Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday, March 17, 2014

Spinach Fettuccine

For St. Patrick's Day, my kids demand green food, just as they demand to wake up to hearts leading the way from their bedrooms to a great Valentine's Day surprise and glorious Easter baskets, etc. The aftermath, I now suffer for doing cute things on holidays when they were younger that I may not necessarily feel like doing anymore. But, anyway. I made the obligatory green pancakes this morning. I got away with the inclusion of lettuce for lunch. And for dinner, I decided to try the Spinach Pasta in the Blendtec Twist Jar recipe book. I had a bunch of spinach from my Bountiful Baskets that I recently started to participate in that I needed to use. The pasta looks really appealing in the Blendtec photo, but I wasn't too sure it would turn out so well.

No, I don't think you're supposed to have to put this much flour on the pasta dough, but I had to.
It wasn't too hard to mix. The ingredients are pretty simple: spinach, white whole wheat flour, egg, and water.  I didn't have white whole wheat so I used whole wheat pastry flour and organic all purpose flour and omitted the water because I had just washed the spinach.  Well, I was right. The resulting "dough" was pretty sticky. I had to dust everything many times with more flour. (I should have just added another 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flour directly to the dough, but I felt I needed to stick to the recipe on this first go around). I cut them fettuccine style with a knife and let them dry for a while. Then, I had a heck of a time trying to peel them off my board. That's where I really started loosing faith in this recipe. But I made myself go on and threw them in the pot to cook them for about 6 minutes in boiling water. I made some grilled chicken strips (OK, they were frozen) and cream cheese sauce to help everyone with the task of eating this.

Much to my surprise, although, they did NOT look pretty, they tasted great and the texture was ... normal! The kids loved it!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

English Flowers Blouse & Lindy Hop Pants


Pattern: Ottobre 1/2013 #29 English Flowers Blouse & #30 Lindy Hop Pants
Fabric: Heather Ross, Crafty Chloe found at Hancock Fabrics; cotton dot fabric JoAnn's brand
Notions: zipper, reused button, cheap green buttons from Walmart and a couple cute green flower buttons from JoAnn's
Total Cost:  I don't remember, probably about ~$12.00 blouse; ~$7.00 pants
Size: 122cm
Child's Age: 9


[Shoes: Umi Moraine Mary Jane Silver]
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So back when I made the Passenger Trenchcoat about a year ago, I immediately wanted to make an outfit to go along with it just as in the magazine, with the English Flowers Blouse and the Lindy Hop Pants. Loved the whole outfit. I managed to churn out the blouse not much later, but the pants. Oh the pants, I just got around to making today!



I always have a hard time picking a size. I don't like to round up and go the safe route because I like things to fit right not like gigantic hand-me downs. Unfortunately, sometimes I cut it too close, and things end up very fitted as did these pants. Her measurements are just all over the place!  I should have gone up at least one size more even though the actual waist is still too big on her.  I was going for something similar to the magazine model with the dot fabric. This is the closest I could find. It's a JoAnn's fabric which I wasn't too excited about at first, but it really ties in well with the blouse, I think. This style of blouse is not the easiest to pull off.



The sewing was pretty straight forward. I think my collars are coming out a little cleaner. My tucks on the blouse were not as uniform as I expected them to be. I was working with a very small piece of fabric as I had overlooked that piece when cutting out the rest of the pattern and barely had anything left. But the overall effect was great. I found this fabric at Hancock Fabrics. It's one of those little gems you spot and then look at the label and realize why you liked it so much. It's from Heather Ross's Crafty Chloe line.





Friday, February 21, 2014

Melt Butter Review & Giveaway!



End Date: Feb. 28, 2014   ** Winner: Shoumita F. **
Prize:  (1) MELT Organic prize package which includes:
                   1 cutting board,
                   1 spreader and
                   2 VIP coupons for free MELT Organic Spread

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OK, I'm kind of a bread junkie.  I don't go for chocolate or ice cream.  I like bread!  Especially warm, homemade bread with butter.

We have been using Smart Balance butter for a while and we've looked for butter replacements when one my kids was allergic to milk.  He's now outgrown this allergy but we have recently found out that my youngest boy, Super D., is lactose intolerant.  Needless to say, I'm always looking for the healthiest butter spreads and ones that Super D. can have, which means I'm always reading the ingredients list on the back of packages. This is kind of the first elimination round on packaged or processed foods. I had a hard time reading the small print on the Melt container.  I wish it had been printed a bit easier to read as I bet many people are interested in the ingredients when choosing this buttery spread over others.

