Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spinach and Sweet Pea Soup

I'm a "use-what-you-have-on-hand" kind of cook these days. So I started with shallots, fresh spinach and frozen peas....

... and made a bright green soup to have on a gray, rainy, day.

I started with a pea soup recipe from Emeril, and changed it up once I checked the fridge and pantry.
We had sliced red and orange peppers, grape tomatoes on the side, along with some cantelope. The soup is garnished with crumbled bacon and low fat yogurt, and I quick-fried some spinach leaf strips for a bit more crisp garnish.

Serving it in a thrifted polka dot bowl (Value Village) made it taste even better!

Spinach and Sweet Pea Soup

3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 T. oil (or bacon drippings)
3T. flour
1 1/2 C. sliced shallots
4 C. vegetable stock
4 C. peas (fresh or frozen)
1/2C. plain lowfat yogurt, divided
5 C. (approx.) fresh leaf spinach, coarsely chopped
fresh ground pepper
1/4 tsp. Garam Marsala, optional

In soup pot, heat oil. Add flour and cook 3 minutes. Add shallots, cooking  until softened and lightly carmelized. Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add spinach and peas, cooking for 10 minutes. Puree in batches in blender or food processor. Stir in 1/4 C. yogurt and adjust seasoning. Garnish with crisp bacon and spinach, yogurt, and coarse ground black pepper.  6 servings.

Make it a Wonderful Day!!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Red, White and Blue

This is the second month we've been bringing these blocks to our quilt group.  It's going to be so fun to see how these are going to look once we each assemble our collection- scrappy red, white, and blue.

A few of you have asked for the directions to this block, so here you go:
(If you're making these to donate to  American Hero Quilts, make sure there are NO metalics, sparkles, or anything that could flake off of the fabrics.)

These directions will make TWO blocks
1) Cut ONE red square, 8 7/8 inches. Cut diagonally.
2) Cut TWO white or cream squares, 5 inches. Cut diagonally.
3) Cut TWO blue squares, 4 1/2 inches.
To make blocks:
1) Sew 2 white triangles to a blue square, making larger triangle. Press.
2) Sew  1 red triangle to blue & white triangle along the diagonal edge. Press.
3) Check block measurement: the block should now measure 8 1/2 inches square.  

If you'd like to contribute your blocks to our group's project, let me know and I'll email you my mailing address! You can make a difference!!

Here are a couple more "Red, White, and Blue" from our recent quilt group meeting.
Remember Marsha's circle quilt for her grandson who is due very soon? She brought it to sew on the binding while we visited.

Here's the  cute back where she used up the leftovers from the piano key border on the front...

And look at these flying geese! These TINY birds were paper pieced by Denise, the QUEEN of paper piecing!! Amazing!!

Let me know if you need any more information about the American Hero blocks. Some in our group are making them larger and then trimming them down to the 8 1/2 inch size. It really makes assembly much easier when the blocks are the same size... but we can make ANY  blocks you'd like to donate work! Even a different block- stars or whatever!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

March Quilt Group

Our monthly meeting was on Friday, and as is always the case, I had an inspiring (and tastey!) time.

This first quilt is from Helen. It's her take on the Liberated Baskets quilt by Gwen Marston, found in Liberated Quiltmaking II

I love all the unique baskets and fun fabric combos.

Terry brought her sweet Easter quilt, with bunnies and eggs and everthing spring! Her craftsmanship is beyond perfection!!!

Would you take a look at that quilting??
And this flannel was so soft....

And the embroidery was adorable..

... and each corner was expertly detailed..

Terry and Helen, you're two of my quilting heroes!!
(More from my talented little group tomorrow!!)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

Quilt Show Hexes

Welcome back to the Quilter's Anonymous Show

There were several hexagon  quilts in the show, but I only photographed a couple...this one a take on the traditional Grandmother's Flower Garden..

And this one. It is a true scrap quilt, using up leftovers from quilts that were full of meaning to the quilter. (And the back was a unique "scrapbook" too!)

Make It a Wonderful Day!!!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pinwheels for American Heroes

I've told you about American Hero Quilts before...

We've held sew days to make quilt tops to donate, and our quilt show raised funds.

We look forward to when Sue lets us know that no more quilts are needed.
That there are no more injured veterans. 

But until then, we keep doing what we can to help. Our American Hero project this year is to make 4 of these blocks to bring to our group meetings each month. Any red, any blue, any white/cream.

Each month, one member of the group will take the blocks home and assemble the quilt top. The arrangement of the blocks will be up to that person.

I'm making up a bunch so I'll have them ready for each month.

