Baking/cooking

I have extended one side of the hexie quilt by one and half rows of hexies – doesn’t look too different yet but if you compare it to the photo from a couple days ago you will see what has been done.   This side that I show was what was the “top” or “bottom” in the photo from two days or so ago.   Little by little it will be done.  I want to add a complete 3 rows of hexies to the border before I start to add the “chain” of color pieces.

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I made a loaf of “oatmeal walnut bread” – except I substituted almonds as I didn’t have any walnuts.  Recipe here on an old post – it turned out delicious as always.

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Other than that we have been busy with an addition on to our house.  Some have asked now that Mike is not doing contract work what has he been up to  while I do my quilting – well he likes to add on to our little house and remodel.  For the past year he has been added a new dining room on to our house.  We have a small very old house (you can see how old by the wood walls that were behind sheetrock) and the dining area was rather tiny – then we got a new table quite a few years ago now and could see for sure we needed more space – the table was basically too big for the area it was in.  Last year Mike  had planned to add a screened in porch off of the kitchen but as it progressed we both thought at about the same time of how nice it would be to have a small dining room instead.

So all year he had been building and before we left on our trip this August, the door in between the old dining area and the new area came down (it used to be the backdoor) – we had the cedar boards up on the wall and finished.  The fan and lighting in place – the floor done – the outside was pretty much finished too – next was to tackle the kitchen wall and tear it down to open it and get ready to use the new room.  This is what it looked like yesterday morning.

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By late afternoon  it looked like this – a bit of work to do still as you can see but it is coming along nicely.  We will have a short divider wall on the left side separating the kitchen from the dining area – but only about 4 feet tall – it will still give an “open” space.  The kitchen counter top will be extending a way into what was the dining area to give a little more cupboard space and countertop work area.  We hope to have it ready for Thanksgiving. (I’m not sure what caused those white spots here and there on the photo – dust on my lens perhaps).  The dining room extends in back of part of the fireplace so you don’t quite see it all from this angle – maybe another 4 feet or so in length behind those book shelves?  I do intend to re-paint the kitchen when all this major work is finished and we will do something about the current floor as well.  I do not want to repaint often as it is not something I really enjoy – so I want a color I can live with for some time to come – but what!  I am really undecided about the kitchen walls that need paint.  The ceiling will need to be painted as well about 3 or 4 shades lighter than the walls is what I intend.

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In the meantime for this week anyhow the dining room table is sitting in the living room –

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And so are the tall chairs – hopefully this won’t last long LOL

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Of course I say “we” have been working on this – truthfully Mike has done most of it himself – with a little help from the “gopher” – me.  I have done a good share of the clean up work! and go for this and go for that.

Hopefully I will have my design floor back soon – I need it to baste a quilt that was finished before we left and I intend to give machine quilting another try.

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I decided to put the tumblers aside for a couple days and get the hexies connected.  Only this one section left to complete and then on to the border.  I printed out a full page template design of hexies and thought I might need to take a pencil to it to shade in some designs and see what I want.  Originally when I started this quilt the plan was to do an applique border around it but with two applique quilts sitting in the wings I think I better not.  Give me a day and I will have this section hand pieced on.  I am linking my hexies to A Quilting Reader’s Garden today and Crazy Mom Quilts.

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No room anymore to spread the whole thing out and it is too windy outside (yesterday) to lay it outside.  I am linking to Sarah’s  Confessions of a Fabric Addict today

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I am all caught up with moving back into our house Smile other than dusting that is – Melanie is the same way I am and little dusting was accomplished – why is it that almost all of us hate to dust and polish the tables and shelves!!  It is a very annoying job to do isn’t it.  Well I will try to tackle one room at a time this fall now that cooler weather is coming it will be a good time to do it and not when the humidity is high.  (you notice I am not saying I am doing it right now LOL )

I did get some applesauce made and canned yesterday!  I love home made chunky applesauce and always make some in the fall.  I have a small pint size canner  and it really takes no time at all.  I hoped to have 6 pints but it was four instead.

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Dutch Oven Lasagna

by Karen on September 13, 2014

in Baking/cooking, Travel

Yesterday was a day of laundry, a stop for grocery’s and a drive.  We got back early to the campsite as I had decided I was going to try to make lasagna in the Dutch Oven and it turned out great!  I made up my sauce and assembled it inside the camper – easier that way.  Sometimes at home I make a sauce from scratch but here in the camper I use a jar of marina and a can of chopped tomatoes, about a teaspoon of mixed Italian herbs dried.  I use Italian sausage also.  The noodles I use are the ones that do not have to be boiled before you use them.  To make clean up easy I use dutch oven liners that I bought on line in a package of about 10 or so.

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All assembled – not as pretty as it can be and had to break some noodles and slices of mozzarella to fit in the circle pan usually I use a rectangular baking dish at home.

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Now I had some questions about how do you use a dutch oven – I tried to take photos as I went to show.

