Monday, February 25, 2013

Recovering an Ottoman



I was given an old ottoman, from a new friend of mine, and was determined to make it pretty again! The ottoman is about four feet wide by two feet deep and two feet tall. I knew it would be perfect in my upstairs hallway right outside Chloe's bedroom. I bought the blue and cream chevron duck material at Hobby Lobby for $17, using a 40% off coupon, and the three yards that I bought covered the ottoman perfectly! I sewed the two small end pieces on to the the one large main rectangle and slipped it over the old ottoman. I secured everything with my staple gun and pulled the fabric as tight as I could. I may add nail studding at a later date, but I need to price out how much nail studs will cost to cover the entire base of the ottoman. Now I just need to either make or buy a little table and accessorize the table with a lamp to put in the corner. I think the ottoman turned out wonderful and I love it! 

Here is the before picture in my living room:


Here is the after picture in my upstairs hallway:



Note: I pulled off the buttons from the ottoman and recovered them with the chevron fabric, but when I went to go put them back on I found that the bench was too worn to add new tufts and was too sunken in the middle from a possible broken or shifted wooden frame. Oh well, it still looks good with out the tufts and buttons! Enjoy!

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pork Chili Verde


Pork Chili Verde: In the Slow Cooker
Yield: Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

2 pounds of cubed pork tenderloin
3/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 16oz jar Green Salsa (Hot)
1 head of garlic, peeled and smashed
1 onion, diced
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of pepper
1 tablespoon of cumin
1 tablespoon of cayenne red pepper (powder)
1 tablespoon of garlic powder

Directions:

1. Cube your pork on a cutting board and sprinkle some salt and pepper on top. Set aside and wash your hands well.
2. On a new cutting board, chop your cilantro, peel and smash your garlic, and dice your onion. Add all your vegetables to your blender or food processor. Add your jar of green salsa, salt, pepper, and all your spices to your blender or food processor and blend well for about 1-2 minutes.
3. Pour your mixture into your slow cooker and than add your meat into your sauce. Place the lid on the slow cooker and turn the slow cooker on High for 6 hours.
4. When there is one hour left on the timer, use a pastry cutter to chop your meat up. If you do not have a pastry cutter, than shred your meat with two large forks. Once your meat is chopped or shredded, cover and let cook for the remainder of time. 
5. Enjoy the meat in a taco or a burrito, with or without beans, cheese, and sour cream, all on a bed of lettuce. Delicious! 

    I made this recipe up last night because were were having guests over for dinner and I was planning my menu around the fact that I had six very ripe avocados that needed to be eaten. I decided to make my homemade guacamole, recipe here, and do a spread on the table for everyone to build their own burritos. I cooked a huge pot of black beans, had a big bowl of shredded Mexican blend cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, etc. This is what I came up with for the meat. My husband has ordered something similar at Mexican restaurants before, so this is my rendition of it! I hope you all enjoy...I know my husband sure did! :)  

Note: I used Mrs. Renfro's Hot Jalapeno Green Salsa... It is expensive, but worth the money for the flavor!


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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Giveaway Winner!



I posted a giveway, about a month ago, to help drum up followers on my little blog. I promised to make a minky bib and headband only if 100 followers joined my blog by February 14th. I did not
 get 100 followers, but I decided to make little Adley a bib and headband regardless! :)


Enjoy Amanda and Adley! 


Friday, February 15, 2013

Caprese Tortellini Salad


Caprese Tortellini Salad
Yield: Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds (24 oz) cooked Olivieri Seven Cheese Tortellini
3/4 cup marinated Formaggio Mozzarella Balls
2 diced Roma tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped basil
1/4 cup olive oil
a pinch of salt and pepper

Directions: 

1. Cook your tortellini for the directed time on package, drain in strainer, and put into a large bowl.
2. Drizzle your tortellini with your olive oil, salt, and pepper, and mix with a large spoon.
3. Add your diced tomatoes, chopped basil, and your mozzarella balls and mix with your large spoon. Enjoy!


   I made this recipe up on the fly this past weekend. I was hosting a party and wanted a vegetarian option to the hearty chili that I had made, because I am a vegetarian, and this is what I came up with. I know that a traditional caprese has balsamic vinegar in it, but I am NOT a fan, so I opted to leave it out. You are more than welcome to add a drizzle or two of balsamic and put less olive oil in your dish. Also, you are more than welcome to add some freshly grated Romano cheese, but I think the dish is great as it is! Enjoy!

Note: I bought both my marinated mozzarella balls and the fresh tortellini at Costco in the cheese and deli section.

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Gifts and Cards





Happy Valentine's Day! This is my son's first year in preschool, so this year is the first year that we have made any Valentine's for teachers, classmates, and also for grandparents! Because my son is still so little, I knew that I would be doing a majority of the work. I decided to start by doing pink hand prints on white card stock sprinkled with a little glitter. I started by painting both Cooper and Chloe's hands pink and we went to town pressing their hands on the paper. Chloe kept balling her hand into a fist and wanted to play with the paint rather than stamp her hand so some of her hand prints looked a bit miss-shaped. I then washed the kids hands and let the hand prints dry for several hours.

