Monday, February 29, 2016

What the week holds: It's all going to start with paint...

I feel like I am dragging my heels a bit on getting some things done around the house.  I need for Hubby to help me, but he's been busy with work lately, and until things slow a bit, I will just have to work on projects I can mostly do myself.  I was inspired by TDC to update the boys' bathroom.  Well, that, and the fact that Bubbie managed to pull the tp holder out of the wall, creating a hole.  Solution?  Patch the hole but paint the whole bathroom a different color!
I loved this green color at first - but I'm not digging it now. However, I think a light grey color will be just the ticket!  And I can leave the shower curtain and the mats the same.
I want the door leading to this area removed.  That would be far more practical and inexpensive to what I really want to do - remove the wall that divides the sink area form the tiny potty and shower area and replace the sink vanity.  I think removing the door will be a big improvment.  Why didn't I see that sooner?   I will get a tp stand, which will be easier to reach than the wall-mounted hardware which was right up against you in the tiny space.  Plus, the boys will be better able to access the towel rack that hangs behind the door.
It really is a teensy bathroom.  Can you believe we raised four kids with one TINY bathroom for them all?  You can only have one of the doors open at a time.  Three doors in this space!  The linen closet is fairly organized and clean.  I use a white kitchen trash can in it that is the perfect size for a 'hamper" in here.  And I got rid of a lot of extra linens that we don't need. In fact, all of the storage in here is pretty well organized.
See the solution for the missing tp hardware?  In a pinch I got his doodad that's supposed to be for an emergency roll.  But I love the idea of a stand.  Maybe I will add a basket for extra towel storage right above the tank.
And the art will have to be changed out as well.  Plus, I want to frame out the mirror and add a few decorative touches.  After all, there are only two people using this bathroom now and they keep their supplies in the medicine cabinet.  Tilling the floor will be the last step.   But it starts with a can of I'm off to get started...

Friday, February 26, 2016

Freezer Meals #15

We have finally cycled through most of the leftover holiday food in the freezer, I kid you not.  I think we might have one more smoked chicken in there, and some turkey stock, but that will be easily used before it gets too warm to enjoy soup.  So on a recent morning I went thru my recipes, fridge, and pantry to came up with several meals for Mondays ahead.
 {Oy, Monday.  Why you so hard to deal with?}  
A quiet house with your coffee cup and a cinnamon candle...ahhh...
Cranberry Pork Roast
I put a three pound pork roast in a gallon zip loc bag, then mixed a package of onion soup mix with  a cup and a half of cranberry sauce (from Thanksgiving!) and poured it over.  I will cook this on low, in the crockpot, for 6-8 hours.

Korean Beef Tacos
Go here for the recipe - so good!  This one is becoming a family favorite.

Hearty Beef Stew and Savory Herb Chicken - these are both Crock Pot brand mixes.  They work out pretty well, but if they call for water or potatoes, I add those in right as I put them in the crock.  And yes, I put them in the crock frozen!  This method works out best for me.  Then when I get home at 3 p.m. I set the crock to warm and it will gently coast its way to done by 6:30.

BBQ Meatballs
Does anyone NOT have a recipe for these?  I was trying to use up the rest of the grape jam, some jalapeno jelly, some Thai ketchup, and some chili sauce.  So I did.  Then I poured it over the meatballs in a large zip loc bag.  I will most likely do this as a skillet meal, but it will still be easy peasy.
***I also bought an extra bag of meatballs and some spicy cajun pasta sauce for another meal!***

Chicken and Stuffing
To use up some cornbread and dry sandwich bread I made dressing.  I sauteed onion and celery with half a leftover bell pepper, added some of my freezer turkey stock, seasoned it up with rosemary, thyme, and sage, then placed boneless chicken thighs atop it.
 I will bake it for an hour or so - half of the time covered.  Then I will make chicken gravy and serve the very last of the cranberry sauce!  A hour well spent, all told.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Turkey Spinach Bake

