Friday, August 31, 2012

Handmade gifts featured on "The 36th Avenue"

As the rain and cooler temps return to Zurich, after what turned out to be a beautiful, warm and sunny summer, I am starting to think of the holidays... I know you must be saying to yourself that it is only the beginning of September (well, almost!) and there's 4 months until Christmas! Well, I have set myself a goal to make homemade gifts this year (yikes!), as well as holding a little Christmas market at my house in early December similar to what we did a couple years ago (see previous market post here).

When trolling through Pinterest (something I do on a daily basis...often multiple times a day... yes, call me an addict!), I came across the following photo and link to The 36th Avenue blog. Oh boy, does it have some amazing DIY ideas from handmade gifts to DIY furniture makeovers. I do believe that I will be following this blog on a regular basis!

If you are up for a bit of DIY Christmas presents or think you would like to do something special for your home, I highly recommend checking this blog out. I've put the links for the handmade gifts, parts 1 and 2, below for your convenience.
Link to: 25 Handmade Gifts part 1
Link to: 25 Handmade Gifts part 2

Let's all get creative this year and make something special for our loved ones!

J xx

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Discover - Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap

I'm finished! Here's my postcard that will be sent tomorrow to another swap participant in South Carolina! I had to incorporate a few Swiss mountains into it :-)! If you are interested in seeing other swap cards for inspiration, you can check them out on the Great Big Stitched Postcard Flickr page.

Have a great day!
J xx

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Recipe: Quinoa & Vegetable Stuffed Zucchini

I love summer - sunshine, swimming in the lake, playing with the kids and loads of fresh fruits and veggies at their prime! We are blessed to have a wonderful neighbor who has helped us plant some veggies in the garden, including kale, tomatoes, fennel and various types of lettuce. It tastes so much better knowing that it has been grown with tender, loving care (and no pesticides!).  Yesterday, she gave us a huge zucchini to welcome us back from our vacation. As I say, WONDERFUL neighbor!! I stuffed it tonight with a mix of kale (also from the garden!), fresh Roma tomatoes from our trip to Tuscany, quinoa (a staple in our house) and a few other fresh ingredients. I thought I would share the recipe with you, so you, too, could enjoy the fresh bounties from the summer produce! I use a similar stuffing to make red and yellow stuffed peppers and generally just throw in whatever I have in my fridge. It is quite a versatile recipe, so feel free to get creative with whatever ingredients you have in stock!

Quinoa & veggie stuffed zucchini with fresh basil

Quinoa & Vegetable Stuffed Zucchini 
Serves 3-4 people

1 or 2 large zucchinis
2 Tbsp oil and 2 Tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 large kale leaves, finely chopped (including the white stems); you could also use spinach
3-4 Roma or similar tomatoes (we had fresh ones from Tuscanny - yummmy!)
1/2 to 1 cup cooked quinoa (depends on your taste and the size of the zucchini)
Herbed cream cheese - I used about half of a round of "Boursin" with garlic and herbs
1-2 Tbsp fresh basil, thinly sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)

Wash your zucchini(s) and then cut in half. Scoop or cut out the inside of the zucchini halves, leaving about half an inch of the flesh with the skin. Finely chop the flesh that you scooped out as this will go into the filling.
Scoop inside of zucchini, leaving 1 /4-1/2 inch of flesh 

To prepare filling:
Heat your oil and butter in a medium to large pan (again depends on amount you are making). Sauté onion and garlic and sauté approximately 5-7 minutes or until they start to soften. Add chopped zucchini and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add kale, tomatoes and quinoa and continue cooking for about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Finally, add herbed cream cheese, basil, sea salt and pepper (to taste) and stir until melted through (about 3-4 minutes). Remove from heat.
Zucchini with stuffing before going into the oven

Stuff zucchini halves with filling and cover with foil. Bake covered at 400 F (200 C) for about 25 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for another 15-20 minutes or until done. I like to turn on the convection (air/fan function) for the last 8-10 minutes to crisp up the top.

Serve with fresh basil on top and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. ENJOY!

Enjoy the rest of your summer! It is hard to believe that we only have 2 weeks left until school starts again...
J xx