Recipe: Greater Tots

Got some broccoli that’s not so pretty any more? Too much cauliflower in the drawer? Want something that tastes bad for you but isn’t? It takes a bit of time, but the results are worth it. My husband calls these “Greater Tots”, because grated up veggies turn into a healthy “tater” tot!

I have used several different veggies – broccoli, cauliflower and broccoli slaw. One time I used green beans but will not do that again as the flavor was too strong!

With the food processor, grate the veggie of your choice. Don’t be bashful – make a bunch. Mix 2½ cups of the grated veggies, with a bit of Cajun Spice (Tony Chachere), and 1-2 oz of shredded cheese – cheddar, mozzarella, pepper jack or whatever you have on hand. Mix well. Spray a mini-muffin pan with non-stick spray. Divide the veggie mixture up into all the 24 cups and press the mixture into each cup. Bake at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes until they are good and crispy. This makes one large serving for yourself or 2 small servings if you feel like sharing. Use a narrow spatula to pop them out of the cups, and enjoy guilt-free crispy veggies. You can’t make too many of them! Change up the cheese for different flavors. Let me know how yours turn out!

LiveCreative: Silver Leather Jacket

I wanted a silver leather jacket, but did not want to spend much money. Sometimes Goodwill has nice stuff for reasonable prices. It took a bit of time shopping at a few different locations, before I found one I liked the style and fit, and got it for $5! If you are not in a hurry you can find really wonderful things!
The leather jacket I chose was black with a silver lining.

I cleaned the leather with alcohol one day and dyed it the next to ensure it was dry.

I used a pewter and silver dye mixed together to get the color I wanted.

It took a bit of trial and error and since I started with a black jacket, it took 2 coats, but I am super happy with how the jacket turned out. I wear it a lot and get many compliments.

Remember to take some extra time around the seams and stitching, to ensure the dye gets in all the crevices. The underside of the zipper leather will show when you are zipping and unzipping, so remember this detail. You can also dye the fabric of the zipper, if needed. Especially important if you are changing colors of a jacket. Underneath the collar is very important. The leather in the pockets can show, and the leather inside the sleeves and inside the jacket. Between the layers of leather on the edge of the collar will take some extra care but it will be worth the time.

I love my results.  I have worm the jacket several times and love it.  The leather is still soft and pliable.  It is a great jacket.

LiveCreative: Bronze Leather Jacket

I was given a really great leather jacket, fun style, but an ugly finish that was very scratched and rough, as well as a color I would never wear. I love the metallic leather finishes, so I decided to upcycle my leather gift and make it fabulous!

I shopped around on ebay and ordered some metallic leather dye/paint. I choose a metallic bronze color that would match the original color of the jacket as well as the lining.

To clean the jacket and prep it for dye, clean it with alcohol or lemon juice. The acid prepares the leather to accept the dye. Make sure the leather is dry before starting. I cleaned on one day, and dyed the next. I used a sponge to apply the dye. I also dyed the zipper fabric, the top stitch thread, the leather folded in and sew to the lining, the leather turned up into the edge of the sleeves, as well as the edges of the leather – everything so it looks like it was always the beautiful metallic bronze. I applied the dye, let dry a bit then added a second coat to even out the color to be uniform in color and texture. I then let it dry overnight before wearing. I have gotten a ton of compliments on my upcycled jacket. Admirers have no idea the jacket was not always this color and effect!

If you do not have a jacket in your collection that needs a new finish, just go to a resale shop and see what you can find. Goodwill has nice stuff for reasonable prices. I wanted a silver jacket, did a bit of shopping before I found one I liked the style and fit, and got it for $5! If you are not in a hurry you can find really wonderful things to personalize and make your own one of a kind creation!