Sunday, November 29, 2009

Red Lobster Cheese Biscuits

If you've ever eaten at a Red Lobster restaurant, you know what these are! I found this copycat recipe on I've told you about this wonderful web site before- it's fantastic! You can search for a particular recipe, like "cheese biscuits". Or you can search for recipes with a particular ingredient, like "cheddar cheese". In this case, I searched for a restaurant-- "Red Lobster". When you search for a restaurant, you get copycat recipes for some of their popular recipes. Unfortunately, I haven't had much luck with small, local restaurants. But the large national chains have lots of entries. Anyway- this has become a family favorite. I think the Old Bay Seasoning is the key. If you aren't familiar with Old Bay- it comes in a yellow can with a red lid- you can usually find it with the spices and seasonings, but it's sometimes in the seafood area of the grocery store. It's particularly good with seafood, but lots of non-seafood things (like these biscuits) benefit from the concoction. There's no seafood in it- just a unique mixture of seasonings. My husband always adds it to tuna salad and I like it with eggs.

makes 12 biscuits
heat oven to 450 deg.

2 cups Bisquick
2/3 cup milk
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (I used regular salt)
1/2 teaspoon parsley flakes

Mix Bisquick, garlic powder, milk and cheese until well blended
Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 8-10 minutes

While biscuits are baking, combine butter, garlic powder, Old Bay, parsley and salt and melt in microwave for 20 seconds.

When biscuits come out of the oven, immediately brush the butter mixture onto the tops. Keep brushing and use the mixture up.

A Dozen Bags- Cable Ready Bag

For those of you who have been long-time readers of my blog, you may remember my "Dozen Bags" project. In January of 2009, I started a bag a month that would utilize a free pattern- either my own or one found somewhere on the internet. The bags would be quilted, knitted, or whatever. Well... I think I got up to 4 bags and then life happened. This has been a crazy year for me. I got behind and the project pretty much got put on hold. Well-- I'm going to pick it back up here. I am not on track for a bag a month- that ship has sailed. But I'll keep going until I do 12 bags. I'd love to sprint to the finish and get them all done in 2009, but I'm not sure that will happen. We'll see.

I made this bag when we took our drive from Oregon to NJ and back. I got a LOT of knitting done on that trip! (You'll see it all in future posts). My greatest love is quilting, but knitting makes a great travel hobby.

This bag is a free download on the Lion Brand Yarn website. They have tons of great patterns on their site for knitting and crochet. This one is called the Cable Ready Bag. You need a really chunky yarn. It calls for Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick and Quick. I made it with the same colors called for in the sample they have. You could certainly make it in one solid color, as well. It's a great project for learning to do cables because the yarn and needles are so big- easy to see what you are doing.
I have a few tips for you if you plan to make this bag. The patterns is written pretty well, but there were 2 spots that made me think a little. When you have completed the front and back of the bag (which are identical), the pattern tells you to sew the sides and bottom. But it doesn't tell you how far up the side to sew. If you sew all the way up, you won't be able to get anything into the bag. So I went up to the last color change, or about 3/4 of the way up from the bottom.
When you're at the top and ready to deal with the handles, it's really very easy, although the pattern was a little confusing. It's just a matter of taking the crochet hook over the top and grabbing the next stitch off the knitting needle, then going inside the hoop (under) and grabbing the yard from underneath for the next stitch. This wraps the yarn around the handle.
You'll eventually get all the stitches off the knitting needle and then you continue on to wrap the handle. I have 2 pieces of advice here. First, count your stitches so you put the same number on both handles. Second- cram as many stitches in here as you possibly can. I think I did 150 on each handle. Really, really stuff them in there. When you think you're done-- keep going. I mean it- I stuffed and stuffed. Now that I've been carrying the bag for a while, they are loosening up and I'm so glad I wrapped it so tightly.

You can get the handles at most craft shops. The size called for in the pattern is perfect.

I have not lined mine yet, but I need to. My nail file and pens keep making their way through the knitting. If you like to knit bags but don't like lining them, a tip here is to make a drawstring pouch for the little stuff. Your wallet and paper items can go in an unlined bag just fine, and all the little stuff can go in the little drawstring bag. This also makes it easier to change bags AND to find things in your bag.

