Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Somewhere over the Rainbow

After all that work getting my bear-paw blocks done for the honey-honey quilt, I needed a break. I decided to start work on a quilt that has been nagging at me.  I have had this particular collection of fabric for years! It's a set of hand dyed rainbow fabrics that I found in a little shop near my hometown that has all sorts of hidden/forgotten treasures in it. I don't know if the shop is even there anymore, but it was a fun little shop if you were looking for something you haven't seen in a while.
I kept thinking I wanted to do a rainbow theme, but didn't know whether to do squares or try to do something more complicated. After flipping through magazines and books trying to get ideas, I finally found something that worked perfect! So, I got to work cutting...

and sewing...

I came up with this wonderful pile of blocks. I still need to iron and assemble. Hopefully I can get that done today. I am so excited to share more information on this little beauty in the near future. Until then, I had better get back to work!

I am linking up with WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.  Can't wait to see what others are working on.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

I have a confession about this recipe.  It's a lot of cans! Normally, I really try to avoid can-recipe's, but there are a few family favorites from when I first started cooking that are just too awesome to go away.  This is one of them. We LOVE this meal.  Enchilada's themselves can be tricky because they can fall apart while you're serving; this totally eliminates that problem. It's creamy with a little bit of kick, and I can hide veggies like corn in it (great way to get kiddos to eat more veggies).  This recipe was handed down from my grandmother, and originally was vegetarian.  I got a lot of her cookbooks, which I refer to on a regular basis. Thanks, Grandma!

I am putting this recipe up for 2 reasons: first, because it's a meal that my family enjoys and we've been making it for years so I want it to be a part of my cache; and second because I want to challenge myself to improve the recipe so that it doesn't include cans (or at least eliminate a couple of them). I am hoping to have an 'updated' version of this recipe in the near future.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

2 c sour cream
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 small can diced green chili's
2 cans diced, cooked chicken
2 bunches green onions, diced
2 c shredded cheddar cheese
12 corn tortillas

In a bowl, mix the sour cream, soup, and green chili's together. Spread a thin layer on the bottom of a casserole dish. Tear 4 tortilla's in half and spread them across the bottom. Add the chicken to the mix. Place about 1/3 of the mix onto the tortilla's in the dish and spread it evenly. Sprinkle 1/3 of the green onions and 1/3 of the cheese on top. Add 4 more tortilla's, and continue to layer in the same order 2 more times.  The last thing should be the cheese and onion.
Bake in the oven at 375 for about 20 minutes. Enjoy with corn, cornbread, chips and salsa, even guacamole. Such a great meal for on-the-go days when you don't have time.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Finally have the blocks finished!

I am learning a lot about working with jelly rolls. Most importantly, I am learning that I need more practice.  Guess I'll need to get more jelly rolls. :D I am so happy that I am finally done with these blocks.

There are 20 blocks total. Half of them have a print in the centers and the other half have white in the centers. Here's a few of my fave's:

I love the colors in this one.  Sherbet orange with the bubble gum pink. Fantastic combination.

I didn't know what to think of this flower pattern fabric at first, but I love it! All the different colors of flowers mixed together so well.

Big prints make me nervous, so I was glad to see the flowers fit into these square cuts so well.

Pink, of course, is one of my favorite colors and this flower print is so fun. The bunches of flowers looks so fluffy and soft.

All I have left to do now is the sashing and the border, but I need to muster up the energy to get them done.  The border consists of the left overs from the jelly roll, which means a whole lot of sewing strips.  I think I need to take a break from this one and call it a 'finish for now'. I'll come back to it in a couple of weeks.

I am linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finished Friday! Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Backings Galore!

So excited! While on our trip I dragged everyone to Rosie's to do some fabric shopping.  It was shopping with purpose, though. I wanted to find backings for at least 3 of my finished quilt tops, and I wanted to try to find them in the sale fabrics.  I was really successful!

For my beach quilt, which I talked about here, I found this wonderful seafoam green fabric with hints of blue in it.  I was drawn to this fabric, and thought it was so soft and serene it would be perfect for a beach quilt.

For my oriental triangle quilt, I found this wonderful large print of girls peeking from behind the foliage. It was the first one I found, and again it was just calling to me.

While searching for the others, I found this one.  It was is part of a set I purchased a couple of years and have been thinking about what to do with.  I have too many ideas and need to just stick with one.  I just don't know which one that is yet. I figured I would need the backing eventually, so I would get it now since it was on sale.

Finally, I got the backing for my Dr. Seuss quilt, which I talked about here. It was my splurge.  I couldn't find anything I liked in the sale fabrics, so I decided to go for it and purchase one from the set. I love how wacky and wild it is.

I can't wait to see all these completed. Time to get to work. I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.  It's been a while; so glad to get back into the swing of things. Happy Wednesday!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Summer Lovin'

The kids and I have been having so much fun this summer! It has really cut into my time on other projects, but hey, sometimes that's just what needs to happen, right? We headed to San Diego for a week, and oh my did we have a good time.

We got to explore the rocks and look for crabs and other little sea creatures.

We got to play in the waves and the sand.  Oh, the days when you didn't care about getting sand on every square inch of your body.  My daughter is definitely the dare-devil of the two. No fear at all.

