Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Spent Grain Pizza

If you know someone that brews their own beer, find out what they do with their spent grain!  Spent grain is the leftover malt residue and grains after the mash process has extracted most of the sugars, proteins, and nutrients when making beer.  Spent grain can be used for composting, animal feed, and in cooking recipes.  Using spent grain in cooking is a great way to add some fiber, texture, and a nutty flavor.  The grains can be dried out and processed into flour, but I haven't ventured into that yet.  So far I've only tried making pizza dough.  I have tried a couple of different recipes, but we like the one from the Brooklyn Brew Shop the best so far.  If anyone has any other dough recipes they like (using spent grain or not), let me know!

Do you know how super easy it is to make pizza dough?  Ridiculously easy - and you can make a bunch and freeze it for later.  One of my friends (shout out Christy!) inspired me to start since the kids ask for pizza weekly.  Making the dough is really fun to do with the kids too.  They get to watch the yeast clouds grow when we hydrate them with water and then get to put all the ingredients into the bowl to be mixed (after I measure them out). 

It's fun to come up with random pizzas based on things we need to use up in our kitchen.  Last week we had some ingredients I threw together to make a bacon-chicken-pesto pizza and a pepperoni pizza.  (the pics are not the greatest, took them on a whim)

The pesto was made with some parmesan cheese, pecans, basil, olive oil, and garlic scapes that I blended up.  (I'd give you measurements, but I don't measure often when cooking.  Just add what seems right and taste it as you go.)  Then spread it out onto the spent grain pizza dough and top it with left over bacon and chicken.  The kids got to sprinkle on some colby-jack cheese (which is all we had or I would've used mozzarella) to finish it - then off it went to the oven.

The pepperoni one was just homemade tomato sauce we canned last year on top of the spent grain dough - then we let the kids throw on some basil, pepperoni, and cheddar cheese (again, should've used mozzarella).

I like to add a little extra flavor to the outside of the crust so I usually throw together a garlicky mixture to paint around the edges.  Again, didn't measure the quantities, but it generally consists of:
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • a few tbsp of olive oil - enough to make it spreadable

We made a taco pizza this week - spread refried beans ontop of the spent grain dough.  Add (cooked) taco seasoned meat and cheddar cheese - then bake.  We finished it off with chopped lettuce, sour cream, and a cilantro/lime juice/sour cream mixture we whipped up and drizzled all over.  Would have been even better with some fresh salsa, chip strips, and black olives!

Not sure what next week will be...maybe curry pizza?  Greek?  Depends on what's in the kitchen!
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Monday, June 24, 2013

Getting Patriotic

I recently reorganized my fabric stash and realized that I had some fabric (from Girl Charlee) that just HAD to be made into 4th of July outfits.  I decided to make a knit romper and simple dress.  The dress hasn't even been cut out, so this is just a sneak peak of the romper before I have both finished and take some sister pictures.  

I used Elegance & Elephants Pleated Playsuit pattern, but modified it a bit - plus used knit fabric!  The bottom half of the romper is exactly like the pattern instructs, except I placed the contrasting pocket fabric so it was visible instead of using it to make faux piping.

I didn't do a pleat in the front bodice and instead added a ruffle along the top.  The straps are strips of contrasting fabric that are tied through a loop in the back.  The back bodice was shortened to only come up to the arm holes.

I think the knit fabric worked out well with the pattern.  It fits her a little more comfortably than the Butterfly Romper that was made with woven fabric.  As soon as I get the dress finished up I'll get some better pics...if my model doesn't decide to quit and take a fake nap again.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Circle Skirt

If you've never made a circle skirt, you must make one now!  The only hard part about them is that they require a lot of fabric - and that you have to hem all that fabric.  That was a chore!  The fabric I used is some slippery knit I found in the red-tag area of Jo-Ann's.  It's really flowy when I walk, but heavy enough that the fabric hangs nicely.  There's a slight chance it may be swimsuit fabric though...I'm not sure!

My favorite part about circle skirts is the design that is made when you use a fabric with a stripe pattern.  It turns into a wave looking stripe design.  Vertical on two sides, horizontal on the other two.  A better example can be seen here.  This is because you make this kind of skirt by folding the fabric in half, then folding in half again.  Then cut out a wedge on the fold based off the radius of your waist.  This tutorial explains the process.

This skirt is so versitile.  It's comfortable enough for playing with the kids yet can be styled dressier for work.  I'm going to have to hold myself back from cranking out more!  This is going to be my last entry onto the Summer of No Pants pinterest board.  I wanted to do a nice dress since I've only whipped up some skirts, but I don't have enough time to finish it.  Next time!

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Zip Flip

I just couldn't resist trying a different "Flip" of the Bubble Pocket Shorts pattern.  The shorts are adorable, functional, and pretty easy to sew up.

I thought zippers would be an interesting addition to the pockets so I tried it out.  The way I attached them is probably not the most professional way to do it so I didn't photograph the process.  I basically just folded the assembled side panels about 4 inches down from the top and topstiched them onto the zippers, then topstitched the pockets to the other side the zipper (after I had gathered them with a basting stitch to fit the panel).  I tried to keep the zippers visible because I liked the pink color with the blue pockets.  Then followed the pattern instructions for the rest.  After thinking about how to make this better, I probably should have added bias tape to the top of the pockets for a cleaner look. 

