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Ribbon Sweater Embellishments

Posted on Apr 11, 2013 in Crafty, DIY | 1 comment

Ribbon Sweater Embellishments

Winter doesn’t seem to want go give up its hold on Wisconsin this year. I can’t help but daydream of warm spring days where I can wear a pair of cute capris or even a sundress! But judging by the weather forecast, that’s not going to happen anytime soon.


So that leaves me with the task of finding a new way to wear the same tired, old sweaters. Once again I must thank pinterest for bringing me this tutorial for a ribbon shoulder sweater as inspiration. Following the idea, I attached a pretty robin’s egg blue ribbon to one shoulder of my sweater and made a corresponding flower for my hip. So far I’m loving the touch of spring on my boring  black sweater!


Please forgive the photography…with no one to help out I had to get a bit creative with my camera and lovely antique bathroom mirror!






Old sweater

50” ribbon

Small piece of felt



Hot Glue Gun or fabric glue


Cut an eight inch slit down one shoulder of a sweater. Fold the edges over and sew them in place. Cut two fifteen inch lengths of ribbon and sew to each side of the sweater. Tie into a pretty bow.




For the ribbon flower, cut a piece of felt (or fabric scrap) into a circle the size of the flower you want. Mine was about the size of a silver dollar, but you can definitely go bigger-just allow for more ribbon. Hold the end of your remaining ribbon in the center of the circle and glue into place. Twist the ribbon in an outward spiral, gluing as you go.Once the glue has dried, sew the flower onto your sweater using corresponding thread.



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Homemade Pita Bread and Hummus

Posted on Apr 5, 2013 in DIY, Savory | 1 comment

Homemade Pita Bread and Hummus

As I have previously confessed, I have a serious hummus addiction. Hummus makes for an amazing quick snack (or even meal if you’re like me). And what better way to eat it than with some freshly baked pita bread? Although it takes a little time, pita  is actually very simple to make. And sooooo much more satisfying to eat knowing it was your own.


Hummus is likewise very simple to make. The primary components are chickpeas, tahini and olive oil… and from there the variations are endless. This recipe calls for roasted garlic, my personal favorite addition. And don’t forget the lemon-the acid is needed to cut through, and balance, some of the creaminess of the tahini.


And don’t worry if you get stuck with an impossibly huge jar of tahini like I did- it’s great in other recipes as well. Here’s one idea for cookies.

 Hummus and Pita


Pita Bread

Adapted from Grandma Bonnie’s Closet


1 ½ cups of water, approximately 110 degrees

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon sugar

¼ oz packet of yeast

1 teaspoon salt

3 ½ cups of flour


In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, yeast and half a cup of water. Allow it to sit until bubbly, approximately five minutes. In the mean time, combine the salt and flour in a large bowl and make a well in the center.



Add the remaining water and olive oil to the yeast mixture then pour into the flour. Stir until the dough starts to come together, then knead gently for about five minutes.


Gather the dough into a ball, then place into a lightly oiled bowl. Roll the dough over until it’s sealed in a light coat of oil. Cover the bowl with a cloth and place it in a warm place. Allow the dough to rise for about forty-five minutes to an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.


Once the dough has sufficiently risen, turn it out on a floured surface. Knead it a few times, then divide into eight pieces. Fold each piece into a ball, then roll out into a circle working from the center out. Be careful not roll too aggressively over the edges- you don’t want to force out all the air bubbles since that is what will help create the pockets.


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees while you allow the rolled out dough to rest, about ten minutes.


Bake the circles ten to twelve minutes or until lightly golden brown. After removing them from the oven, keep the baked pita under a towel to prevent it from drying out. Once it has cooled, store it in a tightly sealed plastic bag.

 Pita Bread


Garlic Hummus


1 16oz can chickpeas, rinsed

¼ cup tahini

¼ cup water

1 lemon, juiced

several pinches salt

2 cloves garlic, roasted

½ cup olive oil


Olive Oil, Lemon, and Salt


In a blender, combine the chickpeas, tahini, water, lemon juice, garlic and salt. With the blender running, stream in the olive oil. Continue to blend until the texture is completely smooth.



