FO Friday: pink and green and yellow quilt

This is a child’s quilt that I started ages ago and finally finished recently.

pink/yellow/green quilt for Isobel

It’s a simple subway tile style pattern that I sort of made up as I went – I’ve done four quilts in this style and I really like the way they turned out.

pink/yellow/green quilt for Isobel

I used this quilt as an opportunity to use my new stitch-in-the-ditch sewing machine foot and it worked very well.

pink/yellow/green quilt for Isobel

I considered doing some additional quilting on top of that, but couldn’t decide what I wanted and ended up being happy enough with it as it was, so I left it. I had previously sent a quilt to Carrie Anne for her soon-to-be-born son (like an idiot, I forgot to take any photos of it, d’oh!), and thought that her daughter would probably appreciate a gift at a time when the new baby was getting a lot of presents.

pink/yellow/green quilt for Isobel

For the back, I used panels of the same fabrics from the front of the quilt, and for the border I picked a hot pink polka dot fabric that I thought set a nice, bold edge.

pink/yellow/green quilt for Isobel

Aren’t these fabrics so springy and happy?

pink/yellow/green quilt for Isobel

I’ve already sent this to its recipient and have been assured by her mom that she likes it (whew!). I know she loves the color pink, but I wanted to have a bit more than just one color going on in this quilt. I’m relieved that she’s pleased!


pork butt and apples(auce)

I’ve been looking for things to cook now that I (a) have time to apply myself to learning, (b) am doing the grocery shopping, and (c) am eating meat so K and I could actually eat the same thing for dinner. The slow cooker is a good option for lazy old me, except that a lot of the time, recipes are all, “It’s super easy! Only a few minutes of prep time and then let it go until dinner,” when in reality, there are vegetables to be sauteed first, and meat to be browned, and a bunch of other pot/pan-using things that take ages! I’m willing to use a knife and a cutting board or two, but I don’t want to be cooking for a long time before the actual cooking starts.

However, while meal planning last week I stumbled across Amy’s recipe for Crock Pot Pork Roast with Apples & Sweet Potatoes, which not only has minimal advance prep but also has only about a dozen ingredients, a good half of which are herbs and spices I’ve actually heard of. Amazing! Thanks, Amy’s Cooking Adventures. You rock!

(Please note! I have not included descriptions of all the ingredients and instructions here – so refer to Amy’s Cooking Adventures for the real deets!)

I clipped the recipe to Evernote, both for future use and so I could use Say Mmm to make my grocery list.

preparing Crock Pot Pork Roast with Apples & Sweet Potatoes from Amy's Cooking Adventures

So, to the cooking! First, you add a layer of apple and sweet potato slices to the bottom of the slow cooker. As foodies will no doubt notice, my knife skills are lacking, but I think in terms of slow cooker cooking, uniform size and shape are not a huge concern. For me, anyway.

preparing Crock Pot Pork Roast with Apples & Sweet Potatoes from Amy's Cooking Adventures

Then the meat goes in. I felt like a bit of a dork at the meat counter. I asked for a pork roast of the appropriate size, and the guy was like, “Which one? HUH?!” So I looked at the labels, which all looked very similar and similarly meant nothing to me, and chose the one that was labeled Pork Butt. Because: BUTT.

preparing Crock Pot Pork Roast with Apples & Sweet Potatoes from Amy's Cooking Adventures

As you can see, for meat handling, I use Carrie Anne’s patented Reverse Baggie Method.

preparing Crock Pot Pork Roast with Apples & Sweet Potatoes from Amy's Cooking Adventures

Not only am I still getting over the whole biology-class-memories-of-dissecting-formerly-living-things thing, I am also really paranoid about germs. Having not cooked meat basically ever before, I have a probably too-sensitive scale for safety when preparing it. EVERYTHING IS CRAWLING WITH SALMONELLA! Hence, baggie hands.

Also, do you notice that grid thingie in the background of the above photo? It’s a strange little net sleeve that was wrapped around the roast at the deli. I cut it off with some kitchen scissors (which were then carefully scrubbed) – is that what people usually do? I assume you don’t want to be picking it out of your food later on.

