Thursday, January 31, 2013

Brought to you by the letter M

Pinterest Parties are the latest crafting activity where you get together with others and make an item found on Pinterest.  Willow Tree Fabrics had a party recently where we got crafty with a letter of our choice and enjoyed snacks also found on Pinterest.

We started by tracing and cutting out the letter.  The M was so BIG they had to cut a bigger piece of burlap for it!   A chevron template was available for the design.

Chevron lines completed.  I know, messy lines, it gets worse!  Ha ha!

Some letters do better on this project than others.  I liked the letter S.   They are stapled to the back piece and then stuffed with plastic shopping bags.

Hot glue is available in metallics too!   We ran the hot glue along the staple line of the letter.

I added a wire hanger and gave it a decorative twist.

The M is so wide that it kind of collapses together at the top.  Maybe more stuffing in the middle would have prevented that.  I just attached the wire at the point that it would collapse the least.

The look better from a distance rather than up close!  I may hang it on the door for a while then it's going on my sewing room wall.

Have you been to a Pinterest party?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Lakeview Sunset

The winter sunset colors are pretty.

I've been trying to capture the silhouettes too.

Wheeler Lake

The window of time is so short, the sun disappears quickly!

God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.  Genesis 1:5

He's the perfect artist too!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Handmade Napkins: Blue and Brown

Looking at all the great fabric choices out there is more fun than eating!  Seems I'm been stuck on food posts lately, I just had to throw that out there.

The new house is ready and now it's time for a housewarming gift.    I have seen this particular homeowner wear blue and brown.  Casual and contemporary is the look I was hoping for.

I chose floral prints to go along with dots and circles.

These are so easy to make.

I like this one, kind of feminine with the pink.

Just choose the fabrics.  This is the hardest part because there are so many to choose from.  Cut the fabric in a 17x17 square (or whatever size you want them to be).

This one is my favorite.

With right sides together, stitch around the edges leaving an opening about 3" long.

No.  This one is my favorite.

Turn it inside out.  Press.  Top stitch around the outside edge making sure you close that 3" opening along with the topstitch.

No. No.  THIS one is my favorite.

I like them all!

Now on to a happy home!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Herbed Goat Cheese Spread

Turns out there is an internationally recognized goat cheese producer and cookbook author right here in my Alabama neck of the woods!  Yep, Fromagerie Belle Chèvre is located in Elkmont, AL about 10 miles away.

So the choice of goat cheese for this  Herbed Goat Cheese Spread from America's Test Kitchen was a no brainer since I like to support and shop local as much as possible.  And this cheese is available at our local Costco, too.   

The recipe calls for fresh chives and thyme.  I took the cheapy way out and used dried chives and my home dried thyme.  My apologies to Belle Chevre for that!  I just didn't have a use planned for the whole package of fresh herbs.   

Just mix the cheese with the herbs and a little extra virgin olive oil, milk, salt and pepper.  

It's a healthy and quite satisfying snack on a whole wheat cracker.  I'll be sharing this with my Mother.  She doesn't eat cows milk products and does occasionally eat goats milk products.

Now I can't wait to get the fresh thyme growing again this spring!  In the meantime, maybe I'll substitute the thyme with basil, dried oregano or a dried italian blend.  And I wonder how cilantro and jalepeno would be mixed up with Belle Chevre?  Sounds like some more blog posts in the future on this!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Garlic and Onion Biscuit Ring

Just when I swore off biscuits along comes a cooking club recipe for biscuits!  I was intentionally making healthy substitutes whenever possible.  Instead of baking biscuits at home, I'd have a couple of slices of whole wheat toast.  Sometimes, I admit an occasional fast food biscuit is unavoidable though, especially Bojangles chicken biscuits and Hardee's sausage and gravy biscuits.

So this one's for the Sweet As Pie Cooking Club since I'm enjoying it so much.  I'll bake biscuits at home one last more time.  Here's the recipe for this Garlic and Onion Biscuit Ring.

I chose the flaky kind, they're my favorite.  Roll them in the chopped onion, garlic, poppy seed and butter mixture and line them around a bundt pan.

Bake them until their nice and brown and done in between.  Since I wanted these a little crusty with that butter on the outside, they baked for about 15 minutes.

 Turn them out on a plate and eat one right away.

The Bassman loaded up the smoker this past weekend so we have lots of meats and veges already prepared and ready to warm up.  They were yummy along with our leftovers and the only thing to wash by hand was the bundt pan!  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Pan Roasted Chicken with Lemon Garlic Green Beans

After I typed the title, it looks like the name of this recipe from Real Simple lists almost all of the ingredients!  

The Sweet As Pie Cooking Club is mixing it up this year.  I enjoyed the year of the Pioneer Woman, and I expect to enjoy this year too.  We're selecting recipes from anywhere to share and try something new and different.  Anyone is welcome to join in, just leave a comment here or on the Sweet As Pie Cooking Club blog.

