12/12/13

A Few Blocks

It was an easy-going day today. I spent the morning sewing the binding on the Salt Water Taffy quilt. I still have about one side to go. Mike may have to fight Gracie for this one because she's kind of claimed it for her own, finished or not.


When I'd done all that I could stand, I decided it was a good day to try my dear mother-in-law's peanut brittle recipe. When we went to pick out our Christmas tree the other day, they were selling peanut brittle in the gift shop. Mike was salivating over it, and so I told him I had his mother's recipe and that I would make him some. My mother avoided making candy like the plague, except for divinity and fudge, and so she never made peanut brittle that I can remember. I wasn't familiar with the ins and outs of it, and so when I looked at this recipe, I was a little confused by the "Add 2 T soda" part of it.


I put it out to my Facebook friends because it seemed weird to put a levener into peanut brittle, but it also seemed weird to put carbonated liquids into it. Everyone who responded agreed that baking soda was the right ingredient. One person told me that it made the brittle easier to break apart. I tagged Mike's sister who told me that she also thought it meant 2 teaspoons rather than 2 tablespoons. I did a search on the internet to see other recipes and found this one on the Better Homes & Gardens website, which is almost identical to hers. Indeed, it seemed that 2 teaspoons was the proper amount.

So here we go: Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble. It took me about 25 minutes to get it up to temperature.


When I poured it into the pans, it was a little worrisome because it was sort of poofy. Still, the recipe said "DO NOT SPREAD" in all caps, and so I resisted the urge. As it cooled it flattened out. 

My next concern was getting it off the baking sheets. I had buttered them well, but I was still concerned about having just poured fast-setting concrete onto my baking sheets. So then I called Mike and asked him if he remember how his mom got it out of the pan. Did she use a knife? A spatula? As he recalled, she just turned the pan over and "whammed it". Okay, whamming now. And, lo and behold, it worked like a charm. It came right out of the pan and broke apart. I just broke it into a little bit smaller pieces, and voila! 


Yummy peanut brittle just like my mother-in-law used to make. One of my Facebook friends suggested adding one teaspoon of vanilla, and I intended to do that, but then forgot. I think it would have added a nice flavor. I'll add it to the recipe, and I'll remember the next time I make it.

So with that accomplished, I headed into the sewing room where I found his master sleeping peacefully. He's been hanging out on his little bed during this cold weather even when I'm not in there. And by the way, I'm not in the habit of boozing it up while sewing. Those bottles in the background are unwrapped Christmas presents. Really. I'm not kidding. 


Today I finished up the last block for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. There was no color chosen in December. This is my first year doing the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, and so I don't know if we always take a bye in December. I needed a color for the month, however, and so I chose turquoise.


And now all the blocks for this quilt are made!


I'm going to give it a sashing and a border before it's finished, but I won't do that until it comes up to be finished in April. I'm assigning months to all my quilts now so that I can keep up with my routine of finishing a top and quilting a quilt once per month. And I'm going to link up to Scraphappy Saturday!

So having made the last block for that quilt, it seemed like a good time to make the first block for a new one. This is my December NewFO project, "It's Raining Cats and Dogs," by Bunny Hill Designs. Here's what the whole quilt will look like when its finished.


For now, I'm just doing Block One. Originally, this was a block of the month, but I have the whole pattern.


As it turns out, this is going to be a great quilt for using some of my smallest scraps, and I'm trying to stick pretty close to those shown in the pattern. I saw this quilt made up at the International Quilt Festival of Ireland, and it was adorable. Today I made the background for the block. It ends up being fairly large at 16 1/2 inches. 


Tomorrow I'll start making the applique pieces. It was originally intended to be needle-turn applique, but I'm doing raw-edged fusible applique with a straight stitch around the edges.

And that was the end of my sewing day. My walking buddy Sue was having a retirement party this evening, and I got all dressed to go. I even put on mascara! Sadly, when I got out on the road, it was quite icy, and with it being an hour's drive for me, I felt it was ill advised to continue on. So I turned around and came home. I'm sorry to be missing Sue's party because I was looking forward to it. It's supposed to warm up overnight, and so I'm hopeful that the roads will be better in the morning. We are planning to meet up for our usual Friday morning walk, but time will tell if I'll be able to get there.

So that was my day. A relaxing and productive day it was. How are things at your end?

