Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Pierogies!

It would not be Christmas at our house if I did not make Pierogies. This is a family recipe from my Grandmother who was Ukrainian and came over from the old country.  She has been passed for almost 50 years now.  The photo on the top is how I remember her just before she passed, the photo on the below is her wedding day to my grandfather.
I remember as a little girl watching her make these at her kitchen table in their little apartment on St. Marks Place in New York City.  She would roll out the dough so thin and carefully cut the noodle dough with a drinking glass, then deftly stuff the pierogies with all kinds of incredible stuffings.  My favorite was her potato pierogi but she also made cabbage and cherry stuffed pierogi that were equally delightful.  My mother, thank goodness, decided that she needed to learn how to make them for her husband.  I don't remember my mother making them very often, but the one thing she did, which I will be forever grateful for, she made notes of the recipes and I have those today.  I have made some changes in the filling to suit my personal taste, but otherwise they are authentic.

You will need the following ingredients for the stuffing which you will make ahead and refrigerate:

My grandmother made hers with farmers cheese, a little hard to find out here, so I substitute cottage cheese.  
3-4 potatoes cooked and mashed
1 medium onion, finely diced
6 Tablespoons of butter
salt and pepper to taste
2 ounces of cheddar grated

melt your butter in a pan and get your diced onions sauteing over low heat, they need to be browned but not burned.
Make a slit around the middle of your potatoes and put them in the pot, cover with water and let cook, when they are done you can just slide the skins right off and mash.

While all that is going on, you can grate your cheese and measure out 3/4 cup of the cottage cheese.  Once your potatoes are done cooking and you have mashed them or riced them, you will add in your cheeses, salt and pepper to taste and your buttered onions.  Mix well and refrigerate to cool.  Don't try to make the pierogi with hot will just have a mess on your hands.
Your finished stuffing should look like this above.  

Okay!  Stuffing is cooled and we are ready to make the pierogi!
I cheat, I use a pasta roller to get it very thin, up to a #7 on the dial. I can't roll as thin as my Baba did.  To make the noodle dough, you will need:
2 cups All Purpose Flour
2 egg yokes
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp oil
a mixture of 1/2 water and 1/2 milk added a Tbsp at a time.  About 8-10 Tbsp.

Place your flour in a bowl, add your salt, mix.
Make a well in the flour and add your 2 egg yolks, reserving the whites for later.
add your oil and 4 Tbsp of milk and 4 Tbsp of water.  

stir or mix with your hands until it is incorporated and holds together in a ball (you can do this in your food processor if you wish)  Add additional milk and water as needed to have ingredients hold together.

Knead on a lightly floured board for 2-3 minutes until smooth, then cover with a bowl or a towel for 30 minutes to rest.  

Cut into four pieces and keep the unused portion covered until you are ready for it.  Run the dough through your pasta machine starting on setting 1 until you get to 7, flouring lightly as needed to prevent sticking.

lay your noodle strip out on the board and cut with a glass or a cutter the size that you like. (a large mouth mason jar ring work great!)  save the left over pieces of dough to re-roll, keep them covered.

Take a round in your hand and using a cookie dough scoop (or a teaspoon) place the stuffing in the middle, dip your finger in the egg white and just run over 1/2 the margin of the dough.  Then carefully fold the dough over and pinch the edges closed.

You will want to lay your pierogi out on either a cookie tray or a towel that is floured so that they don't stick.  I lay mine on a cookie sheet, they are stacked for the photo, but you lay them each on the tray, not touching another and freeze them, then put them into plastic bags to use as you wish.

To cook them.  Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, turn the heat down to barely a simmer.  Carefully place your pierogi in the water and cook until they rise to the top.  Then, in a separate pan, saute up minced onion and butter, then place your cooked pierogi in the pan and brown them in the onion butter.  Serve with a large dollop of sour cream!  Heaven on earth!  If everyone ate pierogi, I can guarantee you there would be Peace in the World!

Couldn't wait until Christmas to try just a plate full.  I'm happy!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Candied Citrus Peels! Let The Christmas Cooking Begin!