If you're new to knitting cables, it's surprisingly easy. There are lots of tutorials online. Here's just one of many. I'm sure you could find a video tutorial on you- tube. Basically, you knit a few stitches, then put a few stitches on a holder or double point needle and hold them either in the front or back of your work. Then you knit the next few stitches. Finally, you knit the stitches off the holder. You are holding a few stitches off the work and then adding them back in. It crosses them over. If you see it done once, the patterns are usually pretty easy to follow.

Have fun with this bag. I have a few more in process- we'll eventually make it to 12! For those of you looking for the ones I did earlier in the year, look over to the right side of the blog and click on "A Dozen Bags" on the list of labels.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

How a Sewing Machine Works

Do you ever wonder how the needle goes down and picks up the bobbin thread and magically makes the sewing machine stitches? You HAVE to see this!!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Cream Cheese Pecan Pie

It's been 24 hrs and I'm still full! I had a wonderful day with family yesterday. My favorite dessert on Thanksgiving is always the pumpkin pie, but I liked this one, too. This is a twist on the traditional pecan pie. You make a cream cheese filling, similar to cheesecake filling and spread it in the pie shell. Then you cover the cream cheese filling with broken pecan pieces and top it with a karo-based filling. When you bake it, the fillings magically separate. The karo filling ends up on the bottom and the pecans end up on top with the cream cheese in the middle. This stuff is killer rich! It would be good done in individual tart shells, too. Enjoy!

Cream Cheese Pecan Pie

Preheat oven to 375 deg.
Prepare one 9-inch pie shell

8 oz cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

Beat above ingredients until thick and creamy. Spread in bottom of pie shell. Sprinkle with:
1 1/2 cups pecan pieces

3 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup dark Karo syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat eggs in mixing bowl only until blended. Add sugar, Karo and vanilla; blend well. Gently pour over pecans.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes- until center is firm to touch.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Debbi's Sunflower

Here's another quilt made by Debbi Lamb. My goodness! Debbi certainly has been busy! Debbi's latest finish is a sunflower wall hanging. It's an applique embroidered 3-dimensional sunflower. The pattern she used is "Sunflower" by Lunch Box Quilts.
I love Debbi's fabric selections. What a bright, cheerful quilt! Debbi is a long time customer of Alderwood Quilts. I was speaking with her earlier this week and I told her that I no longer think of her as a customer. She's a friend who happens to buy things from me sometimes. You can see more of Debbie's quilts in the Gallery on my website.

I'd love to see YOUR latest project! Send me a photo and tell me what you're working on. It will give you an extra entry in the current giveaway. And, if it has Girl Scout or Boy Scout fabric in it, you'll get an EXTRA entry!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Judy and Jane made Pillowcases!

Judy Carpenter and Jane Reynolds purchased lots and lots of one yard cuts of Scout fabric from me a little while ago. Curiosity got the better of me and I had to ask them what they were doing. Aren't these pillowcases cute?

Judy and Jane have known each other for over 30 years and have been quilting for about 15 of those years. They get together once a week and make things for themselves, for gifts, and for charities. How cool! They enjoy each others' company and keep the bonds of friendship strong while creating beautiful things.

They belong to the Franklin County Quilter's Guild in Vermont. I looked at the guild website and had fun browsing through their show and tell pages.

Nice work, ladies, and thanks for sharing! If you win the giveaway, you'll have to share the wave ruler. :-)

Debbi's 4-patch Kaleidoscope

Here's another great Kaleidoscope quilt. If you liked Melinda's kaleidoscope yesterday, you'll also like this one made by Debbi Lamb. She took a class at her LQS to get her started on this one.

You can see in the closeup that it's a take on the Stack n Whack technique. You stack repeats so that if you put a pin down through them, the pin will land at EXACTLY the same spot on each repeat. You then make a simple 4-patch with the 4 exact same pieces. Debbi said that the class taught her how to cut the fabric to make the most of the yardage and get the most interesting cuts.

If you are attempting a Kaleidoscope quilt, you want the busiest fabric you can find. Just one fabric made all of these wonderful 4-patches. Look at Melinda's quilt (yesterday's post) and Debbi's quilt and you can see that they used vibrant, busy fabrics. Debbi told me that she really didn't even like the fabric she used, which is why you don't see it in the border on her quilt. But she loved what it did when it was turned into a kaleidoscope! Also notice that both Melinda and Debbi took care to use "quieter" fabrics for borders, cornerstones and sashing. If you give your eyes a place to "rest", it really makes the busy patches "pop".

