Homespooled

 
This dish was a huge hit at my house.  I was hoping for leftovers but alas, no such luck.  I just had to make it a second time!  The second time I made it, I doubled the recipe and baked it in a 9" x 13" casserole. Turns out doubling it was a little much for the size of the casserole dish, so if that's what you decide to do, I would make one and a half times the recipe.  And in a casserole dish, it's not necessary to put a crust under the veggies.  What I did was top the entire thing with pie crust and bake it at the same temp/time as indicated below. It turned out great!
Serves: 8

For the crust:

2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 c. shortening
½ c. water

For the filling: 
1 tbsp oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, chopped
3 medium potatoes, cut into small cubes (skin-on)
1 ½ cup corn kernels (frozen or canned)
1 cup of shelled edamame*
1 19oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp Bragg's all-purpose soy seasoning (or low-sodium soy sauce)
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp dried rosemary**
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp onion  powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

*you can use green peas instead of edamame, the texture will be a little different, but the taste will still be very good
**I like to crush dried rosemary with a mortar & pestle (you can use a zip-lock bag & a rolling pin) into smaller pieces (even powder if time permits) because let's face it, small twigs are small twigs, cooked or not!

DIRECTIONS:
1. Pie crust: combine the flour & salt. Cut in the shortening using a pastry cutter (or using the two knife method, and example of which you can find here)
2. Add water and blend in with a fork until a crust is formed. Knead until smooth (about 5 minutes).
3. Divide the crust and shape into two discs. Wrap in cellophane and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
5. Filling: Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Toss in the onions, garlics and carrot and cook until onions are clear.
6. Add remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. Cook over med-low to medium heat until the potatoes are fork tender (but not mushy), about 20-25 minutes. 
7. Roll out one of the pie dough discs to line a 9" - 10" pie plate.  Add the filling. Then roll out the second pie dough disk to cover the pie, sealing the edges and making slits in the top to release steam.
8. Bake for 45 minutes at 375ºF.
9. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 - 15 minutes before serving.



 
 
Win $25 towards an item from Homespooled’s Etsy shop (free shipping) OR one dozen cupcakes OR two dozen mini cupcakes from Sudbury Vegan Sweets. (cupcakes only available to participants from the Greater Sudbury area ) Contest open to Canada & US only. 
TO ENTER:

-          “like” Homespooled AND Sudbury Vegan Sweets on Facebook

-          “share” the contest link on your Facebook page

-          enter your name and contact info in the contest form below

Contest closes Wednesday November 6th at 8:00pm EDT.  

A winner will be drawn at random and announced on Thursday November 7th at 8:00am EDT.

Please Note: In the event that the winner chooses the cupcake option, I will require at least 36 hours' notice to complete the order :)



GOOD LUCK!!

    Contest Form

 
 
A little over a year ago I made a Batman Tissue Box Cover.  It was pretty popular in my house, until my sister came from out of town and wanted it so bad I gave it to her.  Then I was left with boring Kleenex.  Some people even asked why my Kleenex was no longer cool? With a craft show coming up at the end of this month, I decided to pop out a few of those Batman covers to sell.  But I also wanted to have some covers for girls (not all girls are into Batman...I know, right?).  

At the spring craft show earlier this year, I had this cushion for sale.  It was white with a pink and purple owl on it and my daughter (a.k.a. craft show assistant salesperson) adored it.  Actually I had two of them with those exact colours.  I promised her that if there was one left at the end of the weekend, she could have it. Sadly (for her), they sold quickly, as did all of the other owl cushions I'd made.  Apparently, I'm not the only one who likes owls...

 
 
Have I ever told you guys how much I love Harry Potter?  A lot.  But I do have a friend who's a little more Potterific than I.  Her name is Mel.  And Mel is going to have a baby soon!!  

Months ago, I stumbled across Julie's Blog and her post: Harry Potter and the Quiet Book.  I immediately thought of a newly pregnant Mel and how much she would love it, so I posted it to her Facebook wall as a little teaser.  I didn't think at that time that I would actually make it.  I didn't realize that I could!  When I found that the pattern is available for purchase on Etsy, I resolved to make it for her and give it to her at her baby shower.  Since I figured I would have plenty of time and the shower hadn't even been announced yet, I put it in the back of my mind.

