Monday, January 30, 2012

Slow Cooker Florentine Turkey Meatballs

Want to wow your family with warm comfort food without breaking the calorie-bank? Try these turkey meatballs that are packed with protein and healthy spinach and cooked all day long for that “I slaved over this” taste.

1 lb ground turkey
¼ cup Panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup chopped baby spinach
1 egg
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

1 can (28-oz) tomato sauce
1 bay leaf
½ tsp basil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, smashed

12 oz (1 box) Smart Taste or whole wheat thin spaghetti
Parmesan cheese

In a large bowl, combine meatball ingredients by hand. Form into 2-inch balls and set aside.

Add tomato sauce, bay leaf, basil, salt, and pepper to a large Crockpot.  Sauté 3 garlic cloves in olive oil over medium heat until golden brown, but not burnt. Add garlic and oil to sauce. Gently place meatballs in sauce. Cover and cook on low, 4-6 hours.

Prepare pasta per package directions. Serve meatballs over pasta and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

*Recipe modified from Skinnytaste

Whole Wheat Rotini in Lemon-Cream Sauce with Grilled Balsamic Chicken

A few years ago, my husband surprised me with a stovetop grill pan and I absolutely fell in love. It is perfect for chilly winter days or for grilling a quick dinner without the hassle of setting up the outdoor grill. (Or when we accidently run out of propane/charcoal) This lighter version of a creamy sauce was the perfect complement to the zesty flavor of the chicken and was easy to whip up for a quick weeknight dinner.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed 
¼ balsamic vinaigrette

½ lb whole wheat rotini (1/2 box)
1 ½ T light margarine
1/3 cup flour
1 ½ cups skim milk
1/3 cup white wine
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
Parmesan cheese

Place chicken breasts in a large, resealable plastic bag; add vinaigrette and toss to combine. Refrigerate and marinade at least 4 hours.

Preheat indoor grill over medium heat (or outdoor grill if weather permits). Place marinated chicken on grill and discard remaining marinade. Grill about 8 minutes per side, until cooked through.

Meanwhile, prepare pasta per package directions.

Add margarine to a saucepan to melt over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in milk, wine, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir constantly and bring to a boil over medium heat until sauce thickens.

Slice chicken thinly and serve atop pasta and sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

*Recipe modified from Foodista

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Baja Chicken Pizza

My husband said this was the best pizza that I have ever made! 

 For Pizza:
2 Chicken Breasts, cooked and shredded (I found, that an easy way to shred chicken is to use your stand mixer on a low speed. It shreds the chicken just the right amount)
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/2 cup salsa
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tsp. dried cilantro
1/2 packet of taco seasoning 
1 tomato, chopped 
2 cups Monterey jack cheese
1 avocado, sliced and chopped
Olive oil 

Crusty Pizza Dough
1 package active yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. olive oil
3 1/2 cups flour

For Pizza Crust: 1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in mixer bowl. Add salt, olive oil and 2 1/2 cups flour. Using dough hook, mix on speed 2 for 1 minute. 2. Add remaining flour and continue to mix until dough clings to hook and cleans sides of bowl. Knead for 2 minutes longer. 3. Place dough in greased bowl, cover with cloth and allow to sit for 1 hour. Once dough is double in size, punch down dough. (Recipe from Kitchen Aid)

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare pizza pan with nonstitck cooking spray. Roll out pizza crust onto pizza pan. Press dough down and form crust around edge. Poke with fork. Brush thin coat of olive oil on crust before topping.

2. In small bowl, combine ranch dressing, salsa, lime juice and cilantro. Mix until well combined and smooth. In another bowl, combine shredded chicken and taco seasoning, evenly coat.

3. Spread ranch/salsa sauce onto pizza. Cover with chicken mixture and tomatoes. Top with cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 450 degrees. Top with avocado slices.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home

Homemade Valentine's Day Gummy Candy

I could literally eat a bag of gummy bears everyday. Gummy candies are definitely my candy of choice so when I saw a recipe for homemade gummy candy on Pinterest, I just had to go out and make them! I themed mine for Valentine's Day but you could do any flavor in any Wilton candy mold!

1 6oz package flavored jello, any flavor (I used Cherry)
3 packets gelatin (There are 4 packets of gelatin in 1 box)
2/3 cup water
Wilton candy molds

1. Add water to medium saucepan. Pour in jello and gelatin and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Heat saucepan to boiling, stirring constantly until jello and gelatin are dissolved. (Around 3 to 5 minutes)

3. Transfer mixture to pourable container.

4. Pour mixture into candy molds. (I filled three candy molds plus 1 heart cavity from one of my cake pans. I would recommend having 4 candy molds.) Let sit for 30 minutes.

