Saturday, July 26, 2014

Florence's Peach Cobbler To Go

Clay and I went to an outdoor concert with dear friends Friday night. After a delicious supper from Yats, we took our dessert, coffee and kahlua (thanks, Lori!) to the Nickel Plate Amphitheater in Fishers to hear one of our favorites, Carrie Newcomer.  (That retreat I wrote about yesterday?  Her song Leaves Don't Drop was the theme song, and my introduction to this awesome Hoosier singer/songwriter.   There is a video at the bottom of this post of  Lori's favorite song -- one of my favorites, too.)

Since I've been all about canning jars for the past few weeks (more on that soon), I decided to make a dessert in them. And since peaches are showing up in the markets around here, it's time to make Florence's Famous Peach Cobbler.

At least it's famous around here.  Every time I take a peach cobbler somewhere, everyone wants the recipe, and it's a easy as pie.  A lot easier, actually.

Way back when (1991 -- sheesh!), I was on a fundraising committee at our little school, and we decided to put together a cookbook.  It was great fun, the cookbook sold out (we did another one a few years later), and I use it all the time (can you tell from the spatters on this page?)  Florence is also responsible for a pretty awesome ice cream recipe I'll share soon. 

This is how the cobbler usually looks when I bake it in my paella dish (which has never once been used for paella):

I thought the recipe just might work in jars.  It does.  

Preheat the oven to 350 and start with 5-6 peaches. (If the peaches you find are a little hard, just put them in a brown paper sack for a day or two -- they'll ripen up nicely, but be sure to check them every day, as it's a quick trip from ripe peaches to rotten peaches.)   
Peel them, slice them, toss them in 1/2 to 3/4 cup of sugar, and set aside for awhile.  

Divide 3/4 of a stick of butter into eight pieces and put in 8-ounce canning jars.  Put the jars on a cookie sheet and put the sheet in the oven for the butter to melt.

Meanwhile, stir together 3/4 cup flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 3/4 cup milk, 2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1 teaspoon of vanilla or almond flavoring.  Use a whisk to get rid of any lumps. 
Take the jars from the oven, and pour the batter over the butter in each jar.  Don't stir.  (It comes out to just a smidge over 1/4 cup of batter in each jar.)

Then, spoon the peaches over the batter, dividing them evenly.  Again, don't stir.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the tops of the cobblers are nice and brown.

As they cool, they'll shrink a bit:

Put on the lids and take to a picnic or a concert.  Or, just eat the cobbler while sitting on the couch and watching Last Tango in Halifax.  It's pretty good there, too.  

(In the interest of complete disclosure, the first time I tried this, I divided the recipe into 6 jars instead of 8.  Don't do that.  You're welcome.)

Peaches, coffee, friends and Carrie Newcomer.  It was a pretty perfect Friday evening.


Friday, July 25, 2014

A Shawl for Annie

In April, I went on a retreat with friends.  It was a really lovely weekend that I still don't have the words for.  Just leave it at "I'm in a pretty happy, peaceful, spiritual place right now".  

One of the spiritual directors for the weekend was a lovely woman named Annie.  Since Annie left such a sweet impact upon me, I wanted to make her something.  And since the theme of the weekend was all about the seasons of our lives, I wanted to go with some colors that would show    The kind girls at The Knitter's Nook in Columbus convinced me that these colors, in Rowan Alpaca, would be perfect:  green for the spring, purplish blue for the winter, gold for summer and brown for autumn.  I wasn't too sure, but after it was done, I knew they had been right.  

The pattern is one I wrote up in 2011 ago for Carolyn, one of our Knit Night friends.  She had brought in a shawl her mom had knit many years ago, and was searching for a pattern to make another.  I used all my best google/ravelry mojo, but couldn't find something similar, so I just wrote one up.   Knit Night friends have knit up many of these -- I like the chevron shape, as it stays on the shoulders nicely.  Here is the pattern, if you might like to make your own:  

Carolyn's (and Annie's) Shawl

(This pattern will make up into a shawl that was the same size as Carolyn's -- for Annie's Shawl, I cast on 40 extra stitches. You will want to do a gauge swatch so that you can achieve the look and length of shawl you want.)

