Monday, December 15, 2014

Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt - week 3

Hello again! I took last week off from blogging about the mystery quilt, but I'm back this week. Last week's block really had me frustrated because my printer wouldn't print out the correct size, and quite truthfully, the instructions left me baffled. Different designers have different methods, and I'm not used to this designer yet. Thankfully, this week was more clear for me. Piecing strips I can do. I'm afraid that the green I have is too dark, and doesn't read well next to the black. Not sure if I should rummage through my stash for something else to use. I really don't want to  have to rip out seams and swap out greens. I haven't done many strips yet, so I may switch things out for the rest. I already had these greens leftover from batik strips sets I bought several years ago.  Since they were in 2.5 inch strips, I stitched and then trimmed down to the correct width. Speaking of trimming, anyone else going through lots of rotary cutter blades? I swear, batik fabrics must dull the blades more quickly than other fabrics.

This is my first block completed from week 3. I am half done with my week 2 blocks. I have to cut out more black squares to finish up the rest of the double diamond blocks. I have a bunch more of week 1 blocks to finish, too, but I'd say I am 3/4s done with those.
Blocks 1 and 2 were giving me a hard time because my machine didn't want to feed the multiple layers with seams. I had been hand turning the wheel for several stitches, until over the hump caused by the HST seam. That got old, really fast. So, speaking of old, I went out and got myself a "new" machine. Isn't she pretty?? She's a 328k from 1961. She sews like a champ! She's quite powerful, and I am getting to know her, so my seams aren't perfect. I don't expect the quilt police to show up and my house (or in my comments), so I will say I am happy with how I have been piecing with her. I will need to replace the bobbin tire, but right out of the proverbial box, she has been great. I am amazed at all of the accessories that came with her, and in pristine condition. I'm guessing that she wasn't used a whole lot. And get a load of the price on the package of needles. When was the last time you bought a package of needles for thirty cents?

Monday, December 1, 2014

My First Mystery Quilt!

So, in addition to being a food-type person and a sometimes-Ihavebeenatotalslothlately-fitness-type person, I am also a crafty-type person. Since I had a few days off for Thanksgiving, last week I decided to undertake my very first Mystery Quilt. A mystery quilt is where you are told how much fabric you will need, and in what colors. Then you get the instructions each week of what blocks to cut and piece, and how many you need. You do this not knowing what you will have when you are done. Hence, it's a mystery. That reminds me of the movie Shakespeare In Love. What happens next? I don't know, it's a mystery.

Speaking of movies, this mystery quilt is called the Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt because the designer, Bonnie Hunter of,  was inspired by the colors she saw at the Grand Hotel in Michigan, when she stayed there last spring. That's the hotel featured in the movie Somewhere In Time. Great movie.  The colors of the quilt are yellow, green, pink, aqua, and black. As there are no quilt police, you don't absolutely have to use those exact colors. I am using similar, but not exact, and almost all of what I'm using is from my stash of fabric.

Last week, when I was working on my Crystal Santa wall hanging quilt, I griped about how much I dislike half square triangles. Guess what??? First clue instructions were to take the pink fabric and the aqua fabric and make 280 half square triangles. Yay.

 Here are some of my pink and aqua strips. I read about the Magic 8 method of making 8 half square triangles at a time by using larger squares that you mark, sew, then cut. Seeing as I am not the most accurate cutter of fabric, I figured that would be a good way to go.

I went a bit overboard cutting my aqua squares. Hopefully they can be used in later clues. I got a bit distracted. 
 Here are my first batch of blocks done. We need 100 of these, so I will be back at my sewing machine during lunch and after work.

I joked with the Quiltville FB group that I got so distracted that I burned my half square triangle. It's funny how you start to see quilt blocks everywhere. ;)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Ninja, A Sweet Potato and A Waffle Iron Walked In To A Kitchen ...

Welcome to Trash The Kitchen Tuesday! Actually, I trash the kitchen most days, if I'm cooking. I like to cook. Cleaning up, not so much. And may I say, having a microwave oven that also works as an Advantium speed oven lets me trash the kitchen so much quicker!

Yesterday, for my #30DaysOfThankful I posted a picture of my kitchen. After reading Carla's post, Meet My Friend Melvin, I realized that I let way too much food spoil. Not everyone can, after paying their rent, their bills, their child support, etc, afford to feed themselves. This morning, pondering what to have for breakfast, I decide to use up some things that I had in the pantry and the fridge: two partial onions (one red, one white), half a poblano pepper that was on its last legs, two sweet potatoes that were growing alien tentacles, err, sprouting, and one regular baking potato. The first thing that came to mind was trying to make waffle iron hash brown/latkes, but I didn't want to do a lot of shredding. So, I washed off all of the sweet potatoes and threw them in the Advantium to bake. In the meantime, I chopped up the onions and minced the poblano. When I got the potatoes out, they were only partially cooked, so I scooped out what was soft and put the rest back in to cook more. I took the cooked potato and put it in to my new Ninja. Ninjas rock, by the way. I added most of the onion and half of the poblano, along with a splash of milk. I blended that until it was fairly smooth, then I cracked in two eggs and blended again until it was smooth, like a batter. (Oh, yes, that is savory jerky from Rachel Ray, another awesome Fitbloggin sponsor, in the background. I picked it up yesterday at the grocery store. The dogs love it.)

