Sunday, September 23, 2012

DIY Sweater Dress

Is it just me or are sweater dresses the absolute greatest? They're warm, they're cozy, they are perfect to pair with colourful tights. There is nothing I don't like about them. Oh wait, except that they're expensive as shit. Am I right ladies? So I stopped in at my neighborhood Value Village and did this shit up right.
I went straight to the men's section and started my search for the biggest, longest sweater there. I found two actually. This is just the first of the two. I'll do a proper tutorial for the second one. Here's the before:

Yes, I looked sad on purpose but, you know what? This sweater was pretty sad. So it's justified. But after a little bit of snipping and sewing I ended up with this!

Which I think is a pretty sufficiently adorable dress for the small price of $5 and 3 hours of work. Plus, I got to do another one of my bathroom photo shoots. So that was fun.
If you have some basic sewing experience you can probably figure out what I did but I'll post an in depth tutorial in the next week or so. Basically just look for a high quality material/designer when searching for your sweater and then see how long it is. You could make some pretty cute tunics with this same method. I'll leave you with one more photo of me looking like a real goof. Bathroom photo shoots are the best.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The C.A.T. Sandwich

This is my signature sandwich. I made it up myself and if I owned a cute little lunch place this would be the sandwich people would come for. This has nothing to do with my cat obsession or my pending Crazy Cat Lady-ness, it just happened to be the acronym that came out of it.
This sandwich is made up of Cheddar Avocado and Tofu. Delicious. I put some real effort into this recipe and took step by step pictures. You're welcome.

1. Preparing the tofu

Before frying the tofu, you have to dry that sucker out as much as you can. I cut the block into 1 cm. thick slices and lay them on some paper towel to dry. Sprinkling them with salt helps draw out the water even faster. Allow to dry for approximately 10 minutes. Sometimes I only dry them for 5 minutes because I am impatient and hungry.
2. Seasoning

Now you gotta had some flavour to these mofos because they are bland as hell otherwise. While I'm doing this I heat up a pan and add 1-2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Now let's get back to them spices. I always add garlic powder, paprika and ancho chili powder. Mostly because that's what I had when I made this up but it really is delicious. I'll add some cumin or herbs de provence if I'm feeling extra zealous. You can kind of wing it here. Once I've sprinkled on and kind of rubbed each of those into the tofu, I add the panko bread crumbs. I  just sprinkle it on and rub it in a bit too. Doing an egg wash would make it easier to get a thick, crunchy coat but ain't nobody got time for that! Unless you do, then go ahead but I quite like it this way.
3. Frying

If you've dried the tofu enough, it's really pretty easy to get those crisp edges. Just fry it for 2-3 minutes (or until brown) on each side on medium heat. Look at these beauties.
4. Putting it all together

While the tofu is frying you can slice up your avocado and cheddar. I like to use an old cheddar but any cheddar will do (old cheddar will do best). I usually have this on a bagel because it stays together a little better than bread, but this sandwich is messy regardless. I put mayo on mine, because I put mayo on everything. HOLYFRIGLOOKATTHISSANDWICH.

Just delicious. It is large and you will be covered in food when you are done with it but you will be satisfied. This is great for a weekend lunch or with some sweet potato fries/potato chips on the side for dinner. I'm not even a vegetarian and I am obsessed with CAT sandwiches. I eat this for dinner at least once a week. I often make this when I'm craving a junk food-y meal. You will come out of eating it looking like an absolute wreck but it is worth it. I promise.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Snacks For Poor People: Baked Potato Chips

Earlier today I decided that tonight would be a night to relax and get some writing done. And then I looked at the TV Guide and noticed that the Billboard Awards were airing later.  I'm obsessed with awards shows. I don't care what the awards are for or if I know any of the nominees. I just love settling in for a good 3 hours of mindless television. Needless to say, I was pretty psyched to watch the BBMA's. I started thinking about all the snacks I was gonna buy for the evening and then I remembered that I have about $70 to my name at the moment. Time to get domestic.
I started looking through my fridge and pantry trying to put a half decent snack together. I was about to settle on Nutella toast (which is a pretty great snack but didn't seem quite special enough for the occasion) and then I remembered the potatoes I bought earlier this week.
I figured it couldn't be too difficult to make potato chips so I looked over a few recipes online and then just winged it. Look at these puppies.
They look pretty perfect, right? That's because they are! I really didn't think they would be but, holy crap, were these delicious. I used just one potato and it made a small portion. Which is kind of a good thing I think because it keeps me from devouring an entire bag of chips.If you wanted an amount comparable to a big bag of chips you'd probably have to use 3-4 large potatoes. Here's the recipe.

1 lg Russet potato (I'm sure any potato will do)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt/Seasoning Salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Slice potato very thinly. Basically as thin as you possibly can.
3. Put oil and potatoes in a bowl and toss. Add Salt and Pepper (or whatever you think would be delicious!) and toss some more.
4. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and lay potatoes down in a single layer.
5. Bake for 20 minutes, turning the tray half way through baking. If after 20 minutes there are a few that don't seem quite browned enough, simply remove the ones that are done and put the rest back in for 3-5 minutes.
6. When golden (or darker) brown, remove from cookie sheet and let cool on a paper towel. This helps soak up some of the extra grease. Though, overall, they weren't particularly greasy.

