2016 APQ UFO Challenge List

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Four Goals - Dec 2013

Yay for holiday deadlines! I got all four of my goals completed this month. It helps that they were all Christmas presents! 

These are the goals I set out to complete: 
1. Quilt the top that's on the frame now - done and blogged about here
2. Finish Christmas gift #1 - done but not yet gifted, picture to follow as soon as it is. 
3. Finish Christmas gift #2 - done and delivered, pictured below. 
4. Make teacher presents - done and blogged about here and here

I made three table toppers for Christmas presents this year - two which are to be gifted this weekend, so will be blogged about next week. The third one is for my sister-in-law.  They just finished a remodel of their kitchen, but between my mom and me, they already have plenty of winter/Christmas themed quilted items, so I decided to go for another holiday and just made this up, using scraps from other recent red, white, and blue projects. The strips are 1 1/2" and then end pieces are a little wider. I drew a few stars and placed them randomly before I did the quilting, then stitched them down through all three layers at the end. 

I wound up cutting off the corners because the rectangular shape looked a little too severe to me. Once I did that, I had obtuse angles to bind, so I went to my go-to tutorial for binding odd angles at Trends and Tradition's, Heather Mulder Peterson's blog. Her instructions were perfect! (By the way, if you are a knitter and you don't follow her blog, you're missing out. She knits some of the most beautiful sweaters I've ever seen, and boy is she fast!)

I didn't get a final picture because I was in a rush to get it wrapped and on its way! 

Since I did so well for December, I will get ambitious for January: 
1. Quilt Winter Wonderland wall hanging
2. Finish blocks for catventquiltalong (4 made, 21 to go)
3. Finish stained glass log cabin blocks
4. Quilt a UFO

Hope that some deadlines worked in your favor too! Happy New Year and may 2014 be a year of happiness, found time, and achievement of your goals! 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Stash Report Week 52 2013

I spent much of this week finishing up the last few Christmas presents (don't tell - I still have three to finish in the next week!). One only needs binding attached, one needs quilting and binding, and the final one is purported to be a 1-hour project, so I am hoping I can get it done by New Year's Day. 

As you can imagine, working on presents has had a good impact on my stash report - I cut and used fabric for binding and a table topper (I will show pictures once they've been gifted). 

I also had a chance to join my mom and our online Quilters in Indiana group for a sewing day yesterday. I didn't have any projects prepped and didn't want to do any quilting on my travel machine, so I decided to pull out a UFO, my stained glass log cabin (last pictured here when I said I'd working on it in a 2011 UFO challenge). I spent the whole morning cutting to be ready to sew. I got the pieces ready for making the center part of the remaining 21 blocks, and finally pulled out my machine around 2:00.  I got the first two rounds on for each log cabin, and I am going to leave it in my project bag to take to my bee workday in January. While I won't work on this project exclusively, I do hope to make some good progress on it before I start another project.  
Our sewing day was at a local quilt shop, The Back Door, and they were having a finish the bolt sale. I found a nice grey and a stripe that will go nicely in my stash. I also bought a kit to make a tulip bowl - it looked like a cute little project, and the pattern was included with the kit. 

Fabric added this week: 4 1/8 yards
Fabric used this week: 3 7/8 yards

Fabric added year to date: 27 yards
Fabric used year to date: 78 5/8 yards

Net fabric used: 51 5/8 yards

I will count anything added or used through Dec 31st next week, so I will have a final tally for the year, but it looks like I will end things pretty well with over 50 yards used. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Stash Report - Week 51 2013

