More Doilies

Sunday, January 30, 2011
When I was writing my recent post on crocheted doilies and edgings I found some wonderful ideas for repurposing doilies. Some I had seen before like framing them. I LOVE this idea and am watching out for the *right* frame to try this project. I recently spoke with one of my oldest and dearest friends and she told me about having a tablecloth her grandmother crocheted framed. It measures 6-feet x 6-feet. Can you imagine? I cannot wait for her to send me a picture of that.

I also saw sachets made from doilies...very cute. The project that got my rapt attention though was using doilies to create a tablerunner. The examples I saw were stunning (you can see them here and here)....I TOLD you they were stunning! I just had to have a doily runner. Problem with that was that I didn't have enough doilies in the color I was going for to construct one. That meant no matter how much I was trying to avoid the thrifty stores, I had to go thrifty shopping!

I found a few that were going to be perfect for this project but I was concerned that I had too many differing shades of cream/beige/ecru and even a couple dirty looking white ones. My solution....tea staining. Now they are close to the same color. After tea staining and starching, the doilies were ready to assemble into a runner.

First you take the largest doilies and arrange them on the table. Fill in with smaller doilies, overlapping. Once you are sure of your placement, tack down at overlapping points by hand. The best part is if you ever decide you'd rather have individual doilies again, just snip the tacking stitching and you are set. Now to create a tablescape with this beauty!

Sharing at Mary's Masterpiece Monday, Susan's Metamorphosis Monday, Krafty Kat's Gettin Krafty With It, and Stephanie's Sunday Showcase Party.

And winter goes on....

Thursday, January 27, 2011
I can handle the cold. Even the really cold. After all, I lived in Minnesota for a very long time. January is cold. It is supposed to be. The snow blankets the gardens and everything is in it's frozen rest period. The kettle is always on the stove at the ready for hot drinks, quilts are stacked and within reach and comfort foods show up on the menu more than other times of the year.

All that said, days like today REALLY make me long for spring. The sun shining brightly and although the temperature is still frigid there is the promise of nearing 50° by the end of the week. I really want to embrace each season for what it has to offer but I find myself longing for winter to end and spring to get here. Since my longing will only make me feel discontented and doesn't bring spring any faster, I thought I'd sit with my seed catalogs and start planning what I want to order. That, and I pulled a bag of last years raspberries out of the freezer to make a sweet, tea treat. Winter will continue and spring will come.....eventually.

To continue my embrace of winter (as I dream of spring), there is a new (to me) version of the classic comfort food Chicken Pot Pie on the menu. I am excited to try this because it gives me an excuse to visit my favorite Back Alley Bakery for a loaf of sourdough bread. That all speaks comfort to me.

Photo Credit: Hy-Vee Seasons January 2011

Cobblestone Chicken Pot Pie
(Printable Version)

5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 medium leeks, cut in half and sliced
2 c. sliced fresh mushrooms
1 c. sliced celery
1 c. chopped red bell pepper
1/3 c. flour
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 (14.5 oz) can reduced-sodium chicken broth
3/4 c. half-and-half
3 c. diced cooked chicken breast
1/2 c. frozen peas
2 tbsp dry white wine or chicken broth
2 c. 1/2-inch sourdough bread cubes
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook leeks, mushrooms, celery and red bell pepper until tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in flour, rosemary, salt and pepper and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in broth and half-and-half. Cook, stirring frequently, until thick and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Stir in chicken, peas and wine. Spoon into an ungreased 2-quart casserole dish. Toss bread cubes with Parmesan cheese and remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle evenly on top of casserole. Bake for 30 minutes at 400°F, until casserole is bubbly around edges and bread cubes are golden. Serves 6.

Sharing at Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday and Potluck Sunday.

Cupcake Bouquet

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Thank-you Stephanie for featuring Faithfulness Farm and my fun cupcake bouquet!

I am always on the lookout for fun ways to present food. I recently saw a cupcake bouquet. To quote Ina, HOW EASY IS THAT!! Pretty easy and what a GREAT project for Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, a shower, a tea party or any occasion you want something special. You need cupcakes and frosting (tint if you want to color your cupcakes). The other things you'll need is an urn or pot, a 1/2 round of styrofoam to fit into your pot, toothpicks and a pastry bag for piping your frosting.

