Cabbage & bean slow cooker soup

I made this recipe up as I went along and we had it for dinner tonight.

We both enjoyed it. Soup is definitely more my thing then Dave’s. I love soup and making up new recipes to try.

This recipe made up loads as my slow cooker is quite large and I have plenty of leftovers so I can take some for my lunch tomorrow and to put the rest into the freezer for another day. This is an easy recipe with very little time spent prepping the ingredients. You could reduce the prep time further by using frozen vegetables rather then fresh!

Ingredients

2 x tins sweetcorn, drained

2 x tins new potatoes, drained

1/2 white cabbage, chopped

2 x large leeks, chopped

5 x spring onions, chopped

1 x tin Taco beans

1 x tin mixed beans in spicy tomato sauce

1 x tin cannelloni beans, drained

1 x tin black beans, drained

1 x large white onion, chopped

1 x large red onion, chopped

2 x litres of boiling vegetable stock

Method

1. Put vegetables and stock into slow cooker and set to high for 2.5 hours.

2. Add the beans and cook for a further 30 minutes and it is done. Serves approx. 6 people depending on portion size.

If you have more time put the veggies and the stock on in the morning and leave it on all day so the flavours blend and then add the beans for the last hour.

If you don’t like any of the vegetables in the recipe just change it up for whatever vegetables you have available.

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A bit of a disastrous evening

The lovely Dave has gone to a party tonight so I thought I would pull out all my fat quarters that have sat in my stash forever and use some up. I then found that nothing really went together as I just pick odd ones up here and there that I like. I put them to one side in annoyance and got out my UFOs.

I went through the machine sewn UFO’s and put some bits together as I have a hopefully, cunning plan to make them into a sampler type quilt.

I also had a look at a larger piece I’d sewn that I really dislike. It was made up of leftover florals. I think most of the leftovers are mums as she likes the floral print. It is super busy.

I went onto the charity site and asked for some advise as I don’t want to donate a horrible quilt. I’d managed to work myself almost to tears worrying about it. The lovely members were very kind and said that they thought it was actually quite pretty and that they have a huge variety of quilt patterns donated and that the people receiving them liked a very varied pattern selection and they felt sure somebody would like it.

So, I didn’t bin it or burn it and decided I will make it a bit bigger to meet the size requirements. I have extra sections leftover so I have come up with an idea to make a different pattern and to break up the busyness with some white. Now my sewing mojo has seriously left me and the emotional upheaval I have decided to stop sewing for the evening and watch tv for a while and go back to it another day when I’m in a better mood.

Quilting magazines

I haven’t brought quilting magazines in a while as not many places near me sell a decent selection.

Today however I managed to pick up 4 different ones including 2 that were priced at £9.99p each.

I did balk a bit at the price but wanted to see what I would get for my money. I am going to have a look at all 4 and give my opinion/thoughts on each one.

As quilting is a hobby that is done by people of all ages, skill levels with differing budgets available I thought this may be of interest to anybody thinking of buying a magazine or magazine subscription.

1. How to Patchwork & Quiltcost £9.99p. 162 pages. No free gift.

This one says it contains 80 projects for beginners and beyond. This has some good pages on recommended equipment you will need to start quilting and some hints and tips on fabric grains. Different stitches, different parts of the sewing machine, including feet, and cleaning tips.

I am as I have mentioned before, mainly self taught and have picked up most of my knowledge from YouTube videos and advise from other quilters on Facebook or via messenger. I have had a couple of very beginner lessons from my friends sister which is what got me interested in the first place way back when it all began.

This magazine reads like an all you need to know guide and I must admit I am really impressed so far and I’m only on page 17.

I have always been confused by the grain of fabric and am happy to find a clear picture and list explaining the differences.

It even has a page giving definitions of various quilting terms. It doesn’t list them all as there are many but it covers a good selection.

There are a really impressive number of project ideas in this magazine from small to medium including quilts, bags, soft toys, wall hangings and many more.

There are very few adverts in this magazine which surprised me. I like that. This may be a one off magazine rather then a monthly as it doesn’t seem to have an issue number and there is no mention of a follow up issue.

Negatives

The fabric requirements are in cm and I use inches. This could be because I watch a lot of MSQC tutorials which is an American company. However if this is an issue for you a lot of cutting boards have cm on one side inches on the other to save having to use conversion charts.

There is usually only a single photo of each project and it doesn’t always show the full project which some times makes it tricky to get an idea of the overall pattern especially as there are no in progress photos when instructions are given on how to put things together. New/beginner sewers may find this difficult to follow. I am in two minds on this. Part of me likes the step by step approach with instructions and accompanying pictures, the other part of me really likes the sheer number of different projects you get in this one as each project takes up a small amount of space.

Quite a few of the patterns given say you can download and print a pdf for the pattern (this doesn’t help if you don’t have a printer). There are some templates at the back which is good but some require the sizes to be increased by for example by 30%. This only helps if you have access to a photocopier. There are, of course places you can go and pay a small charge to use a copier, but would you want to spend more money after spending £9.99p on the magazine? Personal choice on this one.

