Grilled Pizza, Red Velvet Cake, Scrappy Half-Squares, etc.

The other night . . .

Jeff and I were invited to our friends, Toby and Glen Preston’s, house for dinner.    It was remarkable!

Toby and Glen made GRILLED pizzas!  Topped with some of the most amazing fresh gourmet toppings!   Toby even made her pizza dough from scratch!

After you make the pizza dough, you slap it onto a hot grill and it cooks that way!    Next, you add all of your toppings and put the pizza back onto the grill until the cheeses melt and the toppings are warmed up again.  It was out of this world!

So Toby tells me that the recipes are in this book.  So I headed off to Amazon and bought a copy — for $1.86!   Can you imagine?   I cannot wait to get my copy.  Click here to get yours (I just saw a used copy listed for .83-CENTS).   Jeff thinks these pizzas will be a perfect luncheon dish for when my sewing group comes to Pickle Road again!

We had delicious red wine and a very unique iced tea that Toby’s (faux) DIL, Vanessa, got for her.  It had an amazingly sweet flowery taste but not a flowery smell. Damnit, I can’t remember what kind it was now.  Toby?  Help a brother out here!  It wasn’t Jasmine. I know! I REMEMBER NOW!  It’s Lichee Tea from China!  LICHEE is for ME!

Here’s Jeff (first one at the table) with Toby.

The next picture is the RED VELVET CAKE (on my Dollar Store silver tray)  with cream cheese icing that Jeff baked por la occasion.  It was yummy!

Meet Havana Preston.  She loved her some Jeff Turner!   I really have to get a Maine Coon (like Jodie Davis’ cat, Manny – I heart Manny).


2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs – large, at room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
16 ounces cream cheese – at room temperature
1 cup unsalted butter – softened
4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla. In a different bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cocoa powder. Using a mixer, slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
  • Spray each cake pan with the non-stick cooking spray and dust each with flour. Divide the batter evenly between the three pans.
  • Place in the oven with room between each pan for the heat to circulate for 20-25 minutes. The cake is done when it begins to pull away from the edges of the pan. Allow cakes to cool for 5 minutes on cooking racks, then invert them onto the racks to remove them from the pan. Allow to cool completely.
  • For the frosting, cream together the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla for 2 minutes in a mixer or until light and fluffy. Place one cake on a cake platter and frost the top with 1/4″ of frosting, place the second cake, top side down on top of the first and add 1/4″ of frosting. Top with the last cake, top side up and frost the top and sides. Store covered.



SOUNDS LIKE FUN (and an idiot can do it)


If you are a quilter who loves scrap quilts, you can not pass up this program from Kindred Quilts!

Toby and her team has just debuted Friendship Triangles that are simply a mix of blue and light half-square triangles. Each package you purchase from Kindred will have two fabrics – one blue and one light – as well as one sheet of Triangle Paper, enough to make 24 half-square triangles.

The kits will be available for the month of April.  Once we finish making the triangle blocks, we just have to return them anytime during April and May. Once they have collected the finished half-square triangles, the staff will mix them all up and send them back to you! This means you get back a bunch of different half-square triangles!  LIKE A FABRIC SWAP!   Sound fun? I think it sounds great!

For $2.50 per set, purchase as many as you want (I bought 4 for a very small quilt). The more you make the more you get back! Return them sewn, cut apart, papers removed and with your name on the bag. Toby and her staff  will replace yours with the same amount only with variety of prints.

The book, “Friendship Triangles”  (published by Landauer Corporation in 2009) by my  buddy, Edyta Sitar, is the source for this project. Although you are not required to purchase the book, it is highly recommended by the shop for it’s excellent ideas on how to use your finished blocks. You can choose any of the quilts in the book or maybe you have your own ideas. Just be sure to pick up enough packages for your chosen quilt.

Don’t have a quilt in mind? That’s OK too. You’ll have them for when you’re ready!

Remember, the triangles kits will be available for the entire month of April. Send back your completed units to Kindred Quilts by the end of May, 2010 and they will redistribute the completed half-square units in June.

