What's on My Food?

Find out what's on your food at: whatsonmyfood.org

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Don't Hate Me Because I'm Cute...

Don't ask me to get down, I don't know how I got up!

Now, there is no way but up...

 I think I can...
I think I can...

Boy! Am I high!

Mommy, I am ready to come down now...

Thank you for the toy, Mommy!

OK, if this is what makes you happy...

My normal day in the quilt studio...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Too Hot for Chili? Never!

Is it too Hot for Chili?

Never!! It may be 95 degrees outside but yesterday, I had a hankering for some chili.

One small bag of pinto beans (fresh is best but Goyo brand is very good)
1-2 lbs ground beef  (I use organic from Costco)
3-4 garlic cloves
2-3 chopped onions (I used 5-6 onions from a neighbor's garden, they were small)
1-3 TBLS red chili, preferably from Hatch, NM
1 large can of tomato sauce
1 large can of chopped tomatoes
Salt to taste.

One day before meal or early in the morning, wash and inspect beans. Put in large pot and cover with water. Swish your hand in the beans to rinse any mud off of beans. Drain & rinse beans in colander. Put in pot with clean water. Let sit for a couple of hours. Drain & rinse again. Put beans in fresh pot of water and let sit all day or overnight. Next, morning, drain & rinse again (unless you like to fart a lot) and fill pot with fresh water and beans. Slow cook for an hour.

Saute onions, garlic and beef in skillet. Drain off some of the fat if too much. Add tomato sauce, tomatoes and 1-3 TBLS red chili.
Simmer for about 20 minutes. Add to pot of beans and simmer on low for another hour or so. Best if served the next day, but too good to wait.
Serve with fresh chopped onions, grated cheddar cheese, cilantro, chopped jalapeno, and saltine crackers.
Don't forget the beer!


Monday, April 30, 2012

New Beginnings

Hi Boys and Girls!

Just got back from Virginia. I was there three weeks and had the privilege of witnessing the birth of my granddaughter, Sarah Rachel…what an experience! Virginia is a beautiful state. I did not get to see a lot of it because more important matters were at hand…New Beginnings…A new life brought into this world.

 The cutest little baby girl!

Isaac Henry, 19 months, of course did not remember me. The last time I saw him, he was 6 months old. So, you can see he is not sure of this woman just picking him up and loving on him. But before long we were having fun and going places. The most fun was Boxerwood Gardens. http://boxerwood.org/visit/index.asp This was a fun place for kids of all ages. The 20 aces was left by a doctor and his wife for the enjoyment of discovery. There were huge turtles in a pond, hiking trails with discoveries around every turn and lots of play areas for little tykes. Isaac especially like the running stream where he played with the rocks for over an hour.

Isaac really did not know that this little bundle making funny noises, squeaks and burbs was a little sister. But by the time I left he knew she was special...A real thing…not a doll, not a toy but a real living human being.

Since I was there 3 weeks I did a lot of cooking. Personally, I love anything someone else cooks for me. I knew my cooking would be greatly appreciated. Out of all the dishes I made, one really made a hit with my son-in-law…my famous risotto! There is no recipe but I will try and re-create it for you.

2 cups Arborio rice

2 Tbls olive oil

1 onion, chopped

½ cup chopped celery (celery hearts preferred)

1 cup peas (broccoli or asparagus work also)

3-4 organic chicken and herb sausage, sliced (I use Buddy’s Natural Chicken)

1 32 oz Pacific Organic chicken broth

4-5 sprigs of fresh basil

Parmesan cheese

Sauté the onion and rice in olive oil until onion is translucent.

Add the herb sausage and continue to sauté until lightly browned.

Add the celery and continue to cook for about a minute.

Add the vegetable along with the chicken broth.
Bring to a boil and lower heat.

Place sprigs of fresh basil on top.

Cover pan. Simmer for about 35-40 minutes.

When done, gently stir rice.

Serve with Parmesan cheese.

Adjust this any way you like. Add more veggies or less if you prefer. I sometimes do not add the sausage. My husband makes it with only rice and chicken broth...BORING...but any way you make it it will be good. This picture is before I made the final stir.

Another favorite was Orange Beef with Broccoli. This comes from the cookbook Reader’s Digest Vegetables for Vitality. http://www.amazon.com 

I think I have mentioned this cookbook before. Everything is good in this book. Here is the recipe but I am leaving out the nutritional values. By the way, all the recipes have the nutritional content at the end of each recipe.

Orange Beef with Broccoli

2 tsp cornstarch

¼ cup dry sherry

2 TBLS reduced sodium soy sauce (I substituted a mixture of Sake and sesame seed oil only because I did not have dry sherry or soy sauce).

¼ tsp baking soda

12 oz flank steak, cut into thin strips

4 tsps olive oil

4 TBLS orange zest (finely grated orange rind, but not the pith)

¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

5 cups broccoli florets and stems (preferably organic)

1 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks

4 scallions, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup jicama matchsticks

In Medium bowl, whisk together cornstarch, sherry, soy sauce, and baking soda. Add steak, tossing to coat. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

In large skillet, heat 3 tsp of oil. Reserving marinade, adds beef, half of orange zest, and pepper flakes to skillet. Stir-fry until beef is just cooked, 3 minutes. Transfer to plate.

