Saturday, 31 December 2011

Sewing Saturday

Well nothing much to report of sewing Saturday. With all the great fabric sales I have bought A LOT of fabric, but have not done any sewing.

I have been spending a lot of my time getting The We Bee Learnin Beginner Block Bee up and running. We just need one more lucky person and we can get started. E-mail me if you are interested or go to http://www.flickr.com/groups/webeelearning/  If you don’t want to participate in the bee, but would like to follow along please feel free to join our group as well. Also once again if anyone knows how to create a button for the bee please let me know. I have been trying to figure it out on my own and there has been a lot of smoke, but no fire...LOL

******* Update*******
My button angel RITA just paid me a visit and created the most amazing button for the We bee Learnin Bee and we found our last member

Thank you so very very much Rita! 
If you haven't already you should check out Rita's site she's a pretty talented lady! 

I have decided to join up with the 2012 NewFO Challenge over at Cat Patches. It a pretty easy challenge, you simply have to start one new project a month and don’t finish it. I am sure no one is coming to beat you up if you do finish your projects, but the goal is to simply make a new project every month. Since this is something that I have wanted to do....call it a New Year’s Resolution I thought why not join up.

My list for hopeful NewFO’s for 2012 are

1.       Table runner using a pattern I bought 3 years ago
2.       Quilt for my BF
3.       Quilt for my bed
4.       Quilt for my grandmother
5.       Quilt for the spare bedroom
6.       Pumpkin wall hanging
7.       Valentines mini quilt
8.       Place mats
9.       Santa blocks
10.   Snowman wall hanging
11.   Baby quilt
12.   Something using my jelly rolls

I have the fabric picked out and bought for all of those projects I just need to pick a pattern for a few and simply just start the rest!

Friday, 30 December 2011

International food nights

Last year my parents, Mr. Pickles and I decided to start up an international food night dinner party.
What exactly is that you ask....well let me tell you.

International food nights is a idea that I came up with where you pick a letter of out a bag and whichever letter you pick that is going to be the first letter of the country that you have to cook food from. For example if you picked a C you could choose to China, Canada, Chile, Cambodia and the list goes on. You pick a day to host your dinner party and then prepare food from the country you choose as well as decorations and music. At the end of the meal the next couple picks a letter and then they host the next month.

Well with Mr. Pickles working 8am-11pm with no chance of getting an evening off...we were only able to manage 3 food nights in the past year.

The first was at my parents who picked an I and choose Italy. Let just say veal marsala is something none of us will ever try again....yucky!

The second dinner was at our place and we had pulled a G and choose Greece. We went all out with decorations and lots of food
two of the 4 appetizers we made for Greek night

The third dinner was back at my parents who had pulled a V and choose Vietnam. Not wanting to be outdone by our Greek night they too went all out with bamboo lamps, fancy plates and the food was pretty darn great too!

Our last dinner was in March and since then Mr. Pickles worked himself silly. However, now that the cows and quota are sold we are back in business for the international food nights. Now you would think that in the past year just about I would have finalized my menu and had everything ready to go....but that isn’t the case. I picked an E at the last party and tomorrow my parents will be coming over for an EGYPTIAN meal! Luckily I spent time in Jordan a few years back and Egyptian food is very close to that.

I won’t post exactly what we are having since my father sometimes reads my blog and I want it to be a surprise. However, it has the makings to be a very interesting meal! So I better get back to planning my meal...we went grocery shopping a few days ago and bought a lot of different things so I have a lot of choices! I also need to figure out how to decorate the house....

I’ll do a recap of the evening on Monday!! Wish me luck!!! And if you have any suggestions..let me know!

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Thursdays Kitchen cupboard

Hello my name is Mrs. Pickles and I ate way too much in my kitchen this holiday season....oh oops you are telling me that this post is not suppose to be about over eating....sorry my bad...lol

Like everyone else I am sure, there was a lot coming out of my kitchen this holiday season and most if not all of it made the trip to my stomach! That’s not a bad thing though since everything tasted so darn great.

I thought I would share an easy meal, which may not be “light” but doesn’t require a lot of thinking or planning......... Cheese Fondue!

As some of you may know Mr. Pickles is from Switzerland and from time to time we use a few of his native cooking traditions in the kitchen. Cheese fondue is one of my favourites since all you need is:

Bread
this is my homemade Tuscan loaf. I would suggest you use a heavier bread

A box of Cheese Fondue

A cheese fondue pot (this one has been the cause of scratches on my stove topL)

You simply rub garlic in the fondue pot and then add the cheese. Cook on low heat until it reaches a nice creamy consistence (I usually add extra wine or kirsch and more cheese)

For the bread you cut it up into bite size chunks and let it dry in the over at 350F for about 10mins


When the bread is ready set the table and put the fondue pot on the stand and light the burner. You are now ready to fondue.

So there you so Easy Peasy and all so yummy!