It's a super cheap and healthy-ish snack for when you're really craving some delicious sodium. If I had some sour cream or Greek yogurt on hand I probably would've gone so far as to make some dip for them too. But they were delicious on their own. And you can really play around with the flavours. I think I'll make salt and vinegar next and maybe some garlic and parmesan. I also think sweet potato chips with cinnamon and sugar would be wicked good if you have more of a sweet tooth. Anyways, I better get back to this award show. Carly Rae Jepsen's about to do her thing.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Maximum Dress for Maximum Fun (It's a maxi dress)

I made my first maxi dress! I'm pretty excited about it. I saw this awesome tutorial by Sweet Verbena and knew it was time for me to own a dress that goes past my knees. I followed her tutorial pretty closely, except I used rayon in place of jersey. I just couldn't find a jersey that I liked but I fell in love with this mustard yellow, almost brown rayon so I just got that instead and hoped for the best. I'm really happy with the results. And I feel like the fabric choice makes it more versatile if I want to dress it up. Here I am working it on the toilet.
This will definitely help me get through the hot, humid Toronto summer that I despise so much. On days when I simply can't wear pants but also just can't bring myself to shave, this is what I'm wearing. Let's all just pretend that I didn't just make this solely for the purpose of shaving less.

Here's another way to wear it with the sleeves rolled right up. I kind of like this look better. Though I feel like in the first look I look just a little bit like a jedi. Right? No? Okay.

I am just smizing till the cows come home, that's what I'm doing. Oh, and I don't know if you noticed but I've accessorized this look with thick wool socks because it's about 13 degrees in my house and it's a miracle I'm wearing anything but flannel pyjamas. I've also paired it with a skinny brown belt that I believe I got at H&M and a lovely acorn necklace from Bad Sparkle. She's great! You should check out her shop!

Also, I was too lazy to line it so fingers crossed that it's not see through. Make one for yourself! It's basically a big sack with holes cut in it for you arms and head. I know it looks really nice in these pictures but without the belt it's like muumuu city over here. Meaning that anyone can make it. Do it!

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Chaise for my Chat (That's Cat in French)

I had some free time yesterday and a whole bunch of cardboard boxes still hanging around from my move a month and a half ago. So I decided I should make something for my wonderful, lovely Nikki. I put in a Google search of "cardboard cat houses" and here we are. A kitty chaise.
This is something I did. This is something I spent a good 3 hours on. So, that gives you a good window into my life, if you wanted to know more about me.
But seriously, Nikki is loving it. She's lounging all over this chaise. I also put catnip on it for the photo above. That's why she's licking it and looking out of her mind. I decided it needed to be more luxurious and added her favourite purple pillow.
And I have just now realized that my cat has a chaise lounge and I do not. This is the worst. Oh well. If you would like to make your own kitty chaise here's the tutorial that I used. Make it! Your cat will be able to lounge and sleep all day even more than they already do!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Skillet Mac 'n' Cheese

Or as my mom has so cleverly named it "Mary Mac 'n' Cheese". Because my name is Mary McDonald and this is my favourite meal. Yep. Pretty good. I'm not even being sarcastic. I'm pretty impressed with that name. Anyways. Just look at it.
Maybe it doesn't look that pretty but it is amazing. Really. You should make this right now. It's simple and you probably have the ingredients on hand. You're welcome, in advance. 

All of these measurements are approximations. I just do it to taste.

1 Tbsp oil
1 medium onion sliced thinly
2 cups macaroni, cooked
2-3 Tbsp soy sauce (to be honest, I probably use a lot more than that. Whatever. I like sodium.)
1 cup (or more) grated cheddar cheese

Heat a large skillet. Add the oil and onion and sauté 5 minutes. Add cooked macaroni and stir until it is heated thoroughly. Add the grated cheese and soy sauce. Let cheese melt a little on top and then stir through. Serves 4.

This stuff is just cheesy and salty and the best. We didn't name it after me for nothin'.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Popsicles For Breakfast

Well, it's March and apparently that means summer now. The worst. I hate the heat. Knowing that I'm getting even more of it than usual this year is a pretty big bummer. But fortunately, my BEST FRIEND IN THE WORLD, Meagan, gave me these awesome spaceship popsicle molds for Christmas. So this seemed like the perfect time to break 'em out and put them to use.
I used a Martha Stewart recipe because she is the best. They're pretty much the easiest ever and are actually pretty healthy. So healthy that I ate one for breakfast. What'd you have for breakfast? Eggs? Psshhhht. Lame. Here it is.
And the recipe:
2 cups plain yogurt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup frozen raspberries

Whisk the yogurt and sugar together in a bowl. Mix 1 cup of the yogurt/sugar mixture with the raspberries and puree in blender. Then just layer the two different mixes in a popsicle mold and freeze. Seriously delicious. And really, it's basically the equivalent of yogurt and berries so I think it is a passable breakfast. At least that's how I'm going to justify it.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

From a Dress to a Skirt

This will probably be a short post because I'm going out in about...10 minutes. But I wanted to show you the skirt I made this afternoon and am now wearing out tonight. (Warning: It's a super bad quality photo, remind me to buy a new camera when I'm slightly less poor.)
I just took an old dress which I don't wear anymore for two reasons, a)I've had it since I was 16, and b) it's generally unflattering. But I still liked the fabric which is why I've held onto it for so long. So, I ripped the seam at the waist, and then added a wide elastic for the waistband. Super easy. And now it's a piece of clothing I'll actually wear again and won't just take up space in my closet. Here's a closer shot so you can see the waistband.