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Archive for the ‘Cooking and Baking’ Category

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Hi everyone!  Hope you are surviving the heat of summer.  It’s already been several days in the 100’s and the  humidity is horrible. My porch spot is lonely because the heat and humidity doesn’t make for happy stitching outside.  I am so looking forward to cooler weather in Fall to enjoy stitching on the porch again.  For now I sit with my tea for a bit in the morning and chat with the outside cats.  Water the plants on the porch, my hibiscus by the table and chairs is lovely.  The geraniums I brought inside from last  year are just now budding and the pots of moss roses and petunias are so colorful on the porch making it a  pretty spot to just relax.  It’s added the sound of buzzing bugs to the songs of the birds.

A while back Robin in VA had asked if I’d share my crock pot chocolate cake recipe and today I finally pulled it out to share with you.  Even though the oven got replaced I still prefer this moist cake from the crock pot.  Especially nice if you aren’t looking to heat up the kitchen but still want dessert!  Make sure you have vanilla ice cream on hand for this cake. It is yummy!

Triple Chocolate Cake for the Crock Pot

18 1/2 oz pkg chocolate cake mix, I used Devil’s Food

8 oz container sour cream

4 serving size pkg of instant chocolate pudding mix

12 oz pkg of semi sweet chocolate chips

4 eggs, beaten

3/4 cup oil, I used Crisco Vegetable Oil

1 cup water

Mix the cake mix, sour cream, instant pudding, eggs, oil and water. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour into a lightly greased 5 quart crock pot. Cover and cook on high setting for 3 to 4 hrs.  Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream.  Makes 8 to 10 servings.

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So what has everyone been stitching on?  I’ve been trying to keep up with a round robin I joined.  I’m on the last one which happens to be Shannon’s piece who is my sister in law. I have a Mystery Exchange and a Fruit Block Exchange.  I hope to have pics next time to share with you.  I did finish my Blackbird May Basket and it is at the framers to start my wall of smalls.  I am hoping when next I’m at Heart’s Desire it will be ready to pick up. Here is a pic of the finished piece, and just so you know, I did use 30 ct Putty and it made all the threads just pop!

May Basket BBD

I  need to get dinner started.  I leave you with a pic of our hollyhocks this year.  They were just beautiful!  So glad you dropped by and hope you try the chocolate cake!

hollyhocks 2013

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Hey everyone!  I need my blog mojo back.  I’m hoping we can catch up together, since my last post, and once again I’ve got the pics to prove I thought about blogging, just never got to the loft to post on my computer.  I’ve got a cup of green tea by me and ready to visit with you!

This was the scene just ten days after my last post.  Yes, mother nature remembered we didn’t really have a winter and finally gave us a beautiful snowfall.  February is still good for a good snowstorm and goodness knows we needed the moisture after two years of drought.

You know me, I love snow and it was depressing I couldn’t “play” in it this year.  It’d only been five months since my back surgery and I wasn’t able to get out there and help clean up, build a snowman, or just pop hubby with a good snowball. hehe  But it was pretty coming down.  woods in snow

Hubby was plowing our driveway and taking some wonderful pictures for me to share with you.gate in snow

Before he plowed this was what the driveway looked like with the cedars heavy with snow.  Always looks so magical after a snowfall doesn’t it? Cedars

When it’s chilly out, snow on the ground, doesn’t it make you think “time to bake something wonderful”?  It did me but of all times the oven finally decided it was time to die.  Stove semi worked but the oven was finished.  Desperate times called for desperate measures, or something like that, and I found a dense chocolate cake to make in the crock pot. Yes, it had to be chocolate!crock pot choc cake

And when served, hot warm from the crock pot with vanilla ice cream it was heavenly.  We couldn’t get over what an awesome dense chocolate cake it was.  Full of semi sweet chocolate chips too I might add.  Yum!  About now that would go great with my cup of tea.  Another new favorite from the crock pot was fruit cobblers made with pie filling.cake a la mode

You never realize how much you use an oven until it’s gone.  Not only baking but cooking meals.  I had to rethink what to make cooking on a stove for dinner.  Talk about getting creative!  But a few weeks later the new stove arrived and it was amazing to realize how long I must have baked/cooked with an oven that was malfunctioning. Those of you that know me well can imagine my first meal with the new stove.  Yup, a pot of homemade sauce with my garlicy meatballs and homemade foccacia!  The bread being one of the most important parts of the meal. Comfort food!! Breakfast the next day were my chocolate chip muffins. More yum!

