Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer Salad: Quinoa Tabbouleh


Summer is indeed the time for salads, and I love them.

Tabbouleh is one of my favorites--it is so crisp and fresh tasting. Traditionally prepared with bulgar wheat, I thought it'd be fun to make a more whole-protein version with quinoa (which just happens to also be gluten free, which salads just sometimes need to be). 

Turned out great and here is the recipe for you. :)




Quinoa Tabbouleh


Ingredients:
1-2 c. cooked quinoa (depending if you like more grain or less in your tabbouleh)
1 lemon, juiced
1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil
Salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 c. minced fresh parsley
2 medium tomatoes, diced
4 green onions, minced
2 medium garlic cloves, crushed
1 Tbsp dried mint leaves (opt.)
1 medium cucumber, diced
Dash of cumin
Optional mix-ins: ½ c. cooked chick peas or chicken

Directions:
  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Cover and refrigerate to let the flavors blend, about 1 hour. Serve in pita pockets or with crisp lettuce and plain yogurt.
 

Now, go make yourself some and then chill in the summer afternoon sun while it gets even more delicious as it waits for dinner. 


 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

4th of July Ribbon Skirt


I had a blast making this 4th of July Ribbon Skirt,
and thanks to the Ribbon Retreat I think it turned out adorable. 


It's perfect for a summer day full of parades, bbq's and soaking up the sun.
Not to mention it is soooo quick and easy. And bonus, it's self lined! Yeah!


Want to make one for your little girl? 
Here's how. 
Start with a piece of white cotton fabric, 45" wide. To determine how much you'll need take the length you want the skirt times 2. Then add 2 inches. (For example, this skirt is 11 inches long, so... 
11 X 2 = 22 + 2 = 24. I need 24 inches.)
Decide what ribbon you want, and where.
WARNING this is Seriously the Hardest Part!
(If you've ever seen the choices from the Ribbon Retreat, you know what I'm talking about.)
Using a ruler, draw lines where you want your ribbons. The lines should run from salvage to salvage.
Also, remember this piece will be folded in half, so keep all the ribbon etc. on ONE side!


Instead of pinning the ribbon in place, just lay it along the line you marked as you sew it on. 
Sew down the center of the rick-rack and along both edges of the ribbons. 
(I sewed all of one color first, so I didn't have to change my thread a million times.)


Add the next color of ribbon.


Now fold your fabric in half (so one salvage end meets the other) with wrong sides together and 
sew 1/2 inch from edge, making a big tube.
 (I used a french seam so the raw edges wouldn't show, but you don't have to.)
  

Hem the bottom front edge of the skirt by folding the raw edge under 1/2 inch and then 1/2 inch again. 
Iron and stitch in place. 


Now fold the other raw edge up 1/2 inch and 1/2 inch again. Iron and stitch in place.


Fold the fabric in half so the hem on the front of the skirt (the side with all the ribbon) is 
a little longer than the hem on the inside layer. Iron. 


Sew 1 inch from the folded edge, leaving a small gap in the back to thread elastic through.


Cut a piece of 3/4 inch elastic equal to your waist measurment. Lift the top layer of the skirt and thread the elastic through the gap left in the back.


Sew the ends of the elastic together. (Make sure it isn't twisted!)
Put the top layer back in place and stitch the gap closed.


Your skirt now has a cute top layer with amazing ribbon and a lining underneath for a little added modesty.
You're done! 
Now you have one adorable 4th of July Skirt...


And one extremely happy little girl!


And of course plenty of left-over ribbon to make some adorable bows!
Thanks again to The Ribbon Retreat for all the fun supplies. 
Here's a list of what I used. 

Kona Cotton (solid white)
Polka dots, 7/8" (dark royal with white)
Swiss dots, 3/8" (red with white)
Saddle stitch, 3/8" (royal blue/white, and red journal/white)
Ric-rac, 3/4" (royal)
Ric-rac, 1/2" (red)







Monday, June 23, 2014

Grapefruit Creamsicle Ice Cream Recipe



Who out there likes grapefruit? Like a lot? 
At our house, we love it, but my husband especially loves. 
I once scoured the web for hours trying to discover if grapefruit-flavored Mentos still existed, or if I could at least buy them somewhere. Alas, they didn't. It was such a fun stocking-stuffer idea for him. :)
Then a few years ago I discovered a grapefruit gumdrop recipe.
I love my husband, so I resolved right then and there to make them as part of our Christmas spread. I make them every year now, and last year was truly the first time they turned out to my liking...they were always good, but this last year, mmm boy, they were GREAT. :)

So, when I was brainstorming and surfing the 'net trying to find a good Father's Day dessert that would satisfy my hubby and my father-in-law AND would be gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free, and nut free to accommodate everyone else, you can imagine my joy when I came across this recipe for Grapefruit Creamsicle ice cream!
yay! grapefruit heaven for sure!

