Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Angel Biscuits

I've had a few requests for recipes and since my life has been consumed by all things cooking and baking this week, I'll try to share a few. I don't really have anything new on the menu this week. I'm always looking for something new, but truth be told, I make the old standbys that I've been making for a coon's age. They have stood the test of time and the result has been many a clean plate through the years. Never fancy, but always plenty of it and cowboys are always kind and generous with their praise when they slide their boots under our table and dig in. Today they didn't make a peep. The only sounds I heard were the clink of forks against the tin plates and the rattle of ice as they drained their tea glasses until I cleared their empty plates and brought out dessert. Then the stories began to fly. :)

Yesterday I fixed chicken fried steak, gravy, mashed potatoes, calabacitas (shared that here), rolls, and fried jalapenos.

The jalapenos were gone so no picture of them, but I'll make them again in a few weeks and share them then...if I remember. :)

Summer Berry Pie for dessert which I have shared here before.

Then today, as I was rolling out Angel Biscuits, I was sure I had shared those as well, but after a search, I realized that I had not. I don't even know if ya'll make bread, but if you don't, you should. :) There is something very comforting and therapeutic about it.

This recipe was shared by a treasured friend many moons ago and I think of her every time I make these. I love that this dough can be mixed up ahead of time and popped into the fridge for 3 or 4 days, and then pulled out again when the need for fresh baked bread is called for.

Angel Biscuits

5 C flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp baking powder
3-6 Tbsp of sugar, depending on how sweet you like your bread (I usually use 3 or 4)
3/4 C shortening or lard
1/2 C warm water
1 pkg yeast (I buy my yeast at Sam's and measure out 1 Tbsp whenever a recipe calls for a packet of                         yeast)
2 C buttermilk

*Mix all dry ingredients except for yeast. Cut shortening in. Make a well in your dry ingredients. Dissolve yeast in warm water and pour into well. Also pour buttermilk into well. Mix well with wooden spoon. Knead on lightly floured surface. (Some flour may need to be added to make the dough less sticky.) This dough may be rolled out and cut into biscuits or put in the fridge and use as needed. Bake at 400.

And now I am off to chop up a cabbage for coleslaw for tomorrow.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Bread Dough and Soap Suds

If you've been reading here for any length of time, you can probably guess by that title that we're gearing up for our fall cow works. Between mowing and making preparations, it's been a busy week. I've been pouring over recipes and making my grocery list and menu for a couple of days:

We had a horse sale at the sale barn on Saturday and I had planned on getting groceries after work, but I was just too pooped. It was after 6 when I left work and I knew that would put me home after 9, not to mention getting over $300 worth of groceries put up. However, that meant an early morning trip into town on Sunday morning:

I would have been in town earlier, but DH was worried about me being in town in the pre-dawn hours by myself. Thankfully, by the time I got to the market, I just about had the entire place to myself:

I never have understood the need for a grocery store to stay open 24 hours, but I laughed when I ran into a good friend there who works the night shift in a sleep clinic and had just gotten off of work. She has always been a night owl and often goes to bed as I am getting up.

My fridge is filled to overflowing for the week ahead:

As is the bunkhouse fridge:

That is what $7500 of medicine looks like. And I thought groceries were expensive!
I'm headed over to scrub down the bunkhouse and then make it an early night, as 4 a.m. will be here before I know it. If anyone needs me this week, you'll find me elbow deep in bread dough and soap suds:

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tilted Bears Quilt

I still haven't worked on the borders for my Crossing Time quilt, but that didn't stop me from starting something new. :) I feel like I can get away with it since I don't have any other UFOs waiting in the wings. I have a lot of unfinished quilts but they are all at the quilter's so for the time being, I'm at a stopping point.

I had one chore that needed my attention before I could sew in peace. I couldn't remember the last time I had cleaned my sewing machine. Ummm...yep. It was time:

Looked like I had been stitching on a Woolly Mammoth coat.

