Category Archives: Recipes

Boston Brown Bread Muffins

I had an oddly sad experience today. I was reading this post about a crochet edged pillow. As I scrolled down the post, when my eyes first caught sight of the pillow, a flash raced through my mind. It was just a snippet of a pillow I made when I was young. I continued to read and then, Bam! Another flash!

It drove me crazy. What were these little flashes?  They seemed familiar and left me with a warm feeling, but I just couldn’t place them. I held my head in my hands with my eyes closed for a few minutes … thinking … thinking. It made me so sad that try, hard as I might, I just couldn’t get that memory back.

All I have to go on, is that edge of the pillow. It wasn’t crocheted, but rather, big loops sewn with yarn — I can clearly see them and I wish I could remember how to do the stitch. I think I made several of them and I’m pretty sure they were pillows made of washcloths (which sounds really awful!), but I still can’t “see” the front of the pillow. And judging by my reaction to the memory flashes, I think I loved making them. Maybe MyDadLovesMeBestSister remembers them? It’s funny, over the years, I’ve thought of lots of things I made when I was young, but I don’t remember ever thinking about those pillows. Isn’t it weird how just a glimpse of something, seemingly so innocent, can trigger a flashback? It’s sad that my memory board seems to have a short in it.

Ah well, onto something from the here and now. Last week, Jody posted this recipe for Creamy Sausage Stew and I decided to give it a try. It was delicious! After a few bites, TheManoftheHouse said “This is really good!”  And then, when almost finished, “I don’t remember having this before, but this is REALLY good!”  Clearly, his memory is better than mine!

Thimbleanna: Boston Brown Bread Muffins

I had big plans to make some artisan bread to go along with it, but I dropped the ball and didn’t get the dough prepped in time. Instead, I opted for a quickbread that we enjoy with hearty winter meals. Just in case you decide to try Jody’s great recipe (and you should!), I thought you might like some muffins to go along with it

Boston Brown Bread Muffins

1/2 cup (2 0z/60 g) rye flour
1/2 cup (3 oz/90 g) yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup (2 oz/60 g) whole-wheat (wholemeal) flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) buttermilk
1/3 cup (2 oz/60 g) firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup (3 fl oz/80 ml) vegetable oil
1/3 cup (4 oz/125g) molasses
1 egg
1 cup (5 0z/155 g) raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Butter standard muffin tins.

In a medium bowl stir and toss together the rye flour, cornmeal, whole-wheat flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl whisk together the buttermilk, sugar, oil, molasses and egg until smooth. Add to the combined dry ingredients and stir just until blended. Stir in the raisins, if desired.

Spoon into the prepared muffin tins, filling each cup about two-thirds full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Cool in the tins for a moment, then remove.

Makes about 12 standard muffins.

Thimbleanna: Boston Brown Bread Muffins

Now, if you’re in the northern hemisphere, you’re all prepared for the next polar vortex. You know it’s coming — it’s only February! ;-D


Banana Anna Banana

Ahhh, when last we parted I was about to try a new banana bread recipe. I looooove bananas. It’s no surprise really — I grew up as Anna Banana, so how could I not love them?

Anyway, the banana recipe was a success, so I thought I’d share the recipe with you.  (Ok fine.  I have selfish reasons for posting too — this way I won’t have to search through all of my banana bread recipes again, wondering which one I liked.)

But wait! While we’re in the kitchen, I thought you might like to see the cute new twine holder I got today!

Thimbleanna: Twine Bird

Lisa had a really fun post on twine the other day and her cute little birdy twine holder caught my eye. Lisa kindly gave me a link and when I clicked over, it accidentally fell into my basket. I love birdies … I love twine … it was meant to be.   I think it looks pretty cute on my kitchen counter.

Anyway, back to the banana bread. Banana bread is one of those things where everyone has their own favorite recipe. I’ve tried a lot of recipes over the years with varying degrees of success. I tend to lean toward recipes with sour cream or yogurt, but lately, I’ve had trouble with them — they never seem to get done in the middle.  I found the recipe I used the other day in a cookbook I’ve had lying around for years.  It’s a little different — a LOT of bananas, no sour cream or yogurt, and a tinch (that’s a teeny bit) of orange.  It’s a very subtle orange flavor and it’s  a really nice touch in this banana bread.  Plus, it uses cake flour instead of regular flour, which gives it  a pretty tender crumb.

Thimbleanna: Banana Bread

Banana Bread

2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
6 very ripe medium bananas, peeled and mashed
4 eggs, well beaten
1 Tbsp fresh orange juice
2 tsp freshly grated orange zest
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream sugar and butter until light. Add bananas, eggs, orange juice, and zest. Mix well. Sift together dry ingredients and fold into the banana mixture. Divide between two greased 9 x 5 – inch loaf pans. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes *, until firm in the middle.

Cool the loaves on wire rack for 1/2 hour before you remove them from the pans.

And the best part is that it makes 2 loaves — 1 for you and one to give away!

Thimbleanna: Banana Bread

Have a good weekend!

*After 50 minutes, my banana bread was still too moist in the middle so I set the timer for 10 more minutes. That turned out to be too long, as you can tell from the pictures — the banana bread is a little too done on the outside (it was still really good though). Five more minutes would have been perfect!

Shrimp Fettuccini

Hello, Hello. Have you had a good week? .   There’s been some Steampunk progress here — I’m putting the blocks together now. Here’s a picture of the first complete corner.

Thimbleanna: Steampunk Corner

I’m going slowly and taking my time — putting one row a day together. I’ve had so much fun choosing fabrics, I’ll almost be sorry to see it all put together.   Hopefully I’ll be basting the quilt together this weekend.