 This is one of my favorite Martha Stewart recipes!  A great way to use leftover chicken or turkey, a creamy sauce with fresh spinach, crunchy chunks of toasty bread on top...YUM
  Comfort food on a gloomy weeknight!
Chicken (or turkey) Spinach Bake
2 c. torn french bread (I had ciabatta this time)
olive oil
4 c. flat leaf spinach
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c. white wine (or chicken broth)
2 T flour
1 1/2 c. half and half
1/2 t fresh lemon juice
1 c. cooked and shredded chicken or turkey

Preheat the oven to 450.  Toss bread pieces with olive oil (a couple tablespoons worth) and set aside.  Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet, add spinach and cook til wilted.  Set in a colander to drain and cool. Cook onion and garlic in the pan about 8 minutes.  Add wine and cook 5 minutes.  Add flour and stir, then whisk in the half and half, and lemon.  Bring to a boil.  Add the spinach and chicken to the pan and remove from heat.

 Place it in a greased casserole dish.
 Top with the chunks of torn bread, and bake 10 minutes.
Settle in with a warm plate of delish, a glass of that wine, and your cooking shows on PBS...

Monday, February 22, 2016

What the week holds: Recovering the ottoman, and changing up the den

We have this cube of an ottoman that Hubby bought at target back in 2005.  Immediately, the kids started sitting on it like it was chair.  Riiipppp went the seams on the top.  It was cheap pleather and not kidproof.
 Rather than toss it, I covered it with leftover fabric about 6 years ago from having the couch in the front room reupholstered.
I loved the color - a warm rusty red.  I didn't have enough fabric at the time, so I added that band of printed fabric at the bottom.  Pretty!  But it wasn't a removeable cover so after a couple of years it was showing it's age...
So I found this pretty floral and did the rusty red along the bottom.
I really loved that fabric and it was not cheap!  But it was due for a change and one day recently while walking along in Hob Lob I found:
Those colors!  And the fabric was half price!
I had enough fabric this time to skip that band along the bottom. I sewed it a little differently, but it came together in a snap. 
I just recycled my upholstery tacks, too.
This room looks empty without a rug or more furniture, so I'm thinking about adding in a few things here and there. Even so, I love the open living space in here.  I want to add a lamp at either end of the sofa, and we've talked about painting that coffee table and rocking chair.  {The chair has to stay as hubby bought it for me when I was expecting Firstborn.}  Whatcha think?  Got any suggestions for me?

Friday, February 19, 2016

5 thing Friday - Bunny head, FitBit goals, cross stitchin', date night, Bubbie

My mother has pretty little pots of plants everywhere. Every now and then you will see something non-plantlike in one of them.  Like a bunny head.  My mother's sense of humor surprises me sometimes to see it in its' child-like form.  Made me chuckle.
Some days I hit well over my 12K steps goal on the FitBit!  But just as often, I don't.  I am trying to hit that mark every day, but sometimes my activity is more stationary.  Still, moving more than I was last year!  Also, an added benefit of the FB is that I actually AM walking more, strengthening my left leg.  I've noticed that stairs are not the challenge they were just a few months ago.  It helps that I have a fairly active job.
 I had fun making this cross stitch design for a friend at work.  I found the frame at Michael's for half off, bought some turquoise thread for the wording, and used some varigated pink thread I had in my stash for the heart.  I estimate it took me a couple of hours total, and cost less than $12.  One of my goals for the year was to stitch (and create) more, so yay!  Plus, it made a sweet Valentine's/Going to Another shift sussie.
 Date night at Whole Foods.
 This time around, Hubby took care of the pizza, I did the beer.  We had a delightful IPA and a grilled chicken/artichoke heart/olive combo. He also picked out some fruit tarts, and I had a Skip Bo game handy... We sat on the balcony, admiring the traffic and sunset.  I hung over the railing and yelled at someone's kid to get out of the street.  
Can't take me anywhere.
Bubbie at the drop-off for a scout campout.  Peace out and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The dead zone

