Mod Podge ring

IMG_20140318_170702 (1)

I made a ring to coordinate with my mod podge necklace! I bought a package of 3 brass rings at Michael’s (for just a few dollars), and used one to make this ring. I traced the ring base shape onto some scrapbook paper, adhered it with mod podge, let it dry, and then covered it with Dimensional Magic. Unfortunately, I put too much Dimensional Magic on; when it dried, it sort of shriveled up into a bumpy shape. But, I still like it!

Mod Podge Necklace

IMG_20140317_152650

This is my latest project, and I’m so pleased with how it turned out! I’m quite a fan of using mod podge for various crafts; it’s just so versatile. I’ve noticed several things on pinterest recently, about using mod podge to make jewelry. I’ve wanted to try it, but I didn’t want to go out and buy supplies just for this. So, I used things I already had, and I’m so happy with the result! I had a bag of clothes and shoes that I was planning to take to the thrift store, and I had this necklace at the top of the pile.

Necklace

I had bought it for about $10 at Penney’s, but only wore it once. I didn’t like the way the metal pieces clanged together; it sounded like loose change jingling on my chest, and just generally made me feel as if I were wearing a necklace of pennies, dimes, nickels and quarters! So, I was going to give it away, until I had the realization that it would be a perfect necklace to modify with mod podge and craft paper. (I went and bought some Dimensional Magic, made by the makers of mod podge, to use with this project also.) Basically, it was really simple (although time-consuming): I took each of the metal pieces off the chain, traced and cut out pieces of scrapbook paper to fit them, and adhered the paper to the metal pieces with mod podge. I let it dry thoroughly, and then repeated on the reverse side of each piece. And then, I added a layer of Dimensional Magic to each side of every piece. Another painstaking, time consuming part of the process was that I had to poke a hole through the Dimensional Magic, on each side after it dried, using a safety pin (which happened to be the only tool of the right size that I could find.) It took me about a week to complete this project. I’m very happy with the finished look!

Mod Podge modified necklace

IMG_20140317_152717

IMG_20140315_092428

IMG_20140315_092403

IMG_20140309_162236

Paleo snack and Dinner

paleosnack

My mid-afternoon snack was an orange and a handful of almonds. Yum!

beefstew

Dinner was a delicious beef stew!

Crock-Pot Beef Stew

beef stew meat
1/2 onion, sliced
about 1 1/2 cup baby carrots
1 rib of celery, sliced
sliced mushrooms
about 1 tsp. minced garlic
organic beef broth or beef bouillon (avoid ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, corn starch)
about 2 cups shredded Chinese cabbage
a little coconut oil or olive oil (I used coconut oil)

Saute the beef in oil just until the outside is browned. Then, throw everything except the cabbage in the slow cooker (add beef broth or water and beef bouillon, to cover the meat and vegetables). Cook on low for about 6 hours. About 30 or 45 minutes before you plan to eat the stew, add the Chinese cabbage and cook until it’s done.

Paleo Breakfast

paleobreakfast

I’m so excited to be on an almost-paleo diet! (I have to cheat for coffee, and the occasional chocolate.) I’m losing weight (I’ve lost about 5 pounds in the last two weeks), and I feel great! My blood sugar is stable throughout the day, which makes me feel wonderful; I have more energy now. (I used to struggle with constant blood sugar crashes throughout the day, which left me feeling exhausted.) But, now I’m enjoying food and feeling great! What a wonderful breakfast today: leftover eggplant (cooked with mushrooms, kale, spinach, onions, olive oil and marinara sauce), sauerkraut, kielbasa (without added nitrates/nitrites), and a fried egg. Hard to believe I’m losing weight on this diet! It’s all about avoiding grains & dairy (and refined sugars). I love it!

Gluten-free Muffins ~ Kid approved!

glutenfreemuffins

After over a year’s absence from my blog, I’ve decided to return to it! Mainly, it serves as a way for me to chronicle my family’s food adventures, as well as a place for me to describe the various crafts I do with my kids (or on my own). One of my main motivations for returning to my blog now is that I’m focusing more on my family’s dietary needs. It feels quite complicated at times, but I want to hopefully provide some inspiration and encouragement to other families who may be examining their own diets.

So, to briefly describe our diets: my husband is vegetarian (or, more precisely, pescatarian; he eats fish); my son is gluten-sensitive (a very recent discovery which we are thrilled to discover, because being gluten-free has greatly improved his ADHD symptoms), and I am on the paleo diet (I eat meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, but no grains or dairy products– although I must confess to cheating on the diet about once a week, to enjoy some cheese quesadillas; I also drink coffee every morning). My daughter doesn’t seem to be gluten-sensitive, but we’ve decided to keep things simple and just have a gluten-free household. It felt complicated and overwhelming at first, to have to plan for so many different dietary needs, but the rewards are worth it: we all feel great, my son is less hyper and more focused, and my husband and I are both losing weight. I hope that if anyone reads my blog, they will be inspired to keep focusing on their health, keep finding ways to make food fun, and be comforted to find that there are other families out there who are dealing with different dietary requirements for all the members of their family.

