"new" sewing  machine

When we go traveling, I always end up wanting to sew.  But my machine is a piece of furniture and weighs as much as I do.

However, I found a portable sewing machine.


It is a 1900 Singer made in England.  Which means it is two years older then my treadle sewing machine I use everyday.  The cool thing is that it uses the same bobbin, shuttle, and bobbin winder for both.  It weighs a ton but it means it can go with us when we travel.  It does not take any electricity.

It is a hand crank!  Which means I can take it anywhere with us and have a sewing machine.  Even Douglas Fir National Campground or Elwha River National Campground.  Elwha is actually less primitive then Douglas Fir, it has running water for part of the year.

I can just envision myself at our picnic table sewing under the evergreens at both!  Yes, I know, be aware of bears! (Yes, there are bears in the vicinity of both)


roasted garlic butter

When we had dinner with friends, I made french bread to go with the lasagna.  I soon realized that I was craving garlic bread.  To be honest, we do not have any of the easy foods to create this wonderful comfort food.  So, I went about making roasted garlic butter.

Roasted Garlic Butter

1 head of garlic

1 teaspoon of good olive oil

1/2 cup of butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Slice the top of the garlic off, exposing the cloves.  Drizzle the olive oil in there.  Bake for 30 minutes or until soft.  I just usually call it good at 30 minutes, turn the oven off, and let it sit longer.  I also use a toaster oven for this step and put the temperature at 300 or 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the garlic is cool enough to touch, put the butter in a bowl.  Squish out all the garlic from the paper around it.  This is messy!  Take a fork and mix it well.

I do believe the four of us ate almost all of this on warm sourdough french bread.  Simple decadence!


dinner with friends

We had dinner with friends this week.  I made dinner and we took it to their home.

I made bread:

And garlic butter:

And lasagne.  Lasagne is one of those things that is easy but time consuming that I make.  I may laugh here and say what else is new!


1 pound homemade pasta noodles (2 eggs, 2 cups of flour, two pinches of salt, water)

1 batch of spaghetti sauce (four to six cups)

1 batch of béchamel sauce (made with four cups of milk)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.   In your baking dish, spread béchamel sauce on the bottom.  Put a layer on noodles (I do not cook, just use a lot of sauce).  Add a layer of pasta sauce.  Add a layer of bechamel sauce.  Repeat until your pan is full, ending with sauce.  I try to make sure all the noodles are covered.

Bake for one and half hour.

You can add other things to the lasagna.  I added spinach to the pasta sauce and mozzarella cheese between the layers.  I have served this just plain with noodles and sauces.  I know when I put this on the table in front of a group of friends I should just not expect to have anything leftover.  Unless of course, it is the roasting pan!  We had no leftovers from this dish and everyone was trying to save room for our friends FABULOUS chocolate chip cookies.  Good intentions and such you know!


after the potluck

We had a potluck at work today.  My usual reaction to a potluck is this will be interesting and wonder if there will be anything I am willing to eat.  The people on the floor I work on can cook!  This questions are no longer a concern other then what will we have the pleasure of eating this time!  

I actually had a request to bring my black bean soup.  It is scrumptious.  Here is the recipe.

Black Bean Soup

1 pound dry black beans


5 cloves garlic or to your taste, minced

1 fist size onion or to your taste, chopped fine

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ancho chili pepper ground

1/4 teaspoon chipolte chili pepper ground

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

In a large bowl or your crockpot insert, place the beans.  Wash them and pick them for stones.  Cover with water and let soak about eight hours.


Once the beans are soaked, rinse and place in a pot or crockpot.  My preference is a crockpot.  Cover them with water and about an inch higher.  Cook them until they are soft.  There are two choices here:  1) throw the onion and garlic in with them while they are cooking or 2) place onions and garlic in a frying pan with a bit of olive oil and caramelize, then add them to the cooked beans.  Each tastes a bit different both are good.

I sometimes add a whole head of garlic or a whole onion caramelized.

Add the spices.  Then blend with an immersion blender, regular blender, or smashing against the side of the pan/insert.  All work and give different textures.  This batch I blended until smooth because I just threw the onion and garlic in without chopping.


Make sure it is the thickness you want.  I usually have to add some water or broth.  EAT!

This is lovely in my tummy, both at the potluck (yes, I ate my own dish) and for dinner tonight.  Yes, I eat black bean soup in summer.  There is NOT a bad time of year for black bean soup!


a skirt

Before, after I posted yesterday, i did some cleaning out of my closet.  We used to have not enough hangers.  And even before the idea of paring my wardrobe down to six articles of clothing, I had been weeding out clothes.  Clothes that did not fit right.  Clothes that were not my style anymore.  Clothes that were falling apart.  Now, we have too many hangers.  I think it is time to give some away.

I did make a skirt recently.

I was moving when this picture was taken.  

This skirt works both at home and at work.  It actually needs to go in the wash already because it so comfortable and versatilel.  I am not sure how long it will last though because the fabric is called homespun and is fairly thin and soft.  It fits all the my requirements currently.  Work and home.  Now if it just wore like steal!

I do not mind this taking up a hanger.  I may empty a few more first (evil grin).