Thursday, May 30, 2013

Last Day Of School Gifts

I wanted to make something to give my coworkers before we said goodbye for the summer.  Can you guess what these are?

I love my 30's fabrics and was able to make all these without using a single one twice.  Each one is different. I love the simple pinwheel pattern.

I used a cute graphic and PicMonkey to make a little tag.

When I made the little treats I sewed in a strand of embroidery floss so I could attach the tags.

Did you guess what they are?  They are little mini pillows (I have an obsession, click here to see more), a gentle reminder to rest and relax during the summer break.  Do you think the ladies will like them?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cinnamon Rolls. Yep. Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls are one of those foods that I have always wanted to make, but never could pull the trigger on and attempt.  I worried they would be too much work.  Well, folks, they are not.   This weekend I put a recipe to the test and made Vanilla Pudding Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting.   I cheated and made the dough in my bread machine.

It worked out great, allowing me the time while it processed to unload the dishwasher and get things in order.  I took the butter (because there must be butter) out to soften and mixed up the brown sugar and cinnamon for the filling.  I then let the dough rise a second time in bowls for about 30 minutes until doubled.

The dough was much easier to work with than pizza dough.  It rolled out nicely and held its shape well.

Next came the gooey goodness.  I spread the butter and sprinkled the sugar/cinnamon.

Rolling it up was a trick, but not too difficult.  I did this twice making two logs.

The slices are 1 1/2" wide and make a lot of cinnamon rolls.  I was able to make 2 pans of 7 and 1 pan of 6 for the freezer.  When I am ready to cook these, I will thaw them in the fridge for a day then let them rise on the counter over night before baking in the morning.

I still had enough to bake 7 more for the family to eat right away.

They were a hit, though I put a little too much frosting on this one.

And the best part is that I still have 3 pans in the freezer for another day.

Monday, May 27, 2013

In Rememberance

"The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it."  Thucydides

Thank you.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Simple Transplant

Have you ever seen Passion Vine?  I saw some in a nursery last year for the first time and only recognized it because I had found some growing wild in my neighborhood.  I was out checking a hog trap and came across it growing in the path.  (see Passionflower and Other Beauties).  While on a walk this weekend I found a large patch of it growing by the road.

All the rain we have had the past two season has really helped it take off this year.

I have wanted to try some in the yard, so yesterday I grabbed  two plant containers that I have not returned to Lowe's yet (did you know you can take them back and they will reuse/recycle them?), a couple plastic bags to protect my car, a shovel, and my favorite man, and went to dig a couple up.

There isn't a lot to the root structure so they came up easily.

I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them when we got home.

Breck brought these hollow logs up from the wood pile a few weeks ago for a project I just don't have the tools to do.  Cute planters in the landscape for the vines, right?

But after a little thought, I decided I wanted to get the roots all the way in the ground so they would get the moisture they need without me needing to baby them.  So we got them in the ground, albeit a little droopy from the transplant shock.

A little water from the rain barrel to set the dirt around the roots, a little sunshine, and a good nights rest and one is recovering nicely today.

The other may not make it, but I'm not ruling it out.

If they do well, I may get a couple more to plant on the back barbed wire fence.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Crock Pot Asian Pork Ribs

Finally!  It seems forever since I have had a hit recipe around here, but tonight I got one right.  It's a good thing since my son was in town for the holiday weekend and he loves ribs.  And cooking in the crock pot is so easy.  For the Asian Ribs I put 3 1/2 pounds of pork ribs (cut into 3 sections so they would fit nicely), 1/2 cup of water, 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 cup of low-sodium soy sauce, 3 whole cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon of ground ginger, and 4 whole (do not cut these guys!) jalapenos into a crock pot.

I cooked them on low for 7 hours, turning them over about 4 hours in.

They made my house smell fantastic all day.  While they cooked, I made a simple Veggie Slaw with 1 package of broccoli slaw mix, 1 chopped green pepper, 1 bunch of slice green onions including the tops, 1 package of Oriental Ramen noodles tossed with One-Third Dressing.  One-Third Dressing is made of 1/3 cup Cider Vinegar, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1/3 cup sugar, and 1/3 of the Oriental Ramen seasoning packet whisked together.  This is poured over the vegetables and tossed to coat.  Chill it in the refrigerator for a a few hours to get the flavors nice and blended.  A handful of almonds or a drained can of Mandarin oranges can also be added.

The ribs turned out great.  I pulled them out of the crock pot after 7 hours and placed them on a foil lined cookie sheet to broil in the oven for 3 minutes per side before serving.

Served with a little Hosin Sauce on the side and they were perfect.  The meat easily slid off the bone, but not so easily that they fell apart as I was serving them.

I also made Strawberry-Cream Cheese Wontons for dessert.  Sorry, no picture, but I got the recipe from Onion Rings and Things, using strawberry instead of raspberry.  Two per person was plenty, and rounded out an Asian inspired (though not traditional) dinner.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Inhibitors Doing What They Do Best

It all started simply enough.  I printed the pattern for my quilt block and settled in for a few hours of sewing.

By the time I trimmed up the pattern and cut it into pieces, you will notice I had a friend.

Inhibitor #1 had heard me and came to be a part of the fun the center of attention.

Looks comfy,doesn't he?

I plugged on, though, cutting and piecing, but it wasn't much longer before Inhibitor #2 realized something was going on and came to join us.  See him in the background?

Hard to believe that I was able to find enough room on my cutting table to get anything done.

But I did.

Now I have one more block completed and got to spend some quality time with my boys as well.

Have I told you lately how much I HATE Y-seams?  They are hideous.  I may never perfect the technique.

You can see all my completed blocks at My Dear Jane Experience.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

What's On My Nightstand

No, I didn't see the movie.  Nor will I.  Not a Tom Cruise fan, really.  Honestly, he is just not Jack Reacher to me.  But I am loving the book.  I try to read a little every night.  And yes,  I need the glasses.

I had read a few of the other books in the series, but now I'm going back and reading the first one.  Anybody else reading the series?  Read or reading any other good books?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dear Jane: New Blocks

It's getting down to the hard blocks now.  Luckily I did save a couple easy ones to break up the stress.

H1 Peek-a-Boo
D12 Crossed Swords

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Number 20: San Jacinto Monument and Battleground

One of the stops on our whirlwind day in Houston was the San Jacinto Monument on the San Jacinto Battleround State Historic Site.  Both are part of the State Park system.  It is quite the structure when you pull up to it from the south.

It is more than 567 feet tall (taller than the Washington Monument), with 8 carved panels showing important events in Texas history.

You can see the Battleship Texas in the distance and a long reflecting pool to side.

At this point my camera battery went dead and I realized that I had left my back up at home.  How does that happen?  Anyway, I was glad to have my camera so I could continue to take photos inside where there is a museum with artifacts on display.

I hate taking pictures through glass.

It is a beautiful sight to see, really.

There is an observation deck at the top, but we didn't go up.  Maybe on the next trip.

See more of our Texas State Park Adventures