Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What's Cookin Wednesday - Provencal Chicken Supper

Yup - another crockpot recipe!  This time from here.

Provençale Chicken Supper

- 4 (6-ounce) bone-in chicken breast halves, skinned
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup diced yellow bell pepper
- 1 (15.5-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano, undrained
- Basil sprigs (optional)

Place the chicken in an electric slow cooker; sprinkle with basil, salt, and black pepper. Add the bell pepper, beans, and tomatoes. Cover with lid; cook on low-heat setting for 8 hours.

Pros - the chicken fell off the bone.
        - this made A LOT

Cons - the bones also dissenegrated
         -  the flavor was "eh"

If I made this again I would probably add more veggies (why not?!) and experiment with some additional spices.  I might also go for boneless chicken breast and decrease the cook time.

This is a solid meal...just needs some tweaking!  (quite frankly it got to the point I was dreading lunch time knowing this is what I packed....)

 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What's Cookin Wednesday - Crock Pot Balsamic Chicken with Pears & Portabellw Mushrooms

I found this recipe here.  Where I find most of the yumminess I'm making these days.  It's fall/winter, so that means it's crockpot time!  With a little planning, making dinner is easy-peasy!

Crock Pot Balsamic Chicken with Pears and Portabella Mushrooms

- 1lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- 1 large or two medium sized pears, cored and sliced thick
- 8-10oz portabella mushrooms, sliced thick
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper

Place all ingredients in the crock pot and let cook for about 4-6 hours on low, or until chicken falls apart easily. 
 
 
Yum, yum, yum!  The flavors mix together so well!  I actually served this over brown rice just to make it a bit more hearty.  Make this when pears are in season and it becomes a pretty cheap dish to feed 4!



Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What's Cookin Wednesday - Autumn Sausage Casserole

I love, love, love this dish...and yet EVERY time I make it - it is not picture worthy.  Yummy, but not pretty.  The original poster (sorry, I forgot where this came from!) says that this should be the consistency of fried rice.  Not sure if it's because mine usually is holding in the "Stay warm" setting for about 2 hours - or I'm doing something wrong, but it's not as fluffy as fried rice.  Still delicious!  Great to come home to on a chilly fall night!

Autumn Sausage Casserole


1 pound sausage (I've used Kielbasa and I've used the flavored sausages you get in the 4/5 pack)
1 larger (or 2 small) apples, chopped - no need to peel!
1 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped carrots
3 cups already cooked long-grain rice
1/2 cup raisins
1 Tbls dried parsley flakes
1 Tbls brown sugar
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup chicken broth or water

Dump all the ingredients into the crock and stir well.

Cook on low for 5-7 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

I've both used the rice right after it's cooked and cooled it down in the fridge before adding to the casserole - did not make a difference.  I think my next go around I'll under cook the rice just a bit.  The most recent time I made the dish I sliced the kielbasa pretty thin - and it stuck to the sides and burned.  So cut your sausage a bit thick!

Monday, October 14, 2013

A little different redo

If you follow our blog you'll see we've inherited a love for old furniture...either refinishing or something else to make it useful for everyday life.  Well, we don't just do that for furniture - I do it for clothes too!  Ok, maybe not as much as with furniture (because I can't see potential/ideas for clothes as easy!), but every once in awhile.

Take this 80s dress I found at the thrift store (at least I think it's from the 80s, maybe it's older!)

 I wore it just like that (with a skinny or broad belt) for awhile, but I knew that I wanted to do something to make it feel more modern...knowing I'd wear it more if it felt less 80s.

So after frantic brainstorming emails with sister #3 I had a game plan.  But it was still hard to make that first cut!!

I cut off the sleeves and made them more of a cap sleeve and shortened the skirt by 4".  I'm trying to decide if I want to go another 1.5-2" shorter.... 
 
And here it is!




