Sunday, January 25, 2015

Went hunting and brought back trophies!!!

Hello!  I'm taking a break in the midst of my marathon cleaning day to type a quick entry.  Dawn and I had the most fabulous time yesterday, traipsing around Matthews.  We went to the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store, and I bought a sewing machine.  Now for those who REALLY know me, you won't ask why I bought another sewing machine.  For those who sort-of know me, I assure you, I did need it.  You see, before I left New York, I had a lovely Singer treadle machine with a beautiful cabinet.  It had gingerbread decals on it and was from about 1918 or so.  I sewed my historically accurate dress for Old Bethpage on it, and always planned on having the cabinet restored.  Unfortunately, when moving to Charlotte, I realized I had no place to put it in the new apartment/house.  It was a tearful decision to donate it to my favorite thrift shop, but since it hadn't been used in a long while, I realized it was time to spread the love to another happy owner.

Now that I've been here for a while, I know how much space I have, and it's been a bit of a struggle to keep all the stuff contained.  There have been numerous opportunities for a replacement machine, however, it doesn't solve my lack of space.  A full sized treadle table takes up a good chunk of real estate.  Did I mention this summer I bought a serger, a ridgid heddle loom, and my third spinning wheel?  Clearly, there's enough stuff jam packed into our mid-century modest abode.  Why we'd be lucky to have 850 sq feet in this place.  And that's OK.  But anyways, while living our dream of the perfect Saturday, filled with crepes, navigational adventures, ReStore, discount shopping and thrifting, we spotted a beautiful sewing machine.


She had no tag, so I cautiously asked how much.  The woman hadn't decided yet, and proceeded to go on eBay to price it.  She remarked she found a similar one with minimum of $25, and then we found dollar brushed nickel knobs for Dawn's decidedly uncool brass themed kitchen, so she trailed off mid-sentence to help us find what we were looking for.  My heart sank, as I figured she'd give me a price higher than the minimum, but when we asked again, she said $20!  After a quick inspection, it was determined that she did indeed work.  We said, "Hell yeah!" And I found $20 magically in my black hole purse. It was a sign from the crafting gods.  And Dawn lugged it to the car because it weighs about 30 pounds, lol.

My new baby is a Japanese "badged" or clone machine.  It's marked "Home Mark," however, I've seen it branded "Aux Claire," "Morse," "Fleetwood," "Bradford," "Good Housekeeper," "Edison," "Brother," "Modern," "New Raymond," "Wizard," "Riccar," "Bamberger," "Sovereign," "H.G. Palmer," "Premier," "Compac," "Dress Maker," "Western," "White," "Housekeeper Deluxe," "Remington," "Princess," "Viscount," "Universal," "Marvel,"and that's just with a brief online search.  This list is by no means exhaustive.  If you're searching for one, try keywords "vintage deluxe precision sewing machine."  This seems to gather good hits.  Having seen all the names in a list, it's pretty funny that they attempt to convey modernity, royalty, or domesticity.  If you have this model with a name not listed, please leave a comment and let me know :)

 It is a slightly improved version of Singer 15-series, complete with hinged bobbin cover, exterior feed dog knob with 4 settings, and a fun color.  Take that Singer!  These machines can be inexpensive, being that they were considered "cheap junk" back in the day, and the American market was flooded with them after WWII.  I believe these will be highly collectible in time, especially, working models in good condition.

She works great, just have to fiddle with the tension some more, but more tales from the thrift tomorrow :D

Monday, January 19, 2015

Happy New Year! and Why I Love Trader Joe's

Hello loyal reader!  It's a new year and new things have been happening here in the not-so-deep South.  But first, a message from our sponsor, lol...

Trader Joe's: Fine Purveyor of Stuff to Make an Impromptu Moroccan Meal

So yesterday, Dawn and I went grocery shopping and I found something really interesting.  Now I'm usually pretty good about abstaining from the dreaded, ¨Things I don't need but really, REALLY want¨ category.  I've passed the Roasted Nut Oil Trio on numerous occasions, and no matter how much I dream of a roasted beet with mandarin orange segments, and fennel salad with a drizzle of pistachio oil, or how lovely it would be to have a hazelnut-imbued roasted butternut squash, I persist in sighing deeply, closing my eyes, and walking quickly away. $14.99 is an insane price for 25.5 ounces of specialty oils, but it's too much for me to spend on oil.  I mean, really, it's oil.   But yesterday, I could no longer resist.  Next to the aforementioned oil trio, I discovered a set of four spice blends.

