The original MTNMAMA

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Grilled Fennel Salad with Oranges, Olives and Cilantro

 My Day at the CIA----Culinary Arts Institue!!

Sorry for my two week blogging absence but I took a small trip to the Napa/Sonoma Valley to celebrate a good friends' significant birthday....(No Numbers Allowed!!)
We had lots of fun....the weather was phenomenal, sunny and crisp, along with beautiful winery's and vineyards to tour and taste but my highlight was the day I got to spend taking a class at the CIA in St Helena, CA.  The class was on "Grilling Favorites"  We cooked in teams and everyone got lots of "hands on" time.  

The CIA in CA is located in the old Christian Brothers Winery.  It is an exquisite a monastery or castle. Built of rough stone it looks hundreds of years old. It has been remodeled to teach the students of the CIA. 

 My friend, Mary Beth and I are escorted into the great foyer and await the day ahead.

 The kitchen area is massive and will accommodate several large groups of students at one time.  We were welcomed with pastries and muffins...fuel for our day of cooking.

Here I am at the outdoor cooking grill arena with our teacher, Chef Paul.  I am grilling fennel for my salad.  It was so much fun to learn the difference between BBQ and grilling.  We learned about fuel sources and how to use them to cook your recipe the best way you can.

I want one of these Italian Pizza Ovens in my backyard!!!

Men and Women at's a hot job but we all loved doing it!

My group putting our salmon fillets presentation side down to get grill marks before placing them on cedar planks.  We even had a demo on how to fillet an entire LARGE salmon.  That was very interesting.  We were taught how to choose fish and what signs tell if they are old.

Potato Skewers with a chive-dipping sauce.  Chef Paul keeping the food moving and the fire hot.

Now for plating and eating ...the best part of the day.  We had two other classes going that day so we all displayed our food together and shared.  There was CIA Favorites, Grilling Favorites and Cookies.

Grilled fruit Skewers

Cedar Plank Salmon with Zinfandel Huckleberry Sauce

Steamed Rockfish and Vegetables

Deep Fried Zucchini Blossoms


Grilled Raddichio and Orange Salad

Grilled Beet Salad

Grilled Fennel Salad with Oranges, Olives and Cilantro

This was my project for the morning.  I enjoyed grilling the fennel because it is something I don't often choose to use in my everyday cooking.  The presentation was nice and the flavors fresh.

Grilled Fennel Salad with Oranges, Olives, and Cilantro

3 Fennel Bulbs
1/4 cup thin sliced red onion
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp colander
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
3 orange segments
1/3 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/3 cup oil cured black olives

1. Preheat gas grill to medium heat; leave one burner off.
2.  Trim the fennel to remove the tops (reserve some of the tops for garnish) and some of the root end.  Cut the fennel into quarters or sixths.  Trim some of the core from each piece, leave enough core to hold the fennel together on the grill.
3.  Combine the red onion and the red wine vinegar (1 TBSP) and the onions rest until they turn a bright pink, about 20 minutes.
4.  Blend together the remaining vinegar, the orange juice, olive oil, salt, pepper  coriander, and cayenne.  Add the trimmed fennel and toss to coat evenly.  Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.
5.  Remove the fennel from the marinade, reserving the marinade to baste the fennel as it grills.  Grill the fennel over the indirect heat, turning every 10 minutes and brushing with some of the marinade, until tender, about 20 minutes.
6.  Move the fennel to the hottest part of the grill, and cook over direct heat until the fennel is browned and fully cooked, another 10-15 minutes.
7.Combine the grilled Fennel with the oranges, olives, cilantro and reserved fennel fronds.  Drizzle with any remaining marinade, top with the red onions, serve at room temperature or chilled.  

What a fun day!!    The cookie class proved lots of yummy desserts!!

If you ever get the chance to go to the CIA I would highly recommend it.  There are classes you can participate in and demonstrations you can watch.  There is also a lovely gift shop and restaurant where you can dine.  I am already dreaming of going back........This place was made for foodies like me!!

Happy Trails,

Mtn Mama

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Jeffrey's First Birthday in Heaven

Heavenly Happy Birthday!!

August 17th was Jeffrey's first birthday in heaven.  I invited friends and family to share a BBQ in the backyard to honor his memory.  I had this "Bubbler" put in near the patio closest to the house as a "Memorial Garden".  Friends brought stones to place around the base.  There are stones from special places, stones with special words and stones with special meaning.  I was so overwhelmed with the turnout.  We had over 60 people in the backyard.  WOW!!  I have had so much great support this year.  There was laughter, reminiscing, good food and friends. A perfect party....Jeffrey would have been pleased....especially with the weather .... it was absolutely gorgeous for August in Oklahoma.  I felt very blessed and happy to be celebrating with so many wonderful people.  I remember last year one of my good friends encouraging me with these it our job to carry on and at that time it seems like an impossible task but after a year I am ready to keep moving forward encouraged by the love of friends.

Quilt camp was a huge success.  I put Debby on a plane Saturday morning with tears in both of our eyes.  I am so blessed to have her in my life.  

I finished my Days of The Week tea towels and sent them out Friday for my friends birthday.


Total Yards Used this Week: 16 yards

Added this Week: 16 yards

Used year to Date: 71 1/4 yards

Added Year to Date: 23 3/4 yards

Net Stash Decrease for 2013: 49 1/2 

We finished lots of projects and used lots of fabric from the stash this week.  We completed the Log Cabin Stars Quilt,

Debby got 4 Umbrella girl blocks bordered and sashed.  They are twin size.  Ready to quilt when she gets them home.  We found all the fabric in my stash for backs too.  