I've had this teddy bear fabric for 4 or 5 years. I don't recall where I found it...perhaps Hobby Lobby...it kind of looks like something from the 80's, but teddy bears are classic and timeless:

I didn't have a plan, but at some point I thought about using a tilted block and that just stuck. I'd never made that block, but pulled out the fabric on Saturday, as well as some coordinating fabrics,

 and gave it a test run. I didn't use a quilt pattern. I just did some figuring and used the old noggin.

I made a few paper templates in order to test things out. The red block had too much of a tilt so I regrouped and settled on the dimensions in the blue block. Using a 5" square, I ended up with a 7" block:

There is some waste when making these blocks and after doing some research, I saw that you could use a tri-recs ruler and eliminate the fabric waste, but I don't have one and I didn't really want to add another to my collection. :)

Once I figured everything out. I made 15 blue blocks and 15 red blocks and chain piecing made them come together quickly:

Once all the blocks were made, I made a plastic template to trim my blocks to size:

I made the red blocks tilt one way and the blue ones tilt the other.When I showed it to DH he said, "That's nice, but your bears are crooked". Funny guy.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Guinea Eggs!

I let my chickens and guineas free range during the day. My hens are pretty laid back and they tend to stay around pretty close. However, the guineas are all over the place. They scamper off to the dirt tanks that are both east and west of the house and dash into the 4' tall weeds on the east side of the barn before stopping to play in the horse pens. They run everywhere together.

My young chickens are at the age that they should begin laying soon so I kept everything penned up in the chicken yard yesterday. I want them to learn to lay in the nesting boxes so that I don't have to go on an egg hunt every day and sure enough, I had some new eggs on Saturday. I also found these:

The 2 on the left are guinea eggs! The third one is a first egg from my young chickens and the one on the right is from one of my older hens. I don't know how long they've been laying because they run all over creation from sunrise until sunset. Those guinea eggs are tiny!

We didn't get the guineas for eggs, but DH was gone all day and when I told him on the phone that we had our first guinea eggs, he said, "Good! We can scramble them for breakfast tomorrow." Ummm...hope you're not very hungry because you might get a tablespoon from those 2 guinea eggs. :)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Crossing Time Quilt

I finished piecing my Indian Summer quilt and pulled out another project I had started last year. I saw this quilt:

In this magazine that I have from 2010:

It looks like a simple patchwork quilt on point, but it's actually made of hourglass blocks:

I don't know why I was drawn to it because I haven't felt the need to make anything in the teal and red colorway that has been so popular, but I liked this before that combination became trendy. They are pretty together, but I just have nothing in those colors around my home. Still, I kept thinking about this quilt and then when I finally looked closer, I realized that I HAD bits and pieces of that line of fabric. It was a Moda line called Wuthering Heights and I won it in a giveaway 5 or 6 years ago. There was quite a bit of dusty pink in my pile, but I eliminated those for this quilt.

I also have a weakness for hourglass block quilts. I made this one from a couple of layer cakes:

And I loved how this one looked completely different, yet used the exact same block, giving a nod to color placement.

There wasn't much of the teal in my pile and I dug deep into my stash to come up with one that would work. What I found isn't a great match, but I had actually looked for about a year at other shops for something that would coordinate to no avail.

This is 50" x 55" and I would have loved to have made this larger, but I was limited by the lack of teal fabrics. I didn't have a lot of the other colors left either, but I had just finished piecing this when I unearthed one of my project boxes with leftover Portobello Market fabrics from this quilt:

So I pulled some of those and mixed those in with what I had left and some of the fabrics coordinated well. Still, no teal. So I'm trying to decide if I ought to add borders or not and pulled some options:

I may attach regular borders or I have enough of a variety for a square in a square border. I could add a piano key border, but I'm not sure if that would compliment the quilt. I'm going to have to sleep on it for a few days before I settle on one or the other...or neither...or both...or a combination of all of the above. In other words...I haven't decided. :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Visit From Tony

I may not have bought out the quilt shop a few weeks ago, but I did have Tony, our UPS man, make an appearance this week. Gotta love a guy that delivers quilt supplies to your door! I told him that he must have the best job ever because everyone is always happy to see him. :) I then told him that we didn't just love him because he brought us brown boxes that made us smile. He really is the nicest man and he left with a baggie of cookies I had baked that afternoon.

