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1  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Green Eggs and Spam on: April 01, 2016 06:50:51 AM
What's better than a big plate of eggs and Spam to start off your day? I can't think of anything, except maybe adding a bunch of veggies to your eggs for an extra healthy kick!



Green Eggs and Spam

2 eggs, scrambled with a splash of cream, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes
1 can Spam, (Spam Lite to save some cals!) sliced into thin slabs and then each slab cut in half
3 chopped green onions
2 cups chopped spinach
6-8 stalks of Asparagus, chopped
garlic powder, salt, pepper to taste
1 teaspoon butter

In a large pan cook your spam on medium high heat, turning frequently to brown on all sides.



At the same time in a smaller pan cook your veggies with a little salt, pepper, and garlic powder.



When cooked to your liking, push them to the outside of the pan, leaving an empty circle in the center. Melt the butter in the center of the pan and add the eggs, scrambling the eggs and working the veggies in from the outside. When cooked to your liking, remove from the heat, add the cheese on top and place a lid on to melt for a couple of minutes. Serve with crispy Spam on the side!





2  CRAFTSTER CRAFT CHALLENGES / CHALLENGE 112 ENTRIES / Circle of Geese Ultra Tiny Mini Quilt on: March 03, 2016 04:16:08 PM
For this challenge I knew I wanted to make a teeny tiny paper pieced quilted item. After thinking about making my own design, I decided shrinking down one already out there would be better for my sanity. I printed this Circle of Geese pattern from Piece By Number out at 30%, which made it almost the right size, and copied it on my printer at 90% which gave me 2 inch sections. I then added back in the 1/4 seam allowance since those had also been reduced down and were now like, 1/32 inch.



I used various (tiny) scraps from my stash along with some Essex linen for background (I think maybe Steel, but I could be wrong. Probably I'm wrong.)

The backs of paper piecing patterns are kind of fun to look at. Normally my seams wouldn't be quite so hideous, but that's what happens when you have so many tiny pieces!



I just quilted some straight lines close together with light gray Aurifil.



Adding the binding to the front. It was a PITA because I do continuous binding, so sewing the ends together after it was already mostly attached was a little rough. I did a smaller than usual seam allowance to attach the binding since I could already tell it was going to cover up the geese a little bit. I do wish I had printed the pattern out even a little bit smaller so I could have added a border on before the binding, but oh well!



I hand stitched the binding to the back, which I normally don't do, but for something this tiny it didn't take very long! Smiley I love my tiny binder clips!





Oh, and paper piecing makes a huge mess, in case you weren't aware! How could this pile of scraps and paper bits have been the results of making this tiny little thing?



4 Inches on the nose! I might hang this on the wall with a whole set of other super tiny mini quilts, or it might become a coaster.



3  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Breakfast Tostada (plus black beans & pico de gallo recipes) on: February 20, 2016 02:26:41 PM
We've been on a Mexican burrito bowl kick lately so I've been keeping various components made up in the fridge. This one uses up the homemade black beans and fresh pico de gallo I made a couple days ago. Whatever canned or store bought ingredients you have on hand will work just as well for this quick meal!



Breakfast Tostada
Serves 1

1 tostada shell (or corn tortilla baked until crispy)
1/2 cup beans, warmed (whole beans or refried both work great)
1/4 cup shredded cheese
1/4 cup pico de gallo or salsa
1 egg

Warm the tostada shell and the beans while you cook the egg. I like my eggs over easy. Layer beans, cheese, and pico onto warmed tostada and top with the egg. Dig in!


Vegetarian Spicy Black Beans
These are the best beans I've ever made, I took elements from several different recipes. The jalepeño adds some really great flavor and just the right amount of heat. In the first 2 hours of cooking, you can also add a quartered green bell pepper to later remove, but I was out of bell peppers.

1 lb black beans
1 large onion, quartered
3 stalks celery, cut into 4 inch pieces
1 jalapeño, cut in half (pull out some of the seeds with a spoon if you want it less spicy)
5 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly smashed + 4 cloves garlic pressed/minced
1 Tbsp powdered or paste vegetable bouillon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin + 2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
2 cups salsa, pico de gallo, or a mix of chopped tomato and onion
Juice of 1 lime, optional

Soak beans in a large pot of water overnight. When ready to cook, rinse the beans and add water to cover the beans by about 2 inches. Add the quartered onion, celery, jalapeño, smashed garlic, vegetable bouillon, salt, pepper, and 1 tsp cumin. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, put a lid on, and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add more water if it gets too low. After 2 hours, beans should be tender or almost tender. Remove chunks of onion/celery/garlic/jalapeño. Add additional 1 tsp cumin, chili powder, pressed/minced garlic, and pico/salsa/tomatoes/onion. Simmer for 30 minutes more with the lid off or until consistency you like is reached, stirring every 10 minutes. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary. Add a squirt of lime if you need the acid (my pico had plenty of lime juice so I didn't add additional, recipe below).

