27 October, 2009

Butternut Squash Soup

I made this Butternut Squash Soup recipe two times last fall. 
It has a lovely color with a bit of a kick.

It has no dairy, so it freezes wonderfully. It also makes a huge amount, thereby forcing you to freeze some (12 cups).  A good way to freeze soup is to put the leftovers in a freezer quality ziploc bag and place in a 9x13 cake pan until frozen. You then can stack your soups flat - saving space.

My mom & Dad do this with fresh grape juice as well.

Officially called: Butternut Squash and Roasted Pepper Soup
by Tabitha Blankenbiller

2 red Bell Peppers, seeded, cored and cut in half lengthwise
2 Tbsp. Canola Oil - I use Olive oil.
1 lg. Onion, diced
1 tsp. ground Cumin
1 tsp. ground Coriander
3 lbs - about 2 lg. squash (I only used up one - are Oregon Butternuts gigantic?), seeded and sliced into cubes
8 cups Water
2 1/2 tsp. Salt
1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper 
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Black Pepper

Preheat oven to broil. On a foil-lined baking sheet, place peppers skin side up and place under broiler. Keep a close  eye on the peppers and when black blistering begins to form, remove from oven. This should take about 8 - 10 minutes. Allow the peppers to cool 20 minutes and transfer to blender. Puree until smooth. Set aside.

In a heavy stockpot, heat 1 Tbsp. butter and the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently until soft, but not browned ~ 4 minutes. Add cumin and coriander and cook one more minute.

Add the squash, water, roasted pepper puree and salt. Simmer, covered, for 35 - 40 minutes over low heat, or until squash is very soft. If you  have an immersion blender, you can puree the squash right in the pot. If not, transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor to puree, and then return to pot.

Stir in cayenne pepper, creme fraiche (opt.), nutmeg and black pepper. To serve, top with diced tomatoes and toasted cashews ( toasted cashews?? I eat them before they get home to get toasted. Who writes these garnish moments anyway?)

I found this recipe in the Canby Herald printed paper on October 15, 2008. Sorry - I could not find it archived on-line.

26 October, 2009

Dinner and Fireworks

We had dinner with our son in Corvallis on Saturday night here.
This restaurant is committed to a sustainable food menu - utilizing local sources for grass-fed beef, locally grown vegetables, wines, cheeses, etc.
And it offered live music on Saturday night.
The prices were a tad steep, but the food and music were exceptional.

 I had the grass-fed ribeye with a shitake mushroom sauce and steamed spinach, carrots and peppers. Yummy.

24 October, 2009

Bloomin' Bag

My friend, Pencil Girl, and I took a class here to make this purse. It was difficult to get time off my work to run over to St. Helen's to take this class.  I missed last month's bag class. A new bag/purse class is offered each month for just $10!

This one was fun. I finally, Thursday at 2pm - my proverbial last minute, decided on using my Pendleton fabric and found coordinating fabrics in my stash. Here's the outer bag - standing up!

 Lots of Decor Bond and fusible Pellon fleece went into this bag. It's a small bag - only 12" across but sturdy.

All hands on deck - cutting out numerous outer fabrics, linings, pockets, decor bond, fleece.

Pencil Girl sewing her outer bag. She chose a black & White theme with the flower - an eye-popping red beaded flower.

Do YOU have one of these pens? I have one now.
It's from Sewline. It's a 'chalk' line pen using pink ceramic lead. The pink color shows up really well on different colors of fabric. There are refills too.  It's similar to a mechanical pencil.
There was another pen that - with a flip of the button - would change from white to black to trace.
I almost bought that one but it didn't come with refills and it was a dollar more....

Back to the lining and pockets. Lined with Decor bond for stiffness. I have a three-way pocket going with cell phone in middle. It wasn't done on purpose -  just symmetrical.

This bag has a nice zippered compartment inside. You can just make out the zipper on the black lining to the right of the bag.

Our almost finished bags. The handle is lined and then doubled with the pellon fleece inside and I struggled to get that through the machine. I gave up ( nearly 5pm!) and I am going to redo my handle. I'll cut out a new handle and end the fusible fleece prior to the ends where you are attaching to the purse and the D-rings. Or,  I might just use the Decor Bond to give it stiffness without the bulk. I haven't decided yet.