Make sure you head over to The Gardener of Eden and see what Robin’s been up to in her kitchen as well as what’s going on in kitchens around the world!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Beginner Block Bee

The We Bee Learnin
Beginner Block Bee

Guidelines

*This will be a 12 month beginner block Bee. (You don’t have to be a beginner, but the blocks are going to be easy)
*Open to international sewers
*We will be using fabric from our own stash to make the blocks
*All blocks will be 12.5x12.5 unfinished
*There will be one bee leader each month. This person will pick a beginner block and on the first day of their month provide the rest of the group with instructions on how to piece it via blog post, email, flicker, or snail mail. They will also notify the group of what colour combo they want. (You can be as specific or as vague as you want about colour choices.)
*By the last day of the each month the block requested will be mailed back to that month’s bee leader.
*Each monthly bee leader will receive 11 blocks plus one that they will have to make on their own for a total of 12 blocks
*At the end of 12 months each bee will have 12 completed blocks to turn into whatever they want. Also if you make an extra of each months block then you will be able to create a sampler quilt as well.
*Since this is a late starting bee if we have to wait a few months to start then that will be okay. We can just double up on a couple of months and still end up with 12 J

I hope that all makes sense....this is both my first bee and my first time hosting a bee!

If you are interested in joining or have any questions please e-mail me at saskriver at hotmail dot com. Once we have enough bees’s to create the group I will set up a flickr group

Also if anyone know anything about setting up buttons and would be willing to share their knowledge let me know :)

***update I have set up a flickr group http://www.flickr.com/groups/webeelearning/ ******

Monday, 26 December 2011

Happy Boxing Day

Here in Canada and the rest of the commonwealth today is Boxing Day. Boxing Day or the day after Christmas was traditionally when wealthy people and homeowners in the United Kingdom would give a box containing a gift to their servants...so it became known as Boxing Day. The stores are open today so a lot of people go shopping for great after Christmas deals. I have never done that and instead use the day to recover from Christmas..Lol

Speaking of Christmas..How was yours? Ours was pretty darn great. Christmas Eve was excellent the food was GREAT the presents were AWESOME and the company was PERFECT. The only thing missing was a few games, however since my parents were hosting Christmas day at their place, it was understandable that they couldn’t stay past 11. Otherwise who was going to get up at 6 to put the turkey in!

Here are a few pics from the 24th

Our table as we are just about to have our appetizers

The appetizers

The dessert (sorry forgot to take pictures of the yummy steak, lobster, crab, cheddar-bacon mash and purple carrots....but it was YUMMY)

Christmas day got off to a rough start as Mr. Pickles was up at 6am and sick again. However, he was feeling a bit better 9am when we opened gifts. He then had to go to work and do chores while I hurried to get ready for lunch at his parents for 1. It was a quiet Christmas at the farm this year. Mr. Pickle’s two oldest nephews (19 and 18) both work at other farms and were unable to get the day off. Their father chose not to come over for dinner (long story) and Mr. Pickle’s father was in the hospital over Christmas. Since we had to be in the city for supper with my parents at 4:30 it was a quick and quite Christmas lunch.Which was nice.

For Christmas supper my parents had a house full of 25 very loud people. We were all able to sit at the same very long table for supper which is always a nice thing. We had just filled our plates when all of a sudden someone yelled Grandma isn`t breathing! She was choking on a piece of sausage! Luckily one of my uncles knew how to do the Heimlich and proceeded to use it on grandma (83 and a stroke victim). The whole house was holding their breath and a call had to go out to 911 as she still wasn`t breathing.........and then she said ``enough enough I’m good`` and we all let out a sigh of relief!!! It could have been the worst Christmas ever....but she and the rest of us went back to eating after that few mins of craziness!! We were even all cracking jokes about it within 10mins...lol She is going to have quite the story to tell the nurses at the care home when they take her back in a few days and I am sure she will have the bruises to prove it. She even stayed up till 1:30am (when we finally left..lol) and kept saying she didn`t want to go to bed when we all started asking her at 8pm..lol

Today I have been saying my new manta over and over again....``don`t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened`` J It truly was a couple of days full of love,  Laughter, happiness and family. Now that`s the kind of Christmas that just makes the world a better place J

I hope everyone else had a GREAT CHIRSTMAS TOO

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas
From our home 
to
yours


May you all have a safe and very merry Christmas. 
See you Monday

Friday, 23 December 2011

Almost Christmas

I am getting a later start to today’s cleaning then I would have wanted too. However, Mr. Pickles picked up the stomach flu somewhere and was up all night making lovely music. So far I think I am safe, just tired from being up with him all night! I don’t have time to have the flu so those little bugs better just move on by!

Last night we had to make an unwanted drive back to the city to return a few Christmas decorations. I would have preferred to do that after Christmas, but you cannot return the decorations after the 25th. That makes sense, but a pain in the butt! We had bought a little crappy lighted garland that was about 2 feet long. It was only 1.99 at Wal-Mart so I bought it only to reread the receipt a few weeks later to find out that it was 14.95! That was a rip off, so it had to be returned. The other returnee was an outdoor Christmas tree. We bought two so one could go on either side of the garage. However when we opened up the one box it had two little trees that were broken and not the one shown on the box...lol So we had to return that too.

