Monday, December 26, 2011

YAY! for Christmas Surprises!!

This year for Christmas I made my sister some pillow covers. I noticed she had no pillows for her sofa, and picked out fabrics in her favorite green. I wasn't able to finish before she got here, so I fibbed and told her the pillows were for the "Friendship Basket" at church. I'm supposed to put in something that represents me and my interests, so I also got fabric to make a pillow cover for the basket, but told her the green ones were for church. 

She was really surprised that the pillows were for her, and said she was jealous I was putting so much effort into pillows for the friendship basket. There are two 18" and 1 14". I used a small fat quarter bundle from Joann's with Kona white. I made small disappearing 9 patches with 3" squares, planning on making just the two larger ones, but had enough to make another small one. 

These pillows were really fun and quick to make, and I'm pleased with how they look and feel. Next up, the pillow that is really for the basket!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

YAY! for Christmas!!

For Christmas Eve dinner I made a Yule Log Cake. I make one almost every year. This is the recipe I use:


  • 3 eggs
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1/3 C water
  • 3/4 C flour
  • 1/4 C cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 recipe Fudgy Icing
  • 1 recipe Chocolate Mousse


Preheat oven to 375°

Line a jelly-roll pan with wax paper, grease paper.

Beat eggs until thick and lemon colored. Beat in sugar, then water and vanilla. Sift together dry ingredients. Gradually beat into egg mixture. Mix until smooth.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes then turn out onto tea towel sprinkled liberally with powdered sugar. Slowly roll up cake and towel. Let cool.

When cool, gently unroll cake. Spread Chocolate Mousse on cake and re-roll. 

To decorate, pipe fudgy icing with a rose tip in long and short stripes to resemble bark.


6 oz chocolate, chopped
2 cups whipping cream, divided
3 2 T sugar


Bring 3/4 cup cream to a boil, pour over chocolate, stir until melted. Let cool.

Whip remaining 1 1/4 cups cream and sugar to stiff peaks. Fold into chocolate. 


1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1-3 T hot water

Beat butter, cocoa, and sugar. Add vanilla and enough water to make it pipable. 


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

YAY! for penguins!!!

The quilting bug has really bit. I spend a lot of time thinking about quilts and what to make next and reading all the lovely quilt blogs. When I went to the fabric store to get backing fabric for the tree skirt I saw the cutest penguin fabric and thought, "I have to get that for my manager" She LOVES penguins, teal blue is her favorite color, and her birthday was coming up. Then I saw the price tag, $7.99 per yard. That didn't fit my budget. Along came the Black Friday sales and the flannel was only $1.49/yard. I could afford that! So I went and stood in line for way too long and soon I had 7 yards of penguins and a few yards of blue, and enough black for a binding.
Hunter likes penguins too!

I brought the fabric home, looked at it, and finally came up with a block design. I decided to do a rectangle because it seemed more modern, and went with a 2 1/2" strip so the penguins would be mostly intact. I made 6 rows of 5 blocks, but decided that 6 was too long, so I put one row on the back, just for fun!

 I quilted it in straight lines along some of the seams, using my walking foot (which it turns out I can't use with my quilting bar? silly Kenmore)

I'm really pleased with how well this one turned out, and the birthday girl seemed to like it too.

Next up, the zig zag quilt, but first Christmas cookies. 

YAY! for cha siu bao!!

Our Daring Cooks’ December 2011 hostess is Sara from Belly Rumbles! Sara chose awesome Cha Sui Bao as our challenge, where we made the buns, Char Sui, and filling from scratch – delicious!
This was a great challenge as this is a favorite treat!

Cha Siu Recipe:
1 pork fillet/tenderloin (roughly 1-1.5 pounds) (I used two pork chops because everything at the store was much larger than 1 1/2 pounds)
4 large cloves of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon 
grated ginger
1 tablespoon peanut oil
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
½ teaspoon ground pepper
pinch of salt
½ teaspoon (2 gm) five spice powder
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon red food coloring (I use a paste color, so I used a LOT less than 1/2 tsp)

Mix everything together an pour most of it on the meat. Let the meat sit in the fridge for 4+ hours. Pre-heat oven to 350F. Heat a heavy pan until it's hot, add meat, cook to form crust of marinade. Put meat in oven and basting frequently, cook for about 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Let cool. Make bun dough:

1 cup milk, scalded and cooled to 100-115F
¼ cup (60 gm/2 oz) sugar
1 tablespoon oil
¼ teaspoon (2 gm) salt
2½ teaspoons (8 gm/1 satchel) of dried yeast
3 cups (420 gm/15 oz) plain flour

Mix together all ingredients. Knead well, let rise until doubled. Punch down and divide into 30-40g pieces. While the dough is rising prepare the filling 
12 oz char sui, finely diced
2 shallots (finely diced)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Stir together in a frying pan or wok. Add ¼ cup water mixed with 1 tsp corn starch, cook until thickened. Let cool while prepping the dough balls.

Press the balls into rounds, put about 1T of filling on each, pinch shut. Place on parchment squares and let rise 15-30 minutes. 
Steam for about 10 minutes, leave plenty of room, they expand a lot!

I steamed some in the rice cooker and some in a large pot with a vegetable steamer insert.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

YAY! for Christmas Quilting!!

I've recently taken up quilting, and have been busy getting things ready for Christmas! I made a new tree skirt
The tree isn't up yet, so the tree skirt is hanging out on a rocking chair, sometimes with a poinsettia pillow.
I used a disappearing nine block (tutorial here) It was a lot of fun to put together. The skirt started as a square, 10 x10 blocks. I got a little carried away and had leftover squares, some of which I turned into pillows for the sofa. I used metallic gold thread for the quilting for a bit of Christmas Sparkle, and I like the way it turned out.

This pillow is living in my bedroom right now
 I've also done a penguin quilt, a post on that will be here soon, and I have fabric to make a yellow and gray chevron quilt.