Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Happy Anniversary Mr. Beating Hearth...This is Your Life...on my Blog

Eleven years have come and gone in a blink.  Because I have the best husband around (definitely top ten), I am going to devote a little love to him by showing my favorite posts featuring him....or at least him as a doll.

The Mister's Mini Me
Alright, I did it.  I made a doll in the likeness of my husband...as Lord of the Dance.  With itty bitty nipples and chest hairs and a be-sparkled belt.  One of my favorite things EVER!  Not so much HIS favorite thing.  But let me tell you, those nipples make me chuckle every time.

The first and last time I ate a banana boat.
One of his favorite treats from childhood.  Banana boats.  Pass. But, how cute is he?

Snort, The Mister reveals his nerd past
Pssst....D&D nerdery in this post...need I say more? Lots of nerdery and giggles.  This post is one of my faves because he is so sincere and I am so wicked.

The baby booty fiasco
Once upon a time The Mister gifted me with some REALLY WEIRD CRAP...and by that I mean, awesome craft supplies that anybody would love to own...except for me, I mean, definitely me.  If you are in the market for wicker baby booties, drop me a line.  They are going for cheap!  I mean, really cheap.

Kale
The Mister's favorite plant.  He's asked me to make sure I plant several next year so he can enjoy their beauty all over again.

Deer quilt
What he thinks is a man quilt.  It's really a girl quilt disguised as a man quilt.  Very tricky, I know.

VW pillow case
What to get the man who thinks the VW Camper is the best way to take a family vacation.

Love you The Mister.  

Monday, September 15, 2014

Maple Leaf Patchwork Fun

I found myself with a little spare time this last week and knew I needed to make an autumnal wall-hanging for my living room.  I have a Halloween Wall Hanging.  I have a Christmas one.  I have a Valentine's Quilt, and who knows how many more, but dang it, I need one with falling leaves...for Fall.  That's now.  I need it now!

But it had to be pretty, falling leaves.  I am partial to the maple leaf.  I have several friends who are Canadian.  The lovely, Feral Turtle, comes to mind, so that could possibly be why I love the maple leaf as much as I do.  The Mister loves hockey, so that could be it...naw, that's not it at all.  I'm sure it's because of all the lovely Canadians in my life.  Or maybe the maple leaf is just a naturally pretty leaf?  Whatever reason, the maple leaf was what I desired.

maple leaf paper piece quilt
Quilting a maple leaf is a bit tricky, though.  It has this long, pointy bit in the middle, and a stem.  I mean, to be fair, most leaves have a stem, and I guess they would cause just as much trouble as a maple leaf stem, but forget about all that.  My point is this, it's tricky with patchwork quilting.  Trust me.  Maple leaf or birch.  Even an elm...

So, I did what any quilter would do.  I  got an idea, and I made it my own.  I decided to design my leaf using half paper-piece for the middle pointy bit and the stem and patchwork for all the rest.  Half -Square triangles to the rescue.

Pretty good!  Need to change the stem up a bit, but by George I think I've got it!

I assembled all my prettiest, fall-ish fabrics and got to work.  I wanted it to be scrappy and fun.

maple leaf paper piece
Because I'm wild, I decided to use burlap for my trim.  But then realized I wanted a kind of, white on white effect and so put corner squares in using my main fabric.  I think I love it.

p.s.  burlap loves to unravel.  Be aware.  I would recommend using a 1/2" seam allowance, except I didn't have enough burlap to accommodate that.  Living on the edge over here!  Unraveling bedamned.

Uggghh!! Now I need new pillow cases.  Hi, cute niece.

I hope you like my new Fall wall-hanging.  I'm pretty darned pleased.  If you are interested in buying this pattern, I will have it up on My Etsy soon

Thanks for reading!

Heather

Friday, September 12, 2014

My Favorite Yogurt

I have been known...once upon a time, to make home-made yogurt.

I have actual proof.

That's MY yogurt that I made my own self.  This yogurt-making tutorial has GREAT pictures but, I changed up how I made yogurt and did another post on it.

This post has a better technique, but read it at your own risk, because there's a bit of a rant there and no awesome pictures

So, what's a girl to do?  I could continue making my own yogurt or..

