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1  COOKING / Dessert / Re: Cheapest/Easiest Last min gift ever-Chocolate Toffee Pieces; "Christmas Crack!" on: December 17, 2010 02:20:45 PM
I was thinking about making this a little bit healthier ( ::)iknowrite?) by using a canola and palm oil spread that is usually great, sometimes better for baking.  However, it's only 70% oil, and though someone mentioned Earth Balance spread as working for this recipe, Earth Balance has a slightly higher oil content.  Has anyone had a good experience working with 70% or less vegetable oil spreads?
2  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Re: We...are...PARAMORE! Messenger Bag on: September 14, 2010 06:09:11 PM
Beautiful bag!  The fabric you found for the inside is just perfect!  I'm also seeing Paramore next (now this) week, on Saturday!  Are we going to the same one, I wonder?  =D
3  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Suddenly lactose intolerant! on: August 21, 2010 01:22:29 PM
So, in the last few weeks, I've suddenly become lactose intolerant.  Apparently, it's pretty common to become lactose intolerant over a short period of time as you get older.  Anyway, after trying those lactase pills, I've found they don't work very well, and the experience was so unpleasant I'm very wary of eating anything with dairy now.  Anyone here have lactose intolerance?  What foods do you find you can and cannot eat? 

Are baked goods with milk in them fine, or a no-go?

Can I still eat butter and things made from butter and/or cream? 

I hear that yogurt and other cultured dairy products are easier to digest, is this true?

If lactase pills don't work, do lactaid milks work?  I tried some before and it seemed fine, but it seems that day by day I get more sensitive about it.

Thanks everyone!
4  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: What are your favorite salad toppings/ingredients? on: August 17, 2010 02:58:00 PM
Made a really cool and refreshing salad on a whim for lunch today: 

1 cucumber, thinly sliced
1 apple, cored and chunked
5 or 6 strawberries, halved and sliced
strawberry balsamic vinaigrette

for the vinaigrette:

~5 or 6 strawberries, fresh or frozen
balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil, in proportions pleasing to you (for me it was balsamic vinegar>red wine vinegar>olive oil, starting with about 1/4 cup balsamic)
a pinch of pepper
a pinch of powdered garlic (onion powder or dry mustard also would be good)

blended in a food processor - makes enough for about 6-8 servings

I think this would be best if it sat in the fridge for an hour or so before eating, or maybe even crisped up a bit in the freezer - when the apples soaked up the vinaigrette they were absolute heaven.  Great fresh too, though!
5  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: What are your favorite salad toppings/ingredients? on: July 08, 2010 10:14:46 AM
I made a fantastic salad yesterday! 


Spring mix
Freshly grated carrots
one HUGE radish chopped into "strings"
several slices red onion

Tossed with:

spiced glazed walnuts (splenda, water, and pumpkin pie spice tossed with walnuts and baked for about 15 minutes)
dried cranberries


raspberry vinaigrette made with raspberry red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, fresh raspberries, splenda and spices

It was sooo sweet and refreshing and good!  A little garlic bread on the side gives a nice contrast.

Another of my favorite salads is a tangy lemony Caesar:


Romaine lettuce
Red onion

Tossed with:

homemade croutons (diced whole wheat sourdough bread cubes tossed with salad dressing and baked for about 25 minutes)
extra grated or powdered parmesan cheese


Lemony Caesar (lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, black pepper, garlic powder, seasoning salt, parsley, parmesan cheese, onion powder)

This salad packs quite a powerful kick, and it's very satisfying.  Perfect for summer days when the thought of eating heavy is loathsome.

I love this fuji apple salad with white balsamic apple vinaigrette I get at a Panera nearby, but I have yet to figure out the recipe for the dressing, unfortunately!  It's sweet and apple-y but with a bit of a kick to it. The salad itself has walnuts, salad greens, apple chips, red onion, and chicken in it (I usually ask for extra walnuts instead of chicken, because I find meat on salad weird). 

6  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Fun sushi! on: July 05, 2010 11:13:16 PM
That looks so yummy...I love the little salmon jack-o-lanterns!

Question - where do you get your fish for making sushi?  I love love love tuna sashimi, but I don't know what places sell sushi-quality fish.  I read somewhere that it is safest if frozen first...but really I'm a total sushi newbie and have no idea.
7  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Re: Sewing stiff-fabric skirt to stretch bodice... on: June 25, 2010 02:46:55 PM
Thank you all for your help!  I finished the skirt of the dress a couple days ago, and it looks great!  For anyone wondering the same thing I was, what I ended up doing was pre-gathering the skirt just a bit until it could touch all sides of the stretched bodice, and then stretch-pinned the bodice like elastic to the skirt.  While sewing, I stretched the fabric as you would with elastic, and when I finished I had a gathered skirt that could easily stretch to go over my shoulders!
8  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Re: Sewing stiff-fabric skirt to stretch bodice... on: June 22, 2010 08:13:46 PM
That definitely sounds like it could work.  I'm going to be taking it to the resident sewing expert tomorrow, and I'll run this by her.  I have some band elastic on hand.  Thanks, and I'll let you know how it went!
9  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Re: Sewing stiff-fabric skirt to stretch bodice... on: June 22, 2010 02:40:06 PM
So is there a way to use the stretchy top as a sort of elastic that will gather the skirt and allow for stretchiness after sewing?  Or am I doomed to have to put in closures?
10  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Re: Drowning in brocade- What to do with it all? on: June 22, 2010 10:53:53 AM
Brocade can make beautiful decorative bedspreads and pillows that can give lots of flair to your home.  It's also super luxurious for pampering yourself - I have a couple of eye pillows and sleep masks I made from brocade, and they're very cooling on the eyes and skin.  If you're up to the challenge, make yourself a dressing gown or kimono-type garment for relaxing in.  You could also use small-patterned brocade to make little coin purses or glasses cases for a little touch of elegance.  I know exactly how you feel about Joann's brocade...I was drooling over several pieces the other day!
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