This time of year is usually good for the stash report...at least until the presents under the tree are opened :) 
Mr. C's fabric cube
I had to finish up my last teacher present this week - for Jenna's male teacher.  I finally settled on making him a fabric cube that he can put on his desk.  This is from the Terry Atkinson pattern Pockets to go, and I made it once before for a teacher. The directions are really well written, as they are with all of Terry's patterns (I think she is one of the best pattern writers in the industry!), and it went together in one night.  The only challenging part is putting on the binding once you've already joined it into the cube shape.  I also have a sore finger because I didn't put my thimble on while I was stitching it down (and since it uses Peltex, it is pretty tough to stitch through). 
First two cats
I also got started on the kitty blocks for the Oh Fransson catvent quilt-along.  Jenna saw the pattern when Elizabeth published the first pictures and fell in love.  She has selected all the cat fabrics for it and I think it will turn out perfect for her room. 
Fabrics for kitties
With both of those projects under my belt, I got to add a little to my used numbers for the week: 
Fabric added this week: 0 yards
Fabric used this week: 1 3/4 yards

Fabric added year to date: 22 7/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 74 3/4 yards

Net fabric used: 51 7/8 yards (glad to still be over 50!)

Hope you had a great week with your stash whether you were prepping presents or enjoying stress-free sewing! 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Fantastic Photo Quilt

About a month ago, a good friend of my mom's was in town for a visit.  She loves to spend her time here working away in my mom's sewing room and singing along to her Pandora station.  On this trip, she finished assembly of a very cool photo quilt. It is made with pictures from her son's family vacation earlier in the year.  She printed all the pictures on photo fabric and then cut and pieced them into the quilt.  It is really stunning to see in person. 

While she was here, we had a discussion about ideas for quilting it and a few days later, my mom told me that she really liked my idea and wanted me to quilt it.  

I decided not to quilt through the photos at all since they were the feature of the quilt. I did wavy lines in the blue sections and was a little stumped on what to do in the border.  I looked and looked for a panto or shell stencil that would work, but they were either too big or too detailed. After thumbing through all my quilting books (ok, all 5 of them), I found this pattern called mussel shell, in Linda Taylor's machine quilting book.  I'd done this pattern before but in an all-over method.  I limited it to just one "shell" wide and ran it all around the border. 

The quilt was batik borders and a batik back, and I didn't know how it would do, but it turned out okay.  The top thread was signature poly, which gave me quite a few fits.  I changed to a new needle, then to a bigger needle, and had to go pretty slow for it to play the game without shredding. I used a silver bottom line on the back and boy, how I love that for a bobbin thread! 
Quilt back showing wavy lines
 Once I got started, this one moved pretty quickly (and it helps to have a deadline!), and now it is off on its way to be found under a Christmas tree.  I am sure it will be a very special quilt for the recipients! 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Stash Report - Weeks 47-50, 2013

The stash has been slowly moving along over the last few weeks. I've quilted a few things, made a couple bags, and pulled fabric to make some new stuff.  Despite a little bit of progress, I don't have much stash to count as used. 

I did make these cute laminate fabric bags for teacher/friend gifts, but realized that I didn't count the laminate fabric when it came in, so can't count it going out. Even so, I am glad to have these done a full week before school is out.  I still haven't figured out what to make for Jenna's male teacher - I got my hobbies mixed up - he isn't into photography, but videography/stop motion videos....so the camera strap, while an excellent idea, isn't the right fit for him.  I may make him some kind of thing to go on his desk to hold pencils/notepads, etc.  Or, I may just buy a gift card :) 
Laminate fabric bags for teacher gifts
I have also gotten some good quilting done and this is where the little bit of stash that's been used has come from. Two backs and a little bit from the stash for one of the tops. I will show pictures of these after they've been gifted, but here's a sneak peek at the back of one of the two table runners/toppers I quilted last night (thanks to an afternoon snooze and caffeine with dinner!). 
Christmas quilting
So, here's the tally of my usage over the last four weeks:
Fabric added: 0 yards
Fabric used: 2 yards

Fabric added year to date: 22 7/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 73 yards

Net fabric used: 50 1/8 yards (nice to be back over the 50 yard mark - let's hope I can finish the year there!)

Hope you're having a great time with your stash whether it be fabric, paper, yarn, or christmas decorations! 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

November Cookbook Challenge

As the weather turned colder, I was ready to pull out this cookbook. 

