Be Sociable

by Michelle Hand

Good evening y'all! This post is to share a new dish I discovered just this week.

But I have to include the story of the brand of croutons I used.

See, we have a grocery store here in Texas called HEB. It was started in Kerrville with $60 then the son took over the business. The only thing NOT business friendly about HEB is the "B" part.  It stands for "Butts", the last name of H.E.
Now, I bet you would agree if ole' H.E. had stuck with the last name for the grocery chain it more than likely would not be as successful as it is today....or maybe not exist at all.
Anyway, I used to love telling that story to my students in food lab. I would tease them and say I got their food for lab at Butts. HA!
I digress...
The croutons used for this recipe as seen in the above photo are the HEB brand and are quite tasty. Before this recipe, I never thought about using croutons as a crunchy, yummy topping for fish. I bet it would taste equally good on chicken.
Here is my version of the recipe you see there on the package.

1/4 to 1/2 cup HEB seasoned croutons, crushed or processed ( any of your fav brands or flavors will do. I used a rolling pin and crushed them in the orginal bag because I had just enough left for the recipe.)

2 teaspoons of sour cream

2 fish fillets, fresh or frozen (thaw ahead time). I used tilapia.

Salt to taste

Lawry's seasoned pepper to taste

Cayenne pepper to taste

Cilantro ( I used dried but fresh would have been so much better)

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2. Line a baking dish or sheet pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
3. Crush croutons or pulse in food processor or blender for about 15 seconds.
4. Place fillets on lined baking pan and season to taste with salt, seasoned pepper and cayenne pepper.
5. Spoon a teaspoon of sour cream on each fillet and spread to cover.
6. Sprinkle crushed/processed croutons on each fillet, covering liberally.
7. Sprinkle with cilantro to taste.
8. Place on center rack of oven and bake for 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily.


by Michelle Hand

Happy Saturday! I hope everyone's week was great. I started a new job and it is  a totally new world and quite the opposite of teaching. I am learning a lot about real estate but the best part is that I can leave it at the office. So, when I get home, I am all about the grad school homework and sewing with no  worries of grading papers or prepping for the next day.  YAY!

Speaking of sewing, I started a new block for Valentine's Day. I have no idea what I am going to do with it once it's finished. A pillow? Frame it? Maybe all of you can give me some ideas.

The picture here is just the first step but I thought I would give you a sneak peek. FYI: If you ever decide to sew long strips together, remember to sew from top to bottom then bottom to top. This will prevent waves and uneven strips like I got. I will add a white background and it will take on a heart shape.

When I do finish it...hopefully before V-Day <grin> I  will post the completed block along with the link to the blog I got it from. 

Stay tuned and I would love to know what you are making for February 14!


by Michelle Hand

Blessed. That sums up my thoughts for the day. This was our Fall mantel in 2012. All done with either items on hand or items from the Dollar Store. The center artwork contains letters cut with the Cricut, fabric and a Dollar Store frame. The flanking artwork contains burlap, silk leaves and Dollar Store frames. I hope to post a tutorial on how I did it very soon.
"Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD. " Jeremiah 17:7

by Michelle Hand

I know it's hard to believe but I have never bought a shoe organizer before. Now, the hardest thing to believe, probably, is that I've never had a need for one because I've never owned that many pairs of shoes at one time. What? A woman who doesn't like shoes? Well, I like shoes, but not 24+ pairs at time like.

So, this past week I bought an over the door shoe organizer to help me organize sewing supplies.  I had gotten so tired of digging through an overstuffed drawer of interfacings and fusibles to find the right one I need and to help me not to waste money buying a type of interfacing or fusible I already have.  It's working out pretty well so far. There are 24 expanding pockets that are see through. It came with the hooks and was less than $7 at Wal-Mart. I only have it about half full but I know it won't take long to fill it up. It's great at holding packaged fusibles but it can also easily hold folded yardage of interfacings, vinyl, fusible fleece and even packaged zippers.

The downside, as you can see by the pic, is that it's not that pretty out in the open. Especially, since my sewing room is actually the breakfast room off of the kitchen. Oh, also it's the dog's room.  Over a year ago, I took over the breakfast room because the hubby wouldn't let me take over a guest room.  Baron, the dog, wouldn't let me move his bed so I work around it and him. You can see a corner of it on the left side of the pic and on the right you get a glimpse of my design wall, which is made from a Christmas vinyl tablecloth.