With the lemon in this recipe, I expected it to be best in the summer months.  But with all the rain we had, I was trying not to count the days, someone said we had 8 straight days of clouds and rain.   This dish turned out to be very light and refreshing on a dreary day!  That lemon added just a touch of sunshine!

The lemon slices went in first and I didn't get a photo of them, but doesn't it just look fresh and summery!  Some comments said it was too lemony, but not for us.

Just toss everything in the lemon, olive oil and garlic mixture and layer it in a baking dish with the chicken on top.

The chicken roasts to a nice golden color, yum!

This was a very different take on a one-pot dish.  It's not your one-pot casserole or crock pot dish.   We enjoyed it and the leftovers too.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Bassman's Birthday

This year for the Bassman's birthday, I thought a weekend getaway would be more fun than a shirt.  (I have a hard time shopping for him.)   So we headed to the north Georgia mountains, between Chatsworth and Ellijay.    

Most of the time it was cloudy and rainy.  So at 3000 feet, it was mostly cloudy!

The clearest day
Arriving after dark, it was quite an adventure getting to the cabin.  There had been a wreck on one of the winding mountain roads, that caused us to have to detour.  Fortunately, a local lady (she was a God send) offered to lead us and a few other cars to the other side so we could get to where we were going.    So off we go following this lady whom we had never met, on a mostly dirt road through some kind of bypass that the locals knew about.  Oh my.  The fog, or rather clouds, were so thick we could barely see the front of the car.  Needless to say, my nerves were rattled by the time we got to the check-in place.  Then we were on our own to make it to the cabin in the clouds.  My nerves were totally shot by the time we drove that curvy loose gravel road to the cabin.  

Now, I grew up in the country, playing in the woods, running up and down hills, creek banks and dirt roads.  But not being able to SEE where we were going almost drove me crazy!  Fortunately, the Bassman remained calm and in control.

Cabin drive
We like to explore state parks on weekend trips like this so we went to Fort Mountain State Park to see what we could see.  We shopped and ate in Ellijay.  It's a small town with lots of antique shops and local art and crafters.   We enjoyed good food at Charlie's Italian Restaurant and the Cajun Depot (get the muffaletta).

Fort Mountain State Park entrance

Fort Mountain fortress structure

Hiking path to the fortress
Otherwise, back at the cabin, I didn't see much that inspired me to take a lot of pictures.  It was just so rainy and cloudy.

Table I liked at the cabin
So I spent a little time between the rain, playing with the timer on my camera.  Surely out of all those snaps there would be one good one!  

Us with trees coming out of our heads

Bassman silly collage

Happy Birthday to my wonderful hubby!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Nutella Fruit Dip

Plop a heaping tablespoon of Nutella in a half of a cup vanilla greek yogurt.


That's it.

Dip your favorite fruit in it or just your finger.    It's also good with homemade granola sprinkled on top.

Thanks to The Better Baker for sharing this Nutella Fruit Dip.  

It definitely moved from my Pinterest Recipes to Try board to the Recipe Keepers board.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cooking Club: Pork Chops with Pineapple Fried Rice

Making fried rice and other asian inspired dishes at home has been on my to cook list for a while now.  Especially since one of my daughters LOVES fried rice.  Unfortunately she is away at college and not at home to enjoy Pork Chops with Pineapple Fried Rice with us.  But I was glad to look up a basic fried rice recipe for her to try for herself.   

This is her plate.  She said the rice was missing something but it was still good.  I'm proud of her for trying this.  It saves money at college and should be healthier than ordering take-out.

And this is my plate of pork chops with pineapple fried rice.  For some reason, I've become less interested in taking pictures of the process and just try to get a shot of the final product!

The Bassman liked this dish and fixed a plate of leftovers for his lunch the next day.  Now we have a new way to prepare pork chops.  Next time, I may use the bone-in cut for more flavor instead of the boneless although the boneless cook faster.

The pineapple could have been much better if I used fresh.  But at $4.99 each, more than the pork chops costs, I chose just to give the canned slices a try.  I love pineapple, so the canned version was still good.

To top it off, we added a sprinkle of green onion on top!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Nutcrackle and Cookie Swap

My daughters get together with their high school friends during Christmas break while everyone is home from college.   This year, instead of their usual gift game, they had a cookie swap.  One of the friends is such a "Baker", hee hee, her last name too!  Corny, yes, but I like to joke with her about it.

One chose to make pretzels dipped in white chocolate.  Although it's not a cookie, it's something that everyone likes and is swapable (is that a word?).

The other choice was these nutella cookies called Nutcrackle that she found on Pinterest.  We're expanding our nutella use!

We learned to leave a lot of powdered sugar on as opposed to shaking it off before baking.

