Sunday recipes

Like pretty much the entire world population, we are trying to eat better this year, and in order to succeed, we all need some cheerleaders in the background keeping us going and not succumbing to junk “food”. In honor of that, I thought I might post a couple of (healthy!) recipes we’ve recently tried and enjoyed.

Friday night we had something called Cuban Picadillo. It has a rather interesting set of ingredients (raisins and capers–together?!), but trust me, this was just the perfect mix of sweet and salty to really satisfy your taste buds. I’m really looking forward to the leftovers of this stuff, and I’m one of those anti-leftover people (unless it’s pizza, obv.) Her recipe doesn’t actually have the raisins in it, but I tossed in a handful after reading the comments, and next time I’d probably add another handful. This stuff is pretty awesome, and only uses 6 WW points (I’m not on that program, but lots of people are, maybe even you!) Give it a try, you might be surprised! ๐Ÿ™‚

On Saturday, we had our first ever spaghetti squash spaghetti. (NOTE: we didn’t use her sauce, we had our own.) I’m not certain that mine was cooked all the way through (a bit crunchy?), but as far as taste and appearance go, I think you’d have a hard time proving it wasn’t really spaghetti noodles. Double check the doneness after the cook time, but definitely give this veggie a try! We’re going to do it again for sure. ๐Ÿ™‚ If you’re not a squash eater (we definitely aren’t!), it can be a bit tough to make yourself try it, but once you do, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. ๐Ÿ™‚ So just go buy one, it doesn’t cost any more than a package of decent spaghetti noodles!

EDIT: OK, according to the Dashing Dish website, if you don’t want a crunchy texture on your squash, you should saute it a bit, I’ll keep that in mind for us in the future too!

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Pause, breathe in, relax

Whew! This last week or so has been busy! There was our ultra-mini vacation (we drove several hours, visited a museum and a zoo, stayed one night, drove home) which was really nice, but almost too fast-paced. We did get to see a shark above our heads though, and some crabs that were literally as big as my 6 year old son! (And my son is nearly as leggy as those crabs too!) The only thing I didn’t care for was how crowded it was, but being a holiday weekend, I should have expected it (though I was hoping since everyone else had started school it wouldn’t be, because I’m a selfish bitch like that).

So that this isn’t a pictureless post, here’s some pics from our (or at least my) favorite part of the zoo. ๐Ÿ™‚ Or not, since WordPress just ate them. ๐Ÿ˜ก Have I ever mentioned how much I hate the way WordPress handles pictures? Especially those that are already uploaded to my photohosting account? Well, that’s a rant for a different day I suppose.

In sewing news, I’ve been working on a pair of slacks for my husband. They’re going to fit great, but I screwed up the welt pocket (put it in backwards), and now I’m trying to figure out what to do about it. I’ve tried fixing it every which way except the way that required me to take it completely apart and fix it, because I’d already trimmed the seam allowances and everything. It looks like that’s ultimately what I’m going to have to do though, unless someone has some brilliant idea they’d be willing to share with me. Everything I’ve tried so far just ends up looking like a rectangular opening with some fabric behind it. ๐Ÿ˜ก If only I had enough fabric to cut another piece, I’d consider just leaving the pocket off altogether and only have one pocket. Or do they not do that for men’s slacks? Hubby says he doesn’t use the back ones anyway…..

Too many apples!

Welcome to my pity party.

It’s been a while, so I thought I’d give a quick update with a better (and more interesting post) to follow in a couple of days. There has been some sewing around here, I’ve finished up another 4 pairs of underwear, and I’ve been working on a polka-dot blouse for the last couple of months that just doesn’t seem to aspire to anything more than trash. I’m nearly tired of fighting it, though I think it’ll be a great blouse once I finally finish it.

Mostly though, it feels like we’ve been putting up apples. My hubby has been industriously gathering them from the yard every evening, and they just keep coming. 3 weekends in a row now we’ve spent at least one day cutting/peeling/coring/cooking/canning apples for applesauce or pie filling. I don’t particularly care for apples to start with, but I’m really sick of them now. Hopefully, other people from around the neighborhood or hubby’s work will start to come over and pick some. Please God! We’ve still got at least half the tree full of apples yet!

Anyway, stay tuned for the Burda blouse from Hell and the fun new underwear (think camo!). ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have a great weekend (for whatever’s left of it)!

Vintage goodness!

I don’t have access to a cool thrift store. You know, the kind where you can find cute clothes in nice fabrics, bedsheets that aren’t stained up, patterns…. I suppose that many people around me are simply more thrifty–stuff doesn’t get given away until it’s used up, stained, etc. Or maybe it’s because I don’t live near enough to one to visit every day.

