Saturday, October 16, 2010

Another Cake

This is a 6" round, 4 layer carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, marshmallow fondant and fondant decorations for a baby shower a friend was hosting.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

More groom's cake pics

Carissa did a very nice presentation of the groom's cake in front of everyone at the reception.  I didn't see it when I arrived at the reception, so I asked the woman from catering that I had given it to earlier in the day.  Good thing I did, because they had forgotten about it!  No harm done, though, and I was so touched that she presented it to him in such a way.  I was worried about it, because I had not been able to taste it, so I asked the woman serving our table to bring me a slice.  They had taken a slice at the presentation, but the rest was being wrapped for them to take home.  She came back in a few minutes with a small slice.  It was exactly as I had hoped it would be.

Here are some more pictures:

Saturday, October 9, 2010

I do love a wedding

We're off today to my good friend Carissa's wedding.  I stepped in late in the game to make the groom's cake.  It's a 2 layer 9" round of Dorie's Perfect Party Cake with the lemon amped up a bit via a limoncello simple syrup and lightly flavored mousseline buttercream from The Cake Bible.  The decorations are piped chocolate.  I'd love to say I piped them on the cake, but I did tons on parchment paper, then picked the best ones for the cake.  Last night I was seeing every imperfection, but today, I really like it.  I do wish the icing was smoother, but I think it's fine, and I know they will appreciate and love it.

Chicken Cacciatore

Bob G gave me a recipe for chicken cacciatore.  Since the weather has cooled off considerably, it seemed like a good time to make such an earthy, saucy, warm dish.  I forgot to pick up mushrooms, so this tasted lighter than the last time I made it, but it was still delicious.  I made polenta finished with some butter and parmesan to serve underneath the chicken.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Craftster Mini Art Quilt Swap 3

I participated in another swap.  This one was a mini art quilt.  Each swapper gave several themes as well as color preferences to inspire their partner.  I was paired with a wonderful partner!  My quilt is by far the favorite out of the whole gallery.  

Here is the quilt I sent to my partner, using her themes of Ireland and religion.  I wanted to include a third knot overlaid on a cross, but it would have made the quilt larger than the requirements.  I also used green and orange, the colors of the Irish flag.

And here is the quilt she sent me, which used my color preferences and also my sewing theme.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Weeks Ringle will be presenting at the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild's October 17th meeting!  See the CMQG blog for more details

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Chocolate Macaron with Salted Caramel Ganache

I made these on Sunday for company.  I was so proud of them!  They came out perfectly and were delicious.  And our little friend, coincidentally, had recently had a macaron at a coffeeshop, so he was very excited to have some at our house.  I made up a box for him to take home and he asked about it several times to make sure we didn't forget them.  Very sophisticated for a 4 year old!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

DONE !!!!!

The railing you see on the right has been reinstalled on the stairs.  The edging of the stairs and the threshold are installed.  The only thing left is to sweep and mop (although the installers did a great job cleaning up), and for LBK to install some trim on the risers of the stairs.  They offered to use the metal trim on the edges, but we thought wood would look better.  It will be just 9 or so straight cuts and a few finish nails.  Then we have to put everything back!

I'm currently taking suggestions for new furniture and layouts.  Currently the room holds:
  • sofa
  • loveseat
  • coffee table
  • 6" table that sewing machine sits on
  • Gran's old kitchen table that sits on bed risers to make a cutting/work table
  • the long shelves on the wall
  • 3 Ikea Aneboda wardrobes, 2 singles and a double that hold fabric, books and supplies (ours are light wood tone, not white as they are currently showing)
  • a small bookcase
Everything is old, used and repurposed, which is ok.  But I feel like it's so fresh and new
I'm thinking:
  • take down the long shelves
  • add white "cube" bookcases on either side of the fireplace
  • create a floor to ceiling design wall to go over the fireplace (it is never used on the advice of the house inspector and it stays plenty warm down there anyways)
  • keep the Aneboda wardrobes, maybe do something with the "windows" in the doors
  • keep the couch and table but move the loveseat to the laundry room "mud room" area and recover both pieces
Unsure about:
  • how to replace the 6' table and kitchen table
  • where to put table(s) in relation to quilting frame if new bookcases are on either side of the fireplace

Monday, August 30, 2010

In Progress

Here's the basement with the skim coat drying.

