Monday, July 28, 2008

Shortcake anyone???

When I was a kid, if you were going to have strawberries for dessert, it was either strawberries and cream or with whipped cream on little angel food cake cups. Oh I thought that was divine! (Aside, I still love angel food cake. When I go home and they have the angel food cakes in the local bakery, I ALWAYS want to buy one and if I do, I never want to share it. But I do. I'm nice like that. I give at least one slice to my step dad before devouring the rest.)

Enter Hubby's mom's short cake, which is really a sweet variation on her baking powder biscuits. She served them a few summer's ago with strawberries.

Sure, they looked nice in a boring biscuit kind of way. I thought nothing could replace my angel food cake cups. Especially biscuits! Silly me....

I love them! So when I bought strawberries this week, I had to make them. Here's the recipe:

Momma Mac's Biscuit Shortcakes

3 cups flour (I used all whole wheat)
3 Tbls sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbls shortening
2 Tbls butter (I used all butter, 1/2 cup, and no shortening)
1 cup milk

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in shortening and butter. Stir in the milk. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead lightly. Roll out and cut into biscuits, or just plop them on the cookie sheet if you like 'em like that. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes. (Mine needed a bit more time).

Oh they were so good with our berries and a few days later with peaches.

Final note: These are not baking SODA biscuits....wasn't paying attention the first time and got these dark and NASTY tasting biscuits....oops!

Favorite summer or berry recipe anyone?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

NYC Realities

Ree over at Pioneer Woman is always talking about keeping it real. So here's keeping it real for NYC.

We are on a mouse hunt.

The reality is if you live in a NYC apartment, at some point you are going to see a mouse or a cockroach or some other unpleasant critter in your house (like the horrendous moth infestation a friend had after never seeing a mouse or roach? What's that about? Moths?)

Anyway, it has been a long, LONG time since we had seen ANYTHING unpleasant in our home. (Huge sigh of relief!) I was beginning to take it for though my fantastic house-wifely skills (imagine Ms. June Cleaver smiling in our kitchen, apron and all!) finally fortified our house completely against any intruders of any kind.

Apparently not.

Darn it! It was a truly lovely fantasy. Oh, I want it back!

No, reality is that it hasn't been just one mouse that's entered our house! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! We have caught all of them, (most of them in direct correlation to prayers by my sister on our behalf...or the mouse's behalf....or if it were on the mouse's behalf, would it be keeping the mouse safe from said hunters such as ourselves? How does that work?)

Although we have caught all of them, not all of them shall we say this delicately? Whacked dead and dumped down the incinerator. No. One of them is an escape artist! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! He apparently dragged himself, trap and all under our fridge where he pried himself free. (Why do I respect that kind of determination in a person, but hate it in a mouse?)

I'm just hoping the whole experience scared the living day light out of him and he's run for the hills....or at least the neighbors...never to return here. Or that we catch him again soon. You can pray on whoever's behalf either way. Please do, especially little sis.

p.s. I usually LOVE photos on a blog, but when I looked up pictures of mice....couldn't do it, not any of them. Not the cute pet pictures, not the caught in a trap/cat's mouth pictures, not the close ups of their faces, nada. Not when I want them dead and out of my house! Feel the same way about the "cute" movie Ratatouille....all those RATS in the KITCHEN!!!!! Get them OUT of there! Eeeeeeeeeew! May you never have to worry about catching a mouse in your house!

I'll pray for you.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Birds in Flight - WIP

(AKA Subway sanity...)

This is an ongoing WIP. That I am sewing by hand, mostly on the subway when I am between good books. Progress is slow, but that is ok because it is just a "pick me up" project. I don't know how big it will be....whenever I am ready to be done with these blocks I'll call it done!

It all started with this block ->
which I made for another quilt. It didn't work in that one, but I LOVED it, so I started playing around with other colors in my stash. Now I don't know if this one fits with this quilt either with the pattern in the large triangles! Hmmmm...we'll just have to see...

Here's a detail of some of the fabrics. Many of them have metallics that I LOVE!!!

Just another works in progress...Have a lovely Friday!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Brought to you by the color orange....

To combat the sticky, hot, muggy, miserable New York summer, I decided to make Orange Juliuses this week! Remember those???

It was one of the things I learned to make in 7th grade Home Ec (you know, so I would be prepared to healthily feed a family of four on sugary, frothy drinks) and for a whole year I really thought I was the cat's meow because I could make an Orange Julius at home. And make them I did.....week after week after week. Then forgot ALL about them until this summer.

Luckily, the recipe (which I thought I would NEVER forget I made them so much that year), was in the very middle-America American Fork Relief Society cook-book my aunt gave me when I got married. Here it is in case you want some of this frozen delight and have forgotten the recipe (along with exactly how to rat your bangs to soaring heights like you did in 7th grade):

1 6 oz. can of frozen OJ concentrate
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
Ice cubes to make 4 cups

Blend the heck out of it. Oh my they are good!

Speaking of fabulous orange foods.......

Squeaky cheese. Yes, squeaky! So delightfully squeaky! I had forgotten just how squeaky it is until last weekend when Hermanacita and I went to the cheese factory in the little town where we both went to college .

Oh so yummy! Oh so delightfully squeaky... chew, squeak! chew, squeak! It kept making me giggle.

Anyone else eat cheese curds? Something else you loved to eat or make as a kid? Do you love it now?

