Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Monthly Weigh In - February

February was another good month. I've reached my goal weight, so I've been off of JC for a while which has been nice. I'm really impressed with myself that I'm now smaller then I was before I had Ada and she's only 5 1/2 months old. Yay me! I do want to continue working out and eating well in order to get more toned muscle (I'd love to wear shorts this summer without feeling self-conscious)!
Previous Weight: 159 lbs
Current Weight: 150 lbs
Monthly Weight Loss: 9 lbs
Total Weight Loss: 63 lbs

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Spicy Turkey Chili and Healthy Cornbread

Yum! This spicy turkey chili and healthy cornbread combo is to die for on dreary days. I took this chili recipe and changed it up quite a bit, and here is where I found the cornbread recipe.
Spicy Turkey Chili

1. Seed, chop and set aside
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 red onion
2 large garlic cloves
2 jalapenos
1 habanero (leave this out if you can't handle the heat)

2. In a large pot bring these ingredients to a boil
2 cans kidney beans
1 can tomato paste (8 oz)
2 cans tomato sauce (8 oz)
1 can diced tomatoes (drain)
1 can corn (drain)
2 cups water

3. While bringing your canned stuff to a boil, brown 1 - 1.5lbs of lean ground turkey

4. When your pot of canned ingredients is boiling, add the chopped veggies and ground turkey. Also add the following:
4 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon pepper
1.5 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons masa harina (if you don't have any do 1 T corn meal and 2 T flour)

5. Simmer on low for 1 hour stirring occasionally. Add more water if needed. 

This recipe yields about 10 servings and freezes great!

Healthy Cornbread

1. Sift dry ingredients.
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

2. Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
1/4 cup honey
2 egg whites
1 cup skim milk
1/4 cup applesauce

3. Mix the contents of both bowls together. Pour in a greased 9x13 pan.

4. Bake for 20 minutes at 400.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fat Quarter Friday: Fabric Yo Yo

This week I made a quick and easy fabric yo yo. I can't believe that I've been sewing pretty much my whole life and never knew how to make one of these! I can't remember which blog I saw these on first, but pretty much everybody knows how to make them, so I've seen them on multiple crafting sites. I decided to add a button and attach them to a pair of baby pants, um freaking adorable!

1 Fat Quarter
Something round to trace
Needle and thread

Step 1: Trace around something circular. I used a CD case which resulted in a yo yo about 3" in diameter. Cut out as many as you think you'll want to make.

Step 2: Take your needle and thread and put a knot at the end of it. With your fabric circle wrong side up put your needle through it about 1/8" away from the edge.
Step 3: You're now going to weave your needle in and out of the fabric about 1/8" away from the edge. The closer together your stitches are, the bigger the circle in the middle will be.
 Go all the way around to where your knot is.
Step 4: Pull your string tight so that the fabric gathers up. Once it's nice and bunched up in the middle tie off your string. Now you can be done at this point, or your can put a button in the middle to cover up the hole. Embellish away!
 Here are some examples of how your yo yo's can turn out quite differently depending on how you stitch them up.
Top Right: Turn under your edge while you stitch and use small stitches that are close together.
Top Left: Turn under your edge while you stitch and use larger stitches that aren't that close together.
Bottom Right: Don't turn under your edge (like how I did in this tutorial) and use small stitches that are close together.
Bottom Left: Don't turn under your edge and use larger stitches that aren't that close together.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fat Quarter Friday: Fabric Covered Container for Knitting Needles

So this week I made a fabric covered clorox wipes container to store my knitting needles. I used the tutorial from tatertotsandjello . They used their covered containers to hold plastic bags, but since I just made something to hold my bags I decided to use it to hold my knitting needles!
One fat quarter
Empty clorox or lysol wipes container
Tape measure
Mod Podge
Foam brush
Some ribbon (optional)