Since I don’t have a cool thrift store, I am periodically offered stuff from relatives…sometimes it’s nifty, but most of the time it’s just trash (or at least not something I need/want). Grandpa told me to go look through a closet in the back bedroom that had some clothes he used to wear way back when that he thought would fit my skinny hubby. I was actually kind of surprised to find 3 shirts that I wanted, though two of them were for me! (The third shirt is for hubby, and it wasn’t anything particularly special, just a standard cotton button-up.) I ended up with two of the same one, they are just in different colorways–the other one is a kind of rusty red, but I couldn’t seem to get a good picture of it while I was wearing it, so you’ll just have to use your imagination. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Cute, right? And they fit pretty much perfect, if you ignore the pulling at the bust; but what’s some wrinkles between friends? Unfortunately, the red one has some holes starting in the front (I’m thinking it got snagged on something at some point), and the blue one has a few tiny stains. I’m having a hard time caring though (even if 1978 is calling and wants its shirt back), I’m going to wear them, and when they give up I’m going to think pretty hard about copying them. ๐Ÿ™‚

Home Sweet Home!

Harvest is over, the binning (saving wheat seeds for next years crop) is done, and I’m back home. I actually made it home Thursday night, but I slept most of yesterday, and if we’re being honest, took a good sized nap today. I am so glad to be back in my own bed, snuggled up to my husband. ๐Ÿ™‚ Since he wasn’t really there with me very much, it was kind of nice to get back and see him. I’ve been missing my sewing room too, but I haven’t made it down there yet, because I know how bad of an idea it is to sew while tired; but tomorrow I plan to get my happy butt down there and finish up a t-shirt I started before I left.

Also, I’m 3 days away from my 3rd blogoversary, and I have a pretty good sized giveaway planned, so stay tuned for that! I do need some assistance with it though, since I’ve never done anything like that before, I want to know what sort of things you like to see in a giveaway. Vintage dress patterns? Random OOP patterns? Patterns that are still available, but are free to you? Fabric (and what’s a reasonable amount?)? Unfortunately, I have no “vintage” notions or tools that I’m not a regular user of, so that’s kind of out, but other suggestions are good.

Hubby’s Christmas gift

Hubby, stop reading. Now. You don’t want to ruin the surprise, right?

OK, now that he’s gone, I’m pretty excited. I’m working on another KS men’s shirt for him, this time in a very pale yellow with blue and white stripes. I started this on….oh….Tuesday, so it’s been a bit of a rush, but I think I’m going to make it. I am using the Pro-woven interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply, and wow! It’s kind of stiff, hopefully it will work out in the end though. One word of advice though–don’t use starch to make the shirting easier to cut–apparently even the miniscule amount of starch made the interfacing not want to stick very well. I have had to “reapply” it about 3 times. Hopefully a good press after it’s washed will make it stick once and for all. If nothing else, I guess it makes a good sew-in interfacing, right? I hope so.

We open presents tomorrow evening, so I’ll plan to take some finished pictures (fingers crossed!!) then–perhaps even modeled!! But mainly I wanted to share the two tutorials I used to make the sleeve plackets because 1) I wanted record of them for future reference, & 2) you guys need to use this method if you aren’t already. It worked like a charm, though I will confess that my first placket wasn’t nearly as pretty as my second one for some reason. No one but me would likely notice though, so I’m just going to go with it. Don’t let the good be the enemy of the perfect and all that.

Anyway, there’s the quickie pictorial version that you can find here, and the more elaborate variation of same here. I really liked the more elaborate version this time so that I knew a bit more about what I was doing, but the pictorial version will probably be sufficient in the future. ๐Ÿ™‚

Well, I suppose that’s it for now, I should probably head back to my little sweatshop and put the collar and cuffs on. Then it’s just hem, snaps, and done! ๐Ÿ™‚ As of 10 p.m., I just need to do the collar and the snaps. I can see the end of the tunnel! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Vogue 8670 again

Today I made another version of Vogue 8670, this time in a purple-y animal print. I really love this fabric, and after wearing my grey version the other day, I thought I’d really like to have another version of this particular shirt. I did the neckline exactly the same way, because I liked it so much on the first one, though now that it’s finished I kind of wish on this one I’d have used a bigger collar instead. Oh well. And for the record? I’m still not sure why this pattern gets no respect. I think it is probably on it’s way to TNT status for me.

Are you grumbling about a lack of picture? Well, no worries, I’m already on top of that. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I don’t actually know what’s up next. I’m thinking I’d like to make up some lingerie for myself, but there’s also this pesky gift-exchanging holiday coming up where you have to give stuff to other people, and I suppose I’ll probably make a couple of things for that as well. Not too many though, since I’ve discovered that I’m a bit thin-skinned about how people accept the stuff I put a lot of work into. ๐Ÿ˜ณ I thought I had an idea for my SIL (a nightie, since she lives in the dorms), but my MIL suggests that perhaps Burda’s 11/2009 #134 may not be modest enough. So, I’m not sure what to do on that front.

Tomato Soup and Sandwiches

Last night I made up the no-knead bread that Nick over at Macheesmo is always raving about. It takes forever, but it turned out pretty good. I think it would have been better if it hadn’t fermented for like 28 hours instead of 20, and because it was so late getting made up I skipped the proofing. I think it’ll be really nice for what I wanted though, and that’s all that matters. ๐Ÿ™‚ We’ll definitely be trying it again.