So moving on to today. I have a pretty long list of things that need to get done including a trip into town to pick up water...and a sick husband to smother I mean take care of. This means I need to stop blogging and get my butt in gear

I thought i would throw in a few Christmas tree pics I too a few weeks ago......There are not the best, but still cute :)


Has anyone else being running around with last minute returns, shopping or cleaning!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Thursdays Kitchen Cupboard

It’s been a very busy week over here in the Pickles house hold. Lots of things going on and a lot of bad news. However, I am not going to bore you with that! Let see what has been going on in my Kitchen

As I mention earlier in the week I made prosciutto, gruyere and honey mustard Palmiers and thought I would give you the recipe today.

Ham, gruyere and honey mustard palmiers (from The Best of Fine cooking Appetizers addition 2007)
1 sheet (8oz) frozen puff pastry, thawed
2 tbsp honey Dijon mustard
3oz of shredded gruyere
¼ cup finely grated parmigiano- reggiano
4oz of very thinly sliced baked ham (I use prosciutto)

Heat over to 425F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry to a 10X14 inch rectangle. Using the back of a spoon spread the pastry evenly with the mustard. Sprinkle the cheese on in an even layer
Arrange the ham in a single, even layer tearing or cutting pieces to fit. 

Lay a piece of parchment paper on top and gently roll and press with the rolling pin to compress the layers. Gently peel off the paper without disturbing the ham.

Cut the rectangle in half width wise to make two 10X7 inch bands. Gently roll one long edge of the bad into the centre and then roll the opposite edge in so the two meet in the middle and resemble a double scroll. Press lightly to stick the two rolls together. Repeat with the second band.

With a very sharp knife slice each band into about 22 pieces just under 1/2inch each. Arrange palmiers on two parchment lined baking sheets and bake until golden brown. About 10-12mins. Let cool and serve within the hour. (I Cool mine and then freeze them)

Here is Zada watching me make them

And here once again in the finished product. You are suppose to be able to get 44 pieces, but 28 is about all I can ever get!


A few other things that were made in the kitchen this week were:
Sugar cookies (fully decorated, but in the freezer with out a picture)
Cheese Fondue
Saucy Chicken Wings
Balsamic pork chops
Chicken pasta with spinach, mushrooms and Gruyere

Make sure you stop by our Kitchen Hostesses blog The Gardener of Eden and check out whats going on in everyone's kitchens!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Whole lotta buzzin going on

As you may recall my adventure in trying to find a bee or swap to join started about a week ago. I have had a few failed attempts at joining and found a few more that might be just too difficult for me to join. So I started thinking with the help of a few little bees’ buzzing around my inbox and my home...why don’t I just start my own. Now beeing a beeginner quilter and blogger I might be getting in WAY over my head...but what the heck I am going to jump in with both feet and see what happens.

 However, beefore I start anything I have a few questions. If you are interested in joining me in my first Bee/swap/sew along adventure send your answers to Saskriver at hotmail dot com. If there is enough interest I will start something up.

1.       Would you be interested in joining
a.       A swap (you make something say a table runner and gift it to your partner and you get one from someone else)
b.      A beginner block Bee (You don’t have to be a beginner, but the blocks would be easy “learning” blocks. You would send them off and get others in return)
c.       A beginner sew along linky party(I pick a block, post it on my blog and then you make your own and we pick a day where we all link up on the blocks we made)

2.       For a swap or beginner block bee would you be interested to have
a.       International
b.      North America only

3.       For the bee would you prefer
a.       Send your own fabric to bee members for them to make the blocks with
b.      Have the other bee members make the block with their own fabric, but with your colour choices
c.       Have the other bee members make the block with their own fabric and in whatever color they choose

Okay I think that is all that I can think of for now. If you are interested in joining me please send your answers to saskriver at hotmail dot com

Also make sure you go over to Josie’s blog if you are looking for another bee. She needs 6 more people before she has enough to do 2 groups.

Christmas Plans

Here we are in Christmas Week! How exciting!! I think I am just about ready for the big day(s) I haven’t posted on what we are doing for the holidays and now felt like as good as time as any!

This year we will be having Christmas Eve at our place. There is just the 4 of us so it won’t be too much stress and we are keeping it pretty easy on the food side so I do not have too much to worry about.  I finalized our menu last night so there is no changing anything now. I have had the food bought for about a week now and just need to pick up fresh mushrooms and flowers this week and we are all set. I still need to finalize how to decorate the table, but that is minor

Out Christmas Even Menu is going to be
The appetizers from our appetizer baking day back in November:
Sanacopita, parmesan bites, ham tartlets, mushroom turnovers, cheese puffs, wonton crab bites
Spinach and strawberry salad with roasted pecans
Surf and turf- Lobster, crab, scallops and steak
Garlic mashed potatoes with cheddar cheese and bacon
Dessert – Dark Chocolate and strawberry cake (That my Mother is bringing)

This will be followed by a few hours on complaining that we are too full, present exchange and playing games
.
Christmas Day is going to be a busy one. Mr. Pickle’s family gets together at the farm for lunch and have decided this year to stop exchanging presents. There should be 12 of us if everyone shows up. So that should be interesting. It’s usually a simple meal of ham baked in bread, salad, corn or carrots, mashed potatoes and gravy.

After that we will be driving into the city since my parents are having all of my Dad’s side of the family over for supper. It will be nice to see all of my Aunts and Uncles as well as my grandmother that will be making the 3 hour trip up from her care home for a few days. It will be another evening full of loud laughter and pigging out! Let’s see there will be appetizers galore followed by turkey, homemade sausage, veggies, perogies, salad, cabbage rolls. And then of course there will be the picking of the bones come 11pm along with leftovers!

