saturday soup & sewing

Some of my favorite blogs are those that host a recurring blog theme, such as a weekly recipe, weekly tutorial, weekly photo shoot, or weekly etsy round-up… so fun! And I wanted to have some fun of my own, so I thought I’d start a regular spot on my blog called Saturday soup & sewing as we typically make up a big batch of soup on Saturday and Saturday afternoons have become my prime crafting time.  That said – I’ve got a big pot of soup in the crockpot and have a fun project to share with you that will shortly be appearing in my shop!

This week’s soup is a recipe I’ve come up with after combining several favorites. The beef comes from our share of a cow we purchased with some friends through a local farm.  J and I have made a commitment to eat limited amounts of meat, and when we do have meat we make sure it comes from sustainable, local, free-range, grass fed, justly treated animals. As a result, we now have about 30lbs of a lovely Belted Galloway in our freezer. (On another note, the rolls we had with this meal are our favorite whole wheat rolls in the world! Click here for the recipe…)

Without further ado, I give you…

Beef and Barley Soupsoup


  • 2 Tb vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs lean beef, cubed
  • 1 1/2 c chopped onion
  • 1 c chopped celery
  • 1 c chopped carrots
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10-12 c beef stock
  • 3/4 c barley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/2 c red wine
  • 2 c cubed potatoes
  • 1 1/2 c chopped cabbage
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a skillet over medium heat, saute the beef in the oil for 5 minutes, browning on each side. Transfer to slow cooker.
  • In same skillet, saute onion, garlic, celery and carrots for 3 minutes until tender crisp and carrots are just turning bright orange. Transfer to slow cooker.
  • Pour red wine in skillet and stir to pick up the browned bits. Add to the slow cooker.
  • Add broth, barley, bay leaf, potatoes and thyme. Cover and cook all on low setting for 6 to 8 hours, or until the vegetable and barley are tender. Salt and pepper to taste.

My sewing project for today was inspired by my wonderful husband who has recently been exploring his hidden talent as a sketch artist. Who knew?! Anyway, to further encourage this new creative outlet (always helpful for a grad student) I made him a pencil roll for his Christmas stocking and I really like how it turned out! So much so, that I’ve decided to make up two more rolls today, one for knitting needles and the other for color crayons (great for mom or dad’s purse/backpack to keep the little ones busy during unexpected waits!). See photos of all three below. I’ve been busy pulling together some inventory for my shop and my goal is to get it up and going in the next couple of weeks! I can’t wait! :)





holiday christmas cookie round-up!

I love Christmas… sending and receiving Christmas cards, decorating the Christmas tree, wrapping gifts, and of course all the special times spent with family and friends. One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is making lots of yummy treats to give away, so I thought today I would offer up  some blogs that have fun Christmas cookie recipes, as well as share with you my absolute favorite sugar cookie recipe as promised! So, without further ado, I give you my holiday Christmas cookie round-up!

Do any of you have great holiday cookie recipes? I’m always looking for a new favorite, so if you don’t mind sharing feel free to post a recipe in the comments section.

And now…


Suzanne’s Amazing Sugar Cookies!

makes 3 dozen cookies


  • 1 c butter
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 Tbsp sour cream
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 1/2 c flour


  1. Cream butter and sugar until very light and fluffy. Dissolve baking soda in sour cream; add to sugar mixture. Mix in eggs one at a time, beat until smooth. Add vanilla.
  2. Sift together flour and salt. Add to mixture.
  3. Chill for at least 1 hour. Roll dough out to 1/4 inch thick and cut out with  cookie cutters in various shapes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake cookies on ungreased cookie sheets for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned.

Sugar cookie frosting (hardens when dry)

  • 1 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 3-6 Tbsp evaporated milk
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp almond flavoring
  • 2 1/2 c powdered sugar

Combine ingredients using a blender until desired consistency is achieved, adjust quantities as needed. Frosting should be thick, but still easily spreadable.

giving thanks


Happy Thanksgiving everyone! It always feels a little bit odd to celebrate American Thanksgiving in Canada as I still have to go to work and miss out on the fun of preparing a big Thanksgiving feast. Thankfully some dear friends of ours have invited us over for a traditional Thanksgiving meal tonight – I can’t wait! And even though I don’t get to spend the day at home with family and friends, I have been thinking a lot about all Jeremy and I have to be grateful for this year and thought I would share some of my list with you…

  • A wonderful supportive family that is just a phone call away. It has been such a blessing to get to live relatively close to our families during this season at Regent, and an even greater blessing that our families have been able to visit us often!
  • Jeremy! My dear husband is in the midst of an incredibly stressful period at school as he is working on finishing up his thesis and applying to doctoral programs and working as a teaching assistant for two professors and continuing to take carry his regular coarse load on top of all of it! However, in the midst of all this busyness, Jeremy still finds time to hang out with me in the evenings, often cooks dinner for us and is still a lot of fun to hang out with – what a gift he is!
  • It continues to amaze me at the depth and quality of friendships Jeremy and I have been blessed with during our time in Vancouver. We have such kind, loving and caring friends here and I can’t imagine this experience without them.

What are you thankful for today? Feel free to leave a comment below, I’d love to have a running list of gratitude to celebrate today!

Also, I thought I would share one of my favorite side dishes for Thanksgiving… Now before you turn up your nose at this often misunderstood vegetable, I must humbly say that I think this dish is good enough to make a brussel sprout believer out of anyone! :)

Balsamic Brussel Sproutsbrussel-sprouts
16 oz brussel sprouts
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic
4 tbsp olive oil
salt/pepper to taste
1 shallot, chopped
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 425. Combine brussel sprouts, onion, garlic, and 3 tbsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and spread out on a greased cookie sheet. Roaste 25-30 minutes until tender. Meanwhile, saute shallot in remaining olive oil over medium-high heat, until tender. Add balsamic vinegar and cook another 3 minutes. Stir in rosemary and pour over brussel sprouts.