21 December 2021

Tuesday To-Do #43: A Toast to Finishes and Holiday Sangria

A very warm holiday hello to you all!
Really.  A too-warm hello.  Bah humbug
on this horrible, unseasonably warm weather.
At least it's fun for golf.
Maybe I should try some outdoor sewing
like I did in late spring last year?

Amazingly, it's again time to join in
--one last time [for me] this year!--

I have finishes to share!

Hudson Valley Palisades is quilted!
I'd still like to get the binding on it by Christmas
but with no deadline, I'm not going to push.

And next, my grandson's quilt is completed!

J's Construction Crew

I made matching pillowcases for both quilts.

These, along with ALL the other gifts, are wrapped and
under the tree!   Christmas miracles abound!

And lastly, I want to share a great sangria recipe that's a
 little miraculous--I finally found one that I really like!
In fact, my whole family likes it so you could say
7 out of 7 people gave it thumbs up.  Maybe I can save
someone else out there all the trouble and waste I've
gone to in researching sangria recipes.
And I'll also save you the humbling I received
by telling you a little story:
Hubs and I feel like we know at least a little about wine.
Well, hubs does; I tend to forget most of what I learn
these days.  If you put my fabric shopping up against
his wine shopping, he might even beat me--ha!
Anyhoo, in I walked to our favorite store and set about
looking for "Lambrusco" in what I thought were good
spots until I finally gave up and asked.
You know what it is?  
Riunite.  Plain ol' Riunite.
(Thank you, Food&Wine mag for making me look clueless
 because you were too snooty to just write "Riunite".)
And now, every time I write or say Lambrusco, it's with
fake, snooty flair...and then I laugh.  But all that aside,
when you're at the store, buy two.  You'll want to double it
and if you're going to be embarrassed, it's best to get it
over with all in one shot, right?  <wink>
We polished one batch off before dinner was even over.

~I found persimmons at Trader Joe's.
~Use POM brand pomegranate juice.  It's pricey but it
makes all the difference.  (Trader Joe's doesn't cut it.)
~Unless it's a whiskey/bourbon, I do not like ice
watering down my drink so I omitted it.
Just chill everything and you're good to go.
~I failed to buy pears the first time so I used apples.
It was still super yummy.
~No sewing recommended after that second glass!

Sparkling Citrus-Pomegranate Sangria

1/2 c sugar
1/2 c water
Pinch of fine sea salt
3 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
3 c 100% pomegranate  juice (ie, POM)
3/4 c brandy
1 small Anjou pear, cored & thinly sliced
1 small orange, cut into 1/4" slices and quartered
1 small lime, cut cross-wise into 1/4" slices
1/2 c pomegranate arils
1 (750ml) bottle Lambrusco, divided

Combine sugar, 1/2 c water, cinnamon sticks, sea salt
in a small pan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring
occasionally, until the cinnamon is infused--about 5 mins.
Remove from heat and let mixture steep as it cools, about
1 hour.  Remove and discard cinnamon sticks.

Whisk together pomegranate juice, brandy, and 1/4 c
cinnamon syrup in a large pitcher.  Stir in pear, persimmon,
orange, lime, and pomegranate arils.  Chill until flavors
combine--at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours.

Stir about 2 1/2 c Lambrusco <snort> into chilled
pomegranate juice mixture.  Divide sangria with fruit
evenly among [opt ice-filled] glasses. Top each with
about 1 tablespoon of remaining Lambrusco.
Serve immediately.
Sláinte!  Salut!  Prost!  Cheers!

A couple housekeeping notes:
I've been doing my best to keep up on all you to-do'ers!
I just haven't had time for much commenting but
I'm hoping this changes after the holidays.
Also, I do reply to every comment to my posts;
if you do not receive a reply, it's likely you
are a no-reply blogger.  I would love to visit
if you are up for changing that!

Merry Christmas and happy quilting!
See ya next year!

14 December 2021

2021 Tuesday To-Do #42: The Last Week!

A happy almost-Christmas morning to all!
Who's got it all done?  Still running around?
Anyone starting a last-minute projects?
You have 11 days.
I'm still waiting on some packages to arrive but my
gift-shopping is done!  Now to the  cleaning, baking
meal-planning and grocery shopping.
Earlier this morning I cleaned some of the carpets
[not ideal when it's dark out but what're ya gonna do?]
and then headed out to the coffee shop while they dry...
not that I couldn't be there (we have wood floors in the
 main parts of our home) but it sounded like a good excuse.
I was starting to get pretty frazzled yesterday as I watched
my schedule fill up beyond my control.   This morning, I'm
taking a break and planning.  Maybe I can get some
control back?  I don't seem to be getting time to knock
things off my list like I used to but for what it's worth,
I'm joining in today again on Texas Quilt-Gal's
to show the bit that I got done.
It's pretty much just a check-in on my grandson's quilt
because the quilting on Hudson Valley Pallisades hasn't
even begun--thus my anxiety.

