Sewing sales

I hope everyone who celebrates it had a good Thanksgiving. I happened to notice that there are several sales going on of interest to crafty folks, Thanksgiving-related or not, and I wanted to post quickly about it before they all expired. Black Friday deals are all well and good, but what we sewers want is pattern and fabric sales, am I right?

Without further ado:

  • Sewaholic is celebrating four years in business with a 20% off sale through the weekend, with code FOURYEARS
  • Everything at Grainline Studio is 20% off with code GIVETHANKS
  • All patterns at are 1.49 until Monday
  • All fabric 10% off at Emma One Sock, no code needed
  • StyleArc is now selling PDF patterns via Etsy, and until the end of the month everything is 20% off with code SOMANYTILES
  • All classes at Craftsy are $19.95
  • And on a cooking note, the recipe manager/meal planning website Plan to Eat is having their annual Black Friday sale, with 50% all annual subscriptions. You can get a 30 day free trial without giving your credit card info, if you want to try it out first.

Food Friday: pork chops Marsala

A quick link today – I was looking for something different to do with boneless pork chops the other day and found this recipe from Cooking Light: Pork Chops Marsala. I made it as indicated except that I used some leftover Chardonnay instead of Marsala, which of course changed the flavor but not in a disastrous way. Instead of doing the final cooking stage on the stove, I put the whole thing in the oven for ~15 minutes at 350.

The season of pumpkin spice has begun

Flypaper thoughts, ala Barbara @ Sewing on the Edge (true confession, I couldn’t remember her blog URL, and couldn’t find it in my blog reader that quickly, so I Googled ‘Babs sewing blog Miss Scarlett Canada’ and lo and behold, one of her blog posts was the third result):

  • I went to Artistry in Fashion last weekend. It was OK. I always feel bad that I’m the only spanner in the works regarding Artistry in Fashion, as there’s always such a positive vibe about it in blogs or on Pattern Review. It’s just that in the years that I’ve been attending, every year there’s less and less raw materials sold, and more and more finished items. This year there was only the button stand, and one stand selling vintage textiles, trim, buttons and a few patterns. Oh yeah, and the Park Bench Patterns lady was there selling finished pieces as well as her backlog of printed patterns – apparently she’s retiring and not going to be visiting shows anymore, or designing any more patterns. Everything else was independent designers selling clothes, jewelry, bags, etc. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with it, I’m just not the audience for it. If I’m going to wear something art-to-wear, it’s because I made it myself. I did go to the Pati Palmer ‘fashion show’ and that was cool to see. I’ve added a few additional McCalls to my ginormous list of things I should sew.
  • I’ve got a review of a slow cooker book in the next issue of the San Francisco Book Review. Sadly I haven’t actually made anything from it yet, particularly as it’s still really warm here and stews aren’t really the thing. I’ve got tons of the recipes bookmarked, though, so hopefully soon there’ll be a Food Friday with one or more of them.
  • I went to a WordPress meetup the other day in preparation of moving this blog to its own domain, which I’ve been wanting to do for years but have put off. Part of it is that I’m hesitant to combine the different parts of my online life – until now I’ve kept my sewing stuff separate from my writing life separate from my personal friends and family. Anybody have any strategies for how you do it?
  • This weekend I’m off to a writing conference, then the next weekend we’re heading to Las Vegas for a friend’s wedding, then we’ve got family visiting the next week. Sometime around Halloween I should be able to take a breath again.

Food Friday: Marinated Carrots

Once we got settled in our new place, I started looking for farmers’ markets and other sources of veggies. I’ve had to say goodbye to the Good Eggs deliveries I loved, because they don’t deliver in our new area yet. I got on the waiting list for one of the local CSA boxes, thinking at least that I’d have a shot at next year, but to my surprise they had a mid-season cancellation. I was able to sign up for weekly veggies from now until November.

I’d gotten out of the habit of having this much produce at once, not to mention stuff that I don’t always know what to do with. I had a bunch of carrots that were getting a bit past their prime, and instead of roasting them or something boring, I decided to give these marinated carrots from Food in Jars a go.

My version was a little altered (aren’t they always?). Since I had no mint I used a small hot pepper instead, seeded and chopped, which gave the whole thing a pleasant kick. And I used regular rice vinegar and added a tablespoon or so of simple syrup. Did you know that the only difference between seasoned rice vinegar and unseasoned is that the seasoned has sugar and salt added to it? I didn’t, until I was making up this recipe.

