Back in college is when I really started getting crafty. I made my own purse, made some dorm decorations, and made my own body pillow cover. That body pillow cover finally gave out after lasting
ten three years. My beautiful stitches stayed in place; the fabric itself gave out. I had hand sewn the whole thing, and Mi Madre thought I had machine sewn it, that’s how awesome I am.
I decided it was time to make a new cover, and in fact I made two, so one could go through the wash. I also made them using two different methods, because I’m awesome, and that’s the kind of crafting that keeps you on the edge of your seat! The first one is just plain old fabric sewn together. Maybe “plain” is not the right word for this fabric. It is faux quilt fabric from probably the 70′s that I found at a thrift store years ago. I have hoarded it, and used it periodically, but this is the biggest piece I’ve used so far. This piece is a yard wide, and I just laid the pillow down on top to get the length.
I then hemmed one of the short sides to be the open end of the pillow case.
Next, I folded the fabric in half, inside out, and pinned along the back end and long side, a couple inches from the pillow. You want the pillow case to be snug enough to stay on the pillow, but easy to slide on and off.
I ran it through my magical sewing machine, and BAM! Look at that crazy fabric! It’s so amazing, and yet terrible!
So, pillow case #2 is MUCH tamer. For this, I’m using 2 normal pillow cases. This is a great way to do this, because you can easily match your existing bed sheets, if that’s a concern of yours. If you can see the picture above these words, and the one below, you can tell that is OBVIOUSLY not a priority of mine.
I decided to have the open ends of these pillow cases both facing outward. First, I used my trusty seam ripper to open up the short end of both pillow cases.
Now here’s the tricky part: I turned one inside out, and left the other rightside out, then stuffed one inside the other so that rightsides were against each other, and the insides were both showing. The one that is rightside out goes inside the inside-out one. lined up the long seams on the pillow cases first, then the open seams I had just made. I then pinned it to death.
This picture shows the two “right” sides of the fabric touching each other.
And this is after I had pinned it all the way around the circle.
I then did a running stitch, by hand, all the way around. After that, I turned the whole thing right-side out, to make sure everything had worked as I planned, then turned it inside out and sewed one end shut.
I then turned the whole thing back rightside-out, and put it on the pillow. Fabulous!
This is a great way to use extra pillow cases you might have, like I obviously did. The hand-sewn one took a little longer, maybe a total of 45 minutes, and the first one took maybe 30 minutes. These are both great projects for someone beginning to learn to sew, or learning a sewing machine for the first time.
I had never had homemade refried beans until a friend of mine opened my eyes to the amazing possibilities. We make them for breakfast tacos, but they are good any time of day. For this recipe you’ll need some cooked beans, preferably pinto or black, garlic, garlic salt, and either bacon or olive oil, depending on your preferences. I start out by cooking some bacon.
While that’s cooking I chop 4-5 cloves of garlic up very finely.
Oh look! Beans that are already cooked, as if by magic! (I’m like Rachel Ray, but with a normal-sized mouth).
Once the bacon is mostly done, start the garlic browning. If you’re making vegetarian refried beans, brown the garlic in olive oil. Turn the heat down pretty low for this.
I use garlic salt and sriracha to flavor mine, and the potato masher will be very important in a minute. I don’t just take photos of random crap on my counters, this is all part of my plan.
Put a bunch of beans in the pan and mix in the bacon fat or olive oil. Let that heat up a little bit.
Once the beans are warm, smash them with the potato masher (see? The plan! I had one!). Warm beans are a little easier to squish than cold ones, in my opinion. Once you have everything smashed thoroughly, let the beans cook a little more. You want to cook off some of the liquid until they reach a consistency you like. But remember, the beans will thicken as they cool, so let them cook until they are slightly runnier than you’d like. That way, when you serve them they should be just right. If your beans are too dry you can add warm water or olive oil a little at a time to get a consistency you like.
I made these beans into breakfast tacos with the bacon, but I ate all the results before I took a picture. Meh. I had plenty of extra, and I’ve made quesadillas also, which were amazing. This process is way easier than I thought it would be, and it’s very easy to make a small batch to experiment. You can use canned beans, or beans you’ve cooked from scratch yourself. And it’s an excuse to eat bacon!
I’m sure you have all figured out by now that my “recipes” are just, in fact, conglomerations of whatever random crap I have in the house at the time. For this one, I used chicken, but it is very simple to make this vegetarian or vegan; the variations are at the bottom.
Today we’re using one chicken breast, about a half cup of frozen peas, a cup of frozen broccoli, one cup uncooked rice, two scrambled eggs, 1/4 cup chopped onion, and a bunch of teriyaki or soy sauce, whichever you like.
Start by cutting up the chicken really tiny, and sauteeing it in a large sauce pan. Get your rice cooking at the same time, according to the package instructions.
Chop what needs choppin’.
