Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Quinoa Veggie Fried Rice

Surely this happens to everyone in busy family life. You hold that inner conversation with yourself that you are eating terrible. Too much grab and go food and not enough fruits and veggies. Well, I do! I get on a healthy kick....I take a cheat day, get busy with kids activities and shuttling throughout the week...then we fall off the wagon....we resume old habits for convenience sake and then I recommit to getting us back on track.

When I'm really trying to up the veggie intake this has become my go to dish. The hubby and I love it and the kids actually eat it too with little grumbling. They don't exactly celebrate when they know this is on their dinner menu, I mean they have a natural love like most kids for carb and cheese loaded comfort food dishes! For what this packs in when it comes to vegetable servings and variety, I'm thrilled I have 5 out of 5 people that will pull up a chair for this dinner, clean their plate with no complaints, and that just makes me happy.

I originally found this recipe HERE but for our family, we definitely had to do some modifications after reviews from the kids. They don't do soft/soggy veggies, it's an automatic thumbs down for them so I have eliminated a few of the ingredients leaving the ones that hold up with a nice crunch to them. I also felt the ginger did nothing for the dish. I don't care for the taste of it and it was just one more ingredient to get that I don't generally have on hand so it was nixed. Just my personal opinion but take a look at the original recipe we got our inspiration from and check out their rendition of this dish. I consider mine more "family friendly"

The entire recipe will be at the bottom of this post but follow along for step by step instructions. I am by no means an exceptional cook! I like easy, tasty and healthy recipes for my family and love to share.

Shown above are all the ingredients I started with. 

       Broccoli florets
       Matchstix carrots
       Bag of frozen peas
       Bag of frozen corn
       1 small onion
       Jar of minced garlic
       Soy Sauce
       **not shown but 2-3 eggs and some minced garlic

Start by dicing up your small onion and about half the bag of broccoli.

The beautiful part of this recipe is amounts are not critical. When I say half the bag, that's what I use but add as much or as little as you like. There is no magical measurement for the veggies.

Add a few tablespoons of oil to a pan. Add a heaping spoonful of minced garlic to the pan. I'm a cheater on all of this stuff. I've got my precut and cleaned bags of veggies, I'm also using the minced garlic that you find in the jar. I don't have the luxury of time so shortcuts matter in my house!

Add your diced onion and stir around until it starts to soften and becomes slightly translucent.

Next add your broccoli giving it a good stir so it's getting coated in the onion/garlic/oil mixture. Stir for just a few more minutes. I like to keep things moving in the pan so it's getting heated and cooked through but nothing is sitting getting soft. Again, my kids don't care for soft veggies (or soggy as they call it) so I'm aiming to keep the crunch while still heating it through.

Now add some shredded carrots. Nothing you need to measure, just whatever you like. I grabbed a handful. I eyeball things so it looks like a nice balanced color ratio. Again, just keep stirring the veggies every so often as they continue to heat through.

Now add some of your frozen corn and frozen peas. Stir these through the mixture for a few minutes.

Next we will be adding the cooked quinoa. Since the 5 o'clock hour can be the crazy hour for me in our house I will generally cook my quinoa earlier in the day so that it's ready to go. We will be adding 3 cups of cooked quinoa to this dish.
*1 cup of dry quinoa will make about 3 cups of fluffed up quinoa when cooked.

Now add the quinoa to your pan of vegetables. At this point I splash in a bit of soy to give the dish some flavor and stir through. I just go lightly though and everyone adds more to their bowl if they like. Better to start off needing a tad more then being drenched in sodium packed soy!

****I wasn't able to photo and include my kids' favorite part....the eggs! We didn't have any today but they love them in this dish. Take 2-3 eggs and pan fry them just like fried eggs and poke the yoke so it's cooked through. We don't want a runny center. Dice the eggs up and add to your veggie mixture.

My hubby needs something a tad more substantial so I always grill some teriyaki chicken when I make this as well and dice it up to add on top if desired. Quinoa packs a nice bit of protein in this dish but for the hungry fellas, it's well received adding some meat on top. You could even dice up some seasoned sirloin and use instead of chicken.

*The meat of course is optional as this dish can definitely stand up by itself.

