Sunday, November 23, 2008


Several months ago I got "tagged" to do this post and it's been sitting on the back burner just waiting for the right moment to be served up.   Well, today I have the time and inclination thanks to motivation derived from a variety of sources, all of whom I'm grateful to and who will remain anonymous.   However, let it be known that blogs are a form of history as well as an outlet of expression and I am happy to be fulfilling both within one post.

1. The Christmas of my eighth year all I asked from Santa was an Easy Bake Oven, and to my joyful delight my wish was granted.  My maternal Grandparents came to see us early on Christmas Day and I will never forget being able to cook my first teeny, tiny muffins for my cute Grandpa.  He made such a fuss you would have thought they were something special, but you see, the muffins weren't what was special to him, I was- and he treated me like I was Julia Child.  I was the luckiest girl on earth to have that Santa and that Grandpa.

2.  Hands and art.  Have you ever really looked at hands and thought about what a wonderful tool they are?  When I was growing up both my grandma's had busy hands.  Hardly ever did I see either of their hands sitting still but they had a basket close to them with some kind of art
that they were working on.  I have this thing about people calling quilting, embroidery, crocheting, knitting, or other handwork---CRAFTS.  It isn't a craft.  It's handiwork.  Take it from me, I learned it from my grandmothers, and they from their's and it takes skilled hands and it's an art.

3.  This past Christmas morning my eighteen year old son joined me in my favorite drink, well next to water.  Most people think it's nasty and he ended up thinking the same, but I loved that he would try it.  If you make it with milk and add just a bit of sugar and froth it up, it is the best thing in the world. It is somewhat hard to find in most of my local grocery stores, but I had a daughter point out that I could purchase an entire case online.  Pero

4.PESTS. I grew up being very confident about killing any size of spider.  Having a bedroom in an unfinished basement will do that for a girl.  However, I never did get used to rodents, of any
size or shape, pet or pest.  In fact I fear them and get a little faint when I think about them. Last summer we had some rather unpleasantness in regard to rats, (yes, rats- the kind that live in the ground and bushes and feed off of neighbors bird feeders, those kind of rats).  They were dancing in our driveway at random times of the day and making me crazy.   Thanks to a darling, daring husband  who isn't spooked by rodents,  the problem was tackled and we hope solved (all fingers and toes crossed).  

5. The first car that my sister and I got to drive was a green Maverick.  We lovingly referred to him as "Kermit" or  "the Mav".  It was more than great transportation, it was our very identy. We spent tons of time listening to the radio and dropping by the local Taco Time to pick up a Doctor Pepper and get the special cup of the week with the cartoon character on it.  We "cruised" by more boys houses than can be imagined, honked the horn to the rhythm of the school honk and everyone knew we were coming when they saw that green car comin.  

6. Bargains.  You know how some people get a surge of energy when they climb a mountain, or others when then write a great poem?  Well I get pumped when I find a fabulous bargain. I have to admit that the really big bargain days are mostly in the past-- but nothing beats finding a cut of meat that is quality, when the price is in the basement.  I love it.  It makes me feel, well, like I've beaten the odds.  And I guess I have. 

7.  This past summer we had big decisions to make at our house.  We had to choose the varieties of ten new trees going into our yard.  For many that wouldn't be a big deal, but for city
dwellers- 10 trees is enormous!  After doing some research we decided that we would love to have a couple of Ginkgo trees.  They are one of the oldest varieties around, fight disease, have a very unique leaf, roots run deep and we just fell in love with them . . . over the internet.  To be responsible we decided that we should speak with someone at a nursery and go and look at a mature tree and see if we really liked the tree in person as much as we did on the screen.  After much driving and searching we were unable to come up with any full grown Ginkgo trees locally.  We were so disappointed.  I believe that very day we were outside our house and started talking with a neighbor from across the street about Ginkgo trees at which time he pointed out two beautiful specimans three doors down from our home.  Surprise!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Veteran's Day with Mr. Morris

This past Veterans' Day has been very unique and memorable. My quilt group made a quilt to give to a local veteran through the national organization called Quilts of Valor. The quilt was made out of Civil War fabrics, with embroidered words of virtues inside every other block and was beautiful on it's own, but what was most remarkable was giving it away. Each member of our group wrote about what it had meant to them to be involved in making this quilt and giving it to a soldier. The Quintessential Quixotic Quilters or Trippe Q's learned more about themselves and each other while serving a very deserving man-not unlike life, we always get more from giving, than from receiving.

The national organization, QOFV asked us to try and have publicity for our event (to help spread the word "to cover ALL war wounded and injured service members and veterans with a handmade quilt") , and thanks to my amazing daughter, Candace, we had extreme coverage including multiple TV stations, newspaper articles and an online magazine article written on this event. The event on it's own
was amazing. There

was hardly a dry eye in the room but especially on any veteran's as another amazing daughter, Marianne sang a'cappella "God Bless America". A General and Colonel presented the quilt to our recipient, World War II Veteran, Richard V. Morris, who not only served as a radio gunner from 1941 to 1945, but has been working as a volunteer at a local VA hospital for 21 years visiting veterans like himself "because they need someone to talk and listen to them who understands them".

It was my pleasure to get to know Mr. Morris and fe
el of his goodness. When I dropped him off at his house on Veterans Day I asked him to tell me about his flag pole. He flys flags everyday because flags represent freedom. That day he had chosen the American Flag, the Navy Flag and his two squadron flags. Richard V. Morris is a hero. He served his country in time of war and continues serving others now even though he is 89 years old, and he does it with a smile on his face.

