Saturday, March 19, 2011

Name Quilt

I made this quilt for the baby of a good friend some seven years ago.

The ladies in my quilting group are blessed with fabric donations from time to time, of which we are happy to share.
This darling boy quilt was made with some of these precious donations.
I mixed it up with other "masculine" type fabrics.

With such fun fabrics all I needed was to organize decent sized squares together.  I wanted a little something more, however.

We bounced some ideas off one another,
a great reason to be a part of a crafting group. 
Looked at several books, another benefit of membership.
Ultimately, we came up with piecing the letters for his name.
A variety of greens, on hand, became the color of choice for the little guy's name.

I wish I could remember the names of the books from which I'd gotten the patterns, both for the letters and for the frog prince.  If I recall correctly, it was two different books.

For a time, a few of us had dabbled in paper peicing.  Some of you may remember the method from not so long ago, perhaps you too harbor yet unused patterns.

This is only one of many paper piecing pattern books

Both the frog prince and the letters were paper pieced.
The frog prince pattern came from one book, the letter patterns from another.

Books like these are out there, most with clear and simple directions.

Your library is a great resource. 
They offer lending from other counties if yours doesn't have what you need. 
It's a good way to discover if a book is worth your investment.

Posted on The Shabby Nest's Frugal Friday 3-26-2011.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Lenten Butter Pie?

This is a classic Lacashire recipe from Britain.  It's a savory pie that uses potato and onion.

It's also known locally as 'Friday Pie' or 'Catholic Pie'. Traditionally, it was served on Fridays to comply with the Catholic rule of not eating meat on that day.  It is typically served with pickled red cabbage or beetroot, likely a good palate-cleanser for this high carbohydrate meal.

Lacashire Butter Pie



For the Pastry:

240g plain flour (2 scant cups)
60g butter (ample half stick)
60g lard or dripping  (heaping 1/4 cup)
cold water, to bind

 For the Filling:
3 large potatoes
1 onion
6 tbsp butter
1 tbsp water
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Butter Pie Preparation:


Sift the flour into a bowl then dice in the butter and lard.

Rub into the flour with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add enough cold water to bring the mixture together as a dough.

Take just over half the dough and roll out on a lightly-floured work surface until large enough to cover the base of your pie dish (this needs to be fairly deep).

Cover the remaining pastry and refrigerate.

Peel the potatoes and cut into large chunks.

Boil in lightly-salted water for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft, but still hold their shape.

Drain and slice into the pie dish.

Peel the onions and slice into rings then layer these over the potatoes.

Season with salt and black pepper, dot the butter over the top then add the water.

Take the remaining pastry from the refrigerator then roll out until large enough to cover the top of the pie.

Crimp the edges together to seal, pierce the top with a fork then transfer to an oven pre-heated to 180°C (350°F) and bake for 30 minutes, or until cooked through and golden.

Serve with pickled red cabbage and/or beetroot.

It's mandatory to serve this pie with HP sauce or tomato ketchup.

1955 HP Sauce Advertisement

Asparagus & Rhubarb, Coming in May

For those of us living in these nothern climates, spring is an extremely exciting time.  The autumn fruits aren't what they were a few months ago, prices are up as well. 

We're pretty much down to the root vegetables and winter squash, and lets face it, even the grown-ups aren't thrilled about it.

Seed catalogues are dog-eared and marked throughout with zealous pens and hilighters.  Our exceptionally industrious and frugal neighbors have happily sacrificed a few weeks' use of their kitchen tables and countertops for the promise of good things to come.  

Nasty old man Winter is down for the count and we prepare to dance barefooted upon his blessed slumber.

Ahh, spring.

In May the bright and beautiful rhubarb and asparagus will be in season for us.  Let's plan...

An average of 24-1/2 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts;
an average of 16 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints.
A crate weighs 31 pounds and yields 7 to 12 quarts÷an average of 3-1/2 pounds per quart.
Use tender, tight-tipped spears, 4 to 6 inches long.
Wash asparagus and trim off tough scales.
Break off tough stems and wash again.
Cut into 1 inch pieces or can whole.
Hot Pack:
Cover asparagus with boiling water.
Boil 2 or 3 minutes.
Loosely fill jars with hot asparagus, leaving 1 inch head space.
Raw Pack:
Fill jars with raw asparagus, packing as tightly as possible without crushing, leaving 1 inch headspace.
Add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart to the jar, if desired.
Add boiling water, leaving 1 inch headspace.
Adjust lids and process.
Recommended Process (Hot and Raw Pack)
1) Dial-gauge Pressure Canner
Pints÷30 minutes 11 PSI Quarts÷40 minutes 11 PSI

2) Weighted-gauge Pressure Canner
Pints÷30 minutes 15 PSI Quarts÷40 minutes 15 PSI

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Also there are some very good, step by step instructions, with illustrations on Pick Your  Try, too, Canning USA.

Use this for asparagus soups and sauces.

A good investment.  These come in different sizes.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

An average of 10½ pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts;
an average of 7 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints.
A lug weighs 28 pounds and yields 14 to 28 quarts—an average of 1½ pounds per quart.

Quality: Select young, tender, well-colored stalks from the spring or late fall crop.

Trim off leaves.
Wash stalks and cut into ½ inch to 1 inch pieces.
In a large saucepan add ½ cup sugar for each quart of fruit.
Let stand until juice appears.
Heat gently to boiling.
Fill jars without delay, leaving ½ inch headspace.
Remove air bubbles.
Wipe jar rims.
Adjust and process.