Getting the entire center done is a decent amount of
progress but I wanted to have the borders on by now
and the backing made.  It should still happen this
afternoon and that will have to do.   Right now it's
about 50 x 60 and I need to turn it into a twin size.

Due to arrival times of the kids, my cut-off date is
next Tuesday so the bottom line?  Finishing both
both quilts is an absolute MUST by next week's 
check-in.  We all love to sew but I'm not sure any
of us wants to be shut away in there while family
is home.  Okay...maybe some of us do...LOL!

I left the house without the recipe I planned to share
today so I'll just save that for next time.

Happy quilting!

07 December 2021

2021 Tuesday To-Do Post #41: First Place, a Finish and One-Pot Beef Stew

 Dates on calendar are closer than they appear! 
(I recently read that...um, somewhere...)
Good gracious, here come those holidays!
and start checking things off the list!

First, I have big news to share on the cadet!
West Point had their first track meet of the season
on Saturday and guess who took first in pole vault?
And then he went on to set a new personal record:
16 feet, 4.75 inches!

This put him in the vaulters' "5m Club"--as they
call it--and he's now ranked #13 in the country!
After a couple rough years (injury & Covid), he's back and
he'll be climbing vaulting his way up that ranking now!

Update on the other son's stolen truck:
The truck is now fixed ($800) and he's back to a
normal stress-level for his last week of school--EVER .
Two degrees, (3.9 gpa) in 3.5 yrs at Creighton University. 
Always pulling a very full load of classes (18+ hours)
and working lots of hours.  He'll be taking a couple
days off and then going right into his big-boy job.
Way to go, kiddo!

Now, for my to-do's of last week:

It seems forever since I made any real progress in the
sewing room.  And with so much going on, I didn't
expect to get much done but here I am today with
!finally! a decent amount to show.  I've been pushing
myself through a funk and it seems to be working.
(Caffeine helps!)

Firstly, I finally finished G's quilt--binding and all.

It's too cold outside for a better pic so these will
have to do.  (Winter decided to show up finally.)

And for J's quilt, I completed about 160 flying geese,
stopping to wait on one last fabric to show up.  I now
have it in my hands so I'll be finishing those today.

Being short on time, I am using this

It finishes at 67x76; I'm making it for a twin
bed so I'll need to do some altering with the borders.
Pattern can be found at Bear Creek Quilting Company.
They have lots of free patterns if you have your coffee
handy and want to peruse away your morning.

No progress on the quilting of HVP but I need to get
on it if I'm going to get J's quilt done, too.

How is everyone else doing with their holiday to-do's?
If you're feeling bogged down like I was last week, might
I suggest first just get off your duff.  I know it's hard, just
do it--now.  Next, make a list.  Then blare some spirited
holiday music, get to work and start checking things off. 
The more you get done, the more you want to get things done! 

And now for our family's most favorite beef stew.  I never
thought beef stew would be among my faves but this one
just warms you down to your toes.  

If you have a good Irish soda bread recipe, I recommend
making that to go with it.  At some point, it became the
required companion for this in our home.
I might share that recipe next time.

I typically make this the nights the boys arrive home for
Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It just seems like the type of
hearty food that's good to come home to.  It warms your
body and soul; great for anyone under the weather!
The leftovers might even be better so you may want to
double it depending on how many are in your home.  If my
boys are both home, there won't be much left over so I
guess you could say it serves 5-6.  

I'm usually able to save some fresh parsley from the garden
before the elements get to it and we usually still have some of
our own potatoes and I freeze the carrots in big, hearty chunks
  just for this.  I realize these aren't usually options for most people,
but it sure makes a difference in flavor.  I buy beef stew meat
to make it easier, though it usually does need a little trimming.
Choose a nice dry red wine--sweetness would kill the flavor.
All chefs say never cook with any wine you wouldn't drink
so forget that grocery store "cooking wine".  Besides, you'll
need some to enjoy with your meal.   A nice weeknight wine
that works well in this is Bonanza's Cab Sav.
(I think I've used Coppola Claret as well?)