I actually had to buy Rosemary and Marjoram, but we had Basil already, as well as the other spices in the recipe. So now I’ll be on the lookout for recipes that use Rosemary and/or Marjoram.

preparing Crock Pot Pork Roast with Apples & Sweet Potatoes from Amy's Cooking Adventures

After it’s all spiced, the rest of the apple and sweet potato go in, as well as the garlic. Which I used probably two to three times as much of as the recipe suggested. It’s garlic, people! It’s meant to be enjoyed.

preparing Crock Pot Pork Roast with Apples & Sweet Potatoes from Amy's Cooking Adventures

I was so anxious to try it, I forgot to snap a photo before we cut into it. It turned out great! The apple and sweet potato were super tender but not quite mooshy, and the pork was still solid enough to be slice-able, but just. I cooked it for 6.5 hours on low in our slow cooker, and it seemed to be the right amount of time.

preparing Crock Pot Pork Roast with Apples & Sweet Potatoes from Amy's Cooking Adventures

Even though K was skeptical of having fruit with the meat, he liked it! He does have a deep and abiding love for cinnamon, though, so that might have helped. I liked it too. This was my first time really eating a pork main dish so I was happy to find that I liked it. It’s really autumnal and just super homey and comforting. It would make a good alternative to turkey for Thanksgiving, actually. We each had it for dinner one night and then for lefties the following night, so for us, four servings was right on target.


Thrift Score: Operation Pants

I finally caved and tried on a bunch of things in my dresser this morning and found, as I knew I would, that none of them fit anymore. I’ve been steadily losing weight over the past months since going on this new eating plan and it appears that in terms of pants, I am now a size 6. That seems like crazytown to me, but I’ll take it. This meant, though, that I now own just one pair of recently purchased jeans that fit and two pairs of black chinos that are only a little bit too loose. And I decided that it was time to give in and find a second pair of jeans, at least.

I was feeling inspired by both my limited budget and Carrie Anne’s recent Thrifted Closet post, so I headed over to the local SalvA and started going through the katrillion pairs of jeans they have in the women’s section. Seriously, there were aisles and aisles just of jeans! And of course they’re not in any order, so I scanned for darker colors and made several trips to the dressing room (strict limit of 5 items per visit!) and ended up with – you guessed it: one pair of jeans that fit. I’m sure I missed many pairs that might have fit but the racks were really packed and it was challenging to find the size tags on some pairs. I also found a pair of denim-ish dressy-ish pants that also fit. Lucky day for me: the jeans that fit were half off of $5 and the pants were only $1 (they were pretty wrinkled but otherwise fine).

I also looked through some other stuff while I was there, and actually found a few other items. My long-ago job of hanging clothing for Goodwill gave me a good eye for going through apparel and picking out the gems. I just have to muster the patience! Of course I went looking in the sweaters, of which there were also multiple aisles. First, I found this 100% cashmere, brand new sweater:

cashmere sweater (too big)

Unfortunately it was a size L and just too big for me (note that I am wearing two shirts already underneath).

I also found at this lovely red argyle cardigan:

argyle cardigan

It’s supposedly a Petite Small, but it fit just fine! It was also in the half-off sale and was originally only $6 – definitely a good deal.

Then I noticed that they had *gasp* a whole rack of SWEATER VESTS! I have been admiring/coveting Kristin‘s kickass sweater vests for quite some time, so I was thrilled.

neat pattern sweater vest (wrong shape/too worn)

This one was a neat pattern, but ultimately not the right shape for me and a bit too worn to justify the $4.

Then, though, there was this one!

argyle-ish sweater vest

Which not only fit well but is also a bit of an adventure for me color-wise. It’s got a dark purple base, but the other colors are out of my comfort zone. I splurged and spent a whole $6 on this item.

There was one other sweater vest that stood out, but was definitely not my scene:

very patriotic sweater vest at Salvation Army

I’m sure some ardent patriot will snap it up for election day!

So, all told: $13.21 including tax for a pair of jeans, a pair of slacks, a cardigan, and a sweater vest. It took some time invested, but I think it was a worthwhile trip. And now I will have at least three pairs of pants that actually fit!