9.26.2013

30 Minute Gift

Found this piece of fabric that was perfect for my grandson that loves trucks. I wasn't sure what to do with it...until I thought about his upcoming birthday and decided I would turn it into a pillowcase. It was a breeze. The finished pillowcase measurements are 34" long and 22" wide. I cut enough fabric for the back since there wasn't enough for a front and back out of the truck fabric, then sewed both together. The band at the top is 45" wide and 6" tall. I ironed it in half with wrong sides together then after sewing up one side of the front and back of pillowcase I sewed band to top. Next, I sewed up the other side. I simply zigzagged all seams so there wouldn't be any fraying. (Oh yes, all seams are 1/2")
This is the band after I ironed it in half.
Finished product, I think it is cute and I think Ezrah will be more willing to take naps if he knows he can sleep with all his machinery.

9.24.2013

Kale Quinoa Minestrone Soup

One thing I love about the cool fall weather is soups! I'm a huge soup fan! They're so easy to throw together and you can't go wrong with a hearty soup to warm you up. This is my version minestrone with quinoa, and kale (my 2 favorite ingredients). This can be made in about 30-40 minutes, depending on how quickly you can chop. 
Here is what you will need-
-1/3 cup quinoa (this can be expensive, I suggest buying from the bulk section, or getting it from costco)
-1/4 onion chopped
-2 TBSP olive oil
-3 cloves garlic chopped
-1 can fire roasted tomatoes
-1 can vegetable broth
-1 10 oz can tomato paste
-10 baby carrots chopped
-2 stalks of celery chopped
-1 zucchini chopped
-1 potato peeled and chopped
-1 can white beans (also known as great northern beans)
-2 stalks of kale. Remove the stalks and tear into pieces
-1 TBSP soy sauce
-1 tps oregano
-Salt and pepper to taste

I always soak my quinoa before using it. Place it in a bowl, cover with water and let soak for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, saute your onion in 2 TBSP olive oil in large pot over medium heat until translucent, add garlic for about 20-30 seconds, add potatoes, carrots, celery, zucchini, vegetable broth, tomato paste, and fire roasted tomatoes. Use can from fire roasted tomatoes and fill with water 3 times, add to soup. Bring to a boil over medium heat. While soup heats (don't forget to stir occasionally), open white beans, and rinse in a strainer, set aside. Rinse quinoa in strainer (I use a mesh strainer since quinoa is so tiny) and add to soup. Once soup boils cover, lower heat to low, and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are soft and quinoa is cooked (it fattens up and turns a little translucent). Add oregano, soy sauce, and beans. Turn heat off and add kale. I don't like to cook the kale, just warm it up enough so that it wilts. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Since I only used one can of vegetable broth I tend it add a bit of salt. Sometimes I will put in about 1 TBSP kosher salt. But I also love salt.. So make sure you add it to taste! 


9.23.2013

Twisted Tree


 I bought a quilt template called the twister to make a table runner (TWISTED TABLE RUNNER). The nice thing about buying a template is, it gives you instructions for how to use it! I ended up making my table runner with out having to buy a pattern. I hadn't use my twister since until I decided to make this Christmas tree! Dang fabric stores, putting their Christmas fabric out in August! This looks really complicated and it is... Well it's a lot of pieces! Other than all the pieces you will have to put together, it's not hard. I made this in 2 days since I suffer from QCD. I started with 8 different Christmas green fabric cut into 36-5 inches by 5 inch squares. I used 5 fabrics for the ornaments also cut into 5x5 inch. One yellow 5x5 inch star and three brown 5x5 inch pieces for the trunk. 48 white 5x5 inch to outline the tree and 3x3 inch boarder all the way around.
 I laid it out in the design I wanted my tree to be, then I sewed it all together. This part took a lot of time because I wanted all my corners to match up. It already looked SO cute that I didn't want to cut it! How can you cut into such a beautiful quilt??? I felt like I was destroying all my work.


Here is my twister template. It's simple to use, just place it on the lines with your seams, and cut around. YES this was A LOT of cutting!!!! Cutting, cutting, and more cutting (after all that sewing!). 


 The quilt looks ruined! 

