Thursday, 9 March 2023

Self Harm

It's been a while since I posted anything about mental health. First of all, I'm exercising regularly, thank the Lord, though I don't really see any improvement in my sleep, energy levels or mood. Nevertheless, I do know that it's doing me good physically. But yesterday, I just never got around to it. For the most part, I just forgot. My memory is actually getting worse, which I know can be impacted by my mental health. And lack of sleep, which is also impacted by my mental health. And lately, I've found brain games, like Wordle, much more challenging and stressful. My shortness of breath and abdominal discomfort have gotten worse again as well. And the eczema on my right hand never seems to go away permanently, in spite of using sterioid ointment. Of course, I don't always remember to put it on. Nor do I apply moisturiizing cream to my hands every 20 minutes as my doctor recommended. It's fine if I'm just sitting there watching TV, but if I'm washing dishes or working with fabric or yarn, it's not very practical. Tuesday morning, I woke up around 2:00 in the morning and didn't get back to sleep. And really didn't have the energy to do anything during the day. But that's not entirely true. 
We had a period of warmer weather 2 or 3 weeks ago and the snow on the garage roof got soft and mushy and slid off the roof, landing on the sidewalk between the deck and the garage. I managed to shovel up the first bunch, but then more fell off the roof later in the day and I didn't get the chance to shovel it up before it froze in what was a small, icy mountain range on the sidewalk. Frozen solid, it couldn't be shovelled up and the ice melting salt barely touched it. My turf edger, which I might have used to try to break it up, was in the shed. And the shed was still inaccessible because of the snow. So, I figured I was stuck with it until the spring. And I had to gingerly clamber over it any time I left the house. But yesterday, I knew my new roll of quilt batting was going to be delivered. Plus I had my friend, Barb who makes soap, delivering some soap to me Wednesday. So, I needed to do something about accessibility to my home. Before breakfast, I went out with a hammer and hammered that ice until I managed to clear enough to be able to safely get to the stairs on the deck. Hurray! That's why I said that it wasn't entirely true that I didn't have the energy to do anything, but I basically just lazed around for the rest of the day. Although, I did exercise Tuesday. I just didn't get around to it on Wednesday. It remains to be seen whether or not I exercise today.
Wednesday was not a good day. My psychologist suggested to my disability benefit company that I should be assessed by an OT for activities of daily living, exercise capabilities, etc. I think she's hoping the benefit company will pay for a pass for me to go to the aquatic centre here in town. I don't really care, but just want to cooperate with my care plan as much as possible. Neither I nor my psychologist thought that they would want me to go to Edmonton to be assessed. We both assumed that I would be assessed at home. So I was rather surprised and dismayed when I found out that they wanted to go into Edmonton, over an hour's drive away and I would have to be there from 8:30 in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon on the first day and 8:30 to 12:00 on the second day. That means someone with Generalized Anxiety Disorder would be driving in Edmonton during rush hour. And the appointment is later this month. March in Alberta can be very unpredictable and I never count on winter weather ending until some time in April. Most of us don't have our winter tires removed until mid-April. Or later. And so, someone with winter driving phobia is supposed to drive to and in Edmonton during rush hour when there's no guarantee of what the roads would be like. I panic if there's a little bit of ice on the roads. But the news was worse. The rehab clinic where I am supposed to go is in one of the busiest areas of the city. I don't necessarily like to drive there on a Sunday morning, let alone rush hour! So, I called them back and said that I couldn't do it. They came up with the idea that maybe my disability benefit provider would pay for a taxi. Then they suggested that I stay in a motel. No, I can't stay in a motel either as I don't want to leave my senior cat alone for a couple of nights. Yesterday, my case manager for the benefit provider called and said that they had approved funding for my transportation. Well, if they thought I'd be happy, they had another thing coming. 
Did I mention that one of the things that increase my anxiety are appointments? Yes, that's right: appointments. I don't know what it is: fear of being late, fear of disappointing people, fear of disapproval, fear of not being taken seriously. I'm really not sure, but no one said that mental health challenges have to make sense. They really don't. I also have a hard time getting going in the morning, sometimes not showering until later in the day, if at all. Sometimes I stay in my nightgown or sweats all day. Sometimes, I'm eating breakfast at nearly noon. So, here I am with two back-to-back appointments in the city that involve taking a vehicle (even though I'm not driving) on unpredictable roads, during rush hour in one of the busiest parts of the city, and being ready to head out the door by 7:00 in the morning. Not to mention packing a lunch. I might have to pack my breakfast, too, since I will have to leave so early.
So, I just felt really overwhelmed. I was hoping and praying that I wouldn't have to go. And I cried. And I'm sure it's not just these OT appointments. Those are just the tipping point, or the straw that broke the camel's back. 
Did you know that self harm doesn't always mean suicide? That there are people that scratch, bite, pinch and cut themselves to get some relief. And it's not that they actually want to hurt themselves. The emotional pain is so bad that they just want to find some way to get rid of it, some way to let it out, somehow to get some relief. And I'm beginning to understand what that means. You know how when you have a headache and you stub your toe, you suddenly don't notice the headache, at least not as much. I think it's something like that. Hoping that the physical pain will alleviate - or at least distract from - the emotional pain. 
Don't get me wrong - I haven't self-harmed, and I don't intend to. I'm just saying that I'm in a place where I can understand the rationale behind it. I am so frustrated with feeling like crying every day, of having my life limited by anxiety and depression. Of feeling nauseated and headachy and dizzy. Of not being able to lose weight because I "self-medicate" with food and then feel guilty afterwards. I'm also frustrated with feeling like other people - my benefit provider, my psychologist, my doctor - are in control of my life and not me. And I'm just tired, so very tired, all of the time. And a lot of the time lately, I don't really even enjoy quilt-making. It feels like a chore. 
But I keep plodding on. And by the grace of God, I will get through this. 

