Sunday, September 14, 2014

Strong Man Baby Quilt

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My niece, Kelsey, and her boyfriend, Derrick, are due to have a baby boy soon.  We're all getting very excited! This past Saturday was their baby shower.

I like to sew something special for baby gifts when I can and I knew I wanted to make something tailored especially for Kelsey. Kelsey isn't really "in" to sports or even trendy baby fabrics like chevrons.  She told me once she really likes "repurposed" things and my initial thought was to make her baby quilt with soft flannel shirts that I picked up at the thrift store.  You see, Kelsey would really have liked that kind of fabric even better than anything I could buy new at Joann's.

Our sweet Kelsey is very artistic.  She has tremendous talent.  She painted this incredible Batman mural on her nephew's bedroom wall.  It's a view of Gotham City and it takes my breath way.  She is also one incredible little tattoo artist.  Kelsey is a very unique young lady and she has a really cool style.  She's not your every day diva.  She's my little dreadlocked, tatooed Kelsey and I love her so much.  Since she's so artsy, I knew I really had to up my game with whatever I decided to make.   

I have no doubt that Kelsey will be the very best mother.  She has a heart of gold and more compassion that most people hold in their little finger.

For Kelsey's gift, I chose to make a baby quilt; a very special baby quilt.  When I considered using thrifted clothes, it occurred to me that there was no use in doing that since our family has tons of clothes. I decided to make it using clothes from the men in her family whom she is directly descended from.  I even settled on a name for her quilt, 

"From a Long Line of Strong Men"

Kelsey's quilt is made with shirts and jeans from her grandpas and uncles (since this baby is a boy).  Kelsey's parents divorced when she was very young and I am married to her mom's brother..  Yet, I was adamant that I wanted to include the men on both sides of her family if at all possible.  After only a few phone calls, texts, and emails telling them my plan, they ALL came through for me!  I got jeans from her dad and even a shirt from her dad's brother whom I rarely even see.  A quick call to her paternal grandmother secured several shirts from her dad's dad to pick from.   My sister-in-law brought me a shirt from my husband's brother and of course, I had a motherload of clothes to use from my own husband.  Kelsey's maternal grandfather (and my husband's dad) passed away in 1995 and after much searching, we were having no luck finding even a hanky left from this very strong man.  After a last minute search of my basement (I live in the house my husband grew up in), we came across a very special find---my father-in-law's old army bag!  In it I found an extra piece of fabric perfect for using in the Strong Man quilt.

I chose to use a patchwork style rag quilt pattern because I thought Kelsey would really like that best and I simply searched Pinterest and reviewed the various instructions I found for rag quilts.  (It was easy peasy, with my only notation being to double sew the seams- a rag quilt is meant to fray and I had trouble with the seams fraying out until I double stitched the seams.)

My husband seemed concerned that the baby would be laying his little face on used and frayed fabric so I found new fabric (flannel) for the back.  Perfect for a "Strong Man Quilt"-since all of the men were either mechanics or carpenters.  It had hand tools all over it!



I completed my gift with a written key.  It read like this:  


From a Long Line of Strong Men...

This baby is already a strong little man!  He comes from a long line of strong men, Grandpa Copeland, Grandpa Kenney, your Dad, Bill, Steve & Doug.  

Maroon plaid:  Grandpa Copeland
Army green in the four corners:  Grandpa Kenney
Dark denim:  Dad
Cream plaid:  Bill
Navy plaid:  Steve
Light denim/solid gray:  Doug

So many things can be made into heirlooms, even a bunch of old clothes that were too worn to wear, too old, or too little.  It turned out even more wonderful than I expected AND  I even managed to gift it without too many tears.  

Here I am with Kelsey, Derrick, and the Strong Man Quilt.  (Imagine my surprise this week when I saw that Kelsey had cut off her dreads!  ;)


 
Enjoy!
Gina












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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Breakfast Burritos - Eat now OR freeze for later!

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I typically am a sweet breakfast eater.  I usually have stuff like blueberry muffins, chocolate chip baked oatmeal, granola as cold cereal, or donuts (LOL) but this weekend I tried something different (for me).  

I've been reading about breakfast burritos in many of my favorite blogs.  There are lots of variations to pick.  Some use potatoes, some use sausage, all use eggs and sometimes cheese. One of the blogs I was reading suggested just using whatever you want in there with the eggs, including black beans and vegetables.  Another "duh" moment for me. Sounded like a great idea!  