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Tahini Cookies

Posted on Apr 1, 2013 in DIY, Sweet | 0 comments

Tahini Cookies

I went to the store last week to get fixings for some home made hummus. In my world, hummus is practically its own food group I eat it so much! But lately, I’ve been lazy and buying store bought instead of making my own. Sure it’s not as a good, but who can turn down instant gratification?


Well, obviously I can’t. But no more! So back to my original point of I went to the store get fixings for hummus. And to my great pleasure, my favorite local store actually does carry tahini (I figured I had about a 50-50 chance there). However, it seems they only carry it in a massive jar. Even at the rate I eat hummus it would take a while to use it all…


And then I remembered! I had saved an intriguing looking recipe for tahini cookies on pinterest weeks ago. And know what? These cookies turned out to be absolutely delicious.

 Tahini Cookies


Adapted from Israeli Kitchen

Yield 1.5 dozen



½ cup butter

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

½ cup tahini

1 cup all purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In the bowl of a standing mixer with a paddle attachment cream, together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the almond extract, then the tahini.


In a separate bowl, whisk together the salt, flour, and baking powder. Dump into the mixer bowl all at once and mix on low until the dough is just combined.


Form the dough into 1 ½ inch balls and space evenly on cookie sheets. Bake 13-15 minutes, rotating after the first 7 minutes. Be careful to not over bake these cookies or they will dry out and become crumbly!


Tahini Cookies Raw


When the cookies are completely cool, remove them from the cookie sheet. Lightly dust with powdered sugar before serving.



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Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Posted on Mar 30, 2013 in DIY, Sweet | 0 comments

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Here’s a fun fact for trivia night: the word “cookie” comes from the Dutch “koekje” which means “little cake.” Traditional European cookies, however, bear little resemblance to what we, as contemporary Americans, would consider cake. Instead, those traditional cookies are generally drier and crisp.


It wasn’t until the 1950s in the United States that cookies started to become larger and chewy like their modern counterparts. Initially this chewiness was brought about by slightly under baking the cookies, but bakers began to adapt recipes to achieve this result through other means. This particular recipe uses molasses and brown sugar to that end.

Oatmeal cookies have long been a family favorite. Any visit to grandma’s house would merit her baking off a dozen in anticipation of our arrival.


Because this is my personal recipe, it deviates from more traditional oatmeal raisin cookies in that it’s a little spicier and contains a variety of mixed fruit instead of just raisins. Don’t worry if that’s not your cup of tea- these little extras can be easily omitted if you’re a traditionalist. Part of the fruit can also be replaced with chopped nuts if you so desire.


Oatmeal Rasin Cookie Stack



1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

½ cup sugar

1 cup dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon almond extract

¾ teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon cloves

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

1 large egg

4 tablespoons molasses

4 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1½ cups AP flour

3 cups oats

1 cup dried raisins

½  cup dried cranberries

(optional ½ cup dried apricots, chopped….I usually add them but forgot I ate the whole bag…)




Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together butter and sugars, then spices, and extracts.


Beat in the egg. Add in the molasses and milk. Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl well to avoid streaks of molasses in the finished dough.


Whisk together flour, salt and baking soda. Add into the mixer bowl on low. Scrape down again, then remove the mixer bowl from the machine. Stir in the oats by hand.

Finally, add the fruit (and nuts if you are including), mixing until just combined.


Portion onto cookie sheets and bake 10-12 minutes, rotating the cookie sheets after the first 5 minutes. When done the cookies should be golden brown.

 Oatmeal Cookie and Milk





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Ham, Potato, and Spinach Frittata

Posted on Mar 24, 2013 in DIY, Savory | 0 comments

Ham, Potato, and Spinach Frittata

Frittatas are an egg dish of Italian origin, similar in concept to a French omelette or a Spanish tortilla de patatas. They are a splendid dish to use for brunch, lunch or even light suppers and can be used as a side or a main course.


My favorite way to eat it is with a fresh salad of baby arugula and spinach and a chilled glass of chardonnay.  I find the peppery freshness and acidity of the salad cuts through the fat from the ham, while a buttery chardonnay compliments it. Altogether a very satisfying meal!


