Saturday, August 31, 2013

Happy Weekend!

I made some pimento cheese yesterday. The Inspector sometimes sneaks that neon orange stuff in the house, but I've never really cared for it. Homemade is much better. I loved it. I used this recipe but added quite a bit of cayenne pepper. They call pimento cheese "the caviar of the South." It is also served traditionally at the Masters golf tournament. Here's a copycat recipe for the Master's pimento cheese. I'm trying that recipe next.

The diced pimentos were pricey, so I bought these whole pimentos and diced them myself. The texture of the whole pimentos is much better; not as slimy. I love the "fancy quality" proclamation on the label. And note the different spelling, pimiento. I've always thought pimentos were roasted red peppers, but they are actually cherry peppers. Now I want to add them to everything.

We started off the holiday weekend by grilling mustard and soy sauce coated wild salmon and artisan bread drizzled with olive oil. I used a cedar plank for the salmon and it gave it great flavor. I'm looking forward to a long weekend of grilling and goofing off.

After the bread was burnt toasty, I rubbed raw garlic clove and tomato on the hot bread. Then I topped them with sliced avocado, more tomato, lime juice, salt and pepper. They were really good and we ate them while the salmon took it's sweet time cooking. My gas grill is about dead, so I'm having to get used to using charcoal again.

I'm still working on my improvisational stitch and flip blocks. I wasn't as far along as I originally thought. Maybe I'll make some progress during the three-day weekend.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Who Lives in a Pineapple Under the Sea

This Pineapple Cake with Cream Cheese Icing couldn't be easier. I halved the recipe and baked it in a square pan. The cream cheese icing is super sweet, but I don't eat much sugar, so maybe it was just me. The cake part is moist and delicious and not overly sweet.

Victoria at Bumble Beans is collecting happy anvil quilt blocks to make quilts for those affected by cancer. V is a dynamo quilter and the quilts will certainly bring some smiles. If you have some time, whip one up with your scraps. The only direction is blue backgrounds with bright and happy colors for the pattern. There's a tutorial and mailing info at the link above.

There's something satisfying about whipping up a quick dough with only four ingredients when you're out of bread. Let it rise for two hours and stash it in the fridge until you're ready to bake.

Here's the second rise. I put the dough on parchment paper, so I can transfer it to my baking stone without incident. I thought I wanted a pizza peel, but I'm not sure I could get the hang of that. I can see me flicking an entire sticky loaf of raw bread dough against the back of a 450 degree oven and the resulting fire. Dramatic much?

Ta da! Couldn't be easier. Cool and slice. It's also good toasted in the morning with a runny egg on top. Or so I've heard.

Speaking of easy, I tried a different One Pot Wonder pasta dish. This one had basil and tomato. Delicious. I'm trying the Thai Style Peanut version next. The vegetable stock I'm using came from Penzey's and it's so flavorful. You could use chicken stock, but I was being mean and making my meat lovers go vegetarian. They whine, but they eat it. I think I saw the little one sneaking a Slim Jim before dinner.

I made a few more stitch and flip blocks yesterday. I think I'm close to having enough to make a lap size quilt.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Stitch and Flip Improvisation Workshop

Our second workshop was Stitch and Flip Improvisation. I loved this technique and the design opportunities are endless. So many different looks from a variety of blocks. You can start with background squares or rectangles.

See all the variations Jacquie created? So much fun to be had with this simple and improvisational piecing technique. I really loved the navy blue background. I'm going to have to get some navy solid soon. The biggest chunk of solid I could find in my stash was white.

Go, go guild girls. We had a sold out class of 20 for this workshop. Our space was a little tight, but it didn't keep us from designing unique configurations of these blocks. We had tons of creativity flowing and I loved seeing all the different fabric combinations everyone had.

Here's my start. I still have a bunch of blocks to make, but I'm loving it so far. I started with 4.5" x 6" rectangles and scraps in blue, teal, and green. I was going with an ocean color scheme. I'm working on more of these blocks today and watching a Snapped marathon. I've got artisan bread rising too. Love those slow work days.

We starve at our guild functions, so I brought Inspector Gadget's favorite pot luck dish, Seven-layer Mexican dip. He swears his coworkers ask for this at their pot lucks, but I think he makes that up, because this dip is his absolute favorite. I had to sneak out of the house with it.

Just kidding, we never starve. It's like a Medieval feast every time. Our guild has come a long way from four people showing up at Sew Day each with a tub of hummus and a bag of pita chips. We're still big hummus fans.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hexagon Workshop

Our Friday workshop was Piecing Hexagons by Machine. Jacquie from Tallgrass Prairie Studio was a wonderful teacher and very inspiring. Here she is showing one of her gorgeous creations. She brought many of her quilts to show as examples. They were all so unique and beautifully designed and made.

Jacquie showed us a genius way of quickly cutting hexagon shapes. We were all able to cut quite a few hexagons from our fabrics and play with different layouts on the design walls. Here is my layout and I've sewn about half of the columns together. I can add more hexagons to make it bigger too.

I was drooling at every one's fabric selections. Rene' was standing on a chair designing her quilt. Hardcore quilter. She cut larger hexagons and used a fun fabric line.

Love the gray, yellow, black and white. So striking and bold.

These Kaffe prints make me swoon. Always have, always will.

More gorgeous hexagons. Our guild sure isn't afraid of color.

