Sunday, August 31, 2008

Lunch for Liv

My girl loves herself some pink and knowing she needed a lunch bag for school I thought I would whip up something much to her liking. She picked out the fabric herself from my stash, it's Patsy Aiken's from her Carnival Line. I have to say it's not my favorite line of her's, but it makes an adorable bag. Someone on sewforum was generous enough to digitize the stacked names and flower embroidery for me so I added it to the bag too. I'm still tweaking the pattern, but it's not bad. I made the handles longer and I like them much better than the other one I made for a friend at work. I also scored 2 1/2 yds of nylon at the thrift store that I used to line the bag so it's spill friendly and you can wipe it clean or toss it in the wash. I have plans to make at least 3 more (two people at work have asked me to make one for them)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Can you have too many?

Well the Olympics are over and I've had to return to regular life. Which means back to cooking, cleaning...oh and crafting too. I'm hard at work on my socks for O. I finished my sock class last night, it was helpful to learn to use dpn...but honestly I think I could have figured the same stuff out with some good internet searches. Ah that I'm beyond the classes that my LYS offers, I'm going to just have to dive in and learn new skills on my own with the help of my friend Net (you get it? interNET?). And sewing...I have quite a bit on my "to sew" list. S. wants a tshirt and some lounge pants. I have to do a few things for O. including her lunch box and I'd like to do some things for me too. But, back to the question...can you have too many? I'm referring to patterns. I have a lot of sewing patterns...last I counted I had over 300, but that was months ago and I've added many more. Some have been gifted to me, but the vast majority I purchased. I'm an equal opportunity pattern lover too. I love the Big 4 companies just as well as the more exclusive (and need I add expensive) boutique lines. In fact I think I love the Big 4 more. I like that they bring sewing to the masses, they have their finger on the pulse of fashion and let's face it, they're affordable and easily obtained. I love that! My friend D. calls me a patternwhore. I have to admit I actually love patterns more than fabric and I do love some fabric. And yet...I wonder, do I have too many...when is enough, enough? I mean there's really only so many designs out there, right? Well...I haven't been able to answer that question for myself yet, but I'll let you know when I figure it out In the mean time I think someone is having a sale on patterns.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Monday's meal

Well...more of a dessert really, but who doesn't love a good dessert and chocolate even so you can't resist.

Flourless Chocolate Torte

4 oz of fine quality 100% dark and semi-sweet chocolate
1 stick of unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 8 inch round baking pan around the edges and line the bottom with buttered wax paper.
Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Use a double boiler or a metal boil over a saucepan. Gently melt the chocolate and butter. Stir until smooth. Remove from double boiler. Whisk sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs and whisk well. Sift 1/2 cup cocoa powder over chocolate mixture and whisk until well combined. Pour batter into pan, place in the middle of your oven and bake for 25 minutes or until top has formed a firm crust. Cool and sprinkle with a dusting of cocoa powder. Serve topped with fresh whipped cream and berries. Delish!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Time on my hands

My friend and I were talking about what our plans were now that all our children would be in school. What to do...what to do. Write the next great American novel, sing, dance...sleep? I've been thinking a lot about my house. I go through phases and right now I'm in a "let's get this place in shape" phase.
So I was thinking that I needed a list. List are good, list keep you focused and on track.
So what projects do I want to do you ask? Well starting on the inside
1. Purge the closets...too many clothes is the cross I bare and an ongoing battle, but it must be done.
2. Paint the 1/2 bath. I have the perfect color in mind
3. Finish organizing all my recipe notebooks. I have 3, but would like there to be one neat and comprehensive one.
4. The garage... This might take a long while...but I am determined.
5. Make curtains and slipcovers for the living room. I know I'm back to the slipcovers, but I'm not completely happy with the surefit ones...custom really is the way to go.

1. Landscaping the yard.
2. Redoing the's just sad I tell you.

That should keep me busy for the year don't you think? Wow, now I'm starting to think I won't have enough time,lol.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday's Meal

In honor of the state in which I grew up and still miss to this day, King Ranch Chicken Casserole. Enjoy this hearty casserole and think of a girl who will always think of Texas as home.

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

1 whole chicken, boiled, boned and shredded
1 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 pkg. corn tortillas, cut into small pieces
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green peppers
1/4 lb of sliced mushrooms
1/2 tsp of chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook soups, broth, Ro-Tel, peppers,spices and onions until tender. Place in baking dish in layers: tortillas, chicken, soup mixture, and cheese. Cover and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Friday, August 15, 2008

We interupt this blog to bring you...

