Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Million Ways to Eat Eggs

O.k., maybe I'll only come up with 50 or so. Who knows. One thing is for sure- with the chickens laying again (they quit for a bit when it got cold) we have more than enough eggs to cook with. I am so glad- these eggs really are the best, though I will say when the chickens weren't laying, I found Born Free brand Free Range eggs to be better than most.

I like to incorporate these healthy eggs into a lot of our meals, as I avoid eating and cooking meat for the most part, and we must include other types of protein in our family diet. I have posted before about pudding from fresh eggs, and I thought it would be fun to post recipes and ideas for using eggs that might not be in everyone's regular rotation.  

So, to start, here is a breakfast I made for the baby and I that is easy and sure to please- Eggs in a Basket.

  1. Heat a frying pan with a pat of butter to medium heat. Don't get it too hot. 
  2. Use a cup to cut a hole in a couple slices of bread.
  3. Put the bread in the pan and crack an egg in the hole.
  4. Cook until done on one side, and flip. Continue cooking on side two until your eggs are as you like them. If you like them scrambled, I imagine you could just beat them before pouring them in.
  5. Put a pat of butter on top, and drizzle with a bit of maple syrup. Mmmmmmm.

I made ours with Pannetone, but of course, their are a million ways to switch this recipe up further- you could use a variety of breads, add cheese, add herbs and spices, garlic, onions, peppers, or sauces, such as hollandaise. Give it a crack! Oh, the terrible puns!  

Friday, January 27, 2012

Delightful Objects- Vintage and Antique Books

Today I'm sharing another of my mini collections. My vintage and antique books bring me joy even if I don't dare handle them too much. There are a few I've had since high school, a few that are recent acquisitions, some gifts, and perhaps one or two that are of monetary value, while every one of them has intrinsic and sentimental value.

 We keep two book cases in the house- the other is slightly larger than this. In recent years, Brian and I have tried to cull our collections and get rid of texts that we have lost interest in. I keep all sorts of literature (the other set of shelves houses all of my textbooks from college), and Brian is attracted to non-fiction; he keeps and reads books on history, religion, philosophy, politics, and knock-knock and yo mama jokes.

The second shelf down on the left houses my very small collection of old books. Among them are
If you're familiar with O.W. you can probably imagine that most of these are to dark for actual children's bedtime reading, but it is a lovely book nonetheless, with very pretty illustrations.
A copy of A Christmas Carol that someone received as a Christmas gift in the 30s.  
This Pride & Prejudice belonged to my grandfather's sister, Mary Agnes, known affectionately to us as "Aunt Sissy"

Ok, this one is not as old as the others, but it has an interesting page just inside the cover on Communism and how the publishing house established a royalties account for the author in the U.S. It states that "should he ever come to the United States, the royalties earned by the book will be turned over to him directly [...] In the event that within the next ten years Mr. Solzhenitsyn does not come [...] the royalties will be turned over to a worthy anti-Communist cause."

This beautiful Pride & Prejudice set was a thoughtful gift from my M&FIL. Isn't the cover art lovely? They also gave us Springs of Friendship, which is a small collection of quotes with lovely flower depictions that is dated 1970, but looks older.

I think this is the oldest of my books-
 printed in 1871.
 The two books of Irish literature were gifts from my father and stepmother. I am really into Irish literature, Irish culture, and Irish vacations.
 My father bought two volumes of this Poe collection at auction for me when I was in high school. I have always been a super book nerd.

 This is among my favorites. I love Hemingway, and this is a first year printing of A Farewell to Arms. My father sent this to me, and you can imagine my excitement upon tearing off the paper it was wrapped in!

I should probably do some reading up on how to properly store old paper, and if any of you have any suggestions, I would appreciate them. The one thing I won't do is tuck them away. Books are meant to be handled and enjoyed, and I certainly am delighted by my modest collection of lovely, dusty old books!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Make it Better Yourself- Quickie Salad Dressing

Okay, some salad dressing is harder to make yourself- like Caesar, or ummmmm, hmmm, maybe good Ranch. But I can't make sense of purchased vinaigrette dressings, when I can make an awesome vinaigrette in a minute for pennies. Here is my quickie dressing recipe:

Get a jar with a lid. Put one part olive oil to one part cider vinegar in the jar. Add a couple cloves of garlic mashed through a press. Throw in a spoonful of good quality loose jam (I used Bonne Maman Blueberry Preserves) and a bit of your chosen sweetener (I used 1/2 tsp. of Truvia, but I also use honey and maple syrup).

