Category Archives: recipes

Quilts & Salt Dough Ornaments

Everyone was still sick- but at that point where they’re too sick to go out or do anything big, but not sick enough to do nothing.  So really we had 2 not at all tired children who were sick.  Fun times!

I pulled Linda’s cat quilt off the frame.  Isn’t it cute?  I ended up using a light purple thread (to match the inside border) and the design “Pretty Paisley”.  The backing is flannel so it’s sure to be cozy snuggly!

Linda’s cat quilt

Then I loaded Jan’s Tie quilt on the frame. These are from a family member and she carefully took apart the ties and added a lightweight interfacing before piecing the hearts. For batting she chose Pellon Polyester which has a little loft and is very lightweight. The thread is a charcoal- just a shade lighter than black- this blended well with the various ties.  For the quilting design she told me to choose something swirly, so I went with “Jilly,” one of my favorite designs. 

Isn’t it wonderful?  

What a great way to repurpose the ties!

In the afternoon after all my work was done, the girls got to finally begin our December advent calendar. 

Advent mittens

I picked this cute mitten calendar up at Target & filled each one with with an activity for the day. December 1 said “make salt dough ornaments”.  The girls had a wonderful time assembling the ingredients and mixing it up.  Megan in particular could almost do the entire project herself! (4 y’all!  It’s an amazing age!) giving us more energy to help Emily.  Of course after starting the project I remembered the only cookie cutters we had were the woodland creatures from IKEA, but the girls didn’t mind.  And really they’re so freaking cute!

They baked up in no time & later we’ll paint them & I’ll dig around the studio for ribbon.

Here’s the recipe if anyone else is feeling adventurous!

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water

Mix together, knead until smooth, roll out to about 1/4” thick, cut with cookie cutters, place on baking sheet, bake at 250 degrees for 1-2 hours until firm. 

See you tomorrow!


Note:  This is a repost from a few years ago when I blogged about scones.  I recently talked about scones on Facebook & people asked me for the recipe, so I thought it deserved a repost.  Enjoy!

Like scones?
I adore scones. All kinds. Bacon/Cheddar, Apple, Cranberry/Orange, but most of all, I love the plain ol’ regular raisin kind.
Perhaps it has something to do with my love of England. Perhaps it’s related to my baking obsession.
At any rate, I’ve spent the last 10 years or so perfecting my scone recipe & I thought I’d share it with ya’ll.
2 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 c. or so of raisins (I actually use 3 handfuls)
1 egg
1/2 c.- 2/3c. full whipping cream (plus some more, I’ll explain below)
– In a bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder & salt.
– Cut in butter with a pastry blender until butter is pea sized. Using a pastry blender is important- if you don’t have one- run out to Target NOW & get one. Doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, you just need one. (I’m still using the one I bought in college- which either came from Target or the utensil aisle of the grocery store.) It’s also important here to keep working the pastry blender until the butter is in little bits. You might think you can skimp, but I can tell you from past experience- spend time here! It will be well worth the time!
– Add in raisins or cranberries or any other dried berry. I don’t measure very precisely here- I just throw in a few handfuls until it looks good- not too few, but not so many that it overpowers everything else.
– Mix in the egg. Yes, it will look strange- the yolk covering the raisins, just go with it. I’ve tried switching the raisin/egg order & it doesn’t come out as good. If I enjoyed science more, I could probably explain exactly what’s going on here, but since science is one of my least favorite subjects, you’ll just have to trust me!
– Add cream. Yes, use the full fat stuff. I’ve used everything from cream to skim milk. (Yes, this was my version of experimenting in college.) The “fattier” the liquid, the richer taste. The skim milk scones aren’t bad, they’re just more like biscuits with raisins. (Note, this is as close to being scientific in baking as I get.) Ok, so once you’ve poured the milk in & mixed it in, you might notice that you have a nice scone ball & then there are lots of flour bits at the bottom of the bowl. This is where I add more cream- just about a tablespoon at a time, until all the flour bits stick to the big scone ball, but not so much that the scone ball wants to stick to your spoon.
– Then I plop it on my stoneware, where I knead it there. Not too much- you just want to mold until it’s a nice big circle about 3/4″ thick, being sure to work in any leftover flour bits. Cut the giant scone into 6 pieces & then spread apart for baking. The rationale of kneading on the stoneware is twofold- 1st, it’s one less dish to wash; 2nd, the scone should still be a little “crumbly” so having it already on the pan where it’s going to bake on can prevent potential disasters when one transfers the scone from kneading area to baking pan. (Not that I’ve ever had scones fall apart on me……. 🙂
– Bake at 425 degrees until tops are golden brown. This takes our oven about 20 minutes or so.

– Serve & drink with beverage of choice, if there are any leftovers, store in a airtight container.

Chocolate Dump Cake

It’s December!  & that means I’ll be baking up a storm over here (as well as quilting my heart out!)  You might think this blog will be turning into the “12 days of Desserts”, but don’t worry- there will still be quilting :)This was a Pinterest recipe I made for the Wednesday night potluck at my church.  I volunteered to make desserts for Advent to experiment with the recipes that have been building up in my “sweet tooth” board over on Pinterest.

