Sunday, October 31, 2010

Eggs Benedict


A couple  of weeks ago Yadira asked me for a special breakfast. She was joking, but I took it seriously. She asked for "San Jacobos" and Eggs Benedict. Since I had no idea what the first dish was, I decided to try my hand at the second. That was the start of my research.

The mission was deceptively simple: Serve Canadian bacon, poached eggs  and Hollandaise sauce on top of an English muffin. Easy? Not.

After figuring out the nature of the needed ingredients I realized that half the stuff couldn't be found locally. Canadian bacon? I didn't even look. There's nothing wrong with good ol bacon from the fridge. English muffins? They were AWOL, so I substituted them with italian buns.

I swear I wanted to do everything from scratch. I was ready to poach some eggs following intrucctions from a You Tube video, but the supermarket gods thought that was a terrible idea. Looking for nothing in particular I found a little miracle gadget that allows those with limited cooking skills to poach eggs on the microwave.

This whole thing might seem complicated, but for me it turned out to be easier and quicker than other breakfast dishes.

I will neither give step by step instructions nor post a particular recipe on this post. What I will do is give you some pointers in case you want to prepare your own Eggs Benedict.

1. If you're not familiar with the dish, read about it. A little research can go a long way. I used Wikipedia and You Tube as my main sources of information for this adventure. They might not be proper sources for an academic paper, but they do very well for breakfast.

2. Gather all your ingredients.Never, ever try to prepare a dish without gathering all the necessary ingredients or the proper substitutes. There's two levels to this process. Before cooking, you must buy or otherwise acquire all the ingredients you will need and at the beginning of the cooking process you should go over your recipe once more and gather all the ingredients you'll be using. Why? That way you won't realize you're missing something halfway through the recipe plus your ingredients will be at room temperature which is the standard for all recipes unless otherwise noted.

3. Use real ingredients. Yes, you can substitute any ingredients for something that's more readily available, but avoid substituting food with pseudo food. Butter is not margarine and lemon flavor has nothing to do with lemon. The taste might be similar, but these thing are beyond unhealthy.

4. Don't be afraid. The task at hand might seem daunting, but it isn't. The key is organization. Study all relevant videos and articles before you attempt to prepare any recipe.

Links for Success:
Egg Poacher
Hollandaise Video
Poached Eggs Video

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sewing Machine Meme

Picture courtesy of Brother International

Browsing around Sew, Mama, Sew! we stumbled upon what they call the Sewing Machine Master List. It seems that it all started as a fun survey during June 1 , 2009 (Sewing Machine Month)

What brand and model do you have?
Brother CE-5500PRW

Yes, I'm talking about the Project Runway Limited Edition.  No, I didn't know anything about that show until after I bought my machine. I was a great machine, for the perfect price.

How long have you had it?
About a week. I bought it on 10/16/2010 to replace my Singer Pixie.

How much does that machine cost (approximately)?
It cost me $174.28 (including 7% tax)

What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)?
I'm still learning, but I've used it to do some small repairs on clothing, to join granny squares, to make a skirt and to practice over and over and over again.

How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get?
I've been using it everyday since I bought it and some days I've been glued to it for at least 8 hours. With all that abuse, I've only had to change the needle once and it was my fault.

Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name?
I *LOVE* my machine, but she doesn't have a name yet. She's just a newborn, but I'm open to suggestions. Any ideas?

What features does your machine have that work well for you?
I <3 its Bobbin!

I also like that it has good illumination and I really like the auto size buttonholes. Since I plan to sew lots of garments its wide variety of stitches is a big plus. It even has several stitches that are suitable for finishing garments and for stretchy materials.

Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine?
Not at all.

Do you have a great story to share about your machine (i.e., Found it under the Christmas tree? Dropped it on the kitchen floor? Sewed your fingernail to your zipper?, Got it from your Great Grandma?, etc.!)? We want to hear it!

I never wanted to learn how to sew, I can't recall the specifics but I just wasn't interested in the subject. I don't know how, but a few weeks ago I got the itch to learn. All I had on hand was my Singer Pixie, but since that is best suited for Crafts it was very frustrating trying to use it for anything else. I was determined to get a descent machine, did my research and saved to buy it. I considered buying it from an authorized dealer, but my jaw dropped when the sales assistant showed me a lesser machine and told me it cost over $400. Later that day I drove to a nearby retailer and bought mine for less than half the price.

Would you recommend the machine to others? Why?
Of course! It's very functional and easy to use, even for beginners. Since it's computerized, the machine will tell you (through its LCD screen) if you're doing anything terribly wrong. Also, it comes with enough accessories to keep you from having to run to buy extra stuff every time you want to try something new.

What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine?
Since I'm on a budget, cost is high on y priority list. I see a sewing machine as an investment and I believe that its important to buy the best quality product that can be afforded. With that in mind, it is important to do research and know what features are needed for the things you want to do with your machine. Try to buy one that fits your budget and has as many of those features as possible.

Do you have a dream machine?
Yes, one of those computerized sewing/embroidery machines that can be connected to my computer in order to embroider my digital  designs into the fabric. Since all such machines are out of my budget for the moment, I don't have a favorite model yet.

*Disclaimer: Since I've had my machine for such a short time, I'll be editing this post to include any future discoveries in terms of its performance.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Cart Before the Horse

Owl Fabric: What should we do?
Yadira is learning to sew. So far so good. She managed to create a super cute pillow and an adorable tote. But that's pretty much it for the moment. We're now looking for the perfect low/med budget sewing machine. What we own now is more like a fancy toy. Even its name (Singer Pixie) makes you giggle.

Sadly, while we think about which machine to buy the world refuses to stop. In one such turn we found ourselves staring at a beautiful printed fabric. What to do? Buy it of course! At about $6.50 the yard, we decided to buy all we could afford at the moment. We ended up with 3 yards of the most beautiful fabric ever.

What do we plan to do with this wonderful fabric? That was the question asked by the clerk at the fabric shop. We promptly replied: Umm... We don't know! Needless to say, she didn't understand.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Strawberry Fields

"Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see. It's getting hard to be someone but it all works out." - The Beatles

Strawberry Fields Jewelry Set available on Too Cute Design

We're Beatles fans, there's no denying it. Anyone who has had the pleasure of sharing a car ride with us knows so. For a while we've been thinking about a way of honoring the Fab Four in our work. After much thinking, nothing came to mind until we came across some strawberry charms on one of our local craft shops.

After that fortuitous encounter there was no more thinking left to do. Since Strawberry Fields Forever is one of our favorites songs, paying a small tribute to it was the natural thing to  do. Several yards of red satin ribbon later our Strawberry Fields Jewelry Set was born.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Back in the Game

mini fascinator by toocutedesign
Once upon a time we tried running two different Etsy shops. One featured Yadira's crochet work; the other her graphic design. The experiments were mildly successful, but we had much to learn. Eventually we decided to put both shops "on vacation" in order to have some time to sort things out.

A couple of months have passed and now we're back with a vengeance. Our craft skills have grown and our new products barely resemble our first listings. We want to merge both shops into one, but we are doing it step by step.

We're certain that this time around things will be different. The fun is just starting!