Monthly Archives: July 2011

Picking Eating With Pookie: Special Earth-Shattering Edition!!!

Three years ago I embarked on the “Picking Eating With Pookie” project, where I’d try veggies from the garden and the farm and then report back on my experiences. I made some progress (I’m quite fond of string beans roasted with potatoes, I love wilted greens like chard in with my pasta, and I periodically find myself contemplating how tasty garden carrots can be) but there are still some major hurdles. One of the highest hurdles is beets. Cooked spinach is still tops on my list of things I hate, but that’s not usually a problem, since it’s not often on the menu at Maple Hoo. Beets are. Boomer and Schnookie just loooooove their beets. And they can’t. Stop. Talking. About. Them. From the first beet of the season until the last, it’s just all “ooh, beets are the best”, “beets are nature’s candy”, “I want to marry these beets”. Blah blah barf.

This weekend was no different. Schnookie declared on Friday that she was going to make quinoa with shredded beets to go along with Sunday’s dinner. While she and Boomer waxed on about how great the beets would be, all I could think was, “What the fuck?! You can’t waste quinoa by filling it with beets!! That’s sacrilege!” Schnookie was all, “Oh, no worries, you can pick the beets out.” I wasn’t buying it, but I didn’t say anything.

Well, I didn’t say anything until Sunday night when Schnookie was prepping dinner. She had the unmitigated gall to point out how beautiful the shredded beets were. Well, I never! I may have overreacted out of despair that delicious Rancho Gordo quinoa was going to waste, but I think I said something like, “I hope those beets rot in hell!” That led to a little veggie-hate-filled tiff that I wasn’t proud of, but that I certainly wasn’t going to back down from. I mean, for heaven’s sake, these were beets we were talking about! The lead up to dinner was terrible. Everyone was cranky, the weather was muggy, the view from the grill is depressing. It was a bad scene.

So I was not in the greatest of moods when I found myself standing next to the kitchen counter when the serving bowl of beet-red quinoa, spiced with sumac and cumin, was placed before me. I peered at it. A-ha! Just as I suspected! Shredded beets were not something that would easily be picked out of a quinoa dish! Schnookie’s a liar! A dirty, beet-loving liar! But… The closer I looked at how indistinguishable the beet shreds were from the quinoa, the more I noticed that it was a giant bowl of delicious, delicious quinoa. I love quinoa. It manages to be mushy like mashed potatoes, but also a little crunchy like popcorn, and never too nutty. Mmmm, quinoa. Quinoaaaaaa…

I couldn’t resist! I had to take a little nibble! I carefully chose a tiny bit that definitely didn’t have a beet on it. And it was phenomenal. So… I took another bite. And it was also phenomenal. It tasted like some heavenly combination of southwestern and Indian cooking. Without thinking, I went back in for more. And without realizing it, I took a bite that had beets in it. I had to admit, I couldn’t tell what was beet and what was quinoa. I couldn’t tell what was gross and what delicious. Could it be… the beet wasn’t gross?!

Next thing I knew, I was loading my plate up with beetstuffs.

If you thought the planet seemed to shift around 7:45 pm today, now you know why. Picking-Eating Pookie willingly ate beets.

Color Pookie Shocked

Posted by Pookie


Filed under Picky Eating With Pookie

Kids — They Grow Up So Fast

So it seems like just yesterday we were wringing our hands in a state of constant parental worry about whether our tomato plants were going to survive. First we forgot to plant them altogether, so they got a late start that basically assured they’d never get into an Ivy League school. Then we planted them outside immediately before an unseasonably cold and rainy stretch, making it impossible for them to grow big enough to make a varsity sports team. Then it got unseasonably hot and dry, so our little plants got limp and lank and so unattractive that they would never be able to get a good job. It was horrible. We reached our nadir a few weeks ago, basically admitting to each other that we suspected this year’s garden was going to be one big, huge bust. Why couldn’t it be more like last year’s garden? Or the one before that? Those were great gardens, with big crops that could make a parent proud. What was wrong with this one? Was it a changeling?

But the great thing about gardening is that if you have sun and water, it’s really hard to screw up. Nature wants things to grow, yo. And just after we hit rock bottom we stepped outside, took a gander at the beds, and realized that our garden had turned a corner. Our babies were growing up. Our tomatoes, every last one, were sporting wee little green fruits. Here’s a family portrait of our children:

Family Portrait

We have a wide array of shapes and sizes growing out there — from left to right, top to bottom we’re looking at Red Pears, Tiny Tim, Cherokee Purple, Brown Betty, Rose de Berne, Blondkopfchen, Rosso Sicilian, Lemon Drop, German Green, Lemon Drop again, Fox Cherry, and Isis Candy Shop. The only one we’ve grown before is the Fox (an enormous and almost comically productive [and scrumptious] cherry tomato that was last year’s biggest hit), so we’re really excited about having a whole rainbow of tomato options. Now that they’re all fruiting up, it’s fair to say that while they might not be the most perfect plants ever (we have a bit of a bacterial speck issue, but then, we always do), we love them just the way they are.

1 Comment

Filed under 7. July, Can't Wait To Eat That Monkey

A Quilting Day In The Life, By Pookie

Last night I finished my fourth quilt top in the last few months! Woo-hoo!

