December 29, 2008

Farmer's Market Farewell

Last Sunday was my final farmer's market. I've decided to retire my tent for a while to focus more time on my monkey shop and to write some new sewing patterns. Nick and I are hoping to move to Seattle in a few months, and hopefully have a baby soon too. It was time to quit. My last day was right before Christmas so there were lots of vendors. It was nice to be able to say goodbye to everyone and pick up a few goodies too.

First, I got myself one of these adorable cashmere bears from Barbara of Gabby Goo. She calls them Wooly Bearz. This little bear is sooo soft and cuddly. I can't wait to have a baby to go with it!

I also picked up an adorable carrot from Jennifer. I've told you about my ridiculous love for fake food, right?

I feel very relieved now, not having to worry about filling my table. The only problem is what to do with the things I didn't sell. I guess I'll be spending a lot of time with my camera in the coming weeks to get these things online. If you make a purchase from iSew, you'll be getting something free in your package too (while supplies last). I've got lots of tissue cozies & magnets to give.

Now I'm working on my long term To Do List. What are your big plans for the new year?

December 27, 2008


I know you don't have time to read a long, wordy post, so I'm just going to be brief and share some photos today.

I spent all day Wednesday and Thursday in the kitchen. I made this very involved chocolate cake from a recipe I found in my new cookbook. It's good, but in my opinion, not good enough for the effort involved (Nick doesn't agree. He thinks it's well worth the effort.).

I also got a chance to bake some yummy buttermilk spice muffins. Not being a fan of "things in things", I like these because they're plain (I left the nuts out, of course). Very tasty indeed. Here's the recipe.

I'm a wannabe Canadian, so I'm definitely a maple fan. I got the recipe for these Vermont maple sugar cookies from a friend a few years ago. Nick loves them too! I found a very similar recipe online for you to try.

Jody's glad Christmas is over so he can get back to what he enjoys best. He doesn't even mind how dirty that window is.

Nothing fazes Maple. She's one of those cats that doesn't have a problem getting comfortable. (She's not modest either.)

I'm taking it easy this week, but getting back to work as well. We had a lovely Christmas over here and hope you did too!

December 24, 2008

Warm Wishes

Just popping in to wish you a Merry Christmas or happy whatever you might celebrate this time of year.

I'm enjoying a week of doing what I want (for the most part). I spent the whole day baking today, and tomorrow I'll be cooking again. It's just Nick and I this year so it should be a nice quiet Christmas for us. Happy Holidays, stay warm!

December 19, 2008

Two Spoonfuls: Sweet Treats

When I first went over to live in England, I was given the pleasure of eating a delicious thing called a flapjack. For my American friends, no, they aren't pancakes. They're sort of like sweet and somewhat gooey granola bars. Truly yummy. I got a recipe from Nick's mum and here's how it went...

First off, the recipe:

1 1/2 Sticks Butter
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs Sugar
1 Tbs. Karo Brown Sugar Corn Syrup [or Golden Syrup (UK) or Honey]
2 1/4 cups quick oats

Preheat oven to 350F (180c, Gas Mark 4)
1. Heat butter, sugar and corn syrup in a saucepan on low heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat and add oats. Mix well.
2. Spread evenly in a greased 8x8" or 9x9" (20x20cm) baking pan.
3. Bake 20-25 minutes until just golden at the edges.
4. Let cool for about 10 minutes, cut into bars in pan. Cool completely before removing from pan. Cut again with sharp knife as needed.

In the UK, Flapjacks are generally made with a product called "Golden Syrup". According to Wikipedia, golden syrup is a thick, amber-colored form of inverted sugar syrup, made in the process of refining sugar cane juice into sugar, or by treatment of a sugar solution with acid. I happen to have some in my house because I live with an Englishman. In order to make things easier on you, I made my flapjacks with Corn Syrup. Karo makes a brown sugar variety that seems to be very similar to Golden Syrup and I found it at my local grocery store. Easy. Some recipes online say you can use honey, but I'm not sure it would taste right.