It was my grandmother's and was one of the handful of things that I got from her - she died shortly after Mike and I married.  I've had the cookbook on my shelf since I brought it home from Houston, but I'd never made a recipe from it.  I was touched when I opened the book and found a list of the pages of her most-used recipes along with some notes in the cookbook in her handwriting. 

Grandma's cookbook
Due to our vacation, the month was pretty short.  We did get in one recipe before we left - the "Favorite Ham N' Potato Bake," which was made with cream of celery soup.  Mike made it while I was out one night and he said it was good - but the kids told me in the morning that they didn't really like it.  I had the leftovers and I thought they were good - not gourmet food, but an easy 1-skillet meal good for a weeknight. 
Ham and potato leftovers (the tasted better than they look)
The other two recipes that we made were for Thanksgiving - the traditional green bean casserole, and oven baked macaroni and cheese - which was made with cheddar cheese soup. Both were great recipes for the shared table.  I would probably add some more shredded cheese to the macaroni next time. 
Green bean casserole

Macaroni Bake (with breadcrumbs on top)
I planned to get one more recipe made before the end of the month, but we wound up eating leftover turkey for the rest of November :) 

Believe it or not, this cookbook is available on Amazon here, but I am guessing most of the recipes are publicly available by now. 

One more month to go and it's a good one! 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

November recap

Mad Hatter's Tea Party - right after lunch! Our smiles weren't so big after all the twirling around ;)
November was a busy month for our family, as we headed out for our first trip to Disney World! Our kids are in year-round school and have most of the month of November off school for their fall recess, which meant it was a great time to do a vacation to Orlando.  I started the month with a little sewing, and actually was up and working on a Christmas present the morning we left!  Once we returned, I didn't go back to the sewing room for a week and a half!  I did get a few things done during the month, but really have to double down over the next few weeks to be ready for Christmas!
Chip and Dale meet some silly kids
Here are my accomplishments for the month:
- Bound mini quilt for 2015 guild auction (some good planning ahead!)
- Quilted, bound, labeled, and gifted the pumpkin table runner

- Finished piecing a Christmas gift (picture to be released after Christmas)
- Made a little go-purse 
- Loaded a quilt on the frame 
- Started cutting out Christmas gift #2 (picture to be released after Christmas)

On my list of four things for November, I had: 
1. Quilt and bind pumpkin table runner - see above - done! 
2. Make 2 Christmas gifts - got one top pieced and one started
3. Finish blanket/accent stitching on snowmen blocks - these never came off the design wall
4. Bind and label mini-quilt (this will get me way ahead of the game for the quilt show in two years as I planned to donate it to this year's quilt auction but didn't get it done in time). - binding done, just need to label it

For December, I will put four things that I know I need to get done and maybe I will have a good month! 
1. Quilt the top that's on the frame now
2. Finish Christmas gift #1
3. Finish Christmas gift #2
4. Make teacher presents - I know what I will make for Jack's teacher, but am not sure what to make for Jenna's male teacher - any ideas for good presents for a third grade teacher who likes comic books and photography? 

Hope you had a great November! Even though I didn't get much quilting done, I had a great month spending some good time with my family! 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

October Accomplishments

I thought I had already written a post with my October accomplishments, but didn't find one, so here goes: 
- Quilted and bound red and white snowballs
- Added sleeves and labels to my 4 show quilts
- Quilted French Braid baby quilt (Mom - I need the pictures!)
And..all done at my Shipshewana retreat
- Cut out and pieced my version of the Crossroads quilt
- Bound Lois' Stack-n-Whack top
- Bound Christmas D4P with the 2 color binding
- Quilted mini block
- Made pumpkin table runner
- 2 wonder wallets

The front half of the month was really top loaded between prepping quilts for the show and the retreat and I didn't sew at all for the last week and a half of the month. Even with that time off, I totaled 31 1/2 hours.  Not bad, even if most of it was at retreat :) 

An Overdue Stash Report

Last time I did a stash report, it was the end of October and I had bought a little new fabric at retreat and our quilt show...except I forgot about the fabric at the quilt show, so it is time to count that now - just a yard for a panel. 

