Friday, September 21, 2012

Food Friday--CSA-I-Have-No-Idea-What-Week-It-Is

This week's pick-up. We're getting smaller as we reach the end of our growing season around here, but we're also getting into some of my favorite fruits and vegetables. Still going strong on bell peppers and getting into winter squash. Yum.

  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 3 small tomatoes
  • 3 bell peppers (1 red, 1 orange, and 1 different type of red I've never had before. Unfortunately the orange had an issue when I cut into it so it got tossed--and that's the beauty of real farm food--but the other red that was unfamiliar to me actually almost tasted like an apple--that one and the other red pepper, which had a really wonderfully intense red bell pepper flavor, were fantastic!)
  • 3 leeks
  • 1 eggplant
  • A few eating apples, and a few baking apples
  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1 baking pumpkin

I immediately used the bell peppers, leeks, and two of the tomatoes for dinner by sauteeing those altogether in my Wild Mushroom and Sage-flavored oil with some garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and tarragon. I added in some diced cooked chicken, and just a dash of my Lemon Bouquet Balsamic Vinegar right at the end to brighten it up a bit. I ate it over whole wheat pasta. Very, very tasty! Leftovers for lunch tomorrow--woot.

I wasn't able to use much of the CSA for the last few weeks because I was gone on weekends which is when I do most of my prep work with the fresh produce. I gave a lot to my MIL, but some just went bad before I could use it, unfortunately. I didn't even have time to freeze or do any other storage techniques, either. I'm actually relieved to be getting less every week now--it's much easier to use up while it's fresh.

Here are some other pictures I took along the way of what I was able to make over the last few weeks.

Apple crisp. Not bad, but I'm still looking for a better recipe. And, since I'm trying to eat a lot healthier these days, I'm not sure I should actually find a better recipe.

Corn chowder with fresh corn on the cob. This was my favorite new recipe of the season. My daughter and I are huge fans now. Yes, I can make it with frozen corn any time of the year but the corn I was getting through the CSA was the absolute best I've ever had, so frozen store corn just won't quite hack it.

And this is just a really pretty purple pepper we got a few weeks ago. It tasted like a normal bell pepper, but isn't it gorgeous? I love the green inside next to the purple outside. Beautiful.

At some point I'll do a summary of what I feel about CSAs now that I've done it for the first time. I've really enjoyed it, but there are certain things from the experience that surprised me. I'm still pondering a bit. Hopefully I'll be able to put up a few blog posts for next week that are back to quilty matters. Meanwhile, have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Maine, Meetings, and Merchandise, O My

I was here last weekend...

...and sometimes it looked like this.

Other times it looked more like this.

And during some particularly stunning moments it looked like this.

Lots of people walked all over this beach and created great designs in the sand. 

At one point, we went to visit this.

And I sat here for awhile.

And then we ate dinner here. With this view. As the tide came in.

I had to say goodbye when it looked like this.

So yes, I was at meetings all weekend.
But I was in meetings on the coast of Maine.
I can handle that.

I did get out quickly one afternoon for a fast trip to an area quilt shop. Normally I don't have or take time to do that when I'm on a working weekend, but it was the best thank-you gift we could think of for the woman who had volunteered to do all our airport pick-ups and drop-offs. She's a quilter. Great excuse.

I thoroughly enjoyed the shop. Lots of options, rooms full of fabric that kept appearing as if by magic as I turned corners. Nice batik selection. I got our volunteer four fat quarters.

And two for me. Just doing my part to support a local business.

And then, on the way home, I decided to detour through New Hampshire to visit the quilter's pilgrimage destination.

Keepsake Quilting.

Lovely shop. I had to laugh at myself because I inhaled deeply as I walked in the front door. You can smell the pretty, pretty fabrics. Mmmmm.

Unfortunately, it ended up adding three hours to my already 8-plus-hour drive home. I'm still working out the kinks.

But I bought these.

And these. (They had samples of the Gloves in a Bottle in their bathroom. I tried it, and was absolutely sold. I also bought a small bottle to keep in my purse. Soft hands, no grease or detectable smell. FTW.)

And these.

Four of these are for a thank-you gift I'd like to make one of the other volunteers who provided a ton of food and the world's best homemade chicken pot pie for our team's dinner one night. I'm thinking I'll do some more of those candle mats, maybe.

Not that I needed half a yard of each to make a candle mat. Gee, dang. I think I'll have leftovers.

I'm home for all of three days this week. Bully. Might not get much blogging done. However, I'm going to be posting a podcast episode tonight, so get ready. Jaye's back!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Another finish (and it took long enough!)

It took stinking long enough but I finally have my pieces of my team's donation basket for a silent auction to raise funds for a local hospice house. My team's theme was "spa," and I volunteered to make candle mats and a lavender sachet, using lavender harvested from my garden last summer.

I didn't want to mess with making a circle something-or-other, so I chose three blocks that had sort of round feels to them and made them 6 1/2" (after getting a pillar candle from my own meager candle collection to see about what size would work best). @ddrquilter suggested quilting it in circles--a great idea!--which gave me a chance to play with the circular sewing attachment for my Janome. The attachment mostly worked--I'll probably talk about that on a future podcast episode.

Then I got to the binding. The poor block in the center got bound three different times, using two different methods, none of which worked. Rip rip rip. And rip some more. And run out of the original binding fabric, which was the rest of that wonderful pink that appears in two of the blocks. Finally, after several hours of nonsense spread over two nights, I had a "doh" moment. Use a method I hadn't used in years. Once I did, and once I found another fat quarter that coordinated, bang. All three bindings done in about half an hour. Jiminy Crickets, but I can be my own worst enemy.

And here they are, all ready to go with the pillar candles I bought to go with them. My basket offering...done!

We'll be putting together all five baskets at tomorrow night's guild meeting. The other themes were "tailgating/picnic," "baby shower," "holiday," and "kitchen." Pictures will be on our guild's blog at within a few days, probably. I can't wait to see what everyone else has come up with!

(Sorry, my plan had been to get a Total Color Tuesday post done tonight to appear tomorrow but I spent all night working on the donation blocks instead. Dang, but I'm glad those things are done! It's always the simple projects that trip you up, right?)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Finally--a Finish!

I finally finished my project from the Craftsy class "Stitch and Slash," taught by Carol Ann Waugh. Woot! Had a grand ol' time with this; it's a very fun and pretty easy technique. I'll be podcasting this week about the class with my special guest, AJ of The Quilting Pot, as we talk about our experiences taking this class. I'll post more detail, including "in process" pictures, tomorrow when I've got a little more time. Just had to celebrate having my first finish in awhile!



(And yes, currently unnamed. Any suggestions?)