Pico de Gallo

1/2 large onion, diced
1 jalapeño, seeds and ribbed removed, minced finely
Juice from 1-2 limes
3-4 fresh tomatoes, diced
dash of garlic powder
1 cup cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Soak the onion and jalapeño in the lime juice for 10 minutes to mellow it out a bit. Mix in tomatoes, garlic powder, cilantro, and salt and pepper. Store in the fridge for several hours to overnight for the flavors to meld together.

4  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Stupid Easy Taco Soup on: January 29, 2016 05:33:05 PM
This is a recipe my whole family likes, including my 3 nephews! It's stupid easy to make too! A little chopping, brown the meat, throw everything in and let it simmer.



Stupid Easy Taco Soup

1 T oil, if you are using lean beef or turkey, can omit if beef has higher fat content
1 cup diced onion
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
12-16 oz ground beef or turkey*

1 can refried beans
2 cans pinto, white, or black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can Rotel, do not drain (tomatoes with green chiles)**
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 cup Salsa
2-3 cups broth (chicken, beef, veggie)
2 T. ranch mix powder
2 T. taco seasoning

Optional Toppings

crushed tortilla chips
shredded cheese
sour cream or yogurt
chopped cilantro
diced tomatoes
sliced black olives
chopped green onions

In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat and add onions and garlic. Saute until soft and translucent and add ground meat.  Cook until no pink remains and add beans, 2 cups of broth, corn, tomatoes, salsa, and seasoning. Stir and simmer, adding 1 more cup of broth if you need more liquid. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes. Top with tortilla chips, sour cream or yogurt, and other optional toppings.

*Make vegetarian by omitting and using extra beans, tvp, or faux meat crumbles
**If you can't find Rotel or similar, substitute with 15 oz can diced tomatoes + 4 oz can green chiles

5  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / 2016 QuiltAlong, now with prizes! on: January 28, 2016 06:57:51 AM
Welcome to the 2016 Quilt Along! Please join in as we work on various quilting projects this year. The point of this Quilt Along is to motivate ourselves and others to work on their projects and provide a space to discuss projects during and after their completion, as well as fill the Quilting Board with beautiful quilts.

To join our Quilt Along, please post a list of the 4-8 quilts you will be working on this year, baby sized or larger. We are going to have quarterly prizes this year for anyone that completes 1 or 2 quilts per quarter and checks in weekly. There will be an additional prize drawing at the end of the year for anyone that completes at least 1 quilt each quarter.

Of course, discussing and sharing in-progress pics of any quilted projects, large or small, quilted mug rugs, wall hangings, and whatever smaller projects you are working on this year are always welcome, they just won't be eligible for the drawing each quarter!

I'll keep track with links in the second post of people's lists so you can find your "master list" quickly and easily.

Why did I change the QuiltAlong rules from previous years?
The last few years the QuiltAlong hasn't been as formal, vocal, or as had as much of a feeling of community as it used to have, and a lot of that is because I've been super busy being an officer in my local quilt guild. This year I am back to being a "civilian quilter" for the first time in 3 years and want to make this a fun environment where we get things done! Also, by reducing our lists and having prizes and quilting deadlines, I'm hoping we'll all be able to make some real progress this year!

How to join the 2016 QuiltAlong:

1.) Make a post introducing yourself (tell us about your quilting likes and dislikes and your quilting journey) along with your list of 4-8 Quilts, baby sized or larger that you are committing to working on this year. They could be started already or quilts you haven't started yet, tops languishing ready to be quilted, or any stage in between.

2.) Check in weekly as much as possible. I'll try to have fun check-ins where I ask a question you can answer, or share what you're working on. If you miss a couple check-ins, you won't be out of the quarterly prize drawing, but if you never participate you won't be eligible.

3.) When you finish a project on your list, make a post for it with picture(s) on the Quilting Board AND share it in this QuiltAlong thread with a picture and link to your post on the Quilting Board.

You can have up to 2 entries per quarter for quilts that are completely finished and are at least baby sized or larger. Each entry will give you a chance in the drawing. The prize could be a pattern or fabric, but since shipping is crazy expensive now, if you are international to me (outside of US) it will probably be a downloadable pattern. It's also possible I can get a sponsor or two for this QuiltAlong Wink At the end of the year there will be an additional prize drawing that includes all people who have finished at least 1 quilt on their list every quarter.

2011 QuiltAlong Thread
2012 QuiltAlong Thread
2013 QuiltAlong Thread
2014 QuiltAlong Thread
2015 QuiltAlong Thread


Quilt by amazon_warrior in 2015 QuiltAlong



Prize for Quarter 1
Quarter 1's prize is going to be a pattern from Hunter's Design Studio! Thank you so much Sam Hunter for your donation! Sam is the designer of oodles of fun patterns as well as the author of the popular book Quilt Talk, her wonderful paper pieced alphabet with lots of fun projects to go along with it!

