Ugly Blanket

The concept of ugly blanket is simple: take all the leftover bits of yarn from other crochet projects, and make them into on glorious, hideous blanket. I started out trying to make it like a quilt, but there were many flaws in this strategy, mainly my lack of skill. The squares were all various sizes, and everything was stitched too tight, so nothing would lay flat. It was too ugly to exist: 

DSCN7345

I ripped the whole thing out (including all the tiny squares I had made) and started over. I don’t actually have a single crochet project I haven’t ripped out at least once and started over. Maybe I should try to learn some basic skills…. Anyway, here’s the finally finished product:

DSCN7618

Complete with muppet-like fringe (which turned into dread locks once washed). I used this opportunity to use up small bits of yarn from my own stash, plus the generous donations of several friends and family members. I even ripped out projects that were complete, but I didn’t want anymore. So basically it’s a cannibal blanket.

blanket
And here we have Kornberg (featuring Roscoe) enjoying her gift. This was a housewarming/Christmas/Thank you gift, (basically all the events that went by while I was making it) and she and her pets all love it. I’m currently taking donations for the next one, if you have extra yarn laying around.

February 27, 2014. Tags: , , , , . Arts and Crafts. 2 comments.

Three Bean Salad

When I was chopping up a ton of veggies at once, I made some 3 bean salad for Hubby. He has no microwave or refrigerator available for his lunches, and was getting tired of sandwiches. For this I used:

1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
2-3 raw jalapenos (Hubby like VERY spicy food)
1/4 cup diced onion (you could use green or red onions)
1 can chick peas
1 can pinto beans
1 can white beans
1 can corn
Red wine vinaigrette dressing to taste

DSCN7311
I basically chopped and drained everything, threw it in a bowl, and tossed it in dressing until it tasted good. There are some more technical recipes out there with all kind of complex dressing recipes, but ain’t nobody got time for that!

The great thing about making this at the same time I was cutting up veggies sticks is that when there was a weird shaped part on the bell pepper that didn’t lend itself to being stick shaped, I just cut it off and tossed it in the bowl. Also, I only had to clean the kitchen up once. This is also a great summer time recipe, since there is no cooking required.

Hubby loved the freshness and spiciness of this, but I couldn’t even eat it, what with all the bell peppers in there. BLARG. True love is purchasing and preparing bell peppers even when you hate them.

February 23, 2014. Tags: , , , , , . Cooking. Leave a comment.

How to Hem Pants

If you’re like me, your significant other is about your same size, and likes to steal all of your pajama pants. Even the fairly effeminate Mr. Bubble pants, that are mostly pink. “His name is MISTER Bubble. That’s not effeminate!” is Hubby’s defense, but I still need something comfy to wear.

Enter the navy blue yoga capri pants. You think they’d be safe, right? Nope. My Hubby values comfort way over dignity. I had 3 pairs that are all identical, so I decided to make one pair into shorts. Sure enough, that was enough to keep him from adopting them! I used pink thread to hem them up, just to be on the safe side.

IMG_2395

The best way I have found to do this is to cut off roughly how much you want cut off, leaving a generous margin for error. Then acquire a helpful friend or family member to pin them while you’re wearing them. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been overly blessed in the booty department, so if I try to sew things without trying them on, I end up short-changed in the rear. Just remember you can always make it shorter, but not longer.

IMG_2407

Have your helpful friend fold the edge under once, and then once again to make sure the raw edge is contained in fabric. If you absolutely have to do this yourself, I recommend pinning with safety pins while the clothing is not on you, then try it on to see how you did. You may have to do this several times to get it right.

I hand sewed two rows simply because I thought it looked cute. I wore these CONSTANTLY while pregnant because they are so stretchy and comfortable. Now it’s winter though, and it’s ridiculously cold for Texas. I don’t even think I own enough layers to be outside in. I’m starting to doubt Canadians actually exist, because no human should be able to survive this.

