Athena Magazine

Fashion, lifestyle, passions

Quick and Inexpensive Gifts You Can Make December 22, 2009

Out of money and time? Try these budget-friendly DIY gift ideas …

 

The Best of Indie Sewing Patterns December 13, 2009

anna maria horner study hall skirt pattern

The delicious Study Hall Skirt pattern from Anna Maria Horner

Read the latest DIY Design column for the top picks in indie sewing patterns. Click here.

 

Learn, Baby, Learn: The best of online sewing instruction December 4, 2009

You don’t have to live in a big city or go to a fancy fashion school to get top notch sewing instruction. Read my column about online sewing classes here.

 

Easy, Elegant and Quick Salad November 9, 2009

Filed under: Budget Athena,Domestic Goddess,Food is Good — rebmas03 @ 2:54 pm
sample salad

baby spring greens, dried apricots, pine nuts and white cheddar

I have a formula for eight ingredients that always make an elegant salad – four for the salad and four for the dressing:

Salad

1 pound washed Greens

2 handfuls Dried Fruit

1 large handful Nuts

2 oz. Cheese

Dressing

4 tablespoons Olive Oil

1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar

½ teaspoon Salt

½ teaspoon Pepper

I have made this salad using arugula, dried apricots, pine nuts and feta cheese.  I have made this salad using romaine lettuce, raisins, chopped almonds and cheddar cheese.  The formula is simple and you can usually make it with what’s on hand at anyone’s house that you’re visiting.  In fact, I came up with this formula last year when I was visiting my sister and she asked me to come up with something to do with a bag of arugula that only had one or two days left.

If you use a bag of pre-washed lettuce, there is no washing of vegetables involved in making this salad.  The only chopping depends on the fruit, nuts and cheese you select.  I don’t even measure for the ingredients, I eyeball 4 parts oil to 1 part vinegar and add salt and pepper to taste.

About salad dressing.

Salad dressing is so easy to make, it’s one of the products people buy that I cannot understand.  The basic formula for salad dressing is: 4 parts oil to 1 part acid.  From there you can add flavors:  salt, pepper, mustard, garlic, finely chopped onions, sugar, etc.  For oil, I generally use olive oil, but any oil will do.  For acid, I usually use red wine vinegar, but balsamic, rice vinegar or lemon juice work fine.  To make salad dressing, you just put all your ingredients into a jar, shake vigorously and pour over your salad.

dressing jar - cropped

old jelly jar I use for mixing salad dressing

One of my favorite trivia facts is that the word “salad” comes from the Latin word “sal,” for salt.  That’s because the original salad dressing is salt.  When I am at a function where the only options for salad dressing are store-bought ones with too many ingredients for my taste, I use salt only to dress my salad and feel very “classic” in my food taste.

 

Holiday Prep – Already?!? October 31, 2009

Serving Hot CocoaBy Julia Pantoga

Don’t come complaining to me about those crowded mall parking lots in December. I’ll be home drinking hot chocolate or cranberry vodka with friends. You can be there too, with a little advance planning.

Last year I went all out to give you timely holiday prep tips and I have little to add this year, so here’s a list of all the holiday prep articles from last year:

holiday cookiesGiving Away Baked Goods

Holiday Roll-out Cookies – Part One
Holiday Roll-out Cookies – Part Two
Holiday Roll-out Cookies – Part Three

Packing for Holiday Travel

Holiday Entertaining Made Easy

Great Baking Gift Recipes

Decorating Your Home

Handmade Gift Ideas

Super Yummy Fast Fast Party Snacks

In order to kick back in December, here’s a list of things to start this week:
     
1. If you are going to give away baked goods:

             a. Decide what you are going to make (last year I gave away little gingerbread cakes, this year is all cookies, I’ll share my recipes with you in a few weeks.)
             b. Start collecting containers for putting the baked goods in (see photo below)
             c. Keep your eye out for sales on specialty ingredients (If you are using commercial candy in your holiday baking, you will probably find it on sale on Sunday, November 1, the day after Halloween)

gift containers

Containers I have accumulated so far, for less than $30

     2. If you are going to make decorated holiday sugar cookies, make the dough and freeze it now.

     3. If you are going to send holiday cards:
              a. Go through your list to make sure you have complete addresses for the entire list.
              b. Pick out the holiday cards you are going to use (I KNOW you have them because you bought them right after the holidays last year like I told you, right?) Put the card box next to where you sit to watch TV. Put a pen in the box and print out a list of everyone you will be sending cards to. During commercials, address the envelopes. Be sure to put the pen back in the box. I have learned over the years that addressing the envelopes is a big job and there is no reason you can’t do it in advance and make writing cards that much more pleasant.

Finally, it is never too early to begin making bags of Super Yummy Fast Fast Party Snacks and start storing them in your freezer to grab on your way to a party!

 

Best Designer sewing patterns for Fall/Winter 2009 October 14, 2009

formCheck out the latest in designer patterns here.

 

Fast, cool sewing projects September 23, 2009

formCheck out my latest column on Stylist.com: fast and cool sewing projects you can find online and download.