Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Hot Pad

With scraps from the zig-zag quilt. I wanted to try out the swirl quilting style. (There's definitely room for improvement, but it sure was fun!)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Zig-Zag Quilt, Done and Gone

I wish I had more time to write about this. But I'm just too busy today!

Just pictures for now. Maybe I'll get around to writing about it soon...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Almost done!

I'm working on the last step - binding! I hope to be able to show you "finished" pictures tomorrow.

Friday, December 4, 2009

My Garden Today

Sorry for so many posts today. I'm trying to play catch-up with so many things, now that the R.S. progressive dinner is past us. I've been catching up on laundry and primary stuff today as well.

This is part of my garden. Those huge leaves are part of the pumpkin plant that is growing way out of the garden... in fact, taking over the garden! I don't know if there will ever be a real pumpkin coming out of it. We have seen a bunch of little ones starting all over the place, under the yellow flowers, but they get to a certain point and then seem to shrivel up.

Here is the view from our grass. In that box, there is a row of walla walla sweet onions, a row of green onions, a row of carrots, a row of cauliflower, and two rows of zucchini. I have learned, for next time, to not grow that many thing in one 4x4 box and also to not grow the zucchini rows so close to each other and other plants. The poor carrots and cauliflower can't see the sun.

Yummy yellow squash. This one's just about ready. We've probably picked about 10 of these in the last couple of weeks. It looks like there are many more to come!

Here we have Roma tomatoes, cilantro and pumpkins. You can barely see cilantro in there. I think half the row is gone now. We used some in our salad dressing yesterday. I need, so desperately, to put some tomato cages around those tomato plants. My wonderful husband bought some for me a few days ago, but they are so huge, I have to find a way to cut the bottom stakes down a bunch to make them fit my garden better. I've got to find my tin snips and try them first.

This may be my favorite vegetable to eat fresh from a garden! I am so disappointed in how these have grown (or not grown). We planted two rows. But more than half of them didn't make it and most of the other half is not growing well. This is a picture of our tallest pea plant (stalk?). I haven't picked any of them yet. Can't you just taste it from looking at it??

Ahh, zucchini! We've made a few batches of zucchini bread, even some with chocolate. We've been harvesting even more zucchini than yellow squash. My 7 year-old daughter goes out every day after school and waters the garden and checks for new veggies to harvest. She also keeps the weeds under control. What a gal!

Some type of lettuce. I haven't been wanting to try this because early on we had some critters stealing a bunch of it. It's been growing back a bit. I don't know much about how to grow this stuff. I need to research it so I'll know what to expect.

Carrots with zucchini leaves in the background.

This is to show how much I messed up, but will learn for next time. Here you can see three veggies growing way too close to each other. There's zucchini, cauliflower, and carrots.

Walla walla sweet onions. I have NO idea how to grow onions. I really need to do some homework here. I guess I could pull one out to see how big the bulb is getting under the dirt.... These are much bigger than my green onions. I was really looking forward to using fresh onions from the garden. I wonder if I'm doing something wrong.

Cafe Rio Spicy Ranch Dressing

Here's another recipe from last night's progressive dinner. {I have one more I really want to post, but I have to get it first. It was the wassail. Ohhhh, YUM!}

I don't have a picture for this one. But, it tasted really good. Confession: I didn't really try it with salad (I tried a spoonful when I was done making it). I heard from others that it was good.

Cafe Rio Spicy Ranch Dressing

  • 3 Tomatillos
  • juice from 1/2 a Lime
  • 1/2 C. Buttermilk
  • 1/2 C. Mayo
  • 1/2 C. Sour Cream
  • 1 pkg. Dry Ranch
  • 1 C. Fresh Cilantro (I used some straight from my garden for the R.S. dinner) :-)
  • 5 Green Onions
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 4 tsp. Sugar

Blend until smooth. (Start with pulsing a few times. Then blend well.)

The salad we had was Romaine lettuce mixed with spinach. We had many toppings to choose from including black beans, corn, tomatoes, red peppers, olives, avocados, fritos chips, red onions, and cheese.

