Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Cranberry, Pear, Ginger Relish

To round out this merry month of sharing, we have one more cooking blogger for you to hear from: Holly at One Spicy Dish. Holly is a dedicated foodie who loves to share food with the people she loves. She must love a lot of people because she started a blog to share her passion for food!

Scarlet Threads is the lucky beneficiary of a specially designed recipe from One Spicy Dish. Just take a look at the pictures and I know you can't resist trying it. It was completely apropos and timely, as we all have some leftover cranberry sauce this time of year - Holly has given us a way to turn it into a chic appetizer for New Years! :)
For more kitchen ideas, hop over to One Spicy Dish and become a blog follower or facebook fan. You will never be at a loss for dinner plans.

Cranberry/Pear/Ginger relish ingredients:

2 bags Fresh cranberries
2 Bartlett Pears cored and diced
2 Oranges
1 Lemon
1 ½ cups sugar
½ Cup Dried Cranberries
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
¼ Cup Apricot Preserves
Crostini
2 6 oz logs of goat cheese
2 skinny baguettes
Pinenuts

Cranberry/Pear/Ginger Relish

In a large saucepan over medium low heat combine the cranberries, pears, ginger, sugar, zest from two oranges and one lemon and the juice of one orange. Let cook down until berries pop and the mixture becomes thick and syrupy. This should take about 10-15 minutes. Add dried cranberries and the apricot preserves and stir.

Continue to cook over low heat for 5 more minutes just to give the dried cranberries time to plump up.

Remove mixture from heat and cool. Once cool, place in the fridge to thicken. Relish will keep for at least a week in the fridge. Before assembling crostini, remove relish from refrigerator and bring to room temperature

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the baguettes on a bias in quarter inch thick pieces and place on cookie sheet. Drizzle with EVOO. Place the crostini in the oven. At the same time, put the goat cheese in oven safe dish and place that in the oven as well. Bake the crostini until lightly golden brown and the cheese until warmed through. It will be easily spreadable. In order to keep the goat cheese warm, you can do two things. You can place an oven safe serving platter in the oven to heat it. Transfer warmed goat cheese to the heated service plate. If your serving dish isn’t oven proof, fill with boiling water while the cheese and crostini bake. This will heat the plate enough to keep the cheese warmed. While the cheese warms through, put pinenuts in small dry skillet over low heat just until they begin to turn light brown. They will burn easily so be sure to not take your eyes off them. Immediately remove from heat.

To assemble:

Spread a layer of the warmed goat cheese on a crostini, followed by layer of your cranberry relish. Garnish with pinenuts and serve.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Sugar Cookies from Mommy's Kitchen!

Hello Scarlet Thread Readers. I’m Tina a writer for Mommy’s Kitchen. I’m also a fan of Scarlet Threads and their mission. I want to start by saying thank you to Eileen for asking me to Guest Post today. I first stumbled upon Scarlet threads about 5 months ago. I stumbled on a post from a fellow blogger. She was hosting an apron party and I immediately fell in love with all of the gorgeous aprons pictured. I am an apron fanatic so it was no surprise. I headed straight over to Scarlet Threads and read their story and vision. I was instantly touched on how Scarlet Threads came to be.

It was at that moment that I started saving a few dollars here and there so I could purchase my first apron. I was so excited to know that part of the money I pay for the apron will help families just like mine. Because of me someone will be able to take their child to the doctor or just add an extra plate of food at the table. As a mother and a woman I could not be more proud to know that the apron I am wearing (phoebe) was made by a remarkable woman and seamstress.

Today I would also like to share a recipe with you. As I mentioned above I am a food blogger and my blog is called Mommy’s Kitchen. My site centers around all the recipes that I cook and bake for my family. Since the holidays are upon on I wanted to share a holiday recipe. Christmas is approaching very quickly. In fact there are just a couple days left. Today I wanted to share our Christmas Eve Tradition with everyone.

Every year on Christmas Eve the kids and I bake cookies for Santa Claus. Sugar Cookie Cut Out’s are the cookies that we bake for Santa every year. I have been making this recipe for so long, that when it comes to baking sugar cookie this is my go to recipe. I can always count on these cookies to turn out perfectly every time. For me the perfect sugar cookie is soft and chewy on the inside and crisp and firm on the outside. This cookie recipe uses both butter and shortening so it's the perfect combination. I like to cut my sugar cookies a bit on the thicker side.

This really ensures the softness of the cookie. I also don't use any fancy frostings, just a simple colored icing and festive sprinkles. Our festive sugar cookies turn out beautiful every time. When we bake cookies for Santa it’s all about the kids having fun. So let your kids jump in and do all the cutting and decorating by themselves.

All I do is mix up cookie dough and icing and let them loose with the cookie cutters, icing and sprinkles. I can’t wait until Christmas Eve so we can watch our favorite Christmas Movies together and bake our traditional batch of Sugar Cookies for Santa.

Merry Christmas
Tina, The Mom in Mommy’s Kitchen



Santa’s Sugar Cookie Cut Out’s
1/3 - cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 - cup shortening
1 - cup granulated sugar
1 - tsp baking powder
dash salt
1 - egg
1 - tsp vanilla extract
2 - cups all purpose flour
2 - 3 recipes colored icing, below

Directions:
In a medium size bowl beat shortening and butter together with a electric mixer. Add sugar, vanilla extract and egg. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture. Mix together scraping the sides of the bowl. I used my kitchen aid mixer to mix everything until it came away from the sides of the bowl and starts to form into a ball. Try and mix enough of the flour mixture in using mixer, stir in any remaining flour with wooden spoon. Place dough inside a large zip lock bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Remove dough and let it sit on the counter for least 30 minutes. Roll dough on a lightly floured surface until it is 1/4 inch thick. I like thick cookies because they turn out softer inside. Cut with desired cookie cutters and place on a UN greased baking sheet. Place cookies in a 375 degree oven for 7-8 minutes, or until edges are slightly golden brown. The bottom of the cookies should be light brown as well. Watch carefully so you do not over bake the cookies. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet 5 minutes. Remove and place on a baking rack to cool completely. Frost the cookies with colored icing when cool.

