Fresh and Yummy

May 3, 2010

I recently bought a sewing book that had some beautiful bag patterns in it, and one especially caught my eye. I got it home and was flipping through, before I realized that the bag in the picture was just that, a picture. No where in the book was the pattern to be found.


The bag looked super easy to make, so I took the book back to the store, and went home to try and do my best to replicate it. I cut two pieces of fabric (lining and main fabric) 36″x19″. With right sides together, I sewed around the entire piece, leaving a 3″ opening in the middle of one long side. Once the piece has been turned right side out, fold the bag in half, and again with right sides together, sew up both sides, and then box the corners for a fun look to the bag.

The handles were a totally new experience to me. I left enough room at the top of the bag to open it up wide, and to use about 1.5″ to account for hand sewing each handle. I am a huge fan of hand sewing, it is just as meditative as knitting or crocheting, and it feels really gratifying to sew something slowly and with no help by a machine.

Folding the top of both the front and back of the bag over by 1/5″, I used a blind hem to sew the handles to the bag.

I have no idea if I came even remotely close to the original bag that I saw, but this was a fun project to make, and perfect for Spring knitting projects to be hauled around in.


We have been having some crazy weather here lately, with a mixture of snow and sunshine, rain and flip flops.

My husband, kids and I spent all of Saturday afternoon working in the garden and around the yard, and with the weather as cold as it was, I thought that a little comfort food might be in order. Spring is always a hard time for me to feel great about making warm, hearty meals, because I so desire fresh veggies and crisp tastes after such a long winter.

Risotto is a true favorite of mine, but something that I rarely make after winter departs. My mom and I recently shared a very rare girls lunch in Boulder, and I had the most amazing asparagus and Havarti cheese risotto of my life. I thought that I would give it a try at home, and see if I could match the tastes. While the restaurant still wins out over the home cooked version, it was delicious and a great way to end a chilly weekend


Asparagus, Peas and Havarti Dill Risotto

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 leek, white and light green parts
1/2 yellow onion
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
3/4 cup dry white wine
4 to 5 cups simmering vegetable or chicken stock
1 pound thin asparagus
10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted, or 1 1/2 cups shelled fresh peas
The zest of one lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, preferably Italian
Parmesan cheese for the top
Minced fresh chives to serve on top

Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium sauce pan. Cook the onions and leeks until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the arborio rice just to coat, then add the white wine and stir constantly until almost all of the liquid is absorbed. Add the stock, and stir constantly until the rice in tender (at least 25 minutes)

Cut the Asparagus diagonally into 1″-2″ pieces. Blanch the asparagus while the risotto is first cooking, and then add it to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Once the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, add your peas and blanched asparagus (cook until the rice is tender). Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Once the risotto is done, turn the heat off and add the mascarpone, Havarti, lemon zest and lemon juice and stir until combined and melted. Serve in deep bowls and top with cut chives and a few slices of parmesean cheese.


Hearty meals always go so perfectly with a light salad, and spring is a great time for mixing it up.

Thinly sliced apples and strawberries, thick hunks of feta cheese, and a bed of arugula are the perfect combo to off set the creaminess of the risotto. Simply top with a homemade poppy seed dressing, and enjoy.

It was really nice to have some time this weekend to chop vegetables and enjoy a nice meal, as well as to sneak away into my sewing room to get to a few projects that I have been dying to try. I hope that you all had a great weekend, and that your Monday is full of fun.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly May 3, 2010 at 12:00 pm

I think the bag looks fantastic!! And yum, the recipe too.

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Joy May 3, 2010 at 12:14 pm

The bag looks fantastic, love it! That's funny that you posted the risotto. My husband, just a few days ago, sent me a recipe for asparagus & peas risotto that he wanted to try. :)

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Sarah Jane May 3, 2010 at 12:43 pm

That bag is great, Heather! And anything with Havarti Dill has got to be good. Seriously yummy. Happy week to you!

