Saturday, April 20, 2013

D.I.Y. Denim

This year, more than ever, the DIY-inspired, "festival" trend seems to have been kicked into high gear. And when I think of the festival-style must-haves, distressed denim shorts top the list.

So here is an easy and cheap way to create your own distressed denim shorts.

1. Buy "mom jeans."

I hate the term mom jeans, but basically all you are looking for is a classic pair of high-wasted, cotton (non-stretch) jeans. I bought these medium-wash 505 Levis for $4 at my local Goodwill. 

2. Hack off the legs.

I recommend cutting the jeans a tinsy bit longer than you normally would, as the distressing takes up a bit of length. 

3. Wash them.

(Does this require a picture?)

4. Cut horizontal slits where you want distressed patches.

These slits will become your distressed points. Cut two or three slits at each desired spot, with about a half of an inch between them. The slits themselves shouldn't be longer than 2 or 3 inches.

Note: Make sure you consider where the distressing will show up on your body. Obviously, some places are more appropriate than others.

Note 2: Another great way to add natural looking distress is to take your scissors and carefully run the blade back and forth over the edges of pockets, the fly area, belt loops, or where ever else you want it.

5. Wash again. 

This is where the distressing happens, as the slits and raw edges will unravel. On this wash, I added bleach to lighten the fabric a bit and to make the denim fibers a bit softer.

6. Pick at your jeans.

The distressed patches may not come out completely distressed. To aid in this process, take a safety pin or a sewing needle and pull the white (horizontal) strings apart from the blue (vertical) fibers.

 You will remove fibers that look like this:

7. Wear 'em!

With perfectly distressed (oxymoron?) jean shorts often running over $100 at trendy retailers, I completely recommend trying to make your own. It's fast, easy, and fun, and the best part is you are left with a true vintage classic for all of your summer BBQs, day-dates, and yes, festivals.

Til next time.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Delicious "Meats" Healthy

There are few meals that I find more satisfying or elegant than a steak salad. This love is a relatively new development as I use to be turned off to red meat. But I guess it's true what they say, with age comes wisdom, and I now know the delight that comes with an occasional piece of steak.

I am not a meat expert, so I won't pretend to know which cut of steak to point you toward, but I can say I have tried this with several cuts (rib eye, flank steak, hanger steak..others) and all have turned out pretty well.

One thing I can advise on is marinade. It seems pretty hard to mess this up, but I think this one is pretty full proof.
1 cup oil (olive, canola, vegetable)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
splash of soy sauce
splash of Worcestershire
squeeze of honey
2 cloves of garlic
several cranks of pepper
several cranks (or a big pinch) of salt

Other excellent add-ins are Dijon mustard, lime juice, lemon juice, brown sugar, shallots, spices and herbs. 

Once marinade ingredients are combined, pour over meat in a Ziploc bag. Try to extract as much air as possible and throw the bag in the fridge for anywhere from 20 minutes to a couple of hours. Keep in mind that if there is acid in the marinade (i.e. vinegar or citrus juice), it will break down the meat faster. No one wants mushy meat, so plan accordingly.

Ew! Gross! Raw meat!! 
Okay, so the rest is really easy. I buy pre-washed boxed salad greens (baby lettuce mix). Depending on my level of laziness, I will either toss the salad in a bowl with a bit of vinaigrette or put it on top at the end. It doesn't matter. 

On top of the salad, aside from the steak, I like julienned carrots, thinly sliced bell pepper, baby tomatoes, and cheese. Normally I would do blue cheese, but tonight I was feeling a little creative and I made these goat cheese medallions. This is a bit of treat, but with a low-carb high protein salad like this, I think you can get away with it.
Some of My Favorite Salad Veggies
Goat Cheese Medallion "Dredge"—AP Flour, an Egg White, and Panko Bread Crumbs

Goat Cheese Medallions Sizzling Away in a Little EVOO
In my mind, this is the perfect meal. Delicious. Easy. And yes, healthy. So long as you don't go crazy on the cheese, the calories should fall within the 300 to 400 range, and the fat will be between 15 and 18 grams. 

Happy Salad Making!

Til next time.