Monday, December 26, 2011

French Window Quilt

finished dimensions 58"x78"
friends that will help you problem solve
youtube and blog tutorials
rotary cutter and mat

So this quilt has been on my to-do list since high school. I had all the yellow squares and little blue squares cut. I picked them up in November 2010 when home for Grandpa Brisson's 90th birthday extravaganza and have been looking at them ever since.

Each yellow block has 4 pieces sewn together, making the yellow "blocks" about 8.5" finished, and the little blue ones are about 2" finished (The white sashing between blocks is also 2" finished).

The quilting is really simple-- just straight lines presser-foot distance from the sides. I would have liked to do more, but I need more practice. Also, the lines work nicely on this quilt, which was a bonus.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Grandma Brisson's Potato Casserole

Submitted by Amber Vernon (from Grandma Brisson)

8 cups (2.5 lbs) cubed potatoes (I'd used peeled Yukon Golds)
1/2 cup Miracle Whip
8 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp onion powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1. Boil the potatoes in water for about 25-30 minutes or until fork-tender.

2. Mash the potatoes, Miracle Whip, cream cheese, salt, pepper, and onion powder (in addition, I'd go ahead and use a hand mixer to get them smooth too).

3. Put in a 1.5 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle paprika over the top of the potatoes.

4. Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Pumpkin Gravy!

So, I completely invented this recipe today, and it turned out rather well. I wanted to bring something different to Nick's law school Thanksgiving potluck, and while pondering on what was in my pantry, the idea of pumpkin gravy popped into my mind. I had never heard of such a thing, but I figured someone else probably had a great recipe out there. I searched, but the only non-Indian food style pumpkin gravy I saw was this really weird sounding stuff from Food Network. Pumpkin sage gravy? With bacon? Blech! I thought it sounded super gross. Since nobody had anything tried and true that looked appealing, I made up my own! Try it out for your Thanksgiving or Christmas feast. It's tasty over mashed potatoes, stuffing, turkey, you name it. Hooray for the marvelous pumpkin!

Pumpkin Gravy
by Linda Peterson

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour (4 tbl or half a stick)
1 (15oz) can pure pumpkin puree
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 tsp paprika
Heaping 1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp onion powder
1 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt (if needed--it depends on how salty the broth is)
1/2 water or more, depending on your desired consistency

1. Measure the flour. Measure the chicken broth. Have both standing ready. In a sauce pan over medium/high heat, melt butter; don't allow to burn. Immediately when melted, begin to shake in the flour a bit at a time, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon to thoroughly incorporate and form a roux. Don't allow to burn.
2. Lower to medium heat. As soon as butter and flour are mixed, gradually add chicken broth, constantly stirring to mix well.
3. Add pumpkin and spices gradually as well. Lower heat a bit if mixture seems to be losing too much moisture.
4. Mix in at least 1/2 cup water to thin the gravy. If you want it even thinner, gradually add more water, thoroughly mixing after each little addition. Go slowly so as not to overthin and dilute the flavors. This is a thick gravy.
5. Taste. Add 1/4 tsp salt and a dash more pepper if your broth was perhaps not salty enough.
6. Bring to the dinner table and glob it all over your plate and ENJOY!

Monday, October 31, 2011


Submitted by Marcia Van Camp
Originally created and taught by Grandma Arline Brisson

When I learned it from Grandma, nothing was really measured, so I have never measured anything when I make it either.

Milk (I have used fat free to whole and there is not much difference)
Butter or margarine (1 stick or 1/2 cup)
French bread / baguette style - cut in approx. 1-1 1/2 inches wide

1. In a large pan, melt the butter and brown it...basically it means you cook it but not burn it. I would say put the heat on medium high and move the pan around to move the butter so it doesn't burn. This is the most important step b/c it affects the flavor...everything else is easy from here. In dark pans it is hard to see if the butter is brown so sometimes I would get a spoonful of it to take a closer look.

2. Once the butter is perfect, pour some milk in...I have never measured it, I usually just put in enough to fill 3/4 of the big pan...with enough room to dip the bread without spilling.

3. Turn the heat down to like medium low. You don't want the milk to boil over.

4. Add 1/4 cup of sugar

5. Add 1 tsp of salt

6. Add 2 tsp of pepper (this is approx. I usually measure the pepper by...are there enough black
specks in...and then I add a ton more.) Usually the browned butter + the pepper gives it that yummy kick.

7. When the milk is warm, put a piece of bread in the pan. Depending on how deep it is, you can dunk it with the spatula or whatever you need to do to get it all wet. Just a few seconds...careful not to let it fall apart.

8. Put it in a bowl or something that can catch the liquid.

9. Keep repeating until all the bread is gone...serve with syrup!!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pepitas! aka Pumpkin Seeds

Submitted by Marcia Van Camp


Pumpkin seeds from a carved pumpkin
Olive Oil
Salt (table salt)


As you gut the pumpkins, keep all the seeds—and guts—in a bowl.