Colored Icing
1 - cup confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
1 - tablespoon softened butter or margarine
2 - tablespoons milk
1 – teaspoon vanilla extract
desired food coloring

I used three separate bowls to mix the icing. One recipe for each bowl, mix all ingredients together with fork or whisk. If too dry, add a little more milk. Once mixed, add a few drops of food coloring. We did red, green and yellow. Don't worry about the icing running off the sides. The icing glaze will set up and be so pretty.

Recipe from: mommysktichen.net

Sunday, December 19, 2010

One Day Sale: 10% Off Entire Purchase

As far as Scarlet Threads is concerned, tomorrow (12/20) is the last shopping day before Christmas! With priority shipping, it is the final day that we can say with confidence your order will reach you prior to the 25th. Now, if your family gives gifts for the Epiphany, you are still in good shape.

So, in honor of this special day, we are offering 10% off your entire purchase in our shop! Remember our tree skirts are already on sale, so this discount makes them a positive steal! And I'm curious who will be the lucky recipient of our final Olivia apron - that's right, there is ONE left!

Enter "lastminute" at checkout to redeem the discount! :)

The staff here at Scarlet Threads wants to say thank you (again and again!) for making this Christmas season and our entire first year of operation tremendously successful. The women we employ are equally grateful for your tremendous support, your heart-felt wishes even more than your purchases. Please accept our sincerest well wishes for a Merry Christmas and a joyful New Year! :)

Blessings!

Eileen, Tisha, Carrie, and Jenny

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Christmas Season

The Christmas season is fast approaching; can you believe that another year has passed already? One of the things that I love most about this time of year is the constant reminder that we have cause to celebrate, to be joyful, to share, and to enjoy our lives. It’s the season where selflessness abounds, where we think of others before ourselves. We open our homes to family and friends, and occasionally the distant relative who is for all practical purposes a stranger. The strange thing to me is that it all seems so natural!

What doesn’t feel entirely natural to me is to buy “stuff” for someone you truly care about. I think many consumers have begun shifting in that direction as well. I guarantee you I am not ahead of the curve! People are looking for products that have a story, that have an origin, that mean something. And, handmade items are in high demand!

In 2009, we started a little company called Scarlet Threads. Our story is a little different than your average company. Like some other great ideas, it began almost by accident. Our founders were living in a tiny rural village in China, volunteering for a foster home for special needs children. They were struck at once by the pride of the villagers and also by the immense poverty that surrounded them, and they began to wonder how they could help. The answer was to start a business to provide a pathway out of poverty through dignified employment for rural women. The village is full of talented and resourceful women, many with a penchant for sewing. Scarlet Threads was born.

We specialize in aprons, but we have a rapidly expanding product line that now includes purses, children’s dresses, and for the Christmas season tree skirts! Our products are handmade and fair trade, and they come in several styles and unique fabrics. We visit the fabric market every few months to design new products, so there is always something fresh in our online boutique.


When you purchase a boutique-quality item, you become intricately connected to a woman half a world away and you help to make our core vision of Work. Dignity. Beauty. a reality in the lives of our partner seamstresses.We would love for you to join our cause and our online community by becoming a blog, Facebook, or Twitter follower.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Holiday Sweetness from Glowing Temple!

Holiday Sweetness from Glowing Temple (www.glowingtemple.com)
by Natalia


As a foodie, for me holidays have always been about what's happening around the dinner table. I love to gather with friends and family, sharing delicious, homemade meals and catching up with meaningful conversation. My path has lead me into the magical world of the raw vegan lifestyle and now I'm on a mission to share fresh organic goodness with everyone. So although my feelings surrounding the holidays haven't changed, the meals I share certainly have evolved over the past few years. I wanted to share a couple of my favorite new holiday dessert traditions with you. Whether you're looking for something raw, vegan, gluten-free, or just a little bit lighter and healthier, here are a couple of treats that would be a wonderful addition to any holiday dessert table.

Cranberry Apple Pie with Cinnamon Swirl Ice Cream
Serves 8




Ginger Cookie Crust
1 1/2 cups raw Brazil nuts
1/4 cup raw agave nectar
1 tablespoon raw coconut oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
pinch of salt
Place the Brazil nuts into your food processor and process until finely ground. Add all remaining ingredients and process until sticky. Scrape into a 9" pie pan or an 8-9" springform or silicone pan and press evenly into the bottom. Place in the freezer to set.

Cranberry Apple Filling
1 cup roughly chopped apple
3/4 cup raw agave nectar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen & thawed)
1 1/2 cups finely diced apple
4 teaspoons ground chia seed

Place the roughly chopped apple, agave, cinnamon and ginger into your food processor. Process to puree the apple. Add the cranberries to the food processor and pulse to chop, but do not puree. Scrape into a bowl. Add the finely diced apple and chia seed to the bowl and mix very well. Pour over your crust and place the freezer to set for 3 hours. Once frozen, cut into 8 slices. Thaw completely to serve.

Cinnamon Swirl Ice Cream
1/3 cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups pure water
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours
1/2 cup raw agave nectar
1/3 cup coconut butter (not oil!)
2 vanilla beans or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

In a small bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup agave with the cinnamon and salt. Place in the freezer to chill. In a high-speed blender, combine water, cashews, agave, coconut butter, vanilla and a pinch of salt. Blend on high until very smooth. Pour into an ice cream maker and process until rich and creamy. At the last minute, add the chilled cinnamon agave and continue to process until the ice cream is nicely swirled. Serve each slice of pie with a scoop of ice cream.

