Friday, 31 August 2012

Where Have We Been?

I know, I know it's been awhile since our last post but we have a good excuse. It is tomato season!!! That means sauce :) Yummy! We buy plum tomatoes and grind them into liquid and boil it down to make beautiful bright red tomato sauce. We work hard to wash the tomatoes, cut up the tomatoes, put the tomatoes through the tomato mill, then we cook the tomato juice to get some of the liquid out, then we bottle/can the tomato sauce. It is an all day process, and it is a little very messy! This year we invested in an electric tomato mill. What a time saver and boy do my arms thank me. We also got as much juice out of 2 bushels of tomatoes that we got out of 3 bushels last year when we hand cranked it. Now the tomatoes are very juicy this year but we ended up with the same number of jars of sauce as last year. 28 x 1 litre bottles.

Yes that's an old sewing table base. This is set up #2 and it worked so much better.
We taped lids from new take out containers to help sort the pulp from the juice and to direct the juice into the pot and not all over the person feeding the tomatoes into the mill.
Lovely juice boiling down into sauce.
We add lemon juice and basil leaves then process/can it and store it in the basement until we need it. Doesn't it look beautiful?

Sharon had the brilliant idea to make ketchup with the 3rd bushel of tomatoes. So another day of washing, cutting, grinding and boiling. This time we had to add spices and vinegar... but we didn't want to make the commercial ketchup so we looked for recipes and tasted ketchup then tasted our ketchup then added spices then tasted some more (I don't think I could eat ketchup for a few weeks now) the recipes either started with cut up tomatoes, or juice and were hard to convert to the amount of juice we had so we tasted our way to success. (As you know Sharon doesn't really follow recipes).

Here's the ketchup having a steam bath!!!
Our finished ketchup labeled and dated. Hey it matches our wall colour!

Next we cooked corn and sliced it off the cob and vacuum sealed it for winter. Then Sharon chopped up leeks and vacuum sealed them for winter too. I wonder sometimes, does she think we are Pioneers? I do appreciate the flavours of real local vegetables in the middle of the winter. When you're a vegetarian you eat a lot of vegetables :)

During this frenzy in the kitchen I managed to make myself a purse using a pattern from a library book. I did not get my Free motion Challenge done for this month. :(
Front flap of messenger bag.

Side pocket #1 for my phone.

Side pocket #2 for glasses. My strap is adjustable. I sewed the main fabric to webbing to keep the strap stiff, I find the fabric and pellon straps get floppy after awhile.

Double set of front pockets.

I learned how to make a set in zipper pocket.

I added these pockets from other patterns i have made.

This is even more organization if I need it and it fits inside. or I can carry my iPad inside instead.

We went to the Farmer's market one last time (well for the Friday market) and said good bye to all the farmers we visit every week.
Lovely vegetables.

Why is this the last week for the Farmer's market, it isn't, but we have to go back to school and we can't go in late on a Friday just so we can shop!!! We did think about how we could do it but it won't work. Oh well suck it up Buttercup and back to work we'll go!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Finally Finished My Dresden Challege!

I know I've been teasing you with pieces of this quilt. I have been working on it between our day trips. I keep adding pieces to it and showing a little more of the quilt. I am linking up to the Salt lake Modern Quilt Guild's Dresden Challenge. The link will be open from September 1- 6th.

I'm entering the Innovative category, the quilt has to be 50" minimum on one side and use the EZ dresden ruler to create an unusual design. I'm not sure my design is unusual but it isn't traditional. So without any more delay here is the finished quilt.
I'll try for a new photo when the sun moves!
The back!
I washed the quilt and love how soft it feels. I took more pictures with less sun.

Yes I still have to sew the rod pocket down!

I have to sew down the hanging sleeve and I'm going to throw it in the wash to get the marker out. I used the Frixion pen and I keep reading that it can come back so I'll wash it to get it out completely.
The "grey" area is quilted by following along the side of each block and turning in until you meet the center then I traveled to the next block.
 I am still learning about my LA machine and still dealing with tension and some stretching but hey this is my 4th quilt on my frame so I am a newbie!

Here is the back after washing it. Not bad for LA quilt #4.

I tried different kinds of quilting to show off the different areas of the quilt. I was trying to make the quilt draw you into the center of the quilt design by making the borders get bigger as they came out from the quilt.

I've decided to name this quilt "Things Aren't Always Black and White" and I'm dedicating it to my Dad. As a teenager I had lots of loud discussions with my Dad who always saw the black and white and really couldn't see the grey areas between, you know the what if? kinds of discussions. Later when he developed Alzheimers he left the black and white area of the world and kind of lived in the grey area not sure of himself or his abilities or who we were. So he was my inspiration for this design, the first quilt I have designed, pieced and quilted. My Dad was able to build cupboards, oil paint, work with copper foil, carve/paint decoys and fishing lures, create a beautiful garden make pretty well anything we needed and he fixed our cars all with less than a grade 8 education! We miss you.  Be at peace until we meet again Dad! August 19, 2010.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Nanaimo Bars!

If you've read any of my posts you can probably tell that I'm really not in to baking all that much and the reason being ... you have to follow the recipe!  I tend to see recipes as guides not something to strictly ahered to, except of course when I make bread, for some reason known only to me.  My most favourite sweet treat are Nanaimo Bars.  I will knock people out of the way to get to the last one and if served at a buffet I always put one on my plate before I get my entree.   I don't know what it is about them but they are definitely my favourite. 

