Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pork Roast: Meal #1

This is usually the first meal I make with my Pork Roast Recipe. Burritos!
I like to make mine fajita style by giving thin, sliced peppers and onions a quick saute. Plus sour cream, salsa, and a squeeze of lime.

If I really want to go all out, I make my imitation of Chipotle's cilantro rice.

Just cook a cup and a half of rice as you normally would. When it's done add 4 TBSP butter (cut into small pieces), the juice of 2 limes, and 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro. Add salt to taste.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Famous Pork Roast

This is one of the first recipes I made for my in-laws. It went over so well, my MIL begged me for the recipe. Since then, each time she shares it with another family member, I end up with an inbox full of rave reviews.

Personally, I love this recipe. It's so easy, pork roasts are one of the cheapest cuts available, and while it makes plenty for a crowd, I've yet to run out ideas to use the leftovers of this versatile recipe.  

This can also be easily adjusted to the crock pot, however, I have always preferred the results I get in my oven. 

The dry rub:
1 Tbsp salt, brown sugar, coco powder
2 tsp black pepper, cumin, dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder, chile powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Combine all the spices and rub all over the roast.

  I like to use a pork "butt" (it's really a part of the shoulder), but the "picnic" and shoulder cuts work great as well.

 This is not something you can do with out getting your hands dirty. So take off your rings and use rubber gloves if you must.

 Cover and refrigerate over night.

Next day, start with preheating your oven to 325.

 Thinly slice one, large onion. I used a white onion because they looked the best today, but any kind will be fine here.

  Separate them with your fingers as you sprinkle the onions into a large, dutch oven.

Top with roast (fat side up).

Over the roast pour one can of diced tomatoes (with juices).

And 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar.

Add enough water to almost cover roast, about 1 quart.

Adjust oven racks so the dutch oven sits in the middle.
Braise for 5-6 hours, until it pulls apart easily with a fork.

Get ready for everyone in your house to suddenly be starving!

Next I will show you a few of my favorite meals to make out of this lovely creation.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Thinly Slicing an Onion (a pictured tutorial)

It all begins by picking a good onion. Find one with smooth skins, no blemishes, and no soft spots.

You will want to use a large, smooth edged, chef's knife any time you are cutting onions.

Start with cutting off both the root and the stem ends.
Turn the root end up (it has that darker spot there) and slice in half.
Now, it's really easy to peel off the outer layer.
Slice each half, one at a time, from the stem end to the root end. The root end should help keep the rings tight together. If they do start to come apart towards the end and you think the knife may slip; it's far better to discard the end than risk cutting yourself.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Lord of the Rings Onesies!

 Introducing two brand new items in my shop!!

Whether you are a Hobbit or an Elf, I have something for you. Both are hand painted on a cotton onesie.


First we have the question on every Hobbit's (and baby's) mind. When Baby starts crying and you just wish they could speak, here is what they are trying to say. A nice reminder for new moms and dads.

Or perhaps you  are more the Elvish type.
This onesie is hand painted with baby's name, a favorite character, or a special word (love, happy, hungry, sleepy, precious, etc).

Pick any words you want up to twelve characters.

For either one pick your onesie color: blue, pink, or white. And pick your size: Newborn, 0-3 M, 3-6 M, 6-9 M, or 9-12 M.

If you would like more than one word, a different style of onesie, or more color options feel free to contact me about a special order.

You can expect 2-3 days before your order is ready to ship. FREE SHIPPING IN THE US!

Monday, March 5, 2012

VintageModern Design Challenge

This is the detailed tutorial for my entry in the VintageModern Design Challenge at  The challenge was to use one of their vintage patterns to make a modern look. I chose to work with this one.

 Here we go!

 I chose a pink calico for my blouse. The directions were not very clear on the yardage, but what you want is twice the length of your shoulder to desired hem, plus half a yard for bias tape, the bow tie, oopsies, etc. For me this was two yards.

The lace is for a panel in the back. You could get a third of yard, and you will end up with some extra.

