All soufflés, really, but especially these, because they're healthy. Healthy! And you thought I only had love for ice cream and cracklings. Recipe from Food & Wine here.
Happy weekends to you all. There is some sewing on the horizon and I am excited!
Last week's cooking adventures were mostly successes, which was kind of surprising. The Creole Meuniere was delicious (of course, it's 95% butter so not a terribly risky choice), and the Martha recipe I printed seven years ago was ugly but great tasting. On the topic of ugly, so are my food photos. Either I only eat ugly food, or maybe I am just too hungry to worry about styling it and shooting it. Who has the time and energy for that after a day with a toddler?
Anyway, on to week two. These are mostly new recipes. . . my epicurious recipe box alone has over 100 untried recipes, not to mention the dozens of dog eared pages in magazines lying around the house, so I am on a mission to knock some off the list. Plus, my parents are coming and they will surely be gracious enough to eat my experiments. Ahem.
Monday: Grilled barbecue chicken, Three Bean Salad, Vegetable Slaw (which never got made last week)
Wednesday: Grilled sausages, French Lentil Salad with Caraway & Radish (CI), Les Halles Mushroom Soup
Thursday: Pizza, Roasted Broccoli (CI)
Friday: Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Sage Cornbread Crust, Tangy Broccoli Salad with Buttermilk Dressing (F&W), Art Smith's Goat Cheese Drop Biscuits
Saturday: Turkey Burgers, Grilled Portobello & Red Bell Pepper Salad with Rosemary Dressing
Sunday: Braised Pork Shoulder with Potato/Fennel Puree, Steamed Artichokes, Carrots & Rutabagas with Lemon & Honey
I'd be interested to know which one sprang to mind for you. Three years ago it would have been that too-skinny other half to Brad. Now, in this house at least, it is a dancing mouse.
Anyway, I am working on some art projects for Mia's room, and I'm trying to indulge us both. She looooves Angelina the Ballerina and showing off her "moves." I came across this book at St. Vincent de Paul, and it is amazing. It's seems to be almost designed for those seeking to teach themselves ballet. Now I'm a do-it-yourselfer to the extreme, but spending a few months working up to my very own Grand Rond de Jambe en l'air (terminating with renversé en dehors) is a kind of intimidating. So we're using it for some little girl room art.
So what do you think: a series of framed prints, or one big poster with several moves? Colored background or white with colored drawing? Here are a couple examples:
Hope all is well in your sewing rooms. I am trying to keep mine closed for sake of those drapes. So far, so good.
Labels: misc. craftiness
It's amazing what a little sunshine, fresh asparagus, and fresh berries will do for my cooking mojo. While I love winter vegetables and roasted anything, I'm ready for salads and citrus and the grill! Every year I go through fits and starts with planning menus for the week, and every year I wish I had a record of what I had done previously. So I'm going to post my weekly menu plans here, with the hope that maybe they'll help some of you, and minimally they'll be here next year for me to copy!
Monday: Pecan Crusted Cod with Creole Meunier, Roasted Tomatoes, and Pan-Roasted Asparagus (Cook's Illustrated)
Tuesday: Hamburger Soup (Mom's recipe), Brown Soda Bread
Thursday: Chicken Breasts with Onion Jam, Baked Sweet Potatoes,
Sweet & Sour Red Cabbage (from this recipe) (too much sweetness and balsamic for one meal), Braised Kale (CI)
Friday: Steaks with Cilantro Garlic Sauce,
Braised Kale (CI), Quinoa Salad with Fresh Hearts of Palm , Sweet & Sour Red Cabbage (from this recipe)
Saturday: Beer Brats, Vegetable Slaw, Three-Bean Salad
This is a mix of things I've made and things I haven't. The Sweet & Sour Cabbage, Steaks with Cilantro Garlic Sauce, and Quinoa Salad with Hearts of Palm are all great. The recipes I'm really hopeful for are the Vegetable Slaw and Three Bean Salad. . . both twists on traditional favorites. I'm worried about the Chicken Breasts with Onion Jam because I don't always have great luck with Martha Stewart recipes. What are you all cooking this time of year?
** Updates in red (to hopefully reapply next year!)
This is my second version of the Oliver + S Popover dress, made from some superbuzzy fabric my sister gave me for my birthday (thanks Nelson!) I always love diagonal prints on the bolt, but then when they arrive I can't handle the assymetry of the look, so I chevroned this one, which was HARD. The print is not exactly at a 45 degree angle, which means I had one panel cut with the grain and 3 cut all wonkified.
