Monday, September 30, 2013

Mealplan Monday #78 - Is is Fall yet?

We had a few very pleasant mornings here last week, with a little relief from the heat...
(about time - it's the last day of September!)'s been climbing back up to the mid-90's by noon.  But still, it makes me feel excited to think of all that Fall will bring.  I even ordered Thanksgiving cards with a photo by Scout on the front - can you guess which one of these Fall scenes I chose?
Monday - (freezer meal) Thai Chicken, rice, peas
Tuesday - (freezer meal) White Chicken Chili, tortilla chips
Wednesday - Mexican Tilapia, creamy corn, salad
Thursday - Skillet Chops, sea salt sweet potatoes, cabbage
Friday - Out for game night
Saturday - Mom and Dad's Anniversary - boys get tacos
Sunday - (freezer meal) Party Sammies, tots, soup
Dessert will be Caramel Apple Pie

In other news, I think I'm finally getting the hang of reconciling my new schedule at work with my schedule at home.  There's hope for me yet!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Freezer meals #4

Forgive the less-than-stellar photography!  I felt like I had climbed a mountain one day last week when I assembled several meals for those days I work. Some have already served us well this week. Most of them are for the crock pot.
Thai Chicken
(From Graciously Saved)
2 lbs. chicken drums
1/2 bottle salsa
1/4 c. peanut butter
3 t. each lime juice, water, and soy sauce
2 T chopped fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Freeze all in a giant ziploc.  Cook on LOW 6 hours in crock pot.

White Chicken Chili
(From Graciously Saved)
2 T olive oil
1 T cornstarch
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small can diced mild green chilies
2 cans white beans, drained
1 t. each salt and pepper
2 chicken bouillon cubes
Place all ingredients in large ziploc and freeze.  When ready to cook, add 2 c. water and contents of bag to crock pot and cook on LOW 6 hours.
CrockPot Cheeseburger Soup
(From Graciously Saved)
1 lb. ground beef, cooked and drained
1/2 c. each chopped onion and bell pepper
1 can dice tomatoes
1 t each salt and oregano (or Italian Seasoning)
1/2 t. pepper
3 beef bouillon cubes
4 c. frozen diced hashbrown potatoes
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
Combine all but cheese into a large ziploc.  When ready to cook, add 3 c. water, and cook in crock pot on LOW 6-8 hours. Combine 1/4 c. flour and 1 c. milk and stir into soup 30 minutes before serving.  Add cheese and stir again.  In about 30 minutes it should be thickened and ready to eat!

Crock Pot Mexican Chili
2 cans beans, pinto or kidney, drained
1 28 oz. can chopped tomatoes, not drained
1 c. chopped onion
1 6 oz, can tomato paste
1/2 c. chopped bell pepper
1 small can mild diced green chilies
2 T sugar
1 t. each cumin, salt, garlic powder,and chili powder
1 lb. ground beef, cooked and drained
Add all into large ziploc and freeze.  Cook on LOW approx. 8 hours, serve with Fritos.
I also threw a chuck roast into a bag and added a pre-mixed crock pot sauce for Tavern Style Pot Roast - it just sounded good. (I didn't buy it at Amazon, I just couldn't find the Campbell's link)  Plus, there is a bag of chicken drums marinating for Hubby to grill.  And I made party sammies with Cajun turkey, monterrey jack, and sweet potato buns.  If you look reeeeallly close you can see Brown Sugar Chicken, and some broth and the rest of Mexican Tinga Chicken that will morph into Chicken Tortilla Soup.  And lastly, there's  Calamity Anne's Meatloaf in there somewhere.  
I'm ready for the next couple of weeks - bring it!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Custom burlap mat - take that, framing lady!

We have portraits all over the house - it's one of my favorite things about my home.  But this picture here?  Not my favorite.  I don't know why - maybe it's that crazy dress, my daughter's off-side ponytail, and Scout's military, it seems like the colors are any case, it's us and it stays.
 It was taken in 2000, and has hung in a plain jane oak frame for years.  Recently, my sister gave me a heavy gold frame that I thought would do a better job with this portrait.  Alas, the mat opening was too small.  The snooty lady at Joann refused to cut it down for me, even though I had measured it out.  HMPH.
In this dark bookcase nook, it's hard to tell but the mat is nice against the gold of the frame.  Here's how I got my own custom mat:
 Using my cutting mat and handy dandy rotary cutter, I made the mat opening the right size.  (Shoulda done that to begin with, I know)
 Then it occurred to me that I could disguise my homemade cut job by wrapping the mat in burlap, and add texture to the frame job at the same time.  I carefully laid out some white burlap*,
...and using craft glue I wrapped it around the mat, gluing to the back.  I "mitre-d' the edges by just cutting a straight line and gluing it carefully...see:
When the glue dries, no one will know.  And if they do, they better have the manners not to mention it to me!
Nope, you can't tell.
Don't even lie.
And back it went on the wall.  At one point I was going to hop on the subway art bandwagon and replace this portrait with trendy art.
Now I'm glad I didn't.

