Buzzings from a quilter who bumbles her way through life!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Another Holiday Recipe!

Why do our lives have to get so hectic around the holidays! Every year I promise myself I will get things done early and have the time to sit and enjoy myself during the holidays. Unfortunately, every month has it's pressing matters and when there is time to take care of holiday shopping or baking, it is way too early to be in the mood! 
We have a Christmas Eve wedding in our family this year, so there is an extra reason for the season to be hectic. My niece (my brother's daughter) is getting married in my sister's back yard. That is possible here in southern Texas, although still risky as far as weather goes.
I am supposed to make a groom's cake that looks like an X-Box 360 with a controller. :0) It is to be Italian Cream Cake with an amaretto filling. I am beginning to stress over this. I have only seen an X-Box once. I have looked it up online and even gone to the store to gaze at it. Time is running out. This is not something I can really do much ahead of time unless the guests want a petrified cake! My mother is doing the wedding cake. (She used to do wedding cakes professionally and they were much in demand!) A "groom's cake" is, for those of you not in the southern USA, a cake that depicts the groom's interests in some way or is in his favorite flavor. If you saw the movie Steel Magnolias, you saw a red velvet groom's cake shaped like an armadillo!
All this is to say, I will be pretty busy these next few weeks!  
I don't have time to quilt or even sew. I do have lots of cooking to do for family coming  to visit, so I decided to put a great recipe here for you. This was my mother-in-law's recipe. She gave a lot of parties and she would make these ahead of time and freeze them in huge batches. 

                         Dorothy Winters' Pocketbook Sandwiches 
1 lb. New York Sharp or other very sharp cheddar cheese
3 oz. Blue cheese
3 oz. cream cheese (like Philadelphia brand)
1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (a sauce made of hot, red peppers)
dash of garlic salt
dash of red pepper (optional)
dash of paprika
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (I use sour cream or yogurt)
1 1/2 loaves of FRESH thinly sliced sandwich bread
Remove crust from each slice of bread and keep wrapped so they don't dry out. Spread with melted butter on one side only. Don't soak the bread in butter. Just a thin spread.
Place the slices buttered side down and put a spoonful of cheese mixture in the center (on the unbuttered side). Fold the corners to the center of the bread over the cheese. Turn folded side down on a greased cookie sheet. Freeze. When frozen, they can be stored in  an airtight container or freezer bag in the freezer until ready to bake. 
When ready to bake, turn right side up (the side with the points in the center) and bake on a  cookie sheet about 20 minutes at 400 degrees. (Bake right from the freezer. Do not thaw.)  Although you can grease the cookie sheet, the sandwiches should not stick because they have been buttered. 

These are very popular among the men in my family. Give them a try. They're great with soup, by the way! 

Until next time, have fun preparing for the holidays!  

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chocolate Truffle Cookies

If you need to take a break from quilting, mix up this dough and have it in the freezer, ready for unexpected company or just a "chocolate fix". This is a great recipe for a cookie that can be formed into scoops, frozen,and then pulled out of the freezer and baked on the "spur of the moment". If you need something sweet to serve with coffee or cocoa, this is it! (It could also go with hot tea or a glass of milk!) These are extremely rich and are soft in the middle after baking. (They are much better hot out of the oven than they are the next day.)

Chocolate Truffle Cookies

1 1/4 cups soft butter (2 1/2 sticks)
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups chocolate chips
Cream the butter with the sugar and cocoa until fluffy. Beat in the sour cream, vanilla, flour, and chocolate chips. NOTE: You could easily add nuts to this dough along with chocolate chips, if desired. Refrigerate 1 hour. Roll into 1" balls or use a small scoop.  Place on foil covered cookie sheet about 2" apart and bake 10 minutes only at 325 degrees F. 
To freeze, place on cookie sheets and pop into freezer until frozen. Remove from cookie sheet and place in plastic zipper gallon freezer bags.
To bake frozen dough, remove from freezer and place on foil covered cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees F for 15 minutes. (Note that you cook them a little longer since they were frozen.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Christmas with the Three Bears

The "black forest" tree decorated with bears, antique illustrations, and miniature chairs.

