Friday, October 19, 2012

Week's Menu

Slow cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Empanadas  (I use the crust recipe from this- I double it.) My filling recipe is at the end of this post
Rice and Beans
Tomatillo Dressing

Chicken Alfredo Roll-ups
French Bread

Kendra's Nachos  Recipe at the bottom of this post!


Creamy tomato tortellini soup
Wheat Bread


Scooter's Spaghetti (baked spaghetti)
Green Beans

Kendra's Nacho Recipe
(I usually use leftovers from the fridge, so even though I put exact amounts- usually I just wing it)

Bag of Tortilla Chips
Re-fried Beans (I like black beans best) - heat up in the microwave and add a TBSP of water so you can spread the beans easily
2 cups Shredded Meat (pork, beef, or chicken- whatever you've got! if the meat isn't flavored then you can sprinkle it with taco seasoning. I usually use left over rotisserie chicken) - warm it up in the microwave
2 cups Shredded cheese (mexican blend or cheddar)

Line a large baking sheet with tinfoil. Spread the tortilla chips across the bottom. Spread the warmed, runny re-fried beans across the chips, then the warm meat, and finally top with cheese. Broil in oven until the cheese is melted.

Pico de Gallo and guacamole
Sour cream
shredded lettuce or cabbage

I pull the nachos out of the oven, put about half of them on a platter, add half of the toppings, stack the rest of the nachos on top and finish off with the rest of the toppings.

Kendra's Chorizo Empanada Filling

1/4 white onion diced finely
2 or 3 potatoes diced into small cubes
1 zucchini diced into small cubes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb Chorizo
White Mexican cheese (crumbly kind)

Brown the potato, onion and zucchini until the potato and zucchini are cooked through but not mushy. Add garlic, stir. Then move the mixture to the edge of the pan and cook the chorizo breaking up into small clumps as it cooks. 

Fill the empanadas (I usually use 3 inch circles of the dough) with 2-3 Tablespoons of the filling, sprinkle in some cheese. Fold over, seal with a fork, poke holes into the top with a fork, and brush top with an egg wash. Place on a cooking sprayed foiled or non-stick cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 25 minutes, until golden. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

This week's Menu

Now That I'm doing the Dave Ramsey thing, I've got to be more thoughtful about the shopping list.
I was sitting here in front of the computer planning out the meals for the week, and I realized that most of the recipes were on Pinterest.  I don't mind looking them up on my phone everyday when I go to cook, but since I was clicking on all the links anyway to check to see what ingredients I needed from the store, I decided I might as well post a weekly menu with links to the recipes I'm going to use.

Stew (MIL recipe in the crockpot) recipe at the bottom of this post!!
Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

Stuffed Zucchini
Caesar Salad

Lemon Angel Hair Pasta w/chicken and spinach
Garlic Bread

Rice and Beans
Pico de Gallo
Tomato, avocado, lettuce and red onion salad

Leftover/pizza/hot dogs or whatever is in the fridge day

Corn Bread (Jiffy)

Pork tacos
Tomatillo Dressing

Maybe that will give you some good ideas for dinner this week... Yes I know it's a very fallish menu, I can't help it if I'm trying to convince the weather to get cooler with my cooking!
Anyway, one thing I know for sure, I'm going to be glad I only have to go to one place in order to find all the recipes I need this week!

Crock Pot Beef Stew

This is the recipe for (Brian's)Mom's crock pot beef stew that we have enjoyed for years. It is one of my favorites.
  • 1 pkg stew meat (remove any fat, I also cut up the large pieces into smaller sizes)
  • 2 or 3 carrots (peeled and sliced)
  • 2 or 3 potatos (peeled and cubed)
  • 1 onion (sliced and halved)
Put all of the above in the crock-pot, starting with the meat first. Then add:
  • 3 Tbs Kitchen Bouquet
  • 2 Tbs tapioca (it thickens the stew)- I actually don't add this
  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes
Let cook on high for 5 to 6 hours. About one hour before serving, open lid and add:

about 3/4 bag of petite frozen peas (more or less depending on taste)

Stir slightly. Put lid back on and finish cooking. This is best if it cooks for a long time.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bathroom sign

I had this idea for a fun sign for my daughters bathroom. I wanted to make a vintage looking beach sign that said "No Lifeguard on duty"
With all the construction going on around us, I knew I could get the wood for free. I wanted aged wood, so I started looking for a pallet. I found one that was already tore up, so I just grabbed three of the slats off of it. At home, I cut about a 2-3 foot section out of each with my hand saw. I glued the three pieces together, side-by-side. They were really really warped. 