Monday, October 7, 2013

Breathing new life into an "old" piece

This is one of the few pieces that has moved with me to every apartment I've lived in.  Actually, now that I think about it this is THE only piece of furniture that has moved to every apartment/house I've lived in (except the first two).  Wow - I must like this piece ;-)

Our love story began when I was in college and wanted to "build" some furniture.  This was back in the day when Lowe's sold build-your-own furniture (do they still do that?).  I picked up two pieces and put them together and stained them.  This piece came with wooden knobs and at some point in my NY moves one broke.  I replaced all the knobs with the metal ones in the picture.  I knew I wanted to do something different with the piece.  It was stained cherry and I couldn't decide between going darker or painting it.  So for THREE YEARS  I lived with this piece and the fact that the stain didn't go cover the whole piece (look closely under the knobs, you'll see it....)
Finally I decided to join the grey craze.  I'm pretty good at picking colors that turn out really, really dark - so when I picked this color I had it lightened 25% (on last week's project you'll notice I darkened it....should have stuck with my gut?)

Because I went so much lighter it took 2 coats after sanding it... a long time when a piece is taking up your entire living room (I cleared a path to get to the bathroom and the front door....)  Here's the piece now:

I promise it's grey - my walls are blue and it throws the color a bit.




I'm impressed that this piece is still standing after 8 (10?) moves...and all the drawers slide just fine.  Must have been an excellent furniture builder that made this piece! ;-)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

What's Cookin Wednesday - Sweet Potato & pinto bean tacos

SWEET POTATO AND PINTO BEAN TACOS
adapted from thugkitchen.com....but there is offensive language on the site (and in the recipes) - so you've been warned!
3 cups of cooked pinto beans (about 2-15 ounce cans)
1 teaspoons of coconut or olive oil (Olive oil is what I had)
½ cup veggie broth or water (water....)
2 teaspoons smoked paprika or chili powder (I went chili powder)
2 teaspoons blackstrap molasses (I used what I had in the cabinet)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or lemon juice (I have both of these at home usually, went with lemon juice this time around)
2-3 garlic cloves
1 pound of sweet potatoes (this should be about 2 cups when you chop it all up)
½ of a yellow onion
1 teaspoon coconut or olive oil
salt to taste
soft corn tortillas
standard taco toppings that you like to add.

Warm the first teaspoon of oil in a medium pot. Add the beans, water, chili powder, molasses, vinegar, and garlic. Get it to start bubbling slowly for about 5 minutes and then turn off the heat.

Chop up the sweet potato and onion so they are about the size of a pinto bean. Warm up the oil in a large skillet or big pan and add the onion and sweet potato. Cook them until the onion is getting brown and the sweet potato softens up. Add the beans and whatever broth is still in the other pot. Cook this mixture on a medium heat until the potatoes are soft enough for you. This should take 5-8 minutes. If it starts to look dry, add some water. Add salt to taste.

Top with whatever you normally top your tacos with ;-)

Makes 8 tacos

- this was gooood.  It didn't look pretty, but it was yummy.  It also made A TON (which I should have realized from the "makes 8 tacos", but I was still surprised.)  So good that I took it for lunch and ate it without the taco "shell" or any of the toppings.  Yum!  

I think I want to figure out how to make this in a crockpot and eat it all winter!

Monday, September 30, 2013

A little paint never hurt ya...

I have been looking for a desk to make a vanity for quite some time.  I was scouring Craigslist and came across this beauty.  I got to see a different part of Atlanta when going to pick this guy up!

 The drawers stuck and someone decided to try out chalk paint...  I love the color green and thought I could live with this for awhile, but I was wrong. 

So I took some gray paint I already had (you'll see that featured in another post) and made it darker by adding some black paint that I already had.  Sanded down the desk to take off the chalkiness and applied - 1 COAT!  I was so excited it only took one coat ;-)

Here's the piece now...without the cool handheld vanity mirror I recently got from one of my favorite antique dealers (hint: my sister!)




I'm in love....and I think this will be a piece I move with me and use in different ways in different houses - we shall see!







