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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Grandma time----Nina Kate and Sophie Jane.

Love those darlings!!!! [these photos were taken the day after I left last week!]

Beautiful zinnias have been the best thing from the garden this hot summer!

A friend gave me seeds for the green zinnia variety. That new color certainly "cools" down the bouquet!

For months, I have been reading about making mozzarella and ricotta. I have collected the supplies, citric acid, milk, thermometer, rennet, pans and all....finally Saturday I was ready!

It was my first try, and a long story.....I ended up with some curds, and finally.....


A lot of ricotta (and at least 3 quarts of whey).[ I agonized over a great way to use that whey (hate to waste anything! And decided since using it in baking wouldn't happen until the weather cools and I didn't have room to store it in the freezer or fridge....that probably using it for a bathtub treat would do...I did read that drinking it could make your skin glow and remove redness! so many possiblilties!]

This beautiful ricotta (below) was used with an eggplant to make Rachel Ray's Eggplant Lasagna.


Another thing I have been wanting to do was to piece a "Russian Sunflower" block. In honor of our drive across Kansas this summer. [And because my friend Lizzie found a entire wonderful scrappy quilt top of this pattern in a flea market recently!]

It is an old Kansas City Star pattern and I found it in a book called, The Sister Blocks" by Edie McGinnis.
My block......

Lizzie's quilt top....


One more topic.....where had the shine in my hair gone to???? Even with gentle natural hair color products, there were days when I felt like I now had straw on my head!

Thankfully, I found this wonderful product which makes it glow! A spritz or two on dry hair and wow!

And this one, which Good Housekeeping loved in their recent makes the hair stronger, softer and shinier!!!! ...... I feel much better now!!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The twins today..... (actually this past weekend!)

Nina napping (above) and sweet Sophie (below)

In the crib together....

Big brother "Boogie" (... nickname because he love to dance and perform).
At 3.5 years already thinks that "Girls like me if I have my shirt open...." [Has he been reading the Abercrombie and Finch catalog????
Is this the end of civilization as we have known it??? He goes to a Christian pre-school....where did he pick this up....the Disney channel???? Probably!]

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

We have a new little shop for hungry travelers in our regional airport....and I wandered in today after flying home from visiting the daughter and her family (including the twins, now 9 weeks old!)
There I found these cookies...of which I had fond memories, from when they were marketed as "Kathleen's" cookies (Kathleen King). Simple but wonderful.

The recipe is available in this cookbook......

....and it is also here . I could save LOTS of money by baking some myself...but as I have been saying, it is too hot to bake! LOL! I will try the recipe eventually!

Meanwhile, this also looks like a great cookie...

...with cark chocolate and Brazil nuts. The recipe is in Cross and Black's recipes, here .

I hope to be back very soon with a post showing photos of the twins....they are so cute!!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I love knitting this mitered cross blanket (see earlier post)! should I try to bring it along on the airplane (that is into the airport where I may have a long wait...)or should I be content with reading and leave this project at home?

I am using short bamboo needles (read that airport security is less likely to seize these!) and have just purchased the round antique brass colored pendant....which is also a yarn cutter! So, I should be set for hours of fun!

Making these squares is very addicting, especially with the beautiful variegated silk and wool, Noro Silk Garden, yarn. [ I think that sewing all these together and then knitting more lavender around each cross will be less fun than watching the colors change while knitting these mitered squares!]

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 has a lovely zucchini and cheese tart recipe !
I think it is getting cool enough that I could use the oven to bake one! [Don't think this would work well in my crock pot!]
I might bake one for my daughter and her family as I'm very happy to be going to help out with my 2-month old twin granddaughters this weekend!!! I will try to get some photos of that special time....meanwhile, off to find some zucchini and gruyere!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Plums (and peaches) are in season now. We have enjoyed them fresh and delicious. Today I want to bake the French yogurt cake and use some plums in it.

I still do not want to use my oven and make the house I am adapting the recipe for my crockpot.

Modified French Yogurt Cake
1 egg 1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. yogurt 3 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 c. gluten free Bisquik 1/2 c. sugar (scant)
1/4 t. nutmeg 2-3 peaches or plums, sliced

Gently mix batter from all ingredients except the fruit. Spray the inside of the crock pot with non-stick cooking spray. Put a few slices of fruit on the bottom, then add some batter, then some fruit, etc. until it is all in there!
Bake on high for 2 hours....longer if needed. (I like to take the lid off at the last to allow the "cake" to finish.) Test for doneness by inserting a knife, or straw...

