Archive | August, 2012

Thirsty Thursdays — Original Bushwacker

16 Aug



Rumor has it that this tasty libation originated just across the state line on beautiful Pensacola Beach.  I never realized it was such a local sensation until I tried to order one on a cruise ship and the bartender had no idea what went into a bushwackers (definitely nothing banana flavored!!!).  While I have never had one from the original Sandshaker on Pensacola Beach, I do enjoy whipping up a batch in my own blender.  Add this recipe to your repertoire and your friends will thank you ūüôā

Frozen Bushwackers

Serves 2 adults who are not driving

5 oz cream of coconut (like Coco Lopez), NOT coconut milk
2 oz coffee liqueur (like Kahlua)
2 oz light rum
2 oz creme de cacao
4 scoops vanilla ice cream
2 cups ice cubes
2 shots 151 proof rum, optional
maraschino cherries, for garnish (or whipped cream and an umbrella if you are like me)

In a blender combine the cream of coconut, coffee liqueur, light rum, creme de cacao, ice cream and ice. Blend until smooth. Pour into two large glasses and garnish with a cherry, and if you are feeling, brave top each glass with a shot of 151.

Adapted from Bo’s Bowl.

Fish Tacos

13 Aug


Is all this talk about sewing making anybody out there hungry? ¬†Well, I’ve got the perfect fix for that — these delicious tacos stuffed with honey and cumin glazed crispy fried fish and spicy chipotle slaw. ¬†Mr. Homemaker and I enjoy making these tacos together when we have a little extra time to spend together in the kitchen, usually on a weekend afternoon. ¬†With a little preplanning you could definitely turn this into a weeknight meal as well though. ¬†We discovered these tasty treats a few years ago and have shared the addiction with many of our friends and family since then.

While the recipe calls for tilapia, you can substitute any mild white fish you have on hand. ¬†For this batch, we used some red snapper from our deep freeze that was caught by yours truly last summer. ¬†We have also made them with the day’s fresh catch of bass and bream from the family pond. ¬†Either way they are delicious.



One word of caution, the original recipe, linked here, calls for way more chipotles in adobo than we think is necessary (and we aren’t wimps about spice). ¬†I have modified the recipe I am presenting here but if you are sensitive to heat, please start with 1/2 or 1/3 the amount of chipotle paste and increase it to taste. ¬†It is some pretty spicy stuff!

So gather round your favorite peeps, whip up a batch of refreshing drinks (maybe some of these), and have a fish taco fiesta soon!



Fish Tacos

Serves 4

  • 1 pound tilapia fillets, cut into chunks
  • 1/2¬† plus 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon pureed chipotle pepper with sauce*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne¬†pepper
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups panko crumbs
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 cups 3 color coleslaw blend
  • 1 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
  • 8 (7 inch) flour tortillas, warmed

*I take a whole jar of chipotles in adobo sauce and puree it in the food processor.  I then transfer the puree to a resealable container and keep it in the fridge to use as needed.


  1. Place the tilapia chunks in a flat dish and pour 1/2 cup lime juice over the fish. Cover, and refrigerate at least 4 hours.  (We have marinated for as little as 30 minutes with good results.)
  2. Meanwhile, make the honey-cumin sauce by whisking together 1/3 cup lime juice, honey, vegetable oil, and ground cumin a small bowl. Set aside until needed.
  3. To make the chipotle mayonnaise dressing, whisk together the mayonnaise, pureed chipotle sauce, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cayenne pepper. Cover, and refrigerate until needed.
  4. To bread the fish, place the flour, eggs, and panko crumbs in three separate shallow dishes. Season the fish with salt and pepper to taste. Dip the fish pieces first in the four, coating evenly, and shaking off any excess. Dip next in the eggs, and last in the panko crumbs, patting the pieces to help the breadcrumbs hold. Set the fish aside on a plate.
  5. To cook the breaded fish, pour 1 cup vegetable oil into a skillet to 1/4 inch deep. Heat the oil to 365 degrees F (185 degrees C) over medium heat. Cook the fish, turning until all sides are golden brown, and flesh is easily flaked with a fork. Drain on paper towels. Brush the fish with the honey-cumin sauce.
  6. Mix the coleslaw and cilantro together in a bowl. Reserve 1/4 cup of the chipotle mayonnaise dressing, and pour the remaining dressing over the coleslaw mixture. Toss to coat evenly with the dressing.
  7. Place the tortillas on a flat surface, and spread each with a little bit of reserved chipotle mayonnaise dressing. Divide the fish between the tortillas. Top with the cilantro coleslaw.

