food · quilting

Wrapping Up this Thursday

As this day has wound down to a close, I’m sitting by the bedroom fireplace listening to little sleet balls ping against the windows. It’s supposed to do that all night. I’m glad I don’t have anywhere I have to go in the morning.

I did pretty good at getting most of my to do list tackled today. I did my paperwork that needed tended. I focused on cutting out more pieces for the commissioned quilt instead of sewing. The cutting seems to be moving rather slowly as I’m not using fat quarters I can stack and cut multiple block sets from at once. Using clothing makes that part quite a bit more tedious. At least it does for me. Some of the fabrics are a bit fussy to work with, also. I’m anxious to see how it comes together. It has such a varied array of patterns, colors and fabrics, but each item has special meaning to my client.

I did make my first chicken fried venison steaks with some back strap meat from the doe my husband harvested. This was a first for us both as it was his first deer. I was pleasantly surprised that it turned out quite tasty.

I used my Pampered Chef meat tenderizer on it before soaking in it milk for about 4 hours before frying. It was also my first time using it as it’s a recent purchase. I was very pleased with it. It made quick work of getting the steaks prepped. I had them all done and soaking in less than 15 minutes. I have no affiliation with Pampered Chef, but I do have and use several of their products.

I always lose some of the crispy coating when I cook chicken fried steaks and I don’t know why. If you have any tips for keeping it stuck, I’d love to hear them.

food · Salsa

Salsa, baby!!!

I wish you could have a taste of this!


I got a good “do” on this batch. Go ahead and laugh at me for saying that. Efren does. He says, “a do?? You got a good do on it?” I’m like “yeah, a do. Ain’t you ever heard that sayin’ before?” (Insert heavy southern drawl) 😂😂 This batch did turn out seriously good, though. Enough of a burn to make your nose run, but not so much to overpower the flavor. Perfecto! I could make a meal of just chips and salsa, but I cooked up a little Mexican quinoa dish to go with. A recipe I found on Pinterest and we both like it. Healthy and tasty, too!


food · quilting

Good Food, Good Day

So, I loved Mexican food anyway, but now that I am married to a Mexican man that grew up on authentic Mexican cooking, I’m experiencing a lot of new dishes. It’s not been good for my weight, which I finally had down to my goal. But yum. I have a lot to learn in the kitchen, and have added some Mexican cooking blogs to my reader. Luckily, as my cooking time is limited, we have lots of little mom and pop type Mexican restaurants in our community, serving up delicious authentic Mexican food to satisfy just about any craving. Lunch today was at one of our favorites, a little place called El General. Five years ago if you had told me I would be eating tacos de tripas, I would have said you were bat crap crazy, lol. I mean…ewwww, right? Well…I’ve gotten a bit more adventurous in this new chapter of my life. And not only do I eat them, I love them! I prefer them fried to a medium crispness. I’m not crazy about the texture just cooked, but fried they are really good. Today I had two tacos de tripas and two tacos al pastor.


Four sounds like a lot, but they are little tacos. Also, I actually ended up giving one of the al pastor to Efren. So, I only ate three.

Efren loves his beans, and is used to having them almost every day, with most meals. This morning I started a big pot of beans in the crock pot. One thing I’ve gotten pretty good at making is homemade frijoles refritos, or refried beans. They really are soooo much better than what comes in the can. I always cook mine with a chunk of salt pork, added salt to taste, a little garlic powder, and some chile powder. Today, I threw in a couple dried hot hatch chiles. We ate beans tonight southern style. With a batch of fried cornbread with melted butter slathered on it. I hadn’t made fried cornbread in too many years! Efren had never had it and really liked it.



The fried cornbread is so easy to make. I need to do that more often! This is the recipe I got from my mom many years ago, and the one she made for us when I was growing up.

1 1/2 cups cornmeal

1T flour

1 tsp salt

boiling water (almost 2 cups)

Heat vegetable oil,  Crisco, or oil of your choice in a skillet, preferably cast iron. Mix your dry ingredients, then stir in boiling water until your batter is moist enough to form into balls of dough that you can then mash into patty shapes. Fry until crisp. They fry up quick, so keep an eye on that skillet. Top with butter and enjoy!

I will freeze part of the leftover beans to use another day, and part of them will definitely end up as frijoles refritos over the next couple of days.

I did get the backing for baby Chase’s quilt pieced and loaded on the longarm this afternoon. I found a piece of leftover batting that is just barely, and I mean barely, big enough. I’m going to try to use it and hope I don’t regret my decision. If tomorrow goes as planned, I will finish loading it on the machine and get a bit of stitching done. I haven’t decided exactly what I want to do on it, but it should be a fun one to do!