5. Use finger to peel candies out of mold and place onto parchment paper. The candies will be sticky but will become less sticky over time, if they last that long.

6. Store in a tight container.

** If I was making this recipe again, I would change a few things! They turned out yummy the first time but I am sure that I can make them even better! I would do between 1/2-2/3 cup water or even try using fruit juice that would match up with the jello flavor. I would also think about doing another packet of gelatin to make the gummies a little bit gummier. ** 

Recipe from Just Another Day in Paradise

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Honey-Lime Chicken

Take advantage of a sunny day to try out the tasty freshness of this grilled chicken. It is great on its own, atop a green salad, or even paired with Cilantro-Lime Rice.

1-2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts 

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh lime juice (2 limes), plus zest
2 T. honey
½ tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

In a large, resealable plastic bag combine all marinade ingredients; seal the bag and shake to combine. Add the chicken to the bag; shake to coat and refrigerate overnight or at least 3 hours.

Preheat grill over medium heat. Grill chicken for 5-7 minutes per side, until cooked through. Serve with Cilantro-Lime Rice.

*Recipe from The Enchanted Cook

Cilantro-Lime Rice

We all have our favorite restaurant recipes. Since the Air Force has moved us to a rather restaurant-desolate city, it’s been my goal to recreate some of our favorites at home. With the nearest Chipotle about 2 hours away, the dish is a great, healthier substitute for their delicious rice and makes a great side dish!

1 cup long-grain or Jasmine rice 
Juice of 1 lime
2 cups chicken broth or water
1 tsp. salt
3 T. fresh cilantro, minced
3 tsp. vegetable oil

In a medium pot, add rice, 1 tsp. oil, broth, and salt. Boil on high until most of the water evaporates. When the water just skims the top of the rice, reduce to low, cover, and simmer about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit an additional 5 minutes.

In a medium glass bowl, combine cilantro, lime juice, and remaining oil. Toss with rice until completely mixed.

*Recipe from Skinnytaste

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Lasagna Soup

Last night for dinner, I decided to try this Lasagna Soup. I've seen some recipes for it on Pinterest and it looked so yummy! It definitely was, as both the husband and I enjoyed it! Perfect for a cool/cold January day!

1/2-1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
32 oz. chicken broth
1 14 oz. can organic tomato sauce
1 14.5 oz. can organic diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
salt and pepper, to taste
8 broken lasagna noodles 
1/2 tsp. dried basil
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese

1. In large skillet, combine ground beef, onion and green pepper. Cook on medium-low until ground beef is browned and crumbles, stirring occasionally. Drain grease.

2. Add chicken broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, thyme, red pepper,basil, salt and pepper to skillet. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add noodles, return to a boil, and simmer until noodles are tender.

3. Remove from heat, stir in mozzarella cheese. Ladle into soup bowls and top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Recipe adapted from Deen Bro's

Monday, January 23, 2012

Slow-Baked Baby Back Ribs

Last year for our anniversary, I surprised my husband with the monster of all grills: gas on one side, charcoal on the other, smoker box attachment…if it could fold laundry, it would be perfect. Over the spring and summer he became a very proficient smoker, producing mouthwatering ribs, chicken, and even veggies. But with the onslaught of cold, windy weather, we were looking for ways to get the same yummy flavor without having to brave the elements. My friend, Missi, told me that she’d had a lot of success baking her ribs in the oven, so I decided to give it a shot. These ribs were tender, flavorful, and, tasted great with a mesquite BBQ sauce to add that smoky dimension.

1 rack baby back ribs 
½ bottle BBQ sauce of choice

Dry Rub: 
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup paprika
1 ¼ T pepper
1 ¼ T salt
¾ T chili powder
¾ T garlic powder
¾ T onion powder
½ tsp cayenne

Prepare ribs by using a sharp knife to remove the thin membrane on the back side of the rack. (Hint: It helps to use a paper towel to grip the membrane and pull it off) Sprinkle ribs with dry rub and rub all over the meat, until completely coated on both sides. Wrap in foil and refrigerate 4-8 hours.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place foil-wrapped ribs on a large roasting pan or cookie sheet. Bake 3 ½ hours.

Heat BBQ sauce in a small saucepan. Unwrap ribs and brush sauce on both sides; let rest about 10 minutes. Replace ribs on the pan and bake, uncovered, an additional 30 minutes. Let rest about 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.