I'll be back later with the finished cake photo!

Here it is!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A glorious collection of color!

The yarns I ordered to knit a special blanket have arrived! Noro Silk Garden, a blend of silk, mohair, and wool in gradated colors, each skein a delight will make the "crosses" in this "Mitered Crosses Blanket"!

The blanket pattern is available as PDF for $5.00. All proceeds are going to MERCY CORPS's Japan relief fund. So far pattern sales from this have raised $16,000 for the tsunami devastated area!

The original pattern calls for a background yarn by Noro in color 269. This is discontinued. so it is interesting to see what yarns other knitters have substituted! I searched the web for the right weight (medium-4) variegated, soft, subtle colored yarn...and ended up with this variegated lavender, hand-dyed in Chili, I think it will work well with the jewel tones of the Noro Silk Garden!

I found a finished blanket on the blog of another knitter. [She and her friends have a wonderfully creative knitting group , check it out!]

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Still staying cool with the old crock pot! Today, a small pork tenderloin roast....

for the Tuscan pork roast recipe (featuring fennel seed, rosemary, balsamic vinegar...I added red pepper flakes and chopped dried figs!) go here.


"Got yarn?'" [More quiet inside activity to be cool on these record breaking hot days.....]

I have found directions for knitting log cabin blocks....a great way to use some leftovers...????

Directions are available in this book. Or of course, they can be found by doing a Google search! (Search "images" and you'll see lots of inspiration!)


For another kind of inspiration, I love Ann Voskamp's blog. She writes in a way that gets to the real heart of things.

Today she also shared a link to help those in Africa who have much worse to deal with than a summer heat wave!

Friday, August 05, 2011

This bread was baked in a crock pot by Stephanie at A Year of Slow Cooking. I was encouraged to try this as I don't want to bake in the oven and make my air conditioner work that much harder!

However, I found a more savory recipe than Stephanie's here.
It features green chilies and all in the batter. [there is even a version using broccoli!]
Hooray for slow cookers!!!!
This all started yesterday when I was reading the Pioneer Woman Cooks blog about cooking Spicy Beans. Her photos make the dish look fabulous!
My thoughts on her directions----I would never cook pinto beans without pre-boiling and discarding the first cooking water by draining them and then continuing to cook in fresh water; and no matter how tasty I wanted them to be, I don't add the salt ( or the salty ham, etc) until the beans are tender....otherwise they stay tough!

So that's dinner for tonight...or should I say "supper"??? Pinto beans and cornbread with fresh chopped onion on top and maybe to cool things off even more, some cottage cheese on the side!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Today's forecast is for 109 degree record breaking high temperature!

It is definitely time to "play inside"! We had a buffet of cool salads for our supper last night....and tonight may be sandwiches....too hot to cook!
My energies turn to quilting when I can't get out of the house....(though a movie could be a good idea! theaters are so air-conditioned!)
My friend Liz brought this antique quilt top to "share" with us last night. She found it in flea market. I think it is called "Russian Sunflower". It definitely deserves to be quilted!

The fabrics are from the 1930's.

[ Sorry, the heat made the photo out of focus!]

My flea market find was this doll cradle...not too old but perfect for when those little granddaughters come to visit.

A pile of scraps and "Triangles on a Roll" (paper piecing guides) are the beginning.....

and after a few quiet hours, a doll-sized quilt top is ready!

[The heat is having it's effect again...LOL! Of course, with twins, I will have to make several quilts for multiple dolls....I'm sure it will not be a bother!]

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

I went out to see my garden at 8:00 p.m. yesterday.
Everything was wilting in the 102 degree heat....still 102 at 8:00 p.m.!

My "Arkansas Traveler" tomatoes are the only ones which have managed to put on a tomato and here they are, wilted and tired!

I did an intense watering with the hose, and knew the cooler temps after dark would help too!

This morning, plants are upright (except for the heavy sunflower heads). I have hope....maybe I will still get some tomatoes or at least some more zinnias! Zinnias are about to bloom....even some soft green ones from seeds given my gardening/quilting friend, Paula!


Meanwhile, the little twins are catching some rest......(from their mom's facebook page!)

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