Make, Jane, make!


Small Share

Monday, August 18, 2014

Homemade American Cheese? Verdict? Worth it!

When I was pregnant with my first son, I had strange taste and smell aversions. (Subsequently, I discovered it was morning sickness, just without the tell-tale being sick part.) One of my weird taste and smell aversions was cheese. I thinking that I was exposing the cheese to too much moisture and it was going off really quickly... I don't know how much cheese I threw into the trash thinking it had gone bad before finally asking hubby to double-check for me.

Unfortunately, I loooove cheese and I craved for it. So I took to having processed cheese and soon bagels with a Kraft single nuked over top became a common breakfast for me. Funny to reminisce about it now - there I was, first time mom, trying so hard to do everything right for my unborn babe. All the while, feeding myself artificial cheese that was nuked (not even toasted!) over dollar-a-loaf-grocery-store bagels. I guess it could have been worse, I could have wanted spray cheese and a ramen cup ;) 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Kohlrabi and Corn Fritters

Jump to the recipe...

Every year, inevitably, we'll receive the other-worldly kohlrabi in our CSA box. The first year we got it I was stumped. What to do with this strange root? I've tried it in coleslaw (nothing spectacular and not really to my liking). I've also tried stir-frying it (too soggy), roasting it (delicious but too hot to turn on the oven that often) and boiling and pureeing it into soup (yummy but felt like just a riff on cauliflower soup). I had yet to find a way to prepare kohlrabi that was simple and tasty and uniquely "kohlrabi".

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Elastic Bracelet Craze... Loom-less!

Diamond with Rings made with two forks, inspired by Loom Love

It all started with an innocent baggie of coloured rubber bands that I bought at the local discount grocer...

My eldest son has been enjoying YMCA camp this summer and has not been able to stop talking about all things camp, including his value bead bracelet. Understandably, the middle two siblings, who were already jealous that big brother was old enough for camp but they were not, began to resent not having bracelets of their own.

So when I saw the $1 baggie of coloured elastics hanging in the store, I figured that I could make them a simple elastic chain bracelet similar to the ones I used to play elastic jump ropes games with as a child. However, after we got them home I started to faintly remember another elastic weaving technique that was more like braiding from my grade school days... which I then had to google.

Some of my eldest son's first projects, fishtails and dragon-scale

What did I find? Well, as you may already know, there are a lot of tutorials out there to teach you how to make a Rainbow Loom bracelet without a loom. The crafter and DIY-er in me loved that. The simplicity and flexibility of a craft that could be done without elaborate equipment, other than the elastics of course, really appealed to me. And as I had already taught my kids how to finger knit (which they love), I also saw the potential to share another quiet and time-consuming craft with them (a.k.a. mommy's get out of jail free card).

His latest creation

So instead of working on my extensive sewing list or making more freezer meals with our abundant CSA veggies, I've been watching YouTube videos of elastic weaving on forks and fingers. And 'cause I find it so similar to knitting, which I love and haven't done in sooo long, I've been a little obsessed with what I can create with these elastics without needing to buy a loom; something I'm loath to do since I would have to have at least three looms to satisfy all the little crafters in this house.

Butterfly charm bracelet made on my fingers, inspired by Made by Mommy

Also, I'm kinda enjoying the stripped down feel of minimal equipment and the challenge of learning the basic techniques and then figuring out those pretty patterns for myself. And as an added bonus, the slower pace of bracelet creation without a loom keeps the kids occupied for longer. I haven't even given them a place to sort the elastics out, they need to dig through the bag each time to get their desired colours... lol! I know, I'm a cruel and devious mommy.

Ridiculously small pink and red strawberry bracelet for my daughter

Anyway, the kids are loving that mommy has a new hobby to share with them, but there's always a catch, isn't there?  So, here's the rub, my eldest son, the one who precipitated the bracelet-envy in the first place, has really taken to learning how to make the bracelets as well.  He has created no less than nine bracelets for himself. Meanwhile, I've only managed about two bracelets each for his siblings. So ironically, my elastic buying has not only failed to make my middle children less envious of their brother's arm-wear, but has also increased the bracelet gap! Sigh.... I should've seen that one coming...

The collection... so far!

Luckily, big brother does see the ridiculousness of wearing all those bracelets himself and has now started giving away bracelets and/or making more bracelets for his little brother and sister. My next goal is to even out the amount of gimp/boondoggles that he's made for himself versus his siblings. Blast from the past crafts. Lovin' it.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Garlic Scape and Pea Pesto

Am I late to the party? I only just discovered that you can make pesto with fresh peas and I love the result. Fresh... and sweet... and the colour! The colour is even better than regular basil pesto because it stays beautifully pale green through refrigeration or heating.

I originally set out to make a garlic scape pesto but wasn't sure if I could ever get the kids to eat it since scape pesto tends to be so spicy. Then I remembered seeing pictures of pea pesto and figured that if anything could tone down the super concentrated garlicky flavour that results from grinding up a bagful of scapes, it would be fresh peas from the pod.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Beach Towel Poncho-Pack, Revisited with a Tutorial!

A couple of years ago, I blogged about my first beach towel poncho-packs. Those original poncho-packs have since been to multiple swim lessons, splash pads and beaches and are still going strong. Of course there are now two additional people in our family, one of which has been requesting her own "backpack towel" since last summer. In addition to that, my older son started summer camp this year and he needs at least two sets of swim stuff so that I have time to wash the stinky, wet ones on alternate days. And as fate would have it, we were discussing the poncho-packs at the park a couple of weeks ago and one of my mommy friends asked for instructions on how to make her own. So here is a return visit to the beach towel poncho-packs, complete with photos and a tutorial.

p.s. This is a great scrap buster project. So never you mind if you notice that the pieces in my pictures are not quite the right measurements or seem a bit skewed. I am crazy about using up scraps, even if they are only barely big enough for my project.

p.p.s. In case you want to know, I used some scrap flannel pieces for this project. I think any soft and absorbent fabric would work great.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Zucchini Crumb Cake Muffins

If you've ever tried to leave zucchini on a neighbour's front porch under the cover of darkness, devised methods of handing out zucchini instead of candy at Hallowe'en or considered including zucchini as part of your taxable income calculations, then you've obviously experienced firsthand the awesome productive powers of the zucchini plant. However, despite its bad rap as an unwelcome vegetable gift, I feel indebted to the over-achieving zucchini plant because if it did not bear fruit so copiously, no one may have ever felt compelled to create the wonderfully moist delight that is zucchini bread.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Eat your greens!

So now you know how much lettuce we've been lucky enough to receive in our farmshare due this nice cool summer. Not to mention that there's also chard, beets, kale, radish/beet/kohlrabi greens, zucchini, carrots, potatoes and so much more that comes with each weekly CSA box.

Veggies at every meal have become the order of the day and I have been pleasantly surprised at how relatively well my kids have received this. That's not to say that they sit down and eat the super-sized salads that mommy and daddy eat. Ha! But they do accept their daily side salad at dinner and have taken to having the rest of their daily allotment in some unexpected ways.

For instance, we all sat down and enjoyed eating a version of Cobb salad for dinner last week.