Thursday, 2 March 2023

Heart Quilts


As Valentine's Day approached, the Inside Out Heart quilt popped up in my YouTube feed.

Only 36" square I figured it would make the perfect wallhanging for my living room. I've had Celtic Ballad hanging there since I finished it in 2017, aside for a short time when I entered it in a local fair. So, maybe it was time for a change. And maybe what I will eventually do is have a different wallhanging for each month of the year. When I'm doing a workout by video, I've found it's much nicer to focus on the wallhanging than the trainer in the video. I can still do the exercises, but have something much prettier to focus on. 
I pulled some appropriate layer cake squares from my stash and used my pale pink solid yardage, left over from Stitch Pink, for the heart part. Then I picked up a metre and a half of fabric from the local quilt shop for the backing and binding. It was a squeeze to fit this quilt onto only one metre of backing when I loaded it onto the longarm, but I didn't really want to piece the backing when a 36" square will fit onto a fabric piece approximately 39" (one metre) by 45". 
I have several heart-themed pantographs, but then I thought that flowers are appropriate for Valentine's as well and decided this would be a good opportunity to try the Crosshatch Roses pantograph
It worked out as beautifully as I'd hoped and was not as labour intensive as I feared. 
Meanwhile, Follow My Heart, which is a free pattern download, came across my Instagram feed. 
That, I decided, would make a nice table topper for my dining room table. I ran out of the pale pink background fabric while making this quilt top, but I only needed one more border strip. Fortunately, not only did my local quilt shop have some in stock, but they were also having a 50% off sale! I bought what was left on the bolt. The new fabric is a marginally different hue than the old fabric, but not enough to make it readily apparent. The rest of the fabric came from my stash. 
I used the Valentino pantograph for this quilt. 
I think it was the ideal design. In my opinion, this is such a pretty quilt!
In my stash, I also have a couple of heart fabrics that I decided to use to make another throw quilt for my living room. 
During the sale at my LQS, I also purchased a couple of different red Michael Miller Fairy Frost prints, using one for the backing for Follow My Heart and the other (in the photo above) I intended to use as a third fabric in the throw quilt. I originally planned on making a 3-yard quilt. But then I decided to try something different. While 3-yard quilts are great for a relatively fast and easy project, sometimes they can be boring. So, I chose to make a quilt using quilt blocks made from the red fabric and the smaller heart print, with the larger heart print for a focus fabric in between blocks.
I chose Grandmother's Choice as the block I would use. This is my first block. And while I liked it, I wasn't sure if I was totally satisfied with it. 
And when I put it goether with the larger heart fabric, I knew that just wasn't right. I had been so determined to use the two heart fabrics in the same quilt top that I ignored the fact that they really don't go together. Yes, they both have hearts and the main colours are pink and red, but they are different pinks and reds. And they just don't look good together. 
So, now what? First of all, I tried replacing the red fabric in the block. 
That's much better (even though the majority of the vote went to the one on the left amongst my Facebook friends, I still liked it with the coral fabric better than the red fabric). But now I needed a different focus fabric and decide what to do with the other heart fabric. Not that I needed to use the other fabric right away, but for whatever reason, I wanted to solve this dilemma now. And I determined to make two quilts, identical in layout, but using different blocks. 
With this in mind, I took the block and a square of the larger heart fabric into the quilt shop to find fabric that would coordinate with each. I had a harder time finding a fabric that would go with the block. I did finally choose one, but haven't taken a picture of it yet. I want to wait until I see how it actually looks together. 
For the larger heart fabric, I found a couple of coordinates that I just felt so good about, and decided to try a block. 
That's much better, in my opinion. The block is Grandmother Percy's Puzzle, and it really is a puzzle to assemble it. I had to use several partial seams, but first had to figure out how. I was just using BlockBase+, which doesn't give assembly instructions for the blocks. Ironically, it has the exact same pieces as Grandmother's Choice, only in a more complex arrangement. 
I will call these quilts "Grandmother's Twins" and the individual quilts by their respective block names. Grandmother Percy's Puzzle will be for my living room and Grandmother's Choice will go in my craft studio.
I may or may not share the quilts later. If I want to sell the design to a quilting magazine, they want previously unpublished designs, which includes just sharing pictures of the quilt to social media. I checked with them when they called for submissions for holiday quilts, including Hanukkah. I thought about submitting Children of Israel, since it is my design, but I have published pictures of it here on my blog, plus on Facebook and Instagram. I think I mentioned that I sent in a couple of designs previously. The first one was rejected, but I've redesigned it and am hoping to offer it to Quilts of Valour Canada once I get it written up. I submitted the second one on January 5 and still haven't heard back. But it's pretty much too late now. I haven't even purchased the fabric for it, let alone made the quilt, and it would be due in their office in the USA by March 23, and I would want to allow at least 2 weeks for shipping. So, unless it was a really simple design (it isn't) and I could readily find the fabric I wanted locally, there is no way I could have a quilt ready to be mailed by no later than March 9, even if I heard from them today. I think that from now on, if I want to submit a design for publication, I will make the quilt first. That way if they wait overlong to let me know that they've accepted the design for publication, the quilt will already be ready when I hear back.

Friday, 10 February 2023


I'm going to be honest here and say that I genuinely do not like Chelsea Rose Pop. It almost makes me cringe when I see it. Yes, I have gotten positive comments online, calling it a really beautiful quilt, etc., but for me, it is just too busy. This one, on the other hand, really speaks to me.  