I used a LOT of fabric making the 10 tea towels out of the red ticking fabric.  

Yes, we did use a LOT of fabric this week but I also bought the same amount that I used so no Change in the Stash for this week.  

I spent Thurday and Friday cooking for the BBQ.  We made Cake Push Up Pops complete with sparkler tops to celebrate Jeffrey's Heavenly Birthday.  Miss Ella enjoyed helping Nana!!  We are a team!!

The children at the party all got to take a "special" treat home!!
Hope your weekend was as special as mine was!!

Thank you Lord for the memories and love that Jeffrey and I shared.  Thank you for friends to share them with who loved him too. As we push forward into another year on this earth may we keep our eyes lifted to you, seeking your guidance, allowing your spirit to lead us until the day you call us home to begin our eternal Heavenly Birthday Party!!!
In the name of our precious Savior we pray, AMEN

Memory is a file cabinet of the mind.
It occasionally needs resorting..........................
And continually needs to be inventoried.......................
But mostly it needs to be used to store the truly significant understanding of life!!

I am growing and storing and understanding more and more every day........till the day I leave this world for my heavenly home!!

Happy Trails,

Mtn Mama

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Quilting Girls Gone Wild!!

What would quilt camp be without multiple trips to the fabric store?

Debby and I have been sewing our little hearts out.... here are a few of the projects we are working on:
Debby completed the Log Cabin Stars quilt top and I quilted it on my Tin Lizzie last night. It is beautiful...She is working on binding tonight.
I had a little help with the quilting. Miss Ella loves to sit on my lap and watch Nana sew. I hope Miss Ella will carry on the sewing tradition in our family.

I am making a set of kitchen towels for a friend's birthday. I plan to embroidery them on my machine with day of the week motifs.


Debby brought several antique hand appliqu├ęd Umbrella Girl blocks that were made by her Grandmother in the 50's and 60's. She is making twin size quilt for her great nieces with the blocks in the center as a medallion. These little girls would have been Great-Great Granddaughters of the woman who stitched the blocks. Isn't that just too cool!!

All year I have wanted to make a clergy stole for the minister that spoke at Jeff's funeral. Since the anniversary date is this Saturday I finally got my thoughts together and designed one that is both meaningful and beautiful. Quilt camp was a perfect time to get it done!!

I used Home Dec fabric. It was heavy enough to hang nicely and sewed very easily. Blue was Jeff's favorite color and he had the most beautiful blue eyes that he has passed onto his daughter Jenny and granddaughter Ella . So I chose to make it the color blue in honor of him. I put a Celtic Cross on the posterior collar to recognize our Scotch-Irish Heritage. Most people from Appalachia where we are from are Scotch Irish descendants. Somewhere somebody lost a war in Scotland and exiled the losers to Ireland where they weren't welcome so they migrated to American settling in the mountain region of West Virginia. Jeff was very "Irish" looking with fair skin, blue eyes and red hair that he passed down to Jenny.

The front right of the stole has a dove with an olive branch in the background. I used gold for the background color and a silvery blue for the dove.

The left side has a cross with the Serenity Prayer embroidered into it. It took four hours to embroider that cross and lots of patience but it turned out beautiful.

I put gold upholstery fabric at the bottom for weight and texture. It worked out really well.


I am pleased with the final product. A project worth the time and effort. It will always remind me of Jeffrey. Off to bed...I have six more days of the week to embroider tomorrow so I can finish my second project this week. Debby is working on another set of Umbrella ladies. More pictures tomorrow.

Happy Trails,

Mtn Mama



Sunday, August 11, 2013

Quilt Camp August 2013 Begins !!!

WOW....does summertime just fly for you like it does for me? After returning from my vacation I have been super busy getting caught up in my life. The weather in Tulsa has been so nice for August. We have had rain and storms but everything is green and our temps have been in the 80's and low 90's. What a difference from this time last year!!

Thank you Lord for the rain that cools and quenches the earth's thirst. We see Your hand in your creation and thank you for the green grass, the cool wind, and the storms that show us your majesty and power!! Your plan is perfect! AMEN

It has been a long time since I registered a stash report. On my vacation I did some "fabric" shopping and adding to the stash. I had been doing so well this year NOT buying fabric but oh was fun to add to the stash. Each time I use one of these fabrics I will remember where I bought the fabric and my vacation. My fabric is more than just a piece of material to is part of the journey!!


Total Yards Used this Week: 13 yards

Added this Week: 12 yards

Used year to Date: 71 1/4 yards

Added Year to Date: 23 3/4 yards

Net Stash Decrease for 2013: 49 1/2

The projects completed that were counted this week came from several weeks's a recap:





Debby got here this week for our annual summer Quilt Camp. Debby brought a pattern that would be the "project" to get us started. We immediately picked fabrics from my stash and Debby got to cutting. She cut out two quilts - one for her and one for me!!!! Such a peach of a friend. I had to go to work that morning and when I returned she had both quilts cut out.

Debby has worked dilligently since Tuesday and has her quilt ready to sew together. I on the other hand have been working, getting thank-yous written for all my wonderful birthday presents, doing computer work and still getting caught up on life. I have started making tea-towels out of ticking that I will machine embroider for a special birthday gift. It will be a set of 7- one for each day of the week. The designs are so cute. Can't wait to embroider them.

Here is the log cabin quilt top laid out ready to sew together!!

Now we sew the quilt together!!! Yeah!! So much fun! We are at the lake and the weather is great!! It is so fun getting lost in Quilt Camp!!

Happy Trails,

Mtn Mama