Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Butternut Squash and Sage Pasta

Historically, I haven't been the biggest squash fan. I was talking to the other intern the other week who is vegetarian and she was appalled. I decided to give it another try. And now I love it.

I didn't change that much to the recipe from The Kitchn. What I did change:
- Added a little more sage to the roasting mix
- Extended the roasting mix by 5-7 minutes
- Used a nonstick dutch oven for frying
- Cut the pasta frying time from 5 to 3 because I didn't want too much oil
- Eliminated the cheese (I suppose I could use nutritional yeast but I haven't yet picked it up yet)
- I did not salt the fried sage

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pecan Pie Muffins and Apple Pie Bars

These will probably some of the last normal recipes I'll be posting/reviewing for the next few months. I have to go essentially vegan until at least mid-February for my cholesterol (yes, at 23, I won the genetic lottery) so that means a lot creative food planning.

Anyway, these two recipes are not so healthy, but they are delicious. We brought snacks in for church and I wanted two different types of treats (plus fruit). They even got rave reviews from the self-proclaimed foodie in the class.

This is what was left after class.

So first, pecan pie muffins. I would say these are significantly healthier than actual pecan pie. My conservation group was my guinea pigs and they all liked them, so I figured they were safe for church. I used the recipe from Mennonite Girls Can Cook (the name makes me giggle growing up in LancCo)

Things I changed: I doubled the recipe and used a Calphalon mini-muffin pan. It didn't make a full pan, I think I was 2 short. 

The Apple Pie Bars are from Smitten Kitchen, she calls it a slab pie which might be more descriptive but oh well.

Things I changed: 
I used store bought dough (4 disks) because I realized the muffins weren't enough and there was no way I was making pie dough at 9 at night. 
I also used a slightly smaller and deeper pan, creating a deeper, slightly goopier pie.
I played around with the Apple Cider Drizzle because I couldn't get the right consistency.
I crimped the pie edges with a fork. 
DH ate the leftover raw dough (I think that's gross and weird)

Other Thoughts: Use the parchment paper! Made cleanup - and serving - so much easier.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

So things got a little busy....

So here's what happened-
I have yet to finish Olive's Sherlock costume, the fabric for Carment Sandiego is still on the roll, and Olive rewore her BUGWB uni for trick or treating (no dedicated contests this year)
I registered for my last semester of grad school, I have 2 days left in my last internship, and I'm finalizing the edits on my writing requirement (my program's version of a thesis)
I had some less than stellar news from my physical that further constricts my diet, but knowing family history it really shouldn't have been a surprise
Olive competed in two Herding Instinct Tests and Q'd on Saturday. While I think she did better on Sunday, it wasn't enough for a second Q and we may just leave that title unfinished; the trials are kind of far away (out past my barn) and she's not going to competitive at herding. Upside is the first judge called her "The Pretty One!"

This is her "I want that cookie your promised" face

I now have a sewing list of fabric and patterns I already have on hand:
1. Mom's flannel nightgown
2. DH's plaid negroni (sort of regreting my choice of fabrics but we'll see how it goes)
3. Altering a knit skirt and breeches
4. Olive and my Sherlock Holmes pieces
5. Spring 1930s blouse for me (using a Miss Depew pattern)
6. Olive's Carmen Sandiego costume

I also have a couple of recipe reviews to post, too

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Baby Dungarees

I haven't been doing anything with Project: Professional lately. I'm about 200 hours into my last(!) internship and I go in jeans, sneakers, and if I'm feeling dressy (and not dealing with cobwebs, mold, or archeological materials) I'll wear a casual cardigan instead of a simple v-neck. So no need to for professional clothes there. But I have been sewing for Cousin K.

Background for this piece: I won a drawing for a kit from Little Dress Kits. While I thought the pinafore was adoooorable, K isn't very girl and there was a slight possibility Baby H was really a boy (it happens, things hide in the ultrasound) so I went with the truck dungarees since it's pretty gender nuetral* (and still oh so cute).

I did switch out the buttons since my generation on my dad's side plays soccer. There's only three of us, so it's not hard to get three kids in soccer. K was the most hardcore about soccer, having progressed pretty far in the sport until switching to field hockey (and progressing pretty far, she and baby brother are the athletic ones, according to my family, all I do is sit on a horse**). So I thought a little soccer ball was appropriate. I heard rumors that Baby H already has her first baby soccerball. I do think little soccer uniform jersey PJs when she's a little older would be adorable but I'll leave that up to her Alma.