Now normally, I can easily resist spice blends.  The spice cabinet in my kitchen is actually a spice ARMOIRE, and there's a crapload of spices from all corners of the earth.  If I need herbs de Provence, barbecue rub, pumpkin pie spice, or any other spice blend, I mix it up myself.  You see, I am a total control freak.  I like my sweet spice mix to have a shitload of ginger in it, and some cardamom to round out the flavors.  I like my gingerbread spice to have black pepper to add a bit of heat to the warmth of the spices already present.  I like my herbs de Provence to have a noticeable amount of lavender, since I love cooking with flowers.  Which brings me to how I ended up with four Trader Joe's spice blends in my cart.


The draw was sumac.  I have been looking for an affordable source of sumac for years, and while I always keep an eagle-eye out for a stand of staghorn sumac pointing up from the bleak landscape, the opportunity to pick the berries off of said sumac stand has consistently eluded me.  So, when I saw a whole container of sumac in a spice quartet for $6.99, I had to take a closer look.  Having already put my requisite tub o' hummus in my cart (plain so I can personalize it), after reading the label of the Zhoug blend about how to sprinkle on tahini with olive oil, I felt I could immediately put it to work.  But the final deciding factor was the Ras el Hanout.  It has all my favorite sweet spices, with some heat and interestingly, spearmint.  But the last straw was drawn at the last ingredient:  Rose Petals.  For years I've been touting the pleasure of cooking with flowers and people are catching on at last.  Flower liqueurs are mainstream, and Trader Joe's has not one spice blend with flowers, but now two!  OMG!  (The other is the Flower Pepper grinder which I love to use on eggs and salads.)  Clearly, it was a sign from God.

This morning, I stared at the spices on the counter.  I need sustenance, and since it's my day off, I decided to put some effort into breakfast.  Yesterday when Googling Ras el Hanout, (no not R'as al Ghul, I know who he is;  the husbeast would divorce me citing irreconcilable differences if I didn't, lol), there were some recipes for Moroccan eggs or Shakshuka.  Basically, I've been making this for years, but with the wrong spices :D

It's very similar to Huevos Rancheros-pretty much eggs poached in salsa.  The recipes all had Ras el Hanout in them, and Harissa.  Now unfortunately, I don't have any harissa on hand.  While it is completely probable I have ingredients on hand to make it (I'm looking at you Pasilla and Ancho chiles from my last bout with mole), I was famished, and soaking dried chiles to make a condiment when I had Ajvar and Sriracha in the fridge was a no go.  So here's how I made my Shakshuka:


Trader Joe's Shakshuka

Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Diced Onions
Minced Garlic
Can of Fire-Roasted Tomatoes with Chiles
Roasted Red Pepper Spread with Eggplant and Garlic
Sriracha Sauce
Ras el Hanout
2 Eggs
Olive Tapenade
Pink Himalayan salt

Saute the onions and garlic in a cast iron pan.  Add the tomatoes and red pepper spread (ajvar).  Squirt some sriracha on top.  Add the Ras el Hanout.  Mix.  Make a well with your spoon and crack eggs into the well.  Cover pan with a lid and cook on low until egg whites are cooked.   Salt eggs.  Put a spoonful of tapenade in the ugly crater made by slightly overcooking eggs.  Sprinkle with parsley and sumac.  Serve in skillet.

What else can I say but it was delicious.  The recipe makes enough ¨salsa¨ for two, so I used a large pan to make it and a small pan to cook the eggs and serve in.  That means I have more for tomorrow!  Yay!  Thank you TJ.  I never thought you could get even better.

Monday, January 12, 2015

It's all Timey-Wimey Up in Here!

Good Morning.  I'm going back in time to write this post :)

Happy New Year!!!!!!

I passed the Praxis!  Woo-hoo and praise be to the Lord Jesus and all his minions.  I sent out all the paperwork to add the area of Adapted Curriculum for Moderate to Severe applications!  Yay!  On the job hunt and can't wait to see where it leads me.  New York was the usual crazy relay race.  I actually went to every borough and Long Island.  There was much shopping to be had and it was nice to see everyone.  On the flip side, it was nice to come home.  We did our shawl practice and learned much as always.  Back to the grind.

blog template by