Sweet Potato Pie
serves 8-10



Spiced Crust
1 cup walnuts
3 tablespoons raw agave
1 tablespoon raw coconut oil
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of salt

Place the walnuts in your food processor fit with the S-blade. Process to finely chop. Add all remaining ingredients and process until sticky. Press into the bottom of a 9" spring form pan. Place in the freezer to set.

Sweet Potato Filling
3/4 cup coconut butter (not oil! I love Artisana brand available at most Whole Foods)
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup raw agave
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 vanilla bean
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups peeled and chopped sweet potato

Place all ingredients except for the sweet potato in a high speed blender and blend until well combined. Add the sweet potato and blend again until very smooth. Pour over the crust.

Candied Walnut Topping
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons raw agave
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
In a medium bowl, toss all ingredients together until the walnuts are evenly coated. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the pie. Place the entire pie in the freezer for 3-4 hours until set. Cut into 8-10 slices when fully frozen. Thaw 30 minutes before serving.

***********************
Wishes of Bliss!
Natalia

Visit Natalia on www.glowingtemple.com
or on Facebook!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fair Trade Winds: a New ST Retailer!

I’d like to introduce our newest partner and retailer, Fair Trade Winds! A couple of months ago we “met” on twitter and became fast friends. It’s an easy thing to do when we find a group of people who share our heart and vision.

As you can see in the picture to the right, our ST aprons have found a warm place to call home as they await discovery by new customers who are becoming "an integral part of a cooperative effort that benefits farmers, artisans, and the environment."

Fair Trade Winds is a family-run retail store providing certified fair trade and environmentally sustainable products supporting artisans, farmers, and craftspeople from around the world. They are proud members of the Fair Trade Federation and Green America.

They have three retail stores in the North East - if you are in the region, stop by and check them out!




August 2012 Update
Last year FTW opened a store in the Seattle area. Don't miss it, Pacific North West Folks! They have a fresh stock of our latest aprons. Happy Shopping - in Fair Trade Style.
1815 N. 45th Street
Seattle, Washington 98103


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Just wanted to give a quick heads up to those planning on ordering Christmas/Holiday gifts: For standard shipping make sure to order by December 17th and for rush shipping December 20th.

Also, we only have a few tree skirts left!

Princess Game: Win $5!

It is time to play the Princess Game again! If Olivia were a fairytale princess, who would she be and why?!


{Tomorrow, the winner, as selected by ME, will receive a $5.00 off coupon for our shop!}

Lucy was our fairytale princess, last week and I selected two winners: one from the blog and one from our Facebook Fan Page! Jennifer was just so original that I had to issue a special award for creativity. Here was her response:

"Lucy would be her very own princess - no other character can come close to how strong and vibrant she is. I love thinking of how caring, compassionate, and determinded she is. Princess Lucy would have soft, curly reddish blonde hair and blue eyes. Her attention to detail and mothering nature helps her forge strong alliances and get the job done. Make a movie about that Disney! LOL"

Danae on Facebook opted for a traditional princess of the Disney Rennaissance, a bookish gal who is near and dear to my heart.

Jennifer, I haven't heard from you to claim your prize! Send me a note and I'll send you the code! Eileen@ScarletThreads.org
May the best post win!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Lasagna a la Lexi

One of our favorite virtual volunteers sent in this recipe for a tasty lasagna! Give it a try, she swears by it! :)



Lasagna a la Lexi

1 lb. ground beef (or turkey, if you prefer)
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup sliced black olives (optional)
1 pinch each- basil, garlic powder, oregano, sage, black pepper, minced garlic and onion flakes (I do large pinches, as I am very generous with spices!)
1 jar maranara sauce
1/2 package lasagna noodles (no bake noodles- I don't precook them)
1 large container ricotta cheese
1 bag mozzarella cheese, shredded

1. brown the beef in a large skillet over med-high heat. drain excessive grease, stir in water, olives and spices. simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often. stir in maranara sauce and then remove from heat

2. place a layer of meat/sauce mixture at the bottom of a 9x13" pan. cover with dry noodles (three across). spread layer of rocotta cheese over noodles, sprinkle with mozzarella. cover with layer of meat/sauce and then repeat until pan is full.

3. bake 45 minutes at 375*

4. enjoy :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Princess Game!

Let's play the Princess Game. Were Lucy a fairytale princess, who would she be - and why?!
Leave a comment here or on the Facebook Fan Page!

{Tomorrow, the winner, as selected by ME, will receive a $5.00 off coupon for our shop!}

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Chicken Tortilla Soup

Well folks, we've made it to the end of our soup series. I hope that these soup recipes will keep you warm on the cold winter nights ahead! Like I mentioned last week, for the month of December, we will be featuring guest bloggers for the Tasty Tuesday! We hope you enjoy them, and I'll see you again in January! Also, if you ever come across an awesome, fun, or just gotta share recipe - we'd love to feature it on the blog! Send it me - latisha@scarletthreads.org or Eileen - eileen@scarletthreads.org

And now on to the recipe!

You'll Need: 1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion, chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, chopped
1 Jalapeno, chopped
1-3 Chicken Breasts, cubed and cooked


3 Cans Chicken Broth
1 Can Rotel
2 Cans Tomato Soup
3 Limes - Extract the juice
1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin


Tortilla Chips
Monterrey or Cheddar Cheese, shredded
Avocado

To Do:
With the first set of ingredients, saute until tender.
Then in a large pot, add sauteed items, and the second set of ingredients; bring to a boil then simmer as long as desired - the longer the better to get the flavors nice and blended.
In an individual bowl, place tortilla chips then cover with soup and top with shredded cheese and avocado.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Come One, Come All! Cyber Monday!


