Showing posts from October, 2010

Machine Quilting by a Neophyte

Just before my best office desktop computer blew chunks, I downloaded and printed out a PDF file from Quilting Arts Magazine on how to learn machine quilting for the ordinary sewing machine. (Whew! Sighing with relief that I have a hard copy.)

Thanks to a clue from the president of my quilting guild, the very lucky and kind Diane Kelly, I found “universal” darning foot on Nancy’s Notions. It arrived just after I came back from retreat. I’ve been patiently finishing current projects and waiting until I could spend a bit of time following the step-by-step instructions on machine quilting.

Today was that day. I had some 6” blocks from my Halloween project left, some 6” squares of muslin, and some 6” squares of batting. I made a sandwich for a test, hooked up the darning foot, dropped the feed dogs, and decided that I would just play first to get a feel for how easy it was to move the sandwich.

Oh, my goodness!! I had such fun I didn’t want it to end. So what if it was a silly old rand…

Unleashed in Quilt Land-- Report on Wednesday 27October PBS shows

Unleashed in Quilt Land (What I do instead of stress eating)

Quilting is what I do instead of stress eating. My daughters read this blog, so it's a way to share what I'm learning with them.

1. Fons and Porter #1605 Bluebonnet Baby Quilt

a. Use the window technique when preparing the Heat-n-Bond so there’s only a thin line of adhesive around the edge. Do this before fusing to the fabric.

b. Cut the stems on the bias so they curve easily, 1” wide.

C. Fold the stem in half lengthwise and iron to create the first crease. Mark with pen or chalk if necessary to make the crease easier to see.

D. Fold ½ the stem again, to hide the raw edge. Overcompensate a little to make sure no raw edge is showing. Iron again. Finger press open.

E. Stitch down the center crease created earlier.

F. Roll it over, add leaves, and press it all down. Blanket stitch down.

G. Make and use a placement guide to ensure accuracy of placement. You may also note thread colors, machine settings, and even fabr…

Quilting 101: Supplies and Demands Part One

Supplies and Demands for Quilting

As I read this chapter of Super Quilter by Carla J Hassel, I’m struck by how much has changed in the past 20+ years since she sat down to write it. My amusement has faded to awe. I’m now wondering how my grandmothers managed with a cigar box as a sewing box, a set of hand-sewing needles, pins, scissors, thread, beeswax, chalk, a ruler, tape measure, pin cushion, thimble, seam ripper, and fabric. They made do or did without.

Now I admire my lovely computerized sewing machine, my collection of rulers and templates, stabilizers, Heat-n-Bond, glues, and myriad of gadgets available. Am I the one deprived because I’m not sitting around a frame with other women, learning from those who came before me? Maybe I am. They fearlessly attacked their ignorance and knew they had a lifetime to perfect their skills.

So I use a plastic tote and a photo box instead of a cigar box. It’s not a crime. I made my own pincushions from my early experiments with different blo…

Re: BEST Diabetic Zucchini Bread EVER.

Hi Kathy! Yeah, the zucchini bread recipe has been a family favorite for at least ten years. BTW, they aren't for bandsters, but on my Depraved Duchess blog (see below) I've posted a few recipes and a few guest authors have posted their Halloween faves.
A Haunted Halloween Blog Tour
Visit the Depraved Duchess for a Sexy Halloween

With Lena and her Friends

Lena Austin

From: Anonymous <>
Sent: Thu, October 21, 2010 8:53:13 PM
Subject: [Fat Frog Diary] New comment on BEST Diabetic Zucchini Bread EVER.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "BEST Diabetic Zucchini Bread EVER":

Hi lena,

I will give this one a try for sure. I love a moist bread.
I started swimming and have been so busy.

