More Christmas, some blocks and a recipe

Today I have some more Christmas crafts to show you, a tasty vegetable recipe and a progress report on my Aunt Grace snowball blocks.

I made this advent calendar when the boys were little. It was a panel and difficult to work with because it was printed crooked. It’s one reason I shy away from panels now. It was my first attempt at machine quilting.

advent

Very 1990s, but still cute, this stuffed, stamped, hand stitched Christmas goose was my first attempt at basic embroidery stitches.

goose

John sanded and finished this set of three shaker boxes for me before I padded and applied the cross stitched tops to the lids. The edges of the lids are finished with a green grosgrain ribbon.

shaker boxes

Even older than the stuffed goose above, I cross stitched and finished this in the late 1980s.

xstitch

This was my first published quilt. You can read all about it by clicking the MY QUILTS tab at the top of this page.

I confess: When I finished this project, I joined the binding ends together with no attention to matching the stripes and it looked terrible. Upon learning that McCall's wanted to feature it in their magazine, I ripped out the binding and struggled to figure out how to make the stripes appear continuous before delivering it to their office. I'm not sure I could explain what I did exactly, but I'd do it again because it looks so much better.

I confess: When I finished this project, I joined the binding ends together with no attention to matching the stripes and it looked terrible. Upon learning that McCall’s wanted to feature it in their magazine, I ripped out the binding and struggled to figure out how to make the stripes appear continuous before delivering it to their office. I’m not sure I could explain what I did exactly, but I’d do it again because it looks so much better.

I found this project in a 1998 issue of a Christmas crafts magazine. You can read all about it by clicking the MY QUILTS tab at the top of this page.

table mat

And finally, here’s a photo of the mantle over the fireplace in the kitchen

kitchen

and the family room:

man cave

I finished 20 more Aunt Grace snowball blocks over the weekend. My goal is to make 10 per week. At that rate, I’ll finish all of them by the last week in June 2014. It’s a lot of blocks, but at 4½” square, you need a lot of them to make a decent sized quilt.

AG block set3

AG block set4

On Sunday, it finally warmed up enough to fire up the grill so John cooked a couple of pork loins and I made this wonderful butternut squash casserole.

squash casserole

The recipe was posted on a college friend’s Facebook page, and it looked pretty good so I made it with a few modifications. The original recipe called for Swiss cheese, which I could not fathom with the squash so I substituted parmesan. I also doubled the mushrooms and onions because I thought doing so would provide a better balance between savory and sweet in the dish. The modified recipe is given below. To conserve space, I’ve colored in orange the main ingredients you need to make the recipe.

But first, to make easy work of peeling the squash, I purchased one of these—totally worth it:

peeler

Butternut Squash Casserole

Small butternut squash. The recipe calls for 2½ pounds, but I only use half since there are just three of us. I peel and chop the entire squash, though, saving the other half to make another casserole later.

Peel and chop the squash into small, bite-sized chunks.

Coat a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan or gratin dish with cooking spray.

In a hot skillet using olive or canola oil, sauté:

  • 16 ounces fresh mushrooms (coarsely chopped) for 2 minutes, then add
  • yellow onions (finely chopped)

When onions are lightly browned and water from mushrooms has evaporated (about 10 minutes)

Add to mixture in skillet:

  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • salt to taste

Mix well, remove from heat, cover and set aside.

In a small saucepan, whisk together, then heat to a simmer:

  • 1 cup 1% low fat milk
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)

Whisk constantly and when sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, add:

  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • salt and pepper to taste

To assemble:

  1. Spread one-third squash in prepared dish.
  2. Top with ⅓ of the onion/mushroom mixture, then ⅓ of the cheese sauce.
  3. Repeat twice to create three layers in your dish.
  4. Top with ¼ cup parmesan cheese.

Bake 45 minutes at 350°F or until squash is tender.

Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

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Filed under Christmas, home cookin', piecing

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