Monday, August 19, 2013

Latest and Greatest...maybe


Oh how I wish we had time for a before picture of this one! But here is the after. We found this sweet gem being sold by a guy who cleans out houses after he buys them. Apparently the owners had left a bunch of stuff in there. This one had great bones, but was messed up just about everywhere, and the drawers were a nightmare to open. It was a typical piece, typical stain, typical use marks by someone who did not care about it, and rather boring.



So D sanded the top for me, and didn't it turn out pretty! We had thought is was a veneer, but got surprised by a beautiful wood top underneath all the grime and stain.  



I primed and fixed all the drawers after removing the hardware.


Then I opted to go a very different route than usual for me. I had seen an idea, and wanted to try it! I enjoy the juxtaposition of paint and wood together, and this piece was the perfect guinea pig. Why? Because honestly, I did not think the drawers would ever be righted, so I saw this as a practice piece. Yes, even those of us that do this often sometimes run into pieces that drag us down! I drew a design in pencil on the top.


And then went with multiple layers of stain to create this! I love hoe it turned out. And so, it made me work even harder on the drawers. They were not going to beat me! It was such a lovely shell, that the inside had to match in my opinion. 


And so after finishing the top and sealing it, I painted the bottom white to contrast the dark top and really show it off. 


After much frustration, the drawers now glide like a hawk in the sky. It will make a wonderful entertainment center, buffet, dresser or changing table. One person that saw it is even considering it for a bathroom double sink vanity. That could be cool!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What's Cookin Wednesday - Tex Mex Skillet Supper

Oh the joys of one pot cooking - I've discussed it here before!  This one messied up a few more dishes simply with prep (and the fact I added a wee bit more zucchini then called for an had to get a bigger skillet....)

Tex Mex Skillet Supper (click here to see the recipe in it's original form)

TEX MEX SKILLET SUPPER
Serve with warm corn tortillas, and any accompiments you like: salsa, avocado, guacamole, sour cream or chili sauce. This can serve as a stand-alone supper, but adding a plate of crunchy crudite or salad on the side makes a nice counterpoint.
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow or red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground chili powder
  • Pinch red chili flakes
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into large dice
  • 1 cup uncooked corn kernels (fresh off the cob or frozen)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, drained (one 14 to 16 ounce box or can)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 ounces grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Corn tortillas for serving
Set your oven to broil.
Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, cumin, chili powder, and chili flakes and saute until nearly tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute another minute. Add the ground beef and scramble until nearly cooked through (though still slightly pink). Add the zucchini and corn. Saute until just barely tender, but not soft. Remove from heat and stir in the black beans, tomato paste, lemon juice, and salt. Taste and add more salt or additional chili powder or chili flakes to taste. Remove from heat.
Sprinkle the cheese over the surface of the mixture and set under a broiler until melted and bubbly.
Serve immediately with warm corn tortillas.
Makes 4 to 5 servings.
- See more at: http://www.momskitchenhandbook.com/uncategorized/cheesy-tex-mex-skillet-supper/#sthash.NE1ppZDP.dpuf
TEX MEX SKILLET SUPPER
Serve with warm corn tortillas, and any accompiments you like: salsa, avocado, guacamole, sour cream or chili sauce. This can serve as a stand-alone supper, but adding a plate of crunchy crudite or salad on the side makes a nice counterpoint.
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow or red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground chili powder
  • Pinch red chili flakes
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into large dice
  • 1 cup uncooked corn kernels (fresh off the cob or frozen)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, drained (one 14 to 16 ounce box or can)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 ounces grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Corn tortillas for serving
Set your oven to broil.
Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, cumin, chili powder, and chili flakes and saute until nearly tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute another minute. Add the ground beef and scramble until nearly cooked through (though still slightly pink). Add the zucchini and corn. Saute until just barely tender, but not soft. Remove from heat and stir in the black beans, tomato paste, lemon juice, and salt. Taste and add more salt or additional chili powder or chili flakes to taste. Remove from heat.
Sprinkle the cheese over the surface of the mixture and set under a broiler until melted and bubbly.
Serve immediately with warm corn tortillas.
Makes 4 to 5 servings.
- See more at: http://www.momskitchenhandbook.com/uncategorized/cheesy-tex-mex-skillet-supper/#sthash.NE1ppZDP.dpuf


