Vanilla Bourbon Cake and Squash Enchiladas

Pinwheel Solid Bee BlockIt’s been a little while since I have updated my cooking site, but not for a lack of cooking/baking.

This year is the year of cakes/desserts. For a few reasons, I’m starting to explore baking in a more planful way. Rather than baking whatever whims come my way, I’m trying to be intentional. Because I’m trying to eat more healthfully, I’m also trying to make cakes only for special occasions. But, since I’m making them for special occasions, I’m wanting to acknowledge important days for several of my friends.

Thus, I am self-appointed birthday cake/dessert/pie maker. To this point, there have been three birthdays which I have baked for. However, I only have pictures for one of them. The week of a friend’s birthday, I send this little survey for inspiration:

About

  • coffee? Pro or con?
  • Orange juice? Pro or con?
  • Coconut? Pro or con?
  • Rum? Pro or con?
  • Mint? Pro or con?

Choose:

  • Fruit or Chocolate
  • Orange Juice or Coffee
  • Fluffy or Molded
  • Ice Cream or None
  • Favorite Alcohol
  • Pie, Cake, or Dessert

From this, I’ve made a Kahlua Bundt Cake, a Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake (a kid was coming to that party), and most recently a Vanilla Bourbon Bundt Cake with Pomegranate Icing. This is probably the cake I was most proud of, but also the cake with which I was most disappointed.

Pinwheel Solid Bee BlockThe Vanilla Bourbon Bundt Cake originally cake from Bon Apetit magazine. The blog I found the recipe from was The Craving Chronicles. I love the presentation of it there and think it looks absolutely delicious! Then, I found the Pomegranate Icing recipe on a fellow Minnesotan’s blog: A Good Appetite. Because my friend shared that bourbon was his favorite alcohol and pomegranate his favorite fruit, this seemed to be an exciting option. My disappointment in the cake was only because of the fact that it didn’t rise to the level I would have liked it to have done. It baked more like a pound cake and less like the traditional bundt cake. Oh well. That doesn’t mean it won’t be tried again. Everyone who ate it enjoyed it, and one person even asked to make sure they were on the birthday rotation.

In the last month, I’ve also made Chicken Tortilla Soup:

It turned out really well and was absolutely delicious! It made a whole lot and I have leftovers in the fridge! Although I cheated by not making my own stock (which could only enhance the taste of the soup itself), I had some canned chicken stock that needed to be used up! My Kitchen Moovement’s Chicken Tortilla Soup is absolutely delicious and worth every minute it takes to make it. I don’t think I could fashion a more tasty version of Chicken Tortilla soup and in reality only made one major change to the soup. Black Beans are my favorite food, so I had to add a can of them to the soup to make it meet my needs. If you’re up for it on one of these wonderful fall days, try making a little soup and eating it with your friends.

I’ve made a few other items, but nothing that was new to me. However, one recipe I must blog about and am sad I didn’t take more pictures along the way is for Squash Enchiladas. Now that squash is in season, this is, beyond the Curried Squash Soup recipe I have, my absolute favorite squash recipe. I also make a pretty decent squash bread. But, tonight I made Squash Enchiladas. Here’s the recipe:

Squash Enchiladas

  • 1 squash
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 c corn
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 c cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 package taco seasoning
  • 6-8 tortillas
  • 1 jar Frontera Enchilada Sauce

Bake the squash until it is cooked. While squash is baking, saute the onion in some olive oil until is is tender. Mash squash, mix other ingredients with squash, except for Enchilada sauce and tortillas. Spoon the mixture into tortillas and place into a greased glass pan. Then, pour enchilada sauce over the enchiladas and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. Sprinkle with any cheddar cheese you would like.

I like this recipe for lots of reasons. It’s vegetarian, it is easy, and stays well in the refrigerator.

Make it and enjoy!

No Sewing, but some Knitting

I tried doing a little work in my craft room today, but my mom wants me to bring my sewing machine home with me this weekend and so I’ve decided to wait until next week to really get to work on the sewing aspect of my life. However, I did figure out that with this quilt that I’m working on at the moment, I can use some of the machine quilting skills I’ve gained this weekend to finish that quilt. Hopefully in about a week I’ll have it done.

