A Crafter Needs to Eat

Apple Rescue and Pre-Fall Cooking

Apple Rescue

In 2016 I did a series of posts about “rescuing” neglected fruit from fruit trees in my neighborhood in these posts:

The Fruits of My Neighborhood

The Fruits of My Neighborhood, Part II

The Fruits of My Neighborhood, Part III

Several readers expressed concerns that even though the trees were neglected, technically I did not have permission from the home owners (even if some of the houses were empty) to pick the fruit from their trees. Although the fruit was falling to the ground and rotting and no one was picking it, I put these comments in the back of my mind and skipped “fruit rescuing” in 2017.

But recently I’ve noticed several apple trees in front of a business at the edge of my neighborhood where the apples are ripe and are just being allowed to fall to the ground and rot. I couldn’t take it anymore and decided it was time for APPLE RESCUE!

Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) felt like an intervention was needed also and helped me pick apples from the trees:

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TTQH helping with Apple Rescue

Until we had a bag full of apples:

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Saved from just being left to rot on the ground

We took the home and washed them and ended up with a nice haul of apples:

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Getting a bath
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Freshly rescued apples all safe and cozy in a bowl

What to do with out apple haul? Make an apple pie of course!

I used this online recipe from Taste of Home: tasteofhome.com/recipes/apple-pie/

And TTQH helped peel the apples while watching Sunday football games:

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Sunday football and apple peeling!

His hard work peeling 6 cups worth of sliced apples and my pie assembly skills resulted in this yummy pie:

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The house smells really really good

We used so many apples for the pie, we only have a little left (maybe it is time to return to those trees for more “apple rescuing”!):

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These apples might need more of their friends rescued

Pre-Fall Cooking

In Fall I start making soups and stews and I have a couple favorites which include (recipes are linked):

Bean and Chicken Sausage Stew 

Winter Vegetable Soup

Beer Stew with Beer and Paprika

But as the tierneycreates Beastie mentioned in yesterday’s guest blogger post,Guest Blogger: A Monster Needs Her Sweater, the weather has dipped from late summer weather to early Fall weather.

The cool weather makes me want to start making stews now!

So using the last of the kale and tomato harvest from my garden, I made Bean and Chicken Sausage Stew !

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Ready to become stew

Oh just a note on the linked recipe I provided – the original recipe calls for cannellini beans but I used black beans instead. Also I like to sauté the kale first in the already sautéed sausage and garlic; and if I am using fresh tomatoes as I did this time – I sauté the tomatoes also, before adding the beans (and their liquid) and the broth.

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Remains of the tasty stew!

Postscript

Disclaimer: I am not a cooking blog and cannot even pretend to be one.

If you want to read actually cooking blogs I recommend these two that I enjoy:

In Diane’s Kitchen (indianeskitchen.com) – I am waiting for her to write her cookbook someday!

Momoe’s Cupboard (trkingmomoe.wordpress.com) – focuses on tasty low budget meals

 

A Crafter Needs to Eat, The Library Stack

The Library Stack

Continuing my ongoing series, The Library Stack, sharing my latest stack of borrowed books from my beloved local public library.

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This current stack is laden with cookbooks as that was the kind of mood I was in during my recent library browsing. I realize this should have been a “Winter” thing, but I am in the mood to use my slow cooker more and wanted some new recipe ideas.

I am curious about Air Frying and might buy an Air Fryer someday so I borrowed a book with recipes for an Air Fryer.

I did just purchase an Instant Pot and I have reserved a huge list of books with Instant Pot recipes. So the next library stack is likely to be filled with Instant Pot cookbooks!

Also I was lured into the New Nonfiction Releases section (okay I am am always lured into that section when I visit the downtown library) and several new crafting and home decorating books just had to come home with me!

Here are some comments and thoughts on the books I’ve dived into so far in my latest library stack:

The Little Book of Lykke: Secrets of the World’s Happiest People by Meik Wiking

“Lykke” according to the author is the Danish word for “happiness” and is pronounced “loo-ka”. Meik Wiking is also the author of the book The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living which I discussed in my 04/15/17 post The Library Stack and Hygge.

I read the first couple of chapters and then remembered how much I enjoyed listening to the audiobook The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living after I read the book and the author’s delightful Danish accent; and I decided to reserve The Little Book of Lykke on audiobook as it looks like it will be another delightful listen during my daily walks.

Denmark is one of the coolest places I have ever visited and definitely had a happy vibe!

The Joy of Hygge: How to Bring Everyday Pleasure and Danish Coziness into Your Life by Jonny Jackson & Elias Larsen

There appeared to be a “Danish Hygge theme” going on in the New Nonfiction Releases section of my library so I added this one to my stack also. This book is more of a lifestyle book with images of decor, activities and crafts to bring “hygge” into your life.

I came across a quote in the book that gave me a huge smile as this is exactly how I want to live my life:

Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; hate less, love more; and all good things are yours. – Scandinavian proverb

Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life by Diane Raab

This is an amazing book! I am tempted to purchase it as there is so much in the book I do not think I can digest it all during my library loan period. I am going to share verbatim the overview on the back cover of the book to give you a tiny feel of all the good stuff in this book:

Writing for Bliss is most fundamentally about reflection, truth, and freedom. With techniques and prompts for both the seasoned and the novice writer, it will lead you to 

– tap into your creativity through storytelling and poetry,

– examine how life-changing experiences can inspire writing,

– pursue self-examination and self-discovery through the written word, and,

– understand how published writers have been transformed by writing.

The is amazing guidance on meditating and become centered so you can reflect and writing, and many other tips. The book is like a course and there are assignments. I think I am going to go ahead and buy the book so I can write notes and work through it at a pace that works for me.