Concerning the pattern: I thought it sewed up pretty quickly. There was a couple days of worry when I thought I sewed the pieces on sideways (don't ask) but then realized that somehow the back leg openings and the front leg openings were just 1/4" different in length. A little pin easing and all was well. The directions were pretty straight forward, though in metric so I had to dig out my seam gauge at times. The sticky pattern pieces are a great idea- if you're not sticky inept like me. I ended up with one in my hair, I don't know how. It now looks like Olive chewed on it. Great concept just not for me.

I did change a few things. The pattern calls for a double stitched seam or pinking on the seams but I skipped the basting (but good idea for beginners though) and flat-felled the side seams and pinked the facing seams. It's nice and clean that way. I also used velcro and a faux buttonhole since I thought K wouldn't want to fidget with buttons on a <1 yo. There's the switched button on the pocket too but I'm not sure that's really worth mentioning (though getting the button was a debacle, USPS lost my first set as well as the fabric for Olive's Halloween costume***)

The Facts:
  • Fabric: Provided by the Kit
  • Pattern: Little Dress Kits' Truck Dungarees
  • Year: Early 2010s 
  • Notions: All purpose foot, regular needle, blue and red thread
  • Techniques/Tutorials: Flat felling without a foot (forget where, look around I'm sure there are plenty)
  • Cost: $2.50 (the buttons)
  • Time: <1 month, probably 5 hours of actual work, including staring at the legs trying to figure them out. I always have problems with legs.
  • Make Again?: Maybe, it's at least going in my baby shower stash

* DH says it says boy but I don't really care.
** Which is why I took so many headers over jumps and why Eventing is in the Olympics *grumblegrumble*
**Don't worry, I have a backup. The fabric finally showed up when the company sent me a second order. The fabric was on a roll taller than me, I don't know how you lose something like that.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Baby Quilt for K: Part Two

Now that Baby H is born, I asked K if she wanted a monogram or named embroidered on the back of the quilt. She asked for the first and middle name, which I thought was great. I think she and her DH chose a great name- unique and a nod to her heritage without going "too cultural" (...I was rooting for her to use Sigrid... DH hates the name, if we get another female dog in the future she's likely going to be Anya or Sigrid. Olive was almost Anya, I just couldn't explain to Grandma that we named our dog after a character on Buffy the Vampire Slayer*)

Anyway, it's been years since I've done any embroidery. We learned a little embroidery and cross stitch in Pioneer Girls but that was 15 years ago. So some quick google searches had me running over to the craft store (that's a little too indie for my tastes, not plain fabric in sight, all hand-dyed batiks) to pick up embroidery floss and DH to Micheal's for a smaller hoop.

The Facts:
  • Fabric: N/A
  • Pattern: Self Drafted (used french script font)
  • Year: Early 2010s 
  • Notions: Embroidery needles, embroidery floss
  • Techniques/Tutorials: French Knots (learned at a convention panel 6 years ago), Hand Embroidery Tutorial: How to Personalise a Baby Quilt, Outline Stitch
  • Cost: $2.50
  • Time:About an hour
  • Make Again?: I really want to do more embroidery but embroidered things aren't really our style, so I need to start making stuff for everyone else
*Grandma would say that Buffy (and everyone else) was too "fresh" and therefore I shouldn't watch it. She also said that about the Golden Girls.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Tomato, Broccoli and Shrimp Pesto Pasta

This is a pretty easy, quick meal. Very few dishes, lots of flavor and not that unhealthy. What's pictured made 5-6 servings.  Note, this is very garlic-y. I like garlic though so it works for us.

Here's what you need:
1/3-1/2 lbs uncooked, peeled, deveined shrimp
1 T pesto per person
<1/8 C Olive oil
3/4-1 pint plum tomatoes
1/2 T chopped garlic
2 C chopped broccoli
Pasta (I used garlic and basil pasta but you can use plain)

Here's what you do:

1. Marinate the shrimp in the pesto plus olive oil for a couple of hours
2. Preheat oven to 400 F
3. Line a jelly roll pan with foil. Spread shrimp out on the sheet
4. Toss tomatoes in the bowl previously housing the shrimp (there should be left over pesto) and toss in the garlic. Shake the tomatoes until they are thoroughly coated. Spread those out on the same sheet
5. Steam the broccoli
6. Cook the pasta
7. Cook the shrimp for ~10 minutes until opaque and firm
8. Dump everything in a large bowl and toss. You can add more olive oil if you think it's needed.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Baby Quilt for K

I come from a family quilters so when my cousin, KU, announced she and her husband were expecting a daughter this fall, my mom and I started planning a quilt. My quilting experience is pretty much the T-shirt quilt for DH and mom hasn't pieced a quilt in a while. So it was a learning experience. We ended cutting 1.5 times the pieces because she used a different seam allowance for her first half and I made those blocks into a mini quilt so we had something for the baby shower (no pictures that I'm aware of).