We happen to have the quick variety of oats, they're more chopped up. I think whole oats would work as well.

I made 4 batches of flapjacks to get to these. The first 3 were made using completely wrong amounts of the ingredients. A British recipe is hard to follow if you're used to using volume rather than weight to measure things. oops!

Ginny's Notes:

1. My last batch of flapjacks came out tasty, but still a little greasy. The next time I make them, I'll use a little less butter. Perhaps 1 stick is enough. They're just too gooey and greasy.

2. I did a lot of research online and found many recipes, all of which used different amounts of each ingredient. Here are a few of them if you want to give them a whirl:
Lyle's Golden Syrup: They make Golden Syrup and have a downloadable recipe booklet that has flapjacks on page 20.
Traditional Scottish Recipes
A Chewy and Chrunchier Version

3. I cooked my flapjacks for 25 minutes at 350F. I will likely bump up the temp. to 375F next time and see how it goes. They should be a little more golden brown than mine were.

4. The corn syrup worked well, but if you want to use golden syrup, here's some resources in America:
Taste of Britain by Post
Jolly Grub
Shop England Online
Cost Plus World Market may have a store near you

5. Don't be afraid to add chocolate chips or little bits of fruit to your flapjacks.

I learned a lot from this recipe and I'm so glad I finally gave it a try. Let me know if you try it and what works for you. Now I want to stop in at Jenn's & see what she's up to...

December 17, 2008

On My Desk

Here's what was on my desk today...

I had a custom order to make for the farmer's market tomorrow. Just sayin', it's gonna be in the 30's when I get there....I can't wait for that! Maybe next time I'll show you what the bag looks like.

I made myself a yummy cuppa decaf. Yes, I like whipped cream and sprinkles on my coffee. Don't you?

I can't wait to try some recipes in the new cookbook I bought last night. There are some good ones in there just calling my name.

I may start with this one. Chocolate + Caramel + Butterscotch = yes please!

This Sunday will be my last farmer's market (yay!) and then I can really start thinking about Christmas and crafty things I want to do for myself and baking and lots of other fun things. Cool.

December 15, 2008

Decking the Halls

Now that I've made my final (hopefully) trip to the post office for this holiday season, I can start decorating the house a bit.

This snowman was carved just for me a few years ago by my friend Sue. Remember her? She made my wedding cake topper. Isn't it cute? Mickey ears, sewing tools, hockey skates and a quilt...perfect.

Little George is hanging out in the kitchen window. We've got a larger version of this guy that lives in our room all year (that's how bad we are with the cuddly toys).

I can't resist a snowman, especially one that's filled with soap! (You can get one here.)

The first ornament on our tree again this year. A little craftsmanship from my lovely friend Jenn. It's adorable, no?

My Grandpa's Christmas tree sits on our dining room table. It looks even better at night!

Now for some holiday baking.

December 13, 2008


Did I ever tell you that I used to work at Disneyland? Yep, for almost 15 years! And no, I'm not tired of it. I still love the place, and this week I got to pay a quick visit to the Happiest Place On Earth.

Here I am with my niece and my sister in front of the castle. (I'm the pumpkin muffin)

Check out these candy apples! Aren't they the cutest?

Carnaby loved the Christmas tree on Main Street, U.S.A.

I've got some mugs that match these. I was strong though, I didn't bring them home. sighhh

I had a great trip but I'm up to my eyeballs in monkeys now. Back to work.

December 05, 2008

Two Spoonfuls: Little Bites

This week Jenn and I are going to make some little bites! It's party season, so what could be better than a few yummy appetizers? Now, let's get started...

My recipe came from one of those great little check stand cookbooks. I'm a huge fan of these little magazine style books, I've got a ton of them. It just so happens that our friends at Pillsbury® have just released this one, Holiday Appetizers. Perfect timing, eh?

