Sunday, January 29, 2012

YAY! for great friends!!

We've had some hard things going on at home recently, and Mom's friends keep asking how they could help. The Primary presidency decided they wanted to freshen the garden, around the pond. And they did a great job!
They brought us a new doormat

Planted new flowers in the pots and added a fairy path with enchanted mushrooms

Dave and Elizabeth planted a LOT of bulbs. The narcissus started blooming at Christmas

They replaced the rhododendrons and added new bushes

planted jade, primrose and succulents around the pond

and added some daisies around the front

and they left Nacho's path so he can still lay about outside
We're grateful to have such wonderful friends and family!

Friday, January 27, 2012

YAY!! for Biscuits!

Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!

They were very flaky and fluffy, and I got to use my new baking rack!
The recipe provided was great, and quite similar to others I have used, with the one difference being the technique for incorporating the butter. I had never grated frozen butter into the flour, but it worked really well, and might be a good technique for other recipes, like pie crust.

They nearly tripled in height after baking!

I also made a batch with cheddar cheese and chives. They were fantastic with ham and green beans. 
Golden brown and flaky deliciousness!
I added the chives and cheese to the flour with the butter, tossing them all gently to mix, then added the milk and smooshed it together in the bowl with my hands. I patted and cut rounds and baked until golden and gooey.
Gooey melted cheese. Yum.

4 cups AP flour
2 T and 2 tsp baking powder
1 teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) salt
1/2 cup frozen butter, grated 
2 cup cold milk or half and half
1. Preheat oven to  450°F
2. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. 
3. Dump in the butter, cut a few times with a pastry blender. 
4. Add all of the liquid at once, mix until it almost forms a sticky dough, then fold and press to mix in the rest of the flour.
5. Pat or roll out the dough to about ¾ inch thick, cut into rounds.
6. Place the rounds almost touching on a baking dish 
7. Bake in the preheated very hot oven for about 10 minutes (check at 8 minutes since home ovens at these high temperatures are very unreliable) until the scones are well risen and are lightly coloured on the tops. The scones are ready when the sides are set.

8. Serve while still warm.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Chopped Bingo!

I made a Bingo game for watching chopped. I'd seen this drinking game, but we don't drink, and thought bingo would be a good alternative. I've made 5 different cards, so you can play with your friends and/or family!  Enjoy!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

YAY! for tamales!!

Maranda of Jolts & Jollies was our January 2012 Daring Cooks hostess with the mostess! Maranda challenged us to make traditional Mexican Tamales as our first challenge of the year!

I made the chili verde version here

They were really good! I usually don't like tamales (probably just haven't had good ones, I guess) but I liked these. 

I served them with extra chili verde sauce and guacamole. 

My brother, sister, and puppy helped me fill, and then I steamed them in my bamboo steamer (I got it for Christmas, thanks Jonathan!) I cooked them last night then reheated for dinner tonight. 

Hunter was such a good supervisor

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Valentine's Day Wreath

This week I made a new wreath for our front door. I used corn husks left over from making tamales (more on that later this week!) dyed with Rit dye and stapled to a wreath form. I wrapped ribbon over the staples after the husks dried. I got the idea from here. I found that the corn husks that had been previously soaked dyed better than dry husks, even after several days in the dye. 
I think it's pretty on the door, even if Jonathan thinks it shouldn't go up until Feburary:)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

YAY! for wonky nine patch!!

This YAY! for___!! thing is going to stop working, I just know it. I'm having a hard time thinking of new ways to say "quilt"

I could see a quilt like this in my future
This week I made the real Friendship Basket pillow cover. I made a wonky nine patch (instructions here ) The finished squares are 4 1/2", but with the sashing the pillow is 16". I decided to only quilt in the sashing, because the blocks are busy enough. I really like the straight precision of the quilting with the crazy skiwampus nine-patch. 

I also really like the retro look of the fabrics and the colors are so pretty. 

In other quilting news, I got a new quilting table! I rearranged some furniture to fit a folding table in the room. I've got to get some better lighting, since I usually quilt after noon, and the room doesn't get much light after about 2pm.