Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Luck and Delicious!


Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.
 ~Mark Twain

My body is betraying me. I have been plagued by eyelid twitching.  Those annoying little twitches that most of us get at one time or another.  For most of last week, my left eyelid was affected.  It would twitch for hours and then finally stop for awhile, only to start up again.  The twitching was bad enough that it started to hurt as if the muscle was being over worked.  It is finally calming down some and is only twitching a couple times a day - only to start up in the other eye!  Now my right eyelid is giving me fits.  The right side doesn't seem to be twitching with as much intensity but it still is annoying.  I can put my finger on it to get it to stop only for it to continue once I remove my finger.  What causes this incessant twitching?  According to research too much caffeine, not enough sleep, or needing eye drops.  Well, the first two are out so I guess I better go try the eye drops.  What do you do when this happens to you?

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PHOTO FACT OF THE DAY

Four Leaf Clover

The four leaf clover is a universally accepted symbol of good luck with its origin ages old. According to legend, Eve carried a four leaf clover from the Garden of Eden.  The clover also occupied a position in the cultural life of early peoples. White clover (T. repens L.) in particular was held in high esteem by the early Celts of Wales as a charm against evil spirits." Clover Science and Technology". N.L. Taylor, 1985.  Druids held the 4 leaf clover in high esteem and considered them a sign of luck. In 1620, Sir John Melton wrote: "If a man walking in the fields find any four-leaved grass, he shall in a small while after find some good thing.
The mystique of the four leaf clover continues today, since finding a real four leaf clover is still a rare occurrence and omen of good luck.  Do you consider the four leaf clover good luck or just a myth?

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ONE FLOWER WEDNESDAY

Today, as is every Wednesday, is One Flower Wednesday

In keeping with good luck and the luck of the Irish I made this hexie to celebrate St. Patrick's Day that happens tomorrow.  Couldn't let the day of celebration pass by without being included in my Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt.  I have had this fabric (a fat quarter) of four leaf clovers it seems like forever.  Every time I thought about removing it from my stash I would think "You just never know.....".  And guess what?  I was right!  Now I have more than half of that fat quarter left and have no idea what I'll use it for - lol!  If you would like to see more hexagon flowers created by some very talented people, click on the link above to check out the links to their posts.

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WHO WANTS DESSERT?

I did more sewing than what I am showing  you but I decided it's time for a new recipe.  I had this cake down at my SIL's recently and it is absolutely delicious!!  I made it for my DH and me this past weekend.  You have to promise me that you will not turn up your nose when you see one of the ingredients because it will surprise you.
 This recipe is from Tori Ritchie's Tuesday Recipe.  "This one is old-time - it's got a secret ingredient: prunes (or what the fruit marketing people now call "dried plums" to get away from, you  know, the reputation that prunes have).  You don't really taste them; they just add moistness and density to the crumb....oh, and fiber too.  It's the frosting that makes the whole project fun.  But you could eat the cake without the icing; all it needs is a mug of tea or coffee."

MOCHA SPICE CAKE

Cake
1 generous cup dried plums (aka prunes)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temp
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (see NOTE)
1 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, allspice
1 cup buttermilk

Frosting
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1/3 cup half-and-half
1 cup sifted powdered sugar

To make the cake, place prunes in a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil; simmer for 5 minutes or until prunes are softened. Drain, let cool slightly, then chop roughly.

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 13X9 inch baking dish; knock out excess flour.

In a bowl with an electric beater, whip butter, sugar, and eggs until light and fluffy.  Sift flour into another bowl with baking soda, baking powder, salt , espresso powder, and spices.  Mix together buttermilk and prunes.  Beat one third of the flour mixture into the butter mixture, then beat in one third of the buttermilk and prunes.  Repeat, alternating dry and wet ingredients, until all is mixed.  Pour batter into prepared baking dish and bake on center rack until a toothpick inserted in the middle of cake comes out clean, about 35 minutes.  Let cake cool in dish for 10 minutes, then, if desired, remove cake by loosening the edges with a knife, then inverting onto a baking sheet, then placing another baking sheet on top of cake and flipping again so cake is right side up.  Cool cake on a rack. Or just cool cake in baking dish on rack and serve from pan (that's what I did).

