February 20, 2012

onesie decorating party

Over the weekend, I hosted a onesie decorating party with a handful of other expectant moms. It was a super fun time getting to know these ladies and everyone got to go home with something handmade for their little one. In fact we had so much fun that I completely forgot to take photos! We even hung all the finished onesies along a makeshift clothesline which I'd meant to use for a photo op. Oops :( Looks like I'll have to work at  remembering to have my camera at the ready once our little man arrives.

Originally the idea for onesie decorating came from helping host my friends baby shower a couple years ago. As an activity instead of games, I brought an assortment of plain onesies, fabric pens and paints so that everyone could create a unique onesie for little Oskar (who happens to be turning two today)!! Here he is at almost two months old in one that I decorated with pens.

Having since taken up sewing and discovering a soft spot for adorable fabric, I decided to ditch the paints and provided only the pens and some fabric scraps, simple stencil shapes and Steam-A-Seam for adhesive (no sewing required!). I also had a few extra iron on letters from a previous project. This worked out really well! Here are my creations:
I already got the baby a Heart In Oregon onesie, so it seemed appropriate for him to represent Minnesota as well. The idea for MN Grown comes from a friend who saw something similar for sale. She made an incredibly adorable version for her little girl that can be viewed here.

Some helpful tips for onesie decorating and  no sew fabric applique:
1) Prewash the onesies and the fabric scraps to be used. This eliminates shrinkage and better preserves your design.

2) Use templates/patterns cut from cardstock, not regular paper. It's easier for tracing your design onto fabric.

3) When using the iron on applique technique, make sure the adhesive webbing goes all the way to the edge of your cut design, all the way around. This will help keep your fabric from lifting and fraying after washing. 

4) When drawing on your onesie, fit a rectangular piece of cardboard inside the garment. This is helpful for two reasons: First, the ink from fabric pens will bleed through the fabric. Having a protective layer between the onesie's front and back will stop the ink from going all the way through. Secondly, fitting the onesie over the cardboard will slightly stretch it, providing a more firm surface for easier writing.

February 2, 2012

haute dish

Having been a Minnesotan for just over two years now, I decided it was time to make the alluring Tater Tot Hot Dish. Although they can't be all that common in these parts because I haven't had the opportunity to try hot dish of any kind since moving here! Oh well, I'm pretty excited to have come up with this fabulous treat that my hubby called "sublime". Mine is of the sweet potato variety because we're kind of obsessed with them right now (way more nutritious AND delicious.)

Recipe adapted from The Kitchen Bitch - I latched onto this version because it doesn't use canned cream of mushroom soup. This way I can better control the sodium and besides, homemade just tastes better. Didn't really take all that much longer to make either.

Sweet Potato Tot Hot Dish

1 1/2 bags sweet potato tots (Alexa Brand is available at most grocers)
2-3 lbs. combined cooked meat & diced assorted veggies (I used shredded leftover chicken, fresh asparagus & carrots, frozen peas & corn)
1 lb. fresh sliced mushrooms
Herbs to taste (I used about 1 tsp. each of thyme, marjoram and rosemary)
2 T butter
2 T flour
1 pint of cream/milk (or a combo of both)
3/4 cup grated cheese (I used gruyere)
Salt & pepper
Cayenne pepper to taste

Cook/shred chicken or brown meat in advance.
Roast the diced fresh veggies in a single layer tossed w/olive oil in a 350 degree oven. If using some frozen veggies, heat those in a pan on the stove.
When all veggies are roasted/heated, add all to the stovetop pan, then add the mushrooms, cooked meat and herbs. Set aside.
Make a white sauce by melting butter in a saucepan, then whisk in flour. Meanwhile, scald the milk/cream in another pan. Once the roux stops tasting like raw flour, stir in the dairy and reduce. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste. Sprinkle in the grated cheese and stir to combine.
Spread the cooked veggie/meat mixture into a 9x13 baking dish and pour the sauce over. Then layer the tater tots on top and bake into a 375-degree oven. Check after 20 minutes- when the tots are crispy, the dish is done. (If it seems like the tots are cooked but not crispy, set the oven to broil for a few minutes watching closely to ensure you don't burn them.)

Enjoy the creamy, cheesy, seasoned goodness.