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow or red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground chili powder
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into large dice
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, drained (one 14 to 16 ounce can)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 ounces grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Corn tortillas for serving
Set your oven to broil.
Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, cumin, chili powder, and chili flakes and saute until nearly tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute another minute. Add the ground beef and scramble until nearly cooked through (though still slightly pink). Add the zucchini and corn. Saute until just barely tender, but not soft. Remove from heat and stir in the black beans, tomato paste, lemon juice, and salt. Taste and add more salt or additional chili powder or chili flakes to taste. Remove from heat.
Sprinkle the cheese over the surface of the mixture and set under a broiler (I skipped the broiler part and simply put a lid on my pan until the cheese melted) until melted and bubbly.
Serve immediately with warm corn tortillas.
Makes 4 to 5 servings.

First, I bought 2 zucchini and realized after I cut them up there were probably considered LARGE - so I used 1 1/2 by the time I realized it was A LOT of zucchini....  I also used a bit more tomato paste (probably because of too much zucchini).  This could have used more heat - to her credit the original recipe call for cumin & red chili flakes.  Since I didn't have those we just used hot sauce on the finished product.  Also, (probably because of the zucchini again) this made probably 8 servings...and I didn't even notice the meat.  Meaning this would work as a vegetarian option too! 

This was yummy - and a great way to use all the zucchini coming into the garden!


