Thursday, April 20, 2017

Instant Pot: Pork tenderloin with apples and sweet potatoes

 As you can probably tell from my blog, I usually post about sewing, and craft projects.  I do however like to cook, and have fallen in love with my Instant Pot (Pressure cooker).  This is the first time I've really written up a recipe, so please be kind.  I'm sure there are other ways to do this, and I might drop the cooking time to 8 mins next time.  But the meat was not overcooked, and still very juicy.  I had looked up a few different recipes for the pork, and found a couple that sounded good so I kind of merged the recipes.  One was for a slow cooker, the other was oven roasted so I adapted the cooking method to the Instant Pot.  I was really impressed with the flavor so I decided to write down what I did while it was still fresh in my memory.  Then I decided I should share it with others.  So here it is, I hope you like it.  I'm sure you could lots of other root veggies, or a splash of brandy to de-glaze. 

Instant Pot: Pork tenderloin with apples and sweet potatoes

1 pork tenderloin
1 med onion
1-4 cloves of garlic depending on taste
2-4 apples depending on size
1-2 sweet potatoes sliced ½” thick
½ cup apple juice (or stock)
Handful of dried cranberries, (frozen would be great too)

Cut pork into large pieces to fit into pot *.  Put Instant Pot on saute and heat up some olive oil.  Then season the pork with all purpose seasoning (or your fav mix), and sear in the bottom of the pan.  Meanwhile chop onions, garlic, apples, and sweet potato.

Take the meat out of the pan and add the onions, stir and cook for a few minutes, toss in the garlic till fragrant.  Add a splash of the apple juice to deglaze the pan and scrape up any brown bits.  

Now add everything back into the pot, season to your taste, and add the rest of the apple juice.  Put the lid on and set to ‘Chicken 10 mins’.  Then NPR

After about 10 mins I took the lid off and checked my meat, it was perfect, I ladled it all into a serving dish, leaving the liquid.  Put the pot back on saute, and and mix 1 Tbs cornstarch with a bit of water, and add to pot.  Stir till you get the desired consistency for your pan sauce.  Serve on the side, or pour over the meat.  

*I had a very large tenderloin I cut into 4 4” sections, any smaller and you’ll have to reduce cooking time.  If you have a small tenderloin you can sear whole, then just leave it.

If you don’t have an Instant Pot, or other electronic pressure cooker, then you can easily do this in the slowcooker (leave pieces whole), or bake in the oven.  I’d check your meat at the 20 mark, to keep an eye on it, you don’t want to overcook your pork.  

I also did brown rice in my instant pot to serve with this.  1 cup broth to 1 cup rinsed rice, and a dab of butter and salt.  Set to manual for 22 mins.  (this was my first time trying it, and it turned out perfect).

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Aurora Belle Dress & Peplum -- Pattern Testing.

You have to check out this brand new release from PollyWoggles Patterns !!!! This is a must have pattern.  It's super fast, and so adorable, it's on sale through Friday so go get it now!!!!


The first dress one I tested was the 6/8 mashup with the maxi skirt.  She LOVES IT!!!   I used the size 6 width with the 8 length (don't worry she shows you how to blend the sizes).  The instructions are very thorough and easy to follow.  She also has great customer service and is happy to answer any questions, as are the rest of her fans in her FB group. PollyWoggles Sewing Circle

I'm not super thrilled with the fabric for the skirt, but it's all I had on hand, and since it's the first test I didn't want to use my good stuff on it.  In retrospect I wish I had, it turned out great!!!  I think I'll jazz it up a bit with something.  Perhaps some appliques.  The length is perfect. 

This pattern comes with a ton of different options.  The back  can be done with shirring or elastic casings.

Never done any shirring before? No worries she includes a link to some very detailed instructions.  The first time I ever did shirring was on another one of her patterns, I followed her directions and figured it out.  It really adds a nice touch.

The casings work well too if you're not up to it.  
Some of the other testers went this route, and they're adorable as well.


 I loved this pattern so much I had to make a second one, and used my amazing 'If I Were a Mermaid' by Alexandar Henry.    This one I made the Peplum top.  Like I said it has a lot of choices.  There is the Peplum top, then you can add another knee length skirt underneath it.  There is also a 3 tier option, or the many choices!!!

Just keep an eye on fabric requirements.  For a size 8 maxi I needed 3 yards.  So since I only had 1 of the Mermaids, I did the peplum version.

 Since this was my second time the pattern went super fast.  It took me 1 hour 15 mins hour to cut, sew and add the bias tape hem.  I'm sure the next ones will be even faster.  When I do the multilayered one I think I'll do a rolled hem on my serger.