Yes, it's that time of year!  Time to make some of the delightful treats that we enjoy during Christmas.  One of my favorites is Candied Citrus Peels.  They are wonderful with a hot cup of herb tea or hot cocoa!

To make them, start by cutting your oranges in half and juicing them.  Drink the juice, you won't be needing it for this recipe.  Toss the peels into a large pot and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil.

Drain and Repeat 2 more times.   This helps to remove the bitterness of the peels.

Take a spoon and remove any of the orange membrane remaining, it's very easy to remove after the last boil.  Cut your peels into strips or shapes or bits...what ever you desire.  

Weigh the peels and add an equal weight in sugar.  Mix together in a deep bowl and let them sit out on the counter over night.  The sugar will draw out the moisture in the peels and you will have a syrupy mixture ready to cook.   Next morning place them in a pan along with the syrup that was created over night and bring to a boil over medium heat.  DO NOT STIR.  Swirl the pot if you must.  Stirring can cause sugar crystals to form.  Make sure they do not burn.  You want to bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer until the liquid is about half and the peels are translucent.

Drain and place on a jelly roll sheet lined with granulated sugar.  Put a lot of sugar down on your tray, these are sticky.  Toss in the sugar until completely coated, separating the pieces as you work.  Using a slotted spoon, remove them to a piece of parchment paper, freezer paper or paper bag to dry overnight. 

Next morning, place your golden strips into a jar or container for safe keeping. 

Don't toss the remaining syrup or the sugar, you can use both in baking.  No wasting here.  

You can dip the strips into dark chocolate for a delightful treat!  Let them dry completely and then package for gifting!  They are such a sweet treat, a little goes a long way!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Christmas Pockets!

Making these little Christmas Pockets this weekend.  Pattern is by Valori Wells Designs, here is a link in case you want to make your own:

They go together very fast.  As you can see, I am just using scraps of Christmas Fabric.  And fussy cutting the inside piece so that it has a "pop-up" or "peek-a-boo" effect.  It's great to make with a border print for the pockets.  

Enclose a sweet note, some dollar bills and a gift card for your favorite store.  Great last minute gift or stocking stuffer and doubles as a great little wallet after ward.  Make from pretty fabrics for a birthday or other holiday gift.

Swooning on a Saturday, The Final Block!

Finally, I have finished the last block for my quilt top.  Yes, this is a Swoon block, doesn't look like it does it?   I have taken some license with the block and inserted strips.  The color placement changes the shape and design of the block.  

Using the Big Huge Labs Mosaic Maker, I have this as my potential layout for the finished top.  I think I like it.  The colors are very different in person of course.  Each of the photos were taken in different light at different times as the blocks were completed, so some look brighter than others.  They are all the same in intensity and hues.  It's fun to experiment with the blocks.  Each one is made from the identical pieces, it's just the fabric placement that changes it up.  There are strips added to two of the blocks.  

I have enjoyed this pattern.  Here is a link in case you want to make your own.  You can see from the pattern cover, it looks completely different made up in light fabrics on a white background.  Lots of possibilities and lots of fun!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Fall Festival

It was a lovely evening of food and fun and visiting with friends and neighbors!  Costumed children ran the halls and enjoyed the trunk-r-treat out in the parking lot below the church.  Hot Dogs and Chili were the fare with plenty great sides to go with.  Some of the completed quilts were on display and enjoyed by all!  So many nice compliments on all the hard work our Newby Quilting Bee Group did.  The gals in the group surprised me with a beautiful card containing a very generous gift certificate to the fabric shop in Colfax!  Oh My Gosh!  Thanks ladies!  I was truly surprised and delighted!!!

I am almost completely recovered from my fall, I'm amazed how long it takes to get your knee working again once you fall on it like I did.  Anyway, moving around again, which is a good thing!  Catching up on some of my projects.  

Yesterday I finished the sashing on my Craftsy BOM...It looks amazing!  Yes, that BRIGHT blue color is the sashing.  This morning, I took my gift certificate to Colfax and shopped for some backing fabric for it.  I found the most lusciously divine deep royal plum.  I wanted to keep the backing simple, but still have it be a bold color statement like the front of the quilt, nothing subtle about this one.  So that will be one of my goals for this week, to get the batting and backing pinned in place and ready to sew.  Binding will probably be pieced bits of the fabric used in the top.