I also used a little fabric since last time - pulled a back for the table runner that I have on my list to quilt this month, started a Christmas present, and made a quick purse to take on vacation. 
New purse - only problem is that it was too small to hold my wallet, phone, and camera! 
So, for weeks 45-46, here's the result: 
Fabric added last two weeks: 1 yard
Fabric used last two weeks: 1 1/4 yards

Fabric added year to date: 22 7/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 71 yards

Net used: 48 1/8 yards

I also finished sewing the binding on my mini-block, so it is ready to turn in for the 2015 quilt show auction! 
Mini block for the next quilt show auction! 
Hope you've had a good few weeks with your stash! 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

My review of the two-color binding

Back in March, at our bee retreat in Danville, I finished my disappearing four patch top. As soon as I finished it, Pam suggested that I use two color binding to make the red pop a little. She sent me a link to the directions and I carefully made a bookmark for future reference. I read the directions and cut my binding in preparation to take it to my retreat. 
I pulled it out at the retreat, ready to go. I started around 10:30, so planned to have it done before we left for lunch.  I sewed my strips together, started to press them, and realized the size was off. I am not sure if I cut them wrong, or if they just didn't work like they were supposed to, but decided that I better trim down the seam allowance to make it work. After I sliced 1/8" off of the length of the binding, I was doing a little swearing and thinking that it better work, because this was taking way more time than I planned. I got the binding sewn to the back of the quilt before we left for lunch - so much for my best laid plans. 
When we returned, I pulled out my wonder clips (don't you love these little clips? They are great for hand and machine binding) and got to work.  Look at that lovely corner, where it comes together just perfectly! That didn't happen on all four corners, but they were pretty close. 
Whew, finally done. I have to admit that, by the end of the afternoon, I was annoyed that it had taken so much time, but also really pleased with the end result. 
When you look at it straight on, it looks okay, but when you peek at it from the side, that little flange really pops! 

After I got done with all of it, someone asked if I could have achieved the same result just using a flange which was sewn down when sewing on the binding....probably! And it probably wouldn't take all that effort either! Another option would be to use piping. No matter which way I do it in the future, I am glad to have tried it and glad that I like the end result! 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Four Things - November

The last time I did a "four things" post was at the beginning of September. I laid out my goals for September but never reported them, so it's time to catch up. 

Here were my goals for September - and how I did on them: 
1. Mail everything - baby quilt, giveaway, and donation quilts - I got the giveaway and donation quilts mailed. I still need to get the address to mail the baby quilt, so it remains on the list! 
2. Quilt graduation quilt for my mom - Yes, had this completed by Sept 2! 
3. Make back for and quilt Red and White Snowballs - I made the back in September, got it loaded, then let it sit on the frame while I waited for inspiration.
4. Pull out and make some progress on one of my UFOs - I made the back for and quilted my Christmas Disappearing Four-Patch. The funny thing is that, when I originally wrote this goal, I was thinking I'd piece something, but when I looked across my UFO list a few weeks later, I realized that most of my projects are stuck at the quilting phase. That is a little ironic considering I have my own longarm, isn't it? 

At the start of October, I wrote down my goals, but didn't blog about them. Here they are along with the progress that's been made: 
1. Quilt, bind, and label snowball quilt - Done, although the label on it is just the quilt show label, I did get it finished in time to hang in the show. 
2. Quilt baby quilt for mom - Done, although I don't have any pictures of it - Mom took a few, so when she sends them, I will include them in a future post. 
3. Pre-cut for retreat - Done! I got my crossroads top and my binding cut and prepped before retreat.  If you don't usually pre-cut before going to a retreat, I highly recommend it. I like to do it because (allegedly) I pay more attention and am less likely to make mistakes (not the case this time), and also because I can move ahead more quickly on my projects at retreat. 
4. Finish a quilt top - Done! I finished the Change of Plans top at retreat - now to get a back made and quilt it....guess I got one off the UFO pile just in time for another to take its place :) 
For November, I had to really think about what I want to make some progress on, and I think I have a good list: 
1. Quilt and bind pumpkin table runner
2. Make 2 Christmas gifts
3. Finish blanket/accent stitching on snowmen blocks
4. Bind and label mini-quilt (this will get me way ahead of the game for the quilt show in two years as I planned to donate it to this year's quilt auction but didn't get it done in time). 