I really wanted to spend the extra long weekend getting some food prepped for our lunches and breakfasts. Breakfast burritos sounded like a great option for any meal and especially good for keeping in the freezer as my own "fast food".

I was thrilled with my breakfast burritos!  I don't often eat scrambled eggs, although I don't dislike them as long as they are cooked well done.  But I did LOVE  these breakfast burritos!  Holy burrito, batman!  These things are KILLER!  

Breakfast burritos are a great way to use up leftovers.  I made mine using very simple ingredients that I had on hand, cooked cubed potatoes, scrambled eggs, salsa & cheese.  I ate one for breakfast and placed the others in a resealable bag for storing in my freezer.  With four scrambled eggs and a hand full of other ingredients, I made five breakfast burritos.  I HIGHLY recommend making some for your family.  Definitely they would be cheaper from home than even any dollar menu.  Plus you will know they are made from the best ingredients - especially made by you!



Here's how I made Homemade Breakfast Burritos AT HOME MY WAY:


Homemade Breakfast Burritos

  • Flour tortillas
  • Scrambled eggs (I scrambled 4 eggs with a drizzle of milk, salt & pepper in my buttered iron skillet)
  • Cheese (I only used one slice of american cheese and melted it right cooking the scrambled eggs-stirring all together)
  • Salsa
  • Cooked cubed potatoes, hashbrowns, leftover cubed baked potato, etc. (I just cubed a real potato and cooked in a little oil in my skillet until done but next time will be making these using leftover baked potatoes.)
  • Optional-cooked, drained breakfast sausage, ham, etc.
Instructions:

Warm the tortillas.

Scramble eggs however you normally do that.  Melt cheese over the scrambled eggs.

To the warm tortilla, add a little eggs, cheese, salsa, potatoes, any meat if you are using.  Wrap & place in a resealable bag/container and store in your freezer.

Reheat in the microwave or warm in the oven.




Enjoy!



Gina

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Homemade Butter Pecan Ice Cream

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I have this thing for REALLY GOOD ice cream, made with REALLY GOOD ingredients.  I saw an experiment on one of my favorite blogs which showed that most cartons of ice cream sold in the freezer section of your favorite grocery store, even the ones with basic, wholesome ingredients, will not melt when left out of the freezer.  The stuff just shrinks a little bit and doesn't turn to liquid.  ???  Strange... See this POST at Heavenly Homemaker where Laura experimented using homemade ice cream and two kinds of store bought ice cream.  After 72 hours, both of the cartons of store bought ice cream had still not melted.  Eeek!  Something about that really bugs me.


Ice cream is one of those things that I never buy at the store any more.  I have one of these Cuisinart countertop ice cream makers which doesn't need ice or salt:





I normally make Super Simple Vanilla ice cream or chocolate ice cream.  This weekend I made Homemade Butter Pecan Ice Cream.  

HOMEMADE Butter Pecan Ice Cream???  !!! Need I say more?  This stuff is the most delicious, wonderful, creamy ice cream EVER!  Straight out of the ice cream maker, it is divine (I had to taste...) although I placed mine in the freezer overnight for the whole scooping experience, ha-ha!    I used fresh Missouri pecans for my ice cream (which I keep in my freezer).  The hints of maple and toasted pecans will win you over for sure!  





Keep in mind that with completely frozen, homemade ice cream you need to let it sit out until it is scoopable.  The TINY bit of prep is COMPLETELY worth it.  


Here's how I made Homemade Butter Pecan Ice Cream AT HOME MY WAY:



Homemade Butter Pecan Ice Cream

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream (sold as "whipping cream")
  • 2 cups half & half
  • 1 teaspoon maple flavoring/extract
  • 3 Tablespoons butter/margarine (I used butter)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (check for shells)
Instructions:

In a small sauce pan melt butter/margarine, add pecans and cook a few minutes, stirring often until pecans are toasted.

Combine all ingredients, including the butter/toasted pecans, in a container, stir well.  Place in fridge until cold (before adding to the ice cream maker).

After completely chilled, add to the ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.

Place in freezer container and freeze.  (Remember homemade ice cream needs to sit out and soften a bit before you can scoop it.)

Enjoy!




Gina


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