Friday, August 26, 2011

Pimiento Cheese- a very Southern YUM!

I have not had this nor made it since living in Nashville, TN.  I discovered this "Southern Caviar" during my first month there, at the first teacher luncheon I attended.  I was instantly in love and wondering why no one up North ever makes this!  If you like cheese, and you like anything with a little kick, you will LOVE Pimiento Cheese.  It is great on crackers, crostinis, veggies, tea sandwiches, or as a topping to meat, etc. 
For my version, I used a conglomerate of recipes I have tasted or been given by Southern friends.  Some from the older generation, some from the young.  Mine uses cream cheese which is more "modern".  The traditional is only cheddar, mayo, and of course pimientos.

A food processor is the easiest way to do this, but a hand mixer would do in a pinch.  I use my mom's awesome vintage "La Machine" food processor from 1978, and it works like a dream.  A brown and tan dream...

Okay, for this recipe you will need:
-One package cream cheese (Neufchatel or lowfat is fine, no fat free though!)
-One package sharp cheddar shredded cheese
-Mayonnaise (lowfat fine, fat free not fine) about 1/2 cup
-1-3 cloves of garlic (depending on your taste)
-1-2 large kosher dill pickles (depending on your taste)
-1 four ounce jar of pimientos, drained
-Louisiana Hot Sauce or Tabasco to taste
-Salt and Pepper to taste

First, put the pickle or pickles and the garlic cloves in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  Then add the cream cheese and mayo and whip it up really well.  After that add your cheese, pimientos, salt, pepper, and a dash or two of hot sauce.  Pulse until just blended as you don't want to pulverize the cheese and pimientos.
Then you can taste and add a bit more salt or hot sauce if you want.  To make it more spreadable, you can always add more mayo.  Even if you don't like hot stuff, use a little hot sauce.  It gives it a distinct pimiento cheese flavor and it doesn't make it hot unless you add a bunch.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Lola Jane's Custom Ruffle Pants Mini-Tutorial

Umm, sorry for the sideways picture.  I suck at the photo part of this!

Hello!  Due to being prego and sick to go with it, no new posts for a while.  But now I am feeling a lot better and I've had some time to sew.  I have been working on LJ's Fall wardrobe, and I wanted to try my own version of those cute boutique-y ruffle pants.  Of course I had to do TWO layers of ruffles, extra-poufy for my princess.  She LOVES them, but no pics of her in them yet because I had to shorten them.  I included a way to do that in the tutorial (without ruining the ruffles!)

Step 1- Find a pants pattern you like.  I used the plain longer pants from this Butterick pattern.  Cut out the pieces as on the pattern.  I used an old pair of my husband's khakis in order to not waste resources.

Step 2- Do the first step of your pattern.  This usually involves sewing down one side of the leg.  You want only 2 leg pieces to work with, but you do not want it in a "tube" yet.

Step 3-  Determine how long your pants need to be.  Also determine how deep you want your ruffles- My longer ruffle was 4".  You will need to shorten the leg pieces the appropriate amount, leaving a seam allowance.  So if the existing legs are the perfect length and you want 4" ruffles, you would shorten it by 3.25" approximately.

Step 4- Make your ruffles!  The length should be at LEAST double that of the pant hem.  I do 2.5.  Fold your "longer" ruffle fabric choice and measure from the fold 4.75".  Cut or tear, then pin the raw edges together.  Fold your "shorter" ruffle fabric and measure 3.75" from the fold.  Cut or tear then pin the raw edges together.  Sew using your longest stitch length and your highest thread tension (this will start the ruffles for you, saves some time).  Then finish gathering until the ruffles match the length along the bottom hem of each pant leg.  Mine was about 13.5", but you need to do yours to match the pattern and size you are using.

Step 5- Attach ruffles!  Stack the short ruffles onto the long ruffles and pin each together.  Then attach to the bottom hem of each pant leg (this is why we didn't want the pants sewn up, it's easier to do this flat!)  Be sure to have the shorter ruffle facing the right side of your fabric!  Use a serger or a serger-type stitch on your machine then trim.  You will need to iron the ruffles down, then topstitch to keep them laying flat.

Step 6- Finish constructing pants.  Before adding casing and elastic, try the pants on your little one.  See if the top needs to be higher up (we use cloth diapers so this is a common problem when I sew pants patterns).  If it does, then add the appropriate amount of fabric to the top (folded in half for thickness).  Add in about an inch for the casing.  Then make the casing and add elastic as normal. If you don't need extra length but think it looks cute, just cut some off the top and add your own top.  Easy.

Step 7- IF they are too long, and you want to keep that extra length for the next growth spurt, sew in a little tuck.  Just flip up the hem above the ruffles, sew in as far as you need to for the correct length, then iron it flat.  It doesn't look the most beautiful, but when they grow a bit all you have to do is grab your seam ripper.
I have a picture but Blogger is giving me issues right now.  So for now, only the one crappy picture at the top.  Will try to add it later!

That's it!  I called it a min-tute because its so easy, and been done, and all that.  So try it for the little girls you know!  If you really want to cheat, take a pair of their summer capris and just add the ruffles to the bottom, voila, Fall pants!