Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wilma on Wednesday -- Pork Chops and Jell-O

Oooh, that does sound gross, doesn't it? Actually, today it's a twofer, as in I made 2 recipes from Grandma's cookbook. But first, I thought you might want to see a picture of Wilma, just to get to know her a little bit.

There she is in 1962, standing in the Gulf of Mexico by Galveston Beach, with me, looking quite cute if I do say so. Um, yes, now you can figure out how old I am. This was the year that she and my Grandpops moved to Seabrook, Texas (about 30 miles from Galveston) from Dallas. She's about 50 in this picture.

So first up: Pork Chop Casserole

6 pork chops, brown in a small amount of oil (there are only 2 of us, and one of us won't eat leftovers, so I only used 2, about 3/4" thick)

Place 1/2 cup rice in casserole and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp of garlic salt (I used the 1/2 cup because it didn't seem like that much. Did use the garlic salt, but did brown a bit of minced garlic when I browned the pork chops)

Place pork chops over rice and add 1 can Beef Consomme, undiluted, and 1 tsp of Worcestershire added to the soup. (That's a terrible sentence, but that's exactly how it's written.)

Cover each chop with 1 thick slice tomato, 1 thick slice of onion and 1 thick slice of green pepper in this order.

Bake covered at 350 deg. F for 45 minutes or until rice is fluffy.

Roland didn't have high hopes, but he was pleasantly surprised, as was I. I loved the veggies on top, he scraped them off and didn't eat them.)

Strawberry/Cranberry Jello-O Salad

There are a lot of jell-o salad recipes in this cookbook, and tonight seemed like a good night to start on them, what with the chicken salad sandwiches we were having for dinner.

2 pkgs of strawberry Jell-O (sizes are not mentioned in the cookbook, but I won't make you guess... buy the 3 oz. boxes)
1-1/2 c. hot water (boiling)
1 pkg of frozen strawberries (small) (10 oz. box)
1 large can crushed pineapple and juice (8 oz. can)
1 large can whole cranberries (the whole cranberry sauce, I think there's only 1 size)
1 T. lemon juice

Leave strawberries out of freezer 30 minutes before using. Mix in order given.

Large pyrex oblong dish. Refrigerate until set.

I used the 12 x 8 size casserole dish, dumped the jello-o and the boiling water. Stir until the jell-o is dissolved, and then dump in the rest. Make sure the cranberry sauce is pretty well mushed in. I picked up the clumps of cranberry sauce with a fork, and then mashed them through the tines with a wooden spoon. I'm sure they teach this technique in all the finest culinary schools. What? They don't use ingredients that come in boxes and cans? Their loss.

So delicious!

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Matchy Siblings -- Easter Edition

As promised, just a bit more cuteness to fill in while we're all waiting for Self-Stitched September to start! Are you participating? I just placed an order to Gorgeous Fabrics and, so fall sewing planning is in full swing. I'll give it to you buy the numbers tomorrow. In the meantime, the Easter edition:

Easter, 1991. This is Kyle's first.

 Kyle's pattern is one called "Allan's Bubble" that was in the now defunct Creative Needle Magazine. Laura's is the Basic Square Yoke by Chery Williams. I used commercial smocking plates for the picture smocking. I think I might have made Kyle's little shirt, too.

I stayed with the pink and blue combo in 1992 as well.

I do not remember at all where these patterns came from, but probably a magazine. You can't really tell from the pictures, but Laura's dress is open from the waist and an eyelet slip peeks out. Kyle's outfit is a shorts romper with the matching patchwork pattern. I know I made his shirt. I made all the piping on all their outfits, and used a thin crochet cotton to make that baby thickness.

I can almost guarantee that Laura was talking as she opened each egg in her basket!

In 1993, I got really fancy! And they didn't really match, but they certainly went together!
Laura's smocking is called Counterchange, and is a type of pleaterless smocking. The design on her dress is called Lydia's Basket by Ann Hallay. The stripes on the fabric are used to help form a grid that makes the pleats as you embroider. I don't remember the dress pattern I used.