Just wanted to let everybody know that we are having a Cyber Monday Sale!! Get $10 off purchases of $60 or more before shipping and tax with Google Checkout. Limit 1 per person. Offer available all day today (Monday, November 29th) until 11 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. We are also still offering our free shipping on orders of $30. So if you've been thinking about getting one of our great products, today is the day!

Happy Shopping and Happy Holidays from all of us at Scarlet Threads!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Cowboy Stew

Well, we're getting to the end of our soup series; we'll finish up November with one last soup then for the month of December, we are going to feature guest bloggers. We hope that you enjoy those!

But let's get on to this week's soup!

You'll need:
2 pounds of hamburger meat
2 cans of Ranch style beans

1 can creamed corn
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
4-6 potatoes, cut up into small chunks
1 package of taco seasoning
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cans of tomato sauce

To do:
Brown the hamburger meat and drain. In a large pot, add po
tatoes and 2-3 cups of water. Cook about 1 hour on medium low heat. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and taco seasoning. Cook for 30 minutes; then add the rest of the vegetables. Stir and cook for another 20-30 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.


Don't forget the cornbread!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Cream of Tomato Basil Soup

Continuing with the soup-themed November, this week's recipe comes from my friend Kathryn and is rumored to be inspired by la Madeleine's delicious soup.

You'll Need:
4 cups tomatoes, cored, peeled and chopped or canned
whole tomatoes
4 cups tomato juice (or part vegetable or part chicken
stock)
12-14 basil leaves, washed fresh
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 lb sweet unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
salt
lemon juice (optional)


To Do:
1. Combine tomatoes, juice, and/or stock in saucepan.
2. Simmer 30 minutes
3. Puree, along with basil leaves, in food processor
or by hand held food blender. Return to saucepan and
add cream and butter, while stirring over low heat.
Garnish with basil leaves and serve with your favorite
bread.

I suggest using half tomato juice, half chicken stock instead of only tomato juice; I feel like all juice makes the soup taste more like tomato juice rather than tomato soup.

Enjoy!

Seen here with the newly retired Molly.
If you're looking for another beautiful half-apron, check out Kyra!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

And the Winners are . . .

After much debate we have chosen names for the new items in our line! Thank you everyone who participated!

For the Christmas Tree Skirt with the Red band: Noelle, name by Tara
The Christmas Tree Skirt with the Gold band: Genevieve, named by WilxFamily
The Mommy and Me Aprons: Aubergine (soft 'g'), named by Lexiloo
And last but not least the Half Apron: Kyra (Ky-ruh), named by Crissy

Winners, please contact me at latisha@scarletthreads.org to get your coupon code for 50% off one item!

Also, if you gave a suggestion, we have a coupon for you too! Email me to get it!

Thanks again to everyone! The new items should be online to order soon, so get ready to shop!

Tisha, Carrie and Eileen

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Now that you've gone to the village chicken lady and have your very fresh chicken (See last week's Tasty Tuesday post by Carrie), you're ready to get cooking! Some homemade chicken noodle soup will keep you warm this fall!

You'll need:
approx. 1lb of chicken, cut up into 1 inch cubes
6 cups of chicken broth
2 cloves of garlic
celery, sliced
carrots, sliced
1/2 bag of egg noodles
Salt and Pepper to taste


This is a pretty easy recipe, as most soups are; it just takes a little time to let the flavors blend.

To do:
In a large pot, put the chicken and chicken broth on medium high heat.

Add the two peeled garlic cloves; the best way to make sure you don't lose these is to spear them with a toothpick, so you can find them later. You don't want someone thinking they are going to take a bite of chicken and get garlic instead!

Once the chicken is white, add the veggies. Cook for 1o minutes to soften them up, then add the egg noodles and salt and pepper to taste. It's also kind of nice to add some lemon juice if you like that.

Turn the heat down to low and cook for at least another 30 minutes; the longer you let it cook the more the flavors will be blended.

This'll warm you up on a cold winter's night!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

SOLD OUT! Phoebe joins the ST Archive!

I just wanted to write a quick post to let you know that Phoebe has joined the ranks of Caroline, Savannah, and Penelope in the Scarlet Threads Archive.


She was certainly a favorite with many, and she will be missed!

To end on an up-tick, our Winter line should be available on the website soon. And, by soon I mean as soon as we receive the shipment! :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Another Way to Roast a Chicken


Step One:
Go to the village chicken lady. (Pictured above.)

Step Two:
Try not to feel too guilty as you choose your bird. (Hint: Don't make eye contact. With the bird, that is.)

Step Three:
Explain to the shop keeper that you do not wish to have the head or feet included with your purchase.

Step Four:
Say hello to a Chinese co-worker who is shocked to find you at the chicken lady.  When she wonders why you are backing away from the chicken vendor, endure her good-natured laughter as you tell her that you don't want to watch the chicken die.

Step Five:
Beat a hasty retreat to the nearby vegetable lady while "the deed" is being done. Leave husband to oversee process.

Step Six:
Have husband confirm with shop keeper that we really don't want the head and the feet.

Step Seven:
Let husband RE-confirm that we do not wish to take home the head and feet. Let husband endure shopkeepers questions of why alone. (You are still at the vegetable lady.)

Step Eight:
Return to husband when the coast is clear.  Try not to visualize the contents in the thick plastic bag on your walk home.

Step Nine:
Rinse chicken. (Say silent prayer of thanksgiving that the vendor does gut and de-feather the bird.) Slather with favorite spices. (We used olive oil and a greek poultry seasoning.)

