Wednesday, November 11, 2015

5 Reasons to Love Your Crockpot This Month

Although the past week or so has been hiding this fact, it's November and the colder weather is coming.

Here are 5 easy ways to show your crockpot (and wallet and sanity) some love this month:
1. Roasted Squash.  I was totally afraid of this one at first.  But seriously, wash a butternut squash, cut it in half, and just throw it in and put the lid on.  No seeding, no peeling, nada.  High for ~4 hours or low for ~6.  Then just scoop out the roasted yummy goodness (after scooping the seeds out if you don't want to eat them).
2. Roasted Chicken and Vegetables.  3 whole peeled carrots, 3 trimmed stalks of celery on the bottom, a seasoned (salt, pepper, paprika to keep it simple) whole fryer chicken stuffed with a bay leaf, a clove of garlic and a small onion on top.  Put the lid on, turn it on low for ~8 hours.  Eat the breasts and then get onto...
3. Chicken soup.  Leave everything in the crockpot but the whole chicken from #2, add back in the meat you picked off of that chicken after your meal for #2, add about 4 cups of water and voila!  Soup.  You don't even have to turn the crockpot on for this one.
4. Chili.  After browning about a pound of ground beef (or turkey), add it to the crock pot with two big cans of whole tomatoes, a small can of tomato paste, a chopped onion, a chopped green pepper, a chopped (and seeded if you like) jalapeno, a can of black beans, a clove of garlic, and 4 diced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (1/2 a small can).  ~2 hours on high; ~4 hours on low.
5. Coq au Vin.  Whether you prefer it red (I recommend cote du rhone) or white (Nigella and I say Riesling), just get some skinless chicken thighs (4-5), coarsely chopped onion, carrot, celery, 2 bay leaves, and 2 cloves of garlic into that crockpot!  Serve it over some buttered egg noodles or just with some crusty bread.  ~4 hours on high or ~6 on low.

Happy slow cooking!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Pattern Review: Baby Go-To Leggings

I had found a free pattern for baby leggings online a long time ago, have some random bits of UFO (unfinished object) fabric that I need to stop looking at, and some 50 year-old elastic laying around.  YAY!

So why not try out the free pattern on the little lady (who is just over a year now)?

Here are my experiences with the Baby Go-To Leggings Pattern.

The good news:
This is a pattern with VERY well-written instructions.  Even as a first-time project, I think someone would have a very easy time putting these together.  There are explanations of terminology, explanations of fabric (and how to determine that you're using a correct fabric), and an explanation on how to piece the pattern together from the 4 pages of letter-size paper.  And thankfully, it includes the seam allowance in the pattern, and since I've found many PDF patterns (especially the free ones) don't this is pretty awesome.

This also took less than an hour to cut the pattern, tape it together, cut the pieces, and sew it all up!

The bad news:
I think this was drafted for a very short, very fat baby.  I was so worried about the waist (which was spot on and even allows for some growth for my kid) that I didn't pay much attention to the length.  Little lady ended up with pants that are 2 inches too short...

I will definitely be using this pattern again.  I will definitely add a cuff at the ankle, though.

Pattern--Free (with newsletter subscription for Go To Patterns)
Fabric--Free, as I was really killing a UFO and stashbusting
Notions--Free, from my hoarding of my grandmother's sewing stuff

All opinions expressed in this post are my own and have in no way been solicited for nor have I received compensation or sponsorship.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Goals Update: October in Review

I'm starting to realize I should have been a bit less ambitious with my goals.  I seem to get progress made in some categories at the expense of others at this point... 

1. Sew one garment a month: I completed another Renfew (my 3rd?), and a pair of Go-To baby leggings!  I also was able to make some progress on a UFO dress from 4 years ago, and get started my stripes-matching
pajama project (which I hope to post on soon).
2. Post an article a month: Nada.  I focused on the doing of projects and never wrote about it.  I'm okay with that one, but I'd like to post about a few things to document them for me.
3. Run at least 2 5K races: Signed up for one that happened Oct. 3rd, but forewent it because of some last-minute travel plans.  I might just run a 5K around my neighborhood one day...
4. Exercise 3 times a week: Doing a pretty good job of making those 10K steps,but I've not been running at ALL this month.
5. Have one date with my husband a month: Grandparents to the rescue once again!  This time the in-laws borrowed the children to allow my husband and I to attend a volunteer leadership meeting at the Linc (work), a political fundraiser (work), and some post-work drinks at the bar by our house.  We followed that up with 45 minutes of sleeping in on Sunday.  I say that's a win.
6. Become better at expressing my curiosity, and be more clear in the intent of my curiosity: Not sure if anyone noticed, but I've been trying to keep my mouth shut in October.  Practicing the listening part pretty intensely, and not voicing an unsolicited opinion unless I genuinely fear Armageddon (or its professional counterpart).
7. Read 10 books: 3/4 of the way done with The Goldfinch.  5 down, 5 to go and 2 months to do it in.  Now that I'm taking the train, I expect to do pretty good with this one.  Short book suggestions welcome.

4 out of 7 this month, which seems to be my limit.  Maybe I can knock #'s 2 & 3 off in November...