And it's a good thing because I'm keeping this one. 
I'm not really sure why I decided to join the Moda Love Charm Pack Challenge (you can find the pattern here). I don't often join quilt-alongs, BOMs, etc, because I have so many of my own projects to work on. I suppose it was because I felt I could use a break from Chelsea Rose Pop...
Rummaging around in my stash of charm packs (at least the ones I could find...), I tossed around different options and came up with this one with a warm white background. 
I have no idea what fabric line or manufacturer this is from as the label just said something like "40 squares", but I really like it.  However, I didn't really want a wallhanging, and I also didn't want leftover charm squares. So, having decided that a) I like to keep a lap quilt on the sofa, b) I prefer this quilt to have a minky backing, c) Go Wild is a little bigger than I wanted for this purpose, and d) it was time to put Boxes and Bows away, since it is a Christmas quilt, I decided to "grow" the Charm Pack Challenge quilt into a lap quilt with a minky backing.
I came up with a simple design that used up the rest of the charm pack. 
But  I needed to determine what fabric to use for the final border. 
Because some of the fabric in the charm pack looked like it had grapevines and leaves on it, I was originally going to call the quilt "Heard it Through the Grapevine" and these two fabrics left over from My Beloved's Vineyard, would have suited the theme, but I felt that they were both a little too busy and were "fighting for attention" with the main body of the quilt top. Then I pulled this dark pine green from my stash, which I believe I used in Home on the Farm
Yes, that's more like it. I was, however, a little bit alarmed by all that white for a lap quilt that's going to see a lot of use. Though it does match my cat's fur...
I realized that "Heard It Through the Grapevine" was not elegant enough for this quilt, and after toying with different ideas, I came up with simply "Vintage" because not only is the fabric vintage-y looking, but it suits the grapevine theme as well. 
Originally, I had purchased purple minky for the backing, but decided against it since sometimes minky fibres can be pulled to the front. So I went with a medium muted green, about the same colour as the thread I used for quilting. That way, if any fibres pulled to the front, it would look more like it was just part of the thread. 
I had originally planned on quilting it with Vineyard, but I wasn't sure how well the tendrils would work with a minky backing. Besides, with so many pantographs that I have never used, I like to try out a new one when I can, and I had used Vineyard before. So, I opted for Arcadia by Patricia Ritter from Urban Elementz. It was a good choice. It works up fairly quickly and beautifully. 
I know you can buy minky with designs sculpted into it, but when you quilt it, it looks that way anyway.
(Sorry, this colour is really not photogenic. It's much greener and prettier in person). 
I picked up binding fabric when I bought the green minky, so the quilt was ready to go. I brought it upstairs to trim any loose threads from around the binding, but before I got a chance to do that, Mystery insisted on "test-driving" the quilt. 
I find it quite interesting that my two most recent quilt finishes are such a contrast. Chelsea Rose Pop is so busy and Vintage has so much negative space. 
In spite of how much I dislike Chelsea Rose Pop, God knew what He was doing in helping me choose fabrics. It turns out it's the recipient's favourite colours and she loves it. 

Monday, 30 January 2023

Chelsea Rose Pop

 This is definitely another "Gladys Over" (glad it's over) quilt. 

When I originally made this quilt, I wanted something that I could finish quickly, so I chose a pattern that looked like it would work up fairly easily and used fabric from my stash.
The pattern was pretty cool because it gave you three different "sub-block" pieces to create and then 3 different layouts of how to assemble the pieces into a larger block. 
and Pop. I chose the Pop layout because I also liked the secondary design that appeared when the blocks were put together. 
This is the backing fabric. 
I had originally hoped to use it instead of the grey in the quilt top. But I didn't have as much of the grey as I did of the burgundy and wouldn't have had enough for the backing if I used the grey. 
Unfortunately, I did not follow my quilter's instinct to not use these fabrics together without some solid or tonal fabric as well. The large print, especially just does not work with the smaller pieces. And I ended up with a quilt top looking like floral vomit. 
It's so busy that it's hard to even discern the individual blocks, let alone the secondary design. I was really not happy with the results.
When I was considering the quilting, I had originally planned on using a rose pantograph as the fabric is rose themed. However, as I considered the quilt top, I decided to try ruler quilting to attempt to "tame" it and make the design more evident. So, instead of spending hours doing a pantograph, I ended up spending weeks doing ruler work. 

I spent so many hours on this quilt that I could see it when I closed my eyes at night, and I got heartily sick of it. But did it really make a significant enough difference to justify spending all that extra time on the quilting? 
I don't honestly think so. As this side by side collage shows, the finished quilt on the left does not look significantly different from the unquilted top on the right. Blech!
The moral of the story is: Follow your quilting instincts. At least it's finished, and the individual fabrics are pretty. 
Now, on to more fun and visually appealing projects.

