Saturday, December 24, 2011

Egg Nog Bundt Cake

Egg Nog Bundt Cake
From Nathenia's Kitchen

This cake is super moist and super delicious & as you can see by the photo, someone couldn't wait until after I took the photo!

For the Cake:
1 box Yellow or French Vanilla Cake Mix (get the kind with pudding in the mix for extra moistness)
1 small box of dry French Vanilla Instant Pudding (vanilla is fine if other is not available)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp rum extract (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract (increase to 2 tsp if not using rum extract)
2 cups Egg Nog

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the sides and bottom of bundt pan.
Mix above ingredients well and pour into bundt pan.
Bake approximately 40-45 minutes or until cake begins to leave sides of pan.
Cool 5 minutes and turn onto plate . Drizzle Egg Nog glaze (below) over still warm cake.

Egg Nog Glaze
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp butter - melted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (increase to 1 tsp if not using rum extract)
1/2 tsp rum extract (optional)
1-2 Tbsp EggNog

In a medium bowl, combine sugar, butter, and extracts. Add enough Egg Nog for desired consistency.
Drizzle over cake
Makes  about 1 1/2 cups.

Enjoy & Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Old Thyme Santa & A Kid's View Nativity

Santa Claus is coming to town, but he decided to stop by The Country Needle first! The Old Thyme Santa set is great for country Christmas themes and wonderful for decorating gift bags like the ones shown on the product page.
I have to tell you that I had it in my head that I was going to stitch directly onto the paper gift bags. What a time I had! After going to several places, I finally found some heavy plain paper bags with the twisted straw handles. Having never attempted to stitch on paper bags, I got several in case I ran into problems. I carefully took apart the seams and using only a sticky back stabilizer on the first one, I found that the paper bag was tearing apart. The 3rd time was the charm however and I was successful using 2 layers of cutaway, but I had to also hoop the bag.
Old Thyme Santa Sack
The bag turned out cute I think and I liked the effect of stitching directly onto the bag, but after all that work, I think I'm going to stick to stitching on fabric or cardstock and then gluing the design to the bag like the ones shown on the product page. If you happen to attempt stitching on the bag itself I'd love to know how it turned out. Feel free to send photos or email me using the contact link below.
"A Kid's View Nativity" stick figure set is perfect for making a coloring book for the little ones. Just stitch directly onto stabilizer! They're also great for making placemats like the ones my grandkids made below. 
Well, I might get lucky and get to sit at the kid's table, so I made one too! The manger is from the Christmas Treasures set & the Angels are from the Angel Sampler 02 set .
The grandkids also made Fruity Pebble & Chocolate Chip Rice Krispie Treats after they made their placemats.
Old Thyme Santa

Price: $14.97
Sale: $8.23
Save:45% off

16 designs total in this Old Thyme Santa set. Great for country Christmas themes and wonderful for decorating gift bags like the ones shown on the product page.
Use the Santa's alone or mix and match with the two sentiments included.
A Kid's View Nativity Set

Price: $14.97
Sale: $8.23
Save:45% off

Do you have a "kids" table where the kids eat at Christmas? Don't forget to decorate their table too. These would make adorable placemats for the kids! 10 designs for the 4x4 & 5x7 hoops. 20 Designs total

I wish each and every one of you a wonderful and creative week.
Happy Stitching!

The Country Needle®
Embroidery Barn:
Hoop & Holler Blog:

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gobble Up the Savings Sale! & Country Snowman Set

New this week is an adorable Country Snowman set in filled and redwork for the 4x4 & 5x7 hoops. And for those wanting a printable version of the Scoodie (hooded scarf) project I mentioned last week and as seen on our blog, I've included the instructions in PDF format as a Bonus with this set. The scoodies are "SEW" much fun to make and the Country Snowman set is perfect for this project.
Country Snowman Set

Price: $14.97
Sale: $5.99
Save: 60% off

An adorable Country Snowman set in filled and redwork for the 4x4 & 5x7 hoops.
Also includes a printable version of the Scoodie (hooded scarf) project as seen on our blog as a Bonus with this set.
The scoodies are "SEW" much fun to make and the Country Snowman set is perfect for this project.
Gearing up for the After-Thanksgiving Days Sales? I'm happy to report that our Holiday sale starts right NOW and will run through the end of the month. Save up to 60% Off regular design sets and 10% OFF our Bundle Packs. There's even a special for The Country Needle's Embroidery Barn.
Thanksgiving Sale!!
The Country Needle's
$69.95 (this is non-renewing)
Will show as "future" subcription to current subscribers.
So that we may spend time with our family over the Thanksgiving Holiday, our office will be closed next week and there will not be any new designs posted. I will be checking emails periodically and will reply as soon as I can.
I wish each and every one of you a wonderful and Happy Thanksgiving filled with many blessings.
Happy Stitching!
The Country Needle®
Embroidery Barn:
Hoop & Holler Blog:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Scoodie (hooded scarf)

