Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Quilting my latest project

A few years ago, I took a beginning quilting class.  While I had sewn for years, I had never really tried the quilting thing.  When I took the class, the teacher wanted us to hand piece the first block and then she said if we wanted to we could machine stitch the remaining blocks.  I found that I enjoyed hand piecing the blocks and finished the entire project hand piecing it.  I got to the quilting stage and began quilting it, but did not finish it. Life got busy here and after the fire I have been unable to locate the project. I still have hope that I might come across it when I finally get things finished up in my craft room. 

A couple of weeks ago, I had a friend call me and ask if I would like to go check out some quilt shops.  A couple of them I had been to before, but we also checked out a new one.  As I love the feel and color of the fabrics of course I was game to go.  We spent the day going to these shops and stopped for lunch along the way.  It was a great day.  My friend even gave me a little "spending" money to get something to work on (of course, I probably have enough fabric in my "stash" to make numerous quilts). I chose some materials and we copied a pattern out of book she had for a small wall hanging. I began piecing the blocks and again find that I enjoy the hand piecing.  We decided that over the summer we would get together from time to time on rainy days and work on our projects.  She pieces hers on the machine, so hers go together much quicker.  Yesterday we got together at a local quilt shop and worked on our projects.  I had pieces the blocks that mine needed pieced and was able to cut out the remaining blocks and triangles to begin putting together my rows.  I laid out my blocks and arranged them as I wanted them and pinned my rows together.  Last night I came home and while watching television, I put together two more rows. I'll take it along today and work on putting my rows together while I wait for a doctor's appointment for Jim.  It will give me something to work on while we wait.  I'll  be putting my final pictures here when I finish. The pattern that I chose to work with was Pink Patches Doll Quilt.  I mostly chose it because it was fairly simple.  And while I have years of experience sewing, quilting is still somewhat new to me. 

Of course since I am now looking at quilt projects I'm now looking at fabric in a whole new light.  I happened to be in the fabric section at Walmart and came across a fabric that just has to go in one of my next projects.  I couldn't just stop with the paisley print I found. I had to continue until I had enough pieces to be able to make another small quilt and had to match the colors in the paisley.  so, I have another project ready when this one finishes.  Yesterday while we were at the local quilt shop, I also saw a quilt on the wall that I would love to do for our bedroom.  So, I need to get the book with the pattern and start collecting fabric to make it.  I already have an idea what colors I will do it up in, but finding them will be lots of fun.  While I would love to make it up for our bed, I'm not sure I can aspire to making a King sized quilt yet. I think I need a few more that I can put on the walls first. 

I'll post when I have this project finished and what some of my upcoming projects will be. 

Later this week I will be doing a bulk cook prior to the beginning of my new classes starting.  I'm hoping to have enough meals in the freezer that it will make cooking during the next several weeks much easier.  I'm sure these classes will be at least as demanding as the previous ones have been.  I'll post what meals I end up with in the bulk cook.  These are mostly freezer casseroles and dinners to dump in the crock pot.  It is so much nicer to be able to just reach in the freezer and put it in the crockpot and go on about the day. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

May Cooking Class Ministry

Today was awesome.  I had four women come to my cooking class and we had a great time.  Today, I shared some foods that I've seen in the food pantries that people don't seem to want to take with them as they aren't sure what to do with it.  The foods I chose to highlight today were Kobacha squash, avocados, and turnips. I know that avocados make excellent guacamole, but not everyone likes guacamole, so I looked for another recipe to use with those.  I came across this recipe on my facebook page, and tried it and it was delicious.  It made avocados taste totally different. The blog that I borrowed it from is here

Here is the recipe.  I don't have all the pictures, but if you want a step by step guide and to see the pictures, feel free to click on the link above. The general consensus on these was that they would be great with a dip like ranch or French onion or even a cheese dip would be good.

Avocado Fries
Avocado Fries are baked, crunchy and delicious, and perfect as a side dish or snack.

Author: Stacey

Recipe type: side dish or snack


  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1¼ cups Italian Style bread crumbs
  • 2 firm-ripe medium avocados, pitted, peeled, and sliced into ½-in. wedges


  1. Preheat oven to 450
  2. Put flour in one bowl, eggs in another bowl, and panko in another bowl
  3. Coat avocado slices in the flour, then eggs, then panko
  4. Spread on a cooling rack that has been sprayed with non-stick spray
  5. Place cooling rack on a cookie sheet
  6. Spray the top of the wedges with olive oil or butter flavored cooking spray and sprinkle with salt
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown
The second treat we had to sample was crispy turnip fries.  Those were also a hit.  I'm putting the recipe here, it came from originally.  Disclaimer here, while they are very tasty. I wouldn't describe them as crispy.  They don't get crunchy like you think of fries being, but they are very good to eat.  Much better when served hot.