Hope you're making progress on things that make you happy! 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

October Cookbook Challenge

October is Mike's birthday month, so it was his turn to choose the cookbook.  Anyone who knows my husband well shouldn't be surprised to hear that he picked The Brewpub Cookbook: Favorite Recipes from Great Brewpub Kitchens. I did a quick scan through the cookbook at the beginning of the month and selected about a dozen recipes to try, but October turned into a pretty busy month for us and I didn't do a good job of meal planning in advance.  Add that to the complexity of ingredients (nothing crazy, just things we don't normally have on hand) and it turned into a pretty lean month. 
We did make three recipes through the month: 
1. Bay Shrimp Pestodillas (Prescott Brewing Company in AZ) - this was an easy recipe to make and called for baking the quesadillas instead of frying them.  I really liked the way they turned out and would make them again - just for us or for a group. 
2. Italian Meatballs (Pete's Place, Krebs, OK) - Mike cooked these up for us and they took longer than we thought they would - the recipe didn't have a time noted, just an internal temperature. We'd had spaghetti with meat sauce the night before, so we ate them plain.  They were tasty, and I think they'd be even better with some red sauce or even a gravy. 

3. Badlands Pork Tenderloin (Rattlesnake Creek Brewery & Grill, Dickinson, ND) - this was a recipe that involved making marinade one night, then letting the pork sit in it for a day. It was a soy/honey/ginger/orange marinade, and while it was good, it was a little salty (we even used low sodium soy sauce). 
There are several additional recipes that I'd like to try from this book, but most of them will be weekend recipes because of the time/steps required. There are a few good stew/soup recipes that I hope we'll try over the winter. 

That's all for October - we've already picked our November book and it looks to be the perfect one for this season! 

Retreat Projects

Since I showed you all my purchases and additions Sunday, I thought I would take some time today to show you what I worked on during my retreat.  As usual, I took far too many projects! I started with my blocks for the Crossroads quilt that 4 of us planned to make. Unfortunately, as I cut my fabric, I realized part of the way through that I'd cut it incorrectly. I decided to assemble the blocks anyway and then figure out what to do. 

On Thursday, our first day, I got all the blocks put together. Once I had them together, I was getting tired, so decided to pull out a table runner kit that I brought with me.  I got all the fabric fused and cut and then called it a night - for sewing at least! We hung out together for a while and went to bed way too late! 
Show and Tell - Karen and Muffet both finished their Crossroads tops!
My goal for Friday was to get a couple quilts bound.  The first is the Stack-and-Whack quilt from Lois' UFOs.  Jill quilted it for me and did a great job on it.  I had the binding made already, so it only took me about 45 minutes to get it sewn on. I decided to bind both sides by machine. Next up was my Christmas disappearing nine patch. For this one, I decided it would benefit from the two-color binding technique. I will do a full review of that later, but (spoiler alert) it took forever and was much more time consuming than I had planned. 

Needless to say, by the time I got it done, it was late in the day and I was a little fried. My mom and I went back to our room for a nap and I really could have stayed there and just gone to sleep at 7pm, but we had show and tell and door prizes to return for. After I got going again, I went back to the table runner and got it finished.  It will be the next project to quilt for me and I hope to have it done in time for Thanksgiving. 

I knew we'd call it a night soon, so I decided on a quick project - quilting a mini-quilt.  It went quickly and I was pleased with the result. 

Saturday morning, I woke up refreshed and ready to go back to my Crossroads blocks to see what I could do with them.  It took me a few tries to get the right size connector square in the middle of the blocks so that they would wind up square. 

