Hats of Hope 4 Carey

Hope everyone is enjoying their week so far!  If you live in So Cal, you've had to adjust to some crazy weather these past few days.  From high 80's to hail - that's So Cal for ya.

Anyway, on a more serious note, I wanted to feature a cause that is near and dear to my heart.

 "Hats of Hope 4 Carey" is a fundraiser that sells beanies (which are SO cute) and other crocheted hats to raise money for the Miles For Hope Organization, an organization created to raise awareness and funding for up-to-date brain tumor research. 100% of the proceeds from these hats will go to this foundation. One of my good friends TJ lost his mom to a brain tumor 3 and a half years ago, and he is running the Miles for Hope 5k Run/Walk in Van Nuys, CA on March 10, 2012 in support of brain tumor research.  

How to help:

1.) Go to Hats of Hope 4 Carey to look at their beanie selection

2.) Support my friend TJ for the Miles for Hope Run by going to his donation page

3.)  If you would like to participate in the run, go to the event page

Every little bit counts!

<3 Saleena
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DIY: Anthro-Inspired Scarf

I saw this darling scarf on Pinterest, which led me to the Sewing In No Mans Land blog, where I found the tutorial.  I found my material in the remnant bin at Joann's (score!) so my fabric was not as long as I would have liked.  If you want to wrap the scarf around your neck, I would recommend a piece around 2 yards long.

A long strip of lightweight fabric (Mine was 10" x 46")
Sewing Machine
Needle and thread
Contrasting Fabric
Small piece of felt

Take your long strip of fabric and hem up the edge using a gathering stitch.

Do the same to the other side...

...and down the middle.

Because the fabric is so lightweight, it will automatically gather.  If you want it even more gathered, do so now before stitching the ends.

And thats it for the scarf! SO easy.  Now onto the flower. Cut a long string of fabric and do a gathering stitch on at least one side (I stitched both sides).

Gather one side, so begins to look like a flower.  Stitch up the ends.

Next, cut out four small circles (I used a shot glass as a template)

Fold each circle in half right side in.  Place one half circle on top of the other (picture below)

Do the same with the third...

...and fourth circle.  Be sure that they are layered in a way that a quarter of all four circles can be seen

Now fold your new, layered circle in half twice, getting a quarter of it.

Then take a needle and thread and hand sew the bottom corner, going through all circles.

And vuala! The center of your flower is complete.  If you'd like, you can glue the wrong sides together, so they don't show as much.

Cut a small piece of felt and hand sew it to the back of your flower

Then flip it over, and place the center petals where you would like them.  Sew that on, and your flower is complete!

Put your scarf on and determine where you want your flower.  Sew that on and you have a fabulous new scarf!

Keep in mind that this scarf will not keep you warm.  It is purely for fashion and fun! Plus, you can get away with it when it starts to warm up!

<3 Saleena

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Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Jalapeño Slaw


2 cups shredded pork (< recipe here)

4 TBSP unsalted butter
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 TBSP lemon juice
1 TBSP pepper
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp hot sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar

1/2 head Cabbage, Sliced Thin
1/2 head Purple Cabbage, Sliced Thin
1 whole Jalapeno, Halved Lengthwise And Thinly Sliced
1/2 cup Whole Milk
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1 teaspoon White Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
2 cups Cilantro Leaves, Barely Chopped

For the Pork:
In a saucepan, melt butter and add onion until softened.  stir in garlic, lemon juice, paprika, salt & pepper, mustard and hot sauce.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.  add tomato sauce and vinegar and continue to cook until thickened, about 15 minutes.

Add sauce to the pork until heated through.

For the slaw:
Slice the 1/2 head of cabbage (green and purple) very thin.

Combine shredded cabbage and sliced jalapenos in a bowl. In a separate bowl mix milk, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, and cayenne. Pour over cabbage. Toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate two hours. 

Toast your buns and top with pork, slaw, and cilantro.  

Yeah, its that good. 

<3 Saleena
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Make ahead: Shredded Pork

Like I mentioned here, I have tried to make dinner-making an easier task by preparing things ahead of time.  Can I just say, this worked fabulously?  Being able to just reach into my freezer the morning of and set out food for that night is a good feeling (especially when its your hubby doing the cooking ;]) 

To see other make ahead options, go here.

 2 boneless pork shoulder roasts (about 3 lbs. each)
6 cloves garlic
2 lemons
Salt and pepper

Oven to 450 degrees . Cut pork into 2- to 3-inch chunks and discard excess fat.  This may take a while...I had no idea how fatty pork is!

Finely chop garlic and zest the lemons. 

Place all of the pork in a large roasting pan. Sprinkle with the garlic, lemon zest, 1 tbsp. salt and 1 1/2 tsp. pepper. Toss well, massaging the garlic and zest into the meat. 

 Roast until the meat is browned on top, about 30 minutes. Turn the pork chunks over and roast to brown the other side, 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees 

Tightly cover the pan with foil. Continue roasting the pork until nicely tender, about 1 hour 45 minutes.  Let the pork cool for at least 15 minutes, then, using 2 forks, shred it a few pieces at a time. 

Divide the pork into 1-cup portions and transfer to resealable plastic sandwich bags. Pour a little pork juice into each, squeeze out the air and flatten. Seal and store flat in 2-gallon freezer bags.