But the dress actually hangs pretty well, which really surprised me. I did add a ruffle to the front because the dots were a little dizzying. When you combined the dizzying dots with a frequently twirling girl it was too much. I suppose the twirling means she likes it, though :)
Well, you must have known I wasn't sewing drapes when I wrote that tutorial for bindings and bias ties. But I did say I had one more fun project cut and here it is. . . the Oliver + S Popover dress. A free pattern, and although I'm also a free-pattern purveyor I'm always a little worried about the whole "you get what you pay for" thing. Nothing to worry about here, though. This is a cute dress.
While this pattern didn't use any of the clever construction techniques I've been loving in the other Oliver + S ones, it did turn out a cute, FAST summer dress. I made it from a thrifted linen dress, which forced me to cut it on the bias but I think this adds something to a pretty basic shape. It was still looking a little plain-jane, so I added a flower near the top, which helps but isn't quite right. Should I change the button to a covered button like this? Add a ribbon? Hmm.
As an aside, one of my frustrations with blogging is that to do it really well, it would have to be more than simply a means to share with friends and family; it would have to be an end in itself. Translation: for a better blog I would have to spend a lot more time taking and editing photos, finding the perfect setting, and probably ultimately dropping some $$$ on a new camera. And that takes time away from actual projects and even Mia, which seems a little. . . disingenuous? As if my blog would be saying, "Look at what our life would be like if I didn't spend so much time creating this image for my blog!" Does anyone hear me?
*Whew* I feel better. And now I can share this terrible flashy photo with you because it's the only one of the bunch that captures her true personality. Happy weekend, everyone.
This may very likely be a "duh" for most of you, but I find most patterns specify a different means to finish the ends of ties and bias bindings, so I thought I'd share the way I do it.
From left to right, starting in the upper left corner:
- View of the inside, unfinished end of a bias tie
- Fold the tie in half, right sides together so that one side has two folds and the other side has the two raw edges and center fold in the middle (it should look like a "W")
- Place the "W" under your presser foot, with the side with the two folds closest to you
- Sew a 1/4" seam along the edge. Do not backstitch at the beginning - sew all the way across the tie, then in reverse all the way back. This will keep all your threads on one (the inside) end
- Trim threads and clip to both corners. Get close without cutting stitch line
- Turn right sides out
- Press corner out with scissors or something less likely to poke a hole
- Press with iron
- Sew tie shut as normal
Men's clothing designer, mentor to Fonzworth Bentley, apparent inventor of the term "waist pageantry", and creator of a great shirt I picked up at Goodwill on 1/2 off day. What would we do without you, Alan? I've spent the last few days turning the shirt into an Oliver + S 2+2 blouse for Mia.
Whenever I see a pattern that calls for a back button placket I immediately think of making it out of a men's dress shirt. Not because I mind creating the placket or spacing and creating the buttonholes, but because I hate sewing on buttons! Isn't that silly? In this case it turned out to be really silly. Any time and angst I saved on the buttons was respent fivefold trying to deal with matching the plaid at the side seams. With the placket in place, there was no obvious place to adjust the layout to allow for matching. So I had to take width out of the center front of the blouse, which required adjusting the gathering and the front placket construction, and blah, blah, blah. Moral of the story: if you're going to go this route don't use a large scale plaid shirt (although my side seams do look fantastic, if I say so myself).
This is Oliver + S pattern #3, and it is beautifully drafted. I think this is the first set-it sleeve I've done that has great-fitting shoulders and sleeves. If any of you have smaller-boned kiddos, I think this is a winner, and the finish details make it look very RTW. There is definitely a v2 in the future.
I have one more "fun" sewing project cut, and then I must do something I'm dreading. I have 55 yards of velvet and lining cut, selvages trimmed, and partially seamed (thanks Mom. . . can you come back?) to make drapes for my family room. I think I'm dreading it because I have no idea how I am going to manage six widths of heavy fabric under my presser foot. But we have both a fishbowl and heat-loss situation with these windows, so it may go eerily quiet here while I work on them. Say a prayer for me.
So Miss Amanda's gift should finally be in the mail today, and Master Beau needs another little something. I was thinking maybe one of these or one of these. Any other recent tutorials you've seen that are just begging to be tried out?
Recipe here, filling recipe here, although I wouldn't necessarily make that filling again. The recipe easily made cake for twenty, so it would be great for your Mardi Gras party!
