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1  Re: Rainbow I-Spy Quilt in Quilting: Completed Projects by MissingWillow on: July 22, 2015 05:50:45 AM
This went to my grandson shortly after he was born.  He's two now and loves playing on it.   Smiley

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2  Homemade Cocktail Bitters in Recipes and Cooking Tips by MissingWillow on: July 20, 2015 04:34:49 PM
For the past few years we've been collecting and experimenting with adding a dash of bitters to cocktails.  They are kind of like the spice rack of the cocktail world and are made by making a liquid extraction from various flavorings.  I am all about DIY in the kitchen.  I find a lot of things you can purchase are much better when made at home and took that philosophy to trying this fun cocktail ingredient.  

The process takes a few weeks but is pretty basic.  Here are the steps:
1. Add flavorings to 2 cups of a neutral alcohol.  Set aside in a jar for two weeks in a dark place.  Shake the jar daily.
2. After 2 weeks, filter out the solids from the flavorings you used.  Put the flavored alcohol in a separate jar and set aside.
3.  Place the solids in a small saucepan and cover them with water.  Heat on your stovetop for 10 minutes.  Place the water and solids in a separate jar after they cool and set aside in a dark place for another week.  Shake daily.
4. Strain the solids and discard them.  Add the remaining liquid to the separate jar of flavored alcohol.  Set this mixture aside for another week.
5. Add a Tbsp. of simple syrup to this mixture.  That's a 50/50 mixture of sugar and water heated until you get a syrup consistency.  
6. Enjoy!

I decided to start with orange bitters as that one's a favorite in our house.  It involved adding the peel of three oranges, 4 cloves, 4 cardamom pods, 6 allspice berries, and 1/4 tsp. coriander seeds to 2 cups of everclear grain alcohol and followed the procedure listed above. My husband likes these better than the commercial orange bitters in a bourbon over ice.  

Here's an in-process shot.  Isn't the color gorgeous?  



I've already started a pear and vanilla version.  I decided to try using vodka this time.  It's got 3 chopped up pears, the zest of a lemon, a cinnamon stick, 6 allspice berries, 4 cloves, some chopped ginger and a split vanilla bean.  It smells like heaven!  This is what that recipe looked like right after the first two weeks.  The jar on the left shows the strained vodka.  The one on the right shows the solids after they were cooked down in water.  



The jar on the left shows the pear and vanilla ones ready to undergo the final process step.  The jar on the right shows the finished orange bittters.



Our homemade orange bitters look right at home with the rest of our collection!
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3  Re: Getting Started With Bees in Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects by MissingWillow on: July 07, 2015 12:00:14 PM
It's been three months since we purchased our bees, thought I'd post an update.  One of the hives died off after about 6 weeks.  We think it was probably because of a weak queen.  The other hive is going gangbusters.  We harvested honey this morning and also split our one hive into two.  It was extremely overpopulated in there and the bees were working on making another queen.  Our sourwood trees have just started blooming, we hope to get a second honey harvest in about a month. 

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4  Creamy Pasta with Peas in Vegetarian / Vegan by MissingWillow on: June 26, 2015 01:40:08 PM
We picked the last of the peas from our garden last week and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them, make a creamy parmesan pasta from a very versatile recipe.  You could use substitute almost any vegetable, or even use frozen peas.  I modified a recipe from the Silver Palate Cookbook about 20 years ago and find it's a great last minute what's for dinner dish!


Additional ingredients include a cup of heavy cream, a half stick of butter, any kind of pasta you have on hand and parmesan cheese.  From the spice cupboard grab salt, cayenne pepper, dill weed, garlic powder and nutmeg (I grate mine).


The cream and butter go into a skillet on medium low, along with the cayenne, nutmeg and salt.  Start with a pinch of each then taste for balance.


Stir frequently for 15 minutes, scraping the sides of the skillet as it thickens.  At this point, reduce heat to simmer and stir often as you change your focus to the pasta.


At this point I add pasta and the peas to boiling salted water.  These fettuccini nests only take 5 minutes and so do the peas.  If I was using frozen peas, I'd add them now, too.  If you use something like broccoli, I'd add it to the water 3 minutes before the pasta is done.  Want to use zucchini or red pepper instead?  I'd saute those in a little olive oil and add it at the end.  You get the idea!


