14 May 2011


Finally got some sewing done. I think I jumped in a little too far too fast, but that is usually what I do! I got it in my head to make some business card holders for the kids at my church to use for memory verses. At the beginning of every service someone gives a small talk with the kids all coming up front. Do your churches do that? Well, I have done it once before and have been asked to do it again. This time I am doing it on Ephesians 4:29 "Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths..." I am tying it in to talking about reading the bible and learing memory verses.
Ta da...
I learned a whole lot making these. As you can tell, they are horribly flawed, but will work just fine. I managed to tangle the thread horribly, locking up the motor. Broke a needle, and cut the heck out of my thumb! (best bet is to keep your fingers away from all those fast moving parts!) But, I managed to make 18 of them (more than enough) and as my kids think they are amazing, I am hoping the other kids at church are happy as well.
I found the pattern on www.schlosserdesigns.com which I found via Craft Gossip.
I also learned that there aren't ANY shops near me that sell cute fabric. And that even the ugly fabric sold at the shop near me is expensive!
I hope that whatever I make next I can get a little better about making everything neater and straighter. Any tips??

09 May 2011

Hello friends!

:-) It has been a long month, but I survived and am back!
My in-laws came in early April and we traveled with them to Wales. Have I mentioned my love of Wales???
Anyway, just 2 days after returning from Wales I left with the younger 2 kids for America. My little sister got married the same day as the royal couple. (yes, after living here for 4.5 years I spend the one big royal event in Ohio. Sigh.)
I have not been cooking, but plan on making up for lost time this next week and letting you all know how it goes even though it is a bit late!
I did want to let you know that I have been doing some knitting - (though not a whole lot!) I thought I would post an update on my Lithograph.

I have finished row 5 and am partway through row 6. I love how it is coming together and might just give it a real go and finish it up in the next month or 2. The hardest part is that it is a cotton blend. I find cotton very hard to knit with and it just kills my wrist. After a few days of knitting it I have to put it aside. Makes for slow going!
Can't wait to show it to you all finished!!!!
:-) Hopefully by the end of this week I will have some sewing to show you!

02 May 2011

Frayed Cutout Applique

What a great and easy idea! Super fast for last minute needs, or to reuse a shirt with a stain.... need I say more?

Check it out at iCandy

08 April 2011

Chicken Verde

Let me give you all a moment to recover from the shock that I am actaully posting a recipe for this months recipe war....better?....take some deep breaths! I may not be able to try all of your recipes as written, but I tried a new ingredient just today for lunch and the result was so good, I just had to share.  I don't know why it is called Chicken Verde though...there is green from the peppers, but really the dominant color is the red from the tomatoes.  The ingredient I had never used is poblano peppers.

I know they're a pretty normal and common ingredient, but frankly? I'm scared of peppers.  I love my bell peppers of all colors, and I like salsa that someone else makes (doing all the pepper dirty work), but hot and spicy just isn't my thing.  These peppers are not too spicy, though! They have a different, deeper and more earthy flavor from green bells, and don't get all mushy when cooked.  I'll be using them again for sure.  So, here's the recipe:

  • 3 Chicken Breasts
  • 6 Lg. Tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 Lg. Onions, chopped
  • 2 Poblano Peppers, chopped
  • 2-3 Cloves Garlic, chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Lime Juice
Boil chicken breasts in just enough water to cover for 45-60 minutes. During last 10 minutes of boiling, heat together the tomato, onion, garlic,  and poblano peppers until tomatoes become saucy, adding a bit of the chicken broth as needed. Remove chicken from water and shred.  Add chicken, salt, pepper, and lime juice to taste (I used one small lime) to tomato mixture, plus enough of the chicken broth to come just to the top of the other ingredients.  Cover and simmer for 1 hour.


I have to admit that I was skeptical of boiling the chicken for almost 2 hours by the time this recipe was complete, but it was so tender and good! All the flavors blend together and create the most delicious meal! I think this recipe would be really forgiving, too.  You could increase/decrease any of the ingredients according to your individual tastes.  I personally left the black pepper completely out!

06 April 2011

Osso Buco

I have never had this......I am kind of timid to try veal so I thought I would post this recipe in hopes one of you would try it, love it, then I would make it. I have NEVER cooked with veal before. This recipe is from Hawai'i's Best Local Dishes by Jean Watanabe Hee. It also got voted for one on the best recipes that was tasted for this dish!

