Friday, November 30, 2012

Pumpkin Lasagna?

Yes, you read correctly:)  I've been searching for creative ways to get any veg (besides mashed potatoes!) into the kid's mouths these days & this was a huge success, so definitely worth a post!

 Sprouts has had Framer's Market Organic Pumpkin on sale for the past few weeks so naturally I stocked up for pumpkin bread, never dreaming it would pair with lasagna!  And bonus, they're BPA free & I really can tell a difference with the organic vs regular pumpkin!!!

So lasagna has been one of the few cooked entrees to pass muster with my little Ms for awhile but sadly they were refusing the eggplant, zucchini and any meat nestled I randomly tried adding a generous cup of pureed pumpkin into the tomato sauce.  I tried it first and thought it was delicious but obviously the real test would be with my Tornado...

...she just finished a big bowl of 'seconds':)  I couldn't be happier!  A cooked, healthy meal in my girl's tummy= very happy Mama!  She wouldn't even stop to smile for the camera- too busy eating her "posseez" aka pasta!

If you want to try this out, simply add the pumpkin to your basic cheese lasagna recipe...don't have a basic cheese lasagna recipe?  Try mine- should entice even the most picky eaters:)

Basic Cheese Lasagna

No Boil lasagna noodles
1 28 oz can tomato puree (I used Muir Glen chunky sauce)
Olive oil
Diced onion (amt per preference)
Minced garlic (amt per preference)
salt & pepper
Minced fresh parsley
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour (GF works fine!)
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Pour desired amt Olive oil in heavy bottomed saucepan (I used approx 2 tsp) & heat over medium heat till shimmering.  Add onion and cook until softened; add garlic and cook 30 secs until fragrant.  Add tomatoes & salt and bring to boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer 20-30 mins.  Off heat, add parsley, pumpkin and adjust seasonings.  TIP: I also add a tad of Stevia to sweeten:)
2. While tomato sauce is simmering, place butter in another saucepan and melt over medium heat.  Once melted, add flour and whisk continually for approx 30 secs to eliminate the 'raw' flour taste.  Add milk and whisk to combine.  Increase heat to high and bring to boil, stirring to prevent sticking/burning.  Simmer until thickened, approx 3-5 mins and remove from heat.
3.  Grease 9x9 baking dish (I used a Pyrex) and cover the bottom with tomato sauce.  Place 2 lasagna noodles in dish and then add more tomato sauce to cover- be sure to cover pasta completely!  Layer white sauce, red sauce, pasta & cheese as desired- I never do this the same way so it doesn't really matter:)
4.  Cover with foil & bake at 350 for an hour- you can brown the top by removing the foil for the last few minutes in the oven but my little Ms don't like it so I don't!

Enjoy & thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, November 29, 2012

DIY Faux Fur Boot Cuffs


Lucy & Ethel were definite trendsetters in Paris & this is by far, one of my favorite episodes:)  I love Lucy's pouty lips and aloof expression as she struts down the avenue with her new hat aka horse feed bag!  And Ethel's ruffled potato sack and champagne bucket hat are priceless!

So, one of the trends appearing all over are boots with fur cuffs- they've been growing on me, alas the price tags are not (especially for something so permanent)...

...enter DIY faux fur cuffs!

These were fun & relatively quick- I say relatively as it will depend on the faux fur you choose.  Something closer to a shearling won't fray much- my fur was molting quite badly thus I added some extra hand stitching so I wouldn't leave a trail wherever I walked!

I loosely followed this tutorial with, of course, a few tweaks & added the hemming with bias tape step from this tutorial:)
  • I didn't have any freezer paper for tracing my pattern so I used wax paper (not ideal!).
  • I hand sewed the hems (lengthwise) on each cuff due to the molting factor- really glad I took the time!

As usual, I was working on this at night while watching a Christmas movie, hence my tired & messy hand stitching- it won't show though, so no matter.  I didn't even have appropriate bias/hem tape on hand- oh well.  No one will know...except you:)

And here they are!  My DIY faux fur boot cuffs, transforming a very old & tired pair of boots into something 'new' & 'trendy'!  Too fun!

