saturday soup & sewing

This weekend things were a little bit different as J and I had to go down to Seattle in order for him to complete another phase of his journey towards ordination with the Free Methodists. For him that meant a six hour psychological exam, both oral and written. For me that meant a lovely day to myself in one of my all time favorite spots – Edmonds! It is such a cute little town – I don’t know why we didn’t spend more time there when we were living in Seattle. Oh well, maybe we’ll get to live in the Pacific Northwest again one day (fingers crossed and knocking loudly on wood…). Anyway, because we weren’t home to make up a big batch of soup, J and I decided to treat ourselves to the best chowder anywhere at our local Duke’s. For any of you lucky enough to live in Seattle, you know what I’m talking about. And for those of you that have never had the privilege, feel free to drool over the bowl of yumminess below. I must admit, however, that the best part of our meal was getting to share it with J’s brother and his lovely wife! We don’t get to see those two nearly enough, so it was a real treat to get to hang out with them – thanks guys!

I always order Duke’s Dungeness Crab & Bourbon Chowder – and in my opinion it is the best chowder made by humankind. Unfortunately, the recipe is a closely guarded secret. Luckily, several years back Duke’s posted their recipe for clam chowder that also gets rave reviews, so I thought I’d share that with you today. If you want to try the Dungeness Crab & Bourbon Chowder you’ll need to book the next flight to Seattle.


Duke’s Clam Chowder

•    4 slices bacon, diced
•    1 medium onion, diced
•    3 stalks celery, diced
•    1/4 lb new potato, blanched and diced
•    4 cups heavy cream
•    1 1/2 cups clams, chopped
•    1/3 cup flour
•    1/2 cup half-and-half
•    3 ounces butter
•    2 ounces clam base
•    1 1/4 cups clam juice
•    1 pinch garlic, chopped
•    1 pinch white pepper
•    1 pinch black pepper
•    1 pinch cayenne, to taste
•    1 teaspoon marjoram
•    2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped
•    1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
•    1/4 teaspoon dill
•    1/2 teaspoon thyme
•    2 bay leaves
•    1/8 cup fresh parsley, chopped

•    Cook bacon until transparent.
•    Add butter, onions, celery and all the seasoning except dill and parsley.
•    Cook until tender. Add flour and cook 3 to 4 minutes over low heat.
•    Add all dairy products, clam nectar and base. Heat just under boiling point.
•    Steam potatoes and cool.
•    Add chopped clams and potatoes. Bring to a boil slowly and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add dill and parsley and serve.

My project this week is a little toiletry bag. I’ve been tweaking a pattern that I made up a few years back for a while now, and am getting closer to a finished product that I really like. The trickiest part about making these types of bags is putting in the zipper. I’ve learned the hard way that to do this successfully you need two things.

1) A zipper foot. If you don’t have one, stop what you’re doing, go to the store and buy one immediately, you will not be sorry!

2) You must read this tutorial! Twelve22 explains sewing in a zipper in a very clear, concise and easy to follow way. Bookmark the link and I bet you’ll come back to it again and again.

Okay, now for the bag… I call it my my Posie Bag, because it’s the perfect place to store a pocketfull of your favorite treasures.

Posie Bag



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! :)