Boxing Day is going to be a day of rest of us here this year. We usually have a fondue party, but that is going to be pushed back the 27th since my grandma, aunt and uncle will be staying over at my parents for the extra day. I think I will spend the whole day complaining that I ate too much and trying to get my gut into my jeans...lol

That brings us to the 27th. Mr. Pickles and I will be hosting a fondue party at our house. This tradition started 6 years ago during the first Christmas that I wouldn’t see my parents since the day I was born. I was devastated since I would have to spend the day with Mr. Pickles family and a good portion of the time he was going to be outside doing chores. Being the suck that I am I cried a lot that day in the bathroom...lol So we made a new tradition of doing everything we would normally do on the 25th on the 24th and then we would all get together again on the 26th so sucky ole me wouldn’t be soo sad... Since Mr. pickles is Swiss he had the great of idea of having a meat fondue party something his family use to do a lot. So on the 26th my parents, mr.pickles mom, sister and brother in law all come over and we fondue. Mr. Pickles family usually leaves when it is time to do chores and my parents stay help me clean and then we play games all night till Mr. pickles comes home and then we play some more.

For the fondue we have

Beef, chicken, pork, scallops, shrimp and mushrooms along with a bunch of different sauces. We then also must have pickles, pickled onions and plain chips...the last bunch of things is traditional or so Mr., pickles says..

So it should be a busy few days, but a very nice few days.

What is everyone else doing? Any traditions going on in your homes this holiday season?

Monday, 19 December 2011

Mondays Musings

Well I will start off with a little bit of disappointing news. The Happyquilting Bee was full and I didn’t make the cut. I guess I should have just joined instead of thinking about it for a couple of days first...lol Oh well it guess it just wasn’t meant to beeeee J I haven’t heard anything back about the other swap yet....but I hope I am in it!

On to the good news I got my palmiers and sugar cookies done last night. Once I get into the finally week before Christmas I get this sudden urge to start baking my butt off. I don’t need to since I already have everything I need for the holidays, but I find myself looking through cookbooks (one of my addictions) and looking online to find that one perfect appetizer of cookie that I need to make. This is usually followed by the stress of trying to make all of these extra things. Please tell me I am not alone in my crazy thoughts! LOL  I would still like to make brie bites, chocolate shortbread, cheddar crackers, cheddar and red pepper jelly tartlets and these mushroom and sundried tomato pockets I am looking at right now look pretty good too....okay no I must stop......LOL

The prosciutto, gruyere and honey mustard Palmiers

The naked sugar cookies, I ran out of time to decorate them last night. So decorating will be tonight’s task.

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is THIS week-end..That is so TINSEL...lol Tomorrows post is going to be about my Christmas plans so I won’t bore you with that two days in a row.
I hope everyone is having a great day

Sunday, 18 December 2011

I took the Plunge

After I wrote yesterdays post I thought to myself...self if you are going to write a whole post about joining a quilting bee or swap then maybe that is a sign that you should join one....so I did..Lol

Now all I have done is said that I would like to join up so I guess that doesn’t mean that I am actually taking part. I suppose I shall have to wait and see if there is room for me and so on. However, until I get an e-mail saying no you are not part of this experience I am saying that I am in...Lol

The first one I joined is a Swap over at Sameliasmum.  It is going to be a blind international swap and it is going to be based on the idea of making a mini quilt for your swap partner, using their name or blog name somewhere in the quilt. I think I like the idea of getting a mini quilt that says Mrs. Pickles on it more than making one so I just had to join. I hope my partner has a short name and is forgiving of my mistakes...not that there will be any...lol You have until the 15th of January to sign up.

The second one I joined is a block bee over at HappyQuilting. This one is still in the planning stages; however, Melissa does some great work so I just know these blocks are going to be pretty neat! I think you can still sign up for this one as well
***update this bee is full and I didn't make the cut, very disappointing :(****

The Third option was the wonky house swap over at Jane’sFabric`s and quilts. However, I left joining that one too long and now it is full. Which might have been for the best since I wasn`t sure if I was qualified enough to join that one!

Fourth option is yet to be found..... I think I would like to join one or two more if the fit is right. However, I am not sure where else to look. If any ones knows of a good one let me know

Okay now onto no quilting stuff

Last night I didn`t get my little aprons done...I got distracted with wrapping presents...lol I started at 6;30 and wrapped until 9:30! I didn`t think I had that much to do, but I am a little slow so I am sure that added on a little extra time. I wasn`t exactly the most patient person before my brain went a little wonky and now it’s even worse...lol There are a few presents that looked like monkeys wrapped them and a few more that I was short on paper(because I didn't measure correctly) so I had to add more...oh my! At least the top looks good on most of them and it’s just paper after all....right!!

Tonight I want to get my palmiers and my sugar cookies done so I can decorate the little buggers and not have to worry about anything next week.
This is one plate of my sugar cookies from 2009...I got a fancy cake decorating thingy for my b-day this year so i hope to improve on decorating !


Saturday, 17 December 2011

To bee or not to bee?