Have you been looking for easy to make Christmas gifts for family and friends of all ages?  These Scoodies (hooded scarves) are quick and 'sew' easy to make! Not to mention fun! The ones I made are lined and only took a couple of hours to make.  Unlined fleece Scoodies can be made in under an hour!

You have several options for making your own hoodie and printable step-by-step photo instructions are included when you purchase the Country Snowman Set.
Black & Gray Fleece with Celtic Emblem. See more Celtic embroidery designs here.
Cotton shell with pockets and fleece lining & perfect for Snowboarding!
Knit Scoodie with embroidered pockets and fringed, using designs from the Warm Hearts Collection.

Have a wonderful and creative day and as always...
Happy Stitching!

The Country Needle Embroidery Designs®

Friday, November 11, 2011

Warm Hearts

I finally adjusted to the time changes from Daylight Savings and when I did, I got this burst of energy! So I decided it was project time! I'm still working out the written instructions, but my "test" pattern turned out wonderful! I think I'm going to add some top-stitching, but you can see a photo of Project Scoodie (scarf+hoodie) when you visit the product page of this week's newest set. I didn't have any fleece in my fabric stash so I used some heavy knit material and lined it in the same. I added pockets and used two of the designs from the new "Warm Hearts" set. It's so warm! I am headed to JoAnn's tomorrow to replenish my fleece supply and will make another...Quick and easy Christmas gifts! You can't beat that!

Warm Hearts

Price: $14.97
Sale: $8.23
Save: 45% off

Perfect making winter scarves and scoodies (hood+scarf) like the one shown on the product page as well as other holiday gifts.

The set includes designs for the 4x4 & 5x7 hoops.
22 Designs total

45% OFF regular designs sets & 15% Off Bundle Packs.
I'll also be posting instructions for the scoodie project I mentioned above here, so be sure to check back often for updates. In the meantime, enjoy the Warm Hearts set and the Green Chile Chicken Fettucine Alfredo recipe I just posted.

If you're collecting the letters in the Phoebe Monogram series, don't forget to download the letter V.

Last but never least, I want to say a heartfelt Thank You to all of our service men and women who have or are serving and fighting for the freedoms that we so often take for granted. You are in my prayers daily!

Have a wonderful weekend and as always....
Happy Stitching!

Nathenia’s Green Chile Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

Molto Squisito!!! Very Delicious! An Italian dish with a New Mexican flair!

2 Stick Butter
4 Cups Heavy Cream (or use 2 cups Heavy Cream & 2 cups Sour Cream)
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp fresh ground pepper (I usually use at least 1tsp)
1 cup grated Parmesan (fresh is best)
8 fire-roasted green chilies, peeled and chopped, or use frozen fire-roasted chopped green chiles. (If you don’t have fresh or frozen green chile in your area, look in the Mexican food aisle of your local grocer for canned.)
2-12 oz boxes of Fettuccine pasta
8 boneless chicken breasts, seasoned and grilled to your liking and sliced in strips

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
Add the cream, garlic powder and pepper and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until thick.
At the same time, bring 6-8 quarts of water to a boil and add the pasta.

When the Alfredo sauce has reached your desired consistency, stir in the Parmesan cheese and green chile.

When the pasta is cooked, drain it. Place pasta on large plates, ladle Alfredo sauce over pasta, top with chicken breast strips.

Serve with Garlic bread and salad.

Serves 6-8 generously.

Friday, November 4, 2011

12 Days of Christmas & FSL Angel Charmers

Did you know that the song 12 Days of Christmas, first published in 1780 England, has textual evidence that it could be French?  Well whatever its origins, I'm sure the song is sung throughout the world and in its various modern versions too. 

When my kids were little and learning to count, this was one of their favorite "number" songs and of course it's always fun to sing in rounds at Christmas celebrations. As I digitized this week's set, I recalled those fond memories.

Because they're so quick to stitch, I imagined several things to make with the new 12 Days of Christmas Set, but at the top of my list is a set of dinner napkins and place mats, a table runner and perhaps new hand towels for the guest bathroom too!