Roughly the size of the mini-quilt.

I was originally going to use quilting cotton for all the blocks and make it an outdoorsy-mostly-gender-nuetral theme. I was thinking Woodland Pals Fat Quarter Bundle Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman Fabrics or Angela Yostens Bloggers Choice Fat Quarter Bundle with some textual solids thrown in. But then Mom saw a quilt made out of oxfords somewhere (probably pinterest) and started collecting oxfords from family members- especially my uncle (cousin's father). I would say 75-85% of the quilt top is stash or family shirt fabric, pretty awesome cost wise, and because the fabric was all preworn is nice and soft and broken in. It also kept it pretty gender neutral. K and I were subjected to years of very PINK gifts growing up and neither of us are particularly pink people. So there is some grey-and-pink fabric and some purple fabric but otherwise is all white and blue. They painted the nursery blue with silver trim so it goes nicely.

DH holding it above his head. Before binding it was 43" x 57"
I never realized how much the joining between the kitchen and the living room looks like ketchup and mustard. I did not choose the paint colors, mind you.

The backing is a mystery fabric my mom picked up somewhere. I'm assuming a dry goods store near my hometown. We were trying to figure out how to bring in yellow somehow and thats what she found. it's a little thin but nice and soft.

The binding was problematic. I wanted some sort of print, but not super geometric and I wanted to tie in the colors of the quilt. I stumbled upon Tule Arid Windmarks and debated between on grain (so chevrons) or bias (stronger and straight lines). I thought biased looked better but somehow my cutting got off (mixed two different methods of making continuous binding) and one corner is on grain. It's not too noticeable and if asked I can always say it's Wabi-Sabi**. I didn't discover it until afterwards but I kind of wish I had used Heather Roth Style's Modern-Scandinavian as an homage to our heritage. Maybe I'll make little ?*** a jumper or something in the future.****

We ended up machine stitching the blocks and hand quilting the top. I machined half the binding and used a ladder stitch on the back of the binding. Waiting for ? to be born to see if K wants the back embroidered or not. I have a pattern for a monogram (assuming that ? is the name I think) and the threads picked out and washed.

The Facts:
  • Fabric: Various Oxford Shirts and lengths of fabrics, plus a mystery yellow cotton(blend?) for backing, Soft and Natural batting, and Tule Arid Windmarks for the binding.
  • Pattern: Amy Smart's Double Cross
  • Year: Early 2010s 
  • Notions:Walking foot, Quilting needles, white thread, embroidery thread, embroidery needles
  • Techniques/Tutorials: 200" from 1/2 yard Continuous Binding, Machine Binding Tutorials,  Invisible Ladder Stitch
  • Cost: No idea, less that $40, I think, thanks to the donated shirts.
  • Time: Ahahaha... 5 months?
  • Make Again?: Maybe, if I really need to make another baby quilt
It still needs a good steam before I send it out (so happy I found a tyvek container at a reasonable price. I hated the idea of using a plastic bag (off gassing!) and was afraid of it getting wet in transport if I used cotton.

The pattern itself sewed together nicely. I wouldn't rate it a particularly difficult pattern if you are careful. I had to pin ease some blocks to match up. Using a jelly roll would have been easier for the isolating lines but it worked out cutting up a shirt instead. I would want to play around with each horizontal line being a different color family to create a chevron pattern instead of Xs but that's for the future.

*K and I had/have very similar initials- our middle initials are one different. It was a joke in my family that since K and I both went from our N last name to the same married J last name, my brother has to marry someone with that same J last name to make it almost even.
**I think it qualifies anyway. I'm in a material culture class and my notes on what wabi-sabi is across the room, and I'm lazy.
*** K won't tell anyone the name until the baby is born. I think it's a particularly Norwegian name she asked her mom how to spell a couple of weeks (months?) ago. But we'll see. She'd be pulling a Dr. Jones, Sr if she did use it.
**** I have a couple more baby-related posts pending. One is waiting for velcro and the other I need to resew.

****** UPDATE****** She had the baby! Initials are HEJ, now waiting to here if they're going on the quilt. It's a pretty name so I've already started sketching out designs.