Cards for Grandparents: 


 


For the grandparent's cards I used one hand print from each of my children and then attached the two hand prints with a pink ribbon. On the pink ribbon I added three hearts that said, "HUGS", "XOXO", and "KISSES" so that it was like Cooper and Chloe were giving long distance hugs and kisses to their grandparents! :)


Teacher Valentine's Gifts:




For the teacher's Valentine's gifts I cut out one of Cooper's hand prints for the tag. I attached a heart to the back and wrote, "Miss Megan, You deserve a hand! Love, Cooper". As the gift I gave them a bottle of lotion to play into the "hand" pun and wrapped it in cellophane and tied it with a bow.

Classmate Valentine's Gifts:




For Cooper's classmates Valentine's gifts I wanted to give them something that was not filled with sugar so I ventured to Micheal's to see what they had in their arts and crafts section for children. I found these wood fish, that were only $1 each, and came with a paint brush and  a set of paints. I snatched up all eleven that were in the basket and bought them all. When I got home I pulled them fish, paint brushes, and paints out of their wrappers and wrapped them in cellophane and tied it with a bow. With a craft punch, I punched out eleven frilly circles to make tags. I topped the circles off with hearts that I wrote, "I'm so glad we are in the same school! Love, Cooper". I hope all of his classmates enjoy decorating their fish!

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DIY Boy Valentine's Day Shirt


     For Valentine's Day this year, I decided to make Cooper a cute shirt that said, "BE MINE" on it. I used the same pink and white chevron that I used for Chloe's dress, here, and than ran it through my embroidery machine to stitch the letters, "BE MINE" on to it. I then used a fabric adhesive, that I ironed on to the back, to attach the tie to the plain white shirt. My only regret is not using a backing material when I was embroidering the letters onto the chevron. The tie looks a bit rumpled because I did not use a backer, but my son is 2, so he always looks a bit rumpled anyways! I then used my sewing machine to stitch the edges of the tie. That is not a necessary step, because I used a fabric adhesive, but I think it looks nicer with the stitched edges rather than leaving them plain. Overall, I think the shirt turned out okay, but next time I will defiantly use a backer! The overall cost was about $5 for the shirt and materials. :)


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DIY Girl Valentine's Day Dress





    For Valentine's Day this year, I decided to make Chloe a dress. For Chloe's dress I bought one yard of chevron pink and white material. I used a dress that she already had as a rough pattern to get the sizing correct. It was a learning process because this was only the second time I had ever sewn a dress. I decided to make a "peasant dress" so that it would give her ample room to crawl around in. I added a little flair to the sleeve cuffs by cinching and pleating the fabric as I was sewing. For the collar, I ran a piece of elastic through so that it was stretchy and could go over her head with ease. I added a large white ribbon to top the dress off, because every little girl looks that much cute with a bow! I debated weather or not to monogram her dress, and then finally when I was finished sewing it I decided to go ahead and try. Overall, I think the dress turned out great and the overall cost was about $8!


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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Butterfly Invitations



My daughter's first birthday is next month so party planning is in full swing! I am going to do a Butterfly Theme to correspond with the butterfly theme in her nursery. I made these butterfly invitations for her first birthday party:



I started by using a shimmery dark purple Reflections cardstock for the base of the card. Then, I used an ivory Reflections cardstock for both the front and the back. For the back I ran the cardstock through my printer to add the date, time, when, where, etc for the birthday party. For the front I used my Cuttlebug to emboss the top 3/4 of the paper with a damask print and left the bottom 1/4 plain. I then used two ribbons, a purple and a sheer, to separate the top from the bottom. After that was secured with tape, I used two different Martha Stewart butterfly craft punches to make two different butterflies. I used the same ivory and purple paper that I had to make the card to also make the butterflies. I first punched a solid ivory butterfly and then punched a Monarch butterfly out of the purple paper. I secured both to each other and then to the ribbon. I topped the butterfly's head off with a little gem. In the bottom right corner, I added three gems to each invitation to add a little more sparkle. Now, all I have left to do is mail off the invitations and then get started on party decorations! I hope you all enjoy! :)



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Monday, February 11, 2013

Cook-Off Chili in the Slow Cooker




Cook-Off Chili in the Slow Cooker
Yield: Serves 8-10

Ingredients:

2 lbs ground beef
2 medium onions, minced
6-8 cloves of garlic, minced
32 oz chicken broth
2-4 tablespoons tabasco sauce
1 15oz can of tomato sauce
2 tablespoons of paprika
3 tablespoons of cayenne powder
2 tablespoons of cumin
2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of pepper
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 stick of butter
vegetable oil

Directions:

1. Turn your slow cooker on low for 8 hours. Add your minced garlic and minced onions to your slow cooker and let sit for 20-30 minutes.
2. Brown your beef in vegetable oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Make sure all your beef is browned before adding it to your slow cooker.
3. Add your broth, tomato sauce, all your spices, and sugar to your slow cooker. Stir well and cover.
4. When there is 30 minutes left on your 8 hour timer, add in your stick of butter. Stir well and cover.
5. Serve immediately and enjoy with your garnish of choice!