Step Ten:
Roast. Follow Eileen's directions from a couple of weeks ago.

ENJOY! And pat yourself on the back for finally buying a fresh chicken from the village. It only took us 3 years to work up the nerve…

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Naming Contest: Swanky Soiree


It has been a crazy few days, and I totally forgot to load the last apron for you to help name!!

And how could I forget this beauty?

Elegant black, understated gray, and warm tones of gold dance across this hostess apron.  Perfect for your swanky holiday soirees, the vibrant bird and flower motif will start more than a few conversations!  With a scalloped hemline and long waist ties in a delicate grey and white polka dot fabric, we know you'll love serving wine and cheese at your next party.

We'll announce the winners for the naming contest Wednesday, November 3!  And, as long as our shipment clears customs soon, they will all be available for sale around the same time!!

Entries accepted until Tuesday, November 2. (We'll go ahead and leave the other products open for name suggestions until the same time.) Winner will receive a 50 percent off coupon good for one item in our shop, and all participants will qualify for a half-price baglette with any purchase... A perfect stocking stuffer for the upcoming holiday season! Leave your entries as comments on this post or on facebook.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Naming Contest: Christmas Surprise

Our Christmas surprise is this... not one, but two beautiful tree skirts to choose from!
Candlelight shades of gold and evergreen hues of green... the colors of a holiday.  This traditional paisley Christmas tree skirt dresses up the tree with understated and quiet elegance.  More "Silent Night" than "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," the dignified pattern will dance and shimmer under the twinkle of your tree's lights.  An heirloom-quality piece sure to be in your family for years to come, you can bring the joy of providing dignified work for a woman on the other side of the world into your home this Christmas season.

Entries accepted until Friday, October 29. Winner will receive a 50 percent off coupon good for one item in our shop, and all participants will qualify for a half-price baglette with any purchase... A perfect stocking stuffer for the upcoming holiday season! Leave your entries as comments on this post or on facebook.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Naming Contest: Mama's Helper

Back by popular demand, another Mommy and Me combo!  Matching mom perfectly, this little girl apron will definitely make your big helper feel all grown up.  Gently Asian-inspired fabrics in shades of evergreen, eggplant, and burnt orange stay true to Scarlet Threads' roots while appealing to the most modern of cooks this holiday season.  With a ruffle all the way around the skirt and a tie long enough for either the back or the front, this apron is sure to help you whip up tasty holiday treats and inspire your little one to at least unload the dishwasher.

Note: Adult apron has a button-neck while child-sized version ties at the neck with a button detail to match mom.


We will choose one name for this apron.  If, for example, the winning name were Jewel, the child's apron would be called Xiao Jewel.  Xiao means "little" in Chinese.  Entries accepted until Friday, October 29. Winner will receive a 50 percent off coupon good for one item in our shop, and all participants will qualify for a half-price baglette with any purchase... A perfect stocking stuffer for the upcoming holiday season! Leave your entries as comments on this post or on facebook.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Naming Contest: Deck the Halls!

It's back!!  Our ever-popular naming contest!

We are officially launching our new Christmas line, and we want your help naming the goods.

I thought we'd start the Christmas cheer a bit early, and launch this week-long naming contest with one of our Christmas-themed items!  Making its Scarlet Threads debut... A Christmas tree skirt!


This gorgeous tree skirt's understated elegance is perfectly poised to bring a little extra holiday cheer into your home. Classy in black, the unexpected ruby and sapphire-toned accents add the spark needed to turn this heirloom-quality tree skirt into a conversation piece. Trimmed with scarlet red fabric and finished with adorable little bows, this isn't a run-of-the-mill tree skirt. Chic without being kitschy, we know this limited edition tree skirt will become part of your Christmas memories in years to come.

Now, whatever should we call it?

Entries accepted until Friday, October 29. Winner will receive a 50 percent off coupon good for one item in our shop, and all participants will qualify for a half-price baglette with any purchase... A perfect stocking stuffer for the upcoming holiday season! Leave your entries as comments on this post or on facebook.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Baked Potato Soup

Well, it's been a while since I've been on here, so I thought I'd welcome Fall with a yummy soup!

You'll need:
5 lb. bag of potatoes, chopped (and skinned, if you want)
milk, to taste
butter, to taste
3 cups of water
3 cans of Chicken Broth
1 package of bacon, cooked and chopped
sour cream, to taste
Shredded Cheddar Cheese, to taste

What to do:
Boil the potatoes until they are soft and can be mashed; make mashed potatoes with the milk and butter.
Put the potatoes back on the stove on low heat and add the water and Chicken Broth; stir until well mixed and heat for 15 minutes.
Add the bacon, sour cream and cheddar cheese, stirring until the sour cream and cheese are melted in.
Cook on low heat for at least 30 minutes, stirring every so often to prevent the bottom from burning. The longer you cook it, the more blended the flavors will be!

Hope that this soup warms you up on a cold night! Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Gorgonzola Risotto

I discovered a recipe some time ago. I don't even remember from whence it came, nor does it really matter. As we know, I seldom follow a recipe.

I had friends over for dinner, and my favorite dinner to serve is a roasted chicken with gorgonzola risotto and a cucumber salad. Divine. That's the way to describe it. Julia Child taught me never to apologize for anything that I serve. Chew merrily away, that's her motto. Well, I've taken it a step further: I'm proud of everything I make. I decide (delusionally, on occasion) that what I have created is the best in the word. It helps the "less good" items make an easier journey to my stomach.

Since I am just married, I've been subjecting my new hubbin to my cooking as often as I can get in the kitchen. I'm looking to perfect my art! And, since we are just married, my new hubbin is not allowed to critcize my victuals. The criticism I expect in the next year or two. For now, I content myself with asking, "Isn't this delicious?" to which he responds, "yes." I reply to his yes with another question, "Do you know why this is so delicious?" Aaron shakes his head. "Because I made it."

