Baby Shoes

Yesterday I was at a local fabric/crafting store and saw a pattern for these adorable baby shoes. I bought the pattern and came home and looked through my fabric stash. I have a HUGH yarn stash but not so much with the fabric. But I found a few pieces of soft flannel and some old blue jean patch fabric and I got busy. The soles of one pair are from a cashmere sweater I had felted. The demin was challenging because I had to sew through 4 thicknesses of denim and 2 thicknesses of batting at one time in a few places…made even more challenging because the pieces are so small. They are such fun to make and just adorable.

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Beef Short Ribs with Vegetables

I don’t cook a great deal of beef but I get some excellent cuts from a local organic farm. And tonight the short ribs sounded good. Beef short ribs, it’s what’s for dinner.



5 or 6 short ribs trimmed of fat

Kosher salt and pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

1 fennel in a large dice (fronds, stems and core removed)

1 large onion in a large dice

2 large carrots sliced

3-4 stalks of celery in a large dice

3-4 cloves of garlic minced

2 T tomato paste

1 bottle dry red wine

rosemary and thyme

4 cups beef or mushroom broth

Put ribs on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Generously salt and pepper them and put in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.



Heat oil over medium high heat in a heavy Dutch oven. Add diced vegetables and cook over medium heat about 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Add minced garlic and cook 2 more minutes.



Pour in the bottle of wine and tomato paste. Cook over high heat until mixture is reduced by half…approximately 20-25 minutes.



Add salt and pepper and 1 tsp each of rosemary and thyme. Put the ribs in the Dutch oven with the veggies and wine reduction. Add 4 cups of broth and bring to a simmer. Cover and put in 300 degree oven for about two hours until ribs are tender.

Remove ribs to a platter and cook the veggies and broth over medium heat until reduced by half…about 20 minutes. Put the ribs back in and heat through.

We had mashed potatoes but you could serve them with buttered noodles or just a good crusty bread.

Since the oven was going to be on for 2 hours I decided to roast some beets. I peeled them and put them in a casserole dish lined with heavy duty foil. I put some olive oil and kosher salt on the beets, sealed the foil tight and roasted the beets.  I love finishing them with balsamic vinegar. I put a cup of vinegar in a saucepan and simmered it until it was reduced by half. Before serving I slice the beets and drizzle the balsamic reduction over them.  They are always excellent.


TIP:  Recipes are always asking for a tablespoon or two of tomato paste. A little trick I learned a long time ago was to open one end of a can of tomato paste and put it in the freezer for an hour or two. Then I take it out, open the other end of the can, push the paste through and slice it into 4 or 5 slices. Put each slice into a little zip lock snack bag and freeze. When you need a tablespoon of tomato paste it’s ready for you!


The short ribs were excellent. Enjoy!


Apple Blueberry Crisp


Apple crisp with blueberry sounded like a great idea. It’s what was for dessert.

Preheat oven to 350

6-8 Macintosh apples or another good baking apple

1 cup blueberries

lemon zest

juice of 1/2 lemon (1 Tablespoon)

1/4 c sugar

grated nutmeg (about 1/2 tsp)

1 tsp cinnamon

1 c flour

1/2 c brown sugar

1/2 c white sugar

1/2 c oatmeal

1 tsp cinnamon

1 stick cold butter

Peel, core and slice apples. Toss with lemon zest and juice, 1/4 c sugar, and spices. Spread apples out in a deep 8×8 casserole dish that has been greased or sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle blueberries over apples.


Whisk together flour, sugars, and oatmeal. Work butter into dry ingredients with your hands or use the paddle on your stand mixer. Sprinkle the crisp over the fruit and bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. Serve warm with whipping cream or vanilla ice cream.


This recipe can be doubled and baked in a deep 9×13 pan. In case of bubble-over you may want to put the pan on a foil lined cookie sheet.

Salmon Patties aka Burgers

Do you remember salmon patties and creamed peas from your childhood?  Actually I don’t. I don’t think we ever had salmon patties but almost everyone I know remembers them. And not necessarily fondly. I decided I wanted to give salmon patties a try. Minus the creamed peas. Corn on the cob instead.