Chew, squeak, slurp! Stay cool!

Beautiful Hermanacita

This is my beautiful hermanacita and her new hubby. Congratulations you two! May you have every happiness in the world! You really were incandescently happy to be married my dear.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Secret Project -- Revealed!

Finally! Here is a pic of the quilt I made my sister! The indoor lighting is a bit dark at the top, but it gives you an idea. There are more details on the quilt and the process of making it (from fabric selection to assembly frustrations to completed quilt top) over at Lazy Gal if you want more info or to peak at a bunch of other fun quilts in process.

Hmmm.....technically, this isn't a quilt yet, just a top! Didn't get it quilted in time for the wedding, but at my sister's request we just folded it up so the raw edges didn't show and displayed it anyway . It certainly was fun to make!!!

Hermancita was BEAUTIFUL yesterday. What a lovely bride! Hope you had a lovely Sabbath all!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Update to the secret project for Hermanacita

Oh my goodness! I am finishing the secret project quilt top tonight. It is coming together so beautifully (in spite of the grief it has caused me!) I can't wait to post it all here. But you can always take a peek over on Lazy Gal's Summer Class to see it. The postings are all under "Andriann". I'll have a picture of the top up there by tomorrow night. Yeah!!!

All for now! Off to the sewing machine!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Food Glorious Food!

I have been reading Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver this week. I don't have time to do a review while I am madly working on the project for Hermanacita mentioned below, but I mention it because it shifted my mood tonight.

I came home in a stinky mood, made all the more stinky by the lack of anything in the house with which (I love writing "with which"...feels so literary), anyway stinkier due to lack of anything with which to make a proper meal and the fact that I would again be making dinner on my own due to husbando's grad school deadlines. (I'm supportive of supporting grad school deadlines, but hunger makes me cranky.) Needless to say, I wasn't feeling very happy about all the stinking WORK side of food. Where is my grocery fairy and personal chef anyway??? (I suspect on permanent vacay with the dish fairy and my in-house maid! Rude!)

However, I remembered (as I was slogging through the first part of the work I "had" to do anyway), a part of the book where she talks about the nurturing side of cooking. She says, "Cooking is definitely one of the things we do for fun around here. When I am in a blue mood I head for the kitchen...From the ground up, everything about nourishment steadies my soul." That was what I needed after all, a little nourishment. And by the end of it, I actually did feel better! I had a DELICIOUS and beautiful (so many colors!) bean salad made from a friend's recipe, yummy garlic toasted tortillas, time to catch up with Husbando and a full & happy tummy. Isn't food great?!?

Makes me think of the most multi-level-nourishing food I've had lately...bread made with my grandma and Hermanacita as a requested "homemaking skills" lesson, topped with raspberry jam of berries from my other grandparents' garden and made by my uncle....All hauled across the country in various carry-on and checked bags this summer. Oh my, what a treat!

That's Grandma with Hermanacita with the fruits of our (really mostly master-teacher Grandma's) labors....all in front of the Fourth of July quilt she recently made. I love my family!

Happy eating all!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Breathing out

There is a beautiful park near my apartment where I like to go walking. I particularly love the Heather Garden, with its ever-changing flowers. As I came into the garden today, a new flower caught my eye. (I love to see what I can still identify 10 years after my college botany class and spring jobs in a local nursery.) I didn't know this one...the flower looked familiar, but it didn't quite fit anything I could think of exactly. I thought to myself, "I wonder what this is. Maybe I can ask one or the gardeners or look it up online." As I turned, there was a man watching me, who, when I looked at him, said, "It's Phlox. But an unusual variety."

I found myself amazed that within moments of me breathing out my desire to know what the flower was, there was someone giving me the answer. How did he know the question in my mind? If I had never looked at him standing just across the path, I would have missed the immediately accessible answer to my question. I wonder how often the Divine is right there putting in place our answers as soon as we breathe out our requests. Perhaps we just need open our eyes to see them.

Last night I went out to dinner with a good friend. We ended up talking about the things we have felt, through spiritual ways are coming to us "in due time". After having this morning's question answered so surprisingly quickly, I found myself thinking about these other big life things I long for and have asked God for. What if the answers to these desires were equally immediate, having already been put into action...they just take longer to come to fruition? I began imagining flurries of angels preparing me with what I will need to receive those desires and succeed with them. Perhaps the way you might be assisted in preparing for a great journey.... "Here, pack this!", "Learn this", "You'll need this much later, but it's important!", "Practice this now" and "Here's your ticket" ... all with a great activity and urgency. If as soon as I said, "I want to go to Alaska," all around me people began preparing me and setting in action the trip, I wouldn't doubt the reality of the journey just because the departure date wasn't today.

Galatians 6:8: "...he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." What if I trusted the Spirit a bit more? Looking up to see how the answer is actually coming now? Would I see it? Would I feel Spirit guiding my actions? Would I sense a divine readiness to respond and guide and help, right now?

So for today, I am going to see about opening my heart up to the Spirit a bit more. Perhaps, rather than feeling like I am in a holding pattern for the things I want most, I can discover the ways the Divine provides answers and guidance right beside me to prepare me for those very things. I can trust that the answer is coming and it is coming now. And I will keep breathing out my desires to the heavens.

All the Phlox photos are from Gertrudsters flickr site under this creative license. Aren't they beautiful???