foccacia

March and April brought us ice storms. It seemed like every couple of weeks it was warm days with the promise of spring and then more of Winter.  At one point I know it was both snow and ice.  Our red bud tree never bloomed after one of these ice storms.  I thought I’d lost all the flowers at one point. ice storm

March  was also a fun month as my Guild had a retreat at Maple Memories in McPherson.  These are always so much fun.  Great comraderie, wonderful meals prepared by Marietta and Connie (neither have a  blog), and stitching from Monday afternoon to Wednesday noon.  I managed to finish up a Blackbird Design piece for my Bird Block Exchange. Yes I’ve actually been stitching some too.  And started BBD’s May Basket while there which is almost finished but it’s been set aside for a bit with finishing up a RR piece. Five of us are doing LaDDa’s Live Laugh Love.  It’s a fun Round Robin. bird block

Luckily nature was good to us even if she couldn’t figure out her hot and cold flashes as I had some gorgeous lilacs and irises this time around. We had snow in April and yes even early May! We’re pretty certain now it’s Spring for sure as we  had the Spring storms to prove it this past weekend. purple and white iriseslilacs 

With the warmer weather I’ve been spending alot of time on my front porch.  I have a stitching spot with table and chairs that just happens to be by an electrical socket for my table top magnifying light!  The picture of my outdoor stitching spot was taken earlier in the year on a warm day as I worked on finishing up my model. And the other side of the porch beckons to snuggle with a book and read.  The songs of different birds, hammering of the woodpeckers, gobbling of the wild turkeys, and occasional deer stepping out to eat or coyote running through in the early morning mist add a peacefulness to the porch. In the evening watching a sunset with the hooting of the owls is magical made even more special when we see them fly by in search of their night time adventures. Hubby and I like to take breakfast out on the porch during weekends and dinner on the deck in the evenings to enjoy the nice weather before the heat of summer. ???????????????????porch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of stitching a few paragraphs above, I had joined in on a Mystery Exchange that was so much fun.  The partner I had loved Spring and Bunnies.  I stitched up this cute bunny freebie, it had to be something she didn’t have yet because Nita owns every bunny chart there is I think, and added some little extras as well.  She loved it and hadn’t seen that freebie as yet.  Mission accomplished.  And while I’m sharing that pic I’ll also add BBD’s Dear Friend that I finally finished and had framed.  Love the antique feel to this frame.  Mystery ExchangeBBD Dear Friend

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My cup of tea is long gone.  I managed to overload on pics but so wanted to share what’s been happening.  I left you with a teaser on my porch stitching of a model which hopefully will be releasing later this week.  Can’t wait to share that pic with you. It’s A Prairie Schoolgirl’s Sampler and would make a nice companion piece to A Prairie Girl’s Sampler. Thanks for the visit and enjoy your evening!  I leave you with a picture of  Hunter, who if you remember was the miracle cat that survived, looking robust and healthy.  Until later. . . Hunter 2013

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Hey!  I know, this is the big “thud” heard round the world.  I can not believe it’s been months since I blogged.  Pick yourselves back up onto your desk chairs and pour yourselves a cup of tea (iced or hot) and let’s catch up!  Funny, I’ve taken pics for months to share so you’ll go through several seasons, several animals pics, and whatever else was in my camera because darn it, I’m sharing it all.  If I took the pic you’re going to see it!  haha  And yes, that is Merlin staring down from my office loft!  He is a little over a year old now and he and his brother Gandalf turned out to be gentle giants always ready with a purr.  Both have awesome personalities and my husband says they’re so big they’re on the verge of lionhood.  Oh they are definitely on the verge of something.  LOL 

I promised Mary Kathryn I’d post my Blueberry Crumb Cake recipe.  As you well know, blueberries come into season and it’s pancakes, muffins, cobblers, crumb cakes, and anything else I can put blueberries into!  Love them.  This crumb cake is an old favorite.  I gave Mary Kathryn this recipe and the picture she posted got alot of requests for the recipe.  I snitched her picture of the cake too, mine never lasts long enough. 

Blueberry Crumb Cake 

Topping:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup flour

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup butter, softened 

Blend together to form a crumb topping and set aside. 

Now Mix Thoroughly:

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup melted butter

2 eggs 

Then Stir In:

1/2 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla 

Sift together and then add:

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt 

Fold in 2 cups blueberries. Pour into a greased square pan and then crumble topping over the top of it.  Bake at 375 for about 40 mins or more.  Test this one with a cake tester until it comes out clean in the center.  Enjoy!

