Thursday, March 22, 2012

Denim/Levi/Jean quilting!

I only have four children.  I have been working on denim quilts for each one of them for...hmmm...let me see...their entire lives!  My oldest is 21 in case you didn't know!  Yes, I am excruciatingly slow when it comes to sewing.  Here is a picture of the almost finished one for my third boy.  He is so excited (that may sound strange for a 15 year old kid, but he has been waiting for his for a really long time). 
The adventure began when I was in my early 20's.  I cut very small squares from the worn out levi's we had on hand.  It took a good eight years to finish that one.  It turned out to be a tad larger than a king size.  We use it for picnics and firework shows.  I then made one out of all pockets for my second boy.  He loved the pockets and used them to stash his treasures.  By this time, I was a bit more experienced and I learned that if I cut long strips of the denim leg, I could save some time.  I made one with varying widths and long lengths of denim cut and sewn together for my oldest boy.  Currently, I am working on the one pictured.  I have it laid out on the floor to cut and pin the backing on and decided to snap a photo.  It is a combination pocket/long strip quilt.  I am now down to making one more for my daughter, yippee!  Keep watching for ten more years and you may see the outcome! 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Mint Brownies!

Top of the afternoon to ye and happy shamrock searching!  May ye find a leprechaun with a pot of gold!  At the very least, I do hope you wore green and avoided being pinched!   
Happy Saint Patrick's Day!!

Dense, rich, moist, and minty brownies

Beat 3 eggs until fluffy.  Add 1 & 1/2 cups sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla.  Beat.  Add 3/4 cups melted butter and 3 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted.  Beat.  Add 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1 cup walnuts.  Beat until smooth. Pour into a greased and floured 9X13 pan.  Bake at 350* for 20 minutes.  Cool.

Combine 1/4 cup softened butter with 2 cups powdered sugar.  Beat well while adding milk until thick.  Add green food coloring and 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract.  Frost.  Chill for one hour.

Melt 1 package of semi sweet chocolate chips with 1/2 cup butter in double boiler until smooth.  Pour over top of mint filling.  Chill well before cutting. 

P.S.  I doubled the middle "frosting" layer seeing how that is my favorite part!  If you follow the recipe above, your middle layer will be half as thick.  Happy baking!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Made some salsa tonight.  Loved it and thought I would share what I did, more for my reference when I want some again and can't remember what I did the last time.  Yes, I have had to refer to my own blog for my own recipe.  I have even misplaced recipes and have been glad I posted them on here!

In a food processor, combine about 1C. chopped cilantro, 1 small onion, 1 small garlic clove, 3 tsp. lime juice, 1 anaheim pepper, 1 small orange and 1 small yellow pepper (sorry folks, don't know the proper names of these little guys).  Add a dash of salt, sugar and cumin.  Three cans of stewed tomatoes with green chilies in them.  Pulse.  Vary in many different ways according to your tastes.
Fresh salsa is so good (almost as good as the dance)!  I like doing it this way because you don't have to use fresh tomatoes which aren't always the best in the off season.

Monday, March 12, 2012


I have previously posted an ultimate cinnamon roll recipe, and those are delicious.  However, the dough is a tad finicky and they do not cook in the middle if you cut them larger than an inch.  Today, I tried Pioneer Woman's recipe for maple frosted cinnamon rolls.  They are almost unbelievable!!  I made them extra large and they are perfectly cooked all the way through.  The only adjustment I made in the recipe is in the frosting; it calls for 1/4 c. coffee and seeing how I am not a coffee drinker, I substituted freshly brewed Pero.  This recipe takes some time but is not all consuming and fairly easy.  Try some today, or tomorrow, or next week, but you've gotta try them at least once in your lifetime! 

This is a picture right out of the oven!

Maple frosted cinnamon rolls.

1 quart Whole Milk
1 cup Vegetable Oil
1 cup Sugar
2 packages Active Dry Yeast, 0.25 Ounce Packets
8 cups (Plus 1 Cup Extra, Separated) All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
1 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
1 Tablespoon (heaping) Salt
Plenty Of Melted Butter
2 cups Sugar
Generous Sprinkling Of Cinnamon
1 bag Powdered Sugar
2 teaspoons Maple Flavoring
1/2 cup Milk
1/4 cup Melted Butter
1/4 cup Brewed Coffee
1/8 teaspoon Salt

