Tag Archives: double wedding ring quilt

Exciting Developments

My weekend was highlighted by two very exciting developments.

The first was the realization that almond flour is in fact…ground almonds. Perhaps I’m the last one in the know here, but for several weeks I’ve been trying to justify spending $35 on a bag of flour. Unfortunately, little financial inconveniences kept cropping up: you know, paying for rent, laundry, new running sneakers (doctor’s orders), etc.–I just couldn’t bring myself to splurge.

But I’d heard too much about the wonders of this grain substitute: high protein, distinct rich flavor, and gluten free (which actually makes little difference to me, but is still intriguing). So I did some research (ie Googling) and discovered that ‘flour’ is a somewhat misleading term in this instance.

Fortunately, due to my current obsession with homemade granola, I do keep my kitchen well-stocked with nuts:

The fourth jar from the left just so happens to be blanched almonds.

It gets better. The ratio of slivered almonds to almond flour is apparently equal–how easy is that! So I measured out a cup and a half of nuts, placed them in the food processor and pulsed away until they had a grain-like texture. (Warning: over-processed nuts will turn into butter).

While many think of Friday night as an opportunity to hit the town, in the Eccles household this was always (and still is) pizza night. Pizza night involved pajamas, plenty of wine, a good movie, and, of course, pizza. It’s a tradition that I’ve never entirely gotten over, which is perhaps why the majority of Friday nights I still find myself craving a nice cheesy pie.

As luck would have it, almond flour can be used to make a delectable pizza crust. It has quite a strong, almost sweet flavor. What’s the word I’m looking for…nutty? And it’s firm but moist, more like a thin crust than deep dish. Best of all, it’s quick, easy, and well worth a try if you’re looking to put a new spin on your pizza pie.

Almond Flour Pizza Crust

1 ½ cups almond flour

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon baking powder

1 large egg

1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the almond flour, salt, and baking powder. In a separate small bowl, whisk the egg and olive oil. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir to combine. Place a piece of foil on a baking dish and grease it very generously. Press the dough into a 10″ circle. Cook the crust for 15-20 minutes or until slightly golden. Remove, add toppings, and cook for another 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

Using almond flour makes the crust such a distinct component, there’s really no need to go crazy with toppings. In this case, I used what I had in the kitchen pre-Saturday morning grocery trip: sweet potato, broccoli, tomato sauce, and lots of cheese. I baked the sweet potato for an hour at 400 degrees, mashed it with salt and thyme, and stirred in about 1/3 cup of tomato sauce. I spread this on the crust, sprinkled it with a hefty amount of shredded cheddar, and topped it off with steamed and salted broccoli.

Exciting development number two: I think I’ve gotten the hang of this double wedding ring quilt. I spent some quality time on my misbehaving seams and we seem to have to come to an agreement. I won’t bore you with the details of ironing/seam-pressing/pinning techniques… but lookie here:

I did a little more work after this picture was taken and I have officially finished one row. Only seven more to go. And you know what? After all my talk of not being in the mood for a big, time-consuming project, I’m loving this. It’s methodical and slow-going, but I’m finding that mode of working very comforting at the moment—my quilting muse works in mysterious ways.

I hope you made some delightful discoveries this weekend too!

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Some More

When I was in Cairns, Australia last summer, I bought these pants…

 

Actually, they’re not quite pants. They’re sort of a harem pants/skirt hybrid. Sometimes wearing them makes me feel like a genie, other times I feel like a total dork and can’t help but be reminded of Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed and her gaucho pants…but they’re not really gaucho pants either.

All that really matters in the end is that they are incredibly comfortable. They’re soft, swishy, and allow all the free leg movement of a skirt, but all the ‘coverage’ of pants (meaning I can bike in them, sit cross-legged, pop a headstand if I’m so inclined). I love them.

So this Saturday, while it thunderstormed outside my window, I decided to make some more of them.

I made a pair out of my Jay McCarroll Germania knit:

 

And another out of this fun, paint-swiped fabric that I bought at Mecca for approximately $2:

 

And then… I made three more.

 

It probably goes without saying that these are incredibly easy to reproduce. And I now have a lifetime’s (or close to a week’s) supply of genie pants. How marvelous.

Speaking of some more of a good thing, when I was put in charge of dessert for our Mother’s Day dinner, only one thing came to mind. Summertime meals in the Eccles family are all about outdoor grilling and this often followed by roasting marshmallows over the remaining coals. However, I decided to step it up a notch this time and make the s’more ingredients myself.

First, I whipped up a batch of graham crackers from this recipe. Quite easy and loaded with cinnamon:

 

Then I tackled the slightly more daunting task of homemade marshmallows.

Whenever I’m going to make a recipe that intimidates me, I read through it several times—often over the course of a few days—so I know exactly what to expect. This is helpful, but can also exaggerate the difficulty of the task. Making marshmallows did require some attentiveness—I diligently watched my thermometer for about 8 minutes until the sugar-water mixture was exactly 240 degrees—but it wasn’t rocket science.

And the result, if I do say so myself, was pretty divine:

 

Fluffy, sweet, soft…delicious. And even better when roasted.

 

In case you were wondering, you can also roast a marshmallow over a regular old candle. I may have experimented with this on Saturday afternoon—you know, just to be sure these babies were really truly marshmallows.

And while I bought Hershey’s Dark chocolate for the s’mores (I figured making 2 out of 3 of the ingredients was good enough), I did make some other chocolatey treats this weekend.

Friday was a crazy busy day at work, so by the time I got home I was craving some comfort food, nothing complicated or fancy. In fact, I really just wanted one flavor. The solution could only be chocolate pudding:

 

No words. Really, there are no words. All I can say is that whatever comes in those individual Jell-O cups is not even remotely the same dessert. Fresh, warm chocolate pudding is like eating a bowlful of the gooey middle of a piece of warm chocolate cake—which is the best part anyway (and we all know how I feel about warm chocolate cake). Oh, and if you’re thinking that warm chocolate pudding topped with roasted marshmallow would be as close as your taste buds can get to heaven, you’d be right…

My only two alterations to the recipe would be this: I found that I didn’t need to use a sift, and the only way this would amount to 5-6 servings was if you have the willpower of the gods.

I also made dark chocolate-covered espresso beans for my Dad’s birthday (which is today):

 

Basically, there’s always room for some more chocolate.

Progress on my latest quilting project has been a bit more modest. Those of you familiar with traditional patterns probably recognized my sketch of a Double Wedding Ring Quilt. Yes, I decided that in light of my recent engagement, I had to make one of these quilts—I’m an art historian at heart, after all, and I love the quilting tradition as much as I love its contemporary counterpart. I figured that using my own multi-colored dyed fabrics would allow me to put my personal stamp on it.

So far, I’ve managed to cut nearly all the necessary pieces:

 

But have only gotten through this much actual piecing:

 

Turns out, I’ve taken on a very ambitious project—methinks that this pattern was invented at a time when young brides-to-be had nothing to do but sew (hey, no judgment; I often wish I had nothing to do but sew). So far, the process is slow-going and finicky, but hopefully it will start to come a little more naturally. Either way, I’ve committed to this project and I’m determined to succeed. It will be hard work, but worth the effort—not unlike a successful marriage.

And if Kyle this quilt ever really starts to stress me out, at least I’ve got lots of leftover marshmallows and a bowlful of chocolate pudding in the fridge.

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