I store all kinds of things about cooking, quilting and some surprises in my cupboard. Check it out.

Easy Cannoli Cones

cannoli-cone

These cannoli cones aren’t going to be as good as the cannolis from your favorite Italian restaurant but they’re really delicious, easy to make and fill the need for a quick cannoli fix.  I combined several recipes, ideas and tips from online to make this fun dessert.

To hold the cones while coating them with chocolate and chilling them, you can cut an “x”  for the number of portions in the top of the cardboard cone box covered with foil…

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… or, my favorite, the bottom of a Styrofoam egg carton, inverted with an “x” cut for the portions.

eggcarton

At first, I thought it would be nice to serve the cones in a tall flute along with the filling and garnishes in separate bowls …

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… but the cones are  too hard to remove.  I found it best to just let each person grab a cone and alternate layers of filling, chips, cherries and nuts.

EASY CANNOLI CONES

6 sugar cones (the cake type with pointed ends)
½ cup chocolate chips, melted
¼ cup heavy cream
8 oz. ricotta cheese (one cup)
¼ cup powdered sugar
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup each of mini chocolate chips, chopped pistachios and chopped candied cherries

Place a spoonful of melted chocolate into each cone, turning and swirling to coat the inside of the cone.  Spread a little bit of chocolate over the rim of the cone.  Place cones in a container and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes until set.

To make filling:
Beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form.  Beat in ricotta, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Place in a covered bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

The chocolate coating on the cones and the filling can be done ahead of time, but wait until ready to serve before filling the cones so they will be nice and crisp.

Fill cones with alternating layers of filling, chips, cherries and nuts.

Servings:  6 cones   

Cozy Afternoon Quilt-Along – Block 4

blk4 (2)Jacquelynne Steves is offering another series of free blocks-of-the-month called Cozy Afternoon.

http://jacquelynnesteves.com/cozy-afternoon-block-of-the-month/

There will be five blocks, each with a pattern to embroider or applique for the center.  I have a large hassock with a lid which I’m going to cover, using five blocks – one for the top of the lid and four for the sides.

My version of Block 4 is shown in the top picture.  This will be one of the sides of the hassock cover, using a vintage embroidery pattern for the center.

Jacquelynne also provides a pattern for an embroidered or appliqued center.

This was an easy block to make and made a nice frame for the embroidered center.

Peach, Pineapple and Tomato Salsa

Peach Salsa (3)Susan at Desertsky Quilting posted a recipe for a cooked salsa with tomatoes, pineapple and peaches (click here for her version) which sounded really good.  I wanted to use this idea, taking advantage of the wonderful fresh produce that is available now and made up an uncooked fresh salsa.  I didn’t have fresh pineapple and used two slices of canned pineapple cut into small segments.

Note:  Peaches and tomatoes can be peeled easily and without waste by dipping them in boiling water for about 20 seconds – the skins slip right off.

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PEACH, PINEAPPLE AND TOMATO SALSA

  • Servings: About 3 cups of salsa
  • Print

1 cup peaches, peeled and diced
2 slices pineapple, drained and cut into small segments (about 1 cup)
2-½ cups peeled, diced fresh tomatoes
1 Tblsp. hot banana pepper, finely chopped
1 Tblsp. cilantro, snipped in small pieces (fresh basil is also good)
1 Tblsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tblsp. honey
¼ tsp. salt
Grating of black pepper

Place prepared peaches, pineapple, tomatoes, banana pepper and cilantro in a medium bowl.

In a separate small bowl, mix together the vinegar, honey, salt and pepper.  Pour the vinegar mixture over the salsa ingredients and toss lightly.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Makes about 3 cups of salsa.  Will keep well in refrigerator for 3-4 days.


Peach Salsa (1)This is a good side dish and was delicious served with grilled tilapia.

tilapiaIt is also good served as a dip with cinnamon crisps.

