Friday, March 29, 2013

Finishing Projects

As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, quilters have a way of accumulating a number of unfinished fabric objects, commonly referred to as UFOs. Just last week, I participated in a quilting event and overheard a someone speaking of how she "starts projects." I must confess that I do enjoy starting a new project. At the same time, I do find satisfaction in finishing projects. The following picture is of a quilt that I began on New Year's Eve 2011 and then finished in early January 2013.

This quilt features purple and green fabrics with no two blocks exactly the same. The block is titled, "Gettysburg," and was designed by Jennifer Chiaverini, author of the Elm Creek Quilts series for Quiltmaker 100 Blocks volume 4. I picked up some of the fabric at Scrap Apple Quilts in St. George, Utah, during our 2011 vacation. Wayne and Caitlin gave me more purple and green fabric for Christmas that year, and I decided to take on this project. 

I've decided to title this quilt "The Anniversary Quilt" for two reasons. First of all, I finished the quilt top on August 19, our 23rd anniversary. Second, Wayne's favorite colors are purple and green so it seemed a fitting anniversary present as well. Here are a few close-ups of three of the individual blocks. You can see how the purple and green alternate within the individual blocks.

With today being Good Friday, I would be remiss not to mention the ultimate Finished Project - the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on the cross. With His words, "It is finished," the penalty for our sin had been paid in full. 

For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fulness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to HImself, having made peace through the blood of His cross. Colossians 2:19-20

The following is a video of the song, It is Finished, performed by the group Petra. I pray that it will be a blessing to you this Easter weekend as you reflect on the finished work of Jesus.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Irish Apple Cake

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I hope that you remembered to wear your green.

In the spirit of the day, here is a recipe for Irish apple cake. It has become one of our favorites and is adapted from a cookbook titled Irish Traditional Cooking by Darina Allen. It is one that we received from Wayne's grandmother who was very proud of her Boston Irish heritage. According to this cookbook, apple cakes are a traditional dessert in Ireland, and each recipe tends to vary from house to house. Here is one from our house to yours:

Irish Apple Cake
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine (I use 1 stick butter & 1 stick margarine)
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 to 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 2 Granny Smith apples (Other cooking apples may be substituted. For a list of other varieties of cooking apples, check out:
Sift the flour and baking powder together in a bowl. Use a pastry cutter to blend in the butter/margarine until it is the consistency of coarse bread crumbs. Stir in 1 cup of sugar and form a "well" in the center of the mixture. Stir in the beaten eggs and enough milk to make a soft dough. "Note that the dough will be somewhat sticky much like scone dough. Place 1/2 of the dough in the bottom of a greased 9X13 baking pan.

Peel, core, and chop up the apples. As you can see from the picture, I use my apple chopper to remove the core and cut the apples into slices. I then peel the slices and cut them up into small pieces. Place the chopped apple pieces on top of the dough, and sprinkle the dough with the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar. 

Cover the apples with the remaining half of the dough. This can be a little challenging given that the dough is rather sticky. I tend to drop spoonfuls on top of the apples and try my best to spread it out and seal all of the pieces together. It's okay if you end up with a few "holes." Bake at 350 degrees for 45 - 50 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. In case you might be wondering, Irish Apple Cake makes a great breakfast cake, too.

I will conclude this month's cooking entry with the words of the old Irish blessing …

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.