Tuesday, April 30, 2024

At the Table :: 2024 Rainy Day Bites January to April

Our Rainy Day Bites Cookbook Club 2024 cookbook club theme is “Food for Thought.” Hosted by Deborah Balint on Instagram, each month we're exploring cookbooks that spark conversation on a range of topics. Our baking books are going global with country specific books. So far it's been a busy but delicious few months! I'm keeping track of this quarter's recipes here. Enjoy, or skip, as you wish.

Note that I linked to each IG post, in case you wanted to read what I wrote about each recipe.


Featured book: The World Central Kitchen Cookbook: Feeding Humanity, Feeding Hope by José Andrés @chefjoseandres of World Central Kitchen @wckitchen

Topic: Building longer tables through humanitarian efforts


baleadas sencillas

braised pork al pastor


Featured book: Cucina Provera: The Italian Way of Transforming Humble Ingredients into Unforgettable Meals by Giulia Scarpaleggia @julskitchen

Topic: cooking seasonally and using certain ingredients to stretch meal cost

pasta and bean soup (pasta e fagioli)

January & February baking: Dark Rye & Honey Cake Festival Baking from Belgium, the Heart of the Low Countries by Regula Ysewijn @missfoodwise

waffles with beer

New this year - our last day of the month baking party will be global desserts using any recipe from any cookbooks we already have. 

January end of the month baking party challenge | Japan: milk bread from The Woks of Life @thewoksoflife by Bill, Judy, Sarah, and Kaitlin Leung

February end of the month baking party challenge | France: [chocolate] madeleines from pure chocolate by Fran Bigelow of Fran's Chocolates @franschocolates

March: Yiayia: Time Perfected Recipes from Greece’s Grandmothers by Anastasia Miari @anastasia_miari 

Topic: The role of the matriarch in cooking and family legacy.

egg and potato omelet

One Pot, Pan, Planet: A Greener Way to Cook for You and Your Family by Anna Jones @we_are_food

Topic: Cooking for our planet including reducing waste and sustainable cooking.

March & April baking: Torta Della Nonna: A Collection of the Best Homemade Italian Desserts by Emiko Davies @emikodavies.

March end of the month baking party challenge | USA: Pies - grasshopper pie from The Seattle Times Cookbook

April end of the month baking party challenge | Spain: Basque cheesecake from Love is a Pink Cake by Claire Ptak @violetcakeslondon

One thing I really love about being in this club, is learning about new dishes, places, and techniques. Anyone can join. Just follow @rainydaybites to see what we're cooking each month!

Sunday, April 28, 2024


There was no doubt, from the very start, that I wanted to participate in the 2024 Pantone Quilt Challenge, again hosted by Sarah @bysarahruiz and Elizabeth @elizabethkray. But I didn't really act like it, and I think real life events just played into my slowness in getting on board.

Early on, I had a bit of inspiration about a relatively simple design involving improv stripes, and once I had my Pantone swatch card in hand, I worked on an initial fabric pull - Konas Black, White, Ruby, Orchid Ice, Raisin, Terracotta, and RJR Apricot Ice, plus as I began piecing, what I think was Kona Cedar. This time around, the Pantone Peach Fuzz color is more of a team-player than the key focus, but it's what felt fun to play with this time around.

Let's just say making all the stripes took a while, there was some travel away from my sewing room, and a little lethargy once I got back. But eventually I had a quilt top, and primarily using the leftovers, I fashioned a scrappy quilt back as well.

As I began to consider a quilting plan and what thread(s) to use, I decided this wasn't a quilt where I wanted to do an overall design with one thread color. That's always good news and bad news for me. It adds a bit of stress to the project, but then again, it's fun to use a variety of threads. And in the end, I used seven - Aurifil 50wt 2420 [Light Blush], 2692 [Black], 1103 [Burgundy], 2520 [Violet], 2350 [Copper]; 40wt 6722 [Sea Biscuit]; and since it was the only thread I had that coordinated well, a spool of Aurifloss 6729 [Tangerine Dream], with which I did some hand-quilting in the peach-colored sections of the quilt.

The machine-quilting in the majority of the quilt was improv lines, back and forth, back and forth. Though time-consuming, it was what I felt I could do that would fit the design, and using all those colors added to the enjoyment of it.

Finished at 33.5" x 41.5" and bound with matched binding, I was going to name this one "Peachy Keen," but considering 'keen' is a synonym for 'peachy,' I'll just go with the one word. 

Now I guess I better head over and submit Keen for the challenge before it closes. 

Friday, April 26, 2024

At the Table

This post is late, and self-serving, and I apologize for that. Begun shortly after this menu was served on June 25 of last year(!), I'd drafted it, but never completed or posted it. But it marked a key moment in my husband, Joe's life, when he said goodbye to serving in youth ministry with our church community. Celebrating nearly 40 years of volunteering, we hosted a delightful evening in our home with the current co-leaders; and at the time, I made note of the menu, fully intending to post it. There's no good excuse why I waited until now; but I want to remember, so here we go. Oh, and I also want to remember that our son and daughter-in-law, who were living with us at the time, helped with prep, cooking, and serving, which was great fun, doing it all together. So without further ado, for the sake of memories....


Pesto Torte 

Marinated Goat Cheese Spread from Olive & Mango with Crackers

Palmiers with Mustard and Prosciutto 

Joe's Moscow Mules

main course

Grilled Pork Loin

Grilled Salmon

Sharon's Baked Beans

Grilled Vegetables with The Best Grilled Vegetables Marinade


Alison Roman's Raspberry-Ricotta Cake

So thanks for letting me share. I trust you'll forgive me. I'm working on quilting my Pantone challenge quilt, so rest assured, I'll be back with quilty content soon!

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

The Last of the Mini Series Drawstring Bags

Back in 2022 when I joined the Mini Series Sew Along, I had in mind to use the 4,5" unfinished blocks as focals for a collection of small drawstring gift bags, and I've finally made it happen. 16 in all - 15 sew along blocks + my first chevron block that was the wrong size. What a variety, right?

For the majority of the bags, I made use of stashed prints, though a few were made of solids - one each of Essex cotton-linen blend, textured cotton, and AG Kaleidoscope. It was my original intent to use Essex natural and quilt the exterior, like the first bag shown below; but when I realized I was low on that fabric, I figured why not use up some other stash?

The finished bags range from 6.5" wide x 8" tall to 8" x 10", all depending on the amount of a particular fabric I had.

The drawstring ties are a mix of 1/2" natural twill tape, which I purchased from Jeni Baker Patterns; 1/2" white twill tape purchased from Beyond Trim on etsy; and 2mm black waxed cord from Amazon. I always keep these options on hand for projects such as this.

It feels great to have that project finely completed, and a couple of the bags have already been gifted.... just as I'd hoped. I'm happy to have a stock of them, and I look forward to sharing more of them in the months ahead.