And one totally unrelated pic of Quincy.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

New Sewing Room Floor

The new sewing room floor is being installed this weekend.  Here's what it looks like before.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

Gluten Free Baking

My friend is testing out a gluten free diet to see if it makes a difference for her.  Luckily, there is a good network of friends and acquaintances who are celiac or gluten intolerant, so she already has a head start on information. 

Since we had to work late one night last week and dinner is usually ordered in, I suggested we cook to make sure she could stick to her gluten free without worrying.  We ran across to the grocery at lunch and bought the ingredients for Greek chicken and potatoes, and a tomato and cucumber salad.  We quickly sliced everything up and tossed the potatoes and chicken in the oven.  The salad went in the fridge.  Everyone enjoyed our "naturally" gluten free dinner, proclaiming it better than the local Italian restaurant!

Then, the highlight, these cookies I baked the night before.  The peanut butter ones are the 4 ingredient flourless peanut butter cookies.  The chocolate chip are my usual recipe with Bob's Red Mill all purpose flour substitute.  The texture was only slightly different than usual.  The outside was a little crispier.  I don't think anyone but me would notice.  Everyone was very excited that all of us could eat some delicious cookies for dessert!   We even saved some for breakfast, but they somehow "mysteriously" disappeared overnight.  Custodians and summer workers, I'm looking at you!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


The latest Milo update:  B12 shots, melatonin, flax seed hull and an antibiotic all to assist his adrenal gland function and intestinal issues.  Continue the special diet.  Recheck blood work in 12 weeks.  Very unlikely lymphoma is an issue.  Hopefully these things will help him digest his food better so he doesn't stand over his bowl barking for more food all day.  He eats more meals than a hobbit.

Monday, August 9, 2010

First Two

Here are the first two charity quilts for Ebony's giveaway contest. 

It's taken me awhile to get some other projects cleared up, but I finished these two Saturday.  On Sunday, I prepped 4 more.  Hopefully they will finish quickly.  It's a busy week this week.  I'm hoping having things ready to go will provide some sewing stress relief. 

One of my skills goals with these projects is to improve my machine sewn binding.  I always prefer machine sewing the first side and hand sewing the back side.  Sometimes you need something faster, or very durable, and machine sewing would be better.  I did one of these quilts by hand and one by machine using a glue down method.  I was pretty satisfied with how it came out.  There were only two small spots that I got to close to or missed the edge.  That was mostly because I was in a hurry since I had to get ready for a party.  Still, I'm looking to improve accuracy with practice.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunday Dinner

There's no better way to start the week than with caprese salad with basil and tomatoes from the garden, a prime NY strip steak, steamed asparagus with hollandaise, a delicious red, wine Razor's Edge cabernet, and brownies for dessert. 

Friday, August 6, 2010

New Floor Coming Soon!

We ordered a new floor for the sewing room and I got an email saying that it is in transit.  Whoo hoo!  Unfortunately, that means I have to pack everything up and move it out.  But then I get to move it back onto the new floor.  It's called Mambo Fusion.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Flying Geese Blocks and Pizza

I finished all the geese blocks, stippling two charity quilts and had my friends over to make pizzas for lunch last Thursday, which was tons of fun.  I thought they did  a great job!  I usually use Reinhart's Neo-Neopolitan pizza dough, which is very wet.  For Thursday, I used the recipe from, which is much easier to work with.  I made the dough in the morning, formed it into balls, and left them to rest on an oiled cookie sheet.  By the time they arrived, hungry and ready to go, I stretched the dough and put it on parchment, then let them top them.  Once the first ones were in the oven, E decided we needed to make a pizza with the apples, bananas and peaches she saw on the counter.  I gave her another ball of dough to stretch out.  She asked for a rolling pin and we made a fruit pizza with butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, and fruit.  Not too sure how it tasted as they took it home with them.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Flying Geese Christmas quilt

All those rectangles and squares have been transformed into flying geese.  Next step, blocks.  Here is one of the first ones.  The background is Kona bone, so the whites are a bit off in the picture.  I'm really pleased with how they are going together, except some of the seams are bulky.  I'm a little concerned about quilting it.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New Patio Cushions

We bought a patio set a couple years ago. It's just two comfy arm chairs that can recline, two footstools and a small side table.  The cushion had become faded and stained.  While it seems like it would be easy to find replacement cushions, the seat cushions are sloped in the back to fit neatly under the back cushions.  I couldn't find replacements the same shape, and the cushions themselves are still good.  So I recovered them.  I still have one more footstool cushion to make, as I only cut one as my first test cushion.  I think they came out nicely, and LBK likes them.