Summary

Really good magazine, great selection of projects (there are a number that I’m going to have a go at), nicely laid out, minimum of advertisements – I think worth the money despite the biggest negative regarding pattern downloads.

2. Classic Patchwork Pack – cost £9.99p. 114 pages. Free Gift – 1000 patchwork templates (papers) and 4 reusable temples (made of card).

The card templates are only quite thin card, I personally like them thicker then this especially as they tend to get used a lot. There is a small and larger triangle, and small and larger hexagon template with papers to at the same size as the two smaller ones.

There are a varied selection of small make projects to use with the free papers and templates. There are a number of bag and purse projects and some other small items.

A number of patterns from the first magazine are repeated in this one.

I have found a pattern to make a rag rug. Ooh I’ve always wanted to have a go at one of these and I need a rug in my sewing room as my foot pedal slides around as there is no carpet down in there. Hmm. Ok moving on. Sorry got sidetracked!

The is a pattern for a small quilt called up in the clouds which has caught my eye although it looks quite difficult. I have had a look at the instructions and this one is definitely more of a challenge. The projects skill levels in this magazine seem to vary from beginner to more experienced.

I have found a pattern for making a Greek key pattern which is quite easy and reminds me of our holiday earlier this year to Crete. Lovely…

A total of 60 projects in this one.

Negatives

Patterns at the back. Most of them have to be increased in size requiring the use of a photocopier.

Good selection of projects but mostly small items so if you want bigger quilts you will need to work out how much extra fabric you will need to make them bigger.

Approx. Half of the patterns in this one are in the first magazine.

Summary

A nice selection of projects, varied skill levels required (some of these are a bit ambitious for a beginner), not many adverts. Although many of the patterns from the first magazine are in this one there are some different ones and some very interesting ones that will give me a bit of a challenge. Obviously for those of you that are very experienced the projects will be no problem at all.

3. Today’s Quilter Issue 52 2019. Cost – £5.99p. 98 pages. Free gift – sew 36 blocks in 4 different sizes (booklet)

The free pattern booklet is very nicely laid out with easy to follow instructions and illustrations.

This magazine has been running for some time and I have brought it previously.

The magazine has both traditional and more modern quilting patterns. There is a list of upcoming quilting exhibitions around the country. There is a small 1 page show and tell section where people can send in pictures of their completed projects made from patterns in the magazine.

This magazine contains some patterns that are very advanced and ones that I dream about one day being able to produce and look at with my mouth agog when I see similar ones at shows. Ooh I have just realised that the one I like is actually an EPP project (English Paper Pieced).

There is a two page spread advising about subscriptions to the magazine. Plus a single one further on plus a loose leaflet inside. Currently they are offering a bundle of 7 different fabrics they call Morris & Co Bloomsbury fabric bundle. It does not state what size each fabric is though. They say it is worth £35 so maybe fat quarters. This offer ends 30th September 2019.

There are a lot more adverts in this one.

The patterns and instructions are well laid out and clearly explained.

There is quite a long article about the history of Madeira (thread).

There is a section on sewing pieced curves.

The templates at the back are mostly full size but the ones that go with the pieced curves again need to be increased using a photocopier.

Summary

Nice selection of patterns but nowhere near as many as in the first and second magazine.

I would say overall that this one is aimed at much more experienced quilters. This may of course differ in other issues. There are a lot of adverts and some very long articles which are interesting if the subject is of interest to you. If you are just looking for project ideas/patterns you’d be better off with one of the others.

4. British Patchwork & Quilting – Issue 307. Cost – £5.99p. 98 pages. Free gift- The craft lovers guide to gifts and accessories (38 projects)

The free gift is quite a big book with 162 pages (more then the magazine). There are a really nice and some unusual projects to have a go at. The skill levels I think would be beginner to intermediate. Each project have a skill level rating with it which would be a nice idea for any beginner sewist who is a bit nervous. Patterns are well written and clear.

The magazine itself I have also brought previously and is a long running magazine that I feel has a good selection of both modern and traditional patterns.

This is a magazine with a news and views section where readers can write in with items of interest.

A lot of adverts again. Article on the National quilt championship. Article on the quilters guild. Quite a lot of articles in this one but they cover a variety of things and are full of pictures. I think that some of them would appeal to anyone with the quilting bug. Adverts for upcoming quilt shows.

Templates in the centre on a pull out section. This one all full-size. Hooray!

A number of patterns with detailed and clear instructions for a varied skill levels. There are reviews for newly released quilting books. They also have a book club where a book is recommended. There is a Exhibitions listing.

A double page advert for subscribing to the magazine. One of the things they state here is that every issue comes with full size templates with no need to download. The current offer gets you 2x Free Lewis & Irene Terrific twenties strip rolls in island girl.

Summary

Great free gift. Jam packed with articles. Some very nice, clear projects covering all skill levels. A long running magazine (if it weren’t popular it wouldn’t have stayed around this long).

Overall review of all 4

How to Patchwork and Quilt.

I love the sheer number of projects you get in How to Patchwork and Quilt. The need to download and increase size of some of the patterns is my main bugbear with this one. Overall I still feel it’s well worth the cost and has plenty of projects I want to have a go at. The large number of smaller projects appeals as I sometimes like to do some quick projects rather then huge big quilts all the time. It’s nice to finish things.

