of justice and human rights.
Despite its lack of a major theatrical release, the film has achieved a cult following.

Gotta run, the dryer buzzer just went off. Isn't it odd that after 14 years, I still startle and/or jump when that dang thing buzzes? Maybe I like to forget I'm doing laundry. Let's hope I didn't just jinx my 14-year-old dryer.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Every Day I'm Shuffling

Warning, the You Tube video below may play an irritating political ad before an awesome video. Tis the season, you know. Skip it if you're already sick of political ads. And phone calls. Hurry up, election. My politeness factor with telephone solicitors is waning.

And yes, I actually consulted this video to learn how to shuffle. It's fun, try it. You can eat more and entertain those around you.

I've been shuffling papers, quilting projects, fabric piles, book piles, to-do lists, tax crud, junk mail, etc. I think I see a light at the end of a few tunnels or at least the elimination of many piles.

From the Craft Fail site.
I found this funny site called Craft Fail, where crafters post their Pinterest projects gone wrong. Hilarious. I love the cooking fails especially. Food photography has come a long way and photographers and cooks make everything look so beautiful. Me, not so much. I can totally relate with the divinity mishap. Been there, done that.

This painted heart bag seemed like a fun and quick project. It was. It would be a great craft project for kids. Or make it a color blind test and hide a secret message. These quilt blocks have had me laughing all week. Don't click if you are offended by four-letter words.

The buttermilk roast chicken was a big hit. I may have let mine go a bit long in the oven, but I'm leery of undercooked dark meat or non-crispy skin. The meat was still very juicy and tangy. I used cheap leg quarters and cut them apart before marinating. I'd bake them on a rack next time. I had to pour off grease before they were finished. Trimming more of the fat before marinating might have helped too.

A green salad with vinaigrette, great Northern beans and sweet potato made for an easy dinner. Bake the taters while you bake your chicken. Can you tell I like a lot of freshly ground pepper on my sweet potato? No sugar or cinnamon for me. And if you get a marshmallow anywhere near my sweet potato, I'm not eating it. Gaack, I may have to turn in my Southern card. At least I eat sweet potatoes. I have to make regular potatoes for everyone else. Dang Yankees.

Happy Friday! I'm off to play.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Date Night

I have to admit, Inspector Gadget and I didn't do too many date nights when our kids were younger. We had College Boy at the dirty mall and Olive Garden two days after he was born. What did we know? Then we drug the kiddos pretty much everywhere we went. Besides, we were paranoid parents and would only let our parents watch our kids. Unfortunately, our parents live out of town. But now that the kids are older they hopefully better behave themselves on their own, we've been hanging out at our local watering hole almost every week.

Fish on Fire is our local watering hole. Ironically, it burnt to the ground a few years ago, but they rebuilt and changed the menu for the better. Every Wednesday they offer $4 seared ahi tuna salads and homemade soups. Their 15-bean soup is $1 and all the proceeds go to charity. At 8 pm, they have trivia. And not that I condone midweek drinking, but the Bud Lights are only a buck. That's cheaper than iced tea. I haven't had much else on their menu, but everyone raves about their food. I can't stop ordering the salad. Unless it's oyster night, then I must have oysters.

It's a fun time to chat with Inspector Gadget and other watering hole patrons. We run into the parents of our children's classmates from way back, older siblings of our kid's friends, old neighbors, new neighbors, our friends, tourists, traveling businessmen and all kinds of friendly people. It's kind of like our own little Cheers. And one time, at band camp, we won a round of trivia. Oh yes we did.

Tonight's dinner is going to be this buttermilk roasted chicken. My chicken has been marinating since yesterday. Going to be good! Not sure what I'll serve with it, but I'll think of something.

I did sneak in a little sewing time yesterday and used these two-inch batik squares. My guild buddy Kathryn gifted us with some of her stash she wasn't going to use. I can never say no to batiks.

I also did some glue painting on fabric. I might have time to add some paint to this today. The washable glue acts as a resist and then you wash it out. We'll see where this goes.

