Thursday, May 31, 2012


I eat right. All summer long I buy about 3 vegetables.  Most of our stuff comes out of the garden.  And it's organic, or at least as organic as I can get it.  We've been eating lettuce for a couple of weeks now.  I'm picking fresh cilantro and dill.  The beets and peas are up and the beans should follow in a couple days, once the rain starts.

I have hobbies. That's my friend Karen with the sign that I should have bought.

I have good friends. When we're not fighting over fabric.
You read my blog, so you know I cook most of our food from scratch.  And I don't mean that I scratch open a box.  I watch what I eat, walk the dog, hoe the garden, clean the house.  And I certainly get my fill of heart-healthy red wine.  So why oh why do I have high cholesterol????  I have been watching my numbers creep up for the last few years and now it's at the point where I am ALMOST ready to start taking the pills.  The little argument has been going on for a week now:  take 'em.  no, don't take 'em.  yeah, take 'em.  no, not yet.

So, this morning I decided to look at the Heart & Stroke website to check out what, exactly, I need to do exercise-wise to reduce the LDL.  150 minutes of vigorous exercise per week in minimum 10 minute intervals.  So, getting on the torture machine for 5 minutes, which is my habit, does not cut it.  Having a nice leisurely walk with the dog does not cut it.  Pulling weeds?  Nope.  Lazy yoga?  Nope.  Starting today, Sadie & I went for a walk/jog for 40 minutes.  I will have to make myself a fancy spreadsheet thingy so I can keep track of my time, because I do not want to take drugs for this.  If there is no spreadsheet thingy it is too easy to cheat and mis-remember.  I can count vacuuming and floor washing, which will make those thankless jobs a little more worthwhile.  DH kindly mentioned that 'people your age have bad knees, bad ankles and bad backs and should not be jogging'.  Ahem.  Honey, talking to me like that, you'd best hope I don't use your toothbrush to clean the bathroom counter.

If you decide to check the H & S website, take a look at their recipe page.  There are lots of yummy meals there.  I've already planned to make the Squash & Spinach Skillet Side this fall when my squash is ready.  And tomorrow I may make the Soy Ginger Glazed Asparagus.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Conversation Prints & Another Looong Day at the Clinic

I have a few customers who make quilts on a pretty regular basis. This quilt is by one of my favorites.  Why is she a favorite?  Well, she brings her mom with her on every visit (her mom brings me quilts too) and they usually go to the Mandarin for lunch after they finish up at my place.  They are both really interesting women who I love talking to for the hour or so that they are here.  But she also makes interesting quilts, some the likes of which I would NEVER tackle.  When I write up the work order I always ask for the name of the quilt, and this gal makes up names that are so unusual I often have to ask how to spell it.  This quilt is for her brother and it's a very simple pattern (Bricks, maybe?) and it is called Volume C.  Not hard to spell, but sure makes me wonder what the story is behind the name.  The simplicity of this design encourages a good long look at the fabrics.

Here, take a look. I'm pretty sure her brother will spend a lot of time over the next many years finding something he hasn't noticed before.

Do you ever fight with your husband? Hmm.  Silly question, I guess.  On Wednesday I had to take mom to the fracture clinic.  The wheelchair taxi was over-booked and didn't arrive until an hour after I had requested it (the home books the taxi and did not bother to let me know the time.  Nice, eh?) So I had an hour to kill at 9 o'clock in the morning.  When we got to the hospital the strap on my shoe broke, so I was walking around with one shoe and one flip-floppy shoe.  The nice lady at the nurses station let me take a paper clip to bubblegum my shoe back together, and although it ain't pretty at least it worked.  We were 2 1/2 hours at the clinic, then called the taxi to pick us up.  Dispatch said it would be 30 minutes, but an hour and 10 minutes later I had to call back to find out where he was.  Apparently he tried to pick us up but ... we weren't there.  Um, hello???  Where am I going to take her in a friggin' wheelchair???  Anyhow, it was another half hour before we got picked up, so all in all it was NOT MY DAY.

