We are the world's worst fabri - holics. We cannot resist buying fabric even though we already have enough to supply a fabric store for years. We are currently interviewing therapists to help us with this problem but we really need someone who understands and enables us. Want to apply for the job?
I was so excited when a friend of mine had a baby girl! Perfect, i thought, i can make her some bloomers and get some young mom feedback! My children (and Karen's), are way past the stage when we could even possibly think of sewing them anything they would ever wear! So now we must pray upon the unsuspecting new generation of moms! we love making the bloomers because they are (a) fast! (b) fun to do and (c) something new we can add to our line. The recipient of the bloomers i made wrote back to me and said she especially liked the little ruffles at bottom of the pants. What girl doesn't love ruffles! Anyway, we got the pattern for these darling pants at sewmamasew.com, (one of my new favorite sites for patterns). Check this site out because they have tons of very cute and very different patterns than you see in the standard pattern books.
I really love these abstract paintings by Linda Monfort. The colors are truly amazing and the shapes are bold and beautiful. This one is a particular favorite of mine. She also paints florals and landscapes. She paints with acylics on canvas which gives them added texture and depth. I actually prefer acylics on stretched canvas to remain unframed because sometimes I think the frame can detract from the painting. Since you can request having the sides of her paintings finished, you do not even need a frame. Her pricing is very reasonable for original fine art of this size and quality. Check out her shop!
I made my famous sourdough waffles this morning for breakfast and against orders from my bathroom scale, I ate one. Topped with a stick (ok, maybe a slice) of butter, and 100% maple syrup. OMG it was GOOD! Once you have had a sourdough waffle, the regular ones just aren't up to snuff. You have to make the starter first. Okay, I am going to give you the recipe that your family will never let you forget! (Mine never has - my starter went bad a few years ago and I kept getting the whining and the puppy dog looks until I started a new starter). The starter recipe is as follows: 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons granulated sugar (optional) 1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) of active-dry yeast 2 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.) I got this from this website http://whatscookingamerica.net/Bread/SourdoughStarter.htm Just a note - you need to use bottled water. Mix the ingredients in a glass or ceramic bowl (not metal) with a wooden spoon. Cover the container with a dish cloth and let it sit in a warm (70 to 80 degrees F.), draft-free place. NOTE: Temperatures hotter than 100 degrees F. or so will kill the yeast.
The dish cloth will let wild yeasts pass through into the batter. The mixture should bubble as it ferments (this will foam up quite a bit.
Let it sit out from 2 to 5 days, stirring it once a day. The starter is ready when it develops a pleasant sour smell and looks bubbly.
The night before you want your waffles (do this every time): Add 1 cup flour and 1 cup warm water to the starter to activate the batter.
The next morning: Before you add any of the following ingredients, take about a cup of batter out of the mix and store it in a glass container (I use an old, sterilized pasta sauce jar) and put it in the fridge. This will be your starter for next time.
Add to the remaining batter: 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp baking powder 1 - 2 tablespoons sour cream (if you don't have this, you can add 1 T milk) 1 egg 1 T sugar 1 T melted butter
Mix this up with your wooden spoon and poor it into a waffle iron! If you prefer pancakes, you might want to thin the batter a little with milk or butter ;). Enjoy!
Tuesday was Tina's birthday. I took her out to dinner last night to celebrate but first I took her to our own private Disneyland - the fabric store. We went to Patches, which is a little fabric store that specializes in quilting fabrics and is run by a really nice woman named Jennie. Patches used to be quite close to us but Jennie moved the store to a new location that Tina had never visited. I went there to check it out and get her a gift certificate on Monday. I didn't tell Tina where I was taking her but she sort of guessed when we drove up. The only problem was NO PARKING! I hate that! There was a total of 4 (count 'em 4) parking spaces and they were all taken. In fact someone had parked across the back of three of the other cars - I guess they got frustrated with the lack of parking too. Anyway, we ended up parking across the aisle in the camera shop parking and slinking back to the fabric store. You would think we would get tired of looking at bolts and bolts of fabric but it never seems to get old! I think Tina had fun. We love Joanns because you can get decent fabric at good prices (when they have sales) but there is nothing quite like the quality of the fabric at Patches. Fun day! And we topped off the healthy salads we had at dinner with a flourless chocolate cake!
What you say? Heart Healthy Fried Chicken??? Yes, I altered my favorite fried chicken recipe to make a heart healthy version. You will need Low Fat Bisquick, Pam (or some other cooking spray), a whole chicken, cut up and skinned, salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder.