Check out my new tool. Shredder scissors. I'm going to use them for fresh herbs. I got the idea from one of my favorite blogs, Pots and Pins. College Boy played with them yesterday while I tailored one of his shirts. The kid is so tall and skinny and likes fitted shirts. I've taken in two for him after we researched how to do it. There are tutorials for all kinds of stuff on the web. I might even learn how to sew a button on something.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Hard to believe it's my 450th post. What a yacky doodle.

I used this wonderful needlebook tutorial by Nana Company to make a simplified version. And yep, I put the hair elastic thingy on the wrong side. I can't tell you how many times I've done that. No biggie, I actually liked the patchwork side better. That cartoon chick was starting to bug me.

I had leftover cabbage from making potstickers, so for dinner I thought I'd whip up a simple cabbage soup to go along with grilled cheese sandwiches. The soup was killer! It's not your Weight Watchers cabbage soup diet soup, but I bet it's still pretty good for you. Let's see if I can remember what I put in it.

Cabbage Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup diced jowl bacon or 2 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 large glove garlic, minced
2 carrots, sliced (I didn't have any carrots, but I would have added them)
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1 can stewed tomatoes (14.5 oz)
1 quart low sodium chicken broth
3 beef bouillon cubes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups water
3 cups sliced green cabbage
romano cheese, for garnish

In your soup pot, saute bacon in hot olive oil until bacon is rendered. Add onion, celery, garlic and saute until onions soften a bit. Add carrots, peppers and stir to combine. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, beef boullion cubes, tomato paste and water. Let mixture simmer up to an hour, checking for seasoning. Add green cabbage the last 20 minutes of cooking adding salt and pepper to taste. Grate or shave romano cheese on top before serving.

Recipe notes: If you haven't tried jowl bacon, get some. Not the kind with teeth, that's just icky. Pigs don't brush their teeth! I made that mistake once and not much grosses me out, but pig teeth in my food is just icky. Vegetarians, leave the bacon out.

I leave the cabbage until last, because most people don't like the texture of slimy cabbage. Your cabbage will still have a bite to it if you add it toward the end. This soup has tons of flavor, but do taste the broth while it's cooking to adjust seasonings. The addition of cabbage will make the broth blander, but remember you're adding salty romano cheese.

Most soups are better the next day and this soup is no exception. I just ate a bowl for breakfast. Wonder when those pounds are going to start melting off?

Finally got a copy of this book. Oh wow, the quilts are amazing! I'm off to dig out my solids.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year!

I needed a case for my new sunglasses. This ruffled glasses case looked cute. Sewing those seams on the opening was a bit challenging, but I think it turned out cute.

Happy Chinese New Year! It's the year of the dragon. We're celebrating by having pot stickers and egg drop soup for dinner. Miso soup for the picky child. Pot stickers are a labor-intensive endeavor, but they are a family favorite around here. I have a little press that makes them into pretty shapes, but there's leftover dough that is wasted. You can simply fold the won ton wrappers in half and pinch the edges or gather them into little purses too. No fancy gadget needed. And no waste.

I usually use ground pork and green cabbage as the main filling. You could also use shrimp. Or Napa cabbage. Other ingredients I like to add include red pepper, garlic, scallions, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, water chestnuts, etc. Tailor these to what your family will eat. You can get away with a lot because everything is chopped finely. Use your food processor to get everything to a mince if you're starved for time.

The dipping sauce is usually pretty simple: soy sauce, sesame oil, black or rice vinegar, ginger and garlic if you're feeling garlic-y. Or, just serve some lite soy sauce on the side. They would also be good with hot mustard, pickled ginger or wasabi. Whatever floats your boat.

I had a bit of the filling mixture leftover, so I made teeny meatballs and froze them. I froze them individually at first and then transferred them to a zip lock bag. They'll be good simmered in some chicken broth. You could also throw in the trimmings from the pot stickers and have yourself a nice noodle and meatball soup. I've done it before and it was delicious. Any leftover filling mixture would also make a good fried rice ingredient. It seems like there's always leftover mixture.

