Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Jammies for James

My little guy James has sprouted these long legs this summer and I thought I'd treat him with some new pajamas. I'd previously made him pajamas 2 years ago and they will now get passed on to little brother Willem. James always has such a loving and wonderful response to my sewing that I just had to sew something for him again. He's always telling me, "Mommy that's so pretty," etc, etc. He's my little budding fashion maven. He actually had quite an opinion on Sunday night with the Emmy dresses, but I will get to that at the end.

I opted to make cotton knit pajamas this time, last time it was cotton flannelette. I used a pattern from the Burda magazine, Nov 2009 #143. It was the first full pattern from Burda magazine that I've made. I've previously just used components like sleeves to alter other patterns. The pattern was extremely simple, I actually just read through the instructions once and proceeded on my own. They have raglan sleeves and neckline, cuffs and waistbands are finished with tubular ribbing and top stitched with a twin needle. My problem with the pajamas was actually the fabric. I used a grey soft cotton jersey, but found that it was totally off-grain. So I had to get creative with the cutting layout to try to cut out on grain. Then the red ribbing I used just seemed to stretch like crazy and didn't shrink in with steam. So it didn't turn out as I hoped, but I've just looked at the pattern photo again and it seems that the ribbing on that was also very wide. I've learnt my lesson and will check stretch before I buy.

James loves it though, and I quote, "Ooooh mommy it's so soft and red's my favourite colour." These have been made a little big and will last a few years, I hope.

I'll also show you the previous Pj's, just because I can't believe how much my baby has grown.

Now on to my James' Emmy fashion critique:

His favourite: Lea Michele in Navy Oscar de la Renta

And he was no fan of January Jones' electric blue outfit, "That's crazy looking."

As for myself:

I wasn't a fan of January Jones' bed head hairstyle and well I wouldn't wear that dress.
I thought both Jane Lynch and Claire Danes get my vote for best dressed, because they both seemed comfortable, happy and positively radiant. Actually I liked most dresses, this was a good year with some stylish looks and very few people trying to make over the top fashion statements.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Cafe World Challenge Week 25

This week was the first since I started this challenge that I didn't have anything done for the challenge. I was going to possibly blog about another un-Cafe world-related meal or treat that I have photos of and stored as a future blog possibility, but I woke up and thought hell I'd better at least make one of the breakfast dishes. It would have been easy to make the pancakes as I have the recipe in my head, yes I make them often, but alas I didn't have buttermilk, so I made waffles. Now in hindsight it probably would have been faster to load the kids in the car and quickly pick up some buttermilk and I would've had pancakes on the table faster than these waffles took. I usually have a pancake/waffle mix in the cupboard for week day mornings or when I don't have buttermilk for my pancakes. But I can't really claim to have made waffles for the challenge if they came from a box. Serious cheating.

Things are even more chaotic now, as my husband is out of town and I had to still make my James' lunch for day camp and get them in the bath and dressed appropriately, oh and today was water day, so I had to find bathing suit and towel and what did you say today is show and tell. CHAOS!!!!

So I would not recommend making this recipe when you are rushed. It was just the first one google threw out at me when I woke up so I'm sure there are simpler Belgian Waffle recipes out there. Now when I am not rushed and have time to make a relaxing weekend breakfast for my family, I use a waffle recipe that adds 7-grain cereal or oatmeal to the basic, mmmm it gives a nice crunch and is a bit healthier.

Belgian Waffles

I used a recipe from Cooks.com.

The whipped cream topping is very yummy, but I found the actual recipe quite time consuming. Also the mix seemed very runny and buttery compared to waffles I'm used to. It tasted fine though and the boys were happy. Now when does the little one nap....I need a rest.

Next up: No idea, but I must get organised.

Progress: 48/76

Disclaimer: Image owned by Zynga. This site is not owned by Zynga. This site is not the owner of the intellectual property

Friday, August 20, 2010

Cafe World Challenge Week 24

I was pretty lazy this week and only made the one Cafe World dish and I cheated on that one too by using convenient ready made ingredients.