 Once you have your pieces, turn them to start making the twists, sew them together (again, this takes a long time!) and you've got your tree!!!
Obviously this quilt isn't complete, it needs a border, to be quilted, and bound. It's just too cute to not show off! 

9.22.2013

The BEST Chocolate Cake!

I LOVE making cakes! I love it so much that I once did an internship at a bakery (that means I worked for FREE) even though I wasn't a culinary student (pretty much every other intern was!). It definitely had its benefits. Aside from eating free baked goods, I learned some pretty tricky tricked out decorating tricks (got that?). Oh I also smelled like baked goods. Who doesn't love that? There were some downsides of course... Pulling all the orders for the next day out of the sub zero freezer! That was cold (at least I got to eat ice cold cookie dough balls while I did it). Being on your feet ALL day long! Bakeries open EARLY and its pretty demanding. You don't sit. You are mixing, in the freezer, in the fridge, cutting, greasing, washing, piping, etc. You get really messy too! Which I guess can be fun.. Then you see some things you don't want to see. I'm a pretty clean person, and there were a few baked goods that I wouldn't eat because I saw what happened to them or who made them.. Not to deter you from bakeries. I love bakeries. Anyway now I'm off topic. This is a recipe for my go-to chocolate cake. At my bakery (not mine, but my intern bakery) we used cake mixes, which I thought was weird.. Aren't bakeries suppose to be homemade fresh cakes! If I wanted a cake from a box I could do that myself. But alas, mass production makes it hard to make everything from scratch. Dang I'm going off on another bakery tangent. 
When I make my cakes, I make them from scratch. I am not opposed to box cake, in fact, I love funfetti (is there anyone who doesn't?) but when someone pays me to make a cake, I make it from scratch (unless you want funfetti). I've tried a lot of recipes, and this is my all time favorite chocolate cake. I somehow managed to not get any pictures of the cake making (my memory card wasn't in my camera! I'm so smrt) but I got some pictures of the final cake, which you can in no way tell is chocolate.. OK OK onto the cake making! 

This will make two 8 inch square cakes or 24 cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350
3 cups flour (or cake flour if you'd like)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup vegetable oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, or any mild flavored oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tsp distilled white vinegar
2 cups of water

Mix your dry ingredients, and the wet, spray your pans and bake for about 30-35 minutes (baking time may vary from oven to oven, always check on your goods after about 20-25 minutes) DO NOT open your oven prematurely or your cake will sink in the middle.

You may have noticed that this is VEGAN, yes VEGAN. I have made cakes with butter, milk, cream, etc. This one is the BEST. It's even better if you let it sit out over night (I'm not sure why but it's true!). 
Enjoy! 







9.18.2013

Detox Day 3- Spaghetti Squash & Chokes

Today I started out with my usual green smoothie. FIND THE DELICIOUS SMOOTHIE HERE. Then I went to the gym for my step aerobics class. This is a PRETTY intense class, there is a lot of ups, downs, kicking, jumping, intense cardio, and weight lifting. I haven't been working out much, so I was a little nervous about my stamina. I ended up feeling GREAT! More than great, I was jumping more and kicking higher. I have to attribute that to the detox. Another FAB benefit, I haven't felt tired ALL DAY! This is huge for me as I usually hit the wall around 2-3 pm. I've mostly been snacking all day, more celery (I just can't get enough of it!), mixed nuts, my usual apple (one a day!). I made kale chips (or baked kale..), spaghetti squash, and artichoke. I was given some cake this afternoon, and I didn't take one bit. Nope, and I sure love cake.

If you want to make your own baked kale (I guess they're not really chips) here is how:
-Preheat oven to 400
-Wash and dry the kale, yes dry!
-Line baking pan with foil
-Spread out kale on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. I like to use my hands and really make sure all the kale is coated
-Sprinkle with salt, or garlic salt, or salt and red pepper.. Mmmm maybe even a little nutritional yeast
-Bake for 8 minutes


 Little crispy, but SO delicious. I've eaten a whole bunch of kale all by myself before
 I also ate some chokes. Artichokes are great because they help detoxify the liver, and they're yums.
 For dinner I made spaghetti squash spaghetti. This is a meal I could eat everyday and never tire of. First I chop the squash into about 4 equal parts and remove all the seeds and stringy string things. Then I put them in a saute pan, filling it about half full of water, bring to a boil, and then simmer on low covered until they turn bright yellow and pierce easily with a fork. I take them out and let them cool down. Then I heat up a couple TBSP of olive oil in a saute pan and saute the insides (it should come out really easily once it's cooked through) add some salt and pepper. 

