Thursday, November 19, 2009

b is for baking

and then c is for cooking. and d is for dinner, and then e is eating and exercise.
yes- i have been sewing (i won't go all the way down the alphabet to get to s) and i have actually started some christmas gifts (please no one search back through my posts where i foolishly mention all the christmas gifts i was going to finish in september. oh well. next september- next september.
but- i have been sewing for the craft fair (huge sigh right now) and for a little fun.
but what i have been doing a lot of is experimenting in the kitchen.
now, i have zero pictures. but great kitchen wonderings to share. try not not get to hungry.
i've made: homemade creamy harvest soup, pumpkin oat muffins, pumpkin ice cream torte, and a fairly good chicken florentine, and chocolate peanut scrumpets.
and no, i haven't gained a ton of weight- i exercise while most of these are baking (well i've been exercising the last few times sam's made cookies- that is pretty much torture. try to perform lunges when the sweet smell of cookies are circling around you)

so on to the good stuff:
homemade creamy harvest soup. i based my version from this recipe.
what i did: i roasted a whole butternut squash (sliced in half, seeds removed, placed face down in a pyrex with a little bit of water) for 45 minutes at 425 degrees. while that was cooking, i had 3 carrots cut up in circles, with 2 celery stocks diced up cooking in 2 cups of chicken broth (i think i seasoned with salt and pepper). when all of that was a nice soft texture, i moved it all to the blender and pureed, pureed, pureed. i added a little bit (about 1/2 cup) of non fat milk to help it mix well. i then returned this to the pot on my stove, added a little bit of half and half (about 1/4 cup) and then tasted it- it was really sweet, so i added lemon juice (2 T?) and a couple of dashes of tabasco sauce and salt and pepper.
this soup was served with light sour cream.
it was fantastic!

ok- the pumpkin oat muffins and the chocolate peanut scrumpets were from a little quaker oats recipe magazine that sam and i picked up at the grocery store last week. the muffins were so moist and delicious- and gone very quickly. i highly recommend them.

the scrumpets i made quickly this morning when i wanted sam to have something to take to a meeting today. i didn't have all the honey for this recipe- but they were still pretty tasty. the one thing i would say- you should really add a little bit of salt to this recipe. i didn't do the glaze, and wished i would have sprinkled a little bit of sugar on top, but they were delicious as well.

everything is delicious.

my 3-cheese chicken penne florentine was based off of this recipe from cooking light. now, sam hates mushrooms- so i didn't put them in this recipe. so- i put in 1 can of artichoke hearts (for a yummy result). i didn't use the the whole 1 cup of red bell pepper- it was really more like 1/4 cup (cause sam isn't a huge fan) and i didn't put in onion (which i hate). i used a mexican reduced fat cheese blend that was already shredded (to save time) and while this dinner baked in the oven i was able to get all of my dishes done.
totally awesome. and so was the dish. tender penne with chicken, artichoke, and cheese? with healthy spinach in as well? sam went back for seconds and then ate the rest today. not something i can always say.

and the great pumpkin ice cream torte. another cooking light recipe- from this month's magazine, but the recipe can be found here. i followed the recipe almost exactly, the only things i didn't do was to add allspice to the pumpkin ( i substituted nutmeg) and i didn't put pecans on top (i didn't have enough after putting some in the crust, and pecans are expensive). i even put caramel on the bottom of everyone's plates and then set the pie on top.
this was incredible. i actually saw sam licking his plate.
so good.
after all of this goodness- i leave you with a link for the goodness i just found, another pumpkin torte recipe that i have to figure out just when i can make it: pumpkin ice cream torte with ginger crust.
pumpkin ice cream torte with ginger crust- you have a date with my tummy, soon.
again, sorry about no pictures. however, i do think that would have made this post simply painful.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

you are not forgotten.

