Postings and ponderings of a quilting and knitting addict!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

All Turkeyed Out!

And I bet YOU are too!  After the lunch-time re-presentation of turkey, dressing, and gravy I have decided that is ENOUGH!  No more… the rest of the dressing is going out to the critters.  I don’t know why I felt the need to make a “wash-pot” size container of dressing to take for the family Thanksgiving feast, and I had about half of it left over.  The injected and smoked turkey was yummy, but it is time to move on to something else.  The carcass will be frozen to be used for gumbo flavoring later, the trimmed meat will make sandwiches for lunch tomorrow, and then we are DONE with the leftovers.

The injected turkey was really great.  I found a recipe from Emerill that calls for beer, liquid crab boil, lemon juice, garlic, cajun seasoning, and other assorted things.  I kind of did my own thing, because his recipe was going to be WAAYYYY hotter that what I wanted.  Katie Bug had a great time “shooting” the turkey, we let it sit overnight in the fridge, then DH put it on the electric smoker using hickory and sassafras wood for a little extra flavor. About 6 hours later it was ready (only a 10-lb. bird, so it cooked fast).  That was so good I think we will do it again for Christmas!

OOPS!  I forgot about the 2 partially-eaten sweet potato pies… they may be the next thing tossed!

I’m not looking forward to having to cook again, but I AM looking forward to something NEW being on the plate.

Have a great Sunday afternoon!  I think I am going to go put one of MY quilts in the machine!! 


Friday, November 26, 2010

Yesterday…. and Today

YESTERDAY the temps rose to almost 80 degrees. We had the AC on as we ate Thanksgiving lunch at my sister’s house. It was muggy to the extreme.

TODAY it is 39 degrees outside. The high today will only get into the 50s or so. The wood heater is cranked up. DH built a nice fire in it after returning from hunting this morning.

YESTERDAY began with sunshine, then clouds, then some much-needed rain… only 3/10ths of an inch, but every drop was appreciated.

TODAY it is SLEETING! Yes, you read correctly. They say if you don’t like the weather in Louisiana, just wait 5 minutes… I think they are right!

I’m sure this won’t last long, it won’t accumulate, and shortly the sleet will be a memory of a strange weather event happening on Black Friday while some of my family members brave the crowds in the ‘big city’. Glad it’s them and not me!

Me… I’m about to put another quilt out to play with Gussie and Inetta (the Gammill and IQ), then I will work on bindings on 2 customer quilts. And of course there is the housework. My kitchen is a mess after all the Thanksgiving preparations, so I hope I have time to deal with those messy floors today. If not… there is always tomorrow.

Sock progress… almost done with the foot, and I’ll be working on toe decreases soon!

And a quick glance out my window tells me, the sleet is history. It has stopped, and it has melted. HMMM…. another Louisiana “5-minute” weather event. Back to life as usual.

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sugar-Free Cheesecake

It’s DEFINITELY NOT fat-free, but it is sugar-free (and very low-carb, if you count those)!  I make this once in a blue moon, but we really enjoy it.  Since DH has to watch his sugar intake, this is a wonderful treat for us.

Katie-Bug came to visit and cheesecake was on her list of things to do this time, so it is not my fault that we are indulging… it’s HERS!

NOTE:  Everyone has their own idea about what makes a good cheesecake.  I prefer a very dense, cheesy cake… no airy-fluffy cheesecakes for me!  SO, if you like the light, fluffy cheesecake then this recipe is not for you.  See the bottom of the post for exact amount used in the recipe. 


Gather these ingredients, most of which are already in your pantry or refrigerator.


Mix graham cracker crumbs, Splenda, and melted butter.


Press into the bottom of a 9” spring form pan.  Note my lovely assistant using a baggie over her hand to help press things in.


Beat 2 lbs. (Yes, that is NOT a misprint… it really does take that much.) softened cream cheese.  Slowly add Splenda.  Add 1 cup sour cream, and 4 eggs (one at a time, beating well between each one). 


Add lemon juice, vanilla, and orange zest.


Pour into prepared pan, place on a cookie sheet,


and pop into the oven, 350 degrees for 10 minutes;  lower the temperature to 275 and cook about one hour.


While that is cooking, mix the remaining 1 cup sour cream with 1/3 c Splenda, orange zest, and enough orange juice to get a nice “dolloping” consistency.  Return this to the refrigerator.


The cake is done when it is lightly brown around the edges and the center springs back a little when touched.  Turn off oven.

Remove from the oven, use a butter knife to loosen the edges, then place cake back in the oven  to gradually cool.  Leave the cake in the oven for several hours, then place on the counter to finish cooling (about 1 hour). 


Now, my cheesecake ALWAYS cracks… I don’t know why!  I watched the cheesecake program with Alton Brown on “Good Eats”.  I don’t remember all the science behind the fat molecules binding or separating with the blah-blah-blah  molecules but he said to add cornstarch to keep it from cracking.  I tried it… it did not work.

