Thursday, March 27, 2014

Eat Your Sprouts! Yes, I Said Sprouts.

Brussel Sprouts.

People often have very strong feelings about them.

I LOVE them. In winter I eat sprouts like they're going out of style.

Halved and sauteed in butter, oil and garlic. Sometimes with a little bacon thrown in. That's all you need. In fact if they're cooked properly (steamed or sauteed, not boiled and then boiled again), then all you need is a little butter and salt and pepper.

Forget what you think you know, and try it.

Or try this. I could eat pasta all day every day, and quite frequently did when I was a poor singleton. But Mr Frog... Not so much. But this recipe, he LOVES!

After trimming the ends and less lovely outer leaves, halve and then finely slice your sprouts.

You want a lovely pile like this, but quantities vary depending on size of sprouts, and frankly, the size of your people. This is about enough for two people.

Dice a couple of rashers of bacon, chop some garlic, and lightly toast some chopped almonds. Faff about arranging them just so, so you can take a bloody picture.

Then take another one.

Next, throw some olive oil in a pan and start cooking your bacon. Once it gets going, throw in the sprouts. As they soften, add the garlic, and cook, until the thickest pieces of sprouts (the stem bits) are just tender.

Meanwhile, cook your pasta (I like spirals for this, but you choose) and reserve a little of the cooking water. Drain and then throw it into the pan of cooked sprouts. Stir well, and add some of that water.

Serve with the chopped almonds scattered ever so artfully on top, and parmesan.

Trust me, it's delish!

Bon Appetit!


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Beauty is in The Eye of The Beholder. Or Not.

I think it's pretty clear that I am a not a professional crafter/sewer/cook etc. Yes, the things I actually sell are well made, but for everything else, I'm just a chick who likes to make stuff. Sometimes things turn out perfectly. More often then not, they turn out o.k, and on occasion, they just don't work. That's how we learn. It's how I learn. It's usually fun either way.

Here is an example of a project that "technically" kinda worked out.

But it ain't pretty.

I started with this Abomination.

Now you can't tell in the photo, but this palstic bag holder is a bit of a mess. It's falling apart at the seams, literally, and bags actually fall out of the bottom. It's time for a new one. A prettier one.

I've always thought a tea towel is the perfect material for these things. I don't know why. It's just an idea that

So, this is how it went down.

I had Mr. Frog choose an old tea towel from those we already own, telling him to "choose a tea towel for the cause!", like it was for the war effort or something. Now my reasoning behind using a tea towel we already own is that, already have = free. I like free. Getting Mr.Frog to do the choosing meant I wouldn't get in trouble later for sacrificing the "wrong" tea towel.

He chose this.
 This "beauty" comes from France, from a place we've never been. I think it was a xmas present from family. Yes, the embroidery is coming undone. Yes, those are holes you can see.
I figured that given where the bag holder lives, it didn't need to be, shall we say, typically beautiful. And remember, it's free.

First, I folded over and pinned the top and bottom of the tea towel. I didn't measure, just guessed how much room I'd need to get elastic and a ribbon through the space. Then I sewed in a fairly straight line. Yes, I was being  nonchalant. The tea towel turns out to be quite wonky, and me quite nonchalant, so it turns out like this:

Never mind.

Warning: there are heaps of photos because I got carried away using this:

That's my super cool tripod. I'm in love with it.

O.k, then I folded the tea towel in half long ways, and sewed along the open edge, being sure not to sew over the very ends. I didn't get a shot of this step, so here's one of me in my "craft room", aka, the dining room.
That's either my posing face or I have a pin in my mouth. Or both.
Next I threaded some elastic through the bottom part and tied it off. But first I had to spend 20minutes looking for a bloody safety pin, because who the hell knows where Mr. Frog puts anything! I eventually found one in the depths of my old sewing basket, in an old tin of pins my nanna gave me.
Then, I threaded the elastic. To get the length I needed I measured along the tea towel (now doubled over) and then added half that again.
Then I did the same for the top, but with ribbon. Only, I couldn't get to the ribbon because the baby was asleep (by now anyway, before that there was a lot of crying while I concentrated on sewing moderately straight) where my craft is stored. So I pulled the cord out of the Abomination, and used that. Free!
You need a longer piece of cord/ribbon so you can get into the bag easily, and hang it on something.
And voila:
A new Abomination.
Good Lord!

Well, at least this one doesn't leak bags onto the floor. And it's hidden.
And a bonus?
On my search for a safety pin (so much swearing!) I found some old lace from an outfit I "made" in high school.
If only I had pictures of that. I thought I looked hot!

But what to do with this scrap...?

Stay tuned.