First you get your charcoal started – I forgot to get a photo of that.  Then when it is beginning to gray you put a circle of charcoal on the ground or the surface you are using.

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Put your pan on top of it.

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Then with tongs pick up the charcoal one piece at a time and put about 18 to 20 on top of the oven making them kind of uniformly covering the surface of the top of the oven

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Ready to go – for cookies I turn the top and bottom in opposite directions about 5 minutes to bake uniform in color so no burn spots come about.  For lasagna I thought about every 15 minutes would do the trick for about 45 to 60 minutes.  It was done in 45 minutes.  Take a peak now and then but not too often or heat escapes.

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While the baking is going on I sit back and relax with my kindle and some ice tea.

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Done and bubbly – a few almost too brown spots but not bad – it turned out just like at home in the oven.  You can either leave it in the oven too cool off a little by taking the lid off and move off of the coals or you can transfer it carefully to a cookie sheet which is what I did so I could bring it to the table.

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Hope this helps those that wonder how you do this method of cooking.  Some say when camping they wouldn’t be bothered with much cooking and be eating a lot of hot dogs and hamburgers, granola bars and peanut butter sandwiches – I would agree if I didn’t do this often and because this is a two month trip in the camper that would get kind of old and boring.  I do work with a small kitchen but I like to experiment a little bit and have some interesting meals.

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One couldn’t have asked for better weather on 4th of July in Arkansas – once again we had a high of 78 degrees.  We cooked out hamburgers and had a chocolate skillet cake – yummy!  I had my Diamonds are Forever outside for awhile in the afternoon and finished the row. I was able to keep most of the quilt in the stripped basket that I picked up last month and off of the decking while I was working at it.

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Here it is with that row attached – two more to go of the same length then start in on the sides to straighten it out!

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Chocolate Skillet Cake

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combine in a microwave save bowl or large glass measuring cup – I have an 8 cup one that I used:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons Hershey’s Cocoa
bring to a boil and remove from the microwave – mine was boiling within 2 minutes – watch it.

Whisk in:
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt

Then mix in:
1/4 cup sour cream or buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Pour into a large cast iron skillet although if you do not have one I bet a square baking dish will work out fine Smile  Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes

Frosting:
bring to a boil
1/4 cup butter
2 Tablespoons Hershey’s Cocoa
3 tablespoons of milk
Remove from heat and whisk in
2 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Pour over the warm cake! Eat it when you want it!

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I must admit that yesterday I did very little in the line of stitch work.  I was getting towards the end of Diana Gabaldon’s newest Outlander book and I had to finish it!  Written in My Own Heart’s Blood is a massive book just like all her other books.  Thank heavens for the kindle or my hands and arms would be exhausted holding it.  If you enjoy her books you will want to get this one as well – I think the end of the book sets up for another – but maybe not, in a way a lot of the stories are finished up I think.

I did get some fresh granola made, I hadn’t made any in some time as I had so much of it for such a long time that I think I needed a break from it but I have been missing it lately for breakfast and got busy making some.

I did get some more work done on Insanity Revisited Thursday night –  I’m sure I will do more this weekend.

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Nedra had a good suggestion for the quilt name on the design wall – “Stairs Through the Stars” truthfully I haven’t seen stars in this quilt but several say that they do – I think I will be going with her suggestion – Nedra’s blog is Cactus Needleshe has been a blogging friend for quite a few years now!

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Every now and then we just have to make a cake right – what better for a break time – a cup of coffee or tea with a piece of cake and do some hand stitching.  So here is a new recipe today.  I adapted this recipe from a banana bread recipe changing things and adding things.  It is a heavy snack cake not light as a feather.

Chocolate Chip Banana Coconut Cake

1 cup brown sugar
2 sticks of butter(softened)
2 eggs
2 large ripe bananas
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 and grease and flour a bundt pan – I have two bundt pans one is large 12 cup? and the other is smaller maybe 8 cups? I used the smaller one for this recipe.

I pretty much tossed all the ingredients in the mixer bowl except the flour – creamed it all together and then added the flour.  Then fold in the coconut, chips and nuts.

Bake for about 60 minutes – checking with a cake tester for doneness.  Drizzle glazing over it if desired.

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The cake was pretty darn good – I actually made it on the weekend and it was gone in two days!

I managed to get almost this whole row of hexies attached to “Diamonds are Forever” yesterday I see just a little of the photo is cut off on the bottom but not much.  Attaching the row goes so quickly once you get started on it, I just keep sliding the needle through those seams and continue on with a long piece of thread until I run out and then start again.

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I had ordered some fabric for the back of Sunny Days and it arrived yesterday along with the batting – I hope to get busy pin basting it today.  I had to piece the back and got done with it yesterday – it is from the Indigo collection this piece called Enso (white) from Connecting Threads.  It is such a nice soft fabric.  Almost a blue gray type of color.  I really like the feel of this piece.

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This much done on the final border for Patchwork of the Crosses.

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And this is where I am picking up at last night.  I expect I will be working on this all week.

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