Thursday, December 9, 2010

Homemade Cottage Cheese!

At first, the very thought of it made me sick.  Leave milk sitting out at room temperature for three days?  However, as mentioned in this post on making varenyky or pyrohy, homemade dry cottage cheese is an essential ingredient to creating an authentic Ukrainian taste.

At my husband's convincing, we scaled down the recipe to use only a half gallon of milk to make sure that it would turn out before using two gallons of milk.  Good thing, because it turned out to be just the right amount for the number of pyrohy that we decided to make.

Here is the recipe we used (makes approximately 12 ounces of cottage cheese):
  • 1/2 gallon of 1% milk
  • 1/2 pint of buttermilk
Day one:
Mix all ingredients together in a pot or dutch oven.
Set aside in a warm room and leave covered.

Day three:
Approximately 72 hours after mixing ingredients together, place dutch oven on the stove top.

This is what the cottage cheese will look like after sitting at room temperature for three days.
Bring the mixture to a boil.  When the ingredients start to curdle, turn off stove and remove from heat.
As the milk starts to curdle it will look like this


More views of curdled milk!
Once your have gotten your fix of looking at curdled milk, go ahead and use a ladle and cheese cloth to drain excess liquid.  You want to make sure that you have enough cheese cloth to hold all of the cottage cheese that you have made.


Doesn't it look delicious?


Once all of the cottage cheese has made it's way into the cheese cloth, let it sit for another 24 hours.

Day four:
Yay, your work is almost done.  Simply dump your cottage cheese into a container and store in a refrigerator.  (Yes, it is now allowed to be kept cool).

If you are feeling extra ambitious, go to this post and use your homemade cottage cheese to make some varenyky.

Happy holidays.

Live the moment, love life!
Annabelle

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Vintage Style - Inspiration from Baba - and a Little Family History

Recently I was browsing through the archives of Casey's Elegant Musings and came across this post about displaying old photographs.  As a newlywed living in a former bachelor pad with blank walls, I naturally thought this was a great idea.  So this past Thanksgiving while visiting the folks, I asked to borrow the box of old photos.  Oh did I come across some great treasures!

While I have not gotten around to actually putting anything up on the walls yet, I found a handful of delightful photos that have stories behind them.  I want to share a few of these photos and some of the inspiration it has given me for sewing and knitting.

Lately I have come to squeal with delight over vintage styling and I blame this completely on Casey and her blog.  (Seriously, it is my favorite blog and everyone I have shown it to has created a soft spot in their heart for it as well).

So with this new found passion for vintage style, I decided that the best place to search for inspiration is from my own family.

This picture is one of my favorite family photos.  It pictures my Baba (grandmother), her sister and parents.  This picture was taken in a camp for displaced persons in Dillingen (West Germany) during 1947.  After WWII ended, there were many people throughout Europe, Germany in particular, who found themselves away from their homeland.  In an attempt to address the situation, the government set up DP (Displaced Persons) Camps.  One of these camps was in Dillingen and was mostly for Ukrainians.

My Baba is pictured top right
What I loved learning about this photo is that my lovely Baba knit the sweater she is wearing!  This sweater was knit without a pattern, she just knew how to create the right fit.  How resourceful people were back in the day!  My Baba still remembers that the sweater was knit is grey and green.  I am making it my goal to try to recreate this sweater.  It most likely will be a while before I accomplish this, but I would love, love to be able to do this.

Here is another picture of Baba.  Although there's not much to see with her outfit, check out that hair!  She is so beautiful.  I would really love to see more of this outfit, you can just make out the floral print of the fabric and some trimmings along the neckline and across the bust.

Here is another family picture, also taken at Dillingen (my Baba spent a total of five years in the camp).  It really amazes me to hear the stories of our veterans and the people who were directly affected by WWII.  I know it really changed the lives of my Baba and Dido (Grandpa).  Anyway, moving on with the photo, I think my Baba looks lovely.


Something that really impressed me about this outfit is that the skirt had originally been pleated.  As fashion changed, my Baba took a seam ripper to the pleats to give it more of a circle skirt effect, which was just coming in style.  I also love the blouse that she is wearing, the added detail of the bunched sleeves really add something.  I can see myself wearing this blouse to work.  Perhaps someday . . . 

It's also so interesting to see the generational difference.  While my Baba's looks are keeping up with the trends, her mother looks very "old country" with the kerchief.

