Saturday, April 30, 2011

Wings of Elegance IV

It looks like the hummingbirds are migrating late this year, but that's no surprise because the weather has been crazy! Normally the first hummingbird sighting means that Spring is here to stay, but we actually have a bit of snow in the forecast this weekend! I don't know if we'll actually see snow, but the wind is quite chilly and my outdoor water fountain was frozen again this morning. Even if it's still cold outside, I'm celebrating the arrival of Spring and the beginning of hummingbird season with the Wings of Elegance IV.

Wings of Elegance IV

Price: $18.97

Sale: $11.38
Save: 40% off

Mix and match these 12 designs in both the 4x4 and 5x7 sizes with the Wings of Elegance IIIIII sets for stunning quilts, wall hangings, bed linens and more. Choose your own monogram style for elegant and unique monogrammed items.  There's a sample for you to download when you visit as well.

Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Nathenia's Cheesy Chile Verde & Chicken Soup

The weather here has been really crazy! Rain, snow, sleet, hail, wind and rain! I'm beginning to wonder what happened to Spring and if I didn't know any better, I'd think we were entering our monsoon season here in the 4 Corners!   Today, I've had a hard time staying warm and on days like this, there's nothing better than a bowl of homemade soup to melt the chill away both inside and out. Normally I just throw ingredients together, but since it's a family favorite, I thought I'd actually write this one down and share with you as well.

Nathenia's Cheesy Chile Verde & Chicken Soup

You can download the recipe in PDF format here.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Lighthouse Inspiration

Occasionally in life when we get comfortable, the winds of change sneak upon us and even in the smallest of storms, we may need to adjust our sails to keep our ship from crashing into the waves and sinking our ship.
For me, I think those stormy seas and winds of change are God's way of telling me to rely more on Him and that He is my Lighthouse.

I hope that this newest set inspires you as much as it has me. It's one that I've been wanting to do for quite some time. Whoever you are, wherever you may be, whatever your storm is and whenever it may come, I hope you have a Lighthouse to guide you on your way.

Lighthouse Sampler Set

Price: $15.97

Sale: $9.58
Save: 40% off

24 designs total in this Inspirational Lighthouse and Ship Sampler Set. Stitch and frame for your home or office, or create a wall hanging. Use the ship and lighthouse alone or mix and match with the included sentiments. Great for Father's Day and Graduation gifts too!

Wishing you a wonderful and blessed Easter and a springtime bright with happiness!
Happy Stitching!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Sometimes the sweetest things in life are often the most simple. Spring often brings the most beautiful gifts- sunshine and warmth from a long winter, fragrant blooms and beautiful colors from the fruit trees and lilac bushes, the sounds of robins and finches chirping, even the cooing of a dove. Everything just bursting full of life and soon we'll catch our first glimpse of a butterfly. So sweet. So Simple.

Price: $12.97
Sale: $7.78
Save: 40% off

3 butterflies just waiting for you to add a bit of retro style to your jeans, shirts and hand bags. Sprinkle both large and small sizes around the included sentiments for a the little girls in your life. Mix and match them with the Cherry Blossom Spring Stitcheries or any of our other stitchery collections to create samplers, quilts, wall hangings and more.

Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Amish Friendship Bread- Making the Adjustments

Pulling herself from her warm cozy bed, she stumbles into the kitchen, flips on the lights and grabs her first cup of coffee. As she sits at the table trying to wake up, she glances around the kitchen making mental notes of what needs to be gathered in preparation for the battle ahead.

Her mind drifts to the oven which less than 2 weeks ago was almost completely annihilated by the creature that did not stay within the boundaries of its loaf pans. This time it would be different!

Confident in her research regarding high altitude bread baking and having the tenacity of a bull dog that won’t let go (or so her husband says), she is bound and determined to win the battle that looms near. Glancing down at the adjustments she’s made to what was once a tried and true recipe at much lower altitudes; she quietly begins to gather her ingredients.

Though confident, she still proceeds with caution. Shielded by a favorite gingerbread apron and armed with the new knowledge of high-altitude baking and her trusty wooden spoon, she approaches the glass jar sitting in the corner of the kitchen counter and the bubbling creature that grows quietly within waiting to be fed and then conquered. And she thinks to herself… “How hard can this be?”

Okay, so I’m not a writer but I couldn’t help myself and for those following the Amish Friendship Bread posts, I am very happy to report that I did NOT have any messes or explosions in my oven to clean up! There are a couple of people I have to thank for that… If it weren’t for Susan G. Purdy’s website, High Altitude Baking the recipe adjustment guide from her book Pie in the Sky and a brochure on high altitude baking given to me by Laura, our County’s Home Economist, I don’t think I would have had the success I had on this last baking day.
Below you will find my adjustments to the Amish Friendship Bread and you’ll find the original recipe here.
  • 3 extra large eggs (for added moisture)
  • 1 cup less 3 tablespoons sugar (too much sugar weakens the structure at high altitudes in some baked goods.)
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons flour (for added strength)
  • 1 small box of vanilla instant pudding
  • ½ tsp baking powder
Bake at 350 degrees 45-50 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Baking at a higher temperature helps to"set" the structure so that the baked goods don't overexpand and dry out. And since I'm baking at a higher temp, baking time was also decreased.