I used mini-cupcakes from my favorite devil's food cake recipe. See below for recipe.

My favorite vanilla buttercream frosting tinted PINK.

TADA!! Isn't it pretty?!

Devil's Food Cake
(Printable Recipe)

1-1/4 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 8-inch-diameter cake pans with 1-1/2-inch-high sides. Whisk first 5 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Sift in flour, cocoa and baking soda. Stir to combine. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake until toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks and cool completely. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Wrap cakes separately in plastic wrap and store at room temperature.)

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
(Printable Version)

2 sticks butter, softened
1/4 cup half & half
5-1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place softened butter in bowl and add confectioner’s sugar. Mix well, and then add the milk and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Makes enough to frost a two layer cake or 30 cupcakes.

Sharing at Miss Betty's Cupcake Sunday, Mary's Masterpiece Monday, Susan's Metamorphosis Monday, Krafty Kat's Gettin Krafty With It, Beverly's Pink Saturday and Sunday Showcase Party.


Sunday Dinner at Grandma's

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What an exciting day! My mailman brought my contributor's copy of Gooseberry Patch's Sunday Dinner at Grandma's. YIPPEE!!

I was so excited to get this particular book in my hot little hands. I was especially close to my own grandma and learned from her just what kind of grandma I am going to be when that day finally comes. Such a great theme for a cookbook. As I browsed through this book, I read lots of recipes that just brought thoughts of grandma's and the love they infuse into all they do for their families and the dishes that they make. I also saw some familiar names like Tina from akagramma. I have bookmarked MANY recipes to try but I thought I'd share my recipe that is published on page 142. A very simple, yet yummy recipe and of course it involves a cast iron skillet. Another quick thought, I love keeping a stack of bone-in ham steaks in the freezer. They are a great addition to bean and split pea soups, casseroles and since they thaw and cook quickly, they are homemade fast food. This is perfect served with a baked potato and/or a simple green salad.

Ham Steak & Apples Skillet
(Printable Version)

3 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 cups apple, cored and diced
2 1-lb bone-in ham steaks

Melt butter in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add brown sugar and mustard; bring to a simmer. Add apples; cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Top apples with ham steaks. Cover with lid; simmer for about 10 minutes more, until apples are tender. Remove ham to a platter and cut into serving-size pieces. Top ham with apples and sauce. Makes 6 servings.

Sharing at Foodie Friday.

Cast Iron Cooking ~ Skillet Salt-Roasted Potatoes

Monday, January 17, 2011

I love interesting cooking techniques. Salt-roasting is certainly interesting. We've salt-roasted salmon and salt-roasted beef tenderloin. Both are wonderful. I've even salt-baked potatoes before, but when I recently saw the recipe for Skillet Salt-Roasted Potatoes, I knew I was in. My family loves potatoes so they were in too. The original recipe called for fennel seeds in the salt but I skipped that since fennel seed isn't a favorite. To add some extra flavor, we drizzled with rosemary infused olive oil instead of regular olive oil but regular olive oil or even butter would be wonderful.

Skillet Salt-Roasted Potatoes
(Printable Version)

2 lbs red and/or yellow small new potatoes
2 cups kosher salt
1 Tbsp olive oil

Scrub potatoes; set aside. Pour salt into the bottom of a 12-inch cast iron skillet, spreading evenly.

Heat over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until hot. Add potatoes to hot skillet, pressing potatoes into salt slightly.

Cover skillet. Turn heat to low. Cook 40-45 minutes or until tender when tested with a fork. Remove skillet from heat. Let stand, covered for 5 minutes. Remove potatoes from skillet with tongs and brush excess salt from potatoes (reserve salt mixture). Transer to serving platter and drizzle with olive oil. Cover with foil and allow to stand 5 minutes. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

When cooled, the salt can be store in a zippered bag for the next time you want to salt-roast potaotes...I am thinking that will be SOON around here.

Sharing at Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Full Plate Thursday and Potluck Sunday at Mommy's Kitchen.

Old Lace

Saturday, January 15, 2011
Unashamedly, I love old lace. I am especially drawn to old crocheted edgings and doilies. Maybe because I crochet edgings and doilies and know the work involved in making them. I simply cannot leave them behind when I find them. Recently when I was digging thru my seasonal goodies looking for Valentine’s themed things I found a pink doily that I had stored away last summer. It is a garage sale find. I think I paid .50¢ for it. I rarely am asked more than that for these beauties.

