Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ship Shape Tote

Check it out - I actually sewed something! More Chicopee (should not be a surprise and there IS more to come :-) as I am completely in love with this line, still. I feel like maybe I should be hoarding it. So this is Green Bee Pattern's Ship Shape Tote - I saw all the fun people were having with it at Sewing Summit and I knew I'd be making one sooner or later. So last weekend while I was oogling all the Quiltcon fun on IG I actually sewed something - crazy, right? And I love it! We're taking a little weekend trip for our anniversary and this is the back I'll be carrying around - yay.
10 different Chicopee prints for the front (back is the same layout) and black yarn dyed Essex linen on the inside. I used Fusible fleece on the exterior panels and a little bit of quilting and decor bond on the lining. I also added a pocket because I hate searching for my phone! The combination of interfacings makes for a fairly stiff (sturdy feeling bag). The straps are a little skinnier than I normally like but I do like the overall look of the bag - after carrying it around full of stuff I may decide to make the next one with wider straps, I'll keep you posted. Regardless of the strap size this is a great tote pattern that I could easily see myself making again to carry park/pool stuff in - how cute would it be done scrappy with all different prints? Ok, adding it to the already-too-long to-sew list :-)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Love Muffins

I made these muffins to share with Harper's teachers on Valentine's Day and they were yummy. Like I ate two while they were cooling just to "test" them and make sure they tasted ok. I'm not normally a super chocolate person but these complete hit the spot!

Chocolate Chip (Love) Muffins
1 18.25oz devil's food cake mix
1 3.9oz instant chocolate pudding mix
(1 Tbsp espresso powder - optional but yummy)

1 C sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 C water
1/2 C vegetable oil
3 large eggs
2 C semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and put paper liners in muffin tins. Makes about 24.

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix wet ingredients in a medium size bowl - whisk to combine and then add wet ingredients to dry. Stir gently to just combine. Fold in chocolate chips. Spoon or scoop into lined muffin tins (I have a large scoop that I use for muffins and cupcakes and it makes this part super easy). I added some Valentine's sprinkles (of course) before I baked these - totally optional.

Bake 20-24 minutes. Muffins should spring back when touched. Toothpick test won't work because of all the melty chocolate chips :-) Let cool 5 minutes in pan and then on racks.

We had sprinkles on ours but these would also be good dusted with powdered sugar or even plain. What's the difference between a muffin and a cupcake? Frosting of course!

I'm really enjoying seeing all the fun stuff going on at QuiltCon (through my IG feed) but also feeling bummed not to be there. Next time for sure! Hoping to get some consolation sewing done this weekend that I can share next week. Also *really* hoping the kiddo kicks her cold/flu/plague SOON. There's only so much Dora a mom can take and I think I hit my limit yesterday ;-) Have a good weekend! 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Best Garlic Bread

 I feel like February has stolen my mojo. Sewing has been slow. Baking has been almost non-existent. Almost. But I'm trying to feel productive while I keep my sick kiddo company on the couch so I have a few recipes to post that I have actually made this month. So this is one of my go-to comfort foods - garlic bread. You heat up a mixture of butter, olive oil, garlic and spices - you want the spices to kind of steep in the warm butter/oil mixture. You can do this in the microwave or on the stove.
 Brush the butter/oil mixture over your bread and if it's cheese bread that much better.
Sprinkle with shredded cheese - I used the 6-cheese Italian Blend with some extra Parmesan thrown in for good measure. 
Bake in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes (or until golden brown and delicious). This is excellent with a bowl of pasta, a salad and glass of wine or for breakfast ;-)

Best Garlic Bread
In a microwave safe bowl or a small saucepan heat 4T butter and 2T olive oil until butter is melted and mixture is warm. Remove from heat and add:
3 cloves minced garlic (I used 1 1/2tsp freeze dried minced)
1/2 tsp each thyme, oregano, red pepper flakes and kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Stir to mix and let sit for 5-10 minutes to blend flavors. Brush on bread, top with cheese.
Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until as brown and bubbly as you like.

You can store and leftover butter mixture in the fridge for a couple of days. I've also just gone ahead and mixed the shredded cheese in the leftover butter mixture and stored it all together in the fridge. Just spoon butter and cheese mixture on bread and toast same temp/time.

