Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Two Fat Quarters Casserole Carrier


__ two fat quarters (18"x22") of coordinating fabric OR 1/2 yard if using all one fabric

__19"x19"piece of insulbrite or cotton batting

__ 2 one inch plastic curtain grommets

__ thread

__ pins and /or binding clips

__ cup (to draw rounded corners)

__ sharpie

1. Remove selvage edges from fat quarters.

2. Lay the two fat quarters right sides together. They may no be the same size, so make sure they line up in one corner.

3. cut the largest SQUARE your fat quarters will allow (18" or a little less) measuring from the matching corners. Your gridded cutting mat can help with this step. You will be cutting off two pieces approximately 4"x18". Set these aside for the carrying strap.

4. Lay fat quarters on top of insulbrite.

5. Using a cup, draw rounded corners on the top fat quarter using the sharpie.

6. Now cut corners and insulbrite at the same time.

7. Pin layers together (I like to use binding clips in place of pins)

8. Stitch layers together with a 1/4" seam allowance, leaving 6" open for turning.

9. Notch curved corners

10. Turn right sides out and press.

11. Top stitch close to edge.

12. using template in grommet package, mark circle just inside top stitching at opposite corners of carrier.

13. Using a shortened stitch length, stitch on the circle you just marked.

14. Cut out circle inside stitched line.

15. Install grommets

16. Take the two 4"x18" pieces you set aside and trim them to the same width.

17. Sew end to end with a diagonal seam. Trim seam alllowance to 1/4" and press open.

18. Press long strip in half lengthwise. Open and press long raw edges to center crease. Fold again on center crease and top stitch. Strap will be longer then necessary.

19. Lay strap diagonally across casserole carrier on the opposite corners from the grommets.

20. At one corner, turn strap end under 1/2". Stitch through all layers to attach this end to the carrier.

21. Smooth strap diagonally across casserole carrier. Cut off excess strap length allowing for the 1/2" turn under.

22. Turn under this end you just cut and stitch in place.

23. Your casserole carrier is ready to use!

I designed a csserole carrier for a 9"x13" pan. It is a large diamond shape. The basic construction is the same. If you would like to have this pattern piece just let me know.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I just about had everything wrapped when my husband asked if I had taken pictures of the Christmas outfits I had put together for the grandkids . . . no. The red corduroy vest was still unwrapped so it is the token photo.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

This weekend has ended up being devoted to pumpkins! Friday evening, after work, I went through my torn out magazine pages of recipes to pull out any that mentioned pumpkin or squash. I threw away the ones I knew neither of us would eat. Then, I made a tab, "pumpkin/squash" for a new section in my looselesf notebook of recipes. Noted the ones I wanted to try this weekend and went to bed.

Saturday started with an early (7:30am) trip to the grocery store. I pretty much had the place to myself. Certainly makes it easy to focus on the task at hand. Celery was $.88 for a bunch. I bought two to dehydrate for winter soups and stews. My celery tends to go limp in the crisper drawer so this helps me to have dried celery to use. Back home I made Fluffy Pumpkin Pancakes, yummy. Next I started cutting up the large Candy Roaster pumpkins. I scrubbed the outside, cut them in half, and scooped the seeds out. Into the oven at 425 to roast for an hour. The flesh comes right out and is easily mashed with a hand potato masher. I put 2 cups of this puree in a ziplock freezer bag and into the freezer it went. For lunch it was Pumpkin-Sage Cream Sauce on pasta. (recipe below) Cut up some of the pumpkin to dry until it was brittle to make pumpkin flour. I am very excited to use this flour in homemade pasta. Last, but definitely not least, I baked Pumpkin Spice Cake with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting. Then we went Contra Dancing!

This morning I ran the brittle dried pumpkin through the hand cranked grain mill. It worked great. I have a nice, fine flour to use to make pasta. Cut up another dehyrator full of celery and pumpkin. It should be ready to take out just before I go to bed. Also have some pumpkin seeds that I put in brine yesterday. They will need to be roasted.

Pumpkin-Sage Cream Sauce

1 cup heavy cream (you know its going to be good!)

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 cup fresh-grated Parmesan

16 leaves fresh sage, sliced into thin strips (about 1 tablespoon)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Make the sauce: Combine the cream, pumpkin puree, Parmesan, sage, salt, and pepper in a medium saucepan over medium hear. Simmer the mixture until slightly thickened - 10 -12 minutes. Remove from hear and stir in butter. Toss with cooked pasta and serve immediately.