To make the frosting, melt chocolate, butter, and espresso powder in the top of a double-boiler or in a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  When smooth, remove pan from heat and gradually add half-and-half and powdered sugar, stirring until consistency is right (if frosting is too thick, add more half-and-half by the tablespoonful).  Spread frosting on cooled cake.



NOTES:
1.  Don't use ground espresso that you'd put in your coffee machine; it won't blend in.  Use a commercial instant brand such as Medaglia d'Oro.  None of the big name grocery stores in my area carried powdered espresso.  We finally found it at an Italian deli/specialty store.  It is not expensive unless you have to buy it online.

2.  I must have done something wrong with the frosting because following their recipe I ended up with chocolate soup.  I added quite a bit more powdered sugar to finally bring it up to spreading consistency.

3.  This cake is soooooo good and so moist.  You really don't taste the prunes - at least we don't.  I think they may add a little bit of sweet but never a pruny taste.

4.  Give it a try and let me know if you like it!

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TODAY'S GOAL

Today I am going to prepare my little chicken candle mat for stitching to work on over the weekend.

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GIVEAWAYS

Quilterie is having a giveaway.  You could win a new copy of Kaffe Fasset's book "Quilt Romance".  This giveaway ends Sunday, March 20 at 9:00 pm Sydney time.

Quilt Hollow is having a giveaway.  You could win a pattern called "Dream Catcher" by Patchalot Patterns.  The winner will be notified this Friday.

Jaybird Quilts is having a Treasures & Tidbits giveaway.  You could win a charm pack of Piece O' Cake Designs that won't be available in the stores until July and one of  the great patterns designed by Julie .  This giveaway will remain open until Thursday, March 17, at midnight EST.

From The Blue Chair is having a giveaway.  Kati has made a charm stack out of some of the beautiful fabrics that she is working with in a QAL.  This giveaway ends Monday, March 21st.

1 Choice 4 Quilting is having a Sunkissed giveaway.  To be able to enter you have to make or have made a star for the Moda Just One Star Challenge.  If you do this and follow the instructions, you will be entered to win 10 yards of Sunkissed fabric!  Amazing!  This giveaway ends Monday, March 21, at 10:00 pm EST.

Jackie's Art Quilts is having a giveaway.  She is giving away 4 very spring like fat quarters.  Jackie will draw the winner on Tuesday, March 22.

One More Quilt is having giveaway #6.  She is giving away a piece of Charles Craft evenweave, 100% cotton, approx 20" x 24", 28 count, rose colored cross stitch fabric.  So those of you who enjoy counted cross stitch like I do here's a chance for you!  This giveaway ends Thursday, March 17 at 10:00 am.

Have you checked out B. Bumble and Company yet?  You could win one of two patterns by entering my sponsored giveaway.

How long has it been since your read a good book?  You could win a copy of The Aloha Quilt by entering A Novel Giveaway.

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FINAL THOUGHT

I am a note/list maker.  I have little sticky notes all over the place.  Reminders of things to do.  Reminders of websites to check out.  Family member's address are stuck to the keyboard drawer so I don't have to look them up.  I have a grocery shopping list and another one I call my Costco/Walmart notepad.  I have stickies stuck to the wall where I will see them when I walk by to remind me of a phone call I have to make.  I have sticky notes stuck to block pieces so I can remember exactly what order they go in.  I used to have a sticky pad with a running total of solitaire wins (back when I had a lot of spare time).  Sticky pads and note pads - I would be lost without them.  The new "computer sticky notes" just don't do it for me.  It has to be pen to paper - guess I'm showing my age.  Are you a note/list maker?

Lists are the butterfly nets that catch my fleeting thoughts...
 ~Betsy Cañas Garmon

Welcome Wednesday with wisdom and wonder.

