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Archive | October, 2013

DIY Halloween Banner

30 Oct

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Since my wedding I’ve been kind of obsessed with fabric banners. But my sewing machine is on the fritz so I turned to my first love—paper. I wanted something that said “Happy Halloween” but wasn’t tied to a design beyond that. A few Google Image searches later, I found the above design and fell in love.*

Downloading and printing to some cardstock was easy but stringing it up was trickier so I wanted to share some tools and tips:

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To string the banner I needed to create holes for the ribbon to pass through. There is actually a ribbon craft punch for this but I don’t have it so I grabbed my exacto knife and some quilting supplies: a Fiskars self-healing cutting mat (LOVE this thing!) and clear acrylic ruler. As long as you’re very careful about blade pressure, you should be OK cutting on the self-healing mat but I should warn that it’s not meant for this and you could damage yours if you’re not careful. So proceed gently.
IMG_9043I measured over roughly .24″ and cut a series of straight lines to form an elongated rectangle. I didn’t obsess over getting it perfectly measured, but I did use a ruler to guide me for the free-hand cutting. Test your ribbon width and length on the first few to make sure you’re allowing enough room for it to easily pass through.

IMG_9080Once the ribbon was strung, I laid out the entire banner on the floor to fix spacing. I decided not to glue the individual pennant pieces to the ribbon so I can change for spacing in the future if hanging on a mantel, larger doorway, or wall. But I wanted to make sure the same amount of ribbon was on each side of the end pieces, so I measured out about 12″ extra on each side for some wiggle room.

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Since I’d measured the “extra” ribbon end pieces so carefully once I’d spaced out from the middle, I decided to subtly mark the spot where both the end pieces were aligned (as well as the centered, middle pennant piece) for future reference. I just used a Sharpie to blacken out some of the ribbon’s detailing—easy.

The final product:

Printable Happy Halloween banner

I’m really pleased with how it turned out. It would have been so much easier to just glue it to some ribbon but I wanted to make it so it lasts for at least a few Halloweens. So I splurged on the cardstock printing and took the time to string the ribbon and I’m so glad I did! It hangs so nicely and has received tons of compliments.

* Cannot for the life of me track down the file now! So sorry for those who have asked for it. The search continues. In the meantime, here is a link to another Halloween banner we printed this year too, (below). It didn’t get the same treatment as the other banner, but it’s still cute I think. Happy-almost-Halloween!

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Roasted Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas

29 Oct

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We’ve been trying to incorporate more vegetarian meals into our rotation and this one is definitely the new favorite for fall. I was a little skeptical of the combination at first… butternut squash and black beans?? But I promise it just inexplicably works. Because of Brian’s Crohn’s, I usually avoid most Mexican fare but the dairy is minimal and the cheese is optional; you’d hardly miss it they’re so good!

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Roasted Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas, adapted from Vegetarian Times
Serves 4

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups 1/2-inch cubed butternut squash (12-ounces, or about 1 small-medium peeled, seeded squash)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

15 ounces cooked or canned black beans, drained and rinsed

1/3 cup chopped yellow onion

5-6 pieces diced jalapenos (*optional, add more if you like heat)

2 1/2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus more cilantro for garnish

12 ounces jarred or fresh salsa (*mild/medium, your preference)

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend

8 corn tortillas

1 large ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced

1 cup low fat sour cream (for serving)

1 lime, sliced into wedges (for serving)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place cubed butternut squash on large roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast for 25 minutes or until tender. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, stir together roasted butternut squash, beans, chopped onion, and cilantro. In another medium bowl, stir together salsa and yogurt.

Pour a thin layer of the salsa sauce over the bottom of 10″ x 7″ casserole dish. To make the tortillas more pliable and easier to roll, lightly steam in a wet paper towel in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Place 1/3 cup of the squash and bean mixture into each tortilla. Top with 1 tablespoon of cheese and roll up. Place seam-side-down in the baking dish. Continue until all the squash mixture is used up. Pour the remaining salsa sauce over the top of enchiladas. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese has melted and starting to brown in places, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve with lime wedges, sour cream and avocado.

Fall Traditions

28 Oct

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IMG_9029_wA couple years ago we met up with my friend Shawna and her boyfriend Sterling to pick pumpkins at Nihtila Farm in Massachusetts. It was rainy and I had dressed completely wrong for mucking around in the field so I had to wear trash bags over my shoes; something we still laugh about each trip. Rain, mud and all we had a blast and it became an annual tradition. IMG_9026_w
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Since then, we’ve married those boyfriends and I’ve learned to always wear rubber boots for this excursion. But that’s not all. Shawna and Sterling will welcome their first child this January! While we searched for the perfect pumpkins we talked about how amazing it will be to have their baby girl join us next year for this annual tradition. I can’t wait! I think that’s probably my favorite thing about traditions; having something fun to look forward to.

Since I never posted them back then, here are a few favorites from that first muddy year:
wagon mud
bags

shoes

mud
IMG_4268_wMost timely photo ever I think. ❤