Monday, July 23, 2012

Free Motion Quilting

July 23, 2012-  It was such a busy weekend doing things with family and my little boy had a mission to  show me how much trouble a speedy little crawler can get into.  He's on the move!  It left me with so little time for myself.  Luckily, I planned a little time to go to a quilting drop in tonight.  I felt I spent enough time staring at my son's "Hungry Caterpillar Quilt" that it was time to just actually start quilting.  I have it all pinned together and started my first free motion quilting on a bigger quilt.  (I've free motion on a small wall hanging, but this is bigger than I have ever done.)  With support from the ladies at the quilting drop in, I was able to get the butterfly quilted.  Once I get the leaf and the caterpillar quilted, I will be doing some more independent free motion quilting instead of following the pictures.  I am very excited and nervous for this.  Right now, I give myself a lot of props for doing as well as I did with the caterpillar!   I just might get this done in time for my son's first birthday (I think 1.5 month should be enough time if I commit).

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Swiss Chard and Pecan Pesto over eggs and tomatoes.

July 22, 2012-  My son and I went to the Farmer's Market yesterday.  It is really wonderful and overwhelming to be surrounding by so many fresh vegetables and fruit.  I actually ended up buying more stuff than I planned.  When I got home, I realized that I had the most beautiful Rainbow Swiss Chard and I didn't know what to do with it. Most people cook it in a little oil until wilted.  I usually make a delicious soup with it, but I wanted something that I could enjoy in the hot weather.  After searching for a little bit, I found a recipe where I could use the basil from my garden.  I was so excited.  I made this pesto and actually tried it with a few things.  I did change the recipe up a little bit by toasting my pecans, adding less garlic, and adding 2 TBSP of Lemon Juice instead of 1 TBSP.  I was hoping to use less Olive Oil with this recipe.  The end result?  Delicious!  I love eating it with tomatoes.  I plan to try it over poached flounder.

Here's where I got the recipe:

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Very Braidy Cowl

July 16, 2012-  Sometimes it is just too hot or too tiring to do anything.  Too hot to cook and too tired to do a big project.  Often,  it is just nice to hide in the basement and flick on the tv while my little sweetie sleeps and the man of the house is off playing video games.  I didn't want to just sit and watch tv because my hands needs to be busy and my brain needs some kind of simulation.  My mom gave me a lot of knitting patterns and I picked something out.  So, I am knitting something challenging and a project that does not make me so hot.  It is a cowl for this winter.  Quite challenging because I've never done cable before or even try to count.  I notice that if I stop paying attention, I lose count and lose many minutes trying to figure out where I am.  Definitely simulating for my brain.  I am so close to completing it and I will own my first cowl this fall.  How exciting is that?  

I was able to find what looks like a similar patter and it is designed by Maryse Roudier.
Click here for the patter... pattern here

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Banana Business Pancakes

July 14, 2012

This morning, I felt really adventurous in terms of food.  I never deviate from recipes so this is a new territory for me... a little scary but exhilarating at the same time.   I had 3 extremely ripe bananas that the fruit flies have not discovered yet.  It was time to use them or lose them to the compost.  So I "made" up my own banana pancake recipe which was successful after a few modifications.  (Successful means, it passed my husband's quality taste control.)  According to him, "It's taste like banana bread.  It's smooth and the tastes all balanced.  It is good."  For me, that is a huge compliment because my husband is very fussy about his pancakes.
Be aware that you can modify this to fit your taste such as adjusting the amount of spice (more or less) and adjusting the amount of soy milk (or milk of your choice) to make it thicker and heavier or thiner and lighter.  I made one pancake and my husband tasted it.  Then I would modify the batter according to his feedback.  My first attempt was reported to be "too heavy."  Second attempt was reported to need more spice and be lighter.  My third attempt was successful!  My husbands denies this, but I think it has a nutty aftertaste.   Since I am currently living in Maine, pancakes are never complete with Real Maple Syrup! Give it a try and let me know what you think.  We made up the name for this pancake recipe.

Banana Business Pancakes
1 1/2 cup Unbleached Flour
1/2 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 to 1 cup soy milk (test to determine how thick you want it to be)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
2 tablespoons appplesauce
2 eggs
In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Measure out the milk and add the vanilla extract to it. Whisk together the dry ingredients and add in milk-vanilla mixture, applesauce and eggs stirring to combine. Add in mashed bananas and mix. Stir until batter is somewhat smooth.
Heat a skillet or grilled on medium heat. Using a 1/3 cup measure, spoon batter into rounds and cook until bubbles form on top – about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for a minute or two more. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve hot with butter and Maple Syrup.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Seared Shrimp with Roasted Peppers over Spinach 

Life is so busy when you are so busy being a mom and a wife at home, sometimes making something so fancy, but simply delicious really can make my night.  When I made this, I was really surprised how salad can be fantastic with only 4 ingredients and homemade dressing.  This is a delicious "Seared Shrimp with Roasted Peppers over Spinach"  MMM-mmm Delicious!
The Hungry Caterpillar Quilt

I got this wonderful "Hungry Caterpillar" Kit when I first got pregnant with my son.  I was so excited to make it.  I had it all cut out and it was put on hold when my son made his arrival.  A month ago, I was able to get the front of the quilt put together.  I am now back to completing this project for my son since he is starting to notice colors and texture.  Today, I found that I had that I had 30 minutes of uninterrupted time so I focused on getting the backing pieced together.  My biggest challenge is deciding how to quilt.  I am looking forward to this upcoming weekend to start quilting this.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Beginning

July 8, 2012:  I finally decided to stop dreaming and talking about every single thing I want to do but "never have enough time."  This is my commitment to balance life by spending every weekend staying away from work and doing something for myself and with my family ranging from experimenting with my culinary skills to crafting to traveling with my family.  Stand by for updates every weekend.