What’s Cookin’ at the Works: Soup’s On- Week #8

Beef Stew pic
As we close out the year here at the Works, we’re back at it again with another installment of the Soup of the Week Club. This week marks number 8 in this savory soup series! The Winter season is officially upon us, and lucky for us, this week’s soup club selection has warmed us up enough to fuel our way into the new year! The talented Toni B., sample room extraordinaire, brought in her tasty Beef Stew this week. Hearty, flavorful, and packed with all kinds of yummy-in-your-tummy ingredients, it’s no wonder that Toni B. calls this a family favorite!

Toni B.’s Beef Stew Recipe:

2-3lbs of beef I use bottom roast or something similar

1 tablespoon of olive oil or butter

1 quart of beef broth

1 large onion

2-3 cloves of garlic

2 bay leaves

1 TSP of Johnny’s Seasoning (I look for the one with no MSG)

Salt and pepper to taste

4-5 potatoes

1 cup of celery

2-3 large carrots

1 -15 oz can of diced tomatoes

I use a six quart cast iron Dutch oven. Heat the Dutch oven to medium. Cut the roast into 1” cubes. Brown meat in the tablespoon of butter or olive oil, stirring until all sides is brown. Add onions and minced garlic cloves. Cook until the onion is translucent. Add the beef broth, carrots, celery, potatoes, and tomatoes. Bring to a slow boil for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn down heat to low. Add bay leaf.

Let it simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours until carrot and potatoes are soft.

This recipe is easily doubled for a crowd of hungry people!

Stay tuned next week as we bring you another taste-tempting slow cooker delight!

Call of the Wild: African Savannah to make a Stampede!

African Safari Close Up PicNow that the holidays have come & gone, here’s a new Clothworks fabric collection that will surely make you pounce on the New Year.  Clothworks is gearing up for the delivery of the first fabric collection by one of our newest designers, Eugene Smith.  His debut collection, African Savannah,  is set to ship out in the near future to your favorite local fabric shop. No need to dig out your passport or get your immunizations updated.  You can take a ‘sew-fari’ from the safe comfort of your sewing nook!  The majestic scenery of the African Savannah is perfectly captured in fabric form.  Zebra, giraffe, cheetah, and tossed animal prints will surely appeal to your wild side. The savannah motifs, border stripes, and animal block prints are so exquisitely rendered…..who needs to visit the Serengeti?!!

Just check out these lovely samples to inspire you on your sewing journey….

This quilt pattern pictured here is called ‘Rough Stones’ by A Quilter’s Dream. Sample made by Jean Roscoe.

African Savannah - A Quilters Dream REVISED

It may be a jungle out there, but you can always brave it in style with this lovely bag. This bag pattern is called ‘Sausalito’ is by A Quilter’s Dream.  Sample made by Nina Pulliam with a little help from Jean Roscoe.

African Savannah Purse UP CLOSE

African Savannah Purse

Ooooo wait! Did I just hear the roar of a lion and the stampede of the elephant?  Oh no…..that’s just my sewing machine!!

What’s Cookin’ at The Works: Holiday Cookie Exchange

Cookie Exchange in Tin

Lately, if you’ve been following our posts about the Soup of the Week Club here at The Works, then you know we love to eat around here!  One of the traditions that I look forward to around the holidays at Clothworks is the Cookie Exchange!!!  The participants bring in their favorite cookies (some of them being family heirloom recipes), set them out on the table,  and then each person goes around the table to scoop up a few cookies each for their tin to take back home with them to enjoy.  It’s a great way to exchange family traditions, memories, and tasty treats.  What’s even better is that we all walk away with a nice mix of different sweets- some brownies, some cookies, something for everyone!!

This year’s contributions are:

*  Meringues from Candice

*  Chocolate & Peppermint Brownies from Angela

*  Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies from Miryam

*  Rosettes from Zoey

*  ‘Grinches’ (red- and green-colored sugar cookies)  from Debbie

*  Pizzelles from Stephanie

*  Michael’s Snickerdoodles from Susan (with help from her husband, Michael)

Cookie Exchange Collage

What kind of holiday traditions do you look forward to around this time of year?