Crispy Turnip Fries
Original recipe makes 8 servings
  • 3 pounds turnips
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with a piece of aluminum foil and lightly grease.
  2. Peel the turnips, and cut into French fry-sized sticks, about 1/3 by 4 inches. Place into a large bowl, and toss with the vegetable oil to coat. Place the Parmesan cheese, garlic salt, paprika, onion powder in a resealable plastic bag, and shake to mix. Place the oiled turnips into the bag, and shake until evenly coated with the spices. Spread out onto the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Bake in preheated oven until the outside is crispy, and the inside is tender, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.
The last recipe was roasted Kobacha squash.  The recipe calls for salt and pepper on it, but I love my squash with a little brown sugar on it, so I made it both ways.  Both were a hit as well.  This is another recipe that I found on another blog.  Here is the link to their blog.
She also has some beautiful pictures of the steps.  Feel free to go to her blog for the step by step pictures.
Roasted Kabocha squash
1 medium kabocha squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
I preheated the oven to 400 F, rinsed the squash under running water, and dried it.
Like all winter squash, kabocha takes a sharp knife and a bit of brute force to cut up. I’ve found that the best way to attack it is to cut off the top and the bottom. I scooped out the seeds and cut the squash into thin wedges. Next, I tossed the squash with the olive oil and seasoned the slices with salt and pepper. I put the squash in a single layer on a foil-lined baking tray and popped it in the oven.
I roasted the squash for 30 minutes, flipping them over at the midpoint. The wedges are ready to eat when they’re slightly crunchy on the outside and fluffy and soft on the inside.
I also used brown sugar on some of them instead of the salt and pepper. I just sprinkled the brown sugar over the squash.  I found it baked a little bit better when I put it on a wire cooling rack on top of the cookie sheet.
Now I know you are wondering what was the recipe that we made that cost less than a dollar a serving.  The answer would be a chicken pot pie.  All made from scratch.  This recipe incorporated two other recipes to complete.  I started by boiling up the chicken with a few vegetables tossed in. 
The first recipe was a pie crust that doesn't require rolling out.  This pie crust can be used for any type of pie, and you can just put it together and press it into a pan.  This pie crust is pretty simple, but when measuring the flour and oil and water, if the flour is packed down in the measuring cup, you might need another tablespoon or so of water or oil. We made a double recipe because this recipe is for a single crust pie and we wanted a crust for the top of our pot pie.
Easy Pie Crust
1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 T water
In a medium bowl, combine flour and salt. Stir in oil and water. Mix until combined. Then form it into a ball.  Spray your pie pan with nonstick cooking spray. Put the ball of dough in the middle of your pie dish.  And start pushing down on your ball of dough and begin spreading it towards the sides.  Do as best as you can to evenly pull it up the sides too so you can crimp it at the top edge.  You can even get in there with your knuckles if you need to.  Make sure you also press down into the bottom rim of the pan to spread out the dough so it's not too thick.  And then you can start to go around and crimp the top edges of the crust.  Remember this does not have to be perfect. It's a bottom only pie crust.  It's rustic and it's homemade. It should look that way.  Once it's ready, fill with your favorite filing and bake according to your pies's directions.  If you are using this crust in a recipe that calls for a pre-baked pie crust. Before baking, just make sure you use a fork and prick lots of little holes all over the crust.  This will keep the crust from puffing up too much while baking.
Just put this in your pan.  We used 8 inch round pans for our pies.
The next recipe is for the cream soup that is the sauce in our pot pies.  I love this recipe and I found it here.   I make this recipe up in bulk and freeze it to use in casseroles all the time.  I keep it on hand so that I have it whenever I need it.  For the class, I used leg quarters and put a sliced onion, a couple of carrots and a couple of stalks of celery in my stock pot and filled it up with water and cooked them up.  That is the broth I used to make the cream soup for the sauce.  Usually, when I make broth, I strain out those veggies, but since we were using those same veggies in our pot pies, I left them in the pot when I made up the soup.  However, I had a fair amount of the soup left over and decided to run it through the blender to blend up those veggies so as to not have chunks of veggies in my other casseroles when I use the remainder of the soup.  It turned out beautiful. 
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or less; taste to test)
  • 1/4 teaspoon parsley
  • dash of paprika
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup flour
  1. In medium-sized saucepan, boil chicken broth, 1/2 cup of the milk, and the seasonings for a minute or two (longer if using fresh onions or garlic).
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 cup of milk and flour. Add to boiling mixture and continue whisking briskly until mixture boils and thickens.
*This yields about two cans of condensed Cream of Chicken soup.

Chicken Pot Pie

4 Servings
2 cooked chicken leg quarters remove meat and cut into bite sized pieces
3-4 potatoes peeled and cubed
2-3 carrots peeled and cubed
1 small onion diced
1 stick of celery chopped fine
1 small can peas or 1/2 cup frozen peas
2 recipes pie crust
1/2 recipe of cream soup
I began by cooking the chicken leg quarters as stated above the cream soup.  I used that broth to make the cream soup. Once chicken is cooked, cool and remove from the bone. Place veggies into a pot and cover with water add salt to taste and cook until tender.  Put one recipe of pie crust into pan.  Drain cooked veggies and mix in chicken meat.  Mix in 1/2 recipe of cream soup and pour into pie crust.  Use remaining pie crust and either sprinkle on top or pat out small rounds of the pie crust between your hands and place on top.  Bake at 350 45-60 minutes until crust is golden brown.  (It would be best to place pan on a cookie sheet to avoid drips in your oven.)  I frequently make these up and freeze.  If cooking from frozen, add about 30 minutes to the cook time.  I put these in a 8 inch square baking pan and place in a ziplock freezer bag. Be sure you put the directions on the bag. 

The Plan for Next Month

Next month I'm going to take desserts in for taste testing.  I'm going to take in an avocado chocolate pudding, a garbanzo bean flourless chocolate cake and maybe the garbanzo bean chocolate chip cookie dough or some roasted garbanzo beans in a variety of flavors. Next month we are making homemade cleaners and talking about menu planning and shopping lists.