So hop on over to her website and grab your copy today, while it's on sale.  PollyWoggles Patterns--Aurora Bell   

Still not convinced???  Here's a few more of the lovely tester dresses!!!!
See more photo's The Umbrella Bin

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Well I'm ready for Spring with my new 'Ethel Tote Bag' by Swoon Patterns


I can't believe it has taken me this long to make a Swoon Pattern.  I've admired her bags for so long now, but always seem to end up with another pattern I just had to make.  As soon as I saw this fabric I wanted to make an Ethel Tote bag with it.  I felt the fabric and the pattern were both a bit retro, and I love how it turned out.  This is going to be a fun bag for spring. 

No bag is complete without a little bling.  This lovely tag is from Emmaline Bags, add on a few coordinating beads and you're ready to go. 

 I made a few changes to this pattern, I added a flap on the top to keep all my stuff from spilling out.   I decided to leave the front pocket full size, so left off the center seam, and added a magnetic snap.  I did however add the seam to the inside slip pocket.   I also added a zipper pocket as well.  I like to have a safe spot for a few items.  I also used the pocket to turn my bag, it was my first time using this technique, and I loved it.  It was a bit tricky working it through, but so nice to not have to finish off the lining.   

To save some money I went ahead and used some shelf liner from the dollar store.
  I got a roll of some nice sturdy vinyl.

It was very easy to cut, and I applied it with a glue stick.  I used it as a I would sew-in foam. 
I used a quick press from the right side of the fabric and it all held in place beautifully. 

It worked really well, gives the bag enough structure and stability.

 It did make the seams a big thick.  This wasn't too much of a problem until it came to top stitching.  Next time I would trim back at least half of it inside of the seam allowance, and just leave a few pieces here and there to catch to make sure it stays in place.  I would eliminate the foam from the seams where it overlaps other seams or where the straps were placed.  Hopefully it holds up well, I'll let you know if I have any issues with it.  But I can't beat that price, sorry flex foam! 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Flora Supply Case

I finally got around to blogging this.  This is the Flora Supply Case pattern, by Clover & Violet.  I looked all over for the ideal pattern, I wanted to make something to hold diabetic supplies for my dear friend who had just been diagnosed with Diabetes.  I searched online and found that Tishia of  #tkinggae on Instgram had made one, and it was adorable.  I messaged her to find out what size, and she was very helpful.  To see her's click this link to her Instagram picture 

I found this amazing fabric from Meerkat Shewshwe's booth at the Creative Festival 2016.  I had never worked with this kind of fabric before, but the colors and textures were so unique I knew I had to give it a try.  This fabric is really hard to photograph, I can't quite capture the colors, and vibrancy. 

It was a fairly simple sew,  the hardest part was adding the zipper and bias tape around it, but just go slowly, perhaps start with a basting stitch????  It's not perfect but I was happy with how it turned out.

These were a few FQ's I got in the Hot Ice line, they're so pretty.   

Monday, November 21, 2016

Finley & Quinn--The Cozy Robe--Pattern Test

Finley & Quinn 
Blog hop & pattern review

This is yet another pattern test for Pollywoggles patterns.  I really have enjoyed making several of her patterns, some I have tested, others I have bought over the years.  Heidi really takes a different approach to her patterns, and tries to come up with something new and innovative.  I always learn something new, or try a new technique when sewing one of her patterns.

The pattern ranges in size from 12 months to 10 years old.  It is a unisex pattern that fits great for both boys and girls.  Some of the features I really love, the wide cozy collar!!!!  It lays so nice.  I also LOVE the fact that the belt is attached.  No more worrying about where the belt is tied to, arm, leg, doll, hanging from the bunk bed to climb up . . . you get the idea.  Also the pockets are great, they're on an angle so their hands can just slide in there, and keep all their treasures close at hand. 

This robe is comfy!  You can use basically any fabric you would like.  You can use Fleece, minky, flannel or other wovens.  I used a super soft cuddle fabric, similar to minky but thinner.  I found it was pretty easy to work with, and really gave a lovely drape to the robe. 

One thing I'd like to stress is that unless you're using a fabric that is going to fray DO NOT serge the seams.  The seams on minky/fleece are super soft and fluffy, once you serge them they became stiff and scrachy.  I know she says you don't need to, but I thought if I didn't I was 'cheapening out' so to speak, but after serging the side seams I realized what a difference it would make and didn't want to loose some of my cozy/comfy factor.

