My quilting and family life journal

Christmas Tree Skirt Update

Wanted to share the progress that I have made on my Christmas tree skirt. So far I have invested about 40 hours in the English paper piecing project and completed half of the poinsettia band of the skirt.

2014- Christmas tree skirt


If I can invest another 80 or 90 hours the skirts should be ready for this holiday season.

Holiday Poinsettia Pillow

i2014- poinsettia pillowThis afternoon I finished a holiday pillow featuring a stylized poinsettia. I even used a few Christmas farbics that I haven’t touched since I over did it with the creation of table runners for family members a few years ago.

The 20 inch paper pieced pillow uses a combination of  cottons and silks, and was machine pieced and quilted. This is the first of several projects that I hope to complete for the holiday season.


The rains came back today so are plans for yard work were abandoned and I decided to do a bit of cooking for the week.

Beefless Stew

I started some beefless stew in the crock pot and made a loaf of low sugar fat free banana bread for us, and some peanut butter and pumpkin treats for the dogs.

banana bread

The dogs loved the treats so much that I thought that I would share the recipe.

pumpkinpeanut butter dog treatsIngredients

  • 2 1/2cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup water, or as needed


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all ingredients except water.
  3. Add water sparingly until dough is sticky. The amount of water needed will depend on the oil content of the peanut butter.
  4. Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface and into your favorite shape(s).
  5. Bake on cookie sheet for about 20 minutes.
  6. All treats to cool completely before serving or refrigerating.




After a week of rain the sun came out today and the temperatures were in the 60s. What a great day for yard work and a nice light lunch of spiced carrot hummus with sesame crackers and a lady apple or two.

The recipe that I found on the Kitchen blog allowed me to use a number of items harvested and/or canned this year. I roasted off the carrots this morning while waiting for the fog to burn off, used a jar of chickpeas that were canned this past spring, a variety of seasonings, bit of locally produced tahini from the coop and topped it all off with some fresh squeezed lemon juice to create a yummy lunchtime treat.

spiced carrot hummus


  • 1 pound carrots, chopped into 1 inch chunks
  • 3 whole cloves garlic, peals left on
  • 4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves


  1. Preheat oven to 435 degrees.
  2. Toss the chopped carrots and whole garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and pour mixture onto a backing sheet distributing evenly.
  3. Roast carrots in oven for 18-20minutes or until tender and lightly browned.
  4. In the bowl of a food processor. combine the roasted carrots, roasted garlic, chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, water and all of the spices.
  5. Drizzle in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil while the food processor is running. Add more water a little at a time until the desired consistency is achieved.
  6. Taste as adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  7. Serve with your favorite vegetables and crackers.


Fall Soups and Bread

The unusually warm weather turned this weekend and we were given a rainy/sleety Saturday and Sunday. Just the type of weather to kick-off our soup and stew season. To welcome in the season I made a pantry soup of  butternut squash, parsnip and apples, and a basil focaccia bread for Sunday dinner. We enjoyed the meal so much that I wanted to share the recipes with you.

bread ans soup

Butternut Squash, Parsnip and Apple Soup


  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 4 large parsnips, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 large butternut squash, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 medium tart apples, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 4 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat olive oil in large dutch oven.
  2. Saute the chopped onions in the olive oil for 5 minutes or until soft.
  3. Add crushed garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in cumin and saute until fragrant.
  5. Add chopped parsnips, butternut squash and apples to the pot and stir all ingredients together.
  6. Add stock and thyme and cook until vegetables have softened.
  7. Use an immersion blender to smooth the soup.
  8. Garnish with a bit of parsley.

Basil Focaccia Bread

basil focaccia bread


  • Herb oil
    • 2 tsp dried basil
    • 5 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
  • Dough
    • 4 cups whole wheat flour
    • 2 cups water
    • 3 Tbs olive oil
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
    • 1 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Mix the dried basil, extra virgin olive oil, and sweet paprika in a small bowl and let steep for at least 30minutes.
  2. Dissolve the sugar in 2 cups of warm water. Add the yeast and stir. Allow to sit until the mixture becomes frothy.
  3. Stir flour and salt together in a large bowl. Mix in olive oil and yeast mixture. Mix until dough is smooth, elastic and slightly sticky.
  4. Cover bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and let rise for 2 hours or until dough has doubled in size.
  5. Remove from bowl and flatten on a floured work surface. Divide into two equal parts.
  6. Spray two jelly roll pans with oil and place dough in pans.
  7. Gently work dough out to the edges of the pans and then split 1/2 of the herb oil across the trays of dough.
  8. With your fingers, indent the dough, keeping the bread approximately 1/2 thick.
  9. Let the dough leaven for 30 minutes.
  10. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  11. Pour the remaining herb oil on the loves, dimple lightly and sprinkle with salt.
  12. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.


Christmas Tree Skirt

I am down to the last two paper pieced blocks for my quilt-as-you go project so I just had to start a new project. It seams that I am not comfortable unless I have 4-5 quilting projects going at the same time. The latest project is an English paper pieced tree skirt.

Christmas tree skirt

The skirt will have a dozen poinsettias circling around the midpoint of the skirt and holly leaves at the base, with a beige background in multiple shades of the color.   The skirt will be hand pieced (great travel project) and quilted. It was just started this month and I told my family that I would finish it for the Christmas season, fortunately I didn’t say which year :)



End of harvest stock

The gardens have now been cleared, the herbs and vegetables either canned or dehydrated, so it was time to create some vegetable broth and stock powder for the fall and winter soups and stews.

veggie broth

Today I made a container of vegetable stock powder that I like to use to season beans and some winter squash soups.  As well as a vegetable stock powder which is great for stews and a number of soups.

stock powder

The following is the stock power recipe.


  • 2 large carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium parsnips, thinly slices
  • 2 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 4 mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 cabbage leave, cut into small pieces
  • small bunch of parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp dry dill
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp chili pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg


  1. Wash and dry all vegetables.
  2. Arrange the vegetables on dehydrator sheets and dehydrate at 135F for an hour, then continue to dehydrate at 115F for about six additional hours. Check often and remove vegetables as they dry.
  3. Add the dried and cooled vegetables to a blender and process until a fine crumble is created.
  4. Pour crumble into a bowl and stir in seasonings.
  5. Store mixture in air tight containers or sealed bags.

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