Sewaholic Cambie — As a Blouse

11 Aug

Me at Nanette Lepore showroom, standing in front of the upcoming season. Of course I’m blocking the whole section of NL clothes that match the shirt I’m wearing.

This is my second attempt at Sewaholic Cambie.

My first attempt is the complete dress pattern with the gathered skirt and it is lacking only the lining to be finished. ¬†The problem? ¬†I’m not loving the fabric now that it’s all sewn up. ¬†The fit is perfect and it is my first time to do a real full bust adjustment on a flat pattern but I just can’t see myself ever wearing the dress so it is sitting in the UFO pile. ¬†But that didn’t stop me from moving forward with my great-fitting post-FBA bodice pattern and turning out a second version. ¬†I decided I wanted a cute peplum¬†blouse when I found this green Swiss dot fabric at Hancock and I am so pleased with the results. ¬†I lined it in a soft, light aqua cotton that I picked up for a steal at a local fabric salvage store. ¬†The pattern is well drafted and goes together smoothly. ¬†I only have a few issues/suggestions/comments, so I will list those here:

1. ¬†The sweetheart neckline doesn’t hug the body very well. ¬†I understitched the lining to the seam allowance and this helped a little but on my next version (currently in the works), I am going to ease in a slightly shorter piece of twill tape to the seam allowance to get the neckline to hug my body better.

2.  Along the same lines, the instructions tell you to trim the seam allowances of the neckline before you insert the sleeves.  This makes it a little trickier to know exactly how far to pull the sleeves through before sewing.  Next time I will just wait to trim everything after I have pulled the sleeves through and sewn them in place.

Please pardon the I-just-pulled-it-out-of-the-dirty-laundry-to-take-photos wrinkles ūüôā

3. ¬†For my FBA, I used the Palmer/Plescht¬†method and created a new dart in the side seam. ¬†I chose my starting size based on some crazy theory that I came up with — basically I calculate what my bust measurement would be if I was a B-cup based on my band measurement. ¬†So if my under bust measurement is 28.5″ and US bra sizing adds 4″ for the band size then a B cup is 2″ above the band size, my theoretical bust measurement would be 34.5″ which corresponds exactly to the pattern size 8. ¬†I do these crazy measurements because my high bust measurement never seems to correspond well for me and the fit is always off if I go by that method. ¬†Maybe most people don’t have that problem and you can ignore my psycho idea but it works for me ūüôā

So I started with a pattern size 8 and made the slashes up and across according to the Fit for Real People book. ¬†Since the pattern doesn’t have a side seam dart, I created one for better shaping. ¬†According to my DD cup size (I can’t believe I just said that!), I needed to add 1″ between the vertical lines of the slash I made, opening up the waistline dart wider. ¬† I trued up the length of the bottom of the bodice piece, made sure my bust point was still accurate, drew in my dart legs (kept the waist dart curved with my French curve ruler), and I was done. ¬†I have to say, this is the best fitting bodice I have ever sewn! ¬†Yay!!!

4. ¬†Since I modified the dress in to a blouse and swapped out the two pattern skirt options for a peplum, I had to draft this myself. ¬†No worries, though, because drafting a small full-circle peplum is pretty simple. ¬†Just google “drafting a full circle skirt” and you will find plenty of great tutorials on how to do it.

5.  I moved the zipper from the center back to the left side seam.  

Tasia gives great instructions on her blog about how to sew the lining to the invisible zipper. ¬†I will be using this technique from now on. ¬†It is so professional and clean and I didn’t even need to sew in a hook at the top of the zip!

All in all, this is a stellar pattern and you should start working on your Cambie dress (or blouse) ASAP. ¬†Stay tuned because I have another version coming up that is a good deal fancier than the one you see here… ūüôā

NYC #2 — The Fabric!!!

10 Aug

Okay, I won’t make you wait any longer. ¬†Here’s my haul from the recent trip to NYC. ¬†I will let the pictures do the talking… mostly ūüėČ

This is a red and ecru dot silk charmeuse I picked up from a men’s fabric store. ¬†May become a blouse…


This is a silk border print that I got 3 yards of.  Definitely seeing a dress in its future.


On the left a silky soft cotton floral print (3 yards) and on the right an equally soft and shiny royal blue cotton sateen (2 yards).


On the left a free remnant of some abstract print.  On the right a gorgeous silk woven with a little stretch and some texture (3 yards).


This is one of my favorite finds — a silk Shantung or dupioni with grey and black large-scale paisley print and bright navy blue sequin embellishments. ¬†Perhaps a dress and/or blouse if I can squeeze it out of the three yards I bought.


On the left a Missoni sweater knit remnant I got for $40 (about 2.5 yards), and on the right 1.5 yards of cashmere and linen blend for a sweater with an exposed hot pink zipper up the back (zipper coming up soon).