 My favorite way to eat spaghetti squash is with this amazing marina from trader joes. Really the best marina I've ever used. I stock up on it so that I never run out (it's SO cheap too!). I make a little marina pool, add the squash and top with corm...... I want to eat it again after looking at these pictures... 

9.17.2013

Detox Day 2 (The Happy Shake)

Day 2 detox,
Breakfast- Kale smoothie
Lunch- Hummus with carrots, ants on a log (yes again), plantain chips, and nuts
Snack- Grapes and a coconut water
Dinner- Roasted asparagus and a happy shake
Snack- Apple
I'm feeling really full.
 Making the KALE SMOOTHIE
Roasted asparagus is the ABSOLUTE BEST! Here's how to make your own-
Preheat the oven to 400
Wash and trim the asparagus
Place asparagus in a glass casserole dish and drizzle with olive oil
Sprinkle with salt and pepper
Cook for 10 minutes and then stir
Cook for another 7 minutes
Sprinkle with garlic salt and enjoy!

 The HAPPY SHAKE! I am so in love with this, I could drink one everyday (and sometimes I do). This is not my recipe, but a borrowed one from STACY STOWERS. I actually had the opportunity to meet Stacy a couple years ago while she was staying with a friend. Her story is amazing and I definitely recommend checking out her webpage. I make my happy shake slightly different and it's still AMAZING. I can't rave enough about how delicious it is. It's changed my life for the better!
Here is how I make mine:
 3-4 cups fresh lossely packed spinach
1 banana
1 TBSP raw cacao powder
1 TBSP maca powder
1 TBSP coconut oil
1/2 Cup almond milk
1 1/2 Cups frozen blueberries
Blend and ENJOY! 

How to Herringbone

I've been loving all the herringbone quilts I've seen all over pinterest so naturally I had to learn how to make my own. 
I used fat quarters for this. Iron, and starch your fabric fold it half (I folded mine in half so that it was a little over 18 inches wide) and cut it into 3 inch wide strips. Since your fabric is folded in half you will be cutting 2-3 inch wide strips at a time (keeping the wrong sides of your fabric together).

 Then cut your strips into 6 inch wide pieces. You will be cutting 2-3x6 inch pieces at a time. IMPORTANT: Make sure you keep the 3x6 inch pieces together (they will be wrong sides together). If you don't keep your fabric together you will only have half a herringbone when you cut your fabric at an angle.
 
 Now you're ready to cut. My mat has these nice angles which made it easy. I cut these on the 30 degree angle. Cut both sides the SAME direction, or you will end up with trapezoid. 

 After you your fabric is cut you should see the pattern coming together. 
 Lay your pieces in the order you want to sew them. 
Sewing them together is a little tricky. Fold the top piece onto the bottom, you will have a little overhang. You should be able to see the corner of your bottom fabric. I actually had to sew it together a couple of times (and unpick) before I got it to line up nicely. Once you've done it a few times, it' easy to line up with out too much effort. 
 At the top and bottom you have a little angle overhang (I made all my tops and bottoms white because I am doing a white border all around my quilt). Cut if off and you've got your done it! Your first row of herringbone! 
NOTE: This is a quilt I am in the process making for my son. To see the finished quilt top go here
For more tutorials check these out

9.16.2013

3 Day Detox: Day 1

I'm starting a detox today, and I decided to share the process for anyone else interested in detoxing. I'm not an expert on this subject, be sure to do your own research and find out what works for you.
Let's start with a little background on detoxing.

-Detoxification is the process by which the body eliminates toxins from its cells.
-Toxins are found in foods and in the environment. 
-Toxins can drain the body of energy, and make us more susceptible to infections and disease.

I'd like to do a 7 day detox, but this week it is easier for me to detox 3 days this week. You really need to detox at least 2-3 days to start to feel any benefits, although eating clean for even one day is better than nothing. Everyone has their own "rules" and ways of detoxing. Mine are pretty simple.