This is a dump cake that was originally posted by Kim of This Little Life of Mine.  Aside from looking delightful & chocolaty- she mentioned this was the first dessert to go at one of her church potlucks & the kids couldn’t stop raving about it’s yummyness!

I made it mostly like she said, but here’s my variation:

– 1 box of Devil’s Food cake mix (Duncan Hines is my favorite)
– 1 3/4 cup milk
– 1 small box of chocolate instant pudding
– 1 bag of Toll House semi sweet chocolate chunks

Mix the cake mix & milk together.  Then add in pudding.  Pour into greased 9×13 pan.  It will be thick!  Sprinkle chocolate on top & gently press in.  Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.

It comes out more like a brownie than a cake.  Next time I will use milk chocolate chips for a smoother taste.


Bruschetta, Potlucks & 4th of July

Happy 4th of July everyone!  We’re officially in the middle of “potluck season” at our church.  Every weekend there’s another dinner that we need to bring a dish.  Typically this would be a no brainer, but we have several families in our church that have Celiac- I try & bring gluten free dishes when possible.  For me, this is much harder than it sounds- I like bread & all kinds of gluten-y goodness.  One of my favorite dishes though is Bruschetta w/ a baguette & gluten free crackers.

6 Roma tomatoes, seeds removed & chopped
1/2 c. julienned sun dried tomatoes, packed in oil (make sure they are gluten free!)
3 cloves, minced garlic (be sure to use fresh!)
1/4 c. olive oil (or enough to just moisten)
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. fresh basil, coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

– Combine tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, basil, salt & pepper.
– Add enough olive oil to moisten (for me, the amount of olive oil I need greatly depends on how well I drained the sun dried tomatoes)
– Cover & place in fridge until needed.

Random Notes:
When possible, I try to use home grown tomatoes, but it’s still good with even store bought Roma tomatoes.

To scoop out the seeds, my husband has discovered a melon baller works the best.

If I’m serving these at home, I’ll actually take the time to broil the baguette slices & place mozzerella cheese on top- however for a potluck, I just bring the tomato mixture, let people scoop & forget about the cheese.

When serving Celiac’s it’s best to have 2 different containers of dip- one clearly labeled “GLUTEN FREE” with it’s own servingware.  That way there’s less chance of cross contamination & you’ll insure the gluten-freeness of the dish. (Guess me how I learned this…..)

The brushetta pic above is served in what we call a “Bary Bowl” in my family.  My BIL makes all kinds of pottery & we are lucky enough to get one of his creations most every Christmas.

Black Beans & Pork Chops

Crazy May is finally over!  Thank goodness!  We joked that was the month we could count on 1 hand the number of times I cooked.  (Seriously, this is crazy for us!  We don’t do this!)

What would be better than to start June off with a great meal?

My sister told me about Food on the Table.  It costs a small fee (but I got it free under a special- check- they have more coming up) but you put in your food preferences (protein choices, dietary restrictions, etc) & it comes up with a variety of recipes for dinner.  You select them & they pop them into a meal plan with shopping list & they tell you if your local grocery stores has any of those items on sale this week.

To try them out I made their “Black Beans & Pork Chops.”  I was impressed how easy the recipe looked, but you still never know.





I can’t wait for lunch tomorrow to have the leftovers!

Here’s the recipe:
– 4 pork chops (we did 2 very large bone-in ’cause that’s what was in the freezer)
(to taste)ground black pepper & salt

– 1 tbsp olive oil
– 1, 15.0 ounce can black beans, with liquid
– 1 c. salsa (we used Newman’s Own Medium)

– Season pork with some salt & pepper (I always pat my meat dry first)
– Heat oil in skillet & quickly brown the sides
– Add black beans (with liquid) & salsa
– Bring to a boil
– Simmer covered, 20 minutes or so- depending on how thick the chops are

We had these with roasted potatoes & fresh green beans. 
I’d say June is starting off on the right foot!

*Note- there’s been some discussion lately on recipe copyrights.  I know I break these rules.  However, I’m not sure exactly what these rules are.  I’m just a wife who’s trying to put a decent meal on the table in the midst of craziness.  I like Jamie Oliver’s stance that we’re just trying to share real food with people to encourage everyone to cook good & healthy meals at home.


This past Christmas I decided to make the family cookies.  We have a standing policy that all presents exchanged must either be consumable, or handmade- these met both requirements!

They were so incredibly yummy that I knew I wanted to share the recipes with all of you!

Starting at the top of the pic, they are as follows:
Chocolate Orange Cookies
Peanut-Pecan Butter & Oatmeal Cookies
Robin’s Nests
Hazelnut Shortbread Sticks
Split Second Cookies

Happy Baking!

