Saturday, October 30, 2010

Candy Bar Sliders

Here's a quick little project I made for the 3 little tykes of some friends. I loved doing things like this for my kids and their friends when they were small. Then they went and grew up on me.

Just pull the little ribbon on top and the chocolate appears:

Come to think of it, I don't think kids ever outgrow chocolate!
I originally saw these somewhere on the Internet a few years ago as hot chocolate sliders and I made some last year for smaill gifts that we added to the goody plates for friends. I think they would also be cute with a packet of chicken soup for a friend who is not feeling well.

I just used scraps from my scrapbooking stash. Seems its the only time I pull that stuff out anymore. Quilting seems to have taken over every spare minute I have.

Hope everyone's enjoying their fall! We're heading to the kitchen to make caramel apples! Yum!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Corn Salad

OK - I've had a few days to recuperate from all that cooking. I've cleaned and scrubbed and although there is always more to do, I am calling it quits. Today I have been elbow deep in apples, but I thought I would share an easy recipe with you before we hunker down for the winter.

This is a fairly new recipe that instantly became a favorite. My MIL, who is a wonderful cook, made it a  year or two ago and initially, we weren't sure if we'd like it, but all it took was one bite and we were asking for the recipe. This is so good and a great dish to take to a pot luck. I even make it for the crew when we work and it disappears. Generally cowboys aren't known for their willingness to expand their culinary palette, but they always dig into this with gusto and I hear lots of, "Dang, this is good salad" mutterings drift into the kitchen.  So if it passes the cowboy test, I guess its one I can share here. Its a pretty dish too.

I make this early in the morning so the flavors combine. It really doesn't get any easier than this.

Corn Salad

3 cans whole kernel corn, well drained
1/2 c chopped black olives
1 small chopped green pepper
1/2 c chopped onion
1cucumber, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 c chopped pepperoni

1 pkg Hidden Valley Dressing Mix
1 c real mayonnaise

*Combine corn, olives, green pepper, onion, cucumber, tomatoes, and pepperoni in a bowl. Mix together dressing and stir into salad. Chill.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Recipe Book

I cook a lot and I collect a lot of recipes. Even so, there are times when I get into a rut and feel like I cook the same thing over and over. I'm always on the lookout for new, tried and true recipes to add to my collection and through the years, my friends and family have been proven sources for the recipes that make it into the cookbook so thanks to all of you who have shared your treasured recipes with me through the years!
Monday was the first day of our Fall Works here on the ranch and I've been spending a lot of time making menus and lists. So food related posts are what you get.

I have a number of cookbooks although I have narrowed them down considerably in recent years. Then, the other day I tried a new cinnamon roll recipe from a cookbook given to me by a dear friend (miss you C!) almost 20 years and it became an instant favorite so now I am afraid to let any more go.

I also subscribe to Taste of Home and I used to subscribe to what was once called Quick Cooking. However, in recent years, I've noticed a change in their pages. I still find some keepers, but I've been disappointed lately. Seeems they have 'improved' their magazines and in doing so, they lost something along the way. We just don't have much call for bean sprout casserole out here.

Then I have this box where various recipes have been tossed to try. In years past, DD and I have had some fun just opening the box and blindly selecting one from the ever increasing pile and giving it a test run.
Then there is this:

Yes, this is my recipe book - filled with my family's favorites. However, its seen better days and I decided it was high time to give it a complete overhaul. New notebook with more space and lots of pages. I was even going to make a cover for it and call it "Recipes from the End of the Dirt Road", but I was vehemently overruled and told in no uncertain terms that the book was not to be tampered with. (Let's see if I can leave that preposition at the end of that sentence). Apparently my poor, worn, little, black book brings about strong feelings of affection and possessiveness amongst the members of my family.

DD informed me that it was perfectly alright for me to make another recipe book, but the original must stay untouched. I'm not sure if I'm ready to tackle rewriting each and every recipe though so I suppose I'll just flip to the batter stained page that lovingly cradles that Pea Pickin' Cake and mix up something tasty.

As for what to do with all the recipes I still wish to include because there isn't a smidge of room for any new additions, I haven't a clue. I've got loose pages haphazzardly stuck in the back and they are rapidly taking over:

I'm thinking this will be a work in progress and I really should find a way to duplicate that old book so that the kids don't fight over it when I'm gone. At the rate its going, its already in two pieces and the packing tape is the only thing keeping it together. Even the duct tape wore off somewhere along the line.