The Dutch Oven Cookbook: Recipes for the Best Pot in Your Kitchen by Sharon Kramis & Julie Kramis Hearne

This book inspired me to drag out my Dutch Oven:

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Today I am going to make Lentil Sausage Soup on page 11 of this wonderful cookbook.

Hopefully the rest of the books will be as wonderful as the first four I am working through. While taking photos of my latest library stack, Mike the Miniature Schnauzer wondered what I was up to and ended up “photo-bombing” one of my shots:

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He likely felt that I should return to my chair in the front window and continue cuddling with him instead of whatever strange thing I was doing posing books and taking images with my smartphone!


Postscript

The reason why I stopped at the library for a browse and ended up with this stack was I received an e-mail notification from my library that a whole bunch of movies I put on hold were available.

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It always seems to be “feast or famine” when it comes to library movies that I put on hold being available. No movies for a couple of weeks and then BAM – 6 movies available at once! You only have a short window to pick the movies up before they put them back into circulation for the next library patron on the hold list and since I did not want to wait a long time to get these movies again, I checked them all out.

The loan period for DVDs is 7 days so Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) and I are having an ongoing movie marathon – 1 – 2 films each day.  So far we’ve watched Molly’s Game, Star Wars The Last Jedi, and The Greatest Showman. We enjoyed all three films.

The Greatest Showman was spectacularly entertaining and TTQH were glued to the screen the whole time. I will close this post with a quote from this movie, that really resonated with me. It was one of those life lessons that I have worked on learning for many years (but finally I think I am getting it):

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A Crafter Needs to Eat

Super Detox Soup

This post has nothing to do with quilting or crafting! However my blog is about a “Crafter’s Life” and crafters have to eat right? So I want to share a recipe for a very delicious “detox” soup I recently made.

We have local health food store called Natural Grocers. I received their sale flyer in the mail a week ago and it contained a recipe for Super Detox Soup.

I love making soups but normally I would be suspicious of such as soup (i.e. it sounds too healthy and not yummy) but after reviewing the recipe I decided to make it.

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Natural Grocers’ Super Detox Soup simmering on the stove

It was MAJOR tasty! Surprisingly tasty! I had it for lunch each day for 4 days in a row and did not tire of it. The fresh ginger in it has a nice zing and it has pseudo-Thai soup flavors (without the lemongrass and basil).

Here is the link to the recipe on the Natural Grocers’ website: https://www.naturalgrocers.com/recipe/super-detox-soup/

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Image credit: naturalgrocers.com

I would paste the entire recipe into this post but it might be easier for you to just access and save the link to the original recipe.  If you do end up making it note in my opinion you do not need to add all the red chili pepper flakes the recipe calls for – I added only 1/2 and the spice level seemed perfect!

Now this is not a cooking blog so there are no step by step instructions – ha! If you would like to check out a real cooking blog I enjoy, check out In Diane’s Kitchen

I did create a new Blog Post Category – A Crafter Needs to Eat , where you will find previous posts that have to do with cooking/provide recipes or links.


Postscript

This might seem random, but a Crafter also needs to use MS Office (MS Word, MS Excel, MS Powerpoint, etc.) and I discovered this wonderful sight with great tips on MS Office products:

One Minute Office Magic (https://oneminuteofficemagic.com)

A Crafter Needs to Eat, A Crafter's Life

Fall Cooking

I always say this blog is about a “Crafter’s Life”, therefore this is how I am getting away with this post about Fall Cooking…and Crafters cook (Crafters also do laundry, wash dishes, floss their teeth, etc. but you would likely stop following my blog if I start posting about those Crafter life activities!)

Recently I was blessed with shared bounty of a friend’s Fall Harvest: Fuji apples and Heirloom-like tomatoes.

So far the apples have become an Apple Crisp and the tomatoes became Homemade Pasta Sauce.

The Apples

This past weekend, during a visit to a friend’s house, I was given a large bucket of Fuji apples from her apple tree harvest:

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Recently I’ve been playing with B&W photography

Arriving home, I gave many apples away to neighbors and friends. However I still had many apples left:

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I asked Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) what he thought I should do with them and I suggested making a couple apple pies (and freezing some). He replied off the top of his head: “Why don’t you make an Apple Crisp?”

I never made an Apple Crisp before but I found a wonderful recipe online at the. Tastes Better From Scratch website: Apple Crisp

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Screen shot of partial image from tastesbetterfromscratch.com/apple-crisp/

Peeling apples is not something I get excited about so I enlisted TTQH to help (he has to work for his “Crisp”):

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The recipe came out excellent and we ended up with a very delicious Apple Crisp, which I served warm with vanilla ice cream.

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The house smelled wonderful as it baked, very “Fall-like” with the smell of cinnamon and baking apples in the air.

Here is a close up of the baked topping (which was so delicious on top of the tender baked sliced apples):

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The Tomatoes

In addition to sharing her Fuji apple harvest, my friend also gave me 5 – 8 pounds of her spectacular heirloom type tomatoes in red and yellow varieties.

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I decided to make my first completely from scratch pasta sauce. I have made pasta sauce from “semi-scratch” using canned tomatoes. I have also made pasta sauce with fresh roasted tomatoes. However, I have never made pasta sauce with fresh peeled tomatoes!

I searched recipes online and found one I felt I could handle from Wellness Mama website – Authentic Homemade Pasta Sauce (Fresh or Canned Tomatoes).

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screen shot from wellnessmama.com/8907/pasta-sauce/

I learned a lot from this recipe including how to remove the skin from fresh tomatoes (dropping in hot water for 10 secs) and using an unsliced carrot to remove acidity from the sauce.

I won’t share photos of my first attempt of putting little Xs on the top of tomatoes, dropping them in boiling water, retrieving them, and then peeling them. Why? Because it looked like a tomato-slaughterhouse in my kitchen until I got the hang of it (several tomatoes sacrificed themselves for the sake of my learning curve on how to peel hot tomatoes).

