Archive for August, 2012

Using Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes Cookbook, I made the Goddess Salad, which is in the same menu combination with the Super-Fast Beef Hash and Lovely Butter Beans and Bacon dishes.

In an effort to be more frugal, I purchased a head of romaine lettuce instead of pre-washed and chopped lettuce.  I chopped it, washed it, put some in a bowl for my salad, and put the extra in a green veggie bag with a paper towel.

Leftover lettuce in the green veggie bag (to keep it fresher in the fridge)

I used my blender to make the dressing.

My advice would be to go easy on the lemon until you’ve tasted the dressing (avocado, lemon, sour cream, EVOO, salt, and pepper).  I added too much and had to add more avocado, which made the dressing thicker, so then I had to add more water to thin it out.

I would rate the dressing as okay, but yet I could probably do a better job the second time around.

I ended up with tons of leftover dressing.  I stored it in a salsa jar.

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These are instructions for double-sided curtains.  In Part 2, we prepared the edges of the curtain fabric, and we sewed the top and bottom of the curtains before turning them right side out.

I based my pattern on the one here.

Mark a line 1-1/2 inches from the top of the curtain and another line 3 inches from the top of the curtain.  Make sure you use disappearing or washable fabric markers.

Pin the curtain ties halfway between the 3 inch line and the bottom of the curtains.  Pin them on the same side of the curtain.  Have the unfinished edges on the inside of the layered curtain fabric.  I put them on the right side of my curtains, with the shorter tie on top.

On the outside (right side of fabric), start at the top and top stitch along the side (close to the edge) until you reach the 1-1/2 line.  Sew across the curtain on the 1-1/2 line.  When you get to the other side of the curtain, sew along the edge toward the top of the curtain.  To review:  You’ll be sewing down for 1-1/2 inches, across the fabric on the 1-1/2 inch line, and back up to the top of the curtain.

Next, start at the bottom of the curtain.  Sew along the edge from the bottom of the curtain until you get to the line that is 3 inches from the top of the curtain.  When you get to the 3 inch line, sew along that line (across the curtain).  When you get to the other side, go back along the edge toward the bottom of the curtain.  To review:  You’ll sew from the bottom of the curtain, along the edge to the 3 inch line, along the 3 inch line, and back along the bottom of the curtain.

If you did this correctly, the side edges will be sewed together, except for a channel between the 1-1/2 and 3 inch lines.  This channel will be for your curtain rod.  That’s right!  You’re done!  Make sure you wash off the fabric marker!

The above picture shows how you need to sew very close to the edges (on the sides of the curtain).

The shorter tie goes in front and the longer tie wraps around the back.

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Here are some of the things I pack when traveling to visit out of town family:

  • almonds and walnuts
  • sweet potatoes
  • gluten free bread, pasta, and crackers
  • brown rice
  • 100% fruit jam (contains fruit, fruit juice, and pectin)
  • olive oil for cooking

Bringing foods you know you can eat allows you to prepare appropriate meals.  It also keeps you from having to buy as much from the grocery store where you’re visiting (and running into the problem of them not carrying the gluten free or sugar free foods that you need).  Sure, you can find gluten free or sugar free foods and meals, but have you ever tried to find ones that are both sugar free and gluten free?  Yup, you end up cooking a lot of your meals at home.

If the family is eating pasta, simply make some of your gluten free pasta and eat it with the sauce everyone else is eating.

If they’re having toast with jam or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, simply use your jam instead.

If they’re eating mashed potatoes, simply cook a sweet potato!

When eating out, make sure that foods you can eat are available (corn, sweet potatoes, salads).  I’ve also found that eating at home first, and then having a lovely time chatting with everyone at the restaurant as they eat has been very effective.  It also keeps you from being extra hungry waiting to eat at a different dinner time!

When on the road, make sure you’ve packed meals in a cooler, or be aware of places you can stop to eat that have appropriate foods.  Once, my husband and I ordered a double cheeseburger.  I ate one burger patty and then he finished the rest of the burger.  That saved us from having to throw away a bun.

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These are instructions for making double-sided curtains.  In Part 1, we made the curtain ties and sewed a contrasting border to the bottom of the curtains.

I based my pattern on the one here.

Mark 1/2 inch along both sides of the main fabric.  I used a fabric marker that erases with water.

Fold over along the line and press.

See the turquoise line (above)?  Mark 4 inches from the top of the main fabric pieces (on both folded over edges).  Sew that edge down from the top of the fabric to that mark.  You’ll only be sewing those 4 inches down right now.

This will keep the curtain rod from catching on a raw edge, because this is where you’ll later be sewing the curtain rod channel.

Can you see the stitch line (above)?  Notice that the stitches are very close to the raw edge.

