Date and Walnut Blondie

Healthy Experiment #2

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The first time I looked at this recipe, I was skeptical. And if I’m completely honest, I am still not 100% convinced that these little guys are worth the investment (Be warned– the maca powder cost me nearly 15 bucks). But, these date and walnut treats surprised me with their increasing appeal. The cacao nibs are the secret ingredient of the recipe, for me anyway. Not only do they provide a chocolately crunch, but they also are an excellent source of magnesium, iron, fiber, and all kinds of antioxidants! These raw blondies are piled up with superfoods, including walnuts, hemp seeds, maca powder, and cacao nibs. In other words, every single ingredient is worth having in your body, even if the price tag is a bit high.

This recipe is a slightly different version of “The Raw Blondie” found in the cookbook My New Roots.

Ingredients
– 2 cups whole raw walnuts
– ¼ cup maca powder
– ½ cup hemp seeds
– ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
– 2 ½ cups pitted Medjool dates
– ½ cup cacao nibs

Directions
1. Put the walnuts in a food processor and blend on high until the nuts are finely ground (but not too much).
2. Add the maca, hemp, and salt to the food processor. Pulse to combine.
3. With the food processor running, add the dates, one at a time, through the feed tube. The mixture should hold together, but should not form a paste. Sprinkle the cacao nibs in and pulse briefly to combine.
4. Line an 8-by-8 baking dish with plastic wrap. Press the mixture very firmly into the pan, so it holds together, especially around the edges. Chill in the freezer for at least 3 hours before eating.
5. Using a sharp knife, slice the blondie mixture into squares and serve. Store any extra blondies in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.

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I’ve been spending quite a bit of time looking up different superfoods and their benefits. This post would be a book long if I wrote everything I have read. So I recommend doing some research. It’s amazing some of yummy healthiness you might be missing out on!

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Lentil Salad and Tzatziki

Healthy Experiment #1

As I begin this endeavor of living a healthier (technically I should say “more healthful”) lifestyle, I keep bumping into new ideas to add to my repertoire. Many are recipes. Others, ahem, are of a slightly more gross and experimental nature. Stay tuned in case I decide to share. Today’s is a wonderfully delicious and nutritious lunch to grab and go. It comes from Sarah Britton’s My New Roots recipe book. I made it on Sunday afternoon for the whole week’s worth of lunches. This black lentil salad with tzatziki and avocado has been a yummy meal that I look forward to. Something I recently learned about nutrition made eating this lunch even better. Here’s the beef– (well, actually the beans…) Humans need calories. However, what we need to be mindful of is how we get those calories. Only a small percentage of our daily caloric intake should be from fat. The rest is from carbs and protein. Hence, the lentils (protein) make a great filler for our hungry stomachs, providing the calories we need. You can find the recipe here!

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Emerald Lady

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So after I had completely finished this dress, I realized that it is my third dress (in a row!) to be green… And, my past two dress posts each were titled after a “lady,” so I could not force myself to interrupt the pattern this time. Wearing this dress truly does make one feel a lady. It is very likely my most extravagant and most prized creation thus far.

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As some of you may know from my previous post, I made this dress by adapting a vintage evening gown pattern. Though the pattern sleeves were quite classy, I opted for a younger, sleeveless look. The fabric is from Cali Fabrics, a decently-priced shop with many kinds of materials in a great variety of colors. Funny story– I ordered 5 yards of emerald taffeta, 8 yards of emerald tulle, and 2 yards of cream chiffon…. I made the bodice and realized that chiffon was not working for the kind of bow I imagined. So, I had this crepe-y silk/taffeta (I’m really not sure what it is) sitting beside me, because I had made a muslin with it. As it turned out, I had just enough to make the sash, which ended up being the perfect thing!

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Recently, in an interview, I was asked if I have ever failed. While the obvious answer is “yes,” I groped for a noteworthy example. My many sewing endeavors provided me with just the right example. I explained how I have most likely failed many more times than I have succeeded when sewing. And yet, that is how I learn. Without the long list of failures, I would not be the pattern-drafter, fabric buyer, and stitcher that I am today. All this is an introduction to what was perhaps my biggest sewing fail ever… I had completely finished my lovely bodice when I noticed a narrow line of stitches down one of the back sides. I turned the fabric to see the inside. I had serged into my bodice. Ah, it made me sick. After meticulously seam-ripping the serged stitches and trying to patch the tiny holes cut into the fabric, I yielded to what I knew had to be done. The perfectly ironed facing– off. The scrupulously sewn darts– redo. That entire quarter of my bodice– throw away. I cut around the pattern once more, lined up the darts once more, and attached this new and perfect piece to the rest of my dress. But, I can tell you, I am so glad I did!! My beautiful handiwork is now blemish-free. And I learned the importance of careful serging.