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Valarie May 3, 2010 at 1:39 pm

What a very cute bag. I love it. The risotto looks so good. I can smell if from here and the salad it so beautiful with it's spring colors. thanks for sharing. I'll have to make this soon, maybe today.

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AG Ambroult May 3, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Nice job on that bag. The best part is that now that bag is completely "yours" Thanks for that yummy recipe. We've bee having crazy weather, too. Down vest the other day, tank top and flip flops yesterday.

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Meryl May 3, 2010 at 2:38 pm

I love apples in salads–very yummy! But I'm kind of like you in that I don't do risottos much in the summer. Our local brewpub makes some risotto croquettes that are to die for though.

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Kara @Simple Kids May 3, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Adorable bag! And, thanks for an asparagus recipe to try – one of my favorite things about spring is asparagus :-)

Best Wishe!

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larissa May 3, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Great bag for Spring! good for you for creating your own pattern – it's the perfect size. And your risotto and salad are making my mouth water – they look amazing!

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kyndale May 3, 2010 at 5:25 pm

mmm, risotto is one of my favorites too! We've gotten kind of burnt out on it so I'll have to wait until the time is right again for it. But, I so love the wine, cheese and creamy risotto!

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Ivy/Anna May 3, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Oh that bag is seriously cute. Someday I hope to be as brave and confident as you are with my sewing. And that dinner looks divine! Wish I could say my kids would try it, but sigh…..

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Nicola @ Which Name? May 3, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Beautiful, fresh new header, sweet bag, and I love the recipe. My aunt was recently in town and she and my dad made a mushroom red wine risotto following a recipe written in Italian that they learned from the hostess of the pensione they stayed in while there last autumn. Delicious (and terribly fattening)! :)
Nicola

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Shannon May 3, 2010 at 9:39 pm

These recipes look incredible!!! Your creativity continues to amaze me! Great to hear from you today.

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Gina May 3, 2010 at 10:58 pm

I think that I know what book you are talking about. You did a great job with this, and I would to see a tutorial if you ever get the chance.

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MamaBird May 3, 2010 at 11:18 pm

Sounds like a fabulous weekend. The bag is darling – and that risotto… oh! I love me some havarti and asparagus. Can't wait to give it a try, though we are well into warm-weather fare around here…gazpacho, light salads, zucchini pasta. Perhaps if I get too hot & you get too cold, we should do a house swap!

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jessica May 3, 2010 at 11:40 pm

I've never made risotto before but seeing your recipe makes me want to try tonight! It's been strange weather-wise here. Last week it was snowing and right now it is in the 80's inside and I wore a tank top on my walk tonight. That bag you made is perfect for spring knitting–I always am drawn to those handles.

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AdirondackMama May 4, 2010 at 1:11 am

Oh that handle….I am in love. The risotto is going on my to do list, as is the apple salad. I know just who to visit when I am in need of a yummy dinner.

XO

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Suzanne May 4, 2010 at 1:25 am

That fabric is so sharp, I love it!

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Paige May 4, 2010 at 2:01 am

Oh, how fantastic! The bag, the risotto, the salad…and your new header, too!

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Francesca May 4, 2010 at 12:05 pm

I made a very similar bag once with a green floral fabric and bamboo ring holders, slightly different shape. No pattern. But mine turned out too small!
Love your spring risotto!

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Nancy May 4, 2010 at 12:46 pm

you bag is so beautiful–great choice of fabric.

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Leanne May 5, 2010 at 3:38 am

Great bag…I have some round cane handles waiting for the very same project here! And I understand the space and meditation that is hand sewing..how I adore it too…the losing of the self for the purity of truly being in the moment. I think that risotto recipe is my cue to try it…it's been too long since we have indulged in a risotto here! Thanks Heather.

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geek+nerd May 5, 2010 at 11:00 am

First of all, I love that you bought a whole book of patterns and that you chose to make the one thing that did not have directions! You are a girl after my own heart! Secondly, that dinner looks delicious. I love risotto, and peas and asparagus, yum-yum. P.S. Would you share that poppy seed dressing recipe with me sometime?

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