Tuesday, 17 January 2023

The Great Bread Making Adventure: Double Corn Bread


I've been thinking it's about time I got back to The World Encyclopedia of Bread and Bread Making. I was planning on making bagels, especially since I have a recipe for vegan cream cheese I want to try. But today, I was making chili for dinner and corn bread always goes with chili. And sure enough, in the "Americas" section of the book was a recipe for cornbread. Double corn bread, because not only is it made with cornmeal, but it also has sweet corn in it. 
Of course, I replaced the white flour with whole wheat and also happened to have whole grain cornmeal in my freezer. I used Earth Balance Buttery Sticks for the butter, and the verdict is still out on whether or not I actually like that stuff. The last time I used it and had to melt it, it spat all over in the microwave and made a mess. This time, when it continued to make those explosive sounds, I decided to melt it on the stovetop. It still pops, but not quite as badly. And I'm not entirely convinced that it works that well in place of butter. For the eggs, I didn't quite have enough ground flax seed, so used some ground chia seed as well. The recipe called for a can of corn, but I didn't have any, so used frozen. From the looks of the picture in the book, compared to mine, the one in the book appears to have a lot less corn than mine. You really can't even tell that they added any. And I did follow the recipe regarding quantity. Nevertheless, mine still turned out tasty. 
I also finished off one of those bagged kale salads with my lunch. 
I honestly have no idea why my cat thinks he needs to help me eat my salad. Maybe he's craving greens. Or salad dressing. But he thought he should taste my Italian pasta salad a few days ago - also store bought - and I couldn't convince him not to taste it, because I'm quite sure it had cayenne in it. Definitely too hot for my taste - and Mystery's - and I won't be buying that one again. 
Eventually, I will likely get back to Italian breads, but I think I'll still make the bagels first. 
Meanwhile, on the quilting front, I have designed a Valentine's themed table quilt. I might not post it right away as I may try submitting the design to a quilting magazine for publishing. I have submitted a couple already, but the first one was turned down. I'm still waiting to hear about the second one. And that may determine whether or not I submit a third. Or I might try a different publisher. I'm still plugging away on the ruler quilting on Chelsea Rose Pop.
I'm finding it quite boring and will be very happy when I've finished it. And I already have another quilt top finished and ready for quilting when this one is done. But more about that in another post. 

Monday, 2 January 2023

Holiday Meals: Recipe and Cookbook Reviews

For my birthday this past year, my daughter gave me an Indigo gift card. It took me awhile to decide what to get with it, but finally on Cyber Monday, when the cookbooks were 30% off, I ordered these two. 