Please use the Triangle Papers included. It is important for the sake of continuity.  To insure the quality of the fabrics, please use only the fabrics provided.

For Internet Orders, please make sure you send your triangles back in time!!

Click here to get to the Kindred Quilts web site.

Or give them a call at (908) 730-8896


I’m doing the one in the bottom left corner and even bought the border fabric (that’s how I knew I needed 5 packages)


OF COURSE I didn’t choose randomly (as I should have and was supposed to) because I wanted to make a couple of triangle sheets using my own Northcott fabric designs!  Maybe you’ll get lucky and get some Lipinski fabric in your kit!   LOL

Here are my border fabrics!  Moda, of course . . .


I found this Argentinian “house” made from plastic bottles online yesterday.  You heard that right, plastic bottles, and you can CLICK HERE to read more about it . . .

But what I found most interesting about it was, that even in the midst of the ultra-modern plastic bottle house and plastic bottle bed base, what’s on top?  Hmmm.  It looks like a  VERY TRADITIONAL pillow sham featuring a VERY TRADITIONAL quilt block.    Not even ecology and progress will break us down, quilters!  We are everywhere!

In the meantime . . .

I found another (and bought the darling) vintage and stained tablecloth with hand embroidery to possibly cut up for my Alliance for American Quilts NEW FROM OLD project (you can read more about that on my blog entry from a few days ago) or just go to the Alliance web site by clicking HERE.

Meet my venomous rooster . . .

This is the sucker who attacked me from behind the other day and almost ripped off my leg!

See what I mean?

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28 Comments on “Grilled Pizza, Red Velvet Cake, Scrappy Half-Squares, etc.”

  1. April 4, 2010 at 1:33 PM #

    So good to see you posting again! I have MISSED you!
    And the Red Velvet cake looks luscious!


  2. April 4, 2010 at 1:48 PM #

    OMG…I almost spit my coffee out when I saw that leg!! I was thinking ’bout you yesterday. I visited the 5 Acres Flea Market up on 46 in White Twp…a woman had a cute embroidered, vintage tablecloth and napkin set for $5? It had flowers but what caught my eye were the red squares…very different. I love the colors in yours above…vibrant! And one more thing…just how much coffee did you take intravenously this morning??? Haha…have a great one Mark ^;^


  3. Kathy Rich
    April 4, 2010 at 1:49 PM #

    Is he going to be your Easter Dinner?


    • April 4, 2010 at 6:04 PM #

      Not that I would actually eat my chickens, but honestly, this wicked bird may kill and eat me before I could do him in! No kidding! xoxom


  4. April 4, 2010 at 1:56 PM #

    That food looks yummy! You are making me hungry! Glad to see blogging again…I neglected mine for FB for awhile, also…and FB is ok…but it’s just not the same. I really enjoy the blogs.


  5. April 4, 2010 at 2:04 PM #

    Hey Mark, Lichee Tea from China when V was there on a trip. Happy Easter!


  6. Peggy
    April 4, 2010 at 2:09 PM #

    Are my eyes giving me problems???????? I counted your fabric for the trianges and came up with 5 sets, not 4. How did you manage to get a picture… two pictures of Jeff???? Love getting the feeling from your writing that you are again happy with all of life. Miss seeing you at shows, but life of my parents illnesses call me first. Maybe again someday we can sit and chat. Tell Jeff hello from me….if he remembers me from Houston..oh my that was at least 2 years ago.

    Luv ya and miss your hugs and laughter


  7. Sue
    April 4, 2010 at 2:16 PM #

    Grilled pizzas are awesome! They’re a must-do around here in the summer. Try goat cheese and black olives…yum!!

    Sue in NJ


  8. Karen Pegg
    April 4, 2010 at 2:19 PM #

    Re Rooster: We always had Rhode Island Reds growing up, and it was my youngest brother and I that had to feed them and collect eggs. We both left a lot of our blood behind in that chicken coop! Very aggressive roosters! I raise ducks instead… they are comical, non violent, and I like the eggs. (As long as they can’t or don’t eat fish, the eggs are delicious!)


