Sunday, March 6, 2011

Max and Whiskers Quilt

I finally finished another quilt! The amazing thing - even though I have 3 other quilts in various stages of being worked on, I finished this quilt in 10 days! That is from the day I received the fabric for the quilt top to the day I gave it to the recipient. Amazing what I can accomplish when I ignore the rest of the house and use precuts!

I made this quilt using a moda jelly roll of the Max and Whiskers line by Basic Grey. From the first time I saw this fabric I knew I wanted to make something with it (I love all the cute animals on the prints), but couldn’t decide what to do with it - then I found the perfect project. I used the pattern by Sweetjane, which used exactly one jelly roll for the top (with very little scraps left over). I made a trip last weekend to the local quilt shop and found the backing and binding in the sale rack (bonus for me).

This was also the first time I tried free motion quilting! Yay, I am glad it turned out so well and it was so much easier than I thought it would be (got to love my new sewing machine that came in a couple of weeks ago).

Anyone curious as to why I was in such a hurry to finish this quilt or who it was for? Well this quilt was the perfect thing for the new addition to my household. She is a big sweety and arrived a couple of weeks ago. The fabric was too perfect for her and I needed something for her to cuddle with on the couch.

Meet Abbey (and her new quilt - isn’t she cute?). Abbey is a 10 year old Brittaney Spaniel who has come to retire as a spoiled house dog. She loves living in the warm house (especially since it has been -25 or colder for the last couple of weeks) and is soaking up all the attention she is getting. She used to have to share people attention with 5 other dogs, now she has two people all to herself and is taking full advantage of that!

Anyways, why does Abbey get a quilt? Because I broke down and decided I needed someone to keep me company on couch, we needed something for her to lay on. The backing fabric should hide her hair nicely (thankfully she has pretty much stopped shedding - for now).

Review of the quilt:
It is pretty busy, but it came together very quickly (the binding took me longer than anything else). It will be great for what I needed it for and it looks like Abbey enjoys it.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing

This a great variation of the cream cheese frosting but the consistency can be hard to achieve - especially if you don’t want to add more sugar and risking it getting too sweet. The key is to use real strawberries and concentrate the puree to remove most of the liquid but keep the flavour.

½ cup of regular cream cheese frosting
½ cup of strawberries (you can add more or little depending on how much strawberry flavour you would like).

1. Wash the strawberries and remove the tops if using fresh (frozen works fine as well, as long as they are not in a syrup).
2. Puree the strawberries and put the strawberries in a pot. Turn the heat on low and let it simmer until it forms a thick paste. Be careful not to burn them!
3. Mix the cream cheese icing and strawberry “paste” together.
4. Frost and enjoy!

Note: If this seams a little runny to you then try putting it in the fridge, it will firm up if it is cool. If it is still too runny you can add more icing sugar to thicken it (this will make it a lot sweeter) or add try adding more cream cheese icing.

This icing is amazing, I love it. It would be good on anything.

I took it to work with Papaya cupcakes and it was definitely the star of the coffee break.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Papaya Coconut Cupcake

I had some papaya in the fridge that I wanted to use and the oven was already on as I was baking some cinnamon buns for O’s work. What else could I do but try some cupcakes? I found a recipe on Chockylit but decided to make a couple of changes, mainly adding whole wheat flour.

½ cup oil
2 large eggs
¼ cup coconut milk
1 ⅓ cup sugar
1 ⅓ cup all purpose flour
⅔ cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ cup shredded coconut
6 ounces of pureed papaya

1. In a bowl mix together the oil, eggs and coconut milk.
2. Add in the sugar followed by the flour and baking soda.
3. Once the flour is mixed in add the coconut and papaya and mix until just incorporated.
4. Fill cupcake cups (the batter will be a little sticky) and bake for 22 minutes at 350F. The cupcakes will be golden on top and a toothpick will come out of the cupcakes clean.
5. Allow to cool, and enjoy!

I enjoyed this but am hesitant to call them a cupcake. The consistency of the cake is much more like a muffin than a light and fluffy cupcake. O thought they were a little bland, but no one else seemed to have that complaint (and I blame this on my papaya - seriously, why did I think I could get a flavorful, sweet, juicy papaya in the middle of Canada in the winter?).

I topped these cupcakes with a strawberry cream cheese frosting which is the hit of the day (it really stole the thunder from the cupcakes themselves) and the recipe for that will be coming shortly.