Loaf pans were dusted with sugar. The loaf on the right I added to the batter ½ cup dried cranberries and ½ cup chopped pecans. Very yummy and was gone by the end of the day!

This is the Banana/Walnut Bread version. Excellent breakfast bread!

Though there were no dragons to slay this day and I am very happy with my results, I think there is room for improvement and will continue to tweak my ingredients until I’m 100% pleased with the results. 

And by the way, if you like heart-warming stories, then be sure to read “Amish Friendship Bread: A Novel.” I’ve just started reading it and I love it so far! I plan to find a quiet corner this weekend to read it all the way through!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Prim Awareness Stitcheries

With the warmer weather upon us, many communities are participating in cancer awareness walks or runs, Relays for Life and other awareness activities. Our small town of Aztec had a "Paint the Town Purple" week for the local Relay for Life and a chile cook-off at one of the local restaurants. No community is too small or too large to bring cancer awareness to the the public. If you're planning to participate in a cancer awareness activity in your community or just want to show your support for someone you care about, then this week's newest set is just what you need to get started. It's great for t-shirts, quilts, hats and everything else in between! Have a team? Stitch a ribbon on shirts for each member! How about a small lap quilt to be auctioned off for a local cancer awareness charity? There are so many things you can do to show your support with this set!

Prim Awareness Stitcheries

Price: $15.97
Sale: $11.18
Save: 30% off

These stitch out quickly and you are free to change the colors so show support and bring awareness to other causes.

This set includes 14 designs for the 4x4 & 5x7 hoops for a total of 28 designs.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Chocolate Mug Cake

Did you ever just have one of those days where no matter what you do, chocolate is the one thing that makes everything better?  You want something homemade but you don't want to make a whole pan of brownies because no one else in the house is in the mood for chocolate and if you're like me, you don't like that sugary rush that a candy bar leaves.  You could give in and make those homemade brownies, but then you'd be tempted the rest of the week and before you know it that pan of brownies has gone right to your hips!

I love chocolate, but I like to get my fix and then I'm good for quite a while. So if you're wanting something that will not only help get you over your chocolate fix, and is also easy to make then give the following recipe a try.  Beware however, that this could be the world's most dangerous recipe because now you're only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake anytime time of the day or night!   And don't forget a big tall glass of milk. You're going to need it!
 1. Just mix in your favorite mug.

2. Microwave 3 minutes & enjoy!

It makes a wonderful gift too!

Click to Enlarge and Print

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Amish Friendship Bread- Baking Day Mishaps!

Thursday was baking day for my Amish Friendship Bread. After ten days of feeding and caring for my starter for the last 10 days it was time to see what this starter could actually do! I was so excited and quite nervous all at the same time. You already know the reasons why I haven't baked this bread in over 20 years from a previous post. So I'm sure you can understand my nervousness.

The directions were followed to the T and according to the recipe, I divided the starter into 4 parts (1 to keep and start a new cycle with and 3 to give away), but because I wanted to make sure the starter would work at the elevation at which we live, I decided to bake with all but the 1 to start a new cycle with.   It wasn't long before the memories of why I stopped baking yeast breads in New Mexico came flooding back!

I made the 1st batch using the recipe I recently acquired from the Friendship Kitchen website, the second batch I used the Banana Nut Bread modification and a third batch using my original recipe that I brought from Oklahoma.  How did they turn out? The 3rd batch rose and then fell so quickly, there was nothing left in the center and it was burnt. Into the garbage it went!  The banana nut version was actually some of the best banana bread I've ever tasted however it sunk in the middle and spilled over the sides. But that didn't make near the mess as the first batch did! Just picture Mount Vesuvius in my oven!  I'm glad I baked that first batch last, because it was complete and total destruction.  It reminded me of the volcano my daughter made for her 4th grade science project. Only instead of erupting all over kitchen counter and floor it was all contained nicely in my oven!
I ended up having to put my oven on a 6 hour cleaning cycle which set the smoke detectors off in my kitchen.   I wish I had thought of taking photographs for you to see the mess!

Like I said in the last post, I'm not going to give up! I'm prepared to take notes and make modifications. I did get in touch with our County Home Economist and she gave me a brochure regarding high altitude baking.  I'm continuing to feed the starter, and in 8 days, I will be making bread again and hopefully with more success!  If there is anyone out there that lives at an elevation of over 5000 feet (I live at 5860 ft) and has had success in baking an Amish Friendship Bread or any kind of sourdough bread from a starter, would you please be kind enough to share your recipe?