I could eat this. I have been waiting for this yogurt.  Waiting for a yogurt that isn't 0% fat and isn't Whole Fat.  This is Chobani's 2% Greek yogurt and it is amazing.  It doesn't have the off texture of non-fat Greek Yogurt and doesn't have the calories of full fat yogurt.

I am writing a love letter to this yogurt because it's that good.  Smooth and yummy (except for Mango, eww), that's a treat to gobble down.  The passion fruit is good, but strange because the seeds are in it.  I actually had to Google if my yogurt was supposed to have seeds.  Yup, turns out they have lots of healthful antioxidants.  These three are maybe my favorites.

They have done studies again and again about the healthfulness of yogurt.  This yogurt has 12 grams of protein.  The most recent study I heard was that eating low-fat milk products help you stay slim. Low fat, so it can't be whole fat.  So this 2% yogurt is my dream because I am not a non-fat yogurt kind of gal.  Sour Cream, either.

I eat this yogurt every day for lunch...in fact, this is what I had to do today.  Yup, eat it with a fork because all my spoons had been used in a picnic adventure gone awry last night and are currently in the dish washer.

I hope you don't mind this public service announcement.  I just found a product I really love, and wanted to share.

Thanks for reading!

Heather

Monday, September 8, 2014

Spanish Rice...or lasagna rice, whatever

spanish rice
My Oldest has felt for most of her life that rice is not her favorite thing to eat.  In fact, there have been flat out refusals and tears over rice.  Her tears, not mine.  All I ask is that my kids try a bite of everything I've prepared them for dinner.  If they don't like it, fine, I call it good.  But rice has always been that one thing that I've had to coax and convince my first born to take her bite, and this kid'll almost eat anything.

I am happy to say that we've reached a turning point in the rice saga, and it started with this dish. Spanish rice, the recipe my mom has made since I can remember.  I made it to accompany tacos and portioned out the girls' servings and then waited, breath held for the inevitable I don't like it.  

After the first tentative bite, her eyes lit up.  Then she went for another forkful.  What is this?  My heart jumped in my chest.  Is my child actually voluntarily eating rice?  She was pretty enthusiastic about it, too.

Mom, I love this lasagna rice!

Lasagna rice?....right...lasagna rice.  That's what it's called.

It tastes so good just like lasagna, all tomato-y and flavor-y.

Since this fateful day she has since eaten rice with her chicken tika masala, at our favorite Indian joint and has even had a bite or two of fried rice.  I think we may have had a break through.  Thank you, lasagna rice.


Spanish Rice
1/2 onion, diced
1 small green pepper, diced
2 Tbl Vegetable Oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp chilli powder
1 quart stewed tomatoes, homemade...you could also go with store bought, I won't judge...much.  You need about 28 oz of tomatoes, give or take, so I don't use the entire quart.
3/4 C. rice, uncooked
1 small can diced green chiles.  I have used both 4 oz and 7 oz
salt and pepper to taste
1 C. water
A couple dashes of hot sauce if you want to sass it up
Shredded cheese to garnish, a mix of cheddar and monterey jack is always nice
cilantro, optional

In large skillet over medium heat, saute onion and green pepper together until softened, about 5 to 10 minutes.  Add garlic and chili powder and cook approximately 1 more minute until fragrant.

Stir in tomatoes, rice, canned chile peppers, water and salt and pepper.  Season this to taste.  About 1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp salt (I'm a salt lover so I lean towards the 1/2).

Bring this to a  boil and then reduce heat to low.  Let simmer, covered with foil or a lid, 20 minutes or until the rice is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Serve with a sprinkling of cheese and cilantro and enjoying the awesome lasagna-iness of this rice.


Recipes to try with this dish:
Fish Tacos
Ground Beef Enchiladas
Thanks for reading!

Heather



Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Millions of Peaches, Fresh Peach Trifle

There really isn't anything better than a perfectly ripe, juicy peach.  The juices dripping down you arm as you reach up to take a succulent bite, then dripping down your chin making a sticky mess of everything.  Mmmmm, how I love late summer and using the glorious, fresh produce that is just everywhere!

fresh peach trifle
I was in charge of making a dessert this last week for our Theatre Group.  Yes, it is as tony as it sounds.  I have a theatre group.  If you can call theatre, the local musical theater here that does comedy spoofs, theatre.  