I follow Dreena Burton on Instagram and Facebook and have tried a few of her recipes, so I figured her cookbooks would be good.
As I was flipping through Dreena's Kind Kitchen, I discovered that it has a Holiday Fare section that has some interesting recipes in it. With Christmas coming up, I decided to give some of them a try. 
I generally make the whole Christmas dinner myself. Because of this, I like to have as much made ahead as possible, just having to reheat on Christmas morning. That way, I'm free to enjoy my company without too much hubbub with dinner preparations. 
2022's Christmas dinner consisted of tossed salad (no recipe: spinach, grape tomatoes, red onions, black olives, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries with vegan mayo), Roasted Squash and Sweet Potato Puree (Dreena's Kind Kitchen), Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes (Oh She Glows), Mary's Brown Gravy (Country Kitchen Collection), Shamburgers (Country Kitchen Collection), Old Fashioned Bread and Celery Stuffing (old family recipe), Guinnessless Sheet Cake (Dreena's Kind Kitchen) and Coconut Cream (Country Kitchen Collection). 
Originally, I was planning on using more recipes from Dreena's Kind Kitchen, but was a little too overwhelmed (very easy to happen when you have mental health struggles) and decided to stick with some old standbys. 
The stuffing was delicious as always.
Country Kitchen Collection is an old favourite cookbook. I find it rather amusing that one of the things that younger people complain about is no pictures in a cookbook. I think I can safely say that the majority of my cookbooks have no/few/black and white pictures/line drawings. And this is one of them. But I've still been happy with this cookbook and Shamburgers is a recipe I have used multiple times. Scrumptious without too much fuss. I had tried Mary's Brown Gravy before, but it's been years. It didn't disappoint. The Coconut Cream I used to top the cake was a new recipe to me, but it was quick and easy and quite tasty. Dreena's Kind Kitchen did offer a couple of topping options for the cake, but this one was simpler and didn't require any obscure ingredients (more on this later). 
I have made the Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes from this cookbook a couple of times before. Prior to that I would never have dreamed of the combination, but it is delicious and has become my standby for mashed potatoes. Tasty and more nutrition, a winning combination. 
The Roasted Squash and Sweet Potato Puree was delicious. The taste was reminiscent of pumpkin pie. However, I don't necessarily want to eat pumpkin pie for my main course. I actually enjoy the taste of squash and sweet potatoes without the addition of spices, except maybe a little sweetening. And what is the purpose of pureeing it? It's just an added and unnecessary step, in my opinion, unless I'm feeding someone with swallowing difficulties. And the Guinnessless Sheet Cake was good, but not great. And I think the spices could have been toned down in this as well. 
Unfortunately, the weather was not great Christmas day, and my family (daughter, grandson and ex-husband) did not make it. I hadn't heated the food up yet, so we planned to try again the next day. As it turned out, we eventually decided to try for New Year's Day, and I ate the leftovers all week, with plans to create a totally different menu for New Year's.
2023's New Year's Menu consisted of Lemon-Dijon Roasted Potatoes (Dreena's Kind Kitchen) topped with Golden Gravy (Dreena's Kind Kitchen), 
Smoky Kale Caesar Salad with Smoky Caesar Dressing and Bread End Croutons (Dreena's Kind Kitchen), Cran-Apple Compote (Dreena's Kind Kitchen), Rice and Pecan-Stuffed Squash (Vegan Holiday Kitchen), Holiday Dinner Torte (Dreena's Kind Kitchen), Carob Nut Balls (Vegetarian Cooking: a World of Difference), Dreena's Nanaimo Bars (Dreena's Kind Kitchen). 
First of all, I will say that the menu from this meal did not reheat as well as the menu from last week. I can also honestly say that, aside from dessert, the first meal was tastier than the second. 
