Sunday, January 30, 2011

Full Start to the New Year

The end of the January? Good night! This was a quickie. Well, except for the week everything shut down in South Carolina for snow. Now that it's over and we didn't lose power or have any ice damage, I will say it was a lovely view out my front window for two days.
In the meantime, I've spent the month finishing up the 2010 One Block Over Bee and getting a start on the new. I'm in love with the Fairy Tale house block we all made in December. I need to track down the fabric used for the center and make one of those for my own! If not a whole quilt – when do I actually get that done? – then a wonky block as above quilted and sewn into a pillow cover.

January was full of organizing activities. The loveliest day was the day when my friend, Robyn, spent her day off helping me execute the organization two rooms in the downstairs apartment. The blue room is looking great again (it's been about two years since I could say that), and the guest room is ready for company and/or for when my son returns home from Germany and lives downstairs during his senior year of college!
My husband has a January birthday, and I made him what I understand to be perfect Red Velvet Cake cupcakes. Now, you know me. If it's not chocolate, pretty much I don't waste my calorie intake on it. I only want rich, chocolatey cake when I eat cake; well, that or my friend, Teresa's, cream cheese pound cake, the only other best cake out there. When I told the man I was making his favorite cupcake recipe for his birthday, he said, "Why don't you just pick some up at Publix?" Uh, hello? Game on! If my first batch didn't turn out absolutely perfect, by jiminy, I would try, try again until I could be featured on Food Network. However, my combination of ideas from Martha Stewart, Paula Deen, and The Pioneer Woman recipes turned out perfecto! The frosting was lush and not too sweet.  I even took a few to work with me and had the ladies there do a Cupcake War and grade me on texture, taste, and beauty. I won! By the way, I picked up a beautiful Red Velvet Cupcake at Publix a couple of days later, so I could try their version. I'm thinking that mix is from the box. Speaking of chocolate ... I have a yen for my double layer favorite

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Ice Storm Cometh - Soup's On!

Well, the current news is that it will be icing and snowing after midnight tonight.  That just shouldn't happen here in South Carolina, at least in my part.  It totally cramps my schedule!  Plus, I work this evening and will be driving home late and hope it holds off.  However, we must be prepared.  The grocery store was half empty last night, and I decided to stop in this morning to pick up some items for soup and salad, and Publix was packed!  My daughter cooked up a Publix recipe for Pasta Fagioli a week or so ago, and it is so yummy.  As I was picking up the ingredients to make it today, I decided adding meatballs would make it even better.  Recipe below. 

So, New Year, New Quilt Bee at One Block Over.  I have the January block again, but my excitement of planning the block and sending out the packages to everyone is completely dimmed by the fact that I have two blocks left to complete for 2010.  My shame hangs heavy on me, and I would have traded out January to someone else but didn't want to mess up the planned order.  The photo at the top of the post is the October 2010 block I completed last week.  Those fabrics are lovely together. 

Drats!  I just checked the OBO site to grab the link, and wouldn't you know, Linda has already sewn my block (please go to OBO and see).  It is just gorgeous!  I collected the Meadowsweet fabric set last year, and it has sat nicely washed, ironed, folded, and stacked waiting for me to get on with something.  The bee is the perfect way to use all the designs well and get the job done.  My favorite block from last year was a patchy log cabin, and I chose that style for mine this month.  This has the potential to be a truly gorgeous quilt.  Based on my history, though, I should probably hire out the sashing and quilting so it gets done in a timely fashion. 
So, what's for Sunday dinner at your place?  If you have no idea but want something warm, cozy, and very quick to put together, check out the recipe for the Pasta Fagioli at this link.  My tinkering included: 

1.  Pasta on the side for the wheat-free people here to choose whether they want it or not.  I like "stoup," as Rachael Ray would say, so my bowl will be loaded appropriately. 

2.  Bag of small meatballs -- because I love them so.  

3.  No sundried tomato pesto at the store, so I used sundried tomato spread found right next to all the pasta sauce jars at the grocery.  

4.  I drain the canned beans.    

Well, stay warm and safe.  Pray with me that Jack Frost stays away, if not completely, at least until I'm back safe and cozy at home.  Oh, yes, and a note to the electric company:  Please put a blanket over the transformer that powers my older neighborhood and send a warm blast through all our above-ground power lines.  We really need the electricity to stay ON during the storm.