Thursday, October 13, 2016

From Leeds to Livermore

Hello Everyone,
The queen traveled from Leeds to Livermore. Quilt Sue arrived in Livermore on Monday.  We were in class Tuesday (pictures soon). The first stop today was a visit to the Prada store at the San Francisco Outlet Mall, in Livermore.  This picture is purely for the name.....we didn't enter the store.  Both of us decided the prices in some of the shops were a little too pricey even for HRH (her royal highness.)  Do you know how many patterns each of us would have to sell to even think about buying one handbag?  Yikes, too rich for our pocketbooks.

Next stop, Starbucks for a Spiced Pumpkin Frappuccino.  Now this was right up our alley.  While we sipped our Frappuccino, we people watched all of the ladies walking by with their Prada handbags.  We were quite content with the beautiful blue sky, the warmth of the sun, and friendship.

I've decided to chronicle some of Quilt Sue's dinners and share the recipes with all of you.  This Shittake Mushroom, Sausage, and Spinach Manicotti was fit for a queen.  Not to worry, Sue saved some for the rest of us.

Smell-o-vision is filling your home with a lovely aroma about now.  This is an excellent dish, perfect for company, and can be made ahead.  HRH gives this dish her highest rating!

Shiitake Mushroom, Italian Sausage, and Spinach Manicotti

12 manicotti or cannelloni shells
1 lb. mild Italian sausage
1/4 cup butter, divided
4-1/2 cups sliced fresh shittake mushrooms (8 oz.)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (10 oz.) package fresh spinach, coarse stems removed
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Gouda cheese
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1-1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded Mexican four-cheese blend
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Cook shells according to package directions; drain

Sauté Italian sausage, drain, and set aside

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet; add mushrooms and garlic, and sauté until mushroom liquid is absorbed.  Transfer mushroom mixture to a large bowl.

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in skillet.  Add spinach; cover and cook over medium-low heat 5 minutes or until spinach wilts.  Add spinach to mushroom mixture.  Stir in ricotta cheese and next 4 ingredients.  Spoon spinach mixture evenly into shells.  Place stuffed shells in a greased 13" x 9" baking dish.

Melt 1/3 cup butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat; whisk in flour until smooth.  Cook 1 minute, whisking constantly.  Gradually whisk in half-and-half; cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly.  Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Add Gouda cheese, stirring until cheese melts.  Pour over stuffed shells.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a small fry pan, add Panko.  Stir frequently until browned.  Remove from heat and put in a bowl.  Stir in Mexican four-cheese blend; sprinkle over shells.

Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until bubbly.  Yield: 6 servings

Note:  If desired, cover and chill manicotti at east 8 hours before baking.  Remove from refrigerator, and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.  Bake as directed.


We've had such a good time since Sue's arrival.  Yesterday afternoon, we had quite the card games with our granddaughter, Kinsey.  We taught Sue a new game, and she won the last three hands.  Talk about beginners luck!

Sue and Mr. Joe are constantly bantering back and forth.  They picked up right where they left off three years ago.  They are like a brother and sister in constant teasing mode.

It is interesting listening to Sue's take on our political turmoil.  She is going to watch the last debate with us.  I hope the candidates behave themselves and don't embarrasses us too much.

This morning Gail is going to join us and we are off to Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara.  I can't wait to see Sue's expression when she enters the show.  She is really going to be gobsmacked.

Tomorrow we are off to the cabin to prepare for Sew'n Wild Oaks retreat #2 beginning Oct. 17th.  Since Sue is going to be in attendance, I can now call it an international retreat.

Toodle Pip,



  1. Now, regarding some of those comments. Winning the card games was NOT beginner's luck at all, it was sheer brilliance on my part. As for the teasing between Mr Joe and I, well all I can say is that he started it!

  2. Sue needs to update her profile pic - you look fabulous my dear!! Behave yourselves at the show and retreat.

  3. Can't wait to meet Quilt Sue and begin the 2nd retreat!!!! Have a great time at PIQF!!!!!!

  4. Sue, you look fabulous, dahling! I agree - HRH is purely brilliant! Have fun today - after this you and your mister just might want to jump the pond permanently!

  5. You can't drink a Prada bag, so I think you made the right choice in stopping at Starbucks instead. And yes, the candidates represent themselves, not the rest of us. Have fun, you guys.

  6. Say 'high' to Her Majesty from me, lovely to see she's looking so relaxed and smiley :)