Thursday, January 31, 2013

how I made fabric look like a carnation

I am back at my new sewing machine again today and working on fabric flowers to use as an accessory on another project I'm working on. These fabric flowers are pretty easy to make and if you don't have a sewing machine, don't worry you can do them by hand if need be, but since I need lots of practice I made them with my machine.  These flowers are pretty versatile and can be added to any hair clip, headband, or shirt to give it a "girly" touch. They kind of remind me of a carnation once I was finished, but here is how I made them.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Asian Duck Burgers

I received a cookbook for Christmas filled with recipes for burgers.  So I adapted one of the recipes to meet our taste preferences and for some ground duck I received from Maple Leaf Farms.  This recipe for Asian Duck Burgers pairs the great flavors of ginger with the duck to make a great tasting burger.  I served this burger with some sweet potato fries and it was a big hit. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My new adventures in sewing

Santa brought me a sewing machine for Christmas this year. Me!  The girl who can barely thread a needle.  Struggles with sewing on a button.  And has always paid other people to hem her pants for her....Now has a sewing machine.  Needless to say this was a surprise, but ironically I've started looking for projects to sew.  So I'm either going to make some cute things or I'm going to sew my sleeve to my project and end up stuck there.  But regardless it will make for some interesting blog posts.
I took my sewing machine out of the box, read through the instruction manual and began to set it up.  First up I figured out how to get string on my bobbin.  Then I had to get the bobbin installed and that took some time to figure out.  Probably about 20 minutes.  The instructions weren't very clear and I'm not very mechanical with trying to get the wheels underneath there all lined up, but finally it all clicked into place.  I felt a huge sense of accomplishment only to realize.... I still had to set up the string on top and thread the needle. But luckily the instructions on that were a little clearer and it went much quicker.  35 minutes in I was finally ready to start sewing.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Roasted Carrot Soup

The weather here in central Indiana is supposed to hit the single digits here this week, so we are staying inside and cookin' up some soup to stay warm.  I love creamy vegetable soups, as they taste great, and I feel healthy eating them.  This is a recipe for a roasted carrot soup that has a subtle carrot taste along with some spices to give it that comfort food feel.  And, the orange color of the soup looks great in my purple soup mugs (don't you think?!?!)   
This recipe calls for 1 1/2 pounds of carrots and to help ease the process of peeling and cutting, I just bought two bags of the baby carrots so all I had to do was wash them, but you can buy full size carrots and peel and cut them yourself.

Friday, January 18, 2013

5 Tips for raising a long baby

MacchiOTTo is a big healthy baby.  Which is a good thing.. don't get me wrong I am not complaining one bit.  She was born weighing an average 7 pounds and some odd ounces and around 20 inches long.  Then she started to eat... and she likes to eat a lot.  And then she started to grow.....she started to grow a lot and before long we ended up with a bigger than average baby in the 99th percentile for her length. And again, I can't state enough, we love having a big, healthy baby.  But, due to her length we go through clothes and baby gear quickly.  I have learned a lot in the past few months about what to look for in products to get us by and maybe even save us a little money.  I am by no means an expert on the subject, but I haven't found too many resources to help parents with long baby's, so here are a few things I wanted to pass along in case you or someone you know also has a bigger than average baby.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

two recipes I made up as I went

It's not too often I go crazy in the kitchen. (Now that I've said that I realize that there are many interpretations of what defines crazy in a kitchen.)  And as most of you know in my kitchen I can, cook lamb, cook duck, bake way to many Christmas cookies which some people might consider all that to be crazy.  But crazy for me is flying with no recipe at all.  Crazy is looking through the pantry and freezer and grabbing things that you normally wouldn't throw together and trying to make something out of it.  Crazy is tasting while your cooking and adding a little more of this and a little more of that. 

So today I'm sharing my two crazy recipes that I cooked up for dinner (and named myself).  Apricot & Molasses Chicken in the crock pot and Italian Garden Okra.
First up Apricot & Molasses Chicken.  This marinade gave the chicken a moist sweet flavor.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Wintery Snow Themed Party with Hot Cocoa Bar

As I've mentioned before, I don't like the month of January. So to beat winter at it's own game, we've had three parties in three weeks and the last one was by far my favorite. It may be cold and dreary outside but we are celebrating warm and cozy inside.  This Wintery Snow Day party was our first time hosting a kid friendly party.  Since we now have our daughter MacchiOTTo the days of just having adults over are long gone and I've adapted my party planning to include kids.  That meant having activities for kids to do during the party and hiring a sitter to help entertain the kids in another room so the parents could converse.   This Wintery Snow Day Party had a hot cocoa bar and all the desserts were snow themed.  To see how I decorated my house for a winter wonderland click here.
So to start with I had blue snowflake table clothes, with matching plates, cups and napkins.  I used some blue snowflake lights and ornaments to decorate my tables. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Apricot Lamb Curry

I think sometimes the reason why people don't cook a lot with Lamb is that they don't know how to fix it, or think they have to do something fancy with them.  Lamb Chops sometimes taste the best when the recipe is the simplest.  Today I'm sharing an Apricot Lamb Curry recipe that you make in the crock pot.  The flavors of the curry and apricot give the lamb a nice spicy flavor, and you can put your ingredients in the crock pot in the morning and forget all about it till dinner time.   
Another reason I enjoy this recipe is that it calls for some wine, and nothing taste better than using wine in a recipe and then enjoying a glass of that same wine with your dinner.  I choose a Shiraz wine for this but I'm certain any dry red would work just fine.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Decorating for January

I've said for years that January is my least favorite month of the calendar.  Let's look at the fact that it is 31 days long.  It is in the dead of winter so it's cold and the daylight hours are still short.  You just get done with all the lights and excitement of Christmas and New Years and don't have anything fun to look forward to until Valentines Day.  So I am putting a stop to the dole drums of January and embracing the warm thoughts of snowy days and warm wintry nights.  I am decorating the house for January!!!

That's right... why should my house look bare just because the Christmas Tree and Ornaments are all back in their boxes?  Why can't lights and greenery still stay on my mantel? Pine Cones don't shout Christmas... they shout winter, so our house is decorated like a winter wonderland.  With snowflakes and snowmen and greenery throughout the house.  Come take a peak inside.

Friday, January 4, 2013

part 2 of my new phone review.

In my quest for a new cell phone I've spent the past month reviewing the Droid Razr Maxx HD.   Now as you'll recall I have had a Samsung Flip Phone for my personal cell phone, and realized as a busy mom on the go, that it's time for an upgrade and the folks at Verizon have graciously allowed me to try out their smart phones in order to pick out the one that's just right for me in return for a review of their phones on this blog. 

Even MacchiOTTo has a pink flip phone (toy) so I'm in good company, right?!?!  Atlas, while her phone makes ringing noises and talks to her in both English and Spanish the only additional thing that my phone can do is to actually make real phone calls.  So you can see where I need an upgrade. (Or MacchiOTTo will be more high tech than me.)