32 comments:

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

I too am a paper and pen note maker. The computer/palm pilot thing is just a little beyond me. It's best if I keep a little notepad in my purse, cause sometimes I lose the yellow sticky notes :-)

Jodi said...

Linda, my eye twitches sometimes, too. My doc says its stress, even if we don't FEEL under stress. Want to trade me something for the shamrock fabric?? I'm Irish and have been making some Paddy's Day table runners. Let me know if you would and I'll tell you what fabrics I have that I think you might be interested in. Give me some ideas, though, too, like Batik, vintage, Kaffe Fassett - I have a pretty big stash! I did a swap recently with Wanda from Exuberant Color and it worked well for both of us :-)

annmarie said...

Love the quote. I couldn't survive without lists. For stuff that needs doing & has a deadline (groc, phone calls, sewing projects, etc) I still use stickies. I do have a few "stickies" in Outlook for my Amazon wish list. All the rest I keep in a journal type book that's tucked next to my chair in the living room so when I read magazines, see something on TV or get an idea I jot it down there, then later I can look up the websites or add something to the grocery list etc. Works for me & my DH is happier without all the pieces of paper I used to have floating around.

Mimi said...

Hi Linda! Just want to tell you that one of my eyes started twitching after the New Year and it was driving me nuts! About a month later I realized that it would happen when I was chewing on gum, or biting into food... so if I opened my mouth a certain way the twitching would happen! Now I don't know if I should see an eye doctor or a dentist!! It's mid March and it seems as if the twitching has subsided... or am I just getting used to it?

Cheryl said...

Hope the eye twitching subsides! Sounds miserable. It usually goes away on its own when I am plaqued by it. Great hexie!

Linda said...

The twitching sounds awful. I've also heard that it can be caused by a vitamin or mineral deficiency. I'm not a doctor, though. I've had little twitches, but never one to last that long!
I love the list quote! I am bad about forgetting to look at my list. When I was teaching school, I used to attach my lists to my key ring so I couldn't leave the house before looking at it!

Viv said...

All through high school I was on a baking kick and my parents always had me use ground prunes instead of the fat. They were super moist and you could NEVER taste the nasty things (not really a prune fan) and no one ever figured it out. When I eventually get back to baking (time issues) i want to use the old method since it is a bit healthier :)

Karen said...

Wishing you a happy St. Patrick's Day! The Irish in me LOVES this weeks flower.

Peach Rainbow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peach Rainbow said...

yes, i too am a list maker with pen & paper :D

Needled Mom said...

Where would we be without sticky notes?

I hate it when my eye twitches. I have always thought it came with eye strain as it happens most often when I am working on little projects.

That cake sounds moist and delicious.

Sallie said...

I've heard stress causes eye twitches. The eye doctor said to use eye drops. The cake sounds wonderful! I have a recipe that uses plum baby food, but I can't find plum baby food. I'm a list maker - I like index cards.

Apple Avenue Quilts said...

I must admit I don't use sticky note at all. Why? I guess I just don't think to. I loved your info on the four leaf clover. I remember once we were moving to a new area. When we were looking for a new house my younger son found a four leaf clover. We took it as a good sign. My older son's comments were that a four leaf clover is a mutation and were we sure the place was safe. He obviously didn't want to move!

Impera_Magna said...

My eyelids twitch sometimes but not for as long as you describe.

And YES... I'm a major financial supporter of sticky note companies! Can't live without 'em...

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Love the fussy cutting with the clovers. We have lots of 4-leaf'ers in our yards. I can remember my kids B'day parties always had to have a clover hunt and then we pressed them inbetween waxpaper to make bookmarks.

Yes, a list maker and lover of sticky notes, too. But I love different colors and patterned stickies - too much yellow patches all over looked a little 'strange'.

I'm waiting on a sunny day - need outside photos and I haven't seen the sun yet this month; they say tomorrow. Gosh, better check for good batteries.

Birdie said...

Happy St Patrick's Day in advance. Love your clover fabric, I search my stash and couldn't find any suitable for the day. Cake looks yummy too.

Just One More Thing said...