Let me know if you have any questions & let me know if you try this too:)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Chili & Cinnamon Carrots

When fall finally peeks through the hot summer temps, I'm ready to cook something chili:)  This is also when I tend to take a look at my spice cabinet to see what is lacking which would result in a highly enjoyable activity: placing a Penzeys order!  Few things seem to excite me as much as ordering spices, especially when there's always a free surprise in the box:)

So, this afternoon, as Jonah napped and Livy played quietly (Hallelujah!) I placed my coveted Penzeys order including yummy things like: Bouquet Garni, French Thyme, Whole Nutmeg, Lemon Extract & a free jar of 'Raspberry Enlightenment'...hungry already.

A great recipe for using lots of wonderful spices is chili- here's my recipe which we enjoyed last night and see what I like to pair it with too:)

Basic Beef Chili
2 tbsp veg oil
2 medium onions, minced
1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded & diced
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 pounds 85% ground beef
2 (15 oz) cans kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (28 oz) can tomato puree
table salt

1. Heat the oil in a large heave bottomed nonreactive Dutch oven until shimmering.  Add onions, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, oregano and cayenne and cook, stirring often, until onion is softened and beginning to brown, approx 10 mins.
2. Increase heat to medium high and add 1/2 the beef.  Cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink  and beginning to brown 3-4 mins.  Repeat for second 1/2 of beef.
3. Add the beans, tomatoes with juice, tomato puree and 1/2-1 tsp salt.  Bring to boil then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for 1 hour.  TIP: If the chili is sticking to the bottom of the pan, add 1/2 cup water.
4. Remove the lid and simmer for an additional hour until beef is tender and chili is dark, rich & slightly thickened.  Season with salt & serve with condiments.

Recommended condiments:
Sliced avocado, lime wedges, diced fresh tomato, shredded cheddar or Monteray Jack cheese, sliced scallions, sour cream & cilantro.

Since I'm a wuss when it comes to heat in my food, I don't use the full amount of chili powder etc... and like to pile my cooked chili on Cinnamon Carrots- the added sweetness from the carrots is delish!

Cinnamon Carrots
1lb carrots, sliced thick
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp boiling water
salt to taste

Place carrots in casserole dish.  Combine other ingredients and pour over carrots, coating well.  Cover & bake at 350 for 1 hour or until carrots are tender.
TIP: this is a really old recipe and since I end up with a large amount of 'carrot juice' afterwards, I'm working on tweaking this since I love them so much...maybe subbing Stevia for the sugar:)

Both of these recipes are very easy to tweak to personal taste & preference- I made the chili with just 1 lb of ground beef and no one was the wiser!

Have fun with your spices and cook something yummy for your family:)


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Baltic Amber: Life Saver!

I've read a little about the 'amber necklaces' and how they can help the woes of teething but since I tend to be a medicinal minimalist, hadn't bothered investing in one...

...until now!  Jonah has had a very rough, extended period of teething woes and so I zoomed over to Go Baby Go and promptly bought a Baltic Amber necklace and almost kissed Liz (shop owner) in appreciation and abject gratitude!

 You see, Lucy & I were beginning to sport the same look: pure, unadulterated exhaustion!!!

However, 3 hours after donning his new accessory, Jonah was happily munching on strawberries- life was good and perceivably, pain free:)

And after almost a week since I came skipping out of Go Baby, amber in hand, I can guarantee that this stuff works!  We've all slept better and Jonah now only fusses when tired & hungry (normal!) vs all the time:)

Caution: not all amber is equal.  "Deal Sites" are known to not have 'responsible' sources so don't waste your time.  Hazelaid is ok for online but if you're in the SA area, get your amber at Go Baby Go & Liz (owner) will set you up with the right shade, size etc... for your munchkin & it will be top notch quality:)

Happy teething!

Monday, November 26, 2012

DIY Shoe Reashion

Yeah!  I just completed my first shoe refashion & I'm so excited- it worked!

I was inspired by this DIY post and after finding the perfect pair of heels at Goodwill over Thanksgiving weekend, I couldn't wait to try this out!

I've been wanting some 'low & pointy' heels for a while...who knew they were orphaned & waiting for me at Goodwill?  And they weren't even paired...I had just about given up hope when I finally spotted the 'twin' across the store!

The shoes were exactly the style I was wanting & in good shape on the outside, however, they were looking a bit fatigued around the inner seam...

