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A goal without a plan is just a wish

29 Mar

Maybe that Antoine de Saint-Exupéry quote will give me the kick in the butt that I need this weekend to get some crafting done!

Because I have some big plans for this weekend. That spool that I posted about? I’m finally going to paint it. Todd is going to craft a middle shelf and add some dowels to make separate areas so it looks more like a bookshelf. I decided to just paint it black and add tons of colorful accessories, like a round cushion and colorful books. I’ve already started compiling some books that I plan to stash there, like the super cool, really old Nancy Drew books with the yellow spine. I found those beauties at a used book store for $0.50 a pop! Steal!

I also plan to try to do some picture transfers onto wood! I found a tutorial that looks pretty easy to follow (not to mention how snarky it is and I love snark) and I’m going to hunt down some pictures tonight. I found these really cool platters that had weirdo Victorian pictures on them of animals dressed in formal attire and I love them with my entire being. If anyone knows where I can find pictures like that to print, LET ME KNOW, because I want that in my house. Forever.

I’m hoping to at least get these two projects done, since we have Monday off from work.

What are you doing this weekend? Any big projects, or Easter plans? I can’t wait to get my craft on!

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Scrub Your Cares Away

25 Feb

Apparently, DIY body scrub is the new cool thing. Two different friends (in different time zones, even) posted about DIY body scrub. I’ve never purchased body scrub, and I’ve only used it once before (stole some from my then-roommate who was a total b-word [oh, and stealing is wrong, kids, she actually told me I could use it]). Maybe I haven’t used it because it’s expensive, or something? But my itchy, dry winter skin needs some reviving! I already have all of the ingredients, so why not? I’ll do this tonight and report back later this week!

In the meantime, check out Janelle’s blog for her FTM Friday (now you know I neglect checking my Google Reader on weekends…) where she talks about all of the awesome, regular-use items that you can make for SUPER CHEAP! And while you’re at it, check out Stephanie’s blog where she gives some easy-to-follow instructions on how to make your own DIY body scrub! Happy scrubbing, friends!

After Spool Project

9 Jan

Hi all. Just wanted to share a picture of something I plan to refurbish:

spool

Can you believe I found this on the side of the road!? You can bet your bottom dollar I made Todd jump out and steal it 🙂

I love the look of rustic-items-turned-furniture. I’m still playing with ideas on how to treat the wood but I know I want some kind of cushion on top. I might also add a middle shelf so that it’s easier to put smaller books and tchotchkes on it. I’ll have at least four dowels as support as well.

Unfortunately I need to wait for it to be fixed first since, as you can see, the top two pieces of wood are separating. There are also some dangerous-looking staples sticking out in random places.

Now should I paint, stain or do something totally different with it? The possibilities are endless! What are your thoughts?

Lazy Me

6 Dec

Lazy when it comes to blogging, that is.

I’ve been crazy busy with work lately. We have mandatory overtime hours right now, and on top of that, I’ve been traveling. Did you know Christmas was right around the corner!? Yeah, I had no idea. And because I’ve been so busy with work, I’m practically brain dead.

So! I am going to regale you of my life with pictures!

 

At a 1940's themed party

At a 1940’s themed party

Fancy scarf knot

Fancy scarf knot

Hello? Time for breakfasts?

Hello? Time for breakfasts?

Me and my kitten

Me and my kitten

Cole gets big eyes when it's time to play

Cole gets big eyes when it’s time to play

Me, before a casino night

Me, before a casino night

Sacramento rainy day

Sacramento rainy day

My favorite Christmas ornament

My favorite Christmas ornament

Rain on the window

Rain on the window

Todd's sister's dogs, Gator and BearTodd's sister's dogs, Gator and Bear

Todd’s sister’s dogs, Gator and Bear

 

And of course, these are all instagram photos, since I rarely use my camera. Hope you enjoyed!