Here is the sauce during its initial simmering before it spent time with my immersion blender:

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Okay so if you checked out the recipe link I provided and now you are looking at the image above, you are thinking: “Tierney what kind of brown round vegetables do you have simmering in the sauce? I did not see them mentioned in the recipe.”

Well…those are meatballs. I did not make this recipe vegan, I added meatballs and let the meatballs simmer for many hours in the sauce. As you can imagine, and if you like meat, the house smelled absolutely delicious most of the day while this simmering was going on.

Eventually I removed the meatballs:

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And I pureed the sauce using an immersion blender:

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You’ll notice the sauce does not look very red. Actually it is orange-red because the bulk of the tomatoes I used were yellow varieties.

I remembered a sauce tastes even better the next day after the flavors have time to “think about themselves’ overnight, so we waiting until tonight to have wonderful Spaghetti and Meatballs supper! (Now if I could have made my own pasta…)

I am always fascinated by the science of cooking and I loved this new trick I learned from this recipe to simmer a half peeled intact carrot to absorb acidity in the tomato sauce. The 1/2 carrot is removed and discarded at the end.

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Discarded fresh thyme sprig, bay leaf, and the 1/2 carrot used to absorb acidity

I also added a little honey at the end as the recipe’s author suggested to balance the acidity.

I made enough sauce to use for supper tonight and to freeze for a future meal (I froze it without the meatballs).

Okay, so next post, I will discuss and share photos of how I fold laundry (joke).

A Crafter Needs to Eat

Vegan Split Pea Soup

Tierney! You are not a food blogger and this is not a cooking blog, what are you thinking with this post?

Well I wanted to share one of my favorite food recipes (and what I am having for lunch today)  – Split Pea Soup with Cumin & Orange from the 01/19/11 online issue of Portland Monthly.

I am not vegan, though I do enjoy vegan cooking – it feels so “clean and pure“. I love a thick hearty traditional split pea soup simmered with a ham bone with tender ham meat simmering in the soup. I also love this vegan version and find the flavor equally as satisfying!

In the link above from Portland Monthly you can find the original recipe, but below I will share my version of the recipe and photos:

Split Pea Soup with Cumin & Orange

Adapted from Portland Monthly onlineSplit Pea Soup with Cumin & Orange

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
  • 3 cups split peas, divided in half
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 tbsp orange zest, minced
  • Salt to taste
  • Your favorite hot sauce

COOKING DIRECTIONS:

(1) HEAT olive oil in a heavy saucepan on medium and add garlic, cumin, and black pepper. I have burned the garlic in the past, so I always make sure I do not overheat the olive oil before putting the garlic. cumin and pepper and then I stir them constantly on medium heat. 

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(2) SAUTÉ until garlic just begins to brown (about 5 minutes).

(3) ADD onion, carrot, celery, and jalapeños—stir well and cook until onions begin to soften (5–7 minutes). I also add the celery leaves and I always put in a little extra carrots and celery than the recipe calls for.

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(4) ADD water and half of the split peas, and bring to a simmer.  I do not add the water first, I add the split peas (1 1/2 cups/half of them) to the sautéed vegetables and sauté the peas a little in the vegetable/spice mix to add a little extra flavor to the dried pea. Then I add the water.

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Stirring occasionally, cook until peas are tender (about 45 minutes).

(5) ADD remaining split peas and orange zest and cook on a low simmer, uncovered, until all of the peas are tender (30–40 minutes), and season to taste with salt and pepper. I use my microplane to zest the skin of one orange. Usually what I will do is have an orange at breakfast and save the skins for orange zest. If you do not have a microplane (or you are terrified of this very sharp cooking instrument in which you can also zest off your skin, been there…) then you can just use a grater and lightly grate off the orange skin/zest (I know the culinary purists are cringing right now).

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After I add in the orange zest and remaining split peas, I also add a dash of hot sauce instead of just adding it as a garnish is step #6.

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(6) GARNISH with toasted cumin seeds, orange zest, and hot sauce.  I only garnish with a little extra hot sauce after serving into my bowl.

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This soup freezes beautifully and I think it makes more than 6 servings. I am a telecommuter so I am always trying to plan my lunches out ahead of time. I love just pulling out a serving of this soup in the morning to thaw before starting my workday.


Postscript

Being Stealth

I am getting ready to leave for the annual quilt retreat in the Vancouver, Washington area I go on with my quilt sisters from Washington, Oregon and California. Sassy, the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer, gets very stressed when one of her humans is leaving her sight/management for a while.

She becomes very anxious when she sees suitcases, so I am having to do stealth packing for the retreat. I pack a couple days early and keep them hidden (behind the sari curtain in my studio):

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Why yes, that is all I am bringing to a 4-day quilt retreat. I decided to just bring hand quilting projects. I did bring a small project I could use a borrowed sewing machine on if I suddenly become overwhelmed with the need to sit at a sewing machine.

Also I packed minimal coordinating clothes and figure I can repeat an outfit (if I start to smell, oh well, I am at a quilt retreat – ha!)

A Couple of Cool Blogs

I follow several non-crafting blogs and I wanted to share a couple very cool blogs I thought some of you might enjoy:

  • The Tiny Potager: Self Sufficiency and Sustainable Living – with a family of six – tinypotager.com – this blogger is out of the UK and posts wonderful photos of farming, farmlands, hikes, road trips, etc. I feel like I am on a relaxing virtual mini-holiday when I look at this blog.
  • I’ve Read This: Looking for something good to read? – ivereadthis.com – this blog is for people who love to read and love cats! The blogger posts adorable cat photos and great book reviews. The latest post is on a book called The Lion in the Living Room by Abigail Tucker; and has a great video on why cats love boxes!

