Friday, September 30, 2011

Second Zucchini Recipe - Chocolate Zucchini Cake Brownies

I'm had a hard time with what to call this recipe. It's based on chocolate zucchini muffins, which would be better called cupcakes. I think if you frosted it and called it a cake, no one would really question it. There was one snafu while I was making it in that the nerdlet poured an unknown amount of oil into the batter while I was taking the bear cub to use the bathroom so I had to guess how much more to add when I got back, but they came out tasty so I figure there must be some fudge factor in regards to how much oil to use.

2 C sugar
3 eggs
1 C vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/2 C sour cream
2 C grated zucchini (about 2 medium peeled)
2-1/2 C flour
1/2 C unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 C chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix zucchini, sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla and sour cream. MIx dry ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in wet mixture and blend until batter is smooth.

Pour batter into 9 inch square pan and sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Bake 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The First of the Zucchini Recipes

My local box from Greenling this week contained 12 yellow squash, which I'm pretending are zucchini and as some of them looked like they weren't going to last very long, I'm trying to use them up in a hurry. Yesterday, I used 4 of them up in zucchini bran muffins, chocolate zucchini bread, and taco shells.

We had the taco shells for dinner and Q and the nerdlet loved them so they will definitely be a repeat item. I first saw them on pinterest and dismissed them because the recipe didn't really read very Mexican, but I reconsidered them when I saw that a number of people were making and enjoying them.

My recipe is a smidge different as I chop up an onion pretty much any time I ground beef and I was trying to use up my squash.

1lb ground beef
1 package taco seasoning
1 medium onion
1 cup chopped zucchini
1 clove garlic
1 4 once package cream cheese (next time, I'll use asadero)
18 large pasta shells
1 cup salsa
1 cup taco sauce
1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)
1 cup Monterey jack cheese (shredded)
1 ½ cups tortilla chips (crushed)

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. In a fry pan cook chopped onion until almost clear, add ground beef, zucchini, garlic, and taco seasoning and cook until the ground beef is thoroughly cooked. Add cream cheese (next time I will use shredded asadero), cover and simmer until cheese is melted. Blend well. I did not allow the mixture to cool and put it into the shells hot as soon as the shells were done. While burger is cooking cook the pasta shells and drain. Rinse with cold water and toss in a little olive oil.
3. Pour salsa in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
4. Stuff each shell with the meat mixture. Place the stuffed shells in the baking dish and cover the tops of the shells with taco sauce. Sprinkle top with chips (which I didn't use) and the two cheeses.
5. Cover and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted. If you allow the meat mixture to cool, you will have to cook the shells much longer to reheat the meat.

Serve with sour cream, black olives, lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, or anything else that you like that goes well with tacos.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

BurdaStyle Magazine 10-2011

I know I'm overdue for posting this month. I've had the magazine for 1 1/2 weeks, but here are the November line drawings.

Usually I think the line drawing doesn't do the dress justice, but in this case, I thought the line drawing looked more interesting.

I guess I'm really into the flowy ruffles lately. I even kind of like the puffy sleeves.

I really like this one, but the open area is too big if you have any cleavage at all.

I really like this dress and will likely make it. It is also in the plus sizes so that makes me happy.

The kids clothing is cute, but nothing small enough for any of my girls.

And last, the preview for next month looks interesting.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Summer End Update

Happy Fall!

I love this picture of my girls.

I've been quilting up a storm and am up to 16 quilts done and a quilt top made myself, and I have three more that I plan to quilt today and tomorrow so that I can pick up some more tomorrow afternoon. Unless anyone expresses interest, I'm not really planning on posting more pictures of the donation quilts. I am extremely pleased to know that over 200 quilts have been donated so far.

I've also decided that I'm going to make a mini Giant Dahlia quilt for the 2012 SAQG quilt festival. I'm also planning on entering one of my pieced quilts and possibly a third quilt depending on what I get done. I really need to start attending the quilting guild meetings again. I haven't been to one since I learned I was pregnant with Darth Baby.

