Sunday, July 5, 2015

Green Chicken Marinade

Here is one of my most favorite ways to cook chicken. It's versatile, perfectly savory, and best when cooked on the grill. 

For this recipe you will need:
2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts 
1 Bunch of Cilantro, thoroughly rinsed
Half an Onion (whatever kind you have on hand) 
2 Cloves of Garlic
Half a Cup of Canola Oil 
1 teaspoon of Cumin 
The Juice of Half a Lime 
Salt and Pepper to taste

The first step is to slice your chicken breasts horizontally, so the thickness of each piece is about a quarter of an inch thick, ending up with a chicken cutlet. Depending on the size of the breast, I can get 3-4 quarter inch pieces. 

In a blender add the cilantro, onion, garlic, oil, cumin, lime juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper. 


Let the blender do its job. Scrape down the sides, and give the marinade a final blend. Enjoy that delicious, herby, aroma. I like to close my eyes and imagine I'm on a beach with a margarita in my hand. 


In a ziploc bag add the chicken, and marinade. Give it a good squish to make sure the chicken is thoroughly coated. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, up to 8. I like to give the bag a squish, and a flip halfway through the marinating time.

When you are ready to get cooking, fire up your grill. I like to let mine preheat as high as possible, about 700 degrees. 

Lay your marinated chicken on a sheet pan, and season each side of each piece with a dash of cumin, salt, and pepper.

Make sure your grill is nice, and hot. Lay your chicken on the grill, and close the lid. After about 2 minutes turn the chicken 90 degrees, and you will get some pretty grill marks. Close the lid again. After about 3 minutes flip your chicken over, close the lid, and let the chicken finish cooking for about 5 minutes. (Make sure your chicken reaches 165 degrees, and that the juices run clear.) 

Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before thinly slicing it against the grain. Around this time your family members will start swarming you, begging for a few pieces to taste test. Denying them is pointless, let them indulge. If you did everything right you will be hearing lots of "'re such a good cook." In fact, you should taste test, and tell yourself what a good cook you are. ;) 

My favorite way to serve up this chicken is will cilantro lime rice, black beans with a little cheese, and a dollop of sour cream. But you can serve it so many ways! Mission style burritos, tacos, nachos, salad, and even sandwiches.

You can cook this chicken on the stove top if grilling isn't for you. Instead of slicing the chicken so it's more like a cutlet, I would cut it into bite size chunks. Then I would cook it in a skillet with a little oil, stir fry style. This marinade also works great on beef, and I'm sure even white fish, like halibut, or cod.        

Friday, June 26, 2015

A Wedding Gift

I've been dragging my feet to write this blog post knowing that my written words are not going to do my true feelings justice. But I'm going to give it my best shot. :) 

I met Sarah in first period English on the first day of 7th grade. We nervously realized that we both had a love for the band Hanson. And boy, did our love run deep. Our friendship began immediately. We planned sleepovers. We threw birthday parties for each Hanson brother, complete with their favorite snacks. If Hanson was going to make a TV appearance we would be on the phone with each other, screaming, and confessing our love for them. The summer between 7th, and 8th grade we flew to Seattle to see Hanson in concert at the Key Arena. We screamed, we cried, and we swore Taylor and Zac looked right at us. 

Screaming our hearts out for Hanson at the Key Arena in Seattle, summer of 1998. 
Photo courtesy of Sarah Evans

Through high school we were still close, and had a great circle of friends. But eventually we all drifted apart as our interests, and focus on life started to change as we prepared to enter the real world. After high school I settled down, and started a family rather quickly. Sarah was off to college, and travelling the world. 

Even though we were taking different paths to start out adulthood, Sarah would pop up from time to time. Reflecting on it now, the timing was always perfect. She brought me peanut butter blossoms over one Christmas break when I had terrible morning (all day) sickness. She came to visit me when she was home for summer break, and I was a nervous new mom. When my husband had to travel for work, and wasn't able to go to the Lion King musical, Sarah was up for the task of sitting with a 4 year old, and a very squirmy 2 year old with me.

Every time Sarah and I have reconnected since high school I've always felt supported by her, and even though so much time has passed I feel like we sort of just fall back into that close friendship we had so many years ago. 

When I received a wedding invitation for her last year, I just knew I wanted to make her something that would reflect all those warm, and fuzzy friendship feelings. I also wanted to create something that would represent her, and her now husband, Tony. What is a quilter to make? Why a quilt, of course. :) 

For Sarah's wedding quilt I used Honey Sweet by Fig Tree and Co. The floral prints totally remind me of Sarah's sweet disposition, and love for the English countryside. I decided that bear paw blocks were a great representation of Sarah, and Tony's love for adventure, Alaska, and the great outdoors.  

To finish this quilt off, I made a hand embroidered (my first time!) label complete with their wedding date. 

Sarah, and Tony's wedding was nothing short of magical. The love, and support was palpable. Even after a week since the event, it brings a smile to my face, and warms my heart to see someone that has supported me in many ways over the year to be surrounded by so much love. I'm looking forward to watching Sarah, and Tony continue to build their lives together. 