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    Example of “kitty in a box”, my friend Wendy’s darling cat
A Crafter Needs to Eat, A Crafter's Life, Audiobooks and Podcasts, The Library Stack

Diving into a quilt (and other stuff)

It is time to get back to some quilt making, since allegedly I am a quilter, and this a blog about a Quilter’s Life (which would imply there would eventually be some quilt-making involved).

I tried to start the quilt (Tango Stripe) I mentioned in the post Quilt Seating! but as I mentioned in the post Not working on what I’m supposed to be working on, I abandoned it for knitting a hat.

Never started…

 

However sitting around reading and browsing books from my latest library stack (see post The Library Stack) and being the ADHD creative person I am, I found a quilt pattern in the book Perfect Quilts for Precut Fabrics by That Patchwork Place, that I had to make IMMEDIATELY!

It is a fairly simple “half square triangles” (HSTs) quilt pattern called “Happy Ending”, designed by Lesley Chaisson. I have a couple bolts of Peppered Cotton (shot cottons) in various colors and a crazy amount of Moda charm packs. I thought this pattern and quilt would be the perfect marriage between a deep blue (ink) Peppered Cotton and a couple Moda Basic Grey line charm packs. You need like 7 yards of the solid so this is a great way to use up a bolt that I have too much of (originally I was selling it on my tierneycreates Etsy shop).

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I have completed most of the cutting and Terry the Quilting Husband has drawn the diagonal lines on the back of the printed charm squares for us to make the HSTs. So the next step is to actually sit in front of my sewing machine and sew! (so that’s how quilts are made…)

And what about the hat I was working on? It is done and I wore it for the first time yesterday on a dog walk in the land of “Snowmageddon” (it is still snowing and snowing and snowing in Central Oregon).

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(And yes I did wear the hat around the house for 1/2 hour with the double pointed needles on top mentioned in my prior post – I get so excited when a hat is nearly done – I get a “knitting high”)

I am tempted to start another hat but first I better actually finish a quilt top…


Postscript

So what else have I been doing during “Snowmageddon” – reading and cooking.

I am reading Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and I am completely sucked into the convoluted tale. I even stayed up too late one night reading. It is one of those books where I think the actual paper book is better than the audiobook. I gave up on the audiobook earlier this year and I am so glad I gave it another try in paper.

I am also listening to an audiobook when I walk the dogs in Snowmageddon – Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick. The book is delightful and narrated by the author. I did not know she was a child actor and I am enjoying her stories from her childhood and the less than glamorous world of childhood acting. She is a great narrator and I feel like she is talking to me telling me her story.

As far as cooking, I have been persuing Pinterest for soup recipes and found a delicious vegetable soup recipe on the Cooking Classy blog – Vegetable Soup. It says it serves 7 but I think they left the “0” off after the “7”. It made SO MUCH SOUP.

I froze several large bags of soup and I have a couple containers in the fridge for lunch this week (and next week, and the next week..)

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Finally, let me leave you with this image that a friend shared. I do not know the original source, so unfortunately I have no credit for the photo/meme. It does capture how we are feeling right now in Central Oregon with the nonstop snow:

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Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer now has her own blog schnauzersnips.wordpress.com.

You can sign up to follow her blog at schnauzersnips.wordpress.com/blog/

A Crafter Needs to Eat, My Minimalism Journey, Quilt Retreats, tierneycreates

Favorite tierneycreates posts of 2016

I am inspired by several year end summaries on other blogs I follow, to share a list of the of the posts I most enjoyed writing in 2016 on my tierneycreates blog.

It turns out the top three, are really three series of posts on different topics:

  • My Minimalism Journey
  • Fruits of My Neighborhood
  • Quilt Retreat Weekend May 2016

Here are those series of posts.

My Minimalism Journey

  1. My Minimalism Journey: Part I
  2. My Minimalism Journey: Part II
  3. My Minimalism Journey: Part III

Fruits of My Neighborhood

  1. The Fruits of My Neighborhood
  2. The Fruits of My Neighborhood, Part II
  3. The Fruits of My Neighborhood, Part III

Quilt Retreat Weekend May 2016

  1. The Road to the Retreat
  2. Sew N Go Quilt Retreat, in Pictures
  3. Quilt Retreat Weekend: The Projects
  4. Quilt Retreat May 2016: The Tools & The Stories

(Thank goodness I have one favorite series that is quilting related, especially when this is allegedly a quilter’s blog…)

I remember a sense of joy and whimsy as I wrote the posts related to the “Fruits of My Neighborhood” and “Quilt Retreat Weekend 2016”. I remember much reflection on where I used to be and where I am now in my life journey, when I wrote the series of posts on “My Minimalism Journey”.

Honorable Mention

Shameless “Thrifting”

When writing a blog post occasionally I wonder just how much to reveal about myself, to put out there in a public forum. Perhaps the readers of the “Shameless Thrifting” post are still reeling from the discovery of my childhood obsession with Barry Manilow!

Onward to 2017!

To those who followed me in 2016 (or 2015, 2014, 2013), thanks for reading my musings! Hoping to keep it interesting in 2017 (or to continue to be something you can read before bed to make you pleasantly drowsy!)

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A Crafter Needs to Eat, A Crafter's Life, Quilt Retreats

Quilter’s Delight Cookbook

Every Spring my Quilt Sisters and I have our annual quilting retreat in May at sewNgo Quilting Retreat Center in Vancouver, Washington. Nancy, the host, makes delicious food and has recently published the Quilter’s Delight Cookbook featuring recipes her wonderful quilt retreat menu!

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Today for lunch I made the Vegetarian Kale Soup from the cookbook and it was delicious! The recipe made a large batch and I have lunch for a couple days plus enough to freeze for a future lunch.