By this time, the rest of the potatoes were cooked well enough, so I scooped them out and put them in to a bowl, along with the rest of the chopped onion and poblano pepper. Using a fork, I mashed the mixture until there were only small lumps.

 In went the Ninja batter, along with a pinch of salt, and I mixed everything together.

Next, I added a cup of Bob's Red Mill GF Flour Mixture (feel free to use regular flour), half a cup at a time, mixing to incorporate the flour and leave no lumps. I looked at it and thought, this would be really  nice with a side of bacon. I don't have bacon. :(  Oh, wait. YES, I HAVE BACON!! Thank you, Costco. I had a bag of bacon crumbles in the freezer. Forget having bacon on the side. I'm having bacon IN my sweet potato waffles.

I let the batter rest while the waffle iron heated up. My finger can attest that it heats up very quickly, thank you very much. I drizzle a little olive oil on the waffle iron and spoon in the batter, spreading it out fairly evenly. Pressing down, I anxiously await the light to go from red to green. Yay! It worked!

Breakfast dilemma solved, and I didn't let foods go to waste. Savory sweet potato waffles, topped with a little butter. To make it even more sweet/savory, after I took this picture, I spread a little bit of my maple butter from Raymond Sugarhouse in Hartland, VT.  If you love all things maple, and like to support small businesses, please consider ordering from them. Everything I have tried of theirs (maple syrup, maple candy, maple butter, maple cream, maple crunch peanut butter and maple crunch peanuts) are amazing.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Pizza For Breakfast

I know what you're thinking. Who hasn't eaten pizza for breakfast. Cold pizza is awesome. Yes, yes it is. That's not what I made though. I made breakfast pizza!  Last night on FB, TJ posted a picture of pizza she made for dinner. She mentioned that it was a Greek yogurt crust. ??? I had to find out about this. It's one cup of greek yogurt, one cup of self rising flour (plus more for kneading), baked at 450 for 15 minutes. Well, I don't have self rising flour, but that's easy enough to make, and since I was making it myself, I'd make it with a gluten free flour blend. Since I only had vanilla Greek yogurt, I figured I might as well make a breakfast pizza.

My hands got seriously messy making this.
 Here it is, patted out on my pizza stone. Note to self: USE PARCHMENT PAPER UNDERNEATH THE DOUGH NEXT TIME.
 I used more of my vanilla greek yogurt as the "cheese" for my pizza, and topped it with lots of  berries.
 15 minutes later, browned and crispy pizza!

Okay, so here's why I need to use parchment under the dough next time I make this. I totally had to scrape the pizza off of the stone. So, it was messy. It was still really tasty!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Quick and Easy Spicy Scotch Eggs

Hello October! Not all things fall revolve around pumpkin pie spiced everything. Shocking, I know, but true. Fall flavors to me, are savory flavors. Chili powder. Smoked paprika. Garlic. Yum.  These are a few of the flavors in one of my favorite things to eat. Scotch eggs. Recently, to celebrate the return of Doctor Who, The Aussie and I ate out at a local British pub. I was so happy to see Scotch eggs on the menu. Ever since, I've been thinking about them. What better time to make these than at the start of a paleo challenge?

Spicy Scotch Eggs (serves 4)

4 hard boiled eggs, peeled
1 pound pork sausage
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 T parsley flakes
freshly ground black pepper
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 375. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil.

Mix the sausage and spices together until well combined.

Take a large spoonful of the mixture and start to wrap it around a peeled hard boiled egg, like so.

Completely cover the egg with the mixture, smoothing it down to make sure there are no gaps. Repeat with the remaining eggs.

Bake at 375 for 25 minutes until the sausage is lightly browned and cooked through.

The eggs can be eaten hot, cold, and anywhere in between. I got a little piggy here because I was so hungry (they smelled amazing while I was cooking) and took two. My dipping sauce was a simple paleo mayo-mustard. I was full after having 1 1/2. These are perfect for any meal. 


Friday, June 20, 2014

Axis Of Ineptitude - Celebrity Crush

In true inept fashion, I have barely posted this month. In good faith, however, I cannot, simply cannot let today's prompt pass without posting. CELEBRITY CRUSH. Oh, yes. I will try not to think about how much younger these fine gentlemen are than me. And yes, I am happily married. As a wise woman once told me, "just because you've already ordered, doesn't mean you can't look at the menu."


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I don't care how old I am, I'm still going to

How appropriate that today's prompt falls on my birthday. One of my favorite birthday traditions from when I worked in NYC was to head to Central Park on my birthday and ride the carousel. This picture was taken the last time I was in New York. My mom, my sister and I all met up, did fun things, and while it wasn't on my birthday, it was close enough to it to count. I miss that carousel.
So, I don't care how old I am, I'm still going to ride on carousels.