Now onto life. . .  this was my profound realization in recent months, life really changes when a parent comes to live with you that needs care and Liann’s senior year in high school was beyond busy.  Add to the fact that she’s a music major and life was 24/7 concerts, quartets, Youth Symphony, and gigs.  Not to mention normal high school senior activity!  ACK! 

Liann won second place in the Wichita Symphony Youth Talent and played her solo with the Repertory Orchestra.  Click on the link and you can hear her piece!  The orchestra is comprised of young musicians from middle school to high school!  What incredible talent!  She brought tears to my eyes that night!  It was months of practicing and rehearsing for the final Wichita Youth Symphony Concert in March!  This was her last year with Youth Symphony as well.  We were so proud of her!  She’s continuing her music in college with a double major in music education and music performance. 

She graduated High School last month.  That was another addition to my stress level with doing a graduation party for her. 

Oh but I’m missing Senior Prom and goodness that was alot of fun.

This is a picture of Liann in front of the Red Bud.  Gosh the blooms on trees and flower beds were profuse this year!  Must have been all the rain and snow earlier on in the year.  We were waiting for her date to get here so I was taking some solo pics!

Once Steven arrived we promptly  got pics of them in front of the lilacs.  They had a blast!  Several of them came back to our house after prom and I had set out several different appetizers and snacks that I had made.  I was amazed everyone’s favorite dip was the Baked Clam Dip!  It’s always been my favorite but who knew the kids would devour it too.

So that was a quick trip through Liann’s last few months, Regional Solos in March after the Youth Symphony Concert, State Solos in April.  Prom and then graduation back to back.  It was a whirl wind. 

During Regional Solos we had a bad scare as Dad collapsed right there in the hallway as we were waiting on scores.  That was horrible.  Fire Dept arrived before the ambulance and you know, I was honestly scared when we realized his blood pressure had bottomed out and heart rate was way too low.  We believe he had another heart attack, but we never found out for sure, but Dad was in the hospital for several days.  As it was not in our area we “commuted” for a few days to spend time with him and keep up his spirits.  Afterwards was the round of doctors appointments and trying to strenghten him up.  He’s doing fine now but life did take another change.  I am thankful he’s with us and we hear all the neat old stories.  And he still makes pierogies for us with our help.  Yum!

Ok, flash back. . . let’s address the cold, snowy winter we had here in the midwest.  I took some great pics to share and if it’s as hot there as it is here you’ll appreciate the coolness of the snow shots! 

These were cardinals that I caught with my camera in the branches.  It snowed pretty hard that day.

Another shot of the same snowstorm.  I loved all the snow just not the bitter cold this past winter. 

Rain followed the winter storms and we certainly had some torrential rain this year.

From my loft window you are looking at a completely flooded horse pasture.  It was horrible.  Just when you thought things were finally going to dry out it started pouring again.  Of course I’m sure that is the reason for the gorgeous showing of flowers we had this year.

The Red Bud bloomed better than we’d ever seen it in the five years we’ve lived here.  Our lilacs didn’t even bloom last year if you remember and this is the same bush this year!

I would say this was a quick review of the last six months that I’ve been absent from my blog.  Okay, I missed mentioning after I got my Dad well my own health went downhill but think I’ve finally got that managed now as well.  My thyroid was overlooked for quite a while now and sure enough it was a culprit. 

My models went to the side of my desk.  Several in the works but I never managed to find time to keep up with stitching on them. 

I will say I am finally back into stitching as of last month.  I worked on a Blackbird Designs piece for my Patriotic Block.

Last year I stitched up a March Stocking and decided after going to a stitch in last month that I wanted to  stitch another Blackbird Design stocking and from the October booklet this time. 

I didn’t use the color nor fabric called for.  I instead used a piece of cream 30 ct murano and GAST Apple Cider. 

Now it’s back to model stitching.  I need to get back to my designing and get them all stitched up. 

Liann is done with music camp and while she was gone it was amazing what I did manage to get done.  There’s hope!  College is around the corner.  And she’s not that far away! 

Hoping I am finally back to blogging.  I thought of it, you can see by the pics I took that it was on my mind.  It just never got further than my camera!  I am pretty sure I shared anything you might have missed.  There might be some music camp pics on my phone but I can do that later in the week. 

I don’t think Merlin realizes he’s gotten too big for sleeping in this cat scrathy thingy.

Gandalf certainly doesn’t look comfortable in that chair any longer.  Cats really crack me up because it doesn’t seem to phase them where they fall asleep!

Off to stitch on a project.  Glad I’m back and hope to update the gallery this week as well.  Goodness knows I am backed up with alot of stitcher’s wonderful finishes that I want to share with all of you!