Since I needed to wash and starch this it before it could go on my table I thought I’d share a couple thoughts on the care of old lace.

Old lace must be handled with the greatest of care because it is fragile in nature. Age weakens the threads so even the gentlest agitating while washing can cause a break and I don’t even want to think of the damage that can be done by harsh detergents and bleach. No machine washing. The way I clean them is to use warm, soapy (homemade laundry soap but Dawn dishwashing liquid is also very good for this purpose) water in a wide-mouth canning jar.

Tuck the lace inside the jar and simply turn it around and shake it. Rinse using the same method and clear water.

Do not wring or squeeze the wet lace as you can really stress the threads.

Instead lay flat on a towel and roll it up. Gently squeeze the roll. Unroll and allow to dry flat. When almost dry press with a warm iron remembering to put a piece of muslin between the iron and the lace.

Some crocheted pieces really need starching or stiffening so the items will hold shape. There are many recipes for “stiffeners” including some using glue, sugar, flour and shellac. Avoid those. I use old-fashioned laundry starch. Although I have heard of people using spray starch, I don’t see how you can get the same penetration of starch in the threads. You can buy laundry starch in both powdered or liquid form although I have to say that the powdered starch is getting harder to find. Too bad because it really is the best product. Some day I need to do a post on all the wonderful products you used to be able to buy and now cannot. I starch between hard and medium, which gives the doily nice body but doesn't feel like it is too rigid. Using liquid starch, that is a solution of 1/3 starch and 2/3 water. Use the same method as above for wringing out and drying but use rust-proof pins to block your doily into shape.

Stop by again this next week to see what my plan is for these beauties!

Sharing at Beverly's Pink Saturday, Laurie's Favorite Things , Marty's Tabletop Tuesday and Lady Katherine's Tea Time Tuesday. Please visit these inspiring ladies and their lovely blogs.

Oodles of Noodles

Monday, January 10, 2011

I have always loved regional type cookbooks. One of my favorite cookbook authors is Marcia Adams. I have all her books and many of my *specialties* are recipes straight from her books. One of our family favorites for many, many years has been Noodles With Buttered Crumbs (click for printable recipe) from Marcia's Cooking From Quilt Country. Totally COMFORT food. So simple and yet pairs well with so many mains.

Birthday son requested Noodles with Buttered Crumbs for his birthday supper. I was all set to make that when my new Country Living magazine showed up in my mailbox. The Noodle Pudding recipe from reader Barbara Wener looked like heaven and I thought birthday son might like this even better and if not, I'd make his favorite too. Yes, I made 2 different noodle dishes for the same meal. You do things like that for your kiddos! He said he couldn't choose and loved them both.

Noodle Pudding
(Printabale Version)

1 cup Panko crumbs
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted plus more for greasing dishes
8 ounces wide egg noodles, cooked and drained
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 medium onion, finely chopped (I used a very small shallot instead)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, toss panko with melted butter and set aside. Butter six 1-cup ramekins. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Divide noodle mixture between prepared ramekins and top with reserved bread crumbs. Bake for 1 hour. Serve hot.

Sharing at Tempt My Tummy Tuesday hosted this week At The Well and Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday.

Clover Blossoms ~ Pink Saturday

Saturday, January 8, 2011

No clover in bloom at Faithfulness Farm today. In fact they are calling for 10+ inches of snow. You have to love January! In the Victorian language of flowers, clover blossoms mean Be Mine....isn't that just perfect for this time of year?!

Last summer I found 4 place settings of Federal's Clover Blossom dishes. I was in love. They were still in the boxes they came in and in pristine condition (you can see them here). They instantly became a favorite. Everytime I opened my dish closet, I would think, *I wish I had more of those*. My thought was I'd use them for my everyday breakfast dishes. I did find a piece here and there at the thrifty stores but they were always in very worn shape and I passed on them. Early in the fall I took the leap and put the dishes in my kitchen cupboard and started using them as our breakfast set.