Our small garden is thriving and soon we'll have some tomatoes.  I've gotten a couple of cherry tomatoes, but that's all so far, not counting tons of herbs.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Chicken Teriyaki Meatballs and Last Minute Fried Rice

I bought these teriyaki meatballs at Costco after someone, probably over here or here, recommended them.  They are pretty tasty, and only have a touch of that weird squishy-ness that purchased meatballs often have.  I just warmed them in the microwave from the freezer.  They'd be better in the oven, but the microwave was good enough yesterday as I didn't really plan ahead to use the oven. 

I thought that they came in more of a sauce, and had just prepared plain rice to go with them.  When I realized that, in fact, they were not saucy at all, I pulled out a little of this and that from the fridge - oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, green beans, red peppers, fresh spinach, scallions, soy, fish sauce - and the freezer and made fried rice loosely based on some recipes for pineapple fried rice.  I rarely make fried rice, so I was extra happy when it turned out good.  I mean, really, really good.  Not just good for last minute good.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

One Valance Up, One to Go

Finally, finally, one valance is hanging up.  It fits.  I hung it by myself.  And I love it more each passing day. 
Here's a little more context.

One more to go.  And maybe a matching apron, no?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Eggplant Patties

A few days ago, I made these eggplant patties from Marcella Hazan's book, Essentials of Italian Cooking (I think.  I returned it to the library.).  They were good and made for a light dinner with a small salad and some white table wine in a fish bottle

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cobb Salad

In trying to eat a bit healthier and lower carb, I'm trying to get more salads and veggies into the rotation.  We had this lovely Cobb salad the other day for lunch.  Or was it dinner?  I  can't remember.  I do know it was delicious and we ate every last bit.  And I missed the bread.

Grilled chicken, blue cheese, bacon, hard boiled egg, avocado, tomatoes

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Milo is racking up the vet bills again.  He was not feeling well the other night and clearly very uncomfortable, so off to the vet we went.  3 1/2 hours later we left with two meds, xrays, somewhere around 80 ultrasound pics of his intestinal walls, kidney, adrenal glands, pancreas, and other internal bits and pieces and orders to come back in the morning for another xray.  He seemed to be back to his cranky self last night, and is doing ok today.  He has to fast until Friday.  Until then, we have to force feed him his meds, keep him hydrated with a 50% dilution of Pedialyte, and try to keep Quincy from harassing him.  Oh yes, they shaved his belly and half way up his sides to do the ultrasound, so he's got a sort of doggie mohawk going on.  Not cute.

Anybody know what flavor Pedialyte dogs prefer?  Cause it isn't unflavored by the reaction I got today.  This is going to get really messy.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Asparagus Pizza

Wow, what an amazing pizza!  Deb over at posted this asparagus pizza and she, as usual, was right on.  I used fresh mozzarella and cooked it on the grill with a quick finish under the broiler.  It's way too hot to turn on the oven tonight.  The crust had a nice char on the bottom that was just short of burnt.  The dough was good even though I made it just a few hours ago, with a nice chewiness to the interior.  I also finished off that homemade wine, which went well with the pizza.  I don't think it would have stood up to a tomato based pizza yet, but it was good with this light, springy one.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken cacciatore is usually, in my mind, a crockpot type of dish.  This was made on top of the stove and finished in the oven and was a delicous combination of ingredients that didn't go all mushy.  Bob G gave me this recipe from I-don't-know-where for Chicken Cacciatore with Red and Yellow Peppers.  Steamed then sauteed green beans on the side and some homemade bread.  è molto delizioso!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Grilled Vegetables and New Wine

We grilled vegetables this week to eat for lunches and such.  On Friday, we had a work related dinner and grilled chicken kabobs and flank steak.  Saturday, I ate the rest of the loaf of spinach dip in Hawaiin bread - thanks E, I DID eat ALL the bread - and for dinner we had the last of the grilled veggies with leftover chicken and a NY strip steak we grilled up "fresh."

