Monday, October 28, 2013

Spicy Kale Salad...Oh wow was this yummy

UPDATE: I got the recipe! We have made it a couple of times now, once for a family function and it is very well received.

I snagged this yesterday on the cold bar at my local high end grocery. I wish I had taken some pics but it was too good and I ate it too fast.I am not much of a kale fan but this was amazing. Yeah, I know what your'e going to say. It's so tasty and healthy and blah blah blah. I do have to admit that raw, like this, it's the bomb.

My next mission is to figure out how to recreate it so I don't have to stalk the salad bar hoping that I manage to go in on a day that they have made it (Murphy's Law says nope).

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Dia de los Muertos Pillow In Progress

Just a little work in progress...Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

My Toothbrush Plays Black Eyed Peas !

OK so if this was full price I would never have gotten it. However listening to I Gotta Feeling at 5:45am every morning (I am so not a morning person) may be a bit of a Rocky theme/get my ass up in the morning/ pump me up moment. I tried it as soon as I got home from the fabulous Grocery Outlet. When you hear it outside of your mouth it's kind of weird and barely audible. Inside your mouth it gets louder and clearer. I thought maybe I was imagining it but I dug the packaging out of the trash and fancy that - it's supposed to sound better in your mouth! Since I am in sales and need to be on my A game first thing in the morning, maybe my new Black Eyed Peas toothbrush will work some magic!

Autostitch Got Confused

We recently stayed at the Hyatt San Francisco Airport. The rooms had a cool view on this inner courtyard. I pulled up my Autostitch app (I still prefer it over my iPhone panorama). I guess all of the repetitive patterns really confused the software and produced this...which is actually kind cool...

Friday, October 11, 2013

Sashiko Embroidered Pillow

It only took me over a year but the darn thing is done!!! Don't be fooled, when I say this took me a year, it's just because I have a million and one projects I start that live unfinished forever in my studio. 

This is my first piece of sashiko embroidery. It's a traditional Japanese folk art. Back in the day, it was a method used to creatively darn and disguise worn areas on garments. Now it's just fun and pretty. Its also usually worked in a dark indigo blue on a white background or vice versa. That's nice, but I am way more colorful. 

Purl Bee has a great tutorial, so I won't waste my time explaining the how to...just go check it out. 

I am a cheap ass, so I went on to Etsy for the sashiko cloth. It was $8 with some minimal shipping. The needles and sashiko thread can be pricey so I went with DMC embroidery thread I already had and some long dollmaking needles that were hiding in my sewing box. It worked like a charm.

For the pillow part, I found some nice, thick, cheap purple fabric at Joann Fabrics (3/4 yard). Thank you 40% off coupon. Then I went to Michael's (thanks again 40% off coupon) and got a pillow form. I have never made a couch type pillow. I found this great tutorial for making an envelope style pillow case. I am a beginning seamstress, but this was a no brainer, even for me. I just made sure to sew the sashiko sampler to the front of the pillow before finishing the seams.

So there we go. Gotta say, it was fun and cheap and I love the results. I think I am on an embroidery kick. I dug up some old Sublime Stitching patterns from the recesses of the studio and I am working on a new pillow as we speak. Pictures to follow!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Bucket Loves Her YouTube

Check out this thumb aided selfie of Bucket. She was hanging out on my lap when Mr Bucket turned on her favorite YouTube channel on our AppleTV - Videos for Your Cat. Yeah I know, not good to advocate them getting excited about eating birdies but I can't help giving her a little entertainment. If you have a kitty check it out. Bucket and Red both love it!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Homemade Chai Liqueur - How to Make a White Elephant

I have been making some homemade flavored vodkas lately and decided to do a little experiment with some chai I had lying around. The flavored vodka I made was way too strong, so with a little tweaking and some simple syrup, I turned it in to an amazing chai liqueur. I then whipped up an easy little drink that had my hubby and his friend coming back for more. Here's the recipe:

Homemade Chai Liqueur

1/2 of a 1.75 L bottle of cheap vodka (I use Trader Joe's)
5 T sweet chai spice (I got mine from World Spice)
4 vanilla beans (see my post here for cheap beans)
1 cup water
1 T ground cinnamon (optional)
2 cups brown or white sugar

The ratios of chai to vodka are rough since I was just experimenting. Add chai spice directly to the bottle of vodka. I didn't add any tea along with the chai (like you would when making chai tea) just the chai spice. Since chai contains peppercorn and cardamom, you will need to be very careful to not overextract the spices and end up with something bitter. I taste tested a teaspoon daily and found that at 4 days, mine was a little overdone.

Strain the vodka in to another container. Remove the spices and return the vodka to the original bottle.

Using kitchen shears, cut the ends off your vanilla beans, then cut in half (both length and width). This will open up your bean and expose all the flavorful beany goodness. Add the vanilla to your vodka. Cap it up and store under your sink for 2 - 3 weeks. Give it a shake every couple of days and test aprox once a week until it has the desired flavor. Keep in mind it will still be strong until you tame it with some sugar.

Once your vodka mix has just the right flavor, strain off the vanilla beans and set aside.You can end the process here and have Chai Vodka - really freakin tasty but strong vodka. I think it is better as a liqueur, but it is good both ways.

In a saucepan mix water, sugar and ground cinnamon. I have made it with both kinds of sugar and with and without cinnamon. No matter what it's always good. Boil and stir to make a simple syrup. When all the sugar is combined put the pan aside and wait for it to cool. When cool, add your vodka mix, stir and you are ready to bottle. Enjoy!

White Elephant

Our friend came up with the name since it's like a White Russian, but with our Chai Liqueur

Rocks glass with ice
1 1/2 oz vodka
3/4 oz chai liqueur
3/4 oz cream or milk

You can shake and strain or just serve it on the rocks. So good!