While the pasta is cooking, stir in a half cup of grated parmesan, a good shake of garlic powder and a 1/2 teaspoon of dill weed.


See how the sauce thickens?


Once the pasta is done, drain it and dump it in the sauce.  Serve with extra parmesan to sprinkle on top.


If you're watching carbs, this sauce works very well over spiralized zucchini noodles instead of the pasta.  If you're a pescatarian, you can add some baked salmon at the end.  Enjoy!
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5  1H2015 Featured Projects for Miscellaneous in MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS by MissingWillow on: June 26, 2015 09:48:29 AM
Congratulations to the latest round of category featured projects from our Miscellaneous Board. Thanks for contributing such inspiring work!

The Geeks Bedroom by Arachnea


Kitty Mugs by teaandcraft


Miniature Witch House by steiconi


Cheap Metal Etching by Magpirate


Tentacle Critters Can Be Shy Too by sheepBlue


Dottie At The Circus Mini Tin by rackycoo

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6  Re: Garden/Outdoor Swap Gallery in The Swap Gallery by MissingWillow on: June 09, 2015 10:46:52 AM
My package from juliel85 arrived this morning and I am thrilled with my goodies!  My biggest wish for this swap was for a new outdoor tablecloth to go on our patio dining table on our back deck.  The colors I've been using out there are deep orange and navy blue and she selected a fabric I am certain I would have chosen for myself.  To anchor it down, she made me tablecloth magnets.  So clever!

Also included in this group shot are the adorable kite drink stirrers that she made.  I don't think they could be any cuter!  I am also thrilled to try out the heirloom seeds she sent.  Wahoo!  She also included a peasant stew with swiss rye croutons recipe for us to try in our dutch oven over the cauldron.  Sounds yummy!   Smiley



Here's an action shot of the tablecloth.  Thank you so much, Julie!  You're the best!
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7  Re: STS Spring Market 2015 **Gallery** in The Swap Gallery by MissingWillow on: May 31, 2015 08:56:42 AM
I requested a puzzle piece from our wonderful co-organizer alteredmommy and boy did she deliver a piece of art!  I asked her to do something, anything in her signature style.  Isn't it absolutely gorgeous?!  I am thrilled to pieces with this and it will always remind me of you.  Thank you so much!   Kiss

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8  Re: Garden/Outdoor Swap (SU closed; SO 6/9/15) in ACTIVE SWAPS WHERE SIGN-UP PERIOD HAS CLOSED by MissingWillow on: May 24, 2015 09:26:45 AM
We've grown cucumbers, hot peppers, herbs and tomatoes in 8 inch and larger containers.

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9  Re: Garden/Outdoor Swap (SU closed; SO 6/9/15) in ACTIVE SWAPS WHERE SIGN-UP PERIOD HAS CLOSED by MissingWillow on: May 21, 2015 07:06:42 PM
Gorgeous kitchen garden, Ludi!  Here's ours, we just put a weed barrier around all the beds.  We also have too many rocks.

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10  Shrimp, Corn and Avocado Salad in Recipes and Cooking Tips by MissingWillow on: May 16, 2015 10:59:07 AM
This is, without a doubt, my favorite summer salad recipe.  It's absolutely delicious.  I've improved on the recipe over the years, here's my current version.



Ingredients:
Shrimp, peeled and deveined
Tomatoes
Avocado
2 ears of corn (boiled or grilled)
Orange sections (grapefruit is also delicious as an alternative)
You can also include other crunchy vegetables like red bell pepper and celery if you like.



The dressing consists of 1/3 cup of olive oil, juice and zest of a lemon, a tablespoon of dijon mustard, a splash of flavored vinegar, a dash of hot sauce, 4 minced cloves of garlic, chopped jalapenos, dill, salt & pepper all wisked together.


Peel and devein the shrimp.  Saute them for a few minutes on each side until opaque.


Slice the corn off the cob, mix with the sauteed shrimp, chopped tomatoes, diced avocado and the sections from 2 naval oranges.  Toss with the dressing and enjoy!  It's even better the second day.   Smiley

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