Monday, March 26, 2012

Peanut Butter Cornflake Crunch

Before I forget again, here is the Cornflake Crunch recipe we used in the lab.  The full recipe is double of this one.  It can be patted into a 9 by 13 inch lightly buttered pan and cut into squares when cool.  The following is how we made it at school.

1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
5 cups cornflakes cereal

  1. Cook syrup and sugar until mixture comes to a boil. Stir constantly; do not overcook.
  2. Remove from heat, add peanut butter, and stir until smooth. Pour mixture over cornflakes in a large bowl. Mix until cereal is thoroughly coated.
  3. Drop by approxiamately 1/4 cup amounts onto waxed paper.  Cool and enjoy.                   

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Dirt Cake

It is the 100th anniversary of Oreo Cookies.  It is only fitting that I add the Dirt Cake recipe that we did every year in the food lab.  This recipe is different than most, because I doubled the cream cheese in order to cut the too sweet taste of many recipes for dirt cake.

1/2 cup butter, softened
2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 (3.5 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
3 1/2 cups milk
1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
32 ounces Oreo Cookies or some facsimile of ( in other words, Walmart brand will work fine)

 Crush cookies  in  a food processor. The white cream will disappear. Without a food processor, you might use a rolling pin to crush the cookies between pieces of wax paper.  I always leave a number of cookies in fair size chunks to add a little texture to the conglomeration!!

Mix butter, cream cheese, and sugar in bowl with the electric mixer.                                 

 In a separate large bowl mix milk, pudding and whipped topping together.            

Combine pudding mixture and cream mixture together.                

 Layer in a 9 inch by 13 inch pan, starting with cookies then cream mixture. Repeat layers.               

Chill until ready to serve.   Yes!  It needs to chill.

Add gummy worms if you must. Enjoy!


String Quilts and Memories

String quilts are colorful, old-fashioned, easy, fun, and spectacular sometimes!  I make them when I want to do lots of sewing and no thinking.  It is the quilt block I always reccomend for beginners.  It is what I taught my students to make about the last 6 years that I taught.  I let them be the designer.  String quilts can take many forms depending on how the blocks are set together.
    One day at school as we were working on a quilt, a man came in the classroom who was there to work on the intercom system.  I imagine he was about 70 years old.  His face lit up when he saw what we were doing.  He said he knew exactly what we were making, because he made string quilts when he was a child.  He said he was one of 8 children.  His mother would gather the kids in a circle, give them pieces of newspaper for a foundation , and start handing out "strings" of fabric she had cut.  He said they could turn out a quilt top pretty quickly because there were so many of them!  He was delighted to see someone still doing it.

    Here are pictures of some of the string quilts I have made over the years.  Some are not very good quality pictures, but I have given these quilts away and this is the only documentation I have.

Confessing My Mistakes

Somewhere in the neighborhood of  10 years ago, Jackie Muehlstein told me I should get a Juki TL98Q extended bed sewing machine to quilt my creations.  Up to that point, all I ever made was wallhangings.  Well, I took her advice; and I have been quilting up a storm ever since.  I also should mention that Jackie has long been my quilting idol.  She is one of the best!  This quilt was one of the first ones I quilted on the Juki.  It is designed by Piece 'O Cake and called Everyday Best after the designer's grandmother's china.  I made two crucial errors on  this quilt.  I did the applique with fusible web.  It's stiff and will allow the edges to fray a little when washed.  This was before I knew how to do the interfacing  turned applique edge method that I use today.  Another mistake was to use heavy thread to quilt.  It created what I call a "thready" quilt.  This thread was a 3 ply 50 weight of inferior quality to today's threads.  I never let this thick thread near my Juki these days.  I also refuse to do quilting that is so extensive it overshadows the fabrics.  Just enough is enough.  Actually, this quilt also has one wavy edge.  I have learned a tremendous amount since I made this one.  I will say, I was pretty fearless in my beginning days!

All that said, this is still a stunning quilt.  The colors are fantastic.  Designs I really love, I will  make a second time.  I have the foundations ready to make another one minus the mistakes.  Of course, that will be after I complete a pile of works in progress.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Monkeys for Mikah

Through the years of teaching, I had lots of students that touched my life in a special way.  Baby Mikah's mother is one of the special ones.  She and her sisters moved into our district after she was already in high school.  She came to Texas with a  rich cultural heritage different from mine.  She brought her mother's recipe for Beignets to school and  taught us how to make them.  One thing that made her special was her keen intellect and thirst for knowledge.  She was always sharing an interesting something she had learned with me and the class.  In amazement one day, I asked her where she had learned so much.  She told me she enjoyed watching the Discovery Channel and the History Channel.  Who says television can't be a great teacher if you just pay attention? 

Baby Mikah is scheduled to arrive in a few weeks.   He has a big brother who is already in heaven.  His mom is in the hospital under close monitoring so little Mikah will be born healthy and fit.  You can bet that Mikah will be one special little baby.  I can't wait to meet him.  This is his baby play in the floor quilt.