October 31, 2009

still trying to get in the mood.....

I mentioned a few posts ago that I was feeling apron-y again after a lengthy down period...WELL,...false alarm, I guess. I don't know whether it's just the weather or hormones or burn-out or all of the above, but I AM TIRED OF FEELING BLAH! I keep coming up with ideas, thought, for Christmas gifts and such. My list is getting longer than I will ever have enough time for, so I'm trying to (to quote an old friend of mine) "Act better than you feel".......

To make matters worse, I'm sharing a table with Daughter at a Craft Fair next weekend and I don't feel like I'm going to be ready....AAACKK!! ....act better than you feel....act better than you feel....

So I am attempting to complete the following this weekend, NO MATTER WHAT!

*4 adult Christmas aprons
*4 child Christmas aprons
*print new apron brochures & business cards
*make apron inventory list for craft fair
*complete a simple fabric covered basket that will be filled with 5 small purchased stuffed dogs for Granddaughter #4's 6th birthday this week

OK...enough stalling here....I'm going to get busy right now!

I'll leave you with a show-and-tell of the few items I managed to get done since mid-Sept:
2 new sewing machine covers

2 flannel lap blankets for a wedding gift

3 grocery tote bags made from kitchen towels from the Dollar Store

2 no-sew totes made from bandanas

Composition notebooks bought on sale at the beginning of school and a few fat quarters = fabric covered notebooks/journals

and a requested Puppet Theater......(really just a curtain on a spring-loaded rod to fit in a doorway, but it works perfectly!

Hopefully there'll be much more to follow soon!

October 20, 2009

Soup Du Jour #3 & #4

Soup #3
The fact that the weather was back to 92 degrees this weekend did not deter me from my Soup-making frenzy!
The family was away for the weekend, leaving me with the house to myself, so on Friday I decided to make some "What's-in-the-Cupboard?" Soup The rule is, no going to the grocery store, just use what you have on hand. A good way to clean out the fridge and pantry....
In the fridge:
side note: Seriously, is there anything better than a Costco Chicken? I mean, for the price and convenience you can't beat it! And those are good size birds, too! My Chef Son gets annoyed with me when I buy them instead of making them myself ("Mom,it's just so easy to do it yourself"), but I've tried, and I honestly can't get as good a result. I can get at least 3 meals out of one chicken and half the time I use the carcass for making stock, so I really get my money's worth, so there, Son! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK COSTCO!
from the pantry:
from the crisper and herb garden:
Boy this was tasty, even in the 90plus degree weather! (I remain hopeful that winter will really get here!) And it was even better the next day for breakfast.
There was still plenty left for the Fam when they got home, too.
Soup #4
While I was looking for ingredients for Soup #3, I found a ham bone in the freezer. "Bone" is not really true, there was a lot of meat on there, too. With some herbs from the garden and a little more help from the pantry and crisper I had a pot of Navy Bean soup ready when the Family got home on Sunday.

even the little ones ate this one (no visible vegetables!)

A little dessert from the pantry, too....cake mix cookies.

I wonder just how many meals I could come up with without going to the grocery store? Hmmmmmmm........a worthy and frugal goal, I think. We'll just see........

October 17, 2009

feeling apron-y again

The last few months or so I've been struggling with a little apron burn-out. After 2 years of concentrating most of my sewing time on them, I just didn't feel the apron spark like I used to. I even gave about 50 % of my fabric stash to Daughter to use for her newfound obsession with quilting and tote-bag-making.

Then, in the last 2 weeks I could feel the old familiar creative stirrings acting up and found myself happily making aprons again......AND THEN I MADE MY 50th ETSY SALE!! WOW!! I couldn't believe it! I hadn't really paid attention to that little number on the sidebar of my ETSY shop and then suddenly I noticed that it hit 50! That really lit a fire under me and my sewing machine....very encouraging!

I wish I had kept track of the total number of aprons I've made in the last 2 years, all the gifts, donations, and give aways.....Daughter pointed out that I take pictures of each one and why don't I just go back and count them all up?...well.....maybe someday when I'm feeling ambitious.....that will require a good chunk of time that could be better spent making more aprons!! (see, I told you I was in the mood again)

This is 2 weeks worth of sewing:

reversible leopard/tiger for a frend's 9 year old Granddaughter

A custom ETSY order: wasabi-green sushi

3 Autumn/Thanksgiving/Holiday for the ETSY shop:

for the shop, just because I like the fabric:

and wedding gifts for a 25 yr. old cousin and her new composer husband:

Today I'm working on a line of 7 Mens aprons for an upcoming Craft Fair. I can really put these together quickly, since for men it's all about the fabric. No fancy embellishments or trims, just your basic apron with pocket.