I did, however, pick up my knitting needles again and pulled out two skeins of Mooncake Tranquility yarn (which is no longer made! — sad as it was one of my favorites) in an orange color to make a scarf.
Apparently orange is my “it” color of the moment…something I never thought I would say.
More blogging soon! Thanks for all the reads!

Machine Quilting!!

I don’t have much of an update, as I haven’t done much project-wise for sewing updates… Here’s what I can share. I’ve picked out my fabric to make a new quilt for my bedspread. I’m deciding between two patterns, but the fabric in question is below.

I am deciding between a pattern called City Blocks which wouldn’t be stretching my skills and abilities all that much, and a Whirlygig pattern. I can’t figure out the Whirlygig pattern without wasting fabric, though. Anyone have thoughts on this? I’ll gladly take all suggestions! I started with this fabric while at Gruber’s Quilt Shop and then found my way to several of these other fabrics.

On Saturday I sent out my first block for the Solid Bee Block. It’s my first bee that I’m participating in, but I have several going right now. I’m waiting for instructions on the October blocks for the different bees I’m participating in. One includes some paper piecing, which will be a new experience, but I tried a little bit today in the Machine Quilting class I took!

That’s right! I took a Machine Quilting class at Gruber’s today. It is to help me learn how to use my sewing machine to quilt different quilts I’m working on. I feel pretty confident with Stitch in the Ditch or simple rows, but when it comes to free motion quilting, I’ve still got a lot of work to do. And, since I’ve still got work left on cutting for the Freckled Whimsy Charm Pack quilt-along, I just need to trim up all my little squares. Maybe I’ll keep my sewing machine in the packet until I’m finished trimming these up! It’ll be good motivation to get that done, right? However, I just need to finish these up so I can start to work on my quilt top for my bed, and so I can start adding more to my etsy shop. If you have a chance to take the Beginner Sewing Machine Quilting class with Chris, I highly recommend it – she is a super star! And, while I was at Gruber’s, I was able to pick up a the backing for the Freebird Nine Patch and the binding. I should be ready to go once I have a table where I can pin that quilt together! Majority of the story: I need to practice, practice, practice!

Speaking of the etsy shop, I’ve made my first sale! However, because I had incorrectly forwarded my mail, the sale happened two weeks ago! I feel like such an idiot! It’s for a  beautiful scarf, and I put that in the mail on Saturday, but I felt so horrible for having done that! Hopefully the recipient is understanding and will not hold it against me. Not to have a poor me moment, but I felt absolutely horrible. Once I get some more stuff added to the shop, hopefully it will get better.

Finally, putting in a plug for hunch. It’s a great new web site I read about in Wired Magazine and am completely intrigued by the concept. It works similar to Netflix or Amazon in making recommendations for you based on your ratings, but I like it most for the random questions it asks. I think you should play around with it for a bit if you have time!

Modified Nine Patch

I’ve nearly completed the top of the Modified Nine Patch I’ve been working on. I started by purchasing a few of the Moda Freebird Charm Packs — I think I only purchased one of them, but there may have been two. I also had purchased a honeybun or jellyroll of the fabric. Inspired by the “Off the Grid” recipe on the Moda Bake Shop, I picked the fabric up at Gruber’s Quilt Shop. I’d finished the nine patches several months ago, but didn’t ever get to the slicing and dicing component of the quilt.

Well, when I moved, I found the ziploc with the nine patches and all and now that I have time to sew, I wanted to finish some projects…work on destashing and general cleaning up of what I’ve got. So, finish one project to move onto the next, I consider this completed until after my class at Gruber’s next week learning about how to machine quilt on my own sewing machine. For now, this seems wonderful.

I began by cutting the outside vertical parts of the nine patch to insert some of the honeybun.

After I had done that for both sides of the modified nine patch, I decided to do one horizontal stripe through the block to add some continuity to the pattern, but varied which row it happened in to add some surprise to the pattern.