If the winner is in the US they will receive a physical pattern of their choice, for an international winner the prize will be a downloadable pattern of their choice.

You could win one of these cool patterns, or a different pattern from her site!

Photos credit Sam Hunter, Hunter's Design Studio
6  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Epic Veggie and Bean Sandwich on: November 09, 2015 03:40:42 PM
I went to the beach for the weekend with some of my best friends and we ate a lot of sweets and junk food. Today I'm craving some simple food and lots of veggies. I love a good veggie sandwich, and for me it has to have: sprouts, avocado, cucumber, and tomato. The other components can change up, but those are my non-negotiables!



I started by making an easy bean spread with a can of drained, rinsed white beans and put them in the food processor with the juice of half a lemon, 2 teaspoons grainy mustard, 2 teaspoons mayo, 5 shredded baby carrots, a palmful of chopped flat leaf parsley, and spices to taste: Creole seasoning, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. (Hummus would be a yummy alternative in the sandwich if you have some on hand and want to use it!)

After toasting some crusty sour dough bread, on the bottom slice I layered bean spread, sliced cucumber, sliced tomato, sliced red onion, and slices of avocado sprinkled with Kosher salt and cracked black pepper. The top slice I used whipped cream cheese, sunflower seeds, spicy sprouts, and butter lettuce. It was kinda hard to fit the final product in my mouth, but I powered through it Wink


With the lettuce skirt lifted up to see the nummies on the top layer





Tasty and filling, and you'll still feel good after eating it!

7  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Fruit Coasters on: October 06, 2015 05:11:14 PM
I made these little fruit coasters for alwaysinmyroom from a tutorial by Repeat Crafter Me after finding a similar project on alwaysinmyroom's Pinterest. They were a fun project! I also made a strawberry and an orange but must not have gotten a picture of them.

8  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Quilted Cat Mug Rugs on: October 06, 2015 04:33:22 PM
I made these mug rugs for my friend belladune. I started out with a couple of  Elizabeth Hartman's cats that she released a few years ago for her "Catvent" Advent project. I used Jennifer and Monica to make these mug rugs in colors Bella likes.

I framed both cats out a bit with Essex Linen to gt to a nice mug rug size. I did a little free motion quilting on these. It's not my best ever quilting because it was right before i had to take my sewing machine in to be serviced Sad





9  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Quilted Patchwork Basket on: October 06, 2015 04:17:19 PM
This little basket from Pink Penguin is one of my favorite items to make when I need a sweet little giftie! I made this particular one for my friend alwaysinmyroom. I like to do quite a bit more quilting than the tutorial calls for, I generally quilt on either side of every seam, but have also occasionally free motioned all over.

I used Essex Linen from Robert Kaufman in Steel for the linen parts and some of my favorite fabrics, including some Avant Garden by Momo, Lizzie House Pearl Bracelets, Carolyn Friedlander text prints, and some Kate and Birdie. I've upsized this pattern before, and if you do so I highly recommend adding a layer of interfacing to the lining fabric, but at this small size (5 1/4" x 3 1/2" x 4") just the batting it calls for is enough. I also was taking a picture of the adorable cherry selvage dots on the Momo fabric! Smiley



Laying out the patchwork:



10  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Green Eggs, no Ham on: September 14, 2015 10:01:59 AM
I was a little bummed when I went to scramble some eggs this morning because the chives I had bought a couple weeks ago (oops) specifically to go into eggs had gone bad. Sad panda! So I went back to an old favorite--broccoli in my eggs! It might sound weird, but I promise that it's tasty.

I scrounged around in the fridge and found the other lovely additions of mushrooms, pesto, and Irish cheddar cheese. You might say "But Mare, there is cheese in the pesto, do you really need another cheese?" And I would have to say, "I'm sorry, but if you think double cheese is wrong, I don't we are going to be very good friends."

This might seem like a big pile of eggs, but the vegetables really kick up the volume; there are only 2 eggs in there!



Green Eggs, no Ham
Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

1 tsp butter, divided
2 eggs
1/2 cup broccoli, chopped
2 large mushrooms, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons prepared pesto
1 oz finely shredded Irish Cheddar cheese, divided
pepper and red pepper flakes to taste
salt, optional (may not be needed due to saltiness of cheese)

Heat a small or medium pan over medium heat. Melt 1/2 teaspoon butter and add the chopped broccoli and mushrooms. In a small bowl scramble 2 eggs, pepper, red pepper flakes, pesto, and half of the shredded cheese. When veggies are cooked to your liking, push them to the outer sides of the pan and add another 1/2 teaspoon butter to the center. Add your eggs and begin to scramble, pulling the veggies in from the sides as the eggs begin to set up. When eggs are almost done to your liking, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, put a lid on the pan and remove from heat to melt the cheese.

Nutrition Information: 364 calories, 24 g protein, 28 g fat, 6 g carb, 2 g fiber
An english muffin with 2 tsp butter  is an additional 178 calories

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