Gosh, this weekend. The last one in September. Wow. It scares me to think how little time is left in 2013. The days are getting shorter and the fall nesting instinct is edging it’s way into my days. Meals seem a little heartier than the lighter, summer fare. I thought I’d give you the recipe for one of our current favorites — Shrimp Fettuccini. MeMum found this recipe a few years ago in a cookbook that I brought to her after a trip to Salem Massachusetts and we love it.  I don’t normally like very spicy food, but the jalapeno cheese in this recipe gives it just the perfect little bit of zing!

Thimbleanna: Shrimp Fettucini

Shrimp Fettuccini

1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1/2 cup butter
4 teaspoons parsley flakes
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined **
4 teaspoons flour
2/3 cup half-and-half
8 ounces shredded  jalapeno Monterey Jack cheese
12 ounces fettuccini
1 cup shredded jalapeno Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Saute the onion, green pepper and garlic in the butter in a large saucepan until tender.  Add the parsley flakes and the shrimp.  Saute just until the shrimp turn pink.  Mix in the flour.

Stir in the half-and-half gradually and cook until thickened, stirring constantly.  Add the 8 ounces cheese gradually, stirring until the cheese melts; set aside.

Cook the pasta al dente using the package directions, rinse with hot water and drain well. (Note from me: Or, save time and cook the pasta while you’re making the sauce ;-D ) Add the pasta to the shrimp mixture and mix gently.

Pour the mixture into a lightly greased baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

**The recipe calls for raw shrimp, but I buy the pre-cooked stuff  ’cause I’m l-a-a-zy.  Just put them into the mix after the flour and half-and-half have been added.

Thimbleanna: Shrimp Fettucini

Serve with some fresh, homemade crusty bread (not pictured haha) and you have a yummy, quick meal.

Have a great weekend!

Ugly Bean Dip

Happy Spring! It finally warmed up here and our weather has beeeeyouteeeeful! It’s all about the yardwork here in the spring. Can you believe I held out until May 1st before I had to mow the lawn? Brownie Points for Mother Nature! Last year, spring was so early I think I mowed during the first week of April.

All this yardwork means not much sewing. I’ve pre-washed a few fat quarter packs, but that’s about it. And the kids were briefly home to go to a wedding, so I made one of our favorite dips to have with tortilla chips.

Thimbleanna: Ugly Bean Dip

I got this recipe years ago from one of the women who was in our now defunct quilt group.  It’s called Ugly Bean Dip and I didn’t know it, but SweetiePie said they love it and she makes it when they have friends over. So, you know it must be good! ;-D

Thimbleanna: Ugly Bean Dip

Ugly Bean Dip

1/2 c. ranch dressing
1/4 c. Italian dressing
1 t. chili powder
1/2 to 3/4 t. black pepper
1/2 t. garlic salt
2 t. finely chopped cilantro
1 15-oz. can black beans (drained)
1 15-oz. can white peg corn (drained)
1/2 c. finely chopped green pepper
1 med.-large tomato, chopped
1/2 c. chopped purple onion

Mix all ingredients together. Cover tightly (or your fridge will smell awful!) Refrigerate.

(I like to sprinkle some extra cilantro over the top before serving.)

Thimbleanna: Ugly Bean Dip


Chocolate Chip Cookie Wars

Gee Whiz. I guess I should write a post just to move those Happy Easter pictures into the past, huh? Not much going on around here to post about. It’s tax time you know. That means cleaning out files and wasting time looking for tax stuff. Yoyo production has slowed down as a result, but I’m gaining on the little devils. Yoyo Count: Yoyos: 290 Me: 578.

Thimbleanna: Chocolate Chip Cookies

In the meantime, how do you take your Chocolate Chip Cookies? Cake-y or Chewy? Regular or Jumbo? I’m not a huge Chocolate Chip Cookie fan (Oatmeal Raisin any day baby!), but I try to do my part to keep the Chocolate Chip Cookie lovers in the family happy. For years I’ve made a recipe that a friend gave me when the boys were in high school. She kept the sports teams happily supplied with after practice snacks. When she moved away I begged her to give me the recipe, you know, for the boys. She’s a sweetheart, and very kindly obliged. They’re tender and cake-y and almost everyone loves them.

Thimbleanna: Chocolate Chip Cookies

But, a few people prefer chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies and recently, I found a recipe that fit the chewy bill. Last time I made them, I made them regular size, but today, I made them jumbo sized. They’re a little more cakey in their jumbo form, but they’re still really good. (In other words, if you prefer them even more chewy, make the jumbo sized recipe, but scoop them into smaller cookies.)

In the event you’d like to experiment, here are the two Chocolate Chip Cookie recipes that we love. You’ll notice they’re almost the same recipe. A big difference in the cakey vs. chewy technique appears to be oven temperature.

Thimbleanna: Chocolate Chip Cookies

Regular Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Using an electric mixer, cream butter, sugars and vanilla together. Add eggs, one at a time. Add flour mixture to the butter mixture in thirds. Stir in chocolate chips.

Line 4 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop the cookie dough onto cookie sheets. Bake until cookies start to brown, 8 – 10 minutes. Makes 24 cookies.

Thimbleanna: Chocolate Chip Cookies

Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix well and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix into the creamed butter, scraping again. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop the cookie dough into 12 large (1/3 cup) mounds. Bake until cookies are flat and very light golden brown 15 – 20 minutes. Makes 12 jumbo cookies.

And here’s another bonus to the Jumbo cookie recipe:

Thimbleanna: Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s fun to stack them in the cookie jar!