I came home stressed from top to bottom.  Mom gets very disoriented when she has to go anywhere.  She's mostly deaf so anything I try to tell her gets totally garbled.  I can hear people around us snickering at the situation.  Her memory is non-existent so she never knows where she is or why she's there, and she is completely convinced that there is nothing wrong with her hip.  Oh, such long days when we have to go to the fracture clinic.  I finally get home and deal with this (not necessarily in the best way but it works for me) by having a pina colada (or 3?  I think I lost count).  Somewhere in that time period DH and I had enough WORDS that I sort of booted his arse out the door to his Kinsmen meeting and said something flattering like "good riddance".  OK, maybe I've sanitized that just a bit.  But you get the idea.  I was mad enough that I retaliated by (are you ready???) not making the morning coffee before I went to bed.  Pathetic, I know.  It's not much but it made me feel better.

He's up before the birds so I didn't see him Thursday morning, then I went out for dinner that night, and he was in bed before I got home.

When I got up Friday morning and looked in the fridge, he apparently went all out at Costco and bought a boatload of my favorite veggies - asparagus, green beans and zucchini.  He also bought a pile of processed meats which I likely won't touch, but he likes 'em and can have his fill for lunches.  I may have to make him another batch of cookies in appreciation for the A to Z green goodness.  At my age I guess green veggies is the new roses?  When you've been married as long as we have and need to kiss & make up, sometimes the apologies just get in the way of the actions.  So, thank you honey - I appreciate it.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Spring Kawartha Retreat

Our spring retreat at Margaret's happened this past weekend. If you follow Judy Laquidara's blog you will recognize my project as her current quilt-along.  I altered the measurements to use 2 1/2" strips so I could take advantage of the jelly roll I bought in Cincinnati.  I also had to make it substantially larger to fit our king size bed.  This will be our Christmas Quilt.

Yum. This was delicious.  Breakfast recipe from the LCBO Food & Drink Magazine. You can find the recipe below, and please note that it includes a ZUCCHINI. Even though Sue could not be with us this time, I plated up her food anyways. Then we ate it for breakfast on Sunday.

Our weekend menus:
Thursday supper:  Medallions of pork tenderloin, wild rice, salad
Friday breakfast:  Hash & eggs
Friday lunch: not much - we were still stuffed from breakfast.  Margaret made a bulgur & chick pea salad, potato salad, green salad
Friday supper:  salmon, wild rice, salad, caramel-nut pudding cake
Saturday breakfast:  fresh baked muffins, yogurt
Saturday lunch:  leftover pork tenderloin & salads
Saturday supper:  Anne's roast beef - also delicious.  I'm waiting for the recipe.  Served with boiled potatoes, green beans, and leftover dessert
Sunday breakfast:  leftover muffins & hash
Sunday lunch:  leftover salmon & salads
Sunday supper:  out for Chinese food after wandering around the Buckhorn Craft Show.

Here's my top laid out. When I have blocks set together with sashing I sew the sashing to two sides of the blocks, add the sashing to the remaining two outside edges of the quilt, then stitch everything together into rows. It keeps the blocks nice and straight. This will get three borders later.

Accomplishments by Sunday afternoon.

Hash with Chorizo & Fried Eggs
By: LeeAnne Wright

For cold winter nights when you want pure comfort, eat breakfast for dinner! This colourful hash is mostly based on pantry staples so pick up some sausages on your way home and you are almost ready to go. Spanish-style chorizo sausages are filled with a spicy pork mixture and come both fresh and cured. Make sure you pick up the fresh variety for this recipe.
*note from Helen:  I used sweet Italian sausage.  I prepped the sweet potatoes and chopped the vegetables the night before.
2 medium sweet potatoes, about 1 lb (500 g)
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
4 fresh chorizo sausages, casings removed, about 14 oz (425 g)
1 small red onion, thinly sliced, about 1 cup (250 mL)
1 small zucchini, trimmed and thinly sliced, about 1 cup (250 mL)
⅔ cup (150 mL) thinly sliced roasted red pepper
1 cup (250 mL) rinsed and drained canned chickpeas
Salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ cup (60 mL) finely chopped parsley
1 tbsp (15 mL) unsalted butter
4 to 6 large eggs

1 Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

2 Prick sweet potato and bake for 40 minutes or until sweet potato is still firm to the touch but a knife can glide through when tested. Let cool; peel and dice.

