Saturday, January 26, 2013

Recipe: Clementine Smoothie


I am almost embarrassed to admit that I purchased a bundle of clementines for the first time EVER last week. I had never tasted a clementine before, and boy was I missing out! My mother-in-law had some during my recent visit and I didn't even know what they were (gasp!). She told me how delicious they were, and now I'm telling you. If you don't already know.

Clementines have all of the wonderful qualities of an orange without the fuss. They are super easy to peel, there's no seeds, and they're all cute and tiny with perfect bite-sized pieces. I noticed there are surprisingly few recipes using clementines on the web. But I have a few ideas I want to try, and a smoothie was first on the list.

What you'll need:

2-3 clementines, peeled & juiced (should equal about 1/2 cup of juice)**
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 cup milk
1-2 tbsp white sugar
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
maraschino cherry, for garnish

** I don't own a juicer so I improvised by pulsing my clementine pieces in a food processor and then straining the juice over a bowl. It worked just fine.

In a blender combine juice, yogurt, milk, sugar, and vanilla. Cover and blend until smooth. The sugar amount may vary to your desired sweetness. I personally like mine a little more tart.
Top with a cherry or two because it's pretty and it adds a little flavor!



Thursday, January 24, 2013

DIY: Fabric Panel Sweater


Last week, I ordered a really nice gray cardigan from Piperlime. And guess what? It was FREE! Clearance + 30% off coupon + $15 reward = Adorable cardigan for the cost of nothing. Even shipping was free. (I know!) So I was pretty stoked about that and couldn't wait to get my adorable free cardigan. But alas, when the package arrived what I received instead was this frumpy gray thing. It wasn't awful, but it wasn't what I ordered. I was a little confused, and bummed, and so I hopped online to figure out what the H happened!?! The cardigan I ordered was now sold out, so there wasn't much chance of getting one. I don't know how/why they sent me this sweater instead of just sending me an email that my item had sold out, but I felt a bit silly calling to complain since it cost me absolutely nothing to begin with.

I decided if I was going to keep it, it needed to be MUCH more interesting. As you can see in the 'before' picture, it already had a stitching detail down the front that created a sort of panel. The first thing that came to mind was cutting that out and replacing it with a pretty fabric. Easy peasy! I was a little hasty so my stitching came out just a wee bit off. Don't judge me. I wore this to work yesterday and did my hair in a side braid over my shoulder-- it hid that little error just fine ;)

What you'll need for this project:

A sweater or tee of your choice
Fabric
Scissors
Needle & thread or sewing machine
A fluffy puppy to lay on your project when you try to take pictures (just kidding, that is not required)


1. Determine how wide you want your fabric panel to be, then cut a strip of fabric 2 inches wider than that and 2 inches longer than the length of your shirt from neck to waist.
2. Cut your shirt up the middle and pin the fabric in place on each side, leaving the neck and waist unpinned. If you want to keep your original shirt neckline (like mine), do NOT cut through it! Stop cutting about an inch before you reach the neck.
3. Flip your shirt inside out and sew inside the pins.
4. Now sew your neckline, and hem the waist. The hem was easy enough, but the neckline can be tricky so take your time folding the fabric inward and pinning around the curve. Sew slowly and don't be upset if you have to rip a few seams and start over! I had to.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Recipe: Chicken Puffs


Hubby and I went over a friend's house to watch the NFL playoffs game a couple of weeks ago and I made these. They were a huge hit and were gone faster than you can say touchdown! Just kidding that is pretty fast, but they did go quickly. I was not surprised, of course, because they contain three of my favorite foods: cream cheese, garlic, and crescent rolls! I've seen similar recipes floating around on Pinterest and I'm sure they're all delicious, this is just what I whipped up.
 