And here I am writing a blog post about shorts when it’s less than 30 degrees F out. But, if you’re like me, you better start summer crafts now, or they’ll never be done in time. I’m still working on a scarf I started in June and I doubt it will be done for this winter. So many craft, so little time.

February 19, 2014. Tags: , , , , . Arts and Crafts. Leave a comment.

Shepherd’s Pie

I’m a little behind on blog posts, so this is from a couple months back, but well worth the wait! A few months ago I had the perfect storm of mass cooking occur. I started by browning some hamburger, about half of which I stored to make beef stroganoff later.

DSCN7316
I then added some cabbage, carrots, and onions I had chopped up while making three bean salad and raw veggies for snacks, all while keeping the kitchen clean. Cook the veggies to your desired cooked-ness. I like mine somewhat caramelized.

I used:  about 1/2 pound beef (browned and drained), 1/3 head of cabbage (chopped), 1 carrot (chopped), 1/2 onion (diced), garlic salt and pepper to taste.

DSCN7318
I then made a triple batch of this biscuit dough, one batch of which I smashed out for the topping on my shepherd’s pie.

DSCN7317

Bake the whole thing according to the biscuit recipe, and you can even have the biscuits in the oven at the same time!

DSCN7322

This type of strategy makes it so much easier to eat homemade food every day. I have a newborn at home, so BELIEVE me, I understand that it’s hard to find time to cook every meal. Get around it by prepping a bunch of stuff at once, or even cooking multiple meals at once.

February 15, 2014. Tags: , , , , . Cooking. 1 comment.

Valentine’s Day!

 

 

Last year my sweet Hubby surprised me with roses for Valentine’s. Flowers of course wilt, but I wanted to keep them around a little longer.

Once your roses start to wilt, hang them upside down to dry, like so:

Once they’re completely dry, you can display them again! I put them in this vase my sis Beans made for me, next to the fairy statue she got me.

 

You can also press flowers to dry. I’ve found it works best to let them get fairly wilted first, so there’s less moisture in the petals. I love having these dried roses, because I don’t have to worry about watering them, and I get to see a reminder of my loving Hubby every day.

February 11, 2014. Tags: , , , , , . Arts and Crafts. 1 comment.

Freezer Casseroles

While I was pregnant, I started hoarding food in the freezer for after I had the baby. Well Nacho is about 2 months old now, and we’re still working on all the food I stocked up. For the most part, I would make a double batch of whatever we were having for dinner, and freeze half. It worked out great!

To freeze soups, I just put them in a tupperware and label the top with masking tape. For casseroles, I used the following method:

Line your casserole dish with aluminum foil:

DSCN7419

Make your delicious casserole, like this here chicken spaghetti:

DSCN7422

Put it in your casserole dish:

DSCN7420

Put it in the freezer and let it freeze solid:

DSCN7423
Lift it out of your dish:

DSCN7424
Wrap it in plastic wrap, and label it.

DSCN7425

The awesome things about this method:
1) The casseroles are stackable
2) You don’t monopolize your casserole dish

To thaw it out, put it back in the casserole dish, then move it to the fridge for a couple days. Once thawed, bake like normal. I did the same thing with my quinoa casserole also. I also froze soups, stews, and meats, both plain and marinated.

Here’s a list of some of my recipes that I froze for after my kiddo was born:

Pulled BBQ Chicken
Bacon Lentil Soup
Smoothies
Split Pea Soup
Breakfast Tacos
Hubby’s Chili
Glut Sauce

You can freeze pretty much any soup, and there are lots of baked goods that freeze well also. I freeze pancakes, and then reheat them in the toaster. This is a good strategy for any time you know you’ll be busy, or out of commission for any reason. You can also do this any time you have a chance; when you have time to cook, make a double batch of whatever you’re making, then freeze half. You then have homemade food ready to go on those night where there’s no time to cook, and you get to avoid fast food.

February 6, 2014. Tags: , , , , , . Cooking. 4 comments.