You will also need: a washout cloth marker, 1" x 12" quilting ruler, tape measure, fabric scissors (although I like to use my rotary cutter and mat), pins, and thread to match.

Start by folding according to the directions, and  make sure the bottom edge is even. Then mark point C. This is your shoulder to hem measurement plus one inch.

Point D is across from point C, on the selvages.

While we're over here, mark point G 2" down from D.

Point F is 4" to the right of C.

E is on the folded edge a diagonal 6" from F.

 This will about the smallest possible neckline for a non-stretch material. Feel free to extend point F for a wider neckline, and point E for a lower neckline.

To get your arm hole measurement, loop a tape measure from the top corner of your shoulder, under your armpit, and together again. You can follow the seam of a well fitting shirt for guidance. Divide that measurement in half and add one inch. I got 11".

 Now measure that distance down from C to get H.

Point I is supposed to be one quarter bust measurement plus 3" to the right of H.

Now, as a busty girl, I usually prefer to separate the back and the front measurements to get a better fit. To do this, hold the end of your measuring tape under one armpit. Then wrap the tape around your back to same spot under your other armpit. You now have your back bust measurement and you can simply subtract it from your full bust to get your front bust.

Now I used half my front bust, plus 2" for a slightly slimmer fit, to get point I. I got 14" for that.

Continuing on the same trajectory, mark point J on the selvage. You can also double check this by using your C to H measurement to measure down from D.

Point K is directly below I. To keep everything square I double checked this with the I to J measurement.

Now connect the dots! E to F to G, and J to I to K. Instead of coming to a corner at I give it a slight curve.  Cut along your lines and you've got your front!

Now for the back.

Follow the above directions to find points C and F.

Extend point E to 7 3/4" down from C and add an additional point (let's call it E2) and 1 1/2" to the right.

Next find points H, I, and K, only this time using your back bust measurements.

Now for some fancy footwork.

In order to keep the sleeve measurements the same on front and back you will have to change the angles at points F and I. Just be sure all line lengths and the same and the angles at your new points G and J stay square.  The picture below demonstrates the change in angles.

And here we have front, back, and lace panel.        

I forgot to take a closeup of the lace panel on it's own. It measures 8 1/2" across the top, 4 1/2" across the bottom, and 8 1/2" in length.     

Start by matching up one long side of the back neckline with one long side of the lace, right sides together, lace on top.  

Sew from the top, with 1/4" seams, until you get 1/4" away from the short edge of the lace. With the needle down, lift the pressure foot and shift the layers to match up the short edges. Pin and resume sewing. Repeat with final long edge. You will need to clip the corners for the seams to lie flat. Press out from the lace. Check to be sure everything look right and smooth, then go back and zigzag the edges of your seams.

Now match the the sides and sleeves, right sides together, front to back. Sew with a 1/4" seam, start from the cuff end for each side. After you have check that everything is right, go back and zigzag the edges.

Now match up the shoulder seams starting at the cuff ends. The front neckline will extend slightly past the back neckline. DO NOT sew on the lace here. Double check your seam then zigzag the edges.

Next you need to make strips for the bow tie collar and some bias tape. 

Here is a great tutorial with 3 different ways to make bias tape. Make about 2' of 1" tape (it will be more than you need, but that will vary with how you made your neckline).

The strip for the collar is approx. 4" x 90" (again, more than you will need, but we'll trim it later.). Cut two 4" x 45" from the uncut end of your fabric and sew two short ends together. Press seam open. Fold right sides together down the long way. Sew with a 1/4" seam to make one long tube, open at each end. Turn inside out and press.   

For the front neckline, turn your blouse right side out. With right sides together, open one side of the bias tape and pin to one side of the "V". sew down the crease to 1/4" past the other side of the "V". Trim tape with some excess. Fold edge of tape back down. Now repeat on the other side.        

Turn inside out again. Fold the tape over the edge and press. You can now trip the ends of the tape to 1/4". Top stitch in place.                                          

Match the middle, top of the lace to the middle of the collar (the seam), and pin. If your lace has a nice finished edge like this you can pin the collar on the inside like shown.     

