Comfort & Joy

This week, I’m finishing up my Christmas novella, The Christmas Glory Quilt. It will be my contribution to the 2018 Christmas Lights novella collection: Comfort & Joy.  This year’s collection is going to be bigger and better than ever before,  with contemporary Christian Christmas stories from Alana Terry, April Hayman, Toni Shiloh, Chautona Havig and me.  Isn’t it a beautiful cover? Frost Heaves by Alana Terry The Trouble with Christmas Cheer by April Hayman Deck the Shelves by Toni Shiloh The Christmas Glory Quilt by Cathe Swanson The Ghosts of New Cheltenham by Chautona Havig     The Christmas Glory Quilt The Christmas Glory Quilt will be the first in a series with a seasonal quilt theme – Autumn Glory Quilt, Easter Glory Quilt, etc. (I still need to work on those titles!) Being an overachiever, I designed a quilt to go with the book and plan to offer the pattern as a bonus for early purchasers of the book.  It was a busy summer – and I had to write the book! – so it took a long time just to get it pieced. Yesterday morning, my good friend and book cover designer, the multi-talented Chautona Havig, said, “I Read More

I Love My Instant Pot

You probably don’t need another raving endorsement for this popular new appliance, but I just can’t stop myself. I love this thing. The Instant Pot does it all.  Often, it does it all at once, and there is only one pot to clean up – a nice big stainless steel pot that washes up easily. I was skeptical when the kids gave it to me for my birthday. I’d been encouraging the girls to get one, since they have families to feed, but I didn’t think it would be worthwhile to get one for myself. All of our children are grown and gone, and I just cook for my husband and myself.  The Instant Pot seemed  unnecessary. Frivolous. I didn’t want another bulky appliance cluttering up my kitchen and collecting dust. If you don’t have an Instant Pot, go to Amazon and buy one. Here’s my affiliate link: INSTANT POT. This is the one I got:  Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer I started with white rice. It was perfect – just like the chow mein place, A little sticky, but not at all mushy.  Brown rice was Read More

You probably don’t need another raving endorsement for this popular new appliance, but I just can’t stop myself. I love this thing. The Instant Pot does it all.  Often, it does it all at once, and there is only one pot to clean up – a nice big stainless steel pot that washes up easily.

I was skeptical when the kids gave it to me for my birthday. I’d been encouraging the girls to get one, since they have families to feed, but I didn’t think it would be worthwhile to get one for myself. All of our children are grown and gone, and I just cook for my husband and myself.  The Instant Pot seemed  unnecessary. Frivolous. I didn’t want another bulky appliance cluttering up my kitchen and collecting dust.

If you don’t have an Instant Pot, go to Amazon and buy one. Here’s my affiliate link: INSTANT POTI love my Instant Pot by Cathe SwansonThis is the one I got:  Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer

I started with white rice. It was perfect – just like the chow mein place, A little sticky, but not at all mushy.  Brown rice was just as good. My usual rice is unpredictable, and I always make a mess when the starchy water overflows onto the stove top.  If all the Instant Pot did was cook rice, it would be worth the expense.  But it also makes perfect boiled eggs. (See note above, about my rice-making issues. My eggs technique is similar. ) We now eat more rice and eggs than we used to.

Instant Pot yogurt Cathe Swanson

Then I made yogurt. I eat a lot of Greek yogurt, and the cheapest quart available is nearly $4. I was able to make more than twice that much with one gallon of milk, which cost less than $2, and it’s delicious.  Tastes just like sour cream, and look how thick and yummy it is!

I took a seven-pound ham from the deep freezer and cooked it in an hour.  A whole chicken.  Pork. Sweet potatoes, carrots, winter squash,  and even spaghetti (including the dry noodles – just one pot!) Chili and soup of every kind are fast and easy in the amazing Instant Pot! Dried beans without overnight soaking and hours of cooking! Apparently, corn on the cob and popcorn are possible, too, although I haven’t tried them.  And, of course, it operates as a slow cooker, too.

There are many Instant Pot cookbooks, including those for special diets, but Pinterest will provide abundant information and recipes.

