Sunday, October 26, 2014

Loving this fall weather!

I'm loving this lovely mild weather...but my long-awaited fall has turned into a frenzy! 
How did that happen? It's me, maybe. 
I seem to keep thinking up cool ideas with no time in between to relax between finishes.
At school, I've taken on several big projects that turned out to be more time consuming than I remembered. Or maybe I made them more time-intensive than they needed to be...
But it's so much fun...
Some I volunteered for myself, others are regular duties that I just have to 
squeeze in & get over it. 
I enjoy them all - I just didn't expect them to pile up like all the fall leaves in the driveway!

But now let's talk about the shop.
At Calico Mermaid, we have some amazing plans for the rest of 2014! 

We're especially excited about our guest teachers coming soon. 

Terry Waldron will be here in a couple of weeks.
I can open up two more seats if you'd like to join us. 
Call the shop soon if you want those spots!
559 793 2510

Lynne Pillus will be at Calico Mermaid teaching her amazing techniques on January 10!
Save the date!

We also have some great holiday plans - on Halloween, we'll have some 
special Trick or Treat Fun for you. 

After Thanksgiving, we'll have our traditional Shop Small Weekend. You won't want to miss it!

 In December, you can earn Crabby Cash again this year - and spend it like cash!

And just wait till you hear about our 12 Days of Splash Your Stocking! 
The Mermaids have 12 days of special deals just for you!

We'll also be hosting a FINtastic Mini Winter Retreat again this year:
January 3-4-5            8 a.m. - 10p.m. at Calico Mermaid     7 meals included
Fun - Games - Prizes - Food - Friends
Start the New Year off right with time for yourself to finish up all your projects ...
OR get a jump start on something wonderful for 2015!

Check our Newsletter for our most recent 
Class Calendars!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Baking & Kitchen Fun

I love to cook.
I love to cook for fun.
I love to try new recipes.
I love to cook for people who like to eat.
I love to express myself through food.
That's why I bake for our shop parties. 

We just had a big weekend Harvest Shop Hop & someone asked why I don't just run to the grocery store & pick up cookies. 
Why go to all the trouble to bake for strangers when we have a shop event?

First of all, our customers don't seem like strangers. And I like to add a personal touch to our shop parties if I possibly can. My cooking may not be so fancy or perfect looking, but it's real food & it's a way I can connect with my quilty friends & do something special for them. 
Those who share my interest in cooking know.

My mom could make anything. She could cook, bake, sew, or craft anything anyone could dream up. When I use her recipes & utensils, I reconnect with her just a little.
I love to use these little baby loaf pans that belonged to my husband's grandmother. 
She would be so surprised to know they are being used to make refreshments in a quilt store!

This apple peeler was given to me by my dear friend Lisa who watched me peel apples by hand with my elementary school students for probably 10 years of Johnny Appleseed's Birthday Pies before I started borrowing her crank peeler. 
Then she gave me one of my own. 
She's right. 
As usual. 
It really is more fun to use.

 This recipe is delicious, & I was able to bake & freeze the little loaves last week & leave my evenings open the week before the Harvest Hop weekend.
They fit perfectly into Mom's Tupperware.

Then I take them out of the foil to slice & serve at the shop when it's party time. 
They are moist & yummy.

 I know everyone doesn't enjoy working in the kitchen as much as I do, & that's okay.
We all do what works for us. We need to do more of what brings us joy.
Cooking isn't a huge amount of trouble for me, & I like to do it.
As long as I'm able, I'm going to continue to express myself through my cooking. 
It's just another creative outlet, & I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I do.

Here's my recipe for Pumpkin Apple Bread. 
Pumpkin isn't my favorite, so the apples pull it back from the dark side for me. ;)
I started with a Libby's Pumpkin Bread Recipe & then made a few adjustments.
(FYI: I keep most of my favorite shop recipes on my Pinterest Boards.)

Pumpkin Apple Bread
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 can (15 ounces) LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup orange juice 
  •  2 peeled, chopped apples
  • optional - chopped nuts
PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Foil & spray five 4 X 6-inch loaf pans.

COMBINE flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil and juice in large mixer bowl; beat until just blended. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Fold in apples. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pans.

BAKE for 60 to 65 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Leave them wrapped in foil to freeze in an air tight container.

as above. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. 

Bigger pans need to bake longer.