Quilty Fun

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Here’s a little peek at some of the quilt projects I’ve been working on lately. I always have a number of them going at the same time, and work on the one I have time for or are in the mood to work on.

This is my Tree of Life quilt ~

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I participated in a half square triangle exchange at a local quilt shop a few years ago and this is what I decided to make from all of the half square triangles I received. The pattern is in this book by Edyta Sitar ~

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While all of the half square triangles were sewn on a machine, I am hand piecing it all together. I still need to applique some vines and leaves along the two sides, and then it will be ready to quilt and bind.

Another quilt I have been working on is this Jelly Roll Race Farm quilt ~

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I saw this quilt finished at the quilt shop and loved the farm fabrics in it, called “Coming Home” by Deb Strain.

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The Jelly Roll Race quilt is very simple to make and would have been done by now if I had the time to sit and work at my sewing machine for longer periods of time. I’ll keep you posted on this one as I hope to finish it soon.

I am also working on this wall hanging, usually while I’m waiting for Anna at cheerleading practice ~

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The pattern is called “Live Simply” by buttermilk basin. I am at the point of sewing around all of the applique pieces, and it is small, so it’s easy to take along with me.

And finally, I mentioned in my Daybook this week that I have just joined a new Block of the Month program that will result in a “primitive houses” quilt when finished. I sewed the first block yesterday. Here it is ~

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This quilt is called “My Neighborhood” by Beverly Ingram, and it has the cutest rail fence border around it. I’ll keep you posted each month on my progress, but at one block a month, it won’t be finished until next year.

I hope your evening has gone well. Only three more nights to enjoy the Winter Olympics – it sure has gone by fast!

See you soon!

Blessings,
Nancy

The Simple Woman’s Daybook ~ February 17, 2014

So excited to rejoin the Daybook again! Here is my Daybook entry for today ~

Outside my window. . .blue skies and 70 degrees, a cool breeze blowing, birds chirping happily, Michael and Anna picking up sticks all around the property (not so happily), Jeff planting onion sets in the big garden and the little ladies (chickens) pecking around the yard.
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I am thinking. . .while I rock on the front porch about plans and rejoicing in this beautiful weather.
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I am thankful for. . .my little ladies, who are so much fun to watch, and who bless us with fresh eggs every day.
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In the kitchen. . .Pick your own Soup night and Cheesy Garlic Biscuits – and a cherry pie for dessert in honor of George Washington.
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I am wearing. . .light blue t-shirt, navy sweater, and jeans.
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I am creating. . .working on my Tree of Life quilt while watching the Olympics most nights and in small snatches of moments when I can. I’m also stitching on a “Farmish” Jelly Roll Race quilt on the machine. I just joined a new block of the month at my local quilt shop that features primitive houses with a split rail fence border, so I’ll be putting together the first block this week.
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I am reading. . .school books, quilt patterns, and my Bible.
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I am hoping. . .that David will feel better soon. His tummy was sick last night. :(
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I am looking forward to. . .watching the Olympics for one more week!
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From the Learning Room. . .Farmer Boy, Greek Mythology, C.S. Lewis, Sea Life, Bible lessons, and more along with our basic subjects. Anna and I just finished “A Little Princess” (Sara Crewe) and are already missing it – such a wonderful book!
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Around the house. . .David laying on the couch with soup and Gatorade watching Despicable Me 2, dishwasher running, Valentine balloons and flowers, kitties snoozing on my bed.
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A favorite quote for today. . .“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” – Isaiah 26:3
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One of my favorite things. . .watching the Winter Olympics!
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A few plans for the rest of the week. . .Ladies Bible Study, Church Small Group meeting, sewing, enjoying the great outdoors and my front porch with the mild temperatures we’re experiencing, planting onion sets in the garden (Jeff’s got a head start on that!), filling the bird feeders, and the final Upwards Basketball/Cheerleading games for the season for Michael, Anna, and David.
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A picture thought for today. . .

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Fancy chocolate covered strawberries from our Valentine’s celebration

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Thanks to Peggy at The Simple Woman’s Daybook for this wonderful meme. Visit Peggy to find the February list of participants in The Simple Woman’s Daybook.

Have a lovely day!

Blessings,
Nancy

Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Casserole

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I have known this recipe for years as King Ranch Casserole, which I understand may have originated at the King Ranch here in Texas. A friend gave me the recipe probably 25 years or so ago and it has become a staple on my menu list and enjoyed by my family over and over again. I have never actually made my own enchiladas because this recipe is so much easier and has all of the flavors of cheesy chicken enchiladas without the work. Here is the recipe ~

Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Casserole
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 medium onion, chopped
12 corn tortillas
10 oz. shredded cheddar cheese plus more to sprinkle on top
8 oz. Velveeta cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 can Rotel tomatoes or 1 can green chiles

Cook and chop chicken into bite sized pieces. Grill onions in butter and combine with chicken in bottom of 13 x 9 baking dish. Cut tortillas into small wedges and layer on top of chicken/onion mixture. Sprinkle shredded cheese on next, followed by a layer of Velveeta, sliced into quarter inch slices. Combine soups and tomatoes or chiles and pour on top of casserole. Sprinkle more shredded cheese on top and bake at 350 degrees until bubbly.

In pictures ~

Start with these ingredients -

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Cook (I boiled mine) and chop chicken -

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(I know – incredibly boring picture above.)

