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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Reusablly Cute Snack Bags

Sandwich bags
The idea of making some cute snack bags just sounded good to me. I have been washing some ziplock bags to reuse one more time. Not all of them. Just the ones that had silly things in them like carrots or raisins and crackers. Dry snacks and leftovers that are not meat. My kids know to hand me empty bags and I like to keep one in my purse, which comes in handy!

I have been looking for the time to make these and searching for the right tutorial. I had a way in mind that I wanted to make reusable snack bags… but alas I did not find a tutorial that made sense to me or that made the bags quite the way I wanted. So here is another tutorial to add to the Internet.

While making these I have hopes of saving some bags from landfills. And also saving money on all those bags that inevitably get tossed into the garbage. Did you know that recycling centers will not take ziplocks? What?!

The first one I made was ok, but I figured it out and made the others look Good. After the first couple, the others took about 10 minutes each. Really fast.

To make the bags I used a cotton outside with a washable nylon lining and a 2 inch Velcro strip.

First thing was to measure the ziplock bags in order to sew them to the same size.
Sandwich bags are 7 x 8 inches so I cut pieces to 8 x 10 inches to accommodate a Velcro closure.
Snack bags are 5 x 8 inches so I cut pieces to 8 x 8 inches to accommodate the Velcro closure. Note: all the pictures that I took are of the sandwich bag size the snack bags are half the size.

I first sewed the inside lining. The seam will be on the outside when you sew them together.
Then I sewed the cotton outer fabric inside out so the seam is sandwiched inside (get it?). 

Putting the pieces together I started with the shorter side. It looks a little confusing, but since I wanted both seams hidden, I actually had to (initially) put the pieces together and fold the edges down then hold them together to figure out the position needed to sew. But it isn't difficult and very worth it!

Then the large side, which will be the closure. I sewed the sides first.

I used a pin to keep the pieces together before finishing it off.

Last is velcro. Sew the top and bottom pieces.

Ta Da!

I made a few other fabric options as well. Like super hero and space ones for my son. I am actually thinking of making a bunch more for gifts or even to sell on etsy. I just need more hours in the day!

Overall, I am very pleased with these bags. To wash them I turn them inside out and stick them in a lingerie bag so the Velcro doesn't stick to my clothes or towels. Easy as can be!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

BBQ Sauce: Easy & Yummy

It has been a while since I put up a recipe and since I was thinking last night about various things I needed to do, BBQ Sauce came up. I thought it was funny when my cousin yelled, "No Way! I can make BBQ Sauce?!" when I mentioned it. So rather than making the peanut butter that we really need (because it's a pain in the butt and I am a procrastinator at heart), I decided to replenish my empty BBQ sauce.

I have to say that I LOVE BBQ Sauce!

My husband teases me that I need a spout in my kitchen just for dolling out the BBQ sauce. That probably isn't a good thing. Especially when the labels look like this:

Notice that in both bottles of BBQ Sauce, High Fructose Corn Syrup is the first ingredient listed. They each contain similar ingredients. One thing I did not add to my sauce is Liquid Smoke flavor since I personally do not like the taste of smoked anything. It is amazing the varied ingredients that can go into this sauce. Every recipe is different - which is why experimenting is so FUN Necessary.

Luckily, the ingredients of the items I have in my kitchen to make this sauce Do Not contain the High Fructose Corn Syrup, soy or color. (Although I did discover an unopened container of mustard with some of the dreaded ingredients... darn the holidays! Hickory Farms is sneaky. I thought they were gourmet.)

I have only made BBQ sauce a couple times, and I haven't exactly made the same recipe twice because I keep tweaking it to see what the result is. I prefer a tasty spicy, sweet sauce. This time it came out a little on the spicier side. But it is good. My husband says that the homemade stuff smells and tastes like something that you get at a restaurant. That means: Mission Accomplished.

Now about the recipe that I put together. I have been changing it a little each time. It is the combination of a recipe from Rachel Ray,, and Which means that it doesn't resemble any recipe, I just looked at the ingredients that other people have used and stuck the ingredients that I wanted to use into one recipe. I don't think that this is the absolutely best recipe it can be, but it doesn't suck.

BBQ Sauce

·         2 Cups organic Ketchup
·         2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
·         2 tablespoons Maple syrup (Can cut syrup and add more honey)
·         ¼ Cup Molasses 
·         ½ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
·         ¼ Cup Worcestershire Sauce
·         ¼ Cup Honey
·         1 shot of Bourbon (I didn't have bourbon on hand this go round. I used 1shot/2T of Cognac instead. Which is just another alcohol that we don't drink.)
·         1 tablespoons Garlic powder
·         Juice of 1/2 large Orange or Lemon (I used an orange)
·         2 tablespoons Chili powder (My homemade version)
·         1 tablespoons Onion powder
·         1 teaspoon Pepper
·         dash of Salt
·          2 tablespoons Tamarind Paste (I did not have this. But supposedly it is really worth adding! I have it on my next Amazon order list.)

1) Mix thoroughly 
2) Simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes with the lid off to thicken it a bit.
3) Taste and adjust. It may taste a bit vinegary at first, but that is less obvious when you use it. You can store it into clean bottles in the refrigerator for a month or two.

This recipe made two bottles of sauce.

I would love to hear any suggestions how you make BBQ Sauce. How did you tweak the recipe?

Shared at: Cheerios & Lattes, Mop it up, Make it Pretty, Shine on Friday,