Thursday, April 16, 2015

Creative Eye Thursday - Fabulously Fast Quilts by Amy Smart

Martingale, 2014; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved

If you are a new quilter, or a seasoned quilter who is looking for something quick and beautiful to put together in a jiffy, this book is for you.  Every quilt is adorable.  Seriously so cute.  I know there are times for me, I just need to make a quilt for a kid, a loved one, etc...in a short amount of time {like yesterday}. This quilt book is for those times, when you need a super cute quilt in a hurry.  If you are new to quilting, this book will teach you a ton of the basics in quilting, and you will be able to make some awesome quilts (which is sometimes difficult when you are new).

Here are some of the goodies in the book.
Martingale, 2014; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved

Fun.  Simple.  Perfect.  

As I was looking to see which quilt block I would make, I came across this quilt.


I love this quilt.  It really is just a variation on a pinwheel block, a block I tend to love.  I also enjoy that the instructions were clear and fun to follow.  It used PRECUTS, which I am a big fan of.  Less cutting for me = a happier me.  I also enjoy the fast piecing and cutting methods.  Totally my style.

I pulled out my STACK of precuts and picked out a few choice squares, cut a few white and gray squares and rectangle.  

Lower right hand corner = my favorite way of sewing. Sew, slice, and make life easy.  YES!

After a day of sewing, this is what I pulled together.  Making more than one block meant I could make this into a little girls baby quilt.  Lately, because its the  7th anniversary of our stay in the hospital with Lizzy, I have been having feelings like I should make all these quilt blocks into quilts for Project Linus.  Showing up to that hospital and being greeted with a handmade quilt, well, it touched my heart in a way I couldn't have anticipated.  I have made a few quilts for Project Linus, but maybe a few needs to turn into a few hundred (I digress a bit...).  Anyway......


So here's my little quilt...with my little quilt blocks.  What colors would you choose?  I pondered going way back in time, and doing some nice reds and browns....but the baby quilt part made me use pinks and grays.  MADE ME.  ha ha.

Have a super day.  And get some sewing done.  You know you want to.





Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Quiltmaker's Blog Tour


You know you want to check out my bock in Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks.  My block introduction day is May 7....are you excited?  Mark your calendars.  Let's do this thing.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Homemade Pizza Heaven - Pizza Limone at Home




The other day I was dying.  Dying for some amazing pizza.  Last time I was home I went to a little restaurant called, Pizza Limone.  I loved it.  Such great pizza, and totally a fresh concept for pizza.  I mean lemon on pizza, that's new, and amazing (for those of us that love lemons)!

My hubby got a fabulous pizza oven from Costco, and on sale ($99).  It's the best.  Anyway, I pulled together all my recipes to make the best faux Pizza Limone I could.  For honest, I LOVED IT.   Here'

3 1/4 cups lukewarm water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon Yeast
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
7 1/2 cups (scoop and sweep) unbleached all-purpose flour

To make the dough: Use our dump and stir method of mixing the dough in a 5-quart Container with Lid, using a Danish Dough Whisk or wooden spoon. Then cover the container, not airtight and let it rest for about 2 hours on the counter. The dough can then be used right away, but it is much easier to handle once it has been thoroughly chilled. The dough can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 weeks!
To make the pizza:
Preheat your oven to the highest setting, which will be 500 to 550°F, with a pizza stone in the bottom 1/3 of the oven. Depending on the thickness of your stone this can take between 20 and 40 minutes.

Pull out an 8-ounce piece of dough from your bucket and quickly form it into a ball, no more than 30 seconds of work. Let it sit on the counter while you gather your toppings.

Roll the ball out into a 1/8-inch-thick round. If the ball is resisting just let it sit for about 5 minutes and it will relax and allow you to work with it.

Sprinkle a Pizza Peel with flour. Spread the tomato over the dough.

Place the chunks of cheese over the sauce and drizzle with the olive oil.


Check for doneness in about 8 to 10 minutes, turn the pizza around if it seems to be browning on one side more than the other. It may take up to 5 more minutes.

Let the pizza cool slightly, so the cheese can set a little before cutting with a Pizza Cutter. This is best done on a cooling rack if you want to keep a crisp bottom crust.
s what I found.  Try it out and tell me what you think.