Enjoy your day and chat again soon!

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Merlin supervising cooking what's simmering 093009

I am so sorry I’ve fallen behind on blogging yet again . . .   So let’s brew a cup of tea and catch up on this past month!  I looked up from cooking one chilly evening and found Merlin “supervising” dinner preparations.  Actually I think he was trying to warm up by the stove – the down side to having a counter right above it.  Needless to say after the picture was taken  he promptly lost his “hot spot”.   But it is so darn cute the way he tucks in his front paws and rests on his elbows like he’s ready for a long chat!  That little guy makes me smile!

Last month was my birthday, and I had some wonderful gifts from friends that I want to share with you.  Betty made me another beautiful dollie.  She does such beautiful work on these sweet prairie dolls!  Love the  pretty pumpkin apron on my witchy dollie!  Thank you Betty I absolutely love her.  And the darling owl ornament next to her is from my dear friend Murf!   It is just so pretty and what a neat finish with the leaf buttons holding the ribbon in each corner!  What a clever idea!  Thank you so much Murf, you’ve got me thinking about an owl tree.  Now wouldn’t that be a hoot!  ; )

witchy prairie doll and owl

Lavon indulged me with a wonderful Halloween surprise as my birthday gift.  Check out this cat masquerading as a bat and the perfect metal wreath she found to set it off!  Thank you so much!!!  Is this too cool or what?!!

 

bat cat

Next is a lovely gift from Sharyn!  She got me the original H is for Horse model from Carriage House Samplings Alphabet Blocks!  I’ll really treasure this horse Sharyn, thank you!  And love the book of days and journal as well!  She and her hubby recently came back from an Alaskan cruise and they also picked me up a cookbook.  We know how I enjoy recipes!  These look yummy Sharyn, many thanks!  I can’t wait to try some of them!

 

b'day gift from Sharyn

My friend Sue T. always finds the coolest Acorn gifts each year for my birthday.  This year it’s an Acorn candle holder and a placemat to set if off nicely.  She also found the spookiest Halloween dish towel!!  Thanks so much Sue!  You know how much I like acorns!

b'day gift from Sue

And then here’s the Halloween Block for STO’s exchange for September that I stitched up!  I had a lot of fun with this Haunted House!  I am definitely redoing this one for myself sometime! 

Halloween Block 9.09

And speaking of Halloween, I did a private exchange with my online stitchy friend Paula and here’s what she sent me.  Love the Witch ornament!  What a beautiful finish!!  And thank you so much for all the wonderful goodies you tucked in the envelope!

halloween exchange with Paula

This is a close up of the ornament!  Isn’t it perfect for a Halloween tree?!!

halloween ornie exchange with Paula

Paula’s exchange is about to go to the post office.  Hope she likes her package!  Last year she asked about an OOP design I stitched up for a tree block exchange and it was a haunted tree!  So this year I emailed her and asked if she wanted to do an exchange for that little ornament for her Halloween tree.  I’ll upload the pic when she receives it. 

I’m also in the Prairie Schooler Halloween Ornament Exchange that I’ll be able to physically do the exchange rather than mail it.  Paula S. lives in Wichita and we’ll meet Thursday for lunch and exchanging!  So watch for those pics later this week as well.  Excited to get to meet another fellow stitcher!

Speaking of fellow stitchers (and a sweet designer friend), I got to spend some time visiting with Betty last month during the Market Party at Heart’s Desire and checking out her trunk show there as well.  It’s going on until the end of October so if you’re in the area you should stop by to see it and stash some too.  What a plan! 

Betty's Trunk Show

Last week was Bethel College concerts.  Both Orchestra, in which Liann plays cello, and Wind Ensemble in which hubby plays a euphonium as a community member.  So we were busy with music.  This week Liann has her HS Orchestra concert and  is rehearsing with the Newton Mid Kansas Symphony Orchestra whose concert is this coming Sunday!  Not to mention this is her final year with the Wichita Youth Symphony, and she plays in the Bethel College Cello Quartet.  It’s her senior year and she’s looking at colleges for music education and performance.   Yup, it’s busy!

I have been enjoying the cooler weather for some baking!  Made my first batch of pumpkin nut bread, and over the weekend I baked some Toll House Chocolate Chip cookies.  We had a family gathering last night and everyone still found room after the meat stuffed shells, homemade bread and salad to help finish off the cookies!  I think I’ll bake an apple bread that I got the recipe from Betty next! 

