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Sewing projects

I have been having fun with a few sewing projects lately. Unfortunately I can't share some of them with you until after Christmas!

One thing that I can share with you is this little mini I spy quilt for my grandson, Drew. I am going up to visit him in about a week and I wanted to take him a gift. I found the directions for the little quilt here. It was a fun project and I hope to make more of them in the future.

Here is a picture of it:

picture of I Spy Quilt

Drew loves Thomas the Train. Here is a picture of the back of the quilt:

picture of Back of I Spy Quilt


Turkey for a small family

A while back I ran across a recipe for cooking a turkey breast in the crockpot that I wanted to try. The last time I planned to prepare a turkey breast the one I bought was too large for my crockpot. Last week when I was grocery shopping I found a half of a turkey breast for sale (at Ingles) so I was finally able to try it.

Here's the simple recipe:
one half or whole turkey breast that will fit in your crockpot
1 can whole berry cranberry sauce (I used half a can with the half turkey breast)
1 envelope onion soup mix (I used half an envelope)

Place turkey breast in crockpot. Combine the cranberry sauce and the onion soup mix and spread on top of the turkey. Cook for 4 hours on high or until meat tests done with meat thermometer.

We ate this as is for the first meal, in this casserole for the second meal, and in a fruited turkey salad for its final appearance.

So, for all of you with small households -- be on the lookout for half turkey breasts on sale, or ask your butcher if he would cut a whole one in half for you. You still get a few nice leftovers, but not an overwhelming amount.

I didn't take a picture of the turkey breast itself, because it wasn't particularly photogenic, but, here's a picture of the fruited turkey salad (turkey, mayo, grapes, apple, celery, toasted almonds):

picture of Fruited Turkey Salad


An easy dessert

Some Saturdays I putter around in the kitchen for most of the day, alternating between cooking, laundry, and cleaning chores in preparation for Sunday. I love these Saturdays at home since I am at work Monday through Friday. Some Saturdays (such as this past Saturday) I have an outside obligation which means I need to streamline my cooking for Sunday. This means I need to pull out some recipes which go together quickly. The following is such a recipe.

If you need a quick, easy dessert, this is the one for you. It can be made with light cream cheese and light whipped topping if you desire. It takes just five ingredients.

picture of Cheesecake Ingredients

Karen's Cheesecake

1 prepared graham cracker crust
1/2 cup powdered sugar
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 oz. cool whip, thawed
Fruit topping of your choice

Cream together the cream cheese and the powdered sugar. Add the cool whip and combine thoroughly. Put in the pie shell. Chill for several hours or overnight. Top with fresh fruit or canned pie filling, if desired.

The finished cheesecake:

picture of Cheesecake

Topped with blueberry pie filling:

picture of Blueberry Cheesecake


Zucchini Garden Chowder

Got more zucchini?

I bought some at a good price while we were up in the mountains last week and wished I had bought more as I contemplated all my favorite zucchini recipes. A number of years ago when I was recuperating from surgery a friend made me this soup. Rob and I both like soups and this is one of our favorites. I have never made it from frozen zucchini, but I think that would work as long as it was well drained.

Zucchini Garden Chowder

2 medium zucchini, shredded or thinly sliced
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
2 Tbsps. oil
2 Tbsps. flour
dash pepper
1 tsp. sugar
3 cups water
1 Tbsp. chicken soup base
1 (14 1/2 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated skim milk
1 can corn, drained (can use frozen)
2 cups shredded yellow cheese
Fresh parsley for garnish, if desired

In a large soup kettle heat oil and saute zucchini and onion until vegetables are tender. Stir in flour, pepper, Italian Seasoning, and sugar. Gradually stir in water, chicken soup base, tomatoes, and corn. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 5 mins. Add evaporated milk and then heat another minute before stirring in the cheese. Garnish with parsley, if desired. Makes 8-10 servings or about 2 1/2 quarts.

Here's a picture of the shredded zucchini:

picture of Shredded Zucchini

This is what the finished chowder looks like. A picture of soup does not always convey how delicious it actually is. This one is quite tasty.

picture of Zucchini Chowder


A favorite fall treat

Someone in our house is having a birthday this week (on the 30th) and has requested apple dumplings rather than a birthday cake. Several years ago I found this recipe and it has become a family favorite. Let me tell you a little story.

I first came to know the Lord while I was in high school through the witness of a friend from school. Soon after I was saved I met a woman, Norma, from my church who was about my mother's age. I came to find out that Norma and my mother had known each other many years earlier when they had worked together in a munitions plant during WWII. My mother had even been a bridesmaid in Norma's wedding. In the intervening years Norma had come to know the Lord and started attending the little church that I attended.

Anyway, to make a long story short, Norma and my mom became reacquainted and Norma very faithfully ministered to my mom and witnessed to her over the years until one day mom professed her faith and trust in the Lord as her personal saviour too. Norma did not have an easy life as her husband was not a believer and was very unkind to her. In spite of her own trials Norma was a faithful witness and the Lord used her greatly to bless my life.

Often when I was home from college Norma would invite Mom and me over for a meal. It was at one of these meals that I first tasted apple dumplings. Norma's dumplings were absolutely delicious! From the first time I ate them I hoped that she would serve them every time we would visit.

Being the diligent home economics student that I was I also asked her how she made them. She gave me some very sketchy directions which I eventually tried, but my dumplings were nothing like Norma's.

After Rob and I were married I continued my quest for a good dumpling recipe and finally found success when I found this recipe in the book Hospitality with Confidence by Grace Pittman. It is a book that I used for several years in teaching a class on Christian hospitality.

picture of Hospitality With Confidence

These dumplings are very rich, so save them for a special treat. Grace has aptly named them:

World's Greatest Apple Dumplings
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup butter

Combine all ingredients above in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 3 minutes. Set aside.

6 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsps. baking powder
3/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup milk

Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Cut in the shortening as if you were making biscuits. Stir in the milk to make a soft dough. Roll out to 1/4" thickness. (For 6 dumplings I roll it out to a 15" x 10" rectangle. For 12 dumplings 16" x 12".) Cut the dough into the number of squares desired. Place apple slices in each square. Fold the corners in to make an envelope shape. Don't worry if these look messy. Place the filled dumplings in a 9" x 13" baking dish. Pour the syrup over the dumplings making sure every bit of the dough is moistened by the syrup. You might want to use a spoon as you do this. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Serve warm with cream, whipped cream, or ice cream. You can reheat any leftovers.

Here are the raw dumplings being spooned with syrup:

picture of SpooningSyrup

Here are the baked dumplings, right out of the oven:

picture of Baked Dumplings

Here is a dumpling topped with ice cream, ready to be enjoyed:

picture of Dumpling with Ice Cream

These are delectable and I hope you will try them sometime. It's amazing that such simple ingredients can be combined to make such a delicious dish. It's also amazing that that a simple friendship can change the course of a life for all eternity.


P.S. Here is a picture of my faithful assistant blogger, Adelaide. She hops up beside me on the desk whenever I am at the computer.

picture of Wanda Simone