Layer your curtain pieces with right sides together (You’ll do that later.).  Sew the TOP and BOTTOM.  Do not sew the sides together.  Turn right side out and press.

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I am blessed to have a high powered blender.  Mostly, I use it for green smoothies, where it purees handfuls of kale or spinach into a smoothie.  I’ve also used it for making blueberry muffin batter, as well as salad dressings.

Recently, I was making a different recipe that required quinoa flour.  I didn’t have quinoa flour, but I did have regular quinoa.  I decided to toss some in the blender, since I’d read that my blender could make flour.  It turned out great!

The quinoa before…

The flour after…

Beautiful, quinoa flour

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I wanted to have some curtains for the window on the door of my classroom.  They needed to be double-sided, and they also needed a tie to keep them open for the majority of the time.

I based my pattern on the one here.

The window was 29 inches across the top and 37 inches down the side.  I purchased 2 yards of the main (apple) fabric and 1/2 yard of the contrast (red) fabric.

Contrast fabric – Cut two 7″ wide strips (bottom border) and one 4″ wide strip (curtain ties).

Ties (contrast fabric) – Cut the 4 in. strip into 4×14 in. and 4×21 in.

Fold tie pieces lengthwise, right sides together.  Sew one end and along the length.  Turn right side out and press flat.

Top stitch 1/4 in. from the edge on the closed end and along the length.  A contrasting color of thread looks nice.

Main (apple) fabric – Cut into two pieces.  I trimmed off selvages, so my pieces were about 44×35.

Bottom Border – On each of the main (apple) fabrics, sew a contrast (7 in wide) strip of fabric along the bottom edge of the main fabric (44 in. edge).  Make sure right sides are together.  You can sew 1/4 in. or 5/8 in. from the edge.

Press the seam flat.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

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I checked out the Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Cooking Cookbook by Susan O’Brien from the Library.  Here are some pictures of when I made the blueberry muffins.

I didn’t have enough brown rice flour, so I also used some Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour.  The recipe used agave nectar instead of sugar.  The recipe also calls for orange rind, which isn’t in the picture.

I mixed up the batter in my blender and then stirred in the blueberries by hand.

The recipe made six muffins.

I ate a few more than I should have in one sitting….

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I recently knitted an adorable baby poncho.  I also added a knitted flower.  Click here for the poncho pattern and here for the flower pattern.

I liked the flower pattern, because it was well written and had helpful pictures of each step.  I had tried a different pattern before that, but my finished product didn’t look like a flower!

I used a double strand of Caron One Pound Yarn in Azure for the poncho and a single strand of Sage for the flower.  The poncho came out really thick.  Also, I didn’t have long US 10 circulars, so I used US 8.



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I recently made pizza.  I used a homemade wheat pizza crust for my husband’s pizza (right), and I used a gluten free tortilla for my pizza crust (left).

Above:  I added sauce, cheese, onions, bell peppers, and cooked breakfast sausage, along with Italian herbs to my pizza (left).  My husband’s pizza had sauce, mushrooms, cheese, and sausage.

We cooked them for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees.  When using a tortilla, I would recommend putting sauce and toppings all the way to the edge of the tortilla.  I would also cook the tortilla pizza for nine minutes instead of ten.

Using a tortilla really cut back on the carbs (I’m on restricted carbs – 15g for breakfast and snacks, 30g for meals).  Most gluten free pizza crusts that you buy are (1) expensive for just 2 crusts and (2) very high in carbs.  It’s much easier to use a tortilla!

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Easy Cheeseburgers

I’ve found it very easy to cook up a batch of frozen burger patties.  You don’t even have to defrost them.  You just toss them in a pan!

Inspired by Jamie Oliver’s Cracking Burgers, from his Food Revolution cookbook, I smear on mustard and sprinkle on parsley, and then cook them in EVOO for four minutes on each side (preheat pan on high, and then cook on medium heat).

You can also throw some sliced mushrooms in the pan.

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Mustard Chicken

After watching the episode on TV, I made the chicken from Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes Mustard Chicken episode.  Click here for the recipe.

I can’t eat potatoes, so I did leftover rice and bell peppers (with EVOO and balsamic vinegar) instead.  I didn’t have leeks or swiss chard in the house, so I left that out and did a small salad.  I also left out the wine and cream in the sauce for the chicken.

You rub the chicken with salt, pepper, EVOO, and ground mustard, and then cook each side for 7 minutes.  Near the end of the second side of cooking, I added prepared mustard and chicken broth for the sauce, and then covered the chicken for the rest of the cooking time.

I followed Jamie’s tip of slicing the thicker end of each chicken piece, to help them cook more evenly.

The meal turned out very nicely.  The chicken was very tasty.

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On my countertop

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