2 cups low fat bisquick 1tsp (or more) paprika 1 tsp garlic powder salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 and spray cooking spray on the bottom and sides of a 13 X 9 inch pan. Mix the above ingredients in a large bowl. Rinse and (if you haven't already) skin the chicken. Dip the chicken in the bisquick mixture and place in the pan. Bake (it really does taste fried, trust me) for 35 minutes on one side then turn over and continue baking for another 15 minutes. Enjoy! I promise you won't miss the oil/butter or the skin on the chicken.
The featured etsy blogger this month is tiltcreations. She makes handmade bags and accessories. They are each beautiful creations. I especially love this clutch in red and black. Perfect for that Valentine's Day dinner with the significant other in your life. I also like the Mollie Clutch in Green Skulls. I have to admit, I didn't see the skulls at first until I looked more closely at the wonderful workmanship. I just loved the fabulous green color. And it is a bargain at $25.00 too!
Okay, this recipe should really be made only with tomatoes from the tomato stand by the side of the road. You know, the one you pass because you can buy tomatoes at the grocery store. DO NOT PASS THE TOMATO STAND! Because, I am sorry to Ralphs, Vons, Albertsons, Gelson's and even Trader Joes - your tomatoes do not compare! But, unfortunately for me, I have to wait until June for my stand to open up again. So I do make this recipe with tomatoes from "the other stores" during this time of the year. First off, you need about 6 - 8 tomatoes and you slice them thinly and put them on paper towels to get all the liquid out of them. Put the paper towels on top of as well as below the tomatoes and change them a couple of times to get all the liquid out. You will need frozen puff pastry, fresh (if you can get it at the stand, do) basil (you can use dried but fresh is better), powdered garlic, salt, white pepper, shredded jack cheese, grated parmesan cheese (the kind that is finely grated - you can get it at Trader Joes or you can use the Kraft kind) and olive oil. I am not giving you amounts because it is one of those things you have to do by looking at it. DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED - you cannot fail at this recipe! Okay, so get a 10 inch pie plate (I know you have one, even if you never use it!) and spray it with cooking spray. Roll out the puff pastry as the package directs and put it in the pie plate, trimming the edges and making holes in the bottom so the crust doesn't shrink. Layer the tomatoes two layers thick, then sprinkle with a SMALL amount of salt, TONS of garlic, EVEN MORE basil and a little white pepper. Then repeat until the pie plate is full. In a bowl, mix about 8 ounces shredded jack cheese, and about the same amount of grated parmesan. Moisten it with olive oil until it sticks together in your hand when you close your fist. My original recipe called for mayonaise (and you can use it if you want to) but I changed it for a more heart healthy recipe (aren't you impressed?) Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until the top bubbles and the bottom is brown. You can also use a frozen pie crust if you prefer but there is something so buttery and good about puff pastry! Enjoy!
Jon is really into fishing now. In fact, we took a trip to the Bass Pro Shop in Rancho Cucamonga (yes there really is a place named Rancho Cucamonga). Jon calls it Disneyland for rednecks. And it is, no lie. There are stuffed dead moose (mooses? moosi? meese? whatever the plural is), a river runs through it (wait, wasn't that a movie with Brad Pitt??), and there is a waterfall (seriously?). The place is totally awe inspiring. And it has every camping/fishing/hunting/outdoors item you would never know you need. And more important - fudge! Anyways, I bought him a new fishing rod for his birthday and he wanted to try it out at my dad's house in Laguna Beach. My dad (who used to fish alot) told him to go at high tide (mistake #1). Jon decided to wear shorts and not bring a jacket (mistake #2). Don't worry, it gets worse. They went to Fisherman's Cove which has a rock ledge on one side which, when hit by the waves makes this huge wall of water (can you see where this is going?). Anyway, poor Jon was fishing by himself (he is 14, and taller than my 19 year old) while I took my dad back to the house (the high tide was hard on his back because of the wave action) and I was just coming back down the steps when the tsunami hit him and swept away his new tackle box, shoes, chair, phone (yes he brought it - mistake #3), bucket, etc. Not to worry, we got back everything but one shoe. I think I saw it floating on the water off the island of Catalina :). Jon was drenched and we tried resusitating the phone (which was new at Christmas) but it was declared dead on arrival. The Titanic has nothing on the Arroyo family! Oh, and just to top things off, Jon has a cold now.
We met each other when our boys were in elementary school and discovered that we both had an insane addiction to fabric! As years went by and the material mounted, we decided to put our sewing skills and abundance of material to work and we started making reversible market totes. This has now expanded to children's clothing, aprons and hats. Karen has also now expanded to creating greeting cards from her personal artwork, which is amazing.