20 comments from clever and witty friends:

Vroomans' Quilts said...

The peanut brittle looks yummy! Love your ladies - what a unique quilt this will be.

Junebug613 said...

Oh, I'm sorry you didn't get to go to Sue's party. It's one thing to not want to go to something, but when you're looking forward to it and get all dressed up and not be able to go just stinks! The peanut brittle looks yummy. Awww, Miss Gracie is all snuggled up. Poor Smitty, it hasn't been cold for all that long yet, how will you survive the whole winter indoors?

Lee said...

Great job on the peanut brittle, you're a quick study! I'm sure I'd eat the whole pan if we had some here, but we never do because Nick's allergic to peanuts, bummer huh? When he moves away from home some day, then I'll make peanut brittle. Best to stay home than spin out on the ice, but sorry you had to miss your friend's party. You're probably not the only one to not make it.

Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

That's a shame about missing Sue's party but, Barb, better to remain safe when the roads are that treacherous. The little ladies are just delightful with all their varied-nesses. And the coldest cat in Oregon, eh ?~! He looks like he needs a little fireplace all his own to stretch on the hearth. I so relate when we talk about being uncomfortable and cold.

Brown Family said...

That is the same recipe that My Mom had, except hers did have the teaspoon of vanilla. I remember her turning the pan upside and giving it a thwack! I do miss her candy making. I need to get off my lazy couch and try my hand at it!

Dana Gaffney said...

So, did Mike love the peanut brittle? I love those childhood food memories. I need to find the time for cookies my aunt would make.

Tammy said...

The peanut brittle brings back memories. And that quilt is going to be gorgeous

Patrica said...

You did have a productive day and so did I. I moved into my new pantry! Yay me and it took all day, but I was being really picky about where everything should go and cleaning closets as I went. I make peanut brittle every year at Christmas for gifts but I do it in the microwave, takes quarter of the time and turns out yummy. I use vanilla in mine.

kathyinozarks said...

Your peanut butter looks delicious. that is one candy I love to make, I used to make it with my grandma during the holidays. yep you need the baking soda-water to put air in the brittle I think it helps to make into brittle instead of so hard.
your quilts are just awesome
I am a new follower from the hop
Kathy

SJSM said...

Great projects! Love seeing what you do. Sorry you didn't make Sues party. Love peanut brittle! We put vanilla in it also. As newly weds we bought a microwave and the General Electric microwave cookbook ~1977. It has microwave peanut brittle that uses the same recipe but is essentially foolproof.and takes about half the time. Just a few quick stirs between heating sand you are done!

Jacque said...

Ohhh, I avoid icy roads like the plague...ie., sit at home with fireplace crackling and drink hot cocoa. LOL Glad you are safe...that new project looks adorable!

Karen said...

Lots happening.
Yumm to the peanut brittle!
Great block finish for the rainbow challenge.
And good luck with your cats and dogs.

Dar said...

I've never made that peanut brittle but have been gifted it often. It is yummy and a bit addictive in my house. Your ladies are sure cute. How can you wait until April to work on them again. I'd be wanting to get it finished! lol Sorry you missed Sue's party, but she'll understand.

Quilter Kathy said...

Turquoise was the perfect addition!
Love this collection of wonderful blocks!

Quiltsmiles said...

Your RSC ladies are stunning, very nice will be watching to see what you do with these.
Thanks for sharing your brittle recipe. Jane

quiltzyx said...

Mmmmm peanut brittle! I need to come up with something to take to a potluck next Weds. Maybe that will hit the spot. We'll see.

The Rainbow Ladies are lookin' mighty fine. I like the turquoises that you picked (says the quilter with more blues in her stash than any other color). :)

Sorry to hear it was too icy to travel to Sue's retirement party. Much better safe than sorry - I think you made the right call.

Michele said...

I love how your ladies turned out. It will be a great quilt when it is all finished.

scraphappy said...

What an adorable block of the month. It looks so labor intensive. The rainbow girls are just too happy and cute. Glad you were able to get them all together.

Faye said...

Your little people are so cute! I am thinking of doing something like this for next years scrap challenge...

That photo of the peanut brittle is making me hungry!

Kate said...

Your Rainbow ladies look beautiful. You did a great job with the rainbow scrap challenge this year.