So there you have it… my unsolicited, unpaid, hearty endorsement of the Instant Pot.

Do you have one? Do you love it? What do you cook in it?

Only Cars and Convicts have Numbers. My Grandchildren have Names.

When my boys were young and wild, each of them requiring 100% of my full and undivided attention, I told them I expected six grandchildren from each of them someday. At least half had to be girls. After all, the granddaughters would be perfectly well-behaved little angels, right? And the boys would be payback. In due time, they grew to be handsome and charming, married lovely girls and started producing babies. And shortly thereafter, each informed me that they would not be having six children. Imagine that. (snicker) A Story Problem We have quite a few friends in large families, and sometimes it ‘s easy to identify them by number or position in the family. “What is the name of the third Smith girl?” “Can you believe that woman is having her tenth baby?” “That youngest Jones boy is quite a handful.” “My oldest son is off to college in the fall.” Emma Schenstrom, in my book Baggage Claim, enjoys referring to her numerous offspring like that. It’s a family joke, and no one takes it personally. They’re all happy and well-adjusted. So I did the math – a story problem – for our own growing family: We started with Read More

Rhubarb Crisp – My One Weakness

Click HERE for a printable version of my recipe. First of all… Let’s get real. I have more than one weakness. I admit it – I am a multi-flawed individual. But this is a big one:  I love rhubarb crisp. At least once a year, during rhubarb season, I make as many pans of rhubarb crisp as possible and eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks until it is all gone. It’s good hot from the oven, or at room temperature or cold. I don’t need ice cream or whipped cream. It stands on its own merits. I love rhubarb crisp. It’s seasonal Normally, I eat a fairly clean diet relatively low in carbs and high in protein. I eat weird things like coconut oil and apple cider vinegar (not together). All year long, I avoid cakes, candy and other sweets, but during rhubarb season, I eat enough sugar, fat and empty calories to make up for it. And I don’t feel guilty. In the past, I was dependent on the kindness of my friends, so sometimes I could only make one batch a year, but there is an established supply of rhubarb here at the castle. I’ve already Read More

Exceedingly, Abundantly

Introducing… Soren We welcomed a new baby into our family this weekend.  Our grandson, Soren, was born late Friday night. He’s the first child of our youngest son,  and it brings me joy to see his parents love and cherish their newborn baby. Their awe blesses me. When my own children were little, I was always pushing for the next milestone – the first tooth, the first word, solid foods, walking, riding a bike, learning to read… forward, forward.  Now, with my grandchildren, I want to slow it all down. To treasure each moment and fully appreciate each stage of their development. This is a good era for being  a grandparent. Soren is the only grandchild who lives near us, but we see pictures of the others online.  (Never try to tell a grandparent that Facebook is a bad thing. I have even “face-timed” with my grandchildren several times!) Grandchildren grow with astonishing speed. They change too quickly. I’m sure it’s no faster than their parents did, but from a distance, time passes alarmingly fast. We can’t catch it and slow it down. All we can do is be aware of life in each moment. A few years ago, I heard a man used the phrase: “I’m Read More

Do what you love – as long as you love doing it

I recently published an article – Quitting Quilting – on my GloryQuilts blog, explaining why I was restructuring my business. It explained the quitting part, but it didn’t really address the “art as career” aspect of the change. Through this experience, I am persuaded that if I am ever forced to support myself financially, I must not do it by making a career from the things I love doing. It sounds good, but it can end up sucking the joy from the creative heart and leaving only resentment. For more than 20 years, I have been teaching quiltmaking as well as sewing and quilting professionally as GloryQuilts.  At first, I sold class samples and pattern prototypes as well as some things I made just for fun. I did some juried art shows, and then some that were less selective. I had to make quantities of items for the shows, on a strict deadline, and be ready to set up displays and manage sales. I started selling things on eBay and then Etsy.  Instead of selling unique and creative quilts, I began creating quilts specifically to sell, in trendy fabrics and styles. As my reputation grew, I was offered and accepted Read More