To go with the bread (which I made into grilled cheese sandwiches), I also made up some homemade tomato soup, based on the recipe from EvolvingMommy. Mine is a bit different though–I found some Del Monte Italian Stewed Tomatoes at the grocery store for less than 75ยข each, so I used those instead of the fresh tomatoes. I also bought really big celery and carrots, so I used one celery stalk and two carrots. My little guy and I both liked it, but the hubster wasn’t totally convinced. He said it was bland…..it’s tomato soup….? Anyway, I didn’t notice an overpowering flavor of celery my way, so I’d probably stick to that for us (I’m not a celery fan), and I may not have cooked the veggies long enough because the soup wasn’t quite as smooth as the stuff from the can.

All in all, I’d recommend both of these recipes. They worked well for us, and made a filling, healthy lunch on a day that started out a bit chilly. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m anxious to see how it reheats so that I can decide whether or not to make up another batch to freeze.

The Staycation Project

This last week we’ve been on a staycation. Or, more specifically, my husband has been (since my new job doesn’t start until this week). His job requires him to take off a full week every year, and this was his week of choice. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to go anywhere terribly special, but we did get to spend some quality time together as a family, and also as a couple when the little man went to grandma’s for a couple of days. Twas very nice. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, so while I know that we’re probably weird to everyone else, we enjoy working together on little projects. That’s not to say that we don’t disagree on stuff, just that for the most part we have fun and enjoy the companionship (and the challenge, of course). This last week our project was a laundry basket dresser. Our is a bit more fancy than the one in the original post, and will look a bit more like this one:

Photo by: jensimmons @ ana-white.com

Ours will be white (well, Fairhaven Grey), like this one, and it has some funky dimensions because we have 2 different types of laundry baskets and we’re too cheap to buy new ones for this when the old ones are in great shape. I totally stole the door and furniture feet idea from this version though, because it seemed like an awesome idea to make it a bit more classy. Though, if you are building something and want the little feet, plan to drive to a big box store–they’re in the trim aisle–because our locally owned store wasn’t even sure what we were talking about and didn’t carry them (not that they know in the big box store either–we found them by accident). We even got to use a router for the first time on this project. We’re totally going to have to get one of our own–this one was borrowed from the in-laws, and they’re probably going to want it back someday. It made putting the beadboard into the doors a whole lot easier, and gave the edges of the doors a slightly more professional look. We hope to get it painted up sometime in the coming week, once it dries out a bit. Though if the rain stays around all week we won’t cry about that either. ๐Ÿ˜‰ We’ve been in serious need of rain for months.

Hopefully I’ll get some sewing done in the next couple of days, and I am confessing now that I cheated and bought a jacket to get me through until I get another one made up. As slow at sewing as I am, it seemed to make sense to purchase a jacket for starters and then make a backup so that I wasn’t rushed.

Have a great week! ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy Labor Day (for some of you)!

Today is Labor Day in the U.S., which means that hubby had a 3 day weekend. There isn’t much better than the one you love getting to stay home and hang out with you. ๐Ÿ™‚ Though, a raspberry tart might come close to that. So we had it REALLY good, since we had hubby AND a raspberry tart. I had never even made one before today, but when I saw the raspberries in the store yesterday, looking delicious and being on sale, I couldn’t resist picking them up. At first, I had no idea what I was going to do with them, but then the words “raspberry tart” popped into my head and I had to take note.

First stop was my food blogging hero, Nick @ Macheesmo. He said that his tart was a failure because it was too liquidy and whatnot, so I took care not to make it too liquidy. First thing I did was toss a handful of the raspberries into a saucepan over medium heat and smooshed them with a potato masher (just like my mother used to do with sandplums to make jelly). Add about 1/8 C. of brown sugar, 1/8 C. of honey (I didn’t have more brown sugar), a healthy dash of cinnamon, and cooked it down until it was pretty thick. Toss in the rest of the berries (I had two 6 oz. boxes, minus a couple oz. we ate ๐Ÿ˜ณ ) to coat them with the “jelly”, and smear them over the pastry that I provided in the link above. I baked mine at 375ยฐF for about 35 minutes, but I’m not really sure what time/temp is recommended. I just default to 375ยฐF if I have no idea what I’m doing, because it’s usually a safe bet. I was actually surprised it took so long to cook, I kept adding ten minutes to the cooktime until it was done.

After it cooled I tried my hand at melting some chocolate in a makeshift double boiler. I didn’t get it as liquidy as I wanted, because it didn’t drizzle very nicely, but it tasted freakin’ awesome, and that’s what’s really important, right? Right. Serve it up with some homemade vanilla ice cream, and you have heaven in a bowl.

I really wanted to get some sewing in this weekend, but the weather has been so fabulous that we’ve spent a lot of time outdoors (or baking!) We’ve had the windows open for two whole days now and it’s been just beautiful. I think the high today was like 78ยฐF, if it never got hotter than that, I’d be the happiest of campers. Anyway, this post got kind of long winded, sorry about that. Hope you had a fabulous weekend whether it was a holiday for you or not. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ll leave you with some pictures. ๐Ÿ™‚

Tart after baking

Mmmm. Drizzled with chocolate

 

A little slice of heaven