Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Quinoa Greek Salad

Check out this great, healthy, delicious, light, easy, guilt-free recipe- need I say more? I've made this one a few times, and it's a favourite of my friend Dylan. The compliment he gave was something along the lines of "it tastes like summer in my mouth!"

If you don't know what Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is, it's a grain, similar to rice or couscous, and it's the new superfood. I had to search all over Sobey's to find a bag, but my mom found a big bag at Costco for much cheaper. I would like to take some credit for this recipe, but my future-sister-in-law Laura made something similar and inspired me :)

- 2 cups quinoa
- 4 cups water
- 1 packet OXO vegetable broth powder (or substitute some of the water for canned vegetable broth)
- Cherry tomatoes
- Cucumber
- Red onion
- Black olives
- Greek Salad Dressing

Step 1:
Cook the quinoa according to the directions on the package ahead of time (or follow my directions). In a saucepan, bring the water, and vegetable broth to a boil. Add quinoa, reduce heat, and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. You will know when it's cooked when you can start to see the curly things. Let it cool.

Step 2:
Make it into a salad! Cut the vegetables into small pieces, and add to the cooked quinoa. Add the Greek salad dressing, and mix together. Cool before serving (this recipe tastes best when it's nice and cold). Enjoy!

Sorry I don't have exact measurements for the veggies- this is how much I used
Aaaaaand, if you have some extra quinoa, it also tastes great warm! Check out my recipe for Quinoa Stuffed Peppers :)

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Cookie Dough Bites

Another Pinterest-inspired recipe for you all to try (original link here)! This one is suuuuuuuper easy, so even you non-baking-inclined folks can do this one no doubt! I don't know about you, but I absolutely love eating raw cookie dough, and this one has no raw eggs, so it's totally fair game :) I kept eating the dough while I was making these, but then I realized that that's the whole point! I made this for a few Christmas parties I went to this year and they were a huge hit (my sister even snuck 4 of them before I could leave)! You probably have all the ingredients in your house right now, so what are you waiting for, go make some!

Cookie Dough Bites
  • 1 cup salted butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 ½ cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
Cream butter and sugar together. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Roll into small balls. Melt chocolate chips and drizzle over the cookie dough balls. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Pinterest vs Reality (mine on bottom)

Monday, 9 January 2012

Christmas Crafts: Part 4 - Time Capsule Ornament

One last Christmas craft to share with you guys :) This one was inspired by Pinterest, but I can't remember exactly which link gave me the idea for this one. Since Jordan and I just got engaged this year, I figured this might be a nice family tradition for us to start. This craft is pretty easy, and a great way to reflect on the past year.

What You Need:
- glass ornament (found them at Michael's)
- cardstock
- pen
- scissors or cutting board
- ribbon
- glitter

Use your cutting board or scissors to cut thin strips of paper. I did thin red ones as filler, and thicker white ones.

Write significant events or memories from the past year on the paper strips. If you want to get creative, you could really write anything on the strips- names of family members, birthdays, Bible verses, quotes, special dates, etc.

Then you curl the strips of paper by wrapping them around a pencil or marker. you can loosen it a bit after you curl it, depending on your preference.

Put all of your strips into the ornament through the top opening (take off the metal part). Add some glitter using a funnel (I made one out of scrap wrapping paper) and give it a good shake!

Add a tag with the year written on it and tie it to the top with a ribbon. I cut one out with my cricut, but you could cut one with scissors or buy one.

This project turned out really well, I'm really happy with it! I hope that we'll be able to continue this tradition for years to come! :)

Christmas Crafts: Part 3 - Entryway Tree

Yet another Christmas craft, inspired by Pinterest (Check out the original link here)! This project is a WAYYY cheaper version of something you can find in stores- I have seen entryway trees advertised for $70! This cost me less than $15, but it was a little frustrating. The Christmas lights were all working, then when I had them all strung, half of them weren't working, then half of them were flashing... ugh! That's what I get for using lights from Dollarama I suppose :)

Pinterest vs. Reality (mine's on the bottom)
 What You Need:
-a metal tomato cage
-Christmas lights
-a fancy pot/base

First you shape the top of the tomato cage together into a point, as shown below. I also cut off the bottom ring because it was too big for my base.

Then you just wrap the garland and lights around the tomato cage to make your tree! I fastened it on by bending some of the branches of the garland around the wire to hold it on. There are probably much better ways to put it in the base than what I did, but this craft was not co-operating with me very well at this point, so I improvised a little. I duct taped the 3 wires at the bottom into the inside of the base, and put an old brick inside so it didn't topple over. This probably wouldn't be necessary if you had a base made of ceramic, or something heavier than my Dollarama find (I'm a little cheap).

The final product!

Friday, 6 January 2012

Christmas Crafts: Part 2 - Ornament Wreath

This is another Pinterest-inspired craft, although I must admit that I wanted to make something like this before I saw it online, but thankfully I was able to follow this link for the instructions. The tutorial pictures are a lot better on that website, so I would suggest following those directions if you're going to make one yourself. Also, check out the one my friend Sarah made on her blog.

Pinterest version on top, my version on the bottom

Here's what you need:
-1 wire hanger
-approximately 50 ball ornaments
-glue gun

First you glue on the little caps that go on top of the ornaments. I skipped this step at first,  but then the ornaments kept falling off so I decided to glue them after all.

Next you shape the wire hanger into a circle shape. Then you put the ornaments onto the wire hanger by stringing the holes through the wire. The original instructions say to just keep loading them on until it's full, but I decided to glue them together to stay in place, and save ornaments. It also lays flat against the wall too, so that's a bonus.

To finish, you twist the wire back together at the top of the hanger, and tie a nice big ribbon on it. Ta da!!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Christmas Crafts: Part 1 - Mini Knitted Sweaters

This Christmas, I've been so busy doing crafts and baking that I've hardly had any time to blog about it! There are a lot of pictures for these tutorials, so I've split it into 4 parts. First up is mini knitted sweaters. I found this pattern on knitting pattern central (great knitting website!). You can find the link to the pattern here (I followed #12, and made up my own colour combinations and patterns).

First I just used variegated yarn, and made a hanger out of wire to use this one as a Christmas tree ornament.

I had it sitting on my fridge for a while before we had the tree up, so you could even put a magnet on the back and it would be cute too.

I made a few more, and decided that it would be cute to put them all together to make a garland. I made 4 different ones (one for each person in my family), and just put a red ribbon through the arms of them, and tied bows at the end. I don't know about you, but I thought that it was super cute!!

Another note: the pattern said to knit it on two needles, but when I did the red and white ones I knit it on four needles so I didn't have to do so much sewing. Enjoy!