Monday, April 23, 2012

On where I get my mad sewing skills from, and why I take them for granted

My mom is an amazingly talented, meticulous, patient, detailed, precise and incredible seamstress.  This is the gorgeous quilt she made for me.  And because growing up, it was my Mom, I thought that all mom's came built in with that skill and precision. Yeah, they don't.  This is hand quilted people.  Hand appliqu├ęd where the triangles go over the border.  Every corner matches.  All the stitches are even.  She is amazing.  And this is not her first.  Its her fourth big one, with two more in the works.  That is actually not counting all of the little ones she's made for grandkids in between all of the full size quilted works of art she makes for her daughters.  Not a single quilt for herself, not even a simple tied one.  (I will contest that my mother is the most unselfish person alive). 

My mother is the one who taught me to sew.  First by hand (at a pretty young age.. maybe I was 5 or so?  6?)  And then when I was old enough to be entrusted with her sewing machine (10 or 11?) she patiently taught me, and together we worked through the tears and frustration that sewing can sometimes bring.  I only thought it was hard because I was a kid, and she made it look so easy.  I didn't know that everybody goes through that.  (Right? the wanting to pull your hair out when it just. doesn't. make. any. sense! and the unpicking, and the broken needles, and on and on..) 

So, even though I learned from the best I am still trying to achieve the level of perfection in sewing that she has.  That is why I don't ever think my sewing as being very remarkable.  Because look at THAT!  Wow.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

my briliant anti-cold-cereal solution

You may have noticed previously my stark and vehement dislike of cold cereal.    But I seem to have come up with a quasi solution to my problem of too expensive, too soggy, too processed, too boring and not lasting until lunch; cereal complex.  One that I will even consent to consume, nay even enjoy.  (pause for actual cereal eating break... seriously, I just realized that this is JUST exactly what I want.  right now).  Now to continue with out spilling milk on the keyboard..  ahem.

Make your own.

No, not another sort of breakfast (though you know, that is good too, but tends to always dirty more dishes... so, you know, kind of evil... but we're not talking about dishes now, are we?)  But make your own cold cereal.  I've made granola before, and its fun for a bit, but really quite sweet and pretty heavy on the stomach.  By itself.  BUT of the few cereals that I eat voluntarily at all... they seem to have the 'bunches of oats' or 'oat clusters' in them, which duh, is granola.  Then they just add flakes and dried fruit or nuts.  Pretty simple.  I've been meaning to do it for a while to see how my homemade version worked out.  Then I finally did.  And it does.  So I'm breaking my blog silence by deciding not to be selfish with my self proclaimed profound discovery.

The instructions are actually pretty simple.

-make granola.  (easier than it sounds)  You do not need to be Crunchy to do so.  From my brief stint of habitation in Portland, I learned thus: apparently I'm only a wannabe hippie.  I had only deluded myself that I knew anything about true earth love.  And footprints of carbon.  They are professionals.  However, for this you do not need to be.

combine in saucepan and bring to a boil:

1/2 c. water,
1 1/2 c. brown sugar,
4 tsp. vanilla,
1 tsp. almond extract (optional) and
1 tsp. salt.

pour the hot syrupy stuff you just made over this in a big bowl:

8 c. oats,
1-2 c. coconut,
1-2 c. slivered almonds, or other nuts of your choice (cashews are heavenly).

Mix it all thoroughly and spread out onto a large cookie sheet.  Bake at 250 for a couple of hours, or 200 or lower all night.

Break up into small chunks and add dried fruit.  I prefer cranberries, though raisins are good as well.  I haven't tried dried bananas, but they might be tasty (especially the non freeze dried ones) or cherries.. anyway, that is what truly makes it taste good, so don't skimp on the dried fruit.  Then mix in a whole box of corn flakes.  (you could go all authentic and mix in different kinds of flakes, like bran flakes and some frosted flakes... but I just used corn flakes... I'm lazy like that.

It actually makes quite a bit of cereal.  So it lasts a while, and my cereal reserves (that I don't even eat!) don't get depleted quite so fast.  We've been going through cereal like its going out of style! 

Liam does his part with the rampant cereal consumption.

Disclaimer: It does get soggy rather fast.. (which I truly despise) so I have taken to eating very small quantities at a time, repeatedly until satisfied.  Example, pour half a cup of my granola/flakes into a wide mouthed vintage tea cup.  (note to self, good excuse to go thrift some more beauties).  Add milk.  Inhale.  Repeat 2-3 times.  We can pretend that I actually stop at 3.