Chinese Noodle Salad

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chinese noodle salad

Image by beautifulcataya

The last time I made a dish for a family occasion, my sister-in-law gave me  a recipe for this Chinese Noodle Salad.  I took her basic recipe and played with it a little….I added more sesame seeds and a can of baby corn. This delicious dish is what resulted. Chinese Noodle Salad feeds a crowd, so you will have plenty of leftovers.


1 pound spaghetti

1/2  cup sesame oil

1/2 cup soy sauce

6-8 tablespoons sesame seeds

1 cup frozen peas, defrosted

1 green pepper, sliced into strips

1 red pepper, sliced into strips

1 can baby corn, drained and halved

1-2 teaspoons sugar or to taste

salt and pepper, to taste


Cook the spaghetti till still firm. Drain immediately.  Run cold water over the spaghetti and drain again.

Combine the spaghetti with the other ingredients.

Chill several hours before serving.

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Frugal Sewing

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frugal sewing

When I was younger, I owned a business in which I sewed and sold hats.  The business lasted about 4-5 years.  Besides a couple of sewing machine needles and several spools of thread, my entire stash of sewing supplies consisted of a few homemade patterns, a cutting mat and rotary cutter plus 6 pins.  In addition, my sewing machine was bottom of the line cheap, with no extra fills or stitches. That was it and it was plenty.

So how much does it really cost to start sewing? Not much, and I’ll tell you why.

High Quality Sewing MachineDon’t Need – I worked for years as a professional seamstress with the cheapest Singer sewing machine I could find. Unless you plan on doing a lot of heirloom sewing or machine embroidery, you really only need a machine with a straight stitch, zigzag stitch and button hole stitch.

How do you cope without a serger? Simple. Just zigzag the edges of your garment.

By the way, lately there’s been a big move towards going back to hand sewing. I have two books on the topic. One is called Alabama Stitch Book and the other is Alabama Studio Style. You’d be surprised by the gorgeous clothing you can sew without a machine.

Pincushions – Don’t Need – A fridge magnet thrown into the bottom of a bowl works great.

Cutting Board And Rotary Cutter – Need – Many of you may disagree with me on this one, but I hate to cut out fabric with a scissors.

Pins – Maybe Need – You really do need pins, but if you don’t have any, don’t worry. Over the years I have substituted safety pins, tape (inside seams only), and basting for pins. Sure pins are easier, but if you don’t have them, there are alternatives.

New Fabric – Don’t Need – Now that I don’t sew professionally, I rarely go to the fabric store.  Instead, I reuse old sheets, large second-hand skirts, clothes from around the house, and even old curtains.

If none of your fabric scraps are large enough, simply piece together several.  Here is an example of how nicely this can be accomplished. I purposely used a maxi-skirt as my sample, because there is almost no item of clothes that uses more fabric.

Professional Patterns – Don’t Need – There are hundreds of free patterns available on the internet. Here are some collections that I’ve put together:

If this is your first sewing project, or first time sewing without a pattern, I would suggest starting off with an easy apron or tote bag pattern.

Pattern Weights – Don’t Need – I generally use a tin can from my kitchen.

Sewing Machine Cover – Need –  I believe that dust does more damage to sewing machines than anything else.  Cover your sewing machine with large garbage bag if you’re feeling lazy,  or if you are feeling ambitious, try making your own.

New Buttons, Zippers, Elastic, Trims – Don’t Need – I scavenge every button, zipper, piece of lace and bit of trim I can find. I never throw an item of clothing out without first stripping it of every goodie.  I’ve even bought very cheap second-hand items, just for the fabulous trims and buttons. I have an enormous collection and can almost always find what I’m looking for.

Warning: When reusing elastic, be sure it is still in excellent condition. I once spent hours sewing a new skirt, only to find the used elastic wore out within months.

The same goes for trims with beads sewn on. Be sure the beads are still fastened securely before reusing.