Hope you'll have as much fun creating Christmas items with the 12 Days of Christmas set as I! Don't forget to download the sample when you check out this new set on The Country Needle's website.
12 Days of Christmas Bluework

Price: $15.97
Sale: $8.78
Save: 45% off

Set includes 12 designs for both the 4x4 and 5x7 sizes- 24 total!

Quick to stitch and great for Christmas table linens and guest towels.
There's a sample for you to download when you visit.

 When you want something extra special use The Country Needle's FSL "charmers."
Angels of Light FSL Charmers
Price: $12.97
Sale: $7.13
Save: 45% off

Add charms, hot fix crystals and sprinkle with fine glitter powder for an added sparkle effect.
Great for awareness, friendship, angel groups, gift tags, cards and more!  

Have a great weekend and as always...
Happy Stitching!
The Country Needle®
Hoop & Holler Blog:

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Realistic Bluework Roosters & Hens

Hi Everyone,
Realistic Bluework Roosters are new this week here at The Country Needle! When you pair them with the blank Cozy Cover from the Prim Wreath Stitchery set, you've got a really cute "kitchen chicken" set for those pots of hot & hearty winter soups and stews.
Realistic Bluework Roosters & Hens 03
And of course, flour sack towels, aprons, placemats, curtains and other kitchen linens are also a great way to use this set.

Need more ideas? Check out the window project I did in March using the realistic hens & roosters here!

These look so cool "machine punched" on copper too!
To view our newest set, click the photo below and be sure to check out the Realistic Bluework Roosters and Hens #1 or #2 sets.
Realistic Bluework Roosters & Hens 3

30% off

Set includes designs for both the 4x4 and 5x7 sizes- 20 designs total!

Quick to stitch and great for kitchen & country decor such as flour sack towels & can be mixed and matched with the Realistic Bluework Roosters and Hens #1 or #2 sets for more variety!
Awareness designs are 45% OFF and all other regular designs sets are 30% Off through October 31st.
Have a great weekend and as always...
Happy Stitching!
The Country Needle®
Hoop & Holler Blog:

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fall into Savings: Autumn Sheep

They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here—
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossoms on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock
~from The Frost is on the Punkin by James Whitcomb Riley

Of course there are several more verses to this classic poem, but this particular phrase I feel has captured the essence of Autumn. It's one of my favorite times of year because it's like a crescendo of color... nature's climax just before Winter. Now if you can just picture in your mind, me reading this poem as Vivaldi's Autumn Movement plays in the background  while I'm stitching out pumpkins and autumn leaves on the embroidery machine and enjoying the aroma wafting through the air of the homemade Sourdough Cinnamon rolls that are being baked in the oven. Cozy huh?! 

Now it's your turn! While the leaves are still falling and the frost is beginning to settle on the "punkins" you can stitch our darling Autumn Sheep set for the 4x4 & 5x7 hoops! Click the photo below for more information.

And of course, I wouldn't tempt you with the aroma of homemade cinnamon rolls without giving you a chance to make some for yourself too! You'll find the recipe right here on The Hoop & Holler Embroidery Café.
If you like Vivaldi or are even wondering who he is. Turn your volume up and listen while you're reading this.
Autumn Sheep

Use this 30 piece set for your table settings, your wardrobe, even dress up the guest towels in the powder room.
30 designs total!
There's a sample for everyone to download when they visit.

Awareness designs are 45% OFF and all other regular designs sets are 30% Off through the end of October.

Have a great weekend and as always...
Happy Stitching!
The Country Needle®
Hoop & Holler Blog:

Sourdough Orange Cinnamon Rolls

These are delicious and a huge hit amongst family and friends!
To make the cinnamon rolls:
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups warm water (105-115 degrees F)
6 cups bread flour
1 cup Sourdough starter (I use a potato starter, but the Amish Friendship Bread starter is just as good)
Cinnamon Filling:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tsp ground cinnamon (I double this)
1 cup raisins or dried cranberries (optional)
Mix above ingredients together and set aside.

6 Tbsp margarine, or butter, softened

Combine the sugar, salt, water, flour, and starter in a large bowl. Stir to make a dough. Form the dough into a ball. Grease another large bowl. Put the dough in and turn to coat. Cover and let stand overnight. (Do not refrigerate.) If you live in a high altitude, place the covered bowl in your oven with the light on.

After the dough has risen overnight, punch it down, divide it in half, and form two balls of dough. Take a ball of dough and roll it out as thin as possible on a floured surface. Spread half the butter then half of the cinnamon filling evenly over the dough.