As for the gorgonzola risotto, it truly is delicious. I'm not even lying or stretching the truth.

Ingredients:
4 c. (+) chicken stock
1 c. dry white wine (or dry vermouth)
1.5 c. rice (I like medium grain, but if you are high class go with Arborio)
2 tbsp Butter
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 c. coarsely chopped mushrooms (some would suggest dried porcini, but I'm cheap and buy regular mushrooms)
0.5 c. parmesan cheese (shredded)
0.75 c. gorgonzola cheese (If you aren't a gorogonzola fan, use less!)
1 small onion diced

Directions:
You are going to need two pots and a frying pan for this recipe.

In a sacuce pan, bring the chicken stock to a boil and then continue simmering covered.

In the frying pan, add a tablespoon of olive oil and brown the coarsely chopped mushrooms.

In a large saucepan, melt two tablespoons of butter. Add the diced onion and browned mushrooms. Sautee until onion is tender.
Add rice and stir to coat with butter. Add vermouth and stir until absorbed.

At this point, you add the warm stock a half cup at a time and stir until absorbed. I typically get impatient and add at a faster rate. But the requirement is still the same, stir until absorbed.
Test the rice to see if it is tender. If not add more stock (or wine)! Once the rice is at the desired firmness, remove from heat. Stir in the parmesan cheese, followed by the gorgonzola.

Season to taste with Sea Salt or kosher salt.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Is a Tree Skirt a Skirt?

My husband is adorable. I wrote on our facebook page recently about a conversation we had about our new products, specifically tree skirts. I need to preface this story that my husband is a smart man: top of his class in engineering, very driven, and normally well endowed with common sense.

When I showed him a picture of our new tree skirts, he responded by saying he needed to see it on. On? I was confused. He continued by saying he didn’t really know what it would look like and whether it would be flattering on me.

I definitely got a good laugh. But, it didn’t stop there. Oh no, I am far too sinful to let on. Carrie mailed me the samples of the new “skirts” and Aaron opened the package. The tree skirts are around 60 inches in diameter and made of vibrant colors.

As with all tree skirts, there is a slit up the side so that you can slip it around the base of your Christmas tree. My husband was intrigued. How will you keep it from flying open on a windy day? That’s easy, I replied and pointed to the three ties down the slit. Ah. And again, he wanted to see what it looked like on. Being the good sport that I am, I indulged him.

Here are the results. Aaron tends to think that the tree skirt is a bit too conservative for his tastes. Although, he concedes that there are certain segments and cultures within our population where this type of skirt might be quite popular.

As you can see from the picture, we had just returned home from our kickball playoff game. We lost. It was terribly sad, but such is life.

Can you make out my name? It’s Cuisine, an obvious reference to my love of food and cooking. J

My husband was slightly irritated at my having played such a wicked trick, but was visibly relieved that I will not be sporting the Scarlet Threads tree skirt at his company Christmas party.

Believe me, the tree skirt looks much better around a tree than it does on me! They will be available for purchase in early November. Keep your fingers crossed that the journey from China is uneventful.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Roasting a Chicken

Those of you who know me personally know that I am an ardent admirer of Julia Child. I just think she is wonderful as a person and as a chef. Her personality comes through in her cookbooks, but it is in her book My Life in France that I saw her as charmingly optimistic and very real.

Miss Julia taught me how to truss and roast a chicken a few weeks ago! As a frugal gourmet, I have assimilated this meal into the monthly rotation. It is relatively easy, economical, and absolutely delicious.
Here is a picture of my chicken prior to roasting. It's a little 4.5 pounder that will feed four and provide a decent amount of leftovers.



My first task was to remove anything that remained inside the cavity. I won't bore you with the details. Put on a pair of disposable gloves and go for the gold! Typically I just tie it up quickly with some baking twine to keep the legs and wings pinned to the bird so that they don't get over done.
Then rub some olive oil or soft butter all over the bird. Season it with salt, black pepper, garlic, garlic powder, white pepper, herbs du provence, and some sprigs of rosemary. In order to cook the chicken more evenly, try to let it reach near room temperature before placing it in the oven. Some people recommend squeezing a lemon over the bird and sticking the lemon in the cavity for some extra aroma. I didn't have a lemon.
Now, I'm going to remember to try brining the chicken ahead of time for some added flavor.

Place the chicken in an oven preheated to 400 degrees for 10 minutes (this will provide a golden brown color to the skin). Then reduce the heat to 350 for 35 minutes. Now, if you can, flip the bird and continue baking (to crisp the bottom skin and help the bird to roast evenly). At this point, it might also be a good idea to check the temperature.

Do not serve chicken with a lower internal temperature than 180 degrees. But, keep a good eye on it from here on out, no one likes dry chicken - at least, no one I know.

We served this little beauty with a fantastic gorgonzola risotto and a cucumber salad. But, you will have to stay tuned for the risotto recipe and the salad. We have to space out our recipes here at ST.


Of course, we'd always love some new material! Send your tasty tuesday recipe to Info@ScarletThreads.org.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The First Stitches: The Cost of Poverty


There was the family who lived just down the road… They were friends of friends and always smiling and waving as we walked past. Then one day the mom cut her finger at her job. It was pretty serious and she needed stitches.
They couldn’t afford that.

They borrowed some money to make a way, but then her husband had to move to the city to find some additional work to make ends meet. It’s only two hours away, but without any form of transportation, they never got to see one another. One day a group of us from our organization happened to be going to the part of town where he worked. We hired a bus and there was room for a few more… I remember the little boy fell asleep on my lap on the way to town. But he was wide-awake when he arrived; bright-eyed and excited to be seeing Daddy.