I finally decided that it makes no difference!  It tastes the same with or without cracks so I stopped worrying about it and just enjoy eating.

Cover the pan and refrigerate the cake (at least 3 hours).  Add a dollop of the orange sour cream to the top and enjoy!



3/4 C graham cracker crumbs, 3 T melted butter or margarine,     3 T Splenda

Mix these and press into a 9” spring form pan.

2 lbs. (4 -8 0z. packages) softened cream cheese, 2 C Splenda (divided), 4 eggs (room temperature), 1 orange, 1 pint sour cream (divided), 1 t vanilla, 2 T lemon juice.

Zest the orange to get about 3 T zest.  Cut the orange and juice 1 half of it.  Reserve 1 T zest and the juice for the topping.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix cream cheese until smooth ; slowly add 1 2/3 C Splenda;  Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each one.   Add 1 cup sour cream, 2 T orange zest, lemon juice, and vanilla; mix well.

Pour cheesecake into prepared pan and smooth.  Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, then turn heat down to 275 degrees and bake for 1 hour, or until edges are lightly brown.  Turn off oven.  Run a knife around edges and return pan to oven to cool slowly (at least 2 hours).  Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature for about 1 hour.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving.


To the reserved 1 C sour cream add the remaining 1 T orange zest, 1/3 C Splenda, and enough orange juice to get a nice dolloping consistency (about 2 T.)  Refrigerate; drop a couple of spoonfuls on each slice when served.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Gone Fishin’

Our trip to Houma, LA to fish in the marshes was great fun, and I caught my first redfish on a fly rod. 


Nope, he’s not huge (about 3 lbs.) but any size fish on a fly rod means you have to work a bit to land it.


DH, taking a lunch break.  I promise he DID catch fish too, but declined the photo ops.


Our fishing guide and friend, Captain Marty.


After-lunch power nap on the deck of the boat, while DH conducted business via cell phone. 

Marty offered to take us out again the next day.  We rose early and were out in the marshes by 6AM.


We saw the most WONDERFUL sunrise!  It came a short rain shower, and then we saw the most beautiful RAINBOW at 6:30AM!  We could actually see the full arc of the rainbow.  It was too faint to show in a picture, but we enjoyed its beauty for about 10 minutes before it faded.


Another redfish, caught with a spinning rig.  This one is a little larger than the one caught the previous day.


Pelicans roosting on a tiny marsh island.

We did not catch huge numbers of fish due to the windy conditions.  It is hard to spot the fish when the water is so choppy…That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it!   We did get enough fish to have a meal of speckled trout for supper tonight, a meal of redfish for tomorrow night, and several bags in the freezer.   We had a wonderful time, ate good seafood, and will look forward to going again next year.

I also got lots of knitting done on the ride down there and back.  I am working on the gusset decrease stitches so things are moving along on the socks.  I am hoping to finish them by the end of the month, but we will see.

Have a blessed weekend!


Monday, November 15, 2010

Time Flies…

When you are having fun, or working hard.  This past week was super-busy, and I managed to quilt 5 customer quilts and sew binding /hem (by machine) 3 huge customer quilts.  Add that to my normal busy-ness, and you get the idea that I am running!

I am making some progress on my socks, working on them until 1AM this morning.  Once I get started on something like this I hate to put them down.  I was determined to get past the heel flaps.  They are not very “poseable” at the moment due to their needle positions, so I had to take shots of each sock separately.  I have completed the heel turn and PU gusset stitches on one,


and am just about to start the heel turn for the other one.  I feel like I am “home free” once I get past these gusset stitches and the decreases.


I finally finished my row-by-row "House Quilt”!   This is a Debbie Mumm pattern and is free on the internet.  (Be forewarned… contains tiny pieces!)  I love the way it turned out and may be making another one when things settle down here.  (Ignore that long-arm in the picture… no time to set up the photography stand, so I made do with the hanger in the quilting room.)


I put Legacy batting in this one.  I LOVE that stuff!  It is soft, very stable with scrim, and has a great drape to it.  The quilting does not show as well because of its thinness, but I think once it is washed and puffs up some it will show just fine.


I let IQ do an over-all design because this is a “using” quilt.  As a matter of fact, it is already in use at a friend’s house.


Do you remember the quilt I am supposed to be repairing for my friend?  Well, progress is slow, so this quilt was loaned to her until I get the flower garden quilt repaired.  She loves to curl up on the couch, covered with a quilt for her Sunday afternoon naps, so now she can do that.


Have I said I L-O-V-E this quilt??


Yep, I think another one will be in the works after Christmas rush is over.  (But I think I will probably enlarge the blocks just a little to make the quilt larger and to make piecing a little easier.)  That really means something because I almost N-E-V-E-R make the same quilt twice!


