Wednesday, June 27, 2012

DIY Skinny Jeans

We've all got clothes in our closet that we don't wear anymore.  Some because of fit, some because of style.  So was the case with my white trouser jeans.  They've always fit (surprisingly well, actually) and are in style (what I think, at least), but I just never seemed to wear them.  Deep down inside I think I was afraid of looking afool because the bottoms of them always seemed to get dirty.  I recently bought some coral skinny jeans from the Gap and loved the cut and fit.  I decided I loved them so much I wanted them in white- but they didn't have them in white. And, to be honest, I don't usually buy clothes at retail unless its on clearance, so I wasn't about to buy another pair (okay, I bought them in green.  Couldn't resist) (okay, okay, my mom bought them for me!). I whipped out my white trousers and tailored them into cropped skinny jeans.  You can do this with any pant- even maternity.
First, you need to get a pair of pants that fit you and you want to use as a "pattern".  The easiest way to tailor pants it to have a pair that already fit you the way you want your new pants to fit. 

Turn both pants inside out and lay the pant to be altered underneath the "pattern" pant, matching hip and crotch seams.  Using a pencil, lightly mark the outline of the top pant on the bottom, keeping in mind that you need to pull out the seam allowance and trace around that, as well as add extra space at the bottom to allow for a hem.  Only do this to one leg right now.  Instead of matching both legs to the "pattern" pant and risking having 2 mismatched legs, we are going to tailor 1 leg and match the other leg to it. 

Start above the point at which your pants taper in and run it through your serger, keeping in line with the current seam.  Slowly ease into your pencil line until you are cutting away and sewing in where you marked.

Try on your pants.  Are they how you want them?  Did you ease into your pencil line or do you have a "pointy" hip seam?  Adjust any mistakes until this leg is perfect.  Don't worry about the hem just yet.  I actually had to take the pants off and taper them in more.

Now, let's make the other leg just like this one.  You no longer need your "pattern" pants, so put them aside.  Fold your tailoring pants in half, matching the crotch seam and inseams.  Make sure to flatten out your pants perfectly so that there is no bulk and your two pant legs are perfectly and evenly folded.  Trace around the outside edge as you did the first leg.

Repeat the serge-easing cutting process, just as you did to the first leg.

Again, try them on.  Make sure both pant legs are identical.  If they aren't, refold them in half and redraw your pencil line, serging again.  Once your pants are exactly the way you want them, you just have to hem the bottom.  I hemmed my pants like denim jeans, so I did a small 1/4 inch hem.

Voila!  Skinny jeans from trouser jeans.  Refashioning clothes makes me feel like I got them for free.  Hooray for new life to old clothes!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Kurowski Recipe Series: Gloria's Blonde Brownies

Several of the recipes we consider treats come from my Grandma Gloria.  When we were little, especially around the holidays, she would bake dozens of different little cookies for us to try.  Blonde Brownies were always our favorite.  During my freshman hear in college, she packed an entire shoe box full of them and mailed them to my dorm.
They look like chocolate chip cookie bars, but they taste different.  They have the consistency of brownies, which makes them a perfect mate to a glass of skim milk.  They do not have white sugar-only brown.  My weetle sixth graders always ask me if brown sugar is the whole wheat version of sugar and better for you.  Oh, if only the world worked that way.
My little sister was double fisting these last night at dinner.  You will love them!
  • 1 cup Butter
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3 Cups Brown Sugar
  • 3 Tsp Vanilla
  • 3 cups Flour
  • 1.5 tsp Baking Powder
  • 3/8 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1.5 tsp Salt
  • 1.5 Cups Chopped Nuts
  • 1 Bag Chocolate Chips 
  • Melt 1 cup Butter in the microwave.  Add 3 cups of brown sugar and cool slightly.
  • Add 3 beaten eggs and vanilla to the sugar and butter (if the mixture isn't cooled before you add the eggs, you will have scrambled eggs in your brownies). Blend together with a whisk or spoon.
  • In a separate bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix together.  Add to sugar/butter mixture and mix together (no mixer needed!  Just use your spoon).  Add nuts and stir together.
  • Spread in a 9*13 and 9" square pan, greased and floured (I don't know why it bakes that much- that's just what we've always done!)
  • Sprinkle chocolate chips on top.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until set/toothpick test comes out clean.
  • Once cooled, dust with powdered sugar.
No matter what we do, they never seem to be as good as Grandma's.  Guess it's all the extra love she puts into it.  Have a great day!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Kurowski Recipe Series

