Friday, September 27, 2013

It's Official

 We had Chinese food tonight for dinner to celebrate.
Grace finally heard from the Peace Corps today 
and they are sending her to China.
 I've been telling people for months that she had been accepted into the Peace Corps, but apparently I was wrong. She only had a nomination. Now she is official. She will be leaving the end of June for 2 years. As of right now she doesn't know exactly where in China she will be, but she does know that she will be teaching English to college age students.
She is so excited and we are excited for her. 
Too bad they don't speak Spanish or Italian in China. Another language to learn.
If anyone can do it Grace can.

Baking Fall Things

 Happy Friday!
I have pinned so many fall recipes that there is absolutely now way I'll ever get around to making them (this year). However, This one was up near the top of the list and I just happened to have a can of pumpkin and some apples sitting around. I copied the recipe straight from here so click on the link to see the original. She includes a cream cheese middle which I left out for various reasons. She gives a lot of suggested options. I'm so happy with the way they turned out. Very moist, not too pumpkiny and not too sweet. Just Right!

Pumpkin Apple Muffins
makes 18 muffins
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chopped apples, peeled
  • Streusel:
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 5 Tbsp cup cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • *Glaze (optional)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp milk
How to Make
  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Line a muffin pan with liners, or spray pan with cooking spray
  3. Prepare muffin batter by whisking together flour, granulated sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt.
  4. In another bowl mix together eggs, pumpkin and oil. Mix these wet ingredients in with the dry ingredients until incorporated.
  5. Stir in chopped apples.
  6. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.

  7. Streusel:
  8. Using a fork or pastry cutter, combine all ingredients until they form a coarse crumb. Sprinkle evenly over all the muffins.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Drizzle with glaze if desired (just mix powdered sugar and milk together until smooth)
Make yourself a batch for the weekend. Hope you have a great one!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cooking All the Things

I think it's because there has been a "slight" chill in the air. All of a sudden I have the need to stock up. By that I mean, winter is coming and I need to cook myself silly and fill up my freezer. Do know the feeling? It's crazy. During the summer I thought maybe I'd just lost my cooking mojo. It was gone. Poof. Just like that it's back and I just can't stop. It could also be that I happen to love fall (comfort) food. Who doesn't. It's so fun to eat a bowl of homemade soup or chili when it's actually chilly outside. 
 Last night for dinner we had ham. Plain old boring ham. but with that ham we had baked sweet potatoes, roasted green beans with mushrooms, Italian baked cherry tomatoes, biscuits with honey butter and to top it all off apple crisp. It was all very yummy. Most of the recipes are from Pinterest. I'll link the beans and tomatoes for you under the I Love the Taste of.... tab at the top of the blog. I've never roasted green beans before and they were so good I probably could have eaten the whole pan. Since Alan doesn't eat beans or mushrooms  I guess I will be eating the whole pan.

 Today I'm making Stuffed Shells, one of Alan's all time favorite meals. I doubled the recipe so there is plenty for dinner tonight and two dinners worth to freeze. Hopefully I'll remember to take pictures and I'll share the secret recipe later in the week.
Hope you are enjoying some fall food.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Happy Fall

Here is a little peek at some cute "first day of fall " gifts for my co-workers.
I found the little bags on sale at Micheal's for 75% off. The candles were another bargain at my local Kroger. Have you tried the new Pumpkin spice M&M's? I think they are pretty good. Not all that pumpkiny or spicy  but very M&My. I also found white melting chocolates and fall leaf sprinkles at Kroger so I decided to decorate some pretzels. A little stamped tag and there you have it. Fall in a bag.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Keep Calm and Quilt On

That was the motto for last weekend. All I can tell you is that there was a whole lot of quilting going on but I most certainly would not have called it calm.

I had the most wonderful weekend get away with two of my best quilting buddies from Iowa. Barb, Kandi and I met up at a quilting retreat center in Danville Illinois called Threads and Beds.
We had so much fun, met some new friends, talked and sewed ourselves silly. We did not get a lot of sleep which probably explains why I forgot to take any pictures. 
The pictures above are of what I finished. I'd hoped to get even more done, but I probably overestimated when packing. I bought the fabric for the top quilt while I was in Iowa last January. 
I think the quilt pattern is called rectangles. Not all that original, but the quilt is quite nice. Now I have to find some backing and figure out how to quilt it. 
The bottom blocks are 4 of 9 that make up the Swoon quilt. I am loving this quilt and each giant block is a pleasure to put together. Only 5 more to go...

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Quilts and More Quilts

New projects cut out and ready to go
I'm gearing up for an upcoming quilting weekend. What that really means is that I'm trying to finish up (old) projects before I start on new ones. This is really difficult for me. I'm always excited about a quilt when I start it, but I often get the top done and just stop. I think I figure that since most of the work is done it's OK to start on another one. Is it? Of course not. When I do that I end up it the situation that I'm in now. Quilt tops that have been completed for over two years that are still not quilts. I'd like to say that I'm all caught up and that my procrastination days are over, I'm a work in progress for sure. I can tell you that over the past 2 weeks I've finished a quilt, almost finished a quilt and have hired someone to finish a third. Progress!
 You may remember my Farmer's Wife Quilt from about 2 years ago. Well it is finally finished!
 I decided to tie it instead of machine quilt it. The top just seemed busy enough.
 I don't know why I waited so long. I love this quilt. I enjoyed making almost all of the blocks.
 I saw this great idea on Pinterest, to use a towel rack to display your quilt.
 I chose a fancy black one to match the headboard and Alan hung it up today.
 Now it's really done!
 Here is another quilt that has been almost done since January. Because it's a Christmas quilt I cut myself some slack. I don't really need it finished before December. Right?
 Last week I finally bought some backing material and a cute polka dot for the binding. I quilted it on my sewing machine just in straight lines to kind of match the fabric strips.
 I still need to hand sew the binding down, but now that it's this close to being done I like it a lot better
 I think it will look great on the end of Grace's bed this holiday season.
 I have to admit that working on it was kind of getting me all excited about Christmas. I know it's way to early. Whoa Nelly. Take a breath. Slow down. Enjoy the moment. There, I feel better. 
It's only September after all.
Hope you had a great weekend

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Maybe I sound like a broken record, but time is flying by. It is already September, my very favorite month of the year. I've already celebrated the month with a Pumpkin Spice Latte (or two). I haven't dug out the fall decorations yet, but I think I'll start on that this weekend. I did buy a cute little patchwork pumpkin to add to my collection and he's sitting on my kitchen scale looking a little lonely. The leaves (and annoying acorns) have begun falling off the trees in our backyard. Thank goodness for my handy dandy leaf blower. I've been busy with several knitting/spinning/quilting projects, some of them are just getting started and others are long past due in getting finished. Here are a few new ones that I'm excited about right now.

 Two almost even cakes of handspun yarn from my stash that are going to be knit into Simple Skyp Socks
 A cute new ladybug bag to hold my yarn and socks.
 See how both cakes fit just perfectly. As of the time I'm writing this one sock is almost done.

 Second project also out of my handspun yarn (see, I'm trying to use it up)
 The Miss Winkle shawl. It's going very quickly which is good, because I'd like to enter it into a Knit along that ends September 30th.
I'll show you my quilts in the next post. Hope you all have a great day.