Karen on September 13th, 2014

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.


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.


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.


Put your pan on top of it.


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


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.


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


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.


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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Karen on July 5th, 2014

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.


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!


Chocolate Skillet Cake


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

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!

Continue reading about Another Nice Day

Karen on June 14th, 2014

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.


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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Karen on May 22nd, 2014

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.


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.


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.


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


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


Continue reading about Let’s Have Cake with Our Hexies

Karen on May 18th, 2014

I don’t even want to complain about this cool wet weather as it will be in the mid 80’s by Tuesday – but we have been having a weird May for sure – 50’s!  I was in the house just about all day Saturday and got some more hexies printed out and some mini-tumblers printed and cut too for Tumbling into Insanity.  First the tumblers – I now have 200 cream color and 300 prints – got quite a ways to go on this LOL.


I got this row just laying on the floor right now – it is not connected – so I could see what I have to do on the very bottom for joining the rows – I thought I might need to put a half hexie diamond shape in the corner but I don’t it will stay white and the rest of it  – just white.  Right now it measures 76 inches long and that is what it will be – I’m not sure on how wide it will be – it seems it was not square but I don’t remember what it was.  Diamonds are Forever – I will be cutting the ends straight when I am done – I could have printed off half hexies but I didn’t same for the tumblers you can print out half pieces but I’m just doing full size pieces and then cut the sides straight.  I am linking to Kathy’s Quilts: Slow Stitching Sunday take your time and enjoy stitching.


Patchwork of the Crosses is coming along too – got a lot done Friday night and some daytime on Saturday.



Awhile back I remembered when I first started this quilt – the first border I had stitched in the ditch of each hexie – and somewhere along the way I forgot I was doing that – I all of a sudden remembered that for some reason a couple weeks ago.  So when I finish this section shown I am going to unroll the whole quilt and see where I left off doing that and it won’t take real long but I need to get the sides the same – then I will go back up to the top and finish that last border.  I found this photo that shows if you look closely at the hexies in the border you can see some quilting in them.


This is where I start to work Saturday night.


Sausage and Vegetable Pasta

3 Italian sausage links – remove casing
1/2 large onion chopped
1/2 large green pepper chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
1-2 cups mushrooms sliced
1 zucchini chopped in small pieces
1 – 14.5 oz can diced tomato’s
1 can of tomato soup
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups of dried pasta shells of your choice – cook according to package directions

In a skillet cook the first 6 ingredients breaking up the sausage as it cooks, fry for about 10 minutes or so until the sausage is no longer pink – add the rest of the ingredients except the pasta.  Simmer for about an hour or so.  Cook the pasta according to the directions and then drain and stir into the sauce.  You do not have to simmer as long as I did and this can be made much faster if you do not want to wait around for it, but the simmering adds to the flavor I think.  This reheats very well I think and if you want to double the recipe go for it.  This is my leftovers reheated for lunch time and it tasted just as good I think – about the only use my microwave gets is heating leftovers.  I love one dish meals – I am not gourmet in any way.


Continue reading about Hexies, Tumblers and Cooking

Karen on March 17th, 2014

All washed up and pretty as can be – I have no name on this one, well need to think of something so I can get a label done up for it – along with labels for the last 2 quilts I finished – I’ve been slow at labels lately.  Measures 33 x 43 just right for a little baby or on the floor to play on.


Big stitch hand quilting with perle cotton #12 – it is hard to do big stitches when you are used to doing small ones.


That darn border took longer than I thought it would – using a big needle and the perle thread for big stitch quilting – I’m so used to a tiny needle!  The border would have went faster doing it the usual way for me.


Kind of hard to see it on the back – lighting wasn’t right.  It’s got that soft crinkly just washed feel to it though so that is what counts Smile


A very rainy cold day Sunday was – I spent time appliqueing circles and sewing on tiny buttons!  I’m watching Netflix   “Call The Midwife” a British series that takes place after the war (WWII) in the 50’s  I’m hooked on it although I do Mike the favor of lowering the volume every time a woman goes into labor LOL. Actually that is for me too all that howling can get to you after awhile but I love the story – based on a true story.


this is the border just laying on top of the quilt on the quilt frame so I could photo the tiny buttons – I got a package of bright mixed colors and putting one on each tip to hold them down.


Yes a light dusting of snow Sunday here in on the edge of Northwest Arkansas – closer to the central part of the state really – down to 25 tonight!!  when will this winter end?


My sister was talking about rhubarb earlier yesterday and it got me thinking of course of the last bag that I have in the freezer – also I had 3 apples that were getting kind of old so I put 3 chopped up apples in the saucepan, 1 cup of chopped rhubarb, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of apple pie spice.  Cook until the apples are soft and mash them up a little.  I had one frozen Pillsbury pie crust in the freezer so I thawed it out and made 4 turnovers  (not the neatest) and 1 pint of sauce.  I love to put about a 1/2 cup of sauce in a bowl with a carton of vanilla yogurt and stir together and chow down LOL  (the turnovers baked at 425 degrees for 20 minutes) we had already eaten two of the turnovers when this photo was taken and shortly after supper the other two disappeared as well!!  if you like sweet put more sugar in them, I like them a little tart.



This is how messy under the bird feeder looks by this time of year – they usually get turned over into the ground at some point and then I have some sunflowers growing in here in the summer time.  The birds were flocking so much in the cold weather today the ground looked like it was moving!



Thursday is first day of spring – do we think it really well be spring?

Continue reading about Scrappy Baby Quilt Done