Finally, because these are not digital pictures, I can't really manipulate them that well, but I wanted to enlarge Kyle's picture so you can see just how cute he looks.
This was taken a couple of months before his 3rd birthday. The pattern is the boy's button-on suit by Ginger Snaps Designs. And his dad told me not to make little smocked shirts with bunnies for Kyle any more. It was a sad day. I did make a few more things for Kyle after that, but things like camo pants and Halloween costumes. No more bunnies.

By the way, I've kept all these special outfits. They were passed on to my sister for her girl and boy, and when they outgrew the outfits, she sent them all back.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Matchy Matchy Christmas Siblings

Did you know that September is right around the corner? Yep. And since there will be lots of Self Stitched Sept (SSS) pictures, I thought I would take a walk down memory lane a la Carolyn, and show you just how adorable my kids were when they were little. I am just a little biased, I suppose.

I liked for them to match on Christmas and Easter, and so of course, I had to make them matching outfits. Even with a boy and a girl I didn't have any trouble finding what I wanted to make. And so as not to make your eyes glaze over, I'll just do one holiday at a time.

Christmas 1990 was Kyle's first.

I'm not sure what these patterns were, but undoubtedly one of the Big 4. McCall's maybe? Anyway, I used 2 different green cotton checks and red satin ribbon as trim. You can see that Laura's vest has a bigger check than her skirt. Her top is a RTW, and I think Kyle must have had on a long sleeve onesie. Oh, before I get any farther let me apologize for the picture quality... way before digital!

Christmas 1991 I got a little more ambitious.

Yes, navy blue velvet. And Laura's pinafore bib is organza. Kyle's turtleneck is RTW. I'm not sure of her dress pattern, but the bib was from a company called A Garden of Smocking Designs. The applique design was from Sew Beautiful maybe? I'm also not sure about Kyle's romper pattern was, but it had buttons at the shoulders and snaps down below for easy diaper changes.

Apparently, they still fit the next year, and they were super cute, so I didn't bother with new outfits for Christmas 1992. The pictures don't lie. I'm including the 1992 pictures because they show the applique so well.

I'll let y'all absorb the awesome cuteness of these, and do the Easter outfits in another post.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wilma on the Day After Wednesday -- Blueberry Muffins

I had intended to make these last weekend I think, so I am counting them in last week's "make something from Grandma's cookbook" challenge. But life must have gotten in the way, so today it was! Although in the interest of full disclosure, I did make something from the cookbook, one of the family's favorite. And I'm sure I'll make it lots more in the coming months, so I'll let you in on it later.

Until then, here ya go with the muffins:

Blueberry Muffins

2/3 cup shortening (I used Crisco)
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
3 cups flour
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries

Cream shortening; gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in blueberries. Spoon batter into greased muffin tins, filling 2/3 full.

Bake at 375 deg F for 20-25 minutes.

I made these exactly as instructed, except for 2 things. 1) I used paper muffin cups and silicone muffin cups and 2) I only baked for 18 minutes and they were perfect. They could have used more blueberries though.

And look at the giant pile of muffins!
I've frozen most of them for future enjoyment!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Little Bit of Sewing Planned

Well, where is Wilma on Wednesday? This is a sewing blog after all, so tonight... some sewing previews. No cooking. I'm not quite organized enough to have a "fall sewing plan", but I do have a few things lined up. At least in my mind.

The first show and tell is a UFO that I started 2 years ago. It's 99.9% finished. Just some thread clipping and some minor fixing on the binding.

I think I'll be listing it the Jenna Belle shop, unless I decide I want to keep it for myself. Oh, and get this. It was apparently about 95% finished when I put it away 2 years ago. It needed about an hour's worth of quilting (maybe less), and then the binding. Do you do that? Get almost finished with a project?

Is anyone interested in learning how to make a continuous bias strip? I think I'll do a quick tutorial (not today though).