Thanks for stopping by!

food · quilting

Do you like it hot?

We love our salsa hot! It is freezing, literally freezing, outside. Last time I checked it was 7 degrees outside with a windchill of -13. Brrrrr. We had snow flurries on and off all day. A perfect day to cook up some homemade salsa, rice and a big pot of albondigas (meatball soup).

I boiled the jalapeños and tomatoes, and I had a handful of tomatillos leftover from a previous batch, so I went ahead and roasted them and threw them in the blender, as well. Added some garlic, cilantro and salt.



I leave the pepper seeds in for extra heat. A bowl of albondigas….


with a generous spoonful of rice stirred in….


along with a spoonful or two of the salsa and a squeeze of lime, eaten with warm corn tortillas….is good stuff! Just right for a day like this. Actually, there aren’t many days I wouldn’t eat this. It’s becoming a favorite of mine. I also had cooked a pot of pinto beans in the slow cooker overnight and I made a pan of frijoles refritos to have on the side. Mmmmm! I’m ready for leftovers!

I spent most of the day in the kitchen, but at the end of the day I managed to squeeze in a bit of quilting. I cut the binding strips for Caleb’s quilt. It’s going to look awesome in this navy and white striped fabric, but cutting it made me a little dizzy!


Then I did some hand stitching on the binding of another quilt. Now, I think I’ll lay me down to sleep. Goodnight!

daily life · dogs · food

Mmmmm…Pumpkin Empanadas

So, I’m taking some vacation time til after the first. Efren, aka “mi Papi”😊, is also taking a few days off , and we are enjoying a week long visit with his 15 yr old son, Christian. He lives roughly ten hours away with his mom, so visits are precious time. I caught an upper respiratory thing from Efren had last week and have felt pretty blah the last two days.

I played it up for all it was worth, though (JK😂) and let this crew do all the cooking last night.
My son Derek, Efren and Christian. Derek’s family was still at his inlaws, so it was just me and the boys.


Once I started feeling better this afternoon, I decided to try out a pumpkin empanada recipe I found on the web. I love a good pumpkin empanada. I love pumpkins, in general. One of my favorite things for some reason. They are just so darn cute. Anyway, this recipe was easy and I’m quite pleased with how they turned out. I expected more difficulty, because ya know….that whole dough making part. These were truly a piece of cake to put together.


I can’t make a thing without making a huge mess along with, it seems.


You make these cute little dough balls and roll them out. Then you put this yummy, as in so good I wanted to get a big spoon and sit down and eat it right out of the bowl just like it was kind of yummy, filling in the center of your flattened dough ball.


Then moisten the edge, seal them up, and bake!



Pretty dang good!


You can find the recipe here.

I guess that was just too much success for one day, because immediately after that I broke the only really nice crystal vase I owned. Oopsie.


But, that’s a small loss in the grand scheme. Totally inconsequential, actually. Replaceable. My biggest concern was keeping Miss Bella out of it with her big paws and nosy nose while I was cleaning it up.

I missed Christmas blogging, so tonight I will leave you with a cute pic of her under the tree before the holiday season is long gone and the decorations packed away for another year. Would have been nice if she hadn’t rearranged the tree skirt before striking an accidental pose that I couldn’t resist snapping a pic of right fast. Oh well! Just adds to the charm, right?! 😄


daily life · food · freehand quilting · longarm quilting · machine quilting · quilt top · quilting · quilts

Why Am I Up So Early?

It’s 5:30 and I’ve already got a loaf of cranberry nut bread in the oven.  Did I mean to be up this early? No way! 3:30 this morning and I was wide awake.  At 4:45 I finally just gave in and got up.  I’m sure it will catch up with me later today. 

The Red Velvet Whoopie Pies were a hit.  Mine aren’t near as pretty as the ones in the magazine, but they taste good.  I didn’t follow the recipe for the filling, though.  The recipe calls for a filling made from cream cheese, marshmallow creme and butter.  I was getting ready to make it and my son stopped me and requested that I use my butter cream frosting.  Since I’ve never had them before, I can’t say which way is better, but my butter cream frosting sure is yummy in there.


They look pretty sitting on the counter next to my new mixer, as they are almost the same color red.  I chose the cinnamon color mixer, which is a deeper color than the bright red.  The recipe for the whoopie pies can be found in the December Better Homes & Gardens issue, or the BHG recipe site, by doing a search for Red Velvet Whoopie Pies.  You will have to register at the site to view the recipes, but it’s free.

I also made a batch of beef jerky yesterday.  It’s my second try in my new dehydrator.  I tried once using the oven, and I ruined all my jerky meat.  This batch came out really good, so I think I’m finally getting the hang of it.  We like it hot.  Can you see those red pepper flakes?


