Sunday, February 7, 2016

Cookery Calendar Challenge for January or what shall we have for dinner?

Good afternoon, dears,

Squeaking in at the last minute to link up with Penny, blogging at The Homemade Heart who issued a challenge to all of us who dread the words......

"What's for dinner?"

"What on earth shall I cook tonight?"

I, um, "bent" the rules slightly, partly because I didn't follow the instructions and partly because the WT got a bit of a telling off from his doctor a couple of weeks ago.......

My first choice was from a new Weight Watchers book, Fresh and Easy, that came out to coincide with the Smart Points changeover.  Slightly irritated that I had to buy the complete set of chopping board, lidded bowl and possibly something else in order to get the book but I'm glad I did, most of the recipes are for one or two people, which is helpful.

I chose the Butternut and Bulgur chili since I have a LOT of different grains idling in the cupboard.  I'm not sure whether it was because I doubled the recipe (originally for one), but we both decided the smoked paprika called for, overpowered the whole thing.  I'm not giving up on the recipe though, I thought I might try it with garam masala instead, which goes well with winter squashes. No picture as I forgot!

The second book is where I strayed off the straight and's actually a library book but I am fully intending to buy it and the companion piece so hope it still counts!  Mark Bittman is (was) the cookery writer for the New York Times and wrote the ubiquitous How to Cook Everything.  About seven years ago he got a stern warning from his doctor, overweight, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, very close to succumbing diabetes etc and as a result the Vegan Before 6 diet was born.  Since the WT had received a much less stern warning from his physician, I thought we'd give it a go and I must say, the dear man has entered into the spirit of the thing with more enthusiasm than I would have thought.  Mark you, he WAS leaving the next day for a week in the UK.......but he's back and still seems keen!

So, what did I make? 

This, an utterly delicious salad, again using grains from the cupboard, this time quinoa.  MB suggests what he call building blocks, foods you cook ahead and store in the fridge to use at different meals.  I have to say, an excellent suggestion, the quinoa appeared throughout the week in the meals I made and I'm going to find something else this week from the cupboard.  The recipe is called Sweetgreen Quinoa Salad and is from the delectable and sadly not in the Midwest (only around the DC and NY areas) Sweetgreen chain of restaurants.  Mark points out that this salad is best in the summer with fresh tomatoes and corn, but it was pretty good with snow on the ground in February too!  The recipe serves four, so gave the WT a second helping then I had lunch on the Monday.  Definitely a keeper!
A slight moan about the cookery book as opposed to his first VB6 nutritional information to calculate the Smart Points.

This was fun and next month I promise to follow the rules of choosing only ONE cookery book and making it one I own!  Thanks, Penny!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

WIPocalypse 2016 or what's first out of the Cupboard of Hopeful Projects?

It's all go, innit?  I'm back with what I hope will be a monthly post to here, the WIPocalypse SAL.  I was one that fell by the wayside on that one too, to here's to better things in 2016!

Quaker Diamonds has been on the go for a long time, not sure exactly how long but it's a lovely stitch.  I chose a smaller count than Karen suggested and only use one strand of the Valdani threads.  I've (almost) completed section 1 so it's been retired to the Cupboard of Hopeful Projects for a while and Anniversaries of the Heart is getting some attention.

So, slightly backward, I'm Gillie, living in Michigan for the past three years, married to the World Traveller who does, lol, and this year I am using the Marie Kondo method on my stitching along with other areas of my home.  If it doesn't spark joy, then thank it kindly and send it on to where it will give pleasure.  I have some charts and some kitted up projects that come under that category, my tastes have changed, the project is too big etc.

So, to help with my Kondo-ing........and stitching.......

I've continued on with Jo's lovely GG SAL for the second year and you may well find some giveaways of the above mentioned charts offered there......

and this one, Measi's SAL, Heather's Smalls SAL and a varied collection of SALs offered by the lovely Kaye at Kitten Stitching, not to mention a monthly smalls challenge and WiPs progress album over on Friendly Stitchers so I reckon I shall be soaring to new heights, don't you?

I am purposely not recounting my WiPs as the total might send me into a rapid decline and/or panic attack.  I'm just seeing what drops out of the Cupboard of HP each time!

Thank you, Measi, see you again later this month!

PS when I was typing in the labels, the Cupboard of Lost Causes came up, think Hopeful Projects more positive, don't you?

A quote ...from the much loved and missed Sir Terry Wogan.......

"Could it be that behind every great man there's a woman working him with her foot?"

Goodnight xxx!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

January Smalls SAL and the story of a morning, well, evening too, to be honest!

This is the third year that Heather of Stitching Lotus has kindly hosted the Smalls SAL and as she mentioned in her first post, numbers definitely went down as the year progressed and sadly, I was an early offender.......but.......we pick ourselves up and keep going!  I was really hoping to impress Jo by being on time again for a SAL but alas, forgot and went to bed.  Well, it's close (ish) to the full moon so I give you........again, lol.......Sing Noel!

You were all very kind about it in my last post, so thank you!  Click on the link in my sidebar for more information about the SAL. story.......are you sitting comfortably?  Good.......then I'll begin :)

Our church congregation has an informal partnership with a local elementary school and every month a couple of people volunteer to take in baked goods for the staff.  I usually choose January, and cutting it very fine, Friday 29th was the day that Trudy and I chose.  I planned on muffins and cookies/biscuits.  New recipe for the muffins (mistake) but I made them, stuck them in the oven, cr*p, left out the butter.  The pinger went, tried one and, dears, there is a reason you use butter in baking.......that's all I'm going to say!

Meanwhile, I'd mixed up a batch of molasses cookies which were to be put in fridge for a couple of hours before baking.  Went off to evening of stitching with friends, having decided to bite the bullet and whispering here, buy a couple of packets of Mrs. Crocker's finest products on my way home......don't tell, okay?
Got home, nice evening, bit tired, chatted to Baltimore Girl, who mentioned that parents were always bringing treats into THEIR staff room and they were always devoured with something of regret next morning on the went to bed vowing to bake in the morning, how difficult could it be?  Well apart from the fact that all three items were baked at different temperatures......not at all.

Got everything into containers, the lemon bars were too hot to sprinkle icing sugar on so took along a spoon, sieve and packet of sugar.  Picked up Trudy's cookies and drove to the school to be greeted by this sign.......

Back to the church, deposited all the cookies in the freezer, a second attempt will be made tomorrow. I'd also made a slight detour on the way to pick these absolute beauties up, aren't they gorgeous? 

From my lovely sister and family for my birthday to remind me of England.......oh dear, had a bit of a teary moment there.  The tea cosy was part of my present from Pittsburgh Girl, very posh, look at the label. 

Sadly, I am pretty sure she didn't get a trip to Harrods, she has an unerring instinct for finding British things over here, I keep my cutting mats for quilting in a big bag from Libertys that she found.

So the flowers were put on the floor of the (warm) car and taken to our local Bernina quilt shop where we were doing a EGA outreach project making angel gowns for out local neo natal unit and nicely graced the classroom for the day.

The WT kindly popped back for a couple of days, lol, he's off to Eastbourne in the morning!

Time I went and sorted the laundry to send with the WT on his merry way.  Have a lovely week, smile often, work hard and kinder than you need to be.

Remembering another good man......Sir Terry, RIP.

and not a quote this time but something to make you smile.........