Add remaining oil, broccoli, bell pepper, scallions, and garlic to skillet. Cook 3 minutes, Add ½ cup water. Cook until broccoli is crisp-tender. 2 minutes.

Stir 1/3 cup water and reserved marinade into skillet. Bring to boil. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Return beef to skillet. Add jicama. Cook until beef is heated through. Garnish with remaining orange zest.
Yes, it is as good as it looks!

I had a chance to visit a darling quilt shop (I have not met a quilt shop that is NOT darling)! It is in Fairfield, VA.

The Quiltery. They had a lot of Civil War fabrics batiks, baby fabric...and lots of threads. Prices were comparable to Texas. The old house was perfect for a quilt shop. It has creaky hardwood floors and lots of ambiance.
The Quiltery in Fisherville, VA.

So, now I am back home and trying to adjust to no babies. Shannon’s family is complete.

I am grateful I could help her and be there to see Sarah enter the world.

Try these recipes and tell me what you think. In the meantime, cook something for a friend. Better yet, have that friend over for lunch and make a special meal…no reason…just because it is good for the heart and the soul!

Until next time…kiss a baby!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Day 4 with Bill & Marsha

Hi Boys and Girls:

Day 4. Another fantastic day with Bill & Marsha from Kirkland, WA. My brother is here to wire my quilt studio AKA Casita, for wi-fi and cable.
This is only part of the equipment he brought. Most of it did the trick and he only had to buy some extra little things. I now have wi-fi in the studio and cable for a TV if I so desire. He is a saint!

Marsha did her magic at Bussey's Flea Market today. http://wwwbusseysfm.com
She found me an old wrought iron plant hanger that will go on one of the posts of the quilt studio. Remember the gorgeous hanging planter she made? Well, it can hang from this hanger. Roberto is funking it up a bit before he mounts it on the post.

Of course, I had to make a famous dinner. I am not bragging! They told me this...anyway, I made fish tacos but a bit differently. The fish came from Costco. There was a taste testing last week when I shopped and I knew it would be for tacos. It is called Tortilla Crusted Tilapia. It is "white fish; flaky fillets with tortilla, chipolte & lime crust." Freshly made flour tortillas were a hit (Costco). Now, you tell me, does this look good or what?
The fish is in the background on the foil. I baked it in the convection oven for 15 minutes. The sides to go with the tacos were: tomatillo sauce (Costco), Sadie's hot sauce (HEB), avocados (HEB), Spanish rice (mine!) and chips...Oh, and we had Funf 5 Riesling(Their motto is Fun begins at 5)...oh so good!

After lots of after dinner chatter, we are ready for a movie. Oh, the time is going by too fast!

Until next time...eat fish!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Something Missing in My Old Standby

Hi Boys and Girls!

Sorry for the long sabbatical…I have lots to tell you…especially about my new quilt studio…But this opinion about my favorite restaurant in New Braunfels takes precedence.

My most favorite restaurant has been the Huisache Grill in New Braunfels. I started going there when it was an itsy-bitsy one-room eatery with local paintings on the wall. The charm of the train going by not more than 50 feet away was overshadowed by the exceptional food and service. I would say I have been eating there almost 20 years.

Something is missing. Last night’s meal did not meet my expectations. My guests from Seattle were fascinated by the décor along with the ambiance of the gardens and shops. The wine list is excellent but short on Pacific Northwest wines...to be expected.

However, they too were not impressed with their meal. OK, let’s start with my favorite dish…the pork sandwich. It used to be served on a sourdough bun. Now it is on a typical hamburger bun which is thin and flavorless. The pork would melt in my mouth. Not last night’s sandwich. The pork was tough. How can pork tenderloin EVER be tough? Anyway, the sweet potato fries with it were very good.

My other favorite dish was penne pasta. In fact, I only ordered the above sandwich and the penne pasta in all the years I ate at Huisache Grill. The pasta was al dente and sautéed in olive oil along with artichoke hearts, tomatoes, capers, spinach. It was fresh and the flavor outstanding. Two orders of that same dish came to our table last night. Gone is the olive oil replaced with a white sauce. Something is missing…it was not the same. One guest ordered it with chicken. The chicken was a jokingly small piece that was hardly worth $5 extra. Too much white sauce and too many tomatoes…Scratch that off my favorite list.

And the final blow...who serves outstanding chocolate cake with ice milk? It is almost un-American to live in Texas and not serve Blue Bell ice cream.

I must say the Hogue wine was excellent. The server Jessica was very accommodating.

So what is it? Am I really getting too particular or too set in my ways? I think not. You know the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” That certainly applies to restaurant fare. And it certainly applies to Huisache Grill.

In the meantime, continue to expect great things from restaurants that have become legendary…the old standby should be just that…dependable and a cut above the rest. Come on Huisache...get back to your legendary standard...you can do it!

Until next time, kiss the cook.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

You Can Do This by Christmas! Part 2

Hi Boys and Girls!

