Sunday, July 31, 2011

Design for Shabby Apple

Here it is!! My entry for the Shabby Apple Dresses contest for their Spring 2012 collection. It's had a lot of tweaking over the last couple of weeks, but I'm really happy with it.
I'm making it out of high quality woven cotton because I like how easy it is to wash and is pretty wrinkle resistant.

It will have hidden side pockets and a back zipper. The button down front is faux and I just realized that I left off the 4th button. The sleeves will also be button closure, but they will be adjustable. The top of the dress is being done in a dark gray or black and the skirt in a print that compliments. I have a yellow and grey toned print to go with the grey and for the black I am using a floral print.
I like the ideas of the paper-bag skirts and just made it longer.

So, who says a house wife can't look like Audrey Hepburn?

The entry deadline is the 15th and the top 15 designs will be available for voting on. Please, please, please!! vote for me!! If all this does is teach me more about my work than it has been worth it.

My thanks to all :)
 ~ Claire ~

Sunday, July 24, 2011

More Cooking…

I promise that I do more than just spend all of my time in the kitchen! I've got some really great stuff to share with you about my sewing, but not right now… sorry.

We had a luncheon after church today and I made this Free-Form Blueberry Tart verbatim as well as gluten and egg free because of some of the food allergies at my church. I also made a gluten/egg free apple one as well. I just used two apples, one of which was peeled, and left out the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. 
I didn't have any candied ginger so in one crust I used ground ginger, in another cinnamon, and in the other coarsely ground nutmeg. They were ALL delicious!! Yes, I tried them all ;)

I of course didn't think until after they were finished to photo journal the process, so here's the one I pulled from the Food and Wine® website:

p.s. Mine looked just about as good as this one ;)

~ Claire ~

- - - 

Free-Form Blueberry Tart

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for sprinkling
1 tablespoon minced candied ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon ice water
1/4 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups blueberries
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 egg white, beaten

PREPARE THE PASTRY In a food processor, combine the 1 1/2 cups of flour with the candied ginger and salt and pulse to mix. Add the butter and pulse until it is the size of small peas. Sprinkle on the ice water and pulse just until the pastry starts to come together. Turn the pastry out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat it into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours, or until firm.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry to a 14-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. Fold the pastry in half and transfer it to the prepared baking sheet. Unfold the pastry and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

MAKE THE FILLING Preheat the oven to 375°. In a large bowl, mix the 1/4 cup of sugar with the lemon zest and flour. Fold in the blueberries and lemon juice and let stand for 15 minutes.Spoon the blueberries in the center of the pastry, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border all around. Fold the pastry border up and over the blueberries, pleating it as necessary. Brush the egg white on the pastry and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for about 55 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and the filling starts to bubble. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and let the tart cool to warm. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

Friday, July 22, 2011

I've been cooking again…

I've been sewing too, and I finally got my new camera! However, finally in this case has nothing to do with a delay on the part of the camera company, just a delay in the purchaser making her mind up about which one she wanted ;) 
I keep forgetting to take pictures of stuff while I'm doing it though, so I have a stack of things that I need to photograph.

- - - 

Alfredo Casserole.

I made a Chicken Alfredo Casserole with fresh spinach for a luncheon last week and was really pleased with the results.

For a single batch, which will feed 5-6 people: Cook about ¾ of a pound of thick Italian pasta until el-dente so that it wouldn’t be too chewy. If you have a Costco membership, I used the 1 1/2” tube pasta that comes in a multi pack, but just about any thick pasta will work.

Cook 1 to 1-1/2 pounds of ground chicken with some Italian seasoning and added a little pepper, but not salt because the sauce has quite a bit in it.

½ a bag of fresh baby spinach, torn in half.

To make the sauce:

Melt 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter in a medium saucepan over medium low heat.
Add 2 cups of heavy cream and simmer for 5 minutes.
Stir in a pinch or two of grated nutmeg, 1-½ tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp fresh-ground black pepper.
Add 1 clove of minced garlic and 1-½ cups grated Parmesan cheese and whisk quickly.

To assemble the casserole just mixed everything together in the baking dish.

Cover with tented foil if your dish does not have a baking lid and bake for about 45 minutes at 350˚F.

» I made this up ahead of time and froze it. If you do this just make it longer, for like an hour and a half but at the same temperature.

It’s done when the edges are bubbly.

You could top this with breadcrumbs or cheese if you wanted.

I made a triple batch and it served about 16 people, so I think the next time I make it I’ll still make the triple batch (same work basically) and freeze it in pie plates or small 8x8 casserole dishes to save some work later on.

~ Claire ~

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Anyone heard of Shabby Apple?

Well, if you haven't, now is the time to do so… because I am entering a design contest and will need lots of help with votes! Shabby Apple and I have pretty much the same mission in our clothing, and I'm hoping to get in on the 3% royalties!  The winner of this contest will have their piece (dress, shirt or skirt) featured as part of the 2012 Spring Collection :)

I have one design finished, but have to work out a couple of kinks and another as a preliminary sketch. Unfortunately my two completed designs are not enterable because they are my version of some of their existing pieces, but it's been fun working on new pieces and in fabrics that I've not used before.
So in a week or two check back and see what I've been working on. The contest will be open for voting from August 17 until September 10 and I will of course have a link on both my blog and my facebook so that you can check out all of the cool stuff that will be on the ballot.

On the camera end of things… it's not back yet. I finally got an update from the repair shop and it is supposed to be in by the end of next week.

Thank you all for your support of my endeavors. God sure knows what he is doing when he surround us with people who are pursuing Him.
~ Claire ~