Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cranberry Liqueur

For quite a few Thanksgivings and Christmases we would make a cocktail called Crimson Royale.  It calls for cranberry liqueur which I was able to buy at my nearby ABC store.  Then a few years ago I couldn't find cranberry liqueur anywhere....very more Crimson Royales.

But then last year I came across a recipe for Cranberry Liqueur.  I made a batch last year and enjoyed Crimson Royales during our many (for us) snowstorms.  This year..on the Sunday after Thanksgiving...I started another batch.  Today I bottled it for gifts.  I just love the color!

And I found the labels here.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas in Slow Motion

I really am getting ready for's just in slow motion.  Oh to have the spirit I used to have.
I'm still kind of in Thanksgiving mode...two weeks before Christmas...not good.
I made turkey gumbo today..a very good thing.  I dubbed it angel food a few years should try it. 
I use the recipe from Justin Wilson's Homegrown Louisiana Cookin' and the leftover Thanksgiving turkey.   Now I am cleaning off my desk and the next project is to figure out the gifts I have bought and the gifts I still need to buy or make.  One problem...I made a list that I can't read.  I was afraid that a family member may pick it up so I used abbreviations...I have no idea what some of them mean.  But the goal is to be completely organized by the end of this weekend and finished with shopping and decorating by next weekend.  And if I don't finish...I don't finish.  The world will not end.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Felt & Stitch-Part 4

Anything to avoid getting ready for Thanksgiving!!  I need to clean the junk out of 2 bedrooms...I know one will be needed and the other may be needed.  And I need to start cooking.  I could make the brandied cranberries now...or the pimento cheese...or the walnut gruyere crackers...or the citrus rosemary olives...or even dinner.

But instead I waste time reading blogs and playing with my projects.  This is the latest result of my playtime.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Felt & Stitch-Part 3

Santa Napkin Rings?  Yeah, I thought they were cute, but I'm not really into cute.  But I was showing the projects to a friend and she just loved these.  So I decided to go ahead with a set of them and make it her Christmas gift...shhhh, don't tell.

They aren't quite finished.  I ran out of ric I need to add that a pompoms to two of the napkins.  I hope she likes them.


We love Thanksgiving here!!!  This will be the 7th year in a row  that we have celebrated at home with some combination of friends and family.  Our friends and neighbors, the Bott's have been here all of those years.  My parents were here a couple.  My brother and niece a few.  Tyrone sometimes.  Molly five of those years.  A boyfriend a couple of times.  And a few others sometimes.

This year Cara will be home (she lives in Greensboro).  Jo is staying in avoid traveling and to spend time with friends and family there.  All of the Bott's...Karen & Alan, Victoria & Alex (they are also Cara's and Jo's bestfriends for all of their lives)...and Vic is bringing Ben (he has no idea what he is getting into).  My brother, Dick, and niece, Rachel, are coming...and Tyrone and maybe Tyree will be here.  Cara has also invited a somewhere between 11 and 13...I doesn't matter.

I do most of the cooking, but the Bott's bring dessert...which will be pies from SweetiePies Brooklyn (which is actually Victoria...she's so talented).  They also bring the jello just wouldn't believe the jello shots.  They are amazing and fun.

There will also be fun cocktails, snacks, turkey, dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans cooked some way, and usually spinach-artichoke casserole but we may change that this year.  We also have Wendy's (that's my mother-in-law) brandied cranberries.  I will start cooking on Sunday...a little at a time...and will have almost everything done..except the turkey, of course, by Wednesday night.

The centerpiece is done.  Now if I can just keep Bill from moving it during dinner.  He wants to be able to see the person across the table from him...and he's not tall enough to see over it :).

Maybe I'll share some of the preparations this weekend and next week!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Favorite Things-Part 2

I love my house...or should I say home.  It's not big...actually it's kind of small...but there are only two of us now so it is big enough.  Getting to only two of us and dealing with a small house is another story.

There are so many "favorite things" here.  Some are pretty obvious.  But I don't think this one is...I doubt that my family has even noticed it. 

This sits on a shelf right at the front door.  I see it every morning when I go out to get the newpaper.  First, I love the bowl.  It is one of several carnival glass pieces that I have.  The bowl is filled with deodar cedar cones that we saved from a tree that used to be in our front yard.  It was a beautiful tree and produced beautiful cones...they look like flowers.  For a while it was just the bowl and the cones. 

My dad died in February 2009.  He was oh so many ways :).  He was a wood carver, among other things...and the bird in the bowl was an unfinished piece that I took from his workbench.  It just seemed to want to be here.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I was born in Reidsville, NC...home of Short Sugar's Bar-B-Q.  This was the standard for pork barbecue...and a pretty high one I must say.  I have lived in Virginia most of my is hard to find barbecue that even comes close....Big Daddy's on Jahnke Road in Richmond makes a pretty good showing.