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Grill onions (one of my favorite kitchen smells!) and mix together with chicken in casserole dish –

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Cut corn tortillas into wedges, then layer tortillas, shredded cheese, and Velveeta atop chicken -

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Combine soups and tomatoes/chiles in a bowl. Pour on top of cheeses -

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Sprinkle desired amount of shredded cheddar on top and bake at 350 degrees until bubbly -

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Paired with a green salad and a chocolatey dessert (I made brownies this time), this makes a wonderful dinner plan!

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I hope your family enjoys this as much as mine!

Blessings,
Nancy

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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I hope your Valentine’s Day has been wonderful today! We enjoyed pizza and chocolate covered strawberries for dinner tonight. Jeff surprised me with a bouquet of balloons, beautiful flowers, a box of chocolates, and a gift card to my favorite Primitives shop. <3 We handed out chocolates and small gifts to the children and then spent the evening watching the Olympics.

1st John is one of my favorite books of the Bible pertaining to love, and especially these two verses -

“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him.”

“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

– 1 John 4: 9-10

Feeling especially blessed tonight by my Father’s love and my family’s love. I pray that you are as well.

Be back soon with that casserole recipe I promised you :)

Blessings,
Nancy

Finding My Way Back

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Hello all!  It has been quite some time since I have blogged on a regular basis. I think that in a sea of busyness, it just became one more thing to try to find time to do. But I do miss it and want to begin fitting the time back into my days to share my thoughts and happenings with you.  I’ll be back soon to share a recipe for the cheesy chicken enchilada casserole that we had for dinner last night.   Looking forward to visiting with you again!

Blessings,

Nancy

Soft Chicken Tacos

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A few years ago, I took the girls to an overnight camp out for our Keepers Club at my friend Julie’s home and property. The girls had a wonderful time, even braving a thunderstorm overnight! I didn’t stay the night, but was there through the evening and was introduced to these delicious chicken tacos. One of the things I loved about them was the flavor of the chicken. My friend told me that she had brined chicken thighs before roasting them in the oven, which is what gave them the amazing flavor. Brining is basically just soaking in salt water. It is good for chicken because it tenderizes the chicken and helps it retain moisture in the cooking process. I have been making these tacos ever since, and my family loves them!

I usually make some guacamole and grilled onions to go inside the tacos along with the usual toppings of cheese, lettuce, tomatoes. You could also add salsa or any other toppings that your family likes. Here are the simple instructions, starting with the brining ~

Wash and remove skins from about 8-10 chicken thighs and place in a baking pan. In a separate bowl, dissolve 1/4 cup of Kosher salt (the granules dissolve better) in 1 quart of cold water.

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Stir until the salt is all dissolved, and then pour it over the chicken, so that all of the chicken is covered in water. Cover the pan with foil and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to give it a good long soak in the brine.

After a few hours, remove the pan from the refrigerator, pour out most of the brine water into the sink (don’t let your chicken fall out!). Only leave a tiny bit of water in the pan. Place foil back on the pan and place in a 300 – 350 degree oven. Bake until done, about an hour or two depending on how high you set the temperature – lower temp = longer roasting time. Baste the chicken every now and then. Remove the foil when it is about done and let it brown slightly on top. Here is how the chicken will look when it comes out of the oven ~

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You will be removing the chicken from the bones, so let it cool for a bit while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.

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When you’re able to do so (without burning yourself!), remove the chicken from the bones and tear into small pieces.

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Heat up some soft flour tortillas in the microwave and set everything out for your bunch to pick and choose how they want to fill up their tacos!

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This is a great summer meal, although I make them for our family year round. For a quick and chocolatey dessert to follow up your meal, you can whip up some instant pudding. I found a couple of boxes that I had bought by mistake in my pantry (I usually buy the cook and serve). It turned out to be a nice, cool finish to our dinner!

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See you again soon!

Blessings,
Nancy

Porch Weather in July??

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I can hardly believe it, but I am actually spending this afternoon camped out in my rocker on the front porch – AT THE END OF JULY!!! This is unheard of here in Texas, where July usually means 100 degree temperatures. The temperature right now is in the upper 80’s, but there is a cool northern breeze blowing and the porch is nice and shady, and it is completely and beautifully comfortable here. There are dishes and laundry to be done in the house, but they are just going to have to wait – this weather is simply too wonderful to waste!

Sometimes it is just what is needed to relax, rest, and reflect. That is what I have been doing this afternoon. I do some of my best reflecting on my front porch, surrounded by the trees, and the beauty of nature. I was reading about Elijah in the book of 1 Kings, and came to the part where he was nourished and given rest by the Lord. God cared so tenderly for him and gave him a break to rejuvenate him. What a blessing to be reminded that these rest times are so important in our life!

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This day began with a bonfire in our side yard! One of our piles of dead and discarded tree branches (we have 2 of these) had gotten so tall that it needed to be taken care of, so our neighbor came over and helped Jeff prepare and burn it. It was our first time to burn a pile, so it was really nice to have our neighbor’s help and know-how. The wood was so dry that it didn’t take long to burn down to a big pile of ash. It is still smoldering now, and will be throughout the weekend. We tried to roast some marshmallows earlier, but we couldn’t get close enough to cook them due to the heat being put off by the pile! We’re going to try again later this evening and see if we can make some S’Mores.

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I took some pictures today of the little ladies also, so I will try to get a chicken update posted soon. They’re not little babies anymore – they’re almost to laying age! I am so much enjoying having them! They are living in a pen under the trees by the pond, but soon we will be letting them out during the daytime hours to free range the entire property. Here’s a sneak peek picture of the girls ~

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Have a wonderful evening, and I’ll be back with you again soon!

Blessings,
Nancy

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