The backyard has been languishing, deep in neglect...
 It's like a dead zone of blah.  Under that giant stub of a log lies sweet kitty.  It's one of my projects to add some pavers and a chair there as sort of a memorial - a place to sit under that crepe myrtle and read.  For now, it looks like a spot in we dug in fading daylight on a cold and very dreary December 30th.  Because it is.  In spring, it will be surrounded by Wandering Jew, with overhanging blooms, in a peaceful area.  
But for now, yuck.
Big weeds comprise most of the green out here, despite the mild winter.  The grass is sleeping, so they take over...
 Um...what grass.  Hubby and I discussed all of the projects we would like to undertake for the spring - a lot of it will be on hold until we get past February.
 More Wandering Jew - this is under the Chinese Pistache and needs to be cleared out.  It will grow back nice and full, whether we want it to or not, since WJ is an invasive.  In the spring it will be lovely!
Sigh.  There are more repairs back here than I can possibly take care of all by my lonesome on three days off a week.  But a little at a time will help clear the yard of all its' dead zones and make way for some renewal.  I may as well get started on what I can do - raking and making plans!

Monday, February 15, 2016

What the week holds: Cowboy Chicken

One of my Christmas gifts to The Girl was a lucite recipe holder from the Container Store.  I ordered some nifty dividers and filled in some of the cards with recipes from home.  My plan is to send a few recipes now and then.  But it turns out, The Girl has plans to find a few new recipes of her own!  {wonder where she got that from?...}
She sent me a recipe for Cowboy Chicken, which made some fantastic tacos!  So easy to do, and very tasty - and we all love a taco around here.
 Cowboy Chicken
1 package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 6 of them)
1 T dijon mustard
2 T brown sugar
2 c. salsa (fresh is best)*
1 can low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained.
Her directions:
"Literally just throw everything into the crock pot for 5 hours on low, then shred chicken, replace (in crock) for 30 minutes more. Serve over either rice or corn tortillas with 2 % shredded Mexican cheese." 

 A few vigorous stirs shredded it up nicely...
I used flour tortillas since that's what I had.  We also topped ours with fresh guacamole, sour cream, and some of that leftover salsa.  Need a salsa recipe?
*I put these things into my food processor:
2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
Half a red onion, roughly chopped
a bunch of cilantro that I cut most of the stems off while they are still bundled together
1/2 a lime squeezed in
some salt - just a teaspoon or so
I pulse it several times until it looks "just right" - you be the judge of your salsa!
Taco night is the BEST part of a Monday.

Friday, February 12, 2016

5 thing Friday - Hubby, Nothing Bundt Cakes, hearts, stitchin', lampshade fix

Hubby is once again my age.  To celebrate his new membership in the Double Nickel Club, we had dinner and drinks here.  I have to say, it was not a frugal evening...we had wine, fresh oysters, Trout Almondine, Grilled Shark, fresh bread, and a brownie topped with ice cream and fudge sauce.  They printed a menu especially for him that said Happy Birthday on it.  The service and food were superb!  Afterwards, we headed over to Whole Foods to buy more wine (because of course), then home to have pecan pie and gifts. 

Hubby loves him a Manhattan.  We also made plans for Valentine's Day!
The Girl sent him a cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes.  Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting!  I would venture to say he had a great birthday.
I don't usually decorate for Hallmark holidays, but I found a sweet heart shaped grapevine wreath and thought "why not?".  I added in some greenery and those glittery heart picks from years ago.
I think I bought them at the Target Dollar Spot. 
They are a simple way to add a little love.
Something I stitched for Scout.  He used to say this a lot.
 Wonky lamp problem.  Ever since I switched out the shade, and it makes me batty.
 I wrapped a rubber band around the base, to act as a gasket.
Wah- La.  Lampshade in place.  Mischief managed.
Oh, I also bought some new pillows for the den's couch - a fun geo print in rust - perfect.


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