We ate tons of great food at the workshop, but still managed to fit in a fun dinner at Fish on Fire, our local watering hole. Yep, there might be some grits in my bowl of cheese!

The owner of the restaurant went home to get a quilt his aunt made him. She made four or five of these family photo quilts and gave them to the "kids" during a family reunion. The quilt was absolutely beautiful and you can tell Jay really treasures it. We also met a fellow quilter from California. It's a small world when quilters are involved.

Our dinner party toasting to a day of fun. Cheers! Everyone to bed early for Saturday's workshop. Details to come.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Camel Day

Sorted some solids the other day. It was that or laundry. I used the brighter solids below. I had these solids out to make paper pieced blocks, but I've fallen behind on that project. Now that they're organized I can stash them somewhere and promptly forget about them.
Our guild's BOM. A wonky star in brights and black. Easy and fun.

We missed the Florida lobster season (again!), so I bought some Maine lobsters. Not as tasty as spiny lobster but much easier to get. Did you know that lobsters were fed to prisoners in the Colonial Era? I guess they were so plentiful they washed up on shore in piles of up to two feet when the tide came in. I have a local seafood market where I can get Maine lobster for $5 a piece. I made lobster stock from the heads and shells. I plan to get more lobsters and make lobster risotto.

I found a little frame for this postcard Yumi and her son sent me.

My piles of fabric have been pulled for our guild's workshops. We are hosting the talented Jacquie Gering of Tallgrass Prairie Studio for two of her workshops. I'm very excited to spend two straight days sewing. I haven't had much time for sewing and I'm about to pop.

I did make a toddler apron for Hollywood's little charge. He's starting pre-K and it was on the supply list. I thought I had a canvas toddler apron here, but I didn't find it until today. At least I got to sew a little. He was quite thrilled with it and immediately wanted to cook dinner.

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013


I found some heirloom cherry tomatoes from the Farmer's Market. I've been popping them like candy for days. They're really good. I also found pretty okra, green herbs, zucchini, cukes, and bigger tomatoes. I bought one green one to fry, but it's quickly turning red.

I made The Pioneer Woman's Gazpacho with some of the fresh veggies I found. I halved her recipe and it still made a ton. The first time I served it, I grilled shrimp and bread and used avocado, sour cream and veggies for garnish. Yum! The perfect chilled soup for summer. I made 16-bean soup in case the gazpacho didn't fly. The tomato/bean hater ate grilled shrimp, salad, and bread. It's like a regular cafe here. I've been eating the gazpacho for breakfast.

Then I would make myself a Greek omelet for lunch. I had a tuna sandwich for dinner. Not really. The omelet was so good I made a second one the next day. I left it a little underdone as the recipe indicated. It was so creamy versus a rubbery omelet. Delicious. The fresh spinach, oregano, garlic, and feta made it really flavorful. Twice.

I've been busy, so not much sewing is getting accomplished, but I found a cute fabric berry basket pattern from Noodlehead. I decided to make mine a cherry basket. The cherries have been really good this summer haven't they? I think it was the first time I've ever had Rainier cherries. They were awesome.

And there you go. A quickie fabric berry basket. It doesn't have any cherries in it, but I've got it holding all my camera chargers and USB cables.

I did put some fresh blueberries into these Glazed Blueberry Doughnut Muffins. I was pretty impressed with my glaze. The last time I made glaze it was pitiful and see-through.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Yeah, basically I just eat and goof off.

I gave this Chipotle Sweet Potato Salad a try. It ain't my momma's potato salad, but it was okay. Different and a wee bit spicy. Now I need some of my momma's potato salad. I could eat my weight in that stuff. Luckily, I can make my mom's potato salad, but mine never tastes as good.

Speaking of my momma, my cousins and I had brunch for our parental units before they sailed off to the Bahamas. My cousins had to dog sit my aunt and uncle's crazy, energetic dog. I should have brought her over here to run circles around Bones. I wish I had gotten a picture of Nina, but she's just a blur on film. She's really cute though. If you can get her to sit still long enough to look at her.

I brought a tomato onion quiche and spinach, cheddar, egg ham cups.

There were also Mimosas and Bloody Mary's, plus all this other great grub. I stole my cousin's Instagram picture. The sailors were happy to visit and get fed before they boarded their ship.

It was fun seeing everyone and letting a one-year-old play with my camera. Kidlet needs a little more practice. Most of her shots were blurry or pointed at the ceiling. And no, I did not brush my hair that day. What can I say? I'm a mess. I was just thrilled she liked me. We played kill the camera and sticker books. And then she got in the dog bed. I'll show her that picture when she hits middle school.

My cousin wanted a quilt, so I gave him this one a few years ago. I told him the more he washed and used it, the softer and better it would get. Here it is on their couch. It's his favorite "blankie" and very soft. It may seem odd to see a quilt on a couch during Florida summer, but I have them too. The air conditioning gets chilly and who doesn't like to cuddle with a quilt when watching inappropriate television?

Retail therapy. I've been eyeing that crab plate for months and the set finally went on clearance. I can't wait to use them for appetizer night. The ceramic berry basket was a deal too. Now I have to redo my kitchen to match my new things. Just kidding.

Finally making progress on this scrap quilt I wasn't so thrilled about. I just need to stitch the hearts down. I might even try quilting it myself. Or not. Happy weekend!

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