The pattern comes in several sizes from 12 months to 10 years, and she explains clearly how to merge sizes.  I made a 6/8 a 6 width with a 8 length.


 This pattern is being offered FREE, you read that right FREE for a limited time to anyone who joins her group  Pollywoggles Sewing Circle on Facebook.  Hurry because this offer is only good until the end of the year--Dec 31, 2016

If you're still on the fence, hop on over to these other lovely blogs!  They were lucky enough to be able to review this amazing pattern as well, and have shared their projects.  Too much coziness!!!!

First from our esteemed pattern designer Heidi
Pollywoggles Patterns presents Finley & Quinn

And my fellow pattern reviews from all over the globe.   

Lunatiek--Finley & Quinn blog tour
Biebiezonder-- Finley & Quinn pattern test
What's Mommy Up To?-- Finley & Quinn robe
Soul Fed on Thread-- Finley & Quinn pattern review

Here are some of my other favorite Pollywoggle patterns

I'll start off with my all time favorite dress pattern!!!!  
This is the Cecily Rose.  It even comes with a reversible version (didn't I mention she's clever?)

another reversible pattern, a great place for some holiday fabric 

I used some Christmas fabric on the back side, and She got to pick the fabric for the other side, of course it's pink!!! 
 Too get the Finley & Quinn Robe pattern, or any of her others, hop on over to the pattern shop!!!!  
or for a limited time get your free Finley & Quinn robe pattern at Pollywoggles Sewing Circle

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Goober Pea Boots -- Pattern Review

Goober Pea Boots

This is a pattern review for these adorable baby booties!!!!  The pattern was given to me, but the opinions are all my own.  Here is my Craftsy affiliate link if you're interested in the pattern.

Sometimes just picking out your fabric can be the hardest part, but this time I knew exactly what I wanted to use.  I've been hording this bit of fluffy pink minky for a while, waiting for the perfect project, and I found it.  I also made a few accessories, but I'll post about them another time.

First things first just cut everything out, I went with the batting as that was the recommended choice.  It gets caught into the seams and stays put nicely.  I forgot just how messing cutting minky can be...don't breath too deeply ahhaha.

The pattern has 3 sizes; 03-6 months, 6-12 months, and 12-18 months.  Keep in mind your fabric choices will change the fit a bit.   A fluffy minky like I used, will take up a bit more room, and you'll have a slightly smaller boot then if you had used flannel or cotton as the lining, just keep that in mind.

It looks rather complicated when you read through the pattern, but after a quick read through just get started.  If you follow each step in order, it will come together nicely, don't try to overthink it. 

The instructions are short and clearly written, the pictures are really where it's at.  I'm a visual learner so I appreciated how clear all the photo instructions are.

It comes together very quickly, and before long it starts looking like a boot. This is the top part, now for the soles.  I used the non-reversible instructions since I used the non-skid slipper fabric for the soles. 

Don't these look so cozy!!!!!  Now I just get to trim the seams and turn them out!!!!  Wow that was fast.  What a fun project.  Now I want to make more of them, but I'll have to check on the sizing first!!!

If you're interested in checking out some of her other patterns, pop on over to her FB page.  Keep your eyes tuned for a new pattern, that will compliment these boots perfectly
or her Etsy page if you don't want to make them yourself. 

Click the link to go get the pattern.  Goober Pea Boots Pattern on Craftsy

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

KAIA Mini Fabric Bin--Pattern Review!!!

I was given the opportunity to review the pattern for this adorable bin.  I did not pay for the pattern, but the opinions are my own. KAIA Mini Fabric Bin

These little bins are adorable, and a great scrap buster.  The first one took about 45 mins, from printing to pressing.  I had to print it out, tape it together, and read through the directions, choose fabric, and sew it up.  The next ones went a lot faster.

These would be great for Christmas gifts, filled with some candy canes (I didn't have any on hand).

The pattern calls for tracing paper, well I didn't have any, so instead I just cut out the zig zag on the top, and laid it down on the fabric, and traced it.  It worked really well, so don't sweat it if you don't have any dressmakers carbon paper.  

I made 2 of them with a heavier interfacing, and the Pug one with a lightweight interfacing.  It folded down easier, showed fewer creases, but wasn't as sturdy.  So it depends on what you want to use it for.  Personally I prefer it a bit stiffer, it held up the pencils and anything else, and will keep it's shape.

So if you're looking for a quick project, something to stock craft sales, teacher gifts, or a beginner sewing project, go check out these adorable KAIA Mini Fabric Bins