Friday, May 24, 2013

Big Yellow Taxi and My Foray into Modern Quilting

It's not that I've stopped cooking (exactly); rather, I've been cooking old favorites or eating salads and other light meals. Since I haven't posted any recipes in two weeks, I thought I'd blog about what I've been doing with the time usually spent in the kitchen.

Last week I took a workshop with Rayna Gillman, a fabric artist known for her free form quilts. Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm not a "fly by the seat of my pants" type of person. While crazy quilting may seem to have fewer rules than sane quilting, that is not the case. And while I am comfortable not following patterns and seeing where my own designs will lead, free form quilts and/or modern quilts are not genres that fall within my comfort zone. That said, I actually ended up enjoying the process.

Rayna had suggested that we bring orphan blocks and strips of fabric in a multitude of hues. My quilting friends and I turned up with bags, boxes, and piles of fabric (probably enough fabric to make several very large quilts and there were only about 15 of us).  I chose a pieced block, an extra from a year-long color study course I'd taken and a foundation pieced block I'd made when I was experimenting with that technique. Having listened to Rayna's suggestion that we include black and white fabrics in our stash, I began cutting and piecing and cutting some more. At one point, I had 4 free form blocks which I ultimately decided to square up and piece together. This produced a 9 inch block which cried out for a thin, yellow border. As soon as I made that decision, the lyrics to Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi" started running through my head. That yellow border (and those lyrics) lead me to the black and white checkered fabric and my outside border.

I hung the finished piece on my design wall and stared at it for the next few days, but my original idea to quilt it in gold metallic thread won out over several other ideas. Understand that I am brand new to free motion quilting. I recently took Leah Day's class on Craftsy and she has fanned the flame of interest in FMQ. In fact, be sure to check her blog to see what others are doing on FMQ Friday. After several trial runs on my trusty muslin sandwich, I decided it was now or never and just did it. A few ripped out lines of quilting and one broken needle later, I was done. It took me approximately 3 hours to quilt. I did some simple wavy lines, horizontal and vertical on the block itself. I quilted a chain of pearls in the thin, yellow border. And in the black and white checkered border, I quilted spirals.

To finish the quilt, I applied a facing. All that remains is to add a label. I'm calling the quilt "Big Yellow Taxi" and, though it's far from perfect, I will admit that I'm rather pleased with the results.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Fried Ice Cream (Not)

I was all set to try a new version of this treat, one that would contain a top crust and a bottom crust and be cut like a cake, when my better judgment intervened and I decided a pre-portioned fried ice cream ball might be safer to have in the freezer. For those of you who've never had this treat, it isn't fried at all. By using a light ice cream and making the portions just 1/2 cup each, I was able to keep this a healthy option.

1 half gallon Turkey Hill coconut almond fudge light ice cream
3 cups Kellogg's Frosted Flakes
2 tsp cinnamon

Let the ice cream soften slightly. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a large cookie sheet and use an ice cream scoop to make 12 half-cup "balls." Place in the freezer to harden (at least 2 hours or overnight).

Place the Frosted Flakes and the cinnamon in a gallon-sized freezer bag, seal, then roll with a rolling pin until they are chunky, but not pulverized.

Dip one ice cream ball at a time in the crumbs, shaping the ball, and refreeze.

At this point, I packaged each ball in a baggie and place all of the baggies in a gallon-sized freezer bags.
The fried ice cream is delicious as is or it can be "embellished" with a drizzle of chocolate syrup and some whipped cream. By itself, each serving is 5 WW points (for those who care).