First of all pre-heat the oven and pizza stone to 500 or your oven max (usually 400-450) 

Limone Pizza:
7 oz dough-proof properly to allow air into dough and stretch to 10' round on floured pizza peel 
½ oz olive oil drizzled evenly on top of dough 
4 cheeses 
3 oz whole milk mozzarella
¼ oz pecorino 
½ oz fresh mozzarella 
--spread cheeses evenly over olive oil 
--top with 
1 oz red onions, thinly sliced
¼ garlic clove, thinly sliced
5-7 lemons, thinly sliced
¼ oz parmigiano reggiano grated 
light drizzle of olive oil 
slide pizza on preheated pizza stone and bake for 5-10 minutes or until crust is dark brown

For more information about Pizzeria Limone 




Some Variations:

One of the pizza's featured prosciutto and black berries and a red sauce, with all the yummy cheeses.  My husband preferred that one, to the lemon, but I definitely LOVED the lemon most.  It's just your preference.  For some fun ideas, check out pizza limone menu, and try what fits your fancy.  

We also tried some dessert pizza's. Oh my word.  I found a great little pizza. 

Clementine, Strawberry, Chocolate Dessert Pizza
Butter
Brown Sugar
Clementine
Sliced Strawberries
Melted Chocolate

Spread melted butter over regular pizza crust recipe.  Sprinkle brown sugar over butter (as desired).  Layer clementine slices and strawberries.  Bake in pizza oven until done (5-9 minutes depending on oven).  Drizzle chocolate on pizza.  Enjoy!!!  

So YUMMY!



Thursday, April 9, 2015

Creative Eye Thursday- Sweet and Simple Sewing

Sweet and Simple Sewing

Quilts and Sewing Projects to Give - or Keep

by Jessie Jung, Carrie Jung, and Lauren Jung

Martingale, 2014; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved

Looking through this book by Moda's fabric designers, you will love all the variety of projects they offer.  There are quilts (love), and pin cushions, bags, potholders, cozy's, and more.  If you are looking for something fun and quick to put together, or a fun quilt, you will find it here.

Check out some of the fun goodies you can see in this book:
Martingale, 2014; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved

I found this quilt below, and I knew I wanted to try my own thing with one of it's blocks.

Martingale, 2014; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved


I actually love the fabric choices of the quilt above.  But, for the intent of showing something different on this blog, I went a different direction.  In each of the blocks of the above quilt, the colors are more muted and there is some blending going on.  I think it's lovely.  But, I wanted to try something a little different.  

Grabbing a little of my Kaffe Fassett fabric, I got to work.  There are a fair amount of pieces of this block.  Which is actually fun.  It was interesting to watch this all come together.  I definitely wanted a big impact on this quilt block.  No blending.  I also wanted to make the frame around the star, the "interest" in the block {instead of the star fabric}.  Here is it is.  What do you think?







Monday, April 6, 2015

Conference Cinnamon Rolls - World's Best? YES!!

I considered naming these, Holy Rollers, or maybe Celestial Cinnamon Rolls but I didn't know if the world of blog readers would appreciate such a silly title. 



Each Conference, my family counts on me to make these little joys.  We have our traditions when it comes to Conference.  We spend the day in our lounge clothes, we have amazing breakfasts, we take walks between sessions, and say shhhhhh.... a lot.  As my little Noah says, "we should have conference every week, so our whole family can always be together."  And that is the joy of Conference, being together, all day, and enjoying listening to the word of God.  Nothing could be better.

Well, maybe, these cinnamon rolls are pretty close to heaven. I got this recipe a few years ago from my dear sister, and have been making them since.  I love that these cinnamon rolls are rich, moist, and decadent.  Since they are such a delight to me, I thought I should share them with the masses.

It starts with this:

Conference Cinnamon Rolls

ROLLS
1 1/4 oz dry yeast
1 tsp. Salt
1 cup warm milk
2 eggs
1/2 c. granulated sugar
4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup butter, melted

Dissolve yeast in warm milk in large bowl.  Add sugar, butter, salt, eggs, and flour and mix well. Knead dough into large ball using your hands dusted with flour.  Put in bowl, cover, let rise in a warm place about 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in size. Roll dough onto lightly floured surface, flat until it is approximately 21 inches long and 16inches wide, 1/4” thick.  

**Note: I like to make the dough the night before, and put it in the fridge. It's a sticky dough, and much easier to work with when it's cold.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

FILLING

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 tbs cinnamon

For filling, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.  Spread softened butter evenly over surface of dough, and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar evenly over surface.  Working carefully from top, roll dough down to bottom edge.  Cut rolled dough into 1 3/4” slices and place 6 at a time evenly spaced in greased baking pan.  Bake 10  minutes, or light brown on top.  