Then the date for the shower was set.  I had a month and a half.  Plenty of time. (yeah right)  With tons more on my plate, I decided to procrastinate on the HP Quiet Book and not start it until the Monday before the shower.  That's right...I gave myself 5 ½ days.  Well let me tell you, if anyone who is reading this plans to make this book as a present and has a deadline, give yourself more than 5 ½ days!!! 

I have to say that after making this book, I am in awe of this Julie person.  Not only is this book extremely creative and well done, the time she put into every single detail is astounding.  It must have taken her FOREVER to make hers!!  Me? Well, I cut a few corners.  Hand embroidering an outline on each character's face, hair, suit, etc. didn't appeal to me.  There were a few steps that I deemed unnecessary for my version and stuck to my gun (my glue gun that is) in my resolve.  I used my sewing machine as often as I could and only hand embroidered where I thought it would take away from the look otherwise.  Where Julie suggested doubling up on the felt pieces, I would sometimes follow suit, and sometimes not.  I constructed before work, on my lunch hour, after work till 3 am and then again and again, all the while cutting some time-saving corners.  I laughed, I cried, and after approximately 40 hours of fast-paced crafting, I completed Mel's gift a mere 1 hour before the start of her baby shower!

Without further ado, I present to you all my version of Harry Potter and the Quiet Book:

 
 
You all know how much I like making cake.  And soup.  But I'm not about to start a soup site (...or maybe I should?) so I started a cake site!!  It's called Sudbury Vegan Sweets.

I've been very busy over the last few weeks getting it all together.  And busy in the meantime making a few more cakes.  I made another suitcase cake for a retirement party. But this time, I hand painted stickers on the cake instead of flags, using edible ink markers.

 
 
We have this thing at work where we have lunch together every Thursday, and we order in.  Every week, it's someone else's turn to pick the restaurant we order from (we're only about 7 people so you don't have to wait FOREVER for your turn to come around again).  When it's someone's birthday week, the person who had their birthday last is responsible for bringing cake for the person whose birthday we're celebrating. 

So on Wednesday this week, I was looking at our big 3 month calendar where I include the staff's birthdates among other things, and was discussing with Nathan (my friend we like to prank) that he'd have to bring in something for the next birthday celebrator on Thursday May 2nd.  We realized then, that we'd hired a new employee in January and hadn't asked when his birthday was! So I sent the new employee a message asking him this information.  He replies: April 18th, 1966, just before Star Trek aired).  Then Nathan and I thought: Darn! We missed his birthday, we'll have to bring in double the cake on May 2nd and celebrate two birthdays together.  It wasn't until 10 minutes before closing time, that April 18th was the next day!  AND, that the next day happened to be a Thursday!  I decided right away that I would make cupcakes to bring in.  And for a fellow Star Trek lover, why not take this opportunity to pay homage? (This is the guy who signed my fake going away card with a picture of Spock, and commented on my near-Vulcan logic and efficiency for my fake going away slide show, so he totally deserved these cupcakes.)

 
 
This is a very hearty cabbage soup with tons of...you guessed: cabbage!  It makes a LOT so make sure you take out the big pot for this one. 
MAKES: about 20 cups!!
TIME: 45 - 60 minutes

INGREDIENTS:
1 lrg onion, chopped (approx. 2 cups)
4 stalks of celery, chopped (approx. 1 cup)
2 carrots, peeled & chopped (approx. 1 cup)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped
1/2 head of green cabbage, roughly chopped (about 2lbs)
1 lrg zucchini, washed and chopped (with skin on)
1 28oz can of diced tomatoes, NOT drained
1 19oz can of white kidney beans (cannellini beans), drained and rinsed
10 cups of vegetable broth
1 tbsp Bragg's liquid aminos (or low-sodium soy sauce)
2 tsps of apple cider vinegar
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried thyme
salt & pepper to taste
Optional: 1/8 - 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a large pot, water sauté the onions, celery and carrots for a couple of minutes until they start to turn clear (add about 1/4 cup of water - instead of oil - in with the onions over medium heat). 

2. Add in the garlic and ginger, stir and cook for a few minutes more (add a bit more water if needed) until the onions are clear, the carrots and celery are fork tender and the aromas of the garlic and ginger are filling you kitchen.

