Monday, June 27, 2011

Creamy Orange Tilapia

I felt a little inspired by my trip to France, and really missed being able to cook!

Creamy Orange Tilapia

In a pan (with a lid), cook a few minutes on high heat, stirring occasionally:
- soy oil
- butter
- one onion, chopped
- one zucchini, chopped
- ginger
- basil
- cayenne pepper
- nutmeg

When onions are transparent, reduce heat and add
- one filet of Tilapia
- 2 Tablespoons Orange Marmalade

Cook approximately 7 minutes, flipping Tilapia part way through.

Stir in 1-2 Tablespoons heavy cream, and serve over rice.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

'Cause That's My Bag

I had been using an old "swag" bag more and more here.  The bag was the perfect size and weight for all sorts of things:  it fit my school books, I could easily add some shopping to the end of my day, it was a great over-night bag, and it even fit my art supplies without crumpling them!  But, it wasn't the prettiest thing :-) and one of the straps was safety-pinned on.

So, I decided the time had come to replace it.  I got a half meter of heavy drape material at Yamuni, and started sewing.  I ended up adding a few frills - now I just have to get used to the idea that I can abuse this bag too, even though it is quite a bit prettier :-D.
This version has a button-down flap (adjustable to a second button you can't see at the top), an umbrella-holder on the right side (also handy for other items I want to keep separate and easy to access), two inside pockets, and adjustable straps with quick-release clips.  I used nearly every bit of the 1/2 meter of cloth.

  1. Straighten and fold the material, making the fold become the bottom of the bag.  
    1. cut the main bag piece 24" long x 17 3/4" wide.
    2. cut 2 straps 4" x 32"
    3. cut 1 flap 5" x 10 1/2"
    4. cut 1 pocket 5" x 10 1/2"
  2. Overcast all edges
  3. Sew the sides of the bag, leaving gaps for the umbrella-holder:  
    1. 5 inches from the top, stitch around a sturdy elastic hairband
    2. 5 inches below that, stitch around 2 gaps, leaving space for a long shoelace
    3. Note: use a satin stitch around the gaps for strength
  4. Form the bottom of the bag:  fold the bottom of the side seam into a triangle, so that the end of the seam forms the tip.  Each side is 2 3/4" - Stitch perpendicular* to the side-seam.  Repeat on the other side.
  5. Sew the straps: 
    1. fold one long edge 1/2 inch and stitch
    2. add batting if desired, but only to the center section of the strap (not the ends, since this will make them too thick)
    3. fold the other long edge to abut the first edge and stitch
    4. fold the long edges together and stitch
  6. Form the top of the bag and attach straps:  
    1. place the straps 5 inches in from the sides
    2. fold the top edge of the bag under and stitch, securing the straps in place*
    3. fold the top edge of the bag 1 inch and stitch
    4. topstitch along the top edge, again including the straps
    5. stitch an "X" at each strap to further secure it to the top of the bag
  7. Add the pockets
    1. fold under all edges of the pocket material and stitch.
    2. determine where you want them - I put mine at the top edge, mostly along the back of the bag, but also opposite the umbrella holder, straddling the side seam a bit.  I wanted easy access for my phone and change purse, and that is the side that will be handiest for me.
    3. topstitch pocket to the bag around 3 sides (leaving top open, of course). 
    4. stitch a separator up the middle to form two pockets - you can vary the size
  8. Add the flap
    1. fold under all edges of the flap material and stitch - at one end, form a clipped-triangle
    2. make a button hole at the triangle end
    3. center the other end of the flap at the top of the bag (this is now the "back" of the bag) and stitch
    4. sew one button at the fully-closed position, and another at the top of the bag (for when the bag is very full)
  9. Add the clips to the straps (this is why you don't want batting at the ends - the straps will be too thick to fit through the clips)
    1. determine where you want your clips, and cut the straps
    2. overcast each end
    3. pull the strap through the non-adjustable end of the clip and stitch
    4. pull the other end of the strap through the adjustable end of the clip
* Caution - this is a tricky step, so double-check your placement and orientation before stitching

Friday, June 10, 2011

USA Embassy to National Theatre by Bus

I've had a "bus" request!  Someone asked me how to get from the USA Embassy to the National Theatre (and environs), so... here goes!

Across the street from the Embassy, catch the Pavas bus towards downtown San José.  Get off on Paseo Colón at the first opportunity.  Catch either:
- the Sabana Cementerio (Ruta 1) bus and take it all the way to the Caja, or
- the Sabana Estadio bus and take it to the terminus at the Banco Popular (one block West of the Caja).
Either way, you will be across Avenida 2 (South) from the National Theatre.

If you miss the Paseo Colón stop, and end up at the terminus of the Pavas bus, then simply walk South a block or two to the Paseo Colón and catch the next Sabana bus there.  You will be in front of the San Juan de Dios hospital.

Once you are near the National Theatre, you can walk South 3 or 4 blocks to the Super Sony (Asian food store).  A block or two on your way, you will pass Casa Alfi on the right.

You can also go West from the National Theatre along the pedestrian walkway to Lehmann's, Universal, and a wide variety of shops and street vendors.  There are quite a few places to buy sewing material on the West end of the pedestrian walkway.

If you go East from the National Theatre about 3 blocks, you will see the terminus for the San Pedro buses.  North from here is the Parque España, Morazan, and CENAC, as well as the Alliance Français (behind the Holiday Inn).  On the street beside the Holiday Inn is Mora's used books.

To return to the Embassy, catch the Sabana Estadio from the Banco Popular.  Get off at Parque La Sabana, in front of the ICE office, and switch to the Pavas bus.  Make sure to ask the driver if it is in fact going to the USA Embassy (remember, there are a ton of embassies in San José, so make sure you ask for the *USA* embassy :-) ).