Gogol Bordello

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sausage gravy baby

So the kids and I make biscuits all the time. Its something so easy that they can do from start to finish (they still don't taste as good as mine cause they don't yet understand the magic of not overworking the dough...) and they love to snack on them with breakfast or dinner.

Being its winter and all I wanted something substantial to go with the biscuits and decided to try my hand at sausage gravy. Its been since I was a kid really that I have had it but its so basic you don't even need an actual recipe.

Take ground country style sausage (ground sausage with rosemary, salt ect) and break it into small pieces. Brown in deep skillet
Take separate liquid measure and whip some flour into milk. Keep adding to browned sausage till at the consistency you want. You add flour to milk separately and whisk to prevent lumps.

While sausage is browning, follow your favorite biscuit recipe. Top with gravy and snarf.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Holiday extravaganza.

Here is a smattering of various posts all related to the Thanksgiving and winter holidays. (Pictures to follow later, too lazy, spending time with chilluns)

Things I made to eat this year:
Homemade stuffing
Cranberry sauce
Turkey
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Homemade stuffing, no recipe just wing it but guidelines to follow:
One round of rosemary bread, Trader Joe's is pretty good
One loaf of pugliese, Traders Joe's has this too
one fennel bulb
two to four eggs
one large onion of your choice
broth of your choice
butter

cube the bread, dry in oven, place in bowl.
cut up onion and fennel and saute in butta
add beaten eggs and broth together
combine all ingredients in a large roasting pan, add as much butter as you want and roast at 350 till you achieve the desired doneness. Some likes it crispy some likes it soft.
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Cranberry sauce that beats the pants off of the canned stuff.
2/3 cup water
2/3 cup sugar, the real stuff I used organic cane
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, a dash of ground cloves and a few dashes of nutmeg (gives it a bit of heat and smells great)
1 bag of whole cranberries.
Boil the water and sugar, stir, lower heat
add berries and other spices.
wait till berries burst. I take a sieve and fork to mash them down because I don't enjoy chunks in my food.
Simmer for a few minutes more, bottle or place in final dish. Sauce will thicken once cooled.
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turkey
one turkey, size depends on how many you are serving.
sea salt
fennel bulb with fronds
large onion
garlic
olive oil

preheat oven to 350 (if you have HOURS for roasting otherwise 450...)
chunk up fennel, onion and mash hole head of garlic.
take out gizzards/neck etc, replace with onion, fennel and garlic
rub the outer skin with olive oil, massage that baby then add sea salt, rub that in for crunchier crispy skin, yum.
Convection roast or just roast for hours, till juices run clean and the internal temp is what it should be. I don't check temp, I just slit the turkey and look at the color and texture of the meat to determine its done-ness.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hooch update.

Remember the blackberry hooch? Weeeel, we could have had a great class on the science of propulsion yesterday when I decided to open it. Luckily I was smart enough to place it in the sink and point it away from my face but regardless, a huge explosion ensued creating a splatter of red gooshy blackberry matter for a 5 mile radius.

I got some of the lovely stuff in my eyes and proceeded to run for the bathroom to flush it out. Turns out alcohol in your eyes doesnt fee good. Needless to say the loud sound and subsequent screams on top of the kitchen being sprayed in a gooey red, gore like substance didnt give the husband and kids a warm and fuzzy. They thought I had lost my eyes and rushed around out of concern for my ocular membranes.

Fun time I tells ya.

For those that want to know how it turned out: I was left with a quarter of the bottle in tact and it tastes like a sweet vodka and smells like a lambique. Back into the cupboard it goes till the sugars are fully digested.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Christmas crafts

So this year its small salves, soaps, eye packs, bath salts and coasters. I will post them as I make them,

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pumpkin puddin the lazy way, oh yeah!




So I love me some pumpkin pie, problem is, no one else in the house does. That and I end up eating the whole thing and feel like a fat gluttonous monster. So I decided to hell with it. I'm not making a pie that will end up making me feel guilty with every sweet delicious bite. So I made a lower fat alternative.

Take one pie pumpkin.
Cut it in half, gut it and place it in the microwave upside down in a bowl of water for 10 plus minutes or however long it takes to steam it.
Mash it with a fork in a deep glass dish, add splenda or whatever sweetener you have. I used a combo of splenda and brown sugar
throw in there about 3 shakes of ground  nutmeg, 1 shake of ground clove and a teaspoon of cinnamon and oh yes, a pat or two of butter. Mash it all together.
In a separate bowl whisk  three eggs together with about 1/4 milk. Beat till smooth. Add to pumpkin and fold together.
Cover the top of the dish with a plate to allow for the venting of steam. Place in the microwave for about 8 minutes.
Behold, you have a creamy thick pumpkin custard sans pie crust.
YUM!

For the womenz.