Pinterest Food Challenge: Odds & Ends

13 Nov

This is not a recipe for something called “Odds & Ends.” Although that sounds like a great name for a stew or soup that you just throw whatever you have into a slow-cooker…

Today I’ll have just a few quick things for you.

Fall is a wonderful time for baking. So many seasonal-fruit-flavored treats to munch on everywhere you turn. Since summers in Sacramento are sweltering, I don’t get to scratch my baking itch until it cools down enough to turn on the oven, which around here doesn’t happen until November.

Last week, I found a recipe on Pinterest for Nutella-stuffed brown butter chocolate chip cookies with sea salt. As amazing as that sounds, the looks of the recipe were just way too complicated for me. So instead, I took the cookie recipe off of the back of the Nestle chocolate chips bag and then put Nutella in them.
Some notes if you do it this way: the dough is very sticky! The first one I did, I tried to hold the dough in my hands and then shape it around the Nutella. This did not work out well. Eventually I was putting a dollop (a large tablespoon scoop) of dough onto a cookie sheet and creating a crater in the middle, adding the Nutella to that (about half a teaspoon) and then squooshing (technical term for you) the sides up around it. This way worked the best and turned out delicious.
These cookies had a thin, crispy outside with a soft, chewy inside, filled with Nutella! I definitely recommend this one.

 

Secondly, I’ve got a recipe for beef and broccoli stewing away in a slow-cooker at home. I can give you a better step-by-step on this one.

Ingredients
1 pound boneless beef chuck roast, sliced into thin strips
1 cup beef consomme
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons sauce from the crock pot after being cooked
Fresh broccoli florets (as many as desired)
Hot cooked rice

Directions
1. Place beef in a crock pot.
2. In a small bowl, combine consomme, soy sauce, brown sugar, oil, and garlic. Pour over beef. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
3. In a cup, stir cornstarch and sauce form the crock pot until smooth. Add to crock pot. Stir well to combine.
4. Add broccoli to the crock pot. Stir to combine.
5. Cover and cook an additional 30 minutes on high (the sauce has to boil for it to thicken).
6. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Last night while I was making dinner, I took an extra few minutes while my food was cooking to prep this meal. I’m glad I did because I fought with the beef chuck roast for a good 15 minutes. Normally I chuck my chuck roast right into the slow cooker whole, so this was my first experience cutting it up. All of the fat made it pretty difficult to cut through sometimes, and I bought a piece that was almost 4 pounds, so I had to separate it into smaller pound-sized chunks first.

After I finally got about a pound of beef sliced up, I threw it in a ziploc bag and added some soy sauce to let it sit overnight. I also cut up my broccoli florets to have ready for when the time comes.

This morning I got out my slow cooker and threw the beef in. I mixed up the ingredients noted in step #2 and threw that in the crock pot as well. By the time I get home tonight, it should be smelling tasty and I finish the last few steps. I only had it on for about 15 minutes before I left the house this morning and it already smelled delicious! I can’t wait to taste it tonight.

 

What have you been cooking up lately? What are some of your favorite fall treats?

Pinterest Food Challenge: Crab and Corn Soup

5 Oct

It’s that time again! Time for another recipe from the good ole Pinterest boards. Today’s recipe: Crab and Corn Soup!

You can find my other recipes here: crock pot taco chicken, parmesan crusted chicken tenders, creamy chicken taquitos, and a bunch of others that I’ve done. And of course, you should go check out Stephanie’s blog, the creator of the challenge!

Here’s the link if you want to follow the recipe exactly. It’s a pretty easy one, but I changed a few things.

I chose to make this recipe for a few reasons: 1. I love corn. 2. I was craving soup. 3. It reminded me of chowdah, which I love, but that’s much heartier and meant for wintertime.