When Craftsy had their recent sale, I caved. Aurifil is my favorite thread, but I refuse to buy it at full price. 40% off was enough to reel me in.

This is the sewing box where I store my thread:

I have a lot of thread.

I have thread from Connecting Threads that I have bought on sale and Guterman thread that was on sale at a 50% discount at some point as well as Auriful when I found it at reduced prices:

Still, I could not resist adding just a tad more Aurifil. You know - just in case I run out before the next sale. :)

I love the fact that it's thin, yet strong and it doesn't produce much lint.

 I also never buy kits. The only kit I have ever purchased was to make this quilt for my niece's first baby:

But at half off, Tony brought this kit too:

I'm working on more baby quilts as well as kid-sized quilts and I think this will be cute for a little boy:

I had better get the next batch of  cookies mixed up...Tony'll be paying us another visit soon! :)

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Road Trip Pit Stops

I never take the highway when I travel. I'm a back roads kind of girl and I'm always up for a good pit stop. When the kids were young, used bookstores were always sought out. Endless adventure lurked on every shelf.

Image result for children in a used bookstore

(Copyright: Angela Waye: Shutterstock)

Our girl just texted me about one that she stumbled upon the other day and she urged me to drive down to see her and spend the day perusing the shelves together. That's an offer I can't refuse. Spending time with our adult children is always at the top of our list.

 Antique and/or junk shops also enticed us:

HDR of Underwood's Antique Mall in Mason Texas (formally Underwoods Grocery when I was young).:

I found this photo on google images, but this is one of the shops I pop into when I find myself in Mason, Texas. And surprisingly enough, I was the one that always had to pull the kids out to get back on the road. They could get lost in the untold stories collected here. Stories of a simpler time. Stories steeped in history. I love that they have an appreciation for that.

I still find myself drawn to used bookstores and antique shops, but now that the kids are grown, I've added quilt shops to my pit stop list. I wasn't a quilter until they left home. I can't resist the temptation of a small town quilt shop. Last time I drove down to visit my mom, I stopped in Lamesa, a small town along the way, and discovered a little quilt shop on the square, called Sew Jo's. Looked like a good place to stop and stretch my legs. This sign greeted me:

How fun is that? I can see how it would be frustrating for people traveling from out of town and finding the shop closed, but I like the small town mindset. The owner gave me her card and said all I ever needed to do was call and she'd pop over to open the shop if she wasn't there.

It's a small shop, but I liked her selection. There were no books or notions, just fabric and I didn't walk away empty handed:

$3.00/yd? Yes please! I thought this would be a really cute backing for a little boy quilt as well as a pillowcase. They had 5 yards and I took it all.

When we were at the quilt shop last week, almost everything was $12.00 a yard. I try to support the little brick and mortar quilt shops, but at $12.00, I'm not able to buy much. I was going to get a yard of this, but at $2.00/yd, I had to get the whole bolt.

14 yards will be enough for more than 1 quilt backing. There was a quilt/yarn/wool shop in another little town, but it has closed. For years I would stop in there and come out with armloads of yardage that was priced between $3-6. I think those little shops are becoming a thing of the past and that saddens me. I love a good bargain, but I also understand that a business needs to be able to operate above the profit line.

And my mom is always stumped as to why it takes me so long to get there. It's a 9-hour trip without the detours, but for this self-proclaimed hermit, I enjoy the little pit stops along my road trip routes that interject a few surprises along the way.
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