Dinner, wine, Olympics, and bib-making in full swing. And a day off for Daddy tomorrow, which is the best present ever.
Make a Market Skirt. And make it easy on yourself by using my mama's spreadsheet to determine all your cut lengths/widths. All you need to know is the desired waist size (Baby Lily's is 12" and length (5", here), and even if you don't know those you can use the estimated sizes I included. Thanks to Dana for the great tutorial!
PS - You will probably notice how uncute Baby Lily's top is. Mia felt Baby Lily would be better off naked on top than to have to suffer the indignity of wearing a skirt over her pajamas. The horror. I suppose I will have to make a teeny tiny little top, now.
Another version of Dana's Market Skirt, this time made from a men's dress shirt. I have to say that even in a medium-sized city I have better luck finding quality cotton fabrics when I thrift them out of something v. buy them at the store. The main skirt body is from the railroaded front shirt panels, the waistband was cut from a sleeve, and the hem is from three strips cut off the back. I loved this shirt and am glad that the rather confident man who once wore it put it out for his garage sale.
My heart was in the right place. . . I had stashed some Far Far Away unicorn fabric last year, saving it for a rainy day. And my rainy day came when, after years of waiting, one of my best girlfriends from college finally got her adoption referral. So I broke out this fabric and I have to say the double gauze is kind of heavenly to sew on. But I just cannot make this orange work into something cute for little girls.
Mia is modelling because even though she has almost two years on this baby, she's only got about four pounds on her! So the skirt is short here but will probably be tea length on little Miss Amanda. The top is the Oliver + S Swingset tunic and the skirt is MADE's Market Skirt - pockets + applique. Both patterns turn out cute garments with good proportions, I think.
So the big question - is some part of this salvageable as a gift? As you can see, together they don't work and that applique will be completely covered up (maybe for the better) once this is on a roly poly bundle of joy. What should I pair these orange unicorns with? I'm thinking maybe brown & white ticking stripe or seersucker? Or maybe I just drank the kool-aide on this line of fabrics. Sigh.
I think this is how long it's been since I sewed any non-event children's clothing. That makes me so sad. But my sister got me a superbuzzy gift certificate for my birthday, and I finally cashed it on some Oliver + S patterns and fabric. This was my first attempt at these patterns and I kind of understand the oohing and ahhing, now. For the two of you left out there who have not tried them, there are some clever construction techniques and the end products both fit and look great.
I could not encourage my child to model shorts on a day with 8" of snow outside, which was kind of surprising because she generally likes to be closer to naked than not. But you get the idea. This was just a scrap of leftover denim to test the sizing (after all my Ottobre debacles can you blame me?) but I have some fabulous Japanese linen/cotton that I'm dying to try next. Assuming I can sew another garment before this summer :)
The latest in sewing with Tyvek - an albino version of mmmcrafts's Molly Monkey. I'm almost a little embarrassed to call her Molly Monkey, because Molly is SO CUTE and this one is so. . . zombie-esque? But It's a great free pattern and I'm definitely planning to make a normal one. Not that albino monkeys aren't normal. You know what I mean.
We had fun coloring this one together. I tattooed one arm and then felt that took the creepy factor over the top so I tried to give her a cross necklace to balance things out. I don't think it helped. But that's the beauty of these things. . . one trip through the washing machine and she'll be back to her uninked self. I did make a few changes v. the Black Apple doll. . . I used black for the topstitching and I think it gives a little needed definition. I also used Tyvek-covered buttons for the eyes which I love.
Have any of you done any fun sewing projects on non-fabric? After the oilcloth and Tyvek I'm kind of in the mood.
I've always felt a little guilty I left you hanging way back when without a recipe for the chocolate ice cream. Well today my helper and I managed to almost ruin THE page in my recipe book, and I found myself needing to type it up. So voila! Make sure you have a little whipped cream and maybe some toasted almonds on hand when you eat this.
Ultimate Chocolate Ice Cream
adapted from Caroline Liddell & Robin Weir's Frozen Desserts: The Definitive Guide to Making Ice Creams, Ices, Sorbets, Gelati, and Other Frozen Delights
- Separate eggs, keeping yolks
- Chop chocolate
- Make espresso syrup: combine in a saucepan 5 parts sugar with 4 parts espresso (I usually use 2.5 c sugar and 2 c espresso and keep the extra syrup in the fridge for subsequent batches). Heat and stir until sugar is completely dissolved.
- Empty your dishwasher or clear out your sink. You’re going to feel like a bomb went off in the kitchen but everything can go in the dishwasher if there’s room!