You know, come to think of it, this book holds a place in my heart too. What I wouldn't give to have a book like this from my Mom or Grandmother. Lots of memories in these pages.

I'm glad that the kids have such fond memories of the times we have spent in the kitchen and around the dining room table while they were growing up. Its funny how a little tattered book can elicit such strong emotions, but it makes me happy that it does. Not bad for a gal who couldn't cook when she married over 23 years ago.

The book stays.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Quilt Show Therapy

O.K. Day 9 of cooking for a crew. I should be sharing recipes. I should be sharing the excitement of scrubbing the stove...again. I should be sharing profound thoughts from the kitchen. But I am tired of food. I am tired of dishes. I am tired of bleach.
I want to grab my camera and capture the excitement of Fall Works.
I want to walk outside and inhale the essence of autumn.
I want to play with fabric.
But I can't.
But I can pop into the office between batches of biscuits and piles of potatoes and talk about something other than my kitchen adventures.

A few weeks ago I took myself to town...willingly. Every 2 years the guild in town puts on a quilt show and I think a quilt show is a worthy reason to make myself leave my dirt road. Wish I could only go every 2 years, but I don't see that happening anytime soon.

I didn't even go with anyone. Just me, myself, and I spent almost 3 hours lost in the wonderful world of quilts and yummy fabric. Loved it. It was good for the soul. I lingered. I pondered. I loitered.
I could look at quilts forever and find it fascinating that not one quilt is ever like another. I love the stories behind them and was disappointed when the information sheet did not include a bit about how the quilt came to be. I've been to quilt shows where they include a paragraph about why the quilter made the particular quilt and I always find it fascinating. I know the lady in charge of the next show and I think I'm going to suggest that to her. She made this quilt, which made me chuckle, as a '3' challenge in her guild. Everything had to be in 3's or multiples of 3's.

What a fun optical illusion, but wow, my eyes would be permanently crossed if I made this:

This quilt was pieced by a man and quilted by his wife:

While I was admiring it, a couple walked past and I heard the husband exclaim to his wife, "Don't get any ideas". LOL.
I don't know why, but I seem to be drawn to quilts that have some black in them. I like the stained glass effect of this one.

 Looks simple enough. The quilter just used southwestern prints. I'm thinking western.
LOVED this autumn quilt:

All those pumpkins were just wonderful! Almost seemed as if each had its own character.

This was the 1st place quilt and the title made me laugh: "Finally!" I can only imagine what a labor of love this must have been.

Fell in love with this Civil War Tribute one. My longarm quilter made it and I fell in love with it when it was on her design wall. I don't know how she has time to make quilts for herself because the majority of the quilts in this show were quilted by her. I adore this lady...and her quilts!
If there is a horse / western quilt, I'll love it and this one started out with a panel fabric that I've seen, but never brought home because I didn't have a clue what to do with it. Apparently, this quilter did:

Here's a really fun, bright quilt that would be fun for a teenage girl. Just not my teenage girl...she needs horses. I love tghe colors, but I would have a hard time falling asleep under this quilt:

There were lots of miniature quilts - wall hangings - landscape pieces in the show. Lots of the area guilds seemed to have taught classes on this. Its like painting - with fabric and I loved the intricate details. I don't have the patience for something like this, but I'm really intrigued by these. DD would love this one:

This one looked like a photograph:

I fell in love with this one:

The trees had an interesting treatment that gave this piece a lot of dimension:

As did the tiny quilts on the line in the bottom left hand corner. I just wanted to pop in behind these women and join them in their quilting in that charming little cabin.

I'm always drawn to Americana quilts too.
In fact, I have quite a collection of fabrics that are patiently waiting for me to make them into a quilt...or two...or three. I love how this quilter pieced this quilt together so that crosses formed in the center of the squares.

I'm going to have to track her down and interrogate her. I probably shouldn't begin another Log Cabin while the present one still lingers in its boot box though.
I was intrigued. I was challenged. I was inspired.
An afternoon spent in the company of quilts makes for a good day and its cheaper than therapy.
Alas, I am being summoned by the pots and pans that are stacked in the kitchen and although the biscuits have no trouble rising on their own, the potatoes are refusing to be mashed without me.
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