3. Add all remaining ingredients, stir and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. 

NOTE: I added 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper and it gave it quite the kick, so if you're not used to heat, I would suggest 1/8 of a tsp if you do choose to use it!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION:
per 2 cup serving

Calories 131, Total Fat 0.2g, Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 811mg, Total Carbs 27.4g, Fiber 9.5g, Sugars 10.5g, Protein 6g, Vit A 68%, Vit C 66%, Calcium 14%, Iron 10%

 
 
So the past few weeks have been absolutely crazy around here!!  It all started on March 9th when Señor decided to propose!  That's right, there's my finger.  He put a ring on it.
What made him choose March 9th?  Well, Blissful Bridal Boutique was having a HUGE sample sale on their wedding gowns that day.  I had heard of the sale about a month before it happened.  It was all over the radio.  Knowing that sometime in the next few years a wedding was likely in the cards for us, I thought to myself: Hmmm, 75% off a designer gown?  Is that really a sale that I can pass up?  So not wanting to seem like a crazy person, I casually mentioned the sale to Señor and asked him what he thought.  To my surprise, he agreed it was a logical thing to attend and encouraged me to get there as early as possible.  He also told me not to worry, that he would take the kids to their sports that morning.

I felt really awkward asking people to come with me to shop for a wedding gown when I wasn't even engaged.  But I really wanted someone there with me.  Well I ended up with three people: my mom, my future sister-in-law turned bridesmaid, Melyssa, and my friend Mel turned maid-of-honour (or matron of honour?  I hate the word matron...).  The sale was from 9am - 4pm.  Señor said I needed to get there as early as possible to get the best selection so we lined up at 7:30am.  In the freezing cold. 

All I kept thinking of was the episode from Friends when Monica shops for her dress and pretty much assaults other crazy frantic women to get it.  This is what I thought I was in for.  When we got there, there were about 5 "brides" ahead of us. (I use quotations here because I think it's fair to assume that not every person buying a dress that day was actually a bride...ahem.)  We waited outside for about 45 minutes until they let us inside the building to wait some more.  To get in to the boutique, there was a long, narrow stairwell that lead to it.  All of the "brides" along with their entourage were sitting and standing in the stairs, waiting.  Then 5 minutes before 9am, one of the store employees explained to us that only 10 "brides" along with the people they brought with them would be allowed on the floor at a time.  They could choose 3 dresses to try on.  First to arrive at the dressing rooms (there are only 2) first serve.  If you didn't find your dress out of the 3 you tried on, and you wanted to look some more, you had to go to the back of the line.  By this time, the line was trailing into the parking lot...

To keep track of the "brides", we were all given numbers from 1 to 10.  I was number 5 and we were lucky to be in the first round on the floor.   We split up and found 3 dresses that we decided I should try on.  I was the third person to arrive at the dressing room.  (Which was a miracle, since those women were absolutely insane.  I was being shoved and blocked and given the nastiest looks.  It was kind of funny actually.)  When it was my turn to go in, I was accompanied by the seamstress that works there.  She tied me into the first dress and instructed me to lift the front of it, then she would open the curtain for me and I could go out to show my mother.   So I reached down, picked up the front of the dress, and as she opened the curtain of the dressing room, I took one step out and nearly tripped over Señor, who was right in front of me, on one knee, in a suit, holding a ring.

Now, Señor is a shy person.  So for him to be proposing in public was HUGE.  I looked up at my mom and bridesmaids and they were smiling in a way that told me they were all in on it.  Then I looked around the room and noticed that all the crazy ladies had stopped rifling through the gowns and were looking at us.  Then all at once (it seemed) they said: awwwwwwww!!  Then as the people waiting in the stairs wanted to know what was going on, and someone explained it to them, we heard another wave of awwwwwww!!  It was pretty great.

So obviously, I said yes.  And luckily, the gown I came out in when Señor was down one knee is not the one I bought.  I did find a dress that day though.  But you can't see it.  Not till after the wedding :P

(I did ask Señor what he'd done with the children, as he obviously didn't have them with him, turns out he left them with his brother who had instruction on when and where to take the kids for their sports if Señor hadn't made it back in time...which he did.)