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Upcoming Venture

My winter hibernation is over! The spring calls me. A slew of projects and dresses is soon to come, and today I wanted to give you all a sneak peek at a what I hope to be my best accomplishment yet— a vintage evening gown! I have just ordered the pattern and have not begun yet, but my head is full of color combinations and slight modifications. Isn’t the pattern the most adorable little dress you ever did see?!

Currently, I am leaning towards a dark green taffeta (or would a different material be better?) bodice, dark green taffeta skirt with a tulle overlay, and a white chiffon sash. Some other options that have crossed my mind are the following: gold and white, some kind of brocade, pink lace… Have any other ideas?

Christmas Lady

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Hello, all! Christmas is nearing quickly. I have always loved the idea of dressing according to the holiday– pink and red for Valentine’s Day, red and blue for July 4th, pumpkin for Thanksgiving, green and red for Christmas. But I rarely have accomplished this… for different reasons; sometimes I am too lazy and choose sweatpants over a carefully picked outfit. Other times, I can’t put together the right ensemble. I fixed that problem for Christmas this year with a casual green dress. I made my pattern to match the Lady Skater pattern which has been so popular lately. I learned a wonderful fact while in the process of making this dress… Serged seams stretch as much as the fabric stretches! Most of you likely have known this for years, but it was my first time to see this amazing phenomenon actually work. Every seam that went into this dress is serged, a first for me as well. Overall, making this dress was quite unproblematic, a nice condition to run into every once in a while. Paired with dark red tights, this dress is my go-to outfit for any Christmas activity!

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Lady Liberty

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To make the long story short, this post was due on July 4. Yes, it is mid-September. I’ll just say that I lost a bit of my motivation on this dress after the first couple of hours. Finally, over Labor Day weekend, I made myself labor over this dress until it was finished. I am so glad that I did complete it!

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When I first got this fabric from the Mood in New York City, I thought it was the perfect material to use for this dress I had been loving. It is a satin silk. And on top of that, the fabric is the same color as the Statue of Liberty. What could be better than a Statue of Liberty dress made out of New York fabric?!

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The design of the Modcloth dress that I copied was so unique but also risky. Making the pattern was definitely a project in itself. But I am glad for the practice. Also, I think this pattern is very flattering! I did have one recurring problem throughout the whole process– puckering seams. Does anyone have any advice for sewing with lightweight fabrics and keeping the fabric from puckering at the seams?

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Loveralls

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The title tells the whole story about my new pair of overalls. This summer has seen me in little else. The entire spring and first bit of summer I scoured Etsy, garage sales, and thrift stores for a pair of denim shortalls that were long enough to roll up and loose enough to wiggle in. I had very little luck till I found a pair of baggy overall pants for $6. I cut them to the right roll-up length… and now they are almost the only thing I wear. They can be worn for a work-day around the house or on a warm day at the farmers market or to a simple lunch outing. (Yes, I have worn them on all of these occasions in the past two weeks.)

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Refashioned: Drop-waist Lace

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Time is precious right now. There is hardly enough to go around! My many projects– recovering a chair, painting an old bike, figuring out new curtains, making bread weekly, blogging…ever– have all been tossed to the wind. No time. This lovely little refashion, however, was so quick and easy that I found enough time to make it happen. Like most of my refashions, this vintage dress started out at an estate sale with a 50 cent tag attached.

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Though it was pretty to start with, the waist was a bit too low for my taste; so I seam-ripped the skirt off and reattached it a bit higher. Then I added another panel of white lining under the second tier of lace to make it decent. So easy! Perhaps what I love most about this one is its versatility. Today at church, I wore the dress with a chambray tank over it, a leather belt, and cowboy boots. It would also be adorable with a cardigan and topped of with a cloche for an ultra Twenties look. Anyhow, I am looking forward to trying out options!

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Good.

It is Easter once more, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to sing my Savior’s praises today! He is so good. When there is nothing good in me, He is good. When we were dead in our sin, He chose to display his goodness and love by dying on a cross to save us. He is good. We can trust in His promises, because He is good. Need I say it again? Yes, He’s good.

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P.S. This is my Easter dress that I made, a copycat of this dress, using this great princess seam tutorial.

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