I have one last photo to share with you.  While my Baba was at the Dillingen camp she worked in the hospital kitchen.  Here she is pictured wearing her uniform.


I love this outfit and wish for the life of me that I had been required to wear a uniform like this.  When I worked  in my on-campus snack shop I was given an ugly denim shirt (that was unisex, but really made to fit a male) and an ugly navy blue hat.  Aprons to me have a real nostalgic feel, it reminds me of my Baba cooking in the church kitchen or making cookies with my mom when I was younger.  Her stripped dress also looks quite similar to this adorable Advance pattern:


That is all that I have to share with you today, but don't worry there's more.  I also have a few pictures from my Dad's side of the family.  I just need to get the stories first.  Stories always make life more interesting.

Live the moment, love life!
Annabelle

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Making Gingerbread

Last week was a gorgeous week, hitting high sixties Monday through Friday.  Then Saturday morning we woke up to this:




All I could think of was Christmas.  I know, it's a little too early to begin thinking about Christmas - we must wait until after Thanksgiving.  There is just something about that first snowfall - especially when it covers the trees like the above photos - that makes me start dreaming of a white Christmas.

So the snow really made me want to start something crafty and festive.  Unfortunately, I had a wedding to go to that day that took up most of the day.  So my creative thoughts were put on hold - or at least the execution of them.

I began to think of ideas on how to use up my scrap pile.  There's not much to it, but I still hate having my box of "rags" fill up knowing full well that they very likely have no purpose.  But then I had a great idea.  Oven mitts!  It would only need a small amount of fabric and it would use up the small strip of batting that was left over from my baby quilt.

In my my head I pictured an adorable gingerbread man oven mitt, something worthy of an upscale boutique kitchen shop.  Unfortunately, there was a slight disconnect between what I pictured and what I made. 

So at  first, here is what my little oven mitt looked like.
I decided that my gingerbread girl could use a little more help in the looks department.  So to add a little femininity, I gave her some hair!  It really made a big  difference.

Little gingerbread girl with some lovely locks.
My darling husband thinks she needs a partner, a gingerbread boy man.  Unfortunately, there was a gingerbread man, he was my test run and didn't turn out as well.  Perhaps after some TLC from a seam-ripper (is that possible?) and my sewing machine, he will be salvageable.

For now I am happy with my one oven mitt.  It will be used, and I will show her off over the holidays while taking out a fresh cookie sheet filled with ginger people.

If there is an interest, I will provide a tutorial and a pattern for you to create this little lovely.  Just leave a comment to let me know.

How about you wonderful readers, do you have any wonderful projects inspired by the snow and upcoming holidays?  I would love to hear from you.

Live the moment, love life!
Annabelle


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Varenyky - Dido Remix

я українка! (I am a Ukrainian girl). For those of you dear readers who do not know me very well, I have some Ukrainian heritage on my mom's side (okay I am half Ukrainian) and proud of it.  I have been so lucky to grow up knowing my loving grandparents (my Baba and Dido) who were more than happy to share their pride from where they are from. One of those wonderful blessings includes Ukrainian cuisine. Today I am specifically referring to Pyrohy or Varenyky. These are a potato dumplings bursting with rich delicious flavor.

As the holidays are drawing near I am reminded of this food, and long to share some of it with you.  Soon I will be preparing a feast of this wonderful cuisine for my family - and just maybe you might want to do the same.

So here it is, Baba's official pyrohy recipe - the Dido remix (as you read on you will see what that is all about)

Ingredients:

To Make Dough:
2 cups of flour
1  teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup water

To Make Filling:
14 large Idaho potatoes
3 onions
6 sticks of butter (don't be scared, this is a larger recipe . . .)
24 oz of homemade dry cottage cheese (there is no substitute for this, for directions continue reading)
1/4 cup shredded cheese (we use cheddar)
black and white pepper
salt

Other:
Brandy

Directions:
* Please be aware that there is some strange wording as I chose to use my Baba's exact words because it makes my sister laugh and warms my heart*

Homemade cottage cheese
* This needs to be done ahead of time as it takes 4 days*
Add a quart of buttermilk for 2 gallons of 1% or 2% milk.  Let it sit covered at room temperature for 3 days.  After the 3 days, pour into a large pot and bring to a boil over the stove top.  When it starts to curdle, drain with a cheesecloth.  Wrap up in the cheesecloth and place on a flat surface with a heavy object on top to help squeeze out the moisture.  Leave for about 24 hours.  After the 24 hours, place in a container and store in a refrigerator.  This can also be frozen if it will be used for cooking.