To go along with all our grilled goodies, we opened the bottle of wine a new friend had given us.  She recommended that we have it with something grilled.  It was good, very light and young, but flavorful and easy to drink.  I'd like to see how it develops over time.  I don't think I have the patience to make my own wine and wait around for it when there's a great liquor store about 7 blocks away!  But I'm glad I know someone who does.  LBK drank the beer she gave us and he thought that was very good as well, even though it's not his preferred style of beer.  Props to the brewer!  I, who can normally not drink any kind of beer, had several sips.  An unqualified success, I'd say.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Happy Anniversary to Us

Yesterday was our 14th wedding anniversary.  I received a wonderful handmade card and this beautiful box of chocolates from Canady.  I feel like I should write something mushy and lovey-dovey.  It will have to suffice that I am the luckiest, no, WE are the luckiest people in the world to have each other.

I'll try to list the flavors as I eat them.  They aren't pictured on the website and LBK doesn't remember exactly what each one is.
Top row:  1  coconut   3  three layer ganache -milk, white, dark
Middle:   salt caramel   pumpkin spice   creme brulee   dark chocolate
Bottom:  1    2    3   80% ganache? with salt on top

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I baked some cheddar bread from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.  I made 4 small loaves.  They didn't last long, even though I don't think they were cheesy enough. 

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pizza: Onion, Corn, Thyme, Basil Oil

I had a delicious breakfast out with a friend this morning, a roasted asparagus skillet with a crispy layer of hash browns, asparagus, a little cheese, topped with two over easy eggs, white toast on the side.  I left the restaurant full, but not stuffed.  We shopped a bit and I wasn't hungry until well past our regular dinner time. 

I had mixed up some pizza dough when I had returned home, so we had two pizzas for dinner.  The first was a typical pepperoni with fresh mozzarella.  The second was from the Food Network magazine insert, 50 Pizzas.  I caramelized a small onion in olive oil and a bit of butter, adding some balsamic near the end.  I drizzled the dough with basil olive oil, added the onions and some corn I had sauteed in a skillet.  Added some fresh thyme and mozzarella.  Another quick drizzle with the basil oil as it came out of the oven.  Delicious and different.  We had an awesome Pasos Robles cabernet sauvignon from Trader Joe's.  I think I drank 1/2 the bottle, which is easily a glass too much on a Sunday night. 

We got some huge, super ripe strawberries at Costco, so I made strawberry shortcake for dessert.  I was pleased with how much my biscuits rose.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Milo update

Just wanted to update those of you who know Milo.  He had us pretty scared last weekend.  He is currently doing fine.  He's eating again, which means he's pooping again and passing some of that gravel that's sitting in his small intestine.  (Sorry for poop-posting on a blog that's mostly about food.)  We'll probably take him in next week for another x-ray just to see how things are progressing.  As long as things are going in the front and coming out the back, we just wait and see.  He is in good spirits and is barking and getting in the way again.

Unfortunately, I had to come home early from the eGullet Chocolate Conference.  You can see more about what we did over on the eG thread.  I enjoyed the two days I was able to spend in Maryland.  The conference was super organized thanks to Steve.  Chocolate people are the best people!  There's been a passing mention of returning to Niagara next year.  I hope so.  I'm heading down to the Southside next weekend to see if I can get some chocolate in bulk since I don't really like what I've been using and would prefer not to order online if I can avoid it.  There's also a place near the airport I want to check out.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Somehow I missed Girl Scout cookie season this year.  It's ok, really, because they aren't really that great anymore.  And they had some in the library, so I was able to snack on a couple, but no samoas.  When I was over on, I saw a recipe to make your own.  I bought Salerno butter cookies instead of making my own.  No way did I have the patience for that.  The Salerno cookies were a bit thicker than I wanted, but worked well enough.  Two burnt batches of caramel later, I ended up with a delicious batch of cookies.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

When scrolling back through some old posts, I re-discovered this list of 100 Things to Drink Before You Die.  I can bold a few more on the list including orange bitters, absinthe, Pisco Sour, sherry, Jamaican coffee, Ramos Gin Fizz and Rye whisky. (Original post Nov. 2008)  I think that's pretty good for not really trying.