I had to fiddle with a partial seam, which took a little time, but it was worth it in the end. Here's the final result of my top, which I will call "Change of Plans." I really like the fall colors and they will go well with our new couch. 
Last up for this retreat was a couple wonder wallets.  I made purses that match these a few months ago and had the pattern and fabric hanging around. I got them both put together in about an hour and was able to gift the blue/green one to my neighbor for her birthday last week. I used mine over the weekend and it is great! I think these will become a staple in my gift giving. 
Wonder wallets

Me, Muffet, Pam, and Hannah
On Sunday morning, we packed the cars and headed west. Our group has started a little tradition of having breakfast together before we go to Erica's in South Bend. We tried a new place this year and had a great time recapping the weekend around our table. 

We'll be back together in March for our spring retreat and I look forward to that one!  
Mom, Kathy, Loralei, and Karen

Sunday, October 27, 2013

September Accomplishments

It is almost time to get my October list together, but to keep record straight for myself, I need to record my September accomplishments first! 

I started off really strong in September, using the 1st day of the month as a sewing day with my mom.  We both got a lot done and decided we need to do more of them. I stayed pretty steady over the month, with my primary goal being to get some quilting done.  I was looking down the face of the quilt show and knew I'd entered one quilt that was just a top.  I set an early goal of quilting 4 quilts during the month and here's how I did: 

- Finished stack and whack, one of Lois' UFOs
- Quilted graduation quilt for my mom
- Made back for, loaded, and quilted Disappearing Four Patch top
- Quilted red, white, and black quilt top for my mom
- Made back for red and white snowball quilt, loaded it, and stared at it for a full week! I didn't know how I was going to quilt it, so it just stayed there waiting for me. 
- Made block for a comfort quilt for one of my bee mates (sorry, can't find the picture for this one). 

I didn't get all four quilts done during the month, but I did make good progress on two of my UFOs, which is a great feeling! I'll be back soon to show you what got done this month. 

Stash Report - Weeks 42-43 2013

Whew, the last couple weeks have just flown by! Between prepping for the quilt show, going on retreat, and going to the quilt show yesterday, I haven't spent much time in my sewing room, but I have deposited a lot of things in the room....and this morning had a goal to work on my cutting table, which looked like this when I started. Yikes! 

Once I got things unpacked and sorted, I could put together the set of things that I won or got from giveaways at the retreat. It was quite a haul!  Everyone there got at least one door prize (I won two) and two of the local shops had goodies for us when we arrived.  As a result, I added some fabric to my stash without even trying. 
Retreat prizes & giveaways
Then, I started trying :)  We visited Lolly's, their basement store, Yoder's, the Pumpkinvine (in nearby Middlebury), and Erica's in South Bend over the course of 4 days.  I showed great restraint at the beginning, but by the end....well, let's just say I did my part to support small business!  I did stay away from fabric for the most part.  The red 1/4 yard is binding for one of the projects I finished while on retreat.  The fat quarter set was 1/2 price, and the laminates will be used for Christmas presents.  I went a little crazy with patterns and am excited to try the three on the top right with the curve ruler I bought. I don't usually go for specialty rulers, but the quilts were so striking, I decided to give it a go. 
Retreat purchases
I'll be back soon to show you what I worked on while at retreat. In the meantime, let's review the impact on stash over the last two weeks: 

Fabric used last 2 weeks: 6 3/4 yards
Fabric added last 2 weeks: 7 yards

Fabric added year to date: 21 7/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 69 5/8 yards

Net fabric used: 47 3/4 yards

Hope you've been having some fun with your stash too - whether you've been adding to it or using what you already have! 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Stash Report - Weeks 39-41 2013

Ahhh, back to writing blog posts on a laptop :)  You see, I don't know if I have shared on my blog or not, but my 6 year old laptop died in August.  It was very, very full and very, very slow and we knew it was probably coming, but you're still never quite ready, are you?  We were able to save all but about 40 files on our hard drive thanks to a good computer guy.  We went for about a month with no computer and watched deals until we found another one on woot.com (one of my favorite places to browse for deals).  The computer has been here for about 2 weeks now, but I haven't bonded with it yet, probably because it has windows 8 on it! I am adjusting and in a few months, I will be fine, but the change is tough! In the meantime, I've been using my iPad, which is a great little tool.  I would probably go with it solely if I tried a little harder, but we like having choices (and Mike doesn't have an iPad). 