Roll up the dough like a jelly roll. Cut each roll into slices 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Place the slices 1/2 inch apart in a buttered jelly roll pan, cover. Repeat with the remaining ball of dough and remaining butter, cinnamon filling. Let rise until double- about 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the rolls until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly while making the icing:
Makes approximately 2- 9x13 pans

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz Cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2-4 Tbsp Orange Juice Concentrate
Zest of two oranges

Cream together the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla. Add the orange juice concentrate and zest.
Drizzle over the warm cinnamon rolls.
Homemade Sourdough Orange Cranberry Cinnamon Rolls

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Funny Fall Dwarfkins

Hi Everyone!
The air is crisp, the leaves are changing, people are planning hay rides and outings to the local pumpkin patch. Football is in full swing and the scent of hot chocolate and bowls of chili also fill the air- though I'm sure the latter two act as much as hand warmers as they do tummy fillers! Wherever you are, I hope you're staying warm and enjoying the season!

Having a Halloween Party or Fall Festival? It just wouldn't be cool not to invite the Funny Fall Dwarfkins that have only just arrived at The Country Needle. They love being silly and want you to have fun too! You might also have ghostly experiences when you stitch the dwarfkin faces on t-shirts or sweatshirts. 

Careful now...those blank 5x7 ITH treat bags(sold separately) might disappear quicker than you think when you stitch the 4x4's on these bags.

Round out your party with more pumpkins, jack o' lanterns and candy corn. And of course, what would your party be like if you didn't have the Purrrrrfect Fraidy Cat?
Check all three of these sets out below and be sure to download the samples when you visit.

Funny Fall Dwarfkins

Perfect for sweatshirts, sweaters, and tee shirts too! Don't forget your little goblin's treat bags too. The 4x4 "dwarfkins" will also fit on our ITH 5x7 Treat Bags shown below.
This set includes 7 filled & redwork designs for the 4x4 & 5x7 hoops & 7 funny dwarfkin faces also in 4x4 & 5x7.
42 designs total!

There's a sample to download too!
ITH Prim Halloween Treat Bags- 5x7

If you want a tasty sweet, be sure to holler Trick or Treat! This In-the-Hoop set was so much fun to make. Set includes 4 treat bag designs & one blank bag panel to add your own design for the 5x7 hoop. Single designs for the 4x4 & 5x7 hoops are also included. To give the bags a more "finished" look, the option to add a lining has been included. Stitch on cut-away stabilizer or stiffy felt too!
Fraidy Cat

This set includes an assortment of single designs in filled and appliqué for the 4x4 hoop as well as 3- 5x7 appliqué designs for your sweatshirts and sweaters.

Stitched on a blacksweatshirt, I used a very soft velvet like fur for the cat in the photo shown here. Just too cute!

Don't forget to download the appliqué star when you visit.

As always...
Happy Stitching!

The Country Needle®

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

We all know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and there are lots of embroidery designs for this cause, but did you also know that it's Domestic Violence Awareness Month too? According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence & Domestic Violence Statistics, a woman in the US is assaulted or beaten every 15 seconds; around the world, at least one in every three women has been abused during her lifetime and it is the leading cause of injury to women. 

So why have I created Domestic Violence Awareness designs? The answer is simple. Someone I care about is in an abusive relationship. While I can't make her leave the current situation, I can let her know that I'm here, that she's not alone, that I'm willing to help and offer resources and that because her life matters, I'm not going to be silent about it. 

While some of the designs in this set are specifically for Domestic Violence Awareness, this 25 piece set does include designs that by changing the colors, are suitable for other causes. Just like cancer, domestic violence knows no boundaries and this is just my way of bringing awareness and saying that flowers do not make it better...

The FSL ribbons in this set could be stitched out and given to those in shelters as a way to offer hope. The filled designs would be great for creating quilts, wall hanging and t-shirts for fund raising events. Perfect for those who work in the social work field such as mediators and counselors and even for DV survivors who want to speak out! Don't forget medical personnel too!
25 designs total.
There's a sample for everyone to download when they visit.
As always...

Happy Stitching!


The Country Needle®

Friday, September 16, 2011

"Some Support" Lingerie & Pink Ribbon Gals

With October just around the corner and being Breast Cancer Awareness month, this week's newest set is great to show "Some Support" for those you care about who have survived or are fighting breast cancer.
The lingerie designs would also look cute on PJ's or a lingerie bag, not to mention you could stitch the design of your choice on card stock for a romantic & unique anniversary or Valentine's Card for your sweetheart. Great for a lingerie party or personal bridal shower too! 