I received the September version of the Burda magazine so expect another post soon on that.

The girls are doing well. The nerdlet likes to spend her days crafting and has been a little out of sorts lately, I think because I've been letting her routine slide a bit with my attention to the quilting for the Bastrop fire victims. I do plan on letting up on that soon though, at least a little. The Bear Cub is doing really well with her walking and is working on mastering running and uneven surfaces. Her potty training has good days and bad days. It's frustrating to Q because most of her bad days are weekend days. Darth Baby went from crawling to pulling to a stand to cruising in less than a week. She is currently standing for up to about a second without support and has taken a step and crashed forward immediately, but I think (and hope) that it will be a while until she's walking. She doesn't lack for motivation, but she isn't very balanced or coordinated. I love watching the three of them together as they get along so well. Most of the time, Darth Baby and the Bear Cub are trying to get into something together and the nerdlet is doing her own thing, but when she is interested, her sisters are more than happy to play as a threesome. I wouldn't have thought the harmony they have was even possible.

There are days, like today, when I would love to have an efficiency somewhere else that was immaculately pristine and sound proof as a hideaway where I didn't have to worry about where I stepped or what anyone wanted, but overall I love being a mom and wouldn't change any of it for the world.

Hope you all have a great weekend.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Miniature Show Quilts

I took pictures of the miniature quilts and had to go back and retake them so that there would be some perspective, hence my fingers in each quilt. I love that people make these, even though I have never made one myself.

Polka Dot Pineapple

Granny's Little Flower Garden

Happy Snails to You

Many Mini Stars

Miniature Primitive

Let's Make Some Butter

The Itty Bitty Yo Yo Quilt

Fall Breezes

The Q.U.I.S.C. Quilt

African Violets

Feathered Lone Star

Birds of a Feather


Friday, my MIL and I took the bear cub and Darth Baby to the San Antonio Quilting Guild show in Live Oak. It's a small show that seemed smaller this year, but I always enjoy it. This year I took lots of pictures. In fact I think I got pictures of almost every quilt. I my pictures from the show on my site in a list, but I'm going to share some of my favorites with you.

Remembrance. I love the words in the quilt.

Baskets, Baskets -- Fruit and Flowers. I love the use of colors in this one.

Zebra Safari. It's a small applique quilt that makes me want to do a series, even though applique isn't really my forte

Old Sol. This one was inspired by a class. I'm going to have to find some classes to take, and hopefully one by Susan Carlson.

Cannonball Dahlia. This is actually from a pattern that I saw for sale. I considered picking it up.

Shadows of New Mexico -- Mission Churches. I would love to see a version for the beautiful missions we have in San Antonio.

Robynn's Renaissance on Pointe. This is a machine embroidered quilt. I love the material used, too, which was a luxury fabric.

The Wedding. When I eventually do a wedding ring quilt, I will likely do one with a base color other than white. This picture doesn't really show the beautiful purple used.

Color Me Happy. I love the way the black makes this scrap quilt really pop.

I'm going to post the miniature quilts in a subsequent post as I want to share them all. I'd love to post all the art quilts, too, but my pictures of them didn't come out well enough to really do a separate post. If you want to see them, on my link they start at #285 and end at #312.

My favorite was this one. Tattoo Virgin. At first glance I thought it was just painted on the fabric and then quilted, but it is actually applique.

Flying Home. I liked the spin on a very traditional quilt. It was in the group quilt category.

Dotty. It's a block of the month sampler.

I was surprised by a few things. One thing was how fabulous the quilts from kits and block of the months came out. Where are the quilters finding these wonderful patterns? Another thing that surprised me was that while I normally see a lot of other people taking pictures, this time I saw a lot of people taking pictures of themselves with certain quilts (and I know they weren't the artists) like they would in front of a tourist statue or the like. Also surprising was how many of the quilter's names I recognized. The last surprise was that there was a young girl with Ds there that upon seeing the bear cub came and picked her up and they instantly bonded. I wasn't there or I would have gotten a picture, but my MIL said that the bear cub recognized herself in the girl and acted like she does in front of the mirror.