3 Heat oil in a 12-inch (30-cm) nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Crumble in sausage and fry about 7 minutes or until sausage is getting crispy and no longer pink.

4 Add onion, zucchini, roasted red peppers, chickpeas and sweet potato; cook for 3 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and stir in parsley. Press mixture into pan with spatula and cook for a further 5 minutes, without stirring, until crisp and golden on the bottom. Adjust heat if browning too quickly.

5 Serve out each portion of hash, wipe out pan, and then return pan to heat. Add butter, and when it has stopped foaming, fry eggs sunnyside up until whites are set and crisp around the edges, about 3 minutes. Season eggs with salt and pepper and serve on top of hash.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Stash Report & Breakfast

I've been making grocery bags that fold up into a little package. I'm sure you've seen these - they are often give-aways, printed with a store name. Here is a link to the tutorial with the measurements & instructions.

It's been a while since I posted a stash report.  I was a little bad in Cincinnati in April, but I have a plan for about half of the fabric.  Plus another plan to use another large amount.  We need a new quilt for our bed, AND we need a Christmas quilt for our bed.  So...
I've been out of steel cut oats for a couple of weeks. Last week I was making normal oatmeal, until I heard a 'report' that people who eat yogurt lose more weight than people who don't eat yogurt. So, in the absence of my s.c.oats, I thought "What the heck!!"  My idea of breakfast, if I have no oats, is plain yogurt with honey, bananas, and wild blueberries from the freezer.  I have stopped buying the flavoured yogurt ever since I took a GOOD look at the ingredient list.  Holy sh*t.  So now it is plain yogurt and honey.  As for the honey, I buy the non-pasteurized stuff because it has had much less processing done to it.

This is DH's idea of a nutritious breakfast. He is very lucky that I make him healthy cookies.  These are Oatmeal Chippers made with oatmeal (doh!), brown sugar, and farm fresh eggs (when I can get to the farm).  This was my inagural bake with the new Kitchenaid Mixer.  Today I hope to make honey-oat bread.  Mmmm...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

New Toy Alert!!!

Life is short. Cook hard.
Canadian Tire, $299.00 which included a $50 gift card.  That likely will be used to purchase accessories for my new toy.

Yee ha!!  Look out, summer zucchini.  Mama's makin' zucchini loaf....

Monday, May 7, 2012

Cincinnati show - applique quilt

I bet it costs a pretty penny to ship a quilt from Japan to the USA for a quilt show.
When I was in Tokyo for the quilt show in 2009 the applique and hand work just blew me away.
This is a great example of the workmanship and attention to detail by Japanese quiltmakers.

This past Saturday I went with my friend Sue to see Johnny Reid at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton.  It was an excellent show and Johnny is a very engaging & energetic performer.  Here is a clip of him from a CBC interview (I truly LOVE the CBC).
Sometimes on a Friday while I'm making supper I will fix myself a martini and put on one or two of his cds.  Half way through my drink I force DH to dance with me (fyi, it's not very romantic when you make someone dance with you, but the martini seems to make it all ok).  I'm wondering if I can get a blowup doll that looks like Kevin Costner, heh, heh, heh.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Blue & White Dutch Quilt

This quilt was so flat and square it was almost a pleasure doing the stitch in the ditch.

All the seam allowances on those 1/2" grey borders - perfectly pressed.
The center section with the Dutch motifs is a panel.
Pale grey thread used throughout, which looks lovely on the white back.
DH is celebrating another birthday and the party seems to be going on for a week.  Last Friday we were out for dinner with friends, Saturday we went to the movies (Hunger Games - frightening theme but very well done), Sunday was brunch at the local cafe, taking advantage of a 2 for 1 coupon (thanks Sue!), tonight was a fancy cheap supper at A & W (using another coupon, heh, heh) and a birthday cake made from scratch by moi (although I did get caught in the grocery store buying frosting in a can), and this Friday we'll be out for dinner again with our nephew & his wife.

I had to make a trip to the bank yesterday to pay our income taxes, so in honour of that I will show you the funny that a friend sent us.  Warning - potty language.