Too bee or not to bee. That is the question I have been contemplating.

I found the online blogging world back in June and since then I have read many posts about the virtual sewing bees that people have been in. I have always thought how neat I wonder what that is all about. Well now that 2011 is coming to an end it seems that there quite a few bees that I could take part in. However the question then is to bee or not to bee?

I think it would be fun, but I don't know much about quilting or rather making any thing. So what if I join one and it’s something I can't do?

Or even worse I can do it. But it’s not very good...that will likely be the case...lol I am all about doing something when I am just the person stuck with the end result...but from what I have seen online there are some pretty amazing quilters out there and then there is me...lol

On the plus side what if I can do it or it challenges me to learn something new! That’s the exciting part!
My health holds me back since some days I can't cope very well so I get the whole what if I'm too sick to get anything done so I just don't join...but I think that's an easy trap that I don't want to fall in.

Does anyone out there in blog land have some advice on whether to join one or not. Was it worth your time? Was it a good experience? Was it too expensive? Any feedback good or bad would be great!

Now I am off to finish up those little soap bottle aprons....wish me luck J

Friday, 16 December 2011

Cards Away

Well I did it! I wanted to make 20 Christmas cards this year and send them out and I did it! 

On Tuesday and Wednesday night Mr. Pickles and I worked on the Christmas cards and yesterday I sent them out. Last year I didn’t get them out until the 20th and therefore with the Christmas rush some people didn't get theirs till after Christmas. So this year I am 5 days ahead..lol Well that doesn't seem like much once I say it out loud, however, I think it will give them a better chance at getting there on time!

The hardest part about making cards this year was I wasn’t sure what I wanted to make. Mr. Pickles had bought me a Cricut die cutting machine for my birthday so I wanted to be able to use that. However, the first one I got was broken and then Costco stopped carrying them so I couldn`t get a replacement.  I then ordered via Amazon.ca; however they were out of stock too. Amazon finally shipped one out to me in November (birthday was in September) only to find out that one had broke in shipping too. Instead of going through the hassle of sending it back to Amazon I just called Cricut directly. They made me hold the phone up to the machine and they deemed it broken and that I should just throw it out and they would send me a new one. 

Okay are you still with me this is a long story!! My 3rd Cricut came at the end of November and it finally worked!!! However, by that time I already had all my card paper bought and had made a plan of what to make not using the Cricut...lol

So that brings us to the beginning of December. Since Christmas was coming I wasn`t allowed to by myself any cartridges for the Cricut so I had to try and make something Christmassy with what I had. That is where things got difficult. Mr. Pickles wanted to help, however he wasn`t very helpful. Every time I would suggest and idea he would just say hmmm I don`t know. I love the man to death, but there is nothing worse than having someone looking over your shoulder when you are trying to design something...or thinking they can do it better and then not understanding why you are yelling at them to get out of your craft room...lol So armed with some new paper and a this is what we are making so shut up attitude we were ready to start making cards.

Mr. Pickles manned the Cricut (my present and so far he is the only one that has been allowed to use it...lol) and I put everything together on the cards.

I was a little nervous at first that they looked childish, but I think they turned out pretty darn well.

I made two options this year

Joy


Poinsettia


The count is on now 9 days till Christmas!! Do you send out cards? Are you also finding that more and more people are not sending cards these days!

Happy Friday :)

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Thursdays Kitchen Cupboard

What do you get when you cross white rice with purple carrots???

This...I purple/grey casserole!

So how did I get to that you ask?

I felt like having Cream of mushroom with rice and chicken casserole, however, Mr. Pickles doesn’t believe in canned soups. Okay well he knows they exist, but he won’t eat them. So I always have to make homemade soup which is fine since it is better for you anyhow..Okay where was I going with this..Oh yes the purple casserole. I figured I would make my own version of that classic dish by making my own creamy base. So I went along and added all the ingredients that I normally use and stopped when I came to add the carrots.  I had frozen orange carrots outside or fresh purple carrots in the fridge, so I used the purple carrots thinking they won’t bleed out that much. I was wrong

Everything was looking good until I added the milk, then my sauce turned purple. I figured it still tastes okay and the colour will cook out in the oven, but it didn’t. So we ended up eating a purple casserole! It tasted really good, just looked a little strange. I have included the recipe....it’s up to you which colour carrots you use!

Creamy Chicken and Rice Casserole

2tbsp of olive oil
1 tbsp of butter
2 chicken breasts
1 small onion
4 sliced carrots
6 quartered mushrooms
1 clove of garlic, chopped
¼ cup of white wine
1 cup of long grain rice
2 cups of milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350F

Heat oil and butter in skillet over high heat. Add chicken breasts and brown on each side for 4 mins. Remove and set aside.

In the same skillet add onions carrots, mushrooms and garlic. Cook for 3mins and then add wine. Cook for another 2 mins. Add rice and stir until well coated. Add milk, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Pour mixture into a 9X9 in baking dish. Top with chicken and season.