Stars & Pinwheels QAL – Block 3 – Chunky Star

Susan3 (3)This is block 3 in Susan’s quilt-along featuring stars and pinwheels, called Chunky Star.  Once again, Susan has offered two versions – one with half-square triangles as shown in the picture at the beginning of the post   ….

https://desertskyquilts.wordpress.com/2015/07/20/stars-and-pinwheels-qal-chunky-star/

…and one with flying geese.

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https://desertskyquilts.wordpress.com/2015/07/22/stars-and-pinwheels-qal-july-block-the-fg-way/

These are both easy blocks with good instructions.

I’m using the blocks from this quilt-along each month to make a small project.  I decided to put these two blocks together in a favorite tie bag.  I found this pattern online about 15 years ago and have made it in a large variety of sizes and fabrics.  Along the way, I adapted it to make better use of the fabric and it took very little to make this nice lined bag which will be a gift for someone later this year.

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Peach and Cantaloupe Shortcake

CantPchS-Ck (1)I was looking through my collection of vintage cookbooks and found one dated 1944 (priced 10 cents) from Kerr Mason Jars, Caps and Lids.  

CantPchS-Ck (4)The art work in these old books is amazing and since this was published during WW II, there are a number of references to doing your part for the duration.

CantPchS-Ck (5)I found one recipe for Peach and Cantaloupe Conserve that sounded interesting, but I don’t make big quantities of sweet spreads any more.  I liked the idea of the combination of fruit and used a favorite fruit sauce recipe with a tiny percentage of the sugar called for and came up with these shortcakes.
CantPchS-Ck (6)We liked this dessert very much and it’s a good way to use fresh summer produce.

Here in the Cincinnati area, we have a melon which looks and tastes like a cantaloupe, but it’s as big as a medium-sized watermelon.  It’s called Indiana Melon and has the most wonderful flavor.  I also found some huge South Carolina peaches at the farm stand and had what I needed to make my shortcakes.

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PEACH AND CANTALOUPE SHORTCAKE


3 cups fresh peaches, peeled, seeded and diced

3 cups cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and diced
1 cup water
¼ cup granulated sugar (depending on sweetness of peaches)
1 Tblsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Butter and Egg Biscuit Shortcakes:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tblsp. granulated sugar
1 Tblsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
5 Tblsp. butter, cut in cubes
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg

Milk to measure 1/2 cup when mixed with vanilla and egg

Topping:

2-3 Tblsp. chopped walnuts

Thawed frozen topping or whipped cream

To Make Fruit Sauce:
In a large pan, place prepared fruit.

In a two-cup measure, place water, cornstarch and vanilla.  Whisk together and pour over fruit.  Stirring occasionally, heat fruit mixture over medium heat until it comes to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook for two more minutes, stirring constantly.  Set aside to cool to room temperature.  Fruit should be fork-tender and hold its shape.  Makes about 4 cups of sauce.

To Make Biscuit Shortcakes:

Preheat oven to 410 degrees F

Place flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.  Add butter cubes and mix with fingers until butter is distributed.

In a one cup-measure, whisk together the vanilla and egg. Add milk to make 1/2 cup.

Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients and with a fork, mix together to form a ball of dough.  Place dough on a floured surface and knead briefly until it holds together.  Pat to about one-inch thickness and cut 8 circles with a floured two-inch cutter.  Place an inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake @ 410 degrees F for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.  Remove to a rack to cool.

To serve:
Split a biscuit and place on a dessert plate.  Spoon sauce over the biscuit halves, spoon whipped cream/topping on top and sprinkle with chopped nuts.

8 Servings

CantPchS-Ck (2)Note:  Refrigerate any leftover sauce and bring to room temperature to serve. 