Some Support Lingerie Set

Price: $15.97

Sale: $12.78
Save: 20% off

This set includes filled & redwork designs for the 4x4 & 5x7 hoops. 56 Designs total! Create raffle quilts, comfort pillows, totes, wall-hangings, robes and unique greeting cards with this fun set!

There's a sample to download too!

And if you have a hard time remembering, who better to remind you to check those hooters than Stella? She's gathered some of her best gal pals together to bring awareness and support to all!
Pink Ribbon Gals

Price: $15.97

Sale: $12.78
Save: 20% off

This set includes both 5x7 and 4x4 designs. The text files are separate so you can use Stella and her friends either with or without their saying, or mix and match them for even more fun possibilities.

Don't forget to download the sample when you visit.

Save 20% OFF regular design sets when you visit The Country Needle this weekend. And remember, it's not too late to get a 1 year Non-recurring subscription for $75 at The Country Needle's Embroidery Barn. That's less than $1.50 per week and you get 3 sets per month! 3 & 6 month subscriptions are also available. This will go back to regular price at the end of the month! 

Happy Stitching!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Scarlette's Occasions & Halloween Treat Bags

You've met Margaret, Ruby, Stella and Gus and now I'd like to introduce you to Scarlette, The Country Needle's newest character. She's beautiful, spunky, loves to shop and thinks that whatever happens under the mistletoe, should stay there!
Scarlette's Occasions

Price: $15.97

Sale: $12.78
Save: 20% off

This set includes 6 Scarlette designs in filled and redwork for the 4x4 & 5x7 hoops and 11 4x4 sentiments. 35 designs total.

Looking for Halloween Projects? Be sure to check out this Spooktacular Project!
ITH Prim Halloween Treat Bags- 5x7
Price: $12.97
Sale: $10.38
Save: 20% off

If you want a tasty sweet, be sure to holler Trick or Treat! This In-the-Hoop set was so much fun to make. Set includes 4 treat bag designs & one blank bag panel to add your own design for the 5x7 hoop. Single designs for the 4x4 & 5x7 hoops are also included. To give the bags a more "finished" look, the option to add a lining has been included. Stitch on cut-away stabilizer or stiffy felt too!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Stella & Gus Tidbits 02

Where has the summer gone? It's hard to believe that schools have started and Labor Day is upon us! My trees are even beginning to show signs that Fall is just around the corner. Of course with the cooler nights we've had and the little bit of rain our monsoon season has brought, my flowers are blooming like crazy and the hummingbirds are having a field day with them!
Hummer at Marigold
Gus and Stella are back again and are up to their usual old selves. Stella is most definitely going to make herself heard and just when Gus thinks he has women figured out, he wakes up from his dream! LOL, my hubby liked this one so well, it's now his Facebook profile photo. Bless his heart, at least he admits that after being together for over 30 years, he still hasn't quite figured me out!

Stella & Gus Tidbits 02

Price: $15.97

Sale: $11.98
Save: 25% off

33 designs complete this week's newest set. 6 Stella & Gus Designs in fill and redwork for the 4x4 & 5x7 hoops and 9 funny sentiments for the 4x4 hoop. Mix and match with any of our Stella & Gus design sets for loads of fun and laughter!

Chokecherry Jelly

Chokecherry Jelly

Chokecherry Jelly (R) & Chokecherry Apple (L)- 2011 Blue Ribbon Winners
3-1/2 cups chokecherry juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 package pectin
6 cups sugar

Wash fruit and cover with water; simmer 15 minutes. Strain juice. Measure juice into 6- to 8-quart kettle. Add pectin and stir. Bring to boil, add sugar, stir, and bring to a rolling boil. Boil exactly 2 minutes. Skim and pour into jars. Seal.

Chokecherry-Apple Jelly

Use recipe above except decrease chokecherry juice to 1 3/4 cups and add 1 3/4 cups apple juice.

For syrup: use twice as much juice to 1 package of pectin.

Don't have chokecherries? Use a tart cherry juice or cranberry pomegranate juice cocktail.

Monday, August 22, 2011

More Blue Ribbon Recipes

When it came time to make jelly this year, I experimented with several different recipes. The following wine jelly recipes were based from the Cranberry Wine Jelly & the Chablis Jelly from the100th Anniversary Edition of Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving and the White Zinfandel Jelly recipe from the American Country Living Canning and Preserving Book by Linda Ferrari. I've changed up the wines and juices to make the flavors I wanted and added Jell-O in two of the recipes for more flavor and added color (note the difference in color bewteen the two peach jellies- one is almost clear while the other turned out to be a light peach color). If you have a favorite local wine, I think these recipes would be a great way to try them out using red wines with darker juices and white wines for lighter juices. Below are the modified recipes and all received blue ribbons at the 2011 San Juan County Fair.

