Sunday, October 31, 2010

Apple Cheese Soup

On the Thanksgiving weekend my family went to the Hotel Kenny in Jones Falls for our dinner.  We have made this trip since my dad was a boy.  The Hotel Kenny is located on the Rideau canal, which is a canal that runs from Ottawa to Kingston.  The locks and canal have been kept in their original 1832 status.  All doors and pumps to lower and raise the water level in the locks are manual.  It is quite the beautiful site. 
The Hotel has recently changed hands, but is still being run as a family establishment, so the dinner this year was a little different than usual.  Our starters were a delicious fruit and nut salad and an apple cheddar cheese soup.  The was soup was the best part of the meal! I know apples and cheese have historically gone well together, but I would never have thought to put them in a soup together.  I asked the waitress if I would be able to have a copy of the recipe (only after hearing another guest ask hahaha).  
This past week I was able to make this soup. The recipe if from a book called The Chez Piggy Cookbook. by Rose Richardson

Ingredients are:
8 cups chicken stock
3 cups apple juice
4 garlic cloves - chopped
2 carrots - peeled and cut into chunks
1 celery stalk - cut into chunks
1 medium onion - cut into chunks
3 tart apples - unpeeled cut into chunks
1/2 red bell pepper - cut into chunks
1 tsp ground cardamom (i used half tsp cinnamon and a half tsp nutmeg as we could not find cardamom)
Coarse slat and ground pepper
3 1/2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
5 cups 35% cream
5 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup brandy (I did not use this)


Place stock and apple juice in pot and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and add garlic carrots, celery, onion, apples and red pepper.  Simmer until vegetables are soft, then add cardamom. Season with slat and pepper.

Blend into a puree and set aside.
In a separate pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and cook for 5 minutes, stir in cream and whisk until mixture thickens.(cream will foam up so use a large pot) Add in cheese, stirring until melted. Flame brandy in a ladle and pour into cheese sauce.  Mix thoroughly.

Bring pureed soup base to a boil, stir in cheese sauce.  Immediately remove from heat. Garnish with parsley or croutons.

And you have it! A delicious soup that is thick enough to fill any stomach.  My boyfriend, Colin, loves this soup and he does not like vegetables of any kind, so I think this soup will win over even the pickiest of eaters.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Decisions Decisions

Colin and I have been slowly, and I mean slowly, working on a quilt for ourselves.  We realized that we have pretty much made quilts for everyone we know, but we still don't have one. This is probably not shocking since people who make crafts always think of themselves last. Or at least that's the problem with the sewers and knitters I know.  
The quilt we are making is going to be a twin size, we thought about making a lap quilt but that only fits one person and we like to cuddle and watch T.V. so we thought a twin size would be good.

The quilt was stared in the summer and this is what it looked like when we had finished using the Moda Cafe jelly roll.  There were more colours to chose from but we liked the more neutral colours.  As you can see this is more of a lap size than a twin. I just happened to have 2 strips of brown fabric that would go well with it. 

One is almost tie dye like and the other is a solid brown.  Since Colin does not really like the idea, it's up to me to decide which brown to use and what colour the boarder will be.  Men, they can be so opinionated but never want to help solve the problem! haha.  

I'm thinking about using the brown tie dye fabric for the 2 bands in the middle, but I'm still unsure about the boarder.  I don't want the brown to be too over powering, so I don't think I will be using brown for it.  Right now I'm trying to decide between the light green and the blue.  I have asked a few people but they don't know either, so I'm open to any suggestions if anyone has any.  

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Apple Pumpkin Pie and Relocation

You might have noticed that I have not made a post in a few weeks.  About two weeks ago my boyfriend and I made a huge change and moved 220 Km away from our families to find employment.  I grew up in a city that runs on General Motors, and due to the shutdown of the truck plant last year the unemployment rate has skyrocketed and jobs are not being created.  

My best friend, Kathy, lives in London and has been wanting us to move out here for years, so we took her up on her offer!  I have had one interview so far, meaning things are already going better then back home.  I hope we both are able to obtain employment soon as we both do not want to outstay the welcome at my best friend's house, and it would be great to have money for our own place.

