Finished Full Apron

Well, I’ve been a bit busy.  I’m really enjoying sewing and can’t wait to move on up to something that can be worn out in public, though this is pretty dang close, even though it is an apron.   So, let’s start with the basics:

This is the pattern I used:

apron

I am not a girly girl in any way (my usual attire is a 3X White T-shirt and sweat pants, worn with Birkenstock shoes, of course).  Hair?  Makeup?  Twice a year, at the most.  So, to test myself, I chose apron E (center right) but decided to add the ruffle to the bottom.  For some reason, I felt the ruffles over the shoulder would be a bit much.  🙂

This pattern was much less confusing than the bath robe I made.  The only thing I had to learn, really, was machine gathering.  See, I could never understand what they were saying when I read about how to do gathers on a sewing machine, so I decided to just do them by hand.  Well, since these sewing projects are being done so I can learn how to make things properly, I decided to look again.  Once again, You Tube to the rescue!  Now, I had two comments on my Facebook wall about this.  Both said they learned to machine gather by sewing three (not two) lines of basting.   I will try that next time.

I did change one thing, though.  There is no way I’m going to button and unbutton (or try to slip this thing on) the straps.  So, I left them loose and just tied them around my neck (I still need to figure out how to make button holes on my machine, anyway).

And since I am not a girly girl, I decided to go all out and become one for the photos of this apron.  I love this thing!  The fabric I got from my hubby’s grandmother.  She was a spit-fire of a woman and we miss her dearly.  I think of her every day.

Apron2Apron3

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Food Storage You Tube Playlist

I’ve been lost on You Tube for two days.  I’m such a huge video person and realized (when trying to write out some information about food storage) that my channel was pretty lacking.  So, here it is.  It doesn’t have the entire scope of all the options I think of when considering food storage but I think it’s a good primer.  I know me.  I will be adding to it (unless I actually force myself to get off my rear and get some projects started/completed).

OH!  And I fixed the link (to the side of this post) for my main You Tube channel.

Old-Fashioned Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

So, do you have canned carrots (or you could use older fresh carrots) that turned to mush and you don’t know what to do with them?  How about make a carrot cake!  I’m also thinking this may be good with canned pumpkin and/or canned sweet potato.

Update: I just made this (muffins instead of cake … baked for 15 to 20 minutes) and they are amazing!  They aren’t spike-your-blood-sugar sweet and so flavorful!  This recipe is a keeper.  I made some changes that I will note here:

  1. Replaced 1/2 cup of the flour with almond flour
  2. Replaced the remaining flour (1 cup) with 1/3 cup of wheat germ (Why?  Because I had some)
  3. Reduced the milk to 1/4 cup due to the excess liquid in my carrots
  4. Reduced the total added sweetener by half (so, 3/4 cup total), then replaced 1/4 cup of the brown sugar with Splenda
  5. Substituted all-spice for the nutmeg (Why?  Because I didn’t have any nutmeg)

Note: I had one quart of thickly cut home canned carrots and ended up with about 1 1/2 cups of mashed carrots.  I adjusted the recipe accordingly.

I may or may not make the frosting but if I do, it will be with mostly Splenda with a bit of powdered sugar (I have come to the conclusion that Splenda tends to get bitter if using a lot … mostly because I kept trying to slip some in hubby’s coffee and he immediately noticed).

http://www.daringgourmet.com/2014/02/18/old-fashioned-carrot-cake-with-cream-cheese-frosting/

For Cake:
½ cup walnuts
1 cup pureed carrots (boil just under a pound of carrots until soft; drain and cool, then puree in a food processor.)
1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1½ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest (be careful to avoid the white pith of the orange, it’s bitter)
½ cup raisins

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Old-Fashioned Pumpkin Nut Loaf Bread

I know this is a bit late (should have posted this around Thanksgiving when all the canned pumpkin was on sale) but this looks like the best Pumpkin Bread recipe out there (like on my mom’s friend used to make).

http://www.food.com/recipe/old-fashioned-pumpkin-nut-loaf-bread-184460

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup fat-free evaporated milk
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup chopped nuts

Now, if you don’t have evaporated milk, here’s a substitute:

To produce 1 cup of evaporated milk, simmer 2 1/4 cups of regular milk down until it becomes 1 cup.

In many recipes, evaporated milk may also be replaced with a combination of whole milk and half-and-half. For 1 cup of evaporated milk, use 3/4 cup whole milk and 1/4 cup half-and-half.

And:

Mix 2/3 cup non-fat dry milk with 3/4 cup water.

Cranberry Mousse – Debesmanna

HA!  Something to do with Cream of Wheat aside from eating it “as is” for breakfast!

http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Debesmanna-Cranberry-Mousse

INGREDIENTS
3 cups unsweetened cranberry juice
½ cup sugar
½ cup farina or cream of wheat
Milk, for serving (optional)

Mushroom Barley Soup

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Mushroom-Barley-Soup-993

Ingredients
    1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
    1 pound mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    2 large carrots, chopped
    2 large celery stalks, chopped
    1 onion, chopped
    1/2 cup pearl barley, rinsed

    2 tablespoons all purpose flour
    8 cups canned vegetable broth
    1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dillweed

Winter Three-Grain Soup

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/winter-three-grain-soup

3 medium leeks, white parts only, halved lengthwise and chopped
    2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    2 bay leaves
    1/2 teaspoon thyme
    Fine sea salt
    One 14-ounce can peeled whole tomatoes, crushed, juices reserved
    6 cups cold water
    1 head of garlic, separated into peeled cloves
    1/3 cup brown rice
    1/3 cup dark green Puy lentils
    1/3 cup wheat berries
    Freshly ground pepper

Bean & Swiss Chard Soup

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Bean-and-Swiss-Chard-Soup-15608

Ingredients
    1/2 pound (225 g) Swiss chard or kale, trimmed
    1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus additional to taste
    2 flat anchovy fillets
    1/4 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves or dried
    1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil
    2 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
    1 cup (225 g) cooked small white beans or drained and rinsed canned beans
    4 cups (1 liter) chicken stock [or Garlic Broth for a meatless soup]
    freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    1/2 cup (60 g) small shell macaroni
    freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Sardine Puffs

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Sardine-Puffs-106257

Makes 120 hors d’oeuvres

Ingredients
    15 slices firm white sandwich bread, lightly toasted
    1 (3 3/4- to 4 3/8-ounce) can sardines in oil, drained
    1/2 cup mayonnaise
    3 tablespoons minced onion
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Canned Sardine Fritters – Fritelle Sarde

Since my seafood allergy disappeared, I’ve been stocking up on canned fish again.  I never really thought of cooking with any of it.  lol

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/mario-batali/canned-sardine-fritters-fritelle-sarde-recipe.html

Ingredients

2 cans good-quality oil-packed sardines, chopped
2 large eggs
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 bunch parsley leaves, finely chopped plus extra, for garnish
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped pepperonchini
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 tablespoon grated caciocavallo cheese
Extra-virgin olive oil, to fill a deep pot no more than halfway
Freshly ground black pepper
Lemon halves