*Dry rub modified from The Smoker King
Cooking method modified from One Perfect Bite

Baked Coconut Chicken with Pineapple Rice

Over the past few weeks I have been experimenting with making yummy food that is better for you. I, like so many, have fallen into the “food is only good if it’s loaded with calories” trap. But, I have news: Healthy food can taste great! I wish I could shout it from the rooftops for all to hear, but for now, I’ll just share my experiments here, with you, and hope that you enjoy them too. A good place to start? This island-flavored meal with fewer than 350 calories per serving.

1 lb chicken tenders
½ cup Panko bread crumbs
¼ cup shredded coconut
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp garlic powder
2 egg whites
Cooking spray

1 cup rice, cooked per package directions
1/8 cup crushed pineapple

2 T olive oil
2 T honey
2 T white vinegar
1 T orange marmalade
2 tsp Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine bread crumbs, coconut, paprika, and garlic powder. In a separate dish, lightly beat egg whites. Dip chicken tenders in egg white, and then dredge in bread crumb mixture until evenly coated. Place tenders on a lightly sprayed cookie sheet and spray the top of each tender with cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes, turning halfway through.

Meanwhile, prepare rice per package directions, substituting ¼ cup of the cooking liquid with juice from the pineapple. When rice is steamed, mix in pineapple.

Whisk together sauce ingredients. Serve chicken over rice with sauce.

*Inspired by Skinnytaste

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Fabric Heart Coasters

As I was trying to come up with a craft project this week, my mom mentioned these heart coasters she had made with a friend last weekend. After talking to her, I decided to run to Hobby Lobby and pick up some fabric. This project doesn't take much fabric and can be designed to fit any holiday. I am planning on making some for St. Patrick's Day and Easter as well. 

  • Valentine's Day Fabric
  • Batting 
  • Thread
  • Sewing Machine 
  • Heart Template (I designed my own heart template using a heart cookie cutter. First, I traced it on to computer paper. Then, I decided that I wanted the heart to be a little bigger because I knew that I would lose some of it when I took a seam. To make it a little bit bigger, I just drew a heart around the traced cookie heart.) 
1. Cut out heart template and pin to fabric. Cut out fabric hearts. Once fabric heart is cut out, pin fabric heart to batting and cut out. You will need two heart fabric cutouts and 1 piece of bating for each coaster.

2. Take two fabric hearts, right sides together, and place onto of heart batting. Pin together, lining up sides.

3. Sew 1/4 inch around heart, leaving 2 inch gap on one of the straight sides. Turn right side out and iron.

4. Pin gap closed. Using zigzag stitch, stitch around entire heart, closing gap.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lo-Cal Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken

I just love the sweet and tart flavor that balsamic vinegar gives to a dish. These chicken thighs were tender, flavorful, and simple to prepare – and only about 180 calories per serving!

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed 
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup apple cider
2 T lemon juice
2 T balsamic vinegar
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 T light butter
2 T flour

Place trimmed thighs in the bottom of a large slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine broth, cider, lemon juice, vinegar, thyme, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper; pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low, 5-6 hours, until chicken is cooked through and tender.

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook about 1 minute. Add 1 ½ cups of cooking juices, whisking constantly, until sauce is smooth and thickened. Serve sauce over chicken.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

DIY Pregnancy Pillow

As I enter the third trimester of my pregnancy it is getting very uncomfortable to sleep. I have seen the pregnancy pillows you can buy in the stores and they are so expensive and take up a lot of room to store after you have the baby. I tried just placing pillows under my stomach and behind my back and they moved around or fell out of the bed all of the time. I came up with this simple and cheap solution to help me sleep better at night.

Two king sized pillow cases
2 11x18 inch pieces of material
30 inches of sew on Velcro
coordinating thread
sewing machine

 1. Cut two 11 inch long and 18 inch wide pieces of fabric.

2. Sew a 5 inch piece of Velcro 4 inches from one end and 3 inches from the top and bottom of each piece of fabric.

3. Fold the fabric in half, with the right sides together and sew in a 1/2 inch almost all the way around the edge of each side. On the last side, leave about a 1 inch opening to turn the fabric right side out. Once you have turned the fabric right side out, sew up the hold with a top stitch. Do this with both pieces of fabric.

4. Turn the piece of fabric so that the Velcro is going long ways and the measurements are 10 inches across and about 8 inches down. Then pin one piece of fabric to you pillow case. I pinned mine about 8 inches down the pillow case. Sew the pillow case and fabric piece together. Repeat for the next piece of fabric and pillow case. Make sure when you sew the second piece of fabric you will be able to line up and connect your Velcro.