Fiery Fish Tacos

When my husband heard I was making fish tacos he wasn't happy...."Tacos have meat, meat or wait for it, meat." So whatever!!! My kids also whined a little when they heard the word fish. They haven't liked fish for a few weeks now and will only eat certain breaded box fish like fish sticks or my eldest loves smoked salmon. This doesn't stop me from making fish, as they can suck it up, eat one bite and focus on their veggies. The Cafe World version has seared tuna, but I figured I wouldn't fork out the cash for tuna steaks if it'll go to waste. So I made a compromise and used the boxed Tempura battered Haddock which my youngest actually likes. I saw many versions of fish tacos online and the idea of using coleslaw appealed to me, plus my kids will eat it if they don't like the rest. So I also cheated there and bought some coleslaw from the deli section. I also used avocado as a treat for myself. I LOVE Avos. So my version (cheats and all) looks like this:


1 package Taco shells - for convenience I love the Stand and Stuff variety (Genius!!!)
1 package of favourite frozen fish
Chili powder to taste
Creamy coleslaw from deli (or homemade)
Salsa (hotter if you want it fiery fish tacos)

Sprinkle some chili powder on fish, if desired. Cook the fish according to package instructions. Cut into bite-size pieces.
Cut Avos into little cubes.
To serve: spoon coleslaw into warmed taco shell and top with fish, avo and salsa.

Up Next: No idea...check back next Foodie Friday.

Progress: 47/76

Disclaimer: Image owned by Zynga. This site is not owned by Zynga. This site is not the owner of the intellectual property

Saturday, August 14, 2010

My Walk on the Wild Side

A number of bloggers made some lovely animal print jackets in the last few months and I was inspired. I didn't set out to specifically make an animal print jacket, I was looking for a print in black and brown shades and I didn't have enough of any one fabric in my black/brown print stash, so I went shopping. I found this fabric at my local Fabricland when they were having a Buy 1 get 2 metres free sale. I saw it, remembered how I loved everyone else's jackets and bought it. It is a 100% cotton woven with a heavier weight and has ridges/ribs running from selvage to selvage. I'm not sure what this weave would be called. See the photo below for a close up, maybe one of you readers could answer this for me.

I used a Burda Easy pattern 7789, which is probably out of print. It is unlined with a front zipper, elasticated hem, fold over cuff sleeves and flap front pockets.

It will work nicely for fall and winter weather and will be worn to jazz up my many basic black outfits and I was also thinking of doing a brown capsule as the search for fabric for this jacket brought my attention to a few brown fabrics I want to use from my stash. Also looking at the photo below with the jacket on the dress form, I think I really like the combo with red.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cafe World Challenge Week 23

This week was a one pan dish of awesomeness (yes I know that's not a word). I made Paella, but with a twist.

Seafood Paella

I've been watching the Martha Stewart show archives on the Internet. The shows are broken onto the segments, it's great because I can watch the segments that interest me and skip the others. I found her show on her South African visit interesting and she made one of my South African favourites, Bobotie, I suppose I should make it and post the recipe sometime. Martha's version is a bit different to mine though. Okay so I digressed a little, in my wanderings and watchings on her site I came across the video and recipe for Mexican Paella (click the photo for the video).

The Mexican elements are the poblano pepper, fire roasted canned tomato and Mexican chorizo sausage. The traditional Spanish version would have dry cured chorizo sausage and saffron. I had difficulty finding poblano pepper and fire roasted canned tomato, so instead I used canned chipotle peppers with some of the sauce washed off and regular canned tomatoes. The chipotle peppers added a bit more heat than the milder poblanos would have, but they gave the smoky fire-roasted taste. I could also not find Mexican chorizo, so I used regular Spanish dry chorizo. I used large green New Zealand mussels and they were great too. Oh and I didn't want to buy a whole bottle of tequila for just two tablespoons, so that didn't go in either, and NO I wouldn't drink the rest, my tequila days are long gone.

The resulting fusion of flavour was perfect......give it a try!!!!

Up next: I thought I'd put together some Fish Tacos.

