Monday, May 31, 2010

Chocolate Pudding, The Way I Eat It

Hope you are all having a great Memorial Day weekend. Around here, that means a family get-together on the 31st, which is also my Dad's birthday. There will be lots of food, some of which I (and my daughter) will be able to eat, and some not. That's how it goes when you have food intolerances.

Having to eat both gluten-free and dairy-free is challenging, but once I got past the initial learning curve (and grief process) about no longer being able to eat things like wheat, rye, barley, milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream, I soon realized that there is still a whole big world of food out there. Thank goodness, because I like to eat, and I like to eat things that taste great.

Both the incidence and awareness of food intolerances seems to be on the rise. Maybe you know someone who has a food sensitivity, celiac disease, or maybe autism spectrum disorder, all of which can mean a significant modification in diet.

So I wanted to tell you about a dairy-free chocolate pudding recipe I stumbled upon recently that sounded so bizarre I just had to try it. It turned out to be so good, I had to share!

I followed the recipe posted by Erin at M.A.G., which she had modified from the original at Rice of Life. I adjusted it so that it made four servings instead of six, since it's just the hubs and me at home.

Check out the ingredients:

I know, right? Avocados and prunes? Trust me, it really works!

First, soften about 1/3 cup of pitted prunes in some hot water for 10 minutes. That's about 8 or 9 prunes if you'd rather count than measure.

Scoop two ripe avocados into the bowl of your food processor.

Drain and add the softened prunes, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/3 cup of agave syrup.

Whirl that all together until smooth, about a minute, stopping to scrape down the sides, if necessary.

It will look like pureed Shrek. Do not be afraid! Chocolate is going to fix everything!

Add 1/3 cup cocoa powder and process until combined. While the food processor is still running, add 1/3 to 1/2 cup water and continue processing until pudding is an airy consistency. Taste, and if it needs a little more sweetness, add a drizzle or so more of agave (1-2 T.) and process until combined.

Spoon into serving dishes, chill, serve, and enjoy!

Friday, May 28, 2010

A First, and a Finished Table Runner

This is the first free-motion quilted project I have done, and boy, what an experience! It's done, though, and hopefully it'll only get better from here.

I'll spare you the pointing out of many flaws, as you will be able to see them for yourself in these pictures.

You can read my random thoughts during the first part of this project HERE. Please do, in order to get the full picture, especially if you need a laugh today!

To continue the theme, I give you...

Random thoughts as I finished stippling this table runner:
  • Are we there yet?
  • I haven't felt this klutzy since 7th grade gym class.
  • ...or this morning when I couldn't open the Frangelico bottle.
  • Hey, my machine is singing in the same key as the guy on this song...except I'm a little pitchy.
  • Okay, REALLY pitchy.
  • I just got booted off Sewing Idol.
  • Going with the flow...not knowing where the flow is going...
  • Are we THERE yet?
  • This feels like learning to drive, minus the parent with the imaginary brake in the passenger seat.
  • And the point is to NOT drive in a straight line.
  • In fact, it's kind of like driving as if you were under the influence.
  • Which I kind of wish I were right now.
  • Can it be? The end is near!
  • It's been real, and it's been fun, but it hasn't been...
  • (checking the back) WHAT THE ----?
  • Where is that ding-dang seam ripper!
  • (fixing mistake) This ought to do it.
  • Aaaaand the bobbin runs out.
  • Close enough for rock and roll!
  • B-Double E-Double R-U-N...BEER RUN!

Thanks for visiting today, and be sure to check out all the other fun and talented people on Sew & Tell Friday at amylouwho!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Antique Wooden Dough Bowl

Know what this is? Oh, I guess I just told you in the title!

This dough bowl has been passed down through the generations on my mother's side of the family, and now I am its caretaker.

This thing is old, old, old. It was already an antique when Mom got it back in the '60s. I remember she kept it tucked away on the top shelf of her sewing room closet amidst her fabric stash. It was out of the reach of we curious children there, where it wouldn't get further damaged or broken.

