Nov 29, 2013

Sacramento - Runs with Scissors

After bidding a very fond farewell to Seattle we touched down in Sacramento, California - home of the Californian State Capital and also of my American relatives.

We were lucky enough to be driven around to whatever shops and attractions took our fancy.  My list of course included quilt shops and Joann's.

First stop was Runs With Scissors (such a cool name!).  A smaller quilt shop but with an unusual and funky range of fabrics and a lively class going on.

Not to tease too much but I may just have purchased some yummies for a little giveaway when I get home ;)

Nov 28, 2013

Seattle - UnderCover Quilts

Fresh off the boat from Bainbridge Island the family allowed me 3 minutes to explore UnderCover Quilts in the Pike Place Market.  I had walked by a few days prior with the little Guy and knew I had to go back before we left.

This is a cozy little shop in the heart of Pike Place Market with an astounding display of quilts.  You can find the website here and they also have an Etsy store.

Nov 26, 2013

Bainbridge Island - Churchmouse Yarns & Tea

Whilst we were on Bainbridge Island, I was lucky enough to visit Churchmouse Yarns & Tea, the cutest little yarn shop.  I bought a few more skeins of yarn and just soaked up the ambience.  Here are a few snaps so you can soak up some yarny goodness too.

Nov 21, 2013

Bainbridge Island - Esther's Fabrics

Today we rode the ferry over to Bainbridge Island - a beautiful Island in Puget Sound full of quirky shops and very cute houses.  The houses and the natural scenery are so different to what we get at home.  And the mountainous surroundings with snow capped peaks - don't even get me started!!

Anyway I'd been told about a few places to check out on the Island so our first stop was Esther's Fabric - a beautiful quilt shop located on the main shopping street.

A very cute yet funky quilt shop, very welcoming staff - well worth the visit either online or in person.

Nov 19, 2013

Seattle - So Much Yarn

Hi everyone!  For those of you not following the fun on my facebook page - we are in Seattle!  Staying in a beautiful hotel right near the Pike Place Market and all the colour and food it has to offer.  We even have a great view of the waterfront and the downtown areas.

Of course I can't go passed a yarn shop when I find one - and luckily for me - this one had just moved even CLOSER to our hotel.

So Much Yarn offers a feast of local and overseas yarn in every weight you could want.  I did buy a little somethings for myself but just for today I'll leave you with a quick look at the shop.

Nov 7, 2013

Pitango Risotto

The opinions expressed here are my own

I must admit I consider myself to be a bit of a risotto master. Even when I had no confidence in the kitchen, risotto was the one thing I actually knew how to cook.

Now it is a staple in our home. The kids love it and you can make it with as many or as few ingredients as you like. My standard is mushroom but sometimes they talk me into adding bacon or I use fancy Japanese mushrooms.

And I'm a stirrer. I'm firmly in the 'stand at the stove and stir for 30 minutes' camp. I find it therapeutic.

When I was offered the chance to taste and review Pitango Risotto I jumped at at the chance. Would it be as good as mine? Would the family like it better than mine?? And what would I choose to serve with it?

I chose to sample the Organic Chicken and Garlic Risotto and cooked a warm kale and pinenut salad with it.  Accompanied of course by a glass of Sav Blanc!

I was honestly very pleasantly surprised.  I would consider this to be a convenience food, a step up from takeaway but not quite homemade.  At $8 for 2 serves it is much cheaper than takeaway and healthier. And if you aren't into standing by the stove stirring for half an hour - much easier than homemade.

I tend to be wary of pre made foods because of the added 'stuff' you get. But as you can see from the ingredients .... what you see is what you get. Standard risotto ingredients.

It's very easy to prepare - either microwave or stove top - and because I'm a sucker I did mine on the stove ;)

Served with my warm kale and pine nut salad it was an easy mid week meal. Even for a harsh risotto critic like me. It would be especially handy if you like risotto but can't be bothered making your own.

Warm Kale and Pine Nut Salad

Preheat your oven to 135 degrees C.

Lay your kale in a single layer on a baking sheet and lightly douse with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle pine nuts over the top and pop the whole lot in the oven for 10 minutes.

Kale will come out crispy like chips. If using the baby kale like I did you will get a mix of crispy and wilted.

Serve with Pitango Organic Chicken and Garlic Risotto and a wedge of lemon.

Thanks to Pitango Risotto for the opportunity.  Pitango Risottos and Soups are available at Woolworths.

Nov 5, 2013

cotton dishcloth swap with one crafty mumma

When I saw the second round of Mel at One Crafty Mumma's dishcloth swap open up there was no way I was going to miss out.  Even though the deadline was quite close to us leaving on our big trip I had already made a stack of dishcloths for Christmas pressies so I knew I was set.

My 4 cloths went off in the mail to Mel today and I will return from the USA to 4 back in the  mail from all over Australia!

My friend Frances thinks I've gone a bit dishcloth mad.  I can't really blame her I suppose.  I have made about 25 in the last couple of weeks.  I just love the bright colours you can use.  How I can knock one over in an hour or so.  How I can chop and change designs and they don't have to be exactly alike.

And of course I do like the reusable, environmentally sustainable nature of them.

I've found a few good sources of patterns.  Mel has a heap of links on her blog as well.  I'm using Sugar'n'Cream yarn which is about 10 ply 100% cotton and working with a 5mm hook.

Nov 2, 2013

revamped tuna croquets

I used to make these tuna patties for the Little Guy all the time. They are a quick and easy dinner to which you can add whatever veges you have on hand.  I haven't made them in awhile but a little tin of 99c tuna at the supermarket reminded me the other day.

The original recipe calls for breadcrumbs and egg but I decided to make more of a croquet style with mashed potatoes as the base.

This recipe makes about 8 patties -more than enough for my 2 kiddies.

2 large potatos (I use desiree)
1 carrot - grated
1 handful of frozen peas
1 small tin of tuna chunks

You can add other veges depending on preference and availability.

Peel and cut up the potatoes and steam until soft.

Mash the potatoes and mix through the tuna and veges.

Wet your hands and form the mix into croquet shapes or patties. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and pop in the freezer for 10 mins to firm quickly or into the fridge until you want to cook them.

When you are ready to cook remove from the fridge or freezer and either bake in the oven or cook in a frying pan on the stove until golden and warmed through.

Serve either on their own or perhaps with a little salad, some pesto for dipping and your favorite character plate ;)

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