1 1/2-2 pounds salmon; fresh is best (skin removed, bones removed)

1/2 red or yellow bell pepper diced

3/4 cup panko crumbs

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 T soy sauce

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp salt

Pulse the salmon in your food processor. If you don’t have a food processor cut into a small dice.


Add the remaining ingredients to the salmon and and gently combine. Don’t over mix. Form into patties or burgers.  Lightly oil a heavy skillet. I used my cast iron. Heat the skillet over medium heat and cook 5 minutes per side.


Serve on a bun with lettuce, tomato, mayo, a nice slice of onion. Or with no bun and sides of your choice like corn on the cob, red skin potatoes, left over Mac and cheese or creamed peas.

If I had had these salmon patties as a kid I think I would remember them fondly.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed bell peppers…it’s what’s for dinner.


1 pound ground beef, pork or turkey

4 sweet bell peppers (red, yellow, orange or green…you choose)

1 T olive oil

1 medium onion diced

2 stalks of celery diced

pepper tops diced

2-3 cloves of garlic minced

1 cup cooked long grain white or brown rice

1 pint/can stewed tomatoes

1 14-oz can tomato sauce

salt and pepper to taste

1 T dried basil

1/2 cup shredded asiago or Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Cut off the tops of the peppers and remove the seeds. Par-boil the peppers in boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes. Remove and put the peppers in a casserole lined with non-stick foil. Preheat oven to 350.


Sauté diced onion, pepper, celery and garlic for 3-4 minutes over medium heat. Add meat of your choosing  and brown. Remove from heat. Stir in rice, seasonings, and asiago or Parmesan cheese.


Combine tomatoes and tomato sauce and whisk together. Add approximately one cup of tomato sauce to meat and rice mixture. Fill peppers. Top with remaining tomato sauce.


Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and top with shredded mozzarella and bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and peppers are thoroughly heated. Plate peppers and top with some of the tomato gravy.

Serve with crusty bread, apple sauce and a tossed salad.

Today someone posted a recipe for stuffed pepper soup. Maybe tomorrow I’ll use the leftover peppers and make them into soup.


Day two of stuffed peppers. I decided to reinvent the leftover peppers and make soup. I sliced a carrot, diced a medium onion, diced a couple stalks of celery, and shredded a cup or more of cabbage.   I put a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a heavy soup kettle and once it was hot sweated the vegetables for 3-4 minutes.  I added a pint of stewed tomatoes, 4 cups of chicken broth, and the leftover peppers that I had diced.  I also added a can of cannellini beans for a little extra protein.

I brought the the soup to a simmer and simmered it until the flavors were married.

I thought the soup was yummy served with some crusty bread and crackers. If you have family members who refuse to eat leftovers reinventing them is a perfect option.

Apple Slices in Cinnamon Red Hot Syrup


It’s apple season!  I’ve been in a canning frenzy this month and I had to do apples. I got a bushel and a half of apples; a variety of apples because the combination of sweet/tart and textures makes the best apple sauce. I made several batches of apple sauce. I use minimal sugar…maybe a half cup of sugar for 7 pints worth of apples and a bit of cinnamon. Mostly I just want the bright, natural taste of apples in the sauce. Apple sauce is very easy to do. Peel, core and slice the apples, put them in a large kettle, add just enough water to keep the apples from burning and cook over medium high heat until the apples are tender. I like chunky apple sauce so I mash the apples with my potato masher or you can use an immersion blender.


Ladle hot applesauce into hot, sterilized jars leaving a half inch of headspace. Use a wooden or plastic spatula remove air bubbles and put the two piece lids on the jar. Process pints in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes. Remove and put hot jars on a towel or wooden board to cool. Voila!  You have applesauce to enjoy all winter. Well I did a LOT of applesauce and wanted to try something different so I got out my Ball Blue Book and found a recipe for…

Apple Wedges in Cinnamon Red Hot Sauce

8-10 pounds of apples (use firm apples)

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup cinnamon red hot candies

2 cinnamon sticks broken into several pieces

2 tsp whole cloves

1 tsp ginger

2 cups water

1 1/2 cups white or cider vinegar

2/3 cup light corn syrup

More peeling, coring, and slicing!  You may want to treat your apples with fresh fruit produce protector or lemon juice to keep your apple slices from browning while you work.

