Thursday, February 25, 2010

Recipe Review: Gluten, Dairy, Sugar Free RAW Brownies

These brownies are AMAZINGLY good. They are quick, and a one-pot dish, too. I think they only vaguely could be considered good for you-- but they do satisfy a sweet tooth in a hurry.

These books look like they'd have similar recipes:

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Waterproof Pants

We have had quite a rainy spell. The day after the rain, we keep going to the park and being the first to slide down the wet slide. Uh-oh...
These pants are the solution. They are from my favorite pants' pattern, but made one size bigger than I needed. The pants are made of PUL and the waistband is made of sweatpant material. The bottom binding is FOE. They are meant to go over another pair of pants.

We had the chance to try these out in SNOW last week and they worked beautifully. They slipped over a pair of pants, and his boots tucked under the edges to keep him wonderfully dry while playing in snow.
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Monday, February 8, 2010

Pattern Review: Reusable Snack Bag

I have been cutting up apples and pears and bringing them along with us on our outings for a snack. The problem is that they take up a whole hard container, then I need to carry a big empty container around for the rest of the outing. So I had been using plastic lunch baggies and throwing them away.

I came across this tutorial for a reusable snack bag (here is another option - see link on sidebar) when I was looking for a lunch bag tutorial for some cool oilcloth I just got. This project sufficiently distracted me from the oilcloth, and I am really happy with the result.

The tutorial was easy to follow and had great photos at appropriate places. The only direction that I would change was that she said to use a scrap of PUL and my scraps are much smaller-- I had to dig into my stash for a big enough piece. That is hardly a critique, though!

And that makes this hardly a review, I know. But the tutorial was useful and I am really happy with how my bags turned out. I was worried the PUL would stain from the pear, and it has held up just fine this last week.

I am looking forward to using these-- and making more!
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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Upcycled Sweatpants

One old pair of sweats became two pairs of toddler sweats last week. They are great, and just the weight of fabric we had been looking for (and unable to find at the fabric store, new, oddly enough).

To make them, I took my trusty pants pattern and centered the front over the logo and cut out the fronts from one leg at the top, and the backs from the top of the other leg. I put the same pattern over the bottom of the pants and cut the next pair, lining up the bottom with the already elasticized bottom of the man's sweats I was upcycling. My pattern has a slight flare at the bottom, and on the second pair, I tapered the leg to follow what was available on the current pants.

To make the waistbands, I took the old waistband and cut it 1/2" longer than I would need, and used this for the seam allowance. I cut it off the pants with about 1 1/2" to spare, and used this as the seam allowance to attach it. It makes a nice line across the pant, below the waistline.

To make the second waistband, I took a circle of fabric from between the top and bottom pair of pants (thigh of the man's pant) and it happened to be the right circumference for my needs. I put elastic inside and now it is a waistband.

We love these pants! I have another old pair of sweats I am saving to see if he needs them in this size or if I should make them in the next size up.
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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Reversible pants

It has been cold and we have been in need to more sweatpants. I have been looking for material, but all I could find was thin. The lady at JoAnn's told me it was spring. It is decidedly NOT spring.

So my *bright* idea was to make a pair of reversible pants. Twice as thick and choices of how it would look. I thought it was a great plan.

But, like a lot of great plans, it lost a little something in the execution. First of all, my second print is a little feminine for my little guy. He and I don't mind, but daddy thinks the ladybugs feminize the stars. This is not a bad point. Secondly, they are too thick. I had extra material and made two pairs of just the stars and they are just fine for warmth and fit nicely. The little guy doesn't walk that well in these... but we are used to him having a lot of freedom of movement as he is diaper-free all the time these days. Plus, the nice thing about sweats is that they are fuzzy on the inside. Now, that inside is really inside and he can't feel it.
So-- to the nitty gritty: I made two pairs of pants. Then I stuffed one inside the other and folded under the hem of each pant on each leg and pinned a LOT, then stitched the hems together. To make the waistband, I used the standard elastic in casing that I have been doing, but rolled under the edge so that it wouldn't show if we ever do use the ladybug side facing out. This took a while but I am happy with the result. If I would do this again, I may do something different in my fabric choice for the waistband so it makes a contrast on both sides.
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Recipe Review: Rachel Ray's Meat Chili

I now know that Rachel Ray is famous not only for her personality and gimmick of the 30-minute meal, but for the food itself. I admit that I have watched her show for years (Ok, back before the baby when I actually had time and desire to watch television), but this was the first time I have looked up a recipe of hers and tried it.


There are so many kinds of chili out there (I was debating if we should try and make Bobby Flay's, since he is the meat man), and decided on this because it has meat and beans and veggies. We made it (that's not me, it's one of my mommy friends) in a triple batch for 5 families to share. The kitchen was full of prep chefs and toddlers and man, did it smell good!

We followed the recipe and used less EVOO than she has in the recipe, and substituted domestic mushrooms for the other types, and green garlic for the garlic, and took out the Gouda, and added chopped carrots and kale. It was easy to follow, and quick. If I make it again, I will soak the beans and make them from scratch instead of from a can, and find the chipotle chili powder instead of the canned stuff. This is because we try to use fresh as much as possible (or died or frozen), and canned as the last resort. We also skipped the onion garnish at the end. It is also very meaty, but I guess that is what meat chili is all about.

Thanks, Rachel Ray, for the delicious and quick meal. I took it home and my husband asked for thirds! He ate his veggies and beans, and liked them.
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As an addition, here is an ode to the deliciousness of the chili from another family who took it home that day...
Our Family enjoyed Chili for days, in the following ways:

Thursday night: Chili & green salad
Friday Night: Chili and basmati rice Burritos
Sat Night: On open-face Baguette baked w/Parmesan & side salad
Sunday Night: Chili & Eggs Scramble with Avocado & Herb side
Monday Night: Chili a la Bolognase - final remaining chili added to marinara sauce and over Spaghetti.

I feel like I saved $100 bucks but gained 100 pounds over the last 5 days!
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Pattern Review: Buttercup Bag by Rae

This free pattern by Rae is called the Buttercup Bag. I think I thought it was cuter in the photos initially than I think it is now that I have made it, and don't love this bag.

It is tiny and doesn't have a zipper pocket.

It was quick to put together, and would be nice to make if you had two fat quarters of fabric to use.

In making it, I like how she has the pleats on the outside. The pattern itself was clear, as were her directions on what to cut from what. She has two separate sheets describing what to do and it would have been a lot simpler had she put it all together like most people do.

I learned a new technique doing this, which made it worthwhile. To connect the inner layer and lining, she has you leave a hole in the lining for turning, then stitch it up later. I don't like how the stitched up hole looks on the inside (why would you topstitch a lining?), but I will use this in the future as sewing the pieces together at the top and turning it there with only a small hole to pin and sew, instead of folding over the entire top of the lining and outer, and pinning and sewing carefully the whole way.

I didn't like how she has you handstitch the embellishment on the outside at the end. I would have rather done it before connecting the whole thing together. I also think she needed to give more instruction about the strap. It didn't make sense as to why she wanted you to stitch an ironed strap instead of sewing and turning. It would have also made it easier if there was more instruction or a photo closeup of the strap's attachment, as there was absolutely no elaboration. You can see I ended up with my buttons there instead of on the side.

I don't think I will make this again. BUT, if I do, I would make the strap longer. I would do a zipper pocket on the other side. I would also use thicker and fancier material.

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