Wow--you sure know how to write a jam-packed post. I have to say that your shamrock flower is adorable. Happy Shamrock Day!!

Jodi-JoJoMia's Place said...

I had a twitch like that for about a week and it just went away on its own. Not sure why it happens but hopefully yours will just go away too!

Mommarock said...

I've never had the eye twitching problem.. but I have to post and comment on your wonderful hexagons.. I'm enamored with them! They have been tempting and inspiring me! I am currently making a hexagon quilt.. you may have seen it on my blog.. but I'm even thinking of making ANOTHER hexagon quilt in the future (insane?) I want to make a fussy cut hexagon quilt with just one block of each fabric.. cute little 1 1/2" hexies with a lovely fabric shape in each block... so that children in my future generations will have to search for their favorite picture etc.. I am a new quilter though so I dont have that stash to work from.. it will take a LONG time to make.. but if I just set aside one hexie when I get a cute print.. I think I will just put them in a box and work as I go :)

jennifer said...

Nine times out of ten if I make a list I forget it on my counter:(

Jeanette said...

Happy Saint Patrick's day. Love your Irish bloom. Happy Stitching,

Sarah Craig said...

I'm a confirmed list maker - post-its (my hubby stuffs my Christmas stocking with lots of different ones), my iPod, my computer, and my blog! You can never have too many lists!

Sarah Craig said...

I'm a confirmed list maker - post-its (my hubby stuffs my Christmas stocking with lots of different ones), my iPod, my computer, and my blog! You can never have too many lists!

Gene Black said...

When my eye twitches like that, I usually press on it to try to make it stop. If that doesn't work, I say words that are reserved for when I am highly annoyed. You know, the ones in cartoons that are spelled like "#$@%$$%"

The ingredients for the frosting sounds like it would be great to just eat out of the bowl with a spoon.

joe tulips said...

It has been years since I had the eye twitching. I remember it went on and on. At the time I was helping with 7th grade, so I called the 7th grade twitch. I don't remember having it since I started working in preschool. Maybe it is stress.
The clovers are proof that you shouldn't get rid of things to quickly. And the cake. I don't have espresso powder. What if I tried it without?? I love prunes!! I gotta try the cake!!

Brenda said...

you know the British call that eye twitchy thing "live flesh." I get it sometimes, but it goes away on it's on. It happens when I've been staring at the computer too much:)

Donna said...

Give me a pen and a small spiral bound notebook. I normally have more than one list going at a time and never know when I might need which one. Sticky notes I use at the office. Great topic!

Deborah in Atlanta said...

I've had the eye twitch you have, but never for the length of time you've had yours. I always thought it was kinda neat having my eye twitch that way. It kinda tickled. So sorry to hear yours has gotten to the point it has. I love your Irish hexie and keep saying one day I'll start making them. I think they're adorable, and would love to make one of those Grandmother's Garden quilts (isn't that what they're called?), but that hasn't happened yet. And I love prunes, but I'm not much of a dessert/sweet eater. So maybe I'll just go buy the prunes and think of you as I eat them. And like you, I used to make notes all over stickies, but I either left them lying in the wrong place, forgot them, or had so darn many I couldn't keep up with them. Now I keep a small spiral notebook and jot all my "necessary" items in it. Hey, at least they're all together now!

Blue Ridge Mountains said...

I say if it your eye twitching doesn't stop a visit to the eye doctor is advisable. Our eyes are to valuable to ignore. I recently had lazik surgery on my left eye and the difference was unbelievable. I'm am in my late seventies and can see colors that I've missed for years.

Sonia said...

Hi Linda. Hope the eye drops work for you. I know it drive me bonkers when my eye twitches... but usually when it does it's because I'm stressed about something.. so I try to relax and it usually goes away. :)

Lynda said...

As always, I love your One Flower Wednesday!

Wendy said...

That is an awesome St. Patrick's Day hexie!! So cute!! And I have to tell you the day before you posted about the eyelid twitching we had a long discussion about it in my Calculus class because one of the students was having your same problem. They had even googled it and came up with the same reasons as you!! Hope yours has stopped!

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