TEX MEX SKILLET SUPPER
Serve with warm corn tortillas, and any accompiments you like: salsa, avocado, guacamole, sour cream or chili sauce. This can serve as a stand-alone supper, but adding a plate of crunchy crudite or salad on the side makes a nice counterpoint.
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow or red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground chili powder
  • Pinch red chili flakes
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into large dice
  • 1 cup uncooked corn kernels (fresh off the cob or frozen)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, drained (one 14 to 16 ounce box or can)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 ounces grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Corn tortillas for serving
Set your oven to broil.
Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, cumin, chili powder, and chili flakes and saute until nearly tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute another minute. Add the ground beef and scramble until nearly cooked through (though still slightly pink). Add the zucchini and corn. Saute until just barely tender, but not soft. Remove from heat and stir in the black beans, tomato paste, lemon juice, and salt. Taste and add more salt or additional chili powder or chili flakes to taste. Remove from heat.
Sprinkle the cheese over the surface of the mixture and set under a broiler until melted and bubbly.
Serve immediately with warm corn tortillas.
Makes 4 to 5 servings.
- See more at: http://www.momskitchenhandbook.com/uncategorized/cheesy-tex-mex-skillet-supper/#sthash.NE1ppZDP.dpufv
TEX MEX SKILLET SUPPER
Serve with warm corn tortillas, and any accompiments you like: salsa, avocado, guacamole, sour cream or chili sauce. This can serve as a stand-alone supper, but adding a plate of crunchy crudite or salad on the side makes a nice counterpoint.
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow or red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground chili powder
  • Pinch red chili flakes
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into large dice
  • 1 cup uncooked corn kernels (fresh off the cob or frozen)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, drained (one 14 to 16 ounce box or can)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 ounces grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Corn tortillas for serving
Set your oven to broil.
Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, cumin, chili powder, and chili flakes and saute until nearly tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute another minute. Add the ground beef and scramble until nearly cooked through (though still slightly pink). Add the zucchini and corn. Saute until just barely tender, but not soft. Remove from heat and stir in the black beans, tomato paste, lemon juice, and salt. Taste and add more salt or additional chili powder or chili flakes to taste. Remove from heat.
Sprinkle the cheese over the surface of the mixture and set under a broiler until melted and bubbly.
Serve immediately with warm corn tortillas.
Makes 4 to 5 servings.
- See more at: http://www.momskitchenhandbook.com/uncategorized/cheesy-tex-mex-skillet-supper/#sthash.NE1ppZDP.dpuf
TEX MEX SKILLET SUPPER
Serve with warm corn tortillas, and any accompiments you like: salsa, avocado, guacamole, sour cream or chili sauce. This can serve as a stand-alone supper, but adding a plate of crunchy crudite or salad on the side makes a nice counterpoint.
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow or red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground chili powder
  • Pinch red chili flakes
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into large dice
  • 1 cup uncooked corn kernels (fresh off the cob or frozen)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, drained (one 14 to 16 ounce box or can)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 ounces grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Corn tortillas for serving
Set your oven to broil.
Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, cumin, chili powder, and chili flakes and saute until nearly tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute another minute. Add the ground beef and scramble until nearly cooked through (though still slightly pink). Add the zucchini and corn. Saute until just barely tender, but not soft. Remove from heat and stir in the black beans, tomato paste, lemon juice, and salt. Taste and add more salt or additional chili powder or chili flakes to taste. Remove from heat.
Sprinkle the cheese over the surface of the mixture and set under a broiler until melted and bubbly.
Serve immediately with warm corn tortillas.
Makes 4 to 5 servings.
- See more at: http://www.momskitchenhandbook.com/uncategorized/cheesy-tex-mex-skillet-supper/#sthash.NE1ppZDP.dpuf
TEX MEX SKILLET SUPPER
Serve with warm corn tortillas, and any accompiments you like: salsa, avocado, guacamole, sour cream or chili sauce. This can serve as a stand-alone supper, but adding a plate of crunchy crudite or salad on the side makes a nice counterpoint.
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow or red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground chili powder
  • Pinch red chili flakes
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into large dice
  • 1 cup uncooked corn kernels (fresh off the cob or frozen)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, drained (one 14 to 16 ounce box or can)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 ounces grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Corn tortillas for serving
Set your oven to broil.
Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, cumin, chili powder, and chili flakes and saute until nearly tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute another minute. Add the ground beef and scramble until nearly cooked through (though still slightly pink). Add the zucchini and corn. Saute until just barely tender, but not soft. Remove from heat and stir in the black beans, tomato paste, lemon juice, and salt. Taste and add more salt or additional chili powder or chili flakes to taste. Remove from heat.
Sprinkle the cheese over the surface of the mixture and set under a broiler until melted and bubbly.
Serve immediately with warm corn tortillas.
Makes 4 to 5 servings.
- See more at: http://www.momskitchenhandbook.com/uncategorized/cheesy-tex-mex-skillet-supper/#sthash.NE1ppZDP.dpuf
TEX MEX SKILLET SUPPER
Serve with warm corn tortillas, and any accompiments you like: salsa, avocado, guacamole, sour cream or chili sauce. This can serve as a stand-alone supper, but adding a plate of crunchy crudite or salad on the side makes a nice counterpoint.
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow or red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground chili powder
  • Pinch red chili flakes
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into large dice
  • 1 cup uncooked corn kernels (fresh off the cob or frozen)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, drained (one 14 to 16 ounce box or can)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 ounces grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Corn tortillas for serving
Set your oven to broil.
Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, cumin, chili powder, and chili flakes and saute until nearly tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute another minute. Add the ground beef and scramble until nearly cooked through (though still slightly pink). Add the zucchini and corn. Saute until just barely tender, but not soft. Remove from heat and stir in the black beans, tomato paste, lemon juice, and salt. Taste and add more salt or additional chili powder or chili flakes to taste. Remove from heat.
Sprinkle the cheese over the surface of the mixture and set under a broiler until melted and bubbly.
Serve immediately with warm corn tortillas.
Makes 4 to 5 servings.
- See more at: http://www.momskitchenhandbook.com/uncategorized/cheesy-tex-mex-skillet-supper/#sthash.NE1ppZDP.dpuf

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What's Cookin Wednesday - Broccoli Feta Pasta Sauce


If you've spent any time with me you know I'm not a huge fan of red sauce.  It can make or break pizza or pasta all on it's own.  I'm very, very picky.  I think we decided this week that it's the acidity of the sauce that affects me.  I digress....  I love pasta and any idea for sauce I'm willing to try - especially if I already have all the ingredients at home!