Size: 30” from center point to end (60” in total); width is almost 12”. Gauge is 4 stitches/inch.

Supplies: Yarn: worsted weight; Needles: size 8 circular; stitch marker; crochet hook for fringe, if you want to add some.

Abbreviations: k=knit; k2tog=knit two together; yo= yarn over (simply take the yarn over the needle without making a stitch); m1= make 1(lift the bar between two stitches onto the left needle and knit it); ssk= slip a stitch, slip a stitch, knit these 2 stitches together

Pattern: Cast on 200 stitches.
Row 1: Knit 100 stitches, place marker, knit 100.
Row 2: Knit 1, make 1, knit to two stitches before marker, ssk, slip marker, k2tog, knit to end. Place a split marker or tie a contrasting length of yarn on this side; it will now be the right side of the work.
Row 3: Knit 1, make 1, knit across.
Repeat rows 2 and 3 4 more times, for a total of 11 rows.
Row 12: Repeat row 2.
Row 13: Eyelet row: Knit 1,make 1, *yo, k2tog* repeat between *’s until 2 stitches before center marker; knit 2, slip marker, knit 2, *yo, k2tog* repeat between *’s until until two stitches from the end of the row; knit 2.
Repeat rows 2-13 four more times (or until shawl is almost desired width). Knit 12 rows and then bind off.

Carolyn’s Shawl is finished off with a fringed edge: 2 -7” lengths of yarn were folded in half, then the fold threaded through the cast-on edge of the shawl at regular intervals.  


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Patriotic Cake!

Plain old white cake?   
Surprise!  It's an Apparently I Didn't Have Enough To Do Today To Get Ready For This Dinner For 28 People so I Made a Flag Cake!  

(So thankful that my pal, Sylviane, took a picture of the cake and posted it on facebook --why do I always forget until the cakes are looking a little scrappy?)

It really wasn't all that difficult -- 1 recipe of red velvet in 2-9"round pans, split, 1 recipe of white, done the same, and one recipe of white dyed with a lot of blue coloring.  I baked the blue in one round pan and made cupcakes with the rest.  I stacked 5 red and white layers (with cream cheese frosting), then another set of red/white/red.  Just cut a circle out of the middle of the blue layer, cut the red/white/red circle the same size and squeeze in down in the blue ring.

It's a Grand Old Flag.  Cake.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Back To Work

So, you might notice that I didn't blog at all in June, and now July is almost over.

No excuses, I'm just a lazy blogger.  Lots of posts started, none finished.

But be prepared for a bunch.  Here we go.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My Mid-Spring Book Report and a Summer List

Today was book group day.  A very good day.  Did I tell you that I'm now in two book groups?  (In 2013 I was in 0 book groups!)  And they meet on the same day?  And this month we discussed the same book?  My favorite book from last year -- Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.  (Have you read this yet?  Please do.)  A very, very good day.

On our pal, Christie's,  recommendation, Clay and I read The Girl You Left Behind last week.  So good.  Like The Goldfinch, this story centers around a painting and the people who become tangled in its ownership.

And then, because Jojo must love me as much as I love her (and she must know how I hate to say goodbye to my favorite characters), she wrote Honeymoon in Paris, a little book which is only available in e-form, and is a quick read and a sweet addition to the novel.

I was excited to read Amy Tan's Valley of Amazement.  But then I was amazed to find I didn't much like it.  I have loved every other Amy Tan novel, but this one was long, repetitious, sad and gave the full inside scoop into early 20th century flower houses in Shanghai (please don't call them prostitutes.  It's completely different.  Did you know that?  Do you care?  After the first 100 pages, I didn't.  After 589, I still didn't.)  I'll read her next one, but if I never see the word "pudenda" again, I'll be really, really  happy.

I listened to The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin in the sewing room, but I want to buy a copy and hand it around to my friends.  This is a beautiful book, set in Washington state at the turn of the century.  It's all about strangers and saviors -- what do we owe to those who simply appear in our lives?  (The reader of this book on Audible was amazing.)