5. Place your pillows in the cases and attach your pillows together. Try it out!!

I used king sized pillow cases because I can change the size pillows if I need more support. This is easy to travel with because you can take the pillows out and put the pillow cases in your suitcase. Also, you may want to have two strips of Velcro to keep the fabric together better. That is why I put you need 30 inches of Velcro in the materials section.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Morning Glory Muffins

Recently, I’ve been on a quest to incorporate more veggies into my diet. But when you’re not exactly a veggie-lover, sometimes it’s hard to get the recommended 3 cups a day. Muffins like these are a great trick for my taste buds: moist, sweet, and packed with good-for-you ingredients.

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour 
2/3 cup sugar
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp salt
½ cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 (8-oz) can crushed pineapple, with juices
1 T honey
1 cup shredded carrots
½ cup shredded coconut (sweetened)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners or cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together oil, eggs, pineapple (with juices), and honey. Gradually stir dry mixture into wet mixture until just combined. Fold in carrots and coconut. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups, filling about ¾ of the way. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Chicken Alfredo

1 small-medium sized Chicken breast, per person
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt & Pepper

For Sauce:
1 tablespoon butter
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon flour
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons cream cheese
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. dried parsley
Salt & pepper to taste
Farelle pasta 

1. Cook chicken & olive oil in medium size skillet (covered) on medium low until chicken is no longer pink and registers 170 degrees. Slice chicken & set aside.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, for sauce, add butter and lemon zest to skillet over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add in flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in milk and continue whisking until thickened. Add in Parmesan cheese, parsley and salt & pepper. Whisk until cheese is melted. Serve over pasta & chicken.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

The craziness of the Holiday's is finally over and I am back and ready to get cooking, baking, and crafting. For Christmas, my husband got me a Kitchen-aid Stand Mixer, which is something that I have always wanted. But with going home for the holidays and helping my brother move and visiting Kim, I didn't have a chance to use it until today. I decided to whip up a batch of lemon poppy seed muffins.

2 cups flour
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 5.3 oz. container of vanilla Greek yogurt
2 eggs
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tin with paper liners. In mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing in completely. Add vanilla extract, and lemon zest. In additional mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt). While mixing, add in 1/2 of dry ingrediants followed by half of yogurt; repeat. Mix until incorporated.

2. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool in pan 10 minutes before moving to baking rack.

Recipe from Annie's Eats

Friday, January 13, 2012

South Beach Cheesy Frittata

When I went home over Christmas I was surprised to find a change in the typical Bartlett "home cooked meals". My parents decided in the fall to cut sweets and carbs out of their diet and both have lost a bunch of weight! Now, good for them but this was a nightmare for a pregnant woman!! All I wanted was carbs. Luckily, my dad had stocked up on breads for me to eat while I was home. We had this frittata for breakfast a few times and it was super yummy. Now the original recipe calls for egg substitute and evaporated milk buy my mom uses regular eggs and 2% milk.

  • 2 teaspoons margarine or butter (SB says use Smart Balance spread)

  • 1/2 cup onion or scallions , sliced

  • 2 small plum tomatoes , diced

  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil , chopped

  • 1 pinch fresh ground black pepper

  • 4 to 5 eggs

  • 1/2 cup 1% fat cottage cheese

  • 1/4 cup milk

  • 3/4 ounce reduced-fat monterey jack cheese , shredded

  •  Add any of veggies you want like spinach or peppers

  • Saute any vegetables you are putting in the frittata in an oven safe skillet with the butter and pepper. Mix the milk, eggs and cottage cheese in a blender and then pour over the veggies.  Cook in the skillet for a few minutes until the bottom is cooked and the top is wet. Finish cooking in the oven with the broiler for a few minutes and then add the cheese.

    To see the original South Beach recipe:

    Read more:

    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

    This simple Crockpot meal has all the sweet and spicy flavor of traditional barbecue, with a fraction of the calories!

    1 can (15-oz) tomato sauce 
    2 ½ T brown sugar
    3 T cider vinegar
    2 tsp garlic powder
    1 tsp red pepper flakes
    1-1   ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    Whole wheat buns

    In a large Crockpot, combine tomato sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Add chicken, covering completely with sauce. Cook on low, 5-6 hours, until chicken is tender and cooked through. Remove chicken and shred with two forks. Return shredded meat to the pot and stir into sauce. Cook about 10 minutes more. Serve on whole wheat buns.

