Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sometimes cleaning out the refrigerator makes the best soup!

Cleaning out the refrigerator

Yesterday I needed to use up some veggies in the refrigerator and was feeling creative so I didn't just steam or roast them, I made some really yummy soup! It may be considered a stew based on it's consistency, bit it could the consistency could easily be changed by adding more milk and water. I think it would be good with just about any meat or poultry, and I plan to try it with white fish soon.

Basic info that might be helpful:
Serves 3-4
Takes about 35 minutes from start to finish, which makes it great for a quick dinner when you're getting home late from work!

What went it: 
- Cauliflower (2 cups - bite sized pieces)
- Brussels Sprouts (3 cups - sliced in half with the outer leaves removed)
- Flank Steak (about 1 pound - cubed into bite sized pieces)
- Beef Stock (1/2 cup)
- Asiago Cheese (1/2 cup - fresh - shredded)
- Parmesan Cheese (1/2 cup fresh - grated)
- Milk (about 3 cups)
- Cream (1 1/2 cups)
- Butter (2-3 Tablespoons)
- Garlic (1-2 cloves - crushed or minced)
- Cilantro (1 - 1 1/2 Tablespoons - fresh - chopped)
- Rosemary (1 Tablespoon - fresh - chopped)
- Pepper (1-2 teaspoons)
- Salt (1 - 1 1/2 teaspoons)
- Water (to cover)

What to do:
Pan brown the meat in a sauce pan and add the garlic when it's almost done.
Add the veggies, beef stock, salt and pepper and enough water to just cover everything. Bring to a simmer, cooking until the veggies are pierce-able, but still a little hard in the middle.
Add the rest of the ingredients and bring back to a simmer - or a boil if you're in a hurry! 

It's so tasty and fast and I had it with a mixed greens salad with Kalamata olives, fresh parmesan, alfalfa sprouts and a greek vinaigrette dressing. It may sound like a weird combination, but the flavors of the soup are so bold that it needed something that wouldn't get overpowered to go with it and it was really tasty. 

Bon Appetite!

~ Claire 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Flower Power Apron

I just couldn't resist sharing these with you! I was able to go to my Sister's last weekend and had a wonderful visit… once I got through the blizzard on the way up there.
I have been making headway on my much belated Christmas presents to my nieces and nephews and here are a few pictures of Hope with her apron. 

The kids were all excited to see her apron having seen a few of the ones that the other kids received. She had a birthday recently and it was a little embarrassing for me as one or two of her siblings said it was a birthday present…


She was (and IS) SO CUTE!! She has such kissable cheeks that only become more precious when she flashes one of her Billion Dollar Smiles. (Yes, I know that the saying is "Million", but I'm a little partial).

~ Claire 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Christmas in February!

Oh, what a day this has been! I managed to sleep in an extra two hours, rushed to get everything done that I needed to and had the pleasant surprise of finding my wonderful sister at home when I returned. One of my errands was to the fabric store (a favorite for me) where at the register it was discovered that the wonderful lady who had cut my fabric for me had accidentally hit the "0" instead of the "." key! This consequently brought the logged yardage of one fabric to 105yds instead of 1.5yds. We had enjoyed a pleasant conversation and it was not until I was at the register that the mistake was realized as I knew that my total was to be MUCH less that the $1189.43 that initially rung up. We all had a good laugh at it and I went on my merry way, after, of course, the problem was fixed ;)

Speaking of "merry", my Christmas presents to my nephews and nieces this year were… a bit elaborate and I cannot yet claim to have finished more than half. Point aside however I made/am making aprons and backpacks for all 13 of my wonderful relatives! This charming apron is the one I made for my 4 year old niece Hope. It will probably take her a good 4 years to grow into it enough that we can let the hem down (I have pictured it here before the hem was taken up to get the full effect), but that was part of the plan, that they will be able to wear them for years to come. I used 100% cotton for everything, and (much to my sister's delight I am sure) pre-washed everything so that there will be no shrinking or bleeding of the fabrics into one another. 

I used a light canvas material for the backing to give it more stability and the strap, or strings, run through  tubes that I sewed in along the arm holes so that it is fully adjustable. ( Maybe I should have given my sister a large crochet hook for when they are pulled too far… ) 
For the pocket I used a double layer of matching material and trimmed it with ribbed ribbon and buttons.
I also did the same for the flower embellishment on the chest.
I will be spending the weekend with them and can't wait to see her beautiful face light up when she opens it! 

I have 5 others completed and one of these days I might put up pictures of all of them. Two of my nephews are Michigan State fans so I made them Spartan's aprons!!


An update on my Summer Sunshine clothing. I am happy to announce that I have nearly finished the first piece and have a few more that are ready to jump from my sketch book to Dorcas! Now, for those of you who are wondering "Who is Dorcas?" as I previously mentioned that I do not name my sewing machines, Dorcas is my Dress-Maker's "Doll" and she was a gift from my parents several years ago when I was sewing for the first wedding that I did. She is pictured above in the first photo.