A Stroll in the Shire
Music composed and performed by Kerri Jones
A Stroll in the Shire
Music composed and performed by Kerri Jones
Here is my contribution to the Christmas potluck being held tomorrow at work.
I made yellow cupcakes and frosted them with mint flavored frosting and then crushed peppermint candies for the topping.
They look delicious to me; too bad I’m off desserts.
I’ve been off sugar for so long that just the little bit of frosting that I licked off my fingers sent me into a sugar overload… really it did.
I hope you all are having fun preparing for the big day. Wishing all the best of best holidays!
I remember when this dress pattern first came out. I was completely taken with the design; it seemed so fresh and unlike any of the dress styles I was used to seeing. I made it up, but don’t remember wearing it very much. My sewing skills were somewhat limited in those early days and the dress probably didn’t turn out to look quite as nice as the picture on the pattern envelope.
Now that I have begun to sell off my old patterns, I find myself struggling with letting go of this one. Most patterns are very easy to part with once the decision has been made, while others, not so easy. I found myself thinking about making it up in a contemporary fabric. I know it would be cute even though I couldn’t possibly fit into it anymore!
Take a look at this wonderful ad campaign from the 1950′s from PatternVault. The designs are delicious!
Originally posted on PatternVault:
The slogan for McCall’s Patterns in the mid-1950s was “Make the clothes that make the woman.” The advertising campaign with this slogan shows two identical women, one dressed in McCall’s pattern pieces, the other in the finished garment. It’s a charming campaign from the Golden Age of Advertising. Here’s a selection, in roughly chronological order:
This ad from 1956 shows the model enjoying a fresh strawberry at a party. (Could it be a strawberry social?) The pattern is McCall’s 3562:
Creating A Unique CHANEL-style trim
Last year I made my first Chanel-style jacket. Finding a suitable trim, a hallmark of a Chanel, proved to be challenging. I decided to try making my own.
I began with a skein of ribbon yarn and number 9 knitting needles. Four stitches provided a nice width and using a basic stockinette stitch I created a long strip. Stockinette stitches tend to curl at the edges which works to advantage for hiding hand stitching when applying the trim to the garment.
I would recommend making individual strips for each pocket and a continuous length for the center front and neckline. By doing this it will reduce the chance of the trim unraveling at the edges during application and can more easily be tucked in at seam lines or pocket edges. Otherwise, apply Fray Check or a fabric glue to secure the edges.
Once the trim is completed it can be attached by hand-stitching into position along the pockets, center front,neckline and sleeve edges.
Recipes from the Levant
A couple of days ago I was searching the internet for something interesting for dinner and came across a recipe for Lebanese Chicken and Rice. I decided to give it a try.
I began by cooking a whole chicken with onion, garlic, carrot, parsley, lemon, cinnamon sticks and cloves.
After cooking, I removed the chicken from the bone and cut it into bite-sized pieces.
Next, I browned cashews in olive oil. Be careful not to scorch them like I did. The recipe called for cashews, but I think I would prefer to use pine nuts next time.
After browning, I set the cashews aside to drain. The recipe called for vermicelli to be added and browned, but I used angel hair pasta broken into small pieces instead.
Once browned I added basmati rice and a portion of bokharat spice mixture and pepper.
Then I returned the cooked chicken to the pan and added liquid.
While the rice dish simmered, I prepared fresh green beans with chopped roma tomatoes and garlic tossed in olive oil for roasting.
I decided to make a Lebanese-style tomato sauce to go over the chicken and rice to add flavor and substance. The sauce can be prepared quickly and easily by adding fresh lemon juice and bakharat spice to taste to canned tomato sauce.
Once prepared, serve and garnish with cashews. Bon Appetit!
I look forward to the Holy Trinity Greek Festival all year long. It is held every October and by July I start anticipating the smoky fragrances of roasting lamb on the spit, and the hot oil fryers of the pastry tent. We’ve been going for so many years I’ve lost count. We’ve watched it grow and expand over time to accommodate the ever-burgeoning crowds in what appears to be a hugely successful fund-raising event for Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral
Our annual pilgrimage takes us to the lovely tree-lined streets and vintage homes of Laurelhurst, one of old-Portland’s premiere neighborhoods. Finding parking on the residential streets can take a bit of tenacity, but we always manage to find a spot without too much trouble and walking through the neighborhood is a part of the pleasant experience.