White Cranberry Peach Sur Lies Jelly I
Cranberry Peach Sur Lies Jelly I
2 cups White Cranberry-Peach juice cocktail
3 1/2 cups sugar
1 pouch liquid pectin
1/4 cup Chardonnay (I used a wine we brought back from the Biltmore Estate called American Chardonnay Sur Lies- hence the name of this jelly.)

Combine cranberry juice cocktail and sugar in a large saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves.
Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
Stir in liquid pectin.
Return to a rolling boil.
Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat.
Stir in wine and skim foam if necessary.
Ladle hot jelly into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Adjust two piece caps.
Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

White Cranberry Peach Sur Lies Jelly II
Cranberry Peach Sur Lies Jelly II
2 1/2 cups White Cranberry-Peach juice cocktail
1 cup Chardonnay (same wine as above)
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 package powdered pectin
1 small box of Peach Jell-O
4 1/2 cups sugar

Combine wine and lemon juice in large saucepan; stir in powdered pectin and Jell-O.
Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved.
Return to a rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat.
Skim foam if necessary.
Ladle hot jelly into jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Adjust two-piece caps.
Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

Strawberry Zinfandel Jelly
Strawberry Zinfandel Jelly
3 1/2 cups Strawberry Zinfandel Wine
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 package powdered pectin
1 small box of Strawberry Jell-O
4 1/2 cups sugar

Combine wine and lemon juice in large saucepan; stir in powdered pectin and Jell-O.
Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved.
Return to a rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat.
Skim foam if necessary.
Ladle hot jelly into jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Adjust two-piece caps.
Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

Lavender Jelly- from Howling Duck Ranch
Lavender Jelly
I love just about anything with lavender and since I didn't have any cookbooks that had a lavender jelly recipe without using wine or apple juice as a base, I went searching for one on the internet. The one from Howling Duck Ranch was perfect and very tasty! I wanted more of purple tinted jelly, so the only thing I did differntly was add 2 drops of blue and 1 drop of red food coloring when I stirred in the lemon juice and pectin. It also received a blue ribbon at the 2011 San Juan County Fair! Be sure to check out the bit of history regarding Queen Elizabeth the I and lavender jelly. I found it to be very interesting!

Stay tuned, I'll be adding more blue ribbon recipes soon!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Canning Jar Labels & FSL Sweet Angels

Before I went to the County Fair, the canned good items I entered needed labeling and dressing up so I created a set of canning jar labels that can be stitched directly on to stabilizer, cut out and jars labeled accordingly with just a pen. The great thing about this set is that it doesn't just have to be used for labels. It's great for using with monograms on pillow cases or robes, or for using with the "blank" scented mug mat designs.

New this week at The Country Needle.
Canning Jar Labels

Price: $12.97

Sale: $8.43
Save: 35% off

Each label comes in 3 sizes to fit regular and large mouth canning lids and a 4x4 to use with larger items.

There's a bonus mini fruit set included too!
There's a sample for you to download too!
FSL Sweet Angels

Price: $12.97

Sale: $8.43
Save: 35% off

This new set of FSL Sweet Angels includes 4 "charmers" so you can add your own sentimental charm or even a button before sending it on its way to a happy recipient. 7 designs total.

Be sure to visit and take advantage of 35% OFF regular designs sets.
Have a great weekend and as always...
Happy Stitching!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fun at the County Fair 2011- Blue Ribbon Recipes