  9. April 4, 2010 at 2:23 PM #

    As a vintage linen collector, I really hope you do not cut this one up….it is not ready for that!


  10. April 4, 2010 at 2:39 PM #

    You are increibly funny, Mark


  11. April 4, 2010 at 2:39 PM #

    incredibly, I mean.


  12. Carol Zych
    April 4, 2010 at 3:02 PM #

    he was just protecting his “chicks” from you!


  13. April 4, 2010 at 3:34 PM #

    Mmm pizza! That doll leg is hilarious.


  14. Rebecca
    April 4, 2010 at 3:36 PM #

    We love grilled pizza, though it never occured to me to remove the crust from the grill to top, I rather loose my arm hairs, what a great tip, thanks! Yes, I know, I sound like a ditz;).


  15. Sarah Daneke
    April 4, 2010 at 4:51 PM #

    I have the book,Friendship Triangles by Edyta Sitar. As a matter of fact, I am making the one on the cover. I wanted to do it in CW repos, but didn’t have enough. My OCD kicked in, and I am doing all my darks in different fabrics. I have given myself a year to get the 420 half-square triangles done.


    • April 4, 2010 at 6:05 PM #

      OMGosh! Sarah, that front quilt done in repros would be FLAWLESS! DAMN YOU! NOW, I’VE GOT THE REPRO ITCH! GRRRRRRR!


  16. Pamela Hawkins
    April 4, 2010 at 4:54 PM #

    OMG the Rooster is beautiful. But the LEG WAS PRICELESS!

    Great posting! I have always wanted to make a Red Velvet cake. I might just try yours.

    You just might make me a quilter after all, with that old is new idea. I love that!

    Happy Easter to you and yours!


    • April 4, 2010 at 6:07 PM #

      Oh, jump right in, Pam! You can do it! I always felt that if some toothless broad crossing the country in a wagon train could do it, then I most certainly could! LOL And I DID! xoxom


  17. Karen Shields
    April 4, 2010 at 5:03 PM #

    I almost forgot this one… for that attack rooster, tell him that if he doesn’t straighten up, I have a great Italian Wedding Soup receipe that calls for a whole chicken to start off with!


  18. nancy
    April 4, 2010 at 6:09 PM #

    fabulous blog!!! now i don’t miss quilters home so much! thanks, nancy


  19. Pat Coble
    April 4, 2010 at 6:29 PM #

    Thanks for the recipes. Maybe there could be a “Jeff Cooks!” article, or column with recipes and your commentary included in one of the magazines or even better, with some regularity, on this Blog. That could be like this blog, only maybe we could count on it once a month.. I’m still in ML’s QH withdrawal.


  20. Brenda
    April 4, 2010 at 6:35 PM #

    Don’t you dare cut up that tablecloth!! If you really want it to become a quilting project send it to me (or your favorite long-armer) whole along with a backing and we’ll make a whole cloth quilt of it. That would be awesome! 8:-)


  21. Mary Kay Davis
    April 4, 2010 at 6:55 PM #

    We did the friendship stars program at our shop and almost 14,000 half-square triangles were made. It was amazing. I’m working on the tree quilt pattern in the book. Once those triangles are made it goes together really quick.


  22. April 5, 2010 at 8:07 PM #

    I wanted to thank you for this great blog!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.


  23. April 6, 2010 at 3:10 AM #

    Hey… you can clip his spurs ya know!! Or nuthin a 12ga wouldn’t take care of lovingly… 🙂



  24. April 6, 2010 at 1:32 PM #

    Yum, yum and um YUM, but if I made that cake my ass would definitely know it, LOL….
    Now, about the chickens, wanna see a 72 year old woman wet herself put her near some chickens.. My Mom was attacked as a child by one of her Grandmas chickens while gathering eggs, she is horrified by chickens…. It is hilarious but so pitiful at the same time… As for the doll leg, WTF, who;s child has a legless doll???? Hmmmm???? See you next week in Providence


  25. Mary Marge
    April 7, 2010 at 1:59 AM #

    Mark – you’re better than my antidepressants! That rooster ROCKS!


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