(Disclaimer: I am fully aware of the atrocity that is my pictures. I used my iPhone and picmonkey to edit)

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 quart chicken stock
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup chopped onion
32-ounces fresh or frozen corn
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (6-ounce) can lump crabmeat, drained
1 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
1 avocado, for garnish
a slow cooker

cast of characters

cast of characters

Things that I changed: I omitted the cayenne pepper; I used garlic powder (mostly because it was 7am and my garlic smasher was already dirty; I added four small white potatoes (which I cooked separately and added after the fact); I used 3 cans of corn (which came out to about 27 ounces, water drained), as opposed to frozen/fresh because I hate frozen veggies and fresh is too much work; lastly, I doubled the half-and-half it called for because I wanted something a little more creamy.

First, I chopped the onions, drained the corn and put all of the ingredients into the pot, except for the half-and-half and the avocado.

slow cooker magic

slow cooker magic

Next, I set it on low for 8 hours! The easy meals are my favorite.

When I got home from work, I added the half-and-half and the potatoes. I also took the recipe author’s advice and blended some of the soup to make it a little thicker. I put about 2 cups into my magic bullet and blended away.

creamy deliciousness

creamy deliciousness

Finally, I added some avocado and enjoyed with an episode of Parks and Rec!

Here are some critiques about this recipe:
– The crab was almost nonexistant. One 6 oz. can was not nearly enough. There were chunks of it throughout the soup, sure, but I barely tasted it. Next time I will either add more, or add it to the soup for the last half an hour or so of cooking. The crab was one of the reasons I chose this recipe.
– Potatoes are great. This recipe should include potatoes to start with!

Aside from not having enough crab, this soup was delicious. Next time I might even blend up more than just 2 cups to make it that much more thick. I will definitely be making another soup like this in the future!

What are some of your favorite fall and wintertime meals?

A New Chicken

11 Jul

Yes, I’ve done it! I’ve made another type of chicken! Surprised? I’m not. I love chicken. It’s easy. It’s tasty. You can do a million things with it. What is there NOT to love!? That’s right, nothing.

Unfortunately, I did not take pictures of the process. They would look something like this:

– Picture of raw chicken in a crock pot with salsa and taco seasoning
– Picture of cooked chicken in a crock pot with salsa and taco seasoning
– Picture of an empty plate because that’s how fast I devoured the tacos that I put this chicken into.

Seriously. It was stupid easy. Before I went to work yesterday I put 1 and 1/3 pounds chicken in my crotchety crock pot. I guess technically it’s a slow cooker since it does not brandish the name Crock Pot, but pish posh, who gives a rat’s caboodle?

So I put the chicken in with a mixture of a packet of taco seasoning and a jar of salsa (I used La Victoria mild red salsa, but any kind would work). THAT’S IT. I kid you not, ladies and gentlemen. I stirred it up so the little chickens were nice and covered, I turned the Not Crock Pot onto low, and I went to work. By the time I got home, the chicken was so fally-aparty (technical term for you there) that I had to take it out with a slotted spoon. It was the easiest shredding I’ve ever done (aside from whenever I play Santana on Guitar Hero for the Wii).

This was a recipe I found on Pinterest, but it didn’t actually have a website attached to it. Just quick and dirty directions right in the description. I put my chicken on a tortilla with guacamole, raw red onions, cheese and lettuce. And I would have smothered it in sour cream to balance it out if I had some.

You don’t need to marinade anything. Just throw all of it right in and come back 6 – 8 hours later (or 4 – 5 if you put it on high). Definitely tasty and totally worth a try!

And here’s a handy step-by-step (sans Suzanne Somers) if that’s helpful:

Ingredients:
– 1 to 1 and 1/2 pounds of raw chicken (breasts or tenders)
– 1 packet of any brand or flavor of taco seasoning
– 1 jar (roughly 8 – 10 ounces) of brand/intensity of salsa (the hotter the salsa, the hotter the chicken!)

Instructions:
– mix together taco seasoning and salsa in the crock pot
– place chicken into the pot and cover with the mixture
– heat on low for 6 – 8 hours or high for 4 – 5
– place in a taco shell with all of your favorite ingredients and go to town!