Easy-to-Sew Pouches for a Garden Kneeler–Tutorial

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For the past few years (since I turned 80), I’ve had some back problems which make it difficult to do any gardening.  I can get down on my knees but have trouble getting back up.  Then, I found the Rumford Gardener’s Kneeler/Seat on Amazon and that solved the problem.
41J3S812GCL._SX425_The unit can be used as a seat or, more importantly to me, a kneeler.  It folds for easy storing, is shipped fully assembled and has been such a great help to me that I ordered another one to keep near the back yard.  I’m sure there are other brands that are just as good, but I haven’t used them and I know this one is a good value at around $25.

I noticed that there are also pouches for tools available but they cost about half as much as the kneeler and I thought it wouldn’t be hard to make a set.  These pouches are simple, easy-to-sew and work great for me.  I put four hand tools that I use the most in the pockets and can carry the kneeler from place to place in the yard without difficulty.

Here is how I made the pouches:

Choose medium weight fabric – heavy canvas would be difficult to sew and turn.  I found a remnant of medium weight outdoor fabric that worked perfectly.
toolpouch (1)TOOL POUCHES FOR GARDEN KNEELER – two pouches

CUT:
2 pieces 8 inches wide x 30 inches long of fabric for base
2 pieces 8 inches wide x 8-½ inches long of fabric for pocket
2 sets of Velcro fasteners 6-½ inches long

toolpouch (2)On top edge of pocket, turn down ¼ inch and another ¼ inch and stitch to form a ½ inch hem.

Place base right side up on surface.  Pin pocket fabric right side up on base, matching pocket with bottom and sides of base fabric.  Baste close to bottom and side edges to secure pocket.  Stitch down the center of the pocket fabric to make two sections.
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Bring top edge of base down to line up with bottom edge of base, right sides together (pocket will be on the inside).  Using ½ inch seam, stitch along the sides and bottom, LEAVING OPENING ON ONE SIDE OF ABOUT  3 INCHES TO TURN.

Trim corners, turn and top stitch ¼ inch from the edges all around the base, tucking in the opening seams and securing.
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Working with the back of the piece, measure from the top edge down 6-½ inches and draw a line.

Stitch one piece of Velcro with the bottom edge of the Velcro slightly covering the drawn line.  Stitch the other piece of Velcro to the back top edge.  Top edge will fold down to secure pouch.

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toolpouch (6)Fold edge down over bars on stool with pockets on the outside.

Repeat with the other pieces of fabric and Velcro to complete two pockets with a total of 4 sections for small hand tools.

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*I’m not being paid for my endorsement of this product – I just like it a lot and want to share.

Strawberry Chicken Salad with Strawberry Poppyseed Dressing

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I combined a couple of recipe ideas to make this chicken salad with strawberries and a strawberry poppy seed dressing.  My daughters and I love this salad.

It’s easy to make with cooked chicken breast (one full cup per serving), strawberries, pecans and dry minced onions.  My daughters don’t like to bite down on a raw onion, so I used the minced ones.  If I were making it for myself only, I’d add some sliced red or sweet onion.
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An easy-to-mix oil dressing with pureed strawberries is added to the chicken mixture …

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…and the salad is refrigerated for an hour or so to blend flavors.

STRAWBERRY CHICKEN SALAD WITH STRAWBERRY POPPYSEED DRESSING

FOR THE SALAD:
4 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (one medium sized whole breast)
2 Tblsp. dry minced onion
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
¼ cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

FOR THE DRESSING:
½ cup fresh strawberries, quartered
¼ cup white vinegar
2 Tblsp. granulated sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 Tblsp. poppy seed
3/4 cup peanut oil

TO MAKE THE SALAD:
In a large bowl, combine the chicken, onion, 1 cup sliced strawberries and pecans.  Set aside.

TO MAKE THE DRESSING:
Place ½ cup of strawberries, vinegar, sugar, salt, poppy seed and oil in a food processor or blender and process until dressing is smooth and oil is completely blended with other ingredients.

Pour the amount of dressing you prefer over salad ingredients and toss lightly.  Place in covered container and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Makes 4 servings.

Ch-Strawberry (1)


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