Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Opa...Greek Orzo Salad

I'm always looking for fast, easy, healthy, and delicious meals to make at home.  This recipe is versatile, and can be made ahead of time.

Ingredients (makes 10 servings):
-Bag of Orzo Pasta (found in the dry pasta aisle)
-5 Tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar (more/less to taste)
-7 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (more/less to taste)
-Vegetables (what I used-- a bag of spinach, can of black calamata olives, 3 tomatoes, 1 purple onion, and 2 cucumbers)
-Container of Feta Cheese
-Salt, Pepper, and Garlic Powder to taste

1.) Boil the orzo pasta according to directions.
2.) While the orzo pasta is boiling, cut the tomatoes, onion, olives, and cucumber into cubes.  Slice the spinach into shreds.
3.) When the orzo pasta is cooked, drain the water, and allow the pasta to cool down (approximately 15-20 minutes)
4.) When the orzo has cooled down a bit, mix it in with the veggies and feta cheese in a mixing bowl. 
5.) Add the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Stir the mixture gently.
6.) Now cover the mixture with aluminum foil and cool in the fridge for at least 1 hr or overnight.


Some optional items you can add to the Greek Orzo Pasta...
-Adding a variety of veggies such as red peppers, green peppers, sun dried tomatoes, green olives, etc
-Adding protein to make it a complete meal (grilled shrimp and grilled chicken go wonderfully with this dish)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Season of Giving...DIY Professional Gift Wrapping

You do not have to spend a lot of money on gift wrapping.  All you need is some cheap embellishments, wrapping paper, ribbon, and some creativity. 

Here is what I used...
  • brown Kraft paper
  • wrapping paper with a simple design (try not to pick a print that is too busy, since you are going to embellish it even more)
  • white tissue paper
  • double sided tape
  • regular clear tape
  • festive scrapbook paper
  • gift tags
  • embellishments (small ornaments, Christmas tree picks, ribbon, etc.)

Here are a couple of examples of how to wrap gifts...

Design #1 (Odd Shaped Gifts):
I had to wrap a soccer ball for my nephew.  I didn't want to put it in a gift bag, because it would take up too much room since I was shipping this to him.

1.) Cut a fairly large square piece of wrapping paper.  Also, you will need at least 3-4 sheets of tissue paper.  Put the wrapping paper print side out, add the layers of tissue paper next, and then the gift.

2.) Pick up one corner of the wrapping paper, and bring it across diagonally to the other corner like so...

3.) Repeat on the other side, and gather the corners together...

4.) Tie a ribbon to secure it and add an embellishment.

Design #2:

Design #3:

Design #4:

Design #5:

Design #6:

Other Designs:

Now, all (or most) of the presents all together =)

Cost Breakdown:

About $0.50-$1.00 per each gift

Not too shabby!