Saturday, April 23, 2016

Fringe Benefits: Free Napkins From Shirts



You can recycle your worn-out flannel shirts to make excellent cloth napkins.  They're comfy, absorbent, and free!  Here's how to do it.

1. Cut napkin-sized squares from the front and back panels of the shirt.  12" square is what I use, in order to get 4 napkins from one shirt.  This makes a smallish napkin (cocktail-sized), but it still works fine for daily meals.  If you want them bigger, like 16" square, you'll probably only get one or two from the back panel of a shirt.

2. Once you've cut your squares, fringe the edges.  To do this, pull parallel threads off an edge until there's about 1/4" to 1/2" of fringe created by the loose ends of the threads going the other direction.



These napkins wash like a dream.  Sometimes an extra thread or two will try to liberate itself from an edge after washing.  In that case, just peel it off and throw it away (or compost it if it's a natural fiber).


Friday, April 15, 2016

Cherry Crumble



I make fruit crumble every night.  This recipe-for-two is fast, easy, and it provides a healthy helping of walnuts and fruit, without any refined sugar.   You can use most any kind of fruit, fresh or frozen.  I don't recommend strawberries, though--they turn into soupy mush.  For cherry crumble, use 1 cup pitted cherries and a pinch of ground nutmeg.

Here's my recipe for basic fruit crumble.

FRUIT CRUMBLE
serves 2

1 cup fruit, cut in bite-sized pieces, fresh or frozen
2 Tbsp maple syrup
3 Tbsp rolled oats or 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
½ cup walnut halves or pieces
2 Tbsp butter, cut into 8 pieces
1/16 Tbsp salt
1 tsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp spice, such as cinnamon or allspice,
            only a pinch if using nutmeg

Place fruit in a 2-cup measuring cup or small bowl.  Add maple syrup and stir well.  Let sit while making the topping.

Spread oats in a microwaveable dish and microwave on High for 1 minute (not needed for wheat flour).

Place walnuts and oats (or flour) in a small blender or food processor and pulse 3 times to finely chop the nuts and oats.  Add butter, then sprinkle the salt over the top.  Pulse three more times.

In a 3-quart microwaveable bowl, place cornstarch and spice.  Drain some of the liquid from the fruit into the bowl and stir until smooth. Add the fruit, and stir to coat all the pieces.

Dump the crumble topping over the fruit and lightly spread to cover it all.

Microwave on High for about 3 minutes.  If your crumble comes out too runny, try adding 30 seconds next time.

Fruit Combinations
Apple + 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
Blueberry + 1/8 tsp vanilla extract or a pinch of  gr. vanilla bean
Cherry + pinch of ground nutmeg
Peach + 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
Pineapple + 1/8 tsp ground allspice