Combine remaining ingredients in a large heavy kettle and slowly bring to a boil.


Add apple wedges to syrup mixture, stir, cover and simmer 4-5 minutes. Pack hot apples into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Ladle hot syrup over apples leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Remove any air bubbles. Adjust caps and process in hot water bath for 15 minutes.


They look beautiful!  They will be wonderful to serve as a side with pork or poultry. The red hots and ginger give them a little kick. Apples are all canned. Now I need to find space to store them all!


Spiced Peaches

I have been in a bit of a canning frenzy lately. Produce has looked particularly beautiful  this year and once I got started I didn’t want to stop. One of my favorite new recipes is for spiced peaches. I bought a bushel of peaches and did half of them in a light syrup, spiced nearly half a bushel and made jam out of the remainder. I found peeling peaches much more time consuming and challenging than peeling beets and tomatoes. I dropped them into boiling water and then into an ice bath just like tomatoes but the peach skin wasn’t quite as cooperative. The first thing you need to do is get rid of the fuzzy peach skin and then we can start spicing the peaches.


As with any canning project you will need to sterilize your jars in a boiling water bath.

You will need:

Approximately 40 peaches peeled and sliced

7 cups of  sugar

2 cups of water

1 cup white vinegar

2 cinnamon sticks crushed (I wrapped them in a dish towel and smashed them with a hammer)

12 whole cloves

Combine sugar, water, and vinegar in a large heavy kettle.   Bring to a boil and continue to simmer until liquid begins to thicken. Add peaches and spices and simmer until peaches are thoroughly heated.


Once the fruit is heated fill your prepared jars with the peaches and cover with the syrup leaving a half inch of head space. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 35 minutes. Remove jars to a towel to cool.

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You can can your peaches whole, halved or sliced.

These peaches can replace syrup on your pancakes or waffles, spice up your oatmeal, add interest to ham, pork chops or chicken, or serve as an ice cream topping. Or just eat them out of the jar.  If you like peaches you will love these!

Lamb Stew with Puff Pastry

It’s a cold September Sunday and stew sounds comforting. I have lamb stew meat in the freezer but this recipe would be good with beef as well. Stews and soups are the kinds of one pot meals you can throw together with whatever you have on hand.

Get out your large Dutch oven and let’s get started with our stew. It’s what’s for dinner.

3 T canola or olive oil

1 # lamb or beef stew meat

1/3 c flout

1/2 tsp rosemary

1/2 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp fennel seed

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp salt

1/2 c dry white wine

3 T butter

3 T flour

4 c broth (beef, mushroom or vegetable)

14-oz can stewed tomatoes

1/2 c celery diced

1 c carrots diced

1 c rutabaga diced

1 c onion diced

1 1/2 c potatoes diced

3-4 cloves of garlic minced

1 pkg frozen puff pastry (optional)

1 egg beaten + 1 T water

Heat 3 T oil in heavy Dutch oven over med high heat.  In a large zip lock bag combine 1/3 c flour and spices. Add stewing meat and toss to coat. Add meat in batches being careful not to crowd and brown.


Remove meat to a plate and continue until all meat is browned. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 c white wine (or broth) and stir to incorporate all the browned bits. Add 3 T butter and melt. Whisk in 3 T flour to form a roux. Continue whisking over medium high heat and gradually add the broth. I like to use “better than bouillon” to make my broth but use your favorite.

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Once you’ve added the broth and it’s come to a boil reduce heat and add tomatoes (I use my home canned tomatoes) and diced vegetables.

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Cover your pot and put in a 325 degree oven for 1 1/2 – 2 hours until meat and vegetables are tender.

Once the stew is done ladle into four individual oven proof dishes. Roll out the puff pastry and cut to fit the ramekins. Brush with egg wash and bake in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until pastry is golden brown.

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Serve with a tossed salad.

You can change out or add other vegetables to your stew…green beans, turnips, parsnips, peas. You can serve your stew without the pastry… Just ladle into serving dishes and serve with bread and salad.  Stew is one of the ultimate comfort foods.