Sunday, March 2, 2014

A dandelion skirt set

We are getting together with Mr Cassie's family. The first time that all of us and his siblings and their families will be together in almost 5 years. We had a family picture taken that last time and we are planning on it again. We are all from the Chicago area and the Chicago sports teams seem to be important to everyone (everyone except me, I hate all sports) so the Bears colors/theme was chosen for our picture.

Cream Cheese and Spinach Stuffed Chicken Wrapped with Bacon.

Cream Cheese and spinach stuffed Chicken wrapped with bacon.


 This one was pretty easy.

1 package of cream cheese softened.
4 chicken breasts cut in half (to make them thinner)
8 or 16 slices of bacon (I used 8 but if you want two for each piece of chicken) cooked halfway (so they are still bendy).
1/2 a bag of spinach
2 T. butter
red pepper flakes
garlic powder
onion powder

Heat oven to 375. Cook bacon half way on stove top in big pan that can go in the oven later. Remove to a plate. Drain bacon drippings.

Put butter in the pan and soften under med. heat. Add some garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, pepper to the butter. Once all hot and melted add the fresh spinach. Stir and flip and turn the spinach until it has wilted. Set aside to cool.

In a bowl add the package of cream cheese. Pepper, paprika, red pepper flakes, garlic, onion powder (could use green onions, I didn't have any), parsley and mix together. Add the cooled spinach and mix in. Put the bowl in the fridge to chill while you prep the chicken.

Pound out the 8 thin pieces of chicken until they are 1/4" thick. Use salt and pepper and paprika on the chicken. Put a spoonful of the cream cheese mix at one end of the chicken. Roll up, add some pepper and paprika then wrap one or two slices around the chicken and hold in place with a toothpick. Put the chicken in the pan you cooked the bacon in.

Put pan in oven and cook for 30 minutes.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Winter Hats

It is that time of year again. It is getting cold. It is only the middle of November and we have already had a bit of snow. Anyway, I have been making the kids' hats every year. This year I let the boys pick their own colors (sort of). Hugh's new winter coat is dark gray with a red fleece interior and Hugh's favorite color at the moment is "golden". So we added the gold/yellow. It looks a bit like a Gryffindor hat to me and Hugh is just thrilled with it.

 Side view. Hugh HAD to have the ear flaps. He was not interested in a hat unless it had them.

Now, for Owen's hat. His only request was that it matched his blue puffy coat. Said coat is a medium blue with a dark blue fleece lining and a green zipper. So, the hat is just like Hugh's hat, only in the two tone blue and lime green.

He got ear flaps just like Hugh.

Here they are!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Star Wars Art Smock

Way back in the middle of September I made a bunch of bias tape. I made it so I could make Hugh an art smock for school. It should have been done way back in August but I was having trouble figuring out exactly how I wanted to make this. I wanted it to 'grow' with him and easy for a 6 year old to get on and off. I also have a very opinionated boy who very much had a say on the fabric choices.

This is what we ended up with.....front


 I have tons of PUL fabric for making cloth diapers/covers. So, I used that for the body of the smock. It is completely water proof. Nothing is getting through it. To get the shape, I just laid out a t-shirt of Hugh's and traced out the neckline and arm holes (making a point to add a couple of inches for growth). Then we went through my stash and Hugh picked the Star Wars fabric. That was a good choice because I had a blue to match it in the PUL. I would have done a black or a blue bias tape but Hugh wanted Yoda green. The Star Wars fabric has been divided into 3 pockets.

As for the belt, well it was the best way I could come up with that would be easy for him to put the smock on and off himself. It has snaps to adjust the size. The belt is attached to the back part of the smock and then wraps around the front, holding everything together.
 The back is completely plain

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Halloween Costumes

I know, I know...this post is coming a bit late. I have been both busy and a slacker.

This year I mainly focused on Miss Faye's costume. Owen decided to go as Superman...which Hugh had done a couple of years ago so we already had that one. Hugh decided to go as Wolverine, but not the cartoon Wolverine, the movie Wolverine. So, I hit the store and bought him a muscle shirt and the claws. Easy and done. For Miss Faye, I decided to make her a ghost. I kept seeing the tutu ghost costumes all over and I knew that would be easy and adorable so that is what I did.
The tutu skirt was easy. I just bought 2 yards of tulle and cut it into strips. I know you can buy it in the 6 inch roll but it cost more that way. The strips were just looped around a piece of ribbon. Easy and done.

