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A is for Apron


I love aprons. I have made many aprons over the years, both to wear myself and to give as gifts to other apron-wearing friends. For the last few years this has become my favorite apron pattern:

picture of pattern

Here is one of my current favorites made from this pattern:

picture of blue apron

Knowing my love for aprons, DD Nora (pictured here with her dog, Paisley)

picture of Nora and Paisley

got me this book and fabric for Christmas:

picture of apron book and fabric

The book contains a section on vintage aprons, basic construction techniques, making aprons from other items such as dishtowels and skirts, and patterns for 25 different aprons. It is chock full of apron ideas. The patterns are included in the book in miniature form and you have to enlarge them 400 percent. Megan and Nora have each chosen a design and fabric that they like, so I will keep you posted on any finished aprons in the coming months. I've got my fabric washed and ironed and now I need to go to a copy store and get my pattern enlarged.

How about you - do you wear aprons and do you have a favorite style or pattern?

Edited to add: Attempting to use another pattern in this book I ran into great difficulties with the pattern. I decided to check at Amazon to see the customer reviews and find if others had run into similar problems. I was amazed/dismayed at all the bad reviews! Most people feel like the book has great pictures and ideas for the aprons, but many of the patterns do not go together well and the fabric requirements that are listed are not accurate. I can give an illustration of that: for the apron I was trying to make the pattern listed 1/4 of a yard for the waistband and ties. It then proceeded to tell me to cut a piece 7" wide by 70" long. As you can see, something is missing here. So, as many of the people who commented on the Amazon site wrote I would recommend that you get this book from the library and use it for inspiration and then buy a commercial pattern if you actually want to make an apron.

Becka

Something new for lunch today


We had a few new items on the menu for lunch today.

I had made an appetizer for New Year's Eve and had more of the ingredients on hand so I made another batch for today. They are called Broiled Stuffed Pepper Wedges and I found the recipe at Tammy's Recipes.

Here they are before broiling:

picture of raw peppers

Here they are ready to eat:

picture of peppers ready to eat

The next new recipe was from this book that I got from my friend, Marge, for Christmas.

picture of cookbook

It is basically a stir fry of asparagus, snow peas, frozen peas, and green onions with a sauce. The sauce was OK, but the next time I plan to just season the vegetables with soy sauce and sesame oil after a quick stir fry. I thought the combination was really pretty and tasted good.

Here's a picture of the finished stir-fry:

picture of stir-fry

The final new recipe was from this book that I got for Christmas from my friend, Sandy.

picture of cookbook

Sandy knows that Rob and I both have read a number of the Cat Who... mysteries by Lilian Jackson Braun. The beauty of this particular recipe was that it used up the half can of leftover jellied cranberry sauce that I had in the refrigerator left from my DSIL's recent visit. You just make a box of jello with one cup of boiling water, 1 cup of sour cream and one cup of the cranberry sauce, let it thicken slightly and pour into a baked pie shell. I did have to run the mixture through the blender because the cranberry sauce wouldn't blend in with a whisk.

picture of slice of pie

We had all these new dishes with an old family favorite - Pizza Rolls. I will have to post that recipe on another day.

Becka

I am an applesauce snob


Don't get me wrong - if you invite me over for dinner I will gladly eat whatever applesauce you place before me, but if it's up to me I will not buy the canned or jarred stuff from the grocery store.

Why is it that the texture of commercially prepared applesauce is so different from homemade applesauce? Can anybody out there in the webosphere tell me? I have a hunch that they just grind up raw apples, add sugar and citric acid and put it in the cans. To me it tastes mealy rather than smooth like homemade.

It is possible to get really good commercially canned applesauce - they have it in France. It's called compote de pommes and it's delicious.

Every fall we make several trips up to the Hendersonville, NC area to purchase apples. We go most often to Lyda Farms. We eat a lot of them raw and I use some for some of our favorite apple dishes such as apple pie, apple dumplings, etc. After a while the apples start to shrivel up a bit and then it's time to make applesauce.

Today I used up the last of the fall apples and made a batch of applesauce and some apple butter. One tool that we purchased many years ago makes making applesauce a lot easier - the Victorio Strainer.

Here's the process:

Wash the apples and remove any leaves.

picture of apples

Cut the apples in quarters and remove any bad spots.

picture of apples

Place in cooking pots with a small amount of water and cook until they are very tender - the cut surfaces will look fluffy.

picture of apples

Assemble the Victorio Strainer.

picture of strainer

Place the cooked apples in the hopper and crank the handle.

The applesauce comes out of one side and the peels, cores, and stems come out the other!

picture of strainer

Sweeten to taste, place in jars, and process in a hot water bath.

Here are the finished jars. This should keep the doctor away for some time.

picture of sauce

Becka

Books!


picture of stack of books

This year for Christmas I received ten books! Five of them were cookbooks and the rest were varied. I have already had fun leafing through them and planning recipes to try and projects to make in the future. I plan to try recipes from two of the books this weekend, so if they turn out I will post my results. I hope to post other comments from some of the books later as well.

How about you--did you receive any interesting books this Christmas?

Becka

another idea for turkey


For those of you who are still grappling with leftover turkey, here is another recipe that you might want to try. I think it is just about the ideal after-turkey-dinner recipe because it contains turkey, mashed potatoes, and green beans. I'm not sure where this recipe came from, but it's very tasty.

Green Bean and Turkey Casserole
2 cups cubed cooked turkey or chicken
2 cups fresh or frozen cooked green beans
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/3 cup milk (plus additional for moistening mashed potatoes)
approximately 2 cups cooked mashed potatoes (make extra the day of your feast)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup French fried onions (from can or bag)

picture of casserole in the making

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix turkey, green beans, soup, and milk. Pour into a two quart greased casserole dish. (If you have a little leftover stuffing you can add this too.) Moisten mashed potatoes with a little milk and whisk to fluff them up. Spread on top of turkey/green bean mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake about 25 mins. or until bubbly. Top with french fried onions and return to oven for about 5 more minutes. Enjoy!

picture of casserole done

I thought I'd post a picture of our grandson Drew that we took yesterday while our little guy was napping with his friend (Curious) George - who makes a great pillow!

picture of Drew and George napping

Becka