tutorial: frito pie

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is being re-posted here for my own sake.]

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, so I’m going to start up again with a fun one.

Is it really necessary to have a tutorial for Frito pies? Most would say no, unless you’re not from Texas, at which point, yes, you do need a tutorial. In New York, people look at you with eyebrows raised and an expression somewhere between disgust, horror, and confusion if you mention a Frito pie. They usually have the same expression after I explain what a Frito pie is. But they’re really yummy! It’s a staple dish!

So here we go. There are three main ingredients: Frito chips, chili (preferably with no beans … but whatever floats your boat), and shredded cheese (I usually go with plain ol’ cheddar).

120916 a bowl

1. Get yourself a bowl. Really any bowl will do as long as it’s big enough for all the yummy goodness that is to come.

120916 b fritos

2. Open the bag of Fritos. Pour some of those corn chips into bowl. Oh, and as a side note: If you’re in Texas, enjoy the low price and ease of obtaining Fritos, because there’s only one grocery store in my area that carries them and a bag cost me $3.50!

120916 c chili

3. Open the can of chili, heat it up on the stove, and pour some of it over the Fritos. Well, I suppose you should have had the chili on the stove before you even got out the bowl … but stop criticizing me! I usually go with Hormel’s no beans chili because (being from Texas) beans do not belong in chili and there’s no Wolf brand chili up here and I’ve never been good at making my own chili.

120916 d cheese

4. Open the bag of shredded cheese. Grab a handful of it and sprinkle it oh so gingerly over the chili-covered Fritos.

120916 e fork

5. Get yourself a fork. Plunge that fork into the concoction, stir it up a bit, and use that fork to stuff your face with Frito pie.

It’s not really healthy, and I make no recommendations in regards to feeding it regularly to children. Everything in moderation. I merely say that it’s yummy, it’s easy, and it’s cheap (except in certain states like New York where cans of chili and bags of Fritos and bowls, shredded cheese, forks, and life cost more than they should). It’s one of those foods that just makes you happy. Maybe it’s because I grew up eating Frito pies so it’s kind of a nostalgic thing, but anyway, I really like ’em.

The end! I hope you’ve been enlightened.

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tutorial: pan chang chinese knot

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is being re-posted here for my own sake.]

In a previous post from a few years back, I made some Chinese knots for Chinese New Year 2010. Well, January 23, 2012, is the date for this year, and it’s fast approaching! I still had some of the same red cord from that previous project, so I decided to try and learn a new knot. And I picked a doozy of one called the Pan Chang knot.

120115 01 all knot

It took me a few times, but I finally got it. I had to get some cardboard and stick some pins in it to keep the cord where I wanted it, but in the end it turned out kind of cool. I had take more photos, but when you work at night and your room has incandescent lights and therefore a dim yellowish hue … it’s just too much work trying to make them presentable. Anyhow, I missed using Adobe Illustrator so much I decided to use the program to make a little guide. Yay.

120115 02a board

1. Get some cardboard stack it up (two or three layers so the pins stay in). Then following the guide, put pins where there are pink dots.

2. Get some cord/string that’s got some thickness (red is a lucky color). You’ll need about a yard … maybe more. In the middle, create a loop tied off with a knot. With one end, string the cord around the pins following the guide – stringing it vertically and then horizontally. Make sure to note when it goes over/under the already-laid cord.

3. With the other end of the cord, you’ll weave it through vertically and then horizontally. Again, make sure you take note when the cord is supposed to go over/under another one.

120115 02f pull

4. And that should be that. Carefully pull the cord up from around the pins and carefully pull on the outer loops. After you get the center roughly squared away, then you can begin adjusting the length of the loops by slowly working the cord through the piece, tightening along the way. The original knotted loop should be tight to the center square, and the two side loops should be bigger than the four other ones.

120115 03 knot

5. Voila! After all the tightening you’ll have to trim the ends of your cord. And then you can either leave the ends hanging or finish them off with some button knots.

120115 04 ends

Whew. Wasn’t that fun? I don’t have enough cord to make another knot, so that’s it. It’s kind of a small thing to show for all the time and effort I put into making it. It was fun though. Once you make one successfully you can sort of understand how the knot is constructed. The one I made here has four rows, but you can easily expand the knot to have six or eight rows just by increasing the number of vertical and horizontal moves you make. Good luck! Wishing everyone a happy new year!

tutorial: stuffed hedgie

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is being re-posted here for my own sake.]

090802 01 finished

I’ve been a bit busy hanging out with the family, so I haven’t made anything recently. This project is from a little bit ago, but I’m just now getting around to posting it. It’s a stuffed hedgehog made from a car-washing mitt that I got at Dollar Tree. I posted a step-by-step here, but by no means did I think of this myself. All credit goes to Darling Petunia and her tutorial here. The only variation was that I embroidered the eyes. So cute! I named him Hedgie (’cause I’m creative like that).

First step was to get the mitt from the dollar store. I had seen the Darling Petunia blog post a while ago when it was featured on Dollar Store Crafts over here. So I had actually been holding onto this mitt since June. Snipped off the wrist and thumb and then pulled out the sewing supplies.

090802 04 eyes

I had looked for black buttons, but sheesh! Buttons are expensive. I ended up just embroidering on eyes just with black floss, just eyeballing their placement (har har … I’m so punny).

Then came the harder stuff. First up: sewing it up. After the eyes were on, the mitt was flipped inside out and I drew lines, forming a triangle to make its nose. Sewed that shut, leaving the thumb hole open. Once the wrist was sewn into a triangle (and some of the excess material snipped off), it got flipped right-side out and stuffed. Then the thumb hole was blind-stitched closed. Is it called a blind stitch? Like with closing pillows? That’s what I’ve always called it because that’s what my mother calls it … but who knows.

Unfortunately though I had finished the sewing, I wasn’t done because it looked a bit funky. The mitten shape was a little weird, asymmetrical because it was meant to fit a hand, so the poor hedgehog was a bit wonky. The square picture shows how it was, with the weird corners, and the second picture shows the hedgehog’s underside once I fixed it. I just blind-stitched a bunch around the edge to smooth out all those weird bumps, giving it a nice rounded edge. Then the very last step was to sew on a black pom-pom to serve as his nose, and voila! Hedgie is born.

090802 09 sheep

We had some family friends over today and their little boy V is about two years old. He’s such a cutie. Anyway, I had put this hedgehog in the storage room that has all my stuff from school and V, being curious, started rummaging around in there. When he found the hedgehog (although he called it a rat) … it was so cute! He played with it and this sheep that we had. Absolutely adorable. Also, I’m working on a new blog layout, which I hope to be up within the week. It’s been taking a while though because while I know HTML, CSS is a bit new to me.