Friday, July 3, 2015

A Tisket

I have made several baskets out of scraps from quilts I have made. 


I decided to see how a basket from a single type of fabric would turn out.


I cut the strips about 1/2 inch.  I followed the instructions from the previous baskets for zig zagging the wrapped clothesline.


This time I sewed the top of the basket with a doubled length of fabric from the outside.  That worked better, even though it was harder to see that the fabric was in the right place. 


Then I tucked it into a folded edge and hand stitched it on the inside.

I wrapped a length of clothesline with some more of the fabric, and used a zig zag stitch down the center.  


I hand stitched it in place and added a few beads and other embellishments.


I like how it turned out and plan on making some more.  Don't know what I will do with them all, but I'm enjoying the process.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Small Embellished Basket


I still had strips left over, so I made one more small basket.


Just so you know, these projects are not without some sacrifice on my part.  You get a lot of glue and fibers stuck on you and I was forced to stop and wash my hands many times.


I decided to do a smaller basket with some embellishments. 


I cut a length of fabric that would fit around the top without wrapping it around the project. 


I wanted a solid strip on the top.


I pinned and hand stitched it.


I like this one, too.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Baked Cream Cheese Wontons

My theory is that  BAKED cream cheese won tons are lower in fat.  I have no knowledge that this is so.  But it made me think I could make some and eat them without any guilt.  Well, maybe a bit of guilt.


Baked Cream Cheese Won Tons

Won Ton wrappers
These are frequently found in the produce section but our Kroger's had them in the vegetarian section.
About 5 oz. cream cheese or 3/4 of a block
1 Tablespoon minced green onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt


Heat oven to 400°.  Oil a baking sheet generously.  Set aside.

Take half of the won ton wrappers, tightly wrap the rest and freeze for a later date.


Mix the cream cheese, onion, garlic and salt in a small bowl.  Put some water in another small bowl and assemble the won ton.


I put about a teaspoonful of the cream cheese mixture in the center of one wrapper.    Wet your finger in the bowl of water and wipe all around the edge of the wrapper. 


Fold it over and press the air out to make a triangle.  You may leave it this way or wrap it up any fancy way you wish. The wrapper of the won ton wrapper (say that three times, fast) has a diagram, if you are interested.


Place the finished wontons on the oiled baking sheet and when you are finished, spray them with Pam or brush more oil on top.  I tried both ways and the tops still did not get sufficiently brown and crispy for my taste, but the tops and sides were plenty crispy.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  Serve warm.


These weren't as crispy as the deep fried version, but I didn't have to figure out how to dispose of half a pan of used oil and I considered them lower in fat.  They were delicious, however!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Another basket

I'm really enjoying the clothesline basket making.  I am not ready to make enough for a site on Etsy, but it is fun and I like the creativity of it.  I'm enjoying playing with the colors and sizes and shapes.


I had a basket of fabric strips I had left over from my large purse project.  I thought it would be enough to make another small basket.


I wrapped the strips around some clothesline and zig zagged them together as I have done since I learned it for my first basket.


This time I went to Jo-Ann fabrics and bought some beads and findings to decorate the baskets.  I wrapped a short length of clothesline with a single strip of fabric and did a zig zag stitch down the middle.  I attached it by hand to the basket as a sort of handle.  I added a few beards of a matching color and decided I liked it. 


Now I want to make MORE!!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Angel-Berry Trifle

A trifle is a traditional English dessert with rum soaked sponge cake, custard and fruit.  I found this lighter version and it was the perfect way to end a hearty meal.


Angel-Berry Trifle

1/2 angel food cake... from the market, easy peasy
1 quart fresh strawberries
1 pint fresh blackberries
2 cups Cool Whip
2 Tablespoons sugar or equivalent sugar substitute
3 Tablespoons rum, optional


I was making this for 4 people, so these are the amounts I used. 


Wash and dice the strawberries and place in a bowl.  Gently stir in the sugar or sugar substitute and set aside.


