Favorite Things: Fall 2010

Summer has passed me by – I’ve been thinking about my favorite things as of late for the past three months, and am finally getting around to writing about them. So, fall favorites they must be.

Pulled Pork – It’s one of my favorite things of all time to eat, and especially good over the summer and fall. Smoky, tender pork swimming in a tangy, slightly sweet tomato barbecue sauce, nestled into a soft roll. Want one, don’t you? I have the belief (as all home made barbecue sauce makers do) that I make the best barbecue sauce ever. Try it for yourself and you’ll be converted. And in the name of DIY, crockpot pulled pork is the best thing ever. I fully acknowledge that it doesn’t hold a candle to slow wood-smoked pork (and what can, really?) but for the home cook, it can’t be beat. A nice piece of pork shoulder can be slow cooked all day while you do other things, and with home made barbecue sauce you’ve got a pretty decent sandwich.

Plush Dolls – There are all kinds of ‘ugly dolls’ in the mass and craft market today, and they’re easy and fun to sew. In addition to ‘ugly doll’ monsters, there are animals, anthropomorphic fruits and veggies, etc. They are all cute, easy to sew and fun. I tried making my first one after picking up an issue of Stuffed – a magazine devoted to sewing them, and now I’m hooked.

Fabric Remnants – Cute, fun fabrics can be expensive – sometimes upward of $12.00 per yard. Most of the projects I like to do actually only call for a yard of fabric or less – throw pillows, half aprons, potholders and plush dolls, so I rarely buy fabric off the bolt anymore. Instead, I troll the remnant bins. Most fabric stores sell leftover pieces of fabric for super cheap – at Hancock/Joann you can get most remnants for just $1.00 and they’re usually ¾ – 1 yard in size. I’ve gotten some great fabrics out of the remnant bin – red faux velvet (it’s like a cross between velvet and fleece), pink/light yellow stripes, a vintagey pink roses on cream, dark green dots on green, multicolored flowers on brown, orange/blue trees and birds on white, vintagey strawberries with vines on cream and many more. And don’t forget, you can create your own remnants for free – I save jeans that have worn out and shirts that no longer fit or get stained to cut fabric for projects as well. Oh, and if you’re wondering how to put all of your collected remnants to use (mine fill up an entire trunk!) my favorite sewing book is One Yard Wonders. And I hear they’re coming out with a sequel later this fall!

Podcasts – Yeah I know, podcasts have been around for a good long while now but like most technology-oriented things, I am late in becoming acquainted with it. I first started listening to food and craft podcasts while at work for something a little different than listening to music while working on spreadsheets. It’s nice to hear something that keeps me mentally engaged while working on mind-numbing repetitive tasks. Some of my favorite ones to listen to are Le Cordon Bleu Chicago’s This Week in Food on the Culinary Podcast Network, Working Class Foodies, and Crafty Pod.