    *Modified from Hungry-Girl

    Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    Crock Pot Mexi Chicken

    This recipe is very simple and can be used to make tacos, enchiladas or even just eaten by itself!

    4 chicken breasts
    1 1/4 teaspoon cumin
    1 tablespoon chili powder
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1 1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 tsp black pepper
    1/3 cup chicken broth
    1 tbsp dried cilantro
    2 limes
    Minced onion, to taste
    garlic powder, to taste

    Mix the cumin, chili powder, pepper, minced onion, garlic powder and chicken broth together in a crock pot. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and add them to the crock pot.  Add lime juice and cilantro to the crock pot after you put in the chicken. Cook on low for 3-5 hours. Take chicken out of the broth and shred with forks. Use chicken to make tacos, enchiladas or whatever you please. If chicken seems dry, add in a bit of the broth.

    Adapted from Good Life Eats.

    Monday, January 9, 2012

    Homemade Play Dough

    Since molding play dough feasts is one of my daughter’s favorite indoor activities, I’ve done a lot of experimenting with different homemade versions. This recipe, from, is by far the best I’ve found. It has a smooth, lump-free texture, doesn't dye your hands, and is made with simple, on-hand ingredients. I love homemade play dough because it tends to last longer, you can customize the aroma and color, and it is significantly cheaper than its manufactured counterpart.

    1 cup flour 
    ½ cup salt
    2 tsp cream of tartar
    1 cup water
    1 tsp canola oil
    1 tsp vanilla (optional)
    Food coloring

    In a medium bowl, add the first three ingredients. Measure out water and combine oil, vanilla, and food coloring in the cup. (Use as much or a little food coloring as you like. I used 5 drops.) Pour liquids into flour mixture and stir with a fork until mixture is smooth and combined.

    Add mixture to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and stir until soft dough forms and balls up. Remove from heat and cool. Knead periodically to encourage the cooling process. Store in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. 

    Buffalo Chicken Rolls

    I have been absolutely moved by the blog “Can You Stay for Dinner?” that documents a young woman’s journey to lose 135 pounds. Hostess, Andie Mitchell, is witty, charming, and completely awe-inspiring. This recipe is the first of many I plan to try from her site and was so tasty I ate it two nights in a row. These rolls would be a great appetizer and also stood up well as a main dish.

    1 boneless, skinless chicken breast 
    ½ cup hot sauce (Try Frank’s Red Hot)
    8 egg roll wrappers
    ¼ cup blue cheese crumbles
    Small bowl of water
    Cooking spray
    Light blue cheese dressing (optional)

    Place chicken in a medium saucepan and add water until chicken is just covered. Bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer about 12 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Remove from water and shred with two forks. Combine chicken with hot sauce in a small bowl, until chicken is completely coated (adjust hot sauce to your spice preference).

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay out egg roll wrappers on a clean surface. Place about 2 T of chicken mixture onto the center of a wrapper. Fold in one corner atop the chicken. Moisten the opposite corner with water and fold over to meet in the middle. Fold one remaining flap in towards the center. Moisten the remaining flap with water and roll into a cigar shape. Place prepared rolls onto a greased cookie sheet. Spray each roll with cooking spray. Bake 15-20 minutes, until rolls are golden brown and crispy. Serve with blue cheese dressing.

    Friday, January 6, 2012

    Fabric Banner

    Whether it is to celebrate a winging, homecoming, birthday or even to show off you dedication to your favorite sports team, this fabric banner is fairly simple to make and comes out awesome!

    1.       Find a table to work on that is at least as large as the banner so you can lay the entire banner flat without anything slipping off the edge. 

    2.       Cut the material for the banner (red or blue) to 30”x51” out of twill. Make sure it is wider than 44 inches.

    3.       Cut the yellow border material into 2 - 4”x33” strips and 2 - 4”x54” strips. The yellow is called corn yellow at Hobby Lobby.

    4.       Sew border strips together.

    a.       Place a long strip and a short strip on top of each other.

    b.      Sew corner together at a 45° angle leaving about ¾” open on the inside.

    Use yellow thread top and bottom.

    Fold and crease the corner if you want a line to follow.

    I would sew until the tip of the pressure foot reached the edge.

    c.       Repeat until all four strips are sewn together.

    Make sure all your diagonal corners open the correct way so you end up with a rectangle and not some twisted 3D version of a box.

