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Friday, May 25, 2012

Corn Salad

I created this salad to bring to our Easter Celebration.  My inspiration came from my potato and corn chowder, but the warmer weather demanded something cold.  Since Easter, I have made this salad about once a week at my husband's request.  It usually lasts 2-3 days before I find an empty bowl on the counter.

Salad Ingredients
1-2 bunches green onions
1 leek
1-2 celery stalk
1 red pepper
2 pounds frozen corn
3-5 pounds potatoes
1-2 bunches cilantro

2/3 cup oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice (I used Meyer from our tree)
2-3 tablespoons no-salt garlic and herb seasoning.

1. Cook the potatoes until soft.  Allow to cool, then slice.
2. Slice the onions, leek, and celery into small pieces.
3. Dice the pepper and cilantro
4. Defrost the corn by running water over it in a colander.
5. Add all the ingredients to a large bowl (or two smaller ones)
6. Mix the dressing and pour over the salad.  Stir to combine.

You can serve immediately, but the flavors will be more intense if allowed to sit overnight.  This makes a lot of salad and could easily be cut in half.  It also is open to many other ingredients and combinations.  I have made it with sauteed mushrooms, black beans and cumin, and have omitted the red pepper.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

New Growth Quilt

Introducing my most recent quilt: New Growth by Poplun.  I started it back in March (even though I already had another quilt in progress).  It promised to be a quilt that could be assembled in small chunks of time, which was perfect for me since I find that I can only squeeze in 10-15 minutes of sewing every few days.

It worked out well because each of the parts could be broken down in to smaller steps as needed.  I had a bunch of fat quarters that I bought last summer that coordinated really well for this quilt.  For the actual quilting part, the pattern reminded me of argyle, so I quilted some diamonds and rows.
If anyone out there is looking for an easy quilt pattern, I highly recommend this one.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Dinosaur Booties

Our little toddler, K, is becoming more mobile.  She isn't quite walking, but is almost there.  At home she is barefoot the majority of the time and has never worn a pair of shoes.  As she will be moving around more and more, I thought it would be a good idea to start transition her from being barefoot (or with socks) to something that would be more like a shoe.

I saw this tutorial at Made-By-Rae for these cute dragon/dinosaur slippers a while back.  I even made K a pair of non-dragon booties using the same tutorial back in October, but she has long since outgrown them.

This time I thought she would appreciate the dinosaur look, and she did (I think she thought they were toys).  Although I really like the blue and green booties from the original post, it seemed like a pink version would be fun too.

Some changes from the original design:
  1. I used ric-rac of the super-jumbo variety (which is why there are fewer bumps running down the front of the booties).
  2. For the soles, I re-purposed the feet that I had cut-off some pajamas.  They have a grip pattern so it is less slippery on our wood floors.
  3. I substituted circles of felt  for the eyes, as buttons could be a choking hazard if they came off.
  4. I used my serger to finish the inside edges of the soles instead of a zig zag stitch.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Potato and Corn Chowder

Photos of batch #1, minus the extra veggies
This simple chowder is made from basic ingredients and is easy to make.  I have made it twice and added some extra ingredients the second time (denoted with an *).  I was able to make it for lunch in about 30 minutes.

3-5 potatoes, washed
1 onion, diced
1-2 cups sliced celery
5 mini or 1 large sweet pepper
5-10 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon oil
3-4 tablespoons No-Salt Garlic/Herb seasoning
2-3 tablespoons dried parsley*
1 tablespoon black pepper (optional)
6 cups hot/boiling water
1/2 cup vegetable stock*
2 pounds frozen corn kernels
3 green onions, sliced*
2 cups greens (Chinese cabbage), sliced*

  1. Pierce potatoes with a fork and cook in the microwave until soft.
  2. While potatoes are cooking, saute onions, celery, pepper, and garlic in the oil until browned
  3. Add the hot water to the pot.  I boiled the water using my electric kettle (that I love!) then poured it into the pot.  Adding the hot water de-glazed the pot and released any stuck-on pieces of vegetable from the bottom.
  4. Add the vegetable stock, seasoning, parsley, and black pepper if desired.  The first time I made this I used the black pepper and it added a bit of spicy flavor.  I omitted it the second time so we could feed it to our 14 month old daughter and not worry about it being too spicy.
  5. When the potatoes are cooked, cut them into fourths or eights and add to the pot.
  6. Add the frozen corn and bring the soup back to a boil.
  7. Add the green onions and greens and cook for 3-5 minutes until the greens are tender
Photo of batch #2 with the added ingredients
The added ingredients from the second batch really add some fresh flavor to the soup.  There is a lot of flexibility with vegetable combinations and levels of spice.  This is another one of the recipes that will help clean out your refrigerator of aging vegetables.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring Top #1

Sewing has become one of my go to hobbies because it is easy to start and stop (due to short naps) and can be done even when the weather outside is unwelcoming.  I follow several sewing blogs, one of which is Made By Rae.  I have followed several of her tutorials and have made some really cute items.  Maybe one day I will blog about some of them and share some photos.

