Another year in the books

30 Dec

As 2014 approaches, many of us are looking back at 2013. Looking back at the good times and the bad. Reliving those moments that defined our year. And while I have done a bit of that myself, I’m focusing on 2014, on how I want to remember it a year from now.

This past year, I’ve explored new places, met new people, made new memories. I’ve set goals that I’ve accomplished, and set goals I’ve failed to meet. I’ve taken an emotional journey to understand who I am and what I want my life to be. And looking back, that seems to be the story for the past several years.

I’m by no means complaining, more so reflecting. As a child, you have so much to look forward to, things are ever changing. You expect as you grow into adulthood that things will become mundane and boring. But in fact, for me, it’s been quite the opposite. As I have grow older, I still anticipate what new exciting adventures await, but now I have a better understanding of how they will affect me.

I spent much of the holiday season remembering how I spent Thanksgivings and Christmases growing up, but only now do I realize how they have made me into the person I am today. Those memories shaped me, and will continue to shape me for many years to come. It’s my hope that one day I’ll look back on this year with the smiles I have of years’ past.

I’ve always been one to make New Year’s Resolutions, but considered them more like goals. Many of my goals for 2014 are the same as 2013. Sometimes, goals aren’t achieved in one year, sometimes, we need a bit more motivation. I’d like to get back to working out three times a week. I’d like to delegate more during big events. I want to sit at home and enjoy my couch more than this year. I want to start reading to kids regularly at the local schools. I want to continue to make quilts for people, and make a few for myself. I’d like to become comfortable with free motion quilting. I want to expand my photography business into a “real” business. But most of all, I want to save money on a consistent basis.

Whatever your resolutions or goals are for 2014, I encourage you to write them down, and strive to achieve them. If you don’t quite make it, don’t give up. There’s always 2015. Happy New Year yall :)

Chicken Cordon Bleu

27 Aug

On my way home from the gym, I got to thinking. Eric loves a Chicken Cordon Bleu, and I’m a pretty big fan myself, but I’m trying not to eat many starches for dinner. So, what if I create a “naked” CCB? Well, I didn’t look anything up, I just bought the ingredients I didn’t have (ham & Swiss cheese), and I winged it. Thus, my homemade version of CCB…

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Ingredients
> chicken breast tenderloins
> ham slices or bacon
> Swiss cheese slices
> Kickin’ Chicken seasoning (made by Weber, and it’s my favorite chicken seasoning by far)

Directions
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place foil over a cookie sheet. Trust me, the cheese is gonna ooze, and this will help with cleanup.
2. Flatten your chicken with a meat hammer. You want it thin because you will be sandwiching it.
3. Make one of the following chicken sandwiches:
A. Chicken, ham, 1/2 slice cheese, ham, 1/2 slice cheese & chicken
B. Chicken, cheese, chicken, then wrap with bacon
4. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the integral temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees.
5. Let it cool before consuming so you don’t burn your mouth. ;)

I tried both because bacon is supposed to make everything better, but we preferred the ham version. It’s just a personal preference. I mean you could always make the ham version and add bacon too… Just a thought ;)

I finished my plate with some fresh boiled green beans and a sweet potato. Hopefully this healthier, naked CCB becomes a family favorite for yours as well!

Homemade Meatballs & Roasted Tomato Sauce

23 May

Last night on my way home, I got inspired. For mother’s day, I made my mom dinner on the grill using foil packets. The combination of tomatoes and spinach got me wondering… could I make that into a sauce?

Well, last night proved you can! I paired the sauce with some whole wheat angel hair pasta and turkey/chicken meatballs. All of the recipes below are loosely based on recipes I found on The Food Network, but I’ve made them my own.

If you try it out, tell me how your family likes it!