Since Baron won't let me move his bed (which is a metal crate and quite large) I am going to utilize it somehow as a pressing surface.

When I get more done in my sewing room, I will post a tour.   Have a great weekend and share how you have re-purposed a shoe organizer!


by Michelle Hand

I attempted my first quilt a little over a year ago. I attended a beginner's class at my local quilt store and once I learned about all the latest handy tools out there that makes it less of a daunting task, I was hooked. The ladies who conducted the class were awesome teachers and we have been friends ever since. Although I have only completed one other quilt since then, I still plug away at it, usually with a couple in the works at the same time. I am just SLOW! I stop and start. I stop to work on other sewing projects and other crafts. I will get them done, it just may be at the end of this year, who knows! :)

Anyway, back to my first quilt. I made a disappearing nine patch for my granddaughter. Yes, I have a grandaughter by marriage. I'll explain that in another post sometime. I actually finished her quilt in a month because I started in October and gave it to her for her birthday at the end of November of 2011.  I really enjoyed the process and learning all the ins and outs of picking out the fabric, sewing and cutting it apart, sewing it together again, pressing  seams, auditioning the blocks, sewing rows together and then quilting it.
When looking back, I can't believe I actually machine quilted it myself. That was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I quilted half of it without a walking foot....what was I thinking?? The walking foot is a must for quilting on your own machine.  Believe me, it's worth the money and a lot less heartache. I used Moda's Amelia
Charm Squares (5" precuts of fabric) to make the disappearing nine patch block. 

My granddaughter absolutely loved it ... primarily because her favorite color is Purple.

Here is a video by Missouri Star Quilt Co. demonstrating how to make the disappearing nine patch block.


by Michelle Hand

Green Hamburger? What? You think I am proposing you eat rotten hamburger meat? Rest easy, that would totally go against my safety and sanitation training. What I am talking about it is saving money and the landfill of plastic freezer bags. I buy hamburger meat in bulk and since it is just my husband and I, we don't eat a big quantity at a time. If I divided 5 pounds of hamburger meat in 1 pound amounts it would take five bags as compared to just two.  So, here is my method of going green with hamburger freezer storage. When ready for ground beef for a meal, take bag out of freezer and break off only what you need then return to the freezer. This works perfectly for 2 people
meals (like me and David). It also saves freezer bags and the smaller chunks defrost more evenly in the microwave.


by Michelle Hand

This past Christmas I decided to make Christmas presents for my mom, sister, sisiter-in-law, mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. This was mainly out of necessity due to the fact I am not working and already had half of the fabric and supplies in my stash. I did buy the main fabric (fat quarters) at a local quilt store because she stocks such cool fabrics that fit my relatives personalities perfectly. I had the other fabrics, zippers and clear vinyl. My mom gave me the additional fabrics and trims to clear out her stash. This came in so handy and I was able to give her back some of the fabric in the form of a bag. 

I used a pattern I bought at another local quilt store many, many months ago. I procrastinated using it due to the fact it has very few pictures and/or illustrations to guide me. I dove into it and the first bag took me several hours at two different times in my studio. I get frustrated and have to walk away and come back later or who knows what might happen to the project or come out of my mouth....hey, I am only human! :) By the fifth one, I had the steps down pat and with each one I got better at making the construction square.

I also made coordinated tissue pouches to put inside of the bags. The bag can be used for makeup, beauty products, electronic cords/cables, or hobby supplies. They are a simple rectangle shape with a zipper at the top. Below, you will see photos of the ones I made along with information about the pattern. BTW, I think everyone really liked them and are getting good use out of them.

Peek-a-Boo Bag 9" x 10" can be found at:

by Michelle Hand

I bought Trader Joe's face wash over 6 months ago at the recommendation of the  stock boy. A wise decision? Hmmm... ordinarily maybe not. But, this kid knew what he was talking about. I use it almost daily in the shower and still have 
half of the bottle left. It was only $6 and has been well worth every penny.  It is all natural and light feeling. It doesn't have an awful taste. You might  ask why this is important, but if you are like me and use body wash with a srunchie in the shower, you probably don't have a wash cloth handy. So, I rub it
on and then just splash water on my face to wash it off. It's a pretty sure  thing your gonna get a tasting of it. :) It also doesn't leave my skin feeling tight and dry. Mind you, I still have to use some type of moisturizer before my makeup regimen (when that happens on special occasions) but that is for another
post. I give it  five stars and if you have a Trader Joe's nearby, give it a try.