I came up with this recipe after watching a couple chili cook off shows on television. In chili cook-off's there are time limits on how long you have to cook your chili (I think its about 3-4 hours), so nobody uses a slow cooker. I prefer the ease the slow cooker provides me and also I think it is a fool-proof method to not burning something! I came up with this recipe a couple months ago and just made it for the second time yesterday. My husband actually prefers beans in his chili, but I wanted to try a "chili cook-off" type chili, which has no beans, to see what he thought. He loved it! :) 


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Monday, February 4, 2013

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Drumsticks


Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Drumsticks
Yield: Serves 2-4 people



Ingredients:

3-4 raw chicken drumsticks
1 12oz bottle of Frank's Red Hot
20-30 shakes of Tabasco sauce (depending on your heat preference)
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
1 medium onion (diced)
4-6 garlic cloves (smashed)
2 dried jalapenos
1 stick of butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika



Directions:

1. Put all of your ingredients, besides your chicken, in to your slow cooker for 1 hour and 30 minutes on high. After your ingredients have marinated together take out one of your dried jalapenos. With your immersion blender, blend your sauce until it is smooth and creamy!
2. Add your chicken drumsticks and cover your drumsticks in sauce with a large spoon. Cook on high for 4 hours. Periodically stir/rotate your chicken drumsticks about once an hour.
3. After four hours in the slow cooker, take your chicken out and place on a cookie tray that has been sprayed with cooking spray (heavily). Use a slatted spoon to scoop your chicken drumsticks out individually so as to not have excess sauce on them. Broil on high for five minutes. Serve immediately with blue cheese or ranch dressing and celery.  Enjoy!

My husband ate this entire tray (4lbs of chicken) in one sitting...Men... :)


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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Trash to Treasure: Office Chair Re-upholstery

      Let me start by saying that I am not a dumpster diver. I have no problem with people who are....but that is simply not something that I wish to do. However, the other day I was headed to the gym and I happened to notice a chair sitting next to garbage cans that had been pulled to the curb for trash pick-up. I pulled my car over, ran up and knocked on my neighbor's door, and I asked if I could have their chair. They looked at me like I was a lunatic, because let's face it I did! I managed to fit the busted up old chair in my trunk and proceed to the gym. It wasn't until I got home from the gym that I thought to myself, "What on earth am I going to do with this thing?" I knew it would be perfect for my craftroom because I am currently sitting on a hard wood bench that cuts into my voluptuous bottom, but I simply don't have the cash to go buy a nice chair to sit on a couple times a week. So, wa la, I decided to re-upholster the chair! 
     I went to Hobby Lobby and bought two yards of duck canvas damask print fabric for $13 on sale. I also picked up some duct tape, while I was out, and I taped up the busted seat cushion when I got home. I had my husband, who happened to be home from work that day, dismantle the entire chair for me to be able to both scrub it clean and re-upholster it.  I then laid the fabric on the floor and proceed to cut. I did not bother measuring simply because I am lazy! I then took the fabric pieces up to my craft room and sewed them together to fit the back (top) part of the chair. I first made something that resembled a pillow case and pulled it over the back of the chair to examine how the fit was. Then I pulled it back off and faux piped around all the edges to give it a little more "high end" look.  Next, I sewed the bottom closed with the seat back inside the "case", which was difficult to do, but necessary. I then brought the finished top part of the chair back downstairs and showed my husband. Next I used my last rectangle of fabric and stapled, with a staple gun, it to the seat cushion. My wonderful husband reassembled the chair for me and it is both comfortable, clean, and new to me! I love my new craftroom chair! I'm so excited to get many years of use with it!


My wonderful husband putting my chair back together! :)

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins



Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
Yield: two dozen

Ingredients:

3 cups shredded zucchini
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup Ghirardelli Ground Chocolate
1 cup Ghirardelli Unsweetened Cocoa
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2-4 oz Ghirardelli Bittersweet Baking Bar coarsely chopped

Directions:

1. In your Kitchen Aid mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, add your shredded zucchini, heavy cream, oil, lemon juice, eggs, vanilla extract, sugar, and mix well.
2. While on a low speed, slowly add in your chocolate powders, until blended and smooth.
3. Turn off your mixer and add in all your dry ingredients. Mix on low until blended well (1-2 minutes).
4. Add your chopped Ghirardelli chocolate and mix for 10-20 seconds until blended well.
5. Spray your muffin tin with cooking spray and line each tin with cupcake liners. With a 1/3 measuring cup, spoon your batter into each muffin cup. Bake at 350 F for 25 minutes. Enjoy!

http://cooperchloe.blogspot.com/2013/02/chocolate-zucchini-muffins.html