i just have been busy- very, very busy. and why wouldn't i be? see the above picture. my hands are full, my heart is full, my life is full.
and i am very blessed.
and obviously busy.
which is why i have been a little absent from my blogging world. i have been trying to get my priorities in line- not that i don't love to blog, it's just i have been trying to spend my free time getting stuff sewn for the craft fair (which really has been 50% sewing and 50% in the fetal position, rocking back and forth wondering why i signed up for this) and rest of my time has been spent with friends and my family.
and sleeping. i've been tired, and now it seems i have caught some kind of cold which pleases me not, because it has literally zapped me of my energy.
and starting tomorrow i must turn my attention to my children and my home. both of which feel in utter disarray. my children's tongues have become quite unpleasant and my inconsistency and lack of schedule with them is really paying a toll on all of us.
and we are living in a pretty big mess right now- not garbage, but not order.
with so much coming up, holidays and birthdays and- well everything else that life brings out.
there is just a lot.
so if i am absent for the next few weeks, that is why.
i do hope to check in though, with sewing pictures, children stories and any other random encouragement i might come up with.

Monday, November 9, 2009

and another rendition

again i slacked on the soup. only because today was crazy busy- i was gone from 9:30-12 with the Early Nester's ministry, and then at Wic from 2:30-3:30, and then decided that this afternoon would be a great time to clean out my overloaded back pantry (i would have taken a picture, but to quote a friend- i do have a reputation to maintain).
so what does one do when her husband is going back to work from 5-9pm? and her kids have had their naps and schedules interrupted?
an easy pleaser- pancakes.
no pictures this time, but i did change up my recipe, and i must admit- they were even better.
seriously, i just sat and ate one cold before i started to type.

start with your snoqualmie falls pancake mix or whatever pancake mix you love to cook with.

2 cups pancake mix
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
1 1/2 cups water (i put in one cup and then continued to add water as i mixed it up- to my desired consistency)
and again- chocolate chips are totally optional (for this batch i used mini chocolate chips- but seriously only like 5 per pancake- and yes, they rock with the chocolate, and they equally rock without.)
mix, mix, mix.
i grab my 1/4 cup measuring cup and drop the batter onto a heated pan coated with pam.
these were tasty with my sugar free syrup, but even better just cold.
well, i am off to- wait for it:
well and exercise.
and wait a sec- isn't how i met your mother on tonight?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

rugby blanket!

Christina, the Sometimes Crafter (in my opinion "sometimes" is really the wrong word here) has a fantastic Rugby Blanket pattern and ebook. i absolutely love creating from what she has created! now, i have crocheted before and after reading through her book i wish that i had had her book before i had ever picked up a crochet hook. her instructions and pictures are pretty much unlike anything i have ever seen before.

if you are looking to learn how to crochet i highly recommend getting her book. i would not say that i am an experienced crocheter by any means (and i did make some noticeable mistakes in this blanket) however the best thing about buying a pattern from the sometimes crafter is that she will not abandon you when you need help! which is quite unlike buying books from craft or book stores.
i really loved the brown in her blanket, however i was generously given an enormous amount of yarn:
from sam's parents, and well- when you have all of this yarn just lying around it is really a better idea to use what you have then buy new stuff.
of course, i won't be applying that principal to fabric.
so back to the blanket- if you are looking to learn, or looking for a new pattern- check her out. you won't be disappointed!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

sewing inspiration.

with cute new fabrics like this shouldn't i be glued to my sewing machine? you would like so! i am just slightly addicted to clearance fabric, and all of this (minus the fat quarters) was less than 5 dollars a yard, which is a pretty good deal (or so i tell myself).
however as i add it to the growing pile of fabric loot that i have i do wonder when and if this fabric will be sewed. i believe it will, perhaps this is just the season of my life to collect all my fabric and then i will move into a new stage of sew, sew, sew.
i can dream right?
hopefully i won't turn into the woman that my father-in-law just told me about. apparently there is an older woman here in town who has rooms and rooms of fabric that she can't seem to deal with anymore, so she is having private selling times to try and unload some of it.
so, i have 40 years to burn through my fabric. i can do it.
side note. my local fabric store is now up and running online! visit their website here. the sisters who own this place are truly wonderful. i really appreciate that they visit sam at his store (starbucks) every day.
maybe they do it because they feel bad for him- seeing that they know how much his wife drops on fabric when she walks through their door.
but remember- i successfully avoided buying fabric for almost 2 months!
well, i had better get organized for sewing stuff for the craft fair (how thrilled i will be when this is over). i have decided that i am only going to sew stuff for it up until sunday night. whatever i have completed (how little it may be) is all i am going to do.
as i have so many other things i have a hankering to sew.
like this, and this, and this and maybe this.
and of course my christmas list.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