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk half the sugar (7 Tbsp or ½ c minus 1 Tbsp) with the cocoa powder. Measure out the milk and whisk in just enough to turn the cocoa/sugar mix into a thin paste. Bring the remaining milk to a boil.
- Once boiling, whisk the milk into the bowl with the cocoa/sugar paste, mixing well. Put entire contents of bowl back into saucepan and gently heat to simmering, stirring constantly. The more committed you are to stirring, the more aggressively you can heat the mix. I usually set the burner to just above medium and stir constantly. Simmer for 6 minutes, continuing to stir. Remove pan from heat and stir in chopped chocolate.
- In another medium bowl, beat together the egg yolks and remaining sugar (the other 7 Tbsp or ½ c minus 1 Tbsp) until pale. Temper egg yolk mixture with a small amount of the molten chocolate deliciousness, then slowly add the rest, whisking vigorously. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and return to the stove. Heat gently as above, stirring constantly, until the mix reaches 85°C/185°F.
- Remove mix from heat, and stir in espresso syrup and vanilla extract. Sit pan in an ice bath until cold. Strain, cover, and chill in fridge until cold.
- Once cold, beat in heavy cream and freeze in your ice cream maker according to the instructions.
We put ours to work on last week's trip to Florida carrying her own stuff through the airport. In retrospect, what was great for our backs and hands was probably not so good for our sanity. Shushing a two year old along an interminable terminal (say that five times fast) is tough enough without a suitcase dragging behind her. But I have to say, she looked awfully cute.
This backpack is the perfect size for her - big enough to hold actual necessities and to grow into, but not quite too big for her little two year old shoulders. I'm dying to make more, but am thinking that this is just my own bag obsession talking.
A couple of shots for the fam: her suitcase in action, too! (This was really the big hit of the day, Mom). And Mia and baby Lily on the plane - one of them sat perfectly still and for the other we were very thankful for the seatbelt:
Baby Ava (as Mia christened her) is in the washing machine, but based on a test run I expect her to come out bright white and ready to color again! We had so much fun coloring. . . "I'm giving her shoes! She needs a bracelet! She has polka dots!"
I'm going to make another, maybe more detailed doll as attempt number two. Any suggestions on a pattern? There can't be any terribly small parts to turn because I had to keep my stitch length pretty long and the seams threatened to tear when turning the arms and legs. Does anyone else have experience sewing on Tyvek (outside of backpacking gear)? Advice would be much appreciated!
I love Christmas decorations that call back to my heritage, and while I'm mostly Scandinavian we do have some rogue German roots. So in addition to the nisses and yule bucks that liven things up around here, I've always wanted one of the Christmas pyramids Jeannine talked about here. When I saw this one at an antique shop for $17, I bought it.
There are several teeny, tiny little sheep on the second level. I considered leaving them dirty because I could rationalize dirty as authentic, but somehow nativity sheep seemed like they ought to be white white.
The details are amazing, and for all the dirt it's relatively intact.
This was my first attempt at a photo of the holy family. Notice Mary looks like she's just given birth in a barn. Back to my Q-tips.
Better, but not perfect. This actually would have been a great project for recent retirees (*ahem*). I will never understand why people throw things like this away.
For the first time in ten years I have a living room, so I went on a mostly-craigslist-and-goodwill decorating mission to find seating. A lot of smoke, thousands of staples, and THREE total sofas later, I have seating. So much for "thrifting."
I don't really expect the general blogging public to care about my sofas, but my sister has been asking so here are the photos. *IMPORTANT NOTE* yes, I know my walls are crimson and my sofa is gray, but this is a left-over paint color and I will be painting. Please don't confuse me with a Buckeye fan.
Couch #1 minus everything that smelled smokey. You'll notice there is nothing left, and we-even stain-blocked the frames before putting them on the moving truck with the rest of our furniture. The smell was gone, though.
Couch #3 craigslist ad. Because of the tufting, the quotes I was getting on the first sofas were over $2500 for just labor. Add that to the fact that I have tons of other traditional furniture in the front of the house, and the disappointing sinuous springs. . . I had to bail and start over. When I went to look at #3 I actually sniffed it all over right in front of the owner. Kind of gross, really, but not a bit of smoke. There was plenty of eye-rolling from darling hubby, but I knew this was it. For real, this time. I promise.
Couch #3, done but in need of throw pillows. I love it! The fabric is Robert Allen Cojedes in Slate, which is the perfect shade of gray.