May, 2013

  1. easy lap quilt

    May 23, 2013 by Angie

    My first quilt is finally finished! It’s, like, a really big deal to me, you guys. I feel like I wrote a novel or something. Here it is, my pride and joy!

    finally!

    Sneak peak of the back.

    all folded up

     Folded up on my quilting table.

    folded closeup

    After three quilted pillows and a lot of reading about quilting, I went for it. I made the “easy lap quilt” from Bend-The-Rules Sewing by Amy Karol. For the quilt top I used some fat quarters I found at JoAnn’s Fabric and three shades of gray by Kona Solids (I think).

    "designing" the quilt top

    “Designing” the quilt top using strips of different lengths.

    quilt top

    The finished quilt top.

    After completing the quilt top I basted the three layers – quilt top, batting, and backing – together with pins. I had been able to successfully quilt my three smaller projects on my little old sewing machine but quickly had a disaster on my hands when it came to this quilt. Oh, the bunching! I did some more reading and realized I didn’t have the tools necessary to get the job done. I needed a walking foot and my machine couldn’t accomodate one. Robbie is the hero in this story for giving me my amazing new Janome MS5027PR sewing machine (complete with walking and free motion feet) for Christmas. Thank you, Cute Husband!

    After ripping out a lot of quilting stitches – so annoying! – I basted the quilt again on the floor of the spare room in our new house.

    IMG_8036

     I taped the backing to the floor to discourage shifting while pinning.

    IMG_8037

    All basted!

    The quilting took longer than I would have liked but I was learning how to use my new machine at the same time so I guess that’s to be expected. I stitched in the ditch in between each strip vertically and added more vertical quilt lines sort of randomly. I thought it needed more so I quilted some horizontal lines too. I quilted one line on either side of each horizontal fabric join. I struggled with the horizontal quilting because there was nothing nearby to use as a guide. I used blue painter’s tape but it was pretty horrible so next time I’ll use a washable marker of some kind.

    close up of the quilting

    A closeup of the quilting lines.

    Next I squared up the quilt as best as I could. It meant cutting it smaller than I would have liked but it was worth it to get everything ready for easy binding.

    squared up

    Squared up quilt.

    binding

    My binding strips.

    This was my first time binding anything so I was pretty nervous about this step. It really wasn’t that bad! And now that I’ve done it once I don’t feel scared anymore! I made the binding from strips of the quilt top fabrics. I machine sewed the binding to the front of the quilt. Here’s a photo of my first mitered corner.

    mitered corner!

    Mitered corner!

    binding sewn to the front

    Here is the binding sewn to the front of the quilt.

    After that I folded the binding over to the back and blind stitched it by hand. It took quite a while but I’m happy with how it looks. It doesn’t look very sturdy to me though so I hope the hand stitching holds up over time and machine washes.

    blind stitching the binding

    A closeup of the stitching the binding to the back.

    once upon time Sookie was good

    Once upon a time, Sookie was a good girl! She laid on her bed in the sewing room and didn’t try to eat my quilt!

    quilt photo, Florida style

    Some outdoor photos of the completed quilt.

    am I the only one without a pool?

    And below is a photo of the back because I think you can see the binding better.

    back of the quilt

    I’m already thinking about my next quilt. I want to make a larger one with Christmas fabrics but since I take forever I better get started on Christmas now!


  2. easy chocolate chip cookies

    May 21, 2013 by Angie

    I lovingly call these the easy chocolate chip cookies. They are great-tasting, quick, vegan cookies from the Post Punk Kitchen. I do have another (more difficult and time-consuming) recipe that I slightly prefer but if you need chocolate chip cookies in a hurry, I highly recommend these. I’ve made them twice before; once with my niece because they’re easy enough that she could help.

    giant cookie for our niece

    She was a great helper so she got her own GIANT cookie. She was stoked!

    I also made them once with m&m’s instead of chocolate chips for last year’s rainbow challenge.

    m&m cookies

    Here they are today, hanging out on the cooling rack. I brought them to team trivia tonight in exchange for pizza! Delicious.

    easy chocolate chip cookies


  3. crispy breaded tofu strips & homemade honey mustard sauce

    May 17, 2013 by Angie

    I am in love with fake chicken nuggets and fake chicken strips. Whenever I’m near a Yard House I beg to go there so I can order their Gardein Chicken Tenders doused in their amazing honey mustard sauce. It tastes like heaven. The frozen Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders are a big favorite of mine as well for a ridiculously easy meal at home. Because of my devotion to fake chicken tenders I have had my eye on this recipe for crispy breaded tofu strips from Oh She Glows. She includes a recipe for homemade sweet potato fries but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.

    a vehicle for delicious honey mustard sauce

    I served the crispy breaded tofu strips with Alexia brand sweet potato waffle fries and my homemade honey mustard sauce based off of this recipe. It’s questionably veganized in that I use Vegenaise instead of mayonaise but there is still honey in there. I’m a bit of a honey mustard snob and this sauce is perfect in my opinion.

    crispy breaded tofu strips

    To be honest, while the texture of the of the tofu strips was great, I found them to be a little bland. The honey mustard sauce was a necessity for every bite. I would suggest either adding a lot more spices to the breadcrumb mixture or making these on a day when you just need an excuse to eat a lot of honey mustard sauce.


