Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Dehydrator Is Still Running

The dehydrated is still being used most of the time. One of these days, I'll slow down but right now there is so much to learn and to try.

I've done some potato slices since I last posted. I cooked the potatoes. Then I peeled and sliced them. Next time I will peel and slice first and then cook. I think it will be easier to slice on the mandolin. They dried fine and I can use them in scalloped potatoes or soup or whatever.

There were some pieces of potato as a result of trying to use the mandolin to slice them. So I 'mashed' up the pieces with a fork because I was too lazy to go get the ricer. They dried fine. One of these days I'll try rehydrating them and adding a little butter and milk... It might work!

I tried okra - I used frozen slice okra so I just put it on a tray and dehydrated. It worked fine and I've already used some in a stir fry.

The lima beans dried fine. I used frozen ones. I haven't used any of the dehydrated ones yet. 

I had frozen some chopped green peppers last fall. They are now out of the freezer and dried. Earlier I tried some colored peppers. I cut them up, blanched them, and then dehydrated them. All dried fine and I've used them in a number of dishes.

I've done more grapes - they take forever but are so good! I do blanch them and wonder if they would dry faster if they were in boiling water longer than 1 minute.

Right now there are banana chips, apple slices, and pea pods in the dehydrator because the bananas weren't going to be used before they became overripe, we are almost out of apple slices, and I had some leftover pea pods from a stir fry the other night. Yes, this really is going to save money!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Baby Quilts done!

I've been busy - I guess too busy to post!

The boy baby quilt is done. 

Shown on our brand new dining room floor.

The back is Minkee. I used my walking foot to quilt this with a chevron pattern.

I needed another girl quilt because I really didn't care for the one I made in January. The backing color is too far off from the front. 

I made another Irish Chain. This is a couple of inches larger than the one I made earlier - it is about 45" square.

Shown on our brand new family room carpet.

This time the pink on the front really does go with the pink on the back but I'm not sure it looks like it in the photo below. I used my walking foot and quilted a grid pattern. I love the 'striped' Minkee except it was a pain to hand stitch the binding down. 

There is still a blue and white Irish Chain waiting for a backing. It will either end up as another baby quilt or get some borders and become a lap quilt. Either way, it will be a donation quilt one of these days.

Now we are waiting for a two babies to be born. One is a girl and the other we don't know. But I am ready! And the babies are due now and with this storm... who knows!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Dehydrating, a kitchen tip, and a little more...

The dehydrated is running most days and/or nights! 

This last weekend I did onions - yes one could tell from the odor! But using frozen onions purchased at the grocery was MUCH better than slicing my own. Thanks Marlene for the tip. 

When they were done, I did hash brown potatoes. I also did frozen green beans and frozen peas. That was so simple - just open the bags and pour onto a dehydrator tray. No blanching or anything.
All of these Mason Jars have dehydrated food! In the front, the smaller jars are two deep.
At the beginning of the week I tried frozen cauliflower. It worked fine but I did have to cut some of the florets to be smaller. 

I did another package of hash brown potatoes I'm trying to clear out my freezer

Then I tried grapes - these were blanched on the stem and then picked off and dried. They took over 24 hours and are fantastic! They are like a raisin but 100 times better! 

I have lots of zucchini in my freezer so I decided to try that. I thawed the sliced zucchini just enough to separate the pieces and I've already tried some of the dehydrated pieces in a Slow Cooker recipe. I'll be drying lots more soon! The shredded zucchini took longer to dry and looks fine. I need to reconstitute some and see how it works in baked goods. I'm sure it will be fine in soups and stews.


This morning I boiled some chicken breasts with a few veggies so I'd have chicken broth. Then I needed to shred the chicken - do you know the fast way to shred it? I just read on the Internet and we all know whatever you read on the computer is right that you can use your KitchenAid mixer. I decided to try it. So I threw 6 cooked half breasts in the mixer bowl, put on the paddle, put on the guard to stop anything from flying out and making a mess, and turned it on. In about 1 minute, it was shredded! Wow!  Then I made chicken soup in no time flat - broth, shredded chicken, some dehydrated veggies, some spices, and a few noodles - voila!