So what is it made of? Here is an excerpt from their website --
Rich & Creamy MELT® Organic
  • Ideal balance of Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids – 2:1
  • Good daily source of Omega 3 ALA’s at 425 mg – 26% RDA per serving
  • Good daily source of Vitamin E – 15% RDA per serving
  • Certified Organic and Kosher
  • Certified non-GMO by the Non-GMO Project
  • Absolutely no hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils
  • Trans Fat Free
  • Gluten Free
  • Soy Free
  • Lactose and Casein Free
  • No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
Rich & Creamy MELT Organic Ingredients: Expeller-pressed organic oil blend (virgin coconut oil*, palm fruit oil, canola oil, high-oleic sunflower oil, flaxseed oil), water,  sea salt, organic ghee (clarified butter), natural flavor, tocopherols, sunflower lecithin, organic annatto. CONTAINS MILK. *Fair for Life Fair Trade certified ingredient at least 20% fair trade content.
Naturally Sweetened Honey MELT® Organic
-Organic Wildflower Honey
-Organic Cinnamon
-Dairy Free
Plus All the Goodness of MELT Organic:
  • Ideal balance of Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids – 2:1
  • Good daily source of Omega 3 ALA’s at 425 mg – 26% RDA per serving
  • Good daily source of Vitamin E – 15% RDA per serving
  • Certified Organic and Kosher
  • Certified Non-GMO Project Verified
  • Absolutely no hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils
  • Trans Fat Free
  • Gluten Free
  • Soy Free
  • Dairy Free
  • No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
Honey MELT Organic Ingredients: Expeller-pressed organic oil blend (virgin coconut oil*, palm fruit oil, canola oil, high-oleic sunflower oil, flaxseed oil), water, organic wildflower honey, sea salt, natural flavors, organic vanilla extract, organic cinnamon powder, tocopherols, sunflower lecithin, organic annatto.  *Fair for Life Fair Trade certified ingredient at least 20% fair trade content.

I received a coupon from MELT and purchased the Rich and Creamy as well as the Naturally Sweetened Honey.  There is also a chocolate version I did not try.  I had to go to another city to buy them as none of the stores nearby are carrying it as of yet. Bummer. So, after getting home I whipped out my magnifying glass, going directly to the allergen list first, I see that both of these spreads contain "tree nut". That's a major bummer, because my older son is allergic to all nuts.

The Rich and Creamy, regular spread contains milk. I initially thought that was strike two for my other son who is lactose intolerant. However, it also says on the side of the tub that it is "Lactose and Casein Free".  In that case, this would be a great butter alternative for Super D. I would have loved to find a new spread that tastes good AND everyone can have, if it hadn't been for the tree nuts.

Now, I just noticed that the ingredients and nutritional labels are available on the MELT website and they don't list tree nut as an allergen for the honey spread. ???  I don't know what this means. Maybe the formula has changed? This is important stuff and it's proving a bit confusing.

My other consideration is price. I buy the Smart Balance for a cost of about .1145 cents/oz. The MELT Organic comes to about .3069 cents/oz. Smart Balance is not organic but does have some similar features.

One half fresh bread; one half toasted.

Anyway, on to the taste test. We tasted the regular spread, Rich and Creamy MELT, on warm, homemade bread. My favorite.  It tasted great, very similar to the Smart Balance spread we normally use.  It was easy to spread and melted great. Next, we tried the Honey MELT.  We had mixed reviews on this one. The adults, probably used to the flavor of real honey-butter, felt it tasted a bit less natural. The kids totally loved it.

I've received an update: upon further tastings, my husband has decided he loved the honey flavor too! Also, my kids think the little spreader is the neatest thing in the world.

So if you'd like to try this for yourself, sign up for the make|me|studio and Melt® Organic, Butter 2.0 Reader Giveaway.  Giveaway end Feb. 28, 2014.

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PRIZES: One (1) winning entrant will be randomly selected to win a MELT Organic prize package which includes 1 cutting board, 1 spreader and 2 VIP coupons for free MELT Organic Spread. Sponsors reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. Prize package is nontransferable.
See additional rules and restrictions on giveaway page.