**Need some heat? Add some Sriracha sauce.....or rooster sauce as we like to call it if you live in our house. Can't go wrong with that!

Serve and enjoy! Happy healthy eating!

Veggie Fried Quinoa
       3 cups cooked qunioa
       1 small onion
       minced garlic
       Broccoli florets
       Matchstix carrots - 
       Bag of frozen peas (about 1/2 cup give or take)
       bag of frozen corn (about 1/2 cup give or take)
       2-3 eggs - fried and diced
       Soy Sauce
       Sriracha Sauce

**optional diced chicken

Start by cooking the quinoa and setting aside
Soften the onion in the garlic and some oil in a pan
Add the broccoli and stir through
Next add the carrots and continue to stir
Add the frozen peas and corn, stir through
Mix in the cooked quinoa through the dish adding some soy
top with diced egg

Serve hot and add optional diced chicken for the extra hungry ones.

I usually serve some fruit on the side for my kids and this dish easily feeds my family of 5 with leftovers. So I'd say it'd safely feed 4-6 if you are topping with diced chicken and would serve 4 hungry appetites if you are keeping as a vegetarian dish.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Veggie Wrap .... the perfect Summer meal

Summer is quickly on it's way and of course it always makes me think of bathing suit season! The evidence of Winter needs to be undone with a little bit of sunshine to the skin, some added exercise to the daily routine and of course making some better choices come meal time.

I saw this veggie wrap on one of my favorite sites, The Pioneer Woman while perusing Pinterest. I'd been telling myself lately, I really need to get some more veggies in my own diet and this looked like a recipe I definitely wanted to give a try. I made some changes to suit my own tastes and the result was delish!

In the photo above are all the ingredients I used except for some Balsamic Vinaigrette that isn't shown.

1. Spinach wraps (but really grab whatever you want)
2. I used Sabra's Supremely Spicy hummus because I like lots of spice
3. red onion
4. roasted red peppers in a jar
5. jar of artichoke hearts
6. crumbled feta
7. small avocado
8. mixed greens
9. Balsamic dressing

First off dice some of that red onion and put it in a pan with a little butter and cook them til they are carmelized.

Next I prepped the other ingredients. I diced up my artichoke, some red peppers, gave a good crumble to the Feta to get those big chunks broken down so it can spread throughout the wrap better and then diced about 1/4 of a small avocado.

I took my wrap, put it on the stove and lightly browned it on each side in a. Not sure why but tortillas have this plastic taste to me straight out of the bag and giving it a little grill in the pan makes it taste better.
Then I just put a good smear of the hummus through the center.

Next I just layered the other ingredients. First the grilled onions, then the red peppers, the artichokes, feta and topped by my favorite diced avocado. I added avocado to this wrap because I love the taste, texture and it just leaves me feeling quite a bit more satisfied. Plus, avocados are the good fat right?

After that I just topped with some mixed greens to give it some bulk and just lightly drizzled with the Balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Now just wrap it up, add a toothpick to each side, cut in half and enjoy! You will love all the different flavors and textures in this dish. I think half the wrap with some soup would be a super lunch. 

Curious what this totals for calories? Well I can't guess the quantity you will put on your wrap but if you put in moderate amounts of ingredients your total wrap is going to be about 425-450 calories.

My kids even gave it a try and they gave it a decent review. I've modified it a bit for them. They aren't fans of artichokes so they get nixed, we used a milder flavor of hummus (just the roasted red pepper version) and then we added some turkey.  

Sunday, September 22, 2013

BOHO Sling Bag Tutorial

Who doesn't love a fun new bag right? My daughter has one that she used to death and then requested something in colors she wanted to choose. I thought it'd be so simple to recreate so follow along this tutorial to make a simple sling bag that's also reversible. This is a great project for a beginner!

Now you may ask, why this sling bag over other tutorials you might find? I've always found them to have the pieces cut so where you see a seam and a break in the fabric pattern right down the center of the bag. It's just my preference not to have that visible seam, hence why I did my own tutorial. I don't like to break up my pretty pattern so prefer keeping the seam along the sides where it belongs.

First you'll figure out what fabrics you'd like to use. You'll be cutting a 32" length piece from both your exterior and your interior lining fabrics.