Back tomorrow with some easy and delicious chocolate muffins. Hope February is treating you better than it is us!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A little Chicopee love.

I managed to finish another one of Rachel's Wheel Quilts - this is the same pattern that I used for my color wheel quilt but this one is all Chicopee. I love this line so ridiculously much. Maybe it's because I'm a child of the 70's. Maybe it's because this palette is so me. Maybe it's because I love almost everything Denise Schmidt has ever done. Who knows, who cares, it's love.
 I kept the quilting really simple and just did straight lines in between each section. I used Kona black for the binding and snow for the background. It has a nice graphic quality that I'm really enjoying.
And a little patchwork pillow to go along! 3.5" squares, 6x6 layout and a 18" pillow form. Easy-peasey.

Side note: my niece has a love/hate relationship with this pillow, it makes her wave her arms and grab at it frantically only to be SO mad when she can't pick any of it up and get in her mouth. At five months 2D vs. 3D is still maddening to her but very entertaining for us!

I made BOTH of these projects from ONE fat-eighth set of Chicopee from Westwood Acres - if you haven't checked out Amanda's etsy shop you need to. She has a great collection and her fat-eighths are my new favorite way to buy and sew with a collection - the size makes them seem not precious and I actually use them instead of "save" them for that perfect project.

I'm still thinking of more projects to make with Chicopee and now Shelburne Falls is already out! Gah! I can't keep up ;-)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Cookies and Candy

Well hi! Lately I feel like I blink and whole weeks have passed - anyone else got this going on? So here I am, happily back and sharing some yummy recipes from my sister. My first disclaimer: these are dangerous. They are easy to make, easier to eat and they are way tastier than the sum of their parts. Consider yourself warned.

Square pretzels, rolos and m&m's - layer the preztels and rolos and bake in a 350 degree oven for 3 minutes, then take them out and smoosh the m&m on top. Let cool and eat. And eat. And eat.
My second disclaimer: my child likes my sister's chocolate chip cookies better than mine. Sigh. And they have crisco in them. I'm a crisco snob! I avoid it like the plague. But sometimes it makes a soft, yummy cookie to beat all others. This is one of those times. So here is the recipe (with variations) exactly as it was given to me:

Pudding Cookies:
Basic Recipe
1 stick softened butter
1/2 c. butter flavored crisco
1/4c. granulated sugar
3/4c. brown sugar
1 small package instant pudding
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/4c. flour
2c. chips

Bake at 350 for 12 to 14 minutes

Vanilla Pudding
1c. chocolate chips
1c. Plain M&Ms

Vanilla Pudding
1c. Regular Size Chocolate Chips
1c. Mini Chocolate Chips

Vanilla Pudding
2c. Butterscotch Chips

Chocolate Pudding + 2 TBSP. Cocoa Powder
1c. Regular Chocolate Chips
1c. Mini Chocolate Chips

Chocolate Pudding + 2 TBSP. Cocoa Powder
1c. Peanut Butter Chips
1c. Mini Chocolate Chips

I only had plain old Crisco and the cookies turned out just fine with it. We also added some Valentine's sprinkles to half the batter, just for fun and because you know we love sprinkles around here. I'm happy to report that my child (and at least one other) whole-heartedly approved of them. Teehee.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Bisquick Coffee Cake

Yup, coffee cake from a mix. The thing is that this is so easy and such a classic, it's hard to go wrong with it, especially on the weekends when you want something yummy without working too hard for it. Best eaten on the day it's made (not a problem at our house).

I found this recipe not on the back of the Bisquick box but over at Allrecipes and changed it just slightly. I might also throw some chopped pecans in the topping next time because they just make everything a little bit better ;-) Have a great weekend!

Bisquick Coffee Cake

2 cups Bisquick
2/3 cup water or 2/3 cup milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup Bisquick
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Grease a deep pie plate, 8"x8" square pan, or 9"x9" square pan. I used a 8x8" glass pan.
Mix dough ingredients and put in baking dish.
Mix topping ingredients with a fork or pastry mixer until crumbly.
Spread topping mix over dough and drag a butter knife across like you were making a tic-tac-toe board several times.
Bake for 25 minutes.

Update: this was scheduled for MARCH 2nd and published itself retroactively as a FEBRUARY 2nd recipe? What the...? Oh well, still good coffee cake ;-)

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