Cover with tin foil and bake for 40mins of until milk has absorbed and rice is tender.
I hope you enjoy

Now head over to our Kitchen Cupboard hostess Robin’s BlogThe Gardener Of Eden and check out her lovely post along with some other great blogs.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Whole lotta freezing going on

Well I think I am almost done my Christmas shopping and it’s not the 23rd..Lol Last night’s shopping trip with my father went well. We shopped for almost 3 hours and then went for a lovely supper. I think that may have been the longest we have ever spent shopping. However, we had to drive around to 7 different stores at 7 different locations in the city so that took up a lot of time too.

A while back I had done a post on all the canning I had completed this year and had planned on posting about all the produce I froze this year, however I forgot until now. As I went downstairs this morning to pick a protein out of the freezer for lunch I commented as I always do...wow this sucker sure is full. If you don’t believe me here is a picture.


All that food and there are only two of us..Lol And here’s the kicker...I have another freezer out in the garage that is just as full...lol No pictures of that one since i am lazy and don't want to walk outside to take the picture..lol

Part of the reason that it is so full is that we shop at Costco and therefore buy a lot of meat in bulk; however, the other reason is that I simply froze a lot of veggies from the garden this year. If you want to see pictures on the individual veggies check out the canning label to the right most of them should be there.

In 2011 I froze

17 cups of purple carrots
32 cups of orange carrots
12 cups + 10lbs of purple beans
28cups of green beans
9lbs of tomatoes
48oz of spinach
8 cups + 1.5 lbs of broccoli
16.5 cups + 3 lbs of cauliflower
21 cups of onions
16 cups of zucchini
24 cups of kohlrabi
8 cups of cabbage soup
10 cups of Saskatoon berries
4 lbs of sausage

It was a pretty darn good year for freezing produce for me this year. Now I just have to remember to eat it all!

Monday, 12 December 2011

Happy Monday!!

I don’t know about everyone else but I sure had a busy week-end. Since we are in that holiday mode I am sure everyone else was pretty darn busy too!

Friday was my big Occupy your sewing room day. You can check out my post on that HERE and you can check out what everyone else made over at Cat Patches. I think more than a few machines may have caught fire..lol

Saturday was a nice treat for Mr. Pickles and I. My parents treated us to a lovely supper at a local restaurant followed by an evening at the Symphony. We sure are spoiled aren’t we! The Saskatoon Symphony was having their annual Christmas show so it was full of Christmas music and even included a sing along at the end. Even Santa was there!! The lovely night was topped off with a game of cards at my parents. I lost...yet again...gesh I am going to have to start cheating!

Sunday was a bit of a rush to try and get one more of little aprons done...I didn’t go well so I ripped the seams open and will try again tonight..lol We then returned to the city where we were invited by my Aunt and Uncle along with my parents for supper and visiting. There we were treated to a lovely home cooked meal and were able to catch up.

Today it is snowing....booooo. I hope it doesn’t last long since I was kind of looking forward to an almost brown Christmas. Today is also the day that my father and I chose to do our Christmas shopping. My dad and I have been having our father daughter Christmas shopping day for as long back as I can remember! We never take long to get out shopping done. One year we hit 5 stores in 30mins..lol So the rest of the time we just spending having a drink or two and back in the day we use to go and see a movie. All in all it’s a great day and hopefully I will be done all of my Christmas shopping by the end of it.

I hope everyone is having a great day

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Occupy Your Sewing Room


As you may remember last week I decided to take part in the Occupy Your Sewing Room linky party over at Cat Patches. Well I did it, not successfully, but I did it.

After a week of cookie making and shopping I choose Friday as my day to occupy my sewing room. I had decided that I was going to make soap bottle aprons. I had first seen these on Pauline’s blog The quilting Queen during the Ghastlies Blog hop and just knew I had to make some. Pauline also provided a link over to Simplify where Camille gives a tutorial of her super cute creation.

So on Friday I went to print out the pattern so I could begin my occupation to find out that I couldn’t figure out how to increase the diagram to 100%. Camille was nice enough to say that it should measure out to be 7 ¼”, but be dammed if I could get it to that size. First it was 4”, then 12” then 5” then 8, then 6.5” and finally after a tear filled hour I figured out how to do it and ended up with the correct size.

The next part was the cutting, sandwiching and quilting. All three of those steps were nice and easy for me and I kept saying..Self you are getting good at this sewing thing...lol I had just received my order of Aurifil thread from Tristan Italian threads and for as much as I hate to admit it....GOOD THREAD MAKES A HUGE DIFFERENCE!! I had been using $1 Wal-Mart thread and thought meh this works and doesn’t break so why spend more. Well the Aruifil thread makes quilting like butter...nice and smooth

Here is one of my new loves in red


After I got all 5 aprons quilted the next step was to sew on the bias tape. After sewing on the first little strip I was thinking oh they are easy too. However, that feeling didn’t last long. When it came to sewing the bias tape onto the curved bottom I kept getting crimps in the fabric. To make things worse I couldn’t find my seam ripper. Previously I had said...self that seam ripper is on the floor pick it up and put it away or you are going to lose it. To which I replied..Shut up...So yeah next time when I needed it the little bugger couldn’t be found!

 So I had to use my little craft knife

It worked, but it took a lot longer! And I was afraid I was going to stab myself!!

So after another few hours of ripping and crying I decided to just make one mistakes and all so at least I had something to show for Occupy your Sewing room. I didn’t look too horrible so I made another one.

This is what I ended up with.


