Welcome to American Homestead. I'm happy you have found my blog. Make yourself comfy and see what's been happening around here. I write about the things that interest me ~ creativity, travel, food, nature and a happy life. I'd love to read your comments.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Elle's Kitchen: Pernil

Today is my brother's birthday so in honor of his special
day I thought I would blog about a meal he made the last 
time he visited my house.  My brother lives 750 miles 
away from me but we are very close and talk all the time
about food and travel and sometimes about the crazy life
of being in show business or being an artist.  This meal was
made back in November when he was here for Thanksgiving
week.  I took pictures for the blog and then never got a chance
to write about it.  Thanksgiving week was nuts with a house
filled with people and dogs, then we had the hell week after
when Murphy's Law struck in a week that was already 
jammed with catch-up things to do, then it was off to Mexico
for a few weeks with a new computer that did not have the 
photos of the pernil, then home for Christmas and New Years
and kids home from school and then working on a few books,
designing, filling orders and just a crazy life in general.   I'm not 
sure when he got the idea in his head to make this recipe.  I'm 
pretty sure it started with running down the block between
performances on matinee days (my brother works on
Broadway) to the Puerto Rican lady that sells the great food
or from the day his neighbor Sadie was making Pernil for a 
family party when her stove caught on fire and she thought
she would have to cancel the party but he said no bring it
over and cook it in my stove.   So, now it is time for the recipe!

Buy a pork shoulder roast, he says bone-in is best for 
flavor.  Of course, in typical my brother fashion, one
roast was not enough! Put the roast in a roasting pan
and stab it all over on both sides.  I mean really take 
out all your aggressions here and stab deeply because
you want to get the flavor inside the roast.

Get some Adobo and oregano and peel and slice 
lots of garlic.

Sprinkle the roast with the oregano and some Adobo, don't 
go too heavy on the Adobo because it is salty.  Now rub it in
with your fingers and push the spices into the holes from
the knife.  Do this to both sides.

Next take all those garlic slices and push them into the
holes, get them in a deeply as possible to get the flavor
all through the meat.

Drizzle with olive oil and rub it gently, you don't want
to rub off the spices.

Cover & cook at 400F degrees for one hour then reduce heat
to 300F and cook an additional nine hours.  Your house
will smell like a garlic factory.  Place a pan beneath your
roasting pan because it may overflow with juices.

Remove the bones from the roast.

Take the roast from the pan and transfer to a 
sheet pan and shred or pull apart the meat.

Make and avocado sauce by placing an avocado with an
equal amount of crumbled feta cheese, a few shakes of
hot sauce, a handful of fresh cilantro, some parsley if you
have it, fresh lime juice and a shake or two of Adobo. 
Puree and then add a little milk just to make it creamy.
If you have a container like a hot dog or ketchup squeeze
bottle, that works perfectly but I warn you, you may be
 tempted to squirt this delicious sauce directly down your 

Serve with Spanish rice

and black beans.

This was an absolutely delicious meal and if you
have any leftover meat, make Cuban sandwiches 
the next day.

Happy Birthday Midi!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Snowstorm Stitchin'

I'm hanging out in front of the fire, enjoying Mexican
hot chocolate and stitching some beautiful wools today.
Don't you just love the colors?  

I'm watching Midsomer Murders on Netflix and checking
the Weather Channel and CNN occasionally to keep track 
of Winter Storm Juno.  

I hope all my friends and family back east get to stay
home and keep warm through this huge storm.  If you
are a quilter, stitcher or knitter, then be happy to have
some time to be creative and get to work and stay off 
the roads...

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Here It Comes!

The snow storm that is going to wallop the east
coast of the United States has already begun in 
my neck of the woods.  We are only supposed to
get a few inches but I just heard on CNN that New
York City may see the worst storm in its history!

So, to all my friends and family back home ~ make
sure you have batteries for the flashlights, bring in
some firewood and stock up on the essentials.  Most 
of all, stay safe and warm and enjoy the beauty of 
the snow.

Part of me wishes I was going to be hanging out 
on 50th Street ~ watching the snow pile up with
a pile of stitchery projects and watching British
mysteries on Netflix while the snow piled up 
outside.  I still get excited by a big storm.

Stay warm, stay safe, be happy!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Elle's Kitchen: Wild Rice, Kale and Pomegranate Salad

A friend posted this salad on Facebook recently and
I knew I had to try it.  The recipe was from Pinterest
and I'm always a bit apprehensive about finding recipes
there since I have had so many Pinterest fails.  BUT, 
I'm happy to report this was a Pinterest Score ~ it was 
delicious!  Even in my dreams last night, I was
 commenting that the salad made me feel so good.

Ingredients for the salad:

2 1/2 cups cooked wild rice, cooled
2 1/2 cups baby kale, chopped (make sure it is baby kale)
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup glazed walnuts
1/2 cup crumbled feta

Ingredients for dressing:

1/2 cup onion, minced
2 tabl. olive oil
2 tabl. water
2 tabl. honey
1/2 tabl. apple cider vinegar
1/2 teas. salt
a wedge of fresh orange, squeezed

Please note:  it takes 45 minutes to an hour to cook
the wild rice so do this first and then prep the rest of
the ingredients while it cooks.  Allow time for it to cool.
Chill salad ingredients in the refrigerator so they are cool.

