Friday, September 6, 2013

Goodbye Katy, Hello Magnolia

We've moved again! After living in Katy for 1-1/2 years, we moved north to Magnolia, only 6 miles from our son and family, plus we are closer to our daughter who lives in the Dallas area. I probably won't continue this Katy blog, and I'm not sure if or when I will return to blogging. Maybe when all the boxes are unpacked!

UPDATE: After moving again, I started a new blog, My Sew-Called Quilts, and (with no more boxes to unpack) resumed blogging about quilting, recipes, and life. Please join me!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Shiner Bock Beer Bread

My future son-in-law, Chris, loves Shiner Bock beer, and when he visits, the fridge is well-stocked with it. There was one lone bottle left from the last visit, and hubby and I aren't beer drinkers, so what better use to make of it than in bread.

We recently visited Salt Grass Steakhouse (Texas to the bone!) and enjoyed their pre-dinner bread. I found a "copykat" recipe and made a couple of adjustments to accommodate what I had on hand and for the bread machine. My changes were to substitute rye flour for whole wheat flour, to eliminate the water, and to use part honey, part molasses in place of all honey.

My iPhone photos don't do the bread justice, but the results were excellent! Moist and slightly sweet, it tasted like what we had in the restaurant, only better. Rye flour gave it a nutty depth, and the molasses, well it always makes bread better, in my opinion. The bread sliced easily, smelled so good while baking, and was the perfect accompaniment to our grilled chicken and salad.

Shiner Bock Beer Bread
See for original recipe
adapted for bread machine

1-1/2 -1-3/4 cup Shiner Bock beer, flat and room temperature
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons molasses
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 cups unbleached flour
1 cup rye flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons yeast

Mix beer, honey, molasses, and oil and pour into bread pan. Whisk together flours and salt and scoop onto liquid. Make a well in flour mixture and pour in yeast. Set bread machine to Dough cycle. When cycle is complete, remove dough onto floured surface and punch down. Knead in small amounts of flour if necessary to keep from sticking. Cut dough into 3 equal portions and form each portion into round loaf. Place loaves on lightly oiled or parchment prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap that has been lightly sprayed with baking spray. Let rise until doubled, or about 30 minutes. Remove plastic wrap and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove to wire rack and allow to cool before slicing.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Happy, Happy, Happy Completed - Things I've Learned

The AYOS pattern for the month of June was Dulcinea, by Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. I changed it just a bit by adding sashing to the pinwheel blocks, and I left off the suggested border.

I used two charm packs from Moda's Avalon by Fig Tree and bound it with Sherbet from Moda's Ruby by Bonnie and Camille. I am particularly fond of the dots of Sherbet against the dotted cream background fabric.

The colors of this quilt inspired its name of Happy, Happy, Happy - it is bright and cheerful! The quilting was primarily straight line, done with my walking foot, and free motion circles and swirls on the border.

The back looks like a window to me. I made a panel of blocks from leftover fabric and used the same sashing as the front.

Things I've Learned:
I love the look of quilting on light valued fabric. As I was hand-stitching the binding, I got to admire the back of the quilt, especially the effect of the quilting on my background fabric, P&B Textile's Apple Cider Cream Dot. I love it!

Maybe being hard on myself is a good thing. I caught myself being hard on myself today as I ripped out a couple of hand stitches that were evident on the back side of my binding. In spite of the fact that probably no one would ever notice those stitches but me, I knew there was no way I was going to leave them in, because they were so obvious to me. That is what I term being hard on myself. However, I believe in "good practices", and I decided that making the quilt as perfect as I possibly can is OK, not only because it is a good practice, but it also makes me happy!

Straight line quilting is very effective. The quilting for this quilt was influenced by straight line quilting by Townmouse. I love the clean, fresh look it imparts to the quilt.

This month's pattern is Lincoln. I downloaded the pattern, and although I may not have time to join in the quilt-along this month, I will definitely check out the parade on August 1.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Butternut Squash Braid

A recent butternut squash purchase prompted me to revisit a braid recipe I made in 2008, which I remembered for its deliciousness.