I ended up making most of the recipes from Dreena's Kind Kitchen that I had originally hoped to make for Christmas dinner. The potatoes were good fresh from the oven when they were first roasted and really didn't require gravy. I did find that they were slightly lacking in flavour and likely would have benefited from more of the marinade. Or possibly a vegan chipotle cheese sauce. The gravy improved them after reheating. The difficulty of making both this recipe and the torte was that they required different cooking temperatures. That would have made it very challenging to cook them both on Christmas morning unless I had a second oven. And my Breville Smart Oven is too small for either of these dishes. I've been eating a vegetarian/vegan diet for a lot of years (decades) and I don't remember ever having to prepare an entree in the food processor. Yet that's what the instructions said to do with the torte ingredients. As my food processor is not very large, I had to do it in batches. It also said to cook it in a springform pan, which would not lend well to reheating. So, I cooked it in a pie plate. Oddly, the recipe called for a diced apple tossed in lemon juice. I know the lemon juice was to keep the apple from turning brown, but since it was being baked in a savoury dish, I was puzzled why the lemon juice was used. Personally, I just waited until I had processed the rest of the ingredients
 and then peeled, cored and diced the apple, but I did still toss it with lemon juice just in case it was somehow needed in the recipe. I covered my serving with gravy and didn't notice any fruity taste. But my daughter did not use gravy and did notice and didn't like it. I found the flavour fine, but not as delicious as the Shamburgers from last week. And adding the cranberries to the top was a bad idea as they mostly ended up black. As far as the gravy was concerned, I had downloaded the Golden Gravy recipe from the web and tried it on a previous occasion. It said that it only took about 5 minutes, but I was still struggling with it half an hour later, while my guests were waiting for dinner. Trying to make a roux using tahini is, in my opinion, a foolish endeavour, as tahini doesn't melt like butter or margarine. And adding one ingredient at a time prolonged the process unnecessarily. This time, I browned the flour - and I used hard whole wheat flour, not spelt, whole wheat pastry flour or millet flour. When the purpose of the flour is to thicken the gravy, you want the gluten to do the job. I dumped the browned flour into the blender, added the rest of the ingredients (except the bay leaf), whizzed it to combine, poured it into a pan, added the bay leaf and cooked it long enough to thicken. The gravy was fine and much less hassle than following the directions in the book. The compote was not exciting and I found it a little too tangy for my taste. 
The salad was not as exciting as the title sounded. I chose to wilt the kale by pouring boiling water over it first, though the directions said to add dressing and salt to it and leave it to sit before adding the Romaine. Mature kale is pretty tough and I didn't think that just adding salt and dressing would do the trick. I'm beginning to think that humans were not meant to eat kale. It really isn't delcious and even after removing the stems and poring boiling water over it, it still was kind of like chewing on plastic. Which impacted how delicious the salad wasn't. The dressing was good and the croutons were good, but the kale was not. 
The Nanaimo bars were fabulous, but much too sweet. You can find the recipe online here, but it only calls for 3/4 cup of sugar. In the book, it calls for 3/4-1 cup, and it said that the sugar helps to firm it up. I figured I'd better err on the side of caution and used the full amount. Much, much too sweet. I think I could likely get away with half a cup. I used carob, by the way, which is naturally sweet, not cocoa or chocolate, so that was a factor as well. The main ingredient in the middle layer is coconut butter. I live in a small town in rural Alberta - where to find coconut butter? I didn't have time to order online or drive into the nearest city. Fortunately (???), I found instructions for making my own