...and wanted to prolong their life for as long as feasibly possible, a plan of rebirth was hatched:)

So, heels in tow, I purchased some bias tape to achieve a more neutral & monochromatic look as opposed to the inspiration pair.  I went with khaki bias tape which should work well year round:)

I followed the tutorial (it's great!) with just a few tweaks:
  • I used 1/2 inch bias tape only vs 1/4 + 1/2 inch- there had obviously been a run on the 1/4 inch khaki bias tape, leaving me with no other option!
  • I made my bow a bit smaller based on scale 

Tip: less is WAY more with fabric glue.  I'm no connoisseur of fabric glue but mine seems to be a bit gloppy and so I ended up with my first shoe resembling the above, and then promptly redid it!

 I found that a light smear of glue was all the bias tape could handle before leaking through to the other side...patience...breathe...

Ha!  That's a laugh!  I got a bit antsy as I was trying to get this finished before tucking Livy into bed so there are a few little spots of glue peeking through- hoping they'll dry completely????

 Also, I found using my handy dandy little clip magnets made clamping my bows a breeze!

Snapping pics at night- pardon the horrendous lighting!

 So in approx one hour, I had a brand new pair of shoes!  And it really was pretty easy:)

Refashion Cost:
Shoes- $7.99
Bias Tape- $2.29
Glue- free (already had it in my growing stash!)

Total cost= $10.28!!!  And what I love most is that these are unique and I won't feel badly about replacing them a ways down the road:)

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Fall Wreath

As promised, here is part 2 of my last minute Thanksgiving decor: a fall wreath....waiting to be hung!  Who doesn't love fall leaves & this wreath comes together in less than 30 minutes!

I nabbed some card stock leaves (LOVE the glimmer paper!) from Sweetstamper, assigned to the 'scrap pile' as many of them were missing a tip or two...

...then Livy & I crinkled and sponged them- she loves to "stam" aka "stamp"!

The elements were affixed to a grapevine wreath (Goodwill) with my handy dandy hot glue gun and ta da!

Total cost for this project: $0.99 for the wreath & it was a great activity for Livy & I to share:)

Check out this handmade Thanksgiving card made with the same fall leaves, courtesy of the Autumn Accents Sizzix die & Big Shot:)

Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy celebrating this special day!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Felted Fall Garland

 "Ricky" & I are honored to be hosting our family Thanksgiving dinner this year so a little decor is in order...but if you're like me, then you're rushing around trying to decorate for Thanksgiving at the last minute:)

Hence my handy dandy Felted Fall Garland:

This comes together in under 30 mins so you can totally try this too!

First run some felt (I just used craft sheets) through your Big Shot in several colors...

...arrange in desired pattern and then thread!

Hang in desired place & you're done!  No sewing, no adhesive- easy & the kids are thrilled:)

Total cost: less than a dollar for the felt!  Great activity for the kids to help with too:)

Have fun & stay tuned for my handy dandy fall wreath:)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Candy Cane Lane Couture

I have loved sharing some projects featuring the Candy Cane Lane fabric from Stampin' Up! and hopefully you're not tired of these fun prints yet!  We're just getting into the holiday season so there's plenty of time to squeeze in a few more fabric projects:)

These little hair accessories came together in a snap and Livy loves them!

I made fabric circles using the Big Shot and circle dies but you could trace around a drinking glass or anything round in a pinch.

Sew a basting stitch around the perimeter, draw it up and secure- add buttons and embellish!
TIP: Stampin' Up! rhinestones can be colored with a Sharpee to make a colored gem:)

These were hot glued onto some hair clips (that I really like) from Family Dollar- Livy doesn't mind these as they're very flexible and soft so no pinching of my Peanut's locks:)

Livy wore one of these to the Wolfson House craft show yesterday and received some lovely compliments- made Mama feel awfully proud that I took the few minutes to whip these up for her:)

Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, November 16, 2012

Homemade Diaper Wet Bag

 Here's one of the many sewing projects I've been working on this past week- a diaper wet bag for Jonah!

I purchased the PUL (polyurethane laminate) from Hobby Lobby with a coupon and had the black nylon cord on hand from my fishie project.

