Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Farmer's Market Pasta

We recently moved about 25 miles from our old home.  My husband and I both work in the city we moved to and I have really been looking forward to the small town feel and family friendly events they always plan.  I've been taking my girls to their downtown farmer's market every Saturday and my instagram has been focused on all our delicious finds every week.
So this Saturday evening I decided to use a lot of the veggies I picked up to make a delicious pasta dinner.  I have to say, this pasta far exceeded my expectations!  I expected it to be yummy but I seriously could NOT take a bite without telling my husband "holy crap this is so good!"  He felt the same...score!  And the best thing is, it works really well reheated or cold.  The flavors have even more time to meld that way!
Ok let's get down to it.

Farmer's Market Pasta


You can swap out various vegetables (yellow squash and portabella mushrooms would be great additions) but here are the ones I included:
2 zucchini
1 red onion
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 lb pasta
1 cup cheese of choice (I used feta but parmesan or mozzarella would be great)
olive oil
seasonings (I used oregano, parsley and a pampered chef seasoning mix called "Sun dried tomato herb seasoning mix")
I also added some fresh basil
Pine nuts (optional)  I didn't have any but man, it would've been so good!

Set your oven to broil.  Start a large pot of water to boil.  Wash and cut your vegetables.  The zucchini, I quartered them lengthwise, then sliced them about 1/2".  All the rest, I cut into 1/2" chunks.  Put all your veggies on a rimmed baking pan and drizzle GENEROUSLY with olive oil.  

Season up with your chosen seasonings and put it in the oven on the middle rack.  Now cook your pasta according to package directions.
If you have pine nuts, carefully toast those puppies in a small saute pan.
When your pasta is done, drain it and set aside to cool a bit.  Stir your veggies occasionally so they don't burn and are evenly coated.
Your veggies are done when they are easily pierced with a fork but not mushy.  Stir your pasta, veggies (with olive oil from the pan) and cheese together.  This is when you'll add any fresh herbs too.  Check your seasoning now and add salt if needed.

That's it!  You're done!  Eat and enjoy!!

If you have a baby like I do, just grind up this delicious harvest and serve it up!  Nothing better than fresh veggies for your babe!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Summer Burlap Wreath

Hello there.
It's summer.  In full swing.  And I just moved into a new house.  Time to spruce up the front door!

The Summer Burlap Wreath

This is a fairly simple afternoon project.  It's really cheap too.  I used less than a yard of burlap at $3.29 a yard and the wreath form was only a couple bucks at walmart.  The rest of stuff I already had (FREE!).  Yay I like that price!

Let's get started!
A half- 2/3 yard of burlap and a foam wreath form.  I bought a yard and had plenty left over for another wreath for Fall!  I chose a thin one to get the desired look.

You'll also need:
Hot glue gun and glue sticks
floral or fabric pins
scrap fabric for flowers
felt for flowers
ribbon about 1 yard

Fold your burlap selvedge to selvedge and then in half cut side to cut side.  You will now have 4 layers.
Cut your layers into roughly 2" strips.  If you have a thicker wreath form you can cutter wider strips.
Now lay your wreath form down and pick a starting point.  Use your pins to attach an end of one of your strips to what will now be the back of your form.
Fold your strip down and put some hot glue above the pins.
Use the pins to hold the fabric in place as you pull the strip taught.  Because burlap is so openly woven, I found it helpful to use the pins to help with gluing so you don't burn yourself!
Wrap your strip around and add another line of glue below the pins.  Carefully wrap and hold until it's set and then remove the pins.
Now wrap your strip around until it's almost gone, overlapping as you go so no green shows through.  Burlap stretches a bit because of the open weave so you can make it work around the curve.

When you get to the end of the strip, glue it on the back side and cut so that the "seam" is on the back.

Start a new strip and continue on pinning...gluing...and wrapping...

Until the whole form is covered.  Overlap your starting point a bit and then fold the end of the strip and glue in place.
OK Done with the form!  You can stop here if you want!

I wanted to add some summery fabric flowers.  
To make the flowers, lay your felt out and use something round to trace circles and cut them out in various sizes.
They don't have to be perfect.
Now get your scrap fabric and cut a strip 1-2" wide.
The wider the strip, the fuller your flower will be.  If you're using thin fabric, cut a wider strip.  If you're using thicker quilting cotton, cut a little narrower.  If you want a shabby look, cut a little snip the width you want and then rip the rest of the way.  This will make the edges frayed.  That's what I did for the green flower.
Now tie one end in a knot.

Put a triangle shape glob of glue of your felt like this.
Glue your strip down with your knot facing up.
Now you're going to twist the strip and glue as you go.
Don't smash the fabric down too hard, just press lightly.  And BE CAREFUL!  I can't tell you how many times I've burned my thumb really bad doing one of these.