After being completely grain-free for one week, and after my son was gluten-free for one week, I started really missing the “comfort food” that usually comes from carbs: muffins, pancakes, biscuits, etc. So, I browsed through several paleo recipe books in search of muffin recipes. All the ones I found used coconut flour (which I didn’t have), so I experimented and made up my own recipe using almond flour. These muffins were such a hit, that I had to make more, two days later! The kids had fun helping to make the muffins. I experimented again the second time around, and varied the recipe a bit. (These recipes aren’t strictly paleo, but they are gluten free.) So, here are two variations on gluten-free muffins:

Gluten-Free Banana Mint Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins:

1 mashed banana
2 eggs
dash of maple syrup
2 tsp. baking powder
about 2 cups almond flour
dash of mint extract
chocolate chips
coconut oil for greasing the muffin cups

Mix together the wet ingredients, then add the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Grease the mini muffin pan with coconut oil, and fill the muffin cups with the batter. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. After removing from the oven, leave the muffins in the pan until they are cooled; the texture sets better, and they remove from the pan easier, if you let them sit for a while.

Applesauce Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

About 1 cup applesauce
2 eggs
about 1/4 cup honey
2 tsp. baking powder
about 1 1/2 cups almond flour
about 1/2 cup gluten-free pancake mix
chocolate chips
dash of cinnamon
coconut oil for greasing the muffin cups

Mix together the wet ingredients, then add the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Grease the mini muffin pan with coconut oil, and fill the muffin cups with the batter. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. After removing from the oven, leave the muffins in the pan until they are cooled; the texture sets better, and they remove from the pan easier, if you let them sit for a while.

Plastic Bag Wreath

After making a plastic bag purse recently, I’ve been thinking of more ways to use plastic bags. Last night, I made a plastic bag wreath, using only things that I already had around the house! For the base of the wreath, I used plastic grocery bags. I bunched a whole bunch of bags into two separate bags, then shaped them and tied with yarn.


Then, I covered the wreath with strips of fabric (left over from a pack of fabric I bought for the lining of my grocery bag purse). I used modge podge to adhere the fabric to the wreath, and I let it dry overnight.

Then I wrapped ribbons around the wreath. I crocheted a rose (using the Rose Brooch pattern by Daniela Herbetz on Ravelry). I left both ends long, so that I could tie them around the wreath.

Then, I made a hanger for the wreath. I single crocheted around a plastic ring (the kind that comes with most measuring cups, to hold the measuring cups together), and continued on (without cutting the yarn) to knit an I-cord long enough to tie around the wreath.

This was an easy, fun and cheap project! I think I’ll be making more of these… housewarming presents, wreaths for different seasons… there’s lots of possibilities!

Tomato Pie

We’re continuing to eat mostly vegetarian meals at home. I’ll occasionally eat meat when we’re eating out, and I sometimes will cook meat at home on a rare occasion, but for the most part, we’re eating only vegetarian meals at home. The other week, I took my son to the farmer’s market, and we had fun picking out some yummy veggies to bring home! I made this delicious tomato pie with fresh tomatoes and fresh local mozzarella cheese from the farmer’s market.


I used this recipe for the pie crust, but I didn’t freeze the butter (although that would’ve made it easier). For the pie I used three sliced tomatoes, 1/2 sliced onion, some vegan grapeseed mayo, mozzarella cheese, salt, pepper, and a little olive oil. It was delicious!!!!

Scrapbook-style wall hangings

Here are my newest crafty accomplishments! I made two scrapbook-style wall hangings, with family pictures. I’d been browsing pinterest and craft blogs, and discovered all the cool things you can do with modge-podge! I saw a few different projects that used modge-podge to both glue photos onto canvas, and to coat the photos to reduce the glossy glare. So I took this idea a little further, and decided to make a big scrapbook-style canvass wall hanging! I made two, and I’m really happy with how they turned out. I gave the green one to my dad for his birthday, and the blue one is hanging up in our living room.

Homemade Vegetarian Meal

Although we’re not completely vegetarian, my family likes to eat vegetarian meals at home most of the time (for lots of reasons… health/medical reasons, as well as concern for the environment, animals, etc.). Here’s a yummy vegetarian meal that I made this week: veggie-seitan pot-pie with mashed potato topping, salad, and homemade bread.

I made my own seitan, following this recipe. I didn’t use nutritional yeast or soy sauce, like that recipe calls for, but I added some Italian seasoning, minced dried garlic, and dried sage to the vital wheat gluten, before mixing in the broth. For broth, I used the reserved water from cooking broccoli. It turned out great!

The pot-pie was totally improvised, but turned out great. I used a bunch of veggies (some fresh cooked broccoli, carrots, and onions, as well as some frozen mixed veggies), small slices of the seitan, shredded cheddar cheese, the leftover broccoli broth mixed with some plain yogurt and sour cream. I topped it with homemade mashed potatoes, cooked for about 40 minutes or so at 350, and added some more cheese on top, the last few minutes of cooking.

I also made homemade bread using my favorite bread recipe from Budget Bytes. For the bread, I used 1 cup of “prairie gold” flour from a local mill, and the rest was all-purpose. My husband made butter this week (using heavy whipping cream and a can– it’s super easy!), and it tasted amazing on this bread.

Salad was great– just some greens, with an olive oil-sherry vinegar-lemon dressing.

This was a really filling, satisfying vegetarian meal!