Hand saw and wood glue

All the heavy things I had lying around ;)
I stuck them under a piece of plywood, and put all the heavy things I could find on top of them. I let it sit this way for a day...

Half way through the day I took all the bricks off, added more wood glue to any gaps, and then turned the boards over. I put all the heavy things back on top and let it sit for the rest of the day.

Success! They were perfectly imperfect! and very stuck together. The variation in the tops was still bothering me, so I sanded it down in a few places to match a little better.

After sanding, I gave the top a rough spray with some antique white spray paint and let it dry.

To do the lettering, I used Microsoft Word. I printed out the letters in the font I liked (stencil) at the size I liked (190). After cutting them out, I placed them on the board and used painters tape to keep them there. Then, I used a method I learned on Pinterest... I traced over the letters, pressing down kinda hard on the pencil. Which left an indentation on the board of the outline of the letters. It worked really good in the places that the wood was soft, wherever the wood was really rough or hard, it was a lot harder to see the indentations. But I really like this technique and will definitely use it again. I used the indentations as a guide to paint the letters. I used acrylic black, blue and white paint mixed together to get a nice gray color.

After the lettering dried, I gave it another sand with my orbital sander. Just a light one to take away the freshly painted look. I did streak a tiny amount of gray and blue paint here and there with a small dry brush. I also rubbed some gray paint on the edges with my finger. Then, I gave it a light coat of stain. I used minwax 'Provincial 211' and a paper towel to apply it. I'd dip the paper towel and rub it back and forth length wise, mostly wiping off whatever I could. Then, I used the paper towel to stain the edges... Done!

(To hang it, I used 2 short wood screws and some wire on the back of the sign.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Distressing a Frame

My sweet daughter is the artist behind this beautiful picture. I knew that I couldn't frame it in just any old frame... and it was an odd size (18x11) so my dad and I made a frame from some old scraps of baseboard he had leftover from his basement.  I wanted the frame to highlight and compliment the picture without drawing attention to itself- so the picture would be the star! I decided to distress the frame.
I find the best way to get good results when distressing is to start with a really really good paint. Let the paint dry thoroughly and then add a second coat. This base coat is the one you will want to have peak through the other colors. You will be sanding, scuffing and rubbing off the other colors, but you want this one to stay.
Once the base coat has dried, you will apply the main color with a dry brush. I used a nasty old brush that was hard as a rock. It doesn't really matter as long as it will put paint on unevenly. So if you are using a nice brush make sure to only put small amounts of paint on and even brush it back and forth on a paper towel to get off any excess paint. Then, start applying the paint until you have enough of the base coat peeking through to go for the style you want. I usually add some brown  paint to my main color, but don't mix it in (see the above picture) so that the paint looks aged. I also use my finger to swipe paint unevenly on the sides. After I'm satisfied with the coverage, I like to add some definition to the edges and indentations on the frame by adding some brown paint mixed with a glaze medium.
I use the glaze medium so that the paint is thinner and takes longer to dry. I sand off a little of the top layer of paint to reveal the base color. I sand almost down to the wood on the edges of the frame. Then I apply the brown/glaze/paint with a q-tip. I work quickly and wipe away excess with a paper towel. You want the glaze to sit long enough to get into the cracks and set, but short enough to be able to wipe off the extra stuff that is outside of the cracks. Don't worry, it's easy and you'll get the hang of it. Once I'm done with this step, I stand back, look at it and decide if it needs anything else. I usually like to swipe some of the top color on with my finger (not mixed with any brown) randomly across the frame. And I'll usually take a piece of steel wool and sand off the edges here or there to let the base color show through. It's totally up to you how distressed you want it to look.  And that's it! Let it dry, add you picture and hang it on your wall!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Chocolate Mint Cake

1 box Devil Food Cake Mix (with water, eggs and oil)
1 container of Duncan Hines frosting creations frosting starter
1 packet of mint chocolate frosting creations frosting mix
1 package Andes Mints
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy cream

Mix cake according to package directions. While mixing, chop up half of the package of Andes Mints and add them to the mix. Cook in two round cake pans according to package directions.