Step 1: Wash out your container and remove the label.
Now measure how tall it is, mine was about 7.5",
and how big it is around, mine was about 13.5".
Step 2: Cut your fat quarter to those dimensions, mine was again, 7.5 x 13.5".
Step 3: You'll probably want to lay down some scrap paper for this part. Turn your fabric so the wrong side is facing up and use your brush to evenly brush on some mod podge. Make sure that you get the sides and corners well.
Step 4: Start with one edge and roll it onto your clorox container. I let this part dry a little bit, and then I put some strips of ribbon on around the top and bottom of the fabric with the mod podge. I thought this gave it a little bit nicer finish, but it's not necessary.
Now fill with your knitting needles, or
with grocery bags like they did on tatertotsandjello, or anything else semi-small and awesome!
This craft was fun, super quick and easy, it literally only took me about 5 minutes total!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Portioned Out Snacks

As a part of our effort to lose weight and change some of our eating habits, we've been portioning out a lot of our snacks and desserts. It's really easy and actually does help curb mindless snacking (at least for us anyway).

Step 1: Find out what an actual serving size is, count it out and throw it in a measuring cup to get a visual on how much you should scoop out every time (because lets face it, only crazy people actually count out the 37 goldfish they're supposed to eat each time they want some).
Step 2: Scoop out your serving size portions into little ziploc bags. Now I know this part seems wasteful, but we just save the bags and reuse them.
Step 3: Toss all of your baggies of tasty treats into a larger bag.
We keep our bag of snacks in the cupboard so they are easily accessible when the cravings hit.
We've also been doing a similar thing with our baked goods. I love to bake, but with just the two of us eating them, it's bad news, so put your servings in a freezer bag and throw in the freezer. Remove the day before (or the morning of for dessert that night) and enjoy! It's like having a never ending supply of dessert, but in the right portions. So instead of eating an entire pan of rice krispies in one night, I get to have one square a day for a couple weeks! Desserts that we've found that freeze really well are rice krispie treats, cookies, and breads.

Colorful Felt Numbers

I made these cute felt numbers a while ago and decided to finally put them up. It was a fun and simple little project based on a similar project from Meg McElwee's book Growing Up - Sew Liberated. It's a cute little book with projects for babies and kids.
I love the embroidery thread boarder around the numbers. They're perfect for little fingers to trace the shape of each number. I used a spray adhesive to hold the number in place on the white piece of felt while I hand stitched around it. To get the chunky look from your embroidery thread you thread your needle so that you have two strands going down into your knot at the end, and twist the two together while you stitch. Now wave up the edges with some scissors. Then with a sewing machine, sew your white felt to your dark brown felt. 
Super adorable, soft, and oh so fun to play with!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fat Quarter Friday: Applique Valentine's Day Onesie

Umm, this week's Fat Quarter Friday craft is pretty lame. I'm feeling rather uninspired this week and Ada's nap times have been taken up by painting the basement, not sewing. So this week you get a simple yet sweet hand appliqued Valentine's Day onesie. This is basically just a tutorial on how to hand applique. Old school applique is not as fast or perfect as iron on applique, but I enjoy it, plus I don't have any of that iron on stuff.
A onesie
1 fat quarter (or just some scraps)
Needle and thread

 Step 1: Make a heart pattern out of some scrap fabric. Place in on the wrong side of your fabric (at least 1/4" away from the edges) and trace it with a fabric pencil.
 Cut it out with a 1/4" boarder around the lines you drew.
 Make some slits around the edge of your heart, cutting near the pencil line, but not right up to it. Repeat for as many hearts as you want to sew on your onesie.
 Step 2: Lay out how you want the hearts to end up and pin the first one in place.

 Step 3: Take your needle and thread and thread it through the backside of your heart on the pencil line.
 Step 4: Now you're going to fold over the front of your heart about 1/4" so that the fold matches up with the pencil line. Take your needle and go directly down from where the thread is poking out of the heart and take a small bite out of the onesie fabric.
 Pull through.
 Step 5: With your needle, come directly up from where your thread is coming out of the onesie and take a bite out of the heart fabric. Pull through and repeat steps 4 and 5 until your entire heart is sewn on.
 Tie it off on the back and admire your work.
 That wasn't so bad, and this heart looks pretty darn good! Now repeat with your remaining hearts.
 Caution: Doing applique in the dark while watching The Biggest Loser may result in whompy hearts like number 3 here. I'm too lazy to pick it out and redo it, so Ada will just have to deal.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Baked Zucchini Fries