Dough
Crack egg and remove the fertilizer (also known as the germinated disk), add water and salt.  Mix together.  Add flour and mix with a spoon.  You may need to add more water.  Kneed dough in the bowl with your hands, later moving to a flat surface (such as a counter top).  The dough should feel firm.  Cover with a plastic bag or towel and set aside.

Filling
Finely chop all the onions and saute in butter over medium heat until golden brown.  (Use all of the butter).  Once complete, separate onions from butter using a strainer.  Store in separate containers.

Just gathering the ingredients can be a little overwhelming.  To make sure you are not stressed about the task ahead, it is best to have a shot of Brandy with Dido.

Cooking with Dido is always fun!
Next peal and boil 14 potatoes.  Use a ricer to break down the potatoes.  You can also use a masher and prepare them as mashed potatoes.  Add the sauteed onions, 24 ounces of dry cottage cheese and 1/4 cup of shredded cheese.  Liberally add black and white pepper.  Add a handful of salt.  (Sorry, I know that everyone has a different idea of what a handful is, but these are Baba's directions).  Kneed filling with hands to evenly mix ingredients together.



Preparing
What, all this work and we haven't even really prepared the meal yet?  Yes, true Ukrainian cuisine is a labor of love.

Kneed dough that was set aside.  Use a rolling pin to flatten out dough about 1/8 - 1/4 inch thick.  Use a Hamm's Beer glass to cut out circles of dough.  (Okay, not everyone has Hamm's Beer glasses, so any drinking glass will do - even a circle cookie cutter).  Place a spoonful of filling in the middle the dough circles.  Fold in half and tightly seal by pinching along the edges.

Baba, we love cooking with you!
Wearing aprons just adds to the festivity.
Yes, this will take a long time.  It's probably appropriate to have another shot of Brandy with Dido.

Dido, not sure how many shots he's had while helping us in the kitchen.
Have a large pot of water boiling on the stove.  Add a handful of salt to the water.  Place groups of the dumplings in the boiling water, once they start to rise to the top, allow them to boil for about 4 more minutes.

Serve and enjoy.




 If you choose to freeze, pour cold water over pyrohy in a colander to cool.  Spread out on a cookie sheet  and place in a freezer.  Once the pyrohy are frozen, place in a zip lock bag or tupperware container and store in freezer.

If you have any question about this process, please feel free to leave a comment.  This is truly a delicious meal and I want you to enjoy too!

Live the moment, love life!
Annabelle


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Shabby Apple All That Jazz Dress Guest Giveaway

I recently began following Grosgrain and her oh-so-lovely blog. I adore the projects that she comes up with, and in addition to that she often has fabulous giveaways.

Right now she is sponsoring a giveaway for a dress from Shabby Apple and their "All That Jazz" line. For a chance to win visit the link below.


Shabby Apple All That Jazz Dress Guest Giveaway

Best of luck to all who enter. I know I would love to win this. :)

Live the moment, love life!
Annabelle

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Dress for Me

As my brother-in-law's wedding drew closer, I decided that I couldn't wear the dress that I had worn for the last three weddings.  I just didn't feel like shopping either (my sister is shaking her head and has a look of bewilderment on her face).  Really, I just don't love the mall.  So, what is a girl to do?

With very little sewing experience - see previous two posts for completed projects - I decided that it was a good idea to make a strapless dress to wear to this wedding.  I am pretty sure there were a few family members thinking that I was crazy.  How hard can it be?  Buy the pattern, cut the pieces, follow the instructions and sew a few seams . . .

Okay, although it was a little more involved than I had anticipated, it truly wasn't too difficult.

Here it is in all its glory - and those arms are proof that I don't work out!

 Don't mind the wrinkles, after the reception the dress was rolled into a ball and thrown in my closet, only to be taken out minutes before these glamour photos as taken by hubby.

This is also a great shot to show that the dress is a little ill fitting.  The bunching makes it look to small, but the problem is that there is too much fabric and it is a little large.