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Nancy, the retreat host, is very sensitive to the dietary needs of her quilt retreaters and this recipe was actually Vegan in addition to being vegetarian! (No, I am not a Vegan or a Vegetarian as I could not live without bacon, but I do appreciate meat free dishes)

Postscript

I do love attending quilt retreats (even if I get sleep deprived at times from them). Someday when I retire I want to regularly attend quilt retreats!

If you would like to read  a couple of my past blog posts on my quilt retreat adventures, they are linked below:

Quilt Retreat May 2016: The Tools & The Stories

Quilt Retreat Weekend: The Projects

Sew N Go Quilt Retreat, in Pictures

The Road to the Retreat

Little Miss Muffet, Made Her Own Tuffet

Repost: Road Trip

 

A Crafter Needs to Eat, A Crafter's Life

A Girl’s Gotta Eat (re-post)

 

In my previous post, The Library Stack (and a little EPP), I mentioned sneaking KALE into Terry the Quilting Husband’s diet, something years ago he would have never eaten. This reminded me an old post I did about my favorite recipes, one of which is a Bean & Sausage Stew which is loaded with kale. 

Since Fall is upon us and the weather is starting to cool down so it is stew and soup time, I thought I would share this post again.


A Girl’s Gotta Eat! (originally posted 10/10/14)

Recently my friend Ali, a writer for the At Home section of our local paper, asked if I would agree to be interviewed and photographed for an article she was working on about Favorite Recipes (those recipes you nearly have memorized and make over and over again). After she interviewed me for the article and we discussed one of my favorite recipes (Real Simple’s Bean and Chicken Sausage Stew),  I got to thinking about all my favorite recipes. I love cooking nearly as much as I enjoy crafting. It is pretty nice after a Saturday afternoon of crafting in the fall to settle down to a nice stew and some crusty bread (and some delicious cookies for desert).

I have a HUGE binder of all my “clipped” recipes from the past 25 years (hey maybe I started collecting recipes when I was 4 years old, you never know…). My friend Kelvin who is a chef once said “hey can you put that binder in your Will to go to me if something happens to you?” This binder contains numerous torn/clipped recipes from magazines, from friends on notecards and scraps of paper, from old cookbooks that were so worn out I could only try to rescue my favorite recipe, all placed in plastic sheet protectors.

Below are many of my most favorite recipes that I make all the time. Thank you so much to the wonderful publications and blogs that have published these recipes online. Please click on the hyperlinked recipe name below to open the web page with the recipe.

Bean and Chicken Sausage Stew 

I love Real Simple magazine. They offer wonderful tips on cooking, decorating, dressing, cleaning, stress free living, friendship, life, family, etc. My favorite part of the magazine are their excellent easy to prepare recipes. I make this stew all spring, fall and winter long and it is a great way to get the husband to eat kale. I like to use black beans instead of the cannellini beans listed in the recipe. Using spicy chicken cajun Andouille sausage is fun in the recipe or sometimes I just tone it down with a smoked turkey or beef kielbasa.

sausage bean stew
Kale, bean and sausage stew nearly gone bye-bye!

Winter Vegetable Soup

This recipe is from Martha Stewart’s Living. I clipped the original recipe from one of my magazines and it is one of my favorite winter soups. The acorn squash trick a couple friends taught me was to bake the acorn squash in the oven before you use it in the soup. I usually split the acorn squash in half, scoop out the middle/seeds and bake for 30-40 min. at 350 degrees. Once it cools it is easier to slice then trying to saw through a raw acorn squash (which can lead to you saying bad words out loud!)

Beer Stew with Beer and Paprika

I enjoy the recipes of Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman and her The Pioneer Woman Cooks publications and I have at least 3 of her cookbooks – wonderfully illustrated, great stories and delicious recipes. She is very generous to share many of her recipes online. This recipe is from one of her cookbooks I own but also available online. I love to make this recipe with our beloved local Deschutes Brewery beer Jubelale. I have made it with other beers but Jubelale adds a wonderful distinct yummy flavor to the stew. I also add in some frozen peas to make it more like an Irish Stew

(NOTE: This stew freezes well. I use my Foodsaver, discussed in the post “Food Saving” for Less Time in Kitchen, More Time in Studio, to vacuum seal the cooled/partially frozen stew into several packages for future meals)

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Once it cools, I freeze it in several bags for future meals

Happy Cooking!


POSTSCRIPT

And for desert:

Sugared Molasses Crinkles

Okay I think these are the best cookies ever and so do many friends who have tasted them! This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks Where Women Cook: Celebrate by Jo Packham (who also created the amazing publications Where Women Create, Where Women Cook, and Where Women Create Business). I was lucky to find a blogger (astillmagnolia) who had this wonderful recipe online for me to share.


Feature photo credit: Jean Scheijen, free images.com

A Crafter Needs to Eat, Outside Adventures!

The Fruits of My Neighborhood, Part III

P E A C H E S !

We have peaches in the neighborhood! Okay, well in the neighborhood next to my neighborhood.

This post a follow up to the posts:

I am not sure where to begin – should I start with the crabapple harvest, the additional apple tree, the pears, or the peach tree? Okay, I know where I will start: with a little update from the previous posts on the fruit I have “liberated” from neglected trees in neighborhood I ride my bike and walk around.

Sour Cherries

In the post The Fruits of My Neighborhood, Part II, I share my discovery of a sour cherry tree in the neighborhood I walk and bike in. The lovely blogger from Zippy Quilts advised that I should confirm these are actually cherries and not ornamental berries from a similar looking tree.

We took at sample of one of the cherries to our local nursery which specializes in native plants and they verified that the fruit was indeed a sour cherry. As mentioned in the same post, I have them bagged and frozen for future use.