**Another Note: Maybe I cut my cinnamon rolls a tad bigger than the recipe writer, my cinnamon rolls always take about 15 minutes to bake.  I also like them a little light brown on top and bottom.



While rolls cook, combine icing.  Beat well with an electric mixer until fluffy. When rolls cool slightly, coat each generously with icing.    Makes 12 rolls

ICING

1 stick Butter, softened
1/4 cup  cream cheese
1/2 tsp vanilla 
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/8 tsp salt


There you have it.  The world's most perfect cinnamon roll.  Heaven is about to enter your mouth.  
Enjoy!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Creative Eye Thursday- Beyond Neutral

Martingale, 2014; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved

This was such a fun book for me to look through and be inspired by.  I love his take on the art of quilting.  I am such a fan of modern quilting.  I love the use of color, the mix of solids with patterned prints, and the space created in the quilt.  Check out these projects and see which you like best.

I prefer the ones that aren't typical.  Where you wouldn't have guessed that he would have put that block there, or spaced the blocks the way he did.  The unexpected is fun.  A bunch of these quilts I have put in my imaginary box, of quilts I'd like to make.  They are definitely simple.  Something you could accomplish in just a weekend.  And yet, with the right fabric placement and choices, the are impactful.  So fun.

 Martingale, 2014; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved

Martingale, 2014; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved


The block I chose to duplicate, and do my own little thing with, was from the quilt, in the lower right hand corner from the collage above.  Piecing this together was a breeze.  It came together in about an hour.  The only hard thing, was I ran out of fabric. {Isn't it fun when you are cutting, and you realize what you thought was a yard, turns out to be less than that, because you secretly cut out a square earlier, and just folded it all back together to hide your secret combinations}.  So because of my fabric craziness I was short about 1/8 yard.  Hmmmm.  The joy of having a fairly extensive fabric collection.  I just pulled a like color fabric, and plugged it in.  No big whoop.  And guess what, I am a quilter.  Quilters adjust and change things all the time.  We call it creativity.  Right?

Here's the quilt, as I was piecing it together.  See, those plaid pieces, they are inspired.  It adds a whole new level of interest to the quilt.   ha ha.  



Here it is finished up.  Well.. pieced together.  Finishing might take some time.
 It's hard to believe that this ONE block, can be a baby quilt for a sweet little cherub.   So fun, it can be a big quilt, or something small.  It's nice when a quilt pattern is very versatile.
 What quilt would you choose to make?












Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Meal calendar



The other night I was out with a bunch of friends.  As we were talking about our grocery budgets, I shared how we keep our expenses on the low end.  The biggest thing we do, is use a meal calendar.  I plan each month's menu, and when I do this, I try to keep in mind my actual life.  There are certain days I don't get home until 6 pm, that means I either need a crockpot meal, or a quick meal.  There are some days my kids get home and leave at different times, meaning we need a meal that can be eaten at various times.  I take all these things into account, and make the plan accordingly.  

One thing that has made planning easier, is picking a day of the week for certain foods.  For example,  Monday is soup, Tuesday is Pasta, Wednesday is Mexican, Thursday is Chicken, Friday is Easy Foods..etc...  Think of what works best for you, and your family, and your situation.

I try to make all my meals healthy.   But, honestly, I am just trying to keep my family fed in the best way I know how.  That means somedays we serve fish and brown rice.  Other days it means Spaghetti.  I am not professing to be a gourmet cook.  I am not. I am like every other person, doing the best I can, with what I have been given.

Some of the women asked that I put my menu online, so they could see what we were up to, and maybe use the calendar themselves.  So, here it is.

I notice the writing is not particularly clear in the picture.  So here is a list:
Turkey Burgers
Pasta
Crockpot Tacos
Chicken Pitas
Eat Out (birthday)
White Chicken Chili
Lemon Pasta
Coconut Curry
Chicken Apple Sausages
Fish tacos
Steak
Pork Roast
Taco Soup
Pasta Carbonara
Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Chili and Potatoes
Flautas
Grilled Chicken 
Creamy Chicken and Rice
Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
Spicy Chicken Pasta
Swedish Meatballs
Apricot Chicken
Tomato Soup and Sandwich
Steak
Pasta Salad
BBQ Sandwiches


I hope this helps.