It's had that split in it as long as I can remember, and there are some other discolorations and wear. It shows a lot of character, I think. This bowl was obviously well used and loved. It's quite large, measuring 23 x 14 inches.

So what in the world is a dough bowl? Well, generally, it was used to knead and raise bread and other dough. My Southern great-grandmother would have made a lot of biscuits in this bowl, I imagine.

Although I don't know whose bowl it originally was. If Mom did tell me way back when, it didn't stick in my mind. I was a kid and those things, unfortunately, tended to go in one ear and out the other. Now she's gone, and Dad doesn't remember either.

At any rate, it's hand carved. I wonder by whom? That rough patch on the underside of the bowl seems to be a naturally-occurring part of the wood it was carved from.

I found some fascinating information about the history of dough bowls, sometimes called trenchers, at, in an article about dough bowl carver Leon Neal of North Carolina, who said:
In my grandmother's time...the family dough bowl was a critical part of the family food preparation, highly used and highly treasured by the best cooks. It was not uncommon for a future husband to carve a wooden dough bowl for his bride as a wedding present. It was also common for a young female to desire a carved wooden dough bowl for her "hope chest" so that when she married, she would have a very desirable kitchen tool (other "hope chest" items were things like handmade quilts and other family heirlooms). A mother's dough bowl was usually one of the items in an estate that was most sought after--typically left to the oldest daughter--and there have been more than a few siblings who have stopped talking because of a mutual desire for the same dough bowl.
Interesting, huh? Fortunately, I don't think there was any family friction over this dough bowl. That kind of thing I think I would have remembered!

Finally, Dolly the mannequin was tired of hanging out in the basement on such a nice sunny day and wanted to model the vintage crocheted apron I found at the thrift store recently. How could I resist?

Thanks for visiting, and happy Vintage Thingie Thursday, friends! Be sure to make the rounds to all the VTT participants and Suzanne at Colorado Lady!

Are We Having Fun Yet?

Random thoughts during the first hour of stippling my table runner:
  • OMG, where am I going?
  • Polyester batting may not have been the best idea.
  • Why can't I keep an even speed?
  • My stitch length can do 0-6 mm in 1 millisecond!
  • Perhaps I should have watched that Free Motion Quilting Basics DVD...
  • Draw your hand, draw your hand!
  • Draw a flower, draw a flower!
  • Anything resembling a curve, maybe?
  • Oops, I did a loop-de-loop.
  • I need a rear-view mirror on this thing.
  • And people do this for fun?
  • Are these the same people who have one-hour labors and give birth without drugs?
  • I wish I could have gotten the top off the Frangelico this morning.
  • OMG, where-am-I-going, where-am-I-going, where-am-I-going!!
  • Fast or slow? Make up your mind already.
  • Never mind, I have no control either way.
  • Polyester batting sucks.
  • Practice makes perfect?
  • Practice makes poopy.
  • Oh, this is pure ----!
  • *Cackling!*
  • There is no way that alcohol should NOT be involved in this.
  • I am so straight-line quilting the next thing...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

If It Smells Like Pine-Sol...

...I must have been basting.

Using hairspray to spray baste means I have to clean the floor afterward. No big deal, really. What's a couple more minutes on my hands and knees?

I started this table runner in February. The fabric had been in my stash for a looooong time, and I just wanted something I could practice stippling on.

Well, it got set aside, but I dug it out the other day, determined to finish at least a couple more UFOs or WIPs or whatever you want to call them. Unfinished bid-ness.

Plus, all that free-motion quilting practice I was going to be doing? Yeah, right. It hasn't happened. At all. This table runner will be official practice. I hope I have sufficiently lowered your expectations.

Gotta work this afternoon and evening, but I'm hoping to get it quilted tomorrow and bound on Thursday. That's the plan, man.