The Olympics! I have been spending all my free time glued to the set. Not much crafting going on this week, but tons of late nights nonetheless. I am riveted and mesmerized by Micheal Phelps quest for more go boy! He's like a fish that guy! And the story of the U.S. women's gymnasts, who couldn't help but cheer them on. Anyways...just thought I'd check in and let you know I still plan to sew and knit...just as soon as the Olympics are over.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Vintage Love...everything old is new again

I love a classic design and I found it in this sweet little top from a 1972 Simplicity pattern. Remember I was talking about transitional weather clothes? Well this would look awesome with a turtleneck underneath and sweet little leggings. I absolutely adore this fabric. It's been curing in my stash for ages, it's Tracy Porter from Joann's and the hand of the fabric is just incredible, really a nice brushed cotton. I don't know what was wrong with me, but I only bought a yard at the time...I could kick myself. Oh well. Anyway, back to the tunic. Very sweet and I used some ribbon from a grab bag of ribbon I got at one of the Chez Ami sales. I think it looks pretty good...we'll just have to see how the ribbon holds up in the wash.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Monday's Meal

My dh is a huge fan of Italian cooking, or at least what we like to think of as Italian. I personally love any type of casserole so this recipe satisfies us both.

Home made lasagna

1 lb sweet Italian sausage
1 lb of ground turkey (or if you can find it, meatloaf/meatball mix)
1/2 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 box of lasagna noodles
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups of shredded mozzarella
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground turkey, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil,Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 hour stirring occasionally.
In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Now to assemble, I do not precook my lasagna noodles, but if you like to you can do so according to the directions on the package. Spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover tightly with foil. Bake for 1 hour, remove foil and back for 15 more minutes. Lasagna is done when cheese on top is melted and bubbling. Cool for 15 minutes before serving. Serve with a nice green salad, great bread and a good red wine. Enjoy!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Summer or Fall

I can't decide what type of sewing I should be doing. Summer weather last well in to early October here (last year our community pool didn't close until the end of September) and our winters are pretty mild. I feel like I should really be thinking about sewing fall stuff, but it's so hard to do when it's 100 degrees outside. I've been going through my fabrics and patterns trying to plan transitional type outfits that will lend themselves to layering and make it through for several seasons. I'm trying to stretch my idea of a fall color palette too since I have a lot of brightly colored fabrics and in my mind they say spring/summer and not fall. Anyway along those lines I went to JA's today because you know, they were having a sale on patterns (well they weren't, but Hancocks was and I had a flyer so it was like JA's was, ya know) and Simplicity has several cute dresses for O. for the fall...of course none of the new patterns were in yet so it was a big tease. But, I'm thinking I really should buckle down and do a bit of sewing for myself. I've got some really great patterns I want to try out. So, perhaps this week that's what I will do.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

On Balance

Today I've been introspective and thinking about my life and finding balance in it. Two of my children started school last week and I carpool them twice a day. They have extracurricular activities that they are involved in too. This week there's been dental and doctor appointments in addition to our usual commitments. I have to admit I'm feeling tired. I really feel it's important that my children have well rounded lives that include school, their own interest and family life. I'm glad that I have a job that allows me to work weekends and be with them during the week. But, all of this is not without sacrifice. I struggle to make sure that I get enough time for me as woman and individual and enough time to be a good wife to my husband. It's hard and anyone that says differently is lying. Sometimes I do well...sometimes I don't, but I can honestly say each day I try my very best and I'm glad to experience this journey known as motherhood, bumps and all. I think true balance is about recognizing that the scales of life will sway side to side often, but that we should continue to try and right them with a mixture of love, life and laughter.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Monday's Meal

Every southern cook worth their weight in gold has a recipe for a pound cake in their arsenal. There are many versions, but I think the real key to a light, moist cake is all in the batter. Don't overbeat it and don't overcook the cake.

Pound Cake

3 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/3 cup Crisco
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp lemon extract
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degree, grease and flour a bundt/tube pan and set it aside. Mix your flour, baking soda and salt together in a small bowl and set aside. Cream crisco until fluffy, then slowly add sugar (you can add a bit of milk now if needed). Cream the crisco and sugar until light and fluffy. Add one egg at a time, mixing well. Then add flour mixture, alternating with the milk and ending with the flour. Now add your extracts and mix well. Now place your batter in your prepared pan and bake it for approximately 75mins. Don't over cook it.