Pat Sloan Free Block of the Month features Everything Blue

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The holidays are fast approaching and pretty soon my friend, we’ll be ushering in a new year!  There might be a myriad of things left on your plate right now (including a cookie or two), but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan ahead.  I know one of my new year’s resolutions is to simplify.

We thought we’d make it easy for you in 2014 and tell you about a pretty neat Free Block of the Month quilt designed by Pat Sloan which begins next month in January.  Pat is teaming up with the folks at Free Quilt Patterns and has designed a Free Block of the Month.  Her design, entitled ‘Globetrotting’, will feature a mystery theme that is sure to take you on a quilting journey!

Head on over to her blog to read more about it and sign up for emails.  It looks pretty nifty– as each block in the 10 block quilt will have its own free pattern, tutorial, and a video demo by Pat to help walk you along in the process.  How cool is that?!  But wait, it gets better…   the quilt she designed in the blue/cream colorway features fabric from the Clothworks Everything Blue collection by Marsha McCloskey. (pssst–be sure to click on the ‘sneak peek’ at the bottom of her link to see an amazing preview.)  Beating those holiday blues never sounded so easy now!

Everything Blue Blocks Transformed!

QOV before sashing

Before we close out the year here at Clothworks, we’re excited to show off some progress that’s been made with those Everything Blue quilt blocks.  Last time we posted, we were playing around with the layout of these blocks, as shown in the picture above, preparing to make 2 quilts from all of the lovely block entries into the Everything Blue Block Hop.  Once the quilts are completed, we will be donating them to the Quilts of Valor Foundation, a charitable organization that gives quilts to veterans and soldiers who have served our country.

Both of our expert quilters:  Toni, sample room extraordinaire, and Bonnie, who works in design, have worked their magic– sashing, cornerstones, borders, and even flat piping details have all been stitched with love to create TWO amazing quilt tops!   We’re pleased to present you with the current progress on our quilts.  Feast your eyes……

QOV 1

Below is a close up pic showing that fun pop of red in the flat piping used between the sashed quilt blocks and the wider border:

red flat piping detail QOV

And here’s a full view of the 2nd quilt top:

QOV 2

Check back on The Works to see further progress on these quilts!

What’s Cookin’ at The Works: Soup’s On! Week #7

chili soup of the week!

We are nearing the 2 month mark on the Soup of the Week Club here at the Clothworks office!  I can’t believe we’re at Week # 7;  it just feels like yesterday when we started our culinary adventure into the wide world of soups!  I’ve really started to look forward to each Monday, when a crock pot full of some tasty new soup heats up in the breakroom and fills our office with the comforting aroma that only a soup can!

For Week #7’s  soup contribution, Lisa in Design, adapted a recipe from Sunset Magazine– Smoky Beef & Bacon Chili.  Lisa made her version a just a tad healthier by adding more beans.  The spices and combination of all the ingredients really made this quite a flavorful chili.  Garnished with nacho chips, sour cream, shredded cheese, green onions, and cilantro- this chili is taken to a zesty Tex-Mex level.  Ooooo-Yum!

Here’s Lisa’s adapted recipe for Smoky Beef and Bean Chili:

Serves 10

1-2 Tbsp. bacon fat

2 onions, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1-2 red, yellow or orange bell peppers, finely chopped

2 pounds lean ground beef

2 tablespoons New Mexicochili powder

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons sweet smoked Spanish paprika

