Wednesday, March 24, 2010

WIP Wednesday and CrockPot Wednesday

I have a lot of crafty irons in the fire right now, with more to come later in the month. I was pretty excited to hear that Jaybird Quilts is almost as nutty as I am, when it comes to tracking her quilts. She keeps a spreadsheet of when she starts/finishes quilts. I'll take it a step further and admit that I keep a spreadsheet of when I start and finish quilts, with an additional column for when I'd like to finish the quilt, a self-imposed deadline, if you will. Sometimes I meet my deadlines, but oftentimes, I end up pushing them back for a month or two.

Right now, I'm working on my March Schnibbles top, as well as a 9-patch quilt top made from some Verna prints (both due at the end of the month). I've been busily slicing up and marking fabric when I've had a chance to watch TV. Now the stacks of fabric are patiently waiting at the back of my table for me to finish up the Verna top.

The Friday Night Sew-In allowed me to make some serious headway on the Verna project, but I still have to finish up sashing and borders. I haven't touched my March Schnibbles since last week. Oops. Maybe it will go together quickly.

For those of you who came for the crockpot recipes, start paying attention here. Debbie left a comment about Crockpot Wednesday one day last week, so I figured I would write up a few of my staples that I make in the crockpot - Vegetable Broth and Marinara Sauce.

First up = Vegetable Broth
Why I Make It Myself:
1) It's a lot harder to find around here than chicken and beef broth, and
2) When I do find it, it's crazy-expensive, compared to the other types of broth.
3) The crockpot makes it super-easy.
4) I make 2 batches (4 quarts) of it in one weekend so I can use up all the mushrooms and get them OUT of my fridge ASAP, and we're usually set for the next month.

Yield: 2 quarts

The Ingredients:
1-2 T olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic (depending on how much you like garlic)
1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
1 medium potato, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/3 c mushrooms (It doesn't matter what kind. I'd like to note this is the ONLY reason we buy mushrooms)
2 T soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
2 bay leaves
2.25 quarts (9 cups) of water

Throw all this stuff in the crockpot, turn it on low and leave it alone for 6-10 hours. Use a slotted spoon to pull out all the vegetables, then package and freeze/refrigerate. I usually make it overnight and fill up quart-sized containers to freeze once it cools off.

Marinara Sauce (adapted from Giada's recipe)
Reasons I Love Making It Myself:
1) It's easy.
2) I get to use my immersion blender.
3) It comes out to about $1/jar, compared to $2.25/jar when Classico goes on sale at the local stores.
4) I usually make it the same weekend I do the vegetable broth, so most of my staple cooking is done for the month.

Yield: 3 (28 oz) jars

1/4 c olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
56 oz crushed tomatoes (either 4 14.5 oz cans or 2 28oz cans, whichever happens to be cheaper for me)
1/2 c or so of red wine
salt and pepper to taste
your favorite herbs - I use: basil, thyme, oregano, and parsley
a pinch of red pepper flakes
1 T sugar

Throw all this in the crockpot and stir it around. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Puree as needed, unless you like chunky marinara sauce. Store in fridge or freezer, as needed. I usually keep the jars tucked in the back of my fridge.


  1. I like making my own marinara for many of the same reasons you do. YUM. Mister Linky is up for this week's Crock Pot Wednesday. I figured with the busy week and weekend, that we should get an early start. I hope you will come on over and join me. There's a giveaway going on.

  2. Yummy! Going to give it a try this weekend. Thanks!