A friend gave me a great recipe for individual cherry pies;  so that plan is to make up little pies in dough and freeze them, then bake a couple at a time. I am also thinking of making little hand pies: Mmmmm – cherry hand pies!

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Pears

In the same post I mentioned there are pear trees in the neighborhood that I am waiting for their fruit to ripen. My friend Michele posted that pears ripen off the tree and shared this informative link:  http://www.oregonfresh.net/education/commodities/pears.php

I used this link to determine when to pull the pears of the tree (I had pulled some tester pears off too soon; they never ripened off the tree and I had to compost them) and I am hoping the latest batch of pears will ripen soon on my dining room table!

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More Apples!

In addition to pears in the photo above, you will see some apples (and some peaches which I will discuss a little later).

In my post The Fruits of My NeighborhoodI share my discovery of a green apple tree and the subsequent delicious apple pie I made from my haul (I picked enough neglected green apples for my neighbor, who loves to bake, to also make a pie).

Well I discovered another neglected apple tree (at a very neglected looking and perhaps vacant house). I am not sure what variety of apple but they taste quite delicious with my morning oatmeal! I was only able to liberate a couple apples as most were rotted on the ground or had worms. Too bad, there were some beautiful apples on the ground.

Here is the current fruit bowl on my dining table filled with “liberated” pears, apples and peaches (yes I took this photo with my new Instagram app now that I have embraced Instagram…”welcome to the 21st century Tierney”):

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Crabapples

I was on a bike ride last week, and came upon this sign attached to a tree:

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Oh my – Someone wants help liberating their fruit!!! How could I refuse?!?!

Luckily I had my “fruit liberating sack” (copyright pending, ha!) with me and I proceeded to fill up it up with delicious ripe crabapples. While I was filling up my bag, the homeowner came out and chatted with me for a while.

She was so happy I was taking the fruit and I shared with her my adventures of “liberating” other fruit in the neighborhood and pie making. She told me of the delicious crabapple butter she and her Mom made last year with the crabapples; but she could not keep up with them this year and was hoping they would not just go to waste.

I told her – “I am here for you!” which got quite the laugh from the homeowner.

Below is my bike filled with crabapples in my “fruit liberating sack”:

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I got enough for myself and my neighbor who likes to bake/cook. I researched online how to freeze them (Crabapples: University of Alaska Extension); and froze two (2) large bags of crabapples for our Fall cooking adventures (you can freeze for up to 3 months).

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And Finally, Peaches

Imagine going on a walk with your dogs in the morning and you can pluck a ripe peach from a tree and munch on it as you walk. Is this a scene from the State of Georgia? No this was my morning walk in Central Oregon!

I did not know we could even grow peaches in Central Oregon. Our high desert hot and dry climate does not remotely seem like the correct climate for peaches. But then what do I know of horticulture?

Here is the lovely peach tree, with peaches falling from the tree as they ripen:

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And here is my haul of peaches – not sure if I want to make a peach cobbler or just enjoy them each day as they get riper and riper (and juicier and juicier). Funny thing as I was never really interested in store bought peaches. But peaches right off the tree – fruit heaven!

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What’s next in my “Fruit Liberation” quests? Well I have spotted some plums and possibly some nectarine like fruit that will be coming into season in the upcoming weeks.

The interesting thing is that before embracing simpler living I would never have been interested in “liberating” fruit from neglected fruit trees. Truthfully, in the past I did not eat that much fruit in my daily diet. Terry the Quilting Husband and I live a much healthier existence since changing our lifestyle a couple years ago (though it was a process that began with moving to Central Oregon in 2005). But that is another future post on our “Minimalism Journey”


POSTSCRIPT

Instead of a “Monday at the Butte” (see my previous posts on hiking Pilot Butte), yesterday I did a “Sunday at the Butte” with my friend Jenny. We hiked Pilot Butte and then went for coffee and pastries! We figured we had earned our pastries!

Here are a couple photos – the summit of Pilot Butte (I never tire of this view); the selection of pastries at the local bakery/coffee shop; and a beautiful color combination on the table we sat:

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Enjoy your week and here is a sign I came across at a tea shop a couple of weeks ago as a closing “food for thought”:

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A Crafter Needs to Eat, Outside Adventures!

The Fruits of My Neighborhood, Part II

In the post The Fruits of My Neighborhood I shared my adventures of discovering a neglected green apple tree in a nearby neighborhood during a bike ride; “liberating” the fruit; and making an apple pie.

Since discovering a neglected, unused apple tree, I have kept an eye out for other fruit tree in my neighborhood or surrounding neighborhoods that are neglected, apparently unloved, and unused. I think of it as my “Fruit Tree Love Intervention” or “Fruit Tree Appreciation Harvest Rescue” program.

The other day I discovered a neglected tree (the house is on the market and empty) that appeared to have “cherry-like” fruit but the fruit did not look like traditional cherries.

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I thought – “what the heck, I will try one of the suspicious cherries and see if they are edible” (or if they will cause me to fall to ground convulsing as the poison of the toxic berry races through my body).

I lived, but you probably guessed that as I am writing this post.

The sample cherry was VERY tart, especially the skin. It did not taste like a traditional “sweet cherry”. I went home and researched what type of cherry I had sampled, searching through many photos of cherry fruit and cherry fruit trees; and it appeared to be a Prunus cerasus cherry or “sour cherry” according to Wikipedia.

After reviewing several sources on sour cherries, I decided free sour cherries sounded like a good idea for a future pie. I thought “future pie” as it has been very warm in Central Oregon lately and I was not in the mood for baking.