Osso Buco

6 veal shanks
1/3 cup of flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup carrots, cut in rounds, 1/4 inch thickness
1 cup finely chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can tomatoes (28ounce) coarsely chopped
1 cup white wine
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
3 Tablespoons chopped parsley

Wipe veal shanks with a damp paper towel; set aside. Combine flour, salt and pepper; coat veal and shake off excess flour. Heat olive oil in heavy pot. Saute veal until nicely browned on both sides. Remove from pot and keep warm. Add onions, carrots, celery and garlic to the pot. Saute for about minutes. Add tomatoes, wine, basil, thyme and bay leaf. Mix well and bring to a boil. Return veal to pot and simmer, covered for about 2 hours. Add parsley, transfer to a serving dish. EAT!

***May substitute veal shanks with BEEF shanks...which I have never cooked with either!***

Harira: Moroccan Soup

Harira is a typical soup in Morocco, so I made this soup recently in honor of my trip last Christmas and it definitely reminded me of a lot of the food we ate there. This particular recipe is from Emeril, found on FoodNetwork.com. See the original here.

I had never cooked with lentils before, so that was my new ingredient. In fact, before this I'd only tried a dish with chickpeas once before, so there was a lot "new" for me in this soup. I skipped the chicken, as there was plenty of protein in the soup already, and the version I had on my vacation had no meat. Also, most of what I read said that if adding meat, lamb or beef are more traditional, so you could try that instead if you'd like. I don't think I used quite as much stock as it called for and I threw in extra beans and rice because it didn't look like much. In the end, they plumped up, absorbed practically all the liquids, and I would be hard pressed to call it a soup anymore. When I make this again, I will pay more attention to the measurements and maybe add extra stock just in case.

All in all, I thought it was excellent! Obviously if you're not into bean based soups it might not be your thing. Sorry about the long ingredient list (especially after Joanna's post below), but it's mostly different spices. I measured out each one and then later thought I should've just used the "45 spices" mix I bought at the market. Next time!

Harira: Moroccan Chickpea Stew with Chicken and Lentils


  • 1/4 pound dried chickpeas
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes and their juices
  • 1 1/2 quarts rich chicken stock
  • 1/4 pound dried green lentils
  • 1/2 cup long-grain rice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Cilantro sprigs, for garnishing


Pick over the chickpeas, cover with cold water, and soak overnight at room temperature. Drain chickpeas and rinse well with cold running water. Drain and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a medium stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the chicken pieces with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Add the chicken in batches, and cook until well browned, about 4 minutes per batch. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside. Add the onions and celery and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the ginger, turmeric, pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Return the chicken to the pan and add the tomatoes and their juices, stirring well. Stir in the chicken stock, lentils, and chickpeas and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook at a gentle simmer for 1 hour.
Add the rice and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and return the soup to a simmer. Cook covered for 30 minutes. Remove the lid, add the cilantro, parsley, and lemon juice and cook, uncovered for 5 minutes.
Ladle into warmed soup bowls and garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs.

Grilled Salmon Paprika


My new ingredient is smoked paprika. I've been hearing about it for several years but always resisted purchasing it. I finally bought some and this is the recipe I'd like to use with it. It smells divine! I can't wait to use it. I found the recipe at Tasty Kitchen. I really like finding recipes there because it seems like most people have the same sort of mindset about food that I do: make it tasty, make the recipe short, make it quick, but make sure it's tasty. Pioneer Woman is good at making recipes with about 5 ingredients and I really like that. Many, many of her posters at Tasty Kitchen seem to do the same thing. I make my menu almost exclusively from Tasty Kitchen recipes. So thanks to elenaspantry at Tasty Kitchen for the recipe!

Grilled Salmon Paprika *

Added by elanaspantry on August 19, 2010 in Fish, Main Courses


  • 1-½ pound Salmon Fillet, Cut Into (6) 4 Ounce Pieces, Leave Skin On
  • 1 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika
  • ½ teaspoons Ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt
  • ¼ cups Agave Nectar

Preparation Instructions

Rinse salmon, pat dry and place in an 11 x 7 baking dish. In a small bowl, combine paprika, cumin and salt. Drizzle agave over salmon, then sprinkle with paprika mixture. Marinate for 30 minutes to 5 hours. Grill salmon (skin side down) for 4-5 minutes over medium-high heat, then turn over. Grill on other side for 3 minutes, or until salmon is cooked through. 
Prep Time

*Obviously that's not my picture, and this is not my recipe. Please follow the link to Tasty Kitchen to visit the author of the recipe. 