OK, the piecing is finished. All the blocks finished.

I placed the blocks 5 across and 6 down. The placement is not set in stone. The fun begins now when I move and stand back and see where one block will look better in the place of another.

Since these are "busy" quilts...a lot of color and movement...I want to separate each block with sashing.

I will try red, black and possibly green and white. I will put different colors up until I like one.
More on this later.

Right now, there is a give-a-way! The first person that finds my mistake will get a Christmas fat quarter (18"x22").

Good Luck! Until next time, make a pot of soup. Cooler days ahead!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

You Can Do This by Christmas!

Hi Boys and Girls!

You Can Do This by Christmas!

 Yes, you can make a Christmas quilt in time for someone very special on your list.

 This is such an easy pattern that most beginner quilters or sewers will find it manageable.

I am using a pattern called The Disappearing 4-Patch also known as the 4 to 9-Patch. There are variations of this block. You can Google 4-Patch www.google.com and come up with several directions. The following is my version. I have been told that I am a pin fanatic and a bit anal about an accurate 1/4" seam. This is how I was taught and I am sort of a perfectionist when it comes to sewing. Now, cooking is another matter. I will change a recipe on a whim. But this is fabric...a littler harder to "doctor up" when not accurate. With that being said, use these directions and tips that suit you and do your own thing!

This block is great for using up scraps. Only thing, you have to cut each one. Well if you use 5” pre-cut squares, called charm packs you get this made a lot quicker and less stress on your wrist. Local quilt stores http://www.creativesewlutions.com/, or www.oakleafquilts.com often have these on sale or you can  find them on-line at www.fabricdepot.com or www.ebay.com.  

First separate your 5” squares with darks in one pile and the lights in another. Those somewhere in the middle will be used too. This block looks great with high contrast of lights and darks but it also works with medium color value. Just don’t put 4 darks together. Put together sets of 4 that are pleasing to you and set aside as shown above.


At least 30 5” squares (Most charm packs are 42 to a pack). I am using two for this quilt.

Small cutting mat

Rotary cutter

Sharp pins (my favorite are Little House from Japan) http://www.ericas.com/quilting/tools/pinsandneedles.htm

Sewing machine threaded with neutral color thread

Small scissors
Next, make sure you can sew a ¼” seam. I cannot tell you how important this is when making a quilt top. Some machines have a quarter inch foot where you just butt the fabric next to the foot and you automatically achieve a 1/4” seam. Alas, not all machines are equal. For instance, my Bernina has a “fat” quarter inch. That means it is about 1-2 stitches wider than ¼” so all my seams would be too big. My Featherweight as shown in these pictures has a quarter inch foot and sews an accurate seam. So, you need to find out where your quarter inch seam is on your machine. Here is how you can make sure your machine is sewing an accurate seam.

After you have determined where to place your fabric to sew an accurate ¼” seam, place tape or Post-it©Notes on your throat plate to guide your fabric. Once you get to know your machine and know where to place your fabric, you will be guaranteed to have a straight quilt!

Tip: I have several machines. Once I start a quilt on a particular machine, I finish the top using the same machine to insure accuracy.

Now for your first block! These directions are for 5-inch squares and will finish to an 8” block. If you use a “scant” (less than ¼” seam) the block finishes to a 8.5” block.

Place 4 squares with good contrast in colors or shades and tones on your cutting mat.

Make 4 cuts without moving the block or the cut pieces. Use a small mat so you can turn the block without disturbing it.

 Using the center seams as the reference point, measure out 2” from the center seam for each cut.

Next, rotate only the center outside sections 180° as shown in the photo.

Sew the sections together as shown in the next two photos to complete the block.
You see I pin my pieces together. If there is extra fabric, don't worry. It will come out even. Trust me.
Pin each end first and stop sewing just before a pin. When you are at a seam, make sure your needle is down in the fabric before removing the pin.

Place your first sewn row back on the cutting mat. Pick up the next cut piece to add and work your way down.
Do this until you have added all the pieces. You will notice I have a 1/4" foot on my Featherweight. I butt the fabric right next to the guide. This gives an accurate 1/4" seam but the square will not measure 8.5" which is OK with me. All the squares will be the same size with the same seam. That is most important. 

Now take your rows to the iron. Iron each row with the seams going in opposite directions.

With seams going in opposite directions, butt up seams in each row and pin. Sew each row.

You can sew each row one at a time or pin them all then sew each row.

Now take your sewn block to the iron. Iron all the rows in one direction.

There you have your new 9-patch block.

This may seem tedious to you, but after you have made a few, it will go very quickly. I tried to show each step. Once you get going, the top comes together quickly. I plan on 35 blocks. I will post the next step of putting the blocks together as a top. There are several ways of doing this. Since the blocks are all different, I may sash between each row with a solid color of red or green. Look at the example of sashing in this Jinny Beyer quilt. http://rjrfabrics.com/_media/patterns/pdf/Pinwheel_Sunrise.pdf

If you have any questions or suggestions (or find an error) please do not hesitate to comment.

Until next time, play with your fabric! You have my permission to touch it and cuddle it as much as you want.