Thursday, June 27, 2013

Book Review: Freeze and Easy

Freeze & Easy 

Sara Lewis (2013). 

Buy it at The Book Depository

Disclaimer: I recieved an e-galley of this title thanks to Anova Books. All opinions are my own and I was not obligated to share a review.

I work full time at a job that requires an hour commute and study part time. Hubby works 60-80 hour weeks in a high pressure job. We're therefore always looking for ways to cut down on our cooking time, while still maintaining healthy eating habits. It's far to easy to revert to food that's full of sugar and salt because you don't have the time to make anything better on a Tuesday night when you've just got home at 6.30pm and you have an audio conference to attend in an hours. I love my crockpot. And I'm learning to love my freezer (though I'm constantly wishing for a bigger one).

This is where Freeze & Easy comes in. Sara Lewis combines practical advice on utilising your freezer to cut down on cooking. The first part of the book is small, informative sections like 'how to use your freezer efficiently' (useful stuff like the optimal temperatures) and 'money saving freezer tips' (like freezing slices of lemon within iceblocks, which is possibly the most fantastic idea ever and will stop me from having half a lemon perpetually going mouldy in my fridge). The second and larger section is devoted to freezer friendly recipes, divided by food type (meat, veggies etc). Each recipe has instructions for freezing, thawing and serving. Many also have suggestions for variations and batch cooking. So practical!

For the most part I really enjoyed the recipes - they are of a high standard, some are even dinner party friendly and there's lots of variation. My one small criticism is that some (by no means all) have either an excessive amount of ingredients or very expensive ones, which seems at odds with the general purpose of freeze cooking - to be time and cost efficient.  For example, a recipe for pork tortillas has 19 ingredients.

Overall, Freeze & Easy is a great addition to any time-pressed cook's resources. Like me, you'll soon be wishing you had a bigger freezer.

4/5 stars

Freeze & Easy is available now.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Framed Chat Sont Gris

Just a quick post to show off what Chat Sont Gris looks like framed. I framed this one myself, using the lace framing method I did a tutorial on here.

Mum loves the frame, so overall I'm considering it a great success :) I think it might be time to start some more embroidery. I've been working on other crafty projects lately, but I always miss embroidery/cross stitch when I haven't got one on the go.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Introducing . . . Quilt 2! (in progress)

The battle against the cold continues. No snow yet, but only because of the drenching rain. It's the sort of weather that makes you want to pull the curtains, turn the heater on and sew all day. Good thing I've got something to sew then! Quilt 2.0 is in progress

Lots of little strips and squares, just waiting to be put together with some white. I'm loving the vibrant colours (I'm using a jelly roll of Joel Dewberry's Notting Hill, kindly put together by Knotted Threads), they're like my own little cure for winter.

What are your winter projects? Or your summer ones!


Friday, June 14, 2013

Beating the Cold


Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. It's still very chilly around here. So I am making some efforts to beat the cold. Starting with a hot water bottle cover, so that my bottle stops loosing its heat approximately 5 minutes after I get into bed (after I've burnt my toes of course).

I don't know why this photo is blurry. I swear it wasn't a second ago

To be honest, this project wasn't the quick fix I was looking for. It took me two whole evenings! I think I went too fancy, it being lined and with an envelope close at the back so I can swap the bottle if need be (I know lots of people who have ones where the bottles stuck in there permanently). But it's pretty. And it does its job wonderfully. So I'm happy and even contemplating trying again some time with a slightly different design.

The details: Random assorted charms (for the second time this week I'm using bits I got in a giveaway from Rebecca, which goes to show how long things take to rise to the top of my stash because that giveaway was a hideously long time ago), with some leftover brown quilting cotton. Lined with leftover grey cotton from a dress lining. Bound with some pre-made grey bias.

So now I'm toasty warm at night anyway! I think some wrist warmers are next on the warmth seeking agenda, if I can track down some double pointed needles and bribe my mum into teaching me how to do a thumb gusset. 


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Dressmaking: Winter Blues

We're right into the depths of winter here now. I'm struggling to get the washing done and dry (in New Zealand we don't seem to believe in dryers). It feels to cold to get up in the morning. And to cold to write essays. You just want to cuddle in bed with a book all day.

I made finished this top about two months ago, before the winter blues set in, but only just got around to taking pictures. It's the first time its come out of my wardrobe since I finished it, not because I don't like it but because it's just not warm enough to wear it . . .

This is the Colette Sorbetto top, which is a freebie on their website. I made some changes, partly because I got the sizing a bit off and partly because of the vertical stripe. So no box pleat, just deep bust darts.

The details
Fabric: Cotton lawn I won from Rebecca ages ago (which looking back I've just realised she suggested the winner make a Sorbetto with, so there you go), with plain blue pre-made bias binding

To be honest, the sizing is still a little small, despite taking the pleat out. I checked the printer settings/test box and all seemed fine, but it obviously wasn't. I'll be even more careful next time. I think there will be a next time, because it doesn't use a lot of fabric and is easy to put together. 

Keep warm where ever you are! 


Monday, June 3, 2013

My Iron Broke

Yesterday, the plate on my iron broke. Its had a crack right across it since 22nd February 2011. I was living in the city of Christchurch then. There was an earthquake. It killed 185 people. My iron fell off its board in the laundry and there's been a big crack in it ever since.

This last week marked the 1000th day since the original Christchurch earthquake, which was a 7.1 on the 4th September 2010. A lot has happened since then. There's been more earthquakes. Tens of thousands of them. It has settled down now, with just the occasional one to remind us all they're still there.

I no longer live in Christchurch, the natural course of life eventually moved me on. Christchurch itself is starting to recover, but there's still lots of hardships. Endless roadworks, bickering over whats going to happen to certain buildings etc. I love reading Deb's blog, she keeps me up to date with what people are feeling there as things progress.

It has taken two years for that iron to finally break. I think that says a lot about the whole thing really. Surviving. Recovery. Resilience. Breaking points. All I really know for sure is that it's time to buy a new iron. I won't be forgetting the old one though. It takes a pretty special iron to carry on like that for such a long time.