*****Lil side note :) Yes, I know this uses a lot of fabric and maybe in your stash you have smaller pieces you'd like to use. I loved creating this with the knotted strap. Why? well I love combining and seeing different prints with completely different patterns and scale. The eye is drawn to actually notice the interior print when the strap is knotted. It's how I used to create clothing for my girls using lots of bold mismatchy prints and I guess I naturally opted for that when making this bag. Plus, it's girly, like having a big pretty 2 sided floppy bow on the top of your bag.

 I plan to make another and offer the alternative at a later date to use less fabric and have less waste (we hate wasting fabric right?) by showing how to do the straps so they are connected together vs. knotted. When I can calm my ADD and get back to this project I'll show and post that variation!*****

                  ***Click on any pictures in this post to see them enlarged and for closer detail***

First you'll print and piece together your pattern piece. You can download and print HERE I've uploaded just a section of the piece. You will tape it where indicated to a regular 8 1/2" * 11" piece of paper and then along the straight edges of the strap, you'll just continue this on 10 extra inches. I traced my pattern piece shown above onto a poster board because I like something hefty to trace around. My poster board wasn't long enough but I can eyeball the strap extension but just want to clarify why my piece doesn't extend to the end. I love a project that you can eyeball which is why this is such a great project for a beginner.

You will be cutting out 2 identical pieces from each print so 4 pieces total. It's very important to put the correct side of your pattern piece along the fold. Fold your fabric and place the short side along the fold and trace your pattern piece. If there is a direction to your print, i.e. if you have cats on your fabric, make sure you are situating your pattern piece and cutting so they aren't upside down.

You should have 2 pieces of each print and this is what they look like when unfolded.

From your scraps you will cut a piece that is 5 1/2" * 11" and this will be for your pocket. Again, if you happen to have a direction to your print, pay attention to that so that when you fold your fabric to create this pocket, it faces the direction you want.
I kinda skipped this stage snapping a pic but this is a pocket, easy peasy but I'll try and be clear on what I'm doing and where our openings are etc.

 Fold your piece in half with right sides together and press a seam. Stitch your square shut on the 3 open sides but leave about a 2" hole open on the opposite side of your squares folded edge. After you've done that flip your pocket right side out through that opening and press all of the seams and corners out. Press those seams in where that hole is as you are about to stitch your pocket on and close that hole up.

Pin your pocket in place wherever you'd like it. I do mine a bit off center but place wherever you like.
Look at the picture above this one where I have my black nippers laying in the photo.

Place your pocket so the side of the pocket that has the folded edge is on top and the part of the pocket that still has an opening that you used to flip is on bottom. I have my little nipper scissors sticking in them to show you. Stitch your pocket down on 3 sides making a U. Your pocket should be stitched on nice and secure now and your hole at the bottom should be closed.

Now take your bigger pieces and pin those together with the right side of the fabric facing each other. Stitch these together just along the 3 outer edges. **Leave the tops of your straps open. You will start and end along the long outer side seam!!***

Along the bottom of the bag we are going to create a base to it. This is a view from the bag's bottom seam. I have pulled it apart toward the corner and have matched up the bottom seam to it's side seam.  I've marked a line about 2 inches from the corner. I eyeball this part and you can too after you get a sense of where to stitch on your first corner. Some folks would tell you to press this down, I'm much more informal about things! Just get a feel for it and go.

Stitch down that line getting a nice secure stitch and locking it at both ends. Do this to both corners and do to both pieces so you will do this 4 times.

Trim off the corner 

Now you will need to nest these 2 identical pieces inside of each other with the right sides of the fabric facing each other again. Open up those strap seams and start matching them up and pinning. You will then stitch these 2 together along the straps at the top and then down along the curve of the bag and back up around to the straps on other side. Just follow it along the edge, you won't get lost! 

BUT, in the mid section of the curve on one of the sides, doesn't matter which one, STOP stitching and leave about a 4 inch opening.  This is what you will use to flip your bag inside out so we can see the pretty side of the fabric.

***For those of you that place close attn, I got ahead of myself taking pics :) This pic doesn't show where I've done the corners to the bag yet so if you are looking at this going, what's up? Mine doesn't look like that. Yours is right, I just snapped away before I'd done the corners.