Broccoli Feta Pasta Sauce (as modified from LaaLoosh, click on the name to see the original recipe)

Broccoli Feta Pasta Sauce

A delicious, creamy and silky sauce that works wonderfully over pasta or potatoes. It’s loaded with healthy broccoli and is a delightfully unique pasta sauce recipe that will help keep your Weight Watchers goals in check.

Ingredients

  • 16oz package of frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 cup feta cheese, I used the herb kind as that's what I had in my fridge
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Using microwave or vegetable steamer, steam broccoli until tender.
  2. In a large, nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium high heat. Add in onions and garlic and sauté for about 3-4 minutes or until onions begin to soften and become translucent.
  3. Transfer cooked onions and garlic to a blender. Add in the steamed broccoli, feta cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, water, and salt & pepper. Puree until smooth. Add additional water if sauce is too thick. (I added a lot of water as this was pretty thick when complete and I wanted more "sauce")
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 10 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4

This was yummy - kind of like an alfredo type pasta sauce.  But I'm a simple girl and I'd probably just prefer having the broccoli & feta on top of the pasta.  So I'll reserve this one for "fancy" meals :-)



Monday, July 22, 2013

She's a beast & a beauty

If you need any proof that my sisters and I think alike - even while miles away - just keep reading. 

I was gifted this beautiful rocking chair - because the giver had seen some of the work I've done and thought I could do a "marvelous" job with it. 
 

 
Now, I'll admit right now that sister #3 pays much better attention to detail to me & I was intimidated by this chair!  Great bones, but it needed some lovin. 



 Luckily the wood and frame were in pretty good shape and I could focus on simply reupholstering it.  That's when I call my resident This Old House expert....sister #3.  She pointed me to products and a great site for material.  And then she answered every.single.frantic.text I sent while working on this chair.  But my first question was "what fabric?!"  I switched between what I knew would be "historically accurate" (= leather) and wanting to do a bold, modern fabric (since when did I become a bold, modern girl?!).  This is what I chose:
Does it look familiar?  It might because it was also used on this chair which was redone by sister #3...who lives 7 hours away from me!  Yup, we might be related ;-)



So this chair took up 25% of my living room for MONTHS (I bought the fabric in April, 2 months AFTER I got the chair!) - I'm happy to present the finished product!

Whew!  Now on to the next project (I have room again to work on them as this beauty moved to my bedroom).

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What's Cookin Wednesday - Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Chicken Breast

It's summer time in the south.  Which means when I actually cook dinner it's usually fast and 1 pot (ie stir-fry).  But I made this to switch things up a bit (and convince my boyfriend I COULD actually cook ;-))

Recipe from here:

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 4 fillets
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
  • 3 slices extra lean turkey bacon, cooked and diced
  • 3 oz reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp fat free chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a shallow baking dish with non-fat cooking spray.
  2. Using a mallet, pound out each chicken fillet to get a larger, thinner fillet, and then season both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, combine cream cheese, broth, cheddar, jalapenos and bacon.
  4. Spoon the cheese mixture onto on half of each chicken breast fillet. Fold in half to close, and secure with a toothpick.
  5. Place into baking dish and cover with foil. Make a few holes to allow steam to release.
  6. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked all the way through and is no longer pink in the middle.

Surprisingly I modified almost nothing for this recipe.  I DID use bacon bits instead of the bacon and only 1 jalapeno...because I'm a heat wimp.

This was awesome!  It took very little time to put together & bake, but tasted like I had slaved away for hours ;-)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

From wood to wood

From wood to wood



I refinished this little guy this week. I originally bought him to paint, but something kept holding me back. I didn't really want to paint him. We got it over the winter, so everything looks a little dead and washed out.