The orange purse was nearly finished - just the detail flower thingy still to go.  I loved her choice of the stripes (middle) and the top fabric picking up a green element instead of another brown/orange.

That bag on the upper right? - she used one of the outer fabrics ( the striped fabric) to make her inside cell phone pocket.

Bloomin' Bag by Dancin' Daisy Designs 

Gardens in Oregon

I didn't pick these.
My husband did.
He's totally into fresh tomatoes from the garden.

Not the planting. Not the weeding, not so much the canning, but the freshness.

These will go in the vegetable drawer in the fridge for freshness through the month of November.

picked Saturday, October 24th, 2009.

17 October, 2009

Visiting with Suzi leads to...

My friend, Suzi, told me about this tutorial for a CD Holder that she saw here. She practically dared me to sew it. She needed a new one for her car visor.

In all honesty, I did say, "no".
And when I arrived home - I watched the  Celtic Thunder DVD I had borrowed from the library and worked on my crocheted scarf.
But I couldn't stop thinking about how the CD Holder was similar in construction to my Passport Wallet and suddenly fabrics leapt into my hands.
Just over an hour later, a CD holder present for Suzi.

Great Tutorial if you are inclined to rid yourself of scraps today.

And, of course, what project would  be complete unless something goes wrong? One broken needle and bias tape swearing (no kids at home - I'm safe, I guess.)

16 October, 2009

Colton Grange

Friday Rummage Sales

I think I love Rummage sales the most because of the sewing & crafting stuff.
This one was  here in Colton, Oregon
Canby is a tad south of Portland, and Colton is a tad south of me.
It was really a gorgeous fall day for a drive in the country.

Found this box of sewing goodies for $2. When I saw the charms above - three packets full, I was sold. Well - the button jar was worth it, Yes - all of the ribbons - let's just say the box was worth it.
Grandmother Stover's - Cincinati, Ohio.  Have you heard of them? - just the cutest little charm packs.
Dauschounds, lassie dogs, scotties, poodles, bull dogs. Way cute.
Way cute times three packets.

There was a wall hanging. Possibly hand-screened. Instantly I was thinking - cool bag.
What else could I do with this fabric? Ideas?

When I got home, my Marionberry Syrup was waiting for me.
My neighbor makes Glenmore Farms Jams, Jellies, & Syrups right here in Canby, Oregon.
Marionberry Syrup is my favorite and I get a case every year. Do I actually get to use it?

No - thanks to my lectin intolerance, I am staying away from all grain flours so there is really nothing to drizzle Marionberry syrup on. 
Most of the jars are given as gifts to my favorite people. My  nephew, Ian in Minnesota, gets a tad testy if he doesn't have his red sauce.

This Namaste Pancake Mix, by the way, is really, really good. Add eggs - or not. It has Rice, tapioca & arrowroot flours, rice milk powder, cream of Tartar, baking soda and ground vanilla bean. All fantastic if you are suffering from gluten intolerance. Namaste makes a fantastic Spice Cake (add the carrots for a fabulous moist carrot cake) mix as well.

For all that I named this blog after my super intelligent dog, Rocket, he hasn't made too many appearances yet. Here's  where he sleeps while I am at the computer. His safe cave.

13 October, 2009

Sewing With Friends

Follow up to previous day's posting about this robe on the left.
My friend, Joanie, writes, 
"I love your robe!  I was so surprised to see both the robe and read about my teaching sewing on your blog!  The dress form is stylin!  It really made the picture.

So you sewed it in only four hours?  Now I’m jealous.  It took me all weekend!  Plus, I was still sewing the hem on Monday.  Maybe I’m trying to make it too perfect – or thinking about how to teach it at the same time.  I am really beginning to think that I am a slow sewer.

The neckline piping was a nice touch, and I love the pleated pockets.  I noticed them right away.  So easy to suggest going to another site for the tutorial.  Too bad I can’t do that in my class, because I know that everyone will want to make YOUR version of the robe.  You’ll have to tell me how you did the piping.  Did you baste it to the neckline of the garment first?  Or did you use a lot of pins and sew it all together at once?  How did you finish your seams?  Zigzag?

I am still impressed that you made it in time for your trip to Ireland.