   Christmas is only a few weeks away!
My "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" guest room last Christmas.
 It's my favorite holiday, but I still feel a sense of panic when I realize just how little time there is to get presents bought and shipped. I've started to think about Christmas decorating. This time last year, I had finished all my decorating, but I had to have the house ready for a Christmas tour. This year, I'm just now beginning to think about it!
The other end of the Goldilocks room. Not a great photo, but maybe you can see the three stuffed bears with the bowl of porridge on the antique trunk. The book in front of the quilt is open to the story of The Three Bears.
  I  used a quilt for inspiration in this room.  The tree is decorated with Scherensnitte bears, copies of illustrations of the story from antique books (mounted on cardboard), and miniature doll chairs. 
I had a small, narrow tree to represent the Black Forest. (In actuality, I brought home a tree that turned out to be BLACK ! I thought Black pine was similar to white pine or yellow pine, just another type of pine tree. It wasn't. I decided that it would be okay and it was. With all the little white twinkly lights, you could barely tell that it was not just a dark green.
One of the Scherensnitte bears, cut from plain white paper and coffee stained.
          This year, I plan to add Goldilocks if I do this room again.  
I've been working hard at getting a pattern made for this doll. I have little deformed doll bodies, arms, legs, and heads all over the room from my trials and errors. I have to make it easy enough for an inexperienced doll maker, yet detailed enough to be recognizable as the Goldilocks in my quilt pattern.  
All this to remind you that you can decorate around your quilts. You can use a quilt as a tree skirt. Why not take that another step and decorate the tree in ornaments that are in colors from the quilt? 
You could "decoupage" ornaments in fabric scraps.
You could make little stuffed pieced stars.
You could make yo-yo chains from scraps.
You could decorate the tree in your quilting room with spools of colorful thread or pin cushions.

 If you have some ideas for incorporating quilts and fabric into your Christmas decorating, post them in your comments. We'd like to know! In the meantime, Happy Decorating!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fiona vs. Old MacDonald

It is a beautiful day outside. Sixty-six degrees, sunny, flowers still blooming. Not what most of you would consider a fall morning, but fairly typical of this time of year in south Texas.
  I had finished a sample quilt of Old MacDonald and needed to photograph it before taking it to the quilt shop this morning. I  carefully posed it across the back of a chair and was trying to snap a quick shot when Fiona, our neighbor's dog, decided to visit.She is small enough that she fits between the openings in the fence. Since her owners are gone most of the day, she gets lonely and when we go outside, she often comes for a visit.
  I don't have pets because I don't want to need a "dog sitter" when I'm gone. I also don't want to worry about dog or cat hairs on my quilts! Fiona thought I was spreading this out just for her. When I called her away from the quilt, she just tilted her head and looked at me like I was crazy or something. I'm rarely lonely, but I understand what it's like. I try to play with her if she visits while I'm in the yard. I actually miss her if she doesn't come and worry that something is wrong. I guess I'll have to wash this quilt once again, but that's okay.
                     Old MacDonald had a farm...
                   And on that farm he had a dog....    
 Too bad Fiona is not a chicken. She would have fit the theme a LOT better!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Itsy-Bitsy Spider

I've been hard at work trying to finish a sample quilt for my Itsy-Bitsy Spider pattern. I also wanted to finish it by today for a presentation at a local quilt guild. Since most of my sample quilts are in quilt shops, I needed more quilts.

I had so much fun with the colors, I might even make another one soon!

   I'm not a bit squeemish about spiders. I think they do wonderful things for our gardens. I also love the song, Itsy-Bitsy Spider (or Eensy-Weensy Spider for my British friends). It is one of the first songs my children learned. I loved watching their tiny fingers "climbing up the water spout". (Just what is a water spout, anyway? I always picture a drain "pipe" coming down from the gutter.) 
Children are fascinated with spiders. We are the ones who make children afraid of them.  As a teacher, I tried to teach them to just leave them alone to do their work -  don't touch, but admire. What artists they are! It's fun to watch them. 
Your child or grandchild wouldn't have any problem with snuggling up in an Itsy-Bitsy Spider quilt. What a great snuggly for a rainy day!

Now scorpions are a different matter. I don't think I'll be putting them on a quilt any time soon! Here in South Texas, we do have them around. I know they serve their purpose, but they are just creepy to me. Then again, I've been stung by one and it wasn't fun! I don't know of any children's songs about them either! Maybe I can write one:

                            Creepy, creepy scorpion
                               underneath a stone.
                            Stung the weary gardener
                           and oh, how she did moan! 
  Well, I don't think it will catch on! Maybe I should just stick to quilting!!!
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