The original recipe called for cooked mashed squash, but this time around I roasted the squash whole before I pureed it. I love the rich, buttery goodness of roasted squash and the flavor it imparts to the bread. The texture is somewhat Hawaiian bread-ish, and this loaf was a wee bit more dense than the last loaf. Offering a warm slice with butter is a good way to get my hubby to eat his veggies. He not only loved it, but he loved the color of it!

Butternut Squash Braid
adapted for bread machine

1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup warm milk
1 cup cooked and pureed butternut squash
1 egg
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
*3 to 4 cups unbleached bread flour
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
* Level of moisture in cooked squash affects flour addition. My dough was very sticky after rising in the bread machine, so I added more flour so that I could more easily shape the dough. The extra flour and kneading probably contributed to the slight denseness of this batch.

Melt butter in warm milk, add squash and egg; whisk until well blended. Pour into bread machine pan.

Whisk together brown sugar, salt, and 3 cups flour and spoon mixture onto liquid in bread machine pan. Make a well in center of flour and add yeast. Turn bread machine to "Dough" cycle and let it do its magic.

After dough has completed cycle, remove and place on a lightly floured surface or Roulpat. Punch dough down and divide into 3 parts. Shape each portion into an 18 inch rope. Take ropes and attach them by pinching tops together and tucking under. Gently braid and finish by pinching together bottom ends and tucking underneath braid. (An excellent tutorial for bread braiding can be found here). Cover and allow to rise until nearly doubled. Mine rose to elephantine proportions in only 25 minutes. At this point, if you like to glaze your bread, you may whisk together an egg and a tablespoon of water and brush over braid before baking.

Bake in 375 degree oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Carefully remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.

Monday, July 8, 2013

10 Things This Summer

Sherri and Anna have made a list of their goals for the summer and encouraged their readers to do the same. Sounds like fun, so here goes!

1. Number one on my list is to continue on my ultimate lifetime quilting quest, which is to make a quilt for every member of my family. My immediate family comes first, then I will start on in-laws, nephews, and nieces. My grandmother made quilts for all of us, and I want to continue that tradition.

2. Finish my daughter's quilt. I've had the original fabric that she chose since 2010! I have added to that stash and subtracted from it, found a pattern I liked and modified it, then was unhappy with the result, started my own version of the pattern, and was unhappy with that result. Then I arranged the blocks in a different way on my design board, and I can finally say I am pleased with the result. I have put way too much pressure on myself for this quilt that will grace her guest bed. I want to finish it so I can start on the king-sized quilt for her bedroom.

3. Finish my niece's quilt top. My niece (at my insistence) sent me the quilt her grandmother (my SIL's mother) pieced for her but never completed. Unfortunately someone washed it along the way, and now the edges are tattered, frayed, and separated. I took it to my LQS where I was advised to press it carefully, repair as much as I could on the edges before I sandwich, quilt, and bind it. I found some glorious reproduction fabric to back it - a pretty blue print from the Aunt Grace Garden Party collection.

4. Make a quilt for my youngest granddaughter's birthday - in August! I have the main fabrics, in periwinkle prints and a Honey Honey dessert roll, and I will soon choose a pattern for her lap-sized quilt.

5. Design and quilt a wall hanging in a star pattern for my husband. My number one fan was so taken with my first quilt that he asked me to make a quilt to hang in our entry. Sadly he is still waiting. I have looked at several patterns and not found one I like yet, but I did purchase fabric to begin my stash - in cream, blues, teals, and golds. He would like some sort of Texas lone star.

6. Repair my daughter's fiance's blanket. I made Chris a warm blanket for Christmas with Texas Tech-themed fleece. He was so proud of it! His big sweet dog decided to tear out a piece of it, so I need to patch it.