Do you need another deadline?  I just saw that Sewing Expo’s next theme for their Sunday charity show will be pink and red.  Last year I made the red scarf and Mary Mulari gave me a compliment on it.  What in the world can you make with both red and pink?  Hmm.

I am looking forward to the October 23 bag class.


My reply:

"Slow sewing: I did wonder - when you said you transferred the pattern to something else.
I so rarely make patterns more than once that I just cut it up on the size lines I’m going for.
I already confessed to not being quite on the 5/8th’s seam allowance all of the time.
Also – flannel is very forgiving.
I plan on making this again in the satin-backed flannel and I’ll bet you anything I will be cursing my fabric choice as it slithers off line AGAIN.

Seam finish: Scallop scissors- so it won’t fray in the wash as much. It’s not gonna get washed that often ‘cause it won’t be worn every day. Did I also admit to flashing people in my washed-too-many-times pajamas?

Piping: I happened to have found that trim at a garage sale in three different colors. The blue was perfect, and truly the 3177 pattern design was made to insert trim. Perfect.
This trim has a white edge that is tucked under the fabric so it can’t be seen. I machine basted it on first and then sewed seam. When you receive it – the machine basting is still intact. 

That’s because someone gave me the secret to “when is it time to stop nit-picking”?
 From gallery days: Hold the frame at arm-length away from you. If you can no longer see problems, then it’s time to button it up.

I also hand basted the front binding. Even with flannel, when you fold that piece over to sew down, it has a mind to wander with whatever tension is on your machine. The top piece doesn't want to stay aligned with the bottom fabric. With the help of the hand basting and lifting up on the material as I sewed, this helped correct the wandering. Been there before. I think this is an official 'trick of the trade'. It's probably got a really cutesy name too.

My next deadline is what color
bobbin thread for the purse class?!?!. Will the Trim Gods look kindly on another project?

And you know – pink & Red for a January thing is nowhere near my deadline criteria."

12 October, 2009

Being Decent in Ireland

Don't shock the natives.

My friend, Joanie, is teaching garment sewing to quilters. Over in Scappoose. These quilters are under the impression that garment sewing is fussy and finicky. Too funny for words - the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
Anyway, the quilt shop owner, Kathy, has started to carry a line of Kwik Sew patterns. I offered to sew a couple of the patterns to use as samples. The last class on the schedule is a robe, Kwik Sew 3177.

Now, normally, I don't wear a robe. Obviously, I don't get out much. I run around in my been-washed-3000-times pajamas. They are a tad 'thin'. But who's gonna see me?

I have to admit - a robe would be handy in the B&B in Ireland- whenever we get around to making B&B reservations! (2.5 weeks to go).
I wanted to make this robe in satin-backed flannel but did not have the time to go over here
and settled for Joann's. I also had a picture in my mind of how this robe was gonna look. Do you think they had any satin-backed flannels that went together? In a set of colors that one would wear? Well - no. They had trollop red, radioactive blue, & a very weird brown.
Plan B: Regular flannel. I found a mint green flannel and a matching thin stripe. 

Here's the side story - Have you been watching Project Runway? Where they give the designers 15 minutes to shop?  Really.  I was in Joann's for over 45 minutes dithering over $2.99/yd. flannel.

I was actually trying to match, FROM MEMORY, the colors in a piece of flannel I picked up at Sew Expo this year. Instead of jammy bottoms for my daughter - who is already in Ireland, I'm sewing a new pair of pajama bottoms for me. Yes - sewing for me.   All thanks go to my friend Joanie who has deadlines which have somehow  become my deadlines.

And you know - I love this robe. I modified the pockets using this tutorial. These pleated pockets make the garment. The detail is feminine without being fussy.

This pattern was super EASY to sew. The directions and the visuals matched this time and I finished the robe in less than four hours. I made the same size modifications that I made to the Kwik Sew vest sample I sewed previously. I'm almost 5'4" and I used the extra-small markings for length and since I wear a size large at the store - this is the pattern size I used and it fits very well. No flashing. The pattern clearly shows the robe stopping at mid-thigh. If I had stayed with the large length, the robe would be nearly to the floor.

Actually, it wouldn't - this whole cutting at the extra-small length mark saved me because that $2.99/yd flannel shrunk a whole heck of a lot.