Ingredients:
 
2 boneless skinless breast halves, cooked & shredded (or 2 small cans of chicken, drained)
2 (8oz) pkgs cream cheese
2-3 cans crescent roll dough or crescent rounds
1 tbsp chopped fresh green onions
1 tsp garlic powder
pinch of salt & pepper
1/8 tsp chicken bouillon granules, optional
 
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. In a skillet over med heat combine chicken, garlic, salt, pepper, and bouillon. Stir and cook until chicken is heated through.
3. Reduce heat to med-low and add cream cheese. I find it best to cut the blocks of cream cheese into small chunks before adding it. Stir frequently until fully melted (if you step away too long it can burn and stick to the pan!) Mix in the green onion and remove from heat.
4. Unroll crescent roll dough onto counter (or cutting board, parchment paper, etc.) and pinch seams shut. With a rolling pin, roll dough to seal seams further and thin the dough slightly.
5. Using a pizza cutter, cut three vertical lines into dough and two horizontal lines, creating 12 semi-even squares.
6. Spoon a bit of chicken mixture into each square.
 
 
7. Fold all four corners in toward the middle to cover chicken mixture. Pinch corners to seal.
8. Bake for approx. 12 minutes or until puffs are golden brown.
 
 

Friday, January 11, 2013

DIY: Fancy up an old woven basket!

 

I use baskets all the time, for both storage and decoration. Sometimes I end up with baskets that I can't even remember where they came from! This is one of those baskets. I wanted to jazz it up a bit and this idea came to mind. Hope you like! 

 
 
All you'll need for this project: 

  • Woven basket (not too tightly woven)
  • Strips of fabric or ribbon

What to do:

Step 1: Using your fingers, separate the weaves in the basket and get a good look at the pattern. This will help you to determine your own pattern for your fabric and how you want to weave it around the basket. To keep an even pattern all the way around I counted the weaves (technical term) both across and up and down. I'll explain this a little further in a minute.


Step 2: Starting INSIDE the basket, pull your fabric through one of the openings in the weave at whatever point you want to start.


Step 3: Begin weaving in and out (inside to outside) of your basket in your desired pattern. To keep it really simple, you could just go horizontally all the way around the basket in several rows. This would be a great way to practice and get a feel for what you're doing. However, the design possibilities are endless!

Example: My first weave went down 4 weaves and over 3, diagonally. I did this all the way around the basket. Using a new strip of fabric I did the opposite, coming up 4 weaves and over 3, ending each weave in the same place the first set ended. This is how I created the chevron pattern. For my last row I only did the first step without completing the chevron. No reason really, just the way I wanted to do it :)


Step 4: Make sure your woven fabric strips all end INSIDE the basket. You don't want any funky pieces sticking out around the outside. Just tie off each end into a knot and that's it! Don't worry if your strips aren't long enough to reach all the way around the basket, just tie a knot where it left off and start a new strip.



Ta-da!
 

I was thinking, this would be a great way to customize storage for the holidays (red & green for Christmas, maybe), or for gifts (blue fabric for a boy baby shower??).

xoxo

Rachel


Friday, January 4, 2013

Recipe: Mexican Hot Chocolate

I was looking for a warm and cozy drink, and this really hit the spot. I'm a regular coffee drinker and an avid hot tea lover, but every now and again I like a delicious cup of hot cocoa. Here is an adaptation I created of traditional Mexican hot chocolate.


Ingredients:
Makes 4 cups.

1 heaping tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (I like Hershey's)
3 tbsp white sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper
pinch of salt
1/8 tsp vanilla extract (per mug)
1 cup milk (per mug)
whipped cream and extra cinnamon to top
4 mugs

In a small bowl combine cocoa powder, sugar, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and salt. Stir well until you have no lumps of cocoa and all ingredients are mixed together.
In your mug, stir the milk and vanilla extract. Warm in microwave on high for 1 1/2 min.
Add 1 tbsp of cocoa mixture to mug of warm milk and vanilla. Stir well and top with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon if desired.
Enjoy!!

** The cocoa mixture can be stored in an airtight container in your pantry for an unlimited length of time. Just stir or shake it up before each use. :)
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