Today the house is QUIET. No workmen - the hardwood floors are done! The carpet guys come next week. I've been doing lots of fun things - taxes, laundry,... 


This afternoon, our oldest granddaughter who lives in North Carolina was in a big Spelling Bee with the winner going to Washington, DC. Grace won her school's contest which meant beating the other classroom winners including her brother. She did great in the first round 9 of the 32 went down in the first round. We just found out that Grace went down in the 2nd round. I'm not sure how it works, but there is spelling and vocabulary. She is definitely a winner in our book! We are very proud of her!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

FMQ Challenge 2015 - February

I'm not getting much time for quilting these days since our house is all torn up and we are getting new floors. It won't be much longer though or so I keep telling myself! By the end of February, the workmen will be long gone and we should be moved back.

I did get my pillow made for the FMQ Challenge though. I grabbed a few scraps and put this together. 

Leah Day was our expert for February. I was excited because I learned so much following her Free Motion Quilting Project in 2012. 

We had 3 options for quilting the pillow. 

  1. Double Stippling which I learned in 2012 
  2. Use a design(s) from Leah's Dancing Butterfly Quilt Along 
  3. Use a design(s) from Leah's Craftsy class, Free-Motion Quilting A Sampler.

I chose option 3 and decided to use a variety of designs. First I did some Pebbling in the two outside solid strips. I really enjoyed quilting this design.

I thought the Wandering Clover was cute and pretty easy. I used this design on the two inside pieced strips.

Paisley is my favorite - I restrained myself and only used it in the middle solid strip.

I went outside my comfort zone and did Spiral Chain on both outside pieced strips. It was easier than it was the last time I tried it but I still need lots more practice!

The back of the pillow is a simple overlap with both pieces quilted in Wandering Clover.

This was a fun project and I did push myself to learn some new designs while I also enjoyed quilting an old standby.

The 2015 Free Motion Quilting Challenge is being hosted by Darlene at QuiltShopGal. You may want to hop over and check out some great pillows.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Updates: flooring and dehydrating

Flooring update:
We've had lots of piles of wood this week...

and finally the first piece of hardwood was in place.

And then more...

The dining room is now done and there are piles of wood in it. Next week, the living room will be done.


Dehydrator update Sorry no photos:

This week, I've dehydrated mushrooms, celery, onions and apple slices, apple chips, orange slices, and pineapple. I also made fruit leather with good success and dried pasta with great success!

Tonight I made vegetable beef soup with some shredded beef from my freezer, a can of diced tomatoes, and all kinds of dehydrated veggies - onions, garlic, celery, carrots, green beans, mushrooms. I just through it all together and let the veggies rehydrate as the soup cooked. It was so fast to put together - very nice and very good! However I did forget the noodles!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

New dehydrator and floors

Yesterday was exciting - my new dehydrator arrived AND the fellows arrived to begin work on our floors at the same time! We are redoing all floors on the first level of our home.

I did lots of research on a new dehydrator and ended up with the one that Marlene at StitchinByTheLake recommended. You can see it here. Because of the work going on in the house, it ended up on the dining room table.

As soon as I was able to be in my kitchen last night, I washed all of the trays and liners. Then I fixed some banana chips and some pineapple slices and put them in the dehydrator. 

It was a long day waiting to try something! I spent much of the day reading my dehydrating books, The Dehydrator Cookbook by Gangloff and Preserve it Naturally by Excalibur.

This morning we had dried fruit. We also had a tray with 'crazy fruit' - pineapple pieces and banana pieces dried/fused together. (Sorry no photo.) It is really good! 

In the meantime... the fellows worked on the kitchen floor all day yesterday and again today. It was a late start yesterday due to weather but a lot of prep work was done. The old vinyl tile (the white with blue is going away. The new tile (earth tones) is replacing it - actually going down over it.

Today they put down the floor and grouted the tiles. Tomorrow they will replace the trim work and begin on the dining room and living room. Carpet will be replaced with hardwood floors in those rooms.

Hopefully these guys will be done by the weekend but maybe not until late Saturday. Then we can put back some furniture and begin moving other furniture because the family room, hallway, and bedroom carpet will arrive in a couple of weeks. 

At least I'll be able to use my dehydrator as I wait for the next installment ...


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