The challenge: the sour cherries on the tree appeared were fairly ripe and many had fallen to the ground already (poor unloved fruit tree!)  If I put off making the pie, the cherries would be done for the season (lying on the ground, sad that they did not get into a pie, tart, or jam…)

So I researched freezing cherries and it turns out that sour cherries are very good to freeze – they keep their nutritional value when frozen. Also sour cherries have considerably more nutritional value (according to my “googling”) than sweet cherries.

I returned yesterday and gathered a huge load of unloved sour cherries from the neglected tree, rinsed and froze them for use in a future pie or tart!

I froze them individually at first and then bagged them together for freezing, so they would not stick to one another:

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Postscript

I am still keeping an eye on two neglected pear trees in the neighborhood.

Their fruit is not getting ripe, it is still very hard. I keep testing pears and they they are hard and not very tasty. I did take one home to see if it would ripen off the tree, but I think they pears are just not ready yet.

So they will have to wait to be “liberated” from their neglected tree!

A Crafter Needs to Eat, Outside Adventures!

The Fruits of My Neighborhood

This a blog about my quilting and crafting adventures, but it is also about a Quilter’s Life and quilters have to eat! (If we did not eat we would be gaunt and wasted, face down on our sewing machines or lying across our piles of fabric…)

So this post is about food. A most wonderful food in particular – pie – Apple Pie!

As I mentioned in prior posts, I ditched hiking Pilot Butte for a while and instead I have been going on bike rides – at least 3 – 4 times a week.  On my bike rides I would pass by a huge Granny Smith apple tree (or a tree with very “Granny Smith” looking green apples). The tree was in a neglected yard; in a house that looked like either the occupants moved out or were on a long vacation.

It became clear that the apples were all going to just fall to the ground and go to waste. I was torn between “apple theft” and watching perfectly good apples all go to waste.

I chose…(let’s not use the word “theft”)…Apple Liberation!

During several bike trips, I freed enough apples for a pie for myself and a pie for my neighbor (who is quite the baker).

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Bike basket of apples!

During my second round of picking apples, a neighborhood resident on a walk sauntered by, and I felt obligated to explain what I was doing. He confirmed that it was the right thing to do and he grabbed an apple for himself and continued on his walk!

I would like to think when/if the occupants return to the house they will be happy that the apples did not go to waste.

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Apples saved from rotting on the ground unappreciated

And now I have pie:

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Apples are really happy when they are in pie!

And life is always better with pie!

More neighborhood fruit to come: I have spotted two neglected pear trees with fruit getting close to ripening! 

 

A Crafter Needs to Eat, A Crafter's Life

A Quilter’s Life

A while back a dear friend, who is not a quilter, whom I was trying convince to follow my blog, said: “But your blog is about quilting, and I am not a quilter…”

I replied: “My blog is about a Quilter’s Life” (which is of course more than just quilting).

So on this blustery autumn Saturday afternoon I have decided to just share some random happenings in my Quilter’s Life!  (Hope you are not too shocked over the wild life I lead, wink, wink).

Fabric Scraps, Well, Um, Yes Thank You

I hope I do not lose credibility with my readers, but in my very recent post A “Humane” Way to Eliminate Fabric Scraps, I pretty much vowed not to accept any more fabric scraps from friends. I have broken this vow, but if you are a quilter you will understand. I had lunch today with a couple of friends at our favorite Thai restaurant downtown and my friend Susan had beautifully packaged up some batik fabric scraps for me – how could I refuse them?

How could I turn these beautiful batik fabric scraps down?
How could I turn these beautiful batik fabric scraps down?

Junk Drawer Under Control!

I am still working through the lessons learned from reading Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (2014)  which I discussed in the post The Space in Which We Live. Recently I took on the infamous “Junk Drawer” (I know you all have one) and now have it under control. I was going to do a post just on organizing my “junk drawer” but I was pretty sure that would put you all to sleep as “organizing a junk drawer” is likely one of the most boring topics imaginable to devote an entire post. Thought I would share a photo and that is the end of talking about my “junk drawer”!

Ta Da - a semi organized
Ta Da – a semi organized “junk drawer” (I am actually able to find stuff without rifling through it too much).

Let’s Pretend this is a Culinary Blog (Just for a Moment)

Since I began blogging two years ago I have become addicted to reading other blogs. I never knew what I was missing – there are so many wonderful posts, ideas, stories, life experiences, and photos that my fellow bloggers share.

However, there is one type of blog I am completely intimidated by: Culinary/Cooking Blogs. Their photos are so beautiful, their blogs are so organized and well-written, and the recipes and cooking tips – sigh, I shudder with envy and intimidation.

For fun, I will pretend for a moment this is Culinary Blog and I will share a wonderful tip I learned from my friend Ali (who is a wonderful Home & Garden writer) who learned it from a chef she interviewed for an article:

A QUICK WAY TO DEAL WITH GARLIC CLOVES (eliminate the tedious peeling of garlic skin)

  1. Separate the cloves
  2. Take a medium-large stone (like one from the beach or your garden) that has been scrubbed clean, and firmly press down on the garlic to break it open.
  3. This will make removal of the garlic skin very easy – remove the garlic and chop, grate or mince it for your recipe!
No worries, I am not going to start a blog
No worries, I am not going to start a blog “tierneycooks”!

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and….

(By the way, did you notice that the photo above, from the section on a quick way to deal with garlic cloves, is not a very good photo? In culinary blogs their knives in photos are always very clean and very shiny while mine looks like it was smeared in mysterious goo. This is why you do not have to worry about a future “tierneycooks” culinary blog).

In my post Shared Bounty, I discussed how a friend had shared the “fruits of her labor” in her garden this past growing season. Today she gave me the last of her parsley, purple sage, and rosemary and suddenly I have the traditional English ballad “Scarborough Fair” (made famous by Simon & Garfunkel) stuck in my head. The only thing missing is “thyme”.