Two hours away, and poverty separated a family for months.

Or there was the family who lived in our village. A friend mentioned their story in passing… they’d had a little girl who had a heart problem. They didn’t know how to get her medical help, and they couldn’t afford her surgery. She died.

Hospitals all around, and poverty meant she didn’t have access to the care.


Fundamentally, so many of the social problems we see are rooted in poverty. I work with orphans, and over the last few years I’ve learned that one of the primary reasons children end up in orphanages is because of poverty… families driven to desperate choices by desperate situations.

We started Scarlet Threads not because we thought we could change the world… but because we thought we might be able to help a few families break the cycle and change their circumstances.  We've seen tangible signs of our impact, and we know it can only grow.

Thank you for helping make this possible.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Strawberry Shortcake Cookies


Our good friend over at Tea and Crumpets sent us this Tasty Tuesday recipe and it looks fantastic! Here she is in her gorgeous ST Penelope apron!
Lexi borrowed this gem of a recipe from www.wearenotmartha.com. Really! For not being Martha, they sure did turn out a recipe she might use on her show or in her books.

  • 12 oz. strawberries
  • 1 t fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 C plus 1 T sugar
  • 2 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 3 oz. (6 T) butter, cold, unsalted, and cut into small pieces
  • 2/3 C heavy cream
  • Sanding sugar for sprinkling (or regular sugar if you don’t have sanding)
First you’ll want to hull your beautiful, in season strawberries!

And don’t worry; “hulling” really just means getting rid of the green stem. I simply cut it off with a knife, not owning any fancy hulling tools. Then I diced the strawberries into 1/4 inch pieces.

In a medium bowl, I threw in the strawberries, lemon juice, and 2 T of the sugar.

In another larger bowl, I whisked together the flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 7 T of sugar. Then I took my butter pieces and rubbed them into the flour mix with my fingers. I just used my hands, but a pastry cutter (also known as a pastry blender) would come in handy. I kept mixing this together until it was a crumb-like mixture. Then I added the heavy cream and stirred until it was dough-like. And then added in the strawberry mixture.

I spooned (using an ice cream scoop!) about a T of dough onto a cookie tray sprayed with some cooking spray. I think I made my cookies a bit bigger than Martha made hers as I only got about 2 dozen out of my batter (she got 3 dozen). I thought the ones I made were the perfect size, though.

Then you can sprinkle the cookies with your sanding sugar, which is basically just larger granule sugar, to make the cookies nice and pretty. I sadly couldn’t find any, so I just sprinkled the cookies with regular sugar.

Bake the cookies for about 19 minutes at 375 degrees.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The First Stitches: A Lunchtime Conversation


I came from farm country – land of big combines and even bigger fields. My father often comments that he’d love to watch what would transpire if he could just take one farmer from our village and one farmer from our hometown and have them switch places for the day. They’d both be astonished. Here the corn is harvested, shucked, stripped, and dried by hand. The work is long and arduous. Their hands are dry and cracked.

It is hard work.

I wish each person who gets a heart for Scarlet Threads could spend a day in our village. I’d show you the process for harvesting corn. I’d take you for noodles at a table next to the farmers. I’d show you their homes and the bathroom they use that’s down the street. We’d sit and have hot cups of tea in their courtyards, and I’d watch your face as it suddenly dawned on you that you have far more in common with them than you have different. I’d watch as you came to appreciate their strength and their dignity and their hard work… as you grew to understand all the things you think you’ve earned and deserved are as much a product of the environment you were born into as they are your own hard work.



One day over a bowl of noodles, I asked my friends how we could help the poorest families in our village. I said, if I knew they didn’t have enough rice… which would be better: Give them a bag of rice without them asking for it? Or wait for them to ask for help and respond to the need? (It might seem like a funny question in a western world, but in Asian cultures “face” is very important, and to cause someone to “lose face” by acknowledging that you see their problem can be very humiliating.)

My friends thought for a moment and responded… For the most part, you can’t give them a bag of rice without them asking for it, because then they’d be mortified that you think they are poor (loss of face). And, they’ll never actually ask you for a bag of rice, because that would also cause them to loose face, so you can’t exactly wait, either.

So what do you do?

Give them a job, they said. Give them work to do that can help them earn an income so they can buy their own rice. Pay them fairly. Treat them well. Help them help themselves.

It’s something that we’ve all heard; but mostly in a theoretical sense. When you’re sitting at a table eating a bowl of noodles in a village where you know there are people who probably need rice, it suddenly has a lot more traction.

It was one of the first stitches that started Scarlet Threads…

Friday, September 24, 2010

The First Stitches: The Story of Scarlet Threads


A year ago, Scarlet Threads was just a random idea… it started with a trip to the fabric market, where my friend Caroline and I caught a creativity bug and wanted a legitimate excuse to design more things. (Bringing them home for our own use wasn’t really a legitimate excuse. My dear husband keeps my clutter-building tendencies firmly at bay.)

It also started with several conversations with Chinese friends… on how to help our poor community in dignified ways, on the cost of poverty, on what was really needed. And it started with a brand-new pair of shorts that I cut a hole in when taking a tag off.

It was a lot of random threads, and here we are… a year later; with a fledgling little company definitely going through some growing pains but a lot of potential

I want to take some time over the next few weeks to share the Scarlet Threads story in bits and pieces until I manage to get the whole thing out. It astonishes me that what was just a random idea now has an actual following. I want to make sure that you know our heart and why we’re doing what we’re doing. I can assure you, it’s more than aprons that keeps me and the others who make up Scarlet Threads plugging away.