Since it is Wednesday, I will throw in some more pics of the WIP that is on the machine, and a pic of the memorial t-shirt quilt I have started.








Oh yum! The cranberry nut bread just got done…can you smell it? 🙂  My house never smells like this at this time of day…lol.  This will throw my little family for a loop!  Me…cooking before coffee…how in the world did that happen?


They really won’t care, though, since it doesn’t involve bacon, eggs, toast or pancakes.  Those items are a supper dish around here.  I tell them if they want them for breakfast, there’s a perfectly good restaurant in town that serves them in the morning.

Merry Christmas Eve! I hope Santa is good to you!

Blogroll · food · longarm quilting · machine quilting · Mark Lipinski · quilt top · quilting · quilts

A Heart Full of Gratitude

Wow, what a week! I think I have said “thank you” more times this last three days than I have the last three months.  And I’m going to say it some more.  I have been so touched by all the comments regarding the quilt in my previous post.  Truly, I’m a little overwhelmed.  I was already thrilled with the responses from you, my regular readers, who for whatever reasons keep coming back to visit me here.  Many of you have been with me on different online message boards for longarm quilters since my longarm journey began.  You guys know that I’m that quilter that doubts myself all the time.  I’m used to being the one doing the drooling over someone else’s gorgeous quilting.  You guys have been the best cheerleaders, teachers, and encouragers, and you have no idea how much your friendships mean to me, and how much I enjoy “knowing” you.  I can’t wait to get to meet some of you in person, and give you all a great big hug.  And I have to give credit where credit is due.  You guys are my inspiration.  And those wonderful teachers among you, whose DVD’s and videos I have purchased, and watched over and over, thank you for putting such great teaching products out there.  For the feathers I used on this particular quilt, I have to credit Renae Haddadin, Sharon Schamber, & Sherry Rogers-Harrison, whose book I have.  Also, Jamie Wallen for the inspiration for the feather motif in the very center of the quilt.

Mark Lipinski, you really have no idea how surprised I was when I discovered you had tagged me in your blog.  Or how much I appreciated what you said about my quilting.  I have to thank you for my two biggest blog visitor days EVER! Truly, I felt very honored that you chose to highlight me in your blog.  My husband told me I better quit reading it or I was going to get a migraine from my head swelling 🙂  I found your blog right after you started it, I believe with your very first post.  As soon as I read it, I immediately added you to my blogroll, and have been faithfully reading it ever since.  You are one of my regular stops in blog land.  Now I’m gonna have to get a subscription to your mag. 🙂   Seriously, thank you.

I had another wonderful surprise this morning, from Carla B.  Check out this awesome cartoon she made! She made a “Pickle Award”.  I think it’s FABULOUS!  What do you think, Mark?  I printed it out and will have to find a spot in my quilting room where I can always enjoy it.

And if all the above were not enough, I was suprised by another act of kindess this week.  When I got to work Thursday morning, I found an envelope of old pictures laying on my desk.  A friend had been by and dropped them off while I was out sick Wednesday afternoon.  At first, I was trying to figure out who these kids were, and why did someone leave pictures of them on my desk?  Then it dawned on me…OMG! That is ME, and MY BABY! Do I look like a boy or what?


Isn’t he a doll?


These were taken 16 years ago next month, at my friend’s house.  She found them when cleaning out her cedar chest, and thought I should have them.  There were a few more, but I won’t bore you with all of them.

Check out this super cool baby quilt I had the privilege of quilting for a customer yesterday.  I love the fabrics she used.  What a great nursery this babe is going to have.



Something new (to me) that I discovered this week, is this yummy fruit.  It’s a pummelo.  I liked it!


Thanks to my friend Diane, who called me last night to make sure I didn’t miss my favorite NASCAR driver, Bobby Labonte, on Trackside last night. 

I really have been flying high the last couple days, and I think I have more than used up my 15 minutes of blog fame,  so one more time, THANK YOU!!

Christmas · family · food · quilting

Can You Stand More Domesticity??

I thought I’d share some of my favorite holiday dishes with you.  These are things I was able to prepare today, for our Christmas dinner tomorrow.

Pretzel Salad

Crush 2 cups of pretzels.


Mix the pretzels with 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 & 1/2 sticks of melted butter.


Pat out in 9×13 glass pan.


Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Let cool thoroughly.

Mix 1 cup sugar, an 8 oz. package of cream cheese (softened), and 1 & 1/2 cups of Cool Whip. Spread over cooled pretzels.