Throw the veggies in to cook with the chicken. You can add some teriyaki or soy sauce, and garlic salt at this point. You can use different vegetables, if you like, such as bell peppers (ew), water chestnuts (EW), or even just a bag of mixed frozen veggies. Once the veggies are almost done, throw in your raw scrambled eggs, and stir them around to cook. I throw teriyaki sauce on top of them while they’re cooking so they get some flavor.
Hey, the rice is done! It’s so fluffy and delicious! You can also use leftover rice for the recipe. If it’s a bit chewy, just throw it into the veggies, once they’re cooked, and add about a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Let it cook and stir it around to make sure all the rice gets coated in oil and heated up.
Once the rice and veggies are both ready, you can combine them in the pan, and stir everything together. Add your sauce and spices to taste.
To make this recipe vegetarian, leave out the chicken. You substitute tofu if you want, or add extra scrambled eggs. To make it vegan, leave out the chicken and eggs. I consulted my teriyaki sauce bottle, and it appears to be vegan. Everyone can enjoy my cooking; I’m just that amazing.
I usually make a nice breakfast on weekends, even if it occurs at 2 in the afternoon. This last weekend I wanted to try something a little different. I decided to make a sort of crust-less quiche. I started by chopping up a small head of fresh broccoli.
I diced up a small amount of onion.
I sauteed the two together in olive oil with a dash of garlic salt.
While that was cooking, I shredded a little over a quarter cup of parmesan cheese.
I cracked open and scrambled 4 eggs. I threw in a dash of pepper, and about half the cheese.
I then threw the eggs into the pan on top of the veggies. I stirred it around, and made sure all the egg was thoroughly cooked.
I used the rest of the cheese to top the eggs. It was AMAZING. I started stealing off Hubby’s plate, it was so good. I may make it for dinner tonight. I think the key was making sure the broccoli was well-seasoned before the eggs were ever introduced. Plus, this type of cheese is very flavorful, and I want more right this second.
Rarely, I force my husband into watching Food Network. He hates it because it makes him hungry for all the awesome foods they show, yet we have no way of acquiring. I see his point, but I guess I’m a glutton for punishment. We were watching Good Eats with Alton Brown awhile ago, and AB made chili from scratch. Hubby got a bee in his bonnet to make his own. For those of you who don’t already know, my sweet Hubby is obsessed with spicy food. He was determined to make his own four-alarm, heart-attack-inducing chili.
I was told to stay out of the kitchen, which was probably for the best. With all the jalapenos he was cooking, the air was like pepper spray. I wasn’t even allowed to STIR anything. From what I saw, this is what went into it: a pound of lean ground beef, 1/2 pound of lean ground turkey, 8-10 jalapenos (seeded), 1 either poblano or serrano, 1/2 onion (diced), 1 can Rotel, 2 raw tomatoes (diced), untold amounts of garlic salt, chili powder, and paprika, and a little tomato boullion powder.
I don’t know what happened, but food came out. Amazing, delicious, only a bit too spicy for me food. It was fantastic.
I think I’ll make him cook more often.
You may have noticed that I like to cook a whole bunch of food at once to I don’t have to do it every night. The other day I washed and cut up 2 heads of cauliflower, and threw them in a baking dish with olive oil and garlic salt. Since the oven was already on and the cutting board was already dirty, I decided to bake some lentils, too. They were already cooked (the night before I made pasta, and since the pot was already dirty I threw a whole bag of lentils in to boil while we were eating dinner. Noticing a pattern?).
I chopped up the remains of a white onion, 2 raw jalapenos, and some red onion, for a total of 1/2 cup of large chunks of onion.
The laready cooked, refridgerated lentils, fresh out of their tupperware:
Yes, that’s a Star Wars cup in the background. I mixed the ingredients in the pan to avoid dirtying extra dishes.
I added 3 tablespoons or so of olive oil to moisten it up, 1/4 cup good parmesan cheese, and probably 2 teaspoons or less of garlic salt. You can make it spicier by adding chili powder, or Sriracha. Once it was done cooking, we each added Sriracha to our own portions to control the level of spiciness. Hubby like things way spicier than I do. You can make it vegan by leaving out the cheese or using a vegan cheese substitute. I haven’t tried those, so I’m not sure how it would work. You can also add some cumin for additional flavor.
I baked it at 350 for 30 minutes or so, until it was bubbling and a little crispy around the edges. The veggies had cooked a little bit, but they were still fairly crunchy, which I liked. You could always saute them before mixing them into the lentils if you want them more done, but I liked the variety of textures.
We have had a ton of chicken in the house lately, and Hubby is starting to get tired of it. Being the Clever Chick that I am, I plan on tricking him into eating as much of it as I can. I cubed up some baked chicken to make into chicken salad. Hubby loves spicy stuff, so I threw in some Sriracha, or Rooster sauce, to liven it up. You will need:
Dill, garlic salt, Sriracha, ranch dressing, mayo, chicken, celery, and peas.
I microwave the frozen peas in water, then drain it.
