sweet potato nacho poutine

April 30, 2011 § 4 Comments

It’s a very, very big night here in Toronto — UFC is here for the first time (after a drawn out political battle) and our national fighting hero, GSP, is defending his title.  I made this for snacking during the fight and to celebrate Georges St.-Pierre’s Quebecois roots.  Poutine is a pride of Canada, specifically, our French speaking province of Quebec, where GSP was born and raised.  I know you can always simply look for authentic poutine recipes online (it’s quite simple — fries, gravy, and cheese curds), so as expected, I am throwing in a twist.  Sweet potatoes were a staple in my childhood and make for a slightly more exotic version of poutine.  Latin flavors are among my favorites, so out go the gravy and curds and in come the pico de gallo, sour cream, green onions, and cheddar.  Here’s my not-so-Quebecois version of poutine.  (Pardon, mes amis québécois).

Sweet potato fries:

2 large sweet potatoes

2 tbsp corn starch

1/4 tsp red ground pepper

1/4 tsp Spanish paprika

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

I prefer narrow-cut fries, almost shoestring.  After cutting, dry out the fries for half an hour to an hour.  The less moisture in the fries, the crispier.  Toss in starch, paprika, ground red pepper, salt and pepper until coated.  Fry in oil, a quarter batch at a time, between 5-7 minutes or until golden.


1/2 pound ground beef

1/4 tsp Spanish paprika

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 Roma tomatoes, finely chopped

1/4 c cilantro

half lime, juiced

1 c sour cream

1/4 c chopped green onions

salt and pepper, to taste

hot sauce, to taste

3/4 c grated cheddar cheese

Ground beef topping: Take half of the onions and saute in oil.  Add ground beef, paprika, salt and pepper, and a quarter cup of chopped tomatoes.  Brown ground beef.

Pico de gallo: In a food processor, process the remaining chopped onions and chopped tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, hot sauce, and salt and pepper.

Top your fries with ground beef topping, pico de gallo, sour cream, green onions, and cheese.  Place in preheated 350F oven for five minutes until cheese is melted.  Enjoy a very unconventional take on poutine!

gold bean bangles

April 28, 2011 § 8 Comments

Yes, a few strips of paper, a small handful of beans, and the golden touch of paint can make quite some fashionista cuff bangles.


I was hoping this would be my third installment of my bean-by-number series (the first being the Turkish tiles back in November and the second, Venetian masks, for mardi gras in February).  However, the concept is so simple, there is no need to bean-by-number.  Just a few straight lines of beans do the trick.

You will need some beans, a sheet of cardstock, white glue, self-adhesive velcro (I got mine at the dollar store), and gold paint.  PLEASE NOTE: I wore my gold bean bangles to work today and small parts of the paint have chipped off.  If you are going to use spray paint, as I did, perhaps the problem would be negated by a bit of primer.  Or, what I would best suggest: use acrylic paint and a paint brush instead.  The finish would be quite different, however, the end result would look like brushed metal, which has as much impact.

1.. Cut cardboard to preferred width and length, taking into account the extra space required by the velcro.  Adhere velcro.

2. Bean away.  You don’t have to follow the straight patterns you see here.  You can create all sorts of shapes and curves, which I’d like to try, too.

3. Paint one side.  Let dry.  Paint other side.  Let dry.

I’d love to hear if you try this out and how you’ve managed to negate the issue of paint chipping.

basket weave vases

April 21, 2011 § 45 Comments

Tomorrow is Earth Day!  In order to celebrate and honor our planet, I’ve salvaged some cartons and jars from being thrown into the landfill and woven the cartons into this pair of bright vases.

I made them in theme of the beautiful colors of our globe: the warp and weft are in cool blue and vivid green hues, and the vases are topped off with beautiful white clouds of hydrangeas.  Just the kind of décor my kitchen table needs this spring!

For each vase, you will need two milk or juice cartons of the same size and a jar, some paint and a hot glue gun.

1. Cut the cartons to preferred height, making sure that they are taller than the jar for containing the water for your bouquet.  Paint the cartons.  If you want your vases to be a single color, you may skip this step for now and paint after the cartons are woven.

2. For each vase: cut one carton into 1/2″ strips vertically, making sure not to cut out the bottom, and cut the second carton into 1/2″ strips horizontally.

3. Start weaving by sliding the horizontal strips into alternating vertical strips.

4. Continue weaving until you reach the top and glue the top pieces together so the basket weave does not come undone.

5. Fill your jar with water and place inside the woven carton and arrange your favorite spring blooms.

Happy Earth Day!

carrot easter basket

April 19, 2011 § 8 Comments

Today, I’m crafting over at Canadian Living’s The Craft Blog.  The photo I posted in my sneak peek yesterday is actually that of a carrot Easter basket.  What I didn’t mention is the totally random and unlikely craft item it’s made of, which is…a pylon!  Quickly hop over to your local dollar store to pick up your pylon before the holiday weekend (of course, I got mine at my favorite, Dollarama).  Then read my super simple tutorial to magically turn your pylon into a carrot Easter basket in three easy steps! 

sneak peek!

April 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

Tomorrow, I will be crafting on Canadian Living‘s The Craft Blog and of course, I would like you to be the first to have a peek here.   Clue: it’s a basket for your Easter eggs, however it’s crafted using a rather unlikely craft item I picked up at the dollar store.  You’ll find the project on their site tomorrow —  stay tuned!

ric rac eggs

April 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

If your Easter eggs are looking for some style, but do not want to don all the frills of the previous ruffled eggs, they may want to look into fashioning some of our favorite notions: ric rac.

It’s as simple as hot gluing small scraps of colorful ric rac around your egg.

Ric rac is so much like the traditional Easter egg zig zag pattern, it couldn’t be more perfect.

ruffled eggs

April 17, 2011 § 11 Comments

Here’s one way to dress up those plain plastic eggs — ruffles.   Easter eggs fashion all sorts of decorations but rarely don this type of three-dimensional frill.  I thought to dress mine up for their big day.  Besides, they only get the chance once a year.

It takes a bit of time, a long length of ribbon, and a hot glue gun.

For each half an egg: Ruffle the ribbon by dotting some glue along the way and pleating back and forth.  Ruffle until you make it around the circumference, cut, and start another layer above, then repeat.

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