Monday, January 28, 2013

Queen Creek Olive Mill

Last week on a rainy day in Arizona, I met friends at the Queen Creek Olive Mill for lunch.  It is always a treat to go there as there is so much to see!  Add that to best friends getting together and you have a recipe for a great time!

The first thing you see after parking is the herb garden.
Note the shade cloth over the garden - AZ sunshine and herbs - not a good mix!
You know the food will be good when fresh herbs are used!
Here is the area to order food.
I opted for the vanilla Bean and Olive Oil Waffle which is served with a big dollop of whipped cream in addition to the syrup.  My friends chose sandwiches.  They also serve soups, salads, Frittatas, Bruschetta, Panini and Antipasto among other things. Most things come with a garnish of olives -- big surprise!   Everything I've had there was good! Sorry no photos of the food, we had limited time to spend together so we talked and ate instead of taking photos.  I took the other photos after my friends had to head back home.
I adore the chalkboard signage.
You know how I love anything with vanilla flavor!
There are gift items galore as well as pantry supplies.
This is not a small place!
Want dessert?
Yum, no problem!
Would you rather take some home?  No problem!
Coffee anyone?
How about a loaf of artisan bread?
What flavor tapenade to go with that?
Or maybe some wine and cheese?
Plenty around.
Gift boxes galore.
All ready to ship!
Or choose your own flavored oils for the pantry.
The Olive Mill Cookbook will tell you what to do with the oil!
You can visit the olive bar and buy by the pound.
A lovely selection!
Chips to take home, anyone?
How about some local honey?
According to the sign, it helps with allergies.
Arizona grown citrus is available.
Beauty supplies
and soaps too.
Perhaps a kitschy T-shirt to wear.
Love the sign advertising pistachios -- right above the Green Valley pecans! LOL
How about some jam or jelly to go with that artisan bread? Oh, how I love these chalkboards!
Next time I want to take the tour to see how the olive oil is extracted.  Although, I did see the "Dirtiest Jobs" episode featuring the Queen Creek Olive Mill a couple of years ago.
On a warmer day, we might have taken our lunch under the Ramada,
or at one of the picnic tables in the olive grove.
Even Thomas Jefferson has something to say about olives.
If you are ever in the Phoenix area, it is worth the drive to Queen Creek to experience the Queen Creek Olive Mill.  They are having the Festival of New Oil right now, so it's a perfect time to visit!
Hope you enjoyed my brief tour of my favorite restaurant and shop for foodies!


Friday, January 18, 2013

Des Moines Star Tutorial

A while back when I posted about the Des Moines Star quilt that I had made to copy an antique quilt, someone asked for the pattern.  Since that quilt was made using the antique one as an example, the blocks were not a size that could be easily rotary cut.  In order to rotary cut the blocks, I needed to draft the pattern in a different size.  It took a while and then there were Thanksgiving and Christmas and so I am finally getting a chance to post the results.

This is the block re sized to a 10-1/2" block.  The antique and the clone were 10" blocks which could not be easily rotary cut.
For the center portion of the block, you will cut 1 rectangle 2-1/4 x 5-3/4 from the dark blue.  Also cut 2 squares 2-1/4 x 2-1/4 from the dark blue and 4 squares from a light  fabric 2-1/4 x 2-1/4. 
Stitch the squares together and add to the rectangle to form a center unit that looks like this:
Cut 2 dark blue squares 4-5/8" x 4-5/8" and cut each diagonally.
Add to the 4 sizes of the center cross unit.
Cut 2 light squares 4-1/4" x 4-1/4" cut twice diagonally to form 8 quarter square triangles for the flying geese units in the block.
Cut 8 dark blue squares 2-3/8" x 2-3/8" and cut diagonally.  I know this looks like there are only 4, but I cut them double. You will end up with 16 half square triangles.
 Stitch the half-square triangles to the quarter-square triangles to form the flying geese units.  Each flying geese unit should measure 2" x 3-1/2" when constructed.
Cut 8 squares from light fabric 2" x 2".
Sew two of the flying geese units to each side of 4 of the squares.  Stitch two of these strips to opposite sides of the center unit. (I did not take photos of that step.)
Add the last 4 squares to the ends of each of the other two flying geese/square/flying geese units to form the final sides of the block.. Stitch to complete the block.
To duplicate the entire quilt, you will also need to cut sashes corner stones.  In the antique, these were cut at 4-1/2"  The final border was also cut 4-1/2".  Using this size block cut the sashes 4-1/2 x 11 and the cornerstones 4-1/2" square.  After stitching all of the blocks, sashes and cornerstones in rows, cut the border 4-1/2" by the width of the quilt.  Add those bordersto the top and bottom of the quilt top and then cut the side borders 4-1/2" x the length of the center of the quilt plus the added top and bottom borders to make sure that borders fit correctly.  I am not giving the number of sashes to cut as you may wish to make a smaller quilt.  The original quilt had 30 blocks which would make a quilt 84-1/2 x 99 using this size block.  That is a very large quilt!
Hope you enjoy making a Des Moines Star quilt.  the block is also called Lily, if that name is more to your liking.  Happy quilting!

Monday, January 14, 2013

When Life Gives You Lemons

For several days I've been trying to share about when Life Gives You Lemons, but Blogger was not cooperating.  I finally had to upload the photos I wanted to use to a Picasa album in order to share them with you.  This is not my first choice, but, well, life was giving me lemons.

Really, life has given us lemons literally!  We are experiencing extremely cold weather here in the desert with freeze warnings nightly.  Ever tried to cover a lemon tree to protect it?  Not an easy job, so we had to pick all the lemons.

We lost most of the tree a few years ago and this is the first lemon crop we've had since then.  Not as many as we sometimes get which may be a good thing since we had to pick them all!
Do you know how little lemon is called for in recipes?  Even lemon bars and lemon muffins only use 1 to 2 lemons each.  Though I didn't count the lemons, I barely made a dent when I made these.....
yummy lemon bars.  Or these.....
lemon poppy seed muffins. 
This very old lemon reamer helps juice the lemons.  I have another one that has California Fruit Growers, Los Angeles imprinted in the glass.  I thought I had a green depression glass reamer, but have not located it since the last move.
This was a prized Christmas present this year from our daughter, Beth.  Does she know what I like or what?  She found this vintage piece on her friend's Etsy Shop.  I have not polished it.  I love the patina.  Sorry for the quality of the last few photos, they were taken at night which isn't the best time to take photos.
So what is your favorite lemon recipe?  Will you send it to me?  As you can see, I need to use a LOT of lemons!
Hope if life is giving you lemons, you have found a way to make something sweet from them!