I really need to enter one year. I really think I would like to see my quilts hanging with all the others. I don't think I'd possibly win any of the categories in a San Antonio show as I didn't agree with most of the judges decisions and they seem to favor traditional patterns and colors and I don't really do quilts like that.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Trip to the Lego Store

The last time I was in Austin I went to the Lego Store. I hadn't been to one before and we made a special trip to a mall on the other side of town that we never go to. I also went to Auntie Anne's pretzels, too, which I hadn't had since before my pregnancy with the nerdlet.

Here are some of the displays. They were behind glass so my photos didn't come out that well.

The Death Star $400.

The store was really crowded or I would have gotten pictures of all the displays. They also had one wall where you could select specific pieces and fill a bucket for purchase. I never had Legos when I was little or I might have bought some of the specialty pieces, but I didn't really know what each piece was for just by looking at them. As it was I was tempted to buy one of the large sheets that act as a base.

I did buy two small Lego sets (though not from the Lego store) and both sets were missing pieces. I was quite upset since Legos aren't cheap and I would expect a much, much higher level of quality control. However, I went to their site and found it extremely easy to order replacement pieces. Also, I got three separate emails from representatives assuring me that the issue would be taken care of and that the pieces were on route to me. I emailed them when I discovered the missing pieces which was on a Sunday and the first email reply I got back was within an hour. Anyway, I was very impressed by their customer service.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Quilt Tutorial

This is going to be my first quilt tutorial. It is a simple quilt that goes together quickly. It took me about 2 1/2 hours for the 60 inch square quilt and that includes pictures. Here is the finished quilt, which you can see Darth Baby has already claimed. I believe this quilt top is simple enough that a beginner could sew it and I'm thinking about testing it on the neighbor as her first sewing project.

You need 53 x 40 1/2 inches of color A for the stripes and the longs sides of the border, 21 1/2 x 40 1/2 inches of the color B for the stripes and the corner squares, and 11 inches x 40 1/2 inches for colors C and D. If you are purchasing it, you will want to ask for 1 1/2 yards (or 1 5/8 if you don't trust the straightness of the cut) of color A, 5/8 yard (or 3/4) of color B, and 1/3 yard (3/8) of colors C and D.

Start by cutting two strips 5 1/2" in all four colors. I did not bother to measure the 40 1/2 inch lengths yet.

Cut 4 strips of 10 1/2 inches by 40 1/2 inches of fabric A. For these I did measure both directions. Make sure to trim off the selvages.

Cut 4 squares of 10 1/2 inches x 10 1/2 inches.

All seams will be sewn with a scant 1/4 inch seam. This means that as close to you can get to 1/4 inch, but just a line under. On my sewing machine foot, I use the inside edge of the 1/4 inch mark.

1. Sew the long strip of fabric A to the long strip of fabric B. First press with the right sides facing.

2. Then press open. Pressing is different than ironing in that you use the weight of the iron to do the work and do not move the iron back and forth too much which can stretch out your seam and distort your block.

3. Next sew fabric C to fabric B. Then repeat the pressing process.

4. Sew fabric D to fabric C. Press again.

5. Trim the selvages from one end.

6. Cut into 20 1/2" blocks.

7. Repeat steps 1 - 6 for the second set of 5 1/2 inch strips. Then arrange 20 1/2" blocks into the pattern.

8. Sew the top two blocks together and the bottom two blocks together. Press again.

9. Sew the top and bottom pieces shown together. Press again (notice a theme here?).

10. Sew the squares of fabric B to both sides of two of the 10 1/2 inch strips of fabric A, and press.

11. Sew the other two 10 1/2 strips of fabric to the center piece you finished in step 9, and press.

12. Sew the sections you sewed in step 10 to the top and bottom of the main piece.

13. Press and you have finished your quilt top.

If you make a quilt using this tutorial, I'd love to see it. I think it would make a great baby quilt or donation quilt, too.