This post is for the ladies so Men, no offense but I don't think you'll find it very interesting.

So I had been thinking about homemade stuff and how much of a throw away society we have and decided to give something a try. When Zoey was in diapers, we did the cloth service for most of the time but eventually went to disposables because of costs and time. We took the lazy way out. I started thinking about the many reasons why cloth is better than plastic, environmental and personal health reasons of course came to mind. Then I realized how much of a hypocrite I am since I myself use disposable items for "that time of the month". Taking matters into my own hands (and looking at Etsy for inspiration) I made my own.

I found them to be WAY more comfortable than the plastic/paper disposable kinds and way more reliable. Since I made mine out of flannel with a denim core, they are way more absorbent and with the button winged closure they don't shift like I thought they would. Maneuvering at home with them is just fine (oxyclean takes stains right out) but having to change them in public creates preparation issues but any Mom out there that's done clothe diapers for kids knows how to manage. 

So there it is, no waste, I got to use fabric I already had so no additional output of money (other than 5 bucks for snaps), they look much cooler than store bought and my netheregions thank me for not forcing irritating chrorinated goodness onto them.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Comfort foods.

So the onslaught of chillier weather and sudden dampness in the air has made me A) want to hibernate and B)  want to eat all the stuff that is bad for me. Mm rich creamy fatness.

We have a few more weeks with out CSA getting delicious fresh local produce and I wanted to take the time this fall to really start getting into food stuff that I have either not done in awhile or not done at all. In order to prepare for another long dreary rainy season, I decided to stock the pantry with as much healthy shelf stable food stuffs as I could afford in one trip to the store.

Some of the things I picked up to help get me through the winter:

Tons of dried beans. (pinto, navy, black etc)
A huge pack of bacon ends and pieces (freezer)
Soup stocks, chicken beef etc
Gluten free Udis bread (only cause it was onsale and can live in the freezer)
freezer jars
pastas
pasta sauces (cause if I dont have access to real tomatoes and have to rely on store bought....I'm gonna eat the Newmans own instead of attempting anything else with those cardboard spheres playing tomatoes.)
and the list goes on.

First thing was first, beans and bacon.

My Mom used to make beans and ham-hocks but I fiind ham-hocks to be a waste of time. Little of the ugly buggers are actually edible and frankly, they take too long. This is why I decided to go with the bacon ends and pieces. For those that have never bought ends and pieces, I suggest you do. I found TONS of thick slabs of bacon meat that separated from the fat easily. It was almost like a bacon meat steak without the fat in places. Beats ham-hocks hand down.

I made a base with 7 large tomatoes (best if you get homegrown, took longer and didn't taste as good with store bought) and chicken stock. I soaked the white beans overnight. The next steps were super easy. I put the stock and the beans on low in the crock pot. Came back 8 hours later and added the bacon ends/pieces, carrots and onions. Another 2 hours later I had creamy rich awesometastic winterific beans. They freeze well too so I can enjoy them later on.

The second project was more complicated, only in time. I decided to make cheese. Not the really excellent cultured kind, just sort of the white creamy spreadable kind. The recipe is as follows:

1 gallon of whole milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
chives or other herbs of choice.

Soft boil milk in large saucepan stirring constantly. This may take 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Drizzle in juice, stirring till curds separate from the whey. Let stand for 15 minutes. Set curds in large cheese cloth line colander and let drain. Rinse curds with lukewarm water. Gather up cloth and squeeze. Put cloth bound curds in nice bundle at bottom of colander (make sure it has a place to drain to) add plate with weight on top and let drain for 45 minutes min. Take curds, place into bowl and add salt/herbs. Knead till smooth or put in mixer using dough hook. Roll into a log and chill for 2 hours. Makes 16 ounces and goes great with sliced ripe tomatoes, olive oil and basil.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cosby Sweater





This post to Threadbanger is sew awesome that I decided to do an homage to the Cosby Sweater. Enjoy.




Friday, September 23, 2011

Harnessing the inner patchwork hippy.

I have been experimenting with applique lately. I'm not too skilled at it yet but posted are two recent projects. One is a tote bag and the other is a pair of modified wide leg trousers that I picked up at the G will.

The tote bag was a stencil job gone really really bad that needed covered and the trousers were inspired by the book "Applique Your Way" by Kayte Terry.

I also found these cute applique undies as posted on whipstich that I just haven't had time to make yet.

although I need to tighten my applique skillz, I do find it an easy way to update or to personalize something that you already have.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Blackberry goodness.

After blackberry picking Apocalypse 2011 yesterday, I decided to use half for jam and the other for some sort of modified hooch. Had I had actual alcohol in the house, I would have made a fast cordial but alas, I am lame.