Stick your hand in that hole, start flipping! You'll have to look for those straps and just press your hand down to the end and pull them both through. Push out all the corners of those straps getting as good of a corner as you can. I have a paintbrush in my sewing room and I just use the tip of the end to push out those corners on the straps.

It'll look a a mess at first. You'll just need to nest that inner lining into the outside part of the bag and it should look like this.

Push all of those seams to the edge as best you can. Now give your seams a GOOD press along the straps and along the U curve of your bag. When you come to the opening, you'll have to work with that section a bit better pressing in that seam. When you iron it nicely, it's so much easier to stitch things down.

Now you will simply top stitch along all of the seams. Just start at the top of one strap and follow the edge all the way around til you go around to the other strap and back to where you started from. Top stitching gives it a nice finished look. While you are doing this you are also closing up the hole that you used to flip your bag inside out.

Knot together those 2 straps to the length that suits your fancy. So cute huh? This bag is reversible too so if your mood wants it, switch it to the other side. All of your seams are enclosed so no one will know the difference! If you want a pocket for both sides, just go back to that step at the beginning and put a pocket on both fabric prints.

So cute and colorful right? I've made a half dozen of these so far because I was enjoying using up some of the fabrics that I have on hand. I lead a small group of 7th grade girls in a bible study each week and I just thought these would be perfect to carry our bibles and study guides in.

And this one is just one of my faves...but then again, I am a shabby flower girl!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Pine Cove Outback - Project 319

It's been so long since I've blogged and done anything crafty in my craft room. My machine has been quietly sitting in a corner and all my supplies and fabric have been untouched....until recently!

We are full swing into summer as is the rest of America! There are no such thing as the lazy days of summer as we fill the days with swim team, sports camps, church camps, hanging with friends and yes the kids favorite, sleep-away camps!

One that I particularly look forward to is my kids attending Pine Cove Outback I feel beyond blessed that my kids can attend a camp like this. Pine Cove is a christian summer camp that has absolutely changed my children and it will continue to be a camp that tops my list of where I will send my kids each summer.

Our first year to attend we learned about their Project 319 and we knew that we wanted to sponsor some children who'd never be able to afford to attend otherwise and may not ever hear the message of Christ. This year we have spun it a bit differently in our house and wanted our kids to sponsor some children. My oldest is at the babysitting age so she's getting used to putting in a portion of her money into a mason jar and is well on her way to raising the money. My younger daughter on the other hand doesn't have means to earn money like her sister so we've asked her cabin mates if they'd like to join us in helping to raise money to send a child to camp. They were all eager to help and we have reopened my craft space for business. These girls are eager, they're talented and we hope you will support them in their efforts!

We have all learned how to make these super fun hair accessories and our goal is to sell enough to sponsor a child to go to Pine Cove this year!
Girls in this generation LOVE to take pictures and have mini photo shoots with their friends right? Color blocking is popular right? Well we think our flower headbands are the perfect pop of color! These flower headbands also look adorable on babies and toddlers. Is the flower too much for your personal style? We are offering the plain headbands as well.

Flower headbands are $5 
Headbands with no flower are 2/$5 - includes 1 print/1 solid or 2 solid colors
   * All flowers are made with care, high quality felt, not craft felts and the bands have a hidden seam so you can wear your flower wherever you choose on your head and not have to hide a knot

   ** we hope to have turnaround time in about a week once an order is placed
Live far away? no problem, we can ship for $2 for your first item, Add 50 cents for additional items
Prefer to pay with paypal? We can send you an invoice, there will be a surcharge just to cover the fees
Contact us at girlsthatgive@gmail.com to order or with any questions!

***click on any picture if you'd like to see it enlarged

Choose from a variety of felt and elastic colors. Flower headbands are $5 
We know this time of year family photos on the beach are popular. The white flower headbands would be perfect!
If you prefer plain headbands with no flower, they are 2 for $5. You may pick one solid and one print or 2 solid colors. Ivory is available and shown on the girls in the first photos.
We can attach the flower to clips instead of headbands if you prefer.
Jazz up your favorite fedora hat giving it a feminine twist or even a military cap!