Speaking of fabric,have you seen the new Happy Camper Fabric

11 October, 2009

Two Soups

About all of the cooking that I do revolves around soup. I have so many food
intolerances/allergies that it is not really possible to cook recipes easily.

But - soup is.

This last week, I made a beef soup. Well, actually, I made two - mine and his.

My husband really likes canned tomatoes, potatoes, and a thicker feel to his
beef soup. However, I don't need the bad reactions to those items so I am
learning the fine art of making two soups at the same time.

First off: making the stock. Commercial stocks all seem to have soy or flour or
other non-pronounceable ingredients in them. I make my own. I have to make my own stock.

Soup for me is not quick to make but I do it over several days in small  manageable steps. I brown the beef chunks in olive oil and then add some chicken/turkey stock that I have made previously and frozen.

STOCK: I throw whatever chicken/turkey carcass I have into the crock pot and cover with water. It does its thing during the night. Strain the liquid. Throw away the carcass.  Since I have a slight problem in incorporating fat into my diet, I usually skip this next step: Place liquid in fridge until fat rises to top, skim off the solid fat and throw it away. Freeze in containers for later.

Once the beef is tender - a few simmering hours later; I add carrot chunks,
green beans from the garden and finally after a few minutes, some celery. Spices generally include turmeric, mushroom powder, maybe some oregano, sea salt, fresh-ground pepper (pre-ground pepper has flour in it to keep ground pepper from clumping). The Right Flavor is all about the spoon test.

Meanwhile - there is another pot bubbling away in a parallel universe. It's got one or two jars of tomatoes in it, potatoes, white (or black) beans. And the carrots and celery. Similar spices. Thickened with a bit of flour stirred into water. (I have mashed some of the beans into a paste before to thicken which works well if you can tolerate the beans and can't handle flours.)

His always looks so good that I usually have the lid on his. Out of temptation.

Unfortunately, the flour, more than anything, sets off the 'bad reaction's and
I'm really not that tempted.

Lectin Intolerance is similar to Gluten Intolerance where the attack on your lower intestines can give you real debilitating grief. Lectins are protein sugars that are abundant on all grains & legumes. Some research indicates that the nightshade vegetables are also problematic.
All I know is I continue to feel wonderful and energetic if I do not eat these foods.

One of my favorite sites is by Shauna James Ahern. She has Gluten Intolerance (Celiac's Disease) and is a very positive pathway type of person. She has come up with good-tasting recipes that won't make her sick. She is very encouraging regarding overcoming your own personal health issues.

One of my problems  is the dairy element. I tolerate Nancy's yogurt, and I have tried the whole goat angle but basically, dairy is an iffy food. Without dairy- its a tad difficult to incorporate ingredients into a DISH.

Some of the research on Lectin Intolerance indicates that one may, possibly, when healthy, occasionally eat these problem foods. Hopefully, as my intestine heals, I will tolerate some of these lectin-bound foods occasionally.

Next week - I am making a Butternut Squash Soup (no dairy). I haven't had this recipe since last fall and I've a mind for a challenge. Will the squash create a reaction or not?   I'll post the recipe as well because this soup freezes so well!

10 October, 2009

Airplane Ride on a Sunny Day

Our Stearman Biplane.
My husband is giving a friend a ride.
He's buckling him into the front seat. Pilot sits in back cockpit.

 Warming up the oil. Adjusting helmets and headsets.

 Plane started up. Propeller turning. Warming up the oil. This part takes a few minutes.
I did not get a ride because I had to go back to work :(
They ended up flying down the river, on over to Crown Point. Flying here and there, buzzing friend's houses. Having fun.

Garage Sale Friday

It's been a while since Suzi, Marguerite and I got together to garage sale. 

I was tired from work and feeling menstural and I almost said, "No, thank you." I am so glad I went. Suzi helped by driving my car. My Dodge Caliber is new this summer and is a stick shift, so it is super fun to drive. So far, the Caliber has passed the 'garage sale test' three times!

I found this chair and ottoman for twenty bucks - which I had to borrow from the bank of Suzi as I did not have enough cash in my wallet.  Comfy, but dirty (the chair - not Suzi's wallet).

