Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cheese stuffed grape tomatoes

Every summer, my parents zealously plan and work on their vegetable garden. Last year, we got over zealous with our tomatoes and peppers so this year, we decided to scale down so we don't end up with rotten unpicked vegetables on the ground. There was some improvement, but we still ended up with LOADS of tomatoes. Fortunately, we discovered the sweetness of vine-ripened tomatoes and have since learned to snack on freshly-picked tomatoes. Beside that, I also got to experiment with different - and SIMPLE - ways to enjoy tomatoes. One of my favourite is stuffing them with cheese.

I simply cut the tops off the tomatoes and gauged them slightly to make room for the cheese stuffing. I then added about one table spoon of olive oil to my baking dish and tossed the tomatoes in it. I found this step to be helpful because I can see how much tomatoes I need to fit them all snugly in the dish*. I cut Monterey Jack cheese into small cubes - about 1/8" by 1/2", but it depends on the size of your tomatoes and how much cheese you want in each. The next step is simply to push each cheese cube into the tomatoes. Some of the seeds would overflow out of the tomatoes - let these fall back into the dish and they'll make for a richer tomato-flavoured sauce! Finally, season lightly with salt and pepper, sprinkle some chopped basil or cilantro overtop and bake for 15 minutes at 350F. 

I would suggest letting the tomatoes stand for a few minutes before serving because the hot cheese inside could be an unpleasant surprise. I know, the waiting can be hard but it's worth it. Enjoy!

*Filling the baking dish snugly with tomatoes helps keep them upright, thus keeping the cheese inside the tomatoes rather than spilling over and filling the dish.

Zucchini Chips!

I.Love.Zucchinis. There are no two ways about it. And this recipe, by far, is my most favourite way to enjoy my favourite squash. A healthy vegetable turned into the equivalent of potato chips - who could argue with that?

Slicing the zucchinis with a mandolin slicer made the job so much easier although, looking at how much they shrink after baking, slicing by hand is probably sufficient if you have a steady hand. All you need to do is line the slices up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, brush with olive oil and season lightly with salt. DO NOT overseason or the chips will be too salty due to the shrinkage. 

Unfortunately for me, my oven is extremely temperamental with its hot spots, so I spent two hours switching my baking trays around to make sure the chips brown relatively evenly. Due to the amount of time and energy to make what I consider a small batch of my favourite thing, I'm not sure if I'll be making this very often. But then again, I'm already craving for some more, so....

Recipe and instructions courtesy of Table For Two.
(Also, thanks Aunty Surya Ni for suggesting this recipe in the first place!)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Upcycle thrifted plastic bangles with jewel-toned embroidery thread!

My sister sent me a picture of some embroidery thread-wrapped bangles over a year ago and challenged me to make some of my own. I don't know why but I was intimidated by them and didn't attempt to make them until recently. As it turns out, they are SO easy to make! You literally only need three materials for this DIY project: plastic bangles, embroidery thread and glue. 

I chose a set of four bangles which I bought from Value Village for $1.99 (score!) and embroidery threads in three shades. I wrapped two bangles in solid maroon and pink threads while the other two I wrapped in alternating stripes of maroon, pink and red.

To start wrapping, I dabbed some glue onto the inner ring of the bangle and pressed down one end of the thread. I glued about half an inch of thread to the bangle to make sure it's secure. After the glue has dried (about 1-2 minutes) I began wrapping the thread back over the glued end and onwards until I ran out of thread. To continue with a new length of thread, I made sure to glue it onto the bangle and wrap the previous length of thread over it to make sure it's secure (again). I then knotted the previous length of thread and continue wrapping with the new piece of thread over the knot to hide it. To end, I knotted the thread, dabbed some glue on it, let it dry and then snip off the access thread.

The results was pretty impressive; for a simple DIY, the bangles came out looking quite elegant, especially with the jewel-toned threads.

These were so much fun to make, I might just run over to the thrift store and grab some more plastic bangles!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

About LinMakingThings

Welcome to LinMakingThings! I'm Lin and I'm trying to live sustainably by learning to DIY what I can - from simple recipes to crafting jewelry, from home decor to refashioning clothes. My motto is: Don't buy it, DIY it!