 If you look closely you can see sparkles. I did splurge on one roll of glitter white tulle. I only put a few pieces in the skirt as it was really stiff and scratchy.

 For the top, I used a long sleeved white onsie that we already had in Faye's drawers. I added eyes and a mouth out of black scraps from my stash.

 I put a quick and easy running stitch around the edges in white to make it stand out.

 Here I am with Miss Faye in her costume. I didn't get very many pictures that day. I'm thinking I will dress her back up to get some better pictures. As you can see I made myself up with a sugar skull. If it had not been raining and gross I would have attempted fun clothes to finish the look.

....and here we all are, heading out to trick or treat in the rain. Don't mind that Owen does not have red bottoms on. I had them but we could not find them anywhere.

ETA...I took some pictures of Faye in her costume. She moves around so much that these were the best I could get.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

100 Pounds of Tomatoes - Canned

Two years ago I had decided that I wanted to can enough tomato sauce to last our family for the year. Of course I decided to do this when it was winter and there were no fresh tomatoes to be found. So, I told myself that that would be my goal for the summer. Well, summer came and with it I was HUGE pregnant. It was also a drought. I made the wise choice to sit with my feet up instead of can any amount of tomatoes.

Fast forward to this summer. I am not pregnant, there is not a drought, and there is still the I made a small batch of tomato sauce to sort of get the hang of it. We have a farm share through a local farm and when we started getting lots of tomatoes I saved them. My test batch was a success. It was easy but time consuming.
I never actually weighed this bunch at all, but this amount of peeled and seeded tomatoes gave me only 4 half pints. I was then looking around trying to find something to do with all the skins, cores, and seeds (I really hate to have any waste) and I found that you can process them the same as the meaty part of the tomato. You may have to spend a few minutes pushing it all through a strainer but there is quite a bit of flesh left on the back of the skins. So, into a pot all that went...
And I started cooking it down....
Then I pushed it though a strainer.....
It was thick smooth and perfect. I ended up getting another 4 half pints out of the skin, seeds, and cores.

Now that my test batch was such a success...I sat down and did some tomato math. Trying to estimate how much tomato sauce one family might use in a year. Then trying to figure out how many tomatoes are needed to result in said amount of sauce.

I started by looking at my cooking habits. I make something tomato based a minimum of once a week...sometimes two or three times. So, I knew I needed at least 52 pints (most of my recipes use a pint). A bushel of tomatoes is 53 lbs. and I found many differing opinions on how much sauce you could get out of that. Lots of it has to do with how thick you want the sauce. I decided that 2 bushels would be a good place to start.

I was smart enough to realize that pushing 100 lbs of tomatoes through a hand held strainer would be silly, so I bought a food mill. As for tomatoes, I found a decent price at one of the local farm stands. $18 for a half bushel. I called and put in my order. My tomatoes were ready for pickup on a gloomy rainy Sunday.
Holy.Crap. That is a lot of tomatoes.

I decided to just skip the blanching, peeling, squeezing step on my first go around since I planned on processing all that stuff anyway.

Big huge fail. It had to cook down was actually faster to blanch, peel, and squeeze the tomatoes and process the 'waste' stuff later.

So, I started processing tomato sauce...and I kept processing tomato sauce. Finally, a week later...after staying up till midnight or later every night...I had 64 pints of tomato sauce and 16 pints of salsa.
Oh, and the jars on the left in a different color are apple sauce. My sister has some apple trees and she brought me a couple of boxes of apples.

I also did a small batch of peaches earlier in the summer.

I still want to make a batch of salsa verde with some tomatillos and some more applesauce, but essentially, my canning is done for the year. I am quite excited to have so much yummy goodness for my family for throughout the year. I will try to go bigger next year and do some diced tomatoes and some other veggies.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Bias Tape

I have a project  that I'm working on that needs double fold bias tape. Have you ever gone to the store and seen the pitiful selection of bias tape out there? Well, as I'm always telling my mom, "Google is my friend." After a quick search I found an awesome tutorial with a short cut for making bias tape.

Since the tutorial has already been done, I will just post my pictures....

My bias tube.

Close up of tube showing the cutting lines.

Me cutting.

Big pile of fabric all cut out...

Using my 'thingy' to make single fold bias tape...

Close up of single fold bias tape...

Making the double fold....

Wind it all up on some cardboard and you have custom Yoda green double fold bias tape!

I promise I will put up a post with the project this will be going on.