Sunday, August 18, 2013

matching headbands (my fashion advisor)

 I know, she pulls this off way better than me. But that's fair, it was her idea.

Ok, that's enough fashion...

Make Your Own Sandwich Bags

Picture this: A mother is packing a school lunch and pulls out a small plastic bag, shakes it open. "Flash" The camera pulls back so now you can see 300 people, all packing their lunches and simultaneously pulling out small plastic bags. "Flash" All over the country, and the world, people throw these bags away. Many of them end up in land fills which is bad enough, but a lot of them also blow around, hang in trees, wash down drains etc. Whales have been found with stomachs full of plastic bags.
I'm not trying to change the world by making sandwich bags, but once you know something it's hard to just keep doing the same thing every day without feeling some pang of guilt.
Enter the homemade sandwich bag! I saw the idea in a book and modified it a little. The fabric I used is called PUL fabric(I found mine at JoAnn Fabrics), it's laminated on one side so it's waterproof. I used the knit kind so that it has some give.

To care for them, just turn them inside out and clean under hot water, rubbing any food spots off. If they really need a good cleaning after some heavy onioning or something, throw them in a gentle wash. They should always air dry, otherwise the laminate will eventually dry and crack.
Here's how I made them.
Cut a rectangle about 13x7, slightly curving the top corners.
To make your own bias tape... ^^ by about 20 inches of a thin cotton fabric with no stretch.
Working slowly, fold one long edge to the middle and iron. 
Apply bias tape to the straight/bottom edge. Fold up a little more than 3/4 of the way and stitch the sides, laminate on the inside.
Leaving about 1/2 inch overhang at the bottom, match the raw edge of your tape with the edges of your bag. Pin in place and stitch.

To make it easier you can use ready made bias tape or a thick ribbon. With ribbon you will only have to fold it over once because of the lack of raw edges needing to be encased.
As with most projects, your first one will take you the longest, but once you've done it you can really zip these out.
And tell me; Are you too busy to make these? I'm considering selling them from my Etsy shop, Which style would you prefer? Would you purchase them?

The Perfect Chocolate Cake Recipe

Our friends Jason and Becky had some friends visiting from Bethel this weekend and they asked us if we would like to come over for meatballs Saturday night. Of course! Becky makes the best meatballs! Yes I have asked what makes them different, yes she has told me how she makes them, yes I have tried doing what she said. And No, they were not the same.

So anyways, I volunteered to bring dessert, but honestly I was so looking forward to said meatballs that I was having trouble feeling inspired. Fruit cobbler (...ehh) pound cake with blackberry sauce (...ehh) chocolate something. Yeah. Chocolate cupcakes...
London and I hopped on our bike and picked up sprinkles, cocoa and coconut flakes, and behold the results. Pretty decent. Considering I never make cupcakes.

But what really made it was this chocolate cake recipe that my Mom clipped out of a magazine ages ago and had passed on. Nothing mysterious about it, nothing complicated, nothing over the top devils-triple-chocolate-gooeyness about it. Just perfect chocolate cake that stays moist for days. Not that it ever lasts long enough to know...

I don't own cake pans (I know!) so I always turn this into cupcakes.

Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes
cupcake liners, makes about 30 cupcakes
1 ½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pans
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups sugar
1 TBSP baking soda
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 ½ cups buttermilk (I used a scant less than 1 1/2 cups of milk and added a tsp of vinegar to sour it. Just let it sit a couple of minutes...
1 ½ cups hot water
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and fill your tins with cup liners. 
  2. Sift cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into mixer bowl.  On low, stir in eggs, buttermilk, hot water, oil, and vanilla; beat until smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping bowl as necessary.
  3. I use regular muffin tins and bake for about 15 minutes, just make sure to test them