To make the dressing, saute the onion in a bit of  olive oil
just until it softens and is translucent.  This will soften the
taste of the onion. 
If you have an attachment like the one shown above 
with your immersion blender, use that, it works great.
If not, use a food processor.
Place the cooked onions in a food processor, add the other
dressing ingredients and pulse until smooth and creamy.

Combine the salad ingredients and toss,  add dressing
and toss again.

We had this as our entree and loved it!  We felt
full but not stuffed after eating it and there were
so many flavors in each bite that you did not get
bored with it.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Wool Applique Giveaway

Hey everybody, just a reminder that I am doing a
giveaway on the Wool Applique site on Facebook.

To be accepted into the group you must be someone
interested in our passion for wool applique.
Once you are at the site, comment under the photo
for the giveaway.

The giveaway is a baker's dozen of my ornament/
pincushion patterns plus a few rolls of wool felt
and felted wool.

Good luck everyone!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Magazine Mention

I recently heard from the magazine, FabShop News.
They said they had mentioned my business,
 American Homestead in their magazine.

They sent me a copy of the magazine and I was 
happy to see American Homestead was included 
in an article about Wool Applique.  I'm so happy 
to see wool applique continues to gain in popularity.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Snow Day!

We had a little snow last night.

I still get excited when snow is forecasted.  I prefer
the beauty of snow to the gray and cold of most Winter
days.  I still feel the excitement of a snowstorm, I guess
that is because I grew up in the snowy Northeast and a
 good snow meant a day off from school.  When I was in 
grammar school all the Moms would be sticking their 
heads out the front door at 7 am to hear if the town 
emergency whistle  was going to sound.  If it did, it 
meant kids were out of school and they better get the 
snowsuits and boots ready and hot chocolate for  later.  I 
can remember staying outside for hours playing in the
snow until my Mom insisted I come in for some hot
soup.  Snow days were so magical because it was like
a free pass to fun.  We were supposed to be in school
working hard but instead we were outside playing with 
our friends.  It was the closest a good kid got to playing

I still feel the magic.  Last night we all decided to go to
the local casino late at night after the snow had started.
Kate was working until 10 and we picked her up and 
went to what we call the adult video arcade.  It was
Brennan's first time at a casino since he just turned 21
this year.  None of us are gamblers (thankfully), we 
know we are not going to get rich by putting a few bills 
in the penny slots.  But it was fun to be out on a snowy
night doing something out of the ordinary.  I guess the 
snow was good luck because most of us left with more
than we spent.

Today dawned clear and sunny, the snow looks
glorious!  I probably enjoy it more than anyone
in the family because I work from home and no
longer shovel.  But getting the thrill of feeling like
a kid again ~ priceless!

Sunday, January 4, 2015


It was another cold and gray Winter Sunday so
to make things a bit brighter I wanted to do a 
little woolgathering.  I headed to my favorite
thrift store for my treasure hunting.  I have
decided to change the name of my "to go" thrift
shop from Goodwill to Goodwool...

...because for under $15 I got this PILE of
wool that I can cut apart, felt and make into
new creations.

I haven't been woolgathering in months
since the last time I had a box filled with
wool clothing to be felted.

After my Mom's death in September I felt I 
needed a project to get my mind off my grief
and give me plenty to do once I dove into the
project.  My studio needed to be revamped.  So, 
I started by emptying bins and long forgotten 
boxes onto the floor in the middle of the studio
 and I sorted through EVERYTHING,

I had this three piece office desk in our family
room.  Years ago we bought it thinking the desktop
computer would sit in the corner section and each kid
would have a desk on the side where they could do 
their homework and share the computer so they 
could work together to cure all disease and bring about
World Peace.  Of course the kids rarely sat there to do
their homework,  they soon had laptops and worked in 
their rooms.  Mr. Wonderful and I worked at it for 
years but we ended up with laptops and tablets and
phones and realized we'd never have a desktop computer
again.  So, I decided to bring it into my studio to use as
a sewing and storage table.

Craft and wool storage is in this cabinet.

My stitching table and computer desk with wool
felt storage in the corner.

Large cutting/work table, fabric storage,
drawing desk and button shelf in this corner.

There is another corner with more storage 
but that still needs some sorting and organization.

Mia the Wonder Dog hangs out with me all the 
time. I'm looking forward to getting to all the
projects I have sketched out and have floating
around in my mind.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Luminaria Hike

We spent our first evening of 2015 going on
a Luminaria Hike at our local State Park.

We met at the Visitor's Center and said hello to 
all the critters.  I love how this guy has his arm
propped up on the side - just chillin'.

This is a soft shelled turtle, I had never seen one

Tomorrow they have a program where you 
can come to feed the critters ~ Kate wants
us to go.

Then it was time to head out into the cold
to take a walk to a Prehistoric Indian Mound
with a costumed interpreter.  The trail was lined
with luminaria and we were taken back to 1897
when the pioneer family lived on this land.

Afterwards we went back to the Pioneer home.

Volunteers have been hard at work on
the house.

There are many period pieces that have been
donated to furnish the house.

This was the boy's room, I love to see the
old quilts.

A great start to the new year!

Happy New Year everyone!