Expensive Sewing Organizers – Don’t Need – I sewed for years with nothing more than a large ziploc bag and small cardboard box to organize my supplies.  Once a year the bag tore and I replaced it with a new one.

If that seems a little grungy, cover the box with leftover fabric scraps and craft glue.  Cut up some strips of heavy cardboard to use as dividers, using the very easy  how-to from Design Sponge.  If you want to get fancy, you can cover the dividers with fabric also.

This concludes the article on frugal sewing. You may not agree with everything I had to say, but I hope the post at least helped you to rethink your list of must-haves.

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Fried Tortilla Dipping Sticks

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Fried Tortilla Dipping Sticks

source: Scorpions And Centaurs

These fried tortillas are tasty on their own, but they’re especially great for dipping into salsa!


2 tortillas

shredded cheese


olive oil


Coat the bottom of a large, non-stick frying pan with oil and place pan on a low flame.

Microwave the tortillas for 10-20 seconds to ensure their soft and pliable.

Place the first tortilla on the pan, cover half of it with shredded cheese, and fold the other half over. Place the second tortilla on the pan (it will temporarily cover the first tortilla) and repeat.

Continue cooking on low till the cheese melts. Raise the flame for about 30-60 seconds to brown the bottom of the tortilla. Flip, and brown the other side. Remove immediately from pan or the tortillas will overcook.

Slice tortilla into strips and serve with salsa for dipping.

Serves two as a snack.

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How To Buy Craft Supplies on Ebay

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how-to-buy-craft-supplies-on-ebaysource: jessica wilson

Ebay is a great source to both buy and sell craft sup­plies. I’ve got­ten needle­point kits, scrap­book­­ing pap­er, and rub­ber stamps, all at ex­­treme­ly rea­s­on­­able pric­es. Their full re­tail pric­es were sev­er­al times what I paid.

Peo­ple are some­times re­luc­tant to use ebay for fear the prod­uct will be da­maged, or worse, never ar­rive. I have bought sev­er­al doz­en items from Ebay and have had gen­er­ally good ex­per­iences. Even better, I’ve sold many craft books I no longer en­joyed own­ing.


Do be sure to read the sellers feedback (comments from the buyers). You’ll learn enough from these snippets of information to decide whether this is a person with whom you want to do business.

Check out the stores for sales before bidding. Sometimes closeout sales can even beat out the online auctions.

Always keep in mind the shipping costs. $4.00 shipping on a $2.99 item can really drive up the total cost.

Consider selling your own items online. The cost is extremely cheap. And, you can use the money you receive to buy new materials

Try to bid at a time when several of the same item are available. This usually drives down the price.

If you can, wait until the last possible moment to bid. This might stop other buyers from driving up the price.

Auctions ending late at night or early in the morning, when most bidders are sleeping, can also be a source of bargains.

Be sure not to bid on impulse or without researching the product. Remember, once a bid is made it cannot be retracted.

Try to negotiate on shipping, especially if you are willing to buy more than one item.

Watch the type of merchandise you are interesting in for a few days prior to bidding. You will get an idea of what things usually sell for. This is important. It allows you to know a true bargain when you spot it.

If you buy craft books online try to actually see the item in a store or a friends home before you purchase it.  I can’t tell you how many times I was disappointed in a book purchase.

If you can’t view the item in “real time” at least look on the internet for descriptions, sample pages, screen shots and/or reviews.

Online auctions can be addictive.  Make sure you really need (and can afford) what you are planning to  purchase.

Warning… I’m a real auction addict.  I’ve bought more online than I have actually needed.  And several things I gave away unopened.  Beware that the same thing doesn’t happen to you.

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DIY Homemade Vegetarian Bacon From Cheese

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6697247921_21d8741c6b_zI was first given a version of this recipe many years ago from a vegetarian friend in Baltimore. Over the years a fancier version would pop up in an occasional book or the internet. But I still like the basic recipe the best.