*Leftover from covering the French memo boards again
 Pretty detail, no?
Gotta love burlap!

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Mealplan Monday #77 with Apple Bread

 I really enjoy reading Frugal Girl's blog - she has a feature called Food Waste Friday where she talks about how they try not to waste food during the week.  It's right up my alley when she talks about making banana muffins.  She says you can tell how many bananas they didn't eat by how many muffins get baked.  The same is true at my house for apples!  Luckily, people around here love Apple Bread.  Maybe because it's more like cake...
Monday - Brown Sugar Chicken in the crock, rice, green beans
Tuesday - Fettucine Alfredo, salad
Wednesday - Apple & Sage Pork Chops, masheds, corn
Thursday - BBQ Lime Shrimp, fresh veggie, leftover corn casserole from freezer
Friday - Calamity Anne Meatloaf, scallopeds, broccoli
Saturday - Dad grills
Sunday - Freezer meal for the crock - haven't decided yet which one
Dessert will be ice cream and peanut butter chocolate chip cookies
Apple Bread
3 c. chopped or grated apples
2 c. sugar
3 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 t, salt
3 t. vanilla
1 t. each, nutmeg and cinnamon
1 c. nuts, optional
Combine apples and sugar and let sit 20 minutes.  Add the other ingredients in order listed and stir to combine all well.  Pour into 2 greased loaf pans  and bake at 350 for about an hour. good with cinnamon butter.
A loaf to eat warm from oven, a loaf to freeze for a quick breakfast on a school morning.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Front door spruce-up for Fall

Here is a project I've been putting off for a while...mostly because I knew I would make a big mess and it would take me all day.  I'm slothful like that...
 Our front door is showing wear and tear and needed a facelift!  Inside...
 ...and out.  I know it's hard to tell here, but the hardware is looking shabby and there are scratches on the door jamb.  And I want to just re-plant those firebushes in the yard - they don't like those pots apparently.
 This happened three years ago when we got the new fridge.  And I just never touched it up.  I have no excuse.  The trim paint has been in the garage, willing and able...
 I started this little facelift by removing all the door hardware, kickplate included.  See where my keys hanging in the lock have scraped the door over the years?  I'm going to have to find a new way to keep up with them.

  I layed all of it out in the garage.  Here is my method for painting screws...poke them upright into cardboard.
 I used spray paint and primer by Rustoleum in oil rubbed bronze.  Seems to take longer to dry, but then, it's very humid here lately.
 I wanted the door on the inside to match the frame, so I went with a  basic white in latex enamel.  I had to sand a bit first, then I painted in the grooves with a brush.
 I used a foam roller to go over the flat surfaces.  It took a few coats, hence the all-afternoon nature of this project.  Plus, I gave the hardware a couple of coats, too.
 When it was all dry I reassembled.  Hubby came home to pick up something for work, and to his credit, didn't panic when he saw me struggling to reassemble the door hardware.
 I like the dark hardware against the white.  Looks very neat and clean!  And it actually brightens the space in here.
 The finished inside of the door.  Time to tackle the outside!
I've been itching to decorate for Fall.  But I didn't want to spend a cent.  So I dragged out my old twig wreath and used some faux floral sprays and burlap ribbon.
 What a difference a little touch up on the door jamb makes.  And the red bricks got scrubbed a little, as well as the door mat.
 Hi, pretty wreath!  I love you!
Now all that's left to do is sit and sip my wine.  Enough sprucing for one day.

Well, that was just a fail, no doubt about it.  The paint never did become un-sticky and the scraping of the keys against the knob made it look terrible.  So I got out my handy dandy sanding block and sanded the rest of the paint off the knob.  Now I wish I had just cleaned it like that to begin's pretty and shiny.  Oh. Well.  Live and learn, I say.
Maybe some day I will get around to replacing the weatherstripping...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Spare room, here and there

You gotta admire the ruthless efficiency Bubbie portrays when hanging out in his room.
Wish he were better at not destroying his furniture.  Case in point is the office chair in the background of this pic. It survived about a year or so...
The back of it got destroyed,  And I was tempted to put it out in the trash when I spied that someone on another blog just recovered theirs.  And I thought, I can do that, too!
 Wa-la!  Instant stool for my sewing table.  With the perfect combo of colors, too.
Remember this fabric?  All it took was some scissors and a staple gun.  I love that I can lower it to fit snugly underneath the cabinet for storage.
 Also, this plain Jane switchplate cover got some modge podge magic.
 And a pink lamp from The Girl's childhood bedroom got a paint job.
 I forgot how versatile spray paint is - this is paint and primer in one.  Brilliant!
Eventually, I can post pics of the whole spare room.  
For now, it's all the little things in progress...


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