Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Still working on the hope chest.

As the title of the post would suggest, I continue to work on handmade items to add to Ri's hope chest.  These are my newest offerings:
I took images from free coloring pages to do this one.
I just used my printer to scale everything to the size I wanted and then arranged them the way I liked before transferring the design to the towel.  After stitching everything, I decided I should have made the ring for the measuring spoons red in order for the colors to balance better.  Instead of ripping out some of the stitches and reworking that section, I just added the little dash-of-love heart.  I think I like it better this way than if I had just done the ring in red.
I saw a picture of some sort of kitchen linen done up like this in a magazine, but when I tried to find out where to get the pattern, I discovered they only had it available in a card (disk, or whatever it is they use) for an embroidery machine.  Since I don't have an embroidery machine, I had to do my best to draw this out.  I think it turned out well.
This is another image I got from free coloring pages.
I altered this one a bit more.  I changed how the steam, rising from the two pots on the stove looks (sorry - it's kind of hard to see the white thread on the cream towel in this photo), added butter to the potatoes on the plate to the right (again - hard to see the white, but you can see it better if you click on the pic), changed what was a completely out of proportion chicken/turkey leg that was on the plate to the left into a roasted chicken, and added the clock.  I thought it would look better to have something high on the right to balance the height of the refrigerator.  Since the appliances had a retro look to them, I did them up in teal and made a stylized clock.

Next project, hand towels for the bathroom.
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Monday, February 27, 2012

Recipe: Loaded Potato Bites

This was one of the recipes we were trying out last week as an option for serving at Ri's bridal shower.  I picked up the general idea somewhere, but changed the recipe quite a bit (for one thing, it called for instant potatoes - yuck), both to suit my own tastes, and to make it much smaller; it was originally a dinner recipe, so the portion was much larger.

Loaded Potato Bites
Leftover mashed potatoes - approx. 2c.
4oz softened cream cheese            
1c. shredded cheese - your choice, but I used one of the Mexican blends
1/2 - 1/3c. cooked, chopped bacon
approx. 1Tbls. finely chopped green onion
2 cans refrigerated crescent sheets (or rolls, if you can't find the sheets)

Warm the leftover potatoes and add in the cream cheese, shredded cheese, bacon, and green onions.  Blend well and put back in the fridge for 30 min. to an hour, to allow the potatoes to get firm again.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and spray a mini muffin pan with cooking spray.
Unroll the crescent roll dough, pinching the seams if you were unable to find the sheets.  Cut into approx. 3" squares.  Your potatoes should be firm enough to roll into balls that are about the size of a small bouncy ball.  Place a ball of mashed potatoes on each square, pull the dough up around the potato, pinch the seams closed, and place in the muffin tin.  Bake 'til golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.
This recipe filled my 24 count mini muffin pan, with a bit leftover that we baked on a small cookie sheet.
I've got to admit that I liked them best while they were warm, but they were still pretty good when they had cooled to room temperature.
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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Happy Belated Birthday

Sunday was Kay's birthday.  I got busy writing the post about the apple rolls and completely forgot to mention it.  Sorry honey!  Added to that, we were unable to take her to the movie she wanted to see on Sunday because the weather turned off bad after church.  We did get to take her yesterday though.

At any rate, she turned 22.  It really doesn't seem like it's been that long since she was just a little thing.  She has grown into such a lovely young woman.  She loves children and animals and wants to start volunteering at the humane society soon.

So it may be a little late sweetheart, but Happy Birthday!!  We love you so much.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Recipe: Apple Rolls

I got the idea for this somewhere - I just don't remember where.  Because of that, I don't have the actual recipe I saw, but thought I could probably do it justice anyway.  The worst I could do was come up with something no one would want to eat, and it wouldn't be the first time that happened, so I gave her a whirl.  For the most part, the girls raved about them.  The ones who didn't do any raving are the ones who just don't like cooked apple things anyway, so I pretty much dismissed their opinions.  The main difference I made from the recipe I saw (at least, from what I could remember of it) was that they used fresh apple, peeled, cored, sliced, and then mixed with cinnamon and sugar.  I figured it would just be easier to open a jar of pie filling.  Plus, I didn't have fresh cooking apples on hand, so here's what I came up with. 

Apple Rolls
1 egg                1/4c melted butter
3/4c. milk          3/4c. boiling water
1/4c. honey       1 1/2tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. instant yeast (or 1 pack Rapid Rise)
3 1/2 - 4 1/2c all purpose flour (This can be part whole wheat and part all purpose if you like.)
1 large can apple pie filling (I used a quart jar of the pie filling we made last fall)

