Monday, August 27, 2012

Time Out

Here at the Whitney Whisk, I'm all about cooking. I love, love, love to cook! For today, though, our post has almost nothing to do with cooking. Almost-- I have a love for cooking in aprons (I have fifteen of my own).

This summer I have been trying to get in to crafting. I've made independence day decorations and a multitude of baby toys and accessories for the three babies to come into our family! A while ago I got the idea to make aprons for two little nieces turning three who got little kitchens for their birthdays last year. Well, I've slowly been working away at them over the past two weeks and I was so excited about the final product that I wanted to share. I tried to make each apron epitomize the style and personality of the little girl it was going to-- trust me, at three they already have acutely distinct personalities.

I went to Hancock Fabrics beforehand to scope out fabric options before buying, then went home and put some ideas together from pictures I'd taken on my phone. I made a rough sketch of each apron and then made my own patterns for each. I used measurements and suggestions for both from this blog post-- the second apron follows it more closely but is still different.

Ava's Apron

Ava is a very sweet, very fun and often silly girl who loves lambies and asking questions. While definitely very feminine, she doesn't seem to care about pink or princesses. In fact, she told me just last week that her favorite color is white! Well she's lucky because I'd finished her apron by then and it definitely has a lot of white in it.

I used this apron for a base of inspiration and then put my ideas to work from there. 

Both aprons are made with velcro for the neck and waist ties, as per the suggestion of the blog tutorial linked above. This makes for easier removal by the kids themselves.

I knew I wanted a peter pan collar but the bow and stitching came last as I was finishing the apron. It just needed a little something up there and I think I definitely found that something. In the process, I learned how to tie the perfect bow so that's a plus.

What can I say, I love a good ruffle. I'm very much in to pleats and gathers and anything feminine when it comes to clothes.

When I told my sister that I was going to make Ava an apron she said she'd been thinking about making her a little chef's hat. I thought that would be the perfect accessory. I used this tutorial but I made the rim shorter and opted to go with the classic white fabric. When cutting the circle I just measured 18", found the 9" mark and the measured 9" out from that center mark around in a circle.

Ella's Apron

Ella is a sweet and quite spunky girl who loves princesses and dressing up. She asks her mom for "lips" (lip gloss) often and has her own set of 'high heels.' She is all girl and in honor of this I thought something very frilly and very pink would do the trick.

I went with a sweetheart neckline, which is not so easy to see in this photograph. It was inspired by this apron. The top felt a little empty so i adorned it with a set of pearls and a sweet little bow off to the side. I am a serious pearl girl, myself.

When I saw these frills I knew they were exactly what I was looking for.

I was trying to come up with an accessory for Ella, like the chef hat above, but I wanted something different. I made her a little headband with a big bow that I will give her but I just wasn't in love with it and then the idea of a matching oven mitt struck me and I whipped up a little pattern for it. The inside layer has minky fabric with a layer of batting in between.

Happy Birthday Ava and Ella!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Aus Jus Sandwiches

This recipe came from Bryan's Aunt Jeanette in the wonderful family cookbook she gave me just before we were married. I'd had (but never made) Aus Jus/French Dip sandwiches before. Maybe it sounds fancy and difficult but, believe me, this is very simple and quite delicious.

Here's what you'll need:
The recipe calls for one can of beef broth and one can of onion beef broth. I couldn't find onion beef broth anywhere... I added a little onion powder to one of the cans but, since it also calls for onion soup mix, I'd say the powder wasn't all that necessary.

Put your roast in the crock pot and cover with both cans of broth and the onion soup mix. There is no set size for your roast. Generally, I use about half a pound per person. Cover this and cook on low for eight hours or until the roast shreds easily. This made my house smell so, so good all day Friday.

Shred your meat. After I shredded it I poured the contents of the crock pot in a strainer to separate the juice to put it in a bowl for dipping.

Choose any kind of cheese you like for this sandwich. I generally don't like Swiss cheese but it seemed like the right flavoring to go with the meat.
Melt your cheese onto the sandwich however you would like. Most people should know this, but I'd avoid microwaving it. It'll make your bread kind of soggy or, if you've done it too long, really hard. I broiled my for a few minutes. I probably should have taken it out about a minute sooner because the corner of the bread started to burn slightly.

Put the meat in the bun, pour the juice that the roast cooked in into a bowl and dip as you go! So good. (I am obviously really lazy about vegetables so we eat salad from a bag every night...)


Whole Roast
1 Can Beef Broth
1 Can Onion Beef Broth (if you can find it! good luck!)
1 Pkg. Onion Soup Mix
Hoagie Buns
Sliced Cheese

  1. Place the roast in the crock pot and cover with both cans of broth and onion soup mix.
  2. Cook on low for 8 hours or until meat shreds easily.
  3. Shred roast in juice.
  4. Melt cheese onto sliced hoagie buns.
  5. Place shredded roast in bun with cheese.
  6. Use the juice as Aus Jus sauce for dipping.