When I got home today I started back on the remaining blocks for my Swoon quilt, which you will remember I started a while back.  I modified the pattern a bit for this block and I'm happy with it, I like the little "butterflies" that turned up in the points.  Kind of fun.

Only one more block to go and then I can sash this one together also.  This will have black sashing, so it won't be a difficult process, just need to cut the fabric and sew it up.  Then I will have to go looking for some backing fabric and decide what I want for binding.

I see a great deal of machine quilting in my near future!  John's quilt must be finished by Christmas, so that will be the next push.  It's a simple 9 patch made with 6 inch squares, then cut in half both directions.  Blocks flipped and here's what you end up with...

Looks pretty subdued after the other quilts right?  Well it's for my husband to cuddle under and he didn't want anything too fancy schmancy. 

Speaking of John, he recently got me a "solar" dryer, in an endeavor to save some money.  So of course I needed a little clothes pin apron.  I found this pattern online at Mother Earth News.  Very easy to make, went together in about 1/2 hour and very practical!

The fabric is Michael Miller's China Doll.  I just love it!  Makes doing the laundry fun!!!  And it makes me think of my Gram.

And last but not least...this sweet little girl at church, Sera.  I just love her.  She and her gramma always sit near us and she is just a girly girl.  She ran up to me and gave me a big hug and wrote me a sweet little note in church about how much she had missed me. (she is 6)  Oh, you know me, I melted.  (John was almost in tears)  So I made this little purse for her.  I kind of adapted an idea that I saw online at Stitchery Dickory Dock.  Ruffled Mini Wallet

She loved it and I'm so happy!  Her little face just lit up!  Sometimes, it's the little things that just make your day.  This was one of them for me.

That about catches you up with my week!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Our Final Meeting of The Newby Quilting Bee Group

Sadly, all good things come to an end.  We had our last meeting for this year of the Newby Quilting Bee Group.  Diplomas were handed out, we enjoy a lovely pot luck brunch.  From left to right, Brenda, Sandy, Shirley, Teri, Ramona and Brandy. 

 Brenda brought down her lovely glass plates and some cloth napkins for us to dine in style!
 Each of the gals was given a little pin cushion and a kit to make a pumpkin like the ones below.  Everything in it but the batting!
 Teri, Brenda and Ramona have finished their quilts, they are just absolutely lovely!  I'm very proud of their accomplishments.  Valerie and Janeal were unable to attend, they have finished up their quilts and will have them for display at our Harvest Festival this Saturday.  Sandy and Brandy are finishing up their quilts, which will be stunning with the beautiful fabrics and colors they have selected.  Shirley has a beautiful quilt that she is having quilted, we are keeping our fingers crossed that it will be finished in time.  

Brandy with her beautiful quilt!

Shirley with her cute Pony Quilt!

Everyone of the gals in the class this year made such amazing progress.  I am so very proud of each and every one of them.  This was a big undertaking for first time quilters.  I so enjoyed the company of the gals and getting to know each of them.  The basic skills are there now and the sky is the limit!

We are looking forward to January when we will pick up the class again.  Our first class next year will be a simple paper piecing project for you to enjoy!

Fall Harvest Festival is this coming Saturday, October 27th from 5pm until 8pm at the LDS Church on Todd Valley Road.  There will be Games and Activities for the children from 5pm until 6pm.  Dinner will be served from 6pm until 7pm.  Trunk-or-Treat will be from 7pm until 8pm.  Trunk-or-Treat will be held in the lower parking lot this year to keep the upper lot clear for people to park without worrying about children darting around in the dark.  Costumes may be worn but we would request that no masks be worn for safety of the little ones.  Face paint is okay.  Our quilts will be on display in the Relief Society Room.  We hope that you can come out with your family and enjoy the evening with us!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

2012 Colfax Rail Road Days Quilt Show

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Enjoyed a leisurely walk through the quaint town of Colfax this morning, viewing the quilts hanging out from of the shops.  Lots of fun to hear the comments from folks viewing the quilts and of course we had to spend some time in the Whistle Stop Quilt  & Sew Shop!  So many enticing fabrics and patterns, I could literally spend hours there.  And since Colfax is a railroad town, well, we were treated to several trains coming through during our visit!  Over too quickly, already looking forward to next year!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Hot Potato Steaming Pocket Tutorial

At our Relief Society Super Saturday meeting we made these Microwave Steaming Pouches for Potatoes.