Heat two cups of pineapple juice, just to boiling, and dissolve a 6 oz. box of strawberry jello in hot juice.  Stir in two 10 oz. boxes of frozen strawberries.  Partially jell in fridge (this won’t take long – don’t forget about it!) and pour over other mixture.  Place back in fridge to set jello.  It’s delicious!


I also made a quick cranberry salad.  It’s really good, too.

For it you will need:

1 small can crushed pineapple, one 3 oz. box strawberry jello,  1 cup boiling water, one can WHOLE cranberry sauce, 1/2 cup cold liquid (juice from pineapple can & water to make 1/2 cup) 2 tsp. lemon juice, 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional).

Dissolve jello in hot water, stir in cranberry sauce & mix until melted. Add 1/2 C of additional juice.  Add remainng ingredients.  Chill until set.


one 12 oz. pkg Dream Whip or already prepared Cool Whip one 8 oz. pkg cream cheese, 1 tsp sugar

Blend until creamy & spread over salad.

Before topping:


After topping:


The eggs are devilled. My family really loves these, so of course I made extra so they could have some today, too.


I also made two pecan pies, and one Bisquick Impossible Buttermilk pie.


I even squeezed in a little piecing while cooking.  I didn’t get any quilting done on DH’s courthouse steps today, though. 

I’m really looking forward to seeing Mom & Dad tomorrow, and having a nice day at home with family! Now I’m going to settle in and enjoy a nice quiet Christmas Eve with my sweetie.  May you & yours have a blessed & joyous Christmas!

Christmas · food · quilting

Enjoying My Vacation and Trying to be a Diva of Domesticity

Wow, two posts in one day.  I needed to post my stashbuster report, but I had so much more I wanted to share .  Since my holiday officially started on Saturday, here’s a peek at what I’ve been doing.  I don’t usually have all this extra time to do all these special little extras for my family.

Saturday, along with getting some quilting done, I dipped pretzels.  Not a difficult thing to do, but my family really likes these.  Plus, they are not chocolate, which I love, but can’t eat much of because of migraines.  So this is a Christmas treat that I try to do every year.  They look good as a holiday header, too, don’t ya think?


Today, (hope you are sitting down, brace yourself) I made homemade bread! And I don’t even have a bread machine.  Go me! Here is the proof.



Hmmmm…how do I make sure I have it rolled out to a rectangle that is 9″X12″? With my trusty Omnigrid ruler, of course! Isn’t that how any quilter would do it?


Almost ready to go into the oven.


And if that wasn’t a great enough feat in and of itself, I made meatballs, for spaghetti  & meatballs for supper. I’ll even show you the recipe for these.  Hopefully, you will be able to read it, by clicking on the image and enlarging it.  If you want to try these, and can’t read my Mom’s writing, let me know and I will clarify it for you. I got this recipe from my Mom, who got if from my Grandma, (my Daddy’s mom).  Other than that, I don’t know where it came from. But they are really good, and pretty darn easy, as you use the microwave. Click on the thumbnail to enlarge the recipe.


Before cooking.


Partially cooked.




In the sauce.


Ready to be enjoyed with a slice of garlic bread, made from the homemade bread! Yum!


Then, after cleaning the kitchen from all that, I got a head start on Monday’s cooking, by mixing up some of my Grandma’s barbecue sauce recipe, so that I can cook Lil’ Smokies in the crockpot with the sauce, for Christmas Eve finger/snack food day.

Hope you are enjoying your Christmas holiday, too!

Christmas · crafts · daily life · food · quilting

Pumpkin Bread – Round 2

What? I baked two days in a row! That like never happens.  And while yesterday’s batch is tasty, it is not the pumpkin bread of my dreams.  But the recipe, for Lynn, is the one from my old Betty Crocker cookbook, and can be found here,  However, in my old cookbook, they used 2/3 cup shortening instead of oil. 

Today, I tried another recipe, found in a cookbook that was put together by my church for a fundraiser.  Again, it’s good, and it makes the house smell yummy delicious, but once again, not the pumpkin bread I’m dreaming of having.


I’m also playing around with a fun project I found on Karyn’s blog. I found her blog through Kelli’s blog, which I found through Ruthann’s blog, which was posted on Judy’s blog. 🙂 These are all wonderful blogs, full of inspiration, and worth a visit.  You might want to make yourself a cup of tea beforehand. Anyway, back to the project in progress.  These are so much fun…almost addicting, so many different possibilities. Thanks for sharing it, Karyn.


So what, you are wondering, is the pumpkin bread of my dreams?  My Mom’s!! And she is supposed to be copying the recipe for me. 🙂

Now I need to get back to something quilty.  I’ve been working on chopping up scrap pieces, according to Bonnie Hunter’s system.  More on that in my Sunday Stashbuster report later on today.