Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Make Your Own Uncrustables

Looks like the real deal, right?  My kids don't know the difference!  Even when I make them with whole wheat bread they don't complain.

Let's get started.  First, you'll need one of these
The only sandwich presses I've seen are from Pampered Chef.  It will pay for itself in no time... I'm super cheap and I sprung for this thing.  I'm so glad I did!  Chances are you know a Pampered Chef consultant, but if you don't, you can contact Amie and she'll get you sandwich press of your own.  She's awesome.

I like making a lot of uncrustables at once and freezing them.  You don't have to.  Any instructions you see in this tutorial that are between *asterisks* you can skip if you are not a complete control freak.

1.  Lay out your bread on a cutting board.  *Make your own bread here.  Slice it with a serrated knife*

2.  Smear a thin layer of peanut butter in the middle each slice of bread.  *Make the most delicious peanut butter you've ever had in your life here*

3.  Put a dollop of jelly or jam in the middle of every other slice of bread, on top of the peanut butter.  *Make your own jam here*

4.  Lay one of the peanut butter only slices on top of the PB & J slices.  Line up the sandwich press in the middle of the bread.  Press the entire press down onto the sandwich until it cuts all the way through the bread.
5.  Push firmly on the plunger to seal the edges up.  Pop it out and you have an uncrustable!  *Use leftover bread (making sure there isn't excess PB on it) to make your own breadcrumbs here*
6.  Place extras in a ziploc freezer bag and freeze.  *Build your own freezer here*  just kidding :)

I don't know about you guys, but I love those quizzes you see online.  Like Socrates said, "know thyself", right?  Count up how many asterisked steps you plan on completing and see your results below.

0-1:  Let's face it, if you're even reading this and considering making your own uncrustables, you're a bit of a control freak.  It probably isn't something you need to worry about.  Although, if you are control freak, you'll worry anyway.

2-3:  You drive your family nuts, right?  Me too.  I fall into this range so I feel your pain.

4:  Go get help.  Now!

This has seriously saved our family quite a bit of money and they are so convenient to have around.  Hope you have fun making your own;  now go micromanage your family's meals!

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Copycat Crafts

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sidewalk Painting

I know by now you've seen these paints all over blogland, but we had so much fun today I just had to share
The kids painted their feet as much as the sidewalk

All you need to make the sidewalk paint is 1 part cornstarch

+ 1 part water

mix it up and add a few drops of food coloring
now you get to paint!

Girlie started scooping and pouring it on the sidewalk

little artists!
We will be doing this again and again throughout the summer.  So easy and lots of fun.  The kids' hands were a little stained from the food coloring, but I'm sure they'll be better in a couple days.

Hope you're having a fun summer so far!
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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fancy-pants Plants

These centerpieces are so simple it's silly!

They were for my cousin's rehearsal dinner.  We were hosting it at my parents' house and needed something quick and inexpensive.  My mom had mentioned she was looking to buy more perennials for her yard, so I figured we could kill two birds with one stone... we planted the flowers the day after the event!
 Here's what you need:
  • A roll of tulle in your color of choice
  • A yard or two of fabric in contrasting color
  • chalk
  • scissors
  • straight pins
  • potted plant
Lay your fabric out and place one of your plants on top.  Pull the fabric up the sides of the pot and use the chalk to mark where the top is in a few places.

Lay the fabric back out and draw a circle that is 3-4" bigger in diameter than the marks you made.  White chalk is great for this because it erases easily when you're finished.  I used a ginormous bowl to trace for your circle, but you don't have to.  Cut out your circle.

Lay your circle out and put the pot on top.  Pull the fabric up the sides of the pot and tuck the ends up under the leaves.  Use straight pins to secure the ends.  They stick right in the dirt!

Use your tulle to tie a bow around the pot.

Put it on the table and you're done!

In case you were wondering, yes, those favors on the tables were beer coozies.  They said, "To have and to hold and to keep your drink cold".  What can I say?  My family is Irish and they like their beer!

Anyone else out there obsessed with tulle for cheap, easy and beautiful bows?  It's my fave.