The week following the proposal, I was less than 2 weeks away from a craft show, less than one week away from our St. Patty's Day party and had Señor's brother and my future sister-in-law Melyssa staying with us for the week.  They are getting married in August and Señor and I are both standing in their wedding.  So needless to say, very little craft show prep happened, less than desired St. Patty's Day prep happened and A LOT of wedding planning occurred!

Finally, those first few days of "bride brain" passed, and I was finally able to focus on becoming Irish for a day.
After the party, it was go-time.  I had less than a week to prepare for the Sudbury Keepsakes Spring Craft Show and I was nowhere near ready.  But of course, I worked it out like I always do and even found time to train my little helper!!
The show went well and I am looking forward to the next show in October.

In the midst of the craft show craziness, I had a cake to make - another retirement cake for a co-worker! This time, though, I had some help.  My friend Brandon promised to come help me out on the Sunday night, to have the cake ready for a surprise lunch last Monday.  All I had to do was bake the actual cake on the Saturday night.  But, after coming home from the craft show that day, spending some time with the kids and then sitting down to relax (before heading back to the craft show the next morning), I completely forgot!  That is until Brandon texted me on the Saturday around 9pm to tell me that he'd remembered to pick up the fondant and that he got it on sale!  Well!  Trust me when I say I've never baked a cake faster in my life.  And it turned out great.

Then on Sunday, Brandon arrived at my house and we got to work. (I'm determined to teach him everything I know about decorating cakes and cookies for some reason.)   We didn't really come up with this design ourselves. We Googled the idea and came up with this combination of a bunch of our findings.  And as you can see, we chose the most difficult flags to replicate :P

For the distressed look of the suitcase, we coloured the base fondant a tan colour and covered the cake.  Then before putting the straps and flags on it, we put some globs of brown gel food colouring in random spots on the cake and then with paper towels, we spread the food colouring around, making sure to keep some areas darker than others.  It was super easy and we're kind of geniuses :P  Oh, and the retiree's reaction to the cake went smashingly. 
After the cake making, all I had left for the month of March was to organize and prepare for my family's Easter dinner, which I host as a potluck every year.  Of course, working full-time, prepping and doing the craft show, and returning to work full-time made me sick, actually sick, so all this prep was done with a fever behind my eyes.  Miraculously, everything went great, I felt much better by the weekend and everyone left my house happy with their bellies full of food.

So the craft show is done.  Easter is over.  I recently finished a course in creative writing.  With a hall & dj and other major things already booked for my summer 2014 nuptials, the wedding planning can be put on the backburner for a while.  I should feel like I have nothing to do right now, right? Wrong.  With an application to prepare and send in by the April 10th deadline for the Sudbury Keepsakes Christmas Art & Craft Show in October, and a shop to set up on Etsy.com, I still feel pretty busy.  To top it off, I figured that since I just finished a class, I should take another one!! But what, oh what should it be!?  Well, with my job being safe for now, but certainly not forever, my fiancé thought it would be a good idea to take some courses that would allow me to qualify for a wider spectrum of positions within my workplace.  Logically, I just couldn't argue this.  So I signed myself up for the first course of the Bookkeeping Certificate Program: Introduction to Accounting.  After getting my books:
I immediately regretted my decision. There are 5 workbooks there.  Five.  For one class.  And it's accounting.  Accounting.  My accountant brother seemed pretty excited about the news.  At least I'll be able to ask him, or my other accountant brother (they seriously both work in accounting) for help if I get stuck.  I'm choosing to block out the pain and float through this course as quickly and efficiently as possible.  And luckily it's through Independent Learning so I can work on it around my current schedule.

And so, while I should be reading the first pages of my course book, adding items to my newly established Etsy shop, preparing my next craft show application or even making items to be sold, instead I've chosen to alternate between writing this post and reading Batman: Arkham City.  I'm totally off to a great start :/ Batman rocks.
 
 
Guess what?  Winter is NOT over :(  So how about another soup?  As a leftover, this soup thickens quite a bit because of the rice.  So if you REALLY don't like thick soups (which I love!) then put in a little less rice.

 
 
Winter is kind of, finally, sort of, winding down over here...maybe.  We always seem to get a final attack from mother nature near the end of March...and sometimes in April.  So how about one more soup to go with it?

 

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