Rides, food, music, animals, people (though by observation, sometimes the latter two might be interchanged!) A plethora of sights, sounds, smells, taste and touch, the County Fair can most definitely be an overload to the senses, especially those who choose to overindulge their taste buds before hopping on one ride after another! Thankfully I didn't have to experience the latter and enjoyed other fair attractions instead.
As with most all County Fairs, they attract both young and old and it makes for a wonderful week-long event that my family has enjoyed for many years. As a kid, I loved going to the fair with my Dad, especially the horse shows! It always seemed to rain when he took us in the mornings, so the smell of the horse barn and sweet hay was always in the air. LOL that could be why I love the smell to this day and where I really fell in love with horses! I also remember walking through the buildings with my Mom admiring all the canned goods and handwork items. My hubby could also tell you a story that would give you a good ole belly laugh of how one of his show pigs got loose and he had to chase it through the pig barn! Of course he wasn't laughing then, but it still made a wonderful memory that he can laugh about now. Fair week is a family event that makes for amazing memories so if you haven't taken your kids or your grandkids to your local fair, I encourage you to do so and even participate if you can!
Getting ready for the fair is a lot of work. Weeks and months of planning and preparation have gone into the entries. The pride and care one has taken in their projects, whether it's in raising a lamb through the 4-H program or baking a cake as a Girl Scout, explodes into the anticipation of winning a blue ribbon and for certain categories a premium to go along with it. The County Fair gives everyone- both young and young at heart, a chance to show off their favorite hobbies and crafts or to brag about that 50 pound squash one grew in their garden and almost everything else in between including a jalepeño eating contest and outhouse races!
This is the first year that none of my kids participated and though I still enjoyed attending and entering my crafts, canned and baked goods and a few photographs, it just wasn't the same without them there to share in the fun. But as in years past, I closed up shop for a week so I could gather up my projects and do last minute preparations.
Blue Ribbon Antique Window
Gathering things up.
This year I made 2 jams and 10 different varieties of jellies and after 105 jars later, I entered 10 of those along with banana bread, a lemon loaf, sourdough biscuits, a pie, several photos, the recycled antique window (above), and a couple of embroidered projects. Then there was the open baking contest for which I baked 3 more pies. LOL and let me tell you, there's nothing like a friendly open baking contest! So much excitement in the air!
I'm so glad that I wasn't a judge for all those baked and canned goods the fair took in this year. I have a hard enough time not tasting at home let alone being asked to judge such delicious and high calorie foods! LOL, but it's the County Fair where calories don't count, right?
Well, I didn't grow a 50 pound squash in my garden and my home-grown tomatoes were certainly nothing to brag about, but I did come away with several blue ribbons and as promised to my Yahoo group, I'm sharing some of the recipes I used for you to enjoy too!
Blue Ribbon Jellies
2011 Blue Ribbon Jellies
I don't think I'll get all of the recipes added today, but here's a few to get you started:
Remember that Amish Friendship Bread sourdough starter I've been experimenting with for several months? I'm happy to report that there have been no more volcanic-like eruptions in my oven! In fact the Banana Bread recipe not only got 1st place in its category, it was also chosen as this year's "Best Bread" at the San Juan County Fair!
As you may recall from a previous post, we live at 5,860 feet above sea level, so this recipe has been adjusted for high altitudes. I have decreased the oil and the baking powder and increased the bananas. I also now bake ALL of my bread & pies with an unglazed clay pot in the bottom of the oven that has been filled with water. Having this moisture actually slows down the cooking process and simulates a sea level environment.
If you don't need to make adjustments, then you'll find the original Amish Friendship Bread recipes on the Friendship Bread Kitchen's web site

Banana Nut Amish Friendship Bread
Blue Ribbon Banana Bread
1st Place & Best Bread
1 cup Amish friendship bread starter
3 large mashed bananas
3 eggs
2/3 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
2 boxes banana cream instant pudding
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325° F. In a large mixing bowl, add ingredients as listed.
Grease 2 large loaf pans. Pour the batter evenly into loaf pans.
Bake for 1 hour, or until the bread loosens evenly from the sides and a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

I guess I should mention that I threw out the original starter I made when I first began experimenting with the Amish Friendship Bread starter and the recipes at high altitudes. I just wasn't all that happy with the way the sponge was forming. I then decided I wanted more of a "wild" sourdough so when it got warmer, I made a new batch. My jar of starter now goes outside everyday to sit in the sun and soak up the wild yeasts that are in the air and comes in every evening before it starts getting cool. Now I have a TRUE New Mexico sourdough! I'll find a nice warm and sunny window to help keep the yeast thriving during the winter months.
By the can use any sourdough starter with these recipes. For instance, if you want a sourdough that uses less sugar, try a potato bread starter instead.
Here's another 2011 San Juan County Fair blue ribbon winner. I made no adjustments to this recipe other than using Hungarian flour and an unglazed clay pot during baking: 

Sourdough Biscuits
Sourdough Biscuits
1 package Active Dry Yeast
1 1/4 cup Lukewarm Water
1/3 cup Sugar
1 cup Sourdough starter
3/4 teaspoon Salt
5 cups bread flour (I prefer Hungarian or King Arthur's Flour for high altitudes)
Melted butter or Margarine

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water with a little sugar till bubbly. Sourdough is a yeast but rises faster with added commercial yeast and of course living at a high altitude, sometimes a boost is needed.