When you get the piece of felt completely covered, bring the end of the strip around to the back and glue it and trim it.
If there is a tail from the knotted end do the same.  Or not, sometimes I leave the tail, like I did with the yellow.
Now arrange your flowers the way you like them and glue them down.  You can leave them flat like I did for a more 3 dimensional look or glue them completely curved around the wreath form for a different look.

Almost done!
Tie your ribbon in a knot around the wreath.  Your knot should be at the length that you want the loop to be when finished.
Rotate your knot to the back

and tie another knot around the front.
Now make two loops
and tie them in a knot to make a bow.  Trim your tails to the length you want and apply fray check.
Now you can slide the bow up and down how you like it!
Hang that puppy up and enjoy the splendor!
I debated adding a little "hello." sign to this but I thought it was so pretty as is!

I'd love to see pictures if you've followed this tutorial.  As always, if you need clarification. let me know!

Happy making!


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Dinner Tonight: Sauteed Mushrooms over baked polenta & strawberry spinach salad

Well dinner tonight was really yummy and really easy!

 Sauteed mushrooms over baked polenta & strawberry spinach salad

So I started with these ingredients: 
1 bag sliced and washed mushrooms
A small bottle of white wine.  I chose Gallo Moscato because I like to drink that.  yum.  You only need 1/4 cup to cook with so you could use from a bottle you already have.
Basil & Garlic polenta from Frieda's organic.  I found it by the tofu in my grocery store's produce section.
2 cloves of garlic
Olive oil
(Not pictured) margarine of choice (to make this vegan you can omit or use earth balance or another vegan spread)

About 2 cups of washed baby spinach
About 1 cup of strawberries, washed and sliced
About 1/4 cup honey roasted almonds but you could substitute candied pecans or walnuts...yum!
Lite balsamic salad dressing
I later decided to use White balsamic vinegar instead of the dressing
So to make this meal, set the oven for 375.  Slice up the polenta and put the slices on a baking sheet.
Set that aside and mince the garlic.  Then, in a small saute pan, heat about 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp margarine or butter on medium heat.  Then add the garlic and let it sizzle but not brown.  Now add your mushrooms and about 1/4 cup wine.  Cover and let cook.
Put your polenta in the oven and set your timer for 15 minutes. 

Now work on your salad.  Slice your strawberries and add to a bowl of spinach and sprinkle your almonds on top.  Beautiful!

I'll be showing you modifications of what I serve my kids.  I have a 10 month old and a 3 year old so I often make modified versions of our meals for what they can and will eat.
So I scooped up some of the salad and put it in my hand food processor.  Then I set my little helper to work!
Good job Eisley!
It turned into something like a pesto and Cora loved it!

Now your mushrooms should be tender so uncover and cook off some of the liquid.  Be sure not to let too much of it go, you want some sauce!  When it's done, remove from heat.
Take your polenta out of the oven and add one slice and some mushrooms to the now empty food processor for the baby if you have one!

To serve, lay 3 polenta slices on the plate and top with some mushrooms and sauce.
Serve your salad and drizzle with your vinegar.
My daughter Eisley ate it exactly like we did but with only one polenta slice and boy did that kid eat every bite!

Here's another look at this deliciousness!
Some thoughts:
If you are not vegan, you could make some yummy modifications: add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese to the served up mushrooms and polenta and or add some feta to your salad.  mmm
Next time I make this, I will not reduce my sauce down so much and I will try either broiling or pan sauteeing the polenta to give it some crisp.

Please let me know if you've tried this recipe!  I'd love to hear from you!

Back in the saddle

Well here I am again!  It's naptime and I'm watching The Killing season 2 on Netflix and posting again!
So I have been lax in posting anything on here but I'm going to be posting a lot more now.  In the meantime, I had a beautiful baby girl, Cora Brielle, on September 19, 2012!  She's so gorgeous and she's 10 months old now!  How time flies!!

This past winter my Kalleymade business also picked up BIGTIME!  It's been fun and amazing the number of orders I've been getting and keeping up with them but in the end, I've decided to step back from that somewhat in order to spend more time with the family and to be able to ENJOY my crafting time instead of feeling under the gun.  I will still offer items for sale, but mostly not custom items, instead ready to ship items.  Anyhoo, my etsy shop is currently on vacation mode because we just moved (oh, did I forget to mention that?! haha) but you can check it out if you want.

So, my point is!! I'll be blogging more often on the custom pieces I DO take on.  I tend to do some really fun items but I will only make them one time so I thought I'd share!

I'll also be sharing some recipes and meal ideas as we are endeavoring on another vegetarian adventure!  If you know me, you may remember that we followed a vegan diet when Eisley was a baby (she's 3 now) but fell off the wagon.  We recently have decided to go back to that lifestyle.  A number of reasons: 1st is that my husband and I both say we've never felt better than when we ate a mostly vegan diet, 2nd is the research we've read indicating the affect the hormones in meat and dairy can have on a girl's reproductive system, among other things.  There are other good reasons too but those are the main two. 

Anyway, I'm about to whip up one of those meals for lunch so I'll see you soon!