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Roasted Tomato Sauce

  • 6 medium tomatoes (I used the tomatoes sold on the vine)
  • Handful of fresh baby spinach
  • Half of a medium sweet onion
  • 1/2 tsp of the following: thyme, marjoram, basil, oregano
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Slice tomatoes into wedges and arrange on baking sheet. Chop onions and distribute evenly. Sprinkle baby spinach over tomatoes and onions. Drizzle olive oil over vegetables until thoroughly coated. Sprinkle herbs, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 20-30 minutes until onions are translucent and tomatoes are soft. Allow the mixture to cool a bit before pureeing in a food processor.

Turkey/Chicken Meatballs

  • 1 pound of ground turkey
  • 1/2 pound of ground chicken
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of breadcrumbs, plus extra
  • 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp of the following: thyme, marjoram, basil, oregano
  • Olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine meats and mix until evenly distributed. Add cheeses, spices, egg and breadcrumbs and mix until combined. If the mixture is too sticky, add more breadcrumbs. Roll into balls and place on a greased baking sheet. I made mine a bit too big, so I only got 12. You should be able to get 24 1-inch diameter meatballs. Drizzle olive oil over each meatball, and bake for 15-18 minutes.

I am moving….

6 Nov

…to another site!

I’m re-purposing sydneydavisphoto.com to be my new blog site. It’s currently under construction, but I’m hoping to have all that taken care of soon. Once that happens, I will begin posting there. I will keep you updated when it’s all good to go.

International Quilt Festival

2 Nov

Once a year, the International Quilt Festival comes to the George R. Brown Convention Center in Downtown Houston. It’s a perfect setting mixing the urban surroundings with Discovery Green Park, and lots of eager quilters and enthusiasts.

Last year was my first visit to the Festival, and to say I was impressed was an understatement. It was like sensory overload for a quilter. I had an absolute blast, and became easily overwhelmed with all the beautiful fabrics, amazing patterns, and who could forget the quilts. The show quilts were fantastic and really opened my eyes up to the artistic side of quilting. Don’t get me wrong, I consider all quilts art, but the show quilts take it to the next level and knock it out of the park. Of course I spent oodles of money on fabric, patterns and kits, but overall I left anxious for the next Festival.

This year, I decided to attend a class in addition to shopping the Festival. I have become increasingly interested in modern quilting, and saw the class offerings. I decided on a class taught by Heather from Fiberosity.com for a Wonky Modern Table Runner. I’ll post photos and more in another post once I get all my photos together.

Needless to say, I’m totally hooked on modern and I have lots of ideas flowing through my head. I also got a chance to see her two quilts along with several others hanging in the Modern Quilt Guild Showcase. I now hope to create something that will be hung in the show one day. It’s my newest addition to the bucket list.

I picked up several great patterns and some great fabric while I was there too. I’m excited to get quilting, but first it’s NASCAR weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. Then QUILTING! I promised Eric I would leave all my purchases at home, so photos will have to wait.

Oh! And I almost forgot the biggest purchase of the Festival…. Eric bought me an AccuQuilt Go! for Christmas!!! Oh course he’s “giving” it to me earlier :P I can’t wait to start putting that puppy to good use :)

Now, I’m off to designing and mentally quilting the night away.

Until next time,
Sydney

Just the beginning…

18 Aug

Last night one of my oldest and bestest friends came over…. To learn how to use her sewing machine! We had a blast, over a bottle of wine and some dinner, creating this…

Lindsay’s first pillowcase! Hopefully this will be the start of something creative and fun.

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Fabric, fabric and more fabric!

30 Jul

You can never have enough fabric. Or at least that’s what any good quilter would say.

Whenever I talk about fabric, Eric and my friend Nadja both make fun of me. So, when Nadja’s husband Jeff got back from Amsterdam with my present, not only did they make fun of me, they also shook their heads. “Oh great, just what she needs… MORE FABRIC!”

I, however, was grateful for Jeff’s very thoughtful gift. He found this little quick shop called Bird Block and specifically asked for fabric not sold in the States. He brought me home a little stash of awesome. And, the quilt shop has a really cool bird block on their tag, so I emailed them to find the pattern so I can make it using this specific fabric. I’m totally stoked.

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