List of Drinks You Must Try Before You Expire
  1. Manhattan Cocktail
  2. Kopi Luwak (Weasle Coffee)
  3. French / Swiss Absinthe
  4. Rootbeer
  5. Gin Martini
  6. Sauternes
  7. Whole Milk
  8. Tequila (100% Agave)
  9. XO Cognac
  10. Espresso
  11. Spring Water (directly from the spring)
  12. Gin & Tonic
  13. Mead
  14. Westvleteren 12 (Yellow Cap) Trappist Ale
  15. Chateau d’Yquem
  16. Budweiser
  17. Maraschino Liqueur
  18. Mojito
  19. Orgeat
  20. Grand Marnier
  21. Mai Tai (original)
  22. Ice Wine (Canadian)
  23. Red Bull
  24. Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
  25. Bubble Tea
  26. Tokaji
  27. Chicory
  28. Islay Scotch
  29. Pusser’s Navy Rum
  30. Fernet Branca
  31. Fresh Pressed Apple Cider
  32. Bourbon
  33. Australian Shiraz
  34. Buckley’s Cough Syrup
  35. Orange Bitters
  36. Margarita (classic recipe)
  37. Molasses & Milk
  38. Chimay Blue
  39. Wine of Pines (Tepache)
  40. Green Tea
  41. Daiginjo Sake
  42. Chai Tea
  43. Vodka (chilled, straight)
  44. Coca-Cola
  45. Zombie (Beachcomber recipe)
  46. Barley Wine
  47. Brewed Choclate (Xocolatl)
  48. Pisco Sour
  49. Lemonade
  50. Speyside Single Malt
  51. Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee
  52. Champagne (Vintage)
  53. Rosé (French)
  54. Bellini
  55. Caipirinha
  56. White Zinfandel (Blush)
  57. Coconut Water
  58. Cerveza
  59. Cafe au Lait
  60. Ice Tea
  61. Pedro Ximenez Sherry
  62. Vintage Port
  63. Hot Chocolate
  64. German Riesling
  65. Pina Colada
  66. El Dorado 15 Year Rum
  67. Chartreuse
  68. Greek Wine
  69. Negroni
  70. Jägermeister
  71. Chicha
  72. Guiness
  73. Rhum Agricole
  74. Palm Wine
  75. Soju
  76. Ceylon Tea (High Grown)
  77. Belgian Lambic
  78. Mongolian Airag
  79. Doogh, Lassi or Ayran
  80. Sugarcane Juice
  81. Ramos Gin Fizz
  82. Singapore Sling
  83. Mint Julep
  84. Old Fashioned
  85. Perique
  86. Jenever (Holland Gin)
  87. Chocolate Milkshake
  88. Traditional Italian Barolo
  89. Pulque
  90. Natural Sparkling Water
  91. Cuban Rum
  92. Asti Spumante
  93. Irish Whiskey
  94. Château Margaux
  95. Two Buck Chuck
  96. Screech
  97. Akvavit
  98. Rye Whisky
  99. German Weissbier
  100. Daiquiri (classic)

Monday, April 5, 2010


We forgot to boil some eggs until late Saturday night. LBK said he would decorate them.  This is what we got:  one generic Easter egg for each of us.

His dad won the egg cracking game.  I think he always wins.  Is there a name for that game? 

Since LBK doesn't really like ham, we had lamb for Easter dinner.  I've been saving a boneless leg from Sam's and a bottle of wine I received as a Christmas gift, a Guenoc Victorian Claret.  I also made beans from Modern Greek by Andy Harris, grilled asparagus, and bread.  We had a store bought strawberry filled cake for dessert.

Gigantes Plaki
adapted from Modern Greek

1 lb lima beans, soaked overnight or two large cans butter beans, or frozen lima beans
3 T olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced or finely sliced
2 large tomatoes, diced
2 T parsley, chopped
1 T tomato paste dissolved in 1 c water
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the beans if using dried.  Saute onion and garlic in the oil until soft.  Add carrots and tomatoes and saute until soft.  Combine all ingredients and bake at 350° for approximately 90 minutes.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Bad Habits Die Hard

So, I have this habit, like many of my fellow quilters it seems, of starting new projects before the existing ones are finished.  But, I needed something I could work on in the family room, and I have had this Merry and Bright jelly roll for quite some time.  I finally picked a pattern: High Flying Geese from Layer Cake, Jelly Roll and Charm Quilts.  So Friday night while watching tv, I cut the jelly roll into rectangles.  Today, I made a quick trip to Joann's and got some Kona in Bone for the background.  It matches perfectly.  Next step: cut 40 strips 2.5" wide of the Kona.