Bliss Top Finished

I saw this pattern (“Hook and Eye” by Teacher’s Pet) done up in these fabrics (“Bliss” by Bonnie and Camille) at Quilt Asylum in McKinney, TX last year and decided I wanted a quilt exactly like it. I thought it would be a lovely Christmas quilt, but it could also be a plain old Winter quilt for January and February. I finished all the blocks just after last Christmas, but then dragged my feet on laying them out. Then I lay them out months ago and sort of forgot about them. Then I picked them up again recently, but lost track of how they were laid out. In the end, I had a lot of instances of the same fabrics showing up right next to each other. Um… that’s charm, right? ::shifty eyes::

Anyway, I’m quite pleased with how it looks, especially against a backdrop of July corn. Of course, now that it’s done, I’ve been thrown into a tizzy of having a billion projects I want to work on and a full Saturday with nothing else to do but quilt and watch DVDs. I’m so all over the place with what I want to be working on, so I figured I’d keep a running diary of what I manage to get accomplished today.

11:00 am: The first thing to do on a day like today is admire one’s work on a newish project. In this case, I laid out the first five blocks for FiestaFudd.

FiestaFudd In Progress

Just after finishing “Bliss” last night I realized I wanted to be working on something new. Something bright, sassy, and fun, but preferably with nice big pieces. Of course, starting a new project in quilting is tough because you have to cut the pieces and get them marked. So really, FiestaFudd could not have been more perfect! It’s bright (um, probably to a fault), sassy and fun, and it’s got big pieces that I had already cut and marked. But it’s not new! Waaaah! Just kidding.

11:15 am: Consider whether the panel from the giant stack of Helen Dardik fabric I got last week will work in this awesome quilt from the book “Gone To Texas”. The answer may surprise you.

Quilt Planning

The answer? No. No, it won’t work. Shuckydarns. But, there’s still hope that the fabric line will work for this pattern, just without showcasing the adorable panel. At least this means I don’t have to get online and order yards more of the panel today.

11:30 am: Press pieces stitched the night before.


I had some loose FiestaFudd pieces, and the top to Bliss, and the background square for Cheeky Dracula to be pressed. Pressing is a great way to kick off a stitching day. It’s kind of like organizing a desk or weeding a garden bed.

12:00 pm: Seethe with jealousy over Schnookie’s new project, “Basement City”. It’s going to be an incredible quilt made up entirely of 1 1/4″ squares (3/4″ visible), all made with repro fabrics from Boomer’s stash. She ordered some lime green solid for the background, and then started picking fabrics for the prints.

Basement City Materials

Basement City Begins

At some point today, I have to start cutting these fat quarters up into thousands of teensy tiny squares.

12:30 pm: Decide the thousands of teensy tiny squares can wait. Sit down on the couch and waste time on the internet and on buying stuff on iTunes (I’m pretty sure lots of people buy Dolly Parton and Fantomas at the same time. I hope I screwed up Apple’s demographics on that spending spree.)

1:00 pm: Put in the first stitch of the day. Yeah! I’m stitching up a storm today!

2:15 pm: Two television episodes later, I have 1/3 of a Cheeky Dracula dresden plate attached to the background. Threads of Fire, that’s me! At this rate, I’ll have this quilt done in… um… ::does some math::… 100 years!

2:16 pm: Commence cutting the first of 14,000+ 1 1/4″ squares for Schnookie’s “Basement City”.

Schnookie and Her Squares

Dear Accuquilt,
Please create a 1 1/4″ square die.
Hugs and kisses, Pookie

3:00 pm Cutting several hundred 1 1/4″ squares actually went pretty quickly, thanks to Schnookie helping out with the trimming. If you ignore the 8 1/2 yards of background we have to cut, the whole thing doesn’t seem that bad. Since I still had some cutting get up and go, I launched into a proof-of-concept block for the Farmyard fabric we ordered a few weeks ago. SeptemberFever has been creeping into the air here at Maple Hoo (probably thanks to the 5 hours of rain yesterday) and there’s nothing more September-y than this line.

Cutting Scraps

4:00 pm: Time for more TV! What are the chances I can finish the dresden plate block before dinner?

4:43 pm: I was fairly confident that my zeal for all my quilt projects would overcome my recent obsession with “Red Dead Redemption”, a.k.a. Grand Theft Horsie. It’s now six hours since I got out of bed today and I’m starting to get twitchy. Must. Not. Turn. On. xBox… Must… Quilt… Arrrrgh!

5:30 pm: Dinner is still hours away, but the dresden plate block is done! I’m doing excellent stitching!

Another Plate Attached

6:30 pm: Test proof-of-concept block of “Farmyard”.

Farmyard Proof of Concept

Looking good! I was very worried that once again I’d have chosen poorly vis a vis the scale of the prints and the pattern, but I’m satisfied that even with the biggest print in the line, the pattern pieces are just the right size. We’re thinking a deep chocolate brown background will be the way to go. Of course, no more progress can be made on that quilt until getting the background fabric, so onto the next project!

7:00 pm: Finish cutting the centers for the Cheeky Dracula plates.

Cutting Cheeky Dracula

Boomer picked up a circular cutter and it seems to be working quite well. Also working quite well? The towel draped on the dining room chair. It’s meant to keep Rollie from scratching the chair’s upholstery, but it doubles as a very effective miniature design wall:

Cheeky Dracula Centers

7:30 pm: Dinner’s almost ready, so it’s time to hunker down for the evening. After all that work I put in today on Schnookie’s new quilt, Cheeky Dracula, and Farmyard, it’s now time to focus on either more FiestaFudd, or more V&A clamshells. Or both! Either way, I’m feeling very, very accomplished already today. (Which means, I could turn on that xBox afterall and not feel like I’ve wasted my day… If only Grand Theft Horsie had an expansion pack where John Marston goes to a county fair to learn how to quilt from all the local rancher’s wives!)


8:30 pm: Finish dinner, tipsy from a very full glass of delicious red wine. Yessiree, today was a Saturday well-lived.


Filed under Pins and Needles, Progress Reports, Quilting