Mix the Duncan Hines frosting creations starter and mix together according to package directions.

When the cake has cooled, frost the top of one of the cake rounds. Then, stack the other round on top and use the rest of the frosting to coat the sides and top. Put in the fridge.

In a glass measuring cup heat the 1/3 cup of heavy cream in the microwave for about 30 seconds on 40% power. After it's heated, add the chocolate chips and about 6 Andes Mints. Stir until smooth. You may need to put it back into the microwave for 10-20 seconds at 40% power - but be patient and stir it will get super smooth. (be careful not to burn the chocolate by putting it in the microwave for too long!) you just made ganache!

When the cake has cooled a little, pour the ganache (the chocolate mixture you just made) slowly on the top center of the cake. Let the chocolate work it's own way spreading across the top and dripping down the sides.

You can garnish with the rest of the Andes Mints and some fresh mint. Keep in the fridge until ready to eat.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Refinishing a Kitchen Table

Take the table legs off.
Use stripper to remove the old polyurethane and stain. I like gel stripper, I coat the table, let sit for 15-20 minutes and then scrape off the finish. Then, repeat and repeat until all the stain and poly is gone.
Turn the table over. Sand and paint the base and legs the color you prefer. You could also use spray paint.
Use painters tape to keep paint off of the stripped wood.
Sand stripped wood, sand again.  Make sure ALL of the poly and stain is gone.
Apply the stain of your choice. You can apply multiple layers and different types of stains to achieve the color you want. I always stain a small piece of scrap wood with the different stains and layers (labeling as I go right on the wood) as a test to see what combo I like the best. Then I use this as a guide to choose the stain for the table.
If you want a shiny, durable finish, use polyurethane. I use water based. Poly is very finicky, clean the surface with mineral spirits before the first coat. Also, you can thin the poly with mineral spirits, this takes longer to dry, but gives you thinner, easier to work with coats. Sand with VERY fine sand paper between coats of Poly. Let dry thoroughly between each coat.  I usually waited at least 24 hours. Sanding with Steel Wool 000 gives a very fine sand, and produces a very smooth finish. Make sure to wipe off the table with mineral spirits after each time you sand. Once the poly is smooth enough and thick enough after it has dried- you are finished with the poly coats.
Reattach the legs and enjoy your new table.
I usually let my furniture sit for a good week before I bring it into the house so the paint and stain can harden and set.



Saturday, April 28, 2012


You read that right....  After!!! I finished the couch, I finished the couch!

duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duuuuuhhhhh! (you read that with the "and now presenting" music running through your head)

I'm so happy it's done....  I took tons of pictures, and I plan on doing a reupholstery tutorial if there is any interest.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Old Frame/New Frame

 Do you have some old frames that look, well, outdated?? I've done it once, and I'll probably do it hundreds of times. Just give that old frame a couple of coat of Krylon indoor/outdoor paint- the colors you can choose from are amazing! And don't make the mistake of buying it from the craft store. Walmart sells it cheap. Do the spraying outside far from anything you don't want overspray to get on. I spray my frames in a box with a drop-cloth underneath, usually in the garage if it's too hot/cold/windy outside. Tape off any part that you don't want painted, the glass didn't come out of these frames, so I had to tape them off.

Add a beautiful piece of art (this one is an original by my daughter) and hang in the room of your choice. This technique also comes in handy when you have a bunch of mismatched frames that you want to hang together and look cohesive. Spray paint! It's amazing ;)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Baby shower craft night

I will admit... I don't love shower games. I don't hate them either.  When I throw a shower I like to keep games to a minimum or non-exsistant. I decided to try something different and have a craft baby shower.  There was some prep work (of course), but the craft was fun, not too time consuming, and anyone could do it!  We made art for the nursery- it was inspired by all the baby rooms I've seen that have the alphabet in wood letters of all different fonts hung on the wall.  I didn't have the time or money for that craft, so instead I came up with this variation:

Gluten Free Food, beautiful and delicious!