The leaves here are absolutely GORGEOUS right now!!  We have had a few nights with a very light frost and that has caused the colors to really come out.  For the next several posts I will include shots of our fall color.  I so envy those folks that live in the mountains and get an easy view of the color changes.  LA flat-lands make it more difficult to see them, but our colors are just as impressive with the evergreen pines thrown in for contrast.


So that is my “catch-up” post on a little of what has been happening here.  We will be off fishing for a few days, and I’ll give a full report when we return.

Have a really blessed week!  See you again soon!


Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Few Quick Points…

1.  We went

2.  Had fun

3. Learned a lot about IQ

4. Saw quilt show; minimal shopping

5.  We’re home

6.  I’m pooped!

7.  Made good progress on the socks

8.  No pictures tonight

9.  Time change as thrown me all off schedule

10.  Early to bed tonight… like RIGHT NOW!

More details coming tomorrow!


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Care Package from “The Big Easy”; sock progress


Our niece lives in New Orleans.  Her “dues” to the hunting club this year were a few items from the area.  It was a box load, and was brought a long way to N. Louisiana to feed our addictions tastes for something a little different.

#1 item:  Blue Runner spicy red beans


We CAN actually get these here at one of the small stores, but only in the small cans.  When I cook, I cook BIGGGGGGG (so I don’t have to do it again any time soon!), so small cans just won’t work.  Since discovering these I NEVER soak dried red beans to make red beans and rice.  Brown some sausage, throw in some onions, bell pepper, garlic and brown a little.  Throw in a couple of cans of beans, then cook some brown rice.   Supper in about 30 minutes!!

Item #2


Olive salad relish.  We CAN get this here, but it is so expensive I can’t buy it… my frugality just won’t let me!  She gets it for about half what it costs up here.   Can you say, “Muffuletta”?  YUMMO!


I haven’t had much time to work on my knit-along socks, but I now have 1 1/2” of ribbed cuff done.  About 1 more inch of ribbing and I will switch to stockinet stitch, and my needles will fly!  Since we will be traveling tomorrow I really think I can get this ribbing finished tomorrow…. hope, hope, hope.  This is my least favorite part of the process.  The changing back and from from knit to purl is slow and clumsy, but I AM getting better, and I am LOVING the Continental style.  Hopefully the next picture you see of these will show me working on gussets!

Have a great weekend.  We are headed to TX for a day at the beach (Galveston), IQ classes, and a quick run by Quilt Festival in Houston, but this will be a very LOW-budget shopping trip due to the IQ purchase.  My friends tell me the venders really mark things down on the last day of the show so they don’t have to haul so much home.  Perhaps I can find some real bargains.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Decision Made



Which one should I use?  Of course I am talking about knitting socks, and now is the time.  Judy L.’s “Knit a Pair in November” sock knit-along starts today!  Grab your yarn and needles, READY, SET, KNIT!!

I have so many options, thanks to KnitPicks.com.  As you can plainly see… 10 different yarns to choose from, and I have only been collecting for a year.  I really had a hard time deciding because I love them all.

And the winner is….. drum roll, please.


This Stroll Hand-painted "Make Believe” yarn.   I have been drooling over this yarn for almost a year now.  I couldn’t WAIT to get started sooooo…

I didn’t.  I am using  just an ordinary K2P2 cuff and stockinet stitch for the main portion of the sock.  I decided the colors in the yarn will show best that way (plus I am SOOOO slow when knitting a pattern that it would take me until spring to finish this if I used a patterned stitch!)


I know… it is supposed to start Nov. 1, BUT I have to have something on my needles all the time.  This is my “grab and go” project.  And I knit so slowly I knew a month probably would not be long enough for me to finish this pair. (But I AM getting faster now that I have worked on learning to knit Continental Style.) 

TIP:  For those of you interested in learning Continental Style, Knitpicks.com has some tutorial videos on their site.  This REALLY helped me figure this out, since line drawings in books don’t show you exactly what to do with the yarn tail when trying to purl.


I don’t think I really gave myself much of a head-start… I have cast this yarn on FOUR times before things went as I wanted it to go.  The first time was “toes-up”, and I decided I was not going to use my beautiful hand-painted yarn to learn a new technique… I’ll use one of the kettle-dyed yarns and the toes-up technique on my NEXT pair.  Then I cast it on “cuff-down” and played with Continental style.  My tension was all over the place, so I ripped it out twice, did some practicing on another set of needles, and I think I finally have the hang of it, so the fourth time is the charm.


Too busy to knit much right now, but it is packed and ready to go.  The road trip this weekend will give me lots of knitting time, I hope.  And thanks to my SIL  Mary Anne and my niece Salinda, I have a neat little bag to carry it all in.  It is a pretty tight fit right now, but once I get a little more knitted everything I need fits right in this little shoulder bag, ready to grab and go.

So…. are YOU in the Knit-Along?  Why NOT? Let’s knit a pair in November!!


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