Preparation Instructions
For the dough, heat the milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat to just below a boil. Set aside and cool to warm. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit on the milk for 1 minute.
Add 8 cups of the flour. Stir until just combined, then cover with a clean kitchen towel, and set aside in a relatively warm place for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the remaining 1 cup flour. Stir thoroughly to combine. Use the dough right away, or place in a mixing bowl and refrigerate for up to 3 days, punching down the dough if it rises to the top of the bowl. (Note: dough is easier to work with if it’s been chilled for at least an hour or so beforehand.)
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
To assemble the rolls, remove half the dough from the pan/bowl. On a floured baking surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 30 x 10 inches. The dough should be rolled very thin.
To make the filling, pour 3/4 cup to 1 cup of the melted butter over the surface of the dough. Use your fingers to spread the butter evenly. Generously sprinkle half of the ground cinnamon and 1 cup of the sugar over the butter. Don’t be afraid to drizzle on more butter or more sugar! Gooey is the goal.
Now, beginning at the end farthest from you, roll the rectangle tightly towards you. Use both hands and work slowly, being careful to keep the roll tight. Don’t worry if the filling oozes as you work; that just means the rolls are going to be divine. When you reach the end, pinch the seam together and flip the roll so that the seam is face down. When you’re finished, you’ll wind up with one long buttery, cinnamony, sugary, gooey log.
Slip a cutting board underneath the roll and with a sharp knife, make 1/2-inch slices. One “log “will produce 20 to 25 rolls. Pour a couple of teaspoons of melted butter into disposable foil cake pans and swirl to coat. Place the sliced rolls in the pans, being careful not to overcrowd. (Each pan will hold 7 to 9 rolls.)
Repeat the rolling/sugar/butter process with the other half of the dough and more pans. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cover all the pans with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise on the countertop for at least 20 minutes before baking. Remove the towel and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown. Don’t allow the rolls to become overly brown.

Here is a picture of them drowning in the heavenly frosting!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Irish Oatmeal!

Well, truthfully, this is not an Irish Oatmeal recipe.  However, I do love steel cut oats!  I used to volunteer at a wood shop and we made spurdles there.   A spurdle is a Scottish porridge stirring stick.  It is supposed to keep the oats from breaking up too much.  I have heard that they actually do work and make really fluffy oats.  I should have made one for myself while I was still hobnobbing with the kind geezers men at the wood shop.  Unfortunately, I did not.  One day, I plan on saving grundles of money to purchase a mini lathe and then I will make myself one!  

The next best thing to steel cut oats is oatmeal cookies!  You can eat them and count it as breakfast too!

Best Oatmeal Cookies

1 & 1/4 C. butter
3/4 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 & 1/2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3 C. oats

Beat butter and sugars.  Add egg and vanilla.  Add flour, soda and spices.  Blend in oats.  Bake at 375* 10-13 minutes

These are with an added 1 C. raisins, and 1 C. coconut. 

These are with an added 1 C. craisins, 1 C. white chocolate chips, and 1 C. coconut.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Salute to Saint Patrick's Day!

I am unsure why stores seem to want to skip right over St. Patrick's Day and go from Valentine's Day straight to Easter.  I happen to like the day of luck.  Five or six years ago, Hersheys candy made the BEST St. Patrick's Day kisses!  They were creme de menthe flavored.  I fell in love with them and even saved the bag with the recipe for brownie bites on it.  I sent Hersheys an email as well to request they make them again.  The reply I received, told me that they do make them around the holidays, but they don't.  They produce Irish Creme (which by the way are sick! Don't waste your money) and mint truffle.  I guess sometimes, the best things only come around once in a lifetime! 
My daughter made this 'LUCKY' banner.  I think it is so cute and she was so excited to have a decoration for St. Patrick's Day.  It is just paper letters glued on to old pages from a book with some jute string attaching it together.  

May you remember to wear green and snog your sweetie this month!  Did you know that the original color associated with Saint Patrick's Day was blue?  Saint Patrick is said to have used the shamrock to explain the holy trinity to the pagan Irish. 

 Here is a picture of a shamrock pillow I made to display this month. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Re-vamping the kitchen counter.

I have this affinity to old things.  I love primitive, grungy furniture.  Square nails set my heart a flutter.  100 year old pine is close to my soul.  I have been collecting old furniture for about 20 years and have some family pieces in my trove of treasures.  Bead board cupboards and dovetailed edges are top notch in my world.  I have several collections; old crocks, grain scoops, wooden buckets, dough troughs, and pewter.  I recently went to an antique sale and acquired this old cupboard that is perfect for the top of my counter.  It is up for debate as to whether I was born in the wrong century or if I am just fond of the way antiques seem to be reminiscent of bygone days.