I haven't posted anything in three weeks.  Sorry for that.  Hope has been hard to come by during the last month.  I wish I could be the kind of person that can stare fear, mourning, and disappointment in the face and refuse to let it govern my emotions, but sometimes it just doesn't work.  I am a fallen human.
I'm visiting my parents in Charleston, SC this week and was in the kitchen cooking a family recipe with my mom.  It got me to thinking how fun it is to have family traditions, which ones I do and want to keep as we have our own family, and which ones we will create on our own.
So, I thought, a blog series with a bunch of family recipes would be fun-things we grew up on and things I look forward to eating when we get together.  I will post a few each week in the hopes of having something to do and treats to pass around to those I love.  I hope you can find the energy and time to try a few or call to mind some memories if they are similar to recipes you cherish within your own family.
Tomorrow I will post our first recipe!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Nature Update

Things have been growing like crazy around here!  I think it's because I finally figured out that watering things is essential for growth.  That didn't exactly happen last year.  We had to say goodbye to some flowers after that mess.  Not so this year!
Glad someone around here has fertilized eggs =)
Blueberries, cucumbers, and tomatoes!
Pruning.  Does wonders!
We planted these Dahlias bulbs in April.  They are the weirdest plants I have ever seen.  They have grown SO fast, but no blooms yet.  They were from Aldi.  I say success!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

DIY Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

We love pizza.
When we were first married, frozen pizza was in our weekly dinner rotation.
Was it because we were poor?  Maybe.
Was it because it was fast and cheap?  Perhaps.
Was it because we love it so much we once tried to share and finish a manhole-cover sized pizza from our college-town pizza joint Gumby's?  You betcha.  (We couldn't finish.  Bummer.  But we quit ordering from them because they wouldn't honor a coupon we got from the phone book.  Hello, fatties.)

This is an awesome recipe for homemade whole wheat pizza crust.  It takes a while to prepare because of the yeast, but it's the sit-n-wait kind of "while".  No bigs.  It's easy to make, handle, and spread (I hate how store bought it so gosh darn hard to stretch across the pan, canigetanamen).  The recipe makes two crusts (or 3 thin ones). 


  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (I use extra-light olive oil.  It is awesome and doesn't have that olive-y taste)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 1/4 cups whole wheat flour


  1. In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle yeast over the top, and let stand for about 10 minutes, until foamy.
  2. Stir the olive oil and salt into the yeast mixture, then mix in the whole wheat flour until dough starts to come together. Tip dough out onto a floured surface and knead until all of the flour has been absorbed, and the ball of dough becomes smooth, about 10 minutes. (Or cheat and use your dough hook in the Kitchen Aid for 10 min) Place dough in an oiled bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover loosely with a towel, and let stand in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  3. When the dough is doubled, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into 2 pieces for normal crust, or cut into 3 for thin. Form each into a tight ball. Let rise for about 45 minutes, until doubled.  
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Using your finger tips, spread dough out into desired size.  Place on a well oiled pizza pan. (I baked mine on my pizza stone, dusted with corn meal).  At this point, I sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic on the crust before I bake it. Par-bake crust for about 5 minutes.
  5. Take out, put toppings on.  At this point, freeze the whole pizza (baked crust, raw toppings, just like a frozen pizza from the store) or bake for 12-15 minutes (depending on thickness).  Comeon, people.  You should know what done pizza looks like.  

 We usually use 93/7 ground beef (cheaper and better for you than pepperoni), mushrooms, black olives, jalapenos, garlic, and fresh basil/parsley.  Maybe green pepper if I'm lucky.
There you have it!  A cheap, healthy pizza night.  Take that, Gumby.
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