But he had been through a lot, and was in need of a few things to reach his full potential. I had to sand off all the old finish which was flaking off. I also sanded the top, so that all the paint drops would come off. I then used one of my favorite tricks that my Grandmother taught me: Oxalic Acid to remove black spots in wood. She learned it in an old book on refinishing (when you could get Oxalic Acid in the pharmacy.) Now you have to purchase it online. I buy it by the pound, but a little bit goes a long way. Wear gloves and an eye mask if you use it! You mix it with water (paste consistency), spread it over the area, and let it dry. Oxalic Acid is a bleach, and it bleaches out the black spots on wood. I then vacuum up the particles that have dried. Then rinse it several times. Once it has dried, you can then use a cloth to wipe it down even more. 



I then stained and put a protective coat on the wood, used steel wool between coats of protective sealer, waxed it down with a furniture wax, and this is what we got!


The wood just shines and there is such a depth of color to it. 


See how well that top turned out?


I did put new pulls on it, since one was broken on the old ones. I will save them for a piece that needs 8 drawer pulls. These had a nice vintage look to them and matched the key holes on each drawer. 

Friday, May 31, 2013



Finished another chair! Turned out to be quite a beauty. I really thought about keeping it, but wanted to see if we could sell it. 


This is how it started out! The material was very worn out, showing holes in many places. So, I took it off, fixed the stuffing, and painted the wood.


The carving on the wood was absolutely beautiful!


I had to cover the bottom twice, because it wasn't straight the first time. Thankfully, I had ordered an extra yard of fabric (ordered 4 yds total).


Turned out pretty well and sold it within 24hrs! We like that! Made my decision of keeping/not keeping rather easy.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Modern Vibe



We bought this chair after we had seen an ad on Craigslist that cracked us up. Its funny what challenges you to buy something. The ad listed a chair in similar style for almost $800. (YIKES!!) Then it said it was "All original" and "Recently reupholstered". For some reason it cracked us up to read that.



So we came across this beauty and decided we could do a little switch-a-roo with it too. D thoroughly enjoyed the duct tape seat.


I took all the layers off, re-stuffed the bottom and then recovered it with a lovely modern material. Loved the result!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What's Cookin' Wednesday


Creamed Spinach & Mushrooms
(from Cooking Light)


Ingredients

  • 4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
  • 8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1 (10-ounce) package baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 3/4 cup fat-free milk
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese 

Preparation

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil; swirl to coat. Add mushrooms; cook 6 minutes or until liquid evaporates. Remove mushrooms from pan. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add spinach; cook 1 minute or until spinach wilts. Remove from heat.
  2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil; swirl to coat. Add shallots and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Combine milk and flour, stirring with a whisk. Add milk mixture, salt, pepper, and nutmeg to pan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook 3 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Add cheese; stir until cheese melts and the mixture is smooth. Add mushrooms and spinach to milk mixture, and toss gently to coat.
Other than trying to remember where you were with the divided canola oil - this was a pretty easy dish to make.  I skipped the shallots (couldn't find them) and the nutmeg (not a fan) so that might have changed the taste a bit, but I thought this was good!  I think in the future I'd like to try it with one of the flavored cream cheeses...mmmmm.

Paired with a simple skilled made chicken breast, brown rice and a salad - you are good to go for dinner on a week day night!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

For your entertainment!




A friend of mine was looking for a different looking entertainment center. She was going back and forth about whether or not to go for a painted piece or not. 


When I found this piece at Goodwill, it needed a lot of TLC. But, it had potential. So I sent her a picture, told her it was $20, and asked if she would be interested in it.
 

 It had character, and was structurally in pretty good shape. The handles and metal pieces were quite neat. The finish was just kinda wanting.


When I started to work on it, I decided I had to sand the top. At first, I thought I had probably shot myself in the foot. Being veneer, I wasn't sure if it would sand well or not. But, it was worth a try. I ended up with the two tones you can see above. The top is sanded and re-stained. The bottom has the original finish.


 The grain that showed through was absolutely beautiful!


So I sanded the whole piece and re-stained it. We had talked about how to add a pop of color to the piece, without painting the whole thing. Since she wanted to use it under her tv, the top two drawers were going to be taken out. I added wood to make a flat surface and then painted the inside to make it pop. I can't wait to see it in her house!