Archive for October, 2009

Happy Halloween!


Can you believe this is the first pumpkin I’ve ever carved? John always “helped” the kids (ie they got to watch him do it) and my dad probably did ours when we were young. I’m willing to bet my mother has never carved a pumpkin, unless she did it before I knew her.


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Pumpkin Patch Primitives Quilt Shoppe is giving away a fat quarter bundle of Red Rooster’s Pumpkins and Spice fabrics.

Check it out! And please, post a link on your blog to be entered.


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Just a reminder about my giveaway. I’ll draw the winner next week. Details here.

I’ve had an annoying chest cold this past week and the incessant coughing is driving me crazy. I haven’t been sleeping all through the night because the cough doesn’t want me to be horizontal. This morning I woke up at 2:45 am, coughed for 45 minutes and finally got up and went downstairs. I know I was bothering John, but I kept hoping I’d fall back asleep. No such luck.

So last weekend, I made a pot of that wonderful white chicken chili. I did it in the crock pot this time, it’s easily adaptable. We ate on it for a couple of nights and the rest has gone in the freezer.

Here’s the recipe I’m going to make next. This was published in our newspaper last fall and I had to run all over town to find a store that still had some frozen tortellinis left. Obviously, it looked as good to everyone else as it did to me. The recipe states that you can freeze this, and I did, but I’ll warn you that the tortellinis don’t hold up. It’ll still taste good but they turn to mush.

Tortellini Soup

1 lb…………sweet Italian bulk sausage
1 cup………chopped onion
2 cloves…..garlic, chopped
5 cups……..beef broth
1/2 cup……water
1/2 cup……dry red wine
2 cups…….whole tomatoes, chopped, with liquid
1 cup………sliced carrots
1/2 tsp…….basil
1/2 tsp…….oregano
1……………8-ounce can tomato sauce
1-1/2 cups..sliced zucchini
3 tbsp……..chopped fresh parsley
1……………medium green pepper, chopped
1……………19-ounce bag frozen tortellini

Cook the sausage; drain off fat. Cook the onion until soft. Use the same pan.

In a slow cooker or large heavy pot, combine sausage, onion, garlic, broth, water, wine, tomatoes, carrots, basil, oregano, tomato sauce, zucchini, parsley and green pepper, and slow cook 6-8 hours on low, until carrots are soft.

Add the bag of frozen tortellini. When they are cooked–about 50 minutes, or when they’re plump but still hold their curl–the soup is ready. Sprinkle pecorino Romano cheese on top, and serve with a hard-crusted bread.

This can be made ahead and frozen with the tortellini or separately and the tortellini added later.

Serves 8. Credit Marilyn Stroh for this recipe.



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And to celebrate, I’m having my first-ever giveaway. For the next two weeks, if you leave a comment on this page and also link to it in your blog, you’ll be entered for a random drawing to win 3 patterns by Karie Patch Designs. I’ve come to know Karen DuMont through our Electric Quilt classes at Quilting Adventures and she comes up with the cutest designs. Even if you don’t win this time, I hope you’ll check out Karen’s patterns and buy some.

So you’d think I’d have a really great post prepared for this auspicious occasion, but to be honest, it snuck up on me. I was thinking I started this in November of last year and was shocked, shocked, when I took the time to look it up to find that I only had a few days.

So I have no new quilt projects to share, no new photography, but I do have some favorite fall recipes that I dug out. I love to make soups and stews this time of year (why is it that every recipe makes so much? Since it’s only John and I, we either eat it all week until we’re sick of it, or I freeze it and we forget about it. That just happened this week, when I pulled a container of soup out of the freezer that I made in September of last year. Yikes! Well, either it was going to be freezer burnt and inedible or halfway decent. Amazingly, it was good!).

White Chicken Chili

1……..2-pound cooked rotisserie chicken
1…….. tablespoon olive oil
2…….. medium yellow onions, peeled and chopped
4…….. cloves garlic, minced
8…….. ounces canned green chillies, chopped
1-1/2…. teaspoons EACH: cumin, oregano
1/4…… teaspoon EACH: ground cloves, crushed red pepper flakes
2…….. 15-ounce cans white northern beans, drained
6…….. cups chicken broth
3…….. cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
salt and pepper to taste
salsa, halved grape tomatoes, chopped fresh cilantro, sour cream (optional serving suggestions)

Remove meat from chicken and shred.
Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, chilies, cumin, oregano, cloves and crushed red pepper, and saute 2 minutes. Add beans and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer a few minutes. Add chicken and 2 cups cheese and stir until cheese melts. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve with salsa, remaining cheese, tomatoes, cilantro, and sour cream if desired.  Makes 6-8 servings.

This is extra yummy and the freezing tip that I believe saved the more-than-a-year-old soup is to fill your container (don’t forget to leave a little head room) and top it with plastic wrap. Push down on the wrap so that it is in complete contact with the surface of the soup. This prevents ice crystals from forming. I’ve tried different kinds of containers for freezing and I’m really liking the Ziploc Twist-n-Loc. They come in different sizes and I freeze a combination of 1 cup (for single servings) and 2-or-more cups if we’re both going to eat it.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, I’ll be posting more throughout the two-week birthday celebration period.


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butterfly reflection-500-75


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Harvest Festival

Saturday, John and I ran over to the Harvest Festival at Meadow Farm in Glen Allen. This is so close to our house and in 13 years, we’d never been there. With a festival, it seemed like a good time to check it out and take pictures! Unfortunately, the temp was in the upper 40s/lower 50s and it was cold. I don’t do cold very well. I need some gloves without fingers so that I can keep my hands warm and still work the camera.







This is a sorghum press. I’m not sure what sorghum is, it looked like a plant, the stalks of which were fed into a machine and as the horse walked around in a circle, the stalks were pressed. I don’t know what came out, a liquid perhaps?

Two ladies were spinning carded wool into thread (see she had the right idea with the gloves).

And the threads were dyed at the next booth, using natural materials for the colors.

No living history farm would be complete without a blacksmith.

I thought it was funny that a lady came up to me, asking questions about the pumpkin patch for which I had no answers. Because I was hauling the tripod around, she told me I looked “official.”


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Diplomatically speaking

I’ve seen vehicles up in the DC area with Diplomat license plates, which makes sense because, ah, that’s where the embassies are.

But on our way home from the Folk Festival we were behind this one on Cary Street. It just struck me as funny that a diplomat would be driving a vintage VW bus.

Amy, this one’s for you.



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How cool and unexpected is this?

Today I got this email:

***Hi Robin,

I am writing to let you know that one of your photos has
been short-listed for inclusion in the ninth edition of our
Schmap Richmond Guide, to be published early November 2009.***

They found this photo in my flickr photostream:

Although they don’t pay for photos, I went ahead and submitted it. I wonder how long their “short-list” is? If I hear from them again, I’ll let you know.


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