In all honesty, I thought the recipe sounded a little wonky (hibiscus tea bags?) so I read a few grapefruit sorbet recipes, which varied a surprising amount, and got a good feel for what needed to be done. Just in case though, I browsed for some hibiscus herbal tea during my trip to the grocery store--wasn't too surprised I couldn't find any.

Then it was game time--time to start juicing and zesting grapefruits!
 


This recipe is a great make-ahead dessert for get-togethers. I made it the day before and then it was ready to go at dessert time without any hassle. perfect. 

After reading through all those recipes and seeing the pictures, I decided that the hibiscus tea was more for color than for flavor (I'm sure it added a nice complexity to the sorbet though). The recipe that used the hibiscus was a bright beautiful pink while the recipes that used just grapefruit where pale peach colored. I remembered that my good ol' Lemon Zinger from Celestial Seasonings had hibiscus in it as the first ingredient and that the tea was in fact quite read, so that is what I used. I used just one tea bag, but next time I'll go with two for extra color. :)


 



Grapefruit Creamsicle Ice Cream

Ingredients

1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened

1 c. water
1 ½ c. granulated sugar
1-2 Lemon Zinger or hibiscus herbal tea bags
5 grapefruits, juiced
1 Tbsp. grapefruit zest.

Directions

1.    Scoop the vanilla ice cream into a loaf pan. Pack it along one side to fill half of the pan. Cover and freeze until firm, about one hour.
2.    Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and add the tea bags and zest. Let steep 10 minutes. Discard the tea bags and stir in the grapefruit juice.
3.    Now you can either process the grapefruit juice mixture in an ice cream maker, or you can simply put it in a bowl in the freezer and remember to stir it every half hour or so as it freezes. It will be more crystal-y this way, but that is how I did it and everyone thought it was wonderful.
4.    When it is frozen, scoop it into the loaf pan alongside the vanilla ice cream (you will likely have leftovers, oh darn). Cover and freeze until firm, a few hours.

Enjoy!


 





Thursday, June 19, 2014

Star Table Runner and Place Mats


Hey everyone! I've been enjoying some 4th-of-July crafting lately. 



For quite some time now, I've been thinking about a star table runner that has been floating around on Pinterest. Alas, there wasn't a tutorial or anything of the like. 
 So cute though, right? 


Even without a pattern or tutorial, I decided to go for it. 
I took a trip to my favorite fabric shop, The Ribbon Retreat, picked me out some traditional red and blue patriotic fabric and went for it. I decided that even though I really liked the white stars on the fabric above and some of The Ribbon Retreat's red and blue fabrics with white on them, I was going to avoid having much white--I mean, they are place mats after all. And since I have young children.... 

 I think it turned out really fun and festive. I like seeing it on my table. :)
AND not only does it look cute, but there's a hidden little secret about it. 
Do you see it?


 Each star is buttoned to the other so that you can take it apart and use each as a place mat! So fun! (Also much easier for making, not having to worry about this crazy-long table runner being in the way as I sew.)


 I also randomly appliqued a contrasting star on each of the place mats for a little punch of color and pizazz. 


The whole project went really smooth, once I got started.
I must admit, it was a real bugger trying to make myself a template. Trying to get it all symmetrical and the right size, etc. I really messed with it for a LONG time, then I got smart. :) 

Here's your pattern: 
I printed out 5 large diamonds on cardstock, cut them out, then taped them together. 
Worked like a charm. 


You can print out this image, or download this PDF file.
Either way, print out 5, cut them out, tape them together and then you should have a good star shape that is the perfect size for a place mat.

To Sew The Stars:
1. Place right sides of your fabric together and some interfacing. I used fusible fleece interfacing so that they'd be a bit cushy. 
2. Use your template to cut through all three pieces. (I found it easiest to cut them all out together to make up for any imperfections in your star template. Plus just plain time efficient.)
3. If using fusible interfacing, go ahead and iron it now to stick it on. 
4. Sew around the edges (right sides still together). Leave one side of the star open so that you can flip it right-side-out. Before you do flip it though, trim the fabric close to each of the points and cut little slits in the v's so that it wont' bunch too much. Flip the star right-side-out.
5. Once it is flipped right-side-out, stick all the points out (I used a knitting needle to push the points out). Iron if necessary.
6. Now sew around the star again really close to the edge, making sure to close the open side. 
7. Sew on a button and a button hole and your done. :)
8. Optional step: spray with scotch guard to help repel stains. 




I hope you're having fun with your 4th of July crafting! It's almost here. :)