  4. taco casserole

    May 15, 2013 by Angie

    For dinner tonight, I made a vegetarian version of this recipe for a taco casserole. It’s like a Mexican lasagna! The layers are Morningstar Farms Grillers Meal Starter Crumbles mixed with fire roasted tomatoes, green chiles, and spices, then vegetarian refried beans, then reduced fat shredded Mexican cheese, followed by spinach tortilla strips. After the last tortilla strip layer I covered with some salsa and a lot of cheese and baked for about 40 minutes.

    kinda messy

    What I did is not too different from the original recipe but here’s my ingredient list for your convenience.

    Ingredients

    a package and a quarter of Morningstar Farms Grillers Meal Starter Crumbles
    1 16-oz can of vegetarian refried beans
    1/2 of one 4-oz can of diced green chiles
    1 can of fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained
    1 tbsp chili powder
    2 tsp ground cumin
    salt to taste
    a little sprinkle of cayenne pepper
    2 flour tortillas, cut into 1″ strips
    about a third of a jar of salsa
    2 cups reduced fat Mexican blend cheese
    sliced avocado for serving

    taco casserole

    I pretty much went over the directions already and they are also not very different from the original recipe. I used much less green chiles and put them in the crumbles mixture only. I ran out of ingredients and space in my pan after only two layers of the tortilla strips so I stopped there. I had to bake longer than thirty minutes in my oven to get everything bubbly and melty. Next time I will probably do a layer of tortilla strips on the bottom too to hold everything together better and make it more like a lasagna. Robbie and I both really liked it so there will be a next time!

    taco casserole servings

     


  5. vegetable enchiladas

    May 12, 2013 by Angie

    My parents came to visit for Mother’s Day weekend and to see our new house. I got the chance to cook a few meals for them in my luxurious new kitchen including this new-to-me recipe for vegetable enchiladas. I used this recipe from Recipe Girl which is adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe. The enchiladas are filled with yummy cheese, green onion, spinach, corn, and black beans. It calls for making the enchilada sauce from scratch which I highly endorse as it was infinitely better than the canned sauces I’ve eaten.

    small pan of enchiladas

    I used a different brand of tortillas than the author suggested. They are low-carb and high fiber tortillas that come twelve in the package instead of the recommended sixteen. I used up all the enchilada stuffing with just twelve anyway so it worked out. I needed a second glass pan because I couldn’t fit them all in my “lasagna” pan. Aside from using different tortillas, the only other changes I made were to use reduced fat shredded Mexican cheese and to half the amount of corn (Robbie is not a fan of corn).

    serving of vegetable enchilads

    The vegetable enchiladas were a hit! I’m not usually that into enchiladas but I really enjoyed these. Robbie and my parents really liked them too and I don’t think they were just being nice because my dad had seconds and Robbie said these are definitely worth making again.

    cheesy inside


  6. baked falafel

    May 10, 2013 by Angie

    It’s a falafel party! Robbie and I love this baked falafel recipe from Kalyn’s Kitchen. It’s got protein from the chickpeas and, because it’s baked not fried, it’s not oily.

    falafel party!

    Here are most of the falafel ingredients in the food processor. I used about a can and a half of chickpeas (rinsed) instead of dry ones because I can never find those at my grocery store. I used dried parsley for the same reason. After processing these ingredients, I added the baking powder and whole wheat flour and pulsed a little longer.

    falafel ingredients in the food processor

    Here’s the falafel mixture. It goes in the fridge for a few hours.

    falafel mixture

    When it’s just about dinner time, take the falafel mixture out of the fridge and separate into small patties. I got 11 patties. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and oil a cookie sheet. Put the falafel patties on the cookie sheet and flatten them down a little with your hand. I think it’s advisable to flip the patties over half way through.

    falafel patties

    Serve with onion and tomato slices, hummus, and (if you’re into it) pita pockets.


  7. baked tofu with soy sauce & green onion

    May 7, 2013 by Angie

    Tonight’s dinner was an old South Beach Diet favorite (bikini season is coming blah blah blah). It’s baked tofu with soy sauce and green onion from Kalyn’s Kitchen. I don’t have sesame oil so I skip that part and it’s still delicious. We had asparagus doused in olive oil, salt, and pepper baked in the toaster oven as our side.

    Baked tofu & asparagus

    It takes an hour to bake the tofu but other than that (inactive) time required, it’s very simple, so incredibly tasty, and low-fat and low-carb.

    Baked tofu with soy sauce & green onion

    And because we can’t be too healthy, we drank this tasty Tempranillo with our dinner, courtesy of Robbie’s Tio/Padrino.

    Faustino VII Tempranillo 2010

     

     

     


  8. Drinking Day: Brooklyn Brew Shop Everyday IPA

    May 1, 2013 by Angie

    We put the beers in the fridge Sunday night and Robbie cracked one open Monday night. They’re REALLY carbonated and not as hoppy as Robbie would like but the taste is pretty good!

    Everyday IPA

    There was sediment at the bottom so he poured it slow and didn’t get a full glass. Overall, it was fun to try brewing at home but it was a lot of work for eight beers when we could buy twelve delicious ones at Publix in ten minutes. I’m glad we tried it. Maybe the key is to do five gallon batches to make it worth all the work.