December 31, 2009

recycling holiday lights

happy happy merry merry

hope everyone had a nice holiday season and is gearing up to greet 2010 tonight !

i just wanted to post a link. a place where you can recycle your broken/old/no longer needed or used holiday lights. i tried to find multiple places, but it's really a small venture. some states like Washington and Minnesota have programs in certain areas, but I couldn't find very many national or statewide things.

holiday LED's has a program where you can mail your lights in. YES you have to mail them - but as their website suggests - gather all the lights you can - yours, your neighbors, your co-workers - it will then seem more worthwhile. Be sure and read their website - they don't want ANYTHING other than the lights.

in return you get a coupon for 15% lights from their site [if you are in the market for new lights]. but hurry the program will close in Feb. 2010.

thanks for your continued readership/participation of sew green. we'll see you next year!

December 24, 2009

Do More Good

Wishing you all a merry & meaningful christmas, and end of December.

As the New Year approaches folks start the resolution process- "next year I will be....". This year I simplified my resolution down to 3 words: Do More Good; focusing outward instead of inward, focusing on doing instead of being while knowing that I will be better for doing better. To me that encompasses all that is charitable, kind, environmental, civil and worldly. It is a simple mantra that I will keep on repeat and let define the choices I make. So here is to 2010, the year of doing more good.


December 16, 2009

holiday cocktail craft

making bitters

last weekend,
grub & i
a cocktail craft party...

Cocktail Craft o’rama

we pooled
our resources
and tapped in
on grub's cocktail knowledge
to make
and special syrups.

you see,
making these things
can be labor intensive
(like pickling & canning)
many hands
make less work.
mostly it involves
a lot of prep work
which is fun
if you are working
all together
and sipping cocktails!

* * * * *

here's what we did...

we had 3 different
bitters available to make
and each person made
a combination of any
two bitters:


in addition,
we also made
2 special syrups
-Allspice liqueur

* * * * *


each person was asked to bring:

- Two oranges-preferably fragrant-smell them before you buy them. If they smell orangey, get’em. Valencia is the preferred kind, but fragrant is the best.

- One grapefruit-preferably fragrant. White is better than red, but any kind will do.

- four resealable jars (jam are great) that hold at least 1 cup but no more than 2 cups of liquid. (2 bitters, 2 special syrups)

- a $$$ donation (donation dependent on # of RSVPs) to help pay for everclear needed to extract the essences for the bitters and overproof rum for liquers.

* * * * *


cut the skin from oranges
and grapefruits


and carefully removed
all the white
from the peel...
we also had people
skinning and chopping ginger
and zesting limes
(for the falernum).


as we worked,
grub made
tiny cocktails
that featured
the bitters
or syrups
that we made.


Cocktails that were made:

-House Manhattan (featuring fig bitters):
see grub's special recipe card

the architects cocktail recipe
(click to enlarge)

-Royal Bermuda club (featuring falernum)

-Lions Tail (featuring allspice liquor)

-The Perforated Derby (featuring grapefruit bitters)


if made
a month before
the holidays,
bitters make great
decant into
a dropper bottle
and give with
your favorite
cocktail recipe.

if short on time,
give a bitters kit:
droppers, labels,
on the last few steps.


. . . . .

here is the recipe
for one of
our bitters:

Fig Bitters

Botanical infusion
2 oz dried figs, Chopped Very Fine
2 whole cloves
½ Teaspoon of Cinnamon Bark
1 Teaspoon Cardamom Seeds (taken out of their pods)
3 seeds Star Annise
3/4 Cup Grain Alcohol (Everclear or Other High-Proof Neutral Spirit)

Bittering elements
1/4 Teaspoon Quassia Chips
1/8 Teaspoon Powdered Cinchona Bark

1 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Evaporated Cane Sugar

To Make
(adapted from Regan’s Bitters No.5)

Day one (at cocktail craft party)
Clean skin of fruit with baking soda and warm water. Scrub off any dirt. Remove skin (minus white pithe). Finely chop skins into 1/4 thick strips. Bake peel until completely dry (about 2 hours at 200F) let cool. Next place “botanical infusion” in jar and push the ingredients down so that they are covered by the alcohol and water. Seal the jar. Shake the jar vigorously once a day for ten days.