This is 2 or 3 chicken breasts, 3 celery stalks, and about 1/2 cup of peas. I like a high veggie to chicken ratio in mine.
I also like it moist, so let’s just say there’s probably an unhealthy amount of ranch and mayo in there. I added the Sriracha gradually, since it’s very spicy. I used maybe a teaspoon of garlic salt, and maybe two teaspoons of dill. I tend to cook by adding a little something, tasting, then adding more if I need to, which is why I’m terrible at giving real recipes.
Anyway, here’s what it looks like when complete. I usually just eat it with a fork, or on a salad, or wrapped up in a piece of lettuce. I have been obsessed with Sriracha, so expect more recipes with it in the future.
I know i’ve mentioned before that I don’t make my own hummus. It just never seemed worth the effort. Well my friend Sara, of the formally-long-red-hair finally convinced me to give it another try. Here’s the recipe that made me start making it again. I’m going to start with the basic, plain-jane kind, and then give you some flavor options.
I start out with a bag of dried garbanzo beans, aka chick peas (probably 3 cups or so). I put them in my crock pot, with lots of water, and (here’s the smart part) about a teaspoon of baking soda. That makes them get super soft, which gives you a creamier hummus. Put it on the 8 hour setting, and ignore it.
Once you have your squishy-soft beans, let them cool some, but the hummus comes out much creamier if you make it while they are still warm. So put them in your food processor with 1/2 tablespoon of tahini, 2 cloves of raw garlic, and at least a tablespoon of lemon juice. Don’t go overboard on the tahini, or it can end up tasting like peanut butter. I add some olive oil also, to add some creaminesss.
A couple notes on tahini: Tahini is sesame seeds smashed up until they resemble peanut butter. I have always been irritated by this product, because it’s one of those ingredients that you only need a miniscule amount of for the recipe, but you can only purchase it in mass quantities (The Oatmeal has faced a similar conundrum). I finally found a small(ish) reasonably priced, resealable jar over with the peanut butter in our grocery store! If you are able to find something similar, just make sure you mix the sesame oil that rises to the surface back into the tahini before you scoop out a dollop for the hummus. I wonder if anyone has tried making hummus with sesame oil, and no tahini? Maybe I’ll try that in the future.
Okay, so now you should have your basic hummus: chick peas, garlic, lemon juice, tahini (and salt if you want). Here’s some flavor options, but also feel free to be creative. Hummus is like a blank canvas, waiting for flavor.
Spices: I like to add cumin for a nice earthy flavor, and/or dill. Garlic salt, chili powder, chipotle, and Tony Chacherie’s have all served me well in the past.
Vegetables: I usually throw green olives into the food processor from the outset, along with a little olive juice and olive oil. You can obviously use black olives as well. I, personally, don’t like bell peppers, so I have no idea why anyone would want to throw all their hard work away by tainting something so delicious and healthy with the flavor of demon poop, but to each his own. Some people just like satanic doodoo.
Sauces: I recently used a red wine vinagarette Italian dressing in mine, and it was awesome. It instantly gave the hummus a lot of complex flavor without much work on my part. I also used, brace yourself, dill pickle juice. I only eat the Clausen pickles that you find in the deli section of the store. All others just taste sour to me, but this pickle juice was great in there. Don’t judge! (I know my friend Bon Quiqui is probably drooling at the thought of pickle juice hummus right now).
The other sauce I used recently is Sriracha, aka Rooster Sauce. For those of you unfamiliar, this is a spicy red chili sauce, usually found in Asian restaurants. I have been using it in an unholy number of foods lately, to the point where it may get its own post soon. It makes the hummus spicy and delicious, to the point where I don’t want to share at all. AT ALL. It’s miracle hummus. I want to eat it with a spoon instead of crackers or carrots. I’m not kidding.
So I hope you’re all happy that I’ve seen the error of my ways, and admitted my ignorance. I’m not perfect, but everyday I get a little closer. but then I do things like almost set my house on fire, and I stumble back a few steps.
I’ve been spending a lot of time lately crafting for friends and family, like the cake topper and wedding favors for my sister, Beans. This post is going to show some of those gifts, and serve as an excuse for not doing many crafting posts.
For Jessica, I made a tiny gnome head magnet (which is part of an on-going weird joke between us), and a box of Cadbury creme eggs, of which I did not steal ONE.
This is a necklace for my sis, Beans, inspired by a recycle poster, which is why the tree is made of arrows.
UPDATE: I found the inspiration pic for this:
This is a monster baby. I made it out of some fabric by running it around the sewing machine with no real plan in mind.
He’s wearing a cape with SB on it, which stands for Super Baby. He’s playing super heroes, with his pet cow.
I named the cow Moothusela. This monster baby was made for Kathy Phan-tastic for her birthday.
Nuclear explosion? No problem! Super Baby to the rescue! (The background is part of a painting by my super-talented Hubby). So it just goes to show, being friends with me has its benefits. I love giving handmade gifts whenever I can.