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1  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

2  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
3  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!

4  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.

5  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





6  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:



7  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

8   / QUILTING / Quilting Featured Projects--Quarters 1 & 2, 2015 on: September 01, 2015 07:01:42 PM
Please check out these beautiful quilted projects from the first half of 2015! I personally like to choose projects that have lots of clicks from "This Rocks" but haven't been previously chosen as Craftster wide Featured Projects, so we can check out quilted items you might have missed the first time around!


I can't believe this quilt was swapped! I would be so sad to swap this one away. The process pics in the post are really fun to see how it all came together.

What Comes from Beneath Quilt by sloth003





I love this beautiful hexagon quilt set with a slight twist on a traditional Grandmother's Flower Garden setting. I can't imagine how long all this hand piecing must have taken to do!

A Quilt Called Wildflower by Mermonster





The bright colors contrasting with the crisp white makes this next quilt so striking! And she longarm quilted it herself!

Solar Eclipse Quilt by superstitch





This Cardinal placemat is so pretty and would brighten up any kitchen or dining room! The apple pot holder to go along with it is also lovely.

Cardinal and Apple Placemat and Potholder set by emisaurus





This fun pillow would be another item I'd have had trouble swapping away! The crazy quilt-esque piecing is accented with some fun yo-yos and buttons!

Texas Size Pillow by quaggy





I am so impressed with this quilt for a variety of reasons--she made her own pattern, it was her first big quilt, and it is beautiful and graphic!

Aztec Quilt by jennlrc




Thank you to all of these Craftsters for sharing their wonderful projects, and for everyone else who posts to the Quilting Boards! Please keep hitting "This Rocks" on projects you love to help moderators find these awesome projects!
9  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Completed Projects / Accidental Zebras and Other Soap on: July 25, 2015 10:47:24 PM
I just made 12 batches of soap this week over the course of two days and finally have them all cut and on my curing racks.

Imagine my delight when I saw this after cutting my Lime Ginger Peppercorn bars today?!? Cheesy



Only on two bars sadly, but I love it!

Here are a few more I made (sorry for the crap pics, I trade soap for photography with my friend klum78 but won't get to that until I've beveled and labeled the soaps.) I'll post the "good" pics later! Smiley

Calendula Lemongrass Eucalyptus



Unscented Oats n Honey



Lavender Shea



Thanks for looking!
10  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Completed Projects / Red Sedona Swirled Soap on: July 21, 2015 08:23:31 PM
I haven't made soap in soooo long, maybe 2 years? I've actually been buying handmade soap from friends the last several months just to have some for personal use!

This is my regular soap recipe, fragranced with Red Sedona FO which is sweet and fruity. Although I normally use a loaf mold with an in-the-pot swirl, this time I used one of my slab molds so I could do an in-the-mold swirl. I colored the main part of the soap with red mica, and then smaller bits of soap with neon yellow and neon orange pigments to swirl into the soap. I'll add some more pics after I get these bars cut in the next couple days (and some of the other 6 batches of soap I made).

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