Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ham, Gruyere and Tomato Quiche (low carb)

(you've figured out what we had for Thanksgiving, right?)

Omitting the traditional crust not only reduces the carbs significantly, but it also makes preparation much easier. The "filling" will brown nicely on the top and bottom, and comes out of the pan easily with the help of a little cooking spray.

In a large bowl, beat 6 eggs with 1/2 cup of heavy cream, 1 teaspoon of thyme, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon of sage, and 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper.

Spray an 8 inch glass pie pan well with cooking spray. Mince 4 oz or so of ham and toss with 4 oz finely shredded gruyere cheese in the pie pan. Pour egg mixture over ham and cheese. Slice one tomato crosswise, and arrange tomato slices on top of quiche. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese over top of quiche, then add another light sprinkle of seasonings evenly over the top: garlic powder, thyme, sage, and pepper.

Bake at 350 for approximately 40-45 minutes, until the quiche is browned nicely on top and a knife comes out clean when inserted into the middle. Let cool 10-15 minutes before slicing.

Serve warm with a side salad. Try a leftover slice reheated in the microwave for a quick breakfast.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Got Ham Bone?

Creamy Ham & Cauliflower Soup (low carb)

Make ham stock: Put the bone in a stock pot with large-cut mire poix: 4 ribs celery, 2 carrots, 1 onion. Add a few cloves of garlic and 10-12 peppercorns, just lightly crushed. Cover the bone and veggies with a combination of 1/2 water and 1/2 low salt chicken broth. Cover and simmer for about 3 hours. Strain out vegetables and discard. Pick any leftover meat off the bone and shred.

Saute one diced onion in a little olive oil until transluscent. Add 2 quarts ham stock (freeze remaining or double recipe). Add 2 pounds of frozen cauliflower (or fresh if you prefer) and 2 teaspoons of thyme. Cover and simmer for about half an hour until the cauliflower is mushy. Using an immersion blender (or remove to a food processor), puree the vegetables until smooth. Stir in one cup of heavy cream, 4 ounces of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, leftover ham and pepper to taste.

If you have any extra fresh herbs hanging around after the holiday, feel free to substitute them for the thyme. If you don't feel like making ham stock, this is great with just canned low salt chicken broth.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday at ABC Stitch Therapy

ABCStitch is having a great sale - 20% off everything until midnight on Saturday. Ack!

(yeah, ok, I ordered a little something...because obviously 7 large in progress projects aren't enough)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Chatelaine's Knotgarden

Moving along nicely. I really like how it's coming out so far.

At some point, I need to start filling in the specialty stitches (eyelets, etc) but I'll probably wait until I'm done most of the cross stitching, then mount on a scroll frame.

I was supposed to work on Midsummer Night's Fairy next, but when I checked the pattern, I realized I hadn't enlarged it. I'm finding, especially later in the evening, that the Mirabilia patterns tend to run a little small, even under the Ott-Lite. I need to go make a working copy and blow it up to 125% or so. I don't go out the weekend after Thanksgiving because of the shopping madness, so that will have to wait.

So because of this, I get to start Mermaid of Atlantis, also a Mirabilia. She's a petite mermaid - so much so she's fitting nicely on a leftover piece of Picture This Plus Fathom that I'm also doing Sleeping Beauty on. Since the Fathom was quite expensive, I'm happy I could use the leftover piece. MoA has a ton of beads, metallics & Waterlilies threads - so you know how much that can add up to, so it's nice to be able to cut back a little on the fabric costs as well.

I do so love starting a new project - almost as much as finishing one.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fourteen Shades of Orange and Yellow

So here's Edith Wolford after a week of working on her. And yes - there are FOURTEEN shades of orange and yellow there...ack! I had to card up all of the floss in order to keep the cut strands straight - once I cut floss, I rewrap on the card. Clearly stitching grid by grid is really working for this piece - it's moving along quite quickly now. I really love the orange and purples together - where else but in nature could you get away with that?

The folds on the iris petals will be a lot more distinct once they are backstitched.

Up next in rotation: Back to Knotgarden from Chatelaine!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Edith Wolford by Silver Lining

So this is officially my oldest WIP, not that I have completed very much of it. It's a lovely purple and orange iris - you can start to make out a petal on the right - from Silver Lining, which does the most beautiful detailed roses, irises, and other flowers. I did Dream Lover, a blue iris, a couple of years ago, and I have about a dozen other patterns.

I got very frustrated working on Edith not long after I started because many of the colors are very similar (the orange in the picture is about 12 different oranges), and the center part in particular (where I started) is mostly confetti-style stitches. I ended up packing it up and putting it away in 2008.

When I started working on Meeting on the Turret Stairs , I had to adjust my stitching style to accomodate how the pattern is basically all confetti stitching. The only way you can effectively keep track of where you are is by working one 10x10 square at a time, one page at a time. I am going to apply that way of stitching to Edith Wolford instead of just trying to follow how the colors flow.

As you can see, I've started squaring off the top of a page (the straight line of stitching) by filling in the 10x10 graph squares around what I'd already stitched. I think it should work out a lot more smoothly this time.

The fabric is an off white 32 count lugana.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Royal Holiday by Mirabilia

Royal Holiday is sometimes refered to as Christmas Queen, and is done in the style of Mirabilia's seasonal Queens - she's more of a companion piece than one of the series.
I started her a week ago; it's been a rather stressful week so I've been stitching when I can because it really helps clear my head. She's being stitched on cream Belfast linen rather than the antique white that I used for the other Queens; I think that it will contrast all the white in the piece nicely.
I still have to order some of the beads and the metallic threads, but as I don't do them until the end, I have plenty of time. I am omitting the Whisper thread used for her cloak, because I really dislike working with it. I'll either be using straight DMC white, or I may blend the DMC white with a metallic floss.
She's done for this rotation, and will come up again in a few weeks. Up next: Edith Wolford by Silver Lining, which is a beautiful purple and orange iris.
And yet another project...

This is a shot of the edging of an afghan that I'm working on. The "body" is a repeated fan design, and I'm slowly but surely working the fan edging right now. It's done in Red Heart soft white yarn, which makes for a nice warm throw that also washes well.
This is where I got to on Sleeping Beauty before I put her away so I could rotate onto another project.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Attempting to Rotate Projects

I've never been one to work on projects on a schedule per se - I just work on one project until I'm a bit bored of it, and then work on something else (preferably something I've already started). My list of in-progress projects, kitted projects (not started but most of the materials put together) and wish list projects (ones I want to start soon but probably don't have more than just the pattern) has really grown exponentially.

Given how long that list is now, I'm going to try to rotate projects, working on it a week at a time, and then changing to the next one. I don't know if it'll make them go faster, but I always feel guilty if I haven't worked on one for a long time (Knotgarden...Midsummer Night's Fairy....and most especially Edith Wolford).

So we'll see how that works. I'm going to include two of the projects that I have kitted up - Royal Holiday and Mermaid of Atlantis, both Mirabilias. I also have My Sweet Rose by Artecy kitted, but that can wait a little longer.

I tidied out my stitching bag (a big old LL Bean tote bag) today, and realized that "Meeting on the Turret Stairs" was further along than the previous picture, so here's where I'm at with that. I'm almost finished page 5 of 9 pages.