7. Break down and sell or give away some of my yarn. I love to crochet, but I got out of practice the last 10 years. Since I started quilting, I spend far too much time trying to refresh my memory on crochet stitches and not enough time practicing. Even though I whittled down my collection before we moved, I have collected more yarn for patterns I have yet to use them in. The groupings are so lovely and alluring to me, but I need more space for fabric. Notice I said "some" of the yarn; I'm not sure I can give it all up, so I might just pack it up and put it high on a shelf.

8. Clean out the old family photos. Since I am the last of my family of five, there is no one left to remind me who many of the people are in the vintage photographs that I inherited from my Mom. They are taking up storage space in a large guest closet. No one has even opened the boxes since Mom died in 2010, and they have remained exactly where they were placed when we moved into our house last year. Some boxes were labeled and roughly organized by my daughter several years ago, but a big bunch remain loose in boxes.

9. Refinish our fireplace screen. We inherited the black metal screen from my daughter, and it disappears in front of our dark green marble fireplace. I will use copper metallic wax rub on the decorative vines and edges of it to make it stand out a bit.

10. Organize and brighten up my sewing space. I share space with a guest bedroom, with its beautiful white comfort-ed bed with black wrought iron headboard and black beadboard nightstand. When I moved in, I brought a repurposed kitchen table as my cutting table, covered it with a mega-sized cutting mat, added a clamp-on magnifying lamp, put a big Xerox printer underneath it, and put my sewing machine on an old computer table next to it. I added a vintage nightstand to hold my quilting books and sewing machine paraphernalia and made a design board to cover one of the walls. I have an old 23rd Psalm that my Mom embroidered, and it needs to be reframed and hung. Although I love my space, it looks cluttered, and I want it to reflect my bliss, not my disorganization.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Happy, Happy, Happy - AYOS

The Vintage Schnibbles pattern for June was Dulcinea. I am joining the monthly Parade of Schnibbles, sponsored by Sinta of Pink Pincushion and Sherri of A Quilting Life.

I ran a little behind this month, so I am still working on the border. I varied the pattern a bit, adding sashing to provide a little definition between the pinwheels, but I'm not sure I like the result. After I uploaded the photo of the quilt, I noticed I forgot to sash the outsides of the outer blocks. Oh well, I do love my seam ripper.

Moda's Avalon by Fig Tree was my chosen fabric, along with a piece of yardage from P&B Textile's Apple Cider collection for the background and a navy print for the sashing.

I love the colors in Avalon - for me they are happy colors. And every time I hear the word "happy", I am reminded of Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil saying "Happy, happy, happy". Perfect quilt name.

I'll be back with a final post after it's complete!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Light and Fluffy Banana Cupcakes

"I had some bananas that were going bad, so..."

How many times have you seen that as a preface to a blog post about banana bread or banana cake? Well that was the case at my house a few days ago. My grandkids were coming, and I didn't want to make the usual banana bread (although I have made and blogged about banana bread at least half a dozen times). I wanted it cake-like, and I wanted it to be light, not dense.

My previous attempts at a light textured banana cake have not been successful; then I stumbled upon this recipe (on a blog that is no longer active). It is not only the best banana cake recipe ever, it is one of the best cupcakes I've made. I made it even better by adding cinnamon and nutmeg to the batter.

I had one plain, and it was just sweet enough, moist, tender, and just the light texture I was seeking. And my grandkids loved them!

Light and Fluffy Banana Cupcakes
Made 15 for me

1-1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup melted butter
1-1/2 cups ripe mashed bananas
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put cupcake liners into wells of muffin or cupcake pan.

Whisk together cooled melted butter, mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla; set aside. In large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Make well in center and add banana mixture. Stir until smooth but do not overmix. Spoon batter into cupcake liners.

Bake about 15-20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan to wire rack and cool. Spread with favorite frosting, such as this one:

Light and Fluffy Frosting
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
1/3 - 8oz package cream cheese (about 3 oz) softened
2-1/2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream butter and cream cheese for about 2 minutes at medium high speed. Whisk together sugar and cinnamon. Gradually add sugar mixture in 1/2 cup increments, beating about a minute each time and scraping down bowl frequently. Add vanilla and mix another minute.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...