And, of course, we did some eating out. My son was doing a wonderful job teaching my daughter the proper way to drink milk.  She was practicing with great diligence. :)

So glad we were able to escape the heat and have some fun. While I was there, I also dragged everyone to Rosie's for some fabric (pictures to come).  Isn't that what everyone does on vacation? I was on the hunt for backings for several quilts that have finished tops with no backs. Now, I am ready to get some quilting done! Yeah! I am so excited!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Hawaiian Honey Burgers

Years ago, this recipe was given to me.  It instantly became a family hit! These burgers have been requested for just about every BBQ get together we have. And for good reason.  They have the sweet from the honey along with the savory of the meat.  The curry and ginger add a little burst while the cinnamon compliments the honey like no other.
I have tried things like adding chopped onion, but I have been serving the 'pure' version for so long that we just couldn't wrap our taste buds around the change. One thing I don't have pictured is a slice of pineapple.  It is perfect with this awesome burger!
This is a great way to avoid heating up the kitchen in the hot summer months, too. Serve it with a cold salad, like coleslaw or potato salad, and you can avoid any cooking in the kitchen at all. Yeah! My favorite kind!

Hawaiian Honey Burgers

2 lbs ground beef
1/2 honey
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t curry
1/4 t ginger
1/4 t nutmeg
8 slices pineapple
8 hamburger rolls

Mix the beef, honey, and spices together in a bowl.  Form the mix into 8 patties. Refrigerate the patties until you're ready to cook them on the grill.  Cook as you normally would cook hamburgers. If you'd like, put the pineapple slices on the grill for a few minutes to char and soften.  Also, you can toast the rolls on the grill for a few minutes before the rolls are ready, if you'd like.  Serve immediately, and enjoy!

Working on my Photography

I still have a lot of bugs to work out of my system here. I don't know if it's a product of summertime, or if there's just something in our monsoon-air, but it has been extra chaotic here lately. Especially at mealtime! I had plans to post a burger recipe I really like, but the photo's were no good.  In some the lighting was off, others were blurry.  I have heard from many that food can be hard to photograph, especially because of the challenges of light at dinnertime.  I am going to try again for lunch today and see if I can get some better shots.

I have also been trying to improve my photo's of my quilts, and create more variety.  I am just about ready to start packing up my quilts and taking them to different places to photograph, just to change it up a bit. Maybe I should pack some up and take them to my sisters house again in the PNW.  I had some WONDERFUL shots up there! Long way for a good picture, heh?

I am really looking forward to it cooling down a bit so that it is tolerable once again to cook and quilt in the house. I am missing my craftiness, and making desperately slow progress on the projects I do have going. Hopefully I will be able to share my progress on the honey-honey quilt, including a new name, come Wednesday.

Okay, it's back to work before it gets too hot to do anything. Happy Monday!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Homemade Jam, First Attempt

Well, there's been ups and downs.  I am not so happy with the results, but I am not discouraged.  I had to share my first attempt at making jam. I am determined to get this right and will try again. They sure look really pretty...

and yummy...

but I need to keep trying.  What a nail-biting experience! I felt like I needed to follow the directions to the letter.  If it said boil for 1 minute, I set the timer! When I pulled them out of the boiling water-bath after 15 minutes (I adjusted for altitude), I was on pins and needles waiting to hear the tell-tale "ping" sound letting me know I was successful at sealing the jars. Then the directions said to wait and let them set for 24 hours.  It's been 16 hours and they are still a bit runny in the jars. Not a good sign.  I have read that you can heat everything back up and re-can, but I am debating whether I want to do that, or just go with syrup and try a whole new batch.

I have been searching blogs for advice.  One blog, here, suggested I approach it like candy-making (something else I would like to attempt at some point) and monitor the temperature very closely.  I am going to try that next time.

Until then, I think I might need to try my hand at cheesecakes, or I can use this wonderful strawberry "sauce" for ice cream topping.  That's a great treat for the summer! Anyone have any tips you can throw my way? Tricks of the trade that you have picked up? I would love to hear 'em! I really want to figure out this whole jam-making thing!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Labor of Love?

I have been working non-stop on my Honey Honey quit (I need a better name) with the hopes of reporting more progress today.  But alas, it was not to be.  Oh triangles, why do you hate me so? I trim and measure and trim again and still I am struggling to get the correct angles on the triangles when using the jelly roll strips.

They are really starting to come together, though. That's a lot of cutting!

These are the last 32 HST's left to trim and sew and I will be able to start assembling the blocks. Yeah! Last night I was so close, but I had to give it up for the night so I wasn't a miserable mommy today.

It is nice to look back at my progress to help me feel better about what I'm doing. I know this quilt is going to be gorgeous when it's finished, and I really hope my daughter agrees because it's for her (even though she's still in a crib right now :) ).  Love the look of all the different prints all stacked on top of each other.

Hope everyone else is making more progress than me, or having a great 4th of July week and enjoying the great outdoors.  I'll need some of that R'n'R this weekend after all these triangles. I'm linking up with the WIP Wednesday on Freshly Pieced. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Cooking is a Bust This Week

As a child I loved the summer heat. It just meant the pool was going to feel that much better.  I think my children now have that attitude.  However, as an adult the thought of having to turn on the oven when it's this hot just makes you melt into a puddle where they stand. So, there wasn't much cooking going on this week.  We ate dinner twice at my parents house, and sandwiches rescued us another night. So, unfortunately, I have no cooking stuff to share today. I still have a couple of recipes I have been working on, but I haven't had time to play with them yet.  Too Hot!!!

Instead, we did a lot of this...

And I did work a little on my Honey Honey quilt, although even working with an iron was unfriendly.

I am really hoping to make some good progress on this quilt this week, but we'll see if the weather agrees.  And, hopefully, the weather will not deter me from getting into the kitchen, or at least discovering some recipes that don't require heat.  That would be good... :)