A lovely side profile, don't I look stunning? ;)


Now with this last view I must reveal a little secret.  As well made as this dress appears, I had to safety-pin it to my bra to ensure that it did end up around my ankles.  (I of course then prayed that my bra would stay securely around my chest; I can report success!)


I can report that overall I was happy with the way this dress turned out.  Before my next garment, I will take extra care to redo my measurements to make sure I make the most accurate size

Live the moment, love life!
Annabelle

Friday, October 29, 2010

Blue and Orange

When I found out that my cousin was pregnant last winter, I was so excited.  She and her husband were the first to have a baby in our family.  The last baby was my brother, who is now 18!  Part of the reason that I was so excited was because babies are just so darn cute.

But, I was also pumped on the idea of a baby in the family because I love the idea of being able to make things - like quilts, blankets, clothes, hats, booties, etc.  Really, the list could go on forever.  However, even with all of the excitement, I procrastinated until right before the shower.  I just wasn't sure what I wanted to make. 

After searching some wonderful blogs, I found Cluck Cluck Sew and her blog where she created Ben's Quilt.  I wanted to do something similar - but on a smaller scale as it was to be a crib quilt.  I used the Orange Quilt tutorial for creating my quilt.  Mommy let me know that Baby's colors were blue and orange.

So I set out to find just the right fabric.  The tricky part was the orange.  Most of the oranges that I looked at screamed hunting opener or trick or treat.  Plus, most of them were very floral.  Not that one can't use floral prints in a quilt for a sweet baby boy, but there are those prints that automatically make any project look like it just belongs to a girl.  So I settled on these cute prints.


My favorite print is the cream fabric with orange and blue dots.  It's called Lulu Dot - even the name is adorable.  Unfortunately, all that was left was a remnant, so I bought all 3/4 of a yard.  It mostly went to the quilt, I have a small about left over and I hope to find just the right project for it.

So, true to who I am when it comes to projects, I finished the hand quilting and binding the day of the shower.  Really, I only procrastinate and finish things last minute when it comes to craft projects.  I threw the quilt in the dryer for about five minutes while I got dressed.  Then quickly snapped these two pictures and ran out the door.

Sorry that these photos are not the greatest, being in a hurry is a terrible thing.


I love how the hand quilting turned out.  In both pictures you can just make out the little hearts that I quilted into the center of each square.


Mommy and Baby are both happy with  the quilt, and I am going to make a promise to myself to not do more of these projects last minute.  I am already starting on some ideas for my SIL who is not even pregnant, but who wants to be.  That should be enough time, right?

Enjoy your day!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Little on the Wild Side

Although I would love to share more knitting wonderfulness with you, I found a little mistake in my knitting and am currently unraveling - not something I am delighted to share.  So instead, I have some sewing to share with you!

While at a networking event for the job I no longer hold :) I met a darling named Lorinda.  She mentioned that she was on the hunt for a new business card holder.  Preferably one that was not metal, and that could hold more than 15 cards - and she would like it match her lovely zebra-print business cards.

Since I had just mentioned to the group that I was getting back in touch with my crafty/creative side it was suggested that I make something for Lorinda.  Immediately, I knew exactly how I was going to tackle the situation.  Yes, I would love to make something for you!  Meanwhile, my mind was searching through the many many archives of blogs and tutorials that I had stumbled across this past summer.

Very Purple Person created some wonderful wallet tutorials, and her mini wallet would be perfect for a business card holder.  So the night before my next networking meeting, I set to work cutting fabric, ironing folds and sewing.  This did not take long at all, and even my dear hubby was impressed with the quick turnaround.

Here is the inside of the card wallet with Lorinda's business card.  (They match quite well if you ask me!)


The outside of the card wallet - my only modification to the pattern was to create a fabric loop for the button rather the elastic recommended by the tutorial.


The back of the card wallet when open, along side the business card.


A little plug for Lorinda's business Daizy & Co - see her for wonderful ideas on marketing your business.


I hope to have some tutorials of my own to post soon.  My mind is currently on and idea for Christmas - a little early I know, but by the time I create the tutorial and post it, it will most likely be mid December.  I promise to have other updates between now and then.

Enjoy your day!