Also found (but have not tried) this use for leftover pie filling. Make a pumpkin milk shake! Mix 1/2 cup pumpkin puree with 1 cup vanilla ice cream, 1/2 cup milk and a pinch of cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice). Sounds good.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I have rewritten a Christmas Stocking pattern from an old craft book. It has a 6 1/2" quilt block in the center and it is big enough to hold some serious Christmas joy. I will be teaching it in a class at TN Quilts tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

There has been a light frost and fog off the lake the last three mornings. Fall is definitly here and I am thinking about all the wonderful apple dishes we enjoy. A friend navigated us to a fruit and vegetable stand just past the small community of Roan Mountain, NC yesterday afternoon. I bought a bushel of Winesap apples and a bushel of Jonagolds. Dennis helped me prepare ten trays that have been dehydrating overnight. The kitchen smells good. I hope to can applesauce and applebutter as well.

Monday, October 24, 2011

We have returned from some time with our daughter and son-in-law in NJ. The highlight of the trip was the NY Sheep and Wool Festival. We got to pet the sheep and goats and alpacas but the lamas we admired from a distance (they spit). We beautiful yarns and knitted, crocheted and felted items. We enjoyed spending time with our friends who have moved to Saratoga from Germany. It was a good day.

I have finished another quickest quick-step lap quilt. There is a panel at TN Quilts with cartoons about hunting and fishing. It tickled my fancy so had to use it in a quilt.

I signed up for a newsletter from that is full of information and recipes using in season fruits, vegetables and herbs. We tried the Baked Green Tomatoes for supper this evening. The recipe is as follows: 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 3T water, 3 cloves garlic, crushed, 2 T Parmesan cheese, freshly grated. This was all mixed in a bowl and set aside while preping the three green tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick. Place tomato slices in a single layer on the baking sheet. Top each tomato slice with crumb mixture. Gake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes, or until topping is light brown.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I taught The Quickest Quick Step Quilt by Cotton Dreams last Thursday and again last Saturday. It is a great technique to know because it is easily adapted to other quilts making it unnecessary to layer the top, batting and backing at the end of the quilt making process. The layering and quilting is done as you sew the top. Hope you can join me in a future class. And as usual I started a new Quickest Quick Step quilt with each class. The Grouchy Lady Bug of Eric Carl fame is on one side of the quilt and the Fire Fly is on the other.

Also sending some pictures of my October garden. The flower seeds my grandaughter broadcast in June are showing their splendor.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I was reading an article in the British edition of Country Living Magazine that reminded me I have a very healthy Rose Geranium plant. So I started researching ways to use this herb. There are several recipes online but I found the most information in "Forgotten Skills" cookbook. I started a couple of jars of rose geranium sugar and then made Apple Rose Geranium Compote which I served hot over baked oatmeal. Yummy.

Peel, quarter, and slice 8 medium eating apples into 1/4 inch segments. Put them into a stainless-steel saucepan. Add 3/4 cup sugar, juice of 1 lemon, 2 -3 strips of the lemon rind, and 3 - 4 rose geranium leaves. Cover with a parchment paper lid and the lid of the saucepan and cook over a gentle heat until the apples are soft but not broken. Remove the rose geranium leaves and discard. This compote will keep in the fridge for 5 - 6 days.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The pear bunt cake was good. I plan to bake another one and add more spices. I think it will freeze very well. The recipe is in Sounthern Living cookbook 1986, page 247. I will share my altered recipe later. Today is Pear Day.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The pears we picked at a friend's house are filling the air with their sweet aroma. Now, what to do with all of them?! I have several cookbooks open to possible recipes. This afternoon I baked a pear bunt cake to take to a carry-in this evening. I'll let you know if it tastes good. I will dehydrate a few as I have good taste memories of dehydrated pears from KS days.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My sister, neice and I share an interesting cookbook; "Forgotten Skills of Cooking" by Darina Allen. She is called "The Julia Child of Ireland." It is my year to have this cookbook. All that to say I tried her Homemade Tomato Soup recipe and loved it. I am going to reprint the information in its entirity so you can experience this cookbook. You can also go to to learn more about this chef and her school.


Tomato paste is one of the best ways to preserve the flavor of ripe summer tomatoes for winter use in soups, stews, casseroles, and tagines. A food mill is really the only gadget that works for this . So buy one and even if it sets in the back of your cupboard for the rest of the year it will be worth it. Another use for the good mill is ricing potatoes.