online. It says it should take ten minutes. Well, I didn't run my food processor continuously because I was also working on other recipes and the processor was really vibrating and I was afraid it would rock itself onto the floor. Or burn itself out. However, I would say that it took about 30 minutes of processing time not 10, and even after adding some coconut oil to try to expedite the process, I was still not happy with the results. So I dumped the goopy, grainy mess into a plastic container and stuck it in the fridge and figured we would just have the carob balls for dessert, which I had already made. The following morning, which was New Year's Day, for some perverse reason, I decided I was going to try again with the Nanaimo bars, substituting cashew butter for coconut butter. But when I went to the fridge, the goopy mess had solidified and, after warming it a little in the microwave, I was able to use it in the recipe. 
I picked this cookbook up at a thrift store and hadn't used it at all yet, but I figured the stuffed squash would kill two birds with one recipe: a stuffing and a squash dish. Unfortunately, when I went to Walmart, all they had left for squash was over-ripe and very orange pepper or acorn squash. I'm not sure if that was the problem or the fact that I didn't cook them long enough after stuffing, but parts of the squash were still hard and inedible. The stuffing was delicious, however, and I will try this recipe again when I can get better quality squash and maybe alter cooking times. 
This older cookbook has been in my library for years, but I've seldom used it. That's what happens when you're a cookbook hoarder. Nevertheless, I did remember a carob ball recipe from this book and I made those for dessert. Very good and nowhere near as sweet as the Nanaimo bars. By the way, they are not pure vegan because they are made with honey. 
Now, I'm going to get back to my discussion of Dreena's Kind Kitchen. Most of the recipes I've tried so far are relatively tasty. But I have found some of them are more labourious than they need to be. The gravy and the puree, for example, as I mentioned previously. And even the torte probably doesn't need to be processed in a food processor. 
If you go to the Cookbook Criteria tab at the top of this page, you'll see that number 4 is "limited use of obscure, exotic and specialty ingredients". That's my second issue with this cookbook. I already mentioned my problem with finding coconut butter, but I didn't mention that the recipe also called for "natural icing sugar". Yes, it does give the option of grinding coconut sugar in a blender, but still... (I used organic, unbleached cane sugar). The two topping recipes suggested for the sheet cake both called for pure vanilla bean powder. One of the things I believe about being vegan/whole food plant-based is that it shouldn't cost a fortune. Try looking up how much vanilla bean powder costs (if you can even find it). Another issue is the regular use of fresh herbs. I have nothing against using fresh herbs except that they're not always readily available, they can be expensive and they go bad quickly unless you use them soon after purchase. Then there's aquafaba and coconut milk. If I have a recipe that calls for aquafaba that doesn't also call for chickpeas, where does the aquafaba come from. Yes, I can store it in my freezer as some anonymous beige liquid in individual cubes... And it's really frustrating to open a can of not cheap coconut milk to only use a couple of tablespoons. Then I have to look for more recipes calling for coconut milk before it goes bad. I really believe that whole food, plant-based/vegan cooking should be simple or people are not likely to do it. That includes the shopping, the processing, the time and the cost involved. I have to be honest that some of my older, no pictures cookbooks are more user friendly than this one. I'm on the fence as to whether or not I regret buying this cookbook. I probably should have bought a quilting book from my wishlist instead.
By the way, I'm not prepared to do a review on Oh She Glows or Vegan Holiday Kitchen yet as I don't feel I have tested enough recipes.  


