Plarn Bags, & How to Fold Plastic Bags

I don’t know about you, but I find that plastic bags seem to multiply like rabbits; until they are no longer made, I say that we need to take lemons and make lemonade.  I use bags to crochet “plarn” items, and reuse some as waste bin liners.  This image below is from Pinterest; the source was not attached, so if you know who took the original image, I’d like to credit them for the image below.

I’ve been using this technique for years, and it’s simple, neat, and convenient.  I store my bags in an old whiskey carton; I can then grab a few and toss into the bottom of our smaller bins occasionally.  For larger plastic bags, I have a storage bag; the size of the triangle tells me roughly which size bag I’ll get, so I can quickly find the right size (or colour, if for crafts) of the bag I grab.

The last step is not very clear; it’s simply that you tuck the last fold into the other folds, to keep it from unravelling.  If you find that a bag’s “leftover fold” is too short to hold, back up one fold, fold the top in the opposite direction to form a triangle, and then tuck it in.

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Below are a few of the bags I’ve made; the white plastic yarn, or “plarn” is made from the flimsy veggie bags you get at grocery stores.  Cut into one continuous strip; once they’re crocheted, they’re sturdy, and you can toss the bag into the laundry when needed!  The black bag is made from the thickness of bags you get at a clothes shop.  I use that bag to tote reuseable grocery bags in, and I’ve added pockets by ironing (between baking papers) cut-outs of drink plastic wraps (below), and ironing them onto the sides of the bag (be sure to slip baking paper under areas of the label that you don’t want melted to the plarn bag, to create the pocket!).  If you’re interested in doing something like that, there are tons of tutorials on YouTube and Pinterest!!

 

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Chicken Taco Pizza

Today I was in the mood for a pizza, but also Tex-Mex; so why not combine them?  I hunted around for a simple recipe and found a lot of complicated ones, so I came up with my own.  This literally has 4 simple steps – the meat, the base, the topping prep, and baking, DONE!  So without further ado, here it is:

Chicken Taco Pizza

Chicken Taco Pizza

The Meat:

600-800 gr. Chicken meat, diced

1 spring onion, finely chopped

Taco spice * to taste

Toss into a pan & turn the stove on high.  Stir, cooking until the meat is done; set aside to cool.

Mix into the meat:

~ ½ C. mayonnaise or sour cream or plain yoghurt, along with a squirt of lemon juice and about 1 garlic clove’s worth of garlic paste.

The Base:

Instead of the typical pizza base of tomato sauce, essentially this is a bean sauce.

1 tin of beans, drained – either white beans or kidney beans; if you’re daring, a tin of refried beans!

Pop the contents into a blender, sprinkle in a few chives & a bit of seasoning or lemon juice, and blitz until a smooth paste.

The Toppings:

Slice any or all of the following toppings:

6-8 button mushrooms

10-12 cherry tomatoes, halved

Black olives(pitted), chopped

1 red bell pepper, finely diced

1 avocado, halved, pitted & peeled, and sliced thinly

~1 C. grated Cheddar cheese

On a tray, roll out your phyllo dough onto a sheet of baking paper, and spread the base mixture from edge to edge.  Pour the meat mixture on (drain, if too juicy) and spread it out, then toss on the toppings, and top with the cheese.

The Baking:

Pop it in the cold oven, and 45 minutes to an hour before you’re ready to eat, turn the oven on to 180°C (350°F).  Serve hot, and enjoy!

Can be served with tortilla chips, salsa and guacamole, or just as-is!

 

*You can use any taco or fajita spice you like; if you don’t have access to such a spice in the store, or you want to make your own to ensure you know what’s in it, click here for a DIY recipe.

Dietary note:  For those who are lactose intolerant, Cheddar cheese is naturally lactose-free; the yoghurt or sour cream can be the LF variety, and you’ve still got a tasty meal!

Quick & Easy Lentil, Chickpea, Coconut & Curry Stew/Dip

I was recently in the hospital for surgery, and as a result, our meals are mainly liquid (or at least smooth) at the moment as I can’t swallow anything more solid!  This situation has led to my discovering new ways to make soup tasty, healthy and keep it from getting boring.  The following recipe came out of my soup pan yesterday, so I thought I’d share it with you!

It turned out delicious, and is just as tasty cold as it is hot; in fact, this comes out so thick as a puree that it could be served as a dip with crackers or crudité.  As I keep both chopped frozen coriander & onions on hand, this literally took 3 minutes to toss together… quick & easy is my favourite method!

Lentil,Chickpea,Coconut Curry Stew & Dip

Lentil, Chickpea, Coconut & Curry Stew

1 tin lentils

1 large tin chickpeas (or 2 smaller tins)

1 tin coconut milk (2, if you want it soupier)

1 handful fresh or frozen coriander

1 onion, finely chopped

curry spice to taste

1 tsp. each of ginger paste, lemon grass paste, and garlic paste (or amount to taste in whichever form you have available)

Tumeric, salt and pepper to taste

 

Toss it all into a pan, bring to a boil.  For those who want it smooth, puree the mixture before serving.

Serve with bread or crackers, or Naan bread.  Serves 4-6.