I loosely followed the directions for jam  inside of the box of fruit pectin (always the lower sugar type) and made a few jars of sticky glorious blackberry jam. With the left over berry mash I added about two cups of water and a ton of sugar. Boiled it a bit then put it into a reused glass bottle with a hermetic cap on it. ...then I thought...hmmm doesn't hooch need yeast? I took a cup of apple juice (100%) with a teaspoon of yeast and dissolved it together in a pan then added it to the bottle.

For fear of explosion I uncapped it and put a loose cover over the top to allow gas escape-age then placed it in a cool cupboard all high and dry and safe. Smells ok but I'm pretty scared as to how it will turn out. In two weeks I will strain it and re-cap it, allowing it to further ferment for a few months.

If I go blind, I am sure you will understand.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bantha complete!


It looks like a big sheep but the kids like to climb on it and pretend to be Tusken Raiders.

Monday, August 15, 2011

up next...


When I have the time to finish it I will post pictures of the cuddly bantha that we (the kids and I) made as inspired by the Star Wars Craft book.

This book is awesome and a must for both crafter nerds and Star Wars nerds....

ah nerds .

Food....food, OMG.....Food.




So I have said it before but I am thankful that we can afford to be members of a CSA. We get awesome boxes of fresh organic veggies from the spectacular farm down the road, Kirsop.

Today I made fennel slaw, potato salad and chicken veggie stir fry.

Fennel slaw from Kirsop Farms Newsletter
2 tbs cider vinegar
3 tbs olive oil
1 tbs sugar
2.5 tbs lemon juice
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1/4 cup celery leaves
2 fennel bulbs thinly sliced
1 tbs fennel fronds
1 crisp firm apple Julienne.
Combine, enjoy.

Potato salad
eyeball it.....boiled potato's minus skins (two hands worth works). Diced onions, a couple hard boiled eggs, MAYO!!! a small, I mean, small bit o mustard (like less than 1tsp) and salt and peppa. YUM!


Chicken veggie stir fry
one sliced long squash
three chicken breasts marinated in apple juice and cut into bite sized pieces
onion
broccoli (she's choppin Broccoli! Shes choppin Broccoli! Shes choppin brocoli-he-he-he he)
carrots slices
Cook it up adding hardy veggies once chicken is cooked. Right before taking off heat, add softer veggies.
For lunch I tried a newer product, Kale Chips all done up by Rhythm Foods. Not only is it a raw food but its organic, vegan and tasty. They arent as good as my homemade ones (tossed with olive oil and salt and baked at 350 till crisp) but for food on the go, they are pretty darn good.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Another crafty lady that I like.

I am lazy and havent had time to post anything of substance so, till I have time, here is another link to a lady that I think is very talented. I am currently reading her book "Handmade Home."

Monday, August 1, 2011

Nut butter....


Ha ha.
Today we are talking about almond butter. Almonds are supposed to be the one nut that my Husband isn't allergic to. After exorcising the house of the dreaded peanut butter I started to take more of an interest in its tastier cousin, almond.

I found that I liked the more natural types, the ones that didnt use shortening for example to make a creamy texture. I liked the Blue Diamond brand but decided that it was too expensive and really...did I need to eat more palm oil? I thought to myself, why would someone add a oil to an already oily nut....after making my own I understood.

Choosing to use almond oil for almond butter I found it was super easy to make and so tasty too. All I do is blend a handful of raw almonds and add enough almond oil to get the creamy texture that I like. I like a bit of sweet so I add a teaspoon of whatever sweetener I have be it honey agave...whatever. A pinch of salt and away we go. It tastes excellent on top of toasted gluten free bread and I know that it hasnt been contaminated with the evil scourge, the peanut.

Too much time on my hands....



So feeling the itch to craft all weekend I accomplished a few and started others. First on the list....to create a Tron inspired all wool felted hat for the daughter. Behold in all its cheese ball splendor.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Undercover beet choco cake


"The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish admittedly is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent, not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious."

Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume.

Everythings better with chocolate cake or in this case beeter (ha ha, couldn't resist). Our mostest awesome local Farm, Kirsop, sends home these great newsletters with our stupendous, spledorific boxes of lovely delicious veggies. This week happened to have a simple recipe for chocolate beet cake thus helping me to sneak a big ole bunch of veggies right into the kids gobs completely undetected.

The recipe is as follows:
1 1/2 cups cooked, peeled and pureed beets.
3 eggs
1 cup flour (this recipe is not gluten free)
1 cup oil
1 3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
3 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1 1/2 baking soda

Melt chocolate in a double boiler. Lightly beat eggs and incorporate all wet ingredients.
In a separate bowl sift together the dry ingredients.
Combine and beat till blended.
Pour into greased 9 x 13 inch cake pan (I used a bundt pan) and bake at 350 for approx 30 minutes or till a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.