Now, back to some sewing for me. Self stitched September is kind of right around the corner, and I don't just want to wear all the June stuff again. First up, a knit dress. Still sleeveless, but it will still work here in the south. It's been cut out. Hmmm, can't really read the number. It's Vogue 8553.

Then, I'm using one of my vintage pattern finds. It has some pieces missing... the back facing and the armhole facing, and the Peter Pan collar. I drafted a new back facing, I'm using bias tape for the armholes, and no collar. Oh, and I'll be grading it up just a few sizes. It might end up just being a top, too. Creative license and the fact that I might not have quite enough fabric. Almost positive there won't be any ruffles!
The fabric is a vintage madras that I've had in my stash forever. And that's it. Even more patterns are lined up, and including 4 or 5 I just bought in the last Big 4 sale that are winging their way to me.

Fall sewing... here I come!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wilma on Wednesday -- Mississippi Mud Cake

These weekend, our son will return to being college boy, and we head south to Macon to move him and his belongings into the dorm. He'll be a junior, so we've done this before, but it's a new school for him, so some of it will feel like the first time. Plus, he took this past year off (a "super fun gap year" in his you hear the sarcasm?). Of course, it was not really super fun as he came to grips with his diagnosis of bipolar I disorder and how to live with it successfully.

Anyway, that explanation is the long way of saying that it was time for a special dinner. He's definitely a steak and potatoes guy (as is his dad), so that was the main course menu. For dessert, I had him choose something out of his great-grandma's cookbook. Well, he doesn't really care that much about sweets, and was kind of annoyed by the question I think, and so... he just picked one.

Usually, I think this is known as Mississippi Mud Pie, and I suspect there are as many recipes for this as there are cooks in Mississippi. Nevertheless, my Michigan born and raised grandmother had this in her collection. Basically, it's layers of yumminess, and I've done this as kind of a pictorial recipe. Enjoy!

In a 13x9 inch pan:

1st layer:
1 cup flour
1 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)
1 stick of margarine (that's 1/2 cup, or 8 oz. or 8 TBSP)

Mix and pat in pan. Bake at 350 deg.F for 25 minutes:

2nd Layer:
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup cool whip
1 cup powdered sugar

Whip together and pour (or spread) on first layer:

3rd layer:
1 3 oz. package instant chocolate pudding
1 3 oz. package instant vanilla pudding
3 cups of milk

Mix and pour over second layer (I used a hand mixer, and beat the mixture 2 minutes as suggested on the pudding package):

4th layer:
Spread cool whip on 3rd layer and grate 1 Hershey bar on top (I used a Cadbury milk chocolate bar and only needed the first row of 3 squares... I kept in the fridge to make grating easier):

Keep in refrigerator (covered) until ready to serve.

A side view:

Sooo delicious! But very sweet.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Thing About Vintage Patterns

The thing is... you can become obsessed by them. Not actually using them, mind you, but simply acquiring them. And I don't mean shopping for a specific pattern or style and paying a pretty penny for them.

No. I'm talking about happening upon a pattern stash at a garage sale, or an estate sale, maybe a flea market, and getting a bunch for a steal. Up until a couple of weeks ago, I had mostly struck out. Now, I'm not an "every weekend" kind of garage saler, so I suppose my luck might be better if I was. But I do usually scan the newspaper on Thursdays to see if any listings mention sewing. I guess you might say that my obsession is kind of haphazard.

Nevertheless, a couple of weeks ago I hit the jackpot! There were at least a couple hundred patterns, probably more and all for 20 cents each. Yes. I was picky though. I didn't buy the whole lot, but went through each box and picked the best ones. I have my standards! Only a couple from the 1980s, and no children's patterns (there were a bunch of those). It turns out I picked the most from the mid-1960s.

Anyway, I plan to use a few, and trace a few more, but I'm putting the rest in my Down the Street etsy shop. And all for reasonable prices. And, please feel free to use that coupon listed over in the side bar, sewingblog15, for 15% off everything in the shop.

