Thursday, June 30, 2005

Quilting at my house

Yesterday was Wednesday, the day my quilting group meets and I was the hostess. I knew I wanted to make a salad and trolled around for inspiration. I made an amalgam of a cajun grilled chicken salad and California Pizza Kitchen’s chopped salad with barbecued chicken. Here is my recipe

Quilter’s Chopped Salad with Grilled Chicken (serves 10)
The rub:
2 t. salt
½ t. garlic powder
½ t. onion powder
½ t. dried thyme
½ t. dried oregano
½ t. freshly ground black pepper
½ t. paprika
½ t. cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients together to blend. Divide: 1-1/2 t. for salad dressing and remainder for chicken rub.

Salad dressing:
3/4 c. buttermilk
½ c. mayonnaise
2 T. chopped green onion
2T. chopped fresh italian parsley
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
½ t. grated lemon peel
1-1/2 t. seasoning from rub

Make salad dressing the night before.

Chicken: Rub remaining seasoning mixture on six boneless, skinless chicken breasts (that you have pounded so that they are flat-ish and about the same thickness) about 2 hours before grilling. Pour 1 c. buttermilk over chicken, turning to coat. (A 1-gal. ziplock bag would be good for this.) Refrigerate until 30 minutes before grilling, turning when you think of it. Grill over medium-high heat. These cook very quickly. Let rest at least 5 minutes before cutting into strips. I made the chicken early in the morning and served it at room temperature.

Chopped Salad
2 hearts of Romaine, chopped
jicama, cut into strips (1 lb.?)
2 c. black beans
2 c. corn
grape tomatoes, halved (1 pint)
1/3 lb. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped
6 scallions, chopped
3 T. chopped fresh cilantro

I layered these ingredients, pretty much in this order, in my largest salad bowl and my guests served themselves. I served the salad undressed and passed the dressing in a sauce boat. One person thought it needed more salt; one person thought it was pretty spicy, so she took just a smidgen of dressing on the side. If you have the energy and the desire you could take corn tortillas, spray them with olive oil, slice them into thin (1/4-inch) strips and bake them (5 min. ?) as a topping. I didn’t this time, but I have.

Susan brought us each a perfect Blenheim apricot from her tree.

We had a plate of assorted fruits and chocolates.

Kathy brought a decadent Caramel Charlotte with nectarines that should have just been lunch.

What excess!

We gave the secret quilt to Kathy and I think she was surprised.

A good time was had by all.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

What I've Been Up To

I’m amazed that my blog is still here. I was afraid it had been re-possessed. I’m not amazed at how long it’s been since I posted. Chaos. My life is chaos.
Andrew went back to Santa Barbara and started summer session. Steven is catching up on a year’s worth of lost sleep. He must be growing!
What have I been up to? I’m trying to clean up my "studio," lovely space that I took over when Steven left for school. Can you guess that he’s trying to re-claim it? It is upstairs, over the garage, in the trees, and is a perfect space for playing video games and watching movies with friends (in addition to being a perfect studio space). I will feel really good about organizing everything, when it’s done, even if I am giving it up temporarily.
I moved my quilting set-up into Andrew’s room: He probably won’t be home for six weeks. I picked up my new "table" from the plastic guy and it’s terrific. I had a piece of fin-ply (4' x 4') that we put on the carpeting when the boys were little and wanted a hard surface on which to build blocks and set up their Brio trains. I save everything! I had the plastic guy cut a hole in it for my sewing machine and then he put formica on it. It is heavy but lovely.
I had two pieces on my design wall and I pieced one of them last night, tentatively known as Kelp. My plan is to quilt a small piece, The Leftovers, as a kind of "practice" piece. Next in the queue is the Postcard Quilt, and then the new piece, Kelp.
I’ve been studying my camera and hope to post some new pictures.
Oh! And I said "No" twice this week. It was really good.

Monday, June 13, 2005


The boys got home okay. So much energy. So much masculinity. I'm overwhelmed. No time to blog. My friend Anne sent me the following and I am passing it on.

TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED the 1930s, '40s, '50s, '60s, and '70s:

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.
They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes. Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright-colored, lead-based paints.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors, or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking.
As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.
Riding in the back of a pick-up on a warm day was always a special treat.
We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and NO ONE actually died from this.
We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter, and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.
No one was able to reach us all day. And we were okay.
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes! After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
We did not have Playstations, Nintendos, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video-tape movies, no surround sound, no cellphones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chatrooms..........WE HAD FRIENDS, and we went outside and found them! (We have 6 TV stations, Erector sets, Chemistry sets, model planes and model rockets.)
We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.
We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.
We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls, and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.
We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!
Little League had tryouts, and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!
This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem-solvers, and inventors ever! The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!
And YOU are one of them! CONGRATULATIONS!
Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

School's Out!

I'm still sort of frantic here. The boys decided that they can fit all of Steven's stuff into Andrew's car so we did not drive down to Santa Barbara to pick up Steven. He just finished is freshman year at UC Santa Barbara. Andrew is going to be a SENIOR at UCSB! It's graduation weekend and everything is booked everywhere so I was relieved to put off the trip. We'll probably go down in a couple of weeks. Andrew will going to summer school at SB.

I've been trying to be virtuous. I've been cleaning out my closet. I'm delighted that both of them are coming home but I dread the influx of all of THEIR junk. And I haven't done my spring housecleaning yet. It has been such a cold, rainy spring that I haven't gotten around to getting the screens cleaned and up, etc. So I have a few hours before they arrive and I'm buzzing around here.

I've changed all of the beds and I have all the laundry caught up. The 'fridge is pretty clean and I'm holding off a big trip to Costco/Safeway until after they arrive. Who knows what they are eating these days but we've got milk.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Shhh! It's a SECRET

Here is a picture of the grandma quilt I've been working on. My Wednesday group and I made the blocks, and I put it together and quilted it.

Secret quilt

I really shouldn't be posting a picture of this but it is in the interest of technical research. I've been trying to figure out how to post more than one picture at a time and the glorious Melody, the superfantastic Sonji, and the divine Debra, have all helped. And besides, I've been so busy with this that it's all I've been doing besides working.

One block Posted by Hello

I was thinking that maybe I should post this in my profile--I've got red hair, too!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Secret Quilt

I’ve alluded to the secret quilt that has been weighing on my conscience. I’m a member of a mini-group that meets on Wednesdays. There are ten of us. We are beginning to become grandmothers. We’ve made two grandmother quilts and I took on the third one. The grand baby was born last Monday! OOPS! No picture of the quilt yet but soon, maybe. Each of us made a 12-inch pieced block of a child. Very traditional, very cute! I sashed the blocks and straight-line quilted the sashing. I free-motion quilted around the children and I FM’d the border. But I’ve run out of ideas and my FM repertoire is severely limited. I’m still very much a novice machine quilter. I think I volunteered for this because it would force me to get some practice. What really should be done is that the children should be hand quilted but I’m running out of energy and time. And I still need to bind. And did I mention that I’ve managed to take over every room in the house and both boys will be home from school on FRIDAY?