Bill and I have decided to try to find the best.  Two weeks ago we travelled to NC...specifically to watch our older daughter compete in a roller derby bout...another story entirely.  Our Saturday stop was Allen & Son in Chapel Hill.

It is actually outside of Chapel Hill...I think...Chapel Hill is not like the cities that I know.  A barbecue plate was  more expensive than I would have thought...which turned Bill off immediately...don't you just love a cheap husband?  But it was just heavenly barbecue...just the right "spice", the slaw was perfect, and the hush puppies even more perfect.  I usually shun the sweet tea of NC...but I think it is the perfect "thing to go with" barbecue.

Our daughter lives in Greensboro...home of Stamey's BBQ.  We had lunch there on Monday...ohhh, if I hadn't been to Allen & Son on Saturday...  The barbecue is great...but not highly seasoned.  The slaw is, what I think is called, red slaw.  I don't like it.  It is hot...and not much else.  The hushpuppies were still great...can one make a bad hushpuppy?  Of course Bill thought it was better.  I can't help but think that price had something to do with that...Stamey's is about half the price of Allen & Son.

So the Allen & Son is the best.  But the search goes on...not only in NC...but in Virginia...and wherever else I might be that prides itself on barbecue.

Any suggestions?

Felt & Stitch-Part 2

Must-do tasks suffer so that I can play.  These are more projects from Betz White's Felt & Stitch Holiday Workshop.  They are fun.  They are least I think so.  And I have absolutely no idea what I am going to do with them.

I am thinking that this "gift topper/brooch" will adorn my mother-in-law's Christmas gift.


And these?  Who knows?  Any ideas?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Restaurant Week, Pork Belly, and Xavier

This is Restaurant Week in Richmond!  Just one more reason that you wish that you lived here.

Tuesday night we ate at Six Burner on Main Street.  We started off with fried oyster tartar and bacon wrapped fried house-made pickles.  I only got a small taste of the pickles..but the taste was pretty awsome...Bill is a little stingy with good food.  My entree was blue and king crab cake, caramelized paella rice, broccoli rabe, and blood orange butter sauce.  I didn't even get a taste of Bill's so I won't even mention it.  My dessert was wildflower and honey panna cotta with fresh figs...all so good.

Tonight we ate at Lulu's in Shockoe Bottom.  I started off with herbed tataki tuna with ginger and lentils, then crispy pork belly with roasted apple sauce, mashed potatoes, and calvados gravy, and ended with banana toffee with burnt cream.  Ohhhh the pork belly...and ohhh the banana toffee...I wanted to clean the plates with my finger.

By the way...pork belly is on my list of things I must cook...I need to find out where to buy it first though.

And I can't let Restaurant Week go by without mentioning our favorite restaurant cook...I'm not sure that we can say chef yet...but he may correct me if I am wrong.  Joanna's high school friend, Xavier, cooks at The Camel and at Zeus Gallery (and his birthday was this week).  He has wanted to cook since high school...or before.  I remember a huge pasta dinner at our house...pasta by Xavier...

The Camel is casual...bands late but good food early.  When we ate there this summer...when Jo was home...we shared the fried artichoke hearts.  I had a pork tenderloin panini with jalapeno jam and we all shared the creme brulee cheesecake.  Zeus Gallery is more was on the short list for Restaurant Week but we ran out of days.  Xavier posts pictures on FB..taken with his phone.. of his creations ...I have told him that he needs to invest in a good camera and start a blog.  I keep sending him recipes...and I think sometimes he tries when Xavier becomes a famous chef, has his own restaurant, his own Food Network show, and his own cookbooks...and you try his cheddar cheese soup or his artichoke-olive will know that they were passed on from here to there...and probably tweeked significantly....I will, at least, feel somewhat famous :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Felt & Stitch Holiday Workshop

I signed up for another online workshop that I don't have time for....Betz White's Felt & Stitch Holiday Workshop.  Her site is here.

I have already learned some things about felting wool sweaters and using craft felt...the kind to use, how to prep it.

This is the first project.  Four of these were made with craft felt...the other with the ribbing from a felted sweater.

The same procedure can be used to make pretty cool trees.  No time for that right now..besides the second set of projects should have been posted today.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sewing Project-Part IV

In an attempt to fill my myself..of finishing this online sewing class (I have a ways to go)...and to post the results...this is my most recent project.

The supply roll!!!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

South of the James Market

Just one more reason to love this neighborhood...a fabulous farmers' market 2 blocks away at Forest Hill Park.

