Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Creamy Avocado Pasta

My lovely Daughter in law, who is an avid pinterest recipe searcher, found this recipe for Creamy Avocado Pasta and shared it with me.  They have made it several times, and found it a yummy versatile healthier pasta sauce alternative.  The bonus is it only takes 15 minutes to prepare!
Creamy Avocado Pasata
from Anne's Kitchen!

1 Medium Avocado
Juice from 1/2 lemon (or you can use Lime Juice)
2-3 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup fresh basil
2 Tbs Olive Oil
Pepper to taste
Pasta of your choice

Heat your water and start your pasta cooking, while pasta cooks combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor (except pasta).  Season with pepper to taste, pour over cooked pasta, toss, serve immediately and enjoy!  

So there you have a pretty simple pasta sauce.  It is rich and creamy and a lovely avocado~y green color.  The basil in the recipe combined with the lemon juice gives it a fresh tangy flavor.  The avocado gives it the creaminess of an Alfredo type sauce, but only half the fat and calories.  

I did the nutritional work up of this recipe compared to a typical Fettuccini Alfredo and listed them below.   I have always heard how good for you avocados are, but never really researched it I decided to do a bit of research for this post.  From the California Avocado CommissionAvocados provide nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid. They also act as a "nutrient booster" by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein, in foods that are eaten with the fruit.  The fat in avocados is mostly heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. In addition, clinical studies support the ability of avocado to lower cholesterol and fat in the blood.  There is quite a bit more information on the livestrong web site listed here.  So give this recipe a try and let me know how you like it!

Read more:

Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving CREAMY AVOCADO PASTA
563.6 kcal
Water128.58 gCarbohydrate (40%)56.92 gProtein (8%)11.1 gTotal Fat (52%)34.03 g   Monounsaturated22.31 g   Polyunsaturated4.36 g   Saturated6.03 gCholesterol226.13 gDietary Fibre7.51 gVitaminsVitamin A466.11 IUThiamin0.35 mgRiboflavin0.46 mgNiacin3.57 mgPantothenic acid2.15 mgVitamin B60.36 mgFolate155.36 mcgVitamin B120.51 mcgVitamin C13.1 mgVitamin E4.38 mg ATEMineralsCalcium50.48 mgIron3.49 mgMagnesium50.52 mgPhosphorus190.09 mgPotassium589.92 mgSodium94.58 mgZinc1.66 mgCopper0.32 mg

Nutrition Facts
1390.7 kcal
Water230.67 gCarbohydrate* (11%)37.12 gProtein (9%)30.23 gTotal Fat (80%)126.76 g   Monounsaturated35.78 g   Polyunsaturated5.21 g   Saturated78.31 gCholesterol469.29 mgDietary Fibre0 gAlcohol (0%)0 gVitaminsVitamin A4458 IUThiamin0.31 mgRiboflavin0.69 mgNiacin1.29 mgPantothenic acid1.03 mgVitamin B60.13 mgFolate88.35 mcgVitamin B121.77 mcgVitamin C1.43 mgVitamin E3.32 mg ATEMineralsCalcium723.12 mgIron1.83 mgMagnesium56.78 mgPhosphorus590.95 mgPotassium275.48 mgSodium1025.51 mgZinc3.16 mgCopper0.24 mg

Friday, May 18, 2012

What's A Tea Cozy? It's like a Prom Dress for your Teapot!

I was shocked, amazed and so pleasantly surprised today!  My friend Danelle was coming over for tea...  Danelle is my knitting friend; meaning that we both love to knit, and we are friends and have become friends over the fact that we both love to knit.  I love getting together with her for tea and knitting because it is so relaxing.  I lead a pretty hectic and busy life, and when I schedule a tea break with Danelle, it truly is a break.  We spend a couple of hours sipping Yorkshire Gold, or some other delightful English tea, dousing it with some fresh cream and honey and taking about what ever comes to mind and always with  some knitting thrown in. Well, back to what amazed me.  When Danelle arrived she had a pretty little gift bag in her hands, I was getting the tea ready, and we were visiting and she said..." oh this is for you, and you have to open it now".  I did, it was an absolutely gorgeous tea cozy, did I mention that I was shocked and amazed?  Look at the picture, it's beautiful!
It slides on over my teapot, and has two cozy layers of knitting to keep the tea piping hot.  The top is a bevy of knit roses and leaves.  It is sooo cute, I still can't believe she made it for me.  So "why?" I asked her,  and she said it was to thank me for test knitting for her, which I do, but I am about the slowest knitter in the world and quite the amateur compared to Danelle.  So why you say am I test knitting?  Well, let me just say that I have been knitting most of my life, as long as I can remember.  My mom or my Aunt Mary taught me, I don't remember which and no one out there probably cares! Danelle on the other hand, has only been knitting for a handful of years.  I am moderately ok at knitting, she is amazing at knitting and the thing about it is she really doesn't like to use a pattern, or she will start with the basic concept and then make up her own thing.  Which brings me to why I do some test knitting for her....She makes these amazing little cuffs or mitts that you can wear in the winter to spruce up your attire, or add another layer of warmth to your wrists or whatever.  They are lacy and feminine and cute and soft.  Long story short, she had perfected her pattern, and decided to try submitting it to a magazine, Jane Austen Knits to be exact, as they are the perfect Jane Austen type pattern.  Well the pattern was accepted for publication in the magazine, and last week just before mothers day, she received an email of the pattern, and also found out that she made the cover of the magazine!  Wow!  That was pretty exciting, and I am thankful for her inspiration to constantly improve and perfect my needley knitting skills and that she trusts me to give her test patterns a whirl! You can find her beautiful cuff pattern in the Summer 2012 issue of Jane Austen Knits...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

For the Love of Sewing...and other things

Sewing for a living is not something I thought I could ever do.  When I started making a few baby things and then the cloth diapering accessories I sell now, it was kind of a casual, "oh I'll list a few things in my shop and see what happens" kind of a thing.  Then people actually started buying the things I made, and that gave me inspiration to make some more things!