Monday, October 25, 2010

A New Beginning

I started reading through a few blogs this summer and thought about starting my own.  Then I was captivated  by all of the other wonderful resources available, so I joined BurdaStyle and Ravelry.  I am so amazed at all of the wonderful crafty people in this world, it is so inspiring.  What finally prompted me to begin a blog is that I am in job transition.  I had been working a job that  I did not love, which was a little draining. I am hoping that the transition to my new career path with allow me the energy and extra time to make this blog a worthwhile place to inspire at least a few people to find their inner domestic diva and bring their creativity to fruition.
So what will Annabellebumps be blogging about?  Any lovely ideas that come to mind, preferably related to a creative output.  At the moment I am working on a sweater.  I learned to knit in college and even made my first sweater back then. Unfortunately it was a tad small and knit in a very bulky yarn - too bulky for me.  So, it was  given to goodwill.  Note - for future projects, check gage and carefully consider the yarn designed for the project.  If you wouldn't buy an $80.00 sweater, don't spend hours making one only to donate it.  I think we all learn similar lessons the hard way.


Fall is really the perfect time to start knitting, the cool, crisp air is a reminder that I can't wear shorts forever.  And since I usually protest winter and avoid wearing a jacket until absolutely necessary, I think I could use a new sweater knit up in some incredibly warm alpaca wool.  Below is a picture of my lovely Frog Tree Alpaca and my sweater progress thus far.  Sorry for the big shadows, the sun sets so early right now, its practically dusk by the time I get home from work.

I may also grace you with some sewing from time to time.  Another skill I picked up during school, but didn't do much with.  Of course all I know how to do is sew a straight line, but hopefully those skills will expand.
It's fair enough to say that I don't yet have a clear direction of where I want to take this blog, but I do have a start and that's something.  Hang in there with me and eventually this can be something beautiful.

The Best Advice Ever

Here it is, day one of my job transition.  I have the entire week off before I start my new job.  This past weekend my mom told me to make sure that I did not use this time for housework.  Seriously, my mom is telling me not to do housework.  I love it!Apparently when my dad switched jobs this summer, he spent his week off working around the house and when Monday morning of the new job came, he felt like he did not have any time off.  This is not to say that I should let my house fall to shambles for the week, or allow my dear hubby to take double load, just that I shouldn't spend the average working day taking care of housework.
This means that I will be using this wonderful week for things that I normally don't have time for, but really want to do.  There are several things on my agenda for the day.
1.) Go for a very short run (I used to be a runner and was hoping to train for a marathon.  I had worked my way up to eight miles on a trail of hills - not quite a marathon, but good for me.  Unfortunately a year ago I injured myself and have not been able to run since.  After many visits with chiropractors, physical therapists, a sports physician and some X-rays and an MRI I had no answers.  Then a few weeks ago I visited a quack doctor (that's what I call her) and she suggested that I had a wheat intolerance.Really, my hips hurt because I eat wheat? Well, now about a month into my nearly wheat gluten-free diet and my hip pain has made more positive progress than in the past year of many doctor visits.  Perhaps I should reconsider calling my doctor a quack doctor).  So after a year of not running, or exercising, I would like to go for a tiny jog to see how the hip fares.  We are really talking a tiny jog, because any backwards progress and I might ask to have the thing amputated.
2.)  Take a yoga class.  Prior to the injury mentioned above, I was an avid yoga-goer.  I fell into it my accident when my apartment offered free classes.  Then with my injury and moving in with my husband after our wedding, I stopped going.  I have yet to find a studio near our home, but I am willing to travel a bit to get back into yoga.
3.)  Do some knitting!  Yes, I would love to finish my sweater before Thanksgiving.  For many knitters that may be no lofty goal, but apparently I am not one of those people.  I so enjoy knitting and am not one seeking instant gratification, so if it takes me a month more to finish this project, it will be all smiles the whole way.
4.)  If I am feeling extra ambitious I might visit a new-to-me yarn shop to get inspiration for my current and future projects.  But with an entire week off, I should save some joy for later in the week.
Who knew a list of four things to do could actually turn into a four paragraphs?  Being new at this whole blogging adventure I was worried about starting something because I might not have anything to say.  Well I can safely tuck that argument away with the past.

Lastly, I will give you readers (which may only be myself at the moment) a glimpse of my knitting progress.  I was able to finish the back of the sweater that I am working on.  The fall leaves are there because I love fall (and because my loving husband told me that my sweater is the same color as our deck stain) but really more because I love fall.