Here is the basic recipe.


shredded Mozzarella cheese


Sprinkle clusters of shredded Mozzarella cheese onto a large, high quality, non-stick fry pan.  Do NOT oil the pan. Turn the flame to high and allow the cheese to cook till crisp on the bottom. Flip the cheese and cook till the second side is crisp.

Remove from the pan and use immediately. I enjoy my vegetarian bacon made into a BLT sandwich.

source: Jonathan Smith

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Simple Potato Salad With Balsamic Vinegar (Passover Friendly)

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722400708_5dfa0d0d38_zThis recipe gets so much flavor from the balsamic vinegar, that it doesn’t need other ingredients added in order to taste great. Delicious!



3 medium potatoes, cooked till tender but firm
1/4 cup red onion, chopped


1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 – 3/4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3/4 – 1 tsp. salt


Place all salad ingredients and half of the dressing in a storage bowl with a tight lid. Shake to combine.
Add additional dressing, if needed, and shake again.

Note: Depending on the size of the potatoes, there is sometimes leftover dressing. The dressing makes a delicious sandwich spread if used within a few days.

Variation: Additional vegetables can be added. Some good choices are chopped raw carrots, green olives, chopped celery

source: stephanie vacher

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20 Crafty Ways To Reuse Plastic Bottles

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20-ways-to-reuse-plastic-bottlesThough I’ve now lived in the Middle East for four years, I still don’t drink the water.  As a result, I always have an enormous collection of plastic water bottles to recycle.  Over time, these bottles have been turned into funnels, weights, bowling sets, pencil cups, drawer organizers, vases and even board game pieces. I’m always on the lookout for crafty ways to reuse my bottles.

Woven Plastic Bottle Vase – This is the project that gave me the idea for this list.  I had to read the how-to’s before I believed this vase was really made from a plastic bottle.

PopSci Plastic Bottle LampsComplete instructions from PopSci.

Terrariums – Use a plastic bottle to make an almost instant terrarium. More ideas here and here.

Knitting Loom From Plastic Bottles I was going to purchase a knitting loom, but when I saw this tutorial, I decided to make my own instead.

Plastic Bottle And Paper Vases Cut a plastic bottle down to size and glue on fabric. This can also be used as a pencil cup.

Multi-Color Flower Garlands At first glance (and second glance), it’s hard to believe that this holiday project is made from plastic bottles.

Soda Bottle Dome Displays – Use the video instructions to make gorgeous recycled bottle domes.

Plastic Bottle Beads This video makes really good looking beads. No narration but there are English captions.

Fish From Plastic Bottles – Cut shapes from plastic and paint to resemble fish. Use the bottom of the bottle as a display stand.

Herb Gardens Plastic bottles are the perfect size for  individual herb gardens.

3 Dimensional Wall Art Create a lovely 3 dimensional painting of flowers, using a plastic bottle as the vase.  So creative!

Knit or Crochet Plastic Bottle Bangles – A ring is cut from a plastic bottle and then wrapped with a knit or crocheted cover.

Woven BoxesRibbons of plastic bottles strips are woven back and forth to create a square box.

DIY Shrinky Dinks I was thrilled to find these tutorials, since it’s very hard to find plain Shrinky Dink plastic near where I live.

Fabric And Plastic Bottle Bracelets Another bracelet. This one is covered with felt, but really, any fabric would work out great.

Plastic Bottle Coin Purses Unfortunately, this project doesn’t come with instructions.

Plastic Bottle Change Holders I wouldn’t use this change holder in the living room, but it’s fine for a workroom or garage.

Plastic Bottle Flowers – These flowers are a cinch to make. But, it’s amazing to see what was done with them when they were finished!

Monster Container I tried to avoid included crafts for kids, but this little container is too adorable to miss.

Plastic Bottle Butterflies – Once these butterflies are completed there are dozens of things to do with them…use them to decorate gift packages, attach them to a wall in a child’s room to add interest, place them strategically throughout your garden, and lots more.

Read More: Recycled Crafts or Home

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