I’ve been procrasti-baking. Anyone else do that? Rather than clean my house or get work done, I’m in the kitchen baking.

We made two batches of peppermint bark for my kid’s holiday market, maybe five batches of my all-time-favorite cookie snickerdoodles, and quite a few rounds of these peppermint meringues. So the teachers are all gifted this year. These meringues are simple to make and require just a few inexpensive ingredients. I always use a ziploc bag and a pastry tip because I cannot be bothered with washing a pastry bag. I tried two different pastry tips for different results. And I tried one batch substituting vanilla extract for the peppermint, but I think I prefer to stick to the recipe. They taste like crunchy little peppermint candies. Easy, tasty, done.

If you are still looking for quick goodies to gift, check out this adorable printable peppermint bark label from Hello! Lucky.

Moda Designer Blog Hop

Today I’m excited to be part of the Moda Designer Blog Hop! If you read this blog regularly, you’ll know that I have a fabric collection called Quilt Blocks that will be available in stores in April. If you’ve just found The Long Thread through the Moda blog hop, be sure to check out my book, 1, 2, 3 Sew.

For the blog hop, each participating Moda designer is sharing a quilt block and a recipe on their blog. My contribution is the quilt block above and a recipe for Honey Pound Cake. The 12″ block uses some of the fabrics that will be available in the spring, but I just had strike-offs to work with, so the colors may be slightly different. It’s a straightforward block using three different fabrics, and would work well with solids or any pattern.

As a Southerner, I’ve always been a big fan of pound cake and its versatility. You can serve it with fruit, ice cream, whipped cream, or just on its own with coffee. Pound cake freezes well and makes a nice holiday gift. You could make this drawstring gift bag for a loaf of pound cake to make it extra special.

Just click on the image below to print the .pdf file with the recipe and block instructions. Happy Holidays!

Follow along with the other stops on the Moda Designer Blog Hop. Here’s the full tour schedule:

Monday, December 5th:

Minick & Simpson

Anne Sutton

Me & My Sister

Deb Strain

Tuesday, December 6th:

Kansas Troubles

Fig Tree & Company

Cosmo Cricket

Lucie Summers

Liz Scott

Wednesday, December 7th:

Bonnie Olvason

French General

Liesl Gibson


The Long Thread

Thursday, December 8th:

Camille Roskelley

Kathy Schmitz

Laundry Basket Quilts

Kate Spain

Primitive Gatherings

Friday, December 9th:

Basic Grey

Jan Patek

American Jane

Pieces from my Heart

Vegan Crispy Treats

We’ve been doing a “staycation” for much of spring break (made-up word alert) after returning from North Carolina where we escaped the pollen and got snow flurries instead. So we’ve been doing some yard work and a bit of cooking. As I mentioned a few months ago, our diet has been somewhat crazy after we discovered my daughter’s food allergies, but we have eased up a bit these days. Still trying to avoid wheat and now milk too. And really, don’t get me started. Food is such a source of frustration, but when I find someone who has all the answers I’ll let you know.

Anyway, as vegetarians we avoid gelatin. Okay, and if you don’t know why gelatin isn’t vegetarian, I won’t tell you about it. But my 8-year-old will be happy to tell you in graphic detail. And I apologize for that. So, we made some vegan marshmallow treats with puffed rice cereal from Whole Foods, Dandies vegan marshmallows and Earth Balance. I know. We managed to turn a 50 cent treat into a four dollar gourmet fancy thing. But they were good! Pretty much the old-fashioned recipe, just substituted with expensive hippie ingredients.

And we ate them with the girls’ new favorite smoothie — coconut and strawberry. I use a can of coconut milk (yes, the canned kind to get some extra fat in my kid’s diet — 72 grams per can!) and blend it with fresh and frozen strawberries and a bit of soy milk. Very tasty.

Butternut Squash

Again this fall, I find myself looking for ways to use all the squash appearing in our farm share box (or as the kids call it the “surprise vegetables”). While I love butternut squash, one can only eat so much of it with pasta and greens.

So I made these pumpkin muffins, substituting baked and pureed butternut squash for the pumpkin. I added walnuts to the top, but you could add oats for a nut-free treat. Even the kids loved these muffins.

Then I made some fall chili, throwing in all the fall vegetables we had in the fridge — butternut squash, acorn squash, sweet potato and zucchini. I roasted the veggies in the oven with garlic and olive oil then added them to the chili (with cannellini beans, black beans, onions, celery, green and yellow peppers, green chilies and fire-roasted tomatoes) . Instead of the usual cilantro, I added a bundle of thyme and sage for more fall flavor, and topped it off with feta cheese.

Autumn Apple Muffins

Autumn is almost here! Welcome the flavors of Fall with these apple muffins from my post over on Alpha Mom. Print out the muffin wrappers to dress them up for a school celebration or brunch.