(Wish I had been at the "salad" house to try some...)

Chicken Enchilada Soup

This may be my new favorite soup.

I tried it for the first time last night. This is one of the soups that we served at our R.S. Progressive dinner. They were all wonderful. We had Corn Chowder, Black Bean soup, Taco soup, and Chicken Enchilada soup. This was my favorite.

It's not a good "dieting" soup...

Chicken Enchilada Soup

2 Cans Chicken broth (I used four cubes chicken bouillon and four cups of water)
1 8oz. pkg. Cream Cheese 1/3 less fat (we used regular. I think either would be just fine)
1 large can green enchilada sauce
1 & 1/2 pints half-and-half (The recipe says "fat free". But, how in the heck could half-and-half be fat free?)
1 can corn, drained (You could use about a cup and a half or frozen, instead)
1/2 rotisserie chicken (lemon pepper is best) de-boned and cut into bite sized pieces
1 & 1/2 C. instant white rice (next time I'm going to try it with regular rice, maybe even brown. I'd have to increase the time a bit).

In a sauce pan, heat the broth and cream cheese until smooth. Add enchilada sauce, half-and-half, corn, and chicken.
**At this point you could 1: Heat until hot, then add the instant rice and simmer until rice is soft, OR 2: Add regular rice to the pot, spray a {large} crockpot with non-stick cooking spray, then add the soup into the crockpot, cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 4-6 hours.

{The picture I used is from leftovers today.} This was so yummy. When I got home last night, I passed up the leftover cheesecake and had a small bowlful of soup. And then another. And another. (Yep... that was 3!) Uh huh, I probably gained 10lbs last night. It was well worth it!

Green Smoothie

Yummy Green Smoothie! It may look gross, but it really is quite delightful!

Wondering what's in it?

For this one I filled my blender half full of spinach leaves. Then I added half a can (20oz. can) of pineapple, but all of the juice from it... and only the 100% juice kind. Then I blended it for a bit. Actually, I pulsed it a bit, then blended it until the green really came out and the chunks were all gone. It was really smooth! I added a banana and a scoop of ground flax seed. I could have had it just like that!

Since my 4 year-old son got the bag of strawberries out of the freezer this morning and filled the bag with water, I needed to use them. I then added strawberries, frozen blueberries, and a few spoonfuls of plain yogurt to the blender and blended until smooth. It turned out more brownish/purplish/redish. But, OH-SO-YUMMY!! I love it because I know we are getting some "greens" and my kids just love smoothies anyway!

You can really add anything, in any amounts. We've just been experimenting around here. It's fun. They always turn out a bit different. I liked the one with peaches in it, the other day.

Here's the proof that my kids LOVE it:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I got bored (for a bit) with piecing the zig zag quilt. (I'm sooo slow at quilting. Ugh!) So, I needed a new small project. Over Thanksgiving weekend I decided to use a few scraps from the zig zag quilt to make a Christmas banner. I had some cream felt leftover from making the birthday crown awhile ago. I wanted the felt to be thick so I double it. I then decided it should be reversible. I was going to put another Christmas word on the other side, but thought maybe I should go with a word from a neighboring season/holiday. So, the other side says "Fall" with a fabric leaf on the extra square. I hung it on the mirror in my living room. The only thing I don't really like about that is that you see the fall colors and letters. Oh well.

I free handed the letters on parchment paper and traced them on the fabric. My artistic husband helped me. :)

I used dark green thread to zig zag around the letters (before I attached the Fall letters felt squares to the back).

Easy peasy! But, I thought it would be a two-hour-or-under project. Nope. Not for me. I'm slow! I also broke a needle and stuff like that. When I was done, I was happy with it, but wished I had spent the time quilting instead.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving weekend

Thanksgiving morning we met some out-of-state friends at the zoo and had a little "turkey trot" of our own. We ran a few times around the paths of the zoo "before normal zoo hours" (it's a member benefit)! Some of our kids rode bikes and the little ones sat in jogging strollers. It was so fun. I am really bummed that we didn't actually get any pictures of us all together there.