As we make our approach to the church, we are first greeted by the delicious aroma of lamb roasting and the sounds of bouzouki music. I always have to exercise a certain level of self-restraint when I hear Greek music as it tends to make me want to extend my arms, start snapping my fingers and exclaiming opa!
A large tent is set up where the ladies of the parish sell their homemade pastries… all Greek traditional tasty treats like baklava and other things I can’t quite spell or pronounce the names of, but all delicious, every one, I’m sure.
Loukoumades, which I suspect means little-fat-pills in Greek, top my list of Greek savories. They are basically doughnuts, fried and dipped in honey or a sugary syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon. They are definitely a must have every year and very popular.
But, before dessert, we head for the the dining hall where we feast on a traditional Greek chicken dinner. Tables are set up in the gymnasium and people are seated family style. I really like this part of the festival, because invariably we meet nice people. It is not an everyday thing to dine with people you don’t know, but it works in this situation and seems like a very Greek thing to do.
Dinner begins with a Greek salad with feta cheese, olives and tomatoes.
The main course consists of roasted chicken, orzo, green beans Greek-style of course, and a kourabiedes cookie for dessert.
After dinner, we take a trip through the market area where various Greek imports are sold.
I always try to stop in at the Ethos bookstore to pick up an icon for my refrigerator icon collection. This year I found a rather stern image of Christ; I like it, it’s different from any others than I have and will be a nice addition to my growing number of magnets.
Next we go to bask in the afternoon sun for awhile and watch the children dance in their traditional costumes. It is nice to see them learning and carrying on their traditions.
We always like to visit the church; it is very beautiful and peaceful and while typical of orthodox churches, quite different from western churches I am familiar with. I always begin by buying a candle.
And what is one to do with a prayer candle, but to light it and say a prayer, of course.
We go into the church for a few moments of reflection in the quiet under the gaze of the icons which line the walls. It definitely feels like a holy place and quite a contrast to the party atmosphere just beyond the front door.
And for the finale, we make our obligatory visit to pasty tent for a dessert and Greek coffee
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Great Minds Turn To Thoughts Of Pea Soup
There is nothing quite like the brisk bite of fall air to make me start thinking about steaming bowls of soup and hunks of crusty bread or delectable portions of pomme frites. I love hearty soups. There is something primal about the making and eating of nourishing soups that warm the body and soul.
I discovered this recipe last year and it has become a favorite. Although I adore pea soups made with ham or bacon, this lighter version is equally delicious and a lot easier on the waistline.
I began by assembling all the ingredients.
Then I chopped the onion into small pieces and sautéed them in olive oil for around 5 minutes.
While the onions were cooking, I peeled 3 to 5 cloves of garlic and a portion of fresh ginger.
I have found that my mini-processor makes quick work of chopping herbs, so into the chopper they went.
Once finely chopped, I added the mixture to the onions and continued cooking for a few more minutes.
I mixed the spices in and let them simmer for a few more minutes.
Next I added chopped carrot, celery and a bit of fresh Italian parley for good measure.
Not being a vegetarian myself, I opted for a carnivorous blast of chicken broth.
Then I washed the peas and sorted through them for things that might not belong.
After washing, I stirred the dried peas into the broth, put a lid on the pot and let it simmer until finished.
Once the soup was done, I let it cool. Once thoroughly cooled, I took approximately half of the soup and placed it into a blender. I don’t like pea soup that it completely smooth; I do like a little bit of texture so I leave a bit unblended. Pureeing helps to give the soup body by thickening it up a bit.
Then I added the pureed mixture (yum) back into the soup pot,
and stirred to blend the two together.
Pomme Frites Soup Toppers
Dice a yukon gold potato and pre-cook. Drain well and set aside.
Heat about an inch of vegetable oil in a small pan and add the potato cubes, cooking until crispy and golden.
Remove from oil and drain well on a paper towel. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and dust lightly with curry powder.
These make a tasty garnish to an already delicious bowl of curried pea soup.