I was thinking I needed something fairly easy as I was going to be having an extremely busy day, the day of the show.  Trifle!!  As I was strolling through the produce section of my grocery store and examining the strawberries (as that is usually what I would put in a trifle), I realized that it is in fact peach season right now, and I was fairly confident I could substitute peaches for strawberries to great effect...affect...urrggghhh!!! Got it, it's totally effect.  It was a good choice because I was able to save some time by doing some of the prep work the night before: Diced the pound cake and made the pudding.  

You know what, this trifle worked out better than I could have imagined.  The Mister is not normally what I would call a peach person, well, I mean, if you put it that way, he is, but that's a different kind of peaches....anyway, back to my trifle.  He doesn't really like fresh peaches.  Does that stop me from basing an entire dessert around them?  Nawww.  After taking one bite, he proclaimed this his FAVORITE DESSERT EVER!!!  I mean, hell ya!  I am no longer going to avoid the fresh peaches in whatever I want to make, ever again.

One of the menfolk there, had on his plate, a few ribs and a giant pile of peach trifle and nothing else.  I'll call that a win.

So, if you're looking for an easy and impressive dessert, two of my favorite criteria in a dessert, this is the one for you.  Plus, it's got layers, and as we all know, everybody loves layers.

Fresh Peach Trifle
2 Pound Cakes, I used Sara Lee's in the freezer section, diced into 1 inch cubes
Nilla Wafers
A large Vanilla pudding, prepared (you could be extremely fancy and make homemade pudding, I didn't and it was still amazing)
1/2 to 1 Cup Orange Juice (this is to add a little bit of sog to your trifle.  You do NOT want a dry trifle, eww, also, I think trifle is quite often made with booze instead of O.J., but this is Utah, people)
Peach butter (it's basically cooked peach jam) My recipe for peach butter
8 or so large, very ripe peaches, sliced
1 Pint Whipped cream, whipped with vanilla and sugar (just make it like you normally would)

peach trifle
Take a large, glass bowl.  You want it to be clear so that you can show off how fancy you are and begin to layer the ingredients.

Begin with a layer of pound cake.  Over the pound cake you are going to pour some of the O.J.
2: The pudding.  Spread it over the pound cake (remember to only use a portion of the pudding as you are going to need more as you go up the bowl.  Pay attention to your bowl's shape, mine was narrow at the bottom and wide at the top so I had to adjust my ingredients accordingly and didn't do such a great job portioning it out)
3: A layer of freshly sliced peaches.  I actually sliced the peaches right over the bowl so all the peachy juices would be included.
4: Now a drizzle of peach butter
5: Next comes the Nilla Wafers.  This gives the trifle a little texture.
6: A layer of whipped cream (See the above note about the pudding, you are going to need a bunch of this for the top).
Repeat the layers, end on whipped cream.

If you are wise, you'll save more of the whipped cream for the top.  As I was a little short on whipped cream, I just dolloped it in the middle and left the outer edges showing the peaches.  Turned out very pretty. I had also hoped to make a gorgeous peachy design at the very top, in the middle of the whipped cream, but had no peaches left.  Oh well, no peachy design needed cause it was that good.

individual peach trifles
And, awesome mom I am, I made my girls and their babysitter individual peach trifles.  I'm cool like that.

Aren't they precious?  Anything in a mason jar is simply precious. I just dolloped ingredients in one at a time. I only got one layer of each component in, but it was just fine, I heard no complaints.

To be honest, my kids getting their own version of this peach trifle is really the reason I didn't have enough whipped cream and pudding for the other layers.  I planned perfectly and if I wasn't such a good mom then my dessert would have been a true show-stopper.  I blame them...I mean, I love my kids and am glad I could make them a tasty treat.  :)

When you dish this dessert out, make sure you dig deep with your spoon so everybody can enjoy all the layer-y goodness.

Thanks for reading!

Heather

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