AmandaJaneDesigner

Costume and Graphic Design


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House Hunting

A little off topic, but exciting news none the less. We are moving back to our hometown, which means not only looking for new employment, but also new accomodations. We have decided it is time we quit throwing our hard earned money away on rent, and bought something with that cash!

House hunting from a different city is hard work, and without an agent, I don’t know how we would manage! This weekend we hope to have a few houses lined up for viewing!

A brief but happy message, our hearts are singing, and we can’t seem to wipe these silly grins off our faces!

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Kobo Keeper

Starting with a heavy iron on interfacing and the cut shapes of black and red. I layered the pieces together and pinned the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric. The interfacing is cut to the size of the finished piece, while the fabric has the seam allowance added. This gives the piece the rigidity of the interfacing without adding too much bulk to the seams. Once everything was pinned together, it was ready to iron.


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Spicy Ginger Stirfry

Welcome to my first cooking post! I love to cook, and try new things. Over the years, I have attempted many different dishes from all over the world, with mixed success. Even the failures have taught me valuable lessons about combining flavours, and balance. The dish featured today was a moderate success, even though it was completely made up on the spot. There are things I would fix for next time, but overall the stirfry was tasty and the leftovers made for a great lunch the next day!

Starting with cubed chicken, and lots of finely chopped ginger, two small hot peppers, and some star anise, I kept them moving in the wok with just a touch of olive oil until the chicken was cooked through. The change I would make next time would be to marinate the chicken overnight in the ginger/pepper/anise mixture. The flavours were good, but too mild in spite of the tremendous amount of ginger!

I used my typical blend of fresh veggies: carrots, celery, onion, bell peppers, and my husband’s personal favourite (note the sarcasm!) broccoli. I also added some snow pea pods, something I don’t usually keep on hand, but had purchased that week for another dinner and had half the packet left. Fresh vegetables always seem to work better than frozen (and most certainly better than canned!) in a stirfry, because they stay bright and colourful, and still have a slight crispness to them. In my personal experience, frozen veggies go limp and soggy too quickly. Not to be all “high and mighty”! I do have bags of various veg in my freezer, I just believe there are certain times when they just won’t do! So, once the chicken was cooked through, I added those chopped up veggies.

After a taste test, I found that the anise and peppers had completely disappeared! Not visually, I could still see them, but the flavour was missing. To remedy this, I would let the chicken sit overnight in the anise/pepper/ginger.

In an attempt to recover their flavour, I boiled a hot pepper and some anise in a separate pot to make a kind of stock… I now believe that something like this takes time and cannot be rushed… my hope is to not have to do this next time if I have had the chicken absorb all the flavours ahead of time!

When we have had store bought sauces, they are always nice and thick and coat the food nicely. I used some cornstarch, added to my “spicy anise stock”, that was to be added to the meat/veg. I remember helping my Grandma with gravy and adding flour slowly to the turkey fat, stirring and stirring and stirring. According to the box, the cornstarch would be used very much the same way. Boy, was I surprised when suddenly, my water went from, well… watery to a thick paste in the blink of an eye!

It was all I could do to snap this picture before I had to do SOMETHING with it! After removing the star anise and pepper, I poured it over my meat/veg mix, and stirred it in. A quick taste of this latest stage said something was still missing. My veggies were cooking quickly, and I didn’t want limp dull broccoli! I tossed in just a dash of low sodium soy sauce and a splash of sesame oil, and had another taste. This was better! You couldn’t taste the latest additions, but they did add something, and that was the goal. I have made the mistake before of adding way too much soy sauce and that is all you can taste! A little goes a long way where that condiment is concerned!

After a final toss over the heat, I served the stirfry over rice.

Overall, it was a success! It tasted good, even if it wasn’t what I had originally intended. Rich in colour and flavour, this is something I would make again. Another bonus: because I made my sauce from scratch, used low sodium soy sauce in small quantities, and skinless lean chicken breast, this is a very healthy dish, low in fat and salt, with lots of the good things a variety of vegetables provides.

A quick rundown on ingredients (quantities are rough and to taste)

2″ chunk of ginger, finely chopped
2 small hot peppers, finely chopped
celery
carrots
onion
broccoli
snow peas
bell peppers
star anise (whole so you can remove it)
about 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
about 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
2 chicken breast, cubed

I will likely make this again, with the changes, and will share an update!