On that note I think it’s time to get some stitching done and some finishes as well.  I have models in the works and trying a rotation of personal stitching time too.  I’ll leave you with another picture of my “helper”, Merlin hasn’t outgrown getting into things yet, but do think he’s outgrown the trash can by my desk!   Thanks so much for visiting with me and enjoy the rest of your day!

merlin in the trash can

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proximade_award

“This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated.” 

Thank you, I am so honored  Lynda!!  I am asked to pass this along to eight other bloggers.  I love everyone’s blog that I visit.  You are all so talented, your finishes amaze me, and I enjoy sharing in your lives.  

Shannon

Kathy M

Vonna

Margie

Debra

Joanie

Anita

Margit

 

I wanted to share some finished Midnight Stitching projects sent to me!  I love this creative finish for Quaker Faith Hope Love by Sally!  Just beautiful!

quakerfaithhopelove2

And this is Lavon’s finish of Friends in Stitches, an STO Class piece I taught last October at their Retreat.  This turned out so pretty! 

lavons-friends-in-stitches

Thanks so much for letting me share these pieces with everyone!!  I always enjoy seeing anyone’s finish of my designs. 

It’s after midnight and I’m realizing it’s Easter!  Shortly I will be baking my Creme Caramel French Toast for breakfast and making a Lemon Gooey Cake to take to the family Easter celebration at my in law’s.

tulips-at-friends

I leave you with a picture of the tulips blooming at Friend’s University.  Liann had a cello master class with Ruslan Biryukov Thursday and the flowers just called to me.

I wish you all a day full of sunshine, family, friends, happiness, love and easter goodies! Happy Easter dear friends!

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Top o’ the morning dear friends!  The sun is shining through and it’s looking to be in the 80’s today.   Sounds like a perfect day to me.

Is everyone making their St Patty’s Day dinner of corned beef, cabbage and potatoes?  I like to serve glazed carrots too.  I can’t wait!  It’s my yearly favorite meal.  I know, I know,  my family asks the same question, then why not make it throughout the year.  I don’t have an answer to that.  Just know I make it on St Patty’s Day and that’s that!  I’m thinking of surprising hubby with apple pie as well.  Of course that’s only in the “thinking” stages and I’ll see as the day progresses. 

It’s been a while since I’ve posted.   We’ve had three solid weeks / weekends of music deals.  And a concert every weekend.  I would like to think that it’ll settle down but now it’s time for cello master classes and solo competitions.  Bethel College Wind Ensemble is already rehearsing for their May concert and I’m sure HS Orchestra will have another concert soon as well.

Finally got to ride Ras last night.  It was a wonderful evening.  Felt good riding again, even though it wasn’t for that long.  He’s about as out of shape as I am, so we’ll work our way slowly into a long ride.  I feel good all the way around so I’m sure all is healed up.  I find out tomorrow. 

Well everyone, I’m off to make cranberry walnut biscuits for breakfast and start my day.  I have a model to finish up and a smidge of stitching left on an Irish piece I’d love to put in my tuck.  May your day be filled with sunshine and smiles!  Thanks for stopping by!

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 sunset-120508

Wanted to share the gorgeous sunset we had Friday night!   I wish I could have gotten a quick shot of the moon before it changed, when I first snapped pictures of the sunset I noticed the moon was blue!  I chuckled to myself as the phrase “once in a blue moon. . .”  came rushing into my mind. 

Saturday was District Concert and I am proud to say Liann had second chair.  Youth Symphony is on break until January so it was nice to hear the District Concert.  The kids were incredible.  In one day, and keep in mind these young musicians started their day at 6:30 a.m. catching buses to take them to WSU, they practiced all day on Georges Bizet’s Carmen Suites #1 and #2.  Wow!  We all gave them a standing ovation!

Today was pretty laid back.  A pot of meat sauce simmering on the stove and I baked sopapilla cheesecake for dessert.  Forgot to make my foccacia bread though.  A fire crackling in the fireplace and I worked on trimming the Christmas tree.  It’s almost done.  Our tree takes a few days and hubby did a great job on the tree lights!  We watched Christmas movies in the afternoon too.  The only thing that would have made it all better would have been a light snow falling. 

I can’t wait to share a pic of the Prairie Schooler ornament I stitched for the PS Christmas Ornament Exchange.  My exchange partner hasn’t received her ornament yet but when she does I really need her to take a shot of the back too.  I can’t believe I didn’t think to do that.  So watch for it this week. 

A new model is complete and at the finisher’s.  Hopefully it’ll be a release for this month still.  Well it’s after midnight and I know it’s time to get some sleep.  Thanks for dropping by and visiting with me!  Good night everyone!

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