Southern Living Oct 2016
1 1/2 lb beef Chuck roast, trimmed, cut into chunks
1 t freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 t salt, divided
1 T oil
3 med carrots, peeled and chunked 
1 med yellow onion, cut into wedges
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 c dry red wine
2 T flour
4 c beef broth
12 oz baby new potatoes (larger ones halved)
2 T whole grain mustard
1 T red wine vinegar
1/4 c loosely packed flat leaf parsley

Sprinkle beef with pepper and 1 t salt.  Heat oil in Dutch oven.
  Add beef and cook, stirring occasionally till brown on all sides
(about 6 mins).  Remove to plate.   Add carrots and onions to
Dutch oven; cook, stirring often until carrots and onions start
 to soften, 4-6 mins.  Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 min.  Add
red wine; cook until liquid has almost evaporated, 10-12 mins,
stirring and scraping any loosened browning on bottom of pan.
Whisk flour into 1/4 c beef broth in a small bowl.  Add to Dutch
oven, stirring quickly (it will thicken); stir in remaining broth.
Add beef and remaining salt.  Bring to boil; reduce to low.
Cover and simmer 45 min.  Add potatoes and cook until
potatoes are tender, about 20 mins.  Stir in mustard and
vinegar.  (At this point you can "hold" it till dinner time,
aka, flights are in, kids get home, etc.)
Sprinkle each serving with parsley and enjoy.

If you love pepper, add some extra for a bit of kick.
Freshly ground, please!
And don't forget that whole-grain mustard
at the end.  It's what makes this pop! 

My to-do's for next week:
~Finish quilting HVP~
~Finish J's quilt top, backing and load up~
~Maybe squeeze in a weekday golf round by myself?~
I skipped this last week to get caught up; it's too cold
now but later this week...just maybe.

Other things
Plan Christmas menu
Finish garden clean up
Add curtains, straw to coop for winter
Wrap gifts; check Christmas list

Happy holiday quilting!

30 November 2021

2021 Tuesday To-Do #40: Pumpkin Cheesecake With Salted Chocolate Caramel Top

How was everyone's Thanksgiving?

You know you've not been in the sewing room enough
when your calendar is a couple weeks behind...oh well.
Due to the holiday, I don't have much quilty stuff to
share for today's Tuesday To-Do Link-Up so after I
talk a little quilting, I'm going to share the recipe for
our Turkey Day Grand Finale.
(If you're not into the chocolate-pumpkin combo hey,
I'm not much either so trust me on this one.  It's nom.)
I might start including a favorite recipe in all of my
TTD posts but we'll just see how that all plays out.

Thankfully, I wrote most of this post ahead of time
so now, after learning my son's truck was stolen, and
I'm finally sitting down to do some editing, I'm grumpy
and not in the mood.  Well, this ain't our first rodeo;
it's not even that son's first rodeo [aka vehicle stolen],
the poor kid.  And I'll leave it at that.  Wait--no I won't.
Do you know how hard it's going to be to replace it
in this current car market?!?
Okay, now I'll leave it at that and then try to focus
on the fact that no one was hurt.

But we have some things to fix.  Ugh.
And we'll be switching back to full-coverage.  Today.
(What a scare!)
And I'm tired of editing and a little emotional so just
lemme know if you see any major typos--LOL.

Back to normal things...
Over the holiday I was busy getting ready, then busy
serving it up and then busy doing a lot of nothing with
my fam.  I finally hit a couple LQS's and now have most of
the fabric needed for my grandson's quilt--no small feat.

A review of my obstacles/complications:
* Needs to match his sister's quilt if at all possible,
or at the very least just not clash with it. 
*I should to be subtracting fabric, not adding!
*My daughter likes modern--I have very little
*It's really hard to find boys' fabric that's not
just flat out silly or overly-cutesy/juvenile.
(I'd prefer he didn't outgrow it in a year!)

Knowing all the above issues, I'm pretty happy with what
I have so far.  There might be some finger-crossing going
on but that usually works out alright for me. 
(ie: stretching that peachy-orange into a manly orange
and drawing out the gray that's barely there.)

I have a couple fabrics in the stash I'll probably add
and I did order up a couple more:  one is a larger print
of the construction vehicles for a border; the other is
another gold--the exact fabric that is in his sister's
quilt so that should help pull things together a bit.

As for his sister's quilt, it still needs the binding.  With my
shoulder screaming at me daily, I kinda keep putting it off.

Next week's to-do's:
1)  Bind and label G's quilt
2) Cut out J's quilt
3) Quilt Hudson Valley Palisades

That's a hefty list considering the million other things I
have going on but I'm still going to attempt it.
Now, for that recipe:
I'm a pumpkin purist.  Don't even talk to me about
the can.  It's just not that hard to make the pureé and
the difference is night and day.  Directions are all over
the Internet but I'll sum it up for us quilters:
Cut pumpkin in half and clean out inside, saving seeds
to bake later for warm and healthy quilting snack.

[Or, if you have chickens, they're a natural de-wormer.
The rest of you probably did not want to know that, right?]