Throw them into a colander and rinse them under cold water, pulling away the chunks of pulp as you go (you don't have to be extremely thorough)

Spread the rinsed seeds out on a baking sheet.

Allow the seeds to dry several hours or overnight. And beware: they’re quite sticky/slimy, so don’t place them on paper towels! Just leave ‘em on the baking sheet and they’ll be fine.

When they’re nice and dry, go ahead and preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

Begin by drizzling the seeds with a couple teaspoons of olive oil.

Use your fingers to toss the seeds around to coat.

Then salt and season the seeds to taste.

Pop ‘em in the oven for an hour or so, until the seeds are light golden brown.

Let them cool for a few minutes…then let the snacking begin!

Pepitas need to be stored in an airtight container if they last beyond the first day.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Puff Biscuits

Submitted by Marcia Van Camp

3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2. In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs and milk
3. Add 1/2 tsp salt and 1 pinch of pepper
4. Gradually stir in the flour so that it does not clump...a whisk helps!
5. Get a cupcake pan. Take a small section of a paper towel and dip it in vegetable oil, and coat each of the 12 sections evenly with oil. This will help the lil' guys puff up!
6. Pour the batter into the sections, about half way
7. This makes about 24 puffs total

Notes: Even if the puffs are cold and you want them the second day, they are still so good! You can eat them cold with jelly or toast them...they are not as puffy the second day but they are yummy!

Pus ‘n Chunks

Submitted by Marcia Van Camp from Jayne Carlton
(see my notes at the bottom)

1 lb. Link Sausage
1 onion, chopped
1 ½ cups celery, sliced
½ lb. Mushrooms, sliced
2 med. Potatoes (already cooked and cut into pieces)
2 cans Cream of Celery Soup
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Milk (to think soup if needed)

Directions: Brown in a Large Pot:
1 lb. Link Sausage, cut into 1” pieces, remove from pot
Sauté in the drippings until barely soft:
1 onion, chopped
1 ½ cups celery, sliced
½ lb. Mushrooms, sliced

2 med. Potatoes (already cooked and cut into pieces),
or 1 can potatoes, cut into ½” pieces
2 cans Cream of Celery Soup
Heat through, but do not boil

1 cup grated cheddar cheese (or can be served on the side)
Thin with milk as needed

Notes: Marcia = I usually use 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup and 1 can of cream of celery soup...I usually don't add onions but I always put in chopped carrots!

I also really like to have biscuits of some sort served to soak in the soupy goodness...especially Puff Biscuits!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Pad Thai

Submitted by Linda Peterson

(I usually double it for 8 servings! But don't double the eggs).

4 cups water
1 package (6 to 8 oz) rice noodles (the thick kind)
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup water
3 Tbl packed brown sugar
3 Tbl fish sauce or soy sauce
3 Tbl soy sauce
1 Tbl rice vinegar or white vinegar
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3 Tbl vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup finely chopped dry-roasted peanuts
3 cups fresh bean sprouts
4 medium green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup firmly packed cilantro leaves
*Plus: 12-16 oz of tofu, frozen cooked shrimp, or chopped cooked chicken

1. In 3-quart saucepan, heat 4 cups water to boiling. Remove from heat; add noodles (push noodles into water with back of spoon to cover completely with water if necessary). Soak noodles 3 to 5 minutes or until noodles are soft but firm. Drain noodles; rinse with cold water.

2. Meanwhile, in small bowl, stir lime juice, 1/3 cup water, brown sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, cayenne pepper, and 1 tbl of the oil until well mixed; set aside.

3. In non-stick wok or 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat remaining 2 Tbl of oil over medium heat. Cook garlic and shallot in oil about 30 seconds, stirring constantly, until starting to brown. Add eggs, Cook about 2 minutes, stirring gently and constantly, until scrambled but still moist.

4. Stir in noodles and lime juice mixture. Increase heat to high. Cook about 1 minute, tossing constantly with 2 wooden spoons, until sauce begins to thicken (sometimes I add a little cornstarch+water to thicken). Add tofu, chicken, or shrimp. Cook 2-3 minutes, tossing, until noodles are tender. Serve with chopped peanuts, bean sprouts, green onions, and cilantro. Additional lime wedges are also nice.

*If using tofu, stir-fry in wok before adding the eggs, then set aside. Proceed with the recipe.
If using shrimp, make sure it's cooked, peeled, deveined medium shrimp and that you thaw it beforehand.
If using chicken, stir-fry it separately with a little basil and garlic, then set aside.