As part of my New Year organizing blitz, I have been avoiding shopping at the thrifty shops. I did have a box to drop off there this week and decided to go ahead and take a quick stroll through. I was pretty proud when I found myself heading for the exit with NOTHING. Then my eye spied a box......I peek in and saw a complete set for 8 of my Clover Blossom dishes. Asking price only $5.00 so they were going home with me although I couldn't see much of their condition.

The condition was as pristine as my little set that has lived life in the original boxes.

Now I have breakfast dishes for 12 ....anyone want to come to breakfast?

Sharing at Pink Saturday, Favorite Things and Suzanne's Vintage Thingie Thursday!

Encouraging Kids in the Kitchen & The Rewards!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

This post could have been titled, A Foodie in the Making, lol.

I've written before about how blessed I was as a child to have a Mom who stepped aside in her own kitchen and allowed me to LEARN. I loved being in the kitchen. She really fostered that in me. I tried hard to be that same Mom to my kids. Over the years they have all enjoyed being in the kitchen and as a homeschooling family, I tried to use kitchen time as learning time.

My youngest son (#3 of 4 children) turns 18 tomorrow. He has been the one with the MOST interest in cooking by far. Probably started when we bought him a Little Tykes kitchen for his 2nd Christmas (much to the dismay of the menfolk in the family, lol). He always wanted to know what was going on in the kitchen, why you do things a certain way and how can that be done better! At one point, he expressed interest in becoming a chef. That has passed but he does work part-time in a local grocery store and he helps me in my part-time catering enterprise. And does that boy enjoying watching FOOD channel.

He expressed an interest in making Christmas dinner. A pretty big task. He thought he was ready and so did we...afterall, we would be there if he ran into trouble. He performed like a pro. We are so proud of him and did that meal taste wonderful. Our Christmas Menu doesn't change much from year to year. Roast Beef, Yorkshire Pudding, some sort of potato, brussel sprouts and usually a salad. This year he also made Cauliflower Gratin for me since I don't eat potatoes.

So, when you allow your kids to spend time in the kitchen, you teach them skills they will use their whole lives AND they may be so inclined to make you a feast some day!

The Feast all plated up!

Yorkshire Pudding

The roast beef taking a rest.

Happy 18th Birthday Son!!

Sharing at Mz Helen's very first Full Plate Thursday and Michael's Foodie Friday! Thanks for hosting ladies!!

101 Cupcakes, Cookies & Brownie Recipe Winner!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The giveaway winner is Lyndaloo! Miss Lynda you have this WONDERFUL Gooseberry Patch Cookbook AND a Faithfulness Farm cupcake apron coming your way! Enjoy!

More Gooseberry Patch reviews and giveaways to come.

Cast Iron Cooking ~ Skillet Poppy Seed Chicken

Sunday, January 2, 2011

After a break from my Cast Iron Cooking segment, I've dusted the trusty skillets and am back with a bunch of new and reworked recipes! First in the line up is Skillet Poppy Seed Chicken......this one skillet recipe certainly isn't your mother's Poppy Seed Chicken recipe. No cream-of-something soup and no crackers in this delicious remake. My family asks for this comfort food often. I usually serve with some sort of noodle or pasta and green beans w/almonds.

Skillet Poppy Seed Chicken
(Printable Version)

1 Tbsp olive oil
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp butter
1 small shallot, minced
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
3 Tbsp flour
1/2 c dry white wine (you can omit and just add more broth)
1-1/2 cups chicken broth (or you can use homemade stock)
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1 jar (2 ounces) diced pimientos, drained
1/2 cup butter, melted
1-1/2 cups Panko crumbs
2 teaspoons poppy seeds

Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat.

Season chicken breasts with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cook in olive oil until well browned on each side and cook through.

Remove to a plate and cover.

To skillet add shallots and wine (or 1/2 cup chicken broth) and scrape up all the brown bits that are stuck on the skillet bottom and cook until shallots are softened.

Add butter and mushrooms. Saute mushrooms until tender.

Add flour and stir around to make a roux. Pour in broth and stir until thickened. Add sour cream and pimientos.

Slice and stir in chicken and any juices from the plate. Remove from heat.

In a small bowl, combine the topping ingredients. Sprinkle over the chicken. Place skillet into oven and bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until heated through and topping is browned.

Yield: 6 servings.