We moved a few things around in the car and it fit!
Amazing! Three people, one chair, one ottoman, and a huge box of fabric.
Here it is drying in the sun. Suzi has one of those Green Machines which I test drove on this chair. Definitely sun fading but most of the dirt came off. A great re-upholstery project.  The cushion is inside. I took the cushion cover off and washed it - it's still in the dryer.

Here's what else we found. A huge box of upholstery weight fabrics from Calico Corners, etc. in various florals, chinese theme, solids, etc.
The top one with the elephant is my favorite. There are a couple with monkeys.

Some of the pieces are more than half yards. Enough to make pillows and/or purses.
Price? It was marked 50 cents/piece. We made an offer for the entire box and it was ours for $5.00. Suzi & I split it between us.
Marguerite  was allowed only one piece - a gold voile to use for the
Christmas Bazaar.

07 October, 2009

Tomatoes Before The Frost

It's beginning.
We just had a couple of nights where it dipped below 40'.
I made my husband happy by canning the last tomatoes.

Over the years, in my indescribably busy life, I have figured out how to can and not go crazy.
First of all, canning your own food can quickly become expensive. The jar lids are 2 or 3 bucks/dozen, then the electricity cost. Finally - what's your time worth?
My tricks are to grow the right product, know what you like and make it simple & quick.
These are just stewed tomatoes - same as the ones in a can (sans chemicals).
I can in pints - 2 cups is a nice recipe measurement.

First?-- get everything ready: Water in the canner simmering, jars sterilized in dishwasher then waiting in hot water on back of stove with lids, pan for boiling water bath - the bath helps slip those pesky skins off nice & easy.

Drop tomatoes into bath for 30 -45 seconds. Use paring knife to either take top core out or slice off top (romas), usually the skin slips right off here, but the knife is helpful for the stubborn ones.
I slice them into big chunks.

Into each jar; one Tablespoon of lemon juice to help the acidity level and then I carefully cram tomatoes into the jar. I wipe off the top of the jar, place a lid on, then the Screw top and place it in canner to stay hot until the canner is full.
The jars gently boil in my water canner for the specified Ball Blue Book time and voila, canned tomatoes to add to soup, lasagna, or marinara sauce.

Roma tomatoes remain my favorite because they speed up the prep time amazingly. Next fave is Early Girl, a nice meaty medium size tomato with a few seeds.

The point of this? People get way too finicky and fanatical about their canning - to the point - it's too much work to can every year.
My system means I have enough canned tomatoes for two years (hint!) and it's fast. Not to mention healthier.

Not to mention that smug feeling of satisfaction when I open the cupboard doors and see the array of food put away for a rainy day.

05 October, 2009


My sister and I are traveling to Ireland in about THREE WEEKS.
We still have no place to stay but we have passport wallets!
These are so stinking cool!

I saw some passport wallet  ideas at Sew Mama Sew and narrowed it down to this Fabulous Tutorial by Lara Cameron.
The layering of the outside fabric, the pockets and the lining turned out perfectly.
It was truly an easy sew project.
Easy sew - unless you are me - I needed to add the credit card and ID pockets.  I had to add the button and loop closure.  I decided to add a cute pocket on the right hand side for  - I don't know - ticket stubs - maybe?  
Easy smeezey.

04 October, 2009

OSU Mission Accomplished

Sunday Morning Drive to Corvallis. I had the pleasure of listening to KUPL 98.7's Sunday Morning Legends & Outlaws Radio Show.

Even my daughter, who would ordinarily not be caught dead listening to Country Music has occasionally sat up and listened to this show. The Legends & Outlaw show has been playing Sunday mornings in Portland, Oregon on KUPL for the last thousand years.

01 October, 2009


I know I should be sewing and getting ready for the Christmas Bazaar.  It just seems so far away.....

Stop by the Knittn' Kitten to find inspiration:

Free Craft Projects at The Knittn' Kitten 
If you're looking for cool holiday gifts to make, The Knittn' Kitten will be offering a new free project sheet each week until early November. Stop in the store, get the project, and while you're there, pick up the materials at bargain prices. The projects are all donated by local crafters. Get a full list of who's participating over here.

These stunning Roses are called "Just Joey". My great-aunt Ruby said they were her favorites. They bloom profusely, they smell divine, and are hardly ever bothered by any of those pesky rose diseases.