A couple other notes: Don't double the shallot. don't double the cayenne. if you make a single recipe of this, i recommend cutting the cayenne in half, unless you really like spicy. I usually don't include the green onions or cilantro cuz nick isn't a big fan of those things, but I'm sure they'd be delicious! read the instructions on your rice noodle box, because they might be different from what the recipe says. also, I usually add a little corn starch+water mixture to help thicken the sauce a little bit. once you have the sauce and noodles ready, this recipe cooks up really quickly and it's SOOO GOOD. enjoy!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Blueberry Bars

Submitted by Marcia Van Camp

These are so so delicious! Jessica Hubbard Stacy made some and they tasted like a cloud made out of blueberries!

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup white sugar
3 eggs
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
6 tablespoons cream cheese softened
1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)
Grease a 9 inch square baking dish.

To make the crust:
Cream shortening, sugar, one egg, milk and almond extract in a large bowl
Mix in flour and baking powder, stirring constantly
Spread crust evenly in baking pan
Top with blueberries.

To make the topping:
In a medium bowl, beat two eggs, and cream cheese until smooth.
Stir in powdered sugar and almond extract.
Spread over blueberries.
Bake 55 to 60 minutes, or until firm to the touch.
Cool in pan before cutting.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Potato Salad

Submitted by Marcia Van Camp per Bob Van Camp

Vegetable Oil or Olive Oil
Red Pepper

1. Boil the potatoes with salt and pepper (don't over boil, check at 10 min)
2. Cut up the celery into small pieces
3. Combined potatoes, celery and all other ingredients to taste.

Since Bob Van Camp doesn't measure anything this is the best I could add for now but once I try this out I will add more exact measurements.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Irish Michaelmas Pie

Submitted by Marcia Brisson

12 oz. all purpose flour, sifted
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 oz. vegetable shortening
3 oz. chilled butter, diced
3 fl. oz. chilled water
pinch of salt
2 lbs. cooking apples
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground nutmeg (I didn't have this so I just added more cinnamon)
12 oz. blackberries (I cute each blackberry in half)
1 egg, beaten

***FYI 8 ounces is 1 cup

Oven 350F

Pastry Directions:
1. Prepare the pastry.
2. Place the flour in a large bowl and stir in the cinnamon and salt.
3. Rub in the butter and shortening with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
4. Make a well in the center and add the chilled water.
5. Bring the mixture together using a round-bladed knife.
6. Once it has come together, knead for a brief moment and place in a plastic bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Filling Directions:
1. Peel and core the apples.
2. Cut into large chunks and place them in a saucepan with the sugar, cloves and nutmeg.
3. Cover with a lid and gently cook for 5 minutes or until the apples have softened. Fold in the blackberries and remove the saucepan from the heat.
4. Cool completely. (I put mine in the fridge)

Make the Pie:
1. Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out 2/3 on a lightly floured surface.
2. Line an 8 inch metal pie plate.
3. Strain the fruit but keep the juice. After all the fruit is in, pour back in the juice but only enough to cover half the pie. Otherwise, the juice will pour out the pan and into your oven.

I also took some of the juice and added it to the crust but then of course I had to add more flour to make the dough back to it's originally consistency. You don't have to do this but I thought it was a great way to flavor the crust. If you still have remaining juice, just keep it because you can use it later when serving to pour over the pieces if you want. It is really tasty!

4. Roll out remaining pastry and lay over the fruit.
5. Lift back the edge and brush the base with a little egg and seal the edge. Trim and crimp the pastry edges.
6. Brush the surface with the remaining egg and make a couple of slits in the top.
7.Scatter a little more sugar over the pastry and bake for 35 minutes. (I cooked mine longer because I like harder crust)

Serve hot or cold with ice cream or fresh whipped cream.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Chicken Tetrazzini

Submitted by Marcia Brisson
From the kitchen files of Christina Bishop

2-3 chicken breats, baked or boiled then chopped (about 2" squares)
1/2 pkg (or more) of sliced fresh mushrooms
1/4 c. butter
2 c. sour cream
(1) 10.5 oz. can of cream of chicken soup
8-10 oz. vermicelli (thin noodle) or other pasta (cooked)
Season salt to desired taste
Salt to desired taste
Pepper to desired taste

1. Brown chicken & mushrooms in butter
2. Add soup and sour cream to mixture
3. Remove from heat
4. Add seasoning
5. Cook pasta just until done (don't overcook)
6. Drain pasta and add to chicken mixture
7. Pour everything into a casserole dish (9x13 pan)
8. Cover with tinfoil and bake for 40 min. at 350 degrees
9. Remove tinfoil for at lest 10 min. before serving

Friday, January 21, 2011

Vegetarian Chili

Submitted by Linda Peterson
(or vegan, if you don't use any cheese!)

I happened upon this recipe in 2007 while perusing some cookbook (with cheap, healthy, easy recipes for college students) that belonged to my roommate Amber. I thought it sounded delicious, and lo and behold it WAS delicious! This is the perfect time of year for this chili. It's very cheap, you can have most all of the ingredients in food storage, and it's really great to make for friends that are sick or just had a baby.

