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.