  Now, put the lid on and shake it, shake, shake, shake it like a Polaroid picture.

I love this stuff. It is soooo good, and it's easy to tailor your tastes. Sometimes I add herbs, use Balsamic vinegar and worchestire sauce, and leave out the jam. Another good variation is equal parts cider vinegar, honey, olive oil, mustard and yogurt for a quick honey mustard dressing.

I eat a lot of salad. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

New Clothing Tags for 2012

I made new tags for my home sewn garments last week, and this time I decided to go for a little camp. Let's face it; I'm campy.
The image was lifted from Butterick 6517 (my image at the Vintage Pattern Wiki), and I just used a label template on Microsoft Publisher for the layout. I printed to iron on transfer paper, and ironed the sheet on muslin before cutting it into tags. Sometimes I sew them in, but lately I have been simply fusing them with a double sided fusible web. Here is a link to my post on last year's tags.

Interestingly, I discovered I can print directly to fabric. I was wondering if it were possible, so I just starched the hell out of an 8 1/2" by 11" piece of muslin and ran it through my inkjet printer with my fingers crossed. It came through fine, without even a hint of a jam (but please don't hold me liable if you try this and your printer jams up!) Of course, without anything to seal the ink in the fabric, it washes out easily. I am thinking about experimenting with Scotch Guard spray or something of that nature to seal the ink in. I'll let you know what I come up with.....

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hello, I've waited a long time for you....

It's finally mine!

I have been wanting McCall's 2427 for a looooooooonnnnnnnggggg time. I've bid on it once or twice before, but I can't justify paying $40+ dollars for a pattern right now, so I had to let it go. This time it sold for far less... and to moi! Sorry, does this sound like gloating?

On another related subject, can anyone tell me why I love this pattern so much? I mean, I have stalked it consistently on eBay for over a year. I posted this on Sew Retro (now We Sew Retro) back in December of 2010. I'll admit that I love camp, and this is nothing if not campy. I love the applique designs. I love how the dress is full without being a crazy, puffy circle skirt that uses excessive fabric (this is a factor in my love of early 60s styles in general). I love the browns as depicted in the pattern illustration, even if the model looks (more than) a little bit like an alien with a blonde wig.

Alas, it is mine, all mine! It has shipped, and I can't wait to get my greedy mitts all over it! Be forewarned, you might see me at Pickin' on the Square or a local bluegrass show (or at the P.O.) in this fabulous get up come summer.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I have been in a sewing frenzy for the past couple weeks– it came on with the new year. But, I have to make time for fun activities with the kiddo, and she loves to cook. Here she is pretend cooking with pots and pans her Noonie gave her for Christmas on a stove I made by drawing burners on a diaper box with a red Sharpie. Kids are really pretty easy to please before they are tainted by consumerism.

So, a couple weeks ago we bought one of those bags of bananas at the grocery store– you know, the one that is full of bananas turning brown and costs a dollar. I thought, “Oh, I’ll make banana bread.” And then I took the bag home, and watched as the bananas aged every day, admonishing me from their bowl on the counter. As if I need more stress in my life. So, I gave half of them to a friend to lighten the emotional load, but still they sat. Soft and brown. Mocking me.

I finally got my rear in gear mid week and the baby and I donned our aprons for  a cook down. I started  by cooking with the apple baker full of potatoes, apples, and garlic (love roasted garlic mixed with olive oil as a condiment). Then, Gremel Lynn and I got to mashing, sifting, greasing, measuring, folding.... 

 It came out quite well, but I will use a smaller pan next time, as the center did not want to cook. We promptly gorged on it, and then ate more later, and some for breakfast the next morning, and again as a snack. What's left is in the freezer. 

I like this recipe because it uses 3 bananas per loaf. I modified it by subbing dates for walnuts (it's what we had at home) and adding a tablespoon of mayo per loaf. My family can find a way to put mayo in anything. Hellman's only- it makes the bread moist. Don't tell my sister I told you. Oh, and I sprinkled sugar on top, because crusty, baked sugar is yummy. 

Here is the recipe from the banana bag:

Banana Bread
8 tbs. (1 stick) butter, at room temp
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 large ripe bananas mashed
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup shelled walnuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5x3 bread pan. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift all-purpose flour, baking soda, and salt together, stir in whole wheat flour and add to creamed mixture, mixing well. Fold in bananas, vanilla, and walnuts. Pour mixture into pan, bake 50 to 60 min. or until cake tester comes out clean- cool in pan 10 min. on rack. Makes one loaf.