Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Quilts Galore!!

It is that time of year...time to get all the quilts out of the cedar chest and refold them.  This is something that my mother and I used to do.  She insisted on it so that the quilts would not permanently crease and to reduce any chance of the spots that quilts can get when stored in cedar.  This is my first time of doing this since mom passed away so I was overjoyed when my 5 year old son wanted to help with the 'old blankets'.  
I have three cedar chest full of these quilts.  All of them were handmade by a member of my family, perhaps with the assistance of their friends.  There used to be quilting circles and quilting bees- where a group of ladies got together and work to help each other or just keep each other company.  The quilts shown below are just the contents of one cedar chest.  I apologize that I do not know the names of most of them though I know that my mom documented this so I will have to dig that out and update later.

This is one of my daughter's favorites...

Quilt 1

Quilt 2
This is one of my favorites- I just love the colors! (and I think I may recognize some of the fabric from pictures) and it was son's fave as well!

Quilt 3
This one is a group effort- each diamond has the name of the lady that quilted it.  This one is quite old.

Quilt 4
Love the red in this one

Quilt 5
This one is either much older or was just used more as it is showing its age...

Quilt 6
I wonder if they meant for this one to have the ring of darker fabric in the pattern or they just ran out of the lighter fabric??

Quilt 7
I think this is a wedding ring? Purple flowers.

Quilt 8
Another older one.  I love the print in the light fabric.  Windmills maybe?

So that is the contents of one cedar chest.  All have been refolded and put away until it comes time to refold them again in the fall.  Hopefully my little helper will be just as willing at that was not nearly as sad with his happy little hand and sweet comments.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Pinto Beans and way!

Pinto Beans....a Southern staple. They should be easy and straightforward but at least for me they have been anything but! The first time I made them I followed the directions on the back of the bag of beans-- I don't recommend this!! After that I consulted with the 'bean expert' at work and picked up a few tips. From there, I have just added different things, experimenting with the recipe to find what works for us.

I start with the dried beans. Traditionally I would pre-soak these- probably overnight - but I have converted to the slow cooker version of pinto beans so soaking is really not necessary.

I dumped the entire 16 oz of dried beans in the slow cooker then covered them with water so that there is about 2 inches of water above the beans. Then I start to add seasonings...the best way to season pinto beans is with ham, preferably something like a ham bone left from a previous meal. I don't cook ham a lot so this is not something that I usually have on hand! It is also acceptable to purchase some salt pork for seasoning or even use bacon grease but I have recently just used bacon. (My mom used to omit the pork and use olive oil and the beans were always good!) The only other "required" ingredients would be salt and pepper.

Today's beans had the following ingredients:

16 oz dried beans
5 strips of applewood smoked bacon
2 cloves of garlic
half of a white onion
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper-to taste
water to cover

I then cooked them on low all day in the slow cooker - about 8 hours until they are really soft and the water was all absorbed so I was left with very thick beans. If you prefer them to be of a thinner consistency you could add more water in the beginning or even add water once they have begun to thicken.

This is a pic of the leftovers...not much left!!
Served with yellow cornbread, fried potatoes and coleslaw--mmmmmm!!
These are even better the next day- if there are any left!!