At the first of the year, I decided to try and define my shop and what I was about to see if I could actually make this a business that could help support our family.  You see several things took place to prompt this decision.  My wonderful husband worked at a job he really didn't love for over 20 years; faithfully so that I could stay home with our four boys and raise them up and homeschool them.  A few years ago, his job moved out of state, and we chose not to move with the job, as our family was here and our children were on the brink of grown, and to top it off and seal the decision, we found out we were going to be grandparents.  We chose family over job and have never regretted that decision.  Jobs in his field in our area are hard to come by in good times, and with the economic crises almost non existent.   
He has always been blessed with some kind of work however, and we have muddled through.  Anyway, back to my story.... At the first of the year, he decided that he really would like to go back to school.  I felt that after all those years of working for us, and now that our last baby was almost out of high school and I was almost officially done being a home school mom, he deserved to pursue a carees he would enjoy.  So back to school he has gone, and I have been working to improve my shop and make it the best possible place to find unique, hand made cloth diapering accessories.

I realized one day as I sat down at my sewing machine, at 11:00 at night to hem a pair of shorts for my now graduated youngest son who was leaving the next day on a trip, that I have come to love sitting down at my machine to create something new for someone.  Every time I get a custom order, I feel some of that excitement from the person ordering it; of their anticipation for their new arrival, or their pleasure at looking forward to having a unique and beautiful bag to toss those dirty diapers into.  Crazy isn't it, that having something beautiful even if it is just to toss dirty diapers into, would be such fun, but I think all humans, especially moms, have an inherent appreciation for beauty.  So on I sew, and I am happy that I can do it for the right reasons; for family, and choosing to stay together and strengthen family relationships.   I am very thankful and blessed by all my wonderful customers who allow me to sew for them, and repeatedly come and visit my shop.  I so appreciate all of you.  I am also so thankful for my family and my ever so patient husband who puts up with me taking over the whole house at times to get my projects done!

Here we all are

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Got Em Covered for all your wool soaker needs

Before the Great Cloth Diaper Change I started interviewing some of the prize donors.  I didn't get them quite all done, so I am posting my interview with Emilie Papp of Got 'Em Covered after the fact. I have enjoyed working with Emilie on the Etsy Cloth Diaper Team and getting to know her and her beautiful  creations.   I will let Emilie tell you about herself, but I will tell you her crochet wool soakers are some of the cutest I have ever seen.  They are so soft, and so neatly made.  I really like the ones with snaps that you can just snap right on.  So now, please read a little bit about Emilie and check out her shop to see her beautiful wool bum covers.

My name is Emilie Papp. I am a stay at home/work at home mother/wife to 2 fun and active boys and a wonderful husband. I decided to stay home with my first son after returning to school and finishing my college degree while he was a baby. I started my business to help share cloth diapering and my creations with other families.

My craft started as a hobby to make one of a kind, custom fit diaper covers and items for my children and family, I found myself enjoying it so much that I wanted to continue crafting and sharing with others. Although it is a source of income, it is still a hobby for me. I put the same care and attention to every piece in my store as I would a gift for a family member.

My shop name is GotEmCovered. I mostly make and sell cloth diaper covers and based on the idea of my name that whatever your need, whether it is diaper covers, feminine cloth, or any other handmade items that I have it covered.

I am passionate about self/personal expression. I feel that everyone should feel the freedom of self through art, craft, music, personal belief or appearance. I believe everyone has a creative outlet and should feel open to the ability to share it with others.  I like to think I have been creative all of my life and as I learn and grow I have been finding different ways to express it.  I learned the basics of both sewing and crocheting at an early age from my grandmother, who is my inspiration.  I remember as a child I was sure that she could make anything that my heart desired or fix anything that may have broken.  She was a loving, caring, and generous woman to anyone she met.  It was not until I  had my first son (almost 6 years ago) that I really started sewing and crocheting on a regular basis. Since then I have honed my skills and learned many new techniques. I really enjoy creating new sewing and crochet patterns to meet the needs of my family and clients.

I learned a new technique to add designs onto my wool covers and I am really enjoying creating different themes and trying new ideas.
I find that the most challenging thing about running a business is definitely finding balance. Like anyone who is a parent and works I am continuously trying to find balance between work and family. I also find that I need to try to find balance in keeping the creating fun and keeping the whole process enjoyable... the creating part is the part I love and I have to try to keep it that way while 'getting down to business' to actually keep the business going.

Any advice for cloth moms out there?

I love pre-folds, they are inexpensive, wash up great , and are so versatile.  I prefer pul covers for daytime use and wool for nighttime and summertime or when it's hot.  If something is not working, try something else. I am not sure that one type or brand of diaper is better than another, iI just think that different kinds work for different people

Cloth diapering is important to me for so many reasons, but name just a few: it is healthy and comfortable for your baby (any woman who uses disposable feminine pads may be able understand the discomfort a disposable could potentially bring), it is good for the environment, and it is good for the budget - I could not imagine having to pay the large and ongoing expense of disposable diapers especially in the tough time many are facing . I have learned inexpensive ways of cloth diapering and even took the flats hand washing challenge to support the idea of inexpensive cloth diapering. I am more than happy to help anyone get started or just answer questions in a pressure free, non judgmental environment. please feel free to contact me!