It makes a gorgeous deep red velvety chocolate cake. I modified it however to include an additional ounce of chocolate, less oil, Semi-sweet instead of unsweetened and half sugar half splenda. It turned out wonderfully. Yes, you can detect the beets but the earthiness lends well to the chocolate.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Blogs that I love and follow:

Most of us have blogs or channels that we enjoy. I really like anything crafty or DIY that isnt geared toward the Grandma set.

My favorite used to be Threadbanger but since Rob, Corrine and Meg left it hasn't been the same and I really haven't been back.

But of course, Bust and Readymade magazines....
and the classic and never out of style, Sunset magazine. I lurv this magazine with all of its travel tips, recipes and building plans....

What are some of your favorites?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Red.


I am a huge fan of deep reds, especially in wool. Because red wool cost so much, I tend to buy small amounts at a time. I crochet and knit and at times it is hard to think of small projects. Other than working on some really great purses, wool and wooden handles I decided to do a few small sculptural projects to add to pre-made items.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Small details make all the difference.




So I've been talking with a co-worker a lot lately about his road trip to Canada. Still excited about his time off, he has talked about the subtle differences between our country and theirs. "Its the little things" he says "that makes all the difference." When asked to elaborate he gives an example in presentation, food.

He goes on to tell me that during the entire week, when he and his road partner would mosey into a cafe in any small town for breakfast, the food just seemed better. Of course I had to press, "better how exactly?"

"Well, it just seemed like they cared more. Take toast for example. Everywhere I went the toast would be laid out nicely, toasted and buttered equally on both sides. Its as if the person who toasted it actually cared about how the customer wanted his or her toast, like they were proud to present it. Its the little things I notice in the details."

Hmmm, was my only reply.

He then went on to state that of the two breakfasts he purchased in the states, the toast was not as up to standard at was at times burnt on one side or not toasted on the other. The presentation was also very casual as if the toast itself just didn't care and lounged lackadaisical on its plate as if it could care less whether or not it was eaten. It lacked appeal.

Being a craft minded person, I started to think about how what seems to be very small things and how they make a difference. So in a round about way, I dedicate this post to my co-worker. By far the best gifts I have ever been given are all home made. I treasure every thoughtful item but if like me you dont always have the time to make something completely from scratch you can take something that you already have and improve it. It is about taking something that might be so, so and making it better, a small change if you will that makes all the difference.

Take an item, any item and add a detail thus making it your own. This is a great project for those that do not have time to completely make something from scratch or just want to spruce something up. For an example, I took a standard white nighty. I liked the shape and the pockets but found that it had a pretty boring presentation. I stenciled a design on the front using fabric markers. It seems that I stencil a lot of things these days. Its a great, fast, cheap and easy way to add details to things that shows you care.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

One of the last magazine subscribers?




Ok, like most people these days I get much of my news and entertainment from the internet but I do hold a few coveted subscriptions to actual non virtual magazines, Sunset, Vanity Fair and Readymade to name a few. I keep those that I find most useful and recycle those that I've reread a few times. As an alternative I decided to give them a new life and inject them into a couple of projects.

After buying Mark Montano's "Big Ass Book of Craft" some time ago and seeing the bowls he made out of magazine pages, I had to try it. The process was a tad time consuming but it went by quickly with conversation. The gluing however was kind of a pain. It had been a while since I had used a hot glue gun. When all was said and done I had a cute little bowl to sit upon one of my desks to collect little doo-dads and such.
To make this bowl simply cut out pages of your favorite magazine and roll them (or tiny fold them) diagonally at the desired width and glue them together into one long continuous line. Taking a bowl (I used a metal one so that any errant glue would be easy to peel off) and a glue gun, wrap the long snake of rolled pages around in a coil, adding a bit of glue to keep it together as you go. When you are done and the glue has set, remove it from the bowl and spray with a clear protective urethane. I used Krylon.

The second and more favored of the projects was a storage box that I had picked up at Joanne's and covered with strips of pages. Modge Podge and a coat of polyurethane was all it took. Since both require drying time, this project took me most of an afternoon. I use it to store my woolen yarns and extra notions in the project room. So far it has withstood kid play, what more could I want?

To make this box, I simply took a wood box I had purchased from Joanne's and glued strips of pages with modge podge. I covered it with a few layers when the layout was finished and once it was all dried, painted it with a clear polyurethane and set it out to dry. I added a few additional coats to ensure it was sealed.

A friend of mine gave me a beautiful necklace made out of paper beads for my recent graduation. I love the necklace but lack the patience to make such tight, perfect beads.

What are your favorite projects made from recycled magazines? Post them in the comment section below.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Introductions please.

Living in the North West gives one a ton of time to do things inside. This blog is dedicated to those folks who make things with their own hands and who just are not satisfied with the assembly line of food, clothing, crafts and way of life.