Day Ten
Place “Bittering Elements” in jar. Seal the jar. Shake the jar vigorously once a day for 7 days.

Day Seventeen
Strain the alcohol from the dry ingredients through a cheescloth. Gather the ends of the cheesecloth to form a pouch and squeese tightly to extract as much alcohol as possible. Place the dry ingredients in a strong bowl or mortar; reserve the alcohol in a clean mason jar and seal tightly. Muddle the dry ingredients with a pestle or strong spoon until the seeds are broken. Place the dry ingredients in a nonreactive saucepan and cover with 1 cups of water. Bring to a boil over a medium-high heat, cover, turn the heat down, and simmer for 10 minutes. Allow to cool, still covered (about 1 hour).
Return the dry ingredients and water to the original mason jar that contained the alcohol, seal, and leave for seven days, shaking vigorously once a day.

Day Twenty-Four
Strain the water from the dry ingredients through a cheesecloth. Discard the dry ingredients and add the water to the alcohol. Put sugar in a small nonstick saucepan and place over a medium-high heat. Stir constantly until the sugar becomes liquid and turns dark brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool for two minutes. Pour the sugar into the alcohol-and-water mixture. At this point the sugar may solidify, but it will quickly dissolve. Allow the mixture to stand for seven days. Skim off any bits that float to the surface and carefully decant the clear liquid to separate it from any sediment resting on the bottom.

Day Thirty One
Measure the bitters; thee should be about 9 fluid ounces. Add 3 ounces of water, and shake thoroughly. Pour the bitters into a bitters bottle. Store for up to twelve months.

. . . . .

happy holidays!

December 3, 2009

leftover soup


This time of year, the leftovers abound. Around the holidays, I tend to stuff myself silly, but the overabundance is so great that even with overeaters everywhere, lots of food still gets thrown away. My partner and I are trying to get smarter about our budget these days - particularly our food budget - which has meant getting smarter about leftovers, and hopefully a little less waste.

Last week was Thanksgiving, and I decided to take responsibility for the leftovers this year, since I wasn't cooking much. By the time we left on Saturday there was a freezer full of turkey stock and big containers of turkey noodle soup for everyone to take home.

Being a vegetarian, I don't know much about what to do with meat, but I do know that you're not supposed to throw away that big old fatty, meaty turkey carcass after the meal. What a waste! Instead, we made turkey stock.

I had my partner's father pick off all the good-looking meat, and then I stuck the detritus (skin, bones, fatty stuff, neck and jiblets) into a huge big stock pot with a cut-up onion and a few bay leaves, and then filled up the pot with water. I brought the pot to a boil and then simmered the whole thing for the rest of the evening, about 3 hours. Then we pulled out the now-clean bones and all the other solid stuff and tossed it, let the stock cool, skimmed off the fat and then strained out everything else and put the stock into repurposed quart yogurt containers in the freezer. Turkey stock is a good replacement for chicken stock (except richer and tastier, I'm told), and will keep in the freezer for at least six months.

That's how we used about half the stock. The other half we used to make turkey-noodle soup. All we did was par-boil a bag of whole wheat egg noodles, drain them and then put them into the big soup pot with the turkey stock. Since this family likes to eat turkey sandwiches with the leftovers, I left the big slices of breast meat for that purpose, but took all the little funny bits, cut them up smaller, and threw them into the pot. Finally, we dumped in the leftover peas and carrots from the Thanksgiving meal and added some salt and pepper - voila! Turkey-noodle soup.

As I've said, I'm a vegetarian, so the soup was not really on my menu. But I did have a tiny cupful just to try, and now I see why they say that chicken noodle soup cures a cold. I think that soup could have cured much worse - it was about as warm, wholesome and comforting as anything I've ever eaten. Maybe next year I'll have two cupfuls.

There are also lots of opportunities for vegetarian soup from your holiday leftovers. You can make a big pot of veggie stock and then make delicious soup with pureed pumpkin, squash or carrot, or toss in lots of noodles, beans and leftover veggies for a scrumptious vegetable soup with dumplings on top. Just the thing for a simple supper when you've been overdoing it at the holiday parties.