See the little gathering here L

And this is just a picture of all my work together. 

I got something done and if I can figure out how to correct sew on the bias tape I will have completed my new updated Christmas crafting goal. If anyone has any suggestions on how to sew this on better please let me know!!

Now go and check out Cat Patches and see all what all the other more talented ladies have been doing while they occupied their sewing rooms!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Cookies

Last night we finished up our Swiss cookie making with Vanillehörnchen which translates into Vanilla horns. I had never made these before, but I think they turned out pretty good. Mr. Pickles said he couldn’t remember what they were suppose to taste like, however he thought they tasted good too...lol

We ended up with 60 cookies
sorry for the dark picture, they taste better than they look

Out of the three cookies we made these were the easiest so I will include the recipe.

Vanillehörnchen (from Swiss cookies by Andrew Rushton and Katalin Fekete)

1 ½ cups of flour
Pinch of salt
1 cup butter
½ cup icing sugar
2tsp vanilla sugar
1 1/8 cups ground almonds

-Mix flour salt and butter in a bowl and rub the butter into the flour with cold hands until the mixture has formed into crumbs.
-Add remaining ingredients and form into dough
-Chill for 30 mins
-Once chilled roll a little bit of the dough at a time into finger thick pieces and shape into crescents. Lay on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cool for 15 mins
-Bake at 400F for 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle with vanilla sugar while they are still warm
Vanilla sugar
6 tbsp icing sugar
3tsp vanilla sugar.

I just have sugar cookies left to make and decorate and I will be done my Christmas baking for this year. I usually make a few appetizers on my own for over the holiday, however, with everything I made with my mom I am not sure I need any more. Decisions decisions decisions....lol I think I will make just a few... Brie bites and prosciutto and gruyere palmiers.
Now I’m off to occupy my sewing room....wish me luck!!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Thursdays Kitchen Cupboard

As promised today’s kitchen cupboard is going to be about cookies. Last night Herr Pickles and I made a few Swiss cookies. First we made Bratzeli.

Bratzeli are basically a type of sugar cookie that you put into a fancy press that flattens the cookies and leaves a pretty design on them. Mr. Pickle’s mom has an authentic Swiss Bratzeli press that she brought with her from Switzerland at her place, but it runs on 220 and we only have 110 here.

Last year Mr. Pickles bought me a similar one for Christmas.

It makes the cookies a little thicker and doesn’t have the different Swiss flags on it. However, I think the cookies tasted the same as his mothers so that is good enough for me.

I rolled the dough into balls and Mr. Pickles operated the press
The dough after chilling for 2 hours

Rolling into balls


We ended up getting 125 cookies.

We then made some Spitzbuben. These are kind of like Jam Jam’s, but the dough it not as sweet and more delicate. The traditional way calls for red current jam, however, Mr. Pickles doesn’t like that so I did half in my homemade Saskatoon berry Jam and the other half in Raspberry Jam.

We ended up with 48 cookies


This turned into 24 Spitzbuben


Although we didn’t kill each other while making the cookies we did run out of time. So we are going to make the Vanillehörnchen tonight.

 Make sure to go and visit our kitchen cupboard hostess Robin over at The Gardener of Eden and check out her blog as well as see what going on in other kitchens around the world

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Ho-Hum

Somewhere after putting up decorations I lost my Christmas Spirit. It just went a little every day until I was sitting here this morning going Ho-Hum. I know it will come back soon since I think it went away in part because of this migraine I have had for 8 days now and since I made an impossible Christmas to-do list. So every morning when I wake up with the migraine I get grumpier cause I don’t get anything done all day and then since I have insomnia I stew about it all night...lol Mr. Pickles is trying to be helpful but most of the time he is just under my feet and it takes a lot of willpower not to just kick him. I guess it is good practice for when we have kids.

So I decided this morning to scale down my Christmas craft list. My original plan was to make all this:
Christmas Log Cabin quilt
Santa placemats
Table runner or placemats using jelly rolls
Embroidered handmade napkins
Snowman wall hanging
Hand towels
Fabric ornaments
Christmas cards
Soap bottle aprons
Mug Rugs
Tree skirt

This is an unrealistic list for a healthy beginner sewer, let alone me. So I am just going to make my Christmas cards and try the soap bottle aprons. I need to make 20 cards and I would like to make 5 aprons. If I get everything done then I will pick something else to try, but for now this is all that is going to be on my craft list.

Tonight Mr. Pickles and I are going to make some Swiss cookies. Spitzbuben’s, Bratzeli and if we have time and haven’t killed each other Vanillehörnchen. If you are wondering why Swiss cookies...well Mr. Pickles is from Switzerland. Since this is the first Christmas since we have met that he doesn’t have to work 16 hour days we thought we would start a new tradition of making some traditional Swiss  Christmas cookies. Come back tomorrow for Kitchen cupboard Thursday to see how we made out!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Sunday Tidbits

Last night Mr. Pickles and I went out for a lovely supper followed buy some Christmas shopping and the local craft fair which had 200 artisans and specialty food booth. It had been probably 4 years since I was last at this craft fair and nothing had changed...lol The booths were set up exactly the same and most of them had the same people in that were there last time I was there.  Now if there would have been things I was interested in that would have been okay. However it was more of a oh that guy was here 4 years ago selling the exact same things and for more money than before. I know I am cheap, but if I like something then I will usually shell out the money. However, when they want 150 for a ceramic plate or 200 for a metal Christmas tree...that is just too crazy for me..lol

The grazing sections...I mean the specialty food section was insane. Everyone had to get their ditty little hands on free samples and be damned if you were trying to get by. It got to the point that we just had to plough through and if you were in our path you better move..lol I kept asking Mr. Pickles if he wanted to try anything since I thought this was the part he would enjoy, but he wasn’t interested in taking a sample from most of the grimy sample dishes.