Anywho, I titled this a stash report, so let's get on to that business.  It has been a few weeks since I reported and I've been busy quilting and prepping for my retreat.  The significant usage over the last three weeks has been for a comfort quilt for a woman in my bee. She has reached the point in her life where she can't live independently anymore, which means she has to not only move, but also whittle her stash and machines down to fit into a small apartment.  I supplied the fabric that is the constant across all the blocks and the backing and binding.  The top has been put together and quilted, but I haven't seen it yet. I will post a picture here when it is done. 

The effect on the stash has been good - and I will be back soon with some pictures - they are spread across three devices right now, so I have a little organizing to do! 

Fabric added last three weeks: 0 yards
Fabric used last three weeks: 6 1/8 yards

Fabric added year to date: 14 7/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 62 7/8 yards

Net fabric used: 48 yards! It is great to be so close to 50 yards just before I head to my retreat in Shipshewana.  Some precutting should get me past 50, but then it will probably be a little downhill due to the great shops we visit when there :)

Hope you had a great week with your stash! 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

September Cooking Challenge

I must say that this cooking challenge has probably been my favorite part of the year! I continue to discover new recipes, combinations of flavors, and my husband's ability to cook! He is bearing the brunt of much of this challenge since he cooks dinner for us most nights based on our work schedules. I think he is happy when I choose easy recipes and this month was all about that. I chose The Four Ingredient Cookbooks (three cookbooks in one!), which my mom reminded me that she gave me shortly after I moved here so that I could learn to cook.
I think I have made a few recipes from this cookbook in the past, but nothing that really jumps out in my memory. I have to admit that I was skeptical going into this because of the simplicity of the cookbook. I expected lots of mediocre meals. We did well over the course of the month, though, and now there are a few new recipes which we will put into the rotation. Here's what we made:
Tater tot casserole - I don't think you can go wrong with tater tots! The kids were funny - one only liked the tater tot part and the other only liked the stuff under it! Not sure we will make this a lot because only two of us liked the whole thing, but it could be a good dish for a pitch-it.

Chicken Meat Balls - yum! These were good and would be even better with some wide egg noodles. These were a hit with three out of four.

Lime chicken - this was just okay. If it were the first chicken dish we'd made, I would probably rate it higher, but we've had so many good chicken based meals this year, I don't know that we will repeat this one.

Flank Steak - This was a very good steak, but it was pretty rare. I think we had a thicker cut than most and so should have cooked it a little longer, but it was tasty and I would make it again - maybe next time on the grill.

Hawaiian Pork Chops - I got a package of pork chops from Costco - have you ever had theirs? They are super thick and tasty. Add a little pineapple and brown sugar and you can't go wrong!

Trout Almondine - I couldn't find trout in our local grocery store, so we made this with flounder instead. It was very tasty and I will keep an eye out for trout to make this again - as intended!

Turkey roll ups - no picture of this one because I wasn't home the night Mike made it, but he and the kids swear it was really good and they want it again! It is made with thick deli turkey, stuffing, and gravy.
Fiesta Chicken - I think this was the favorite dish of the month - the kids are already asking for it again and we just had it last week! It is a mix of cheez-it's and taco seasoning for the breading. It was crunchy, moist, and very yummy!

Almost forgot! We had a salmon dish last night too - Fish Delight. It was good, but like the earlier chicken recipe, not as good as other fish recipes we've had this year, so it probably won't go that high on our list for repeating.

And the piece de resistance for the month - pecan pie made with their recipe for a pie shell. I made this last night - squeaked it in just a few hours before the end of the month! It is delicious and I never knew pecan pie was so easy to make!

So, that's the report - a pretty strong one with 10 11 recipes for the month. I have to say I really like these cookbooks that make it very easy to put some variety in your weeknight cooking.
We have four cookbooks remaining and three months to go - birthday boy Mike will pick the book for October!