Friday, February 25, 2011

Farm Fresh Eggs

 
I have been getting the most delicious eggs lately, so I thought I should take some time to brag about them. Susan, a friend and co-worker of mine, has a farm in the area.  This year, she tells me, she went a little overboard when she was ordering her chicks.  Her hens are laying about two dozen eggs per day so she is selling them to her co-workers for $1 a dozen.  Yes you read that right... $1 a dozen for fresh, free range, grass fed, delicious eggs... hooray for over ordering chickens!  I never realized what a difference fresh eggs could make when used in recipes or just on their own for breakfast.  I'm so excited about trying them in different recipes that I have been eating many more eggs that I normally do.  I highly suggest finding a local source for fresh eggs in your area.  It makes a world of difference!
The eggs are different shades because she has a few different types of chickens
Who wouldn't want eggs that come in a box this cute?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Starting a Hexagon Baby Quilt

I have always been a very particular quilter, measuring carefully, ripping seams and resewing if anything wasn't perfect, and being overall picky about everything.  The past year has taught me to throw all of those tendencies out of the window and see what can happen.  I haven't gone too crazy yet, but these things take baby steps!

My latest project was inspired by two things- (1.) Organizing my fabric made me see that I had a lot of great fabric that I wanted to use, and (2.) my friends, Tee Jay and Christina, are having a baby boy and I want to make their new little one a baby quilt to accompany the quilt I made for little girl, Casey, 2 years ago!


A block from Casey's quilt- one for her little bro is in progress!
For Casey's little brother-to-be, I am using a pattern for a modern take on a hexagon quilt.  This was the cover pattern for the Winter edition of International Quilt Festival Quilt Scene magazine.  It starts with lots of strips of random fabrics and widths.  No careful measuring?  No set pattern of carefully chosen fabrics?  No real plan and a let's see what happens attitude??  Deep breaths Grace, you will survive...



I have just started to cut out the many strips (of random widths and fabrics- yikes!).  I'll sew 4-5 strips together and then cut out the wide pentagon blocks.

Blue and green strips
Laying out my piles of strips to sew into blocks.
Stay tuned for my progress...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

V-Day Cake Pop Disaster


I have been reading Bakerella's blog for years and have always wanted to make her yummy cake pops.  Basically, you make a box cake, crumble it up, mix in a jar of frosting, roll into balls, stick it on a lollipop stick, and coat in chocolate.  It sounds so simple, yet so amazing!  My roommate Amy and I decided to make Valentine's Day themed cake pops to give as gifts.  We used a chocolate cake mix with cream cheese frosting and coated some in milk chocolate and some in white chocolate.  We decorated the pops with an assortment of sprinkles.

Chocolate cake and cream cheese frosting

Bakerella suggests mixing the frosting into the cake crumbles with your hands.  This was an incredibly sticky, messy process! 

Mixing cake and frosting

After adding the frosting, the mixture was rolled into small balls, then placed on a cookie sheet and chilled for a few hours. 

Cake rolled into balls

We were able to insert lollipop sticks into the first few cake balls, dip them into chocolate, and decorate them with sprinkles.  After a few cake pops, the balls started to really fall apart and it just wasn't working at all.  We even kept the balls in the fridge and pulled them out as we needed them.  Oh Bakerella, you make it look so easy, what went wrong!? 

We ended up just topping each cake ball with a teaspoon of chocolate and adding sprinkles.  Serving them in a cupcake paper made them look great.  The good thing is that no one will ever know that these were a disaster because they taste great and look pretty :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Veggie Seeds!

I don't know about you, but I'm ready for Spring!  Lately, I have been drooling over seed catalogs and planning out my veggie garden.  A few of my favorite seed sources are Renee's Garden Seeds, Johnny's Seeds, and Totally Tomatoes.  So far, I have ordered 18 seed packets from Renee's Garden Seeds.  Here are a few of the new varieties that I'm excited to try...

Bright Lights Swiss Chard (Photo: Renee's Garden Seeds)
Tri-color Bush Beans (Photo: Renee's Garden Seeds)
Gourmet Golden Beets (Photo: Renee's Garden Seeds)
Tri-color "Circus Circus" Carrots (Photo: Renee's Garden Seeds)
Baby Primor French Leeks (Photo: Renee's Garden Seeds)
Cinderella's Carriage Pumpkin (Photo: Renee's Garden Seeds)
Rainbow's End Heirloom Tomatoes (Photo: Renee's Garden Seeds)
I'm also planning on growing a few types of squash, lettuce, sweet potatoes, more tomatoes, herbs, eggplant, peppers, corn... and the list goes on!  Of course, I still have my fabulous rhubarb plants that should have overwintered nicely in my garden.  I also already have a long list of new things that I want to can and preserve, so the next step is to plan out my seed starting schedule, and wait for Spring!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Superbowl Cookies

Every Superbowl party needs fun snacks!  I was searching for recipes and I couldn't pass up these football shaped filbert cookies.  I have never made nor even tried filbert cookies, but now that I have, I think I'm in love.
Hazelnut is one of my favorite flavors, and paired with chocolate, it is to die for.  I used this recipe from www.food.com.  The recipe calls for a football shaped cookie cutter, which is a little hard to find on short notice.  My roommate, Amy, had the great idea to bend a round cookie cutter into a football shape, which worked just fine.
Roasting hazelnuts which will later be ground
Adding ground, roasted hazelnuts to the cookie batter

Wrapping cookie dough to chill for an hour

Rolling out filbert cookie dough

Cutting football cookies using circle shaped cookie cutter that was bent to resemble a football

Football filbert cookies on the cooling rack
Decorated sandwich cookies, filled and decorated with white chocolate
Amy and I decked out for the last Steelers game.  We weren't smiling very much last night when they lost, but the food was good!
I just saw this post from Bakerella about her Superbowl Sweets.  Wowzer, she puts my cookies to shame.  I still can't wait to try to make cake pops!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Longwood Gardens Orchid Extravaganza 2011

Of course a girl from South Florida is obsessed with orchids.  Longwood Gardens is currently having their Orchid Extravaganza and I was excited to see the new orchid displays!
Containers of purple Phalaenopsis in the East Conservatory

Orchid Curtain in the Main Conservatory

Cymbidium Orchids

Orchids mixed with Pothos in the Acacia Passage

Blue Phalaenopsis Orchid- read the previous blog post here

Thursday, February 3, 2011

South Florida Race for the Cure Update

Last weekend my parents and their friends participated in the 20th annual South Florida Race for the Cure.  It was a beautiful, warm day down in South Florida.  I thought about my family having fun in the sun while I was up here watching the snow fall- great job guys!
Race for the Cure group
My mom's friend, Donna, running for my Aunt Cindy
 My mom's friend Donna, was running in honor of my Aunt Cindy, who is currently fighting breast cancer.  In a previous post, I showed how we made head scarves for her.  Check it out here.
Me, my uncle Mike, and my cousins Jane and Annie modeling the head scarves for Aunt Cindy

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