“Are you going to Scarborough Fair? Parley, sage, rosemary, and thyme; Remember me to one who lives there, For once she was a true love of mine.”

I love cooking and I am pretty excited by this last batch for the season of fresh from the garden herbs and plan to make them part of several stews and soups!

Parley, Sage, Rosemary...but no Thyme (but we could still head to the imaginary Scarborough Fair!)
Parley, Sage, Rosemary…but no Thyme (but we could still head to the imaginary Scarborough Fair!)

Well I know you all are exhausted from reading about my wild Quilter’s Life, so I will close here, as I now need to find something else to organize or a new project to start and not finish!

A Crafter Needs to Eat, A Crafter's Life

“Food Saving” for Less Time in Kitchen, More Time in Studio

(Check out Sassy’s Schnauzer Snips page for her latest musings)

Food Saving? Tierney, what do you mean by food saving? Are you gathering random food you find about town to save to eat later?

No, I am talking about my beloved FoodSaver®Vacuum Sealing System, which I affectionately call the “Suck and Freeze”!

I live in a two human household and most recipes make at least 4 – 6 servings. So I will spend a weekend day or weeknight evening “power cooking” and making up several large dishes (such as a large lasagne). When the food has cooled, I will break it up it two serving size portions and vacuum seal them and then put them in the freezer (aka “Suck and Freeze”).

So after a long day at my pay-the-bills-healthcare-work (hint: not nearly as fun as crafting), I don’t have to think about dinner – I can just pull something out the freezer and head to the studio to work on a quilt or other craft project!

More time in the studio, less time in the kitchen!

I usually keep about a week’s worth of meals in the freezer to use whenever I do not feel like cooking. Plus if I am off at a quilt retreat, I know the husband has a stash of semi-healthy meals to eat (as opposed to be being lured to fast food and frozen pizzas while I am out of town!)

My beloved "Suck & Freeze" with some lasagne servings I just prepared for freezing
My beloved “Suck & Freeze” with some lasagne servings I just prepared for freezing
A Crafter Needs to Eat, A Crafter's Life

A Girl’s Gotta Eat!

Recently my friend Ali, a writer for the At Home section of our local paper, asked if I would agree to be interviewed and photographed for an article she was working on about Favorite Recipes (those recipes you nearly have memorized and make over and over again). After she interviewed me for the article and we discussed one of my favorite recipes (Real Simple’s Bean and Chicken Sausage Stew),  I got to thinking about all my favorite recipes. I love cooking nearly as much as I enjoy crafting. It is pretty nice after a Saturday afternoon of crafting in the fall to settle down to a nice stew and some crusty bread…and some delicious cookies for desert.

I have a HUGE binder of all my “clipped” recipes from the past 25 years (hey maybe I started collecting recipes when I was 4 years old, you never know…). My friend Kelvin who is a chef once said “hey can you put that binder in your Will to go to me if something happens to you?” This binder contains numerous torn/clipped recipes from magazines, from friends on notecards and scraps of paper, from old cookbooks that were so worn out I could only try to rescue my favorite recipe, all placed in plastic sheet protectors.

Below are many of my most favorite recipes that I make all the time. Thank you so much to the wonderful publications and blogs that have published these recipes online. Please click on the hyperlinked recipe name below to open the web page with the recipe.

Bean and Chicken Sausage Stew 

I love Real Simple magazine. They offer wonderful tips on cooking, decorating, dressing, cleaning, stress free living, friendship, life, family, etc. My favorite part of the magazine are their excellent easy to prepare recipes. I make this stew all spring, fall and winter long and it is a great way to get the husband to eat kale. I like to use black beans instead of the cannellini beans listed in the recipe. Using spicy chicken cajun Andouille sausage is fun in the recipe or sometimes I just tone it down with a smoked turkey kielbasa.

Winter Vegetable Soup

I am a long time fan of Martha Stewart and this recipe is from Martha Stewart’s Living. I clipped the original recipe from one of my magazines and it is one of my favorite winter soups. The acorn squash trick a couple friends taught me was to bake the acorn squash in the oven before you use it in the soup. I usually split the acorn squash in half, scoop out the middle/seeds and bake for 30-40 min. at 350 degrees. Once it cools it is easier to slice then trying to saw through a raw acorn squash (which can lead to you saying bad words out loud!)

Cajun Rock Shrimp

My friend Michele got this recipe years ago directly from the chef who created it in Seattle and she was kind enough to share. I never imagined I would be able to find a copy of it online (but I did – yay!) to share with you. The secret to this yumminess is to make the sauce a couple hours to the night before ahead of time and let it “think about itself”. It is very spicy and you may want to adjust some of the peppers in it. Serve it with plenty of fresh crusty bread to mop up the wonderful sauce! 

Beer Stew with Beer and Paprika

I am also a huge fan of Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman and her The Pioneer Woman Cooks publications and I have at least 3 of her cookbooks – wonderfully illustrated, great stories and delicious recipes. She is very generous to share many of her recipes online. This recipe is from one of her cookbooks I own but also available online. I love to make this recipe with our beloved local Deschutes Brewery beer Jubelale. I have made it with other beers but Jubelale adds a wonderful distinct yummy flavor to the stew. I also add in some frozen peas to make it more like an Irish Stew. 

Sugared Molasses Crinkles

Okay I think these are the best cookies ever and so do many friends who have tasted them! This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks Where Women Cook: Celebrate by Jo Packham (who also created the amazing publications Where Women Create, Where Women Cook, and Where Women Create Business). I was lucky to find a blogger (astillmagnolia) who had this wonderful recipe online for me to share.

I hope you try out one or two of these recipes and enjoy them as much as we do!

Kale, bean and sausage stew nearly gone bye-bye!
Kale, bean and sausage stew nearly gone bye-bye!