Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Bloomington, Indiana

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Welcome to Bloomington, Indiana! If you are within driving distance, you must add this annual show to your calendar! The town of Bloomington is charming – built around a court house square, the shops and restaurants lure you into their cozy establishments. Bloomington is home to Indiana University, and is culturally diverse.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: 2010 Bloomington, IN
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Highlights on this trip are dining each evening with fellow teacher friends. The first night four of us went to a great restaurant/pub called the Irish Lion.  PHOTOS  It is an old building, beautifully preserved, as if you walked into a honest-to-goodness Irish tavern. We dined on corned beef and cabbage, beef pie and other specialties.

Workshops the first day – Thursday – went well. Mine was a Quick & Easy Broken Star without Y seams. It was a 1-day class, and the students progressed well. Our classroom wall space was not good for mounting design walls, so I regret I didn’t take photos during class! Classmate John finished his quilt top (roughly 70″ square) and plans to piece the small broken stars (12 of them) to create a border and increase it to bed-size.

Last night we dined at Farm Bloomington restaurant facing Courthouse Square. Chef Daniel Orr’s culinary skills are world-reknown. The restaurant is very eclectic inside, with artistic divisions between dining areas such as quilts, farm implements, and salvaged everyday antiques. The General Manager gave us a tour of the two-story restaurant, including the cellar. It is a wild collection of ephemera from bygone days, wall murals, small private rooms with Christmas lights strung merrily.

Six of us sat in a private high-walled circular booth right near the kitchen, just near the wall adorned with an antique bedpan collection!  We ordered a variety of dishes, and our enthusiasm encouraged the chef, who plied us with additional tasty treats. “Here, try this – complements of the chef!”  I ordered the Bitter Orange Glazed Hoosier Duckling with Sautéed Pumpkin and Honey Glazed Chestnuts. WOW was it tasty!  Other highlights: we tried a Minty Green Pea Guacamole (unusual, creamy, chilled, slightly sweet) and the intriguing Three Floyds Gumballhead (which turned out to be a beer!).

The highlight of the evening, aside from our converstaion and “tales from the road”, was seeing musician/songwriter John Mellancamp and his lady companion, who passed through the restaurant and ate in a quiet area within sight of our table.

I hope to see the quilts at the show today, and will post a message  if I can take a few photos! My workshop begins in less than an hour, so I must run! Today I am teaching the strip-pieced Variable Hunter Star – although this design looks very traditional, the fabric choices determine the finished project.

Wine Cake / Sherry Cake

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

Our water aerobics class is so much fun! While we are huffing and puffing to get fit, we often chat with one instructor (between exercise moves) about favorite recipes, current events, and more. Here is Kathleen G’s recipe for her favorite Wine Cake – my mother called it Sherry Cake, and it is REALLY DELICIOUS! (the alcohol bakes out – the rich aroma and flavor remains)


1 box yellow cake mix
1 small box vanilla pudding mix
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup sherry
4 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Mix all ingredients well with a mixer. Bake in a greased bundt pan for 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let stand for 40 minutes before serving.


1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 Tbsp. sherry

Whisk together (add sugar and sherry to get desired consistency) and pour over cake. (I poke the top of the cake with a fork so the frosting will soak in. I also wait til the frosting isn’t as wet and I sift powdered sugar over the top for a prettier effect!). Enjoy with coffee!! Kathleen

Jan’s note: Other options for topping:

  • sprinkle powdered sugar over top (lightly)
  • mix 2-3 T. frozen concentrated orange juice into powdered sugar, stir; spread over warm punctured cake
  • grate lemon zest and squeeze lemon juice into powdered sugar, stir & spread over warm punctured cake

Pretzel Rolo Pecan treats

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

I first tasted these bite-sized treats when teaching in Alaska. This popular recipe appears multiple times on the internet, so I can’t credit the source! A few simple ingredients and about an hour’s time provides tasty bite-sized treats to serve, or inexpensive stocking stuffer gifts!

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook: Pretzel Rolo Treats

Jean & Jack’s Pretzels

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009


This easy holiday recipe from my friend Jean O. makes a large amount – quick, and great for inexpensive gifts! It would be a fun activity for children to help prepare and mix.

  • 2 lbs Mini Twist Pretzels (most favorable design)
  • 10-12 oz. butter flavored popcorn oil (Orville Redenbacher’s is best!)
  • 1/4 c. Origina Hidden Valley Dressing mix (the 4 pack 4.5 oz. pkg will make 2 batches)
  • 1 tsp.  garlic powder
  • 1 tsp.  dill weed
  • 1 tsp.  onion powder
  • 1 large oven roasting bag (8-24 lb Turkey size)

Pour pretzels into a colander to remove the extra salt. Place pretzels in the oven bag.  In a 2-cup measure, add the dressing mix, popcorn oil, and spices. Mix well. Add the mixture into the oven bag with the pretzels. Secure the oven bag with a twist tie near the top of the bag.

Leave enough space to lay the bag on a flat surface − no need to remove all the air.  Spread out the pretzels inside the bag.

For the next 2 days, periodically rotate the bag to mix the pretzels and distribute the seasonings. Turn the bag frequently − upside down, downside up, right / left, crossways, sideways, and always anytime you pass the bag or think about it. After 2 days the oil will have been absorbed and the pretzels are ready to eat. The flavor improves with age!

Jan’s note − what a great stocking stuffer or party gift − present each guest with a cute holiday package of pretzels − you could also print copies of the recipe, fold and attach with a bow.

Apple Cranberry Salad

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

Recipe provided by Mary Jane Ritter

cranberry pear salad


Romaine Lettuce (at least one head)
1 cup shredded swiss cheese (I often substitute parmesan)
1 cup chopped almonds or cashews
½ cup dried cranberries
1 red apple
1 pear

1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 Tablespoon poppyseeds
2 teaspoons grated onion
2/3 cup salad oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt

Dressing can be made ahead and the apples and pears can be chopped ahead too!!! Just toss them with a little lemon juice, it is in the dressing anyway, and put aside so they won’t brown!