On Sunday, Deb's stepdad "DD" was brought to the hospital because of breathing problems. It turns out he has pneumonia. He stabilized and has been doing somewhat OK over the last few days. Deb travelled to South Boston on Monday to "be there" for her mom and DD. This morning, DD suddenly turned for the worse with more breathing problems, turning blue under the nails, and cold, clammy skin. Got a little better in the day, but then worse again. Deb sent her mom home to rest while she stays in the hospital room chair to be with DD.
Please pray for DD, Deb, and her mom.
Update: DD died Thursday morning at 2 am. We're still not sure exactly what caused his death. We will be leaving tomorrow to join Mom and Granny in South Boston. Thank you for your continued prayers.
I'm slowly but steadily making progress on my quilt. I decided to machine quilt, and it's working pretty well. The hardest part is trying to turn the quilt and pushing and pulling to fit all the cloth through the small space of my machine. My arms get tired very quickly!
There have been a couple places that don't look the best, but overall I'm pleased with the way it's turning out. :) The next update will be after it's totally finished...
Just about every morning we look out to see our front sidewalk looking like this, mulch strewn all over. We haven't caught sight of the culprit yet, though we have a few ideas of what it might be. Does anyone have experience with an animal that would likely cause this?
It's a beautiful crisp, sunny, Saturday morning here in the Valley, and everyone will be involved in a myriad of activities.
The guys will be replacing rock down the sides of our driveway that the snowplow dislodged through the winter. Tom will do some spring maintenance on the lawn mower before Sarah spends her afternoon mowing the yard.
Hannah and I will head to Andre Viette's Spring Open House sometime today. Free daylilies to each visitor! Once we're home, we'll grab a shovel and pick a spot to get them in the ground. My mom is arriving on Monday for a quick visit so everything has to be looking good!
A cookout is planned for tonight. Head over our way, and we'll put on an extra burger! I hope everyone has a nice weekend.
Since fresh mangos have been on sale at the grocery store lately, we bought a couple and made this recipe for Mango Bread, which is an old favorite of ours. I wasn't able to dig up our recipe, so this one is from Allrecipes.com and is probably quite similar to what we've made in the past. I think it's a pretty unique, "tropical" recipe. The pieces of mango in the bread melt in your mouth!
2 cups flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. oil
2 1/2 c. mangos, peeled, seeded, and chopped (I just used 1 whole mango)
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 c. raisins (I substituted pecans, which I remember our old recipe called for)
Combine dry ingredients. Beat eggs with oil and add to the flour mixture. Add mangos, lemon juice, and raisins (and/or nuts). Pour into 2 greased 8x4 loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for about 60 minutes (check at 45 min) or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. [Note: in the photo above, the bread looks dark like chocolate only because I substituted sucanat and honey for the white sugar.]
Continuing with the peanut butter theme, I thought I'd post a recipe of these muffins I made this week. Following a recipe I usually use for Banana Chocolate Chip muffins, I "adjusted" it a little using mashed butternut squash in place of the bananas. Peanut butter made it into the batter also; are you cringing at the thought of peanut butter and squash together like some here did? :) Well, the major flavor you taste is the peanut butter, and the squash just serves as a moistening agent and color enhancer! I also tried a combination of grains for the flour--soft white wheat, barley, and rice. You'll find the recipe below; some of the amounts are close guesses as I didn't measure exactly.
about 1 1/2 c. cooked, mashed butternut squash (1 med-large squash)
about 1/3 c. peanut butter
about 1/3 c. milk (I needed this to thin the batter a little bit to its normal consistency)
2/3 c. yogurt
2 tsp. vanilla
3 c. flour
1 1/4 c. brown sugar or 3/4 c. honey
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Combine dry ingredients. Combine wet ingredients in separate bowl, and add to dry, stirring just until mixed. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Makes 24 muffins.
I recently checked out a book from our local library titled ChocolateChocolate (see the sidebar). It is a HUGE 496 page cookbook dedicated to recipes including chocolate. There are tons of great sounding cookies, cakes, brownies, scones, pastries, waffles, shortbread, muffins, and all sorts of other delicious foods in there!
So far I've only tried one recipe - pictured above - and they turned out great. Since we didn't have any bittersweet chocolate, I had to substitute semi-sweet and milk chocolate. A lot of the recipes do call for either unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate, but you can probably do what I did if you don't care for dark chocolate.
Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chunk Cookies
3 cups flour
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
12 T. unsalted butter, softened
4 T. shortening
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 cup creamy peanut butter (they say not to use all-natural peanut butter - why, I don't know...)
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small chunks
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line several cookie sheets or rimmed sheet pans with cooking parchment paper. (I just sprayed the pans with Pam, and they turned out fine.)
Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together. Cream the butter and shortening in the large bowl of a freestanding electric mixer on moderately low speed for 3 minutes. Add the light brown sugar and beat for 2 minutes. Add the granulated sugar and beat for 1 minute. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 45 seconds after each addition. Blend in the vanilla extract and peanut butter. On low speed, blend in the sifted ingredients in 3 additions, beating just until the flour particles are absorbed. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula to keep the dough even-textured. Mix in the chocolate chunks. In hot weather or in a warm kitchen, refrigerate the dough for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Place rounded 2-tablespoon-size mounds of dough on the prepared pans, spacing the mounds about 3 inches apart. Using the tines of a fork, press down gently on the mounds of dough in a criss-cross pattern, flattening them as you do so.
Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 12-14 minutes, or until set. Let the cookies stand on the pans for 1 minute, then transfer them to cooling racks. Store in an airtight tin. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.
In case you're interested in what newspapers are saying about the Virginia Tech shootings this morning, you can check out The Newseum and read 512 front pages of headlines across the country. Very interesting since we get our information from newspapers, computer news sites...and blogs. Glad to hear Susan's fiance, Adrian, is safe!
What a rainy--but delightful--Sunday afternoon! Long-time friends we knew years ago in Newport News emailed us and said they would be at the Virginia Quilt Museum in Harrisonburg this afternoon and asked if we would like to meet them there for a reunion. Would we?!! Yes!!
Here I am with my friend, Susan, and her mom, Mary Jo, who was visiting with her husband from Houston, Texas. Mary Jo is a quilter-extraordinaire! She has sewn over 30 quilts in her lifetime, and the beautiful one below is the "Shenandoah Sunburst." This quilt pattern is sold at the Woodrow Wilson Museum in Staunton, where she purchased it. Last year Mary Jo returned to Staunton and was honored when the Museum took her picture with the hand-made quilt sewn by their pattern.
Cameras and picture taking of the quilts on display are not allowed in the Virginia Quilt Museum; but since this one wasn't on display...we all posed holding it up to show the bold turkey-red color and hundreds of tiny white triangles she hand drew, cut, and sewed. Her work took two years to complete, and the hand-quilting was beautiful and intricate!
Picturedabove: Mary Jo, Elizabeth (our daughter-in-law), Sarah, Heather (Elizabeth's mom visiting from Georgia), Deb, Hannah, Susan, Erin (Susan's daughter), and Herb (Susan's dad).
Actually the real reason we were all at the museum was to see the new exhibit called "The Jamestown Challenge Quilts." On display until May 28, over 30 quilts depict historical aspects of Jamestown such as the fort, the ships, Powhatan, Pocahontas, glass manufacturing, etc. Mary Jo made an exquisite black-on-tan embroidered wallhanging of the three ships for Jamestown's 400th anniversary. What an honor for her to be included in this exhibit!
The overall theme of the celebration was "Come Home to Virginia," which was a display of antique quilts given to the museum by donors who specifically said those very words when they gave the quilts. As I perused the gallery I saw several quilts with those words, "Come home to Virginia," included someplace on their design. Very neat since I've always lived in Virginia, and I love it here!
With Micah still on assignment in Roanoke, Elizabeth's mom is visiting for a couple of weeks from Georgia and was interested in coming with us for the afternoon. I'm so glad they were both able to see the quilts as they both enjoy sewing and quilting.
The last thing we did was cast a vote for our favorite three quilts--so hard to do with so many wonderful works of art!
Here are Hannah and Sarah in front of the Museum as we were leaving. The old building which houses the Museum was also a real treasure and used to be a hospital for Civil War soldiers wounded in the Valley. There's more information here on this post I wrote when Sarah and I visited last year for the first time.
It was a wonderful excursion and so fun to see our friends again! Thank you, Susan and family for a fun afternoon!