I combined left over fabric from the other flipped shorts I made and also from the butterfly romper to make these.  I like how they match the other two items so the girls can coordinate outfits but not be exactly the same.  See below - we were outside trying to catch the rain :)

Of course she thought the zippers were pretty cool to play with and I didn't have to worry about her loosing all the tiny toys she threw in the pockets.

 One last pic that made me smile....

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Pocketful of Rainbows

Don't laugh.  These are maybe the kookiest thing I've ever come up with.  They look like the kind of shorts Rainbow Brite would wear if she wore shorts.  Or maybe they remind you of where the Carebears live?  They may be a little different, but are really cute when you put them on an adorable kid.  

I made these shorts for the Flip this Pattern series that started this month.  It's a yearlong series that I hope to sew along to each month.  It's a great reason to try out new patterns that I may not be sure of.  These shorts are by Elegance & Elephants - the Bubble Pocket Shorts.  It takes a lot for me to commit to buying a pattern, but this is one that I'm excited I did.  The instructions are great and the shorts are so unique!  It makes sense that they chose to Flip this pattern first in the series, since the way it is constructed makes it easy to change up.  

The only thing I changed was the look of the shorts.  I wanted the pockets to look like clouds, and have a rainbow connecting them.  I found this really cute white lace in the Red-Tag area of Jo-Ann's and thought it really looked like clouds.  I made the pockets by cutting out the lace the size of the pockets and overlaying it to the blue cotton fabric.  The contrasting waistline hiding inside is the same butterfly fabric I used for this romper.

I made the rainbow by ironing on ribbon to some no-sew Heat N' Bond, and cutting it to fit the side panels of the shorts.  Then I ironed them onto the shorts.  I decided not to top stitch because I've had good experience so far with appliqu├ęs using this method and haven't had any peel off.  I then continued to follow the pattern instructions.

So that's my "Flip"!  She loves the roomy pockets and I love the patten!  Now I know why so many of these shorts have been popping up all over the internet.  More pics because I had so many to choose from....

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Butterfly Romper

I've been wanting to make a romper for a long time, but hesitated because I thought it would be too much trouble at potty time.  But after Elegance and Elephants released their latest pattern, the Pleated Playsuit, I knew I had to make at least one.  It looked so adorable and was FREE!  

I still didn't make the romper right away because I was in skirt making mode for Skirt Week.  But skirts seem to be out right now and rompers/shorts are in!  Romper Week starts this week at Sewing Mama Raeanna and Shorts-on-a-line has started already (hosted by Imagine Gnats and Small & Friendly).  On top of that, Calia Made is running a series right now called the Best of Summer Series where bloggers review patterns they love and inspire others to try them.  So many reasons to try this pattern rather than worry about whether a romper is functional.

This romper turned out cuter than I could have imagined!  The pockets are so cool!  I love the faux piping made from the pocket lining and the sizing of them are actually functional.  So many pockets on kids clothes barely have enough room for their hands.

The one thing I changed up from the pattern is the straps - I decided the butterfly pattern would be complimented by some ruffle sleeves and that the elastic straps would be easier for her to get on and off by herself.  To make the straps, I cut two pieces of 1/4" elastic to 6.5" and two 13" x 3"strips of fabric.  I pressed one side of the strip down 1/4 ", then rolled it another 1/4", pressed and topstitched.  The other side of the strip I pressed down 1/4", rolled it another 1/2", then pressed and topstitched to form a casing for the elastic.  Repeated the same on the other strip.  After threading and securing the elastic, I then followed the pattern as instructed.  The pattern is very well done!  I messed up a couple times, but that was because I was sewing past my bedtime.

She actually couldn't wait to get this on!  I was so surprised that I didn't have to bribe her.  I also think this is the longest she's ever stood still to get a photo taken.  She thinks they're "so cute mommy".  Ha, love it.  Oh, and potty breaks are not slowed down by these rompers (phew), so I'm going to be busy making some more!


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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sailor Shorts

Several weeks ago I purchased a bunch of beachy quarters, not knowing how I'd use them (as most fabric buying goes).  The fabric is from the Jack and Lulu It's a Shore Thing collection.  Soon after, I also purchased this Sailor Shorts pattern from Peek-a-boo Pattern Shop after falling in love with the pictures.  The shorts look so different than most out in stores!  It took me a long time after purchasing the pattern and cutting it out to get started.  It was a little more complicated and I couldn't find the perfect nautical fabric.  Then I remembered the quarters and decided to make it work!

I'm in love with the color combinations I was able to put together.  I used 3 different quarters for this pair.  These shorts still took me a lot longer than I expected because I had to re-read the directions a lot and seam rip some areas.

I made size 3T for my 2/3T wearing girls and the fit was pretty good.  I had to shorten the amount of elastic recommended for the back by a little over an inch though.  I left the extra elastic inside the band in case I want to adjust these next year, though these girls just keep growing up at this point instead of out.

I used 4 different quarters for this pair of shorts because I wanted this color combination.  One thing I learned making these shorts - I didn't use wide enough bias tape.  I looked all over the pattern instructions several times and couldn't find a recommended bias tape size, but I probably missed it.  I used some I had on hand and it turned out okay.  The curved areas were nearly impossible to sew with the thin tape.  Also, I'm a little bothered I couldn't match fabric patterns at the seams because of the small amounts I had available.  Both problems are an easy fix next time.

For more shorts inspiration, check out the Shorts On A Line series!

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