When you're ready to used the pork, thaw at room temperature for about 1 hour, or pop into the fridge in the morning and let thaw all day. 

<3 Saleena

To see the original recipe from Rachael Ray, go here
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Chicken Tortilla Soup

This recipe is very tasty.  And if you make the make-ahead chicken and rice, it will literally take less than 15 minutes!  I got this recipe here.

1 quart chicken broth
1 cup tomato salsa (2 tomatoes & 1/3 cup cilantro)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice, plus 4 lime wedges
1 1/2 cups Pulled Chicken ( < find recipe here)
3 cups Rice Pilaf ( < find recipe here)
Dash of red pepper flakes
Optional toppings:
Shredded Monterey Jack
Sour cream
Avocado, thinly sliced
Crushed Tortilla Chips

In medium pot, bring broth and lime juice to boil. Add chicken and red pepper flakes.

Once chicken is heated through, add rice and tomato salsa.  

After a minute, rice and tomatoes should be hot.  (Don't over cook or rice will become soggy and tomatoes will disintegrate)

Transfer to bowl and add toppings.  Easiest meal ever!

<3 Saleena

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Make Ahead: Shredded Chicken & Rice Pilaf

This semester, all of my classes are in the evening so I have had to get creative with planning dinners for the week.  Rachael Ray has a list of One Month of Make-Ahead Meals, and instead of making enough for the full month, I made some modifications to the recipes because I am only feeding two mouths.  Below are my changes, and if you want the original recipes, go here.

4 pounds skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 Lemon, cut into wedges
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Salt and Pepper

Oven at 325 degrees.
Place chicken on baking sheets, drizzle with the EVOO and squeeze the lemons on top. Sprinkle with the paprika and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Roast until the skin is crisp and the juices run clear when the pieces are pierced with the tip of a small, sharp knife, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes.

Roast until cooked through and juices run clear when the pieces are pierced with the tip of a small, sharp knife, 30-35 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes.

Once its cool enough, use two forks to shred the chicken.

Rice Pilaf Ingredients:

3 tablespoons EVOO
onion1, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 4 1/2 cups)
3 Jalapeños, minced
Salt and pepper
3 1/4 cups long-grain rice
2 1/4 cups chicken broth
4 bay leaves
16 ounces frozen peas


In a 7-qt. dutch oven or large skillet, heat the EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the onion, jalapeños, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper and cook, stirring often, until golden and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. 

Add 2 1/4 cups water, the chicken broth, bay leaves, 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper and bring to a boil. Stir, cover, lower the heat and simmer, undisturbed, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. 

Remove from the heat and fluff with a fork. Quickly scatter the peas on top, cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Uncover and let cool completely, tossing once or twice. Discard the bay leaves.

Once the chicken and rice has cooled, divide into 1-cup portions and transfer to resealable plastic sandwich bags or containers and place in freezer. When ready to use, thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes, or pop into the fridge in the morning and thaw all day.

And when it comes to making dinner, the hard work is done!  How easy is that!

Let me know if you decide to do this, and how it works out for you!  I loved it and will definitely be doing it again :]

<3 Saleena

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DIY: Fabric Jars

I saw these on Pinterest, and lets just say, I have fallen in love.  They are so simple (and fun) to make, and you probably have all of these materials laying around your home!  They were originally intended to be votives, but I love them as pencil holders.  How cute would these be on your desk? They are sure to liven up any work space.

Small cup
Paint brush
Mason Jars

Measure the height and circumference of your jar, and cut strips of fabric to roughly fit 
In your small cup, pour in some glue (I used Elmer's) and dilute it with a bit of water, mix well. It should be the consistency of slightly thicker water.

Lay your fabric strips down and, using a paint brush, paint the strips with the glue, one at a time.

Place the strip into your jar (pattern side facing the jar) and position it. Use your paintbrush to push any air bubbles out from between the fabric and the jar.

 Repeat with the rest of your fabric. Allow to dry overnight before using.

These will work great as votives (it would be best to use battery operated tea lights instead of real candles), pencil/paint brush holders, vases for faux flowers, or just cute decor!

<3 Saleena

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Stuffed Zucchini Boats

I got this recipe from Kayotic Kitchen, and she knows what she's doing! 


1 tbsp sour cream
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/2 tomato
1 tsp thyme
3 zucchinis
1/2  onion
4-7 mushrooms, sliced
1 squash


Preheat your oven to 400.  Slice Zucchinis in half lengthwise.

 Spoon out the inside, leaving about 1/2".

Cook your bacon in a skillet until crispy.

 Saute the mushrooms and onion in a skillet.  When the onions are almost done, add 1/4 tsp curry powder and cook everything for an additional 30 seconds. (No longer or the curry powder will turn bitter.) When they’re done, transfer them to a big bowl.

Then add 1 tsp dried thyme, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt, 1 heaping tbsp sour cream, a good pinch of pepper, the zucchini pulp, the tomato, the squash and crumble the bacon in as well

Lightly butter a baking dish and put the zucchini boats in.

Fill them with your veggie mixture and sprinkle with cheese. 

Put them in a preheated oven, give them about 20 minutes. Sprinkle some coarsely chopped parsley on top and you’re done.

You gotta try this, especially if you have been missing out on your veggies.  The cool thing is you can fill the zucchini boats with whatever you like!  I served this with a simple butter garlic pasta.

<3 Saleena
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