The finished quilts will be scrappy because we're exchanging blocks,  but I couldn't help laying them out to see how they'd look arranged as pinwheels.

Would you like to help? If you'd like to make some of these blocks, I'll post the pattern. Let me know! We'll make you honorary members of our little group, and you can touch someone who will appreciate your support and love.

Make it a Wonderful Day!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Quilt Show Chickens

The Quilter's Anonymous Show had a Chicken Quilt Category, the result of this being a popular theme with their membership.   Here are just a few "feathered"  friends...

Some Dance...

Some run about frantically...

And some just hang out looking cute...

I'm sorry I didn't get all the labels to give credit to these quilters!

Make it a Wonderful Day!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Quilter's Anonymous

This weekend was the 29th Annual Quilter's Anonymous show at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds.

This was my favorite quilt.

(My favorite of the ones I saw! I just realized when looking at the program, I only went to ONE building. The show was in TWO buildings. Bummer. I didn't think I was going to have time to go to the show, so didn't ask anyone to go with me. If someone had gone with me, THEY would have known the show was in TWO buildings. I need a keeper, honestly.)

But it's still my favorite. I love the polka dots and the flowers. And I LOVE the hand quilting.

It wasn't the most beautiful quilt. The biggest or the most impressive. The finest or most perfect. 

 But I love it's happy attitude.

I'll share some more from the show this week. And our quilt group meets on Friday!!
 (Didn't we just meet?? Time just flies by!!)

Make it a Wonderful Day!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

Blue Ribbon Bread

I've had this bread recipe for many years. In fact, it was the first bread I ever made, way back in 1976. Dave and I were newlyweds, living in Moscow, Idaho while Dave was in grad school.  I was learning how to cook, and when a friend brought us a loaf of this savory bread, I asked for the recipe and gave it a try.

We loved it, and a few months later, another friend suggested I make some and enter it in the county fair...

...which I did. And I won first prize in the specialty bread section, and I got a blue ribbon.
There was prize money too!!!
Yes, you read that correctly. One dollar and fifty cents.

Even back then, that was pretty funny.

Wheat Germ Herb Bread
5 1/2-6 1/2 Cups unsifted unbleached Flour
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Marjoram leaves, crushed
1 tsp.Thyme leaves, crushed
2 packets (or 5 tsp.) granular Yeast
1/3 C. Sugar
1 1/2 C. Milk
1/2 C. Water
1/2 C. Butter
2 whole Eggs
1 Egg Yolk
1 Egg White, beaten
1 1/3 C. Wheat Germ

In large mixer bowl with dough hook attachment, combine 3 cups flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and herbs. Mix well.
In saucepan, heat milk, water, and butter until warm. (120-130 degrees) (Butter doesn't need to melt)
Add to flour mixture. Add eggs and egg yolk. Blend at low speed until moistened. Beat 3 minutes at medium speed. Gradually stir in the wheat germ and enough flour to make a soft dough. Continue kneading for another 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Shape into ball and place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm place until light and doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down. Divide into 2 parts. Shape as desired into loaves. (I did mine in two twisted rings.)

Place in greased loaf pans (9x5x3) or on greased cookie sheet. Cover; let rise 30-40 minutes. Lightly brush with egg white. Sprinkle with 1 Tblsp. wheat germ. Bake in 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes. (Cover with foil the last 5-10 minutes of baking. Remove  from pans and cool on rack.  Make 2 (1 1/2 lb) loaves.

(Try it toasted and served with your favorite soup and salad...yum!) 

Make it a Wonderful Day!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cupcake and Buttons

I was going through a few older photos and came across this wool picture I did a couple of years ago. I love cupcakes. And I love buttons. So this is a calorie-free indulgence!

Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Have a Wonderful Day!

Friday, March 12, 2010

And Still Counting...

I find it amazing that in all the generations of humankind, we still haven't figured out how to settle our differences. Without war.

Maybe it's just the nature of things. But really, isn't war a bad idea?

Caron is an artist who wanted us to think a little more deeply about the price of war. I found out about her project and so I did a little bit to help.

She's putting together 6-inch mini quilts, one for each American soldier killed in the Iraq war. And on each block, 212 black beads or French knots represent the number of Iraqis killed for every American killed in the war. The blocks are pinned together, and purple beads added to the pins represent the scores of wounded.  

She mailed me the little quilts, and I added the knots. The arrangement of the knots or beads is up to you, as long as the arrangement is abstract. The meaning is left up to the viewer. 

If you'd like to help or learn more about this project, go to

Make it a Wonderful Day!