In a large mixing bowl add sugar, salt, sourdough starter, yeast and flour. Cover; set in warm spot and let rise until double. Punch down and turn out onto floured work surface. Roll out to 3/4 inch thickness. Cut with biscuit cutter.

To prevent hard biscuits, try to cut out as many biscuits as possible before re-rolling the dough.

Dip both sides in melted butter and place on well-greased baking sheet.

Let rise 15 min. Bake at 425 - 20 min. or until golden brown.
Again, I used an unglazed clay pot filled with water in the bottom of my oven.

Whether you like Banana Cream Pie or Coconut Cream Pie, the following recipe is for you! I entered the Coconut Cream Pie version in our County Fair's Open Baking Contest and got 1st place in that category. The judges wanted to take it home with them! I think I'll enter the Banana Cream next time! 

Coconut Cream Pie
Coconut Cream PieCoconut Cream Pie- Blue Ribbon
The judges wanted to take this one home!
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
1/2 cup flaked coconut
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup sifted powdered sugar
Toasted coconut for garnish if desired.

Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a heavy saucepan; stir well. Combine egg yolk, half-and-half, and milk and beat until blended. Gradually stir into sugar mixture until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Transfer to a glass bowl, stir in butter, vanilla, coconut extract and coconut. Cover with plastic wrap and cool to room temperature. Pour cooled custard into baked pie shell and chill until firm.

Beat whipping cream and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread over pie filling. Garnish with toasted coconut if desired.
Banana Cream Pie
Banana Cream Pie
Prepare as above, omitting the coconut and coconut extract. Arrange 2 large bananas that have been sliced and dipped in lemon juice to prevent browning in bottom of your cooled pie shell.
As you can see in the photo of the Banana Cream Pie, I chose to add what we call a "mile-high" meringue instead of the whipped topping in the recipe- LOL, that's the kind where the meringue is twice as high as the pie filling!
If you've never made a meringue, here are a few tips I've learned over the years.

* Use Fresh Eggs
* After separating the eggs, bring the egg white to room temperature (about 15-20 minutes)
* Add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, AFTER the egg whites become foamy.
* Spread the meringue over a HOT filling and spread to the edges of the pie to seal completely before baking. This helps prevent weeping and shrinking.
4 Egg Whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Beat in vanilla. Spread over hot filling, sealing to the edges. Bake 10-12 minutes or until meringue is lightly browned. Cool.

As an experiment, I used lavender in several recipes this year, mostly jelly. The following pie recipe is what resulted from one of my experiments and received a blue ribbon in the regular baking category of "any other fruit pie" as well as a 3rd place ribbon in the Open Baking category of "any other pie." In the latter competition, there were 14 different varieties of pies judged which, according to the sponsors is the most risky category for an open baking competition because you never know what other pies you're up against like you would in a peach vs peach or coconut vs coconut.
If you don't have fresh chokecherries in your area, try using cherry juice or a cranberry juice cocktail. 

Chokecherry- Lavender Pie
Chokecherry- Lavender PieChokecherry- Lavender Pie 1st Place
1 Baked Pie Shell, cooled
8 oz package Cream Cheese, softenend
8 oz carton Cool Whip, thawed
2 cups sugar divided in 1/2
2 Cups Chokecherry Juice (reserve 1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon dried culinary grade lavender buds
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

In microwave safe measuring cup heat 1/2 cup chokecherry juice. Remove from microwave and add lavender buds. Cover and steep for 10 minutes. Strain Juice, throwing away the lavender buds. Set aside to cool.
Add cornstarch to cooled 1/2 cup juice. Mix well and set aside.
Heat remaining 1-1/2 cups juice with sugar in a non-reactive saucepan & bring to a boil.

Add cornstarch mixture; cook to thicken over medium high heat, stirring constantly.
Set aside to cool.

Mix cream cheese, Cool Whip and 1 cup sugar until stiff. Spread ½ of this mixture into the bottom of pie shell. Keep filled crust and other half of mixture in refrigerator until ready to use.
When pudding mixture has cooled and thickened, spread over cream cheese mixture.

Gently spread remaining cream cheese mixture over pudding.
Garnish with fresh chokecherries and sprinkle with a few lavender buds. (I used dried pink rose and lavender buds. Serve Chilled.

These should keep you busy for at least a couple of days. : ) I'll try to get the jam and jelly recipes posted in the next day or two.
Enjoy your day!