    5.       Fold over the unfinished inside edge of the border and iron a ½” hem all the way around.

    Careful and straight cutting of the border strips allows for nice straight lines on the inside of the border. Mine always had a little left unsown on the inside edge of the border corners above the folded and pressed hem. This gave me some fudge factor if I didn’t place my border on the banner perfectly.

    6.       Pin border onto banner.

    a.       First place the border on the banner right side up, the way you want it to look.

    Take some time with this step to make sure the border is equidistant from all edges and laying straight. Usually about 1 ½ inches to 2 inches from the edge is where my border lays.

    b.       Fold one edge of the border to the inside of the banner and pin the pressed hem open and onto the banner.

    Repeat with all sides. Or pin and sew one edge at a time.

    7.       Sew the inside edge of the border to the banner.

    Use yellow thread on top and the banner color (blue or red) on bottom if you don’t want to have a yellow box stitched on the back side of the banner and sew along the line you pressed.

    If you placed and pinned the border on carefully the inside corners of the borders should line up nicely when folded back on top of the banner.

    8.       Fold outside edges of border over the back of banner at 2” from the center and press with iron.

    If the heavens have come together for you, your inside edge of the border should be the same distance from the outside of the banner all the way around and this distance should be 2”. If this is the case, just fold the border over the edge of the banner and iron. If not, you’ll have to measure have a straight and equal width border all the way around.

    9.       Fold unfinished edge under again, press with iron, and pin to banner.

    The corners take a bit of fancy folding to make them line up with the diagonal seam on the front. It’s kind of like folding hospital corners on your bed sheet.

    10.   Sew outside edge of banner.

    Use yellow thread top and bottom.

    If you sew about ½” or so away from the outside edge of the banner you can shove a small wooden dowel rod inside the top edge to hang your perfect banner, perfectly straight.

    Assembling The Banner

    1.       Iron on the Wonder-Under (sticky paper) to the back side of the yellow fabric. Use an iron on medium heat with no steam. Hold in place for 5-8 seconds in each spot. You may want to do this a few times in each place to make sure it sticks.

    2.       Using the letter templates, trace the word CONGRATULATIONS in large letters. When you trace the letters, trace on the paper side and make sure that the colored side of the cardboard is facing up. You will be tracing the letters backwards.

    3.       Next you will be tracing the rank, first name and last name. If the number of letters in the rank, first name and last name is between 15-17 letters you can trace using the big letters. If the number of letters is more than 17, you will have to use the smaller letters.  Below is an example of how to abbreviate the ranks.


    4.       Next you will be using the smaller letters to trace the winging date, VT-21, and NAS KINGSVILLE. (Military dates are typically written day, month, year. The month uses only a three letter abbreviation, so for example the September winging the date appeared on the banners as: 02 SEP 11) The date, VT-21 and NAS KINGSVILLE go in the bottom corners of the banners. 

    5.       Once you have traced all of your letters, leave the paper on the material and cut out the letters. DO NOT TAKE OFF THE PAPER YET!

    6.       Take the gold wings you were given and cut them out leaving about a one inch border around the wings. Cut out a piece of the Wonder Under (sticky paper) that is the exact same size and shape as the wings.

    7.       This next step must be done VERY CAREFULLY. Place a sheet or pillowcase down on a hard surface. Place the wings gold side down, onto sheet or pillowcase. Place the sticky paper on top of the wings with the rough side of the paper touching the back of the wings. Using an iron on low to medium heat, iron the sticky paper to the wings. If you think you might melt the wings then place another pillow case on top of the paper side of the sticky paper. Getting the paper to adhere to the wings takes awhile.

    8.       Once the paper is stuck to the wings, cut the wings out around the black border.

    9.       If you are using a table as your work surface be sure to cover it with a towel or sheet for the next step.  Lay your banner out and place the lettering onto your banner. Be sure you have even spacing from the sides and that the lines are going straight. Once you see that everything is going to fit ok you can begin ironing everything on.  DO NOT take the paper off of the letters until you are ready to iron that particular letter on. It works well to iron CONGRATULATIONS on first and start with the middle letters and work out.

    10.    When you peel the paper off of the letter you should feel rough stuff on the back of the letter. If notice the roughness is still on the paper just go over the letter/paper with an iron again.

    11.    Iron your wings onto your banner last. Peel the paper off of the wings and situate them where you want them on the banner. Place a towel or pillowcase over the wings so you don’t melt the material. Using medium heat iron the wings on. This process could take 10 or more minutes. Check to see if they are sticking as you go.

    12.    Once you have ironed on the wings and the letters your banner is complete!!