Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sunday Sundry - Vol. 21

I hope the new year has started off in a good place for you.  I enjoyed many of your 2010 year-in-review blog posts and quilting accomplishments.  Such creativity and productivity!  I thought about doing my own but decided instead to focus on what's ahead rather than revisit the past.  Though I'm not much for New Year's resolutions, if I were to make one, it would be that in 2011, I tip the scales decidedly in the direction of more, fully-completed projects.  Quilt tops actually quilted.  Patterns actually cut and sewn.  Ideas turned into reality, not just left to grow dim in a corner of my noggin and ultimately become dust.  I am sure that participating in Myra's PhD Challenge will help jump-start the process.  And then look out, because for me, there's nothing like tending to the final details of one project to fan the flames of burning enthusiasm for another.  

On Friday, while it was still technically 2010, I pulled out some scraps and a free table runner pattern I'd come across in one of my short attention span fueled clickety-clicks around the internet.  My mother had sewn some calicoes and other fabrics into long, skinny tubes at least a dozen years ago.  Near as I can figure, she was making a boatload of draft stoppers.  I laundered and opened a few of these along the seams.  There was a decent amount of fabric in each, probably four to five inches by width of fabric.  This led to pressing, and pressing to cutting, cutting to sewing, and before you know it, I had pieced the central portion of the pattern.

I think I'm going to stop at this point, nix the border, and just bind it in red to make a 24 x 24 inch wall hanging.  The rest of mom's scrap fabric tubes are going to Goodwill this week.  Most are not quilting-quality cotton, and besides that, they're taking up emotional as well as physical space; I think it's time to tend to a little housekeeping and move on.

Ghee Whiz
So what did you do on New Year's Eve?  First, I fixed myself a beverage, since I was able to get the top off the Frangelico bottle.  One shot hazelnut liqueur + soy/almond milk + Hershey's syrup = YUM.

Then I made ghee.  Because I know how to party.

You probably already know that I am dairy intolerant (If not, there you go.)  Specifically, casein, or milk protein.  So what business do I have melting down a pound of butter?  Well, other than the fact that the aroma of melted butter makes me giddy, from melted butter comes ghee, or pure butter oil.  And I can eat that.

See, butter contains fat (obviously), milk solids, and water.  As you melt the butter and continue heating it, the milk solids separate out and the water evaporates.  

The foamy stuff that rises to the top is the milk solids.  Some solids also settle to the bottom and brown.  You skim the foamy solids off (and thus the casein and lactose), the water boils out, and ultimately you are left with what is known as ghee (pronounced with a hard G, like "Glee" but without the L).  I let it cool a bit and then strain it through a cloth into a jar to catch any remaining solids.

Ghee has a wonderful buttery, somewhat nutty flavor.  It turns to a semi-solid consistency when fully cool.  You can spread it on toast, melt it over popcorn or vegetables, and cook many other things with it.  It has a high smoking point, and doesn't need refrigeration.  Baking with ghee can be tricky, because the texture of baked goods is affected not only by the fat in butter, but the solids and water content as well (which are removed in making ghee).  I don't bake with it myself. (Edited to add: I have baked with it since this post, and in some things it works just fine.  You have to experiment.)

Ghee is good, is what I'm saying.  This gluten-free bread from a mix, not so much, but that's another post.  The rhubarb-raspberry spread was tasty though.

Hoppin' Right In
Can you guess what I made on New Year's Day with these ingredients?

If you said Hoppin' John, you're right!  Eating Hoppin' John on January 1is supposed to bring you good luck and prosperity in the year ahead.  It's not a tradition I was familiar with growing up, even though we ate black-eyed peas (or their cousin, purple hull peas) often enough, especially when visiting relatives in the South.

I actually first found out about this originally Southern tradition while browsing a new cookbook many years ago.  I've made it a few times since then, but not every year.  Last week on Leah Day's blog, her husband Josh posted a Hoppin' John recipe, and I decided to make it once again.

Two thumbs up!  It's especially tasty with the green onions and a couple dashes of salsa picante on top.  And I feel lucky already!

There's more I could go on about, but I think I'll end this post today with a song from Glen Campbell.  When my siblings and I were playing music together last week, Dad requested we do one from Glen, his favorite singer, but the chord progressions escaped us at that moment.  So this one's for you, Dad.  It's Glen, singing and playing with Stone Temple Pilots—a beautiful rendition of a classic song.


  1. Happy New Year! The Hoppin' John looks delicious! I love Blackeyed peas!

  2. Happy New Year, friend! Couldn't even imagine not eating dairy. Yikes!

    I applaud you for clearing out the emotional space your Mom's fabric has been renting in your mind. The wall-hanging is a beautiful reminder of her sewing endeavours.

    We had all our collard greens, pork, and black-eyed peas yesterday. Good luck to you in the new year too!

    PS...Gotta love Glen Campbell...he put my hometown on the map with this song! :o)

    Happy Sunday!

  3. I have a some of the Mom's stuff hanging out here too. I should add that to my list to finish. It is a Grandmother Flower Garden quilt that she did up and started to finish the edges of it. and with her in Alzheimers she was having lots of problems with it by cutting in two deep into the backing and etc. So it is a challenge to finish.

    I have heard of Ghee and sort of knew what it was but not how different people used it that is interesting bit of info Thanks.

  4. I love that you took something made by your Mom and made it into something you can keep. Lovely idea.

    Thankyou for heads up on Ghee. Usually when a recipe calls for it I wander down to the shops - that stuff is expensive here -and now I know how to make it by myself . Duly bookmarked P!

    And it looks like everyone has eating traditions for New Year except us Aussies. Im going to have to create something to bring to the global New Year table for this year!

  5. P., I just love the quilt you made of your mom's old calicos! That is so pretty! And I think you're right on with a red binding.

    Loved reading what you're up to. The Hoppin' John looks like it would be really yummy. I'm going to have to give it a try.

    Your Sunday posts are always so much fun.

    xo -El

  6. I love your little quilt! So cheerful!! And I wish my hubby would eat black-eyed peas, but they're one of the few things he's told me never to bring in the house!! So we just have to look elsewhere for our luck... ;-)

  7. Shay:
    you don't need to make ghee at home, you can buy pure grass fed organic high vitamin butter oil from NutraPro International at

  8. But sadly you dont ship to Australia...

  9. Thanks for sharing the song! It was one of my dad's favorites and reminds me of him. I haven't heard it in so long.

  10. Lovely wall-hanging! So cool that you were inspired by some of the things from your mom. I can also see why you'd want to donate the remainder.

    I'd never heard of ghee before. Very interesting.

    Yum on the Hopping John!

    I'm eager to hear Wichita Lineman, but everyone is asleep in the house, so that will have to wait a bit.

  11. That Hopping John looks amazing and I love how you've now got a wonderful wall hanging along with lovely memories and less clutter! Sounds good to me! Happy New Year to you!


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