2014 Summer Reading List:

First off, I'm reading Alice Munro's Runaway for our friend, Tim's, library reading group.  Actually, after returning the book to the library after I failed to get past the first story in the two weeks I had the book, I'm now going to listen to it while I sew tomorrow.
Then, for June book group, Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline.

This one, During the Reign of the Queen of Persia by Joan Chase, is an NPR recommendation.  It was published in 1983, and is set on a farm in Ohio.  Why have I never heard of this book?  Crossing my fingers . . .

Eighty Days by Matthew Goodman was recommended by my friend, Becky, who read it with her son's reading group -- they read some very interesting books.  This one is the the story of Nelly Bly and Elizabeth Bisland, who raced around the world in 80 days a la Jules Verne.  I am really looking forward to this one, although my last few forays into historical fiction were sad disappointments (The Aviator's Wife, Loving Frank, The Paris Wife) -- but since I have no great pre-conceived notions about Nelly Bly as I did about Lindbergh, Wright and Hemingway, I bet this willl be enlightening and fun.

I See you Made an Effort:  Compliments, Indignities and Surreal Stories from the Edge of 50 by Annabelle Gurwitch.  Do I need to say more?

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt.  This one has been on my Amazon wish list for months.  It was an "if you liked The Goldfinch . . ." recommendation. The story revolves around a 14 year-old girl and a teapot -- I'm not sure where the wolves come in to the story . . .

 And One Plus One by Jojo Moyes, which comes out in July.  I can't wait, I can't wait, I can't wait.


Also on the list:  My Name is Resolute by Nancy E. Turner, I Shall Be Near You by Erin Lindsay McCabe and Love and Treasure by Ayelet Waldman.  The summer won't be long enough . . .


Monday, May 19, 2014

SMS Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to all who commented on my SMS Giveaway -- the winner is Bonnie from Illinois!
(I used that random number generator thingie again, and it came up with #43.  I wish I knew how to post a picture of that here like so many bloggers did.  I wish I wasn't so lazy and would go find out how to do that!)

But I had a wonderful time looking at all the Giveaways, and am now following a lot of new blogs through bloglovin'.  I think it's a little easier to follow blogs through this site than other ways I've tried before.

And, of course, so I can be like the rest of the kids on the playground, there is a bloglovin' button over there you can use to follow my blog, too.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day! A Gardening Apron

I think I've told you before how much I appreciate Sew, Mama, Sew -- it's a website dedicated to furthering sewing interest and skills, full of tips, tutorials, patterns and ideas.  If you like to sew, or want to learn, you should bookmark SMS ASAP!

Twice a year SMS sponsors a Giveaway Day, on which sewists like me can say "thanks" to the sewing community by giving something away on their blogs.  This spring, my giveaway is this gardening apron:

Last year, I knew I needed to make myself an apron like this for my gloves, shears, and other gardening tools.  But I never did.  I just kept setting down my shears and then forgetting where I put them.

So this year, as we enter the high gardening holy days, I decided to make myself one.  And then I thought someone else could probably use one, too!

The fabrics are all things I had in my sewing room.  My sister handed on the main fabric to me last year -- someone probably donated it to preschool!  It's a coarse fabrics with a wide weave, and not soft enough for pillow cases or pillows -- but perfect for an apron.  I used a lot of fusible interfacing in hopes of making the apron sturdy enough for outdoor use.  The turquoise and green are left over cottons from other projects.

I didn't have a pattern, but looked at many aprons on pinterest, and came up with this -- it's basically a rectangle with pockets and ties!  I constructed it like a pillowcase, so I guess you could say it's reversible.  If you like your pockets on the inside!

Inside the right pocket, I put in another pocket with velcro -- I thought this would be good for a cell phone, and hopefully would keep it clean:

And on the left side, I added a fabric-covered elastic loop for a garden tool.  I had seen this in many garden aprons, and thought it might come in handy:

I top-stitched around the whole apron for a little more structure.

If you would like to win this giveaway apron, just leave a comment below -- tell me just a little something about why you love to sew or what you love to sew.  I'll use one of those random-number generator thingies to pick a winner, and you have until Friday evening at 8:00 to enter.

Now, I'm off to look at some of the participating giveaway blogs.