It sure is good to be feeling apron-y again!......feeling guilty about my fabric stash just sitting there unused was giving me a headache!

Here's to aiming for 100 ETSY sales!....I mean, why not? I never dreamed I'd even hit 50!

October 13, 2009

Soup du Jour #2

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
3 lbs. plum tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup olive oil, plus 2 Tbsp.
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
2 cups chopped onions
6 cloves garlic, pressed
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 28 oz. can plum tomatoes with juice
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 quart chicken stock
preheat oven to 400*.
Toss tomato halves with 1/4 cup oil, salt and pepper. Spread in single layer, cut side down, on baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.
In 8-qt. stockpot over medium heat, saute onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes in 2 Tbsp. olive oil and butter for 10 minutes until onions just start to brown. Add canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock. Add oven-roasted tomatoes, including liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered 40 minutes. Puree. Taste for seasonings. Serve hot with parmesan cheese or cold with sour cream.
This recipe is from the Barefoot Contessa and I've made it once before and loved it!
Today, halfway through cooking it I realized I forgot the can of tomatoes and didn't have time to run to the store, so I just added another 1/2 lb. of plum tomatoes to the oven and hoped that it would work out. WELL IT DIDN'T! This batch tasted exactly like Spaghetti-O's, which I think is the most EVIL food on the planet...so if you try this recipe DO NOT LEAVE OUT THE CAN OF TOMATOES!
Well, the family thought it was good, but after all, they are fans of those evil canned Spaghetti-O's. And the garlic cheese bread that Granddaughter #4 made to go with it was delicious!
Next soup coming up....either French Onion or Chicken Posole...I can't make up my mind right now so I'll surprise you...

October 11, 2009

more benefits of a two family household

Living with Son & family in our 3 generation household has certain benefits. Some of them are obvious, like the financial ones, and getting to be part of the Grandkids daily lives, and not having to do much yard work (hee, hee...I HATE yardwork!) But some of the benefits are a little more subtle, like having access to food that I wouldn't ordinarily fix for myself......

Today my Sunday is going exactly as I like it.....nothing is expected of me today from anyone else so I have plenty of time to catch up on my sewing projects and watch a stack of movies that I've been wanting to see....MEANWHILE....downstairs, Son & Family have a house full of friends over to watch football and eat snacks!
Now, I don't care anything at all about football, but I do care about football FOOD! Son has been in the kitchen all morning stirring up all kinds of fabulous smelling things (the smell seems to collect at the top of the stairs right outside my room) and I know his friends always bring snacks to share, too.
Let's just take a little stroll down there and see what's going on, shall we?
AH HA!! Just as I suspected....lots and lots of deliciousness...

we have Velveeta Cheeseburger dip and Cream Cheese w/Salsa

Little Smokies in grape jelly sauce

two kinds of wings: BBQ and Buffalo

and Cupcakes with sprinkles

....and what do we have here? A cooler in the family room? What could be in here?

of course, football beverages!

And apparently, football watching has changed since I was a child....now with Fantasy Football Leagues all over the place you have to bring your laptop with you so you can monitor things as the game progresses...football seems too complicated to me anyway, and now this!!

Well...that's about all the football stuff I can take. My snacks and I are going back upstairs to the "Studio".....

AHHHH.....the perfect Sunday afternoon.....my sewing machine, several movies to watch, and a plate of yummy snacks....


October 9, 2009

a book review

I love books (see here)
I love food (uh..yeah...no kidding...we can tell)
I love and admire good writing

SO......I want to tell you about my new favorite non-fiction book. I haven't enjoyed a book this much in a very long time.......

by Molly Wizenberg

I first became aware of Molly Wizenberg in Bon Appetit magazine, where she writes a column. I came across a wonderful story about her Father's rice pudding that really touched me. The next month there was a story about eating her way around France with her Mother.

Her writing style hooked me and I followed her over to her blog, Orangette.

I started reading her short essays about food, recipes and simple meals intertwined with memories of her childhood and college days. On the sidebar of her blog she modestly mentioned that she had just had a book published and after spending just 15 minutes reading through her archives I knew I had to own her book.