This recipe does use a cast iron skillet. If you don’t have one already, I highly recommend acquiring one. They are such an amazing, versatile piece of kitchen equipment for both sweet and savory dishes.

Ham, Potato, Spinach Frittata


3 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium red potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

1 small onion, sliced

1-2 teaspoons fresh chopped rosemary

8 ounces fresh spinach

1 ½ cups ham, cubed (can also use deli ham sliced)

1 cup grated cheese

3 tablespoons milk

9 large eggs

salt and pepper to taste

 Chopped Potato and Onion


Preheat the oven 400 degrees.


Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Add the potatoes, onion, and rosemary. Cook approximately 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are almost done, stirring occasionally with a spatula.


Add the spinach a handful at a time and stir in until it has wilted. Toss in the ham cubes and cook until they are warmed through.


In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and cheese. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.


Add the eggs into the skillet and stir a few times to evenly distribute the ham and vegetables. Put into the top rack of the oven and bake 12-15 minutes until the eggs are set.

Frittata with Salad

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Soda Bread

Posted on Mar 17, 2013 in DIY, Sweet | 0 comments

Soda Bread

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! I thought I’d share my soda bread recipe since I’m baking a batch for our family corned-beef-and-cabbage dinner. No, we’re not Irish. We just really love celebrating holidays together. Hope you and yours and enjoy this bread as much as we do!


*note… I will provide an update with standard US volume measurements. Since this recipe is one from culinary school, I only have it worked out in grams at the moment. If you are interested in purchasing a scale, decent ones can be bought for as little as $15. Personally, I use a five pound capacity food scale from Oxo, found here. I love its pull out screen feature for easy reading when I’m scaling something bulky!


Adapted from Professional Baking, 5th Edition


240g flour

12g baking powder

3g baking soda

3g salt

24g butter, cold, cut into small pieces

4g currants

168g milk



Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.


Toss in the butter pieces, then work in using two knives in a crisscrossing motion or a pastry blender.


Stir in the currants. Slowly stream in the milk while stirring. Once the dough comes together, in the bowl knead it gently six to eight times.


Shape the dough into a round ball and transfer to a cookie sheet. With a sharp knife, cut a deep X on top.



Bake 30-40 minutes until golden brown, rotating after the first 15 for an even bake.


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DIY Composting

Posted on Mar 15, 2013 in Crafty, DIY | 1 comment

DIY Composting

The downside to not living in San Francisco anymore is the lack of free, city-wide composting services. The upside to not living in San Francisco anymore is that I not only have room for my own compost bin, but I have space to build a garden to use the compost in. Life’s full of trade offs I guess.


In anticipation of this year’s garden season, I decided it was time to build myself a compost bin. At first I looked into buying one, but the hefty price tags quickly deterred me. And by deterred me, I mean I almost had a heart attack.



But worry not- if you’re like me there are other alternatives! I got a five gallon bucket from Menards for $3.97. From there, I drilled a few holes for aeration and drainage, added a lid, and called it a day. Stickers optional.


The reason I went with a five gallon bucket rather than a fifty gallon trashcan was that I wanted to make my compost in smaller, more spread out batches. Once my bucket starts getting full, I’ll go to Menards and start another one. Hopefully the smaller batches will also help the compost finish faster. I’m not 100% sure it works that way, but it seems logical to me. Check back in a month or two and I’ll let you know 😉



And now for starting to compost…. I’ve read article after article about the appropriate balance of carbon (paper goods, dried leaves, etc) to nitrogen (food scraps, plant clippings, etc) in a compost bin, but no one seems to agree. The general gambit seems to run from 8:1 to 1:1.


As you may (or may not) be able to tell from my photo, I’m starting at the 1:1 route. If it starts to smell funky, I’ll adjust as I go. Luckily there are a bunch of websites that diagnose compost imbalances.



Now that I’ve started, all that’s left to do is add stuff, make sure it’s moist, and periodically stir things up. T minus one month to beautiful compost! If you’re just getting started here’s a great, quirky list of things that can be composted. If you have a minute, read the opening story too, it’s one of my favorites!


Oh, as an added bonus, UrbanFarmOnline.com has a printable check list. I already have mine on the fridge! Happy composting everyone!

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