2022 Crafting Year in Review

Instead of posting individual pictures of each craft project this year, I used Google Photos to make collages. Each collage can contain up to 6 photos, and I ended up with 6 collages, for a total of 37 projects, one of which didn't make it into the collages. While they don't necessarily show the entire project, I will link to the post about that project so that you can see a full photo if you like, as well as further deatails on each project. First, the quilts. 

Pictured in this collage are Forever in My Heart, Buckwheat and Birds, Finish the Race, Red Hot Chili Peppers, High Tea and Double Star
In this collage are Bake Someone Happy, Waves of Blue, Sew Fast, Colour My Classroom, Grandpa's Tools and Butterflies and Blooms
While all of the projects in this collage are quilting projects, all are not quilts. They are Crazy Cats (wallhanging), Star of Bethlehem, Wild Kingdom, Wild Kingdom wallhanging, Children of |Israel and Merry Christmas Star Tree Skirt.
Somehow, I missed this one in the collages, and it was the last quilt of the year, Boxes and Bows. I made 16 quilts in 2022, which total does not include wallhangings, tree skirt and placemats. 
This collage includes all crocheted projects: Lost in Time, Goddess Shawl, Summer Morning, water bottle carrier, soap bag and Wrapped in Sunshine
This collage contains Mug Rugs, Royal Fan, Take Four Placements, The Study of Geometry, Hourglass placemat (no post) and a quilted cushion cover
Finally, we have the Welsh Quilting pillow covers, Sophie's Universe, Christmas hand towels, Christmas Tree napkins and a shawl that I just called 40 because that's the number in the Russian/Greek/Ukrainian? description.
While I might have made some progress on some of my UFOs/WIPs this year, I also added to the pile.
I only completed one more block in the Bernina Old Block Sampler, started a quilt which I will call From Vegreville with Love, made some Kaleidoscope table runners that still need to be bound, did sample blocks from a couple of quilts so one of my sisters could decide which one she wants and started the Flower Power quilt only to decide it wasn't going to work for my purpose.
I never got a chance to make further progress on the quilt for the "Help, How Do I Quilt It?" course, but made some progress on the Asian-inspired quilt, started a new knitted afghan, Shannon, and a rather complex applique quilt, Skylark, decided to add placemats to coordinate with the kaleidoscope table runners (also needing to be bound) and started a lemon themed table runner, now waiting for quilting and binding. 
I played at microquilting on the Tea Party wallhanging, which still needs to be bound, made some serious progress on My True Love Gave to Me Reprise and started Chelsea Rose Pop, but didn't get very far before I had to get some cooking and decorating done for Christmas.
In addition to crafts, I decided to start baking my way through this book, 
veganizing the recipes and using whole grains as much as possible. 
So far, I have tried Olive Bread, Pugliese, Panini All'Olio and Barley Bannock
And that's it. Now I'd better sign off as quilting, baking, laundry and a yelling cat await me.