Now....I very rarely buy brand new books. I check them out from the library first, and then if I decide I need to own it, I buy a used copy from Amazon or my local used book store. And then I often end up passing them on to someone else anyway, since I love to share books that really speak to me in some way....BUT NOT THIS BOOK! I didn't even hesitate to order it immediately and I have not been disappointed! Even though is not really a cookbook, there are plenty of fantastic sounding recipes included.

Just wait until you read her story entirely about pancakes and how she and her parents would get together in the kitchen at midnight for a pancake feast. All of her memories revolve around eating or preparing food, from growing up as an only child, the death of her beloved Father, and how she met her cute musician husband through her blog.

Molly Wizenberg is one lucky girl! How many people actually end up getting to do what they love and make a living at it? According to the book jacket, she "has degrees in human biology, French, and cultural anthropology, but in 2005, she left the world of academia to write full-time".....and she gets to write about food!! She has my dream job.....and she just kind of fell into it!...Lucky girl!!

I won't be passing this book on. I'm selfishly keeping this one for myself, although I will lend it to Daughter since I know she'll enjoy it as much as I did.

For all you Foodies out there, especially if you enjoy good writing along with your food obsession, do yourself a favor and at the very least, get this book from your Library. I promise you, you won't be disappointed.

October 6, 2009

Soup Du Jour (Oct.5)

I've officially made my first pot of soup and bread for the Fall......LET THE SOUP SEASON BEGIN!

RED POTATO, HAM, AND ROASTED CORN CHOWDER topped with parmesan cheese
(no recipe, just made it up...)

served with Homemade Butterflake Biscuit Sticks

Son took some to work in his lunch today and I took what was left to Daughter's house for their dinner tonight since everyone is feeling under the weather

Everyone loved it so I'd better write down this recipe right now before I forget how I made it!
( I feel a Family Soup Cookbook trying to form itself in my brain.....)

October 5, 2009

It's here! It's here! Finally.....

WOO HOO! I think FALL is really, finally here!!!

It was 49 degrees this morning at 6:30 a.m. while I was driving to work wearing a sweater coat and a scarf with the windshield defroster on full blast!!!!!

I am totally ignoring the fact that right now, 4 hours later at 10:00 a.m., I am in my office wearing a sleeveless shirt, drinking iced coffee, and running the A/C on full blast.....MINOR DETAIL!! I am stopping at the store on my way home this afternoon to get ingredients for SOUP!

HMMMM.....what kind should I make? I've been craving some sort of Potato Soup, but maybe something else.....Chicken Fajita? French Onion? Sausage & Kale? Italian Wedding? Asian Shrimp & Noodle? Roasted Tomato Basil?.....I CAN'T DECIDE!!!....This little taste of cold weather has me all worked up!

....And BREAD! I'm getting out my bread maker, too.....O.K.,that's it....I'm making a list....I'm making soup at least twice a week! Every kind I can think of...with bread to match....cheese bread, honey oat, english muffin loaf, yeasted corn bread, raisin-cinnamon, sourdough.

And CHILI!... I can't forget about Chili and cornbread...I can't wait to fire up the crock-pot with some spicy beans...And BEEF STEW!... with biscuits... I have the worlds best Beef Stew recipe...

WOW! is my stomach growling.......I sure hope this is going to be a long winter. I have new recipes to try and old favorites just waiting to be enjoyed while wearing my favorite sweaters and thick, fuzzy socks....BRING ON THE WINTER!

Get ready family, friends, and co-workers....I'M MAKING SOUP!!!!

October 4, 2009

enough already with the hot weather!

Here it is October and we've still been having having 90 degree days here in So. Calif. What kind of Fall weather is that!! I'm ready for sweaters and rain and morning frost and hot soups!!

So.....to try and get into an Autumn kind of mood, and with a LOT of wishful thinking....look what I made this morning from the newest Food Network Magazine:

I made the dough last night so it could chill overnight in the fridge and then cut them out and fried them this morning

I dipped them in a cider glaze and then in cinnamon-sugar.

OH MY GOSH.... these were extra delicious!

Well my plan obviously worked....just look at this photo taken a little later in the day.....notice anything?

JACKETS! We all had to wear sweaters & jackets today because it was sunny and windy and 66 degrees!!

Please, please, please, let the weather stay this way because I'm getting out my soup pot tomorrow.......

Who's ready for Potato Ham Chowder and homemade Cheese Bread? Anyone?