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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Happy Homemaker

My dad mentioned the other day that I'm turning into quite the little homemaker. I'm really enjoying being at home and discovering all that I can do in my kitchen and dining room (that's where the sewing machine is, currently). Does it all sound a bit old fashioned? Yes, I believe that it does. But it's fun and it makes me happy. So, how can I resist? I'm considering changing the main title of my blog to The Happy Homemaker. I'm sure there's already someone out there using that title but that's ok, right?
So, in the last week, I have made blackberry jam using the berries from our CSA (and a few extras from the Nashville Farmer's Market); I haven't created a label for the jam yet; does anyone have any ideas of where to get some fun designs or a program that I can use to design my own?Attended a tomato canning party; Thanks, Carrie B. for the invite and the fun. You can check out Carrie's blog for more photos of our work! We had some yummy food; I took some blackberry cobbler that I would definitely make again. Healthy was not on my list while I was baking, but it sure did taste good.
Finished a dress for Charlotte which my friend, Amanda, monogrammed (photos to come at a later date when my model will hold still), and nearly completed a messenger bag using some fun fabric that I purchased at The Children's Corner during their 50% off sale. I love a good fabric sale! A word to the wise about choosing patterns, make sure you read all of the provided information on the back of the pattern before purchasing. I found this great pattern that looked relatively easy, purchased it, cut out the tissue pattern pieces, and cut out my fabric. Then, I read the back of the pattern that stated that I was only supposed to use quilted fabrics for the bag and that there was no lining inside the bag (because quilted fabric would already have a backing/lining). There was nothing that I could do but adapt the pattern to work for me. I created a lining by making a duplicate of the outside of the bag. It turned out pretty well and it will work for carrying around my wallet, a few diapers, and a sippy cup for Charlotte, all staples for when we go out.
The front of the bag. Still hoping to add some sort of clasp/snap/button since the pattern didn't call for it. I'm thinking snap because a button might be annoying when I need to get into the bag quickly. Maybe a snap with a faux button on the top?

Front of the bagInside of the bag with my made-up lining. It has lots of cute pockets inside but it's hard to get a good picture of those.

The back of the bag. It has two pockets for stuffing used tissues, register receipts, and half-eaten cereal bars. At least the fabric is laminated so I might be able to wipe off the gooiest messes. Maybe I ought to make a NO-GOO rule for my first homemade bag?
I discovered that my red and white Better Homes and Gardens cookbook has lots of fabulous photos for identifying fruits, vegetables, herbs, cheeses, cuts of meat, and more! Wish I had known this back when I was trying to identify all of the greens that we were receiving from the CSA. There's always next year! Thanks to Jessica S. who mentioned that she uses this cookbook for canning information as well. I wouldn't have even gotten it out had she not mentioned it. Seems that our sisters in the 1930s may have known what they were talking about! Also, I made some very yummy, per Peter and the kids, cheesy scalloped potatoes. We've been getting a good number of potatoes from the CSA and I wanted to try a new recipe. I'm so glad that I did. They went very well with edamame and panko encrusted tilapia. (Side note, why does the Blogger spell check not recognize edamame, panko, or tilapia as spelled correctly? Am I that terrible of a speller? Are these words so new that it just doesn't list them yet? Very odd.)

Here's a pic of the potatoes. Pay no attention to the grease spatters on the wall behind the stovetop. Did I mention that the builder of our house, Drees Homes, painted the ENTIRE house in flat paint? My goal in the next six months is to paint the kitchen. Peter doesn't know that yet but I suppose he'll figure it out when he reads this post. If he reads it. I'm not sure if many people are reading but I sure am typing a lot! Here's the recipe for the potatoes from BH&G. Make at your own risk. You'll want to eat all of them in one sitting! (Note: These take 85 minutes to bake so you have to think ahead if you want them for dinner.)

1 cup chopped onion (1 large)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt (I didn't add this)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 1/2 cups milk (I used 2%)
8 cups thinly sliced red, white, long white, or yellow potatoes

1. For sauce, in a medium saucepan cook onion and garlic in hot butter until tender. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Add milk all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat; set aside. Place half the sliced potatoes in a greased 3-quart rectagular dish (mine was only 2.6 qt. and worked fine). Top with half the sauce. Repeat layers.

2. Bake, COVERED, in a 350F oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 40-50 minutes more or until potato is tender (I checked mine with a fork). Let stand, uncovered, for 10 minutes before serving.

For Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes, which I highly recommend: Prepare as above, except gradually add 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded cheddar (I used sharp white cheddar), Gruyere, or Swiss cheese to the thickened sauce, stirring until cheese melts. (I reserved a little of the cheese and sprinkled it on top so that we'd have a nice crusty top layer.)


Rebecca said...

I read your stuff!! I love all of it! By the way, our builder did the same thing!!! I HATE the paint in our house. We redid the bathrooms and two bedrooms but we need our room and the rest of the house.

Cindy said...

Love that bag. You did a great job. How do you find the time to all that you do? Wow.

The same thing with our house, all flat cheap builder paint. We have so many marks all over our walls. But we've lived with it for so long 6-7 years, that I'm starting to just learn to ignore it. Even though I would love to paint a few rooms. Maybe I'll find time to do it some day.

Anne Hamilton said...

Cindy, I'm lucky that Alexander's pre-school has a summer program so he's been going three days a week. Plus, Charlotte naps for 2-3 hours every day so there's time to work on projects then. I don't claim to be super mom, for sure; there are lots of things that go un-done around here (and I have a cleaner who comes twice a month). Sometimes we eat frozen pizza for dinner and the laundry...!
I have started getting Alexander to help me with the projects that he can help with...harvesting veggies, pulling weeds, measuring and mixing when cooking/baking. I've found that when he participates, he's more likely to eat and enjoy whatever it is!

Angela said...

The bag looks amazing ! I would love to buy one as a baby shower gift ! The paint in my kitchen is not flat but that saying it stills needs to be repainted !