Food Friday: Dorito chicken

Burger-based fast food leaves me cold, but I am an unashamed fan of Taco Bell. Recently the Bell has added a Meal Deal option akin to McDonald’s Mini Meals – one item (I usually go for the shredded chicken burrito), a side, and a soda that’s actually not large enough for a small child to drown in. The side is a bag of Doritos, and while I can dig a Cool Ranch Dorito once in a while, the regular nacho cheese flavor is not my thing. Thus I end up with the odd snack-size bag of Doritos lying around, never getting eaten.

Such it was when I found myself staring down the barrel of a package of chicken on its use-by-date (how’s that for an overly-dramatic mixed metaphor?). ‘Self,’ I said, ‘what about Dorito-crusted chicken?,’ and a great light shone down upon me… No, that’s not how it went. First I laughed at myself, second I verified that the spouse might actually eat such a thing, and thirdly I checked the Internet, where of course many had trod these paths before me.

The recipe I ended up using as my base is this one for Doritos Crusted Chicken Fingers. I didn’t change much, although I did end up making faux buttermilk out of milk and lemon juice, and only letting it sit for a half hour or so before breading. I only had one snack-sized bag of Doritos, so I paired it with panko breadcrumbs which also kept the whole thing from being too Dorito-y (another made up word for ya). The result was pretty tasty, and I’d imagine would go over well with kids and the chronically immature, I mean young-at-heart.

Food Friday: Belly Water

Earlier this summer, Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen posted a link to Belly Water, apparently originally from the Steve Harvey show. I thought the idea of steeping water in lemon, cucumber, ginger and mint sounded pretty nice for summer and I’ve been drinking variations on this for the last few weeks. I’ve got a pitcher that belongs to an iced tea maker that I chuck a sliced lemon, cucumber, some ginger, and fresh mint into and leave in the fridge. You can refill the water and reuse the stuff inside 3-4 times until you need to pitch it and start over.

(Does this even count as a recipe?)

Food Friday: Rhubarb Ginger Syrup

Sorry for the blog silence; moving and settling in to the new place has turned out to be an even more time-consuming process than I expected. The great part is that I’ve got my sewing room 75% functional and am slowly unpacking all the bits and bobs. Maybe I’ll actually sew something (other than mending) soon!

The kitchen is 90% there and I’ve begun cooking a lot more. I recently purchased a charming new cookbook called The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making, by Alana Chernila. Apparently Alana has a blog, called Eating From the Ground Up, and I suspect a lot of the recipes started there. The book is a bit of a rambler, not focused on any one type of food or cooking/preserving process. I’m not sure that I’ll actually use that many of the recipes as written; I might recommend it as a library book before you see if it’s worth the price for you. There’s a section on drinks, including making your own tea blends, homemade hot chocolate, and that sort of thing, which has the following rhubarb ginger syrup recipe, designed to be used as a concentrate with seltzer, etc.

I love rhubarb, but the spouse is not the biggest fan, so I only test his patience with a strawberry rhubarb pie once every month or so in summer. This is a nice alternative that encourages me to drink more from our Sodastream. It’s very good mixed half and half with plain Sodastream carbonated water and ice. I made it basically as written using mint; if I were to make it again I’d cut the water down so I’d end up with a more syrupy consistency for my purposes, and I’m not sure that the mint really did that much at all. If you don’t have any fresh herbs around, don’t stress.

Rhubarb Ginger Syrup
from The Homemade Pantry, by Alana Chernila

2 pounds rhubarb, cut into 1 inch pieces
8 cups water
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 cup sugar (or more to taste
a few sprigs of fresh thyme or a handful of lemon balm, mint, or a combination of the two

1. Combine the rhubarb and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the rhubarb is almost dissolving. Use a slotted spoon to scoop out the rhubarb.
2. Add the lime juice to the rhubarb water, along with the ginger and sugar. Raise ht heat to medium-high and cook at a low boil, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the mixture is slightly reduced and thickened.
3. Remove it from the heat, add your herb of choice, and cover. Let steep for 5-10 minutes. Taste and add sugar if needed. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve into a jar or bottle and let cool.