Sarah's wedding day June 19th, 2015. 


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Lavender Sage

Spring of 2015 must be the season for new baby girls. I took on my second commissioned piece of the year for, you guessed it, another baby girl quilt. This client's son was the recipient of my first custom (Scout) quilt from the fall of 2014. I was completely blown away that this client liked her son's quilt so much that she sought me out to make a quilt for one of her dearest friends from college new baby. 

Communicating through email can sometimes be tricky when trying to figure out exactly what a client has in mind. I find that making collages of different aesthetics is a great visual aid to really narrow in on exactly what a client may be after. After going back and forth with a few different collages, we finally were are the same page. We decided to go with a pattern that was a little more traditional, with a bit of a modern twist. 

The colors were kept to sagey greens, and lighter purples, hence the name Lavender Sage. My stash was lacking in these colors, so I needed to do some shopping to fill out my palette. Hawthorne Threads, and Harts Fabric each had a great selection. I was even able to score some of Heather Ross's Briar Rose from Harts Fabric! 

I used Red Pepper Quilts' tutorial for economy blocks with a few minor alterations. I omitted the outer most 'ring' so there were only two layers to each block, and I increased the block size by 1". All of the fussy cutting made me so happy! 

With so much negative space, and easy blocks this top came together rather quickly. My biggest struggle was working with on point blocks, and keeping the balance throughout the quilt top.

I found a perfect backing at my local quilt shop that really balanced with the front. While working on the binding I realized that the Jeni Baker print used in the top, and the backing fabric looked like two different artists' interpretation of the same field of flowers.

The lattice quilting frames each block so nicely, and really gives the quilt a nice texture while maintaining ultimate snuggle factor. For the binding I decided that the purple weave fabric that was used in the top would really help make the quilt pop.


With all of the sweet bees, flowers, and whimsical animals I often found myself wanting to have a garden party while working on Lavender Sage. Maybe the sweet baby girl this quilt gets to live with will be inspired, and host many picnics, and tea parties.    

Friday, March 27, 2015

Equilateral Triangle Quilt

So far this year I've had a lot of small finishes: mini quilts, pouches, and pillow covers. Now I finally have my first finished quilt.

This piece is a custom order for a new baby girl due to arrive this spring. I had a lot of creative freedom, the only requirement from my client was that there was some monkey fabric in the top. Monkeys have significant meaning between my client, and the person she is gifting the quilt to. With all of that freedom, I dove into my stash looking for inspiration. 

While digging through my stash the fabric just started calling to me. I started with prints on creamy backgrounds. How could I resist those Lizzy kitties, hedgies, some cotton and steel, and a few other prints. 

Looking through my pink stash I was really drawn to more coral/salmon tones. They are still sweet, and feminine without being too over the top girlie. To balance out all of the warmth from the pink, I started reaching for some cool teals, and mint, with some navy for added saturation. Navy is currently one of my favorite colors. It has just felt so fresh, and clean. 

With all of the novelty prints I pulled I really wanted to use a pattern that would showcase how cute the fabric was. Usually I go with just basic patchwork, but I felt that there needed to be a little more interest to the pattern of this quilt. Equilateral triangles seemed like the perfect choice. The prints aren't greatly sacrificed, but there is just so much more for your eyes to look at with secondary patterns. 

This was my first time making a quilt with equilateral triangles, and it was most definitely a learning process. Cutting wasn't a problem, but when it came to sewing the rows together I was ready to pull my hair out after the first one. I was getting a lot of wonk, and waviness. Thanks to some awesome Instagram friends I received some great advice. 

The advice that worked best for me was to use Best Press. I have never used any sort of spray while pressing my fabric, but boy did this ever convert me! It added the perfect amount of stability to each triangle so I didn't have to worry about the bias edges, and helped keep things from shifting while sewing. I could see a huge improvement on how clean the blocks were lining up, and I was able to keep most of my points on each triangle. 

I wanted to keep the quilt simple so the quilt would be super snuggly, and soft. So I went for some light straight line quilting following the angles of the quilt top. It resulted in a lovely diamond pattern. 

I do love a pieced back. These teal elephants were just begging to be a part of this quilt, and the wavy teal lines on white were perfectly subtle while adding some great movement. 

Besides the quarter yard of monkey fabric (from Joann's), and the binding this quilt was made 100% from my stash. It feels good to use what I have on hand. It helps me justify buying fabric that I'm inspired by without having a specific project lined up for. If you buy what you are drawn to, you will have a stash that will continue to inspire you. :) 

This quilt came together rather quickly, and I can see myself using equilateral triangles again. There are many ways to mix up the layout to keep things fresh, and fun.  

It isn't always easy to let go of quilts I've made, but I hope that sweet new baby girl will get many years out of this quilt.  

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Welcome to my little corner of the internet! I'm a wife, mother, quilter, Alaskan, and cat lover. Here I plan on documenting things I've made, meals I've cooked, and my adventures in Alaska. All while trying to send a little inspiration back out there. Thanks for stopping by.