I love your site and I cook more because of your great easy recipes. Best wishes Kathy imaluckydog

Posted by Anonymous to Fat Frog Diary at October 21, 2010 8:53 PM

Bittersweet Hot Chocolate

Bittersweet Hot Chocolate
Makes: 12 (3/4-cup) servings
Prep: 5 minutes Cook: 5 to 6 hours (low) or 2-1/2 to 3 hours (high)

mnmilnes1 says:

Excellent, but VERY rich! Ingredients4  cups  half-and-half or light cream4  cups  milk2  3-inch pieces  stick cinnamon1  12-ounce package  bittersweet chocolate pieces or two 6-ounce packages bittersweet chocolate, chopped1  tablespoon  vanilla    Marshmallows (optional) Directions1. In a 3- to 4-quart slow cooker, combine half-and-half, milk, and cinnamon sticks. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours or on high-heat setting for 2-1/2 to 3 hours.
2. Remove and discard cinnamon sticks. If necessary, skim &qu…

Recipe: Twenty Clove Chicken

Twenty Clove Chicken
Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly, p. 7
Nancy Savage, Factoryville, PA
Makes 6 servings
Ideal slow-cooker size: 4-qt.

¼ cup dry white wine
2 Tbsp. chopped dried parsley
2 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 tsp. dried oregano
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
20 cloves of garlic (about 1 head)
4 celery ribs, chopped
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 lemon, juice and zest
fresh herbs, optional

1. Combine wine, dried parsley, dried basil, dried oregano, and dried red
peppers in large bowl.
2. Add garlic cloves and celery. Coat well.
3. Transfer garlic and celery to slow cooker with slotted spoon.
4. Add chicken to herb mixture. Coat well. Place chicken on top of vegetables in
slow cooker.
5. Sprinkle lemon juice and zest in slow cooker. Add any remaining herb mixture.
6. Cover. Cook on low for 5-6 hours or until chicken is no longer pink in
7. Garnish with fresh herbs if desired.
For browned chicken, saute uncooked breasts in large skillet in 1 Tbsp. o…

BEST Diabetic Zucchini Bread EVER

Zucchini Bread
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour ½ cup wheat germ 1 tbsp baking powder ½ tsp baking soda 2 tsp salt 2 tsp ground cinnamon ½ tsp each ground nutmeg, mace, and cloves ½ cup skim milk ¼ cup vegetable oil 6 packets Sweet-N-Lo sugar substitute (or 2 tsp bulk version) ½ cup sugar 4 egg whites (or scant ½ cup liquid egg substitute) 3 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray one 9x5 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients up to the milk. In a large bowl, combine milk, oil, Sweet-N-Lo, sugar and egg whites. Stir in dry ingredients and zucchini. Blend well. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack 5 minutes before removing from pan. Cool completely on the rack. Makes one large loaf.
Cut loaf into 14 slices. Each slice is 180 calories, 5 g protein, 5 g fat, 30 g carbohydrates, 0 mg cho…

Saved by My Grandpa-- The Original Recessionista

My grandfather was born and raised during the Great Depression. Consequently, he was one of those incredibly frugal men who lived well below his income because he "didn't need much." He drove a POS car until it became a classic, then an antique, then he sold it for ten times what he'd bought it for. He even had his own garden until he was too old to tend it properly, but his neighbors all had gardens and felt sorry for the lonely old widower and brought him extras from their gardens for free! When he died, he left my Mom a small fortune.

One thing grandpa did very well was save money on food. He rarely threw anything out. He composted his organic garbage right back into his garden, washed out his cans and took them to a steel mill that happily bought all his cans long before "recycling" was even a word. Even his soups were recycled.

Grandpa kept several containers stacked neatly in his freezer. Three were for cooked meats he shaved off the bones and saved…

Why “Diet” Mayonnaise and Salad Dressings are Not a Dieter’s Friends

Mayonnaise and Salad Dressings are some of the staples of the American dieter’s repertoire. Without a salad for lunch or the ubiquitous tuna sandwich, the American dieter is lost in a sea of pre-packaged and tasteless frozen dinners.Perhaps the most feared alternative is –oh, the horror!—raw vegetables with nothing to flavor them but the forbidden cream cheese or peanut butter.
However, the mayonnaise available on most grocery store shelves has many flaws, not the least of which are high carbs and an overwhelming amount of unpronounceable chemicals and preservatives.
There is an alternative. Surprisingly, it’s easy to make one’s own mayonnaise with a few simple spices, two eggs, two cups of cooking oil, and two tablespoons of an acid liquid such as vinegar or lemon juice. By combining these ingredients in various ways, the humble mayonnaise can become a sublime catalyst to elevate even the humblest salad to stardom.
The same thing has happened in the salad dressing market. The so-call…