See you again soon!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dress Up Your Chest

Awww.  Poor naked, lonely cedar chest.  I had just painted it white, but I knew it needed something else.  Let's see if we can dress her up a bit

Much better!  Plus, this just added more cushy seating to the room.  We now officially have enough seats for all the people in our life group.  Let the hosting begin!

I wanted the cushion to be the exact size of the top of the chest, so I knew I'd have to start from scratch.  Here's how I did it:

  • 3 18" x 18" x 2" squares of foam (you can use 1 big piece of foam, but 3 small ones were cheaper for me)
  • 1 1/4 yards of fabric (I used upholstery fabric)
  • matching thread
  • Electric knife
  • Sewing machine
  • Needle
  • Sharpie
  • Ruler
  • Good scissors or rotary cutter and board
I started out by measuring the top of the chest

 got 3 of these

and lined them up.
You notice one is shorter than the others?  Well, that's because I cut it!

With this
hehehehe.  Knife-wielding maniac.  Since I'm a vegetarian, I rarely cook a piece of meat large enough to warrant using this thing.  I'm so glad I now have a reason for owning it!

Cutting through the foam is so much easier with this.  I've tried it with a regular serrated knife and the results weren't nearly as good
It isn't shown here, but make sure you mark your foam with a straight line to follow when you're cutting.  A Sharpie works great.

Now put all your foam pieces together and make sure they are the right size for the top of the chest

Next, take your fabric and cut it to the right size for your cushion.  My foam was 18" wide and 2" thick so I cut the fabric to 42" wide (enough to go all the way around and leave a 1" seam/mistake allowance).  I always cut a little bigger than I need, just in case.  I cut the length to 48" because my cushion is 42" long + 2" on each side and I wanted there to be enough to do the corners nicely.
Yes, I use an old wooden yardstick like your grandma had.  Yes, I know it's pathetic.  I promise I'll get a nice, clear ruler one day.

Now pin your fabric inside out around the foam.  You're basically making a long tube around the foam.  Pin the end up on one side so that the other side is open for when you want to turn it right-side out again.
Take the foam out and go sew it (inside out)!

Now turn it right-side out.  Take the foam and stuff it back in.  I like to roll the fabric back so I don't have to wrestle with it too much.

After you stuffed your foam back in, fold and pin up the corners on the open end

and then stitch them up by hand.
Don't worry if it isn't just right... no one will really see it.  I keep my hand-stitched end in the back and on the bottom of the cushion.

Now you're done!  Easy, right?
I might just make some pillows for the back of it.  I'll keep you updated.

What do you think?  Do you plan on trying this?  Let me know in the comments section!  Thanks so much for stopping by.
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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Table"scapes" from the CSA

Veggies as decor?  Yes!
The second I saw these at our CSA I gasped, "They're so beautiful and curly!"  I knew I would want to display them so I popped them in a glass pitcher with some water.

When I first got them home I couldn't, for the life of me, remember what they were called.  I recalled them being mentioned in Barbara Kingsolver's book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, but the book was borrowed so I didn't have it as a reference.
I knew they were some word that began with an "S".  So I went to Google and entered:  How to cook "snipes".  No.  I think that's a bird.  "Snapes"...wait, isn't that the guy from Harry Potter?  "Skypes".  Definitely not that.  SCAPES!  They're scapes.  Maybe my post title will help me remember it from now on. 

I wish I would have thought to use my veggies as decor before I cooked the kale.  That stuff is beautiful.  Delicious?  Not so much.  Maybe I cooked it wrong, but mine had the texture of neoprene.

And can we talk about the zucchini?  Oh my gosh it is so delicious.  I've never had zucchini that tastes so good.  This little display won't last long... these cuties will be fries tonight.

Here's my lettuce.  Gorgeous and yummy.  Yep, lettuce has got it goin' on floating around in that water all sexy and such.

And the peas!  So good I eat them raw.

Here are a few more pics.
And one more of the scapes

Before I go, I have to let you know how happy I am with our CSA (community supported agriculture) at Gorman Farm.  This is our first year being a part of a CSA and I love it so far!  You can find a local one to join here.

And here is a recipe I found for scape pesto.  Can't wait to try it, but I'll miss having them on my table.

Now go put some veggies around your house!
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