Maple Butter
maple syrup
softened butter

Start by melting your butter and setting your water to boil. 
Beat your egg in a small mixing bowl.
In a large bowl, add your milk, honey, salt, melted butter, and boiling water. 
Stir until the honey and salt are dissolved.
If your liquid is still hot (and it probably is) you'll need to temper your egg by slowly pouring a cup of the hot liquid into the beaten egg while continuing to beat it.  This allows the temperature of the egg to rise gradually, so you don't get little bits of cooked egg in the final product. 
When you're finished, pour that mixture back into the large bowl while stirring. 
I used whole, white wheat for part of the flour in my rolls - approx 2c.
Then I added a cup of all purpose flour and my yeast.
Mix that together, adding more all purpose four until the dough comes together.
If you are using a stand mixer, you don't have to mix this until the sides are completely clean, just until the dough is smooth and elastic, and forms a nice dough ball.  You do need to knead it for a bit, but I always leave my sweet roll dough a little stickier than I would regular bread dough. Lightly greasing your hands will help you work with the dough later since it is a bit stickier.
Place the dough in a greased bowl, spread butter on top, cover with a non-fuzzy towel,  and allow to rise until doubled in bulk - about an hour and a half.
While the dough rises you can prepare your filling.  Empty the can of pie filling in a shallow dish and roughly chop the apple into smaller pieces.  Set aside until your dough has finished rising.
When it's ready, punch it down and preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Divide the dough into balls - this recipe should make about 16-18 rolls.
They don't have to be perfect because you will flatten them into a circle.
Don't flatten it out completely in the center.  The edges should be a little thinner than the middle.
If you flatten it too much in the center you'll have thin places in the top which tend to split during baking.
Place a spoonful of pie filling in the center.
Then pull the edges up around the filling.
Pinch the seams closed, then place it, seam side down, in a greased pan.
These do not need a second rising.  Go ahead and bake for 15-18 min, or until golden brown.
If you like, you can prepare these the night before and then cover you pan and put the rolls in the refrigerator overnight.  Bake the next morning - just make sure you preheat the oven or they'll rise too much and blow over the pan while the oven heats up.
Initially I was planning on sprinkling them with cinnamon and sugar, and I did start to do that, but changed courses and decided they would probably be much better with maple butter drizzled over them. 
 I was right.
For the drizzle, take equal parts maple syrup and butter and stir them together over gentle heat until they are blended.  Store any unused maple butter in the fridge.  It may separate a bit; just stir it back together.
These were so very good.
Sweet bread wrapped around a warm apple filling and topped with maple butter.
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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Quilting and more.

I finally got back to some of my sewing.  The girls spent a week with my mom at the end of January and I spent some time working on a few projects.  The first was a bolero jacket for Ri's wedding dress.  We had already picked one out, but last month they told us it was out of stock and they could not guarantee they could get it back in stock in enough time for us to do her photo shoot.  So, I took a bolero pattern and a pattern for a shrug and worked them up in muslin for her to try out.  She made her choice and I've run up the bolero in chiffon to match her dress.  All I have left to do is add the lace.

I've also worked on some quilting.  I finished the top of a quilted rug I'm using in my sewing class and will pin baste and quilt that soon;  I kind of have to since my class is next weekend. :)  I'll take Beenie's quit to show the quilting process, and the sample piece to show binding.
I have Beenie's quilt pin basted, and I've spent some time practicing the patterns I'm going to use for the quilting.  This will be the first time I've free hand quilted an entire quilt.  I'm a little, okay, more than a little nervous about it.  I plan on doing the quilting in the kitchen so I can use the table to support the quilt instead of letting it hang off the back of my sewing table, like I did for Bree's.   I'm guessing it will be harder to move it around if the weight of it is pulling it down the back of the table.  We'll see how it goes. 
I'm working on Ri's quilt too.  I have all the circles made for the Dresden plates.  
I'm glad I just cut one and sewed it up first before cutting the rest, because I ended up not liking how small the circle was in comparison to the plate.  I wanted a larger one since sunflower centers are so big.  I'm pretty happy with this one.
I thought it was neat the way the centers were constructed.  The instructions were to cut a circle out of both the fabric and some iron on interfacing.  Then, placing the right side of the fabric together with the bumpy side of the interfacing, you sew all the way around the circle.  Trim the seam to 1/8th inch.  Cut a slit in the center of the interfacing and turn the circle right side out.  Finish up by pressing with a wooden presser.  Once I'm ready to put the plate and center on the block, I'll just arrange them and then iron the center in place.  The interfacing will help hold everything in place while I pin it and then sew the plate to the block.  I've got several of the background blocks cut out, and have started cutting the strips for the edging that will go around the blocks.  I hope to finish cutting the blocks and white strips this week.  Maybe even some of the green strips too.
And last, but not least, wedding stuff crowding my sewing/school room.  See?  I told you it was taking over.  And I had to get in that closet the other day.  Ughhh!  I've got to find a better place for all of it.  This doesn't even include the three boxes in my closet, albeit those are not too big, or this:
Yes everyone, if you can zoom in closer you'll see this is a 31 gallon tote.  Huge!  Also in my sewing room and also full of wedding stuff.  I think it's time to clean the garage.   
BTW, we will not be using silk flowers in her wedding; the flowers above are for T.Lynn's basket.  They'll allow her to throw silk petals, but the silk throwing petals all look like rose petals.  Since Ri's focus is on sunflowers we thought it'd be cute for her to throw petals that looked like sunflower petals.  Hobby Lobby had a pretty good sale on their flowers the other day, so we went ahead and picked up some to tear apart. Sounds like a good job for the flower girl doesn't it?

That's about all for now.  I plan on posting another recipe soon, but the ladies at the bank (Hi Ladies!) have requested that future recipes come with samples, so we'll see what we can arrange. 

Have a great week!!
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Friday, February 10, 2012

Happy Birthday!

Today is Beenie's 13th birthday. 
Our second youngest is well on her way to being our second tallest, having already passed Bree by a small margin, and currently equal in height to Ri (granted, Ri isn't exactly tall - love you Ri!).  But since everyone always thought Beenie would be the shortest, she's perfectly happy about it.
She's bright, beautiful, and still quite mischievous; you can see that in the twinkle in those pretty blue eyes.  She enjoys playing the guitar, and loves cooking.  She's always ready to try out new things.  She is such a sweet blessing.

Happy Birthday honey!  We love you lots!post signature

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ri here - giving Mom yet another blog design. I think I'm gonna start charging her!