Slice the angel food cake and cut the slices into cubes.  I made this ahead of time and placed the cubes in a sealed container.


Gently fold the rum into the Cool Whip.  I returned the Cool Whip to the refrigerator until we were ready for dessert.


Layer the dessert by placing a large dollop of the Cool Whip on the bottom of the bowl.  Add the sliced strawberries and then the cubes of cake.  Spread another small mound of the Cool whip and then add the blackberries and another layer of the small cubes of cake.

Finish with another mound of the rum topping and the last of the strawberries.


I don't like the traditional trifle because the cake is soggy.  This version is light and satisfying. It was not too sweet and didn't make me feel stuffed or guilty for having a refreshing dessert.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Different Mashed Potatoes

I saw a commercial where they made mashed potatoes with a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch mix.  That sounded good to me.  When I lived with a friend in Pasadena, back in the 70s for crying out loud(!)  she used to make a great veggie dip.  She would mix a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing ( called HVRD by those in the know)  with sour cream and mayo.  It was delicious! (Hi Sande, thanks for showing me how to cook.)

I knew I liked that, so I figured I would like it in mashed potatoes, too!  It is super easy

HVRD Mashed Potatoes

4 huge Russet potatoes, peeled and diced
3/4 cup sour cream
1 packet HVRD mix
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 cup milk, optional


Boil the potatoes until soft, but not falling apart.  Drain and place in a large serving bowl. 


Place the sour cream and the packet of HVRD on top and commence the mashing.  It was not creamy enough for me, so I added a bit more milk and a bit of salt.


Serve all by itself, or with gravy like I did here.


I pretty much like potatoes any way you want to fix them, but this is a nice way to do something different.

Caramelized Onion Pot Roast

I found a recipe in the Sunday Roanoke Times.  It was for a pot roast that you cook in a Crock-Pot.  It sounded easy and delicious, so I rounded up some guinea pigs guests and bought a big hunk o' meat.


Caramelized Onion Pot Roast

1 Tablespoon oil
1 (3 to 3 1/2 pound) chuck roast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 medium onions
1 1/2 cups beef broth...I used beef base and water
3/4 cup beer.  I used a little beer and it was 7 ounces.  I needed 6, so I had a swallow left over.
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar

I made a few substitutions that I will explain. 


Heat the oil in  a large non-stick skillet.  Cook the roast over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until browned on both sides.  Sprinkle the meat with the salt and pepper.


While the roast is browning, slice up the onions.  I had big ones and used three.  Place the onion slices in the bottom of the slow cooker.  Then place the browned meat on top of them. 


I had some beef base, which is essentially beef broth in concentrated form.  I used 1 1/2 teaspoons of the beef base and 1 1/2 cups warm water and stirred to dissolve.  Then add the beer, brown sugar, mustard and vinegar. 


I had some honey Dijon mustard, so I used 4 Tablespoons honey Dijon and 1 Tablespoon brown sugar.  Not for more sweetness, but the flavor. ( It was really good and with more flavor than any other Pot Roast I have made!)


Mix them together and pour over the roast and onions in the slow cooker.

Turn it on to low and go somewhere else for 6 to 8 hours.  I put it in at 10 and served it at 6:00.

The meat fell apart nicely and the onions were perfectly lovely when paired with the meat.  I made it with gravy and mashed potatoes and now have left overs for sandwiches!


I made the gravy with.....


2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce  Don't try to say the whole thing.  It is Wooster sauce.
1/2 teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet
about 2 cups of the liquid left in the Crock-Pot.


Melt the butter in a large skillet and add the flour.  Cook for a few minutes until thickened and add the liquid from the slow cooker.  Stir with a whisk and add the flavorings to taste.  Stir until the lumps are broken up and the gravy is smooth.  Add more liquid  if needed.


Pour over the Pot Roast, the onions and the mashed potatoes and resolve to diet tomorrow!