Progress: 46/76

Disclaimer: Image owned by Zynga. This site is not owned by Zynga. This site is not the owner of the intellectual property

Friday, August 6, 2010

Cafe World Challenge Week 22

I planned the three dishes and made the three, one was a complete disaster and the other two were very successful. I finally got to free up some space in my fridge and cooked up the corned beef and I made the donuts (UGH!!!!!) and a healthy delicious fruit salad.

Corned Beef

This dish is broken down into two parts, the corning process and then the actual cooking of the corned beef. If you buy a corned beef, just skip to the cooking recipe.

I left my beef brisket in the salt and spice solution for three weeks, I did a bit of research before I started and I found that most people found that the longer recipes produced a spicier and better tasting corned beef. There were recipes that got the job done in 3 days, so it could be done, but I wanted more spice.

I also didn't use any preservative or pink curing salt. My research seemed to suggest that it could be omitted, but I'd be left with a brown corned beef instead of the pink colour you usually associate with it. I looked and couldn't find these ingredients so I skipped them, I was after taste more than colour.

I used this recipe for Homemade Corned Beef, except I left out the saltpeter and only made one beef brisket. I put everything in my crock pot with its lid, just remember not to use a metal container as the salt solution will be pretty corrosive.

I waited three weeks, with a stinky fridge....those garlic clove did their job.

Now on to the cooking. Remove the brisket from the brine and thoroughly rinse it with cold water. I researched the spice combinations used to cook corned beef and came up with my own mix using the spices I liked and I had in my collection, it turned out really well.

Corned Beef recipe

1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 small cinnamon stick broken up
3 bay leaves crumbled
1 tsp whole cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
3 tsp salt
Corned beef

Place corned beef in a large pot and cover with water I used two litres. I'd reduce the salt if you use any less water. Add all the spices. Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer gently for about 3 hours. Replenish the water if it gets low during cooking. Remove from liquid and serve as desired.

Yesterday was really hot and after the heat of the cooking all day, I opted to make sandwiches with the beef. I used thick slices of dark rye and served it with pickles and horseradish sauce. I really wanted to make a bit of a east meets west fusion using wasabi paste, soy sauce and mayo instead of the horseradish, but unfortunately I went to the wrong store yesterday and they didn't carry wasabi....that teaches me to not stray from the best. (Have a mentioned I love Presidents Choice stores, they would always have my wasabi)

I have leftover corned beef, so I might just serve it up with some veggies tonight.

Super Chunk Fruit Salad

I gave my family strict instructions to leave me some fruit and I was able to put together an awesome fruit salad. Now my kids don't want just fruit, they want the fruit salad again. My eldest even suggested that he would not eat any fruit for a day and he'd help me get more so we could make it together. Sweet kid.

So there's nothing to it, I just chopped up some fruit and mixed it all together, no added sugar or syrups, just plain healthy fruit.

I used: Oranges, peaches, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi fruit and apples

Jammin Jelly Donuts

Let me start by saying, "I DON'T DO DEEP FRIED." I've never liked it and don't have the right equipment for it and don't plan to get it either. So this was really the wrong recipe for me. My donuts came out too browned and weren't cooked through, I suppose I don't fault the recipe, just this cook isn't meant to make them. I'm also rather particular about donuts and don't usually eat them. When I was in elementary school, they'd have donuts days and would make awesome donuts. I hadn't eaten donuts in many years and then found them everywhere here in North America. I don't really like most donuts here, they are too sweet or sticky and leave a weird greasy/waxy taste in my mouth. So I pretty much avoid them.

Anyway, I crossed them off the list as I'm not going to attempt them again. You can see in the photo below that they don't look too great and were destined for the garbage.

Cafe World Cookbook Additions

Two more additions this week, in the vampire theme: Blood Sausage and in the Hippie theme: Pita and Dolmas

Next Up: I've been watching Martha Stewart show archives on her website and found a great Paella recipe.

Progress: 45/76

Disclaimer: Image owned by Zynga. This site is not owned by Zynga. This site is not the owner of the intellectual property