About 1 tsp. salt

2 cans (14.5 oz.) crushed fire-roasted tomatoes or regular crushed tomatoes

1 can flavorful, medium-bodied beer

1 teaspoon Worcestershire

1 can (14.5 oz.) pinto beans, drained

2 cans (14.5 oz.) red kidney beans, drained

Toppings: sour cream, sliced green onions, cilantro sprigs, shredded cheese

  1. 1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, melt bacon grease. Add onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Add garlic and bell peppers and cook until pepper is softened. Remove most of this mixture to a plate and set aside.
  2. 2. Increase heat to medium-high and add ground beef; break it up with a wooden spoon and stir gently until it loses its raw color, 7 minutes. Stir in spices and 1 tsp. salt and cook 1 minute. Add onion/pepper mixture, tomatoes, tomato sauce, beer, and Worcestershire and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover partially, and cook 30 minutes.
  3. 3. Add beans and cook 10 minutes, uncovered. Season to taste with salt. Serve warm, with toppings on the side.

Tip: make in advance, chill, and remove a portion of the fat on top before reheating.

A note about next week’s soup selection:  We will be taking a break due to the holiday and returning the following week of the 30th.  Check back then for another taste-tempting slow cooker recipe!

Holiday Gift Bag: No Wrapping Required

No wrapping paper around to wrap your gifts?  No worries!  If you’re like me, a bona fide fabric addict,  you probably have a stash of fabric just waiting to be used in some sort of project.  Why not put some of that fabric to use in making  gift bags used in place of wrapping paper for your gifts this holiday season?  Pictured above are 2 bags using Clothworks Christmas fabrics of the past- some Laurel Burch and some Not Even a Mouse by Cary Phillips, both made by our ‘Sewing Machine Queen’ Jean.  What I like about this gift bag idea is that it’s eco-friendly & re-usable- cutting down on paper consumption, and very personalized- with a plethora of fabric combinations to be used to make them for that special someone.  Jean found this pattern in the latest edition of Stitch Gifts 2014 magazine, the holiday gift edition, now on the news stands.

Gift Idea for the Eco-Friendly: Winslow Market Tote is a Win!

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Are you stumped as to what to give your environmentally-aware pals?  How ’bout a lovely tote bag for them to carry their wares & purchases?  Angela, our liaison to the reps & distributors, made the 3 totes that are pictured … Continue reading

Cute 'n Crafty Christmas Coffee Cup Cozy

Brrrrr….has it been a cold one lately!!  Definitely the kinda weather that calls for a cuppa joe or delicious cup of hot chocolate, dontcha think?!   Jean, our prolific sample maker, eyed this cute & crafty Christmas Tree coffee sleeve on the Crafty Staci website, and promptly made one to contribute to the handmade holiday gift ideas featured on The Works!  Jean used some Not Even A Mouse fabric by Clothworks to make the sample shown above, but I think this project could be made in a multitude of different fabrics!

Follow the great tutorial on the Crafty Staci site, here, and dec-out your mugs with some holiday cheer!

 

What's Cookin' At the Works: Soup's on! Week #6

Today’s selection of soups for the Soup of the Week Club is brought to us by Joyce in Design.  Chicken with Rice– comforting for the soul and warming for the body.  I dunno about you, but it’s been sooooo cold lately!  Nice to have a cup of piping hot soup to chase the shivers away!

Here’s Joyce’s recipe:

1 ½ onion chopped

1 ½ cups celery chopped small

1 ½ cups carrots chopped small

6 garlic cloves chopped finely or crushed

2 Tbs olive oil

2 Tbs butter

12 cups chicken stock

4 cups cooked and shredded chicken

1 box of prepared wild and long grain rice (per package instructions)

1 package of dried chicken and noodle soup mix – mix only requires chicken stock to complete…it was purchased from a gift-y type of store – use the noodles for some other occasion J

Fresh ground pepper (1/8 tsp or so)

Sauté onion in oil and butter for 5 minutes. Add celery, garlic and carrots and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add soup packet mix and sauté for another minute or two. Then add chicken stock and pepper. Simmer for 2 hours. Add shredded chicken and rice and finish cooking –about 10 minutes.

Check back next week for another fine soup recipe by the talented Clothworks Team!