Stitching and Cooking

This morning I stitched the fourth of the blocks for Lisa's Live, Love Teach quilt that was planned for August. Since I haven't added any to the list for my busy September, that means I'm caught up until my one-block-per-week goal picks up again in October.

Here is Block #28, Misty and Chelsea's block submission.

Here it is rendered in fabric, floss, and crayon. Those little books are just about one inch across, and so those are some teeny, tiny stitches making up the book titles.

With the completion of this block, I'm halfway through the stack of 56 total block submissions. When I pick it up again in October, I'll be doing these four blocks:

Aside from hand work, there was no sewing yesterday. Housework consumed the entire morning. Then, Mike and I were both lazy and took naps. After that, it was time to start my hours-long soup-making process. It wasn't a difficult soup to make, but there were a couple of stages of cooking. While I was doing that, the neighbors who are going to pet sit for Smitty and Gracie showed up, and we ended up chatting with them for a good part of the afternoon. It kept me entertained while I was chopping vegetables for my soup.

As for the soup, it was delicious. It made enough for dinner last night, and enough for another dinner. I'll probably freeze the leftovers and have it again down the road. Our CSA share has caused us to try vegetables previously unknown, or else known but never tried. One of those is collard greens, which we both happen to love. I've tried different ways of tenderizing them...blanching, boiling, etc. My favorite way is to massage them with a good amount of salt and then let them sit for about half an hour to pre-wilt. In the case of this soup, that was unnecessary since they cooked for 45 minutes in the soup stock.

So here's what we had for dinner. It's a Hearty Tuscan White Bean soup, and the recipe happens to be posted right here

I noticed that it's just slightly different from the recipe I used, which appears in their book The Best Soups & Stews from the Editors of Cook's Illustrated.

The book recipe calls for 5 cups of stock and that big bunch of collards needed every bit of the stock that was added. I used some of the homemade vegetable stock currently occupying literally ALL the space in the freezer. I've been making three quarts of stock per week this summer until I absolutely, positively couldn't fit another quart into my allotment of freezer space. Now that the weather has cooled off some, it's time to put it to use. 

The only other change I made to the recipe was to use dried white Navy beans rather than dried cannellini beans, which weren't available. I soaked the beans overnight in a solution of 1 gallon of water and 3 tablespoons of kosher salt. They were drained and rinsed prior to adding them into the soup. Also...I used fresh tomatoes because I'm currently buried in tomatoes. I sent some more home with the neighbors. There's more than one way to skin a wealth of tomatoes.

Tonight we're going out. Now get a load of this graphic Mike created on Thursday evening. 

He's started a countdown until his retirement date in April of 2017. We both believe it's wise to plan ahead for these things. You don't want that date sneaking up on you because who knows? You might go off to work thinking you still had more time left. Better safe than sorry.

So the other part of his little exercise in planning ahead involved marking the "Centinal" dates, which is a word I just now made up to fit my needs. The Centinal dates are those days when he reaches a particular 100 mark in the process, and today just happens to be the 600 mark until his retirement date. We've decided to have a little celebration each time one of those dates pops up. Tonight, we're going to see "A Walk in the Woods". And I'll just say right here that Bill Bryson's book on which the film was based is one of the most entertaining books I've ever read. If you haven't read it, you simply must. 

The only other thing I've done since my last blog post is to start getting ready for the next stitchery. As I said, it's wise to plan ahead. Certainly, I don't want to finish up the next Hocuspocusville block without something else ready to go. The next project I'm going to start is this Written in Thread wallhanging from Bareroots

I fell in love with this little quilt when I saw it in the Pendleton Quiltworks quilt shop in Pendleton, Oregon. The little wall-hanging was there on the wall, but they were sold out of the pattern. They took my information and contacted me two days later to send me the pattern. I was thrilled. And now, it's up on my to-do list. This morning, I went through my stash of floss and pulled out colors I had or substituted others for ones I didn't have. Also, I pulled fabrics from my stash. It's always fun to start something new, and it's especially nice when you can pull everything from your stash. No new purchases necessary.

So that brings you up-to-date on the latest lazy weekend at the Three Cats Ranch. Things are going to get a little wilder and woolier starting tomorrow when we need to get serious about packing for our trip. We leave on Thursday, and there is still much to do.

6 comments from clever and witty friends:

Dana Gaffney said...

I really like the Written in Threads, I think it's the different layout that really appeals to me.

Kate said...

Wait, they made A Walk In The Woods into a movie? How did I kiss that? I LOVE that book! I blame the boys - I only ever know about movies with explosions in them. I like your next planned stitchery. You've got a good eye for these projects!

gayle said...

Do you have enough stitchery projects to last the whole trip? That's the most important thing; everything else is just fluff.
I bookmarked that soup recipe, because oh my, that sounds good... I've accumulated a lot of good recipes since I started visiting you here!

Kate said...

You are moving right along with Lisa's quilt blocks. Way to stay on schedule.
That soup looks delicious.
Love Mike's graphic. Seems like a good plan to celebrate along the way.

quiltzyx said...

That soup looks good - even though it was 86* INSIDE my house this morning at 8:30a.m., 89* when I got to work (after being called in). And humid, at least for us SoCalians. My sister Nancy has a fabulous recipe for Minestrone (?) - one of the Italian type soups anyway. She made some for me when I was visiting once & I think it took her an hour just to cut up all the veggies in it...and she was using a salad shooter too! I believe she told me that she got it from one of those fancy cooking magazines a half-zillion years ago.
I'll have to look into getting A Walk in the Woods to read!
That's a nice stitchery & it is always fun when you already have everything you need to start!

Brown Family said...

That is a sweet quilt! I like Barefoots patterns, too. They are quick and easy