Makes 1 1/2 quarts

6 lb very ripe tomatoes

1 medium onion, chopped

good pinch of salt

a few twists of black pepper

1 teaspoon sugar

Cut the tomatoes into quarter and put into a stainless-steel saucepan with the onion, salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar. Cook on a gentle heat for 10-15 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft (no water is needed). Put through the fine blade of the food mill or a nylon sieve. Allow to get cold and refrigerate or freeze. We freeze tomato paste in milk containers, but any containers of a volume that suits your lifestyle would be fine. Ensure that you allow room for expansion when the liquid freezes; otherwise, the container may burst.

Note: I didn't allow my paste to cool as I wanted to make the soup right away.


In this recipe, basil or mint may be added, and cocnut milk can be substitued for Bechamel sauce with delicious results. Note that fresh milk cannot be ddded to the soup, since ythe acidity in the tomatoes will cause it to curdle. For tomato and basil soup or tomato mint soup, siply add 2 tablespoons of your chosen herb at the same time as you add the sugar.

serves 8

1 onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons butter OR 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

5 cups homemade Tomato Paste (see previous recipe), made from very ripe tomatoes

1 1/4 cups Bechamel Sauce (see pate 116)

1 1/4 cups Chicken Stock (see page 262) or Vegetable Stock (see pate 390)

salt, freshly groupd black pepper and sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)

Sweat the onion in the butter or oil on a gentle heat until soft but not colored. Add the tomato paste, Bechamel sauce, and stock. Season with salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes.

Puree, taste, and dilute more, if necessary. Bring back to a boil, correct the seasoning, and serve with the addition of a little cream, if necessary.

Enjoy! I made ours with Green Zebra and Yellow tomatoes because that was what we had on hand. It was a pretty light green color and tasted great. I used the coconut milk and canned chicken broth. Also fresh basil from our garden.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

When our grandaughter was here this summer she was wearing a dress I had made but was now too tight in the armholes. She asked me to fix it. So, I cut the skirt off at the empire waistline and added a waistband with elastic. Then I took it to TN Quilts and found a fabric that complemented the skirt for a long sleeved blouse. Then I decided it needed leggings and a camisole which I found at Target. It just needs either white or gray ruffle socks to complete the ensemble. It is so much fun to sew children's clothing!

Monday, September 19, 2011

I have returned from Missouri where I attended my nephew's wedding. Fall was in the air along with the rain. The outdoor venues were moved indoors and everyone had a great time. The Bride and Groom are the hosts of a TV show called Must Have Outdoors. (you can Google to learn more.) I have no pictures of the wedding because my camera stayed on the kitchen table in TN! The reception was held at the old Apple Shed in Clarksville, MO. It is no longer used to process and ship apples but it rented out for such occasions. It is rustic, but the bride and her helpers turned it into a beautiful setting for dinner and dancing. Wildflowers in mason jars and small baskets of apples graced the white linen covered tables.

Mom sewed a beautiful quilt top that I quilted on my long arm machine for the Bride and Groom.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Last year the annual bee keeping picnic was held at the 4-H center in Greeneville, TN. As we were eating Dennis and I noticed so pretty red blooms covering a field near the shelter. We were told it was crimson clover and that the bees were very fond of it. It is also a good ground cover and green manure plant. So, when faced with so large bare areas at our home, we planted crimson clover last fall. It has bloomed. The bees and we are enjoying its colorful flower. The very tips turn a lavendar that matches the iris. . .who knew?

Rain fell yesterday causing everything to "pop" this morning. So pretty.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I have been enjoying a new book at TN Quilts; "Material Obsession" by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke. They are two shop owner in Australia who make modern quilts with trditional roots. The quilt block in the picture is the courthouse steps. It's a great setting for fabrics with extra large motifs. Each block measures 18 1/2 inches! I have used scraps as well as new fabrics. Check out their website at

Saturday, April 16, 2011

As you may know, we have had some Troll problems at the Fairy house. But, I think I have found a solution. I planted Snap Dragons around the Fairy house to protect it. I have a sign to put in the little yard, "Beware of Snap Dragons".

I have had so much fun looking for little things around my house that the Faries might enjoy at their house. I added a little wheelbarrow and flowerpot today.

I picked scallions and mustard greens to cook in our eggs this morning and asparagus for supper.