OK... now that I've seen both of these quilts, I just HAVE to make a kaleidoscope!

Thanks for sending the pics, Debbi! And thank your photographer (aka DH) for us for taking a photo with you in it! I'll put another entry in the giveaway drawing for you.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Melinda's Magical Slice and Dice

Look what Melinda did! Melinda Fulkerson sent me this picture of her latest quilt. She used a pattern called Magical Slice and Dice by Robin Gallagher (her sister) of Two Wacky Women. Melinda says she loves it because it's very bright and cheerful.

Melinda gets 3 entries in the current givaway because she asked me to enter her (1), she sent me a picture (2) AND because she used Girl Scout fabric (3). See the light pink setting triangles? Melinda didn't even realize that fabric was from Robert Kaufman's Girl Scout collection until she put it in the quilt. You can see more of Melinda's handiwork by checking out her blog. I'm a regular reader of her blog- it's full of inspiration.

I love the Slice and Dice. There just might be one of these in my future. It reminds me of the kaleidoscope quilts published by Quilt Moments. I just this technique!

Thanks for sharing your latest quilt with us, Melinda. Who else out there wants to send me a picture????

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Nancy's first Hand-Pieced Quilt

One of my blog followers, Nancy Bird, sent me this photo of her latest quilt. For sending me this photo, she gets a second entry in the giveaway!

Nancy has had a lot of life changing experiences in recent years. She was a victim of Katrina and now finds herself in Many, LA on 18 beautiful acres. The good part is that she will soon have a beautiful new sewing room in her little slice of heaven. The bad part is that she has to wait patiently for a place to use her sewing machine. Nancy always swore that she'd never hand piece a quilt top. Feeling sorry for herself, having to wait to sew and missing quilting, she decided that, even though she didn't want to hand piece the quilt, it would be better than not quilting at all. So, Nancy got some charm packs and hand pieced them. With this design and the charm packs, there was no need for a rotary cutter or mat- just lots of hand sewing. Guess what!?!?!? She loved it! Nancy surprised herself that she loves hand piecing so much. And she never would have realized it if it hadn't been for the fact that her life took so many difficult turns.

I'm do glad that Nancy has a new found love of hand piecing. Nancy is such an inspiration. She has the capacity to see the good in whatever situation she finds herself in. Nancy doesn't blog often, but I always enjoy reading her posts- especially the ones that show her talent as a poet. Check out her blog called A Little Bit of Heaven.

And remember- if you want to enter the latest giveaway drawing, just reply to the giveaway post or send me an email. If you send me a photo of your latest project (or any project) I'll put in a second entry for you- and if the project is made with Boy Scout or Girl Scout fabric, you get 3 entries.

Great Pizza- the next day!

I'm filing this under "recipes" but that's really cheating. There's no cooking going on here. I'm passing this tip along because it's just really great! A friend of mine, whose son worked for a pizza place told me about this. She always had leftover pizza that her son brought home from end-of-the-night unsold pizza. The manager passed this along.

Don't you just hate microwaved day-old soggy pizza? First problem- you bring it home from the pizza place wrapped tightly in foil (usually). It's better if it comes home in a box. You put the hot pizza in foil and you get instant soggy. So-- when you get the pizza home, if you can possibly remember to do it, take it out of the foil, blot it with a paper towel, and then put it in whatever you want- a baggie or a plastic container, or even back in dry foil. I like to wrap it in a paper towel and then slip it- in the paper towel- in a baggie. If you skip this step, it's ok, but it does help.

When you want to warm the pizza to eat it, first put it on a plate on a paper towel (you can use the one it was wrapped in unless it's wet) and microwave it to get it warmed through. You know your own microwave and it depends on how many slices you have. Just don't over-do it. Just barely get it warmed up.

Then- here's the part that works the magic- put it in a frying pan on medium heat. Don't walk away- keep an eye on it. You want to leave it on the heat as long as you can WITHOUT burning the bottom. It just takes a few minutes. Just keep watching the bottom. This gets the crust back to crispy. You won't believe the difference!

I tried just heating it on the stove and skipping the microwave but the bottom got dark before the pizza got heated through. The bottom was crisp but the middle was still cold. You CAN just use the stove if you're more patient and you do it on low heat. I like the combo method of microwaving and using the frying pan best. Get it? Combo method? Combo pizza? OK- bad joke. But really- you'll love this!