Apple Fennel Slaw - My Recipe War entry

I found this recipe by Guilty Kitchen at the Tasty Kitchen.

It uses my "something new" ingredient of fennel (or anise as I saw it labelled in Safeway). I almost didn't submit this recipe. I had to buy quite a lot of the ingredients because I didn't have them on hand and I hate to make you all go out and spend lots of money. I actually didn't use the poppy seeds because it was $5 for a small container. And I used dried chopped onions instead of the powder because it was way cheaper. (If you do this, triple the amount of ground onion called for.) But I did splurge on Grey Poupon and buttermilk.

I also didn't use the fennel tops because I tasted a piece and it seemed so tough. But, then the slaw didn't seem to have enough of the fennel taste.

After I had put it all together and tasted it, I didn't think it was so special and really thought about testing out another recipe. I ate a small bowl, and then another, and then another. And then I realized that maybe I didn't realize how great it was because it's so different from what I normally eat.

It's quite brilliant actually. The vinegar and mustard paired with the crisp sweetness of the apples and the slight taste of licorice is addictive. It's refreshing.

So, I hope you like it!

Servings: 6-8
Prep Time: 20 minutes

1/4 cup light or reduced fat sour cream (NOT no fat)
1/4 cup 1/2 fat mayonnaise (such as Hellman’s)
1/4 cup buttermilk
juice from one lemon
1 tsp Grey Poupon mustard (or Dijon)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp poppy seeds
1/2 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp onion powder

2 small fennel bulbs (including tops)
1 1/2 tart apples (I used Pink Lady)
1/2 cup shredded green cabbage

1. In large bowl, prepare dressing by combining all dressing ingredients. Set aside.
2. Prepare salad by thinly slicing the fennel bulbs, apples (skin on) and green cabbage. Finely dice the fennel tops and add to salad bowl.
3. Mix well and allow to sit for a few minutes before serving.

29 March 2011

Recipe War for April

Let's try this again! The theme is "Something New". Submit a recipe that involves an ingredient that you've never cooked with. It doesn't matter if everyone else has. I've placed the info in the sidebar in case anyone misses this info.

I think it would be great if those of you with allergies or special diets would participate too, even if you won't be able to try everyone else's recipe. At least you would be contributing and helping us keep this thing alive. If fact, if you really can't try the other recipes maybe you could even submit a recipe that isn't particularly new to you, but has some really weird ingredient that you're sure we haven't tried cooking with.

As far as I can tell, we're operating a pretty loose contest here with few rules. The main goal here is to try different things and expand our family recipe rotations. So, I'd like to encourage all of you to participate.

And since some of us (not me of course! :) tend to wait until the end of the month to submit a recipe, I'd like to set a goal date for submissions. How does April 6th sound? That's next Wednesday. I'll try to remind everyone as we get closer.

28 March 2011

Cinnamon Roll Focaccia

I had no eggs, no breakfast meat, no cereal and no oatmeal. Breakfast was looking like beans and rice. Which probably would have been a mite more healthy than this recipe that I made, but not nearly as tasty.


1 c. warm water
¼ c. sugar
¼ c. oil
½ t. salt
2 t. or 1 packet yeast
3 c. flour
½ c. butter
½ c. brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 or 2 T milk

Mix warm water, sugar and yeast. Let it sit for about 3 minutes to let it bloom a bit then add the oil, salt and flour. Mix in mixer with bread hook for three minutes, let rest for 3 minutes, mix again for 3-5 minutes (depending how rushed  you are). Take off bread hook, leave dough in mixer bowl, cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap and let rise for about 30-40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400. Spray with oil spray a 9x13 pan. Dump dough into pan and with fingertips coerce the dough to all corners of the pan, making it as even as possible and leaving score it a bit with your fingertips, so it looks like there pock-marks all over. Let rise for 10 minutes.

Melt 5 T butter. Mix in brown sugar and cinnamon. Pour over bread and spread evenly. Bake for 16 minutes. When it’s done, let it rest for about 5 minutes so that all the butter/sugar gets absorbed into the bread. Carefully put it on a cutting board and slice into 16 (or whatever) pieces – I like to use a pizza cutter for this.

Soften 3 T butter. Add powdered sugar and try to get as much of the butter mixed into the powdered sugar as possible. It should look like yellow lumps. Add the vanilla and 1 T milk. Stir it up really well. If it’s not fluid enough to pour over the focaccia add more milk. Drizzle glaze over focaccia and serve warm.