Pop halves into the oven face-down on foil-lined pan
at something like 325'.  Set the timer for, I dunno, like
an hour and go sew.  Whenever it gets fairly soft, you're
done--pull it out and go back to sewing while it cools.
Whenever you need a break from sewing, remove peel
with a paring knife and pureé the meat.  Refrigerate or
freeze to have available whenever you want.
(It keeps 5-6 days in the fridge.)
Go sew.
And never use that canned gook again.
Especially with the following recipe:

A note about baking cheesecake:
You know how you always bake it in a water bath?   I'm
here to tell you:  forget wrapping that springform pan in foil.
After having this leak just once--resulting in a very soggy
crust <cringe!!>--I always double-foiled...until one fine
day I stumbled across the idea of using a crockpot liner.
Cue the angelic choirs and sing along:  Hallelujah!
A much, much more trustworthy method!  I haven't
used foil for years--and I make a LOT of cheesecake.
(Just kinda roll the excess of the liner down a little bit so it
doesn't get too close to the oven's upper heating element.)

*I didn't know I was going to post this so
these are the only pics I have

 Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake
(Adapted from Martha Stewart Living Nov '21)

6 oz chocolate wafer cookies
4 T butter, melted
2 T sugar
Pinch of salt
In a food processor, grind cookies till fine (1 1/2 c).  Add
sugar and salt and pulse a few times to mix in. Add
Add butter and pulse until evenly moistened.  Press evenly
into bottom and about an inch up the sides of pan.
Refrigerate for 10 mins.  Preheat oven to 350'.  Bake till
firm, about 12 mins.  Reduce oven to 325'.

3 pkgs (8oz ea) cream cheese soft/room temp
1 c sugar
2 T flour
3/4 c fresh pumpkin pureé
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground ginger
2 t vanilla
1/2 t salt
3 large eggs, room temp
Beat cream cheese and sugar on low until smooth,
scraping sides and bottom so no lumps remain.  Add in
flour, beating to combine.  Add pumpkin, spices, vanilla
and salt.  Add in eggs, one at a time, beating to combine
well after each addition (again scraping sides and bottom).
Pour into prepared crust.  Place pan inside a crockpot
liner; then place the liner/pan combo in a larger pan.
Fill larger pan about halfway up with hot water. 

Bake till just a tiny bit wobbly in center, 70-75 mins.
Cool 2 hours.  Place in fridge, uncovered; after 1-2 hours,
cover tightly and chill 8 hours, up to 2 days.

Salted Chocolate Caramel
1/2 c sugar
3/4 c heavy cream
generous pinch kosher salt
3 oz Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips

Run a knife around outside of cake; release sides of
pan and remove from cake.  Cook sugar and 2T water
in a small saucepan over med-high heat, stirring until
sugar has dissolved.  Stop stirring and cook, swirling pan
occasionally, until amber (3-5 mins).  Remove from heat
and whisk in cream and salt (it will bubble).  Return to
heat and whisk to dissolve any hardened particles.  Stir
in chocolate.  Cool 20 minutes, then pour over cake.
Refrigerate till set, at least 30 mins up to overnight.
Garnish with a pinch of flake sea salt in center.

You know what is so great about cheesecake?
I mean besides the obvious.
They are better after chilled a good day or two which
makes them PERFECT time-savers for any formal meal
when you want to focus on other things on the day of!
This is really the main reason I make them all the time!

Happy holiday baking and quilting!

23 November 2021

2021 TTD #39: Thanksgiving Edition

As busy as things have been, I thought I'd miss most
of the fall around here but it is almost December and
the colors are just now starting to dull and blow away.
I'm convinced this has been the prettiest and the most
drawn-out fall we've had in a long time.  And at the risk
of being a wee bit mushy, I know that when we're all
sitting around that Thanksgiving dinner table here in
a couple days, the blessings I'll be thinking of will be as
colorful and numerous as all the leaves we've enjoyed
these last months.  Many of them have kept us hopping
but I wouldn't change a thing.

I have some basic holiday cleaning done and a simple
but classic menu planned.  I haven't done anything
special in the table decor department--yet?  Right now,
it doesn't seem to matter much.  A cozy and welcoming
home with everyone in it is enough.
Anything else is just a bonus.
(Does anyone else out there need to hear this?)

Before I check out for the rest of the week to enjoy
this holiday, I'm joining the others over at the
to share just one bit of progress:

Hudson Valley Palisades top is finally completed.
It's loaded and ready to be quilted (and it'll probably
stay that way till after the holiday) but I think it
measures something like 71x71?

As for the rest of my list...well, clearly I'm in a
no-pressure kind of mood so it's all showing
up again on next week's list.

*Choose J's quilt fabrics--visit LQS
*Bind and label G's quilt
*Quilt Hudson Valley Palisades

In other news, one son will be home late this evening
and the cadet will be home tomorrow night.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family
and happy thankful, colorful quilting!
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