Spicy Pumpkin Bread

Thanksgiving this year was wonderful.  Just J & I & the cats.  I read a whole book (Goodnight Tweetheart– very cute book!  Fluff, but not as bad as some fluff out there), cooked up some corned beef & baked this amazing bread:

Spicy Pumpkin Bread
2c. sugar
1/2c. vegetable oil
1/2c. unsweetened applesauce
3 eggs
1 15oz. solid pack pumpkin
1 1/4tsp. ground cloves
1 1/4tsp. nutmeg
1 1/4tsp. ground ginger
2tsp. cinnamon
1tsp. baking soda
1/2tsp. salt
1/2tsp. baking powder
3c. flour

1. Beat sugar & oil
2. Add eggs, pumpkin, and applesauce- mix
3. Mix in spices
4. Mix in baking soda, salt & baking powder
5. Slowly add in flour
6. Grease 2 bread pans
7. Divide batter between said 2 pans
8. Bake at 350 for about 60-65 minutes.

We did actually manage to stay up to hit the stores at midnight.  Best Buy was a complete bust, but Bed Bath & Beyond and Target had some good deals.  Then after we got home at 3am, I made the big mistake of starting a new book, The Dressmaker of Khair Khana.  When I realized I was halfway through the book, I finally but it down & went to sleep.  While it’s not the most well written book in the entire world, the subject matter is fascinating (5 sisters who start a business when the Taliban seizes control of Kabul) & it reads quickly.

What’s in store for the rest of this weekend for me?  Some more reading, a little quilting & catching up on my podcasts!

The Week Without Photos

I really was productive this week.

I knitted a baby set for a friend. It was pink & snuggly & cute. But I forgot to take a photo.

I quilted a Christmas quilt for another friend. It was holidayish & fun. But I forgot to take a photo.

Then yesterday was “Sew Day” for my guild in which I had a “backing party” (i.e. me & lots of yards of fabric focusing on the math to make backings large enough for all those quilt tops I’ve made but can’t quilt because I’m missing an integral part of the puzzle because backing math confounds me to no end). I don’t have any photos of the backings (not really very interesting), but I did bring Potato Leek Soup for the potluck, & I forgot to take a photo of that too.

Note to self: Goal for this week: work on taking photos!

Anyways, here is the recipe for Potato Leek Soup. (Just imagine potatoes & leeks in a warm broth.) I’ve been making this since college. It’s super easy & very filling. This has been a hit wherever I bring it & is perfect for those upcoming chilly days.

Potato Leek Soup
1 Onion
2 Leeks
3 Medium Potatoes
1/4 c. Butter
5 cups Chicken Broth
Salt & pepper

– Dice onion & potatoes.
– Slice leeks down the center, wash the insides, chop finely.
– Melt butter in skillet. (Don’t skimp here, the butter adds lots of flavor.)
– Cook onion, potatoes & leeks until tender.
– Place mixture in crock pot.
– Pour chicken broth on top.
– Genereously season with salt & pepper.
– Cook on High 3-4 hrs or Low 6-8 hrs.

Thanks to everyone who commented on the last post about podcasts! I’ve finally caught up with Pam at Hip to Be a Square & and am now listening to Sandy at Quilting for the Rest of Us. As I keep finding new podcasts, I’ll share them here with everyone!

Have a wonderful week!

Another Kid Approved Dinner From Yellowstone

Sloppy Joe’s

Back when we lived in Alaska, I worked at Boys & Girls Club where we had a lot of potlucks.  A LOT of potlucks.  I loved the dishes one of my finance friends brought- she always made them from scratch & they just tasted yummy, like I was eating something my mom would have made.  This is my favorite dish of hers & before we left, I asked her for the recipe.  It came from one of those great church cookbooks where they note the person who submitted the recipe.  So, Marion Perison of upstate New York, I thank you for taking the time to add this to the cookbook.  You probably never figured your recipe would travel from Alaska to Nebraska to Yellowstone- but I bet it would put a smile on your face!

I hope you enjoy as much as my nephews & I did!

Homemade Sloppy Joes
1.5 lbs ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp. celery salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 c. ketchup
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. flour
1/2 c. water

– Cook beef, onion & celery salt until meat is browned
– Add pepper & flour, blend well
– Add ketchup, Worcestershire sauce & water
– Stir until thick, then simmer ~5 minutes

Back from Camping

Just returned from the family vacation to Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons & Custer State Park. The above pic is of Economic Geyser in Yellowstone. (Yeah, yeah, I know it’s cheesy, but as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to have a picture.)

Needless to say, I’m kinda tired.

But it was awesome & I loved every minute of the camping, hiking, animals, nature, mini-van riding trip.

Did quite a bit of cooking on this trip & wanted to share with you this super easy, kid approved recipe:

Pizza Stew:
6-ounce package sliced pepperoni, cut into fourths
1, Large onion, diced
1, Large green bell pepper, diced
1 tbsp oil
2, 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes with roasted garlic, with juice
1 cup water
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
Salt, pepper to taste
Shredded mozzarella cheese

– Cook onion in oil
– Add tomatoes, water & Italian seasoning & bell pepper
– Cover, reduce heat, simmer until thick
– Put pepperoni in bowl w/ a layer of paper towels, microwave 30 seconds or so- to soak up excess grease
– Toss pepperoni in soup
– Serve with mozzarella chees

Next time I make this, I want to add some black olives….or maybe some other pizza toppings…..

Hope you like it as much as we did!