I want to grow up to be like him.

God bless America.

Anyone interested in making a quilt for a veteran or serviceman visit for more information

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Road Trips can bring lasting joy and something for the floor

In June, Kathy and I went on a great adventure road trip to Billings, Montana to visit Jeff and Jannae and their wonderful family. We had a wonderful time being together, traveling though snow storms, spring flowers and talking non stop for several days. Our host's couldn't have been better- Jeff and Jannae really know how to entertain. Most of all it was such a treat to be with them on their own turf and just hang out. One morning was spent with just the ladies where we toured the Moss Mansion, had a lovely lunch and finished in Italy (well, a close second- they have a great gelato shop there).

While in Billings we went to one of the top ten quilt stores in the nation, Fiber Works and I was over come with a new project idea that they had there-- FLOOR QUILTS. Yes, strange as it sounds, but it's true, a quilt for the floor. I ordered the book and until this fall I hadn't had time to make my own version of a quilt you can walk on. The center blocks of my quilt have an interesting tale of their own- they were saved from the garbage can in Shirley Page's quilting room. She didn't think she had any use for them- and look at how beautiful they are! I guess it's all in the eye of the beholder- thank you Shirley for giving me your blocks! The process for making a floor quilt was . . .well . . . time consuming, but now that it is on the floor I love it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

As I said on an earlier post that didn't quite make it . . . fall is finally here and with it comes all sorts of wonderful baked goods. This year I have had the good fortune to be handed one slam dunk recipe--like put it in your file and use it for a family gathering, ladies brunch or something extra special -- Pumpkin Waffles with all the trimmings- one addition to the recipe I would add is to sprinkle some candied almonds on top- it pushes it right over the top! Thanks, Marianne for introducing this one to me- it is fabulous! The second recipe is one for everyday and has a mellow, you could eat it for breakfast, lunch or snack kind of taste. It's the Pumpkin Pecan Bread recipe that follows. The thing is, once you've opened up a can of pumpkin, you really need to use it up so you need a few good recipes to help you out. I think these two fit the bill. I'd be interested to see what you think.

Pumpkin Waffles with Nutmeg Syrup & Orange Butter
for the Pumpkin Waffles:
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons melted butter

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl and stir well to sift. Mix all wet ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Cook on a hot waffle iron until cooked. Makes about 5 waffles.

for the Nutmeg Syrup:
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon rum extract (optional)

In a large saucepan combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg, stir. Add water and bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in the butter, vanilla and extract if desired. Serve warm. Will keep two weeks.

for the Orange Butter:
1/2 cup butter
1 tablespoon grated orange zest

Combine softened butter with zest and nuts. Serve soft.

Pumpkin Pecan Bread
2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup toasted pecans, broken into large pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two medium loaf pans with Pam (or grease pans). In a large bowl mix all dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger, and salt) or sift. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and water. Add the sugar and blend well. Add the pumpkin puree, vegetable oil and vanilla extract and blend well.

Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk until blended and smooth. Add the pecans and stir until they are evenly distributed. Divide the batter into the two loaf pans.

Bake for 45 minutes or until the bread is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes and take out of pans.

Blogging! I have a few things to learn . . .

Last week I finally had an extra hour, yes a whole hour to sit down and work on my blog. I had been working up the courage to take another stab at my blog yet another time- and I was excited to put up my recipes of pumpkin bread and the best ever pumpkin waffles. I wrote the little message, put the recipes in, added the pictures, looked at the preview and all looked great. I pushed publish. YES! A new post! Oh, the delight to add a post to my lonely blog. And then, DEVASTATION. A loss of an entire hour and now humiliation added on top of that-- my recipes and pictures never appeared. But how can this happen? It was in the preview?

Today is a new day. With renewed strength (given in the form of a very hip niece with a suggestion of a new layout- thanks Liza, and a wonderful two some that made up a Blog Rescue Squad, who will remain nameless do to the fact that they at this point don't have blogs themselves . . .but as you see are very clever) I am going to attempt to begin again to put up those wonderful recipes.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Banana Cupcakes

Yesterday was baking day and proved to be a fun day in the kitchen. A very important bridal shower was to be held that evening and I needed to make something just right for the occasion. The instructions were that it couldn't be chocolate, which immediately eliminated some of the finest recipes right away. We settled on these yummy banana cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. The recipe comes from a dear friend who says that it is her husband's favorite and once you've tried it, you can see why.

Gretchen’s Banana Cake

2 ½ c. flour
1 2/3 c. sugar
1 ¼ t. baking powder
1 t. soda
1 t. salt

2/3 c. butter, softened
2/3 c. buttermilk
2 large eggs, room temperature
3 bananas, mashed to make 1 ¼ cup

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and prepare pans. Grease and flour either a 9x13, or for a layered cake 8 or 9 inch rounds with an additional small loaf pan for extra batter. You can also make cupcakes and mini cupcakes. All pans should have 2 to 3 inch sides as the cake has a high loft.

In a mixing bowl, add all dry ingredients and stir together to sift. Mix in all wet ingredients. Beat well and pour into pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes for rounds and 9x13, 18 to 20 minutes for cupcakes. Frost with cream cheese frosting when cool. Note: the frosting recipe covers the 9x13 and would need to be doubled to frost the layered cake.

Cream Cheese Frosting
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 T butter, softened
2 ½ c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
cream or milk to right thickness

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I'm the Mom!

If anyone was wondering which Mom was here . . . it was me! Stay tuned for more, after all this is my first post and I'm sure to have more to say later.