Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Completely Costco

Costco is one of my favorite places to shop.  My household consists of two people (and two dogs), yet I go every other week.  Thank goodness for the vacuum sealer!  Where else can you get a new mattress, fresh meat, fresh veggies, new tires, and enough toilet paper to last a year?  I love this place! 

Have you seen the movie "Idiocracy"?  That store was miles wide by miles wide.  People in the future get everything from Costco - even a law degree!  I know, it's a totally B-movie, it's not a good movie, but I just love how Costco survives and dominates in the movie's version of the future.  It's good to know I can depend on my favorite store sticking around forever.  :)

When I prepared for tonight's dinner, I didn't have the intention of trying to use every ingredient from Costco.  As I was cooking I realized that literally everything had been purchased at Costco, and it was fantastic!  On the menu tonight was grilled pork loin chops, asparagus and bread.  The pork was seasoned with olive oil and McCormicks new Sweet Basil, Citrus and Garlic rub, and the asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper.  The bread was lightly buttered and then all of it went on the grill.  I finished the bread and asparagus with a light shaving of parmesan.  Oh me oh my!

I was a little intimidated to grill those chops because they are 1.5" to 2" thick.  Being that thick they are easily undercooked, or even overcooked from fear of undercooking.  I'm proud to say they were close to perfect.  I probably could have pulled them off one or two minutes sooner, but they were still juicy and tender!  So, my tips to pass along?  Put oil and rub on, then refrigerate for a few hours; let them sit out while the grill is warming.  Cook those chops low and slow, then let them rest.

~ Enjoy ~

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Penne Pasta and Vodka Sauce

penne pasta, fresh peas, vodka sauceI needed to use some of the fresh peas from the garden, but didn't want to do the traditional veggie side dish with them.  Since we just got back from a two week camping vacation, we haven't had pasta in a while so I decided on a vodka sauce.  Oh my this was fantastic .... I have more peas to use, maybe I should make it again tomorrow??

16 ounce whole wheat penne pasta
1 tablespoon butter
1 package thinly sliced pancetta
1 small onion, finely diced
1/3 cup vodka
1 can rosemary and oregano diced tomato, pureed
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup fresh (or frozen) peas
grated parmesan
chopped fresh basil

Cook pasta one minute less than package instructions, drain and set aside.  While water is boiling/pasta is cooking add butter to skillet, slice pancetta into thin strips and cook until just starting to brown.  Add finely diced onion and continue to cook until pancetta is browned.  Add vodka and cook until reduced by half, 2-5 minutes.  Add pureed tomatoes, cream and peas.  Cook until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.  Add pasta to sauce, toss over heat for one minute, then serve and garnish with parmesan and basil.

~ Enjoy ~

Wall Hanging #1

wall hanging with applique butterfly

Babies are so much fun - and they're even more fun when I get to make things for them!  A teacher friend I worked with last school year was blessed with a baby girl this summer so I made a wall hanging for them.  This measures approx. 20" x 20".  I had a great time with the fabrics; the squares in the upper right and lower left corner was a treasure I found at a local quilt shop in Snohomish. 

applique butterfly on a wall hanging
The center square fabric has glitter, what can I say, I'm easily distracted by shiny things.  Glitter will almost always catch my eye.  :)  What's more girlie than a butterfly?  I found the beautiful batik I used for the wings at a quilt shop in Port Townsend.  Isn't it perfect for this use?  I used a back stitch for the antennae and french knots for the eyes by hand embroidery, appliqued the cheeks, and finished with a cute button for the nose.

blind stitched binding on back of wall hanginghanging sleeve on wall hangingFor the backing I used some fabric in my pile and added a hanging sleeve.  This was my first time ever making a sleeve!  This was also my first time doing a blind stitch on my binding.  Thank goodness for YouTube so I could learn how to do it...

In all, this was a really enjoyable project and I can't wait to make more in the future! 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pack Wraps & Surgical Drapes

Up until recently, all the sewing projects I've done were gifts, or just for fun.  Then, a local veterinarian asked me to do some sewing work for her.  Fortunately she is a fun, colorful person and was open to whatever I wanted to do.  Three years ago when I started learning how to sew, I never imagined I'd be making quilts, doing applique, hand embroidery, and creating items for local business.  I'm excited to see what the future of creativity brings me.  :)

Surgical drapes go over the patient, and an oval in the center (called a fenestration) gives access to the surgical site.  This is a single layer of fabric, except for the rectangle in the center.  The edges of the drape have a double fold hem.  The drape shown here is a small, approx. 12" x 12" with a 4" x 1.5" fenestration.  This project started out a little intimidating, but in the end they offer just enough challenge to keep the project interesting and I really enjoy making them. 

Pack wraps are used to wrap up items needed for surgery, like the patient drapes.  These are simple squares of various sizes (12" x 12" and 20" x 20" shown here) with a front/back fabric.  I chose to use the fun prints for one side and a coordinating solid on the other.  When they do a surgery they can open a pack, lay it out on the tray and they are ready to go. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Strawberry Sherbert

strawberry sherbert with fresh garden grown berriesI have a 3 x 12 garden bed full of strawberry plants and we plant the runners throughout the yard, so as you can imagine I get a lot of berries!  When they start to soften up and become less desirable for eating, I make sherbert.  I've also  got some great thoughts for sorbet, which I'll share in a later post; I'm still testing some of my ideas.  Until then, here's the recipe for my sherbert.

2 cups strawberries - washed, hulled, halved
1 cup half and half
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon liqueur (strawberry, lemon, or orange) - optional
1/4 - 1/2 sugar

Puree the strawberries in a blender or food processor;
Place a strainer over a bowl and pour puree through to remove seeds (this step optional);
Add half/half, milk, lemon juice, liqueur (optional, but I used orange curacao), and sugar - whisk;
Cover, put in fridge for about 2 hours to chill;
Process in an ice cream maker and freeze.

~ Enjoy ~

Sunday, July 1, 2012


This is probably one of my favorite meals.  It's often on our camping menu because it's an easy, delicious dinner.  I prefer these with corn tortillas, but it's great with flour if that's all I have on hand.  I make my own fajita rub, get lettuce from the garden (in season), grill some bell pepper and onion (or cook in a cast iron skillet), well - you get the idea.

Fajita Rub
2 Tbl - dried chili's made into powder
1/2 tsp - salt
Large pinch - black pepper
1 tsp - garlic powder
1 tsp - onion powder
1/2 tsp - sugar
2 tsp - dried cilantro
3/4 tsp - cumin
1/4 tsp - allspice
1/4 tsp - cinnamon
1/4 tsp - cocoa powder

Use a blender, spice grinder, magic bullet, etc. to pulse dried chili's into powder, enough for 2 tablespoons.  Combine all other ingredients with chili powder, and pulse a few times to mix them together well.

2 - 4 boneless skinless chicken breast
2 - Tbl light olive oil
Fajita rub
juice and zest of one lime

Drizzle chicken with light olive oil (or vegetable/canola oil), apply thick layer of rub to both sides, add lime juice and zest, place in a bag and let refrigerate for 4-24 hours.
Grill chicken breast, serve with corn or flour tortillas

Fajita Topping Ideas
Grilled chicken
Grilled bell pepper and onion
Shredded cheese
Sour Cream (I use greek yogurt instead)
Black Beans
Corn Salsa
Carrot Salsa
What else can you think of?

~ Enjoy ~