We did however try a few things that looked more sanitary and where there were less people. We had some raw chocolate which was nice but very expensive 17 dollars for 150g. Homemade ice cream with sour cherry topping. The ice cream was okay, but Mr. P just liked the sour cherry topping. It was 9 dollars for 1cup and since I had canned 7 jars of sour cherry sundae topping I didn’t think it was a good buy...lol. We then tried some Saskatoon berry pie and cider from a local orchard. The pie was good, but for 12 a pie and a cold room full of pie filling I wasn’t opening my purse...lol We did really like the cider and bought a $10 bottle a long with a tiny box of chocolates that the Mr. Wanted for 6 bucks...lol. Across the aisle from the one orchard was another and we sampled a few of their ciders too. The Mr wanted to buy a whole case for $110, but we settled on one bottle of raspberry cider for 11.50




After the ride home and a little snack Mr. Pickles helped me put up some Christmas wall decorations. They are the sticky kind that you put up on the wall. The wall is a little too dark for them, but I thought they still look pretty nice. Maybe I will leave them up all year long..lol

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Occupy Your Sewing Room

Occupy Sewing Room

This morning or well okay I guess more like this afternoon I was reading through my blog list and read more than one post about Occupy Your Sewing Room going on over at Cat Patches. Every time I came across someone posting on it I thought “hey that is a great idea. I should really get some sewing done”. By the third blog I decided to click on the link and check it out thinking it is probably too late to join or thinking up a million reasons why I wouldn`t be able to join up. 

However, here is the kicker...all you have to do is occupy your sewing room from the 3-10 of December for one day or break it up if you cannot spend a whole day and then blog about it on the 11th. It doesn't get much easier than that now does it. So I copied the button on my blog (see it on the right hand side) and now I am going to pick a day to take a stand against my Christmas sewing and show it who`s the boss. I think this is just the thing to beat that procrastination bug which is usually followed by the disappointment that you didn`t get done what you wanted to bug.

As for today... probably no sewing since i need to get my Christmas cards made and there is a HUGE craft fair in the city that is calling my name. So i better go and clean up that craft room....again so I can get more sewing/crafting done!

Friday, 2 December 2011

Thursdays Kitchen Cupboard

Okay so today is Friday and I am linking up a day late just pretend it was yesterday while you are reading this..lol

Yesterday my mother and I went Christmas shopping from 10-4, I went for a hair cut at 4 and then when I got home at 5:15 I had to take Mr. Pickles into town to pick up his truck from the shop. After he got home he figured we should drive back into the city (40mins away) and buy a Christmas tree. Last year we went to buy a tree  about the 5th of December and they were almost sold out so I wasn’t going to chance it again and thus we drove back to the city, did shopping we didn’t need to do and ate out. By the time we got home it was time to go to bed so no time to post or read most of my fav blogs! It was a busy day for me yesterday and today I am paying for it! But at least we have a Christmas tree now even if it still outside!

So then lets move on to my Kitchen cupboard post.

Nothing much preserving wise came out of the kitchen in the last week. I toyed with the idea of canning more potatoes, but I think I will try the ones I made first. So this week I just thought I would share one of my favourite recipes. The pictures make it look a bit gross; however, it still tasted good!

Mrs Pickles Chicken Cacciatore
Ingredients
2Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
2 Chicken breasts, diced
1-500ml of whole canned tomatoes (from the garden)
1 jar of tomato paste
1 Garlic clove, minced
1 medium onion
2 cups of mushrooms, sliced
1 yellow pepper, sliced
1/2c red or white wine
Salt and pepper to taste

*Heat oil and butter in a large casserole until frothy. Add diced chicken and brown all sides for 5 mins. Remove and set aside.
*Add onion, garlic, peppers and mushrooms to pan and cook gently for 3 mins. Add in wine and deglaze the pan.
*Next stir in the tomatoes and paste (if you want a thicker sauce otherwise you can omit the paste) season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil stirring frequently.
*Return chicken to the pan stir cover and simmer for 30mins. Adjust seasoning as needed.

*Serve with polenta.

Polenta
2 cups of water
2 cups of milk
1 cube of chicken stock (organic and msg free)
2 cups of polenta
2 tbsp butter

Bring first 3 ingredients to a boil in a medium size pot
Add polenta slowly while stirring with a wooden spoon. Once all the polenta has been introduced reduce the heat and continue stirring until smooth. Top with butter.


I hope you all love this as much as I do.  If you haven’t already and even if you have make sure to go and visit our kitchen cupboard hostess with the mostess Robin over at The Gardener of Eden and see what is happening in other kitchens too J