Saturday, December 31, 2005

Gumbo Recipe

You saw the roux last night. Here's the pot on the stove simmering:

Several of you asked about my gumbo recipe. It's one of those things that I just do . . no recipe. If you can make a roux, you can make a gumbo. I found this at that has good instructions for making a roux (it isn't hard but you can't burn it!)

That's basically what I do to make my roux. They say to let it cool a bit before adding the chopped veggies but I don't. I put the onions, peppers and garlic in while it's hot so they saute. Don't add the veggies until the roux is as dark as you want it. You have to get it pretty dark -- cook it slow and stir it constantly.


2 onions, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
garlic, chopped (however much you'd like)

Add to roux and saute.

Add about 2 quarts hot water (can mix a little broth in here if you'd like). I usually boil my chicken a day ahead of time. Put the broth in the fridge so the fat can be skimmed off. Remove the chicken from the bones and chop it for the gumbo. I don't measure but you can cook it down or add more water to get the consistency you like.

Add salt, black and red pepper to taste. If you want to add sausage to the gumbo, slice it and fry it to remove the grease before adding to the gumbo.

Add a couple of bay leaves. Simmer for a couple of hours. Before serving, add chopped parsley and chopped green onions.

Serve with a bowl of hot rice and file (spice you probably can't find if you don't live way down south . . can't find it in Kentucky). But you can make your own file if you have a sassafras tree nearby. Here's how you do it:

Never add the file to the pot . . it will get very slimey. Add it to your own bowl right before you're ready to start eating.

Yum . . we're fixing to have ours now!


Monday, December 19, 2005

Teacher Quilts Delivered

Some days I hesitate to post because I get quite a few comments about the number of quilts I make. Please don't ever think I'm trying to say "look what I can do" because I'm not saying that all. What you may glean from my posts is that I don't have much of a life outside of my quilting.

These pictures aren't great. It's 24 degrees outside and I was running in and out with a short sleeve t-shirt so I was just snapping and running back in. Don't ask me why that goofy tree in the background still has leaves either. It is some kind of oak and is always the last tree in town to lose its leaves and the last one to get leaves. Every year I think it is dead because it is so late in getting leaves and then I remember it seems to have its own calendar of when to shed leaves and when to get new growth.

The schools here do semesters. When I was in school, we had the same classes all year (I think . . it's been too many years ago to remember). But here, they have four classes the first half of the year and then four classes the second half of the year. I make quilts for Chad's teachers for Christmas and on occasion, there has been an outstanding teacher during the second half so he/she will get a quilt for Teacher Appreciation Week. So, here are the quilts that were just delivered.

This one was given to Mrs. Whitmer. She was Chad's "advocate" (would have called her the home room teacher when I was in school!). She's had Chad for the past four years so she has received several quilts. She likes purple. I love this crazy star pattern from Buggy Barn and will make another one for myself one day maybe. My friend, Becky, made one in reds and greens and it turned out really pretty. Might be a fun quilt to make for the holidays. This was a stash quilt!

This one was made from my Vienna Tiles pattern and given to Mrs. Gutsche who is Chad's English 4 teacher. I've never spoken to her so I suppose that's a good thing. They had to do lots of writing in this class and Chad isn't much of a writer so I'm sure she earned her quilt! :) It's quilted with the flurry of angels - pretty much overall feathers. This was a stash quilt!

Mrs. Koshy is the forensic chemistry teacher. I didn't speak with her this semester either .. another good thing. This is, of course, another Stack & Whack and wasn't included in the Stack & Whack quilts I posted the other day. Makes you wonder what else might be buried in my stack of quilts. It's kinda hard for me to give quilts to people I've never met, never even seen. Chad was no help but I'm thinking she's young so I hope she likes the bright colors.

Mrs. Markham is the Algebra II teacher and unfortunately, I heard from her often. And, as I recall, it was never good news. Sat to say but I'm thankful the school web page is down right now. I just tried to check Chad's grade. He exempted the math final so his final grade should be posted. Maybe I'll have a glass of wine (or two) before trying to check grades again!

Anyway, Mrs. Markham's quilt was made from blocks that were from a one night beginning quilting class I taught several years ago. This was a stash quilt!

This one was given to Mrs. St. John who was the human anatomy teacher. This quilt was made from fabric a friend and I bought as a challenge to each other. It was the green/red floral. I worked on the blocks for a couple of years when we went to Georgia for Christmas. Glad to have it finished. I can't believe it but I didn't talk to her all semester either. I believe this is the first semester I have ever gone an entire semester without a conference with a teacher and looks like I never met three of his four teachers this semester. I'd like to think it's maturity on his part but I'm going to guess that the teachers feel by the time the kids are seniors, why bother??