Enough reading... here are a few of my favorites!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wilma on Wednesday -- Spicy Fiesta Chicken

I went back into the main dish section of Grandma's cookbook and decided on Spicy Fiesta Chicken. Full disclosure: I actually gave her this recipe. Who knows when, but I got it from one of my Southern Living Cookbooks. So I've made it before, but it has been a long time. Also, since it's kind of "my" recipe, I took some liberties, which I'm trying not to do to Grandma's originals.

First the recipe. I've put in italics next to the ingredients any changes that I made on Sunday.

Spicy Fiesta Chicken

6 boneless chicken breasts (I used only 3)
4 eggs, beaten (used only 1)
1/4 cup green chili salsa (I used Pace Picante Sauce, Medium)
1/4 tsp salt (left this out)

Combine eggs, salsa and salt in a shallow bowl and set aside.

2 cups fine bread crumbs (I used 3/4 to 1 cup)
2 tsp chili powder (1 tsp)
2 tsp ground cumin (1 tsp)
1-1/2 tsp garlic salt (I used about 1 tsp garlic powder, + a little salt)
1/2 tsp ground oregano (left this out)

Combine dry ingredients
Melt 1/4 cup butter in 13 x 9 pan (I used 2 TBSP in a 8 x 8. Melt it in the oven while it's preheating)

Dip chicken in dry ingredients, then egg mixture, and then back in the dry ingredients. Place in pan and bake at 375 deg. F for 30-35 minutes, turning once.

Serve with sour cream on each chicken breast, placed on a bed of lettuce with fresh green onions, cherry tomatoes and avocado. (Just used the sour cream. You will notice in the picture, all those pretty vegetables and garnishes were not used.)

Do you ever make one of those meals, that when it's served up you say, "wow! That's a brown meal!"?

Moving on... it was delicious. I served it with some ready made 90 sec microwave Uncle Ben's Spanish rice and Ranch Style Beans.

Ranch Style Beans are one of those foods that I ate as a child, and they always make me think of childhood dinners. They are different than southern baked beans. The yummy kind made with brown sugar and other great ingredients.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Self Stitching Again

I've been on the fence, fellow sewists, about the Self Stitched September. I made it through Me Made June quite successfully, but I haven't done a lot of sewing this summer. Or rather, it seems like I've sewn a lot, but don't have much to show for it.

Anyway, the badge is ready, and I've decided to jump on the wagon again. September here in Atlanta can seem just like August. And July. And June. Hot. But yet, when getting dressed, you are sick of the summer outfits, and ready for fall. There is the added possibility (hope?) that it will get a little cooler as the month winds down. This should provide plenty of opportunities to style outfits that are comfortable during the heat of the day, but still work with the impending fall season, and perhaps a cooler evening or morning.

Plus, Kyle will be back in school, and I'll need to keep busy. So. There you have it. I'm joining in. I've added the badge to the sidebar as proof, but here it is again.


And here's my pledge:

'I, Ellen of, sign up as a participant of Self-Stitched-Sept '11. I endeavour to wear at least one item that I have either self-stitched completely myself, or have refashioned, each day for the duration of September 2011.'

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Hat

I've been on a quest. A quest for a long time to find the perfect sunhat. Alas, I have a really small head, which makes it difficult. Plus, I find it very annoying to have sunhats blow off, so those cute straw hats with the big brims just never seem to work.

I thought I had found the perfect hat. However, my children gave me such grief about this particular hat when we were at the beach earlier this summer. I wore it every day on the beach anyway because who really wants a sunburned part! Has that ever happened to you? And then it peels? First it's really sore, and then you're combing gross bits out of your hair.

Here's the hat, also known as the Baby Hat.
Yep, the baby hat is the name my kids gave to this hat.