Classic patchwork pack

Good free gift and some nice patterns in the magazine to go with them. Number of projects again really appeals, mostly small projects. Patterns again a bugbear but still a good buy considering the selection of patterns. Some patterns I’m going to be working on in the future. If made to choose between this one or the one above I think the one above would win out, just. Saying that well worth the money and a great magazine.

Today’s quilter

Great free gift, really nice patterns. Articles didn’t really appeal to me. Pattern bugbear. Crossed the balance of more ads then projects which is a shame as the projects are very nice and quite unusual.

British Patchwork & Quilting

Great free gift. Articles much more varied and of interest then the magazine above. A fair number of adverts but of a more varied theme so it keeps it interesting. The big plus of having full size patterns. Given a choice I would definitely buy this one over Today’s Quilter as I feel it is a much more interesting magazine.

Until next time

We’ll that’s it for me on this!

I hope this is of interest and gives an idea of pro’s and cons. Please bear in mind that this is just my opinion and your likes and dislikes in a quilting magazine may differ to mine.

I am off to do some rummaging in my stash of fat quarters as I am on a mission to use a lot of the fabrics I have that have been laying around for some time and get a load of stuff finished. I am hoping to make a number of smaller quilts to donate to a couple of charities I have been wanting to help for a while. Watch this space for further updates.

To my fellow quilters “may your quilting always take you to your happy place where stress, depression and problems are left behind for a while”.

Chicken and butter bean casserole

I asked Dave to buy me a slow cooker a few years ago and I honestly wouldn’t be without it. It is a modern electric slow cooker and just sits on the worktop. One real advantage over the older ones that go on the hob is that you lose very little liquid even when it’s been on all day. The main advantage to me is that I can put in on in the morning and go out for the day and not worry about the food drying out. It is also a dream to clean after use.

I have made some amazing meals in my slow cooker over the years and this is the latest one which is super scrummy so I wanted to share it with you. I will be sharing some other recipes for the slow cooker I have tried and tested and recommend.

Ingredients

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 pack of lean bacon (cooked and chopped up)

2 leeks, chopped

2 level tbsp plain flour

1 litre boiling chicken stock (I used 6 stock cubes)

Some lemon juice

2 tbsp chopped tarragon

400g tin of butter beans

Method

Add all ingredients to slow cooker except the butter beans and put slow cooker on high for at least 4 hours. After this time add butter beans into the slow cooker and cook for another half an hour.

After being cooked in the slow cooker for several hours the chicken is perfectly cooked, moist and just falls apart. It has also absorbed all the flavours from the other ingredients.

This is a super easy recipe and really tasty. We both really enjoyed it and are definitely having it again. We even had some left over to put in the freezer for another day.

I served ours with mash potato and extra vegetables. If you have better portion control then me you could easily serve 4 people with this recipe.

Breakfast hash

This is a really tasty breakfast and we sometimes have this at the weekends when we fancy something a bit more substantial then fruit and cereal.

Ingredients

Tinned potatoes

Jar of pepperdew peppers

Garlic

Onion

Method

Spray a frying pan with 1cal oil and add the potatoes, garlic, and onions and cook stirring regularly.

Drain the pepperdew peppers and add them to the pan.

Once the onions are cooked through serve and eat.

We sometimes add spinach or/and bacon to this dish. If we don’t have any pepperdew peppers we sometimes use small cherry tomatoes instead. We then serve it up with a couple of fried eggs. Super tasty, easy and quick to make. I have also sometimes added a spice to the potatoes to make it more peppy.

Watermelon refresh

If you want something simple, refreshing and tasty then this is a great choice.

Ingredients

Blueberries

Fresh mint leaves

Watermelon

Lemon juice

Method

Chop up some watermelon and put in a bowl along with some blueberries, fresh mint leaves and 2 x tablespoons of lemon juice. Mix together. Eat and enjoy.

Potato tray bake – simple meal

I have been making tray bakes for some time and they are simple and really tasty.

Ingredients

1cal spray oil

Potatoes (tinned new potatoes or fresh cut into halves or quarters and part boiled or cooked) – peel if you want to I normally don’t bother but it’s down to personal preference.

Bell peppers

Red and white Onion

Tandoori curry powder, Moroccan spice or smoked paprika

Method

Spray a deep oven dish/tray with 1cal olive oil.

Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees.

Par boil the potatoes in a saucepan for about 15 minutes (with the tinned ones you don’t need to do this). De-seed and chop the peppers, cut the onions into wedges and scatter both into the tray. Add the par boiled potatoes.

Select a favourite spice. We particularly like the tandoori curry spice, Moroccan, smoked paprika or even the JD spice for potatoes. Sprinkle the selected spice over the potatoes. Give the potato, spice, onion and pepper mix a quick spray with the 1cal and then put it in the oven for 30 minutes.

Take it out of the oven and serve it with whatever you like. We usually have it served with additional vegetables and some form of meat.

This is an easy way of making potatoes more interesting.

Why not give it a go?