Mini Bacon-Cheese Cups
~ 1 Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crust (from 15-oz. box), softened as directed on box
~ 1 package (3 oz.) cream cheese, softened
~ 1 whole egg
~ 1 egg yolk
~ 1/4 cup chopped green onions (4 medium)
~ 3 oz. shredded Swiss cheese (about 2/3 cup)
~ 8 slices precooked bacon, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
~ Additional finely chopped green onions, if desired

1. Heat oven to 425ºF. Spray 16 mini muffin cups with cooking spray. Unroll pie crust on work surface. Using 2½-inch round cutter, cut 16 rounds from crust; discard remaining crust. Place 1 crust round in each muffin cup, pressing down gently to form cup.

2. In blender or food processor, blend or process cream cheese, whole egg, egg yolk and 1/4 cup onions until almost smooth. Divide mixture evenly among crust-lined muffin cups (about 2 tsp. each). Top each evenly with Swiss cheese and bacon.

3. Bake 9-11 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 5 minutes; remove cups from pan. Garnish each with additional onions.

If you ask me, you can't go wrong with green onions, cream cheese and bacon. I used only about a third of the bacon called for in the recipe. I put it back in the fridge to use for salads & such later.

I don't have one of those cool sets of circular cutters (it's on my Christmas list though), so I found a juice glass that was just the right size. It worked great!

I filled my little crust cups to the brim. They really puffed up in the oven, but relaxed after cooling a bit. haha They came out of the pan very easily. I just poked the sides with a knife and they jump right up.

I ended up with 15 pieces. I think it's because of the way I cut into the dough. I got a little excited at one point and cut in the wrong spot on the dough. (oops) I sprinkled chives on top because I had some in the fridge already. I just thought they'd look nice because they're so petite.

Ginny's Notes:
~ This recipe was really easy to make and delicious too. I mean it! I made 15 on Wednesday, and by lunch time Thursday, Nick and I finished them off. Yummmm!!!

~ I couldn't find a 3oz. package of cream cheese so I cut into an 8oz. package instead. Did you know cream cheese is marked like butter? It's got lines on the wrapper to mark off the ounces. Very handy!

~ I used prepackaged bacon slices, but the packaged real bacon pieces, like this one, would work just as well. This is a regular pantry item at my house. I love to be able to toss some bacon on pasta or over a salad.

~ I also substituted a grated cheese blend for the Swiss cheese. I only did this because it's what I had on hand. I'm guessing that the Swiss cheese called for in the recipe would add more flavor, but I decided to take the easy way out. I didn't miss anything by not using Swiss. ___________________________________________________________________

I had planned to make a second recipe from Holiday Appetizers, Pizza Pinwheels (this recipe's available online). Unfortunately, I discovered late last night that I didn't have a can of crescent rolls in the fridge, it was a can of pizza dough. Maybe you can give them a try and let me know how they turn out.

For some great recipes and a little fun too, check out some of these sites...

~ Pillsbury® Lots of recipes, coupons and the Doughboy, of course. He's got his own place.

~ I've spent a lot of time on this site, there are soo many recipes to try.

~ PHILADELPHIA All cream cheese, all the time.

Now, I'd like to go see what Jenn's been cooking. I'm sure she's got something special in store for us this week.

December 03, 2008

Pretty Much On My Desk

I guess almost anything could be considered On My Desk appropriate, so I'm just going to give you a taste of what's going on around here right now.

Some magnets-in-progress for a great customer. They just need the magnets!

Monkeys! Yesterday was the biggest monkey day ever for my little monkey shop. Was it International Monkey Day or something?

A new diaper bag in the works. This one's has been planned for months and months. I'd love to get it done today some time.

Some day, I'll have a few shelves in my sewing room just filled with adorable pin cushions! I just got these two from Up The Creek. They're tiny, cute and way under-priced. They'll look great with this one, and this one.

Now I need to get back to my sewing and cooking and listening to this cool station online.