After ironing out some kinks with my sewing machine (thank you Grome's!!!) and replacing my faulty thread & needle, this project was a cinch:)

I didn't even bother to change out the orange thread in my bobbin since it blended well!

It's been washed numerous times this week and works like a charm- so glad I took the 30 mins to make this which saved me a chunk of change:)

And since I was in the groove, I made a small bag for me (cloth liners) and a medium bag to keep in the car for random rubbish.

Best part of this project, apart from this being very satisfying and quick, was that I made all 3 bags for under $5!  Love that!

Let me know if you have any questions:)


Friday, November 9, 2012

Candy Cane Lane Wreath

As promised, here is another lovely fabric project featuring the Candy Cane Lane trio of fat quarters- a wreath, made for Sweetstamper in honor of her birthday and another year of crafting success:)

The full instructions are included on the illustrated foldout provided by Stampin' Up! when you order the fat quarters- I just made mine super duper big!

 You'll start with lots if strips- sew a basting stitch down the middle of each, ruffle and pin all around the wreath form, overlapping slightly.  I just love how the ruffles look like little petticoats, all piled together:)

Then you'll cut a bunch of circles using the Big Shot or tracing around a glass, like I did...TIP: since I was making this wreath larger than the original, I upped the size of my embellishments to compliment the overall scale:)

Then grab your handy dandy hot glue gun and plop a dot in the center of the circle and fold in half.  Do this again, folding into quarters and here's what you get:

After whipping up a bunch of these little petals, they're arranged into 'flowers'- I did add some extra glue & twisting action here and there to make my 'flowers' fan properly:)


 Next are the yoyos, topped with buttons- I have a pet peeve about buttons not being threaded.  The end result is ALWAYS worth the time so get that thread ready!

 And here it is, all done!  I loved making this!  I hadn't ever attempted a fabric wreath before & discovered it was way fun, but I especially reveled in making something unique & special for my Mom:)  Should look pretty in her stamping studio:)

Thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Fleece Remnant Trousers

Good morning, fellow bloggers.  With the disappointing news of the direction our country is headed for the next 4 yrs, I thought I would share some good news. I've been working on this little number for a few weeks, here and there, and it's finally done- my 1st fleece trousers!

I started with a fleece remnant found at Hobby Lobby for $1.79- sold.  Due to how the remnant was cut though, I had to do some fancy maneuvering to get trousers from it!  And since this was my first pair, made without any sort of pattern (really not needed for something this simple) I had to readjust multiple times.  I've discovered there's much less fitting for skirts vs trousers:)

I deemed this project to serve Livy as play "trouseys" (Livy calls them "foceys") but still wanted some frills to perk them up- gives me an opportunity to play and create...and learn:)

Since I was using a remnant, I scrimped and saved every bit to form rosettes and frills and added some baby white rick rack that I had on hand, for contrast- it was looking too much like cotton candy otherwise!

The rosettes were formed by knotting the end of a strip of fleece and attaching the rick rack with dabs of fabric glue, winding around and gluing until the desired size was achieved- I attached to the trousers with the same glue (need to dry for a long while!).

The waist was easy with some woven, non-roll elastic- loving elastic waists, despite the fact that I had to redo this as the original looked like a Hollywood waist, fit for Fred Mertz!!!

So here they are completed and ready for my Tornado:)

Once Livy tried them on, again, I realized that I over compensated on the length- the original length was too long so I they're perfect for play but just a tad short for proper fit purposes...I'm holding to the story that she grew over the past week though!

Once donned, Livy exclaimed excitedly, "Pink!" and insisted on going to "ride me bike" with her new "foceys"...

She was quite enthralled with the rosettes (aka "fowers") and kept checking to ensure they hadn't flown off during her wild riding of "me bike".

"Livy, do you like the trouseys Mama made for you?"

Livy: "Yesssss!  My Pink Foceys!"

Despite the fact that these "foceys" aren't perfect, I had a fabulous time adjusting, arranging & creating and learned a lot in the process.  And for approx $2.50, Livy has a new favorite pair of play "foceys"!

Ricky's take on this project?  "Couldn't we just buy her some so you don't have to do all this???"

In a!  I'm having way too much fun!

Let me know if you have any questions- I'll be making a pair for Jonah too (minus the trim & rosettes!) so stay tuned:)