Saturday, November 21, 2009


I was planning to catch up on my blogging in chronological order but I've decided to start with my recent accident. SOOO many people have written to give me their best that I thought I should make sure everyone knows I'M OK! And... so is everyone else... or at least I'm told they will be. A week ago, I was involved in a 5-car accident on our local highway. Four vehicles had to be towed away, 2 are totaled. Three people were injured but all will recover. The highway was closed in both directions for about 45 minutes. I was VERY fortunate! I had enough time to slow my car down a bit before impact. A driver fell asleep at the wheel and entered the oncoming lane, causing multiple collisions. My heart goes out to the guilty driver. We all make errors in judgment, and I am told that the driver is remorseful. I can't begin to imagine how it must feel... not only to be injured, but also to be at fault. I know in my heart that there was no intention to cause any harm. My car had the least damage (it is not totaled). While I was treated to an ambulance ride to the hospital (woo, hoo!), I am doing well. I do have a sore foot and leg, and some back muscles that are not happy- and a lovely seat belt bruise. The days right after the accident were a little tough- everything hurt. BUT... all are much better than last week and I am getting good care. I am now a huge fan of massage therapy!

My admonition to everyone who will listen.... if you feel drowsy behind the wheel.... pull over and take a cat nap or get out and jog around a parking lot. DO NOT think you can make it just a little longer. If you are already drowsy, you are already a danger to yourself and others. People love you. They don't deserve to lose you for a senseless reason. And you deserve to live another day. Take care of yourself- and those around you- if you're tired, stop the car!

I'll get my car back after Thanksgiving- good as new, I'm told. And-- I just have to say this-- the insurance companies (all of them) have been wonderful. I'm not kidding- everyone has been great to work with. I might feel differently if everyone involved didn't have good coverage, but hey- things really have gone smoothly.

I also have to say how impressed I was with the emergency responders. I was literally surrounded by volunteer fire personnel, EMT's, ambulance people, and police. We live in a small town close to a state forest. Out here, we really depend on our local volunteer fire fighters and EMT's. These guys and gals are nothing short of amazing! We don't live close to a hospital or any emergency centers. But we do have a great emergency team at our local fire station. I never realized how fortunate we are before this incident. If you're a professional or volunteer emergency responder- anywhere- my hat is off to you!

And- not one, but THREE people stopped and offered assistance and gave me their names as witnesses. You always hear that people these days don't want to get involved. Well that's not what happened here. People chose to get involved. WOW!

I'm taking it easy (really!) I've been resting a lot (really!) I'm having Thanksgiving at my house but I'm accepting LOTS of help (really!). My husband, kids, daughter in law, daughter in law to be, nieces, friends, doctors, massage therapist, and even my blogging buddies have been wonderful. I feel loved and cared for, and that's a very good way to feel. Thank you all for your kind words and your concern.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I'm Back!

I've been a baaaad blogger. I haven't posted for months! So much has happened and I have so much to share. We cleaned out, renovated, and sold 2 houses (one on the east coast and one on the west coast), we drove to New Jersey (from Oregon) to pick some things up from my late father in law's house, I've been knee-deep in a HUGE sewing project, and I was in a multi car accident (I'm ok). There's so much to blog about! Sprinkle in some quilting and a few recipes, and I won' be at a loss for anything to blog about for a long time. With so much going on, I've just had to prioritize and have not had time to devote to the blog. I'm going to be regular again, though.

So- let's start with a give away! I'm giving away a Wave Edge Ruler and a Wave Lotus pattern. These rulers are really cool. You can use it for a wavy edging or for wavy seams within the pattern. The pattern included in the giveaway will get you going, and there are complete directions included with the ruler.

To be entered- all you have to do is ask. Reply to this post, OR send me an email. Either way- just tell me you would like to be entered in the giveaway and I'll put your name in the hat. For a SECOND entry, send me a picture of your latest project. And, if it's made out of Boy Scout Fabric or Girl Scout Fabric, you get a third entry. This is low tech. I put your name on a piece of paper, fold it, put it in a bowl, and ask someone to draw. I was once asked if a previous winner could win again. Sure! International entries are welcome, too.

Good luck!