Since today was National Pie Day as well, I made this peach blueberry crumble pie. I was out of brown sugar, so I used half white sugar and half demerara sugar. There are oats in the crumb topping, so I'm sure this dessert is really healthy. I crack myself up.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Stash #42

Oh, quit taunting me with awesome sales and free shipping.

Our needle turn applique class was lots of fun. Mary Sorensen is a fantastic (and funny!) teacher and makes it all seem really easy. Her instruction is very detailed and includes all types of tips and tricks. If you ever have a chance to take a class, I highly recommend it. She also has a video out. The top picture shows what I learned in class. I worked a little more on it today. I want to practice while the techniques are still fresh in my head.

I have "pinned" so many recipes on Pinterest. At least pinning is calorie free. I did make this layered shrimp dip. It was okay. I love trying new recipes even if they all aren't keepers.

Friday, January 20, 2012

For the Birds

Yep, that's a vulture on my neighbor's roof. Look at the pretty blue sky! Buzzards are so gross. Come to think of it, I haven't seen that neighbor in a while...luckily Inspector Gadget spotted him recently.

Actually, there were five vultures on his roof. They wouldn't all pose together, so I couldn't get a clear shot of all five. But I did take some shots at them with the BB gun. Ahh, life in the suburbs. Anyone know how to unjam a BB gun? Annie Oakley I'm not.

I'm taking a needle turn applique workshop tomorrow with Mary Sorensen tomorrow. I finally decided to gather my supplies today. My hand sewing techniques are lacking and it's always rough on my fingers. Can you tell by my thimble collection? Unfortunately, I'm like a cat wearing shoes when I sew with a thimble. Hopefully, I can find something that works tomorrow if my fingers start hurting. Or at least figure out what finger you put one of the things on! How does that thread cutter thimble in the bottom of the photo work?

My fabrics and threads. Hopefully these will work. I have until tomorrow morning to change my mind. Maybe I should bring more selection.

My hummus dinner last night. I made Buffalo chicken dip (Hollywood's favorite food) and pita bread pizzas too, but I stuck with the hummus and veggies. I love that stuff.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Scrappy Love

I sure am enjoying all the scrappy quilt projects in blogland. Scrappy quilts will always be my favorite. Never have been a matchy-matchy girl. I dug into my pre-cut scraps and gave this Scrap Jar Stars block by Gigi's Thimble a whirl. I might have to try a couple more of these.

It's 10:30 am, and I just put my lunch in to heat up. Inspector Gadget caved and ordered a new microwave. It's on back order. I think it's been fun teaching the kids how we reheated (and heated) stuff in the olden days. I never thought I'd say this, but that toaster oven has come in quite handy. Those hooligans moved that monstrosity into my kitchen when I was out of town a few years ago. I might have to buy a typewriter and make those youngins type their college papers on it. An electric typewriter of course, I'm not that ornery.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Enchiladas Two Ways

Jeez, I'm still into food. I cancelled my gym membership too. Anyone else smell trouble? Last night, I tried this enchilada sauce recipe. I usually make my own concoction, and it's good; but this stuff was much easier and quite tasty. And not from a can. It looks really dark in the picture after baking, but it was really good.

After getting the sauce going, I threw all caution to the wind and fried up three Angus bacon cheddar burger patties rescued from the deep freeze. Okay, they were salvaged, versus rescued. You were supposed to use them by October something, 2011. No one died, people. And a zesty enchilada sauce masks freezer flavor quite nicely. Plus, I fried the crap out of them. They had color after I was done with them. I also had some leftover red beans and chicken so enchiladas two ways were in order.

The burgers were crumbled and mixed with sauce, cheese and black olives. For the second version, I smashed some red beans, added in sauce, shredded chicken and cheese. No olives in some of them. One was all beans, no chicken. My family has issues. The garnish was avocado, tomato, lime juice and sour cream. The garnishes have to go on the side, because like I said, my family has issues. A little green salad and yellow rice finished off dinner.

I used the leftover avocado and tomato on my egg sandwich this morning. Okay, I'm off to put my running shoes on. Unfortunately, I have no issues with food. I like to eat everything.
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