While everyone else was off looking at the new Komodo Dragon exhibit, I snapped a few photos of this cheesy ham.

At the Turkey Trot at my kids school.

I pushed my little kids in my neighbor's jogger (mine was in repair) while I ran with my other two around the school a few times. I ran with each of them separately. I think it came out to be about 3 miles total. Not bad for an elementary school. It was a very fun event.

Of course we ate very yummy food on Thursday. I was sooo stuffed. It actually hurt! We got together with a few of my husband's brothers and their families and my mother-in-law was in town. My family made broccoli salad, spiral sliced ham, mashed potatoes, and rolls. Oh, YUMMY! Everything was so stuff-your-face-good!! Darn, no pictures of the food either. I thought I got more pictures of everyone during the meal. I guess my brother-in-law probably did, but that doesn't help me right now. Anyway...

I did a little crafting over the weekend, too. I'll post about that tomorrow, I think. :-)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Christmas Quilt Progress

Yay! I'm making progress! I am so grateful to my husband for letting me quilt on Friday night, while our kids were being babysat. We hung out and watched Twilight while I quilted. (We were preparing to see New Moon the next morning. LOVED it!) He actually helped me a bunch. He lined up squares and drew a diagonal line on them so I could sew them. He also helped me the next day by watching the kids for hours while I was pluggin' away in our room, piecing this quilt together.

I'm only about 1/3 of the way through the piecing. But I LOVE seeing the progress! I am a slow quilter, but I still have hope that I will find the time to get it finished. I have about three and a half weeks left.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Guess what? I was featured on Little Birdie Secrets for their virtual cookie exchange! I feel so honored. Thanks, Little Birdies! All the other cookies look delicious, too. I am grateful for some new recipes to try this holiday season. Can't wait to try them!

Here's my recipe for Scotcheroos:


1 1/2 C. creamy peanut butter
1 C. light corn syrup

1 C
. sugar
6 C. rice krispies cereal

1 2/3 C. butterscotch chips*

1 C. sem
i-sweet chocolate chips*

*(You can adjust the amounts of the chocolate and butterscotch chips to your liking. For example, if you
aren't a big fan of butterscotch these are still good when you switch the measurements of the chocolate and butterscotch.)

Coat a 9x13 pan with non-stick cooking spray. Combine peanut butter, sug
ar, and corn syrup in a large saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until melted. Remove from heat. Add cereal and stir until thoroughly coated. Press onto bottom of prepared baking pan. Microwave the butterscotch chips and semi-sweet chocolate chips together in a large microwaveable bowl on HIGH power for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave at additional 10-20 second intervals, stirring until smooth. Spread over cereal mixture. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes or until topping is firm. Cut into squares and then triangles if desired. Makes approx. 20 bars or 40 triangles. Optional (and pictured): Melt additional dark chocolate chips and/or butterscotch and/or white chocolate, separately, about 1/4 cup each. Use spoon to drizzle stripes back and forth on the pan, with each variety. (I usually only use two different kinds.) Refrigerate again to let the chocolate harden. The scotcheroos pictured are with dark chocolate and butterscotch drizzled on top. I like the look of it better than plain, if I am taking to a party or giving as a gift. When I make them just for my family I completely skip the drizzled chocolate on top. It's yummy either way.

Peanut butter (I used crunchy), sugar, and corn syrup melting together in the pot.

The rice krispies mixed with peanut butter mixture, pressed into the greased pan. They're actually really good just like that. If you're pressed for time or short on chocolate and butterscotch, just serve these. Just warn people that they have peanuts in them... they aren't regular rice krispie treats.

Topped with chocolate butterscotch mixture. Great just like that, too.

Just with butterscotch spoon drizzled. (It's a lame job of drizzling and ugly picture, I admit.)

Dark chocolate and butterscotch drizzled on top. It looks really good (and tastes good too) with white chocolate drizzled, too. (Though, not really in addition to. That would be a bit much!)

... And super easy. I usually cut them smaller than this picture shows. I would cut them in half. They're more bite size that way. (I don't feel as bad about eating them, then.) :-)