Once I had sewn each of the three rows together, I still had a great deal of the honeybun left. I started sewing it together in long strips. I then used these to add more vertical length to the quilt through horizontal rows of honeybun:

Finally, I sewed all of the rows together. And, I love how it turned out. It’s a very busy pattern, but I think that adds to the fun of the quilt!

Thanks for looking!

Finally, Some Sewing!!!

The past week has been indescribably busy. Yesterday I had a somewhat rough day at work after a busy week and this morning hosted a staff retreat at my house. I was very fortunate to have had another staff member make all the food for the meeting, but at the end of the meeting, I relished the opportunity to do some sewing.

In an effort to enhance my sewing I’ve joined some quilting bees and I needed to finish the first quilt for the Solid Bee Blocks Bee on Flickr. I’ve been trying to spend some time thinking about why I like quilting and sewing and cooking and all the things I love so much. What it comes down to is the idea that I like the process of doing things. I like the process of creating. When I get to make something from start to finish, I have such a sense of accomplishment. I might not have a desire to have the end product. However, the preparing for it and finishing it is something that I enjoy.

Next weekend I am taking a class to learn how to do machine quilting, so I am hoping to finish up a few projects in the next couple days and then finishing the prep work for the class.

So, today’s productivity. I started by finishing the quilting bee block. This is my very first quilting bee block. I like how it turned out, but am still working on what it means in the future.

Next, I finished putting all the blocks together for my Double Irish Chain quilt. I have to finish sewing the quilt rows together still, but I laid it out and really like how it looks. I’ve got a few different options for what the border will look like, but maybe tomorrow I’ll have it figured out.

Finally, I worked on the quilt I was making with a Moda Freebird charm pack and jelly roll. It’s turning out pretty well. I have those rows sewn together and will need to do a little bit more before it’s finished. I think it will get added to the etsy shop once it’s finished.

Tomorrow’s plans include sewing those rows together and finally finishing the KarrieLyne’s CharmPack Quiltalong quilt!

Thanks!

Run Complete…Now Running in a Different Variety

So, I ran the half marathon. I wasn’t super fast, but I did get it done. Now it’s two and a half months later and I haven’t been able to get back into my running mode. My running partner got a new job and moved a few hours away but that’s really just one more excuse in a long list of excuses. The new school year has started now, though, and I am hoping that this will mean I can start getting into a regular routine once again. I worked out last night for the first time in awhile. Even though I haven’t been running in the exercise form lately, I feel like I’ve been running on empty. It’s been a busy few months. And, while the busyness won’t end for awhile yet, it’s hit a few high points already. One high point would be my students creating this video to show to all of the incoming students. I think you’ll like seeing it, so I’m posting it in here. It’s my first time embedding a video, so here’s hoping it works!

Thanks for reading! And, here’s hoping for a run in the morning!

Getting Stuff Done

With the academic year underway, I finally feel like my schedule is starting to be my own again. So, tonight was more preparation work than anything else. For starters, I took advantage of an evening where I had to be back on campus at 9:00 by trying a little canning for the evening. I posted about it over on my cooking blog: http://iwillcookbetter.wordpress.com I didn’t write much because I wanted to get both of these in.

I’m trying to get more connected to the blogosphere of quilting and cooking and be more on top of getting this done on a regular basis.

Craft-wise, tonight I spent some time pressing some of the first part of my four-patch’s for KarrieLynne’s Charm Pack Quiltalong I’m hoping over the weekend to get the 4-patches finished up and then square up both the triangle halves and four patches to get them figured out as to how I might want to arrange the quilt overall.

I’m also going to square up the Double-Irish Chain squares so I can cut the large squares and start piecing that together. I think it will match the walls in my sister’s bedroom at my parents’ house really well, so I might plan to leave it there.

I’ve also joined my first quilting bee on Flickr! I’m pretty excited about it and am hoping to go to Crafts Direct soon to pick up some of my fabric, as it’s on sale this month. The bee is all solids and I have yet to decide what that will look like for me, but the premise should be lots of fun.

One other piece in quilting news is that on September 19 I’m taking a class at Gruber’s Quilt Shop to learn how to use my quilt to machine quilt. It should be lots of fun and I can’t wait to learn a new skill!

Thanks for reading…more soon!