----

If you are new to Scarlet Threads and want to know more about our life in China, you can visit my personal blog, Signs of Hope.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wedding Bells

Scarlet Threads' bags were featured in the Fall issue of Eco-Beautiful Weddings!  Just scroll to page 18 to see our Sadie bag gracing their pages.  We think our products make great bridesmaid gifts, and Eco-Beautiful Weddings would agree!

I'm not sure if any of you are planning weddings, but they have some beautiful ideas... so enjoy scrolling through the pages.  I love weddings... the flowers, the cake, the invitations and programs.  Just a few months ago, Jacob's little brother Aaron married an amazing gal named Eileen... who you already know because she works tirelessly on behalf of ST.

She'd never share this picture on here for fear of seeming narcissistic... but I can. Isn't she gorgeous? 


And in case you are wondering, she did give Scarlet Threads products to her bridesmaids as gifts.  :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wednesday Update: 7Hopes and The Little Italy Mercato

Scarlet Threads and Seven Hopes United have continued to collaborate over the past few months. Ashley, the co-dreamer (co-founder) of 7Hopes, is a gem and we are continually trading ideas for spreading the message of dignity!

Recently, Seven Hopes United became a fixture at San Diego's
Little Italy Mercato and they decided to bring Scarlet Threads aprons along for the ride. And, after their success, we are looking into farmers markets as an outlet for our products.

Since 7Hopes has been kind enough to share our products with all of San Diego, we would love to return the favor and share a part of their story with you. I find their business inspirational and a soul sister to Scarlet Threads - I think you'll see why.
Ashley eloquently stated their purpose on the 7Hopes facebook page, ‎"We exist & believe fully in the impact that's made when people are valued, appreciated, and paid fairly for their time & talent." As consumers, their company wants to help us recognize "how our purchases affect people of the world." By shopping at 7Hopes and other companies dedicated to dignity and fair trade, we are helping artisans around the world provide basic needs for their families. Essentially, like Scarlet Threads, they are dedicated to providing a pathway out of poverty through dignified employment.

Go ahead, check out 7 Hopes. If you are in the San Diego area, stop by and meet them at the Little Italy Mercato. Fan them on Facebook. Follow them on Twitter (@7hopesunited). Or, just stay tuned to Scarlet Threads - Seven Hopes United tends to make frequent appearances on the blog and Facebook Fan Page.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Fish Oreganata

You all remember Aggie, right? She was our first gracious Apron Party Hostess. If you haven't followed her blog or fanned her on Facebook, I'm disappointed. You need to, she's great, her blog is great, and her recipes are stellar. Lucky for you, she has allowed us to share some of her favorite recipes with our Scarlet Threads readers. But, if you are looking for amazing dishes to share with your family, look at Aggie's Kitchen - it is an endless source of inspiration!

Without further ado, here is Aggie and her Fish Oreganata:

Hello Scarlet Thread readers! I’m Aggie...a Scarlet Thread fan and food blog writer. I write Aggie’s Kitchen which is full of recipes that I’m cooking in my home for my family. I try to keep things healthy and simple...I love flavor, and I love to eat well.
I am sharing with you today a super easy fish recipe that anyone can make! I love love love fish, and I have talked to many people who love fish too, but are afraid to make it at home. I used to feel that way, but seriously, the more you make it, the sooner you’ll get over that feeling. And it’s so worth it. This fish dish originated from a Weight Watchers recipe that I found on a friend’s site...I made it a complete meal alongside some roasted broccoli. Hope you’ll try it and enjoy!

Fish Oreganata

adapted from Weight Watchers Make it in Minutes, discovered on Family, Friends and Food blog

(Printable Recipe)


  • 1 lb mild white fish (I used haddock, but flounder, tilapia or any other white fish can be used)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup panko (Italian seasoned breadcrumbs will also work)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • zest from one large lemon
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil and then spray with non-stick spray.

Place the fillets on the baking sheet. Combine remaining ingredients (EVOO through oregano) in a bowl. Press the bread crumb mixture into the fish fillets making sure they are covered.

Bake until the fish is just opaque in the center, about 10 minutes.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wednesday Update: Savannah No More

We are proud to announce, though with some sadness, that Savannah and her pint-sized counterpart (Xiao Savannah) are no longer available in our shop. We knew her gorgeous floral print and scarlet trim wouldn't last long, she was long gone as soon as she was discovered.

As we announced on Facebook this week, the all remaining Savannahs are making the trip to the Union Station store (opening this week) of GoodTrueBeautiful, Inc.. This business is our latest partnership with a likeminded organization and we hope that it will be longlasting and mutually beneficial. Their story is inspirational, and began with a truly good event: the adoption of a beautiful girl from China.

Visit the site to learn more.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Fruit Pizza

Before it gets too cool, Heather (a virtual volunteer) wanted to share this delectable recipe for a summery fruit pizza! Enjoy, friends! :) Look at her sporting her Olivia apron, doesn't it compliment the fruit pizza nicely?

Ingredients

1 (18 ounce) package refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

1/2 cup white sugar
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon orange zest

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Slice cookie dough and arrange on greased pizza pan, overlapping edges. Press dough flat into pan. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Allow to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, soften cream cheese, then fold in the whipped topping. Spread over cooled crust. You can chill for a while at this point, or continue by arranging the fruit.
  3. Begin with strawberries, sliced in half. Arrange in a circle around the outside edge. Continue with fruit of your choice, working towards the middle. If bananas are used, dip them in lemon juice so they don't darken. Then make a sauce to spoon over fruit.
  4. In a saucepan, combine sugar, salt, corn starch, orange juice, lemon juice and water. Cook and stir over medium heat. Bring to a boil, and cook for 1 or 2 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat, and add grated orange rind. Allow to cool, but not set up. Spoon over fruit. Chill for two hours, then cut into wedges and serve.