There are musicians to entertain.

Great food to eat...right there.

Nate's Taco Truck...great tacos and Frito pie (that's a small bag of Frito's with beans, sour cream and cheese added),
Big Daddy's,


And Boka Tako Truck....ohhh, the pork belly taco!!
There are meat, vegetables, and flowers to take home.

Beautiful things to look at...and maybe take home next time.

And yummy food to cook once you get it home.

Don't you wish that you lived in my neighborhood????

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Welcome to the Neighborhood!...The 43rd Street Festival

The 19th annual 43rd Street Festival of the Arts was Saturday.  It is the best thing that happens in Forest Hill...1/2 block from my house.  It is a fine arts and craft show featuring 65 to 70 or the regions finest artisans, music all day, and food and neighbors and friends...not to mention lots of fun stuff to buy.  The event benefits Freedom House, a local organization that helps the homeless in so many ways.  The Festival is..and has been...organized by Robin Cage, potter and gallery owner.

Our first stop is always the raffle booth.  The artists donate a piece for the raffle and the proceeds benefit Freedom House.  This year my 24 tickets ($20) won me a metal sculpture..interesting.  Second stop is the usually the t-shirt booth...BC likes to have the festival t-shirt every year.  And the last few years...the third stop is the Forest Hill Neighborhood Assn. booth...where I pay my annual dues..its how I remember to do it.

Charles Farrar, woodturner from Charlotte, was back this year.  He used to live in my parents' South Hill, VA neighborhood.  My dad was very fond of him.  Charles recently had a piece commissioned by the White House.

Neighbor, Steven Glass' booth was in front of his house.

A present for BC!  The artist is Eli Thompson.  BC has been stalking his booth every year.  He does photographs of ballparks...this is the first year he has had a Cleveland photo.

More fun stuff!!!


Friday, September 17, 2010

Sewing Project-Part III


This project was somewhat time consuming..but sort of fun nonetheless.  It involved downloading a font to make a pattern for the letters, cutting the letters from felt, making a cardboard circle pattern, cutting the cloth circles, and sewing the letters on.  You use aluminum foil to iron the fabric around the circle pattern and then sew felt on the back while sewing the ribbon between the fabric and the felt.  I will let it hang on this wall in the guest room/craft room until something better comes along.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sewing Projects-Part II

I am moving very slowly on my projects in the Home Ec online class.

I finished the drawstring gift bag.  I like it.

And I finished the shopping bag.  I don't love it.  It is made from an old pillow case which is good but I still haven't gotten the tension right on my machine.  Maybe I will buy that new one sooner rather than later.  It has been determined that it is not worth getting this one repaired.

Favorite Things-Part I

The Bottle Tree

Several years ago BC ran over a yellow jacket hole while mowing the grass.  Needless to say, the yellow jackets were quite angry...and of course, they took it all out on BC...swarming, stinging, and stinging some more.  By the time he got inside he was stung on every uncovered part of his body.  No Benadryl in the house.  I offered to go to CVS...less than 1/2 mile away...but he insisted that he could handle it.  It wasn't long before I received a call from the pharmacist.  BC had passed out in CVS, an ambulance had been called, and they were taking him to the hospital as a precaution.  Long story short, we were out of the emergency room in record time (getting there by ambulance sure makes a difference), BC is allergic to bee stings, and we needed to kill the yellow jackets.  We poured gasoline down the yellow jacket hole, killed the tree, and made the best bottle tree ever.

Friday, August 27, 2010

First Sewing Projects

The online sewing class, Home Ec, started over two weeks ago.  I had every intention of completing at least a project a week.  Well I just completed the first project...cloth napkins.

 I spent hours (well maybe not hours, but it seemed like it) trying to get the tension right on my zig zag stitch for the single layer napkins.  I never did get it just right...and I am blaming it on my cheapo machine.  I have promised myself a new machine if I complete at least half of the projects...pretty good incentive, huh?

These are the single layer napkins. 

The double layer napkins went together pretty well.  I was a little nervous about the ric rac but it was easier than I anticipated.  Of course the ric rac makes them look a little picnicy but I may experiment sometime with using a binding instead.  Here they are.

I also finished a little pre-class project...a pin cushion. 

The next project is a drawstring gift pouch.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Passion Flower

Last fall I saw a passion flower plant at one of the houses on the Forest Hill House was beautiful!  This spring I bought my own and planted it so that it would climb the stair rail of my back porch.  It started out kind of slow...and I thought that my brown thumb was at it again.  Then recently the vines have been out of control...but no blooms.  When I started to cut some of the craziness back a few days ago, I noticed buds....and now there are blooms...only 5 for now but there is the promise of many more.