Denim jackets are so popular these days and how cute would it be with a touch of color. Taking family photos? I love a family photo where that one family member has that bright pop of color!

Spruce up any gift box or a gift bag with a flower!

Warning, these accessories may cause you to have excessive fun and jumping capabilities! 

If you made it this far, thank you for your support in helping us towards our goal of teaching our kids to think beyond themselves and see how they can make a difference in other peoples lives.

Friday, November 16, 2012

DIY Chevron Table Runner Tutorial

I love adding fabric to a room and to see how it can change the personality just by the pattern of the print or the colors in the fabric. Of course everyone is Chevron crazy these days. It's a great print that's a little bit more contemporary but can work in a home that could range from traditional to contemporary. I picked it up to try my hand at making a table runner for a girlfriend of mine who was having a birthday. She's got those Restoration Hardware colors going on in her house and I just hoped this might but something she'd like for one of her tables.

Click on any photo if you want to see it enlarged and read through before you start. I've included a few options at the end.

I started out with 3 yards of fabric. I like to have plenty on hand for cutting errors but if you don't like buying more than you need and hate waste, I'd suggest measuring your table and then add 1/2 a yard. For example, if you have a 6 foot table, ask them to cut you 2 1/2 yards.
I'm adding ruffles to either end of this runner so I also cut 2 5" pieces and then cut them 2x the width of what the final runner will be. I'm making this runner to be about 14" wide so I cut my ruffles 28" long.

I started by cutting my main long piece and cut it the length of the table + 10 inches because I wanted to have a little overhang on each end. This is just a preference of mine. I've seen table runners stop a foot short of either end of a table so cut the length however you prefer. 
Since this print has a very obvious pattern that you pick up on, I ended up cutting at the tip of one of the chevron points and that was easy for me to follow along across the width of the fabric. For time sake, I cut my piece 28 inches wide so that the underside will be the same as the topside. I'm going to fold mine over so that one side is already done. (I like keeping it simple) You may want to use a less expensive fabric for the bottom liner instead of your selected home dec print since you aren't going to see it but I just used my print on both sides.

Once it was cut, I folded it in half along the length, right sides together and just pressed a light seam creating the edge and then pinned all along the open long side. I didn't press it too hard because I'm going to flip it and didn't want to be fighting a seam wanting to go the other way when I turn it right side out.

Next I just stitched down that long side. Both short sides are still open at this point.

Here I've flipped the piece right side out and this is when I'm turning that iron up to full heat and steam mode and giving it a good press.

Moving onto the ruffles. I took those pieces and pressed seams upward along the bottom and then along the short side pieces.

I serged my edges then just stitched these edges down.

Face your runner right side up and pin this ruffled piece placing right sides and pinning first at each end. One step I haven't shown is creating this ruffled piece. I did it the easy way. I turned my machine's tension all the way up to a 10 and lengthened my stitch as much as I could to a 5. As you feed a piece through your machine you will see it start to gather. This didn't create a ruffle that was the perfect fit to my runner but that's fine. This piece was too big but we'll make it fit. I start by pinning each end piece to either edge. Find the middle of the ruffle and pin that down to the center of the runner and then just add 2 more pins by manually bunching the rest of the ruffle up and pinning down.

Stitch the ruffled piece down.

I like things serged so no messy edges are on display. **

For my final step, I pressed that serged edge up so that it created a nice tailored ruffle.

Once you are done, add it to your table, step back and admire! This is such an easy way to instantly change the look of your room by changing out one piece. If you look at my previous post when I painted these chairs, you'll see how my breakfast table normally looks. I have a neutral colored runner and this blue and white chevron really changes to feel of the room.

**So there are so many different ways you can create this same look. I happen to have a serger so I'm able to easily add a ruffle and serge off messy edges. If you don't, you can always press the short edges on either end of your long runner piece in and then nest that ruffle inside and attach it. You will have encased those raw edges. If you do that, add an extra inch when cutting your long piece at the beginning to account for pressing those edges in otherwise you'll take from the overhang.

It's also optional to line it on the backside. If you want to make this super easy, just cut this as a single layer of fabric and simply hem all the edges. Easy right? Happy Sewing!