Do you read Post Secret? I had to smile at this postcard this week. That would have been good to know when I was 16 with no prom date in sight. I like the email comment somebody added on the main page too.

And these gals are looking good this week, head and shoulders above the other flowers:

Irises beckon,
lofty lovelies,
ephemeral garden guests.

(c) PPH (that's me), 2004

Sunday, May 23, 2010

And Whatnot

Made this little wall hanging for my mom in '96. It needed a good soak and hand washing, so I took care of that on Saturday. This was the first applique I ever did. The freezer paper method worked pretty slick.

I spent a good part of this weekend cleaning and organizing my sewing space and attending to the odds and ends that pile up there. Like the stack of mending I've been ignoring. (Done!) I also finished hemming my niece Kayla's graduation robe.

Then I played with fabric, pulling out this and that and putting one up against another and pondering the possibilities. No decisions were made, but sometimes you just have to play, you know? This evening, I sewed a backing together for the double pinwheel string quilt, which has yet to make it to the longarm quilter, I'm embarrassed to say. Procrastinate much?

Last week on one of the Goodwill excursions, I found a couple of fake leather covered organizer boxes. One had a space for a label, but I didn't know what I was going to use it for, and its purpose was bound to change anyway.

So I came up with something descriptive yet ambiguous enough.

It seems like a label I could slap on my forehead to indicate the contents of my brain lately. Lots of ideas passing through, some of which seem pretty good and some of which I'm sure are pure crap. Will any of them see action? That is the question.

Have you seen this post on Mutant Quilting by Rossie? It is hands down the most thought-provoking thing I've read all week. I keep clicking back and rereading. Fascinating.

File this last bit under serendipity, coincidence, or the Lord working in mysterious ways. Norm and I were trolling a thrift store on Friday morning, and I was scanning the picture department for paint-by-numbers. They seem few and far between lately, but you never know when you may run across one. There were a lot of Jesus pictures in this particular store, and I remarked that it seemed odd that I hadn't yet come upon a religious themed paint-by-number. I know they're out there, I just hadn't personally seen one.

A few hours later, back at home, my phone rang. It was Terry, my sister's fiance. He had been shopping the city-wide rummage sale in a neighboring community. "I've got something for you," he said. "You do? What's that?"

Cue the heavenly chorus.

~*~*~*~*~* Aaaah! *~*~*~*~*~*

Holy crap!

Awesome in so many ways.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Give Us Dirty Laundry

There has been some impromptu thrift shopping this week, with good results.

We've been meaning to replace the country decor wall mirror in the entryway with something different. Almost bought an interesting piece of metal and enamel wall art on Monday, but it was a bit pricey so we walked away. Yesterday, we found this at Goodwill for $9.99.

Nice fit with the telephone table from a couple weeks ago, huh?

In a different Goodwill store, I heard the voice of Napoleon Dynamite. He was saying, "Follow your heart, Pedro. It's what I do." I don't know why he referred to me as Pedro, but it's close enough. I took his advice and brought this home:

Also this, since I was following my heart:

It's a sickness, and I am afflicted. Pyrexia.

Then, because the week (and this post) hasn't been discombobulated enough, I decided to give Colorado Lady's stain fighting recipe a try on some old linens. I didn't take "before" pics, but trust me they were stained, one of them almost beyond hope.

They soaked for about 36 hours. Check out the water. Ew, gross.

Then I rinsed them multiple times, washed them in the machine on gentle with a double rinse, and hung them on the line to dry.

I am happy to report that they turned out great! Most of the stains are gone, and what traces that remain are much, much, much better than they were.

There were a couple pieces of my mom's embroidered handiwork.

I also soaked a couple of schmutzy vintage feed sacks I found at the thrift store a few months ago, and they came totally clean.

This one makes me want to sing the Sponge Bob theme song, for some reason.

This print is vintage dress forms. Love it!

Finally, I followed my heart to where my Bleeding Heart bush was putting on its finale of the season.

Are you following your heart this week?