Be sure your seam here extends about 1/2 inch into the front neckline as well.  

Next is to add some shaping to the body. Elastic thread is fairly new to me, but I'm finding it's a really easy and attractive way to add stretchable shaping. Some tutorials I found helpful are here and here.

Try on your blouse and see where you need to bring it in and how much. I wanted two gathers in the front and one in the back. And I found I needed to bring in 4" in each of the three gathers. So I drew 4 lines 8" long, 1/2" apart in each gathering spot on the outside.

If it doesn't pull in quite as much as you wanted, you can always just pull some slack out of the elastic threads and tie them off.

 Try on your blouse again and decide where you want  your sleeves to end. Mark the length on both sleeves and trim with 2" extra for hem.                 

Check the length of the bow tie and trim to where ever you like. Fold the edges in 1/4" and top stitch shut.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Turkey Pot Pie Recipe

  • 1TBSP veg oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 3 small carrots chopped
  • 2 celery chopped
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 3 TBSP flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk warmed
  • 3-4 cups broth
  • 4 med red potatoes diced (I like to leave the peels)
  • 2 cups chopped cooked turkey (or chicken)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 box (two sheets) frozen puff pastry or refrigerated pie dough (or be really good and make your own)
  • 1 egg beaten
Makes: 2 full size pies or 8 personal pies

Preheat oven to 350.

In a 3qt pot, over medium heat, add the oil, onion, carrot, and celery. Season with salt and pepper, and saute over medium heat until vegetables are soft. Add the thyme and butter.  When the butter is melted, sprinkle in the flour, and stir to coat. Allow to cook for about a minute, stirring frequently. Whisk in the milk, followed by the broth. Make sure there are no lumps! Now add the potatoes, bring to a simmer, cover, and turn heat to low. After 15 minutes, and occasional stirring, add the turkey and peas. Cook for five more minutes.

Roll out the dough of your choice and cut to fit the top of your pie plates. (Hint: flip your plate over onto the dough and just cut around it.) Distribute the pie filling among the dishes and top with the dough, sealing around the edges. Brush the top with the beaten egg mixed with a little water. Don't forget to cut a vent in the top.

If you bake them right away, it will take 20-30 minutes, just until the crust is golden. If you bake later, it will take 40-50 minutes, until crust is golden and filling is bubbly. You may need to cover them with foil it they start to over brown before the filling is hot.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sphinx Sweater - Done!

 SO CUTE! And finally done!

I love this sweater, but it took so much effort to complete. It also represents a few firsts for me.

The inspiration for this sweater, which I'm only barely willing to admit, is actually from a scyfi novel I was reading called Cryoburn. A minor detail in the story are genetic engineers that make house-cat sized sphinxes with little human faces and everything.

Combine that with some deep thought about new products for my Etsy shop and here's what you get. A toddler sized, sphinx sweater.

Once it was in my head, it had to be done. I found some beautiful wool in gold and cream. And yes, that is Fun Fur (my second first) for the mane and tail.

I started with designing the color work pattern for the wings, and my first First. I had never finish a project with any kind of color work other than strips, but I'm very happy with my results here. I sketched out one side, then traced it onto a personalized grid. I just did the mirror image for the other wing in my head as I knit. Try as I might, I have not been able to find online generator where I got my grid. I knew I should have bookmarked that! But I know there are many other programs out there that will do the same thing.

I knit sweaters from the neck down with raglan sleeves because that is the best way. Seriously. It's so easy, there is minimal finishing (no sewing!), you can try it on as you go, and it produces the most universally flattering fit. You do have to go back later to finish the sleeves, but I consider that a small price to pay.

The tail is an I cord with a cone shaped end. The hood (another first) I picked up off the top of the neck. After it was done I added on the ears and picked up stitches along the edge for the mane.

And finally I come to my last first, the zipper. I've done a few other zippers before, but never in a hand knit. I was really nervous sewing it in after the months of work I put into all the other details of this sweater. But it turned out perfectly. I couldn't be more happy with the results of this project. In fact, I almost don't want to put it up for sale.

Just kidding.