using up scraps

i am quite the fabric squirrel. i have this adage that says once the fabric is gone, its GONE. forever, never coming back. ever. and what if i wasted that beautiful fabric on something not worthy of it?
needless to say, i spend a lot (okay a ton) of time folding and stretching and flipping and sliding, trying to make more fabric appear out of scraps of fabric than humanly possible.
i have issues.
so as i get ready for a craft fair, oh what? did i forget to mention that i have a deluded myself into believing i have enough time that with my husband, my children, and all the Christmas gifts that i haven't yet started on (didn't i mention somewhere back in august that september was gift making time) that i have "free" time to be making things to sell.
my utter procrastination is what has me sitting on the couch, searching for good low fat crock pot recipes, waiting for sam to come home so we can watch west wing. absolutely ignoring my sewing machine (as i literally guiltily look back towards it) and the endless projects that are piling up around it.
oh, and don't even get me started on the disaster that is and always will be my house.
however. i have found a fun thing to do with some of my scraps, something that i think i can quickly make and sell at the craft fair.

these were actually made for a birthday gift for a friend (she enjoyed them) and they were fun and quick to make, and i have another idea that will make them a tad more seasonal and a little more unique.
so stay tuned, if i ever get back into a routine of sewing.

Monday, November 2, 2009

a yummy easy dinner.

i've been cooking and baking up a storm. my sewing has been completely neglected because i have been having to much fun making huge messes and delicious treats in the kitchen. earlier last week i made pancakes for myself and the kids for dinner and it had been so long since i had actually had a pancake that i had almost forgotten how yummy they are! the main reason i haven't been making pancakes is because how bad the syrup you put on them is for you.
the pancakes i made were surprisingly low in points (which is how i basically determine if a food item is worth being eaten on a regular basis). to have 2 of the pancakes from the mix i made is only 3 points.
but plain? nope. i don't need butter on bread or pancakes (really, i don't) so i've been using this syrup. and it is just delicious! it's not as yummy as regular syrup- but it is a wonderful alternative.
so pancakes are my new go to dinner when i really don't want to cook and i want everyone to magically eat what i have made. when i have eggs (i currently don't- again- all the crazy baking) i'll add them to the meal, or i'll make homemade hash browns (with either grated apple or grated zucchini added). lately sam's been requesting some bacon and i just learned (not a brain scientist here) that you can buy it in the grocery deli, which is perfect for us because we really only use about 5 slices and then the rest goes bad.
so. are you ready for these really yummy pancakes?

my special pumpkin pancakes.

i start with snoqualmie falls lodge pancake mix. i know what you are thinking, i am a complete cheater. please hear me out. i have made pancakes from scratch before- from several different recipes and nothing quite compares to the awesomeness that comes from this mix. and i finally decided to branch out and mix up my pancakes (you know other than adding blueberries or chocolate chips).
my recipe:
2 cups of snoqualmie falls pancake mix
1 cup of water
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup oatmeal
2 tsps of cinnamon
*chocolate chips are optional.
*add extra water if you need

the chocolate chips were for the kids.

look how perfect those are (and were).
yummy in my tummy.

i can't wait to tell you all the wondrous things i have been baking and eating. i did use the last of my eggs today, so maybe now i will actually get some sewing done.
wait, aren't i blogging instead of sewing.