*Disclosure* The product(s) in this review were provided to me free of cost for the purpose of conducting my review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Bread, glorious bread


So, I got a bread machine a few months ago. Bread machines were one of those things I didn't comprehend the need for. My grandma used to make bread by hand and I always thought that was the way to make bread.  Well, I got sucked into looking at an e-mail with some deals on it and next thing you know, I'm buying a bread machine.  Nevermind the fact that my kitchen is bursting at the seams and has no more room left for appliances.

I started out with a couple of recipes from the machine recipe book. But my real interest is to continue to eat the whole wheat bread we've finally become accustomed to.  I ended up buying the Kindle book, The Bread Love'rs Machine Bread Cookbook. And, I've made bread just about every other day since then!

Here is some of the bounty.


Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns - Delicious!

Squaw bread - was good until I figured out I'm allergic to rye. : (
The first, only, and most decadent sticky buns I have ever made.
They are so good, I can never make them again.



Pizza dough with whole wheat. Even Monkey Pants has made able to make the dough on request!


And the outatkes:

I got a special pan that make two 1 lb. loaves. Uh, one loaf decided to be bigger than the other. 
They were eaten, nevertheless.





This is what I like to call the bread cavern. I made it for Valentine's Day. It was late at night. I was going to enjoy it with some chocolate-covered strawberries and some wine.  After my initial knee-jerk reaction of disappointment, I laughed for about ten minutes straight. It was the best gift I could have given myself.



And just for reference, I made the same loaf the previous day for a birthday party. This is what it should have looked like over there behind the paella.



Look for a MELT Organic Butter Giveaway post coming up next!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Green Cable Throw


So, I started making this cable throw two years ago, right around Thanksgiving time. I made super fast progress on it. Annnnnnd, I never finished it. At some point, I discovered I had made a bunch of mistakes that have apparently become quiet predictable in my knitting-while-watching-tv-technique that I have.  I also was just a little bit short on yarn. And so the project sat there in panels in a basket in my family room for two years.
My attempt at blocking
Well, I finally got in the frame of mind to complete it again during the same time last year only to discover Lion Brand yarn has changed their colors and this green is no longer available!  A couple of months later, I determined to get-r-done if I had to comb the earth for this yarn or make it myself.  I searched high and low for days. Then -I found it on Walmart.com. Yeah, it wasn't even that hard. And it was cheap.  This happened to me because I was buying one skein at a time with a coupon. Not a good idea.


And here it is. I've been using it to watch TV in the evenings.  It's very warm and comfy and doesn't produce a lighting show of electricity every time I move it like the polyester, store-bought one I was using before. So don't fret over those never finished projects. One day, you too can get-em-done.  Really, I just put up some linen divider curtains in my family room that was an idea I had eleven years ago when we built our house. It's never too late.


The pattern is a free pattern from Lion Brand Yarns using about 9 skeins of their Wool-Ease Thick n'Quick yarn and size 13US needles.  I can't link directly to it because you have to login to their site but you can find it on this page.  It is knit in five individual panels which are sewn together with yarn at the end. The color I used is called Lemon Grass but it is not in their current colors.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Dried Cranberry Tea Bread


So I haven't been sewing much lately, but I have been baking.

I got a sudden urge to buy a bread machine. Yup, I'm way behind the times but that's OK. So, I've been making bread just about every day for the last two weeks. However, in order to do so, I've pretty much had to give myself the equivalent of a college course on wheat, yeast, all the various ingredients and the history of bread making in general.  I've obviously underestimated bread all my life.

Today, I actually made this bread in the KitchenAid mixer and baked it in the oven, but the recipe was from the bread machine recipe book I got last week.  The bread machine was already occupied with another bread treat I'm going to try to freeze for Christmas.

Maybe it's because I'm Hispanic, but I don't understand why cake is called bread just because it's baked in a loaf pan.  "Pan", "queque", "torta". "Bread", "cake", "cake"???  English doesn't make a lot of sense sometimes.

So, I bought the West Bend High-Rise Bread Machine from Walmart online because it was a good deal and I just happened to find a $50 gift card to Walmart I'd apparently been saving for this moment for the past three years.  I also bought the kindle version of The Bread Love'rs Bread Machine Cookbook.


I made these real quick for my son's dance teachers. And they smelled soooo good baking in the oven.  I had to make a couple more for us.  The tags are a free download from Lia Griffith.  I love her designs.