Do you love french fries? Yeah, me too. Too bad they're terrible for you. Luckily there's a delicious healthy alternative: baked zucchini fries! No really, they're totally delicious. They aren't exactly like french fries, but close enough and with zero guilt, plus, they're super easy to make. We got the recipe here, and only changed it a bit.
Some zucchinis (1 large-ish zucchini yields about 2 servings)
1 egg white
Bread crumbs
Parmesan cheese
Seasoning salt

Step 1: Peel and slice up your zucchini into fry shaped strips. Now that I'm looking back at the original recipe, it says you don't actually have to peel them, so we just added an extra step for fun.
Step 2: For this step we weren't too picky about measuring out specific amounts. Throw some bread crumbs in a ziploc, then sprinkle in some seasoning salt and parmesan cheese. It's not rocket science, just toss in whatever looks good! If you don't cook that way you can look at the original recipe to see how much of everything you should use.
Step 3: Separate out your egg white and empty it on to a plate. Coat your zucchini strips in the egg. (The original recipe calls for butter instead of an egg white, so do as you will.)
Step 4: Place your coated zucchini strips in the bag of goodness and shake it up.
Step 5: Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 425 for 15 minutes or until golden and delicious!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Fat Quarter Friday: Reversible Drawstring Bag

This week I made a reversible drawstring bag for my fat quarter Friday project. I used this tutorial from Just Because I am Me, um freaking cute! Don't be turned off by how long the tutorial is, this project actually goes super quick, I just included a lot of pictures!
Step 1: Trim up your fat quarters so they are 20" x 17" each.
Step 2: On one of the long sides fold up a 1/2" hem, iron and sew it in place. Do this for both fat quarters.
Step 3: Fold your fat quarter hamburger style right sides together. Then you're going to sew the open side and bottom (the hemmed edge is your top). You will begin sewing 3 inches down from the hem as shown in the picture. Do this for ONE of the fabrics.
For the other fabric, you will do essentially the same thing, start sewing 3" down from the hemmed top, but you will not go all the way to the end, you want to leave a 3" opening on the bottom for turning later on.
Step 4: Take your bags and flatten them out with the seam facing up.
Starting in the middle, iron open the seam. As you come down to the hemmed edge, you'll have some raw open edges, iron them down with the same seam allowance as the rest of the seam.
Step 5: Now you're going to want to sew that 3" slit in place. Sew along the edges as shown in the picture.
You should get a nice V shape. Make sure to do this to both fabrics.
Step 6: With your bags still inside out, grab the V section and fold down one of the sides so that the top meets the bottom of the V. Pin it in place and do it on the other side of the V too.
Fold over the rest of the top edge to match up with the V section that you just pinned down. Make sure that it's the same length all the way around, then put a couple more pins in it.
Sew around the top following your same seam from before. Repeat with the other fabric as well.
Step 7: Take your bag that doesn't have the little hole in the bottom of it and turn it right side out. Leave the other fabric inside out. Situate them like so in the picture with the right side out up top, and the inside out one on bottom. They should also have the V section facing the same direction and have the hem at the top.
Slip the top fabric inside the bottom fabric. So now you have a bag in a bag and you should only be able to see the wrong sides of both of them.
Step 8: Pin around the top so that everything matches up nicely, and then sew around the very top with a 1/4" seam.
Step 9: Find the little hole you left and pull the fabric through it so that you can see the right sides. You should have what looks like two rectangles sewn together!
Step 10: Hand sew up the opening using an invisible stitch.
Step 11: Shove one of the fabrics down into the other so that instead of two rectangles, you have a bag with a lining! Iron the top so everything is nice and crisp.
Step 12: Find some ribbon or twine for your ties. You will need two strands about 30" long.
Attach a safety pin onto one of the edges of ribbon and thread it through one of the openings at the top in the V section. This part is a little weird, one of the ribbons goes into the loop made by the lining fabric, and the other ribbon goes through the loop made by the outer fabric. There is also a little loopy area between the two that we don't use.

Either tie or sew your ends of the same ribbon together. If using ribbon, I recommend sewing so that it doesn't come undone. Thread this tied part into the bag so that we don't have to see it.
You're done! You can leave them quite simple like so,

or your can turn down the tops before you sinch them so that you get to see the two colors, super cute!!!