-I eat as much fruits and vegetables as I would like
-I can eat nuts and beans
-I try to do mostly raw, but I still cook some meals
-I eliminate all processed foods, sugars, and carbohydrates 

See it's SO easy! You don't need to deprive yourself. If you're feeling hungry EAT. Just eat the right foods.

Although there is a downside to detoxing. Before you feel better you can feel a LOT worse. I've only been detoxing since this morning and I feel sleepy, achy, and a bit nauseous. When you detox you can experience symptoms of illness, thirst, runny nose, irritability, fatigue, aches and pains, fever, weakness, flu symptoms, loss of appetite, and insomnia (just to name a few). Everyone experiences the detox differently. When I detox I swear I can feel the toxins entering into my bloodstream (sounds dramatic I know, but it's true!). The good news is, if you feel bad, it means your detox is working! The first time I tried a detox I felt really bad for the first 3 days. After day 3 something amazing happened. I had more energy, I wasn't sleeping as much, my mind felt clearer, less foggy. I also ended up losing some weight. If you'd like to give it a shot I am going to be documenting what I eat for the next 5 days. If you stick to it, and really detox your body, you'll feel a world of difference! Good luck!


Today I started off with a kale smoothie (which is what I drink every morning). This recipe makes enough for 2 big cups. You can save the extra in the refrigerator and then drink it the next day. It's STILL delicious.

1 banana
1 stalk of kale rinsed and bitter stems removed
1 apple cored and cut
1 orange peeled
About 8-10 frozen strawberries (I buy mine at costco and they are HUGE, if your berries are small you may want to add about 15)
About 10 frozen blueberries
8 oz. Almond milk

I recommend using a heavy duty mixer for this (I love my blendtec) since you need to mix up the kale really well. Blend all ingredients and enjoy!

I had to go to the grocery store and stock up on all my fruits and veggies. I grabbed a banana as a snack. I stopped by trader joes to pick up some nuts and hummus. I ate some plantain chips (from tjs, I checked the ingredients first, only bananas, safflower oil, and salt) and nuts on the way home. After I did a photo shoot of veggies I made some ants on a log (with NON processed peanut butter) and some grapes for lunch and an apple. I have my dinner planned already, a salad with the works, artichoke hearts, olives, tomatoes, avocado, beets, carrots, beans, and any other vegetables I throw on. I'll use oil and balsamic vinegar for the dressing and munch on nectarines, pears, nuts, grapes, watermelon, and hummus with cucumbers and carrots for a snack. Now that I'm writing this down it doesn't sound like a LOT of food, but our bodies don't need a lot of food. It's not the quantity that matters, it's the quality. Plus whenever I detox I get so nauseous that I don't have a huge appetite anyway.

I can't wait to eat that delicious spaghetti squash and those asparagus... Yummers

DAY 2
DAY 3

9.15.2013

Diagonal Squares


I saw squares similar to these on Pinterest and decided I could figure out how to make them myself. Well, it wasn't all that easy...I probably wasted at least a yard of fabric. So, now that I have made 52 of these suckers (for a couple of baby quilts), I feel confident in expounding directions to anyone interested! First, these can be made into different sized squares. Mine are 7 1/2" squared. I cut my fabric strips 1 1/2" wide by about 28" long. This will make four 6 1/2 by 6 1/2" squares that will eventually become two finished 7 1/2" squares. My best advice is make sure you use spray starch to iron and be very careful when pressing not to stretch fabric. I pushed seams open with my finger rather than with point of iron and it seems to help.



Sew strips together using 1/4" seem. Press, using starch again. Then lay out finished strip and cut into 6 1/2" lengths. Take two squares and lay them right sides together but with one of the blocks vertical and the other horizontal. Then stitch around all four sides. I only sew one side at a time because inevitably the squares don't match up perfectly so I end up having to fudge my seams a little. After two squares are sewn together lay them out again and carefully make a diagonal cut so that you have two triangles. Then cut the triangles in half again.
This is a picture of how you lay them together to sew around outside edges.
Using fabric spray starch again press them open and this is what they will look like.
Match up the four squares and stitch them together. Then do the same with the other four and of course press. Again, diagonal cuts stretch the most so just be very careful with the fabric. For my finished quilt it took 1/4 yard of each of 8 different fabrics and 1 yard for the 1 1/2" strips in between.