There you have it . . the quilts are all in the hands of teachers and I hope they know how much I appreciate them having put up with my little darling for this past semester.

Judy L.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Stack & Whack Obsession

I had commented to Samantha about loving Stack & Whack Quilts and she mentioned that she'd like to see some of the ones I made so . . here are a few. If you don't like Stack & Whack quilts, you'll think I'm nuts for making so many but I love them!

This was the first one I made. The fabric is kind of patriotic and has the New York skyline, including the World Trade Towers. I had the fabric for a while but made the quilt after 9/11 and this is one of my favorites. I never look at this quilt that I don't remember where I was, and what I was doing on 9/11. The hardest part of making this quilt was deciding on a background and accent fabric. This is the version my quilting classes call the "easy" stack & whack.

The second one was made using a fabric with pretty ladies and cars from the 50's (or sometime thereabouts. This is the fabric I used. I made one of these quilts for my dad and one for my brother-in-law. Both are in their 70's and I figured they'd get a kick out of the girls and cars. I used the same fabric for the backing on both. This is my favorite setting with the nine patches in the sashing.

Next one was made using fabric with Chinese food. There's a story behind this one. Vince loves Chinese food. I can tolerate it every now and then but for the longest time, every time we'd go out to eat, which is rare, it was Chinese. It got to be so bad that we almost had a serious argument about it and we never really argue. I was sick of Chinese food and besides, the Chinese restaurant here is on the poor to awful scale as far as restaurants go. So, I made Vince this quilt as a joke. I need to get a better picture of it . . this one is kinda blurry and the blue isn't nearly as bright as it looks in this picture. And, Vince now eats Chinese food when he's out of town and we don't go to the Chinese restaurant here.

Starting to think I might have had too much fun with these quilts? :)

This one was fun to make but I do think it's kinda ugly. It really is sometimes surprising to see how some of the fabric is going to turn out when stacked and whacked. I gave it to one of Chad's teachers last year as a Christmas gift. It was a man teacher and he just loved it (or so he said).

This one was also a teacher gift last year at Christmas. One of Chad's teachers loves purple and green. The green wasn't quite as green as it appears in this picture. I also like purple and green so this one was hard for me to give away. I had originally wanted to use a lime green swirly fabric for the background but the star points just blended into the background and were lost so I had to switch to this darker green.

Last but surely not least is my black stack & whack. This quilt won Best of Category at the AQS Expo in Nashville in 2004. It was so weird because I had two quilts in the show. My other quilt had won several ribbons at other shows and I really hoped it would win something in Nashville. My friend, Betty, went to the show with me and we were walking around looking at vendor booths. I told her I was going to look at the quilts so she stayed behind in the vendor booths. I got to my green quilt first and . . no ribbon or anything. I didn't even think the stack & whack might have a ribbon so I casually made my way through the remaining quilts. The quilt was entered in the "AQS 20th Anniversary" category and it had to be quilts made from an AQS book. When I got to that section, they had the quilts hanging with the first place quilt, then my quilt with a purple ribbon, then the second place quilt, then the third place quilt. I stood there for a minute trying to figure out what the purple ribbon meant. Wasn't sure. So, I went and found Betty and asked her. She said . . I think it means you WON. Hmmm, still couldn't figure it out so I bought a show guide thinking it might tell me. I called Vince and I was whispering "My black quilt might have won!" He called me back about five times before I ever figured it out. Yep, it won and I was so excited!

There are a couple more stack & whack quilts in my UFO pile and a couple more in my "to be quilted" pile. Yep, they are so much fun to make!


Monday, December 12, 2005

Happy Birthday Chad

Chad will be 18 on December 12. Goodness, this time has flown by. It really seems like just such a short time ago that he was placed in my arms. I had no earthly idea what to do with a baby and I was scared to death. Not sure how well I did as a parent but I cannot imagine my how empty my life would have been without Chad. Things have not always been easy and I suppose any of you who have survived teens would tell me this is normal. We are back to the point where I truly enjoy spending time with him.

So, at this Christmas season, there is a birth mother I will probably never meet, who more than 18 years ago, was a young lady, not sure what direction to take. She sought counseling for an unplanned pregnancy. Abortion was an alternative she did not choose. By taking the harder route, she gave me the greatest gift I have ever been given and I cannot thank her enough!