Growing up desserts were not the norm except on holidays and Sunday dinner if we had company and it was usually pie with a slice of cheddar cheese.  Christmas however was full of baking and special treats made by our Mum and then later by all of us.  I thought it was about time I made these delicious, oh so good but not so good for you, except maybe for your spirit, treats.  When I was in Nanaimo, British Columbia a few years ago I actually had the biggest bar ever from the town bakery.  It truly did not disappoint so when looking for a recipe I went to the source. In 1986 the town held a contest to see which was the most authentic recipe and the winner was Joyce Hardcastle.  Here is her recipe - truly a winner!

Bottom Layer
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
5 tbsp. cocoa
1 egg beaten
1 1/4 cups graham wafer crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
1 cup coconut
Melt first 3 ingredients in top of double boiler.  Add egg and stir to cook and thicken.  Remove from heat.  Stir in crumbs, coconut, and nuts.  Press firmly into an ungreased 8 inch x 8 inch pan.

Middle Layer
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 tbsp. and 2 tsp. cream
2 tbsp. vanilla custard powder
2 cups icing sugar

Cream butter, cream, custard powder and icing sugar together well.  Beat until light.  Spread over bottom layer.

Top Layer
4 squares semi-sweet chocolate (1 oz. each)
2 tbsp. unsalted butter

Melt chocolate and butter over low heat.  Cool.  Once cool, but still liquid, pour over second layer and chill in refrigerator.

Okay, I didn't follow the recipe exactly.  You didn't expect me to did you?  I had almond slices and was to lazy to chop them up so I crumbled them up in their bag and added them as they were.  I also used a left over dark chocolate bar from Paris that our Mum had brought for us instead of the semi-sweet chocolate it called for.  They actually taste better after being in the fridge over night but you know I didn't wait that long to try them :)  I have surprised myself and there are a few pieces left in the fridge still - don't come looking for some tomorrow though!

What's your special treat?

Eat well!

Friday, 17 August 2012

Foto Friday - Beavers!

created by Mary Anne Barkhouse
bronze and granite
Located outside The Robert McLaughlin Gallery
Oshawa, Ontario

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

What's on My Frame? Plus I Won a Prize!

It has been a while since I have posted about sewing. We have been busy running around. We have started putting fruit down for the winter and I have been reading up a storm for school. I like to pre-read certain books to decide if they can go in the regular book section (k - 6) or if it is more appropriate for the grade 7 & 8 section (YA). Right now I am finishing the Gone series and reading the first book City of Bones from The Mortal Instruments series. I am enjoying both and they both are grade 7 & 8 books or YA (young adult)

On the frame right now (finally) is the quilt I was thinking planning on submitting to the EZ Dresdan Challenge. I am trying to create depth with the the border design and with the quilting lines as well. I do have some lines that I need to redo probably on my DSM because I can't seem to get the ruler into some of the spaces due to the angle. I'm not sure if I like the charcoal thread on the white - it shows up all the flaws! Sharon and I talked about it (oh no, more consultation fees!) and we decided I should keep going and see if I like it when it is finished. What do you think? Any ideas are welcomed. The center is created using the EZ Dresden ruler, I didn't use the whole ruler just a middle section.

You can see the charcoal thread against the quilt. What do you think?

Not sure if I will continue the lines in the center or change patterns.

My ruler. :)

The sewing line is wonky - I can't get my ruler into the corners.

This is the backing. I took the picture from under the quilt!

My tension tester patch beside the quilt.

I also wanted to share a prize I won. I was visiting Mitz's site, Bag Lady From the Bay,  because she left me a comment. So while I was there I saw that she was having a give away, so I entered. A few days later I found out I had won! In the package is 100 6x6" Hallowe'en squares, 3 different types of markers for fabric, 1 box of Steam a Seamn and a zippered pouch made by Mitz.

I am eagerly looking at patterns to make a quilt to hang up in the Library. I found a book in my local Public Library called Spellbinding Quilts and I think this is what I'll be making to go with the Hallowe'en fabric. (a bat, an owl, a witch, ...) More on that soon!

Monday, 13 August 2012

Kitchen Sink Pizza!

Today was a left over kinda day.  Lunch was left over cauliflower/potato mash and some arugula pasta salad and dinner was Kitchen Sink Pizza.  I like to call our home-made pizza this because it usually involves using up all the left overs.  It includes pretty much everything but the kitchen sink:  left behind pieces of onion, a few mushrooms, a piece of red pepper that's not really big enough for an ingredient anymore and some arugula on its last days.  I like to gently saute my veggies so they are partially cooked before topping the pizza with them otherwise they tend to be very raw (I know, weird!) 

On top of all this I had one little tomato (don't saute - that would just be wrong) sitting all alone on the counter crying to be used and two different containers of mozzarella cheese to finish up. 
So on top they all went.

Slide it on to my cooking stone that has been heating in the oven and presto!  Dinner's ready ...

Kitchen Sink Pizza!
It's different every time.

Eat well!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Saving for Winter

At our house, unfortunately, it is time to start thinking about WINTER!
I know, how rude of me, but it's got to be.  

We have started to make our list and counts of how much fruit and vegetables we need to put down so we can continue to eat locally and in season.  No pineapples and mangoes for us in January but we do have sweet strawberries, scrumptious blueberries and juicy peaches as well as an array of yummy and tasty vegetables.

Yesterday we began with strawberries, red, plump, sweet and oh so strawberry!
It was hard not to eat them all.

We rinse them gently.
Cull the stems and place them gently in their new freezer bags.

Then we put them in the freezer to Flash Freeze!
And the next day we use our super duper vacuum sealer.

Guess who's next!?!

Eat well!