When we got home from the beach, I searched through all the patternmakers for a sunhat to make. This one is the best that I found.
So I made this one. I made the small, which Ms. Butler says should also fit small children. Sheesh. Then, you only use a tiny fraction of the fabric yardage recommended. And no need to buy a contrast for the lining, since you can't actually see it because it's on your head. Those are just some of my gripes.

I didn't use the canvas recommended, but a sandwich of stiff interfacing and fusible batting. I only used the batting in the crown of the hat.

OK, kids... better? I think it looks ok, but I'm really not a hat person, so I feel like all hats look a little foreign on me. Moving on, though, I devised something that addresses the wind problem.
I left small openings in the side seams near the brim and threaded a grosgrain ribbon through. I think it looks kind of cute from the back. Now for the horrifying view. If it gets really windy, I can adjust the ribbon, pulling down the inner bit for this:
Yes, I feel like this looks pretty ridiculous, but hey, I won't lose my hat.

I may have to keep looking for the perfect hat.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wilma on Wednesday -- Banana Nut Bread

I was hoping to have something different that I'm working on to show today, but alas, it's not quite finished, and as a work in progress, it's just not that interesting.

So. I've decided, in an effort to help me remember to use recipes from my grandmother's collection this year, that I'll designate Wednesday to be the day! Her name was Wilma, so it just works, right? Right!

Today's recipe is one I'm sure I've made before, and you all probably have your own favorite recipe, but I made a loaf of banana nut bread. Mostly because I had 2 bananas just ripe for the mashing! This one is really basic, and I made it just as written (mostly).

Banana Nut Bread

1/2 c. butter or margarine
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. nut meats, chopped
2 eggs
2 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 c. ripe bananas, mashed (about 3 large)

Mix all ingredients, adding the mashed bananas last.

Bake at 350 deg. for about 45 minutes.

Well, as usual, short on instructions. I always mash my bananas before I get started, so they are good and liquid-y (that sounds yucky) when you add them last. The butter should be softened, I didn't use nuts this time, and I only had 2 bananas (which I never measure, do you?). Oh, and the loaf pan I used was 9" x 5" which is perfect. And that's it. Easy and quick.

Since we're talking recipes, I had my all time favorite food for my dinner tonight, only a baby version. Baby artichokes! [Thomas, if you're reading, you might want to look away.] I've never made the baby ones before, so I did have to google a recipe, and ended up braising them. I kind of combined recipes, so no link, but if you google you'll find lots of options.

One mistake I made was not pulling off enough of the tough outer leaves which didn't effect the cooking, and I just pulled them off as I was eating them. I still have 8 more, so I can perfect my technique!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Another Quick Skirt

It's just me and the dogs this week as Roland and Kyle have gone to North Carolina for a little father/son bonding, so that means SEWING! OK, well, I sew even when they're home, but now I don't have to feel guilty when I don't want to stop and cook them dinner.

I'm still doing some secret sewing, but I managed to make myself another quick yoga skirt. Not too many changes, but a few. I made this one out of ITY jersey and made the waistband a little smaller since the jersey seemed stretchier. I also made it less full, and a little shorter. And, while it seems totally foreign to me, I didn't hem it. But there's one surprising thing I added.

Well, nothing surprising here in the picture (other than it's not the usual "on me" look). But I've been wanting something to sort of "immortalize" my sewing. Quilters put labels on their quilts, kind of like signing their art, and I wanted to "sign" my creations.

So, I placed an order to Etsy seller Baby Jewels, and got me a custom rubber stamp. Woo hoo! I used it in that polka dot top, but forgot to mention it, and for that I simply stamped right on the inside back neck (where a label would go). I used a VersaCraft ink pad, and I honestly can't remember who I ordered it from so that link is just to show you the description.

For the skirt, I stamped on an ivory grosgrain ribbon and then attached it like a label.

The Detoured is part of the name of my other blog (that I seemed to have detoured from posting to), and I just kind of like the word. It's also my general feeling of having to take detours from the life path I'm on. And besides, having the stamp is just fun.


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