Colin (my boyfriend) and I have been making dinner almost every night so that Kathy and her fiance, Adam, can come home to a hot dinner instead of having to cook when they get home.  In doing so I have become less afraid to try new ideas.  The first one was, Pumpkin Apple Pie.  
You may think it is strange to mix apples and pumpkin together but it is so tasty!  For years my brother would say that someone should make a pumpkin apple pie, so a few years ago my aunt told him to do it.  He made his with canned pumpkin filling but it was still great.  For this pie everything was made from scratch, even the pie crust! But I can't take credit for the crust, Kathy made it.  I found the recipe at Whole Foods Pumpkin Apple Pie Recipe Link
I highly recommend this recipe. Everyone will love it even if they do not like regular pumpkin pie. 

To finish off the pie, Kathy and I free handed some leaves, pumpkins and apples out of the remaining crust for decoration.  I think I want some fall themed cookie cutters! Here is what the result looked like.

Try it out!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Christmas is around the corner!

Since Christmas is just around the corner I thought I would share with you a quilted Christmas table runner I made a few years ago.  I got the pattern from my friend's mum and I do not remember what book it was in.  But the pattern is simple enough to be recreated.  

I used sparkly fabric because I think everything about Christmas should shine.

I stitched the ditch since I am still fairly new with quilting and cannot do anything else as of yet.  

I am still very happy with the outcome and plan to make more in the future!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Apple Picking

Not sure what kind of apples these are but the purple colour is nice!
Today I went apple picking at Cricklewood Farm in Brighton with my mum, boyfriend and nephew.  We had such a great time, I had never been apple picking before and was excited to go.  There are about 30 varieties of apples, you can find apples for just about any use.  We picked the Jonagold apple.  It is a similar taste to the Red Delicious, I'm going to make a pie out of a few of them.   
 The weather was fantastic for apple picking, the sun was shining and there was a slight cool breeze.  It felt more like a spring day instead of a fall day.  

I was surprised to learn that different types of apples can grow at all times of the year.  Some apples are ready in January!  I had no idea, I thought apples were a late summer and fall fruit.  But I was wrong.  I will be going back in the winter for some fresh apples.

Thomas, my nephew was helping us pick the lower apples (he was even checking for worm holes!) and throwing them in the basket.  After awhile he understood that apples are not thrown they are placed gently in the basket.

Action shot of Thomas throwing an apple in the basket.

All in all today was a great outing, and I would recommend apple picking to everyone, it was great exercise and a good way to promote local farmers and eating healthy in general.  My family leans on the environmentally friendly side, so we love fresh produce.  My boyfriend and I would like to build a greenhouse at some point so we can grow fresh fruit and veggies all year long, but that will be when we have money to spend and our own house to build it at!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tennis Racket Cover

My boyfriend and I started playing tennis this past summer, the first rackets we bought were very cheep since we did not know if we would like tennis.  As we are both enjoying the sport we splurged and purchased mid-raged tennis rackets.  Nothing too fancy, I'm not going to Wimbledon any time soon, it's a racket that I don't mind using but at the same time I don't want it ruined.  My racket did not come with a protective cover for when I'm not using it, so I made one!

I had looked online for any free patterns, but I could not find any so I just made my own, since the racket is not a hard shape.
 I started by outlining the shape of the racket on the wrong side of the fabric I wanted to use and some fleece for a little cushioning around the racket. I then cut a strip of fabric about 1.5 inches for the sides.  I also added some piping and a zipper around the top and I was ready to go play tennis in style!  

The next time I make a tennis racket cover I am going to put a shoulder strap on it for easy carrying. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

My new Purse

 I finally had the time finish cutting out the fabric 

for my purse without anymore hassle from the cats,  and sewed it together.  I customized the inside pockets for my needs, and added velcro dots to the larger pocket so everything says inside.  Once I had sewn the purse together I decided it looked a little plain so I glued a few buttons on in a flower design.  Next time I will sew on any embellishments before I put the bag together.     

I made a flower broach that can be pinned to the purse if I want a different look.

I have been using the purse for about a week now and It works great for me.  I always carry my life in my purse so the size of the purse is perfect.  I also scotch guarded the purse so it is stain resistant and I can also put it in the wash to keep it clean.