1 bell pepper (any color is good!)
1 sweet yellow onion
2 (15 oz) cans black beans
2 (15 oz) cans stewed tomatoes (the big chunky ones by Hunt's are my favorite)
1 (15 oz) can corn
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp cinnamon (THIS is the magic ingredient)

Chop up the onion and bell pepper. In the bottom of a big pot (where you will put all the rest of the chili ingredients), saute onion and bell pepper in butter till they just begin to brown. Add all of the canned ingredients in their entirety--DO NOT DRAIN. The liquid from the cans forms the stock of the chili. Add the spices. Cover and bring chili to a soft boil, stirring occasionally. Uncover, lower heat (REALLY low), and let simmer for 30-40 minutes, until desired consistency. Stir occasionally so your chili doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan; I've had that happen with different stovetops.

Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, cheesy biscuits, whatever you want! Yum!

I've also made a white chili version of this, with white beans and tomatillos, but I can't entirely remember what I did feel free to experiment!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

Submitted by Alisha Stamper

I tried this recipe from Our Best Bites and have loved it ever since. I look forward to the fall and winter because I know I can make this soup in abundance. The original is here, but here are my notes for what I do:

I use a whole lotta butternut squash. Probably double what they say. And therefore more chicken stock. I also use the biggest potato I can find, which translates to about 3 medium potatoes.

Sigh. This stuff is the BEST.

Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas

Submitted by Linda Peterson

Courtesy of Krysta Whitmore courtesy of Paola Jellings courtesy of The Sisters Cafe. Krysta brought a dish of these enchiladas to Nick and I when Luke was about 3 weeks old. Rocked our world, seriously.

6 tbl honey
5 tbl lime juice (1 medium lime)
1 tbl chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 lb chicken, cooked and shredded (Krysta says about 3 small breasts; she boils them with salt, pepper, and another 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
8-10 flour tortillas (soft taco size, not burrito size)
1 lb Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (this is the best cheese)
2 (10 oz) cans green enchilada sauce
1 cup heavy whipping cream (ohhhh yeaaahhhh)

Mix first four ingredients and toss with the shredded chicken in a plastic bag.
Let marinate for at least a half hour.
Pour about 1/2 cup enchilada sauce on bottom of a 9x13 baking pan.
Fill flour tortillas with chicken and shredded cheese, saving 1 cup cheese to sprinkle on top.
Place filled tortillas in the 9x13 pan. It might be a tight fit!
In a bowl, mix the remaining enchilada sauce with the cream and leftover marinade, if any.
Pour mixture on top of tortillas, then sprinkle with cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until a little browned and crispy on top.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Autumnal Couscous

Submitted by Alisha Stamper

I created this cous-cous at home after having something similar at Whole Foods.

I box dry cous-cous (original)
dried cranberries
peeled, halved, seeded, diced butternut squash
brown sugar (approx one tbsp)
olive oil

cook the cous-cous according to package directions.

In a separate saucepan, boil two handfuls cranberries and a generous amount of diced butternut squash until the squash is edible. Drain.

Fluff cous-cous and separate any clumps. Mix in butternut squash and cranberries. Add brown sugar and mix all together. Try to not eat it all before you put it on the table :)

Light and Fresh Hummus

I found this recipe on Epicurious. It is for some sandwiches to make (which sound divine, great combination) but I just wanted to make some hummus as a dip for my bookgroup on Monday night. I did a few things differently, as noted below:

2 garlic cloves (minced & mashed into a paste with 1/2 tsp salt)*
1/3 c well-stirred tahini
16-19 oz can chickpeas, rinsed & drained**
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice***
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
3 tbsp water****
3 tbsp fresh parsley*****

* I just did a generous dashing of garlic salt, california style. Another thing I read in the reviews was to roast or broil your garlic.
** I used a 15.5 oz can
*** I used 3 tbsp AND just used the kind you buy, I did not buy lemons and squeeze out juice.
**** Used the reserved juice from the can of chickpeas
*****Used dried but did use the same amount. You normally use quite a bit less dried than fresh. There was a lot of green in this hummus but I loved it.

DIRECTIONS: in a food processor, blend together garlic, chick-peas, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil and cumin, scraping down the sides until smooth (You'll need to do this a lot. Don't want any large bits of chickpea). Add reserved liquid & parsley, pulse until combined. (You may need to add more of the reserved liquid.) Scrape out of food-processor, add salt & pepper to taste.

Can be made ahead and chilled (so they say).

Makes about 2 cups.

It tastes different than any hummus I've had in terms of flavor, and I think now that I have the basics down I'll try to make some other kids. WAY cheaper than buying, very easy and mondo delish!