This past Monday, Rae launched the Spring Top Sewalong 2012 and I decided I would try to make some tops for myself.  My first top is based on one of Rae's own patterns, Spring Ruffle Top, that she shared over at SewMamaSew.

Here is my top: 
The fabric I used is Indian Flower, "Small Packed Flower/Gold" by Legacy Studio that I found in the clearance bin at Beverly's.  The white is some fabric from Joann's that I had leftover from a quilt. I would say that getting the straps set correctly was probably the most time consuming part of this pattern.  It also gave me a chance to try out making ruffles on my new serger, which worked fantastically.

I have already started my second top and I look forward to trying out some new techniques.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Vegetable Thai Curry

This soup was a result of an overflowing refrigerator with vegetables that were a little past their prime. I decided that a Vegetable Curry would be a great way to use the vegetables and some of the cans of coconut milk my husband acquired en mass when they were on sale a few weeks ago. I suspect any assortment of veggies would yield a similar result. Here is a combination that we really enjoyed.

1 yellow onion, cut into eights
5 cloves garlic, roughly diced
1 leek, sliced thinly
5 ribs celery, sliced thinly
4 green onions, sliced thinly
3 medium carrots, sliced
1 yellow pepper
1 small bunch cilantro
1 small sweet potato, cubed
1 small yam, cubed
1 bunch kale, sliced
ginger, peeled and cubed
jalapeno, whole
1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 3 in pieces and pounded
3-4 tablespoons curry powder
1-2 tablespoons garlic and herb seasoning mix
4 cans coconut milk
8 cups water
oil for sauteing

1. Saute the yellow onion, garlic, and leeks.
2. Add the water and bring to a boil.
3. Add the celery, green onions, carrots, pepper, cilantro and continue to boil.
3. Place the ginger, jalapeno, and lemongrass into a spice ball or cheese cloth and add to the soup.
4. Add the spices, coconut milk, sweet potato, and yam and cook until tender
5. Just prior to serving, add the sliced kale and cook just until it is softened.

We ate this over brown rice with garlic shrimp on top.  Hope you like it as much as we did.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Simple Spring Garden

With our little one around, time for large scale projects is scarce so I decided to create a small garden with some Spring vegetables just outside our backdoor.  I was inspired by a pallet garden I saw on Pinterest and decided to spend a couple of hours putting one together with two abandoned pallets in our yard.

The process was quite simple:
  • Attach landscape fabric/weed barrier to the pallets using a staple gun
  • Fill the newly formed planting beds with soil.  I used this kind for containers.
  • Plant your veggies and water them in.

  • I planted spinach, romaine lettuce, Chinese cabbage, and onions from transplants.  I also planted some spinach seeds in the bare spots, hopefully they will grow. I can't wait until they are a little bigger so we can start harvesting without eating the entire plant.  Are there any other interesting Spring Gardens out there?

    Tuesday, January 24, 2012

    Harriet's Mixed Bean Soup

    This is an easy soup that is perfect for a blustery winter day.

    Ingredients (shown above)
    4 celery stalks, sliced
    1 sweet onion, diced
    5 sweet peppers, diced
    1 head garlic, diced
    mushrooms, sliced
    2 cups mixed dry beans
    3 tablespoons of your favorite no salt seasoning
    3 tablespoons dry parsley or basil (can use fresh if available)
    black pepper to taste
    1 can no-salt added tomatoes*
    2-4 cups greens (spinach, chard, bok choy, kale, etc)
    oil (olive or canola)

    1. Soak the beans per the package directions, either overnight or using the quick soak method.
    2. Saute the celery, onion, peppers, and garlic in canola or olive oil. Canola does not burn as readily but is not as tasty.
    3. Boil the beans for 1 hour then add the sauteed vegetables, mushrooms, and spices.
    4. When the beans are soft, add the tomatoes and the greens and simmer for and additional 5-10 minutes.
    We eat this soup with brown rice and bananas.
    *Of course you can always use fresh tomatoes when in season.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

    Hello again...

    So it's been over a year since I last posted and a lot has changed. Little did I know when I was doing a quick recap of 2010, that I would only have one short month until our little girl would make an early appearance.

    Our beautiful daughter was born 6 weeks early and had an 8 day stay in the NICU before we brought her home. It was a stressful time and it took a while before we found our rhythm. Now, she is almost a year old and I am amazed at the blessing we have each and every day.

    I can honestly say in the last year my focus has had a great shift and as I (hopefully) get back to some regular posting, I will be able to share some new interests and revive some old ones. Stay tuned.
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