Recommended Process:
Boiling-Water Bath
Pints or Quarts—20 minutes
Process directions for canning rhubarb in a dial-gauge or weighted-gauge canner are given at the end of this section.

For recipes and links, try these blogs Seasonal Onterio Food and Stocking the Larder.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Saving with the Season

We don't all have a farm, orchard, or even a garden patch.  But with a little planning ahead, we can take advantage of peak season produce.

Feeling the pinch of rising food costs inspires us to think creatively.  This is a good thing.  Let's thank the Lord for our times of plenty, and for His blessings and providence in leaner times.

There are so many resources for us out there, and so easily attained.  More than keeping a sharp eye on the grocer's seasonal produce prices, there are many months when we can stroll the farmers' markets.

These are wonderful places to visit and shop.  Meet the growers, chat with the farmers and their families.  Discover of which foods your family is most interested.
Many growers open their farms to the public.  You can find out by connecting with them.  They may offer bulk deals at their farm, however at the market you will pay retail price.

Check Local Harvest for a searchable database, you can find a farmers' market near you.  You'd be surprised!

Don't forget about "You-Pick" farms.  Check the local ads and look for road signs.  Ask the vendors at the farmers' market.  This is a great way to get a great price, after all, you're supplying the labor and transport.

Don't forget about craigslist.  They have a "Farm and Garden" category and you may find local deals on produce, markets, and "You-Pick" farms.

You can still find the occasional non-commercial roadside stand, look for the ones next to a field or operating out of a truck.  Talk to the seller, they should know about their product and from where it came.

Learn about what's in season for the best taste and price.  Real Simple and Wisebread offer a list for general in-season produce.  Epicurious offers a US map on which you can click your state to find your seasonal crop.
Finally, be sure to have safe and reputable recipes for preserving.  These will be your yearly go-to standards, the ones you rely on finding in your pantry.  Ball, the ones who now make Kerr canning jars, offer a website for canning recipes.  Also check your extension office for safe canning recipes.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What About Saint Patrick?

Patrick was never "canonized" as a saint by Rome. 

He didn't drive out snakes from Ireland.  There were none there to begin with.

He wasn't a member of the Roman Catholic Church.  He wasn't even the first evangelist to Ireland, a man named Palladius was sent about five years prior.

Patrick wasn't Irish.  He was a British Celt from just northwest of Glasgow, Roman Britain.

His story is worth knowing, especially since we celebrate this holiday in his name.

As a teenage boy of 16yrs (about 405AD) he was captured in a raid.  This resulted in his becoming a slave in pagan Ireland.

His father and grandfather were followers of Christ, but he "knew not the true God."

Now, far from home, he clung to the religion he had ignored as a teenager.

As a slave, he was forced to tend his master's sheep in Ireland, spending six years in bondage.

He'd had a dream urging him to return home, which he did.  By this time, he was in his mid-40s.

Palladius hadn't been very successful in his mission to bring Christianity.  Now Patrick would return, not as a slave, but as a missionary bringing the Gospel of Christ throughout Ireland.  After three decades living with the Irish clan system, Patrick would convert the chiefs first.

Of course he wasn't solely responsible for converting the island, but he was quite successful.  To fifth-century Christians, Ireland was considered the "ends of the earth."

So, along with our green beer, silly hats, "Kiss Me" buttons, and our corned beef and cabbage, lets remember Patrick.  He was a servant of God, not afraid, and not ashamed.

Free Printables for Kids

I'm sharing a few links with you that offer free printable coloring and activity pages.  Surprise your kids with some fun projects and holiday entertainment!
Get ready to decorate...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Indoor Basketball Net

"I wish we had one of those little basketball hoops." said my 15-yr-old to me one day.

"Make one."  I said, "all you need is a hanger and some plastic mesh."

This is what he created:


As you can see, it fits nicely on the door.  He even drew basketball lines on a Nerf ball. 

He fastened everything together with good ol' duct tape, "the handyman's secret weapon."  For the shaping of the hanger he used Dad's pliers.



Goodness knows how many of those flimsy little hoops we've gone through in our home, what with four boys.  Now this sturdy little contraption has staying power.

Grandma's Apple-Rhubarb Jelly

I grew up eating this jelly, always preferring it to the quintessential store-bought grape that perpetually sat, back then, in the cupboard. Grandma always made sure her family had some. 

Of course the whole reason for making jams and jellies, like any preservation, is for the keeping. Sugar is a preservative. Storing our preserves in the fridge is a modern-day phenomena.

I’m grateful that we’ve learned so much in the field of home preserving.  We've come a long way since the wax-topped jelly jar and the general store pickle barrel.

We can prevent food-borne illness using simple methods. By following basic directions and applying current knowledge, we can feel confident about our products. Canning is fun when you can be confident! I hope you enjoy this jelly now as much as I did growing up.

Grandma’s Apple-Rhubarb Jelly
2 c. rhubarb juice (see recipe below)
2 c. apple cider (no added sugar)
1 box of Sure Jell
Bring this to a full rolling boil.
Add 4c. sugar.
Bring to a full rolling boil, boil for 2 minutes.
Makes 7+ small jelly glasses full.
Rhubarb Juice
6 c. rhubarb, cubed
1 c. water
Cook 10 minutes and drain = 2 ¼ c. juice.

About Me

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As long as I'm on this journey, rambling through life's exhilarating highs and trudging heavily amongst it's incapacitating lows, I might as well share whatever may be gleaned from my little bits of wisdom and my many missteps. No room for judgment from this broken mama. I'm writing from my heart: raw, open, messy, but saved. And I'm still thanking God!