I was suppose to teach the class, but unfortunately, just before things got going, I decided to take a not so graceful fall onto my knee on the cement.  So, limping home I have been laid up for a couple weeks trying to recuperate.  I will not share pictures of the injury...don't worry.  I know most of you would like to keep your food down.   Brenda Allen was kind enough to teach the class for me.   Anyway, if you weren't able to make it to the class, here are the instructions and a mini tutorial.  They are really easy, don't over think the process.  

You will need the following:  

One piece of COTTON batting measuring 10" x 22"
Two pieces of COTTON fabric measuring 10" x 22"
Your sewing machine, some thread.

Layer as follows, batting on the bottom, one piece of cotton fabric face up on top of the batting and the remaining piece of cotton fabric face down on top of the first fabric, as shown above and below:

We are going to sew through all three layers on the short ends ONLY.  It is not necessary to pin, but if you want to do so, I would suggest that you pin as shown below so that your pins are back from the area where you will be stitching, that way you don't have to stop and remove them as you sew or worry about them getting caught under your needle.  Sew 1/2 inch from the short edge on both ends of the fabric sandwich.  Remove your pins.

Put  your hand between your fabric pieces and open it up, as shown below, you should have a loop now.  Turn this loop so that the fabric is on the outside and the batting is on the inside, Press your ends flat and top stitch the ends ONLY.

Notice again, in the picture below, as I am top stitching the ends, my pins are set back so that I have no need to stop and remove them until I am finished.

 Fold one side in and then the other, overlapping the top stitched edges by 1/2 inch.  Make sure that your Longer folded piece overlaps your Shorter folded piece as illustrated below.

Stitch 1/2 inch seam along both sides of your pouch.  I double stitched the area where the pieces overlap as that will be taking the brunt of any stress in opening and closing.    Turn your pouch and you are ready to steam some potatoes to perfection in your microwave!

Share your pictures!  I can see some of you getting very creative with this little project.  Quilting optional, patchwork optional.  Remember since this is going in the microwave, do not use fabrics that contain metallic threads, of metallic designs stamped or embossed on them.  

You may be giving this as a gift, if so, here are the directions for how to use your Hot Potato Steaming Pocket.

To use your bag: wash and dry potatoes, DO NOT PIERCE. Place potatoes in bag and place bag in microwave. Microwave per microwave manufacturer instructions. DO NOT OVERCOOK. This bag will hold from one to four potatoes. This is a great way to cook sweet potatoes.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Craftsy BOM Blocks for September and February Remake

February's Block was the Balkan Puzzle.  I wasn't happy with the one I made originally, you can see a picture of it below.  I went in a different color direction and it needed a remake.  I like this one now, it looks like a fire opal from across the room.   I still don't care for the technique because it leaves you with cross grain edges which can be difficult and easily stretched.  Just my personal preference.

You can see how it looks in the grand scheme of things now...

The other two blocks that were made for September are both made using curved piecing.  I love curved piecing and although they are technically cannot see the detail of the block because of the choice of fabrics...note to self...more contrast in color and size of elements.  But they are pretty and will blend in so I am not going to redo them.

If you like these blocks and want to make your own...check out  The course is their Block of the Month and it's FREE!  Lots of fun each month, videos are always there for you to refer to, printed handouts for reference and you can view the contributions of those that are also taking the class.  They have lots of free classes for you to sample and some fabulous pay classes that are very reasonably priced.  The subjects run from cooking to sewing, to quilting, to knitting, you name it!  That's  check it out!