Both knits, on the left a more stable piece with chocolate brown, aqua, tan, and white; on the right, a jersey with olive green, aqua, brown, and white.  Knit top from the piece on the left and maybe a DVF-style wrap dress from the piece on the right.  3 yards of each.


On the left, one yard of a gorgeous black woven fabric with texture and sheen, destined to become a LBD or pencil skirt for dressier occasions.  On the right, 4 yards of a wide navy and white stripe knit for a maxi skirt.


On the left, tan dot silk jersey with plans to become a tie neck blouse. ¬†On the right, a fine rib knit in soft green with aqua, burgundy, and olive green — one of my favorites. ¬†Three yards each.


On the left, a ponte knit stripe with plans to become an easy to wear dress.  On the right, a beautiful, light silk chiffon.  2.5 yards of the left, 2 yards of the right.


On the left, a silk voile with no specific plans yet.  On the right, a pretty silk twill with dress plans.  Three yards each.


Another favorite — 3 yards of wool knit hoping to be made up into a cowl neck sweater or sweater dress.


My two leather hides — one in mint and one in chocolate. ¬†Both of these were on the sale rack and cost $25 each. ¬†I came out pretty good compared to the ladies who were buying enough hides to make jackets and skirts. ¬†I don’t have the guts for something like that yet! ¬†We’ll see if these little delicious-smelling babies can whip up into a cute clutch purse or a case for my iPad.


And last but not least, my aforementioned hot pink zipper and a cute jade colored belt buckle. ¬†I have no idea when or how I will ever use the latter, but I really like it and it came from Mood! ¬†ūüôā

So that’s a grand total of 53.5 yards of fabric, two hides of leather, one zipper, one belt buckle, and one roll of tracing paper (not pictured). ¬†How much did I spend? ¬†Come on, ladies — my husband reads this blog, too! ¬†ūüôā

I had a blast visiting NYC and scouring the city for the best fabric I could find. ¬†I know it will be years (if ever) before I sew all this up, but I can’t wait to go back again and discover more treasures. ¬†I would also love to spend more time seeing more of the sites that the city has to offer. ¬†Have you ever been to NYC? ¬†I’d love to hear about your favorite Big Apple experience!















Fun in the Big Apple

9 Aug


I have so much to tell you all about, I am having a hard time deciding what to post first. ¬†But this definitely has to be it — I recently returned from a fabric-buying trip to NYC. ¬†That’s right, a trip to New York City for the sole purpose of acquiring fabric for me to sew up into whatever my heart desires (or just lust after as it sits in my stash ūüėČ ).

Like the shirt I’m wearing? Stay tuned for more details and a review of the pattern!

I went with a friend and fellow sewing enthusiast and we had the best time. ¬†We joined up with a bunch of other fabric junkies as part of Peggy Sagers’ NYC garment district tour/buying trip. ¬†Although I have never sewn any of Peggy’s Silhouette patterns, I have watched some of her free, informative webcasts¬†and sat in on one of her sessions at a sewing expo in Atlanta back in March.



She took us to several wholesale fabric distributors who typically don’t sell to the public so we had access to awesome selections at great prices.

We also got to go to the popular spots like Mood and Pacific Trims (where they have walls of nothing but zippers!).

The most unusual stop was a leather store where they sold hides of everything from pigs to stingrays.  I picked up two small pieces off the clearance rack to try out for a small clutch or sleeve for my iPad.

The highlight of the trip for me was getting to tour the Nanette Lepore studio and main office.  During conversation over dinner, Peggy mentioned that one of the stops on our tour was next door to the Nanette Lepore offices and that on some priors tours they had visited the NL studios.  When I told her that NL was one of my favorite designers of all time, she arranged for me to have a private tour!  I was thrilled and loved seeing where some of my favorite fashions are designed.

I love the fact that most Nanette Lepore clothes are actually made in the USA, right in NYC. ¬†When my tour was done, Nanette’s assistant took me to the warehouse and let me shop the racks from the sample sale that had occurred the day before — then gave me an extra 20% off! ¬†Talk about icing on the cake!! ¬†I brought home a blouse, skirt, and dress to add to my collection.

We spent one day with friends of my sewing buddy and they took us to a cute little town in Pennsylvania for lunch.  The best part?  All the tables in the restaurant used old sewing machine bases for the legs!




I am so glad I had the opportunity to take this trip (my first time in NYC, at that). ¬†I can’t wait to start sewing up all my delicious fabrics! ¬†More pics of the fabric to come. ¬†Keep watching my Flickr for a sneak peek. ¬†You will also see photos of an upcoming recipe that you will absolutely love ūüôā

Have a great weekend!