We also omitted the hazelnuts themselves.

These were slightly crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside.  Due to overload on Christmas goodies, I put the leftovers in the freezer to crumble and use in a crust later on.

I should have taken a picture of the platter they brought home from the cookie swap.  There were a couple of cake mix cookies and a cream cheese cupcake thingy with a mini oreo on top that I had to have a taste of.

I thought the idea of the cookie exchange was great.  It eliminated the shopping stress and was an opportunity to try something different.

Linking with:

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Cooking Club: Skinny Chicken Enchiladas

Skinny Taste is one of my favorite recipe sites.  There's a little bit of everything on there and I was excited to see one of these recipes make an appearance as a Sweet As Pie Cooking Club selection.  My stepdaughter has been on weight watchers this past year and she often uses the Skinny Taste site too. 

We had Skinny Chicken Enchiladas along with some chili at one of our family gatherings before the girls went back to college.  

I added in extra chicken and used the larger tortillas (actually by accident, I didn't notice what size the recipe called for when I bought them).  For the picky eaters, I left the cilantro on the side with the sour cream.  

I had forgotten how spicy peppers in adobo sauce are!   "With all that spiciness, you can't even tell those are whole wheat tortillas"!   I just had to say that for those who wince their nose at whole wheat things.  Even with the spiciness, everyone loved it.

Mini Sweet As Pie Cooking Club taste tester

Now let's get this linked over to The Sweet As Pie Cooking Club!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

National Championship Appetizers

Well, the doc told the Bassman he needed to lose some weight and my pants waistband could stand to be a little looser too!   But we still had to enjoy some snacks while watching Alabama play in the national championship game.

Here's what I chose:

Warm Artichoke Dip with veges and pita chips from the 400 Calorie Fix.   Looking at the ingredients, you would think it would have more flavor than it did.  I like a spinach artichoke combination better.  And it wouldn't hurt to throw in another vege, would it?

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Bites with chili sauce from SkinnyTaste.  This is one of my favorite recipe sites.  The Bassman loved these.  Man food.

Andouille Stuffed Mushrooms and Jalepenos from Tasty Kitchen.   I cringed at the thought of buying frozen jalepeno poppers, so I used the same stuffing  in some fresh jalepenos.  The Bassman loved those too!

Actually, we just went ahead and called it a meal.   The good side is they are all low carb and we did get some veges in.   The bad side...we might have eaten one too many.

Scratchy Bulky Scarf

My daughter likes bulky scarves.  I ran across this bulky scarf tutorial about the same time that she was shopping for an off white or cream colored scarf.  I was so excited about this, I told her I would like to try and make one!   The tutorial looked easy enough for a beginner like me.

I found the wool-ease yarn that the tutorial lady used, but not in the right color.  I went on down the aisle looking for other alternatives and ran across some soft Andes Alpaca yarn.  A friend of mine raises alpacas.  The yarn is so very soft, warm, and nonallergic.  Once she showed me nice, soft, warm socks made from the yarn.  I knew when I started learning to crochet that I wanted to eventually get some alpaca yarn and make a scarf.   Being in a rush to get this finished over Christmas break I didn't think there was time to contact my friend and get a source from her.  So I settled on the Andes Alpaca from Hobby Lobby.  It felt as soft as the woolease....until you put it on your neck.  It was so scratchy!!  I washed and dried it and that didn't help much at all!   What a pain in the neck.  Literally.

My daughter and I both liked the look of the yarn, it's kind of "hairy" looking.  Unfortunately, all that time was spent making this and it won't likely be worn.  I'm not even sure it can be used for anything else either!  I'm not happy about that, but I'm looking forward to finding a nice soft wool ease or real alpaca yarn so I can try this again!

Don't laugh if you see a lady in the store holding a skein of yarn up to her neck.  It's probably me.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Butternut Squash Challenge #3

With all the mouths to feed on Sunday's at our family lunch gatherings, I'm always looking for a rather large dish to share.  Sometimes it turns out to be the same old food but often I'm looking for something new to try.   So here's the third dish of my self-imposed butternut squash challenge and definitely not the last butternut squash dish that I'll make.

Even with it's tough exterior, which can be baked with peel on or off, it's a very mild, very filling and healthy vege. I asked the young girl at Isom's Orchard if she had ever cooked a butternut squash and she said "no, but it tastes like whatever you cook it with".  I got a kick out of her comment and it's pretty much the truth!

This Butternut Squash Gratin recipe turned out to be very similiar to a "regular" squash casserole.  It has lots of onions and I used some of my home dried thyme.  I choose to leave the crumb topping off.

And yes, that's where I helped myself before I thought to get a picture.  And, in spite of my awful kitchen lighting, it is that bright yellowish orange color!

Now the question is, what should I do with the squashzilla?  Ha ha!
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