I painted an old, large frame that I had in my garage.  I picked mustard because I wanted the look to be vintage/old fashioned looking.  I cut a piece of thin plywood to the dimensions of the artwork cut-out in the frame, but I cut it just barely smaller than the actual dimensions in order to leave room for the fabric and batting that would cover the plywood.  I cut a piece of muslin and thin cotton batting to cover the plywood, I left a 2 inch overhang (or more) on all sides.  
I had to iron and iron and iron the muslin to get all the wrinkles out!
Starting from opposite centerpoimts, hot glue the fabric down.  Pull tight!  Work out from the centers, check for smoothness on the front as you go.
Smooth as butter!

My frame didn't have the tabs to hold the artwork in, I used small nails hammered into the frame and supporting the artwork in place of the tabs.
The base of the project is now ready.  Not too hard, and I happened to have everything but the paint color on hand!
I chose 26 different scrapes of fabric, with lots of solids.  Too many patterns would look too busy (next time I think I might even use more solids).  I lined them up in order of how I wanted them on the picture.  I measured the canvas size and divided it by 26 to see roughly the size of each letter (mine was about 3.5 inches).
Now the part that took the longest... Cutting the fabric.  I wanted the letters to be all different sizes, so I cut some up to 4 inches and some as small as 2 inches, and everything in-between.  I wanted there to be at least 6 really large looking letters.  The hardest part was adding the iron-on interfacing. I used light-weight heat-n-bond.  If I hadn't wanted to waste as little fabric as possible, then I could cut larger swatches of fabric and a bunch of 4 inch squares of iron on interfacing.  But I cut them all to size in the first place and cut the interfacing by tracing the fabric on it and then ironing it on.  It.took.a.long.time. But I wasted very little fabric and very little heat-n-bond.
To set up for the shower, I printed out three different options of fonts for each letter of the alphabet and placed the piece of fabric I wanted to be used for that letter on top of the "inspiration" fonts.  Oh, don't forget to print all the letters out reversed!  It's easier to just see the letter already in reverse and not try to imagine it. Place sharp fabric scissors and pencils all over the table.   Now you are ready for the party!

When the shower guests arrive they can cut out a letter or two whenever they want.  They can use the fonts you printed out as inspiration and a guide.  The only instruction I really had to give was to make sure they drew the letter backwards on the paper of the heat-n-bond on the back of the fabric and to try to make the letter fit to the size of the cut fabric.  As soon as all the letters were cut out, we arranged them until we liked how it looked, removed the paper on the back of the fabric, and then ironed on the letters.  Easy! And the guest of honor got to take home a finished project.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Oil rubbed bronze lamps (sorta)

We acquired a pair of bedside lamps about 5 years ago from some friends who were decluttering. We were about to sell our first house and needed some more substantial looking furniture to stage our house. They didn't have lampshades so I borrowed some from my mother-in-law while we had the house on the market. They worked great, but always lacked a bit of our style.
A year later I bought modern lampshades and it helped them seem more appropriate in our room, but I don't think my husband ever liked how stark white they were.
So, I finally just did what I had to do- spray painted them with a can of Rustoleum oil rubbed bronze metallic spray paint.
First I cleaned and prepped them for painting. I covered the knob, cords, and electrical source with tin foil. So easy! I used a few small pieces of painters tape to keep the foil tight to the cord right next to where it attached to the lamp base.
Then, I shook my can of paint and went to town. Super easy, instant gratification. The hardest part was not getting spray paint all over my garage- this stuff can spray far! Also, I had to make sure to look up from the bottom. It's easy to not notice that the curves and ledges didn't get any paint on their underside.
This project took less than a half hour, cost me a few bucks, and totally changed the look of the lamps.
They still don't look modern- but they do look a bit more sophisticated and appropriate for a bedroom.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 Resolutions

Finish my heap-o-(half-finished)crafts.

Single Girl quilt
Strawberry red and blue quilt
Strawberry Fields quilte
quilt pattern for Chris

Then a thorough clean of the craft room and I'll be a happy resolved girl.